Monday, January 30, 2012

Busy Busy!

You Know I'm No Good

What a week!

I knew it was coming, but this weeks jolt back into reality has hit hard! Its the week that our holidays as we know it came to a grinding halt and reality of every day kicked back in!

Swimming lessons are on, motor cross registration is due, lunches must be packed and cooking supplies for the weekly morning tea and afternoon tea need to be pre-planned!

Stooge has started back at preschool 2 days this year, and whist he's a pretty cruisey kid, he's a bit bummed his 'bestie is only joining him one of the days.

Bib also resumed school this week, and is very proudly a year one participant! She is happy with her teacher, but sadly only has one girl from the same class this year with her. I've tried to reassure her that the teachers only choose 'strong' kids to join new class rooms ........ it seems to be working so far (although we are only at day 2!)

I am quietly sad for her as I know that even though I know there are bigger issues in the world that are more important, she is only six. And when your six its important to have a little stability and consistency within your little world. I know she'll make new friends, and she can always meet up with her 'besties' in the playground, but I also know there will be that level of friendship she will have to almost cling to as the other girls share class time without her. { sniff poor baby!}

Me on the other hand, well I'm having a big week simply by organising  my life to allow me the joys I've promised myself! These include so far:
1. committing to the 100km Oxfam trail walk, which has meant getting my butt into gear and fitness level up, to prepare for such an event! Hence the arvo running!
2. enrolling myself into an African drumming course held in my local community.....sooo excited about
3. reading soooo much more that last year (aim was 12 in 12, but am already at 3 in 1 so may have to re-evaluate!)
4. spending some much needed and divine one on one time with the little Rouge. She has to date not enjoyed me to herself as the others got to {perils of being #3 I guess} so I'm being very conscious as to how we spend our time and making the most of our 2 days together.

Hopefully we'll all get into the groove of our new 2012 routine and what seems like busy now will simply become our norm..............

How has your week been?? Have you found your weekly 'groove' yet??

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Savour Sundays.......

                                                                    BONGANI x       

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rainy day fun

Hooray for rain!!

Today it has not stopped raining and I have to say we have had the best day at home ever!

The kids and I had a ball baking 3 cakes (Australia day tomorrow and I'm on dessert!) watching 2 movies together on the couch with the mandatory popcorn of course, numerous games of uno (is anyone elses kids obsessed??), and a 2 hour nude play dancing in the rain (well the kids did that bit he he)

We played music almost all day and just danced and sang and did whatever it was we felt like at the time. Lunch was late, rest time for Rouge was late and we just took the pressure off and enjoyed the moment.

It's these days that I absolutely love and know will cherish in the years ahead, and with school going back in just 5 days, the grind of routine upon us, we all thanked the rain for allowing us to chill together.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fruit Leathers

Fruit leathers are the BEST!!
My friend asked me how I make them, so I thought I'd share with you too.

Most kinds of fruit can be made into fruit leathers (or roll ups as the kids call them). You can use just one kind of fruit blended up and dried, or a mixture of seasonal fruit blended together. I tend to do a big blend as it's a practical way of using up ripe fruit and incorporating other produce too.

You really can just about put anything in them, like:
paw paw, stone fruits, pineapple, pears, mangoes, oranges, bananas, strawbs, chokos, persimmons, rhubarb.......the list is endless really!
In the past I've experimented with adding herbs like lemon balm, ginger, finely sliced kaffir lime leaves, cinnamon, licorice root and citrus rind.

So the first step is to blend all the fruit/leaves etc to a pulp (like above)
Then I place down some baking paper onto the shelves of the dehydrator and spread it out evenly. My kids like them not too thick, but you can experiment for yourself. Just remember the thicker it is the longer it will take to dry/dehydrate.

If you don't have a dehydrator, you can use your oven instead. (Remember though an oven does not dry food but slow cooks it. Food will eventually become dry in an oven if left in long enough, but be careful it doesn't become brittle or charred.)
Simply do the same as above and set your oven to a very low temp,  then place your oven tray at the top of the oven with the door left ajar. This method does take longer, so I suggest doing it in the morning.

The batch above consisted of figs, mango, pear and fresh aloe gel  (peel the aloe leaf and wash off the yellowy sap, as this can be very bitter, just leaving you with the filleted inside gel)

Once your happy with how dry they are you simply cut into strips and place in an air tight container. The dyer the better for longevity, but they don't tend to last long enough in this house for that to be a problem!! If you wanted them to appear like 'roll ups' you just need to roll them whist slightly warm and they will stay like this in their container.

