Sunday, September 22, 2013

I have moved the Blog to

Hello everyone- thank you for looking at my blog, I have moved to so you can catch up over there as we move into a new phase of life's adventures!

Love from Jessie

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Happy Birthday Little Guy

Tomorrow morning our
little man will wake up as a five year old. 
He has always been a handful of a child, he needed resuscitating soon after birth and was colicky and refluxy until he was a year old, He chipped his front tooth aged eighteen months when he was playing with a doll's house of all things! 

I battled with post natal depression all through his infancy and didn't come out of it easily so it was hard for me to enjoy his babyhood. He is a loud person. He has had to be with his chatty brother always at the ready to answer for him and the frustration of not being heard has seen him develop a roaring shout and dissolve into passionate tears at the drop of a hat.

After five years the shouting is starting to subside a little and the small person behind the shout has emerged, growing happily through starting kindergarten this year and becoming a big brother to an adoring baby sister.

He is like a person with no Graphic User Interface, no overlay, he is honestly him and expresses joy, fear, anger and mischief unfettered bubbling to the surface as pure emotion. He is unabashed and curious, asking the questions he wants answered regardless of social norms, particularly fascinated by things that cause suffering to people and seems to be on a mission to find a solution to death and starvation which he find to be unacceptable.

He has great gross motor skills, amazing imagination and mimics beautifully. 
I have never met a person like him. Turning five is the line in the sand where I can no longer refer to him as a baby and I am excited to see how our youngest little guy grows.

It's going to be great!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Terrible Addiction.

I am a bit of a contradiction really*, I embrace the simplified life but at the same time I have to admit that as I get older I am becoming a bit of a technology addict.  
Perhaps not in the way you would expect, yes I have a smart phone now (a hand me down from a nephew) and yes I am typing this on a new (to me) net book, I even got a new DVD player (yes they still have them, at Op Shops for $15!) but that’s not the technology I mean. I am talking kitchen appliances. The addiction sneaks up, you know, nobody sets out to become addicted (actually my husband tried to become a chain smoking alcoholic during the divorce from his first wife but failed miserably, he kept forgetting to drink or smoke but I am aware that he is the exception).
 It started off with the usual suspects, a microwave here, a juicer there, maybe a second hand popcorn maker and a mixer and before you know it you have cupboards overflowing with gadgets. I don’t regret it, not even for a second. This is not a post about the remorse I feel for so many appliances. There is joy in my admission!
A quick roundup in my cupboard reveals my current inventory:
  • ·         A breadmaker
  • ·         A pressure cooker (not appliance really more of a gadget right? Not an electric one maybe shouldn’t be on the list)
  • ·         Thermomix (all hail the HypnoMix, I mean Thermomix, your new God, HAIL it!)
  • ·         Tefal Actifry (a recent present from inlaws)
  • ·         Sunbeam frying pan (ancient, reliable, $5 from a garage sale)
  • ·         Dehydrator (cheap from an auction)
  • ·         Automatic sprouter
  • ·         Another breadmaker (yes a backup, or to make dough in or something- leave me alone!)
  • ·         Two yoghurt makers,
  • ·         A pasta machine (this came with the dehydrator at the Auction- I haven’t actually used this one at all yet but it is so wonderfully shiny!)
  • ·         A potato ricer
  • ·         A mandolin slicer
  • ·         Pancake factory

 I do use many of my gadgets. My breadmaker does not languish, I rarely buy bread so it is used between two and five times a week… sure the backup one doesn’t get much use but I am loathe to get rid of it as it does me no harm .
The Thermomix is used every day and truth be told it didn’t replace all my other appliances- it did replace the food processor and the stand mixer but I still use the breadmaker and the yoghurt maker and the stovetop and the pressure cooker and the electric fry pan (an ancient sunbeam classic)  . Less used but still valued are the newest addition the Actifry, the dehydrator (come summer I predict more use!) the Automatic sprouter (yes I use it, yes it is pure indulgence) and the pancake maker ( this is a contentious appliance- the story is worthy of it’s our post I think..).
 I still covet MORE! I sort of fancy a slow cooker and I saw that the opshops are now brimming with novelty single use appliances(donut, pie, cupcake makers) for as little as three dollars.  I didn’t used to be this way, I used to live in a hut next to a shed in the hills there was no mains power, no running water, I cooked on a gas ring which also had to power a gas mantle lantern showers were from a bucket with a tiny pump powered by a battery.
Washing clothes was fun, I had an old pickle barrel which I filled with water soaped up the clothes and popped the lid on, then I would rock it from side to side as vigorously as I could muster, replace the solid lid with mesh and kick it down the hill (my version of a spin cycle) at the bottom of the hill I would hang the clothes on the five wire fence. Low tech and truth be told not particularly effective but not having the cleanest clothes doesn’t really affect your social standing when you are in your early twenties in Northern NSW.
But I am not in my early twenties now, it is ten years on, three children and let’s be frank I like a bit of comfort nowadays.  So, heap on the kitchen technology! It makes my life easier and is less harmful than a drug addiction, (as long as I stay away from the $7.50 appliances from K-Mart – they CANNOT be good for you- like cheap junk food!). I don’t want a juicer or soup maker or a grain grinder or ice crusher (the Thermomix really does replace them for me) but have you seen the HotMixPro? Oooh it’s a Thermal cooker similar to the Thermomix but can cook at higher temperatures.. but the price. Ah I can dream can’t I it’s good to have something to aspire to.

