Saturday, October 31, 2009

Quality (and quantity) sewing time

Enjoying a rarity.

This afternoon I had one hubby and one goddess down for an afternoon sleep and 2 boys "keeping themselves amused for an hour or two". Amazing how our kids have so much but are so easily bored...but that's another post in itself.

So today the sewing goddess was smiling down on me and I got a couple of hours to myself. OK, so I was meant to be sewing my boys some more summer pyjamas but they have a pair each so I promise I will get the next pairs made for them before the PJs walk themselves to the washing machine in grotty despair.

As promised, my 1st venture into my new Japanese pattern books was to make the little wrap style dress on the front of the girls pattern book.

This was super quick to run up. I have only ever made 2 things out of these books but they tend to be simple and quick. I'm in love!

I took a guess on the size and made size 100. Just fits but not much room for growth. Oh well, just have to make her another one. I'd love to make this in winter fabrics to be worn with a long sleeved tee inderneath.

Pattern- from Japanese girls pattern book
Fabrics- spot- Ava Rose (Grand Revival- Tanya Whelan)
- blue floral- vintage fabric from stash
- crochet edged bias binding- Holland Fabric House
Approval rating- The little princess tried it on with the promise of a Dora the Explorer DVD on the telly and left it on. So far, so good!

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009

Well, that was fun. Sigh. Back to the pyjamas...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Adventurous Sewing

Japanese pattern books

I must admit to a love/hate relationship with Japan. After all a country that is responsible for foisting Pokemon and Hello Kitty on the world is not easily forgiven.
But then I adore the traditional Chiyogami (or Yuzen) papers. And a place that prints such beautiful and cute fabrics and sewing tape such as those by Kokka has a definate place in my heart.
And I don't need to mention the plethora of cherry blossomed fabrics, papers and the like. Can't go past a lovely cherry blossom print.
But then one of their food delicacies is eating a puffy fish which could kill you. (But then we eat the good old Aussie meat pie which one could argue is no different)
But then they created sushi.
OK I could go on.
Anyhow, a couple of years back I splurged on a Japanese sewing book. Cost a bomb when shipping was included. But there is something elegant and quirky about the books that I adore.
So one of my discoveries for 2009 is Prices are in American dollars but the books come with free international shipping. Suddenly they are a heck of a lot more reasonable, especially with the current strength of the Australian dollar. You need to know a bit about which book you want unless you are a fluent Japanese reader (I must have skipped that morning at school) and you will scroll through a lot of pages but if you know that book cover that you want and it's there, it's the cheapest way I have found to buy them.
My 3 purchases arrived today, perfectly packaged.

Sewing 2009

Sewing 2009
Sewing 2009
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Sewing 2009
These aren't for the faint of heart. As you can see, there is not any English to speak of. But it keeps sewing exciting to have an adventure every now and then doesn't it?
(My 1st project is going to be the little girl's dress on the cover. I've adored it from afar for ages!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Drafting a non-nanna skirt

If at first you don't succeed, cheat a little.

For a while now, I have been wanting to draft myself a knit skirt that was flattering...well, let's say- a knit skirt that wasn't unflattering (Don't want to set my expectations too high, do I?) I have a few knits of so-so quality that I have bought off ebay for their print and have some black quality knit ready to go.

Last week I used one of the previously mentioned pretty-print-of-dubious-quality knit fabrics to sew up a self-drafted elasticised A-line skirt using Sew What skirts. Lovely little book that has not yet been given the attention that it is worthy of by yours truly.

Anyhow this ended up as a pretty little nanna skirt (sorry to all the hip nannas out there; no insult intended) I love A line skirts but I don't think that they work for me if they are gathered.
Trinny and what's her name would have a conniption if they pulled this little number out of my wardrobe. Add to that, I found a hole smack bang in the middle of one of the 2 panels. That was the proverbial nail. I think that I will put it towards the back of my cupboard and pull it out in 25 years or upcycle it to a tee for my daughter.