They are perfect for lunch boxes, picnics, bush walks or any place you like to go really.

How do you use up your ripe fruits? Do you have a favourite flavour combination?

Dessert Dumped......

Ever since Bib started solids (almost 6 1/2 years ago!) I have followed her meal with a dessert.  This could come in the form of a little yoghurt, stewed fruit, sometimes something sweeter like rice custard or as she got older sometimes ice cream.

And then I had Stooge and because he was getting his dessert, she would get some too (trying to keep things even/fair) and then of course Rouge came along and the cycle has continued.

It's something that's been on my mind a lot lately though. When do you stop dessert? When does that dessert switch from being something of a nutritional need to being something that will set up bad habits later in life???

So after asking many friends what goes on at meal times in their house, I think it has become clear that dessert is now to be a 'sometimes food' and not a 'given' in this household!! So after much discussion Pip and I have decided that dessert on a Saturday and Sunday night is now going to be our families norm and during the week we are dessert free..................
Then we flipped a coin as to who was going to break it to the kids!!!!! (damn that queens head!)

They actually took it quite well!
Although they thought I was joking at first they did come back with some good ideas as to why it isn't such a good idea to eat dessert every night.
So whilst the first night of going cold turkey did seem to go fairly smoothly, I have a feeling they will hit me up again every night this week, just to check my stamina, and I will know doubt be repeating myself for longer than a week, but I am so happy to have this matter off my mind and I know it will benifit them far better in their growing years ahead.

Whats the dessert norm in your house?? Is it something you've even thought about?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Out and About......

Finally some beautiful weather appears to be staying around, so what better opportunity to enjoy it than to head out with some friends and do some adventuring!

We are so lucky to live on the edge of a national park, and although it seems we are there all the time, the kids just love getting amongst it with the added thrill of what they could find ............ And surprisingly, its something different every time! Today's thrill was some beautiful leaves and a group of gum nuts :)

Being that it's a national park, what is found must stay within the park and not brought home, but they are always happy to do so with the reminder that we can put it somewhere safe and find it next time we come (funnily enough they've never re-looked for their hidden treasures)

We met up with some friends to share our 'adventure' with this morning and were luckily enough to come across some kangaroos, lizards, kookaburras and of course the ever present bush turkey!
I just love walking in the bush and am so thrilled that our kids are appreciative of  it too.

Have you found something special whilst out adventuring? Where's your favourite walking spot?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lolly trick!!

One Love, One Dream, One Direction

I just knew we would get one!

You see them on RPA (medical show on TV). Pip and I have always joked how bad it would be, and have taken bets on which child would be the first........

What you ask??

The 'bead up the nose child"!!

Turns out it's our number three!
The beautiful Miss Rouge is our 'bead up the nose child' only it wasn't a bead she chose, it was a lolly! (compliments of swimming lessons!)
And she didn't do it in the quiet of our home where I could easily get the her, it was on a major freeway we were travelling home on, on which you DO NOT stop. AAHHHHH!

I had to just keep telling her to leave her nose alone and mummy would 'get it' when we got home but her little finger just couldn't resist the call of the lolly and no doubt it was feeling very strange up there, so the temptation was too great. Only problem is her little finger was assisting the lolly to travel further away from me..........needless to say it wasn't a fun mission to retrieve!

My mind kept flashing back to RPA and techniques they'd tried and luckily for me, the pinning down, bribe and tweezers method was all it took!  This time we escaped hospital, but for how long???

Whats the worst medical challenge your kids have thrown at you!!??

Monday, January 16, 2012


As a back up quick meal I always rely on 'the stir fry'.

I love that you can put in it anything you like ......... or have in the house! From beans, vegies, noodles, rice, meat, fish, tofu etc etc and don't even get me started on the sauces!

I find it so quick, easy and most importantly everyone LOVES it! Tonights happened to be noodle, vegie, tofu with a honey/soy sause.......yum.

When was your last stir fry?? Do you have a quick backup??

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Savour Sundays.........

                                                              BONGANI !!!

(So patiently waiting for lastest dress ups to be washed! xx)
(sorry for words!!)

Size does matter......


I've discovered something pretty important recently that I thought was worth sharing........

Size does matter, especially when your young ........ the best example of this I can give you is when Stooge and Bib were in the play room and I've asked them to tidy it up. "But its so big" they both wail.

