Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pretty Packaging

During my big purge and tidy up yesterday, I came across something that gave me the warm and fuzzies. It's been almost a year since I looked at this box. And it is, just that. A box. But it's what is written on this box that I find so lovely. So appealing. SO true.

Oroton have wowed me for many years. I remember walking into an Oroton shop around the time I started at my first real job. Earning my first serious pay. Being mesmerised by the bags, wallets and accessories. Elegant and subtle. Exquisite colours and designs. I actually don't own many Oroton pieces. Though this beauty was a gift from a good friend & Mama herself, when I fell pregnant with Felix. It made me feel very special indeed, lugging Felix's newborn paraphernalia around in a snazzy black nappy bag. Way too flash for this Mama of 2 boys, but it's nice to feel flash once in a while. 

Back to the box. Quite possibly the loveliest, most unique, packaging I have seen. No big, bold, brassy pictures showing off the contents. For me, something far more eye catching. A delightful little babe and a heart warming quote. One that has stuck with me since the day I received this beautiful, thoughtful gift. Ah, the marketing team at Oroton most definitely know what they are doing.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Shinin' down like water

We woke to the sound of teeming rain this morning. I do love that sound. We have a tin roof, so it has an extra "pitter patter", as Angus calls it. Nowhere near as deafening as I had imagined it would be, before we moved in. It's homely and soothing. There wasn't alot of choice on where we would spend today. A planned park play date needed to be postponed. Constant rain meant we were even unable to make a quick mercy dash next door to our local park. So instead, we rearranged.

For a long time now, the boy's room has been getting me down. It is poky and cluttered and I was certain we weren't utilising the space to it's full potential. There is of course, limited space to utilise, but there is always more than one way to design a room. I'm also a big fan of the purge, tidy and sell/giveaway. And so my long lost friend ebay received a workout this afternoon (it's been almost a year since I sold something and I have missed the thrill of an online auction. very. sad). After almost 3 hours cleaning, purging and organising the room, I had a large bag for the rubbish bin... an even larger bag for charity... and 3 sizeable items for my ebay list. YAY!

The room is still far from complete. It's a tough one when they're sharing and at noticeably different stages. There are so many ideas swimming around in my head. Plans of what I would like to do with their space in the future. For now, they will have to wait. Today, I am just pleased and feeling that much lighter for the purge. Sleeping positions have been changed and swapped around (hopefully for the promise of a more settled 3 year old). A bedside lamp has been added for a softer lighting option. And the world's most loved Alphabet chart shifted into a more prominent place. A productive day indoors as the rain tumbled down.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Choc Chip Cookies: An old favourite

I was in a baking frame of mind today. This often happens when the outside temperature is chilly and the sun decides not to grace the day. It's nice to create warmth and sweet aromas throughout the house on days like this. I think I have done the Anzac Cookies to within an inch of their life. Not that I am receiving any complaints from the boys. They gobble them down as quickly as I can bake them up. 

But I decided to try these trusty little numbers. Oh so buttery and sweet AND chocolatey! Angus assisted me in whipping up a fine batch, just in time for afternoon tea. They are a classic cookie and we will most certainly be adding them to the regular baking rotation. 

Choc Chip Cookies

225g Butter, softened and chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk choc bits (I used Nestle... recipe calls for 3/4 cup, but I like my cookies extra choc chippy!)

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees
Cream butter and sugar in a medium bowl using an electric mixer
Beat in sweetened condensed milk
Cream until mixture is light and fluffy
Sift flour and baking powder
Stir into butter mixture with milk choc bits
Rolls tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls
Place on greased and lined oven trays
Press biscuits down gently to flatten
Bake in heated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Grateful for Supportive Employers

Returning to the workforce is not something I long for. As I draw nearer to the end of my second maternity leave stint, I am filled with more emotions than I care to experience. Fear. Anxiety. Sadness. Reflection. Apprehension. All wrapped in a bittersweet layer of... mama guilt. I have been here before. Change is a tricky one for me. I know it is important and healthy. My word, it is inevitable. It just takes me time to get used to. The same could be said for most people, I am guessing.

This week I ventured into the office, to meet with my new manager (my previous manager, an absolute gem, has moved on since I went on leave. Big shame). However, I do already know this lady, which helps. Our meeting could not have turned out better if I had written the script for it myself. Relaxed, understanding, accommodating. Everything a mama returning from a year on maternity leave needs. Everything THIS mama needs.

