Thursday, November 18, 2010

20 Questions

I'm playing along with Pip from Meet Me At Mikes...

20 questions...

1. Sweet or Savoury? Sweet! Especially fruit!
2. Dresses or Jeans? Neither I like skirts:)
3. House or Apartment? House. Mainly for the backyard for the kids otherwise I'd be happy in an apartment.
4. Shop Online or Offline? Online. There's so much more available.
5. DVDs or downloads? Downloads. They take up less space and the kids can't scratch them.
6. Cocktails or Juice? Juice. I'm a lightweight when it comes to alcohol.
7. Chocolate or Strawberry? Chocolate! Mmm chocolate.
8. Laptop or PC? Laptop. I like being able to move around the house.
9. Magazines or Newspapers? Magazines. Although the only magazines I read are food and craft related lol.
10. Facebook or Twitter? Facebook! I tried twitter but got bored with it fast.
11. CDs or MP3s? MP3s for the same reason as DVDs...
12. Kids or Pets? Neither or both depending on the day lol. They both have the ability to make my heart mushy or drive me freaking crazy!
13. Macaron or Cupcakes? Cupcakes at this stage. I've never had a macaron...
14. Walk or Run? Walk! I look like an idiot when I run lol.
15. Breakfast in Bed or Breakfast Out? Out. If I can go somewhere that does a great breakfast. There aren't many good cafes near here:(
16. Market or Supermarket. If there was a decent market closer by then market.
17. Sourdough or Grainy? Grainy.
18. Heels or Flats? Flats! I haaaaate wearing heels!
19. Late Nights or Not? Late nights. I've always been a night owl.
20. Coffee or Tea? Neither. I don't like hot drinks. Water is my drink of choice, boring I know lol!

Anyone else want to play along?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Savoury Golden Sausages

This recipe was a winner with my kids! Lou liked it so much that she taught herself to say "sausaaaage" while pointing at the pot and signing for more.

Savoury Golden Sausages

750g Sausages

1 grated carrot

1 tbs sugar

2 tbs soy sauce

1 onion, chopped

2 tbs plain flour

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

2 tbs vinegar

1 tbs chopped parsley

Boil sausages until cooked through then slice thickly. Mix together flour, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and vinegar. Add 1 1/2-2 cups of water, salt and pepper. Place sausages in casserole dish and add onion, carrot and parsley. Pour over sauce. Cook in oven at 180 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes. Enjoy:)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sixteen Months

My baby is slipping away quickly, soon to be replaced with a toddler so I'm savouring every squishy moment:)

Check out the difference sixteen months makes!

Lou minutes old having just made her speedy entry earthside

and Lou sitting on the same spot she was born, sixteen months later

Don't you wish you could freeze time sometimes and keep them just as they are!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Something That's Been Weighing On My Mind

I've read a few blog posts recently about fat acceptance/healthy at every size (HAES) and I'd like to blog about it from the other side. Most of those bloggers write about being criticised for not being thin. I've lost a lot of weight since my second daughter was born. I now weigh less than I did when I was 15 and I have lost count of the amount of comments I've received about how "fantastic" I look and how "awesome" it is that I've lost so much weight. It's not fantastic, this wasn't' deliberate weight loss and it is definitely not a sign that I'm healthy. The last time I weighed this much I had not finished growing!

When I tell people how I lost the weight: stress, single parenting, breastfeeding, they gloss over it and return to how "fantastic" it is, despite me trying to tell them that it's not a healthy weight loss and that I'm tired.

I've had the hardest nine months of my life. My marriage has broken up. I've been solo parenting two young children who don't sleep. I don't always get a chance to eat properly because I'm focused on taking care of them. I've been breastfeeding and or pregnant continuously for almost four years now. My weight loss is a sign that my body is under a lot of pressure.

I am wasting away from stress. That is not a good thing!

When someone commented on my weight loss and I told them that it wasn't a good thing and I hoped I wouldn't be this weight this time next year and that I was so exhausted that I could barely get out of bed, they said "oh no you don't want to put that weight back on, don't say that!"

The comments also make me feel bad about how I looked before. I never used to feel bad about myself or my body before all this loss, but these comments make me question how I used to look and what people thought of me then?

