Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas is 'spensive!

So Christmas is expensive and Matt and I are poor :) the point is that we have no where near the income that we did BC (before child) and we don't care because our life is so much richer and happier with her in it. So to be able to afford presents, pay bills, eat etc we have to cut back on other costs. I'm trialling some make your own washing powder that I got the recipe for on the Debt Free, Cashed Up and Laughing blog. Two dollars makes enough washing powder for 90 washes and it works, so they say. All the ingredients were available in my local Coles and I've used it on two loads so far. I think that it may have deglittered one of Lucy's tshirts so it really does seriously clean but it's probably not a good idea for your delicates. I used it on a load of poopy washers that we used to wipe Lucy's bum and they came out crystal clean and smelling delicately like soap with no poopy overtones (yes I sniffed them, so what :) it's a scientific test). They also have a recipe for dishwashing powder which I might try if this continues to go well. So check it out if you're interested in tightening your financial belt to make your pay go further.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Conundrum

**This post is rated C for Controversial if you are very religious feel free to read on but I won't be held responsible for any offence taken. **

It's that time of year and this time Matt and I are sharing the season with our little light Lucia. She was here last Christmas but she was only 3.5 months old and I don't remember Christmas (sleep deprived and first time parent addled) and I'm pretty sure she doesn't. This year we have to decide how we start to talk to Lucy about Christmas. As athiests (Matthew born and bred and myself an avid convert ;)) I don't really want to peddle the 'Jesus is the Reason for the Season' vibe that I was brought up with. I don't even really like the Santa hoo-ha, why do we raise our kids lying through the teeth to them about all these supernatural beings that bring shit, why don't we just say 'hey here's some money for losing a tooth, what an awesome milestone'. However I love the pomp and circumstance that goes with Christmas, the foods, the decos and the presents. I like the smoke and mirrors, the ambience, the tradition, just like I enjoy eating sushi because I like mixing the wasabi into the soy sauce and nibbling pickled ginger and I still have a warm place in my heart for choirs singing sacred music. Just because I believe that Christmas is about some imaginary dude doesn't mean that I can't appreciate it's beauty. I don't want Lucy to miss out on something that other kids are experiencing and I don't want her to destroy anyone elses Christmas dream either! So where lies the middle ground. Not the biggest problem facing the world today I know but still one that I think about a lot at this time of year. However... there are presents under the tree from Santa this year and I guess we have a couple more years to iron it out before we have to decide one way or another. Any suggestions would be considered with due respect.

Until then, check out my freaking delicous Christmas fruit cake liberally doused with Cointreau which I got from a magazine that was lying around at work and our first real live Christmas tree which we got a bit discounted because it was a bit spesh (more round than Christmas tree shape) but I wanted to bring it home and give it some love because Matt and I like to embrace the slightly outside the square things in life.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Summer Fruit is here!

Lucy is digging her first cherries and has also recently been devouring cheap mangoes, watermelon, nectarines, blackberries and peaches. Yay for summer!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Alowyn Gardens

If you are venturing out to the Yarra Valley for a day then don't just go to the wineries make a detour to see the beautiful Alowyn Gardens near Yarra Glen. Even as locals it has taken us a LONG time to get to these gardens but they were worth the wait. The garden is seperated into different garden 'rooms' with the ubiquitous parterre garden, some foresty areas, great little windy paths that lead to sculpture and water features. Matt and I are always particularly interested in food gardens and Alowyn has a beautifully designed kitchen garden with avenues of apples, crabapples, quinces and what not. In the picture above Matt and Lucy are framed by the wisteria and rose covered arbor. A great place to go for a nice walk to burn off the winery indulgences.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tesselaar Tulip Festival

Today we went to the tulip festival on the penultimate day. The tulips were a bit blown but some were still at their peak and even fully open they're stunning planted on mass. It's beautiful to see these wonderful flowers in the ground doing their thing rather than as cut flowers. There were amazing collections of other flowers too, irrisistable were the poppies... Lucy found them a little too irrisitable as well as I parked her a little too close for this photo and she nabbed one.

We missed going on the weekend when it was family day, but having the place to ourselves held it's own charm and there was still a cute puppy bounding around, to Lucy's amusement and some stunt alpacas and a couple of alpaca breeders there to chat to about fleece and yarn.

There was awesome muzak duo (double bass/piano) playing for our amusement and they busted out into a bit of Wiggles and Bananas in Pyjamas for Lucy although she's not quite old enough to appreciate that they were for her and she was a little more interested in the jazz numbers they played before and after (and the ABBA too).

