30.4.10

CONFESSIONS OF A FAILED SUPERMUM


I heard the author of this book, Juanita Phillips, being interviewed on ABC radio by Richard Stubbs yesterday and it sounded very interesting. She was trying to do it all and ended up having a very public breakdown while reading the news one night and made drastic changes to simplify her lifestyle.

I think I may just have to try and find a copy. Anyone read it?

The blurb reads.....

"When Juanita Phillips stumbled on an old pressure cooker in an op shop, it changed her life. As a frantically busy working mother, she was desperate for solutions to that modern dilemma: how to juggle kids, career, housework and marriage. The pressure cooker helped her solve one of the biggest problems - preparing daily healthy meals - but that was just the beginning. She and her husband decided to transform their chaotic life in other ways too, and where it led them was surprising. This candid confession of a failed supermum offers practical tips for anyone searching for a calmer, simpler, healthier life.

For a huge exerpt of the pages of this book, you can click on the image of the book on the right hand side of this blog.


29.4.10

MY CREATIVE SPACE


I would love to be able to share some especially creative art form that I am working on today, but in reality I get very little time to do that, so lately I have been trying to be as creative as possible in the every day things in my life. This seems more manageable.

Bath time has become quite the creative space at our house recently. Click 'bath' label on bottom of this post to follow previous bath time creativity.

Pretty pink was the choice of my 2 year old boy last night. He has always been quite partial to pink.

Another new idea I was given today was to put some bubble bath or liquid soap into a plastic cup, add a few drops of food dye, mix it together and then give the kids some paint brushes to go crazy! I think we'll give that one a go tonight.

See who else is playing along with 'my creative space' today over at Kirsty's blog.

28.4.10

FUN FOR THE FUSSY

Inspired by this post on Wild Things of Noosa, I thought I would share my favourite tip for getting kids to eat their food - it is certainly not a new concept (nor is it foolproof) but I need to be reminded regularly to give it a go.

It's all about presentation.


Yesterday the vegemite sandwiches in the shapes of flowers were woofed down and it's much more fun eating an eye or tree, instead of a piece of carrot or broccoli.

*As I can't go past a good party tip - why not try healthy sandwiches cut in shapes, using cookie cutters, that match your party theme.

I have put this plate away for my kids for Christmas... the possibilities are endless!



Of course we don't play with our food every day, because quite frankly, who has the time?!

Some more fun & healthy food ideas here.

Addition: Check out funkylunch where they take this idea to a whole new level! (thanks chic mother&baby for showing me)

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY


Check out 'Wordless Wednesday' here.

27.4.10

THOSE LEMON RECIPES

Photo by Ben Dearley on taste.com.au

I have been meaning to post some more lemon recipes for a while.

I am by no means a good cook. In fact I made sure that I married someone who loved to cook. However, as he does not get home in time these days I am the chef in this house. Within that I have actually grown to quite enjoy it (although I could do with a night off every now and then....) So, the meals that I cook are super quick and easy as I really don't have time to do anything fancy. These following 2 recipes are ones that each member of our family like - quite the feat in our house! Absolute winners in my opinion.



I would LOVE to know your top weeknight meals..... please! I am always keen to expand the repertoire.

26.4.10

AT MY HOUSE....




Quite a bit of this will be going on at our house today. Who am I kidding - this goes on every single day at our house! We just started toilet training yesterday, so I imagine there'll be quite a bit more!

What's going on at your house today - play along with Lou.

25.4.10

LEST WE FORGET...

Today is ANZAC Day. The day that we remember the Australian & New Zealand Army Corp landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula on this day 95 years ago. Of course we also pay tribute to all of those who have fought for our country since that time. I think the history of the ANZACS is almost core to the shaping of the way Australians view themselves today, particularly the values that we hold dear when describing ourselves as a nation such as mateship and loyalty.

My 6 year old has been pretty interested in the topic since they had a little service at their school on Friday, so in giving a little history lesson, I thought it would be fun to make some Anzac biscuits.
Always a little messy with 3 kids helping, but such an easy recipe that it didn't take long.