So whilst I am quietly dismayed about leaving my 2 beautiful boys for two long, hectic days per week, I am also relieved. Relieved and grateful. In fact all I kept thinking during the meeting and ever since, is just how grateful I am. This week I'd like to acknowledge supportive employers. How much easier they can make a worried Mama's life, just by offering and providing the eminently sought after work/life balance. Joining in over a Maxabella's to share the gratitude around. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Shank's Pony

It is fair to say that the public transport system in Sydney could do with a bit of an overhaul. I don't 'do' trains. I have never liked them and always avoided them wherever possible. Just something icky about them. If I need to catch public transport, bus is my chosen mode. I spent many years travelling considerable distances to and from work on buses and I find them bearable. Travelling with a babe in pram, on a bus, is a different story.

Lately, it seems that if and when a bus does arrive as per timetable entry, it is either a non-wheelchair/pram accessible one OR the driver waves furiously to "get on the one behind... this bus is too full" and the bus behind may or may not actually turn up OR even stop if it does turn up. My trip into the city this morning was a mixture of all these ingredients. Utterly. tiring. Waiting at the bus stop to return home, with scores of commuters, it only took 10 minutes worth of similar occurrences, for me to take matters into my own hands. I decided to walk home.

Our place is approximately 6km from the city (as the crow flies), so I figured it would be about an hour walk. Easy. The temperature was cool, Felix was sleeping soundly in his pram and a leisurely stroll home would be just the thing I needed to release some of the built up tension of the past couple of days. Now, driving a car, if you make a wrong turn or go down an unknown backstreet, it is relatively easy to get yourself back on track. On foot, it doesn't quite work that way. Trying to be partly clever, partly experimental, I took myself off down a road I'm not entirely familiar with. But hey, I thought, if it winds it's way around the SCG, SFS and Fox Studios, it's gotta be ok. I know these landmarks lead me towards home.

I. was. wrong. I began to get a feeling I was moving away from the direction I was bound for. For a good 10 minutes, I had myself in a mild panic, as I weaved my way through streets I'd never even heard of. Starting to curse my beautiful boots for being so darn unforgiving on my tootsies. They weren't made for walking long distances, that's for sure. Eventually, Felix woke up, looking a little dazed and confused. Maybe he sensed his Mama was herself, a little bewildered. I have never been so happy or relieved to see Centennial Park in the distance. I knew at that point, we were going to make it home.

An hour and a half after I left Elizabeth Street, Sydney, I rounded the corner of our street. Sore feet. Sweaty everything. ThirstyExhausted. But kind of satisfied in a self-inflicted-pain-kind-of-way. It has been a while since I took on a walking challenge like that. I used to do them all the time in my teenage years and before I had children. There is something blissfully liberating in reaching your destination by shank's pony. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Days

Today was a challenge. In more ways than one. The kind that leave me deflated, overwhelmed and on the verge of tears. Nothing major happened, just a series of little things, banding together to bring about a general feeling of negativity. So I have decided to focus on something positive about my week. Because nothing good is born from negativity. 

It's remarkable the things that float my boat these days. Whilst there are still many things non-child related, a great deal of joyous moments come from fab finds or new discoveries which benefit my boys. Last weekend I made one of these happy findings. Right under my nose. Minutes from our house. I wasn't exactly a pioneer, as Scott had been there before with Angus (he did fail to mention just how wonderful this park is though, typical male lack of detail). A beautiful, large, fenced in park. With tonnes of play equipment AND a sandpit.

I don't know how I've missed it all this time. We often play on the sports fields right next to it, throwing the frisbee or kicking a ball. But I have found it now and I am going to make the most of it, especially on Autumn days like last Monday. Soaked in sunshine and blue sky, Angus and I played for 3 whole hours! Felix slept for the bulk of that time. By chance, we ran into a friend from the neighbourhood and the kids played happily together. It is not often we spend hours on end, in the one place. Just beingHere, in this park, it's almost impossible not to.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Risotto Pollo Funghi + Asparagus

Since taking ownership of a new set of sparkling Scanpan saucepans, I've taken every opportunity to test them out. First up, I made some toasties for lunch. Inspired by Georgie's post, I thought toasted ham, cheese & tomato were the way to go with the frying pan. They did not disappoint. I made a trusty spaghetti bolognese, simple and very tasty. I whipped up a batch of healthy steamed vegetables for the boys, using the beast of a steamer (this thing totally dwarfs my previous steamer)

Next up, I prepared a dish that's an old favourite in our house. I haven't made this one for a while, but it's a winner for the cooler months and with all this lovely new equipment, there has been no excuse for not making my specialty meals. I do love a good risotto. This one I found on the back of a rice packet, about 5 years ago and I've been making it ever since. When it's all boiled down (pardon the pun), it's nothing fancy, just your basic, garden variety...

