Thursday, 28 April 2011

Out! and about

yogi

Earlier in the week I was talking to some of my girls about how I find it so hard to take the kids anywhere new on my own. If a friend wanted to meet me at the park, and I hadn't been there before, chances are we would be finding some new plans. If I go anywhere, it's somewhere that I've been before, usually somewhere that I've asked Cam to come along with me so that I can check out the lay of the land, how to get there, where the car parks, where the amenities are, etc.

I was not like this before kids, but since having three of them, I think it's come about because I like to be in control of the outcomes of any situation, and know that I can handle my kids in the environment. It's become very limiting on what we do.

So it was really bizarre when another of my girlfriends rang me last night and suggested that we go to the park, instead of our usual play {at home} date, bizarre because she was not privvy to my conversation earlier in the week, but she suggested that she would come to my place then I could follow her to to park in my car. Clearly she is aware of my inability to just get out there and do it.
friends + bubbles
slideslide
little rest
chasing bubbleswalk

Of course we had a lovely time, and the kids were beautifully behaved, and the weather was glorious.

... and now, I know one more park that I can visit. Time to keep pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone I'm thinking.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Our Easter Hunt

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8:00
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What a lovely way to spend Easter Morning... our thoughtful bunny set out a treasure hunt with maps directing the kids all over the back garden. They thought that it was wonderful to be on an expedition... and we thought that it was great having all this fun for five eggs-a-piece.

If you want to enjoy the magic, you can watch the vid of all the stills here.

Enjoy!

and a Happy Easter to you too, I hope your EB was just as much fun.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Finger Buns

resting

portions

baking

finger bun

There are a number of reasons why I bake, the first is because I like to eat, especially sweet, baked food, but I also bake because sometimes I'm too stingy to pay for baked goods :: because I feel like eating something, but I don't want to put three kids in the car and head out :: and also because it feels so satisfying to make something myself that is as good or better than what I can buy.

Yesterday I made finger buns, for all of the reasons above. Firstly, we had a play-date scheduled and I wanted to have a snack for all the kids {and maybe a little for us Mums} to enjoy :: I felt like eating finger buns, but couldn't be bothered piling the kids into the car and stopping at the bakery :: because I worked out that for 3 kids + 3 kids + 2 mums, it was going to cost me $12 {at least} at the bakery for said buns and I didn't want to fork out that money :: AND because I have google, and google delivered GOLD on the recipe front!

I'm getting quite used to making my own bread, so it was no extra effort to make these buns instead, I had some little helpers for the whole process, so it was actually a fun thing to do while on school holidays. The finished product, while not quite as light as those from the bakery, was still pretty light, and tasted so sweet. It was also pretty cool to finally find out how to make an icing that tastes fairly similar to the stuff that they use on the boston buns... next time I may even try to make a big bun for slicing and buttering... mmmmmm!

Recipe adapted from the Finger Bun recipe at Best Recipes.

Ingredients
Bun Dough
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bread improver*
3 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon oil
2/3 cup saltanas
3/4 cup tepid water

Icing
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons margarine
1 tablespoon warm water
100s & 1000s

Method
Combine first five ingredients in a bowl, add oil and water and stir until a dough starts to form. Flour hands then start kneading dough in the bowl until is comes together. Turn out onto floured surface, then knead for 10-15 minutes until dough is elastic {note: I found this dough quite sticky, so floured my hands quite regularly while kneading} Add sultanas at end and knead through.

Place dough in bowl and cover with a clean tea-towel. Place somewhere warm and drought free until dough has doubled in size. Once doubled in size, turn out onto a floured surface and knock back. Cut into 8-10 portions, roll each one into a sausage and place onto a floured tray, leave 1-2 cm between each piece. Cover with a tea-towel and leave to prove in a warm, drought free place until each portion is slightly touching.

Cook at 190℃ {I cooked at 160℃ because my oven is fan forced and HOT} for 15-20 minutes, checking regularly for colour. Cool on a wire rack.

To make the icing, place the ingredients in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Ice buns once they are cool, and roll in the 100s & 1000s.

* because I use such cheap plain flour

Friday, 15 April 2011

in the garden :: a lesson for us all

growth starting to die back
The 'top growth' is starting to die back.

With the nets off, it's easy to see that the plants have actually died back more than I originally thought. Much of the growth was being held up by the nets.

bandicooting
I've donned my big kitchen gloves {there's lots of creepy crawlies in this soil ~ very good that is, but not to touch and not to be bitten by} and I'm starting to investigate what lies beneath.

spuds!
Eureka!

skimming...
Spuds!

But wait, before this appears like I am the master gardener, let me continue::

I must admit, sometimes gardening and my garden leaves me feeling so stupid. Take my potatoes for instance; I have read so many articles on how to grow potatoes, and the many experienced gardeners in my life have said to mound my spuds {jo, aren't you going to mound your spuds a bit more?} You know, heap the dirt up around the base of the plant; and I did {sorta}, but all the while I was aware that my spuds were already in the raised beds, so they had heaps if room to grow their bounty within the soil already in the bed. Right?