A little history lesson regarding the ANZAC bicky..... The women of Australia were concerned for the nutrition of the Aussie men during World War 1. The problem was that any food they sent to the fighting men had to be carried in very slow ships which had no refrigeraters, so any food sent had to remain edible for months. Originally a Scottish recipe, this biscuit contained items that did not readily spoil and with plenty of nutritional value. It was renamed the ANZAC biscuit after the Gallipoli landing. Many groups like the CWA, churches, school groups and women's organisations devoted a great deal of time to the making of these biscuits.


To make some of your own -

ANZAC BICKIES!
(the chewy soft kind)

  • 1 cup (150g) plain flour
  • 1 cup (90g) rolled oats
  • 1 cup (85g) Ward McKenzie desiccated coconut
  • 3/4 cup (155g) brown sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tbs golden syrup
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbs water

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the oats, coconut and brown sugar.

  2. Put the butter, golden syrup and 2 tbs water in a small saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until melted. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda.

  3. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.

  4. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Place on the trays, about 5cm apart.

  5. Press with a fork to flatten slightly. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

  6. Set aside on the trays for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack so it cools completely.



Game of two up anyone?

23.4.10

ART AND MOTHERHOOD


After reading Lou's post on the Book 'Divided Heart - Art and Motherhood', I asked her if I could borrow it. After reading the introduction, I was quite literally almost in tears. To have someone articulate so well the thoughts and feelings that I myself have is quite moving. I am very much looking forward to reading the rest.

Beg, borrow or steal a copy if you are a Mum with a strong pull to express your creativity. In the words of Bernard from my favorite British sitcom, Black Books - "You'll laugh, you'll cry, it'll change your life"!

For a larger review and to buy the book you can go here.

TO COMMENT OR NOT TO COMMENT

For all of you lovely people who have been reading my blog who don't have a blog of your own, or for some reason google has been rejecting your comments, I have now changed my settings so that anyone can leave a comment if they so desire. So comment away! I do love comments, they quite literally make my day! Is that sad?

BUTTONS BY LOU LOU MOTHERS DAY SPECIAL

Buttons by Lou Lou has a special offer at the moment. Head on over if you are looking for that elusive Mother's Day pressie and pre order now. Get in quick though as today is the last day for this particular special! I'm thinking maybe a pair of earrings in that particular pattern would go well coming my way, maybe I should show this to my children......

22.4.10

MOTHERS DAY GIVEAWAY


Head on over to {KID} Independent for your chance to win one of five of these gorgeous prize packs that happen to contain some gorgeous earrings from my sister of buttons by lou lou fame!

Creative Space with a twist of lemon


My husband's creative space is the kitchen.


As previously posted, we have given ourselves the challenge of trying to use as many lemons as possible from our over laden tree. My husband was quite creative over the weekend and offered the following:

Number one - Lemon Meringue Pie.

It is an absolute winner and so very simple and delicious. The recipe was given to me by my lovely friend Kate, where all my best recipes come from, and I hope that she won't mind that I share it with you all now.....



LEMON MERINGUE PIE

1 tin condensed milk
½ cup lemon juice
3 egg yolks (lightly beaten)
3 egg whites
½ cup castor sugar
½ pkt marie biscuits (I use a whole packet coz I love a good thick base)
90g butter, melted (double if you use more biscuits)

1. Crush biscuits, add butter and press into pie dish. Chill.
2. Combine condensed milk, lemon juice and egg yolk. Mix and pour into base. Chill.
3. Beat egg whites, adding sugar gradually to make meringue. Place on top of other layers.
4. Bake in moderate oven for approx. 15 mins.


Number two - Limoncello.

He was actually given the ingredients and the recipe for this lovely Italian liqueur as a $10 kriskringle present one year, but didn't end up making it. Finally, a few years later, he was determined to give it a go.

You can find the recipe for this Limoncello here - my absolute favourite recipe website.

To check out how amazingly creative other people have been this week, head on over to Kirsty's blog.

21.4.10

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY


SNAILS ANYONE?


