Thursday, December 5, 2013

My year as a stay at home mum with both kids at school.


The year is nearly over, my first year with all kids at school. It wasn't meant to be this way, but it is what it is.

And here was I thinking I'd have time to do everything I wanted to do, get everything on my to-do list done. It doesn't really work that way though, I found out.

Although I have gone from being on full-on-mum-duty 13-14 hours a day, to full-on-mum-duty for about 8 hours a day. Better working conditions there, right? And during my 5 kid-free hours, I can actually sit down and have lunch. And pee without company.

But as any mum knows, those 5 hours are crammed with 101 things to get done and sometimes lunch doesn't actually happen. Then again, I get to do those 101 things on my own, no more dragging cranky kids to the library or grocery store, no having to switch off the vacuum cleaner 15 times to listen to little voices requesting food/tv/stories/mummyPLAYwithME!

And the on-duty hours are filled with taxi-ing kids around, negotiating homework, preparing breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack, packing aforementioned foods for school and extra curricular activities for kids and husband. No nappies to change, sticky fingers to wipe or kids to persuade to have naps. Lots and lots of laundry and sorting out uniforms and work-out gear for the whole family. TV and computer use to negotiate. Catering to everyone's needs and personalities. And sometimes to mine.

As well as sooo many activities the school asks for help with. Running club, swimming, supervision on various excursions, jump rope for heart, hearing the kids read, preparations for the school fete, cross country, school athletics day, church services and my mind goes blank on what else.

I like to make healthy, paleo-style meals for us all, so lots of shopping for good food and a ton of time in the kitchen. Figuring out everyone's tastes and TRYING to make sure everyone has the appropriate fuel for the activity they want to undertake. Not always succeeding. 

Farmer's market every Sunday. Growing some of our own veggies to hopefully off-set the cost of all that good food just a little.

Dealing with the "I don't wanna to go school/karate/rock climbing/do homework" that inevitably pops it's head up from time to time.

Camping, we've done quite a bit of that this year too. The boys are old enough to help set up camp with the husband, while I sort out the food. Our family seems to run on it's stomach, surprise, surprise. Lots of organisation and laundry and catching up afterwards involved in that too, but worth it.

Constant decluttering takes place as the boys get bigger, so boxes of donations to be dropped off, free cycle pick ups to be arranged, ebay items to be posted. Larger clothes to be sourced, preferably not at top price, so perusing all possible sources of good quality second hand clothing and school uniforms takes place on a semi-regular basis.

Throw in a few periods of unwell kids, the odd late night babysitting at the mansion, a big catch up with my side of the family, lots of karate, cage fitness and rock climbing, the run-of-the-mill stuff like kids parties, to attend, gift buying, mending, arranging appointments for everyone, play dates etc etc etc and that just about sums up the year.

And here comes Christmas.......


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Oi, July was the last time I posted on here, no, I haven't dropped off the edge of a cliff.....will catch up with the world soonish....

Thursday, July 11, 2013

School hols - the Farm

We had the opportunity to go to the farm for a few days this week and it was fabulous as always.

I haven't been there in the middle of winter like this before, though the kids and I spent nearly two weeks there at the END of winter back in 2011.

The fog/mist seemed to roll in off the river late in the afternoon, then in the morning we were completely surrounded.

This lasted for hours, I am not actually sure if it was fog/mist/low cloud or a combo effect. It didn't lift until mid-afternoon most days and sometimes it hadn't cleared completely by the time night fell again.

But that didn't stop us, we went for walks in the fog, looking at all the details that we could see...

and more walks when the fog did eventually lift.

We met the latest resident of the farmhouse and had a fine time as usual. Lots of crafting, playing monopoly, doing jigsaw puzzles and playing tiggy in and out of the many doors in the homestead.

Back to Melbourne now and our house is not nearly so well heated as the Farm.....!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lets go fly a hols day 4

This was us today...

Yeah, 'twas windy and grey but we like it any way it comes during the school holidays!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Yo ho ho, school holidays - Day 2

Day two of the school holidays... and I have no voice.

The pirates in the bedroom sure make up for my lack of noise though!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ah, for the love of almonds....

I've been doing a lot with almonds lately, in an effort to give my 8 year old some different food options that do not involve grains.

