Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Strawberry Jam Slice

I've been looking for a recipe to make lately as a good standby for lunchboxes, snacks and the 8.14am-just- -buckled-all-three-girls-in-the-car-reversing-out-the-driveway-chorus: "I'm hungry."

And, after a big shop on the weekend, I challenged myself to make all our meals from scratch this week using whatever is in our pantry, fridge and freezer. So...back to Pioneer Woman I went, and found this recipe which I tweaked by swapping apricot jam with strawberry jam (because that's what was in our pantry).

I made it with Layla which was great. It's essentially an oat crumble with jam in the middle. I took the butter out a little earlier so she could cut it which she loved doing. Then she smooshed and squished the butter, oats, flour and sugar to her hearts content. She pressed half the mixture into a baking tin with a small spatula, poured and then gently spread the strawberry jam around, followed by the remaining mixture. Delicious! It's quite rich from the butter so for us, this is more for kids. Once cooled, I cut it into kids servings and put into the freezer. Easy and yummy.

I'm pleased to say things have been far more settled and relaxed on our end - no more wailing about tummy aches upon waking, less fighting and more calm, settled people in our house. Phew!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Happiness Project

If you are looking for a book to give you some direction, get you a little spiritually energised and thinking about your life, The Happiness Project could be the one for you. A New York Times bestseller, this book is interesting, accessible and engaging.

One day the author has a sudden jolt of realisation - the time to be happy in life is NOW. Not in two months, not on vacation or in 12 months time. THIS. IS. IT.

She decides to research how she can get happy, and begins a 12 month project she calls, The Happiness Project. She reorders her life, values, behaviours and frame of mind to see if she can make herself happy. She exercises. She declutters her house. She stops nagging her husband. She is more patient and loving with her kids. She acts as if she has more energy to feel more energised. And so on. It's a great read. Here's Gretchen Rubin (the author)'s blog for more information.

Here's what I've taken away from it (so far):
1. Act how you feel.
2. Stop looking for gold stars.
3. Be yourself. Your true self.
4. Take up new challenges.
5. Recognise your kids' feelings instead of arguing or disputing them (ie. you can't be hungry! Come on, stop crying.)
6. Be lighter.
7. Do what ought to be done.
8. Kids - the days are long but the years are short (I love this one).

I'm not finished yet but I'm loving it.

And closer to home, here's what's making me happy...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A late note...

Things have been so hectic lately - parent teacher nights, a craft night, illnesses, followed by being soundly asleep at 9.20pm it's true my blogging has fallen behind. Anyhoo I'm back!

If you haven't read this blog already, Design Mom is an amazing resource. is a blog written a mum of 6 (!) who combines design and kidstuff. It's a great blog and keeps my fascination with mums of many kids and how they blog/shower/think/get dressed/function going.

We saw Mary Poppins the musical today and it was amazing! I took my 6.5 year old and we both LOVED it. If you live in Melbourne, I highly recommend it.

I'll leave you with some pics of two new purchases (because I can never resist a sale...). A Radio Flyer trike and wagon. They were officially broken in this weekend!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend wrap

A little of this....

a little of that....

and a little of this.

Mix together....lovely.

Tomorrow is a student free day at school so I am taking my two older girls to see this exhibition, Amazing Bodies at the Docklands. I think we saw this in London years ago pre kids and it was a little gross but so captivating. My kids are fascinated by blood, wounds and all that stuff so I'm sure they'll enjoy it.

Hope you had a gorgeous weekend too.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

I made something!

After attending a sewing workshop last week, my hands were ready to make something. I had bought some fat quarters from this gorgeous shop where I attended my workshop, Amitie. I bought a hoop from Spotlight, and finally, inspired by this post, made my very own fabric wreath.

Now I know it's not everyone's cup of tea (it's got that shabby chic look to it), but I love it. I chose some warm colours and patterns, and set to work. It's really very simple. It essentially involves cutting lots of strips of fabric (11inches long, 2.5 inches wide), deciding a pattern or order, and then tying them tightly around the hoop. I love how it looks. It's colourful but soft an I love the idea of it adding some texture on a wall of prints.

In fact, I think it will go beautifully next to these prints I ordered from an Etsy designer in my own hometown, Melbourne.