Instead of trying to convince me how great it is to be a size ten when I have massive dark rings under my eyes and I'm stressed out of my mind, how about offering to help me out at dinner/bed time so I have a chance to eat when my children are going to bed? Or cooking me a healthy meal? Or just responding to me with "I'm sorry you're feeling crap" instead of "it's fantastic (that you feel like crap coz at least you're skinny)."

Whether you're a size 10 or a size 18 it doesn't necessarily mean you're healthy or unhealthy. If someone tries to tell you that they're exhausted and that they don't get to eat properly, it's probably an indicator that they're not healthy. Why do we have to comment on people's weight at all? Why can't we ask each other how we feel and focus on that.

HAES blog posts

Talking about diet talk - Spilt Milk

An anthropologist on Mars - The Shapely Prose

Imperfection - The Shapely Prose

Don't You Realize Fat Is Unhealthy? - The Shapely Prose

35 simple ways to be beautiful - Adios Barbie

Monday, September 13, 2010

Respecting Childrens Boundaries

Excuse me while I have a bit of a vent, but this has been bugging me for a looong time. Why don't people respect the personal boundaries of children? You wouldn't go up to a strange adult you didn't know and pat them on the head or try to pick them up of give them a hug. So why is it okay for you to do that to my children?

You also wouldn't pat a strangers dog without asking the owners permission first and yet people are always patting my children without asking their or my permission first.

Iris in particular is very wary of strangers and really doesn't like being touched by anybody and yet the colour of her hair seems to attract random petting. If she's yelling "Go away! Don't touch me!" please leave her alone and don't touch her (really pretty simple). Just coz they're cute, doesn't mean they're friendly (much like strange puppies!). Maybe my daughter needs to bite someone to get some recognition of her personal boundaries?

I would really like for my daughter to learn that when she says "don't touch me" she will be respected. It's really important for her to know that it's okay to say "don't touch me" and that her wishes need to be respected by others when it comes to personal boundaries.

The next person that pats my daughter on the head might find that I am going to do the same to them...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Totally Hooked!

I tried a number of times over the years to learn to crochet but had never been successful until recently. A blog that I read started a granny square a day challenge and that inspired me to try learning again. With the info from the blog and the help of a friend who patiently sat by my side and talked me through it I finally began to get the hang of crochet and before I knew it I was addicted! I undid more than I made at the beginning but I'm finally getting to the point where I can complete something that looks halfway decent.

I've got two big projects on the go at the moment. The first is a rainbow blanket for baby Lemiwinks. I'm about 2/3 of the way finished so far.

I chose to make it a giant granny square and not try to do anything too complicated because it was the first big crochet project I embarked on and I didn't want to stuff it up or give up halfway because it was too hard.

The second big project I'm working on is a blanket for myself. It's going to be made up of lots of smaller squares that when put together look like a waterlily pond in a garden. Here are the 7 squares I've completed so far. There will be 142 squares all up:-0

This blanket has been really challenging but in a good way. I feel like I've really been improving my crochet and pattern reading skills while working on it. I'm estimating it's going to take about 6-12 months to finish if I keep working at the pace I am now.

I'm trying to resist the urge to start anymore projects until I have at least finished Lemiwinks blanket but I swear I have crafting ADHD and find it hard not to lose focus and start something new every second week.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Single Attachment Parenting

My situation is unique, well, I haven't met any other attachment parents who are single and planning to homeschool their children. I'm lucky that I have supportive family and friends nearby, but it's still really difficult to meet my children's needs and take care of myself enough to remain an attachmed mum.

For Lou, being an attachment mum mostly means co-sleeping and breastfeeding on demand. For Iris, who has only just self-weaned and is a very sensitive child, it means trying to stay connected with her, and to meet her needs in a gentle way.

Some days after trying to meet my children's needs from dawn until dusk I just want to run down the street screaming "Get away from me! Stop touching me! Stop having needs!" ;P But at the same time it has still been worth the work because the impact of having their father move out has been cushioned by the fact that I am connected to them and have worked hard to remain connected to them, through attachment parenting.