Chicken, Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto

2 cups aborio rice
2 tbsp oil
300g chicken breast
2 cups cup or button mushrooms
1 onion (diced)
5 cups warm chicken stock
1 bunch asparagus
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1/3 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
2 tbsp cream

Heat oil, then pan fry chicken and mushrooms until chicken is lightly browned.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Reduce heat, cook onion and rice for 2 minutes.
Add 1 cup stock every 5 minutes (or until absorbed), stirring rice continuously.
Repeat process, using 1 cup of stock at a time, until rice is tender.
Place chicken and mushroom back into rice.
Stir asparagus through.
Stir in parmesan, cream and parsley.
Serve immediately, with a generous spinkle of cracked pepper to taste.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Prehistoric Tuesday

I have been wanting to take Angus to the museum for a while now. Between illness, days at preschool and other social commitments, we have not had much opportunity to get there. I'd heard great reports from friends about the wonderful attractions for the kiddies. So today, we hopped along to the Australian Museum. Angus dressed accordingly, in his dinosaur hoodie.

We spent the bulk of our adventure in the Kidspace section and at the dinosaur exhibition. Both of these areas are so beautifully designed for the tiny tots. Plenty of hands on action and sensory experiences on offer. Angus made the most of the painting table... as did many other budding artists. Kids and Paint: The Untold Love Story. I must say, the dinosaur replicas were A.mazing! So incredibly life like, in size and detail. Angus and I were both very brave when the lights went down and a simulated storm scene was produced. This was the only point where he became a teeny bit cautious of his surrounds. But he was only too happy to pose next to the giant head of a Tyrannosaurus Rex (very Godfather-esque) and go fossicking for bones, in one of the purpose built displays.

We wrapped it all up in under 2 hours, which I felt was plenty of time for my little big man. I'm certain he is still a bit young at this age, to appreciate the full effect of the museum. In a couple of years, I expect he will insist we make a day of it, as there are just so many brilliant things to see and do. No doubt his baby brother won't sleep the entire time in the pram on our next visit either. I am extremely glad we went though and shared some precious Mama/Angus time.

Monday, May 23, 2011


The road to feeling fit is not a smooth one these days. Every time I think I might be on track and focused... something derails that notion. Recently it has been bouts of illness. The boys. Myself. If it's not lack of sleep, it's body aches and sniffles. Excuses. Excuses. I guess it just takes me more than a gentle shove to get out there and amongst it. It's an unusual feeling. Pre-children, exercise was part of my daily routine. And I liked that.

Yesterday I knew I needed to run. Get out of the house for an hour. Be free. Despite this lingering sinus complaint, I could not go another weekend without using my legs, working the muscles, feeling the sand beneath my feet. I'm so glad I did. The beach was a picture. The sand freshly manicured. It always feels like I'm cheating when the sand tractor has just been through. It is still dry and soft and extremely difficult to run in. Though it's smoother and lighter, than when a thousand feet have trampled across and churned it up.

I ran as fast and strong as I possibly could. When I could push no more, I stopped. Breathed. Took in the wonderful sights around me. Boats we had our wedding photos taken sitting in. Keen volleyballers starting up an early morning contest. Rays of sunlight shining down across a bed of coastal flowers. The ocean. The sand. I was happy with my 6 laps. It's only 3km, a mere fraction of what I should be achieving. But it is something. I love this beach of mine. Well, the beach I share with numerous others too. But there is a part of me that belongs to these golden sands. And at least a few of these grains belong to me. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New Saucepans & Narrow escapes

It was a cold, rainy night, in June last year. I was 37 weeks pregnant with Felix. Scott was working late and I had kept dinner warm for his arrival home. Not thinking straight (as I tend not to when I'm 37 weeks pregnant) I placed a saucepan of pasta inside a slightly larger saucepan of water and popped them on the stove top to gently simmer. A good way to keep residual heat flowing through the food, without drying it out. By the time Scott had eaten his meal and I got around to rinsing the dirty plates and pots, it had been a couple of hours. My clever, gradual, heating method had backfired. The saucepans had welded together. Tight. As I wrenched and pulled, nothing was going to budge them. The combination of water and steam had expanded and locked those babies together, like something out of a high school lab experiment.