My lovely husband is having a birthday today. His favourite present of all was this snail set given to him by my mother. It was purchased by her in France about 40 years ago and she has kept the shells, dishes and forks for all that time. She apparently used it for many a dinner party. She actually did a 'Cordon Bleu' cooking course sometime in the 70's - very 'Julie & Julia'. She even found a tin of snails (top right of the photo) at the Vic market to add to the present! She was sorting through her things recently and knew exactly who to save it for. She was so excited to give it to him and he is absolutely thrilled It looks like I will most likely have to participate in a few French dinners myself. I am a very firm believer of giving everything a try ...... once.


I'm sure these adorable paintings came in a close second to the snails. We started a tradition when our eldest child was just over one, of painting a canvas for the wall every year for Daddy's birthday. There are too many now, so they are replaced each year by the new ones. Do you have any present traditions at your house?





1. picture of daddy
2. who knows, but she was very very proud!
3. picture of our family



20.4.10

AND THE BATH TIME FUN CONTINUES...


Time for a green bath.

Yes, that is a syringe in our bath! When you have a daddy who works in a hospital he can bring home lots of fun things. These are great water pistols! They also come in handy when kids are icing biscuits (of course I use a new set of syringes for those!).

It has also been brought to my attention that I need to clarify a few things when trying this trick at home.

1. you really only need the smallest of small amounts of food dye (just a drop or two) - it goes a surprisingly long way!

2. you need to put the coloring in before the kids get in the bath. Otherwise, it can splash on them and if it gets directly on the skin it will stain for a while.

Along this theme, I happened to see a new product today called 'Gelli Baff' when waiting for the checkout at Target this morning. Apparently it turns the bath/pool water, into jelly and then back again to water.......really! I am intrigued! Anyone tried it?

'UNDER THE SEA' PARTY

When my 2 sisters and I were growing up, our mother was the birthday queen! We ALWAYS had a theme and had great fun in preparation for the big day. Our 3 birthdays were all within a few weeks of each other so "party season" in our house was a big one! Lou and I have followed that tradition with our own children. I may be slightly more obsessed, but that is another story!

On Sunday we went to our gorgeous nephew's 4th birthday party. He had chosen an underwater theme and Lou did a fantastic job!

Here are some photos....

Very yummy fish cupcakes. When I asked my 2.5 year old if he'd like some fish cake, he said "oh no. that's yucky mummy" until I convinced him I had not meant fish flavoured!
Personalised water bottles - fun way to get kids to actually drink water (instead of soft drink) at a party!

My seaweed wig (that I made for my daughter's 5th birthday party last year).

Check out more photos of this party on Lou's blog here and here.

My new favorite things for parties, are printable pdf's. You can buy, for a very reasonable price, a pdf pattern for anything from party hats, cupcake wrappers, cupcake toppers, paper bunting, posters, etc, etc and they can all be used for anything and can be printed up as many times as you like. My favourite sites for party printables are:

www.partiesbyhardie.etsy.com (used in this party)

I'll be putting more party ideas in this blog as time goes by because I really do love parties!

19.4.10

'AT MY HOUSE' & 'POINT & SHOOT'


We'll be having a home day today after a busy weekend of a wedding & a couple of birthday parties, etc, etc. We have to be home to wait for the oven repair man anyway.

I love a good catch up day. Multiple loads of washing, which means lots of time outside with the kids. Playing in the sandpit, a bit of water painting, chalk drawing and letting the chooks out for a scratch around the backyard. I only let them out when we are out there or my vegie patch would disappear!

A jar of sequins was just dropped on the floor also, so it may well be taking us all day to pick those up!!

Check out 'At my house' on Lou's blog & 'Point & Shoot' on Chantelle's blog to see what other people have been up to.

18.4.10

AN ODE TO THE LEMON


We have lots of fruit trees on our little block and my favourite is our lemon tree. Apparently there are varieties of lemon trees that fruit a few times a year, but we sadly have the variety that happens only once a year. That much awaited time has come! It is a BUMPER harvest and I now must find many things to do with lemons as quickly as possible! I shall be sharing some of these with you in the weeks to come, but would also LOVE to hear your favorite things to do with lemons. The possibilities are endless no doubt!

My friend Kate (the knower of all 'foodie' things) has told me that you can actually freeze lemons whole. My Mum always squeezed the juice and froze it in ice blocks, which I have done also, but many of my recipes call for lemon zest, therefore freezing the lemon whole is something I shall be doing this year!