In the process of trying to meet my children's needs, on my own, and not taking care of myself properly while I was doing it, I almost gave myself a breakdown. It's also very hard being a single parent to two young children who need me so much, because sometimes I have to make a choice between which child to care for first, or who needs me the most.

As supportive as family and friends have been, it's really been hard when I've been struggling, basically the only suggestion I received was to put my children in childcare and "let someone else deal with them." While I was having a really, really hard time, struggling with the kids, there was a while there where I struggled to get out of bed, someone told me that I should put my girls in childcare and that they would be "better off with someone else" than to be at home with me while I was struggling. It really hurt to hear that somebody who I thought cared about me thought my children would be better off in the care of stranger than with me!

Putting them in childcare would not have solved my issues or theirs! 1) How would it be better for them to be detached from me when they had already lost their Dad in the past few months? And 2) how would that solve any of my mental health issues? All that would do would increase my guilt because they would be in a childcare situation that I didn't want them in. And for them it would mean being separated from their full-term parent who they have spent everyday with since birth.

All the judgments on my ability to parent my children didn't just come from friends and family, they also came from medical professionals. Despite seeing that my children were well loved and cared for they still questioned why I chose to parent the way that I do. When I had to take Lou to hospital the staff were shocked to see that I was an attachment parent and a single parent. They tried to treat me like a dumb stereotype of a single mother, like I couldn't possibly know what was best for my child. They spent hours lecturing me on the "risks of co-sleeping" and breastfeeding my baby to sleep. It must be awful for other single parents who go in there with a sick child, who don't have the supportive people that I had with me, or who aren't as well informed or prepared to stand up to the staff. They also gave me attitude, asking me where my child's father was, despite already being told that we were separated.

I continue to attachment parent because I know it's what's best for my children, especially when their lives are being turned upside down. This is when they most need to feel secure attachment. Being an attachment parent has always been important to me. But now that I'm a single parent, the principles of attachment parenting are even more important!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Choosing To Unschool My Children

When I first heard my friend Sazz mention she was going to homeschool I thought she was crazy. What would she want to do that for? Her kids would turn into unsocialised freaks! The funny thing was that Sazz had had a successful schooling experience and was not going to send her kids to school, but I had had a traumatic schooling experience but was still going to send my kids! Gradually the more I learned about homeschooling, or unschooling in particular, the more it all started to make sense to me.

I started reading stuff online about homeschooling, but I still thought it was something I couldn't do. I wouldn't be able to cope with my kids at home all day. Then I read a blog post by Currawong describing the start to their day. They eased into the day with no rush to get to school. She wrote about how she'd missed out on those moments for years. That one post made me go "oh!", something just clicked and I started seeing it all a bit differently.

I started thinking what sending my kids to school would mean: six hours a day, five days a week with an adult that I might not trust, who they might not get along with. I thought about rushing out the door every morning and being away from them for that long.

Then I started processing my own schooling journey and realised just how much damage it had done to me. I was worried that if I homeschooled that my children would finish up with gaps in their education. But I realised that I had gone to school and still had massive gaps in my education, so there was that excuse gone. I was also worried about homeschooling on my own.

I never wanted to do schooling at home, I knew that wouldn't suit my children and the way our family works. The idea I had had of home schooling was us sitting around a table with me being their teacher and I knew that I couldn't do that. But the more I learned about unschooling the more it seemed possible and suited to our family.

I love the idea of my kids being able to follow their own interests for as long as they want. If they're interested in numbers then they can follow that for as long as they want, the whole day or the whole week, there's no point at which the maths lesson ends. Or if they want to spend a month learning about monkeys they can. They have freedom and autonomy, two things sorely missing from my education.

I didn't want Iris to think that she couldn't learn something just because it wasn't the right time for her to learn it. I had a discussion with my Dad where he remembered the exact moment at which he stopped bothering with maths. He was learning long division in grade three at school and he couldn't understand and he remembers a wall going down in his brain. Forty years later and he hasn't bothered with a single piece of maths beyond that. After that discussion and thinking "what if he was meant to learn it a week or a month later? He might have discovered that he really enjoyed maths and kept learning it. Maybe he would've ended up being a maths teacher instead of a music teacher?" I knew I wanted them to have the chance to learn things when they're ready.

