Sunday, December 1, 2013

15 reasons my toddler cried today

Some days parenting a toddler is really hard. There's some things that simply can't be explained or accurately described in those books you read when you are pregnant and blissfully unaware of what you are getting yourself into. 

Nothing seems to go right and you find yourself at loggerheads with a 3 year old who appears to have taken on the personality of Napoleon. Barking orders, screaming when things don't go her way and pushing buttons that I never knew I had. Tears are inevitable and sometimes Ava cries too...

Today was one of those days. It actually started quite early this morning as I left the house to do the first yoga class I've done in 3 years. I thought I'd start my Sunday all zen like. Umm, nice try.

I guess the combination of being 3, fiercely independent, extremely smart and really knowing exactly what she wants at all times can get a bit much sometimes. Today was one of those days, where I just couldn't get it right for my little girl.  

So here's just some of the reasons Ava cried today.
  1. I'm thirsty
  2. I don't want water
  3. Daddy cut my apple into triangles, I want it round 
  4. The blender is too noisy
  5. The hand dryer is too noisy
  6. I fell over, it was Daddy's fault
  7. I don't want chicken soup
  8. I want to butter my own toast
  9. I want Mummy to butter my toast
  10. I don't want toast
  11. I don't want dinner
  12. I'm dirty
  13. I don't want a shower
  14. I want my special shower cap
  15. I'm hungry, I want my dinner
Thanks goodness today is nearly over. Ava is finally asleep and as exhausted as I feel, I'm actually looking forward to her calling out to me at 4am for a snuggle in Mamma's bed. All the meltdowns, rages, defiance and endless negotiation is forgotten as I carry her warm and cuddly little body into our bed for a few hours of precious snuggles.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

When life hands you lemons...

Sometimes life doesn't go as planned. Out of the blue it can throw you a pile of sour lemons that hit you fair and square between the eyes. Leaving you feeling dazed, confused and totally off kilter.

Like most Mammas I have many balls in the air. Juggling bills, work, that endless to do list and a good dose of guilt like a cirque du soleil pro.  But inevitably my lack of coordination appears, a curve ball or two hits and it all comes crashing down. It's been a pretty crappy few weeks for Burnsy and I punctuated with very little sleep. Its fair to say that I have not been on top of my game. But you know what? Today I am ok with that.  

Its another 5am saturday morning wake up. But instead of lamenting the hour I have spent the morning silently stalking my friends on Facebook, reading my favourite blogs and listening to those familiar and comforting early morning sounds of the Inner West. Chirping birds, light traffic, Santo watering his cabbages next door and of course Burnsie snoring. 

I finally feel calm and relaxed. Not sure if that's the residual panadol in my blood stream or the fact that my little munchkin is not here pulling me out of bed to watch cartoons and make her some breakfast!

Ava has been with her Nanny for a few days. Its the longest period I have ever been away from her, I have missed her like crazy and a I can't wait to see her today. But it's also reminded me that taking time out for myself is the best thing I can do for my family. A cranky, run down and overtired Mamma is not a very fun Mamma - that's for sure.

Now weeks like these need not come by again any time too soon, that's for sure! But without the sour, you can never truly appreciate the sweetness in life! 

So it's what you do with those lemons that make all the difference!! Personally I like to squeeze them onto pancakes or juice them with apples, celery, kale and ginger - so yummy! 

What gets you back on track when things don't go to plan?


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Blueberry crumble muffins

A sweet treat for our family gathering at Great Nan & Pop's house to celebrate Father's Day tomorrow.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon guar gum
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups frozen or fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup gluten-free almond milk
  • ½ cup light olive oil
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Crumble topping:
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
  3. Mix sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, guar gum, salt and cinnamon in large mixing bowl.
  4. Add blueberries; stir to coat evenly.
  5. Combine milk and oil in small bowl.
  6. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add liquids to blueberry mixture and stir until just combined.
  7. To make the crumble topping, mix the almond meal and brown sugar.
  8. Spoon mixture into muffin pans.
  9. Sprinkle each muffin with crumble topping.
  10. Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes or until lightly golden.
  11. Remove muffins from pan and serve immediately or cool on a rack.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Our Sunday morning Mecca


I love our little home in the inner west, it's close to the city but just far enough away to avoid the feeling of being stuck in a perpetual rat race.

