Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In The Light Of The Moon ...

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sleep, Where For Art Thou?

Over the three and a half years I've been on this parenting journey I think I've used just about every method of getting a baby or toddler to sleep there is. I have sung, rocked, danced, pushed the pram, bounced on a fit ball, driven, breastfed, patted bottoms, and even in one moment of desperation, control cried (all that ended up happening was both of us crying, and I swore I'd never do it again). All of this has taught me one thing. Babies (and toddlers and children) will sleep when they are ready to. All we can do is help them along the ride.

Elliot, now three and a half, has always been a good sleeper - once he's asleep! He is a deep and sound sleeper but not good at actually going to sleep. When he was a little over two he just said to me one day when we were having the sleep battle "But I just need people with me". What can you say to that? He has always needed and still does need someone (me, Daddy, Nanna, Pop) to be with him until he is asleep. Fortunately for me (cause I get him into bed and Matt does Archie) he seems to have found a solution, he goes to sleep in Mummy's and Daddy's bed on the condition that he's in there by himself. Later when we're ready to go to bed Matt will take him back into his room. If he wakes through the night, he simply brings himself back in with us and more often than not, neither Matt nor I realise he's there til the morning (or when we're up with Archie)!

 Elliot (7 weeks) being nursed to sleep by Pop

Elliot (14 months) waking up with Nanna after a sleepover.
And on to Archie. For every bit that Elliot is a deep sleeper, Archie is a light sleeper. He has the same issues as El with needing people, so someone has always needed to put him to sleep but then he's awake. And then back to sleep, then awake, then back to sleep, rinse, repeat. For the first, hmmm, probably ten months of his life he fed every 1-2 hours around the clock, day and night. To say it was exhausting is an understatement because while sometimes he'd feed back to sleep, more often than not at night, he was awake. Sometimes cranky, sometimes just awake and wanting to play. It was through all of this that we seriously started co-sleeping because we were just too tired to do anything else and anyway, nothing else worked!!! But eventually (and I mean, in the last couple of months) he's just gotten into a little sleeping routine that works for all of us. Matt takes him to bed in the evening and they rock in the chair and sing songs. When he wakes the first time through the night he comes in with us. Some nights he has a feed back to sleep, some nights he has a feed and isn't asleep but puts himself back to sleep and some nights he's not interested in a feed and just fusses around giving us pats and kisses and then puts himself to sleep, usually on top of the covers with his feet in our faces. He is generally only up once or twice a night now which I'm just over the moon about considering where we've been on his sleep journey!

Archie (4 weeks) have a nap with Nanna *

 Archie (5 weeks) sleeping in the sling which was a sleep lifesaver for both boys. *
I'm really pleased that both boys have found their own sleeping patterns because, as tiring as it has been, I can sit back and know that we listened to them and what they needed at the time. We respected them as little people and didn't impose unrealistic expectations which would have set us and them up for failure (aside from that one horrid moment of controlled crying, which failed dismally). We were willing to give them the time they needed.

* When going through all the baby photos for sleep pics, I realised that we don't have many of Archie. At first I put this down to being the second child, poor hard done by wee man he is, but then when I was talking to Matt about it he said "It's because he didn't sleep!"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Menu Planning

I truly do find menu planning so grounding. It is the one thing in my week I cannot go without. Floors not swept? Meh. Having to rifle through 3 baskets of washing to find one crumpled but clean outfit? Meh. Dinners and shopping not organised and planned, taking into account our busy days, home days, suiting everyone's tastes? Chaos ensues!!!!

After we've been away for a weekend at my parents, menu planning the coming week is the first thing I do on a Sunday night once the car is unpacked. It gets my mind back into home-mode, gets me thinking about what we have on through the week, what we've got in the pantry, fridge and freezer to use up, how I can extend the boys' tastes a bit without overdoing it. I love sitting with a blank page, days of the week ruled up and ready to be filled in. I love dividing our shopping up into our different stops through the week, markets for fresh fruit and veg, the butcher, the grocery, the bulk wholefoods shop in the next town if we're heading that way (which we are this week!!!!), the dairy.