The older Iris gets, the more I realise unschooling is the right choice for her. She is very sensitive and I just don't think most schools and teachers have the times or resources to deal with a child like her. I've been that sensitive child in that school environment and it is not nice! I struggle enough with Iris, having enough patience on a daily basis, and I'm her mother who loves her. I hate to think of how she would be treated in school because the people there don't have the same feelings for her that I do.

Now that the decision is made I'm really excited about our future! Because we're not restricted by school hours or school terms, we're free to travel or spend the day wandering around a museum or digging holes in the dirt in the backyard. Whatever takes their fancy! The possibilities are endless!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

WBW - Top 5 Breastfeeding Moments

Here are my top five, best and worst breastfeeding moments for World Breastfeeding Week:

1. Trying to breastfeed discreetly in church for the first time. Iris decided to de-latch in the middle of let-down and I had a really strong let-down at that point because she was only about five weeks old and I had an over supply of milk. So milk goes squirting to the right and hits my Dad in the shoulder. Luckily it was Dad, and he found it funny!

I put her back on and she came off again, this time the milk goes shooting off to the left and hits the person sitting next to me! Then she did it a third time and this time the milk went shooting forward and hit a friend of mine sitting in front of me, who thankfully has four kids and thought it was hilarious. At that point I gave up and went and sat somewhere else to finish feeding her.

2. Feeding in the rain at a homebirth rally. I was standing in the rain, under an umbrella, on the steps of Parliament House, protesting, surrounded by thousands of other women wearing their babies in carriers and breastfeeding their children too. Very cool.

3. Feeding Lou walking through the airport. After the rally on the way home I was feeding Lou walking to our flight, I passed Tracey Bartram who gave me a big grin.

4. When that stupid woman at Centrelink told me they could offer me a private room to do "THAT!" in. I said with a big grin on my face "no thank-you, I'm perfectly fine here." and she glared at me, huffed and stormed off.

5. Realising when Iris was about five months old that she had been existing soley on my milk. I had grown her for nine months inside me and then another five months. She hadn't needed anything else but me. It was magic.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Schooling & Deschooling

I was a very sensitive kid. I would cry at the drop of a hat and I was constantly ridiculed for that, from kindergarten. I remember a teacher told me to sit under a table "like a dog" because I bit another child. It never got any better.

I went to a conservative school and it was hung up on trivial stuff and controlling children's behaviour. So I spent a lot of time in detention for doing things like not eating my bread crusts, crying, wanting to swap sandwiches with my friends etc. I got the cane for calling a sports teacher "a sexist pig" when I was seven (I called him it because he kicked me out of the game). That was 1992.

Then I went to a public school where anything went. There were kids there who were full on, they swore and carried on and all sorts of behaviour I wasn't used to. I had spent so much time getting kicked out of class at my school that I hadn't spent a lot of time in class learning and so I had fallen behind. In grade four I got changed to a different classroom with a different teacher because I didn't get along with that teacher. He physically dragged me out of class one day and I was trying to break free from him and accidentally scratched him. I just wanted him to let me go.

I used to like to read books and do my own thing and this irritated the teachers. I daresay that teacher had been telling me to stop reading and do what he wanted, move to a different space in the room or something, but I kept reading my book.

While I was outside of class after that teacher dragged me out (and I accidentally scratched him) I heard him say to my class of 9 year olds "I hope she doesn't have HIV".

So once I was switched to the other class I pretty much stopped participating. I wasn't coping so I gave up. I brought books to school and I read them quietly, not doing what the rest of class was doing.

When I started high school I ended up at a school that none of my friends went to. I felt like the teachers were picking on me, my science teacher haaated me. She used to threaten me and tell me she would get me kicked out of school. My home room teacher said to me one day "you think you're so fantastic, but you're not" and that was supposed to be the caring one I was meant to be able to go to if I was having problems transitioning into high school.

The other girls in my class started bullying me around that time. They called me "tag along" coz I didn't have any friends. I used to hide in the library and read books, but it was closed to students three days a week so the VCE students could use it without younger kids there.