We brought some Peonies and Tuber Roses to start our own cottage garden so wish us luck.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bubba Updates

First hair do by Mum

Good times at the park!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

DIY Fingerpaints

I have been looking for some non toxic kid friendly finger paints around the traps and hadn't come across any when I saw this post on Easie Peasie for DIY fingerpaints. I had some cornstarch talc lying around that we got when Lucy was newborn but never used on her and the other ingredients are salt, sugar, food colouring and water. I have great food colours thanks to dyeing wool with the Ravlery Rocketeers. My friend Char from the Sunrisesister blog gets them from a local indian grocery and they come in brilliant sized bottles for not too expensive a price.

So we cooked it up and it was great, it's quite thick when it cools and I don't think that you would use it if you wanted to keep the paintings forever but for sheer fun and frivolity and some tactile learning I give it the big thumbs up and it's totally edible because lets face it, one year olds put EVERYTHING in their mouths.

If you wanted to go really au natural for your little bubba I did find a link for some Australian made natural food colours which I'll be trying out (they also make 100's and 1000's).

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Almost one year?

I can't believe that it's been almost one year since our little girl was born. She is without a doubt the best thing that Matt and I have ever created. We are gearing up for her first birthday party, which people have been 'pooh poohing' saying that she won't remember it so we shouldn't make a fuss, but we want to make a GIANT fuss of the fact that our lives have changed for the better and that we god damn survived the first year without screwing things up too badly.

So bring on the GIANT birthday and three cheers for not screwing up :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Our Light Lucia


Lucia is on the move, she is doing a weird scoot crawl hybrid with one leg out to the side but it doesn't stop her from getting into trouble if I turn my back for too long. So today Matt and I babyproofed. The house is latched and gated, for her safety and our sanity. She doesn't mind at all.

Cooking: Orangey Sultana Friands

I'm sensing a theme here with my Orangey Sultana Friands (they're only friands because I baked them in my friand pan rather than a muffin pan)... everything I bake seems to have orange in it and now Matt is even getting in on the action because he's cooking Spiced Orange Chicken tonight.

Anyway these muffins are delicious and they're adapted from this generic muffin recipe and they are simple, light and delicious.

Orangey Sultana Friands
Makes 12 large friands

  • 250g (2 cups) self raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 155g (2/3rds cup) caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) orange juice
  • zest of 2 small oranges
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sultanas

1. Preheat oven to 200 C
2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl
3. Spoon the mixture between 12, well greased friand pans (or muffins whatever)
4. Bake for 25-30 mins or until golden brown and firm to touch
5. Nom them all with a cup of tea or for your lunchbox.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

mmmmm frothy

Lucy had her first bubbacino and check out this look of absolute delight...

We were at Mocha and Lime in Healesville, which is an amazing cafe I heartily endorse it if you want somewhere to eat when visiting. They buy the best produce, free range eggs and bacon, so you can eat without feeling bad for the animals. They have free wifi and a fireplace. Last weekend was market weekend and it was flat out and they had a band (TK and Rose) who were cheerful bedreaded guitarist/ukeleleists. When they first got up I thought we would have to leave because it would be too loud for Lucy, but they weren't and she LOVED it. Banging her spoon on the table in time with the music. So I'm keen to seek out more live music for her to enjoy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Reading with Grandpa Fred

Lucia takes her reading seriously!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The ultimate biscuit

I'm on a mission, a mission from the FSM to find my ultimate biscuit, one that I can whip up whenever I feel the need. A biscuit that fulfils that need to have something with your cup of tea in the afternoon, that keeps well in the cupboard. I haven't make the same biscuit once this year because I keep trying recipes and none of them are quiiiiiiiite right. I feel like the goldilocks of biscuits.

Do you have a favourite biscuit recipe, point me in the right direction.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I like driving in my car, it's not quite a jaguar.

We borrowed this awesome car toy from Ruby! I can tell that it is going to be a blessing when I need to duck into the loo or want ten minutes of handsfree time to make dinner when Lucy is getting tired. Tonight after practically no sleep all day she played in it so happily.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day

For my first Mother's Day I got the best present EVER. A sleep in :) and then Matt made me my favourite breakfast of fried ham and eggs (usually saved for Christmas morning). Lucia is very sleepy today which I think is a combination of the weather (it's turned very cold) and fighting off a dreaded lurgy. I look forward to many Mother's Days of burnt breakfasts, early morning snuggles and crappy gifts from the school mother's day stall, because you can never have too many porcelain heart shaped containers with bad rose transfers on the top.

Gaming it's srs bizness, srsly.