What’s that you say Internet? I really do need a slow cooker? Well all right then, who am I to argue?

*like most human beings.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

On Being Accountable and Whatnot

Here's some food. It is good, and healthy.
Sometimes numbers and statistics are my friend, sometimes they put themselves soundly in the "to be ignored" pile and sometimes that isn't the best idea.

As you would know if you have read other posts, I am calling down hard rain on my excess weight left over from pregnancy and reducing my calories. It turns out that I have an Elvis like capacity for food if I let myself go (well maybe not that bad- this is an Elvis-like capacity he liked his deep fried though) so I need to count my calories realistically. 

At least for now. When I was pregnant I could eat a whole large pizza without batting an eyelid but after 7 weeks of lower calories I find my capacity for masses of high calorie food has decreased. To the point that eating chips makes me feel queasy and two small pieces of brownie have me burping and groaning like after a Christmas dinner. If I wasn't tracking my calories I think I would have just continued to eats masses. Because I love my food. I really love food. Probably too much. That's why I have too much weight for my frame.

Anyway, this is where numbers can help, I am less likely to eat lots of calories if I have to write it down and I can see what makes a good choice and a bad choice calorically if I pop it into my My Blackmores diary. Sort of a curse (because calories alone don't determine the worth of a food- some healthy food have high energy such as nuts and avocados- the My Blackmores meal suggestions do include small amounts of these though) but a blessing because I can be accountable and keep track of my energy intake, which is of course the point. 

Another way of using number to keep track of things is by measuring one's self with scales. Ah. 
I have been very good and weighing only once a week but noticing that the scales behave differently depending on where I stand. The difference can be anything up to four kilograms. I had recorded that I had lost around nine kilograms (the crowd goes wild!) and then I bought some new digital scales which are presumably accurate and my weight is three kilograms higher on the new ones. Oh. Even though I know I am smaller (hello pre-pregnancy jeans, the smaller ones at that!) I can't help feeling a little defeated by the numbers on the scale.  So I might ignore them for now.

I haven't been using the handy meal plans really, nor sticking to the exercise plan provided with the My Blackmores program BUT I have been using them for ideas and ensuring I stick to the calorie allowance and exercising appropriately. My knees have gone a bit funny from Roller Derby training so I have seen a physio and have to alter my exercise accordingly.
Spring is wiggling it's way forward so in between some truly wild storms there are some sunny days and I have been walking as much as I can to get my sunshine and exercise. If you have mild depression in Winter I really recommend this, it can sometimes be the cure and at any rate it will do you good. 

I sound like a health book from the 1930's "Sunshine! Exercise! Vitamins and Pure thoughts will make you Strong!" 

P.S. I am not doing a sneaky sponsored post or anything, I won a 3 month membership to the My Blackmores via a comp on The Shake so I thought I might as well provide some feedback for those interested in using it or similar programs.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

This is One Of Those Posts About Writing and Why I Can't.

This is a post about why I can't blog right now:

My desktop is creatively stifling

I share a computer with my husband and business.

Children keep finding me and shouting demands.

I can't figure out how to do everything from my phone.

I bit my tongue so hard that I haven't been able to eat solids.

I keep having existential crises about pointless things like rollerskating.

Other people are more successful than me ( yes I am perfectly aware they set goals and work hard,so what?).

I will write after I clean the house and dye my hair and all those other things I am refusing to actually do OK? Sheesh get off my back.

I am hungry, or I have a headache or something.

Writing is hard work.

I have no clear direction yet.

I am going to buy a netbook so once that gets here I will write all the things.

All I have to do is get over the massive case of writers block.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Guarded Excitement and De-Cluttering!

It's raining here today. After days of unseasonable joyful sun we have been visited by oppressive grey clouds heavy with a persistent surly rain. Enough to drive you indoors for the duration . A pleasant relentless noise. 

A navel gazing sort of day.

Maybe it is the rain, which seems to induce introspection  or maybe it is just the timing. Yesterday we signed a contract on a new family home . 
A lovely old house with more than enough bedrooms, a cupboard under the stairs, a big gas cooker and butler's sink in the kitchen a cubby at the bottom of the garden and an old disused well. It is in a little town 15 minutes from the city and next to the library which is across the road from two big parks. The front was a former cafe which allows for some interesting possibilities.

The bank is positive but they have been positive before and delayed  and delayed and then said no. 
We planned everything and they said no. 
I can't feel content until the contract is unconditional and the finance approved. 
The feeling has echoes of waiting until you are twelve weeks pregnant before telling everyone and feeling safe. 

In the meantime we are de-cluttering which is really just throwing away junk rather than clutter. I tend to walk the fine line between "that will be useful one day." and "hoarder" but watching those shows on TV have kept me alert to the signs and as a positive result we don't have that much to clear! (I don't want to die under a pile of egg cartons and have my corpse eaten by the cat.)

Baby clothes are my worst clutter though.
I tried to keep on top of them. A couple of years ago I sat down to organise and donate all the tiny clothes my sons had worn and my dear beloved found me in the boys' room sitting in a see of musty onesies with tears rolling down my face. I couldn't bear to get rid of them. He assured me we had the room and could do it later if we wanted.
 Of course they have been sorted and washed and used for our surprise little baby girl afterwards but she is outgrowing so many clothes and I can't bear to get rid of them either. I don't know if I will ever say "This is our last baby" and cleanse the place of baby gear. My main argument against more than three children was the awfulness of people mover vehicles for large families but our old Mercedes estate wagon seats seven and the new house will have spare rooms...we will have to play it by ear, but the tiny clothes stay for now!