I had an altercation with my science teacher and the next day I woke up the next day and thought "fuck it, I'm not going". I could see six years of bad schooling behind me and I could see another six or seven years ahead of me and I didn't feel like I could take it anymore. I didn't feel like I had anybody on my side. I said to my Dad "you can't make me go."

Dad got angry and yelled and tried to convince me to go back. Everyone seemed to think it was a phase, that eventually I'd go back to school. No one from school ever chased me up or asked what happened to me. I never went back to high school.

I used to sit at home and read books and watch TV. At one point Dad thought I had dropped out to watch Oprah and the midday show so he took the TV away, thinking it would make me go back to school. It just made me bored. He looked into alternatives for me, schools for kids with behavioural issues, distance education subjects, but it didn't really work. There were no programs or anything to help 12 year old drop outs.

Dad used to threaten me, asking if I wanted to spend my life on a minimum wage. But I was really traumatised by school, enough to not go back.

I taught myself cross stitch and other craftwork. Now when I look back, with the knowledge I have now I can see that I was unschooling myself but it was sabotaged by other people who couldn't see that. I was constantly being told I was a failure because I wasn't at school, because they believed I couldn't learn anything if I wasn't in a classroom.

We had a social worker come to the house and she worked on getting me less fearful and getting me out of the house. She found me a community house that had an education program for adults with learning difficulties.The community house program was meant to be a gentle way to ease back into institutional education. I really enjoyed it because there were only six of us in the room and they were all adults who had chosen to be there. But my teacher told me that she could see that whenever I thought I had got something wrong she could see that I was waiting to be told off. She said she could actually see me "cowering".

When I look back now I think what a pity it was that I wasn't encouraged to follow my own interests while I wasn't in school. All I got from everyone was "if you're not in school you can't learn anything, what are you going to do with the rest of a life, you won't be able to get a job" etc. All of the things I was doing at home to keep myself busy like teaching myself to sew and cross stitch didn't really develop because I was made to feel guilty for doing them because I wasn't doing "traditional" schoolwork.

I'm still interested in the same things I was back then: handcrafts etc. But it's only now (at 25) that I'm getting up the courage to teach myself, after feeling guilty for years and years for "not studying". If I had have been encouraged I'd be an advanced sewer etc. and what a great skill that would be!

To this day the idea of doing "traditional" schoolwork still makes me feel sick to my stomach. It causes me massive anxiety (this is one of the reasons I haven't written blog posts regularly). There are things I've wanted to study but I haven't pursued them because I've been too scared of returning to study, even after thirteen years of being out of the schooling system. I'm still deprograming and deschooling my brain.

Coming to the decision to unschool my girls has helped me realise that there was never anything wrong with me. I'm finally starting to let it go and get the guts to follow my interests and finally looking at studying again.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Television Battles

Before I had kids I swore that they would never be allowed to watch much TV. I've always been uncomfortable with television being used as a baby sitter and I always imagined them playing creatively with their toys, helping me around the house or letting me read to them. Then I had a real child. A real child who is loud, bored easily and whose idea of creativity is stamping my kitchen table permanently with pictures of blue mice.
I've tried various things over the past few years to keep the TV watching in my house to a minimum, some more successful than others. For a while I had the rule no TV before 5pm because I realised if it went on early in the day it quiet often wouldn't get turned off till bedtime and that equalled a lot of TV watching each day. Then I realised that TV watching before bedtime was causing problems so I tried to restrict it to late afternoon and it had to go off at dinnertime or when the sun went down, whatever came first. Whatever I tried though the TV would always creep back into our lives, monopilising Iris's time, causing meltdowns and leaving her tired from lack of activity
My my most recent attempt at wrestling control back from the TV was to move it from the loungeroom to the study where I could close door on it and hopefully it would be a case of out of site out of mind. It worked really well for a few months. Iris slowly watched less and less TV and she even went a few weeks without watching any at all. Then we got sick, the weather turned crappy and the TV crept back into our lives.
I think because Iris went so long without it I'm really noticing the negative effects it's having on her this time and I'm not happy about it! This past week we've had some major battles over the TV with meltdowns over when she's allowed to turn it on, meltdowns over turning it off and she's even been waking me up in the middle of the night to tell me that she's very sad with me because I turned "Dora" off so we could eat dinner with her grandparents who were visiting.
All this is making me seriously consider banning TV outright. I know that makes me a sellout in regards to radical unschooling but I think at 2yrs old as nice as it sounds for Iris to be able to moderate her own TV appetite there are forces working against her that are making that difficult. I think TV shows these days are made to suck kids in and keep them watching for as long as possible. I'm guessing the longer they watch the more brands they begin to recognise and the more they are able to be marketed to. Ideally I would like to strike a balance and just let her watch small amounts but with Iris she seems to want all or nothing.

