Sunday, August 29, 2010


I realised how much of the year has actually passed when a friend from school asked if I'm making dolls for the Christmas market. I realised that aside from the Poppy dolls for the girls, I have made only 2 lala dolls this year.

So, I thought I'd at least make an attempt at getting onto that. Each doll has 12 pattern pieces in the body and at least another 6 pieces for knickers and dress sets - that makes 18 pieces per doll. I decided I'd try to be organised and work on a half dozen batch at once - that makes 108 pieces. I'll be cutting for a while.

I thought I'd get a head start today with the little one not so well. Tonight, after a very quiet day I'm pretty sure she has an ear infection and the start of conjunctivitis. Have to set the alarm early tomorrow to be one of the first on the phone to the clinic - fingers crossed they get us in early. Poor babe, always so brave, but very obviously suffering tonight. Thing there may be another night on the floor ahead for me - have to say it's wasn't quite so bad now that the carpets are in.


Saturday night date night.
Romantic or sexy food. Oysters, no. Smoked salmon, no. None of the cliches for me. Slow cooked pork ribs, marinated overnight, slow roasted, zingy with delicious spicy, sweet and smokey bbq sauce. All made for me by my man. My idea of sexy food, fingers and all.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


A big thank you to those of you who said such nice things to my frustration with food post. In the moment it's soooo frustrating, but after the fact, thinking calmly and rationally, it's so silly to get upset. They will eat what they fancy and as much of it as they enjoy. It's up to me to continue to offer good, tasty, healthy, varied options. Their part to play in the equation is to just participate and try.

The other side is that I need to alter things slightly. Dinner is dinner. You try the things on offer and eat as much as you need to and you may be offered a fruity style dessert. Once dinner is done, that's it. There is no fruit lingering in the future, no slice of freshly baked bread, there is dinner and then there is bed.

For some time Ella's been wanting to try won tons. The only time I've eaten them is in soup or deep fried and not very often. When I asked Ella how she knew about them, she said she'd read about them in a book called "What a mess Fang Fang". I must have missed that one.

So, today, that's what we did, we made deep fried won tons and gyoza. The girls did all the chopping, all the mixing and with a little help from me the making of the actual dumplings themselves. I'm afraid that even with direction I could not perfect the neat little folds on the gyoza. I couldn't even understand the directions given for the won tons.

The upshot, we all had fun. Did it take a long time; yes it did. Did I keep my cool and enjoy myself; yes I did. Did the girls try anything new; yes they did. Did they like what they'd made; 50/50, Ella wasn't sure on the filling, but she did her best. Leila tried but wasn't keen.

Someone close to me has a child who has had very real and threatening issues with food, for many years. It's such a heart breaking condition and one that has lasted well beyond childhood. This person emailed me some advice, things that for the most part we have already tried, but hearing it again from her, being reminded that food is a journey and should not be a chore, especially knowing how someone they love still struggles with food, well it made a difference. I'm the adult and I need to find the patience, the strength, the energy and understanding, to remember that, even when it's very challenging.

Tomorrow night, family dinner, fajitas.


I've mentioned before how I love this tree, in all seasons, but particularly this one. This view is from Leila's windows, but from our room we can lie in bed and look at it.

I can't imagine living in a home that didn't have a gorgeous tree outside my bedroom window. It is, in fact, a definite prerequisite!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


As a mother, a parent, for the most part I think I do a pretty good job. On occasions there are things I wish I'd given more consideration to in advance, in terms of really thinking about how I would tackle a particular parenting issue, before I was in the midst of that very issue, but overall there isn't a lot of angst.

There is one thing, however, that has always been of issue but lately has escalated to a higher level of frustration, disappointment and now, hurt. It's food, particularly dinner time.

As a babe to about the age of 2 Ella was amazing and would eat everything in front of her, every single thing without question and seemed to enjoy it all. I don't know what happened at age 2, but from that point on what she would eat narrowed and narrowed and narrowed then with the arrival of Leila and then the two of them eating together, it's now at crisis point for me.