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009

Deep breath. Wipe the brow. Pause and refocus. Ding, ding. Round 2. I have a favourite skirt with a yoke, gently elasticised waist and 6 panels that I love. So I pulled it out along with my ruler, pencil and paper and made myself up a pattern essentially the same. Pulled out another pretty-print-of-dubious-quality knits, cut it out, whipped it up and what an improvement. There is a gentle gathering at the waist as the elastic is inserted in the top of the yoke. I made this one with 3 panels but there are no gathers below the yoke so it gentle flares out to some fullness. The knit was a bit...plasticky but coped with a lettuce edge rolled hem. And I love the result.

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009

Hard to see details due to the colour.

Next up I want to make black panelled skirts and experiment with knit print applique. Nothing fancy. Just to create a focus point.

Will keep you posted.

Eye Candy

My favourite kind of lolly!

I have been following Blogtoberfest in my role as an interested admirer. It turns out that it wouldn't have taken a lot more effort to blog daily than the effort I have been putting in this month anyhow but I am really still a blog novice when it comes to a lot of things so I hovered in the background trying not to bring attention to myself.

However my other role has been as an avid blog competition participant. I only entered those where I wanted to win the prize in question and where there were no strings attached. That role appears to agree with me as I have had 3 emails notifying me that I have been lucky.

So let me share with you my 1st little goodie courtesy of a giveaway over at Adelle's blog.

Adelle was giving away, courtesy of another Adelle (confused?) the prize was a ring of your choice from 2nd Adelle's etsy shop Delicious Designz or her Zibbet shop. Of course I am always thinking about food if I'm not thinking about coffee so I chose one entitled "I'm Going for Icecream"
And look what arrived in the post today!

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OND 2009
Thank you so much, Adelle and Adelle.
I love it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quote of the Week

Will Anderson (Rove, 27th September, 2009)

Regarding the seven signs of ageing:
" have their pants pulled up to their nipples, women have their nipples pulled down to their pants..."

Cruel but true. I don't want to even contemplate the other 5 because I am sure that one would involve bladder control.

Beauty and the beholder.

Slack or sensible? Apathetic or altruistic?

Last night hubby and I got to go out for a rare "mummy and daddy without kids" social event. A lovely restaurant, adult conversation, adult "juice" (wink, wink) and a chance to exchange my normal somewhat casual attire for something a bit more dressy...What an effort. Apparently it isn't the done thing to wear scruffy old slippers to a classy Chinese restaurant. They want a touch more class to go with their salt and pepper lobster. So I actually had to make an effort to scrub up.

It took me 26 minutes to get ready. 10 minutes to shower, brush my teeth, do my hair, spray some nice smelly stuff on my decolletage (don't you just love that word?), get dressed, find shoes and a bag and some earrings. Then 16 minutes to find anything that resembles that stuff you smear on your face to make you instantly attractive to the opposite sex, dimish your wrinkles and increase your self confidence by 1 gazillion percent.

That magical thing. Make up.

The only problem is that at this stage in my life I don't wear the stuff. It's not that I have let myself go as a stay at home mum. I still practice hair removal for pete's sake. But my daily morning beauty routine consists of applying a bit of hair mousse, deodorant and some tinted moisturiser. And it's not that motherhood has made me this way. For years I have been less and less inclined to use makeup on a daily basis. I tell myself that it will give me better skin as I get older but it probably just that I don't see the point is pretty-ing myself up to buy toilet paper, drop my child at kindy or to put the garbage bins out.

It's also a darn lot cheaper. A friend and I feel under-appreciated by our husbands that we are low-maintenance chicks. No monthly hairdresser visits for colours and tips, no facials, manicures, pedicures, massages...

I watched a bit of an Oprah show a couple of years ago. The story was about a 3 or 4 year old little girl who refused to leave the house without having lipstick on...because every day she saw her mum put lipstick on. Then there was the slim 6 year old who was asking if she looked fat- because her mother was obsessed with her own body image.

A bit scary, really. We all know that our kids want to imitate us. My 2 and 1/2 year old daughter certainly wants to use my hair mousse when I do or pops on one of my necklaces when she is playing. But I do wonder if the reaction of those kids on Oprah is an extreme reaction. I would say that it is but it still shows the strength of our influence. At the moment my daughter is destined to have a coffee fixation. I can see her will happily leave the house for kindy without lippy- as long as her double-shot-white-one-sugar-morning coffee is in her hand.