So what would you do in my situation? What's the TV situation like in your house? Do you let them have unhindered access, no TV at all or somewhere in between?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Porcupine Meatballs

This is one of Iris's favourite meals. She usually asks for seconds when I serve it and you know how rare that is with a picky toddler!!

420g can concentrated tomato soup
500g beef mince
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup long grain rice, rinsed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
mashed potato to serve

Place soup and 1 3/4 cups cold water in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, combine mince, onion, rice, garlic and parsley in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Using one tablespoon of mixture at a time, roll mixture into balls.

Add meatballs to boiling soup. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until rice is tender and meatballs cooked through. Serve with mashed potato.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A new friend for Lou

This is Lou's new friend Bunny (original I know lol). He's from one of the funky friends factory patterns I got at the stitches and craft show. It was a pretty easy pattern to sew up. The instructions were clear and easy to follow and I didn't make any silly mistakes requiring unpicking for a change. I think now I'm familiar with the pattern I could sew another one in a few hours. Lou caught sight of him as just as I was finishing sewing the stuffing hole closed and sat at my feet saying "that that that" and pointing until she could finally give him a cuddle. I haven't been able to get a photo of her holding him though because she kept flapping him around her head and squealing excitedly. I also bought patterns to make a monkey and an elephant and I'm hoping they're as quick and easy to sew as the bunny...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Stitches and Craft Show 2010

I've been excitedly waiting to visit the Stitches and Craft Show for a few months now. Last year they introduced a space called the incubator which included stalls from some of my favourite craft bloggers and designers and it was the highlight of the show for me. When I heard the incubator was coming back again this year I couldn't wait to get there! Well I certainly wasn't disappointed! There were so many great stalls to look at and everyone I spoke to was friendly and helpful. I got to meet some of the faces behind the blogs I read and see some of their creations in person. There were lots of activities to participate in as well. I really liked the craft bars where you could pull up a chair and try your hand at a new craft for free. I had Lou with me and her patience only held out long enough for me to do some knitting but I managed to learn an easier way of casting on and holding my needles while I was there.

As usual the show was a difficult exercise in self restraint lol. There were so many lovely patterns, pieces of fabric and craft bits and bobs to choose from it was hard not to blow out the budget but this is what I came home with...

I got some lovely fabric, a skirt kit and an oliver + s pattern from Earthgirl Fabrics, a children's jacket pattern from Kelani, some fleece softie patterns from Funky Friends Factory, some felt flowers from Papoose and a lovely big piece of rainbow felt from Winterwood to make the girl's birthday crowns with.

The show is on till Sunday and the details are here for anybody thinking about going...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

More plagerism

I'm working on a post that could take a while so to fill in the time meanwhile I have decided to copy my all my friend's blogs and get you to ask me a question...

You can be random, or funny (or try to be) or serious or a little bit naughty... and I will endeavour to answer them all...

so what do you want to know...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

One a Month Challenge February

I thought I had better hurry and make up my mind what I was making this month because I'm running out of time.

For February I'm going to cook something out of the CWA Victoria Cookery Book.

I haven't decided what I'm going to cook yet. There are lots of casserole recipes that look tasty though.

The craft book I've chosen is Amy Butler's Little Stitches For Little Ones.

I know what I'm going to sew but I don't want to say because it's a gift for a friend. I've read reviews from a few people online saying that the pattern's from this book can be hard to follow so wish me luck!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I got an award from my friend Kint over at Domestic Delusions.

The rules are to share 10 honest facts about myself then give the award to 7 other bloggers who inspire me.