Life is becoming more manageable, it has been really hard graft getting it to this point. Light is shining at the end of the tunnel now.
I had better get packing for when it arrives.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Isn't everything so very complicated?

This Is Oliver. He is our Cat. Life is not complicated for cats.

Sometimes (OK a lot of the time) seemingly simple tasks seem to be complicated. 

I was trying to analyse my blog statistics. But my Google analytics disappeared when I changed templates and it was so long ago I couldn't remember how to do it so I had to read lots of stuff and then I did it and came back to check it after a few weeks hadn't worked. Repeat. (ooh boy the grammar checking thingy isn't going to like that sentence, but it is meant to be read in a slightly breathless and frantic fashion).

I decide I want to look at a recipe on my phone but the app needs updating, then the phone needs charging. Then I forget and check Twitter.Repeat.
Eventually I find the recipe and discover I need to wash the dishes to prepare it and also go to the shops because I just ran out of some essential ingredient.

I like my Fresh Meat course (this is Roller Derby, not butchery by the way) but now I am getting better the training is harder and there are so many things to think of, tactics, not falling over, hitting, being fit and training hours are going up and up. I just think it is fun, but suddenly it is complicated. I find myself having an existential crisis brought on by roller skates.

Do you have days where despite your best efforts every task turns into an epic melodrama?
 Sometimes I think life is too complicated and want to lie down under the table with a cool flannel over my eyes...but the floor under the table needs a vacuum and the robot is out of charge and the other one is in the shed. 

See what I mean?

Or is this just me?

Sunday, July 28, 2013


I am woken by a baby wanting an extended schmoozy breast feed and cuddle and I ensure I make a double shot cappuccino for myself and beloved before our boys bring their own brand of energy to the party. I keep the espresso machine in the en suite so I am not pounced before the caffeine hits my system. Have you tried to steam milk with an excitable 4 year old asking difficult questions when you have not yet had a coffee? It's terrible. So coffee machine in the loo it is then. 

Sometimes I am berated soundly for having incorrect breakfasts on offer, sometimes there are meltdowns because I insist apparently unreasonably that Mr Free Spirit wears shoes, or a jumper or knickers to school, or that he goes to the correct school (kindergarten is only three days a week) Sometimes his older brother sobs because he expected a different jam on his crumpets or I wouldn't give him four crumpets. 

But not today.

 Today they are mounting an expedition to Everest. So turning up at the table with Crash helmets on and backpacks stuffed full of (apparently) icepicks and oxygen tanks, they happily ate their porridge and muesli.  Sir Chatsalot has a new picture atlas he carries nearly everywhere he goes (one never knows when one is going to need a reference book handy) and seems to have absorbed the relevant Everest details. Round blue eyes stare at me with excitement as they wave plastic mallets around.
I get asked about Everest and feel very inadequate with my hastily thrown together answers about altitude sickness. I frequently feel inadequate around my curious children. 

Sir Chatsalot stares at his porridge asks why steam always comes from food that has been microwaved in Winter. I try to explain that it was to do with the relative temperature of the room and that heat rises but this isn't good enough.
"Why does heat rise?"

"It's to do with thermodynamics."

"But why? How does thermodynamics work?"

"It's to do with gravity of the substances...and their atomic and molecular structure."

"But gravity is on the ground...are atoms in space?!"

"Yes well, umm it's really hard to explain without a background in physics and chemistry kiddo."

"Oh......OK....what do you mean by a background in physics?"

 He is six.

Turning to our ten month old baby who I feel will be more on my level I tell her, "If you want more of my porridge you need to give me the spoon back." Which she does without hesitation.

Sir Chatsalot continues eating his porridge and says to me thoughtfully,"Mummy, I am more clever than you and Daddy about a lot of things aren't I?".

Maybe kiddo, maybe.

This is why I have a coffee machine in the loo.

This post is written for the Blogfast Club, a blog challenge link up with the lovely Kate Says Stuff

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dull Roar Breakfasting

I am a terrible breakfaster.
I just somehow don't breakfast. I am not one who feels sick in the mornings or any plausible sounding excuse. I do get swept away in the chaos of the day two children to get ready for school, breastfeed the baby, get everyone else breakfast, manage to make a couple of cappucinos for myself and long suffering Husband etc and before I know it it is lunch time and the blood sugar is plummeting. 

Not good, not slimming either. It seems to have something to do with keeping your metabolism cranked up and not letting your blood sugar get so low you are inhaling pumpkin gingerbread by 11.50am. (by the way I LOVE pumpkin gingerbread. I am also aware that it probably negates the redeeming features of having healthful, ingredients if I eat eight slices in a sitting, which I have done- did I mention I liked it?).