Anyway, I know not everyone is a menu planner, I *ahem* even know some people that roll their eyes when I get my pen and ask the question "what will we have for dinners this week guys?" but, for little old me, it is truly my most favourite household chore.

If it can in fact be called a chore!

This week we're having:

Tuna Mornay Pasta Bake

Boys - boiled dippy eggs and wholemeal toast soldiers
Adults - Laksa

Lamb, Barley and Cinnamon Casserole from Maggie Beer's Maggie's Harvest p659 Random Recipe

Homemade pizzas

Pork sausages with mashed potato and steamed veg

Ratatouille with quinoa

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lazy Days

I'm having trouble finding motivation to get stuff done at the moment, so this blog is very much reflecting my house at the moment.

All over the shop, forgotten about, needing more love and attention paid to it. The laundry is piling up, the floors are in desperate need of a sweep and as for cooking, well, let's just say I'm thankful for having a stock of yummy healthy meals in the freezer.

However, in all this humdrum-ness (if that even is a word!) I did see something this morning that made me smile as I cut watermelon for the boys.

I'm hoping that a weekend away will recharge me and have me return home refreshed and rejuvenated.

Wishing you all a happy and restful weekend! xx

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Archie's Baptism

Well it's done! Archie's Baptism is done and dusted.

It was a lovely, clear day but I had quite a sleepness night the night before. There were howling winds and pelting rain and all I could do was pray and hope that by the morning it would have blown itself away, and it did! Not a cloud in the sky!

The service itself was short and sweet with just 14 of us there including the boys! Archie seemed to pay attention to everything going on too, when his Grandmothers were doing readings he watched them and listened, he watched the Priest blessing the water and oils, he stared at the candle as Godmother Helen lit it and held it for him. He wasn't so keen on his white Baptismal bib though, so that came off straight after the ceremony!

The dear wee man fell asleep in the car on the way home, all that Baptising sure does tire a boy out! So then it was lunch with the family, way too much food and presents which were all opened with an emphatic "WOW!!" and not wanted to part with any of them "Boat!", "Cup!", "Truck!".

So that was the day. Unfortunately it was too warm to wear "the cardi" and also, my dress wasn't as boobie as I remembered so it wasn't an issue. It was finished the night before, so I kept up my usual standard of leaving everything until the last minute!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Random Recipe Review

After all the busyness of the weekend and Archie's Baptism, I really needed to get back into my routine of meal planning today. I just couldn't face it last night and fell asleep on the lounge at about 7:30! It really was such a big weekend and I'll post more about it tomorrow.

The last Random Recipe was from a fortnight ago, I just didn't get a chance to post about it last week. The recipe was Boiled Chicken with Aioli from The Mediterranean Collection. It wasn't a dish that we'd normally have, but the sort that Matt would like me to cook more often. It was surprisingly yummy, really simple flavours that would be good for a cold winter's night. It was basically just making a chicken stock with added sausages and pancetta. Vegies like cabbage, carrot and potato are cooked in the stock and then it's all served up with reduced stock like a gravy. In the end I couldn't be bothered making the aioli so we just had it with the vegies cooked in the stock and some extra steamed greens, just cause I like to have heaps of veg!

Boiled Chicken with Aioli (without the Aioli)
Poule au Pot

 1.5kg free range chicken
1 onion, studded with three cloves
250g piece of pancetta
4 good quality pork sausages
4 carrots, trimmed
4 leeks, trimmed
bouquet garni
 4 waxy potatoes
1 small green cabbage, cut into wedges

1. Wash and dry the chicken and stuff the cavity with the studded onion (my onion was really big so I put half in the cavity and half in the stock). Place in a large, heavy stockpot, cover with cold water and bring to the boil, skimming the surface as necessary.
2. Add the pancetta, sausages, carrots, leeks and bouquet garni and return to the boil. Simmer gently, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Add the potatoes and cabbage and continue to simmer for a further 40 minutes until all meats and veg are tender.
3. When the meats are tender, carefully remove them and vegetables from pot and place, covered with foil, in a low oven to keep warm. Strain the poaching stock into a clean pan and boil rapidly until reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Carve the meats and arrange on individual plates with veg. Pour over some of the stock.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Creative Space