So anyway, with 2 minutes to spare I found some foundation powder, some mascara that wasn't dried out to oblivion and some lip gloss that vaguely matched my dress (is lip gloss in this year or was that a really tragic fashion faux-pas?) The kids ooh-ed and ah-ed as they tend to do at unusual novelties.

Now I just need to put my makeup things somewhere where I can find them next time I need them. Maybe it would just be easier to get permanent lash and lip tinting done. I wonder what Dr Phil would say about that?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Best Ever Spiced Apple Cake


Every household needs a comforting spiced apple cake recipe, best served warm out of the oven but also perfect cold or excellent with custard or brilliant with icecream (or I actually like it when it's still in the mixing bowl. But then there are not many batters and mixes that I don't find appealing)

Ah yes, comfort food. CF = lots of sugar and butter but then you aren't making it every day and eating the whole lot (or are you?)

1 cup castor sugar
8 ounces butter (love old recipes still using pre-metric)
2 beaten eggs
2 cups self raising flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
10 tablespoons cold stewed apple ( I just use as much as it takes)

Beat butter and sugar to a creamed mix.
Add beaten eggs (may look a bit curdled at this stage but no worries)
Mix through combined flour and spices.
Place half the mix in a lined tin. I use a 32 x 22 cm slice tin.
It is not a dry mix but it is thick so take your time to spread it out.
Spread apple evenly over.
Spread remaining mix over. This is tricky as it is thick but if you do your best, it will spread as it cooks and help your cause.
Moderate (180 degrees) oven approx 25 minutes. My oven takes 20-25 minutes so keep an eye on it so that it doesn't get too dry.
It is very fragile. Let it cool in the tin and it gives you better odds to transfering it without needing to call 000.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Mother Nature- 19th October, 2009

A gorgeous Spring day in little old Adelaide.
"A life with love will have some thorns, but a life without love will have no roses."
Author Unknown

OND 2009

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I wish you could smell photos because the roses smelt divine.
And the colours? Compliments of Mother Nature, not Photoshop.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rose-coloured glasses and self-perception and abdominal crunches

A harsh lesson in reality

Little Boozle 2009
(Zumba Fitness DVD cover)

Like the happy snap? That's me and a few mates. That's me on the left. The toned, pert, perky brunette with the 6 pack.

OK So that's not me. But it could be me. Couldn't it? I mean, for 3 months now, I have lunged and gyrated my hips and jungle pumped and crunched my abdominal muscles with those girls on pretty much a daily basis. Zumba baby? Yeah!

I discovered Zumba (essentially funky jazzercise to exotic music- think Samba, Salsa and Calypso) about 3 months ago. Seemed worth a try. Dvd based so I could do it in my own home, in my own time and, most importantly, behind closed curtains.

I should take a minute to explain that I have struggled with my weight my whole life. I graduated Uni overweight and lost 26 kg and in spite of a few blips, have done OK until I started child bearing. My weight increased with each pregnancy and my resolve and time to exercise decreased with each baby. I made a resolution that I had to get fit and healthy once I had finished having children- for their future and my own. But this year my last baby was suddenly past 2 years and I was not losing any weight. I have no aspiration to be a skinny minny. I love terms like "curvy" and "rubenesque" but at the moment I am just, well, fat.

But my inner self is thin. I shimmy and booty circle daily and am thinking I am pretty darn cool; after all, the people on the video are cool. But then they are younger, fitter and slimmer (and not to forget wearing THE coolest exercise clothing available) And I truly believe that my hips were not created equal to theirs. Even if I lose those 20 kg, my hips aren't EVER going to be able to do THAT.
In reality, I am an overweight, nearly middle-aged mum wearing daggy tracky daks and an oversized tee and red faced and puffing and unco-ordinated and sweating and...well, you get the picture. But I don't. That's the point. If I was in a gym class in front of a full length mirror, I'd see it too.