Enter my resourceful husband... aka Mr Science. He had a grand plan to put both saucepans back on the stove top, to create a surge of steam and release the pressure that had built up between them. Well, release the pressure... it did. To such a degree, we blew up the kitchen. Or more so, the glass range hood above our stove top and the cupboards above the glass range hood. The explosion was mega! For many days, weeks, months later, I ran through the what if's in my head. I will always count my lucky stars that Angus was already snug in his bed and that we both decided to clear the kitchen in those few minutes it took for the saucepans to become... ahem... detached. Thousands of pebbly fragments of glass rained down over 3 separate rooms of our tiny home and the trapped boiling hot water from the bottom saucepan splattered the roof and walls of the kitchen. It took hours to clean up the glass... and we were STILL finding bits in obscure places months later. Our saucepan mishap taught us many lessons that night. Never underestimate the power of steam being the main one. It also raised a few questions... how were we about to become parents again? We blew up our own kitchen... Hmmm!

The saucepans were never quite the same and I have been managing with their battle scars ever since. Almost a year on. But the time has definitely come to retire the old faithfuls, that have served us well, for the past 9 years (I like to get my money's worth). So this week I am joining in with Maxabella, to be ever so grateful for brand spanking new saucepans. A whole set of them. On sale. And Scanpan, no less. Grateful for saucepans AND narrow escapes... I will never forget how close we came to a disaster almost too frightening to comprehend.

My lovely new set of saucepans... may be just the inspiration I need to get my cook on!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Running inventory

I cannot get over how much 'stuff' children accumulate. I'm not even referring to clothes... that is a whole other ball game. It's the bits and pieces. The toys, games, puzzles, attachments, refills, blocks... LEGO! Never. ending. I remember having lots of 'stuff' as a child. Hundreds of miniature pieces of fun, each and every one important to me. Every piece serving a purpose in my daily play.

One thing that always amazed me, was my Mama's uncanny ability to know where most of my treasured knick knacks were. Just how did she know where to find them when they were seemingly missing in action to me? Many times I thought my favourite Barbie outfit or my best bits of fuzzy felt (how I LOVED that 'stuff') were long gone. Then like a knight in shining armour, my Mama would come up with the goods. I seriously thought she possessed incredible Mama powers. I believed she had a gift. Until I became a Mama myself, that is.

Something suddenly occurred to me this week. I can be juggling multiple tasks at once. Cooking dinner, washing up, folding clothes. But I still have a sense of the nooks, cranny's and secret hiding spots, my boys frequent. The latest favourite object, which will invariably end up in one of said places and forgotten about. Therein lies the answer to my lifelong amazement. Just as my Mama 'magically' kept a running inventory of the things precious to me... my boys now look to me to do the same. And I do keep a haphazard style of inventory. With the exception of objects mistakenly thrown in the rubbish bin or trinkets flung under the fridge, I am across the myriad of 'stuff' circulating through our home. These magic powers certainly come in handy, at any given moment.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Just hanging out

Today I decided baby Felix and I needed a leisurely day. No plans, no catch up's, no appointments. A day to ourselves, to do whatever popped up. That's exactly what we did. After we dropped Master Angus off at preschool, we cruised by our local shops, to pick up a few necessities. Then headed off home for a day of hanging out. Together.

It is rare I spend time alone with Felix. Thursdays and Fridays are seen as an opportunity to race around meeting up with friends and family, knocking chores off the 'to do' list. Mostly the ones too difficult to accomplish with two children in tow. So it was a real treat to watch my little babe at work and play. He is SO busy these days. Sourcing out projects everywhere he roams. Scott has always said our boys are working on their next scheme, even as we are shutting down the one they're on. Yes, I'm talking about the major obsession with the toilet roll, Felix! and the fascination with pulling the DVD out of the Tv cabinet and the overwhelming urge to yank the ironing board out of it's cleverly disguised (or so I thought) position next to the fridge AND the demolition of my tupperware cupboard at every. chance. you get.

