Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Real Life Wednesday.

It seems that with no iPhone to take quick snaps I'm taking less and less photos. It's not really that hard to get out our DSLR... it sits on the shelf quite readily available. But something about it makes it less inviting. I think I'll put our old point and shoot in my nappy bag so we've always got it handy.

Anyway, here's my Real Life moment for this week! And it's on video!

When hubby left for work early Tuesday morning he was met with a sad sight. A lovely brush tail possum had met it's untimely fate with a car or truck overnight. Cars were swerving this way and that and hubby said he'd clean it off the road when he got home.

I figured by then it would have been hit a few more times and sprayed over the road so I said to him over the phone that I'd do it! Well, he laughed and scoffed and said if I did I could have whatever I wanted... so I asked for a haircut and half a day free to myself!! Easy to please, aren't I!

This was a moment worth grabbing the DSLR for.

I felt quite sad for the possum, we see so much wildlife dead on the roads up here but being so close to it was different. Most of the time we see wombats and I really wonder how many orphaned little ones there are.

And so... here is a record of my success.

We are keeping it VERY real at home this week!? How about you!?
Check out what others have been doing this week over at Picklebums

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Through a child's eyes

Another post of words and not pictures from me tonight. My heart has been heavy with thoughts and notions over the last week or so. The emotions of a pregnant woman... hopefully only the emotions!

Today I learned a valuable lesson. I was reminded of what is important. And it was my 5 month old who reminded me. I took her to see a specialist today as she has a birth mark of sorts on her neck that needed further examination/treatment. It's only about 1cm square. Whilst patiently sitting in the waiting area with Li'l Peppa a mother brought her two children in. 

Do you sometimes judge a book by it's cover? 
This looked like a typical middle class family. The kids looked as though they'd had a fun day at school. A little dirty, boys face smeared with chocolate from afternoon tea (mum promptly wiped it off as they sat down) and the little girl's hair was in that messy way only 8 year olds can get away with and still look cute! 

We were at a dermatologist. I knew immediately who was the patient out of the three. Her face told the story. That messy hair did not cover the red skin, the rash or the scabs from what I imagine was a painful area on her cheeks, right under the eyes and meeting up beside her nose.

Li'l Peppa started to chatter away in her pram and the little girl edged closer, hovering about a metre away. I turned the pram to face the little girl and invited Li'l Peppa to 'say hello'. The little girl saw this invitation and took it. She was over there in a flash. Cooing at our gorgeous girl and making her giggle and smile. She reached out and stroked her head and kept talking, kind words, soft words. The smiles told the story, Li'l Peppa was impressed to have a friendly face giving all attention to her.

While she was close, I got a good close look at this little girl. Her eyes lit up bright as she told me of a small gift she'd received from her scripture teachers for being kind. She cradled it in her hands like a piece of gold. Her mixture of baby teeth and big teeth smiled with all their might as she entertained Li'l Peppa. And as I spoke with her and watched her, those bright red cheeks and scabs seemed to fade. The more I spoke to her, I saw other things. We talked for a little while longer and I pulled the baby out of her pram and onto my knee. Boy was she impressed with that. Miss 8 noticed the mark on Li'l Peppa's neck and asked if she'd hurt herself. I told her it was why we were seeing the doctor. Her response was, "It's just like mine." Seeing how small our baby's 'blemish' was in comparison to hers choked me up a little, but I was pleased that she considered them to be alike so hopefully she was not too affected by it. We were called in and said our goodbyes. 

What did I learn from my 5 month old. There was not a second of apprehension or judgement in her. She was delighted to see a friendly face. Two shining eyes staring intently into hers. A giant smile willing to pick up her toy, over and again. Gentle hands (albeit a little grubby from the school day!) to stroke her head. And most of all she saw the kind heart which I saw too! It just took me a little longer. I'm so glad I got to spend 15 minutes with that special little girl. (Her mummy sat on her iPhone, but that's another post!)

Time for this tired Mummy to go to bed. Sweet dreams.

