Thursday, May 31, 2012

Park Life

Until quite recently, I struggled to understand when parents declared a strong loathing of going to the park. Before I became a Mama, park days were one of those things I longed for. Playing with my children for hours and hours in the sunshine and fresh air. And I must say, it's always pretty much lived up to those idyllic expectations. But then Felix found his feet and at the same time developed an attitude and a propensity to run... and run fast. So now, a trip to the park is fraught with danger and stress and absolutely NO time to rest... at all.

Yesterday, was one of those days. We park hopped, due to the high level of emotion at the first one we visited. Felix cried and screeched for the full half hour we were there. And being the determined nut that I am, I persevered by venturing to another park nearby. I figured it couldn't get worse. I was right. Park visit take two was a good idea. Happy boys, happy Mama. Park life at it's best. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Big Red Car

For the past couple of weeks, Felix and I have taken ourselves along to the local playgroup, while Angus is at preschool. Not knowing how Angus may react to this, I didn't mention it to him. But last night he spotted these photos on my computer and being the perceptive fellow he is, questioned if we had been to playgroup without him. Backed into a corner, I answered honestly and asked if that was alright. His response went something like this... "that is fine Mama, I don't want to go to playgroup anymore anyway". Slightly taken back, I said "oh, ok, no worries". My big boy is definitely growing up and I don't blame him for wanting to gradually distance himself from the younger activities Felix partakes in. He then continued, "lucky you still have your little friend Felix to do things with when I'm at preschool". It made me laugh and kind of broke a tiny piece of my heart off at the same time.

Anyway, my little friend has a minor obsession with the big red cars. Once he's in one, it's a battle to get him out again. Far be it from me to stop him though. I'm going to enjoy these playgroup days while they last. As clearly, they won't last forever.

Joining in with Faith Hope & a whole lotta Love for 'Snap It' and today's topic of: Red. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Shutter Love

Ever so gradually, I am making subtle changes to beautify our home. There are so many major ones that I'm itching to undertake. But they require lots of time and lots of money. So while the complete overhauls of kitchen/bathroom/backyard are on hold, the joy is being found in small things. Like floor rugs or lounge cushions or ottomans or shutters. My latest love around the house are the brand new shutters that replaced the ghastly blind/curtain combo which previously existed in our lounge room. It's amazing I left them there for so long, though I was waiting for the right time and the right replacement. And with only two windows in our tiny terrace, it seemed only fitting to give one of them the lovely makeover it deserves. I'm as happy as larry with these beauties and hopefully their guarantee to stand the test of time can live up to the wear and tear of a household of boys. Next on the wish list... the perfect mirror to compliment the shutters.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Give it away, give it away, give it away... NOW!

In my head, I imagined once I hit one hundred followers I'd have a little giveaway. A bit of a celebration for reaching triple figures, or something like that. But as is often the case, my reflexes have taken a tad longer to catch up with my thoughts. But I have also just clocked up three hundred & fifty posts. So for both these reasons... some tokens of appreciation.

Pack One
The Australian Women's Weekly COOK book - This book was gifted to me by my dear friend Nat many moons ago and is still my favourite cook book. It is responsible for lots of the delicious recipes I post here and when I saw this soft cover copy at the Post Office, I knew it had to form part of a giveaway. Tried and tested recipes, from me to you.
Set of two square platters by Marie Claire - Now these are simply gorgeous. So gorgeous in fact, that I purchased three sets of them at once. And decided they would be a rather nice accompaniment to the cook book. They look perfect with a good slab of cake rested upon them too.

Pack Two
Kikki K Sketch Notepad & Three Kikki K matching pens - Because as I have discovered, one can never have too much stationery on hand.
Typo bright blue ink pad & birdie stamp - this actually just matched the rest of the blue motif nicely... and stamps are always fun too!

So thank you lovely followers. I may not always be able to reply to your wonderful comments filled with words of wisdom and support... but please know that each and every one brightens my days... and nights.

* All followers (new & old) of Mama of 2 boys residing in Australia may enter this giveaway (sorry to my overseas lovelies)
* Simply leave a comment on this post... and maybe which pack would be preferred
* Entries close next Monday 4th June at 6pm
* Winners will be drawn and posted the same evening

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chocolate Fudge Cake

I am well and truly hooked on yet another season of MasterChef. And this year, Angus is into it for the first time too. His favourite is Gary, closely followed by George and then "the big fella", as he refers to Matt. The other night, Peter Gilmore's Eight-Textured Chocolate Cake literally had me drooling. An absolute work of art. I'm determined to get myself along to Quay restaurant at some stage, just to order one of those beauties for dessert.