So I know that eating breakfast has a multitude of benefits but only if you keep that blood sugar steady (so no sugar coated flakes with milk). I also know if something isn't mindblowingly quick and easy I will simply not do it because I can be rather lazy. Doing My Blackmores program has been a little bit of a challenge but it does tend to fit in with lifestyles of the rushed and lazy fairly well so inspired by the meal plans I have a couple of faithful breakfasts I am actually managing to make and eat for more than two weeks now!
Busy parent breakfasts:
Eggs and Spinach on toast:
Take a small handful of frozen spinach, pop it in the microwave on a saucer, microwave for 30 secs, crack and egg onto it (pierce yolk AND white with eggshell or a fork if you are all lah-di-dah about it) salt and pepper, cover with a side plate and microwave for another 45 seconds to a minute whilst a piece of toast (from the freezer). Serve the egg and spinach on the toast and on the side plate used for cooking. Easy, healthy, bugger all washing up.
Porridge: use proper rolled oats not those gluey quick oats, use boiling water from the kettle. If you are feeling really lazy eat from pot with a pinch of salt and soak pot all day. Or you could add frozen bluberries. Babies like this too.
Yoghurt and muesli with frozen berries: (oh c'mon you don't need me to describe it do you?- just watch the portion sizes- scales are good for this).
 I will get a bit more experimental with breaky- maybe mix it up with a smoothie or two or a muffin I made earlier but for now I am delighted that I have found breakfasts I am actually eating I don't want to complicate things too much. 

What about you, do you breakfast? What do you eat? How do you manage it?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Lazy Winter Garden

This is my garden currently. 

It doesn't look like much and truth be told it isn't. 

I could tell you about how I didn't get my beloved purple sprouting broccoli in this year or how my basil won't even survive inside because it is really cold this year, but who wants to read my moaning about vegetables.?
 Instead I want to introduce you to a really Dull Roar Philosophical approach to gardening.

I know it looks like a mass of weeds and that is exactly what it is! I let the wild rocket go to seed self sow, the desiccated plants and those of the scraggly Sweet Alice (Alyssum)  wwent into my mulcher which threw seeds everywhere.I am growing rocket, Sweet Alice(good for attracting beneficial insects and chickweed in abundance. Without planting. I have planted a handful of broad beans I found in the pantry. This is my version of crop rotation as the box they are growing in had broccoli in it last. I have not supported them. My broad beans are au naturale.
Somewhere amongst the rocket and the chickweed is a random mizuna plant and some parsley and spinach I planted to get rid of old past it seeds, and a struggling French sorrel.
I really like leafy greens, they were my number one pregnancy craving and I cannot get enough of them even now so this is working well.
Even in the cracks between pavers. I rather like the look so I am leaving the useful plants put and occasionally pulling out non-useful plants like milky vetch and other latex sappy weeds, fleas bane and the like.
I am enjoying the little patch of wild in the tiny courtyard that serves as a garden. If I want more I am lucky enough to have a new park around the corner which has been planted with lots of leafy vegetables, herbs and brassicas, is tended by the council and supplies the healthier locals with free greens. 

My boys love to snack on the greens when they are scooting around the pocket sized park. Mr 4-nearly-5 is making quite a habit of getting his veggies from municipal gardens- ah well it's very thrifty and healthy I suppose if decidedly odd. I am sure I have mentioned he is a free-spirited individual! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Healthy, Strong,Happy.

So you may recall that last post  was having a whinge about being hungry when I was trying to eat less calories. I did discover that eating low calorie could be a Very Bad Idea if I wasn't keeping my blood sugar on an even keel because;hangry.

 Shortly after this I discovered that sitting on my chuff and eating cakes didn't actually lead to a sense of overall well-being either(quelle surprise!) So I started eating a bit healthier again.Then the Lovely Kate Young chose me as the winner of a three month program from My Blackmores where I can track my eating, exercise,measurements, get exercise ideas, recipes access a naturopath basically its holistic health program online. The approach is sensible and healthful and not fanatical so I am more than happy because its healthy (and free for me!). I think it is $19.95 a month which seems reasonable given what you have access to.They also offer free two week trial if you were interested in checking it out yourself. 

I am still carrying a lot of extra weight from my pregnancy at the moment and the baby in question is nearly ten months old..

I didn't have this problem with my other two pregnancies, the weight fell off but a postnatal depressive diet of tea and the occasional biscuit coupled with lots of walking and anxiety attacks is a very slimming regime!
But of course I was horribly depressed, (there is always something isn't there?) It goes almost without saying that chubby and stable is better than slimmer and depressed (almost without saying, but some poor unfortunate people really would rather be battling the black dog than have a bit of extra weight on due to an obsession with fat phobia).

So my wanting to lose this extra weight is nothing to do with wanting to 'snap' back into shape like so many heavily-promoted celebrities do after giving birth but more to do with the fact my frame is a bit too small for the super squishy curves I am carrying and my roller-skating knees would be happier with more strength and less mass. So far the eating well and exercising are making me feel good but I must stay on top of the sudden blood sugar drops! 

Have you ever used an online program to increase your health/lose weight?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Touchpoints and Personal happiness

Yesterday I was in an old graveyard wandering around with baby in carrier on front , husband to talk to whilst our boys climbed merrily in old churchyard trees ("Mummy I'm Lord Horatio Nelson!" "I am a piwate ARRGH!") They were busy and didn't need me hovering over them . Walking between the gravestones we spotted a Mopoke sitting on the edging. I found after a quick Google that it wasn't ill, it was defending itself. By sitting still and closing it's eyes. That's the defence mechanism. Pretend you aren't there and hope everything will go away. Needs work if you ask me although to be fair I have had moments like that myself except I call it an anxiety disorder! Gentle wandering in the Winter sun, children climbing trees and playing rowdy imagination games, random Mopokes, being with family these things have a very soothing effect for me and I found the whole thing very rejuvenating.
I tried cutting down on calories last week this did not have a soothing effect on me. It's a switch that makes me feel extremely deprived and hangry* I don't do well with feelings of deprivation or low blood sugar so I stopped it. I would rather feel content and tubby quite frankly, as long as my health is good. So Sunday morning I baked pumpkin gingerbread and chocolate granola, bread and biscotti. This also has a soothing effect.
Yoga has a soothing effect for me, all that breathing and stretching and gooey feeling calm. I am not going to go to an Ashram but everytime I get back to the smallest amount of Yoga I feel content and calm and it's like coming home to myself, even a few minutes has this effect.
My beloved likes to pop on the headphones and listen to some Youtube-d music for a good while or play with an old car.
It's a great part of growing older and wiser, getting to know yourself, what bits are really you and what can be discarded. Getting to know my own personal happiness touchpoints is a great step in a positive direction (although if there has to be Mopokes it could be tricky).
I think that we all would benefit from taking the time to observe what actually soothes our soul, the things that genuinely bring the warm flow of happiness into our hearts. The results can be surprising. What are your personal happiness touchpoints?
*hangry is of course being so hungry you feel angry.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Dreaded Mini Break or Facing your Demons!