Slow Cooker :: Chicken & Sweet Corn Soup

Do you have a slow cooker? I do, and I love it. I usually reserve it for the winter months and love the warmth it brings the house as the soups, stews and curries simmer through the day.

With our oven out of action I have had to utilise other methods of cooking and the slow cooker has seen an extended period of use this year! I even managed to 'bake' my banana bread in it last week! I was suitably impressed - same recipe/ingredients and it spent nearly 2 hours in the slow cooker. It was amazing.

We have a little joke around here. I'm not even sure what the joke is. But is basically goes that if it's anything other than baking I must follow recipes exactly or it's a disaster! Give me sugar and flour and I can create you a masterpiece. (Well, there was that one disaster!) Spices and sauces... and well, it's usually a disaster that my darling hubby has to fix!

So it was no surprise that when he arrived home to me 'cooking' dinner in the slow cooker on Monday he turned up his nose. It's chicken soup, I said. He scoffed. It smells nice, I added. He wrinkled his nose. Maybe you can just taste it, I tried. 

His response? What's in it? Did you use a recipe?

Uh oh, he asked that question. He always asks that question! Now I had to fumble my way around why I didn't use a recipe. He noticed the can of condensed sweet corn soup on the bench - there's a recipe on the back, we can use that, it was a gentle suggestion. 
Nope, tried that, it's got a pasta bake recipe, we still have no oven remember! (Yes, that was a little wife dig... could you tell?)

To cut a long story short... he googled chicken and sweet corn soup... and was satisfied with my efforts. It might need a little salt was his last remark. Then he tasted it. And I was the one who got that warm fuzzy soup filled feeling because his next words were so sweet. Delicious to my ears.
"It's great, it doesn't even need the salt!"

And guess what, it was really easy! Here's what I threw in (literally!)

1 can condensed sweet corn soup
1 mini can of corn kernels
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 cup cream (or milk)
300g chicken, diced
1 Tbs cornflour
2 eggs

So yes, as I said, I threw in the can of soup, corn kernels and stock along with the cream and water. Stir stir stir. 
Then I added the diced chicken breast. 
The cornflour was added after around an hour of cooking (on high). I mixed the cornflour into a small amount of water then added that to the slow cooker.
It cooked for another hour. Then when it was nearly time to serve we cracked the eggs in and whisked the whole thing really fast to combine them in.
I think we cooked it a little longer because the kiddies were getting into bed and hubby heading to soccer. 

And that was it! 
Delicious Chicken & Sweet Corn Soup - all with things I found in the freezer or pantry! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Green Blanket

Some days I wish I had my camera in hand and that I was clicking all day. You know that feeling, documenting it all, the sweet moments, the memories, the fun and the love. Perhaps even the tears. Other days, I'm glad I don't. And I hope I can keep these memories. Hold onto them. Be present fully in the moment.

Today I was changing Li'l Peppa and Miss Daisy came in and said, "Mumma can I have the green blanket, I can't reach it. It's too high".
I was busy, she didn't need a blanket. But thankfully, today was one of those days where I obliged. I popped Peppa in her cot to play and held Daisy-girl's hand and followed her into her bedroom.

We both gazed up at the blanket she spoke of. A green muslin wrap sitting on the top shelf of her wardrobe with the other linen for the girls. I'm not even sure why it caught her eye. 

I grabbed it down and noticed a pink one behind it, "Would you like the pink one too honey?" 
"Yes please Mum, I'm going to be a King!"

I feel like I say no a lot.
No you can't climb in your baby sister's cot. She's sleeping.
No you can't sit in the driver's seat. It's dangerous.
No you can't play with mummy's sewing pins. They're sharp.
No you can't pick up the dog poo with your shovel. Just no!

I don't like to say no. I like to say yes. Yes, explore, create, enjoy, learn, experience, engage, laugh. But sometimes, the answer is no. The no's above are justified. But, you know the ones that aren't. The ones when you're feeling tired, lazy, selfish... those ones. We've (I've) had a couple of those days this week.

But not today, today was a yes day! 

That magnificent green blanket became a King's robe. She twirled around and boldly proclaimed that King's like to dance and twirl.

