Friday, September 30, 2011

Things I Know: The Holiday Edition!

We're baaaack!

This week I know lots about holidays!

I know I'm very grateful to my mother-in-law for sharing her timeshare with us. It was nice to spend time with her, my sister-in-law and neice.

I know I have NO photos of the big kids from our trip at all because they were off riding bikes, playing mini-golf, playing volleyball and swimming the entire time! They both made lots of friends and had such an excellent time.

I know that I read a book! There were so many activities available but for me a holiday is about sitting down (because I pretty much never do that at home) and I loved being able to sit and read while the small ones played. Awesome!

I know the weather was absolutely glorious most of the time we were away, and that sun on bare skin makes my spirits soar.

And I know that I came home to a parcel from Portugal, that contained these:


Such a beautiful and thoughtful gift from a beautiful reader. I know that I am truly blessed :)

I also know where to find great holiday specials! And that I can't wait until we finally manage a family holiday to Fiji.





This post contains sponsored content.



Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thankful Thursday: The I'm Not Here Edition!

Ohai!

I'm away this Thankful Thursday, hopefully enjoying some restful family time (oxymoron?) as you read.

But never fear! Just head over to Dairy of a SAHM where the gorgeous Jess is hosting the linky this week.

Can't wait to read your thankfuls when I get back!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Guest Post: School Mums

Today's post is brought to you by the gorgeous and talented Kate from Puddles and Gumboots.


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When my oldest child started primary school we put a lot of thought into which local school he would go to. I hoped that he would settle into school routines easily and love learning. I hoped that he would make friends with some nice kids. He in fact took to school like a duck to water and has over the years made some really great friendships.

One thing that I never thought of or anticipated was that as my son was making friends, I would also be making friends with the mums of his friends. That it was at the school I would find mums with whom I could relate to and laugh with. That I would end up with such a wonderful group of interesting women as friends.

It started with casual chatting at the school drop off and pick up.  We would sit on the benches outside the classrooms and talk while waiting for the end of day bell to ring. I think at some point or another I started getting there a little bit earlier to have more time to talk. We got to know each other even better over the fairy bread and other assorted party foods in the endless rounds of birthday parties that happen during the school year. Then there were the school events, and playdates on weekends and during the holidays.

Somewhere during this we all became friends. We are all of varying ages and backgrounds, and perhaps might never have known each other if it wasn’t for the fact that our children went to the same school. These other school mums are some of the nicest, most interesting and funniest women I’ve met. I’m very pleased to be able to call them my friends.

It’s been six years since my oldest started school. Our kids are big enough now to be picked up out the front of school rather than from the classroom. Some of the families have moved to different schools. Others have come to the school and have become friends. Nowadays we get together to celebrate each other’s birthdays as well as the kids. We try and have group catch-ups at Easter time. We squeeze in coffees where we can and we know that there are others we can call for help with the school run if something comes up.

My second child started school this year and I am enjoying having those chats again on the benches outside the classrooms, and perhaps making friends with some more school mums.

How has schooling impacted on your social life?


You can normally find Kate blogging about life with five kids, recipes, books, kids activities and whatever else might be running through her head at the time at www.puddlesandgumboots.com

Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu Monday Linkup: Ricotta Cakes (+ Thermomix Conversion)

Hooray hooray it's Menu Monday!

I was the lucky recipient of a beautiful basket of dairy rich goodies courtesy of The Dairy Kitchen and straight away thought of my sister-in-law's delicious ricotta cakes. I've modified a little (based on what I had on hand) and am including the conversions for my fellow Thermomixers. They are ridiculously easy to make and extremely delicious, plus they're a great way to make sure you're getting your recommended daily intake of dairy.

Here's what you need:

* 500g fresh ricotta cheese
* 50g parmesan cheese
* Olive oil
* Breadcrumbs

To Serve:
* Tomatoes
* Fresh Basil

Preheat oven at 180 C.
Lightly oil muffin tray (I use mini sized) then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Shake out excess.

Thermomix:
Grate 50g parmesan for 8 seconds on speed 8.
Weigh 500g ricotta into bowl.
Mix for 20 seconds at speed 4.

Regular:
Combine ricotta and parmesan in a bowl and mix thoroughly.





Fill muffin tray with mixture and bake for 25 minutes or until puffed up and golden on top.

While the cakes are baking, prepare the salsa by:

Thermomix:
Place two quartered tomatoes and fresh basil leaves along with a drizzle of olive oil in bowl and chop for 4 seconds on speed 4.

Regular:
Finely chop two tomatoes and a bunch of basil leaves. Combine with a splash of olive oil.

Ta - da!! How easy is that?

Serve warm and try not too eat all of them yourself.

Serving suggestions:


* Instead of salsa serve with antipasto vegies.