1. I am terrified of deep water, particularly the ocean. I think it's partly to do with how bad my eyesight is. Without my glasses I can't tell if it's a rock I'm swimming over or some hideous sea creature who'll devour me lol.

2. I'm a coffee snob who doesn't drink coffee. I used to work as a barrista so I know what a decent latte is meant to look like and not many coffee shops around here make them!

3. I left school when I was twelve years old and didn't go back until I was sixteen. I just woke up one morning and refused to leave the house and no threats or bribes could convince me otherwise. The reasons I stopped going are worthy of a post of their own so I won't go into it now.

4. I love to collect things! I've collected many different things over the years but at the moment fabric and cookbooks are what's making my money and storage space disappear. You know your cookbook collection is getting out of control when the bookshelf holding them collapses (true story lol).

5. I was named after a one-eyed sheep (or ewe to be exact). My mum loved the name Sarah-Jane so much that she called her pet ewe Sarah-Jane. By the time I was born the ewe was old, grumpy and could only see out of one eye but my family has had lots of fun over the years teasing me about who I was "named" after.

6. I'm in love with my iPhone. I'm not really that fussed about the phone part it's more the fact that I have almost constant access to the internet thanks to it. I have withdrawl symptoms when I'm in an area where I don't have 3G net reception. I keep thinking what if something interesting happens online and I don't know about it!

7. I'm planning on homeschooling/unschooling my kids. There are a few different reasons that I came to make this choice that I'll explain another day but I'm really looking forward to all the adventures I'll be able to share with my girls because they won't be locked up in a class room.

8. I love mandarins. I love everything about them, the taste, the smell and I love pulling them right apart and eating them one tiny little juice filled bit at a time. When I see them finally come into season and arrive in the shops I do happy dance every year.

9. It's taken me waaay to long to think of this many facts about myself so I'm glad I'm nearly at the end.

10. I'm a major night owl. Pre children if I was in the middle of a good book or creative project I would think nothing of staying up all night but I've had to curb this habit recently because somehow I've managed to give birth to not one but two children who regularly wake up at the crack of dawn.

I'm too tired to think of seven people and Kint has already mentioned my favourites so the bloggers I'm going to pass the award onto are...

April because I'd like to get to know her better and if Sazz likes her she must be awesome:)

Yan because I want to get to know her better as well.

Majikfaerie because I find her parenting and unschooling style really inspirational.

That's all I can think of for now...

One Per Month January Challenge = Success!

So for January I set out to make a bathmat from the book Handmade home and Margherita Pizza from the Ultimate Mixer Cookbook. Both of them were a success!

I started by making the mat first. I cut up an old towel that had a large hole ripped in it to use for the base and I used part of a vintage doona cover as the patterned top. I bought the doona cover and two matching pillowcases from my local Savers op-shop about a year ago and it was the best $7 I've ever spent! I've made sooo many things from it and I still have lots of fabric left for other projects. In the book Amanda sews strips of toweling onto the top of the mat as well but I liked the pattern on mine too much to cover it up. It was an easy project to sew and if I hadn't been so picky about wanting the patterns in the middle to stay aligned I could have had it finished in under an hour.

Here is the finished product plus some approving toddler feet.

Iris like the mat so much that she wouldn't get off it so I could take a photo and she spent a good portion of the rest of the day asking "where mat hiding?"

I have another vintage bedspread sitting in my fabric stash that I think would be perfect for making a more "girly" looking bathmat. I have a relative who loves that kind of look so I think I'll be using this pattern again soon.

The Margherita Pizza was a lot easier to make than I thought. This was my first time making pizza from scratch so I was a bit scared but it was it all came together really quickly thanks to my new kitchenaid. I can't imagine trying to make any kind of dough without one! The hardest past was trying to reach around a sleeping Lou in the ergo to add ingredients.

I'm going to use the recipe for the dough and make my favourite kind of pizza BBQ chicken next time. Yum!

Now to decide what I'm going to make for the challenge in February...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

One Per Month Challenge

So I have decided to join in the one per month challenge over at chaletgirl's blog. I have heaps of cookbooks and craft books that I have never made anything out of so hopefully this will encourage me to try some new things and give me some new blog fodder as well.