The feeling of being overwhelmed starts young and I believe it's our job as parents to help and teach our kids to over come this feeling that will raise it's ugly head many times as they journey through life.

I've found that saying 'go clean the playroom' is as good as saying go and move the car. They are still yet to be taught both! Yet if I say 'come and help me clean the playroom' their eager to help and don't feel so over whelmed and alone. I actually don't do any cleaning at all except for holding the relevant basket and asking for all the relevant toys,  but they have that feeling of support.

If a task is broken down into parts it can be easily managed, whether your two or 82. Start with one basket/task, finish it, then move onto the next one. The feeling of being overwhelmed can get us all throughout our journey, but if we have the right support and break it down into small steps...........anything is possible :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Shorts for 3!

In an attempt to use up some of my ever growing fabric piles, (which of course means I can then buy more with no guilt!)  I thought I'd start making my kids more clothes starting with making Stooge some new shorts. I found this great pattern I'd had for a while, which makes reversible shorts, which actually suits Stooge to a tea as he does love a good dress up/self styling session.

He loves them, so much so that he decided it would be a good idea if I could make some for his two best mates too! Such a thoughtful boy!! (his are the red ones below)

So we went through the box to find what he thought was going to be the best suitable fabric for them, knowing that they have to be similar to his! Just so happened one of his mates was having a birthday so we made them for the special day.........

                                           Here's the pictures of the 3 finished products:

shorts one way

shorts the other way

Pretty happy I have to say :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Rock on.......

There are always new yummy goodies to make in the kitchen, but I have to admit I'm a big fan of the 'oldie but a goodie!!! And how much better does it get than the old Rock Cake!

Rock Cakes.........

2 cups s/r flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
90g butter
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
extra caster sugar
*sift flour and cinnamon in large bowl then rub in butter (till it looks like breadcrumbs)
*stir in sugar and sultanas
*stir in egg and milk to make a firm spoon fulls onto a greased tray 5cm apart.
*sprinkle a little extra caster sugar over each cake and bake for 15 mins

Veggies!! as I have mentioned previously, this is the year we "do it".
And the first thing on our list was to get our poor vegie patch up and running again...........let me fill you in thus far!

About 3 years ago, Pip and I decided we needed to be a lot more sustainable and produce our own food if we could, so we got some chooks and spent an entire weekend building an awesome vegie patch. This was great we thought.....our first real step! The chooks settled into their new environment nicely, and even got along well with hound of a dog Duke (labrador I might add!) which was lucky because we wanted them to be able to roam free in the backyard! The first seasonal vegies were in and the kids were so excited watching the growth (daily!) and we delighted in our spoils that season with beautiful salads, roasted beets, dips, sweet sweet tomatoes, pumpkins, spinach herbs a plenty etc etc............
But then it stopped! Something was eating our vegies! One morning we went out to pick some snow peas for a lunch salad and EVERYTHING was gone.
At first I turned to the dog, but as it was all fence in (due to free roaming chooks) I knew he hadn't got in because all was still secure. Possums!! It must be possums! So we planted again and this time placed netting all over the gardens so they can't reach the vegies.........woohoo......were back in action!
But came running in the following morning crying "they did it again mum, every things gone".

Rats!!!!! Bloody burrowing vegie eating bush rats! I'm gutted! How do I compete with and animal that can create an entire vegie patch eating army of a family overnight! I looked into baiting, but then discovered that because they burrow, you don't know where they'll go and die (so to speak) so it could actually be still within the soil of the vegie patch thus contaminating our next potential meal!
Catching them didn't work, their numbers were too great (think the storm water pipe next door could have alot to do with their access too just quietly!) I'd love your advice or assistance if you've had something similar!!
So that it......I gave up! Our beautiful patch lays derelict and houses a great array of weeds, some of which are taller than my children he he

So that's it to date, but this year being the year of 'do it' Pip and I decided to tackle the situation head on.........move the veggie patch to the front yard!

                                                      selected patch cleared and ready!

See if they can find our vegies there he he. We already had our parsley stash growing out there (always needing parsley) so we know potential growth is possible, but whether our rats are willing to travel that much further for their meal will yet be discovered!!!
So here is were we have our new vegie patch ready for our summer spoils!!

planted out with lettuces, spinach, tomatoes, and a few herbs to start off with!

                                                     initial tomato stakes made by Goose.....
Will keep you posted on the growth.......if we get it!

Savour Sundays.......


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