When I do see myself in the mirror or my reflection in a window, I do a double take because that hefty person is me. My spiritual being is thin but my earthly body is most definately not.
Yet on a daily basis I am aware that I am overweight. I can see my feet but there is a big tummy to view on the way past.
I wonder what I else I perceive about myself that other people who know me would disagree with. I probably don't want to know.
Anyhow, I will keep meeting up with my mates every day because I know that somewhere, under my love handles, I am toning up my abs and more importantly, getting healthier.
And, who knows, one day maybe a 6 pack will just appear out of nowhere. But I do accept that a pert bosom is way beyond reality at this point in my post-breast feeding life.

Oh and by the way that gorgeous lady on the right is apparently a mum to 4. There is hope for me yet...Then again, her previous career was as a professional dancer....OK, I'm screwed.

Another Keyka Lou Pixie handbag

Love these patterns!

Keyka Lou on etsy sells the most gorgeous bag patterns. I have accumulated quite a few now and haven't been disappointed in any of them. They are great patterns and come together really well.

I wanted to make a friend a present for her upcoming birthday. Her choice of colour was blue so I am hoping that she will like the finished product.

Pattern- Keyka Lou Pixie Handbag
blue flowers- lemon blossom (Alexander Henry)
bird- Polly goes to Paris (Henry Glass & Co)
paisley- cotton from stash

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009
Little Boozle 2009
Little Boozle 2009
Approval rating- from recipient- tba

The Best Ever Roasted Artichoke Dip

Oh so naughty but oh, so very nice!

And oh, so easy-

1 tin of artichokes in brine, chopped
1 cup parmesan
1 cup S&W mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, crushed
pinch cayenne

Mix together and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 180 degrees.

It really is one of those things that you ar better off eating when you didn't cook it...because then you don't know how much fat and salt is in there!

But boy, it tastes yummy...even if it does harden your arteries with each chew...

Crafty Mamas catch up

CM- SA Division

Yesterday I had a few of the Crafty Mamas girls around for a day to chat, eat, drink, be merry and maybe even get a little sewing or crafting done. My gorgeous hubby took our 3 kids out for the day and the other girls left theirs at home.

OK so not much sewing got done but a heck of a lot of chatting got done!

I had met both Karen (left in picture below) and Helen previously and Becci joined us at lunchtime. There are a few more of us lurking around here and hopefully next time it can be a bigger catch up.

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They came fairly well prepared in case a lot got done...

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Helen's mobile sewing room
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And Karen's...
(But she left some of it in the car as she felt that it might have been a bit overkill)
We enjoyed a lovely lunch, morning and afternoon tea as well as bubbly and coffee. Not much more that you could want in a day really!
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Spiced apple cake and Helen's apple and sour cherry doughnuts

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From left: Karen, Becci, yours truly and Helen
I am constantly amazed but how much of a conversation starter (and maintainer!) sewing and crafting is. The women that I hang around with at Crafty Mamas are an amazingly creative group of people. Non-judgement. Friendly. Supportive. And most of them I haven't even met in the real life.
Thanks gals. I had a brilliant day and look forward to our next catchup!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Mundanity of Domesticity

Or "Vacumning is boring"

There has been an interesting discussion going on over at the Crafty Mamas forum about time management, crafting time versus housework and associated guilt.

I don't like housework. I am lazy by nature and I also hate tedious repetition. I really hate doing something knowing that it just needs to be done again tomorrow...and the next day...and the next. I really dislike emptying the laundry hamper, turning on the washing machine then turning around to literally find the hamper already half full again. I don't get much satisfaction from a shiny clean toilet bowl especially when I know that the 3 willies in the household are lurking nearby- and I have yet to find out what little girls are capable of doing to the bathroom floor once they start toilet training. I don't really bother to make our bed much cos I know it'll be all messed up again at bedtime. So really, what's the point? No one sees our bed anyway.