Got to start em early to get a gaming prodigy :)

Cooking: Spiced Orange and Beetroot Relish

Matt and I made a delicious beetroot relish.... the recipe was this one. The only adaption made was we added a teaspoon of salt.

Our community supported agriculture co-op are producing a LOT of beetroots this year, we've had two or three beetroots every week for the last 3 months and that is a lot of beetroots sitting in the fridge. We've made sliced pickled beetroot and beetroot slaw (grated carrot, cheddar and raw beetroot with aged balsamic and unfiltered fruity olive oil YUM).

When we make it next year we might put a bit more spice in (double the amounts listed) but it's sweet earthy sourness (don't I sound like Nigella) is the perfect foil for rich game or salty meats (we had it with some free range ham and it was obscenely good).

Monday, May 2, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Knitting: Armando

This hat is SO fast to knit and it shows up a handpainted varigated yarn so beautifully. It was simple enough to memorise and be able to knit and watch TV and complicated enough not to bore the beejeebus out of you.

It is not however the most masculine design and only a fashion forward gentleman would wear it out and about. After I completed it Matt said that the pattern was a bit fussy :) but anything other than stockingette or plain 2 by 2 ribbing would be fussy as far as he was concerned. Since it's a match for his gaming gloves that I knitted earlier in the month I don't mind it can stay on his computer desk. Since we're coming into winter he's going to need it for those late night killing sprees.

This is the pattern designed by Gina House (Sleepy Eyes Knits). There's a more feminine version called the Amanda as well which I will for sure knit for myself (I may even pinch the Armando occaisionally) and it's knit in Cascade 220 Handpaints.

OTTO = style and substance (my favourite kind of substance)

Today we went to Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander Winery in town to see the OTTO espresso machine being demonstrated.

This machine is no doubt the sexiest stovetop coffee machine on the market and it's SMALL so I will get back a whole lotta bench space when I gleefully throw our sunbeam cafe series coffee machine out a window (trust me after 5 or more years of service that machine is DEAD).

Craig, who was demoing, is proud of his machine and rightly so it makes tasty unctuous espresso like coffee and it's made from high quality materials that will last a lot longer than our last machine did. This is one time that you should listen to the old adage that you get what you pay for (which also holds true for haircare products and shoes).

I know that you might look at this and think it's a bit wanky and expensive, and for sure there will be some people out there who are wanky and will buy it for it's looks rather than it's functionality but you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover this little machine isn't all style and no substance, it makes damn fine coffee! and it's small enough to take camping :)

Winter Baby

Yesterday I went to the second Ravelry Rocketeers Stitch and Bitch at The Basin Community Centre there was a good turn out of 20 or so adults and 10 kids and the place was a frenzy of chatting, stitching and socialising. So good!

Afterwards I dropped in at Hand Me Downs which is a well organised, second hand baby stuff retailer in The Basin and brought Lucia some winter duds (see photo for cuteness) and picked up the CUTEST ugg boots for her.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lucy Lu

So Lucy Lu and I have had a great long weekend together.

We've cat patted, shopped, danced and sung. On Sunday we went to Lilydale Lake with Matt and hung out in the sun soaking up those precious warms which are promising to dissapear soon.

She's making a bunch of new sounds Ds, THs and Ss and Matt is getting very excited because sometimes it really sounds like she's going to bust out a Dadda.

lilydalelake 002

lilydalelake 008

(Just hanging out on the couch sitting up all by myself)

shopping 004

(Doing the grocery shopping)

shopping 009

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Matt

Today is Matt's Birthday and I made him chocolate sugar cookies with peppermint icing and laid them out on the table to surprise him :) I used this cookie recipe and added 35grams of cocoa powder to make them chocolatey.

birthday 003

birthday 004

Under the Oak Tree

We've been sick with a cold but the weather has been mild so Lucia and I have been hanging outside under the oak tree again taking pictures of ourselves.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cooking: Old School Recipes

I know that there has been a back to basics movement and people are seeking out classic recipes and I'm happy to tag along on that train. So I have this cook book that I remember using for pikelet recipes when I was about 9 years old and it's one of those fundraiser stylie cookbooks from the Yallambee Activity Centre in Deniliquin (near where my Aunty Colleen and Uncle Mike live).

I used to love makeing pikelets and one afternoon after school around about grade 5 I invited back some of the cool girls from school to my place. Mum wasn't home and I thought it would be a great idea to make pikelets. It must have been halloween or st pats day because we made them green. So I'm cooking away and being a smartarse and I say to one of the girls 'You have to put the handle of the pan in because it's dangerous when it sticks out, a little kid might grab it' and I smack the handle of the frypan and it spins around and collects this giant bowl of green pikelet mixture and flings it across the kitchen and we dissolve into fits of panicked laughter. At that exact moment my Mum walked in and I remember knowing that I was in the shit, probably not for making a mess because my Mum loved me being creative, but for cooking when she wasn't home (which was dangerous).