So I thought...

{and this is the bit where I feel so stupid, so please refrain from reading on if you are a seasoned potato grower, but if you're not, please do read on and let my stupidity teach you a valuable lesson}

I mistakenly believed that the potato plants would grow down, that the potatoes formed at the base of the seed potato. Ha! Not so. What actually forms at the base of the seed potato is roots, roots for the plant to obtain nutrients with which to grow. What grows out of the top of the plant, the long vine(y) branches is where the tubers {or spuds} grow... so when all the books say "mound your spuds" they ain't kidding! Because it is in that mound where the spuds grow and need to be protected from light. {Duh!} Here, let me illustrate...

lessons learned in the garden

Now that I've had the wool pulled from my eyes by digging up one of my own plants, I now know just how it works, but of course, now I feel so STUPID that I just didn't get it before... and {sob, sob} now my harvest is going to be so much smaller because of my said stupidity {although my bestie assures me that he didn't mound his last crop, and he still got p.l.e.n.t.y of yummy potatoes out of his soil}

So next time, I will be planting my spuds in much shallower soil, and then mounding from there, just like it says in the books.

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Click Images if you want to read the article

Yes I get it now, loud and clear.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

a stitch in time

roar!
the granny blanket, again...hiding
mummmmeeeeee cuddles
her door
sitting climbing
comfort
While the older kids were out having adventures of their own, Mia and I spent a lovely day at home. Just the two of us. There were games of peek-a-boo and row-row-row-your-boat; and much giggling and cuddling. With this wintery Melbourne weather, I've even been inspired to pull out the crochet again!

* Photos taking on my iPhone using the Hipstamatic app

Monday, 11 April 2011

in short :: day 1

hangin' out

First official day of school holidays, and I can tell you right now, we're not going to be doing much fancy around here...

I awoke this morning and actually had some energy! Woo Hoo! It's been a long time... my cold {and sinus infection} is on the mend, and my iron supplements may well be starting to kick in. So I cleaned, my house is clean, the laundy is done {for five minutes anyway}, and my hair done.

The kids have been parked in front of the TV since they got up at 6{ish} this morning, and are alternating between lolling about, and driving each other crazy with the sillies. I finally managed to shoo them outside around one, when Mia went down for her sleep. Then Nanna-Jan came over, and give me the luxury of doing the weekly food shop without kids in tow.

We have a few play-dates sorted for the rest of the holidays, but mostly I think that we are just going to hang out at home, let everyone find their rhythm again, and try and recuperate from the exhaustion of first term, all the while trying not to do each others heads in.

If you were hoping for some pretty or inspiring school holiday adventures, then I am sorry my friends, I think that you will have to look elsewhere...

Saturday, 9 April 2011

auskick

auskick

We've been pretty keen to get involved in our local auskick this year, not so much because we are a 'footy family' but mostly because it's such a good way for the whole family to be involved in something healthy, cheap, and community orientated.

So this morning was it. The first one. I tried very hard to keep my expectations realistic and under-control, but as with anything that you've looked forward to, that is easier said than done.

We arrived a few minutes early, so that our kids would have a chance to mingle and settle in {well that was the plan} but it was apparent very early that the only kid that was going to take it all in her stride was Mia, and that wasn't much help to us.

We'd already registered Angus to play a few weeks ago, but we also recently found out that Daisy could also play this year, because her birthday fell 9 days ahead of the cut-off, so in a last ditch effort to get the kids to participate, we registered Daisy on the spot. Again our parently strategy failed, now we had two kids whining, crying and refusing to join the other kids in the footy drills. I could feel myself getting both frustrated and embarrassed, you know how it is, it looks like all the other kids are being angels, and your own are, well, not!

Eventually though, we won through; Cam got involved in helping out with the drills, even though our kids weren't doing them, and sure enough, after a while our kids started to join in.

kicking drill

kicking

An hour in, when they gathered all the kids in and gave them a jersey to wear for a game, my kids were hooked. They had a great time, and hopefully will get in on the action a lot quicker next time, especially since we've delivered on our 'bribes' and they now have their footy kit. Angus is a hawk {his own choice}, Daisy a cat {my choice, for her Dad} and my baby is a bomber {just like her Mummy}...

auskick her style

... game on!!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

scenery

how ladylike...

:: a few more sights before I move on... the chandelier in the ladies room of the balcony. I loved this, I walked through the door, saw the pink doors, the multi-coloured light, the flowers and candle on the vanity and thought, how ladylike.

universe, i would like this sugar bowl please

:: this was the sugar bowl on our table, I don't know if the other tables were the same, but now I wish that I had offered to actually buy the sugar bowl. love it. how strange!... so universe, i'm just putting this out there... "I would really, really like a sugar bowl, just like this one"

they looked so good

:: the cake shop down the stairs, I resisted, but only because I was so full from breakfast!
my new hat

:: my new hat, now I can take my hair to a new level of lazy, not only do I like the hat, but I think that I am going to be grateful for it on many a school morning.

:: as you were...