28 January 2011

Loving Lately

Loving this Lovely Blogger...
This is Mon from Delissimon, taking a picture of me, while I take one of her. That's bloggers for ya! We spent a lovely morning together at my house...

...Eating cupcakes...


...made by me! Yes I was brave and served up cupcakes to the Cupcake Queen. She was super gracious and said they were "very light". Phew!

Mon brought along the most delicious gluten free lemon cake (baked with almonds and polenta)...


I was fooled by it's humble exterior.
I said to Mon, "Do you want to use the leftover icing for the top of it...?"
Mon is very diplomatic; she so very politely declined.
She also declined a sprinkle of icing sugar.
Silly me!
I forgot who I was talking to! The Queen of Baking!
Would you spray paint a Da Vinci? Would you colour in a Van Gogh with pastels?


Inside this cake was all kinds of lemony goodness. Oh I am loving this cake. LOVING.
Er, loving just a little too much.
Mon kindly (?) left the remainder of the cake with me. And I had it for breakfast. Oh woe is me!

Here is Mon's recipe. Too delicious.


Loving Easy Pina Coladas in the Middle of the day...

Don't worry these are alcohol free. Just think of them as a pineapple-coconut Smoothie.
Blend together a 450g can of lite coconut cream, a can of crushed pineapple and a splash of pineapple juice.
Whizz it up and whizz it good. Think you're done? Take a sip, sigh and whizz it some more.
When it is so frothy it looks like heaven, you pour yourself a glass. And one for your lovely bloggy friend.


Sip while eating cupcakes and polenta cake under the grape vine.... Ahhhhhh.


Loving what the mailman brings...

My very own hot pink coffee cup sleeves, crocheted by PaisleyJade... "Just to bless me". Thank you PJ!


An encouraging card sent by Miriam from  MakeitGiveit, full of handwritten verses she had picked out for me. So touching. Thank you Miriam!


This beautiful neckace I won from Kiwi Mummy Blogs "I Love Your Blog" competition...!! Thankyou Faery Sarah!


And a book sent all the way from America for me to review! Can't wait to dig into that... (will have to wait until I finish with "Cold Mountain" which I am also Loving...)


Loving this girl's gappy grin...


Loving my first ever cuppa made by This Guy...

 Was it tea? Was it coffee? Was it barely drinkable?

It was a mixture of all three.

"Mum I wasn't sure how to make it," he said with a sly grin, "so I kind of made up my own style. It has a vanilla sachet and then some of those leaf things and then I got a tea bag and opened up the paper and put that in... and then I added some rotten squashed banana... nah just jokes!"

Mmmmm. Lukewarm, gritty and of indiscernable flavour. Nevertheless, it's on my list. Cos it made me smile.



Loving the IceBlock King...
Ask Mon. This little guy helps himself to iceblocks all day long.
"Just one more iceblock mumma," he twinkles. "I need it!"
I counted seven in one day.
And he has a classic sucking style. The whole thing goes in his mouth and he slurps it rapidly...
Hard to describe but hilarious to watch.
How many iceblocks today? None. He ate them all yesterday.
I need a lock on my freezer.


Just look at that sticky residue. A face only a mother could lick.


Loving Toddler Antics
Who am I kidding? I love everything this kid does! He is just too cute.
Even his tantrums make me laugh.
The faces he pulls at himself in the mirror at the hairdressers say, "I love ME!"
The way he messily guzzles rice bubbles then tidily places his bib on top of his bowl.
The way he blurts out unexpectedly, "Sit up Dosh, I can see your butt crack!"
The way he makes me blow up the paddling pool, fill it with water and bath toys... and after two minutes asks to get dressed.
The way he sings "Finley the Fire Engine" at the top of his lungs.
And tries to shoot me with his laser when all he is wearing is a nappy.
The way he says, "Good night mummy!" And takes himself off to bed when he is tired.
What's not to love about a kid like that?



Loving trying out all the cool filters and effects on Photoscape.
(this one is "cross processed")

Loving the anticipation of an adventure-filled weekend with special friends in a beautiful place...

What are you loving this week? (Link up with Paisley Jade here)

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27 January 2011

This is My Life


The other evening I was out driving, alone.
Dropping off a little friend who had a bad dream while on a sleepover.
Picking up some coins from the BP for the Tooth Fairy.
The streets were near-empty, streetlights picking out familiar spots on my route home.
The train track, the house that sells veges, the corner of my street...
And all of a sudden it hit me.
This is my life.
This is my life!