For January I have chosen The Ultimate Mixer Cookbook by Kay Halsey as my cookbook.

I got a KitchenAid for Christmas that I haven't used yet so cooking something out of this book will give me a chance to try it out. I'm thinking I'll make the Pizza Margherita.

For my craft book I've chosen Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule.

I've had this book for a few months now but I've yet to make anything out of it. There are so many great projects that I want to sew but I think I'll start with a practical one. We are in desperate need of some more bath mats so I'm going to sew the towel rug.

Do any of my newly blogging friends want to join in the challenge? I have plenty of books I can loan out...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Let them eat cake...

These are two of my favourite cake recipes.

This first cake was one that I knew I could have finished before Iris woke up from her afternoon nap hence why I started to call it the naptime cake.

Naptime Banana cake
125g butter
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
125g self-raising flour
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a round cake tin.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy or if you're feeling really lazy microwave the butter till melted and then mix in the sugar.
Add eggs one at a time, adding one tablespoon of flour with the second egg.
Fold in the remaining flour with the mashed banana.
Pour into cake tin.
Cook cake until top is brown, middle is firmish and edges look a bit crunchy.
Remove cake from pan.
Dust with icing sugar whilst cake is still hot.
This cake tastes awesome served warm with icecream!

This next recipe makes a huge cake. That didn't stop me eating half of it in one night the first time I baked it...

Lemon Sour Cream Cake
250g butter
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind ( I use my microplane grater)
2 cups caster sugar
6 eggs
2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup self raising flour
200g sour cream

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius.
Grease and line a large round cake tin.
Cream butter, sugar and lemon rind until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time.
Sift flours together and stir in half of the flour and half of the sour cream until combined then add the other halves.
Stir until smooth then pour into cake tin.
Bake for 1.5 hours, stand for 5 minutes then dust with icing sugar.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lou and baby-led solids

I am doing things a bit differently with Lou in regards to solids than I did with Iris. Although I never pureed food for Iris I still started her with mushy soft foods and slowly worked up to "real" food over a few months. I am doing baby-led solids with Lou instead. I was going to wait until she was six months before giving her any solids or later if she still wasn't showing any interest. Well Lou decided at five months of age that she was most definitely interested in food and no way was she waiting till six months to get her hands on what everyone else was eating in front of her. She started grabbing food from my hands or from my plate and getting very upset when her "prize" was taken away. After a few weeks of this I finally let her keep a peach she had snatched from my hand. She ate nearly the whole thing! She only stopped when I pried it from her hands not wanting her tummy to be overloaded with too much of a new thing all of a sudden. The next day I gave her a piece of banana thinking she might suck on it a bit and throw it away, well she ate the whole banana and cried for more when it was all gone! She pretty much hasn't stopped eating since and it's nearly impossible now to eat or drink while holding her without her grabbing at your food, cutlery, plate or drink.

At seven months Lou's favourite foods are bananas and toast but she has also tried chicken, pork, nectarine, cantelope, strawberries, blueberries, beans, peas, pumpkin, potato, cheese, cous cous, corn on the cob and I'm sure there are foods I've forgotten.

Following Lou's lead as to when and how much she wants to eat has made starting solids easy and as you can see she is having a great time exploring food.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Rockin' on with Daddy

Lou doesn't like to be held by anyone but me and I can usually hear her protesting loudly most mornings because Steven is holding her while I have a shower. This particular morning I could hear her laughing instead and I wondered Steven was doing to make her so happy. This is what I saw when I came into the lounge room...

Steven was playing playing Guitar Hero with Lou in the sling and rocking Lou with his dancing as he played. She thought the music and the dancing was hilarious!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

French Onion Dip Recipe

50g diced bacon
1/2 cup egg mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups sour cream
35g packet low salt French onion soup mix
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 geen onion, chopped

Heat a frying pan over moderate heat. Cook and stir bacon for 3-4 minutes or until crisp. Drain on paper towels; let cool. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; stir through bacon. Cover with glad wrap; chill until required. Serve topped with the onion.
This dip tastes even better if you leave it to chill in the fridge overnight!

Recipe from January 2009 Recipes+ magazine
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