Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I love blueberries

video

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Poos and tanties. A day of firsts for the darling Ava Mae!

I'm a proud Mum, with another day marking a couple of major firsts in Ava's toddler years!

Today Ava did her first poo in the potty! Very exciting, until she tried to pick it up... Yes charming I know, you should have seen Burnsie's face! But these are the things that can make your day (almost) as much as a new pair of Jimmy Choos when you are a new mamma!!

And the other first? Ava had her first full blown tanty at the shops. She has plenty at home, believe me! But this was her first major tanty in the middle of The Metro. It was your full scale, back arching, ear piercing, blood curdling, floor kicking tanty.

I should have seen the signs early on. She chanted Elmo, Elmo, Elmo through K-mart; I said "No sweetheart, you can watch Elmo on tv". Then she wanted the green bananas we got in Aldi; again I said "No sweetheart, they are not ripe. Here, have a sayo." Then she wanted a balloon from the kitchen salesman; finally I said "Yes have a balloon my darling, please!!" Amazing that she hadn't lost it before this point really!

Finally it was the Wiggles big red car ride that pushed us over the edge. She wanted to get in and I let her. Then, when it was time to go all hell broke loose. Ava let out a blood curdling scream, like I had just ripped her heart out.

It was amazing to watch the number of young males who had previously been lounging about, suddenly leg it towards the exit. I got pity stares from fellow parents and judging sideways glares from young hipsters who had never dealt with a strong willed toddler before.

I freaked out a little and tried to comfort her whilst shoving her dummy in her mouth, knowing full well that was not going to work. So like the doting mother I am at home, I put her down on the floor and ignored her until she settled down so we could walk back to the car. I then let her push all the buttons in the lift and let her think she was the one pushing the trolly.

In reality, Ava allowed me to believe that I was the one in control. HAHA!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Just baked these Donna Hay Brownie Cookies with Peanut Butter Frosting, sooooo indulgent!!

Ok, these Donna Hay cookies have to be the richest, most decadent cookies I have ever made or even tasted.

Not quite a cookie, not quite a brownie they are a calorific mind bender, and are loaded with enough chocolate to power Willy Wonker's factory for a year.

I saw them on Life Styled a couple of weeks ago and have been obsessed by them ever since.

I'm taking a batch of these to work for our team morning tea on Monday, this was the practice run. They were a bit on the runny side, so were way too big and flat but I'm still pretty happy with them!

Brownie cookies with peanut butter frosting
  • 350g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 40g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup (150g) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (35g) gluten free plain flour, sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder, sifted 
Peanut butter frosting 
  • 1 cup (160g) icing sugar mixture 
  • 1 cup (280g) smooth peanut butter 
  • 80g butter 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) single cream (I used milk)
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Place 200g of the chocolate and the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Set aside. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk for 15 minutes or until pale and creamy. Stir through the flour, baking powder, chocolate mixture and remaining chocolate and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Spoon tablespoonfuls of the mixture, at a time, onto baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 8–10 minutes or until puffed and cracked. Allow to cool completely on trays.

To make the peanut butter frosting, place the sugar, peanut butter, butter and vanilla in an electric mixer and beat for 6 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the cream and beat for a further 2 minutes. Spread half the cookies with the peanut butter frosting and sandwich with the remaining cookies. Makes 12.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Our story to make Henson Park an official dog park made front page of The Inner City Weekender!

Very excited that our story about our community push to make Henson Park an official off leash dog park made it to the front page of the Inner City Weekender.

Our story is getting out there, please share the news so council hears how important this is! Come support us at Facebook.com/hensonpark4dogs.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Letter to Marrickville council

Below is the letter I have sent to Marrickville council. Please feel free to use this as a template. You can email council@marrickville.nsw.gov.au or use their online feedback form.

Dear Councillors

I am writing to you on behalf of dog owners and their pets in the Marrickville area to respectfully urge you to officially appoint Henson Park an “off-leash” dog park.

Over the years our local community of dog owners have frequented Henson Park to exercise their dogs and socialise with fellow animal lovers. We view Henson Park as a community area, designed to satisfy the needs of dog-owners and non-dog owners alike. We are respectful of our fellow neighbours and the environment, ensuring that we pick up after our dogs and that they behave appropriately. We also appreciate that Henson Park is a sporting ground and many dog owners stay clear on designated sporting days.