It turns out that after tightening up his diet...taking out wheat, sugar, preservatives and most grains, he has turned into an angel once again at school. 
Remember I was complaining about his turdyness? Well, his teacher says he's calmed down a lot and is behaving beautifully. Now, it's not like he used to eat a lot of junk, but the wheat had crept back in to a certain extent and with a certain wheat product was preservative 282. 

Hmmmmm. No real mystery is it?

All of which meant I was scrambling to find school lunch solutions that he would be happy to eat in front of his friends. One of the things I came up was a 'milkshake'. This has raw, organic, full cream milk, avocado, a pastured egg yolk, cocoa powder, a couple of dates, a baby spinach leaf or two and a small amount of rapadura. I whiz it up in my thermomix, pour it into a shaker with a leak proof lid and it goes in his insulated lunch box with a freezy pack and a straw.

I'd give him this every couple of days or so and then my preppy started wanting one too. No problem, just we started going through a lot of milk and it's not cheap. Almonds again to the rescue, I tried making some almond milk. Very easy to make, and lovely and creamy. I wrote up how I make it, with pictures, if you want instructions.

(Yes, clearly I cannot pour straight...)

Actually, if you look at the messy kitchen picture in my previous post, you can see jars of almonds lined up on the windowsill. I also have been using the almonds to make grain free brownies, grain free banana bread, almond butter and grain free cereal. We are lucky enough in Australia to be able to get raw almonds, and you can probably source truly raw almonds in many other countries too, but not in the U.S.

In America all almonds are pasteurized but growers/manufacturers are still allowed to label them as raw.
But the only way to get REAL raw almonds in the U.S. is to buy an imported brand.   

Ok, enough rambling. If I don't post again soonish, you'll know my house has been taken over by almonds. 

Or more likely, the school hols are kicking my butt......

Friday, June 7, 2013

What a whole foods diet does to the kitchen.....

Whole foods cooking

Life has been crazy busy lately and the pockets of time I have at home during the day see me mostly in the kitchen. Making a giant freakin' mess. See below...

(The sun is coming in that huge window over the bench, hence the flare in these pictures, sorry.)

For some reason when I cook or bake, I leave whatever kitchen cabinets I've opened, open. My husband loves this trait, as does my eldest son now that he's tall enough that he can't walk under the open cupboard that houses plates and bowls without bashing his forehead.

These photos don't show you the dehydrator sitting on the deep freeze behind me waiting to be loaded again or the massive sack of coconut that sits on the floor because it's too big to go anywhere else. 

Notice the stick holding the oven door closed?

Ever since a small person opened the oven one day (when it was off....!) and sat on the door, it hasn't quite sealed properly.

All that said, it only took me a max of about 15 minutes to get the kitchen to a semi-reasonable state again, as everything has a place. Well, except the coconut. Hmmmmm.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What crappy food does to an 8 year old

My 8 year old son has been a bit of a turd lately at school, culminating in Monday when he was a complete turd. Oh, and he was fairly poopy on Sunday at home too.

Funnily enough, on Saturday afternoon we'd been hanging out with extended family and over the course of about 7 hours, my boy ate 3 pieces of cake (homemade), 1 chocolate 'muffin' (boxed mix), chocolate mousse (boxed mix), store bought ice cream, regular store bought grainy bread, bread made in a breadmaker (from a boxed mix) and a handful of wheat crackers.


Not wanting to be a mean mum ('cos I'd already nixed the soft drink) and ya know, a little bit huge amount won't hurt, right??? And it's hard to be a hard arse when all the adults around them are getting stuck into this kind of food, so I let it go.

But clearly I shouldn't have.......

I've been a bit slack with what he eats lately, giving him ordinary old wheat wraps in his lunch sometimes, the odd tim tam here and there, and the like. Add in birthdays in March and April and all the resulting cake that's been stashed in the freezer and slowly doled out....

Which culminated in the Saturday arvo feast. 

His behaviour had been getting a bit ordinary lately at school, argumentative with the teacher, touchy and grouchy. And then Monday.

I am hoping with a wheat free/refined sugar free/preservative free diet again, things might calm down.
So far so good. I immediately implemented the clean eating on Sunday, bright and sparkly.

He was awful on Sunday at home and Monday at school. Less awful on Tuesday. Apparently less awful again today, but I haven't completely followed that up.

I am HOPING the food is the cause of his turdyness, because otherwise it means he's just being a turd.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Our baby should be nearly two.

Yesterday was the 2nd birthday of our third baby boy. He was stillborn on 20th May 2011 at 28 weeks gestation.