We have everything we need at our finger tips. Amazing coffee, parks, shops, kids activities and community right here on our doorstep.

One of our favourite weekly rituals is the Marrickville Organic Markets. Held at the Addison Road Community Centre, it's become our Sunday morning Mecca. 

Every Sunday morning Ava asks me if we will see the ponies and get a face painting. Even this week, while on holiday in Melbourne, she asked for a face painting!

I recently caught up with the lovely Jane from Marrickville Sundays to answer 5 questions about why we love the super child friendly organic markets. Checkout the blog here, it's a must read for all Inner Westies with kids and market lovers alike!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Croatian vegie stuffed capsicum

A big thank you to SJ, the culinary genius from Chasing the Donkey, who inspired this recipe. Get the original stuffed peppers recipe here and follow SJ's blog if you love food and travel or need a laugh.

After seeing SJs meat filled version on Instagram my mouth wouldn't stop watering for days, which is unusual as I do not eat beef. But I'm always looking for new ways to cook vegetables, so I thought I'd rework this into a vegetarian winter warmer for meatless Monday. Plus I wanted to use up the vegies that were piling up in our fridge and some herbs from our garden. This is really one of those meals where you can just throw together whatever you have on hand.

So Monday comes along and as usual I am super organised, haha yeah right! When I bothered to read the recipe properly (on MONDAY night) I realise it's going to take two hours to cook. Crap! Now that we have a child, eating at 10pm on a school night just isn't an option. So unfortunatly we didn't get to make this for Meatless Monday, it was bumped to Wednesday because that's my day off with Ava and clearly I have heaps of free time on Wednesdays. 

There are a few steps in this recipe - stuffing the capsicum, making the sauce then cooking it for two hours. So SJ's two hours would equal minimum three hours for me. And in addition to cooking and prep time I needed to prepare myself mentally...  

As a general rule I like to make things that are quick and simple. Minimal instructions and zero technique, anything more and I end up rocking in the corner. However I am known to occasionally overextend myself (in time and ability) and this was worth the anxiety and the effort. 

Once Ava was tucked up for her afternoon nap I was ready for battle the challenge. I read the instructions multiple times and reminded myself to breath. 


Ingredients

Stuffed Capsicums:
6 capsicums
2 small carrots diced
2 celery stalks diced 
2 zucchinis diced
2 tomatoes diced
1 tsp Garlic 
1 cup Brown rice
1 free range egg
1 tsp Paprika (optional)

Sauce:
1 Celery stalk
1 Carrot
1 tbs GF Flour
2 tbs tomato paste
2 cups vegetable stock
Salt & pepper
Bay leaf
Mixed herbs (optional)

Instructions

Start with the stuffing:
  • Carefully slice the top off the capsicums and scrape out all the seeds
  • Wash and set aside - don't forget to keep the lids
  • Chop up the vegies and mix together in a bowl
  • Mix in rice, paprika and garlic
  • Season with salt and pepper 
  • Spoon mix into capsicums, don't overfill them as they will explode (like mine did)
  • Place capsicums into a large pot keeping them close so they don't fall over, but not too squashed as they will fall appart like mine did 
  • Set aside to make sauce.

Make your sauce:
  • Throw celery and carrot in a pan. 
  • You can add onion, however onion and my sensitive belly don't get along so I left it out.  
  • Once the vegies have softened add flour (I use GF) and mix well until browned 
  • Add tomato paste, stock and and herbs
  • Stir well until sauce boils 
  • Pour sauce evenly over the capsicums, making sure they are fully covered
  • Put the lids on the capsicums. 

Cook for 2 hours:
  • Cook on a low heat for 2 hours
  • Check the pot and shake regularly to ensure the sauce is evenly spread so you don't burn them 
  • Add extra stock, water or a can of diced tomatos if you need more liquid - don't let it dry out or the capsicums will burn and fall apart
  • Allow to sit for a while after cooking - like any good sauce the flavours will intensify
  • Serve with mashed potato or rice. 

Initially the multiple steps had me terrified, however I found the process to be more time consuming than difficult. And this is one of those meals you can just throw together whatever you have on hand. Perfect for someone like me who struggles with too many instructions and never remembers to bring a shopping list to the shops. 

The aroma that filled the house was amazing, resulting in the inevitable over indulgence where appropriate portion size is thrown out the window.  And best of all, Ava loved it! Like all new things she did not want to try it at first, but after some gentle persuasion and possibly a little bribery she polished off the lot!  Winning!