© Snowturtle
About two years ago I thought it would be great to make the trip down to Hobart which is a good two hour drive away and booked a Bed and Breakfast so we could have a bit of an explore.
Sounds fine.
We had two children then boys aged four and two-ish.
It was not fine.
 Not fine at all. It was Hell on Earth. The whole experience left my dear husband traumatised. Sometimes I would talk about doing some more overnight stay explores, his face would become ashen and a terrified whisper would escape his lips "You mean.. a mini-break?". So there were no more mini-breaks.

Until mid last week I was looking at all the Roller Derby bouts going on in Hobart and whinging about missing out. Suddenly he said "Why don't we go down then?" he knew it meant staying over-night. I didn't over-think and booked a room (a queen, two single beds and an ensuite) for a reasonable rate online and bought some bout tickets.
We had a pretty good time.
We survived. We will do it again. I will share the comparison of the two experiences:
 The children are older so slightly easier to wrangle (even though we have a bubby she can always be breast fed into submission or sleep if the worst strikes).

This time we encouraged them to bring toys and books, they actually packed their own bags. last time we had one toy each. This was really foolish in hindsight.

It was our plan to look at Hobart on foot. Two and four year old boys don't have the same appreciation of a Victorian Gothic revival or Georgian facade as we do. Apparently. Who would have thought? they express their lack of interest via tantrums. So do things that children like too. With ours this involves eating and roller derby which luckily are two of my interests. An honourable mention goes to @taniafordwalker. She is a person from twitter and surprisingly exists in real life as well whom I managed to convince to go to roller derby only to receive an onslaught of my children which she took with good grace, it also kept my boys entertained. Apparently harassing people is a hobby of theirs now.

They also need to run around a bit.

Pack snacks. This time our nearly five year old started eating the decorative kale as a protest when we wouldn't go to EVERY cafe we saw. I figured this wasn't my problem and at least he was eating vegetables. The council would probably replant the kale soon. But I had plenty of snacks as well.

Remove the minibar from the room as soon as you check in. We didn't last time. So ermm sorry about that who ever tried to eat those sort of squished Snickers. Luckily they didn't have minibar snacks this time.

Make sure you consider their sleep foibles. Last time the boys were small. They slept top-to-tail in a single bed with a rail to stop them falling out. When we satyed at the b & B we put them in their own rail-less single beds. Cue small children falling out of bed loudly onto the floor and then crying. Repeatedly, ALL NIGHT.  
Did I mention Hell on Earth?

 I tried with our bub this time round, I put her in a travel bed on the floor but she kept waking up because she couldn't roll over in it and then I would put her in our bed and she would want to feed so my sleep was sort of rubbish (parenting is such a learning experience, also there is a lot more poo than I would like) but we survived. We will do it again and we will be even better at it!

It seems like a small thing but somethings need conquering before you can move on.
Another tip, if your sensitive six year old says they feel sick STOP IMMEDIATELY and get them out of the car. OK?

Linking up with Rachel at The VI Blog for The Lounge this week!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Leon cookbooks and how I love them #1 Leon Ingredients and Recipes

Look at this. Isn't it lovely ?
I think ( I know) I would have these books just because of the extreme Vintage Style gorgeousness of them . But they are not just gorgeous. oh no. These are some of the friendliest, helpfulest (not a word), healthiest, tastiest cookbooks I have ever snuggled. I mean read. Of course, who would cuddle a book? Pfft.

We don't have Leon in Australia but for those of us who have no idea what a Leon is it is a chain of fast food/cafe/ restaurants which feel like the gorgeous bohemian place the uni students and hipster foodies hang out. One with tasty food made from real seasonal produce and healthy ingredients, where the emphasis is on flavour. Also the spiritual birthplace of these books. There are more but I only bought the ones I wanted (funny that) and the ones I couldn't resist the covers of.

There will have to be two more posts to cover the other two books

Leon:Ingredients and Recipes is written by Allegra McEvedy whose recipes have been seen flitting about the pages of the Guardian and I first encountered when I was watching Supersizers Go with Sue Perkins and (the a bit dishy if slightly wet) Giles Coren. Allegra was the guest chef in one of the episodes.Also Giles Coren (writing for the Times this er..time) said of the book :“Without doubt, the coolest food book I have ever seen.” So there.
The book itself contains a wealth of information about seasonal tasty ingredients, with the first half breaking down into appropriate sections (vegetables, nuts etc) and the rest being devoted to recipes with which to utilise said ingredients which is handy really. I Love the styling but the content is great. I would put this at the top of most useful cookbook list for anyone starting out or those who ( like me have a teeny weeny cookbook collecting problem). Absolute Kitchen essential (in a chopping board sort of way, not a Thermomix/very handy if you can afford it but not really necessary sort of way).