'An Ode to the Lemon' by Pablo Neruda has long been a favourite poem of mine. I first saw it written on a cafe chalkboard and have loved it ever since.

Ode To The Lemon
Pablo Neruda
From blossoms
released
by the moonlight,
from an
aroma of exasperated
love,
steeped in fragrance,
yellowness
drifted from the lemon tree,
and from its plantarium
lemons descended to the earth.

Tender yield!
The coasts,
the markets glowed
with light, with
unrefined gold;
we opened
two halves
of a miracle,
congealed acid
trickled
from the hemispheres
of a star,
the most intense liqueur
of nature,
unique, vivid,
concentrated,
born of the cool, fresh
lemon,
of its fragrant house,
its acid, secret symmetry.

Knives
sliced a small
cathedral
in the lemon,
the concealed apse, opened,
revealed acid stained glass,
drops
oozed topaz,
altars,
cool architecture.

So, when you hold
the hemisphere
of a cut lemon
above your plate,
you spill
a universe of gold,
a
yellow goblet
of miracles,
a fragrant nipple
of the earth's breast,
a ray of light that was made fruit,
the minute fire of a planet.

15.4.10

BATH COLOUR FUN #3

I know it looks like someone has had a serious bath time accident, but it was the requested colour this evening. If you have not been joining in the bath time fun times, then check out this and this. I am starting a new craze amongst my friends. Hilarious!

MY CREATIVE SPACE


I have enjoyed checking out some other people's 'creative spaces'. There are some very talented people around! I am not doing anything creative today - we are having "one of those days"! Instead, I thought I would show you a picture of my son's creative space. He is 2 years old and his space of choice today was the laundry - in particular the washing machine, the wall and the laundry door. His medium of choice was a pink whiteboard marker. Like I said, we are having "one of those days"!


Thank goodness whiteboard markers rub off very easily. My trusty friend over the years has been my magic eraser (a blue and white sponge type thing that you wet) - it even gets rid of texta, permanent marker, pen and pencil! It really is amazing! Found at your local supermarket. I recommend - or maybe you have perfect children. I have heard of those.

Head on over to Kootooyoo to see what other crafty people are creating today! Hopefully things that are little more permanent than this particular child's art.

14.4.10

A GIVEAWAY...


I have recently started reading Mira Narnie's blog, after she popped over to mine one day, and today was excited to see that she has a giveaway of some of her gorgeous creations, like the one above. Pop on over there to enter.

IN REFLECTION...

Time to get a little deep and meaningful.

I have always appreciated the honesty reflected on others' blogs who are game enough to do it and this blog was meant to help me sort out and sift through my thoughts so here goes...

After almost 2 weeks of blogging, I thought it might be time to sit and down and reflect on my goals in starting this blog.

I am absolutely loving it! I am amazed and surprised at the affect of such a small thing which has come at the right time in my life.

I have realised that the 'me' I thought was hidden was here all along expressing itself, just showing up in different ways than I had expected. My everyday is actually dotted with quite a bit of creativity. All has not been lost and this has encouraged me greatly. I am finding beauty in my everyday and my interests, loves and passions are being highlighted (to me!) which means that although my circumstances have not changed - I am gaining a new perspective on 'me'.

I am enjoying looking at others blogs, hearing their stories and getting ideas and feeling connected to a whole community of other likeminded people on journeys similar to my own. So, thank you.

Just found this new quote which I feel fits well right here and which I will try and remember this week:

The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.

Sir Thomas More (1478 - 1535)

WHAT DOES YOUR DAY HOLD?

E.H. Shepard's 'Winnie the Pooh' from the Collections of Stanley J Seeger & Christopher Cone

Yummy french toast for breakfast this morning. Reminds me of one of my favorites quotes...

"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
"It's the same thing," he said.

12.4.10

AT MY HOUSE...



Hi to those of you who have headed over to my blog on Louise's suggestion and thank you so much for your encouraging comments. It is so nice to have that feedback in your first week of blogging. I have been enjoying reading some of your blogs also and I look forward to getting to know you all in the blogger world.

I have decided to play along this week with Buttons by Lou Lou's "at my house".