What's your favourite winter warmer meal?


It's a neeeeew car!!


We have a new car!! My first ever - brand spanking new car at the ripe old age of 38! Not a demo model like Golfie but a brand new car. Snaps to me and Burnsie, we are so grown up.

Do you know what sucks about having a new car? Burnsie takes the new car every day. Ok, so his office is on the Central Coast so he drives 3 hours per day - hence the new car. First world problem...

I can't complain, I so love having my own car again. It means I don't have to run/power walk from the station to day care to pick up Ava, then race home whilst trying to spot cockatoos, discuss the position of the moon, negotiate riding in the pram over walking while carrying a backpack, handbag, various artwork and a handful of MUST HAVE gumnuts. It means that Ava and I get home by 6 and can leisurely cook dinner together rather than me frantically throw some food into a pan while Ava is planted infront of the TV for 20 minutes before being dragged to the table to inhale her food, then dragged into the bath.

Whilst driving 5 minutes to the station is not my greenest behaviour, it's amazing how much a little extra time can bring so much peace to one family. Call me a hypocrite, but sometimes it's not easy being green.


Friday, July 26, 2013

An open letter to my future teenage daughter

Happy girl!
The other day I asked you, "Who are you best friends at pre-school?" You proudly shouted, "ME!" That made me so proud. That's right sweetheart. You should always be your own best friend, don't be defined by those around you and always love and be true to yourself.

As a teenager you will have so many friends, probably way more that you even know on Facebook or whatever latest and greatest social site is by then. But your true friends will love you for who you are. You will be tested and pushed to the limits of your own boundaries, but I can see such strength and determination in you to walk your own path and to your own beat. I love that about you, even when it frustrates me to tears!

Yesterday you told me you are clever and very strong. You often say that you make us proud and happy, which you do every moment of every day. Probably more than you could ever know. Sweetheart you are a delight!  You are clever, funny, cheeky, witty, inquisitive, strong willed, independent, loving and divine. You make your Dad and I so proud and we are better people for having you in our life.

As a teenager I can only hope that you see yourself through my eyes. Being a teenager can be tough. I was aweful to your Grandma when I was a teenager, and I guess we are bound to have our moments too.  As a 3 year old your stubbornness and determination both frustrate and amaze me. I am thrilled at how intelligent and quick witted you are. However I often get a hint of teenage attitude from you, it frightens me a little as I know the karma train is heading my way!

Today as I was frantically searching for my keys, cursing how late we were you put your hand on my shoulder and said, "It's ok Mummy I'll help you find them." Then you ran to the lounge and pulled them out of the rocking chair where you had hidden them!! I didn't know weather to laugh or cry, so I just praised and thanked you through clenched teeth.

I wish so many things for you Ava. Childhood, play, innocence, imagination, study, friends, parties (with no boys present...I can only wish right), first kiss (at age 35 please), travel, career, love, passion, family.  But I wish more than anything that you stay true to your heart and follow your dreams, don't let others drag you down and never let your gender, age, sexuality or beliefs hold you back. l hope that you can come to us at anytime, no matter what. We love you unconditionally and will never judge or dismiss how you feel.

You can be anything you want to be. At 3 years of age you are already a confident and articulate public speaker. You are amazing with animals and babies. You are incredibly creative and super intelligent. I have no doubt that whatever you set your heart on, whatever fills you with joy and challenges your mind you will achieve. My daughter, I love you.  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Your bandaid is where?

For a once free spirited drifter, it amazes me how much I love routine these days. I rely on routine to keep me focused and to get things done. Without goals and routine you would probably find me curled up in a corner rocking.  

Night time routines are especially critical at the Burnsie residence. Ava's bedtime routine involves two or three stories,  a selection of teddies and babies to be tucked in and Ava's choice of one parent remaining for snuggles "under the covers".  "You wanna come under covers with me Mamma?" How can that offer be refused??? 

Of course bedtime routine also comes with a plethora of stalling tactics! Ranging from the timeless, "I'm thirsty, I need a drink" to "I need to go to the toilet", the former is now mitigated by strategically placed water bottles. Ava's current favourite is "my tummy hurts, I want some Spider-Man C" (that's actually vitamin C - obviously) and then there was the cryptic "where"s my talice?" It took days and countless meltdowns  to figure out her talice was the remote control to the mobile we had over her cot when she was a baby. Ok then.....