I asked her what else King's do and she said she needed a crown. I can make one, she told me confidently as she grinned excitedly. So off we went to the recycling and grabbed a weetbix box. (I must put those on the shopping list) I cut and stapled it into the simplest of crowns and gave her some stickers. (The kind I hoard in a drawer for the perfect occasion. Silly stationery hoarder!) Boy was this occasion perfect.

The joy and pride on her face as she stuck each and every one of those stickers upon that imperfect crown was priceless. By this stage Li'l Peppa had joined with me as a willing audience to this project. 

We watched and cheered on as she completed the final touches. Before placing it upon her head and dancing toward the mirror. Completely satisfied with are kingly attire!

So I'm pleased that this post has no picture. I'm pleased that there is no picture for me to look back on. There's a crappy little crown on the floor and tears welling up in my eyes as I remember the joy something so simple brought. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
Well, these words are to remind me of that picture that was never taken but was truly lived.

Have you said yes today?!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Recipe: Microwave Fudge Brownies

Brownies are a favourite around here anytime! I'm trying so hard to steer clear of these sorts of sweets unless I'm sure I'll be sharing them with guests and they'll disappear quickly - to someone's belly other than my own! Without an oven I've definitely been doing much less baking... but I decided to modify this recipe for brownies and make it suitable for the microwave! This is the second time I've made these Microwave Fudge Brownies and I believe they're pretty yummy! They always get polished off quickly!
              Just For Daisy :: Microwave Fudge Brownies
Want to make your own Microwave Fudge Brownies... here's how!

Gather the following ingredients:

200g Dairy Milk Chocolate (perhaps you can buy the big block like in this Chocolate Crackle recipe!)
150g butter
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate and butter in microwave. This took around 2 minutes and I stirred halfway. (Remember chocolate keeps it's shape even when melted so give it a stir regularly to check! Also putting the butter on top of the chocolate will help the chocolate liquify!) Once melted give it a good stir to ensure the two are combined well.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs, add flour, sugar and vanilla. Stir in the melted chocolate and butter mix.
Line a microwave safe dish with baking paper. (I also greased lightly with butter first - mostly because Miss Daisy had smudged the remaining stick of butter over my bench top and this was a last ditch effort to save it before it went in the bin!)
Pour your Brownie mix into the microwave safe dish and watch those lovely ribbons appear! Yum!

Next is cooking this little delight! Microwave cooking is such a variable thing with different microwaves and power settings. My microwave has no turntable which is great for a large dish like this but I'm sure it makes the cooking times change. Here's what I do (as I said - I made this up - but it works!)

Place in microwave on med-high for 5 minutes. Open microwave and take a look. Mine was still soft in the middle. So I put it on high for another 3 minutes. Checked again and put it on for another 3 minutes on high. And ended up with a perfect slab of fudge brownies! It will probably look sticky/bubbly on top! 

Now it just needs to pop in the fridge until it's cool (unless you're us... hubby cut a hot slab out each with a touch of ice cream for dessert - after lunch...there's after lunch dessert isn't there?!?!)
Miss Daisy came out from her would be nap to bust us! We've been busted a few times lately ;) but that's another blog post altogether!

So there you have it. Microwave Fudge Brownies... my way!

I like to cut them into bite size squares and dust with icing sugar! And you've got a quick, easy and yummy dessert!

What's your favourite microwave recipe? Take a look at my Mug Cake Recipes for more simple desserts that you can share...or eat alone!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sitting in the dark

It's soccer night. Obviously not for me... I'd struggle on a soccer field no doubt!

Although today I ran home. Today I made a silly decision to take the girls for a walk to our waterfall. The sky was grey but it hadn't rained in a while, I rugged the girls up and Miss Daisy donned her red raincoat. We walked, we talked, we laughed. We directed some lost bush walkers back to the falls. They had raincoats on. I wore tights and boots. Silly.
Then it sprinkled. That's okay. Then it kinda spilled off the trees. Hmmm. Then it poured.
Did I mention I had a pram? It's tyres were flat. Did I mention there were steps. There were 14 of them. Did I mention Miss Daisy is really slow? I put her on top of the hood of the pram with flat tyres. Did I mention we got wet? We did. Oh and I ran home. Pushing my crippled pram with two wet kids!