With Archie's Baptism coming up on Saturday my creativity this week has consisted of menu planning, table decorations, place settings, Archie's outfit (drama upon drama upon drama) and the on-going project of the cardi. Luckily my Mum is sorting out most of the decorating side of things while I've started cooking up a storm! On the cardi front there is just the seaming up to do and sewing on the buttons. A late night last night saw all the bands knitted up so today and tonight will be the sewing up, my least favourite part of a project! Hopefully the boys will cooperate and play independently so I can just sit on the verandah and sew away!

So my apologies, another boring creative space here. Hopefully there'll be something more exciting next week and there will definitely be more exciting things here!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sourdough Bread

My first ever attempt!

I'm not sure if it turned out right but it is yummy! It is really holey and spongey, dense and moist. And sour. I'm not sure if it's too sour. I may have used too much starter or it may have been left too long before baking. Either way, it's yummy (I think) although Elliot did tell me after a while that it hurt his mouth!

Archie devoured four slices with local jam from the markets for morning tea, so it can't be that bad!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Around Our House Lately

Things have been busy. I celebrated my 30th Birthday last Thursday (Yay!!!). I was truly not worried over the whole 'turning 30' thing. I think I've always felt older than my years anyway, so 30 isn't a big deal. My new friends made it a big deal though by organising a morning tea and cake at the park! It was such a lovely surprise! There were soooo many kids but they all get on so well it didn't seem like that many at all. We played Duck Duck Goose, a wonderful musician friend taught us a new song, we had Chocolate Cake decorated with strawberries, there was so much laughter and fun! I didn't take my camera (bummer!) but a dear friend did and put some pics on her blog!

Now, to the super exciting bit!!!! I get to introduce another addition to the family, along the same lines as Kenny but even more exciting, if that is indeed possible! Introducing .... Freida!

Freida is a Pfaff Expression 2.0 and she is just lovely. It was a surprise, but not a complete surprise if you know what I mean. I had suggested a sewing machine as a dream present a while ago but forgotten about it. Then a little while ago when we were having a weekend in Brisbane, Matt said he needed to go shopping for my present, but he came home empty handed. I said "Oh well, if you're getting me a sewing machine the shop in town sells them and you get free lessons". Anyway, about a week later he made a massive production of walking through the house with a massive box wrapped in a blanket and 'hid' it in the cupboard. Like I wasn't going to have just a little peek. And then some googling. And then some more staring at the box and wondering how I could re-wrap it so he didn't know I'd peeked. Then Elliot let the cat out of the bag, in that 3 year old way, that they couldn't find a sewing machine at the shops.

I put Freida straight to work whipping up a pair of pants for Elliot. Unfortunately I let the 3 year old loose in the fabric shop and he chose a lovely aqua colour. It wouldn't have been my choice, but anyway, they're his pants, he's the one that's got to wear them! I haven't sewn since high school Home Ec, where it's fair to say I was terrible. I was so nervous, but I'm really pleased with how they've turned out (besides the colour obviously!) They took a full afternoon, and that includes a good 30 minutes of Matt and I trying to figure out how to thread the machine, and then realising about a million times that we'd gotten in wrong and re-doing it.

Anyway, enough typing. Here are some pics from my birthday celebrations! They're sure to continue next weekend when my parent's, brother and Archie's Godmother and her sister come up for Archie's baptism! Yay for extended birthday celebrations!

Party hats all round!

Hip Hip Hooray!!!

 Touched the bottom, better kiss a boy ...

or two!!!

 Why eat chocolate cake when there's garlic bread?
Elliot was quiet in his room for ages and we found him playing a board game with two of his Postman Pat toys. He was having a turn for each of them as well as rockin it out in his lairy pants!