At my house today we have been doing a spot of gardening. For the last few days the kids and I have been making the most of Melbourne's grey and drizzly weather and had at least half an hour a day in the garden. We have planted some new seeds, pruned some roses, staked some capsicums and pulled out some unwanted plants. We now have a pet caterpillar, lots of squished snails around the path and some dirty faces, fingernails and hair. Why does it always have to go in the hair?!




10.4.10

INSPIRATION

In a rare moment in an actual shop (not my favorite places with a one and a two year old) I saw a card that inspired me and I just had to have. I never ever buy cards, because I have always made them, but this one spoke to me. It echoed some of the thoughts that have been spinning around in my head lately. It now has pride of place on my fridge. I think it is important to have nice little pieces of art or inspiration around the house (particularly if you are going to spend a lot of time in it, like me!). It's good for the soul!

It says "We must absolutely do what we love, or we run the risk of doing nothing at all." My favorite part in small print says "her heart was renewed by the work". Curly Girl has so many gorgeous and inspirational cards that maybe I'll be purchasing some more.... online. She has all of her cards online and it is well worth a look.

9.4.10

CYDONIA OBLONGA

Cydonia Oblonga is the botanical name for the quince. A rare but, in my opinion, very interesting fruit. Since ancient times the quince has been a symbol of love and fertility. We are lucky enough to have a quince tree hanging over our fence from the neighbours yard. Our lovely portuguese neighbours have said that we are welcome to any that grow on our side of the fence. Last year they knocked on the door with a small bowl of freshly stewed dark red quince. Later, when I had my first taste, along with some natural yoghurt, I was in love.

Last year, my friend Kate showed me how to make quince honey. Delicious. I don't think there'll be time this year for me to make some more, but luckily Kate scored a bag full from her grandma and made a fresh batch which she kindly shared with us. Thanks Kate! When she starts her own blog (hint, hint) maybe she'll share the recipe with you......

I would welcome any other quince recipes if you know of any?

8.4.10

SOMETHING IN THE WATER

In an effort to encourage grotty and reluctant children into the bath, I have recently employed a new trick. The idea was given to me by a friend (thanks Peta!) to put food dye in the bath. I was a little nervous putting in the first drops, thinking the color would leave a residue, but was pleasantly surprised. We have now had, pink, green, blue and purple baths. It has worked a treat. As you can see in the photo below, we have gone so far as to only have matching toys in the bath. As well as pleasing my 2 year old who just loves things to match, I must admit I quite like the artistic element to bath time. When this stops working....any tips?

It reminds me of a little toilet training trick someone once suggested of putting blue dye in the toilet water and asking the child to make it turn green! Wonder if it works.....

7.4.10

NATURAL EGG DYING

To combine my last two blog posts, check out this idea on Twig and Thistle's blog for dying eggs naturally. I know what one of our easter activities is going to be next year! Twig & Thistle also has some other cute easter craft ideas here.

AUSSIE BUSH CREATIVITY


Growing up, whenever we had a beach holiday, Mum would get us to make a piece of art using shells and other bits and pieces we found along the beach. We used a disposable foil pie tin filled with plaster of paris, lightly placing our design on the top. These were then hung and displayed on the laundry wall until the next beach holiday came around.

This Good Friday we spent the day with my extended family "out the bush" just outside of Heathcote, Victoria. We had a good old fashioned Aussie BBQ on the metal plate above the fire we had made ourselves. We had egg and spoon races (with the eggs mentioned in the last post), three legged races, an easter egg hunt and a "nature walk".


The "nature walk" was Mum's idea. She gave each of the kids a bag and asked them to collect things that they liked around the bush. The kids quite enjoyed it, especially when two very dried kangaroo skulls were found! She then pulled out the foil pie tins and the plaster of paris and the kids made their own piece of nature art. No, the skulls are not in the artworks, but a few cicada shells are. Mum wrote their names and "Easter 2010" on the back and an old tradition was passed down to the next generation.


If you are going to give this a try, just remember to add a small piece of looped wire to the pie tin before you pour in the plaster, to use as a handle if you want to display your lovely artworks on your 'laundry' wall!


addition - see here for a sneak peak at the 2011 nature plates!

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