In case you are wondering I bought my Leon books, all three. This is just a rant of adoration with no perceived or actual benefit other the satisfaction of good purchasing and now owning lovely books.

I bought mine from The Book Depository.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Review of Reviews

Aren't people mad for consumer reviews lately?
 I must admit I am flabbergasted that people buy things based on a random strangers opinion. I am not talking about blog reviews which are a different beast altogether, a complicated one at that. In truth I find blog reviews fairly in depth and helpful for the most part. Part of the useful aspect is the fact I can gauge what the blogger is like by reading other posts. You are denied that luxury when you read a consumer review. You could be buying based on the advice of someone with completely different ideologies and goals to your own, a Neo-Nazi or worse one of those people who leave comments on newspaper articles! This is a best case scenario too. The sad reality is that a whole heap of consumer reviews are there for three reasons:

1) The reviewer has been incentivized (IE bribed) "$20 voucher if you leave a good review on Truelocal!" hrrm hardly objective there. 'Nuff said.

 2) It's fake, read some Indian restaurant reviews. They are shockers for this but very entertaining. "The fixed banquet was more epic than the Bhagavad Gita, it is the most astoundingly authentic North Indian cuisine in the known universe, more authentic than even that found in the north of India" etc... I suppose they do them themselves or outsource it perhaps? Not the only offenders...this seems widespread.

3)Someone has an axe to grind. Perhaps they couldn't diva a business owner into submission, perhaps they expected their $7 baby carrier from Hong Kong to be as good as a $300 carrier, perhaps they think that the customer is always right and have found that actually the customer is only right if they are right, maybe they are having a really bad day with their anxiety problem and have lain awake all night dreaming of the wording of a scathing but not necessarily justified review*."My Wendy walker Doll does not have a natural gait at all and the action could scarcely be described as walking, hobbling at best, it is completely unsuitable as a basis for my robotic butler project, I have attempted to get my money back for the doll but have been COMPLETELY IGNORED BY THE MANUFACTURERS!" etc Axe grinding reviews are not helpful for consumers although they may have merit for venting purposes they tend to reflect more poorly on the reviewer than the reviewed.

Sometimes there are people who leave reviews based on their experience in order to help others make an informed decision. I know at least one person who does this for realz without being bribed. Unfortunately I have never encountered her reviews when I am researching something.

I think that the concept of consumer reviews may have started off as a good idea on paper (like Communism or Eugenics**!) but there is a reason we have proper paid reviewers writing proper reviews. They know a bit about what they are talking about and hopefully understand the purpose of the product or service they are reviewing (how many scathing reviews on extremely budget hotels have you seen, there are a lot of people wanting a Hyatt experience for Hostel dorm money in the world!), we get to know them and their foibles like the chaps on Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson always wants to hate a Porsche and James May will always dribble all over a 911 and I can adjust accordingly because I know this!

What do you think? Do you think that consumer reviews are akin to readers comments on a newspaper or do they have merit? Have they ever helped you or just made you more confused?

* Not having a go at those who suffer from anxiety disorders, drawing a bit on my own experiences here. I try not to post "dead of the night  reviews" for this reason.

** If you lived in my Suburb you might think Eugenics were good on paper too.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

"I am a terrible Housewife" or "Why I Need a Robotic Vacuum Cleaner"

I vacuumed today. That should be all I need to write on the matter. Clean the crap off the floor right? I hear other people do it several times a week. No drama. I hear other people MOVE furniture to do it, SEVERAL times a WEEK. I have no Idea how they do this.

Sometimes I wonder if I am cursed by the bad housewife fairy (a tad melodramatic?) maybe I should get more practice?(kill me please).
I hear that other people don't regard a quick vacuum as being an epic journey you have to gird your loins for (off topic I have been wondering; what are your girding with? Is it like a a weightlifting belt to stop you getting a hernia? If so I think I need to do this prior to vacuuming).
I have a pretty small house, it is on a few insane levels as it has been weirdly extended many times in it's hundred odd years  (and I bet they were odd) of existence but it is small. I have a reasonable vacuum cleaner. It's an older Dyson. It works. It lives in the shed which is really inconvenient but it does more work out there. It's an obstacle "OOOOH no I have to go to the shed to get the vacuum cleaner... ooooh nooooo I will have to bake a cake instead of vacuuming then!"

A few months ago the head stopped working, the brushes wouldn't stay down so it didn't work as a multi-floor tool. ok, we ordered a new one. 

Then after dragging the vacuum out of the shed and attaching the new tool and bumping around corners angrily (more on this later) I was wondering why there was no dirt being sucked up "OH HO!" I said "OH HO Mr Dyson, where's your no loss of suction now? HA!" (I really do talk to the vacuum cleaner  I think it is my nemesis, Moriarty to my Holmes) I could feel there was not really any suction so I started to disasemble it to see if there was a sock in it or something. No sock but a ball of hair fluff and things I knew had been there for many years. the size of a teacup poodle I swear. Ok so old Moriarty was doing quite well considering this beast living inside.