It was a productive day for us both though, relaxed, but productive. I love how Felix has claimed the little step at the back of our house as his own. It's his latest favourite pitstop, where I could swear he sits and ponders the world around him. I HAD to capture a shot or two of him kicking back on that little step. He is such a Kool Kat. I savour every moment of these days with just the two of us. I know I'm going to miss them incredibly, come July when I return to work.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Crossing the line

Angus has an extreme fear of dogs. Has so for a while now. I'm not entirely sure how it started. It might be to do with the extensive dog population in our area. Our neighbours on either side have dogs... and not just one, but 3 in one house, 4 in the other. They bark, they snarl, they snap. No doubt it is a bit overwhelming for a not quite 3 and a half year old. They overwhelm me at times. I grew up with dogs though, so I didn't have this type of fear at Angus' age. But it is his anguish and we acknowledge it. We comfort and reassure him and try not to make a big deal of his squeals and terrified pleas for us to pick him up, every. time. he sees a dog in the vicinity.

On Sunday, we had a rather odd encounter, while playing with the boys at a local park. A lady was walking a large black dog, off the leash. Angus preoccupied at first with our game of frisbee throwing. Until the large black dog made an excited, bounding, b-line straight for him. Angus realising the dog was heading in his direction, at pace, squealed and ran as fast as he could to me. Scott had already swooped Felix up from the grass, naturally wanting to avoid a collision between a 10 month old baby and a large dog. 

The lady owner proceeded to instruct Angus not to be afraid of her dog. She continued by saying the worst thing a child can do is run from a dog, as it will make the dog chase them more. I am sure she wasn't aware that she was talking to a not quite 3 and a half year old child. Right? Right?? What amazed me about this situation was the lady persisted with her plight about how gentle and loving her dog was and that she used to tell her children the same thing when they were scared of dogs. Then repeatedly urged a clearly frightened Angus to go over and pat her dog. It was an awkward moment, as I smiled politely, consoling Angus in my arms. I honestly thought I might have to physically restrain Scott, who stood holding Felix, expressionless. I know my husband, he was not impressed.

The encounter started me thinking about crossing the line with other people's children. I felt this woman crossed the line with my child. I feel she had no right to lecture our little boy, particularly regarding a matter that was obviously disturbing to him. I met up with a friend of mine yesterday for a park play date and there was a dog in the park we were in. Within minutes, she had spoken to her little boy (also Angus' age) about not going near the dog, because it was a strange dog and we shouldn't go near strange dogs. Whether Angus' fear of dogs is unnatural or not, it is something for us to deal with, in our own time. My friend summed it up in one sentence, "I would rather the kids be more cautious, than trusting of dogs unfamiliar to them". My thoughts exactly

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Box

Last Thursday, when my Mama and I ordered a fancy flat screen television from Myer, I had no idea taking possession of it would be such an ordeal. Being her thoughtful self, Mama has been insisting for months that we must have a new television. One that she was intent on buying us. She did have a point about our old tele being small and a little fuzzy and bulky. However, I did not expect for her to purchase us a new one. But this is my Mama, generous to a fault.

I chose one from the vast array available and we went about paying for the tele itself, as well as delivery. I was informed the delivery centre would call first thing Friday morning with a window time for actual delivery. I know how these 'windows' work. Anywhere between 8am-1pm or 1pm-6pm. I don't like the window. I never feel comfortable within the window. I can't get on and do my thing knowing I need to stay close to home and keep an ear/eye out for a delivery truck. It's exhausting. 

The window ended up being between 1-6pm. I had to juggle preschool pickup in that time and hoped they didn't decide to arrive in that 30 minute part of the window when I wasn't home. Thankfully, that didn't happen. Just as the truck pulled away, Angus and I inspecting the mega sized box in the middle of our lounge room, I noticed the brand name splashed across the box. It wasn't the one we had ordered the day before. I. couldn't. believe. it. I jumped straight on the phone with the delivery centre to arrange for them to get in contact with the driver. It had only been 10 minutes since they left. 

From this point, everything turned pear shaped. Despite best efforts from the lady at the delivery centre, she was unable to get the truck to turn around to come and collect the gigantic Tv plonked in my lounge room. The wrong Tv. A Tv we couldn't use. A Tv we had nowhere to store in our tiny place. I was less than impressed. On top of standard dinnertime rush hour at our place, I was juggling phone calls back and forth to Myer customer service and the delivery centre and the manager of the electrical department at Myer city store. Everyone was happy to chat, but no one seemed to have a solution. It was a mess.