* Include chopped semi dried tomatoes and spinach in the mixture prior to baking (that is the original recipe but I didn't have either of those, plus my kids wouldn't eat them with colours in them).




If you're looking for more delicious dairy rich recipes to ensure your family is getting their three serves a day, check out the Dairy Australia website for some great inspiration.

Disclosure: I received a hamper full of delicious fresh produce and we gobbled it all up. No payment was offered or accepted. I really like cheese.


Are you joining in Menu Monday for the first time? All you need to do is link up a recipe post (old or new) and make sure to provide a link back to this post so we can share the love <3




Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dear Mummies

I have no doubt your freebirth/homebirth/hospital birth/ceasarean was the most traumatic/ecstatic/dramatic birth that has ever been experienced. I know for sure that this makes your experience the most important and in fact the most valid when it comes to advising other people.

Similarly your choice to breastfeed/comp feed/bottlefeed is far superior to that of any other mother, so please be sure to make your feelings known as loudly as possible whenever you can.

Your choice to have one child/a few children/heaps of children makes much more sense and is of course what every family should do. Please let the other mothers know this! They are missing out!

And don't forget that if someone else isn't staying at home/returning to work as you are then they are definitely doing it wrong. Be sure to tell them how terribly this will impact their child/ren.

And now that we've ascertained that you are the greatest mother in living history for making these choices, can we please CUT THE CRAP AND START SUPPORTING EACH OTHER???

Parenting is hard enough. Own your choices. Be happy with them. But don't ever presume that because they are your choices they invalidate or are superior to those of anyone else.

Live and let live. Better yet, live and have some empathy because no matter what choices we make we are ALL just trying to do the best by our children.

With love,

Kate

Saturday, September 17, 2011

All by myself...

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Don't wanna beeee all by myself. Whoever wrote that song did not have children I suspect. Sorry for the earworm by the way.

I've always been useless at being on my own. I am the epitome of the extrovert. I draw all my energy from others and when I'm alone I don't love it.

Didn't love it.

Until it never happened again.

The last time I was truly by myself would have been around 2008 I think. Having two small people prone to separation anxiety (one completely age appropriately I will add) does not lend itself to alone time.
Plus I'm one of those la la Mamas who breastfeeds for a million years, co-sleeps and all that fun crunchy stuff, so it's not really practical to be away from the little ones very much anyway.

I've been sitting here watching my big girl out the window playing some intricate game by herself completely happily, and wondering if I ever did that. I suspect not... It makes me so happy that even though she too is an extrovert she is happy in her own company. As she should be, she's fabulous.

This week I'm going to an event in the evening. All by myself. We're pulling the old divide and conquer on the kids to make life easier for everyone, and I so appreciate that my parents are having the little two. But I can tell you that for once I am excited to be alone.

In the car on the way there I shall play loud music with inappropriate lyrics. I shall sing along at the top of my voice. Or maybe I'll just sit in the silence and not listen to kids chat chat chattering in the back. If you're in Melbourne and see a silver bus with no kids in it on Wednesday night, for goodness sake don't wave or try to attract my attention. Because i will be soaking in the solitude.

When were you last all by yourself?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday: In pictures.

It's Thankful Thursday hooray! And rather than wax lyrical as I usually do, I thought I'd share some photos from my week that make me feel thankful.

Is there anything cuter than a baby so tired she falls asleep in the highchair?

My big kids are such cheeky monkeys!

Love beautiful Michael Miller fabrics. Love inventing patterns as I go.
Especially love it when they work out! 

My babygirl adores her older siblings <3

Adore my Stokke Xplory pram, and am in <3 with our beautiful pieces
from Hair Fairy Clips. My babygirl is pretty darned awesome as well.

I love colour. First attempt at rainbow cake and mini cupcakes.

A small boy turned three this week. He very rarely naps during the day any more
but being a three year old is clearly very tiring. Love that he is in uniform (aka he rarely is seen without
McQueen on his person somewhere) and holding his motorbike as he sleeps.

Yum! And pretty!




Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: A Boy is 3

Three years ago our beautiful small boy was born. (It was shocking for both of us, clearly!)

Today we will celebrate his wonderful, gentle self. He is such a beautiful soul
and I wouldn't change a thing about him even if I could. We love you so much
little boy. We are so proud of who you are.

I'm playing Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys. Come play along!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

RUOK?

You may have noticed a little button over there on the right of late. It looks like this:


You may have seen it in numerous places around the interwebs of late, and you may even have seen it on TV.

This Thursday is RUOK day. A day when we're reminded to ask the question, R U OK?

I've read a number of extremely moving blog posts on the topic already, and there will be a great big blog hop on Thursday that will allow you to read along as well.

I've struggled a bit with how I want to address this myself. I'm incredibly blessed to be able to say yes, I am okay. I've not struggled with serious mental health issues myself and for that I am incredibly grateful.

