Monday, June 30, 2008

Mouse poo sprinkles

I was cleaning the kitchen earlier today, making myself a restorative cup of tea when I noticed a few skinny little brown things lying on the counter. Ewwww!!~~~ We've had mice a few times since we moved in to this house and being the time of year for prolific mice breeding I thought, 'OH NO! I can't believe mice have been crawling on my bench!! And pooping!!' I ran for the appropriate cleaning materials when I remembered that I had made chocolate cup cakes last night and decorated them with chocolate sprinkles. Ha ha ha ha~ 'Mouse poo' has never been so sweet.

Teaching babies to read

There has been a lot of talk lately of teaching babies to read. It was on a popular current affairs show in both Australia and New Zealand (Infomercial style) and has me seriously worried. You can read what another mother from NZ wrote about it here. (Don't even ask me how I happened to see this program.....)
It got me thinking about how I feel when I read the free magazine 'Melbourne's Child.' Of course there are a lot of interesting articles in there but amongst the articles are about a gazillion ads for all kinds of child related paraphernalia. Ads for play gym (develop fine and gross motor skills!), music classes (teach your child to be a virtuoso!) , art classes (creativity is important!), language classes (don't let your child be left behind!), cooking classes, this classes and that classes. All of these ads try to play on our consciouses. What ever happened to letting our children be children? No sooner do we have them out of the mines (in this part of the world at least) then we rip their childhood away and turn them into little adults with designer clothes and the latest education classes starting at 3 months.
So why do we do it? Guilt? Hope and expectation? To get them out of our face? To keep up with the Joneses? How about making a decision not to buy the latest gadget and instead spending some quality time in creative play?
For me, I think that it is time to reassess our lives and decide what is important. What makes us happy? Should we be teaching our babies to swim and read before they can walk or should we let them develop in their own time through love and age appropriate activities? Children only need the opportunity to discover new things and they will surprise us with what they see. A walk to the park is full of leaves and flowers, birds, cracks in the footpath, grass, ants, clouds, wind and neighbours taking a walk and stopping for a chat. This is much more entertaining to my 14 month old than shoving flash cards in her face so I can show off how 'clever' she is to other parents. My Little Moo will learn to read in her own time. Until then we can share story time together with lots of wriggles and cuddles to boot.

Friday, June 27, 2008

And now for something happy!

More loot from the NGV.
It was quite difficult to get good photos because of the dim lighting, reflections on the glass etc This time Missy Moo was with Nan so at least the photos aren't blurry!

The seven circles of mothering hell

1 Babe is crying hysterically in the middle of the night
2 Babe will only stop crying when watching Playschool music DVD through the tiny slits that are her eyes - holding her head up by face planting the bars of the cot..... and refusing to let Mummy leave the room....
3 Babe cries hysterically when DVD finishes and wants to watch it over and over at 2 am (Hell during the day time little own in the middle of the night)
4 Babe signs she's hungry but doesn't want ANYTHING but wholemeal Salada biscuits
5 Babe cries hysterically because she's hungry but molars coming through make it painful to eat said biscuits and nothing else will do.
6 It's the next day, baby is dead tired but won't sleep. Cries hysterically.
7 Babe finally drops off to sleep only to wake 10 mins later to scream some more....

*But* when she's sleeping she's so beautiful I could just eat her up ..... That little sack of sugar really is my heaven.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pretty little box

Today I went with Mum to visit her Great Uncle in Fitzroy. The family had lost contact with him and my Mum hadn't seen him in 30 years. Anyhoo, he gave my Mum this little wooden trinket box that belonged to my Great Great Grandmother. It was brought out to Australia when she immigrated in the late 1800's from England and is one of the few things that we have that belonged to her.

NGV opens Art Deco Exhibition June 28

I am really looking forward to seeing this exhibition which opens next week.

And just a little taste of Art Deco Melbourne....

I heart Melbourne

Tattersalls Lane - Shanghai Dumpling
Swanston St
Manchester Unity Building
Detail of MU Building
Detail of City Hall

Friday, June 20, 2008

It must be love...