I love our routine for my nights under the covers, I hear all about Ava's friends at day care, she tells me about her favourite games and we make up silly stories. Brett loves his nights under the covers because in addition to snuggling up with his little princess in a bed half his size, he often falls asleep before Ava. And as an added bonus he avoids cleaning the kitchen. 

Last night's bedtime routine was no exception. It was late, 2 stories were negotiated, the night's stalling tactic involved a sore finger and Dora bandaid to make it all better.  Then Daddy was instructed to climb under the covers.

After 30 minutes I thought I better go in to wake up Burnsie. Any longer and ill be stuck cleaning the  kitchen on my own and he will need a physio from falling asleep in a 1.5 metre bed. 

Before I managed to drag myself away from the heater I heard a wail. Oh  dear, had Burnsie just rolled on Ava? No way, not enough room to breath, let alone roll in that bed. 

My bandaid my bandaid wailed Ava running out to me. "Ummm i think her bandaide is up her nose", says Burnsie way too calmly. WTF? 

Ava had somehow managed to shove her Dora bandaid up her nose!!! I silently and momentarily freaked out while envisioning an xray of Dora's face grinning at me, firmly lodged in the frontal lobe of her brain. 

Brett was still half asleep but in action mode.  Ava was pretty distressed and wanted to go to the doctors. Holding her close, I was strangely calm and composed. Brett who is always calm and knows what to do in an emergency, asked her to blow her nose a few times. After what felt like an eternity and with a lot of gentle persuasion she blew her nose. Luckily it appeared and I was able to pull it out.

What an ordeal! I just wanted to hold my baby girl all night and tell her it was ok. Bless the little angel, she said she was sorry for putting Dora up her nose. But after 2 minutes she had moved on and wanted to tell me about her new alligator story. 

Even though I was totally freaked out, I was very proud of myself for not completely losing my shit. But regardless, I don't ever want to have to go through that again!!! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Strong willed toddler or natural born leader

This is a great article on raising a stubborn strong willed toddler. Ava is seriously independent, so we actually follow a number of these principles, if we didn't our home would be a war zone. 

Here are the top 10 tips for parenting a strong willed toddler.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

You should bow to me Mamma

Wait, what?? My daughter said "You should bow to me Mamma" and she was quite serious. So I did.

I was kind of taken aback by this one, I mean kids say the weirdest funniest things right? But where the hell did this come from? I was like, what? Can you please tell Mamma again sweetheart, I don't think I heard right. So she said it again. And like a good Mum I bowed to her then asked her to bow to me, which she did with a giggle.

Quite frankly Ava Mae rules over this household, Burnsie and I practically bow to her every day metaphorically speaking.  Her attitude and spunk make her irresistible and likely to get away with murder.

Don't get me wrong, we do practice discipline however when little miss attitude gives out some 'quick witted, intelligent and in context' lip, it makes me burst with pride and adoration. Is that wrong? The girl has an answer for everything and will not back down if she has something to say. Whilst if frustrates the hell out of me it also makes me incredible proud that I am raising a strong, smart, passionate and fiercely independent female. 

In my head I often hear the voice of my own Mum saying "karma"!! But for now I choose to ignore the fact that a cute and feisty toddler attitude will likely develop into a serious angsty teenage attitude - oh good grief!! For now I'm happy to ride the wave of cuteness and punch out a few entertaining status updates for family and friends. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

DIY paint for kids


Burnsie found this recipe on Facebook so we had to share it! 
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 cup water
  • Natural food colouring 
  • Mix together until you get the colour you want

So simple and non toxic, the kids can make it themselves!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Embarrassing stuff kids say


"Mummy, that lady has big boobies just like you!" Yes, you read that correctly. This is what Miss 3 yells out on the train today while pointing at an attractive young South American girl sitting opposite us.

Umm, thanks for that! If you have heard my daughter's voice lately you will have a pretty good idea how this played out. She's a foghorn, not sure where she gets that from. And if that statement didn't get everyone's attention, there's more.

Next thing she lifts up her top. Oh to clarify, Ava lifts her top. Unfortunately for my dear hubby it was not the attractive young girl lifting her top. She was probably totally mortified that her boobs are being compared to mine. Despite sitting opposite the crazy family (that would be us) she is completely avoiding any eye contact whatsoever. I am also hoping like hell that this girl does not understand a word of English. Not that it mattered, the lady next to us definitely understood English.