At home sleeping in their beds are three precious little people I grew inside me.
There's a man who loves me. He's handsome. He has a flash car.
I'm driving his flash car.
There's a house I love and we own it.
This is my life, my wonderful life.

I got a surge of emotion, almost the "first day of term" feeling.
You know?


As I stepped out of the car, the night-scents assailed me...
Fresh, damp, sweet, almost tropical.
I breathed them in.
This is my home, this is my life.


Sometimes I forget what I have, the wonder of it.
I get caught up in the nagging and the grumping, the mess and the cleaning.
Most days I get to the end without being thankful, without pausing to count my blessings.


But this is my life.
The life I wished for, prayed for, hoped for and dreamed of.
I go from one end of the day to the other, oblivious to what I have.


The other evening I remembered lonely nights.
I remembered tears and prayers, fears I would always be alone.
These days I long for alone-ness, peace.
But this is what I wanted.
Little people in my life, my very own babies.
And a tall strong man to love me.


Back on my lonely bed I was ignorant of nappies, tantrums, "marital discussions".
I had no knowledge of sibling squabbles, morning breath, puddles on the toilet floor.
The dream I wished for had a rosey glow.
The Prince I dreamed of never complained about the lack of clean undies.
The children in my dreams were newborn-sweet, cuddled in my arms.
They never complained about "nachos again" or made a fuss about broccoli.


This is my life.
This is my dream. And my reality.
Every now and then it's good to remember, and give thanks...
I am blessed.
Blessed with dirty socks and endless laundry piles.
Blessed with grubby faces and stinky shoes.
Blessed with arms wrapped around me, voices chiming, "My mama!" "No, my mama!"
Blessed with whispers, "I love you mummy!"
Blessed with notes, "You're one hot mummer!"
Blessed with morning breath, blanket tussles, neck rubs.


Thank you. Thank you that this is my Real Life.
26 January 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Gap-Toothed Glory


It's been a busy week for the tooth fairy at our house...


Two teeth in one day... just fell out. No wiggling or pulling involved...


Show us your gaps, honey! That's right. Now just put those teeth under your pillow. Yes that bag is a great idea. Makes it easy for the Fairy to find those tiny teeth in the dark...


Ooooh, what's that? Another one just fell out?? Three teeth in 24 hours? The Tooth Fairy might as well camp here!


Ooooh look, she's been! Wow, $2 a tooth! The Tooth Fairy must be broke by now. Er, but where is the other $2? What? Your big brother just convinced you to spend it on the Silly Bands he's trying to sell? Oh, yeah, great use of your money there kiddo. He saw you coming.


Awwww. Look at that little girl smile. A smile we'll never see again...


*Sniff*
24 January 2011

A Crazy Rainy Day Party

"Welcome to our Indoor Party" as written by a six-year-old

The rain fell, the wind blew... all night long.
School holidays drag on into the final week.
Bored children rumble through the house looking for trouble.

Mummy sits in her PJ's checking her emails, wondering: How on earth can I stop the riots today?
A sneaky idea nudges the corner of her mind...
A party might be fun.
The idea grows stronger... Hmmmm, a party.
A Rainy Day Party.
Why not?

Face painting

Mummy throws off her PJs and grabs the phone.
Just a few friends is all we need, to make some fun on this rainy day.
A few friends, some cupcakes and other easy treats.
Who wants to join us?
Several calls later the party is on.
A crowd of housebound rain refugees will be arriving at 10.30am. Oooh. Er. It's 9am.

Better get the team on board, we've got a party to organise, cakes to bake...

The team are lurking in the lounge watching SpongeBob.
Their response is less than enthusiastic.
Ingrates.

Too bad, thinks mummy, I will do it myself, have fun myself.

Eating

A little voice calls down the hall, "Mummy I have a poooooo...!"
A little person emerges, nappy-less.
Alarm bells sound in mummy's head.
Where is the poo???

Nooooo! The poo is smeared all over the bedroom carpet.
Several toy trucks have been rolled through it.
The parking garage has been smeared with the stuff and a few happy flies buzz contentedly.
It's 9.15. People are coming! I have cupcakes to bake! And now I have s**t to clean!!!!
Why oh why today of all days, Mummy asks herself.
Am I crazy to have a rainy day party?
Maybe so, maybe so.