This afternoon presented the perfect opportunity for a bit of baking. Cold, rainy, just the kind of weather to have the oven cranking away to heat the house nicely. And I just so happened to find the simplest of simple recipes in my Women's Weekly Easy Cakes & Biscuits cookbook. Whilst it is no Eight-Textured Chocolate Cake, it is a mighty fine alternative. Deceptively light and velvety (given all that dark chocolate inside) and completely YUM. The only thing missing was a dollop of vanilla ice-cream or double cream. Next time!

Chocolate Fudge Cake

250g dark eating chocolate, chopped
125g butter, chopped coarsely
2/3 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup self-raising flour
4 eggs, beaten lightly

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (160 for fan-forced)
Grease 20cm x 30cm rectangular pan
Line base & long sides with baking paper
Stir chocolate and butter in medium heatproof bowl over
saucepan of simmering water 
(do not allow the water to touch base of bowl)
Combine chocolate mixture and remaining ingredients in medium bowl
Beat on low speed with electric mixer until ingredients are combined
Increase speed to medium; beat about 3 minutes or until mixture
is changed in colour and smooth
Pour mixture into pan
Bake about 30 minutes
Stand cake in pan 5 minutes before turning, top-side up, onto wire rack
to cool
Serve dusted with cocoa powder, if desired

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Neighbourhood

Twice a week, in the morning, we do the preschool drop-off dash. And twice a week, in the afternoon, we do the preschool pick-up meander. On these gorgeous Autumn days, Felix and I delight in the walk that leads us to our boy Angus. Those large brown eyes light up at the mere mention of going to meet his brother, after six hours without him. Then the three of us wander the same path back home. Stopping along the way to explore and enjoy. Past the 'big' school they're both set to attend. Past the wonderful old fire station. Past the bowling club all silent and neat. Past beautiful heritage homes and down narrow side streets. And the final stretch through the park, filled with children playing after a long school day.

This is the neighbourhood. Our neighbourhood. A place we're so thankful to call home.

Linking up with Faith Hope & a whole lotta Love for 'Snap It' and this week's topic of: Neighbourhood.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Yoghurt Thief

I should know by now, that in toddler terms, quiet and peaceful spells trouble. Though when I'm working against the clock to get something done, who am I to question the silence?! And I have a tricky little fellow who is starting to take full advantage of those available windows when Mama is busy... to hit the fridge. He's not too fussy, grabbing anything he can get his chubby hands on, then taking his loot back to the dining table to inspect.

Usually, I catch him in the act before he's even worked out how to break in, but about a week ago, while blowdrying my hair, the first yoghurt theft occurred. I came out of the bathroom to find him spoon deep in a tub of wild blueberry. With precision, he had taken the tub out of the fridge, removed the plastic seal, collected a spoon from the drawer and plonked himself at the table to devour. Straight after breakfast too. The look of partial guilt but mostly self satisfaction on his face, just needed to be captured. I am secretly proud of his will and determination. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blink of an eye

On Saturday, Felix pulled our hall table down on himself. Our really heavy, wooden, hall table. One minute I was vacuuming with him by my side, the next minute he was on the floor screaming, pinned underneath, with a mess all around him. It frightened me so. much. It frightened him so much. But I still think it rattled me more. And as is often the case when one of the boys hurt themselves, my reaction of panic startles them and they go straight for their daddy. Which upsets me even further I think. But he is big and strong and calm and when I think way back to when I was little, I always turned to my Dad to make everything better too. So I regathered my composure and checked him all over and cuddled him and tried to stop the involuntary shaking in my legs. He was absolutely fine. In a million years, I would not have believed he could pull a table that tall and solid down. But then Felix is consistently showing me that in fact he can do anything he sets his mind to.

On Sunday morning, the weather was drizzly and bleak. Both Scott and I were bleary eyed from Saturday night and to pull the doona over our heads and snooze for a good twelve hours, would have been perfect. Instead, we answered the calls of our energetic duo and hit the park. Some kicking, frisbee throwing, tip you're it! and hide 'n' seek. Just the ticket for clearing the cobwebs.