2 years ago I had 3 children at home, not one had even started school. No kindy or school runs; no uniforms to clean; no lunches to pack; no head lice to check for; no readers or homework; not one after school commitment. Lunch for hubby if he didn't get his own. I was literally a stay at home mum except when I had to leave the house for food and toilet paper and swimming lessons. Oh, and kindergym. I did a bit of ebaying and was thinking about sewing again. Oh, life was a breeze (I just wish someone had told me it was at the time)

Now I have one child at school, one at kindy and one at home who still has a daily sleep to work around. I pack 2 lunches, (I do hubby's as I'm doing my son's anyway) 5 snacks, 1 school bag and 1 kindy bag most days of the week. One child has one after school commitment. I sew as much as possible. I blog as much as possible. I hang out on a forum - yes, as much as possible.

In 5 years? 3 kids in school and 1 working hubby. By my calculations, 20 lunches per week, 40 snacks per week, 3 or more after school commitments to chase kids around for, how many school uniform washes per week and so on. I look forward to those hours from 9 am till 3 pm where God willing I am not needing to work but am children-free. I will be free to do whatever I want; to sew; read; rest; craft; blog; shop; visit; appreciate life...but only after I have washed the clothes, cleaned up the kitchen, grocery shopped, made hair and dental appointments for the family, cleaned the toilets... the mundanity of domesticity.

So, some days I will sew instead of cleaning the toilets or vacumning. I'll make sure that my kids have clean clothes, have good hygeine standards, teeth brushed and bodies washed. I will feed them good food. I will make sure that they live in a house that while, not pristine, is clean. I will also make sure that they learn how to cook, clean and fend for themselves. But I won't lose sleep over the fact that I do not take pride in an immaculate house. I take pride in that dress I crocheted my daughter or that pair of pyjamas that I made my son. It keeps me sane in a way that vacumning wont. So I am selfish and a bit of a housework slob and I can live with that. A magnet on my fridge say "Dull women have immaculate houses". So I might well be a lazy slob but I'm certainly not a dull slob.

Author's note: my husband irons his own clothes. I know that I should not feel any satisfaction in this and that it should be the way of the world but I am quietly delighted that my sons can witness the fact that the male species can open a cupboard, plug in an iron and iron their own clothing, perhaps not as well as women (yes, a blanket generalisation there), but I don't care as long as I'm not having to do it.

Bigs girls say "Raaaah!"


This morning we reached another milestone in our children's lives...well, this one was more in my husband's life but it was still cause for reflection and celebration with a tinge of sadness.

You know, that feeling you have when you finally oust the cot out of the house to replace it by your little one's new bed...oh, yay, no more cots, woohoo...but oh, she looks sooooo little in that bed......sniff!

...that feeling you have when you put a "closed" sign up in your maternity bra (hubby would probably prefer it said "under new management" after breast feeding for the best part of 5 years non-stop. I'd probably prefer "closed for renovations" after breast feeding for the best part of 5 years non-stop!)...glad to reclaim ownership, say goodbye to milk leaks in public places... but have to accept that your little one wants real food now and never again will you singlehandedly sustain and grow a little person from your own body......waaah!

...that feeling when you throw your last nappy in the rubbish and happy dance all the way back into the house in spite of who may be watching...well, I'm some way off this one but I'm told that it is cause for celebration for the sake of your wallet, your nasal passages and your child's maturing control of bodily functions...however, it is still another point passed that really signals the fact that your little baby became a toddler and now a real little boy or girl......BAWL!

We have 3 children, the first born 6 and 1/2 years ago. 6 years ago my husband started weekly swimming classes with our 1st born. Mummy breast feeds so daddy swims. But seriously it was a great chance for him to spend one on one time with our kids. And luckily they have his genes -they are ducklings to water. Mummy would sit and crochet or be breast feeding the next one. Our last is now near to 2 and 1/2 years and has just graduated from waterbabies with daddy to bigger kids' class which means no daddy. (Our kids' transition each time have averaged about 5 minutes so we have been lucky) Because our kids are close together, daddy has had about 3 months off in that time- when one baby graduated before the next one started babies' class.

He has been champing at the bit to be free especially as our daughter has been ready to progress for a couple of months but was held back because of her age. He asked whether it was wrong to be wishing for time to pass quickly when it meant that this stage of the kids' life would be over. I told him that whatever he thought, it wouldn't change anything and it would not make time go faster so to think these thoughts guilt-free.