Miss Fab gets artistic

Mummy scrubs and mops, scours and disinfects. She throws the poo-monster in the bath and whips up a batch of gluten-free dairy-free chocolate crackle while he splashes.

Finally someone takes pity on mummy and joins the decorating team. Can you guess which kid that would be? If you guessed Miss Fab, you are right.

She sets to work tying ribbons and flowers on the backs of chairs, setting out dressups and face paint, vacuuming the lounge.

What a great helper. She is a party planner in the making, that one.

Big kids games...

Then it's time to make muffins. Gluten-free banana ones. Can they be dairy free too??
Why not, says mummy.
One of our special little guests can't have dairy. We like to make him feel included.
Let's try substituting milk for pineapple juice, cos we don't have any soy milk.
Will it work?
It does. The muffins are light and delicious. Gluten free and dairy-free.
We hang some bunting and blow up balloons.

The rain pours down, the wind howls.
It's a good day for an indoor party.
My guests arrive one by one.
Thanks for inviting us! they chorus.
You saved my life, says one.
You must be mad, says another.

Yes, quite mad. Crazy. Certifiable.
Soon the house is echoing to the sound of shrieks and light saber battles.
The big girls paint the little ones' faces.
The big boys have go-go battles and trade silly bands.

How many kids can you fit around a table? Apparently... 17.

When it's food time the kids can't believe their eyes.
A real party!
There's sweets and treats, with some grapes as a nod to healthiness.

While the younguns rampage, play and squabble over trucks the mums drink tea and talk about allergies. And childbirth. And Ladies Bits.

Our guests are leaving now.
"Thanks for lovely party!" they wave.
Oh look! the rain has stopped! The sun is out.
No matter.

A Rainy Day party was a good idea and worth the effort.
You should try it some time. If you're crazy enough.


Menu for a Crazy Rainy Day Party
  • Use whatever's in your cupboard!
  • Invite a few friends who are also stuck inside, bored. It's always more fun with friends.
  • Pop some popcorn, cut up some fruit. Bake some muffins or cookies. Make fairy bread. Marshmallows, corn chips, carrot sticks... use what you have.
  • For fun: play musical statues, hide'n'seek, musical cushions. Paint faces, dress up, hang out.
  • Decorate cookies, cupcakes, glue stuff, make beads.
  • Put on music and dance crazily.
  • To decorate: keep a packet of balloons on hand. Make bunting out of old wrapping paper, string and staples. Or just borrow some from someone who has the real kind :)


Crazy Fruit Muffins: Gluten Free, Dairy Free

1 egg
1/4 cup of oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup pineapple juice
2 cups Gluten Free Baking Mix (Bakels is dairy free)
4 teaspoons Baking powder
1 cup mashed banana (approx 2 bananas)

Beat egg, oil, sugar and juice together. Add in mashed banana. Sift baking mix & baking powder and mix just enough to combine (don't overmix).

Spoon into cupcake papers inside muffin tins. Bake at 200oC for 15 minutes or until golden
Idea: Make up some dairy-free butter icing (using Olivani dairy free spread). Set out some decorations (sprinkles, sweets, cachous) and let the kids decorate their own muffin. We were not crazy enough to do this (though we had planned to) as we ended up with 17 kids!


Chocolate Crackle  (Gluten free, dairy free)

4 cups gluten free rice bubbles (or cornflakes)
250g of vegetable shortening (e.g. Kremelta or Copha)
1 cup of icing sugar
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 cup of cocoa

Melt the kremelta in the microwave then sift in icing sugar and cocoa. Stir in coconut and rice bubbles.
Place spoonsful in mini cupcake papers and put in the fridge to set. Allow approx half an hour setting time :)

xxx
23 January 2011

Lessons on a Bike


Funny what you can learn on a bike.

Yesterday in between showers, the hubby decided to get our housebound lot out of the house and onto bikes. We've got enough of them in our garage for a small army.

Open our garage door and bikes come out to greet you: Hand-me-down bikes, bargain bikes, birthday bikes, three wheeled trikes, plastic rideons, and a Dora scooter. Take your pick.

Hurry Hurry, says Daddy as the kids scramble to find their helmets. Two-year-old Scrag rattles around proudly on his Triang trike (with trailer attached), smug in the knowledge that his helmet is already on his head and he's ready to go.



One by one the troops mount up. Yes, even Mummy. One of those renegade bargain bikes has my name on it.

Out the gate single file. There's Dash on his TradeMe bargain bike.
There's Miss Fab on her sparkly pink birthday bike.
There's Scrag on his rattly triang trike with trailer attached....