It's night time now. We got warm and dry by the heater. We laughed as we stripped off our wet clothes. I laughed as I remembered dreading going to the grocery store. At least I would've been dry. And not running. We ate our dinner. Read our stories. And it seems we've survived another day.

Miss Daisy is asleep. Li'l Peppa is snuggled up in my lap. And Daddy is running around a fielding the rain.

Five Recipes for Homemade Christmas Delights

With Christmas fast approaching for 2012 I decided I'd share with you some of the fabulous recipes that I've used around the Christmas season. These are easy recipes with simple, everyday ingredients, but the flavour and finished product are fabulous!

Christmas food is something that families remember. The taste, the look, the smell. I love the way a day of baking makes the whole house smell divine! And gifting food really speaks to people's heart! And saves my belly from consuming it all!

Here are five recipes that we've use for Christmas time! You'll love them!

Just For Daisy :: Raspberry Spice Muffins

Just For Daisy :: Traditional Shortbread

Just For Daisy :: Easy Caramel Tarts

Just For Daisy :: Homemade Apricot Delight
Just For Daisy :: Coconut Ice
What's your favourite treat to make during the festive season?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sleep.. and other fables they tell

Is it just me or has sleep become a thing of the past now that children live at your place!?

When Miss Daisy was around 8 weeks old she slept through, one night and then another and we realised it probably wasn't a fluke anymore and this might just be a good sleeper!
She had her bouts of wakeful nights with teething and other changes. But generally speaking, that kid knew how to sleep! And I felt sane!

So, enter child number two. Who is equally as wonderful, but completely opposite in her evening sleep habits! She is a dream to put to bed in the day. If she's at home. And wrapped. And her puppy is singing. And you lay her down just right. She goes right off to sleep without any protest.

But bring on the afternoon. And let's not mention the evening. And that girl just won't settle! And now that we're teething! Argh! So, many a times, I feel the opposite of sane.

I've had a draft post sitting almost since she was born titled, "On being a default parent". It's kind of an ode to mothers everywhere and basically a bit of a whinge fest so I haven't published it. But the gist of it is, generally as mums we are the default parent. The days happenings fall on us. The pressure falls on us. The open door policy in the toilet or shower is ours alone. We ask our partners to 'watch the kids please' while we shower or toilet alone! Is it just me? Surely not?

But, as I've said before, then there's the cold hard facts that my hubby is the glue. The one who is always calm. Always able to solve the problems. Always patient with the girls (and me!) And generally speaking holds it all together. So maybe he's the default parent?

It's 7am. Daisy and I are watching 'Elf' for the umpteenth time this week! Love! Li'l Peppa is back in bed after a 5:30 rise... she's probably tired from screaming for one hour straight last night... no amount of cuddles or milk would help that tired little girl! But then this morning - wrapped, laid down, asleep!

Sleep. Seems like a thing of the past. But we survive. We learn to live on the sleep that we get. I actually enjoy the early mornings with the girls. The snuggles in bed with Miss Daisy. The early morning feeds when there is no-one else about, just me and the baby. Who won't be a baby very long. And the glimpses of morning sun peeping through the curtains. So for now, I'll be content with living on just enough sleep!

How are you going in the sleep department?!

Monday, November 12, 2012

My latest craftiness!

I've written a list, and checked it twice. 
My handmade Christmas kiddy gift list is well underway. Miss Daisy's cousins and friends should be receiving some handmade gifts this year, made with love.

I've been wanting to get my sew-jo back and having picked up my sewing machine from the repair shop on the weekend I'm excited to get started on my Christmas list. After a few orders, giveaway prizes and one very late birthday gift (from June) are finished!

While my machine was gone, here is some of what I got up to in the crafty department! I can't wait to get these on the wall!