This morning our daughter graduated water babies. She got her certificate- and so did daddy- that's how long he has been in that darn pool! Daddy's happiness was tinged with a touch of sadness that a significant part of the time he has shared with our young children was over for ever. I feel sad for him but am proud that my daughter strode confidently over to her new class and jumped on with both feet...literally. If she can retain that optimism and confidence in all aspects of her life, she can look forward to her future (and so can we)

So, back to the title.

Our daughter is taking her time about talking (can't get a word in edgewise in this house) but has a great comprehension and has other ways of making her point of view known. I asked her today- how does it feel to be a big girl now, in the big kids' swimming class? So I wasn't expecting "well, mummy, you know I think that it will be all right, thank you very much for asking" but maybe a "good" or "yay" or "no daddy"

But in response I got an emphatic "Raaaaah!"

She is going places, that girl. Her attitude will take her far.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sis Boom Molly peasant dress

By Jennifer Paganelli

I made this up for the little goddess in size 3-4 so it is too big on her at the moment as she wont be 3 till next year. But it should be nice for the end of summer and next Autumn. Worse case scenario I will take in the elastic.
Simple to put together with concise and easy to follow instructions. I did use alternative methods to make the elastic casings for the elastic.

Pattern: Sis Boom Molly peasant dress (bell sleeve version)

Fabric:Vintage fabric sheet from my stash.

Goddess approval rating: appears to be about 8/10 (put it on with a little reluctance)

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thought for the Day

Short but sweet.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

(Winston Churchill)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Confessions of an insecure mum

Reliving my childhood anxieties.

Today I have a confession.

I lack faith. In my children's abilities. Not because I doubt their abilities but more because I am finding as a mother that all those deep seated insecurites, resentments and worries that I had as a child, an adolescent, heck, even in my 20s, are re-surfacing. If that makes sense.

My 2 boys entered a colouring competition over the school holidays. Unusually for them, they applied themselves to the task and I must say produced some lovely, bright and pretty good drawings to enter. Usually the papers end up torn, scrunkled up (as my 4 year old would say) or relegated to that never ending pile of unfinished projects that gather dust in the corner.

Mummy duly popped them in the entry box and- I am sorry to say- thought "well, can't see them winning but at least they gave it a go" It's not that the entries were bad. I just thought that they were average and that there were sure to be really talented 4 and 6 year old colouring in masters out there destined for the winner's podium.

I was wrong.

Today's phone call informed us that one son had won 2nd place. And with that, 3 shop vouchers which they have decided to share. Way to go!

So the boys have learned a lesson about winning, losing, sharing, persevering and I am sure a dozen other things. And so has mummy.

I worry about my children. I ache with the thought that they will be hurt, be left out, feel lost, feel alone, feel inadequate. Because I remember feeling that way. I don't worry at all that they will bully someone. Because I never did. I worry that they will be the last chosen for the sporting team, that they will be ridiculed for a physical attribute, that they will worry about it all too much. Because I am a worrier.

So I confess and I promise to be more positive and have more faith in my kids and in life and in other people. I promise to worry less. I wont break out into a sweat when my 6 year old wants to wear socks with his sandles. Or my 4 year old struts around in Harry Highpants pyjamas. Because someone (or maybe multiple someones) will like and love them for who they is, sandles, socks and all, because they are caring, loving, funny boys. In spite of their mother's worries.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Basic parenting 101: final exam

Section D: motherhood and sleep deprivation

Question D1
It's 2 am. Given a choice, is it preferable to be woken up by:
a. the sound of hubby snoring
b. a heavy thunderstorm
c. the shrieking of a 2 and 1/2 year old having an utter meltdown for no apparent reason

Hold on, this should be easy. This is what happened last night. Now what was it? What woke me up?...definately not hubby's snoring as the shrieking woke him up too. Rain? Thunder? But hold on, shrieking child? Maybe that is preferable to the drumming, relaxing, sleep inducing rhythm of rain on the iron roof...I don't know...oh, now I'm just so confused. I should have had more coffee this morning to make up for the lack of sleep. 4 cups of triple shot espresso obviously wasn't enough. Bugger, now I need to pee. I shouldn't have thought about coffee. Maybe if I just put my head down for 5 minutes and have a nanna nap, I'll remember those blurry hours...but I can't cos now I really need to pee.
I'll go (c) That's what you pick for multiple choice when you don't know the answer, right?