So on Saturday, I had another window. To wait for the Tv we didn't order to be collected. My Tv, apparently could not be delivered until Monday. Then after 3 days of waiting, as the debacle of the missing Tv played out over numerous phone conversations... we finally received our brand new television (at the tail end of yet another delivery window I might add)

I couldn't have been more chuffed with myself... (much like my friend The Cat In The Hat pictured on our snazzy new tele). Ignoring instructions to only assemble with 2 or more adults, I put that baby together with my own two hands and set it up with Foxtel fully functioning to boot! My little boys were most fascinated with the action (and the cardboard box) and Scott was very pleased with the latest addition when he came home from work. All's well that ends well.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

We like to party

One of the perks of growing up in a large family, are the get togethers. Be it birthdays, Christmas, engagements, weddings or just because, celebrating as a family... in this family of mine... is fun. We enjoy a good tipple and love an opportunity for a dance. So really, any excuse for a party!

Saturday night we celebrated yet another 21st Birthday, for one of my darling nieces. I'm kind of getting into the swing of these 21st's. They're like reliving my early twenties all over and I dig that... even if just for a night. She chose to go with a themed event, requesting guests to come dressed as anything starting with the letters L, M or J. Her initials. Rather cool concept. And there were some rather cool costumes also. To name but a few of them: 

Michael Jackson (my brother) 
Molly Meldrum (another brother)
Mafia boss (yet another brother)
Jesus, complete with life sized cross... very bizarre
Ladybird (my beautiful niece)
Minnie Mouse x 4... we even had a pregnant Minnie, my nephew's lovely wife! 
Leprechaun (another gorgeous 21 year old)
Marilyn Monroe x 2... a treat for the gentleman folk
A Madame (my cheeky sister-in-law)
Lawyer... Scott choosing the easy option of just putting on a suit
aaaaand... Military Mama... aka yours truly! 

The birthday girl donned a smoking hot, Lowenbrau inspired, beer Maid's outfit... along with plenty of other jaw droppingly spunky Maids scattered amongst the crowd, in their skimpy costumes on a chilly night. They just don't seem to feel the cold. But my word, those 21 year olds sure know how to party. And as we were sans kiddies for the evening, we dusted off our party shoes and happily joined them!

So difficult to get a shot of the entire family... we managed a fair chunk of them in this one... I LOVE each and every one of this motley crew!

My 'baby' 16 and 17 year old nieces

Happy 21st beautiful Lauren!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Kindness of strangers

It's nice having one of those days, when everyone I meet is a friendly soul. Restores my faith in humanity, to some extent. Today, Felix and I caught the bus into the city, to meet up with my Mama for lunch. Whenever we're on the bus, I'm always rather nervous of him having a total meltdown. I'm particularly conscious of my boys disrupting the public in general, let alone within a confined space, like a bus. Maybe more paranoid, than conscious. I am also fully aware that not everyone warms to children and there is nothing quite like a cold stare, from a cranky stranger. 

But today, the bus rides inward and outward bound were most enjoyable. Thanks to the lovely ladies who sat behind us. Each of them chatted, smiled, played and kept Felix entertained for the duration of our trip. One of his latest things is to scrunch his little face up and squint his eyes, as if to say "I realise you're looking at me and I know, is it possible to be any more adorable... really?" I have watched him melt the hearts of many a lady with this very expression. He IS a charmer, that's for certain. A ladies man at the age of 10 months. He's doing well.

My baby will be 1 in less than 2 months. The 10 month mark came and went in a haze of sickness and sleepless nights. He has taken off in the last couple of weeks. No longer opting for the commando style crawling, but the proper crawl, on all fours. He stands for a few seconds unassisted and surfs every piece of furniture he can put a hand to. He lights up our lives with his irresistible smile and even with a grubby face, he cannot take a bad photo. 10 months is a delightful age indeed.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

White Wings Mama

A number of brands have stuck with me since childhood. Really memorable brands, complete with daggy 80's commercials, sporting equally daggy, yet catchy, jingles. One that springs to mind, every time I see the blue and white dove symbol in the supermarket, is White Wings. As I recall, it went something like...  'when you've got a White Wings Mum, you've got it made'. Yep, daggy. Interesting how these catch phrases stay with us, throughout our lives. The power of advertising me thinks.