So with her top lifted for all on the train to see, Miss fog horn screeches "When I'm a grown up I'm going to have big nipples and boobies just like mummy."  Gold. No really, it was gold. I had to give it to her, Burnsie and I had nowhere to go from there. We were speechless.

It's times like this I have mixed feelings about having a smart and articulate toddler. I know it's not unusual for kids to embarrass their parents in public, it was just a bit of a shock when it happened on a busy Inner West train.

It's not the first outburst. Previous gems include. "Mummy I have to go to the toilet. I have a wedgie." And "Mu Mummy has a baby in her tummy". The former was true, the latter was not for the record !!

Ever since my sister came to stay with the gorgeous 12 week old Gabi, Ava has been obsessed with babies and boobs. She pretends to breast feed from me and talks endlessly about her boobies. Is this normal?

My Mum calls it karma! I think there may have been a few occasions that I embarrassed her a little when I was Ava's age. So is it karma or just normal curious and innocent toddler behaviour ?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Dr Seuss

Dr Seuss is still one of my all time favourite writers! He was so ahead of his time and incredibly insightful.

He wrote The Lorax over 40 years ago because he was angered by the way people were treating our environment.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ava's 3rd birthday party


Gotta love a party loaded with sugar!! It's not often that I wilfully feed Ava bucket loads of sweets, but birthdays come only once a year, so why not make the most of it.

Bursie really outdid himself with this cake - although it wasn't gluten free so I am already paying for the cheeky slice I had to have. My contribution! I did the writing and a bit (ok a lot) of micro management of the final touches...poor Burnsie.  


Ava seriously lost her shit (but in a good way) when she saw it before that party this morning. She said it was the bestest cake ever in the whole wide world.


I should also mention that our rather fancy Ilve oven decided to pack it in the night before the party! Seriously???  It's only 4 years old grrrr!  Luckily the cake was done, it just meant that we had less savoury adult food as I had planned on baking a batch of GF mini vegetarian quiches. 


Ava and her best friend Marli had a ball playing together in the park. They have known each other since they were born. 


We didn't invite too many kids, just Ava's cousins and her best park buddies Marli and Emily. She had so much fun running around the park, playing chasing and bossing us all around too!

The kids enjoyed blowing bubbles, playing pass the parcel and snacking on a mix of both wholesome and sweet treats.

These fruit cups were really easy to make and were a hit with the kids and adults. We chopped up watermelon, cantaloupe, nectarines, grapes and berries that morning, put them into a big container, then filled the cups at the park. Simple, beautiful and really healthy!

For a twist on fairy bread, we made wholemeal hundreds and thousands pin wheels which disappeared pretty quickly.

To make these I asked the baker to cut the bread loaf long ways. You should have seen his face, he had never been asked to do this before and thought I was totally insane.

Actually, I think he was worried that his cutting machine would destroy the bread! However he cut the bread perfectly and it was so much easier to make them rather than cutting long ways yourself.

Tip!! Flatten the bread out with a rolling pin before you butter it and sprinkle on the hundreds and thousands. Once flattened out they are so much easier to roll up. Then you cut each roll into three pin wheels. So easy.

Can you spot the dodgy one I made???
The marshmallow sticks are another super easy and very pretty sweet treat. What kid doesn't like marshmallows??

Bunsie insisted on making home made LCMs. I am not a fan, they are sickly sweet and full of sugar. As you can imagine the kids loved them...

So it kind of backfired for Burnsie, he was hoping to have them all to himself.




Sunday, February 3, 2013

Vegan flourless orange cake


Another day another dicey experiment...

One of the girls in my team had her birthday on Saturday. She is guten free and vegan, so I thought I would try my hand at a GF vegan cake. Having been sick for the last few days I was somewhat disorganised with limited ingredients to hand. So I opted for this orange cake which has very few ingredients and is pretty easy to make.