We believe Henson Park is the ideal location for an off-leash park. It has served this purpose unofficially over many years with the majority of park users on not sporting event days, being dog owners. We can work with the local council and associated sporting bodies to appoint designated off-leash hours/days and/or area based on other usage of the park, to ensure the dogs and owners do not impact on other activities and park patrons.

Appointing Henson Park as an official off-leash dog park will benefit the greater community in many ways including:

  • Well-behaved dogs can exercise in a clean, safe environment without endangering or annoying people, property, or wildlife.
  • Dog park patrons tend to be people who appreciate the park and take an "ownership interest" in it. As a result, they keep the area free of criminal activities and other bad elements.
  • Park patrons want to ensure a clean and safe park for all the dogs attending. Feces pick-up and disposal is an integral part of retaining a clean park. A visit to any dog park will verify this observation. Owners watch for and pick up their animal’s feces, and when a dog defecates, other patrons assume that the dog owner simply did not notice and gently remind the owner to pick up the feces and throw it away. They also will respond swiftly if a dog is behaving inappropriately.
  • Most dogs require exercise that leash restrictions do not allow. The cardiovascular benefit provided by healthy play with other dogs is great for dogs’ longevity and weight control. Dogs are social animals whose mental health is improved by interaction with other canines. Happy, healthy dogs are calmer and better behaved, reducing nuisance barking and other annoying behaviors exhibited by dogs who do not get regular exercise.

No off-leash dog parks currently exist in the suburb of Marrickville. Just as other taxpayers enjoy convenient public swimming pools, jogging/walking trails and playgrounds, dog owners need a place to exercise and enjoy their pets in an off-leash environment. As a working Mum with a toddler it is difficult for me to find time to go to another suburb to visit the dog park. I imaging this is even more difficult for other dog owners in the community who do not drive or own a car.

Again, we would appreciate your consideration in appointing Henson Park an official off-leash dog park and look forward to working with you to acheive this.

Thank you

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mamma on another mission!

Many of you know that we often take our other baby Chewy to the park to run off his energy and experience a bit of grass and socialisation with other dogs. Our local park is Henson Park, it's been frequented by dogs and their owners for many years!

Recently the council decided they would start dishing out fines to people whose dogs were not on leads. With no official dog parks in Marrickville, this is quite an issue for the local dog owner community who live in this great concrete jungle within the inner west!

Hence, I am writing to the council and local government and I've created a Facebook page to request that Henson Park be appointed an official off-leash dog park.

Please show your support by joining our Facebook page Please help make Henson Park an off-leash dog park and sending your feedback to council on their Have your say page at marrickville.nsw.gov.au.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Note to self

It is incredibly unwise to give a pen to a toddler in exchange for 2 minutes on the computer. In my defence, it had a lid on when I gave it to her, and it seemed like an easy distraction.

I only had one quick email to send, and I couldn't even tell you who it was for, what it was about or why it seemed so important at the time...

I simply and quite selfishly wanted the keyboard all to myself so I could send a message, not have lines of garble bashed out on the keyboard.

Hence my darling daughter repaid the favour with a lovely scrawl on our antique white kitchen wall. Luckily she did it so hard you can barley see the blue ink, but the indent into the paint should last a while!!

I think we have a little artist in our midst! Does anyone else have their very own personalised wall art?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mamma's review of The Fat Paddler

I have just finished reading The Fat Paddler and am feeling inspired to tackle life's challenges head on!

Whether you are into paddling or not, you will relate to The Fat Paddler's story. As a Mum I understand how it feels to know that you would do anything for the sake of your children. And Sean's commitment to turning his life around, despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles is truly inspirational, heartfelt and honest.

As memoirs go, The Fat Paddler is an easy read. It's funny, conversational, reflective and brutally honest. Yet it was also a hard read for me. Knowing Sean well and knowing the incredible hurdles he has overcome I appreciate even more what a tough journey he has had and all with a constant smile on his chubby face.