Tonight before going to bed ourselves, husband and I thought we would visit sleeping Missy Moo. We were standing next to her cot thinking how lovely she was when she rolled over and woke up. She said, 'Bwa da bub,' had a laugh and gave her toy fox a huge cuddle. Then she lay down and went back to sleep. It was just the cutest thing in the whole world.
I don't know about you, but if I woke up with two people standing next to my bed staring at me, I would FREAK out!

In the fridge...

.... tiramisu.

The wrongest dessert in the universe. But somehow oh so yummy.

Last night I decided that we would have a 'party.' I told 'husband' he could choose whatever he wanted for dinner and I would choose dessert. This is what he chose:
Chicken Kiev
Corn on the cob
Crinkle cut chips (I have a special crinkle cutter!)
I can't say it would be my choice if I could have *anything* but not so bad : )
I say any day can be party day.

Tell me, if you could choose anything for your last meal what would you choose?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Chocolate, date and apricot balls

I modified this recipe from one in my baby and toddler cookbook. Because I have changed it so much I think I can call it mine.... (?) It's popular with adults and kids alike. Very sweet but not as naughty as a chocolate bar!

1 cup of dates, roughly chopped (and pitted if they have pips!)
1 cup of dried fruit (I like apricots but you could use pears, sultanas etc or a combination)
3 tablespoons of seeds or nuts (e.g. sunflower, pepitas, walnuts, pecans)
1 tablespoon of desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate)

Soak the dates in some boiling water for 10 mins or so. Drain keeping the liquid aside. Throw all the ingredients into your food processor and whiz away until you are left with a sticky mess paste. If the fruit is very dry you might need to add some of the water that you soaked the dates in to get the right consistency.
Roll the mix into little balls and roll in dessicated coconut.
Hide them in the back of the fridge away from hungry husbands.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Missy Moo's favorite baby pasta

Grumpy pants has gone to bed - woo hoo!
Now for some 'me' time. (I am need of it today!)

I love cooking and I love home grown and organic produce. Here's a favourite:

Baby pasta
Boil about 2 cups of vegies. For example; celery, pumpkin and zucchini/courgette. Drain and keep the cooking water aside.
Mince an onion, a teaspoon of garlic and finely grate a carrot. Fry them in 4 tablespoons of olive oil .
Add the boiled vegies, mash (or puree depending on the age of your baby) and fry for a few minutes.
Add a cup of organic passata, some herbs and a couple of tablespoons of organic brown rice flour. Stir to the boil. Add the vegie water and simmer until it reaches the consistency your baby likes (at least 5 mins).

Makes 3-4 serves and freezes well.
I serve this pasta sauce with Bellamy's baby macaroni and Missy Moo LOVES it! You could add cheese if you are so inclined but MM is lactose intolerant.
It may seem heavy on the olive oil but our Missy drinks rice milk so we give her extra fat in her food because she's such a skinny little thing.

Whinefest 2008

Oh, if only this post was called 'winefest,' then I would be happy. But instead I am stuck here with a whining, crying, squealing toddler. Currently, lying down on the trying to climb the safety gate in to the kitchen. A more pathetic sight has never been seen. Won't be needing drama lessons in the future as far as I can see.
Sometimes (a lot of the time) being a Mum is hard..... why don't they show these kinds of scenes in the 'Huggies'/'Johnson's baby powder' ads?
I think a walk is in order - as soon as I've finished drinking my home made chai.

*smile* The sounds of 'whinefest' fade into the distance as I enjoy the spicy goodness that is chai.

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

e e cummings

The lack of capitalisation etc is deliberate by the author.
How I wish I could say something as profound right now.....

Boo hoo for me

Missy Moo had a bad night last night. She was very clingy and hysterical if I left her room (perhaps as a result of spending 3 hours in creche yesterday for the first time?) so I ended up sleeping on the floor in her room. Not enough sleep equals grumpy on both parts and as Daddy went back to work today there is lots of 'Daddy' 'Daddy' 'Daddy' going on. It's hard to be patient and up beat when you haven't had enough sleep. I have Mother's Group coming over for lunch tomorrow so I need to clean up the house - one has to at least keep a facade of being in control........