A wonderful day full of family, friends and cake!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Making Do With What You've Got

Elliot has been really interested in playing shops lately. We take turns going shopping in the play room buying books and puzzles and train engines. The boys have a little cash register that Archie received for his first birthday that came with a few coins, so Elliot 'beeps' the purchases past that and then packs the shopping in the bag for me to take on my merry way. Or, as he once said "No Mummy, you pack your own bags at this shop!". Righto then!

Making money while munching on a sourdough pancake, yum!

I've been meaning to get some proper play money for him to use, so that he can understand all those early money concepts, each coin has it's own value that stays the same, you need to use different types of coins to equal the correct amount, if you give the shop keeper too much money they'll give you some back etc etc.

Then I saw all these offcuts from the chicken coop Matt is building and I thought they'd make great play money! We got a texta and wrote on the dollar amounts and then he was off! Setting up the shop for me to go shopping! We then spent an age working out how much money we'd need to buy things at the shop, using our fingers to count on.

 Searching for a $2 to make $12 ....

 .... found it!!!!

He does so love his numbers, my beautiful wee man!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Random Recipe Review

Well, we ended up having last week's Random Recipe last night after some unexpected take away on Friday. As a result everything on the plan got bumped back a day. The Random Recipe for last week was Pasta Primavera from Rose Elliot's The Classic Vegetarian.

As is my usual with recipes that aren't baking and don't call for exact measurements or ingredients I changed it up a bit in terms of both ingredients and cooking technique. If I followed Rose's instructions I would have used 5 different saucepans to cook 5 different green vegetables! I don't think so! I also added garlic and spring onion to the butter sauce. I omitted the broad beans because I couldn't find any anywhere, as well as the chives because our chive plants are too small yet to harvest any. I added broccoli and frozen peas too.

So here is my take on Rose Elliot's Pasta Primavera!

250g long pasta, spaghetti or fettucini
60g butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 spring onions, sliced
handful of frozen peas (Rose gave exact weights for all the vegies, but I just chucked some in!)
handful of green beans
handful of snow peas
small head of broccoli, stalk and flowerets chopped
small bunch of parsley, chopped

In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta and broccoli, adding green beans and frozen peas after a few minutes and adding snow peas just before the pasta is cooked.
Meanwhile in a frying pan saute the garlic and spring onion in butter, adding parsley at the end.
Drain pasta and return to pot, stir through the butter sauce and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with parmesan!

It was a big hit, especially Elliot who requested it for dinner again tomorrow night! We were doing our meal plan for next week at the time so I told him that we'd have it another night later in the week.

Speaking of meal plans, here is our plan for the week:

Roasted pumpkin risotto
Boiled chicken with aioli
Random recipe from The Mediterranean Collection p72
Pasta primarvera
My birthday dinner - surprise!
Lamb and spinach curry, brown rice and steamed veg
Fried rice with egg and veg
Pepper steak with mashed sweet potato and steamed veg

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Creative Space (a day late!)

I've been living in a bit of a 'what day is it' bubble the past week or so. I've been about a day behind the rest of the world. I swore Tuesday was Monday, I forgot Book Club on Wednesday night and even thought to myself that evening 'book club tomorrow night', and I completely forgot about My Creative Space Thursdays.

So this post is a bit of catch up for yesterday, not that anything exciting has been happening, creativity-wise. Just keeping on going with the cardigan. I'm really getting there, the end is in sight! I've now done the back, both fronts and one sleeve. The other sleeve is very close to being finished and then its just making it up and knitting the bands ie all the tedious bits. I have made one (kind of big) mistake that I'll have to unpick, but it should only be a few rows (all going to plan, fingers crossed!).

Oh, by the way, do any other knitters end up with bits of paper or notes all over their patterns that look like this? This one is exceptionally neat for me, it is usuall scribbled all over the pattern but that can get confusing the next time you want to use the pattern!

Don't forget Thursday's regular My Creative Space at Kootoyoo.