So enough of my tangenting. The point of my post is that I made these Orange Cookies. They're very tasty, although not quite orangey enough for my liking and they're very light, almost cakey. The delicious orange icing saves the day though.

The recipe is as follows incase you feel the urge.

2.5 cups plain flour
Pinch Salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 dessertspoon orange rind
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Additional icing sugar and orange juice for icing

Mix butter and sugar, add eggs and rind and beat until creamy. Stir in the flour, bakign powder and salt alternately with the orange juice. Lastly add chopped nuts. Drop teaspoonfulls about two inches apart onto a greased tray and bake until golden for about 11-13 mins at 200 degrees celcius. When cold frost with orange icing (made my mixing pure icing sugar with orange juice until a spreading consistancy is reached).

Lucia is sitting up

My little bubba is sitting up, albeit with a little pillow protection for when dangerous listing becomes falling on her face. She has a cold today but is still in high spirits playing with the easel magnetty thing that she got from her Aunty Audra.

Knitting: Good Gaming Gloves

Made these gloves for my brother John's birthday, to wear to keep his fingers toasty when he's up late at night playing WoW with us to keep his hands warm (modelled by Matt). When Matt was wearing them for the pix he thought they were awesome and wanted a pair too, so I ended up knitting two pairs.

I got almost all four mitts out of one skein of Cascade Handpaints (100g ball)with the exception of about 4 rows of one thumb. So I might have enough for a matching beanie.

The pattern is Men's Fingerless Mitts by Kathy of Piece by Piece.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Knitting: Fit for a SIL

I've learned over time that you should always keep emergency knitting in your glove box for those times that you find yourself waiting somewhere unexpectedly or being the passenger on a long drive. My emergency knitting was the Dream in Color (U.S. company so spelling is correct), December 2010 yarn club which was a skein of pale blue with tinges of mauve sock yarn.

This is normally not my kettle of fish at all, but the pattern that came with it had an endearing story attached regarding snow flurries on Lake Michigan and so I started knitting them. When we were on summer holidays with my SIL Flick, she admired the colours and said they were right up her alley and voila, a grateful recipient was found. Here she is modelling her new footwear. The dog in the pic is her faithful hound Sam.

I have a secret... I love to knit socks but I don't like to wear them.

Friday, January 28, 2011

At the pool!

first time swimming, originally uploaded by Kathy Tosi.

I have such great memories of going to the pool. When I was in grade two we would all line up beside the port racks and the boys would roll their towels on their legs and put them on their heads like they were sheiks. We would all trek across the road hand in hand to the pool to have our lessons.

As I was older maybe grade 5 or 6 I would head off to the pool on the weekends on my bike with a buck in my pocket, enough for entry and a delicious cold calippo. I would spend the entire day, swimming for hours, running around on the grass and playing with friends only to head home when the pool was closing.

I don't remember learning to swim but I know that we were living in Sydney (which was before I started school) and I have a certificate saying that I did a lap in doggy paddle. I want Lucia to learn to swim as soon as possible. Water is so much fun!

I met a girl from Peru who couldn't swim and when she came to Australia she took lessons. I told her I couldn't believe that she couldn't swim (she told me when we were on a ferry!). I said "In Australia we learn to swim before we can walk" and she said "In Peru we learn to dance" and I thought fair enough! It's a cultural thing :) and I wish I could dance better.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The old oak tree

So today we hung out under the old oak tree in the backyard. Lucy loves stareing up through the branches and talks to the all the leaves. She thinks that trees swaying in the wind are absolutely brilliant. I'm making the most of these precious moments that we have together because I'm going back to work soon (when I get a job). I've had two interviews and both have been very positive so I'm sure that it won't be long.

Sunday Sleep-ins with Dad

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Knitting: My February Lady Sweater

Well after it took me two years to complete Matty's jumper I turned out another in record time! and this one is for me OMG amazing! It's the February Lady Sweater by Flint Knits as inspired by the February Baby Sweater designed by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I have been imagining this project since I went to the USA and I brought the yarn over there especially for it. The yarn is muted golds, sages, teals and mauves and it should go with a lot of things, it's very understated (not my style at all usually) and the buttons are handpainted little wooden birds.

I love the sleeves, because they don't have decreases they came out a little bell shaped. I did do a little decrease under the armpits as suggested on Ravelry by some others who have knitted this project.

Christmas Day with Grandpa