* When I read this later I realised that to someone who doesn't know me well it might sound that I feel pressured to keep up appearances.... well..... if you know me you'll know that my house is often upside down and that I answer the door at 3pm in my PJs (sorry Mum). I just need to at least make some room for six Mum's and their boisterous toddlers to play in my lounge!

* And in the same vein, my lovely neighbour couldn't control himself when he caught me running to the letter box last week wearing my flanellette PJs and sheepskin slippers. He's 86 and shouted out, 'Caught you! You know, my dear late wife, bless her, would NEVER have left the house without a proper outfit and full face on.' I had to laugh at his subtle comments about 'todays youth.'

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


This morning we set the alarm and got up on time! It was the last day of hubby's holidays so we took Missy Moo to creche and trotted off to our local consumer therapy centre. Ate breakfast - orange juice, coffee and ham and cheese croissant - wandered around in Borders checking out the parenting and craft books. Nothing there that was a) in my price range or b) worth buying. Worth buying, on the other hand, was my stash (below) from 'Lincraft' and 'Hair Warehouse.' I have been pondering the idea of making Missy some hair clips and with my challenge of coming up with something to sell at 'our family's' market stall I thought I would try making some and seeing how it went......

First attempt. Girly flower with button. Photo isn't great - bad light!
As I was doing the blanket stitch around the edge I was transported back to about 1982. My Grandma taught me to blanket stitch with wool on felt under the apple tree in their garden. It was a beautiful sunny day and we sat on a blanket and made little felt mice. I'd forgotten all about it until now...... I must tell my Nan next time I see her.

PS Musli bars - need to be attempted again before commenting. They were delicious but a little overcooked. Our oven does seem to run a bit hot and I was not paying attention and in the other end of the house talking on the phone. I smelt something 'caramely' and thought 'hmmmm.' Took them out 5 mins early but they were still overdone. Still yum though. Not burnt but on their way....

Monday, June 16, 2008

In the oven....

Müsli bars!

I am hopeful that a recipe I found on DomesticallyBlissed will turn out. (Thanks Clare for the link) I've tried to make Müsli bars several times over the years and none of them have proved themselves worthy of a remake. Too crumbly, too bland, too sticky or just plain yuck.
I'll report back later with a review and link to the recipe if I think they are worth repeating!
Now for some pictures! Taken yesterday from the back deck (birds) and while in the park with Missy Moo (self-portrait).
I was trying to catch the silhouettes of the birds... but they were a little too far away for my camera to get a good shot.

You can see it's the middle of winter by the loooong shadow. Mum calls me 'Lucy Long Legs' so this one's for you Mum!


I'm thinking of my lovely friend E today. E's mother passed away after a lengthy illness. This Great Grandmother was in her 90s and led an amazing life - she will be dearly missed. Her family published a book of her life which I read in one sitting; living in Singapore during the Japanese occupation, raising children and trying to keep them fed and healthy in very trying conditions, a move to Australia and a life committed to her family and her job as a teacher.
Things haven't been easy for E between one thing and another, so, I'm thinking of you...


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Of things that were

A few months ago I decided to research my family history. I started with a free trial on and used resources such as the Australian Archive and the Victorian Registry Office. It turned out to be addictive. I've always loved a bit of research and the stories were so compelling. I love seeing the old Census documents, knowing that my relative must have stood in their doorway and told the Census collector about the occupants of the building. It is the only connection I have as there are NO photographs of my direct descendants past my Grandparents - except a few of my Great Grandparents. Sad.
Most of all, I love reading about their occupations;
  • chair maker
  • dairy farmer
  • confectioner and pastry maker
  • female green grocer in Victorian England (most of the other women are listed as 'domestic duties')
  • shoe maker
  • paper marbler
  • alcoholic floozy
OK, so that last one isn't a profession, but it is certainly interesting to find out more about their lives when so much has been lost. I guess they had no pride in these occupations or perhaps they were ashamed of 'skeletons in the closet' like illegitimate births, divorce and multiple marriages, 'living in sin' and the like. (It's interesting to note on researching these 'sins' that so many of these shameful things were common place in society (then and now).... no one would bat an eyelid these days yet to them it was never to be spoken of...... Who wants to boast about growing up in a London slum? Better to make up a story about being Irish!@)
Even now there is a certain feeling that there are things in the past that should remain buried as 'the past is the past.' But these life experiences made us who we are and shouldn't we be proud of that? So far we have come.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More new paper