Question D2
46 minutes later, are you:
a. in bed with your eyes screwed up tight and a pillow over your head to drown out the noise
b. watching the lightening out the window of the lounge room at the other end of the house
c. sitting next to angst ridden child, avoiding the flying paraphenalia that is being thrown in your direction, avoiding the attempts of said child to rake her fingernails down your face, losing your hearing due to the ongoing high pitched screams.

Ah, I know this one. After 5 minutes of (a) not working, you go for (c). Because as much as you know that you are going to be exhausted in the morning, that little person just needs to know that someone cares about her and her problems. And when she has worn herself out to the point of exhaustion, still hiccuping from her crying, it is your job to work out that she wants the ribbon from pink Bear's neck to be tied around Bear's waist just like the tie on the dressing gown that your daugher is wearing so that they match.

(And, please, sir- may I have a bonus point or two for interpreting a physically exhausted, emotionally drained, essentially non-speaking child's charades with her teddy? Especially as I think my eyes were closed at the time.)

Well, 50% is a pass isn't it?

Especially when it comes with a little smile from an exhausted, flushed face as you say goodnight for the 4th time at 3am.
Better than a gold star any day.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What is your life expectancy?

Head count your offspring first.

I do have to admit to spending some of my waking hours wondering what will be the death of me...are those additives in the taco mix going to be responsible for my demise in 25 years?

Are those 2 glasses of red wine on Friday night going to improve my life expectancy (as they are saying this week) or be responsible for early onset death (as they will probably say next week)?

That artificial sweetener I use in my hot drinks daily to cut my calorific intake- carcinogenic?

What is zapping those plastic food containers in the microwave ultimately doing to our bodies?

Maccas soft serve "icecream" doesn't melt so much as dissolve...I don't want to even think about the ramifications of that one.

There is so much information flying around these days, it is too hard to worry about it all. I do believe that many things introduced into our current lifestyle for the sake of economics or ease or speed may well be the death of us once the results are in.
But did you consider your children when you are weighing up your odds? Do you have boys or girls or both?
A Finnish study reported in a scientific magazine that I read about when I had 2 boys and was pregnant with quite possibly a 3rd found that giving birth to and raising a son cuts a woman's life expectancy by 34 weeks while doing the same with a daughter adds to a woman's life of about 23 weeks.
By their calculations, I am 45 weeks in the red.
Given how I feel about my daughter at the moment with her dramatic never-ending tantrums and propensity to scratch and bite as a survival mechanism, I am glad that there is at least one redeeming quality in having a daughter...if she doesn't cause the death of me in the mean time due to high blood pressure.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The reason we craft outside

Crafting children are the natural enemy of house interiors.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

A bun in my oven...

Well, dozens actually.

Firstly, no, I am not with child. A bun in the oven can mean a tasty floury morsel displayed on an oven tray roasting to golden sweet deliciousness, you know!

And in this case, it does.

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(Hot cross-less buns)

I like cooking. Well, I used too. In the heady days of my youth, hubby (then boyfriend) and I cooked spicy, expensive, complicated recipes to feed our food habit. We had the money; we had the time; we had the energy; we didn't have the fussy children screwing up their noses at anything green. (To be fair, my kids do eat most green things)

But now, it is a chore. Hurried breakfast for 3 kids all wanting something different and a packed lunch for those headed off for the day. Morning tea, preferably healthy and low in salt and sugar. Lunch. Sandwiches again? Afternoon tea, preferably healthy and low in salt and sugar. No- stuff that; just give them something to keep them quiet, happy and occupied. Dinner. Dinner? Again? Where did that 24 hours ago? Does canned spaghetti have any nutritional value at all?

A chore.