I've been collecting 2nd hand frames from the op shops I visit over the last few months. I decided to paint them with a shabby chic kind of look. So I used some acrylic paint in a teal shade and also a tube of antique white. I did this VERY roughly, by putting spots of paint (both colours in varying quantities) around the edge of the frame... then spreading with a paintbrush. I then used the brush to roughly take off bits of paint on some edges to create the aged look!

I'm finding it really hard to decide which photographs to put and if I'll put them all in one spot as a photo collage or use them around the house!

Any ideas for hanging photographs ?? We've never really hung any!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Real Life Wednesday :: Tea for two, or three. And me!

Miss Daisy got this delightful wooden tea set from one of her little friends for her birthday this year.
This has been an absolute favourite and we have daily tea parties. (And by daily, I mean all day!)

We had relatives visit from England last month and she was taught how to make, pour and sip a cup of tea 'correctly'! :)

Lets just say it appears tea parties will never get old!
There's always time for another cup of tea with friends!

What game/role play do your little ones love to play over and over?
Linking up with Picklebums - Real Life Wednesday

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Chocolate Crackles - two ingredients!

After seeing this fabulous post from The Useful Box on making yummy chocolate crackles with only two ingredients I had to give it a go! 
You may have realised from my Coconut Ice recipe that I'm not a fan of copha in my cooking, it's not something that I have on hand at home, nor do I like that it is 98% saturated fat!

 Chocolate is also something that's generally only once in a while around here but this recipe was a must do! We shared these with Miss Daisy's play-group friends last week - so they were enjoyed by all in moderation!

This is a great recipe for little hands to help you with. Your measurements need not be exact AND it's an easy pour, stir and scoop job! Even the littlest of kitchen hands can assist!

You will need:
- Approximately 250g chocolate (melted)
I bought a 350g Cadbury - oops! ;)
- 3 cups of Rice bubbles 

That's it... simply melt your chocolate carefully. I did it in the microwave but you could do it in a bowl over boiling water on the stove if you wish. (Melted chocolate is hot so be mindful of little hands/fingers!)
Then pour your melted chocolate over your rice bubbles and mix until it's fully combined.

We spooned them into mini patty cases that Miss Daisy spread out on a baking tray.
And finally (if you want to add a third ingredient!) we sprinkled on some 100's & 1000's!

Have you got a favourite kids recipe?
Or a recipe modification to make something just that little bit healthier?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mummy, Can you spell LOVE?

This quote resonated with me when I read it.
Where do I allocate my time? Where does my heart, my body and my mind want to spend time?
Do my daughter's get the first fruits of my time or are they hurried along so that 'my' time can be spent doing other things.

On the weekend we spent two full days as family days. They were wonderful. We spent so much time with each other. Our family of four. And there was a lot of love!

The days are too short for our time to be wasted. I'm going to be conscious of where my time is spent. And where my love is given.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Discovery box :: Infant play

I've found myself a little behind in the activities and experiences that I prepare and execute for Miss Peppa... she's now approaching 5 months old (here's Miss Daisy at 4 months!) and I'm realising there is so much I could be doing with her. One particularly easy experience to give her is sensory play. She is certainly privy to many sights and sounds throughout her day, Miss Daisy makes sure of that. However, this lovely little play session was shared with mumma and baby while Miss Daisy napped.

I gathered a few of her favourite toys as well as a variety of textured objects for her to grasp, mouth and generally just experience! She also enjoyed some tummy time gazing at the fabulous rainbow bag I thrifted last year that it was all gathered up in! I've used this bag for so many things but not yet found it's purpose in life. I'm a little too in love with it to settle for one job I think!

Here is Miss Peppa enjoying some sensory fun! Her grasp is getting much better, she can pass objects between her hands AND of course, they generally always reach her mouth!

Just For Daisy:: Infant Sensory FunJust For Daisy:: Infant Sensory Fun
Just For Daisy:: Infant Sensory FunJust For Daisy:: Infant Sensory Fun
Just For Daisy:: Infant Sensory Fun

Just For Daisy:: Infant Sensory FunJust For Daisy:: Infant Sensory Fun
Tell me mothers of multiple children... did you manage to give your second/subsequent children the same amount of experiences/attention as your first?