Ingredients
  • 3 medium oranges
  • 3 tbs chia or flax  seeds
  • 9 tbsp water 
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 cups almond meal
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder

Orange Syrup
  • 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Brush a round 22cm springform pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line base with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Place the oranges in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return to pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes (this will reduce the bitterness of the peel). Refresh under cold water. Drain. Coarsely chop oranges. Remove and discard any seeds.
  3. Place the orange in a food processor until smooth.
  4. Soak the chia seeds in water for 15 minutes. (This is a great egg substitute)
  5. Add sugar and chia seeds to the orange mixture and mix well. 
  6. Add the orange mixture to the almond meal and baking powder and gently fold until just combined. Pour into prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 50 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool.
  8. To make the orange syrup, juice orange and pur into a saucepan with sugar. 
  9. Place over low heat and stir for 2-3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and the syrup thickens.
  10. Turn cake onto a serving plate. Use a skewer to gently prick the top. Spoon over syrup. 
The original recipe for this cake uses eggs. Without the eggs this cake didn't rise and crumbled a little when I took off the tin, but otherwise looks edible! I will update post with the taste verdict tomorrow.

OMG this cake was so moist and tasty! If you like zesty oranges, this is the cake for you! Everyone loved this cake, it was a hit! With 3 GF and 3 vegans in our team at work it was a real hit! 


Friday, February 1, 2013

Inner West Buy Swap Sell

Like most families, we have accumulated a lot of crap over the years. And I mean a serious load of crap, much of it sitting unused and gathering dust in drawers and wardrobes or collecting cobwebs in our carport.

We don't really need much, we have good imaginations and are quite easily amused. Yet I cringe at the many times Burnsie and I have trotted off to the shops for the latest must have product we just know will enhance our lives considerably.

We live in a pretty wasteful society, where most babies have more tiny clothes than a Paris runway show, more toys than Santa's workshop and enough products to keep a small country well moisturised. And while I stand high and mighty on my soap box, I am also the first to admit I love new stuff and have spent a small fortune on much of our treasured crap! Well it's time to offload some good quality crap! And as the old saying goes, one person's trash is another's treasure!

After a particularly gruelling clean out which included multiple trips to the Salvos, a full bin and a lot of recycling, we still have a heap of stuff too good to throw out. And I really hate seeing things go to waste, I really do!

So I decided that instead of wasting my time on eBay or at the markets, I would try to find homes for our unwanted goods locally using my BFF the interwebs. I went searching for an online trash & treasure or buy swap sell on Facebook, but there doesn't appear to be one for the Inner West. So I've set up one myself....it's aptly named Sydney's Inner West - Buy Swap Sell.

Please like and share it with your friends. The more people who like it, the more crap you can offload and the more bargains you can score!!

Please check out facebook.com/innerwestbuyswapsell and list your items, or check out the crap erm treasure up for sale! Share the love and do your little bit for the planet, it might get you a little cash on the side too!

Monday, January 28, 2013

What to do with a 2 year old with all this rain?

What to do with a 2 year old when the rain keeps pouring down and there's no sign of any reprieve?  Simple, grab your umbrella, put on a raincoat and gum boots and get out there!

video

Miss Ava Mae is completely obsessed with Peppa Pig. And anyone familiar with Peppa Pig will know that Peppa's favourite pastime is jumping in muddy puddles. So when the rain hit this weekend we decided if you can't beat them, join them!!

Little kids truly live in the present, something we should all try to do every now and then. The pure joy on Ava's face as she splashed muddy water everywhere, including all over me, was priceless.  I have to admit, I really enjoyed jumping up and down in the filthy water. After last week's heat, the rain and cooler weather was quite refreshing.

And in saying that, we are lucky that the rain here is enough to be annoying but has not caused havoc like it has in far Norther NSW and Queensland. My heart goes out to the many people affected and we will be doing our bit by donating to the Red Cross Flood appeal.

What do you do to keep the kids entertained when the weather turns to crap? 

Gluten free chocolate slice

I have been on another experimental baking frenzy! It's had it's highs and lows - the lowest point saw Burnsie and I spending our Saturday night scrubbing the oven out with toxic oven cleaner. Yes I know, oven cleaner is about as toxic as it gets. However, after an Australia Day experiment went horribly wrong, baking soda and lemon juice just wouldn't cut it so out came the chemical warfare. But that's a post for another day...

My goal is to find some really simple healthy snacks and a few sweet treats to add to my rather limited repertoire. Ava Mae has become quite fussy over the last few months, turning her nose up at most meals and home made goods. So anything she likes that is not loaded with processed nasties (yes I'm talking about you Tiny Teddies and Caramello Koala) that I can make from scratch is a bonus!