They don't like so many things and also the cliches hold true, I'll put extra effort into making something new that I think they'll really like, only to have it barely tasted.

Food, cooking, eating is a huge part of mine and Geoff's lives. We have a very diverse and rich diet, covering the globe in cuisine styles and every night it's something different and never dull. I feel so sad that the girls don't share in that.

Last week I was so fed up I asked Ella what I could do. They never relish their meals, get really excited or say yum and honestly, it's both frustrating and upsetting. We talked about it later on, just she and I and she told me that the food I make is boring to her and doesn't really interest her. It hurt, hearing her say that, like a knife to the chest and she felt soooo bad at the idea of upsetting me. As I said to her, she must always tell me what she thinks and it's up to me to deal with those words, not her to change them to what she thinks I'll like to hear. We agreed that she's old enough to be eating adult food and that I would cook to interest her and make largely for her what Geoff and I eat. I had narrowed their repertoire purely so I know their dinners would be eaten. The new idea of new food hasn't been a huge success.

Tonight, after pork fillet marinated in ginger, soy and plum sauce, served with an asian cauliflower dish we like and noodles, I'd had enough. We went back and forth tonight as this was "too sweet" and this "isn't really to my taste". Gosh, it's just torture to me, no pleasure involved at all however hard I try. Then Ella comes out with an absolute sucker punch "Somewhere in the world there are families sitting together, talking about their day and eating a delicious meal saying yum yum." I had to leave the table, go to my room and cry alone. Don't get me wrong, Ella isn't a mean child, so very far from it, but we were arguing with each other of sorts. That though, that absolutely cut me to the core, hence I'm here sharing when I should be doing a myriad of other tasks in the witching period.

A dear friend lost her father to cancer very recently and only last week we attended his memorial service. Whilst we know her very well, we aren't childhood friends, we've known each other only for the last 15 years, so I don't know her parents as I do others. At the memorial service both she and her two siblings spoke of their father and their childhoods and family lives. They had no television growing up, they talked. They are a very verbal family, politicially active, interested and interesting people who are passionate in conversation and debate. Hearing about the family dynamic throughout their lives was so moving to listen to, but now, as I sit wallowing, also so sad to me for myself.

I always imagined family meals so vividly for our family and reality it's so far from what I always dreamt of. We only get to have family dinner together one night a week, on Sundays, and although always fraught, I love it and the girls do too. The reality of our lives is that Geoff is rarely home before 7pm and never eats with the girls during the week. I feed the girls and then we eat again together later. I know this isn't uncommon but honestly, it's the thing I dislike most about our life. I dream of a life where we're all together every night for dinner and we can achieve at least a little of what others have and have had and that I've hoped for. For now I'm at a loss, I hate the angst, the stress, the dischord, I find it really, really upsetting.

I should buy a book, I do try new things, but I need motivation, fresh ideas, or failing that, stories of situations more challenging than my own. Please share.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


A lovely, but all too brief, night away with dear friends to Wye River. I'm always happily surprised how much a visit to the beach recharges the soul, even in the middle of winter.

Mud like you wouldn't believe everywhere, which was the one condition I hadn't planned for, wet yesterday with perfect rainbows and today, sunburn for Geoff! Gorgeous part of the world and a surprisingly fun place to stay. Yummy food and probably a little too much wine. Must put another date in to do it again soon.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


When I was growing up we rarely had anything you could term a convenience food. I've sat here for quite a while trying to think of something I recall having with any regularity and have come up blank. I do remember one of my brothers had something called Peck's Paste on his sandwiches, but I didn't go near it, so gladly can't remember what that was all about.

If we had hot chips (fries) to eat, mum peeled the potatoes and double cooked them in our stove top frier. Mum's always made her own bread although I think we also had bought bread for school lunches. Biscuits and cakes were homemade. I do remember an occasional packet of chocolate biscuits entering the house and it was a real treat. I also remember my dad would get up in the very late or very early hours and have just one more. That was in the days when he still had a mouth full of sweet teeth.