The black dog does cast a shadow over our household however, and I know first hand the anguish it causes. I'm not going to share what is not mine to share. Suffice to say sometimes living 'with' mental illness is excruciating and I can only imagine how 'living with' it must feel.

So today I'm just going to ask you, R U OK? How about the people in your life? Are you able to ask the question and listen, really listen, to the answer?

If you are not okay there are many places you can turn for immediate help:

Lifeline offers 24/7 telephone counselling on 13 11 14
or you can contact them online: www.lifeline.org.au

For more options have a look at the RUOK I Need Help Page.

RUOK?

I'm linking up with the Bloggers Collective at My Big Nutshell.



Monday, September 12, 2011

Evolution

When I started this blog I thought it would be a fun way to share some recipes, make some friends, try out some stuff and expand my online community.

Life is an odd adventure sometimes though, and as the past few months have changed many of our expectations for the future so too must my bloggity blog evolve as well.

I'm going to be honest and say that whilst I've read a number of blogs that have a focus on autism in the past, it's been out of knowing the families and the topic itself held not so much interest for me. Obviously this has changed for us now and I'm reading voraciously, appreciating that parents are sharing their experiences and grateful to find so many of my reactions are 'normal'.


There's a new little button over there in my categories of stuff.

Autism has become a part of our daily lives and so it's likely to be a very regular part of my blog as well. If it's not up your alley that's fine :) I do hope that by sharing our experiences as we start out on this journey though that maybe one day another parent will come across it, and it will help them feel 'normal' as well.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On Twilight.

I had a whole other post to write tonight, then I sat down and Twilight is on the Teev.

Source
I have a confession to make friends. I am a bit of a Twihard.

I managed to avoid all the ra-ra for a number of years, until my BFF told me she had read it. And loved it. I was all OMGWTFBBQ, I mean srlsy how old are we?

Anyway she offered to lend me the first two books and I scoffingly took them.

I started to read. I lost time for a while, but I know there was cheese on toast at some stage. I also know I made my Mum find and buy the last two books because I couldn't leave the house to do it myself.

Four or five days later I emerged from the Twifog. My kids were all still alive and kicking so I must have managed something other than reading in that time, but I couldn't tell you what it was.

Here's the thing about the Twilight Saga. It is APPALLINGLY written. Horrific in fact. And the climax of the series is so anticlimactic as to be laughable. But then the whole 'fade to black' approach to some *ahem* areas of the story should have forewarned me of that.

So why couldn't I put it down?

Because it re-awakened in me memories of another time. That feeling in the pit of your stomach when a guy you really really like (or are, you know, totes in lurve with) speaks to you. That electric zing when your eyes meet.

Those feelings that are so far removed from the day to day of life with children that they may never have happened at all...

I know Twilight is one of the most rubbish series ever written, and that the movies make next to no sense unless you know the books inside out.

I also know that they made me feel something in a way that no other story has done in a very long time. And THAT is why I'm sitting here on a Sunday night when I should be packing school bags, tidying the lounge or folding laundry, watching a bunch of twenty-somethings pretend to be a bunch of teenagers.

Because I was once a teenage girl with the intensity of feeling to go with it. And somewhere in me that teenage girl lives on and rejoices.

So tell me, love it or hate it??

Friday, September 9, 2011

Things I Know: About Holland.

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This poem was mentioned to me twice this week. I'm pretty sure that means I'm meant to read and share it.


WELCOME TO HOLLAND


by
Emily Perl Kingsley.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......


When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.


After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."


But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.


So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.


It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.


But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."


And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.


But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.



It's things I know Friday, and this week I know how the author was feeling when she wrote this. I also know that Holland is going to be a fabulous place to be, once I'm over the jet lag.


What do you know this week?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Sleeeeeeep


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Once upon a time I had two small children. My boy was an excellent sleeper, my girl sucked in a really big way.

I'd spend hours lying with she-who-did-not-sleep in the dark, bored out of my mind. I would count to 1000, then start again. I would repeat endlessly in my head 'this too shall pass, this too shall pass.'
And pass it did, eventually. At just shy of four she started finding getting to sleep easier, and at five and a half she finally slept through the night.

These days I have two big kids and two small kids.

Once again I spend lots and lots of time getting littles to sleep. Both have separation anxiety. The girl because she is ten months old, the boy because he's wired that way.

I have a secret weapon these days though... Of the 'i' variety. While I lay with them waiting for sleep to take hold, I'm tweeting with my friends. I'm blogging. I'm checking in on Facebook. I'm grateful for my iPhone and wish I'd had one back in the other days!

I get very little sleep, because my little boy wakes upwards of 6 times a night. But I'm so thankful that there is hope in the form of melatonin just around the corner. And I will appreciate it all the more when it happens having gotten by on so little for so long.