The inspiration for this one? A bed spread in English House Beautiful.... Not ripped off entirely - but the idea of having long lines running the length of the page, the colours and the leaves. I'm really into leaves, flowers, birds and stylized nature designs right now. The Arts and Crafts movement, Georgian wall paper...... I'll have to take a photo of the cloth is card is sitting on and make a post. It's another of my fav. things.

Mmmmm new paper

They say that addictions run in families and my addiction is paper - thanks Mum!

What else better to do than play with paper while you're waiting for the washing to dry and the baby is asleep. A is at the rifle range using his manly aggression (!?) on a 50m target so I'm getting busy with my paper box.
Not sure I like the whiteness of the card on this one..... maybe an off white/very pale card would look better....

I love.... pancakes

This morning I woke up with a longing for Laurent but it was out of the question so I made pancakes instead. (Not American style fluffy pancakes but the kind of pancakes that are like thick crepes. The kind we always had as kids and that you get in Sweden) Pancakes with Gooseberry jam, lemon and sugar and A's favourite - golden syrup. Annie ate a whole pancake with apple and blackcurrant sauce. All washed down with tea and hot chocolate. Hooray for Saturday!

In a couple of weeks we are going on a holiday to Phillip Island with A's two brothers. A's middle brother has a wife and son and another baby on the way. Y is 23 weeks now. The time has really flown. Anyway, back to the holiday. I am thinking about food that is convenient to bring with us and is worthy of being called holiday fare. Pancakes sounds good... and the kids will eat them which is always good.

We've had lots of rain the last 24 hours. Unfortunately I forgot to bring in the washing so I've had to bring it all back in this morning and re spin it as it was literally dripping. : ( Thank goodness for my super dooper 1500 rpm front loader. The clothes are hanging back up but this time on the clothes airer. As Mum used to say, 'It looks like Loo's laundry in here.'

Friday, June 13, 2008

More NGV stuff

Just love this glass. Swedish. Of course.

Not all art

I bought a new bag today. I had David Jones voucher to use and have wanted to buy a new bag. Just haven't been able to get there. Today as we were already in town we made a visit. Just happened to be stock take/mid-year sale so A was not excited by the prospect. You'll be glad to know he survived the ordeal.

Not sure I'm a big fan of the buckle detail but I loved the retro fern pattern. The fabric is like upholstery. Nice and soft. Tactile.

(Yeah, I know, blurry photo)

More from the NGV

I have a thing for red at the moment. Deep red. Contrasted with white.

From the other side of the room I said to A, 'Looks like a stabbing at Coyote Ugly.' Turns out it is a depiction of stabbing that took place in a gay bar in NY so I guess this artist spoke to me! (ha ha) I love the colour and movement potrayed here.

Stuff from the NGV

This is a detail of a painting by an artist whose name escapes me. Next to the painting was a drawing done by another artist using this painting as reference. I don't know why I liked this but there was something about the hands..... Face? Not interesting. I guess someone else agrees with me....

Two blurry photos (above and below). The light in the gallery is very low and flash photography is not allowed. Trying to keep still enough to get a clear shot is impossible when you have a 13mth old toddler in tow. However, these two things inspired I added them.

Keep calm and carry on

Today we had a family trip to the NGV. I just HAD to buy this tea towel that was inspired by a British WWII poster. I've tacked it to our pantry door. I really hate our kitchen and anything that will draw peoples attention away from the bright green benches is a plus in my book...

Of course I had to take a picture of the water wall - it's been my favorite thing since I was a kid.

The other picture I took is of A and Annie and some random strangers. Annie was wearing her 'leash' which means she can run around but we don't have to chase her or worry that she is getting into something dangerous or destroying a million dollar installation.....

YES, I WILL remove the label off the sleeve of my coat - I always think this once I'm out the front door and don't have an appropriate tool on hand....