Occasionally I will bake my little heart out- birthday parties, entertaining, filling the freezer. But I have come to prefer to spend my spare time sewing (and maybe blogging)

A couple of months ago I went to a lecture entitiled "Fed Up" by Sue Dengate. Sue and her husband believe that food chemicals, both natural and artificial, can be responsible for behavioural and learning difficulties and some illnesses (such as skin problems or asthma) in children and adults. I went being a mother at wit's end with her belligerant, rebellious 6 year old, not knowing whether his behaviour was normal or the result of some of the things in his diet.

The most impressive exhibit in her lecture was a burger from a well-known fast food chain that was purchased about 6 months earlier. Kept wrapped in a serviette unrefrigerated in the past 6 months. Looked good enough to, well, eat. Not a speck of mould in sight...Hold on, that's downright scary.

I came away thinking that I had a normal 6 year old child with normal problems but believing that a lot of parents have children that are reacting to chemicals in food. The foods considered "safe" are not always healthy but I have had a good solid kick up the butt about how I have slipped in to easy meals and snacks for my kids. I am on a mission. More home cooked foods; changing some brands and food choices at the supermarket so that I am chosing those additive free or at least with less additives. I am not about to become The Food Grinch. My kids can still happily enjoy unhealthy food occasionally (and I think that a completely additive-free diet is near to impossible)

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(Sticky cinnamon buns)

But I do want to feel that I am doing the best for my family. So, preservative 282, a big raspberry to you. I know where you are and your days in my pantry are over!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My favourite thing # 17

When the postie arrives laden with goodies AFTER hubby has left for work!

It's when he arrives before hubby has left, that it becomes a bit less enjoyable. You know,. the explaining and all that...

Today I had 2 fabric parcels arrive. Lucky me!

I am not a fan of Kaffe Fassett fabric. No designs have ever really grabbed me. I do, however, have a thing for roses. So when I saw this stunning fabric, I started visualising skirts and bags and...

Little Boozle 2009
English roses in red

Little Boozle 2009
English roses in blue

And then the truly stunning,
Little Boozle 2009
Russian roses in black

My other parcel was part of my quest to find some great "boy" knits, now that I am sewing tees and the like for my boys. But I had to make the most of the postal charges so there might also be a couple for my daughter and me...

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009

Little Boozle 2009
All courtesy of The Fabric Fairy (USA)

Ah, I can sleep easy now. I don't think I am expecting anything else at the moment that warrants subterfuge...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Zoo Do!

Out in public as a family of 5.

Hubby and I always shudder a little at the thought of a family day out. We know that the risk of at least one of the following is extreme; the risk of more than one is very likely...tantrums, lost children, difficult children, leaking nappies, food fights, fighting children, bloodless injuries, non-bloodless injuries, fighting parents, credit card damage, forgotten necessities, 3rd party damage. I could go on but OK, I'll stop. I'm sure that some of you can relate.

So I am ecstatic when I can report that we had a family day out with only one whingy child and one child having a bad hair day. Woohoo!

We spent the day at Monarto Zoo about an hour east of Adelaide. It is an open-range zoo with a focus on breeding endangered species. It helped that eldest son's fave animal is the giraffe (which we saw) and that younger son's fave animal is the zebra (which we also saw) But, although chilly, it was a fabulous day. The lions could have been more sociable instead of hiding in the far corner and the chimpanzees have not yet been let out into their swanky new outdoor enclosure (as the new additions and the old boys have yet to sort out their social heirachy)
Lots of people due to the school holidays- but good practice for the gazillions of people that we will encounter when we visit the pandas upon their imminent arrival at the Adelaide Zoo.

So here are our happy snaps for the day, bad hair and all...

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Rock wallabies

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All present, accounted for and behaving!

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Poor boys are confined until they agree to play nice...

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...and their new outdoor entertaining area is so worth playing nice for!

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Rhino tea for two

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Artsy fartsy zebra interpretation photo (Also called "having fun with the zoom lens")

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Seriously, I mean what 6 year old boy is not going to adore an animal whose tongue is long enough to let him pick his own nose with it?

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Baaaaaad hair (and running free- downright dangerous to the general public if you ask me!)

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Zalika loves stalking people. Sounds like fun at a party.

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Food fight (painted dogs)

Thanks for wading through our family photo album.