As most brands do, I have noticed White Wings branching out in the past year or so. An indicative sign of the times no doubt. No longer wanting to be seen as the kings of flour or packet cake mixes, they now have a range of ready made biscuits. I'm not normally a big fan of packet biscuits. They're tasty enough and do the job if I don't have time to prepare something home made. But growing up with a Mama who baked batches and batches of cookies and slices, cakes and puddings, I'm more partial to a sweet made with love.

However, White Wings have released these luscious morsels of creamy deliciousness. And with one of my favourite fillings, no less. I LOVE passionfruit, in my bikkies and desserts. On it's own, passionfruit can taste decidedly tart, but whipped up into a a treat like this, it is just divine. So, hat's off to you White Wings, you continue to fill my days as a Mama, with fond reflections of yesteryear... and my latest favourite biscuit.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Under Pressure

I. am. struggling. Almost 3 years ago, I had my first ever sinus infection. Oh, the pain. Excruciating. I had not experienced anything like it previously and never wanted to experience anything like it again. Fast forward to now. Low and behold, I have my second sinus infection. It is every bit as torturous as I recall. I thought I was being a tad cocky over the weekend, thinking the sickness of the last couple of weeks had slowly disappeared into thin air. And yet here I am.

Against better judgement, I decided to start taking Sudafed that has been in the cupboard since well... my last sinus infection. But the tablets don't expire until June, so they should be fine? Yes. They will be fine. At this point, I'm verging on desperate and a couple of stale pills couldn't make me feel much worse. I know there is a light at the end of this tunnel of illness, whilst it is hard to see the light right now, it's there. I am trying to exercise every. tiny. ounce. of patience I have left, with my beautiful boys. It is not their fault that I am disgruntled, in pain, short tempered. Felix is going through his own clingy, cranky-pants streak at present. Could be his teeth? Maybe it's having to deal with his demonstrative older brother? or maybe it's just sympathy pangs for his Mama? 

As soon as I'm feeling myself again, I have these delicious chocolatey friends to devour. Devour, I will. I simply LOVE handmade delights from the David Jones sweets counter... or any sweets counter for that matter. My Mama knows this. I am one lucky daughter.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I had a nice, low key Mother's Day. With the boys and I still recovering from the virus we've had, we decided to just go with the flow, rather than plan anything specific. So after lunch, the four of us headed down to the local playing fields, for some afternoon fun. I loved watching my 3 boys playing in the sunshine. Tackles, chasings, frisbee flying and plenty of ball catching. Mama joined in with the action of course, until she was tackled by her 3 year old little big man. Then it was time to hang up the boots. A perfect Autumn afternoon. We may have also found a Mr Whippy van, parked conveniently close by... and indulged in a bit of Mother's Day soft serve... to replenish all the energy lost.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Shoes, Blooms & Kiddlywinks

This week I'm grateful for a great many things and because I can't possibly list all of them, I have selected my three favourites to focus on. Joining in with the wonderful Maxabella to share the grateful spirit.

New Shoes (+ free gift with purchase!) - It's hard to find a gal who doesn't love a new pair of shoes. I am no exception. I have kept a fairly tight lid on the shoe budget this year season. So how was I to resist a beaut little pair of Winter flats... especially when David Jones were offering 25% off on Witchery shoes and accessories? It is any wonder I didn't buy more! AND a nice little surprise at the register... a free gift with purchase! A delightful case of 4 skin care creams, consisting of Aloe Vera; Rosewater; Cocoa Butter and good ol' Vitamin E. What a tidy Mama's Day gift for myself! 

Chrysanthemums - As the years go by, I grow to love this flower more and more. The shape, texture, variety of colours and of course, the significance. My poor Mama receives a pot of these EVERY year, regardless of whether she wants them or not. Scott's Mum also scores a pot. This year, I settled on an understated white, with a whisper of pink on the edges for my Mama. And classic white for Scott's Mum. I do adore these blooms.

Little people who call me Mama - Being a Mama is arduous and relentless, at times. It might sound cliche, but it is SO worth every minute of hard work. Whilst Mother's Day is a celebration of Mama's. For me, it's also a celebration of the kiddlywinks* I'm lucky enough to call my own. Yes, this week I am most grateful.