Only problem is that once the fluff beast was removed I couldn't push the damn thing around. The suction was TOO STRONG  "GAH!!! lose some suction goddam you!!" I changed the setting on the tool to make the brushes go up, then down but no joy, even with my full weight behind it. 
OK so I take the new tool off and check it, no fluff beasts, the action works fine but hair has bound around the brush bit so tightly that it forms an airtight suction on the hard floor. Try to remove hair but it is too tight. Baby in carrier on the front starts fussing. I am all sweaty and red in the face and frustrated, there are F-bombs everywhere. But eventually it was done.

 So now we move forward in time to today. I found a motorhead (dun dun dunnnnnnaaaananana the ACE of Spades- not really just an attachment). I Attached it and I could push the vacuum cleaner! It was sucking up dirt! Hooray and Hallelujah! OH FOR GOD'S SAKE It is stuck on a chair and won't go any further. Now it is stuck on the corner of the wall, now the bin and now it has fallen over. Ah. Ah indeed. Now the motorhead has stopped spinning because my long hair has bound it up and I need to use scissors to free it. I have covered approximately two square metres. This is going to be a looooong vacuuming journey.

Please make some reassuring noises at me. Is this everyone's regular experience with housework? Is it this much of a battle? 
 I dream about robot vacuum cleaners. They might take over the world but they are welcome to it. I have been entering competitions everywhere to try to win one. I have been reading reviews. I am envious of those who have monetized their blogging and worked hard enough on it to be given the whirring beasties to review. Let it be known I have read your reviews and I am so the target market.

Does anyone have experiences with robotic vacuum cleaners, good or bad I would love to hear your thoughts (preferably before my house needs cleaning again so you have until school pickup time I guess!)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

VAGINA and dinner etiquette.

Ah the delights of having boys is really striking home lately. I didn't think that my gender caused that much of a divide between the majority of my in house family but I find I am more and more baffled by their behaviour and lately the sense of humour.
I am not big on fart jokes, give me an horrendous Carry On or Benny Hill style joke any day but farts aren't funny to me and it has been declared that this is "Because you are a girl". I also  don't feel the need to turn everything into a weapon and beat things nor do I fall over sniggering at the word Bum. My loss I suppose. 

The other day at dinner I had cause to correct my eldest son when I was feeding the baby and her chunk of banana was lost in her lap

 "Mummy it's near her china."

Her what?

"Her china, you know her lady-nuts." *snort!* (aside: I do not think that nuts means what he thinks it means)
Me:"Oh you have the word wrong, the word is vagina."

"Near her Pa-china lady nuts"
Me:"No vagina v-v-v."

Interjection from their father "Or hoo-hoo in polite company.""
Me; "When are you going to be talking about genitals in polite company?!"

Me: "We don't really talk about vaginas or penises at the dinner table.
Baby *eats banana messily*
Me: "Sigh, I guess we will just have to ride this one out.
Dearest husband: "Giggidy!" *

As the boys are four and six I expect I have many years of delightful conversation of this calibre ahead. I would love to hear about your surreal dinner table conversations even if there weren't as many vagina references! What's the weirdest conversation your children have lead you through?

* This is a Family Guy reference I sincerely hope you get.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter turns My thoughts to the Zombie Apocalypse

Ah Easter. It's all about Jesus. 

Which raises some questions from the minds of my children.

"If Friday is the day Jesus died why is it GOOD Friday?"


"What does a guy dressed up as a rabbit who breaks into your house and leaves you chocolate have to do with Jesus?"

"If he was dead and came back to life isn't Jesus a Zombie??"

"Why can't I eat the boiled egg I painted at daycare?"

And so forth.
I imagine houses everywhere are full of such questions and they are hopefully as inadequately answered as they are at my house. 

There was also some confusion when my partially deaf husband tried to lip read my frantic whispers when I was standing backlit by a window.
Me"What about the egg hunt?"
Me: "The egg hunt!!"
Him"Who is? What's happened?"
Me: "The easter eggs! When do we hide them?"
Him: "Oh EGG HUNT! I though you said Old c..."
Me: "Oh dear no, not this time".

We didn't have hot cross buns, instead inventing rabbit shaped donuts with chocolate filling. Because there wasn't enough chocolate around.*

 I don't like strings of non trading days together, we all behave strangely because OH GOD THE SHOPS WILL BE CLOSED. I try not to panic. And then I run out of flour. Bugger.This got me thinking about the Zombie apocalypse (or in fact any disaster as they aren't thin on the ground lately) and I have half-heartedly started an emergency box. Mostly comprised of things I have found that are long lasting because I would only eat them in an emergency. tinned soup, powdered milk, bottled water. I am wondering if I should research what's the best thing to have or is that starting down a dark path of paranoia and before you know it I am out the back excavating for a new bunker and running survival drills. But then again living in a flood zone I do think I should have some awareness...

Do you have an emergency survival stash or do you think it is unnecessarily paranoid?

* this is a lie.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Quest for the Best.. Can Opener?

This week I got myself a present.
 It had been on my Pinterest board for years. It was the completion of a strange and overly intensive quest I had been on for years.

Allow me to take you along this tumultuous journey as I look back.

When I was pregnant with our second son I was invited to a Tupperware party a woman at work was holding. Being pregnant I went as there was going to be food which is always a clincher and I didn't have any other kind of social offering on the horizon.
It was there I encountered the Tupperware can opener. Yes can opener. good for tins of beans and cat food.

Now it wasn't any old can opener, it was ergonomic , it was a safety opener meaning there were no sharp edges on the can. Not like my can opener, leaving sharp edges everywhere meaning my tins weren't suitable things because they were all sharp and edgy.  This was a God amongst can openers. With a RRP of $60. Sixty dollars. That's a lot of tins of beans.