Coming up to yesterday, I could feel the tension building in me, the weepiness just below the surface and I was not looking forward to this bittersweet anniversary. So I decided to keep our other two boys home from school as a distraction, I wanted some company, selfish perhaps, but he is their brother as well as our 3rd son, so I wanted to talk about him with them, about the what-ifs, and the imagine-ifs....

I didn't want us to hang out at home, because I knew there'd be requests for tv or computer that I wasn't going to capitulate on, so I suggested we go to the museum. I needed to keep busy and distracted and it worked. The day was busy, the boys were delightful and put up with my extra hugs and kisses that I kept bestowing on them. After they were in bed last night I headed off to the local dojo for my cage fitness class, then kept busy till bed time. Then I read my book until I fell asleep.


The day is over, past again for another year.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Whole30 is finished....

Remember I was doing The Whole30?

Strict paleo diet and all that?

Well I finished it, a couple of weeks ago actually and the results are in.

In short...

I lost 2 kg.

My fingernails grew really strong.

I don't crave chocolate like a mad woman any more.

And a couple of other things that I'm not going to get into here.

If you want, you can read all the gory details here.

I do like eating this way though, it's nice to feel in control of your food, rather than the other way round.

And over Easter, I did not ingest one bit of chocolate.

Although I did make my best flourless gluten free chocolate mud cake for everyone else though.

And check out these chocolate fudge brownies...

Try not to drool, it makes your keyboard kinda gross after a while...

Recipe here....

Go on, make them, you will not regret it.

Well, maybe if you're doing the whole30 you will, but hey, you'll impress your nearest and dearest!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Have you tried coconut butter?

I have recently discovered coconut butter, and it is a food of the Gods. Truly really.

If you like coconut that is, like I do. If not then meh, maybe not so much.

Ha, doesn't look like much, does it? 

This is freshly made in my thermomix, which of course is good for 101 things. And probably more.
Coconut butter can be made in a food processor or blender too.

The 'butter' firms up after a while, here it is still quite liquid.

Once it's firm, scoop it out with a spoon and eat it. Just like that. Apparently you can use it to bake and cook with but this is the second lot I've made and I don't get round to cooking with it before I've eaten the lot.

And all you have to do to make it is throw some coconut in your blender, food processor or thermomix and let it whiz round for long enough to turn it into a liquid. Done.

Long enough in a food processor is purported to be anywhere from 15-20 minutes but in a thermomix or high powered blender it takes less than half that time.

AND you can make CHOCOLATE coconut butter by mixing in some cocoa. 

See? Food of the Gods I tell ya!

Now, that really is all it takes to make it, but if you want a step by step with accompanying visuals, I've written it up here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

My most favourite-ist gingerbread cookie recipe

My favourite gingerbread cookie recipe came out again recently and the kids got busy making a variety of shapes. 

An update from the original recipe, I now use rapadura instead of plain ol' sugar and I'll either use spelt flour or a gluten free flour mix, both available at my local supermarket these days.

The aim of the game though was to make Captain Cookie, from The Gingerbread Pirates.
I've put a link to the book over in the sidebar if you want to have a look, my two love this book, something about pirates, Santa and food, I suspect.

This little guy was cut with a regular gingerbread man cutter, had one leg amputated and a half toothpick substituted for said leg, his hat was half a round cookie that was mutilated into shape and his classy sword another toothpick. Gotta use what's to hand, right?

Luckily for me, the boys usually get tired of the whole exercise before the decorative icing bit has to be done and are happy to admire their creations sans 'clothes'.

While they're putting on eyes and buttons and trying to create swords, I hurriedly press out the rest of the dough into convenient 'school snack' size cookies.

Did you know you can even make Sponge Bob cookies with this fabulous recipe?
We did ice these guys, I suspect he wouldn't be very recognisable as Sponge Bob if we didn't...

Not sure who this is though...

And I think we even have some ninja shaped cookies lurking in the freezer now.

Best gingerbread cookie recipe ever.

PS. That rapadura link is where I actually buy a few things, rapadura being just one of them.
Honest to Goodness.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Recent karate grading.....and the flu

Think the 'lil guy has the flu.
The ACTUAL flu.
Yup, Dr Google told me that, he fits the symptoms to a tee. Or is it a T?

Poor baby, he's now so congested I can hear him snoring from here in the lounge.
Snotty 'kerchiefs everywhere, much to his older brother's disgust.