I went to school with girls who had lunchboxes filled with bought treats. It sticks in my mind to this day that one class mate would regularly come to school with either cold KFC or a cold McDonalds apple pie in her lunch box!

One thing that was more common for others, not me, was something from the Susan Day cake range. To this day these cakes live in the bread section of your supermarket and include lamingtons, madeira cakes and swiss rolls both large and individual.

When the girls and I did our monthly shop yesterday it was heading towards afternoon tea time when we found ourselves in the bread aisle. As is often the case when I buy anything convenience related, I love the IDEA that you can buy something ready-made in a supermarket that's good to eat. I saw the swiss rolls and remembered them from years ago. I remembered having the smaller individual ones at some point and how I would unroll them and eat piece by piece, rather than bite by bite. We bought one to have for afternoon tea.

We got in, unpackaged all the shopping, the girls chomping at the bit the whole time to have their cake. We had cups of tea and then Leila cut us all a slice. I admit that I didn't check the labelling, something I always do, but I am sure that these swiss rolls are made from at least 85% man made products, it wasn't good. I remembered it being so light, so tasty, so yum. This had that aftertaste of fake sugar and a feel that was somewhat gritty. It wasn't just me, neither of the girls finished theirs either.

So, with that failure in mind, I promised them something more like what I remembered as a child est voila, a homemade swiss roll, just like mum used to make.
PS you may have noticed my post numbering has taken a big leap. In fact I've just checked how many posts I've done since this blog started and changed the number to reflect that.

Monday, August 09, 2010


As a mostly at home mum I know that at times I marvel at how some blog mums keep their houses just so all the time. I know, of course, that this is not always the reality for them and almost never for me. I don't generally photograph the bigger pictures of my own house, because it is always far from perfect. So, to make all of us out there who struggle to pick up after our gorgeous families and feel constantly bad about it, this is for you. This is me surrendering to the mess and realising that for the next few weeks there is simply nothing I can do about it!

This is mine and Geoff's room with the old BIR removed and plastering and painting yet to happen.

We've also been selling things on Ebay, so old drawers from all our rooms have disappeared. Does this room inspire romance or what?

Leila's room which is even more of a disaster than normal with Ella's things mixed in and her drawers gone as well.

More Leila room mess - this is where her new robe will go.

Ella's room awaiting replaster, painting then the new BIR.

Blackburn crazy paving fireplace gone - awaiting plasterer and new built in unit.

Pittosporums that we planted 5 years ago which were in a hedge roof height - gone in a few hours.

Pergola with laserlight, screening all around, vines, roses, you name it - all gone.

Things can only get better from here!


This was our weekend. We're in the middle of demolishing mode. The fireplace is gone, the BIR's are all gone, the backyard is now an open space with the pergola, screening, plantings and trees all gone. We're almost at the blank slate stage. It's strange, particularly in the back yard. Considering all the work we put into getting everything as it was, so much effort, to in one day destroy it all. We're very happy though, excited about the new beginning and the big changes in store.

Sunday, August 01, 2010


We were away in spa country this weekend. Every year we have a weekend away with all of Geoff's family and this year it was our turn to organise.

It is not so simple to find a house to accommodate 14, with a minimum of 6 bedrooms, in a price range that isn't absurd, so this one is a good one to keep in mind if you need to. The photos don't do the property justice, it had huge living areas, a fantastic long dining table that seated 16, great kitchen and really, really cosy.

Leila managed to lock herself in her bedroom and with all the talking in the world the poor little thing just could not manage the snib in the handle. She kept it together pretty well, although this mama was getting increasingly panicked. One of her dear uncles (a tradie in another life) took off the door frame and the handle and got her out - all with a butter knife I might add!

On the way home some of us went to Hanging Rock and climbed to the top. I love the photo in this post as the girls were a little panicked as a wall of black rain was starting to engulf us. After I pointed out that it is only water after all and wasn't it exciting, a second photo was captured.
A lovely weekend with my lovely "other" family.