So being the bargain hunting quester I set about trying to find one at a good price. I was a woman possessed  I found them on eBay for $31. I still couldn't justify it. I kept searching, I went to another Tupperware party and won a keyring of the can opener in one of those great games you play at such parties. This only served to fan the flames of my desire (for a can opener).

I just couldn't let myself buy it. After all it was just a can opener.
Then I decided there must be others out there, other can openers which met my needs (I don't know if there are other can opener fixated weirdos like myself). I found The Kuhn Rikon safety opener, it cast off the shackles of the monochrome only option and came in colours and was less then $20 but I couldn't decide between pink and red (this is a big problem in my life. I often go with both and rock the Strawberry Shortcake look). So still didn't get it. 

Then I put the pink option on my Pinterest  "Wants not needs" board. That was over a year ago and it was the only thing on there (apparently a roller Skating helmet made to look like R2D2 is a need greater than a can opener) but I STILL didn't buy it as the postage made it too expensive. So I struggled on with my not safe can opener.

Then I found a free post coupon for the discount kitchen ware shop and I BOUGHT THE CAN OPENER and a garlic crusher (red)-I watched a video about the garlic crusher before I bought it. 
I was so excited to hold it in my hand, i had waited so long for this. but  I didn't have any tins to open until; "Mummy can we have baked beans for dinner?" YES! Finally my hands were shaking a bit as I turned the handle to three o'clock and wound around (not too much, could cause burrs) and used the little lid lifting pliers to lift the lid and not even have to touch it.

So gentle reader there you go. Nearly five years after I first set eyes on one I finally have my safety can opener. In case you are wondering, I don't really eat many things from cans. All that BPA you know...

Next I want to buy a robotic vacuum cleaner. I am getting tired just thinking about this...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I don’t Know Why I Blog, I Just know I Need to

On my Twitter feed I see my virtual and real life friends hashtagging their excitement about the Blogging Conference they are attending and I feel a bit jealous. .
I have blogged for years. I don’t know why.

I see people blogging for profit or to educate others. I see people blogging their way through grief and post natal depression, through weight loss and renovation. Not me. I just blog.
I don’t think I would want to commercialise the blog to the point where I am no longer writing for myself. I don’t know if I would want to narrow my blogging scope.  I wonder at my audience. I know you are out there even though my Google analytics fell over because my coding is terrible, I still know there are around 500 views a month but my comments fields area like a ghost town, complete with tumbleweeds.
This may come across as needy but as a prolific commenter I wonder at those who look at my blog posts and have a peep into my life and then wander off without feeling the need to comment. I wonder if I am boring, or shocking or…I simply don’t know as I have no feedback from the silent audience!
I don’t know why I need to blog, I write about jam and children, about business and pets, about books and property, I am not a niche blogger but I am me.

Sometimes I read other people’s posts and I look at the number of followers they have and the number of comments and I think “I don’t get it, why are they so beloved, why does this spark so much commentary?”

I know that some is clever, ceaseless self promotion, I know that some people have talkative wannabe hangers on but it doesn't account for it all. Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one feeling this way… Perplexed, but not bitter, I don’t begrudge anyone success in their chosen endeavour.
I don’t like posts on Social media purely designed to get comments (which are rife at present, is it just me who feels they are a trick and dislikes them on this basis?) , but I always engage if someone has a genuine question I can answer or a topic I feel I have something to offer.
I don’t know why I blog, I just know that I need to and I will continue doing so.

To my silent audience, I am glad you are there for whatever reason, but I will continue even if you disappear further into the ether.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Foraging Fun!

I have been hanging out for Autumn, Autumn is wonderful, the weather, the leaves and the foraging, Blackberries, apples and rose hips being the major players.

Autumn officially began at the start of March but we have been having a prolonged heatwave which has the result of Tasmanians being surly and sweaty  first we realise that our antiperspirant doesn't cut it and then we all wear too much and the place smells like a cheap body spray whenever you have had a visitor (not my friends  mostly customers by the way  I am sure all my friends smell very sophisticated). So it's been too hot but we insisted on some good old fashioned foraging anyway. 

Proper foraging. 
Not buying from farm gates or door knocking nearby houses (both of which were called foraging on Masterchef!)but picking from the brambles ourselves. 

We found a good spot near the river and whilst baby slept peacefully in the (well ventilated and shaded) car we picked over four kilos of blackberries. Well that's what we weighed up, I am fairly sure we picked more because delightfully quirky four year old never had any in his bucket, seemed to spend most of his time getting caught on brambles and still ended up covered in berry juice so he must have eaten more than we saw!

As soon as we got home I had to start work on using them as they were so sweet and ripe and warm they were already softening. Proper fruit doesn't keep well. It should be processed into delicious things as soon as possible or eaten whilst still warm from the sun and fragrant and juicy. in an ideal world.

I used the Thermomix to make jam (so easy it's like cheating!), froze some mixed with some rapadura, made a blackberry slice based on Bill Granger's recipe here. I used a sweet shortcrust base from a Leon recipe... because I knew I liked it and I could make double quantities, rest it in the fridge, nip out for a quick beer with fabulous people and then use the pastry to make both the slice and a a crumple topped blackberry and apple pie (for dinner). because I forgot to mention we found and old apple tree and I used the apples in the pie.There were some creatures but I cut the creaturey bits out and did only used the good bits!

It was wonderful. I wonder what we will forage next...?