And we're going camping again soon, too, being school hols and all. 
Hopefully, he makes a miraculously quick recovery....

Now, the karate grading.

That's him in the foreground, with the brown belt.

It's a white belt class (complete beginners) but he's allowed to wear his brown belt which he gained in the Little Dragons, which is the class for 4-6 year olds. Which he joined when he was 3 and left when he was 4.

Yep, super karate kid that one.

He officially graded to red belt (next belt up from white) while he was still 4. 
He loves it (most of the time) and now has his sparring gear as well. Which he looks pretty funny in, seeing as it's generally sized for 6 yr olds and up. Although he's the youngest, he's not actually the smallest, being that he's a giant of a kid. His little friend  is several months older but about a foot shorter, that's him in the front row in the purple belt.

He looks so little opposite his sensei. 

Ah, a proud mummy moment for sure.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How to make a Trash pack birthday cake

Little Mr R has officially turned 5! 

Given my lack of cake decorating prowess, I sneakily suggested to him that maybe he'd like a trash pack themed birthday cake. Have you heard of trashpacks? 
Little wee collectible rubbery characters in the guise of various types of gross trash/rubbish.

Take one large flat birthday cake. I used my favourite birthday cake recipe,  as always.

Mix up some butter icing, and add enough random colours, plus a little cocoa, to make the icing an icky brown colour.

Make up some green jelly and let it set.

Place a large trash pack bin somewhat off center on your iced cake.

Fill the bin with green jelly and spoon random blobs of jelly onto the cake.

Pile on small handfuls of smarties, and place some jelly snakes strategically around, so they can slide through the trash and slime.

Dot the trash pack characters around and put one or two in the bin.

Let a snake slither out of the bin and sprinkle a few smarties in there too.

See? Not exactly a masterpiece though, but the boys thought it was the best. cake. EVa.
Probably because they got some new trashies out of it, but oh well.

Too easy.

Please 'scuse the very ordinary photography...

And now Mr about-to-turn-8 has requested the same cake, so I get to do it again.

Maybe I'll even get creative and try it with a round cake next time. 

Ooh, livin' on the edge!


Trash pack cake take 2. And no, it's not round.

Here's Mr H's cake, now he's 8, more of the same really.

The icing on this one was tidier, I had a 'complaint' last time that the icing was too thick and gooey, so this time I actually followed my buttercream icing recipe properly and smoothed it on more thinly.

Hmm, less authentically trashy looking perhaps but it appeals to the must have-order-and-everything-tidy side of me.

The bin is full of red jelly instead of green (specific request from turning-8-year-old) and I didn't put jelly on the cake this time.

The jelly on the last cake made the cake soggy in patches after a while, and seeing as I knew not much of the cake would be eaten right away, we left the jelly off to serve separately.

I threw a few clinkers and chocolate covered sultanas on too, more because I had them left over from another project rather than any inherent sense of design, but they work well.

I find the combo of coloured smarties and small rubber characters very appealing, I am just a fan of smarties altogether, they taste great, I love their size and crunch and they make anything that you put them on look snazzy. And they make decorating kids cakes too easy.

Yay for smarties!

Friday, March 8, 2013

I'm doing a whole30

Have you heard of the whole30? It's clean, strict, paleo eating for 30 days. 

Something I want to do, seeing as I've let some poor snacking habits sneak in of late. 

Don't go and look at that website if you're hungry by the way. Jus' warning ya.

So, I'm eating some of these....

Not too much of this....

Made this a couple of times...
Chocolate almond green smoothie
(Doesn't count as real chocolate...does it?)

Quite a few of these...

None of this...

Adding these to lots of things....

None of THIS...

Some of this...

As well as plenty of nuts, coconut oil, red meat and chicken.

Yeah, hardly deprivation is it?

I'm feeling great though, but then again, I usually am.

I won't bore you with any more details of it, but if you're interested I'm writing up what I'm eating and any results/observations here....My whole30.

Part of the whole30 is also getting enough sleep, so off to bed for me.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Camping at bear Gully

We went camping this year over Australia Day, down to Cape Liptrap Coastal Park.

A beautiful area of the coast just a couple of hours drive from Melbourne.

Lots of rocks for the kids to investigate.

Wildlife too...

Beautiful sunsets...

Some moody weather....

If you want to check out more of my photos you can see them here on the page I wrote specifically about camping at Bear Gully.

Hint: don't camp there over Australia Day, too many bogans!

And here's the 'lil fella on his first day!

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