Oops Scrag, honey. You can't ride your trike where we're going today. You're going on the seat on the back of Daddy's bike.

The little face crumples. The formerly smiling mouth emits a disappointed wail...
"Nooooooo! I wanna go on my bike! I not go on daddy's bike!"

Arms flailing, legs kicking as daddy lifts him off the trike and deposits him in the "baby seat".
The humiliation. The shame. The disappointment.
Scrag thought he was bringing the rattley trike with trailer attached.
It hurts, oh how it hurts to be left out.


Can you picture Team G with Scrag on his trike, riding through the streets of Mt Albert?
Can you just see us riding up the Unitec hill?
Sorry Scrag, that dream is not for today.
You have to wait until you're a bigger boy.

Last night in bed, Mr G pointed out to me the life lesson he got from this funny little story.
"I was thinking," he said, "How much we sometimes do what Scrag did today."

We get our hearts set on something, something we think we can cope with, something we are sure is going to happen for us, right now, a certain way.


And when our Wise Father says, no you aren't ready for that yet, we throw a little tantrum.
"It's not fair! He's doing it! She's doing it! Why can't I???" we protest indignantly.

Problem is that He knows us better than we do. He knows our abilities - and our limitations.
And He knows what's around the corner.

Sure, we have ridden our trike-with-trailer-attached 200 metres down the street to the park plenty of times.
We know how to wait with Mummy at intersections. We can peddle no problem on the flat.
But the way we're heading this time... there's hills. There's traffic. It's further than we realise.
So this time, we ride with Daddy, safe behind him.

But one day we will have outgrown the "baby seat" and learnt enough to keep us safe on the road.
Then our Wise Daddy will cheer us on as we take to the streets.

Isn't that cool? That's what my husband learnt on our family bike ride.
I love it.

{PS: Photos are from This Post in May 2009. There is no photographic evidence of yesterday's adventure. Perhaps when I am more confident on the bike I'll be able to manage a camera while dodging traffic!}
22 January 2011

House Dreaming (and doing)


We have lived in our lovely 1920's house for four years now and apart from splashing a bit of paint here and there, it's largely untouched from when we moved in.

It's about now that I start getting twitchy, wanting to change things up.
I have big plans, big dreams for the house.

Repaint the lounge a restful shade of green. Or duck-egg blue.
Save up the money I get paid for writing articles and buy a new lounge suite from Early Settler. I'm lusting after this one I spotted a few months back...


It was so cosy and comfy. And Pretty.
But not cheap. It will take me about fifteen published articles to get the whole suite. Could take a while. Hmmmm. Maybe I should sell some paintings as well.
{Anyone in the market for a seascape??}


That's just for starters.
I also want to build two new bedrooms upstairs for the boys and renovate the bathroom.

Knock Scrag's room and Dash's pipsqueak closet bedroom together. Extend the deck and add a verandah. Put bifold doors around two sides giving us a massive summer lounge/family room, great for parties all year round.

Reality.

Painted Reality.

And the kitchen.
I want to do something with the kitchen.
It has great "bones", being handmade by a joiner.
It just needs updating. Resurfacing.
I want it to look like this one...

Dream.

Painted white, with the wooden worktop sanded and oiled.
Expose the boarded up fireplace. Add a breakfast bar.
Can I dream of a butler sink too? Stainless steel appliances and one of those double door fridge freezers?
Ah heck, why not, this is a dream isn't it?


In the meantime, I'll do what I can to make it funky.
Like turn teatowels into cushion covers for my window seat.


My favourite spot in the house. Great for reading, drinking tea, chatting.
We've just moved the cane armchair in here, to make a cosy conversation area, see?

(If you come visit me, we will sit here in the sun; I'll serve you gluten free treats, we'll have a cuppa...)


And look, I bought some cool vintage tin signs.
Been looking for some for ages. I envisage a whole wall full of them quirky and retro, colourful.

I'm also on the hunt for more cool old teatowels to transform the rest of my cushions.

 
{This cushion reads: Both of us can't look good at the same time...
it's me or the House}

My new cushion covers are all handstitched you know. I don't know how to drive a sewing machine.
Some people don't drive, I don't sew.


I love my home. I love the light and the character and the slightly rough-round-the-edges family feel of it.

But I'd love a bit more cutting edge funkiness on show too.
What do you think, have I made a good start?