My favourite quote, "...moments like these mean the most. Moments of true unadulterated beauty. Moments where you find yourself. Moments of Peace." Yes this is what confronting life's challenges and committing to living are all about. Thanks for sharing big guy x

Now mind you, reading Sean's inspiring tale was not without some of my own (first world) challenges... The rugby noise emitting from the TV was annoying; I was interrupted a number of times by a distraught, teething toddler; then after a glass or 2 of wine my bladder decided I should get up every 20 minutes! However I finally managed some rare quiet time this afternoon while both babies (Burnsie too) slept.

So if you are familiar with first world problems like mine or have truly been up against it like Sean, I can highly recommend The Fat Paddler. You can pre-order a copy online or follow Sean's adventures at FatPaddler.com.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Some more adult reading

Read by my fave Play School presenter from when I was a kid, Noni Hazelhurst. This book "Go The Fuck To Sleep" has been a bit of a hit in some Mum's Groups.


Go the Fuck to Sleep - read by Noni Hazlehurst from Text Publishing on Vimeo.

Yay, finally some grown up reading!!!

Today I received my advance copy of our dear friend Sean Smith's new book, The Fat Paddler. Well actually, Brett took delivery of it this morning and all I have seen of the book is the front and back cover masking my husband's face as he has not stopped reading it all evening.

It's been so long since I read a book that was not about pregnancy or babies. During the first trimester of my pregnancy I was too nauseous to read a map, let alone a book. Then once I hit the second trimester I read almost every book ever written about pregnancy and beyond and in my last trimester I read all those books once again and would refer back to them over and over. But my brain could not follow the words of a simple novel or biography.

Oh, except of course the two books Ava loves us to read to her every night; Hello Baby and What Does Baby Do? I can recite both books word for word, yet could not recall my husband's mobile phone number if my life depended on it...

I have always loved reading and now I am thrilled I get to share that love of books with Ava. But sometimes it's nice to read something that does not rhyme!

So it is very exciting that the first grown up book I get to read in about 2 years has been written by our talented friend Sean AKA The Fat Paddler. Congratulations Sean, we are all very proud of you!!

The Fat Paddler goes on sale on 1 August. Stay tuned for my review!!




Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Mamma's mission

I love Wednesday's at home with Ava. It's my favourite day of the week where just us girls get to hang out and do fun stuff like go to the park, play dolls and dress up, go to the library and catch up with friends etc. And every now and then I stumble across an activity and think, RIGHT that's what we are doing this Wednesday, Ava will LOVE it!!

Sooooo the other day I was driving through Tempe and passed a circus. There were lions pacing up and down a large cage plus camels, ponies etc all on display.

My first reaction? Sadness. I was particularly sad for the lions that have been bred into circus life, sad they have never experienced the freedom of the African savannah, sad they were bred into a life of performing rather than ruling the land. My second thought? Conflicted! How Ava would love to see lions. She is so fascinated and excited by animals! You should hear her squeal when she sees dogs on the dog food bags at the pet supplies store...

I wrestled with it for a couple of days and decided that whilst I was against performing circus animals I would take Ava to look at them between performances. I was doing it for her right? She would thank me for it one day right? Sadly, we are not going on safari anytime soon, so the circus it would be to see her first wild animal.

So off we headed on Wednesday afternoon. We'd already had a big morning at Bondi junction and Ava had refused to sleep when I put her down for a nap after lunch. Heading there in early peak hour traffic Ava naturally fell into a deep sleep. But I soldiered on, as there was no turning back now right?

We arrived at a nearby park. I put her in the stroller still fast asleep and pushed her to the lion's cage. I am always in awe of lions, their magnificent manes and that imposing strut! I wanted Ava to experience their presence so badly but she was out to the count! I even lifted her out of the pram and whispered, the lions go roar bubba. Mummy loves lions and I hope you get to see them in the wild when you are bigger. But Ava slept, in fact she snored her way through it. SNORED even as we went cross country to see them!!

Talk about a mamma on a mission! As parents how often do we compromise our own beliefs for our children?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I love the park

First steps today!