* My Mama used this expression to describe us when we were little. I only just remembered while writing this post. Cute!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bite Me

There is a nasty habit that has worked it's way into our household of late. Courtesy of Master Felix. It seems we have a biter on our hands. At first, they were affectionate little nibbles. Now, they are full blown, teeth clenching, bites. I don't quite know how to handle this situation either, as Angus has never been a biter. I know it's fairly common in young babies and even toddlers, but it's vicious and nasty in my book. And I'm determined to put a stop to it.

I think I am still pretty raw about an incident that took place today. In fact, it was an incident within a rather disastrous half hour period, during preschool pick up this afternoon. The teachers and directors arranged a Mother's Day celebration, with food and drink provided (we were asked to chip in $10 + a hamper item + buy raffle tickets for the hamper we had contributed to... but that's another story for another day). Anyway, it didn't start well when I rocked up to the gate and noticed a little girl laying into Angus, on the other side of the fence. He retaliated with a slight push and shove and ran away. Only to have her chase him down and start belting him again. Who really knows how these things start between children. So I walked in and made my presence known to Angus, not wanting to acknowledge what I saw or make a scene. At which point, said little girl came up to me and announced that Angus had pushed her. Oh puh-leeease I thought. But alas, we moved on.

I had been there approximately 90 seconds when Angus began hounding me to take him home. I should have just gone with that notion, because things systematically went from bad to worse. The one drink I grabbed ended up in my shoe... thank you Felix for the pleasure. My feet were cold and sticky from then on. Angus became increasingly tired, frustrated and attention seeking, while Felix proceeded to remove the pile of plastic knives and forks from their position on the kiddy table. Then. Innocently chatting away to one of the other Mama's about her two boys, how they're going, blah blah blah, when Felix latches on to my chin. Well, more part chin, part cheek. He locked on so tightly, I could not remove his clench. It stung like crazy, as his tiny, razor sharp fangs, pierced my skin. 

I'm not sure if they were tears of pain... or sheer embarrassment... starting to well up in my eyes. All I knew for sure... it was definitely time to go. So with that, I rounded Angus up, said my brief goodbyes and headed for the hills. It is hard not to get cranky at someone who inflicts such intense physical pain, out of thin air. But of course, I didn't get cranky. My little pit bull obviously has a reason for using his chompers to communicate with me. Now all I have to do, is work out what that reason is and how on earth I make him STOP!

Appreciating Mama

This week, I have found myself thinking about my Mama frequently. This is not unusual. We talk on the phone regularly. SMS every other day. Then catch up in person, at least once a week. But more so, I have been reflecting on how tough her life must have been raising a family the size of hers. I know why I find myself in this frame of mind. The boys and I have been running a tag team of sickness for over a week now. The only one escaping the full brunt of the germ, being Scott. Possibly because he flees the house early for work and returns at the very close of the day. His saving grace, maybe. Since becoming a Mama, whenever I fall ill, I'm instantly plagued with a feeling of panic. How am I going to get through the day? What will I do about all the things that won't stand still for a few days... just because I want to? How am I going to cope with 2 little boys, when I can barely lift my head off the pillow?

It is times like this, when I think of my Mama, at my age, with 5 little boys. A husband who worked for himself, married to the business, 24/7. A business of which she also played a very active and important role in, though granted, behind the scenes. A kind, caring, devoted Mama and wife. Just what did she do when she was down for the count? Well, I know what she did. I was there. I witnessed the rare occasions when she was crook. She kept. on. going. Even when she should have been in bed, feet up, someone looking after her. Always such strength and positivity, even when she had nothing left to give. 

It is consistently tough being a Mama, but never more so than when you're not physically charged to meet it head on.
So this weekend, along with some pretty PJ's and gorgeous blooms, I'll be giving my Mama an extra special cuddle. For all the times she got out of bed, to cook, clean, support and nurture my brothers and I. Even when it would have been the last thing she felt like doing. For dedicating every piece of her life from the age of 19 onwards, to building a happy, stable home. And whilst there's not a day goes by when I don't appreciate her for everything she's been to me anyway. It is never more prominent in my mind, than when I'm a sick Mama of 2 boys. A fine reminder, right on cue, for Mother's Day.

My parents in 1965... 4 boys in 6 years. 

Mama and I in 2010.