The Love Tree, from the Love Shop

Love print, from the Love Shop
You are Beautiful print, from the Love Shop

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weekend Wrap

What much better weekend we had! Might have something to do with me stealing some time for myself, a little winter sunshine, some company with other kids, a party, a ballet show (Yasmin saw Swan Lake) and some fresh air and outside play.

 Yesterday I went to a beginner's sewing workshop I found through Notebook magazine. It was a great way to get my sewing up and running again. And I even made a little skirt for Zahara. OK, the hem was a little crooked, my stitching a little slanted, but Zahara was delighted with it.

Alas, I will always remain what my husband has dubbed, a 'rough chopper.' I can't cut, draw or chop a straight line. I have to admit I find sewing very difficult, it doesn't come naturally at all but it's something I've always wanted to learn, so I can make little cute things for my girls.

I also finally got started on my fabric wreath which is also a little bit of trial and error. I started on a heart shaped frame and I'm not sure how this will look...

The girls played happily this morning for about an hour together, making up games and using lots of imaginative play. This continued in the evening too. Even little Zahara joined in a game of mums and sisters (because no girl ever wants to be the dad).

Zahara and I played at the park this morning, and even better, this tired her sufficiently to have a super nap later on. The older girls were at a bowling party, came home for lunch, and then went off with their daddy for a long bike ride and play at the park.

Dinner tonight was homemade pizza accompanied with rocket (from our garden), sliced pear and parmesan salad. The girls were a little confused to the presence of pear in the salad, but all three loved it. The balsamic vinegar, pear and cheese offset the 'spicy' taste of rocket. I found a quick and easy recipe to make pizza dough (no rising needed) which was a thinner and much better base for our pizza maker. Simply topped with pasta sauce and grated cheese - yum.

Hope you had a lovely weekend. 


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Good times?

Just when you think afternoons couldn't get worse...they got better! We had a lovely afternoon today...might have something to do with Layla chucking a sickie from kinder and having a lovely 2.5 hour sleep, therefore eliminating her post kinder slumping/wimpering/crashing on the couch and general hyper sensitivity, a huge bag of new library books, and a little encouragement from the universe that sometimes, things go OK.

The girls ate so well - salad, fish and quinoa and corn salad.

Tonight we tried some quinoa and fresh corn (steamed and buttered). For quinoa, I use a recipe from this book, The 10 Things You Need to Eat: And More Than 100 Easy and Delicious Ways to Prepare Them. Quinoa is a super healthy food, it's a grain actually packed full of protein. You use 1 cup quinoa to 1 1/4 cup of water, bring to simmer, then cover and cook on lowest setting for 20-25 minutes. It actually comes out fluffy and light. But I won't lie to you - it takes a little getting used to. The sweetness and familiarity of the buttered corn seemed to make it tastier.

I roasted some rockling fillets in the oven for 25 minutes at 200 degrees celsius, just simply drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper. It's a really mild fish that's not fishy. Layla actually gave me a thumbs up for the fish. Somehow ketchup becomes the final addition to the fish, but hey, it's organic and if they're eating fresh fish I don't care what they put with it.

This was finished with a natural icy pole which is a huge treat for them. Things got a little crazy when the girls started shoving their icy hands down my back. Suddenly the ice cubes were flying and man we laughed and screamed.

Here's wishing you a little miracle too. To happy afternoons!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Oy the kids are killing me

We temporarily lost our mojo this weekend. Probably a combination of cabin fever on a rainy wintery Sunday, too much red cordial at a kiddie party (Yasmin + overstimulated = disaster) and tired parents.

The weekdays are so very intense and non stop for both of us that come Saturday, when we start to slow down, we tend to fall into an exhausted heap with three kids running circles around us. Add some silly fighting, whingeing and whining, and well, I almost put the kids on Ebay.

And so it's very encouraging to read this mum of five, Shawni from 71 Toes, write about her family's grumpy moment too. I constantly think with our level of busyness and so many moments of chaos, how do mums with 4 or 5 kids do it? I have no idea. And I'm not sure I want to find out!

Yasmin sang with her school choir on Sunday night for a fundraising concert.
The excitement was palpable.