Another milestone today for our beautiful little girl!!! Today Ava took her first 3 steps. It was very exciting and I kept getting her to do it again and again. She loved the attention until she got too tired and then it all went to custard. Doh, you would think I'd know better by now.... She is a trooper and after a big sleep she took some more steps for her Daddy.

And now Chewy is really scared. It was bad enough when she would crawl after him, with her head down so she could head but him or try to "pat" him in her not so gentle way. Watch out Chewy, she'll be running after you very soon. No wonder the poor pooch needs doggy prozac.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fisher Price is the soundtrack to my life aaaaggghhhhh

"Would you like some cookies? Here they are! 5 different shapes, in my cookie jar...."

This is the main song on one of Ava's new fave toys. It plays over and over again as she pulls the shapes out of the jar and puts them back in again. Same deal with her letter box toy.

There was a time when I'd be humming my favourite REM or Cure song as I did stuff around the house. Or I'd pump out some dance tunes on my ipod at the gym or when going for a run, and afterward one of the more annoying or repetitive tracks would be stuck in my head for days...

Those days are long behind me now. Now it's baby songs STUCK IN MY HEAD ON REPLAY. And not trendy ones by the Wiggles, we are not at that age yet. It's the letter box song or ABCD or Itsy Bitsy Spider and I assure you that I know ALL the words!

I guess it's better than Katy Perry...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Time for me to reclaim my body

This past year has been so amazing, I can't even begin to articulate how blessed I feel to have Ava in my life. It certainly hasn't been easy learning to be a Mum but it's been a joy and a privilege even through all the sleep deprivation!!

Ava is 10 months old. Where the hell did that time go?? She is happy, highly mobile, cheeky, funny, loving and very independent! (Super independent and stubborn like her father actually...) So overall I think we have done a pretty good job all things considered!!!

And now that she is a little less dependent on me, I can finally start to regain some of myself again. For so long I have been solely Ava's Mum and as a wee bit of a control freak have done most things myself along with the support of Burnsy and our amazing parents.

So now there's no excuse...time to reclaim my body!! Christmas is over, breast feeding is not as intense and time consuming and it's still summertime!

I have started running (or maybe we should call it shuffling for now) again as part of my exercise regime although it's not been easy!

Sooo, what's the hardest part of starting a new fitness regime??

a. Returning to running after 1 1/2 years break
b. Running with a milk production factory strapped to your chest
c. Running while a hyperactive staffy zig zags in front of your feet
d. Finding time
e. All of the above

Soooo many milestones!

Happy new year everyone! I have been a bit slack and am sticking to the excuse that my time is spent running after a very active baby! Over the last few months we have seen so many changes in Ava as she grows, learns and develops. She is like a sponge, sucking up everything she sees and hears around her and her fine motor skills, strength and co-ordination (already looking way better than Mum's) mean nothing can be left lying around the house no matter how big or small!

She is so active I can't keep up, she crawls up and down the step into our hallway and kitchen with ease and crawls over and under Chewy like he's a play gym. She talks incessantly to Chewy, says Mummum and Dada all the time or MUUUUM when she wants something. She cries and has a tantrum when we say no to her or try to pry keys, mobile, remote, iPod or any other items we have left within reach.

Here's some of Ava's big milestones since my last post!
  • 15 Oct - first tooth finally through
  • 3 Nov - started sleeping through the night fairly consistently (Except when teething poor pet)
  • 26 Nov - started crawling at Grandma' house!
  • 27 Nov - Mum & Dad have their first night out whil Ava spends the whole afternoon & night with Grandma (Thanks Grandma - pity Dad got food poisoning and we had to come home a bit early LOL!)
  • 4 Dec - Mum's first night out, Ava & Daddy having a night in
  • 25 Dec - First Christmas, loving her new interactive toys, wrapping paper and all the yummy Christmas trimmings.
  • 1 Jan - started pulling herself up in the porta cot
  • 5 Jan - 3 top teeth appear and she returns to sleeping through the night again YAY!
  • 6 Jan - Now pulling herself up on all the furniture with ease
  • 8 Jan - Full Daddy daughter day while Mum heads to the Blue Mountains. She now seems to be a real Daddy's girl after a very fun day!
This really has been the best year of my life and I am so excited about all the new milestones and just enjoying our precious Ava and family life in 2011!