These days my big kids are asked to go to bed and they go. My baby girl sleeps beautifully when she's not woken by her brother. I'm thankful, three out of four is a great start.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Adventure

A baby is enjoying the outdoors for the first time! Hooray Spring!

What's with the prickly stuff? Am I brave enough?

It's alright Mummy, I'll look after her.

Getting braver!

There's a whole new world out here!

A baby is being carefully supervised.

And herded. And is ecstatic!

A small boy is concerned by 'yucky' on his baby's clothes.

An excellent adventure.
PS A babygirl is ten months old today! How did that happen?!
I'm playing Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys. Come play along!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Confessions

I've known somewhere in my heart for a really long time that our small boy is different, but it still took a big push to have it checked out.
I've known about autism for ages, I've taught aspie kids in the past... I thought I knew enough to be able to say that's not what is going on here. I was wrong.
If you'd told me that a simple diagnosis could rip my heart out and jump on it repeatedly, for a condition that he's not even aware of and that won't physically harm him in any way, I'd not have believed you.
I have guilt for what feels like an overreaction when others cope with far worse diagnoses daily. But that doesn't stop the tears as I read more about what it all means.
I'm busying myself with lots of other things so I don't have to think about it all the time. Which is good, and not good.
I feel like my big girl is a total neglecterino at the moment, just because she's the easy one. My big boy is incredibly moody and challenging right now. My small boy soaks up a lot of my headspace. My baby is a baby. My big girl just goes to school (which she loves) and does her own thing and I desperately need to give her more of myself than she is currently getting.
My heart hurts so much when I think about the fact that my baby will 'overtake' my small boy one day. And not even a far far away day.
I've not slept a full night in years, but the recent spate of meltdowns from the boy is taking it's toll and I am exhausted.
Sometimes I wonder if the universe didn't guide me back to blogging when it did because it knew I would need the enormous support of people who have been here before me. I'm so grateful for that.
This post feels whingy and self indulgent, but that's where I'm at right now.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cooking with Kids: Chocolate Balls

I know it says a lot about me, but I can't think of the phrase 'chocolate balls' without thinking of Chef from South Park. Sad but true.

Anyway this is a family friendly blog, and a recipe that is perfect for the kids to help out with. In fact I was first introduced to this recipe when I was in Grade Prep myself! Our teacher gave us all handwritten photocopies (or maybe it was carbon paper copies even) of it and I still love making them.

You Need:


8 Weetbix
1 tin condensed milk
3 tablespoons of cocoa
Sultanas
Dessicated coconut

- Break up the Weetbix. My kids love crunching them up with their hands. I prefer the food processor ;) You can have them as fine or as chucky as suits you.

- Mix through the entire tin of condensed milk. Except the bits you lick off the spatula. Yum!

- Add the cocoa and a handful or so of sultanas if you are including them. Also pop in half a cup of dessicated coconut and get the kids to mix and mix and mix. It's a very thick mixture!

- When it is completely combined pop the mix in the fridge for half an hour or so. Try not to eat it.

- After the mixture has chilled get the kids to wash their hands, then roll into balls about the size of a golf ball, then roll these in some extra coconut. This is messy messy and great fun!

Voila! Try not to eat them all at once!!




Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday: The SPRING Edition!

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Spring is Sprung!
The grass is riz,
 I wonder where
those birdies is?

It's the most Thankful Thursday ever because it is my most favourite day of the whole year today... it's Spring Day!

I love Spring so much. Not only because the days start getting longer and warming up, but because of the buzz in the air and in the very cells of my being. That feeling that something FABULOUS is just about to happen. The anticipation of new beginnings.

And this Spring day is extra exciting to me as today I officially launch Lucky Bus Consulting!

I love being able to review things and run giveaways here, and it has been (and continues to be) such a privelege to work with some great brands and PR companies.

But it felt like something was missing. Having owned a WAHM business many moons ago, I didn't see  opportunities for WAHM's to connect with bloggers without having to commit a huge amount of their own very precious time to researching. Even then without an understanding of some of the intricacies of the blogging world it could be very hit and miss.

And so here we are! Lucky Bus is all about connecting small business with bloggers in a manner suited to their own time and budget constraints. I have high hopes, and am looking forward to working with some fantastic businesses. Our first campaign is already underway and I'm just so excited :)


I'm also so incredibly thankful for the talents of my beautiful friend Kate Pickle who has put up with endless requests and questions and stress on my part over the last week. She is a fabulous designer with many more clues than I have and I am eternally grateful to her.

I also need to say a huge thankyou to the inspirational Louisa Claire from Everything is Edible and Brand Meets Blog, who has encouraged me so much in this venture and provided enormous support. She is a beautiful woman and I'm stoked that I get to continue working with her. 

And in case you missed it before. It's SPRING!! Bring it on!!!