Monday, March 30, 2009

When children bloom

"Whenever she turned her steep focus to me, I felt the warmth that flowers must feel when they bloom through the snow, under the first concentrated rays of the sun" (Janet Fitch).
At the end of every day I am always weary from the many hours of absorbing and attending to the 'tell me about the sky Mum', and the 'Oh-a, oh-a' (read me Charlie and Lola books Mum), and the 'I'm hungry Mum' and the 'you hide and I'll find you Mum'. Though I can give them lots of time as a stay-at-home Mum, sometimes it's a struggle to give my blue-ribbon attention. And while Tim is great at giving the girls quality time, they really glowed this week after a quantity of time with their Dad. Seeing them thrive is certainly worth the tough days, and encourages me to press on!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rain, sunshine and the weather withstanding bond

We've had a great week in nature. The pitching of the tent, the puddles on the road, the sand in everything, the best steak burgers (at Loaded Lizard, Mudjimba), the markets, the sunshine, the late night cards, the walking, the laughing, the dancing (yes, there is always dancing when my sisters are around), the spanish hot chocolate (at San Churros Chocolateria), the splashing, the more time than usual, and the bonding. I loved watching our family play and laugh together. Elara and India shared many special, sisterly moments. And the time I spent with my sisters will be one I remember for years to come. Tim's Mum, sisters, brother-in-law-to-be and our niece all spent time together with us and made our week more special. Love between grandmothers, fathers, mothers, aunties, uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces, daughters and sons was expressed (and appreciated, as I reflect on it now). Memories of what we actually did might fade but I'm quite sure that each small experience has tempered the bonds within our family, so that they will better and better stand whatever weather becomes us.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Need some crunch?

Here's a way to add some colour and crunch to that old favourite recipe! I added crushed peppermint bars to these mini caramel tarts, and the taste was very fresh (and yummy too). This was actually Tessa Kiros idea, found in her 'Apples for Jam' cookbook. If only I could top my brussels sprouts with these too!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Feels like home

The contract for our first home is signed! We've spent many weeks looking for a place that was just right. And while this isn't my dream home, it is the only one, among many viewed, that I felt love from. Actually that was was I was hoping for more than anything else. It's easy to love a house with lots of bedrooms, or a great backyard, or a sweet location. But to be in a house where I can imagine laughter and cuddles and chasing and togetherness, swayed my choice. Looking forward to making those memories.

Until then we'll love our other house. I found this dolls house on ebay for $40. It was a glaring sight - bright pink and purple and very huge! Tim painted it and put on a new base, then we added some wallpaper and a mini garden too. It is so huge, we store almost all our toys in it (as well as the dolls furniture), and India can fit into bottom rooms to play! It was a great buy and is well used and loved!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mum with a newborn 'help'

We know what doesn't help: well meaning, but unhelpful advice; offers to come over and nurse the baby while you 'sleep'; or words that abate the validity of your feelings. We know what does help: brownies; cookies; dinners; cupcakes; ice-cream; smiles; and anything that gives you some shower time.
I have a most awesome, most patient, most hard working, second-time Mum friend whom I want to help, but she lives a long way away. I'd love some input from you Mums (or others) on some things I could send to encourage her.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ahhh, love.

My sister-in-law held her engagement party last Saturday. It was a lovely night with the room swathed in brown, bronze and gold fabric, and fairy lights aplenty. The speeches were charming; the entertainment, casual and bright; the food, tempting (my contribution above); and the happy couple, delightfully in love.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Will I remember...

...the proportions of India's arm rolls?... the amount of time and sweet-talking it actually takes to brush Elara's hair? I cut India's dim sims into 12 pieces, Elara's into 8 and mine into 6?... the 'no touching except for one finger' rule at the grocery store?... the way India scrunches up her face for a just less than a camera click of time, when I say 'no'?... how so many small (and pink) clothes hang right the way around my washing line?... all the words and actions to the 'Dancing Face' song (ruffle your hair; puff your cheeks; pull your ears; click your teeth; eyebrows up; eyebrows down; make a smile; make a frown)? Elara says, in a Snow White kind of way, 'Oh I'm going to make you something cool and wonderful, Mummy'?... how much I loved them today?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lemon delicious

Tim asked me recently why I liked to bake 'lemony' things. I don't know, actually. Maybe it's the comradeship of sour and sweet. Don't you think that these lemon curd cakes, (baked yesterday, gone today), have poise and confidence, as well as a gentle grace? Hmmm, maybe I like them because I want to be just like them! Living my dreams through cakes...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Make those bodies sing

Bananas are not my idea of a delicious ingredient from which to base a cake recipe. But since banana cake is Tim’s favourite, and we had some browning bananas, I made one. I must admit, as I pulled the hot tin from the oven, it did smell and look good, but this wasn’t enough evidence for me to try it this time! Tim and India loved it though, so I thought I’d put up the recipe for you to test…

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Lightly grease a square (or round or loaf) tin.

With an electric beater, beat 2 tbs butter and ¾ cup (plus some) raw sugar until well combined.

Add 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla and 3 ripe bananas and beat until combined.

Fold in 1 ½ cups of sifted plain flour, 3 tsp baking powder and a dash of cinnamon.

Add 2 tbs milk and fold to combine.

Pour into tin and bake until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (about 35mins in my oven.)

Stand cake in the tin for 5 minutes before turning it onto a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy (or watch other people enjoy!)

Monday, March 2, 2009

35 degree Autumn

My top five for a hot day at home:

  1. Water: find it, hose it, play with it, drink it, sit in it, splash in it. If you have a rainwater tank :)
  2. Grapes: put them in the freezer for bite sized satisfaction.
  3. Washing: you can do about ten loads on rotation in a day (if you can stand to be outside!)
  4. Fresh bedsheets: cool and smooth after a long hot day
  5. Go with it: subsume the sweat and clean, dance or play cricket.
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