I have been craving chocolate all throughout the long weekend. So tonight's experiment is my gluten free take on an old childhood favourite, Chocolate Slice. In addition to replacing the flour with Gluten Free SR Flour, I halved the sugar and added a dash of vanilla.

I have decorated half with sprinkles as I know Ava will love them, actually so will Burnsie. The other half is sprinkled with coconut. According to Ava, coconut has suddenly become "VERY YUCKY". Note this is always shouted to ensure the neighbours know too.

Ingredients

  • 220g melted butter or dairy free spread
  • 2 cups GF self-raising flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup cocoa, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Icing

  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 cup pure (GF) icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy or almond milk
  • 1 tbsp melted butter or dairy free spread
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut or sprinkles to decorate

Method

  • Preheat oven to 170°C. 
  • Line a slice tray with baking paper.
  • Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Add melted butter and stir well.
  • Press mixture firmly into a slice tray.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.

Icing

  • Sift icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl.
  • Stir in melted butter and soy milk.
  • Spread over the slice while it's still warm.
  • Sprinkle coconut or coloured sprinkles over the top. 
  • Leave out to cool and cut into 5cm by 5cm squares.
This turned out really yummy, but is quite full on. Not something I want to have in the house too often. Please share, what's your go to sweet treat? 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Just made a GF version of this passion fruit slice

Source: food.com via Naomi on Pinterest


Just made this delicious GF Passion Fruit Slice!! I modified the recipe a little as the original is way too sweet.

GF base  
1 cup GF self-raising flour (I use Orgran)
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
125g melted butter or nutilex

Topping
1 (395g) can condensed milk
1 or 2 large passion fruits
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C if using a fan-forced oven. Line a 22cm square pan or a slice tin with baking paper.
  2. Combine all ingredients for the slice base and press into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. The base is still soft while hot, but will harden as it cools. The base will be light in colour.
  4. Using a bowl, combine the can of condensed milk, passion fruit pulp, lemon juice and zest.
  5. Spread the passion fruit mixture over the slice base and return to the oven for about 12 minutes, or until the topping is just firm to the touch.
  6. Remove from oven, allow to cool 15 minutes and then chill in the fridge about 30 minutes until set.
  7. Cut into squares to serve.
Note: If you're hubby keeps coming in to see if they are ready yet, save the bowl or a little condensed milk to keep his sweet tooth at bay. Or alternatively just ignore him while you Pin more recipes. 



Friday, January 18, 2013

Missing my early morning wake up call

Ava is having her first ever sleep over! She is staying with our dear friend Franki who is Mum to Ava's adorable BFF Maxwell.

As you can see from the photo Maxwell's mum sent me, Ava is having a terrible time. Good luck getting those two monkeys to sleep Franki, was my reply! I reckon there was alot of giggling and very little sleeping for some time!!

And thankfully no sign of the usual dinner time tanty here! In fact, I doubt she will want to return to us at all, she looks like she is having far too much fun.

It's funny how kids are so well behaved outside their home and routine. Ava is a good girl, but dinner time is often fraught with vegetable stand offs, I spy something green and debates on whether dessert will be forthcoming or not!!

Being Ava's first night away from hone without us I knew i was going to miss my baby tremendously. But like most firsts, it was a far bigger deal for Brett and I than it was for Ava!

I had all the usual worries! Will she sleep ok, what if she cries in the night, how will Franki cope if she wants to play at 5am???

Despite the worries I was really looking forward to a nice sleep in this morning. Ha, but here I am wide awake since 6am. I'm so used to hearing my darling foghorn screeching out "Mummy, Mummy it's morning time. Get up Mummy."

I miss the sound of her little feet jumping out of bed and running down the hall to us.

I miss her little face appearing at my bedside, sweetly telling me its morning time and I really need to play. That sweet voice getting louder and more urgent, Mummy GET UP!!

My pathetic attempt at begging for just 10 more minutes, please!!!! Come on Ava, Mummy needs more sleep...

Whilst sleep is the panacea for most parents, it's amazing how it eludes you at times like this. Seriously, when there's opportunity to sleep in like a student and even have a relaxing, hot coffee in bed!!! What is wrong with this picture?

I guess as much as I love sleep, I love and miss my little girl more. Does this happen to other parents or just me???


Wednesday, January 9, 2013