Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On the move!

Nicholas is on the move. He is crawling everywhere and exploring all aspects of the house. His commando crawling abilities are super cute, although, we now have to make sure we shut the doors to places we would prefer him not to explore.  It is fun seeing him more around so easily. He seems to love it as well.


and away he goes!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Havin' a hoot of a time!

Evelyn, my niece, is almost one!

She started like this:

And now looks like this:
Such a cutie!
For her birthday she had an owl themed party, and Emily made her this fantastic owl cake. Isn't she talented!

And by chance, I dressed Nicholas in an owl shirt that I made for Ryan a few years ago, and other than having to super glue the owl's eye back on, the shirt is in pretty good condition.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Strawberry and Rhubarb cordial

This week, it feels like I have spent most of my time trying to coerce Nicholas into sleeping. I spent the entire week at home working on it but sadly I am still failing. Things were so bad, that there were times that I even reverted to pushing him to sleep in the pram - I didn't even do this when he was an infant. It feels like we are regressing. I even called the Parent Helpline, but sadly, for a helpline they weren't particularly helpful. The women listened to my situation but really didn't have any helpful tips or advice. I guess I'm on my own for this one.

So to take my mind off the fact that Nicholas doesn't like to sleep and I have to spend all day with him, I have been spending the little free time I do have in the kitchen. With all the plums I picked last week I made a massive batch of plum fruit leather, and am soon to make more because I had the opportunity to pick some more plums on Friday :).

With the rhubarb I made Strawberry and Rhubarb cordial again, and Rhubarb fizzy drink. Both thankfully were quick and easy.

Here is the making of the cordial (a bit different from the above recipe):

500gms of rhubarb; 4 cups of strawberries and 3 large lemons
Everything cut up and placed in the pot ready to go.
With 4 cups of water added I let it come boil and then simmer for 20mins until the fruit was soft and mushy.
I then drained the fruit through the sieve.
And to the one litre of liquid I added 1 kilo of sugar and dissolved it over heat, and then added the lemon juice.
I then poured it into a sterlised bottles using a steralised jug and funnel. Done!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Massive zucchinis!

This week I also made zucchini pickles for Daniel. I'm not a huge fan of zucchini pickles but Daniel loves them, especially on toasted sandwiches and such. Anne (Dan's mum) has been growing these massive 'trombone zucchinis' this summer. You should see the patch, it is amazing. Here are some photos I took to show you just how big this 2.5kg zucchini is beside Nicholas who is almost 9 months old.

If it was straight I think it would be about the same length as Nicholas. Plus, the end (where the seeds are) was about the same size as Nicholas' head!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cake Stand

When I saw this at the op shop today I just knew I had to buy it,

so I could turn it into something like this:
Source: Torie Jayne

Now I just have to find the time!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


As mentioned sometime last week, I had the opportunity to pick some more plums at my friends 'mini orchard'. It was wonderfully sunny day, and after having a terrible morning with Nicholas it was great to be outside in the sun.

Nicholas tasting a nashi pear for the first time - yum.

I knew I had picked a bit of fruit, but when I discovered it was 11 litres worth I was a bit surprised. 

All the pips have been removed.

Blending it all up
All ready to be dehydrated.
The rest of it went into the freezer and will come out when I'm ready to do another batch of dehydrating.

The final product: yummy mixed plum fruit leather!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Beans and Rhubarb!

I planted some broad beans in spring this year in order to put some nitrogen into the ground where I intend to plant strawberries next year. I was doubtful that they would even grow, to be honest, as I didn't tend to them much and only watered them when I had the chance... but they did. And unlike frozen broad beans which I hated as a kid and refused to eat, these are surprisingly tasty, even raw.

As I couldn't eat all of them in one go, I gave half of them to my mum. I will definitely be planting this super easy crop again this coming spring. 

Mum and I also had the opportunity to pick some fruit from a mini orchard in a friend's backyard today. It was wonderful, and while sitting on the picnic rug in the shade of the fruit trees I had an overwhelming desire to live somewhere with a little bit of land (ideally flat), that had an already established orchard, a veggie garden, room for the kids to run around in, and isn't in the heart of suburbia. I know I have discussed this before, and I know that at this time this isn't a realistic goal for us, but a girl can dream can't she?

I'm not sure this picture really captures the dark purple colour of these beautiful plums, but I tried.

Anyway, from this little excursion Mum and I picked a bunch a delicious plums, some massive lemons, a few nectarines, and a heap of rhubarb. I even saw a baby rabbit. At first I thought it was a snake, and so I pleasantly releaved when I saw it bouncing away.

2.5kg of rhubarb - tied up in 500gm bunches.

I'm thinking I might make some more Rhubarb and Strawberry cordial. Yum!

Here is Nicholas surprised by the size of the hardware store.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Another year older!

I am now another year older. I'm not sure I am wiser for it, but I do know that I spend more time feeling tired than I did the year before. This obviously is mainly from having a child who refuses to sleep during the day. His refusal to sleep wears me down. I start to feel crazy and impatient. I am constantly praying for patience and love, but it is difficult.

I was told a lot before having children that it would be hard work, and naively I thought I would be fine. "I understood what hard work was," I would say to myself. "I've had numerous jobs throughout the past years that have been extremely physically demanding. I can do this!"

During uni break one year I worked at a single person's quarters in Kambalda, Western Australia (where I grew up), in the middle of summer. We started early to beat the heat, but even at 6 a.m. you could feel the heat, and it only increased throughout the day. This was hard work. It was physically demanding - scrubbing floors, showers, toilets, changing beds, carrying linen - and all in the heat. Afterwards I would head home for a shower and spend the rest of the afternoon under the air conditioner.

After I finished uni, I worked various jobs which demanded me to be on my feet for hours. I would work at Coles in the morning from 5 a.m. - 2 p.m., then drive across town and work in the pool as a swimming instructor for the next three-four hours. Usually by the end of the day, and certainly by the end of the week, I was exhausted. Daniel would drive home in the evening, and I could barely hold a conversation. I would lean my head on the door, and feel the exhaustion wash over my body. I felt weak. However long and tiring these days were, I could cope, because I knew that at the end of it I would get a break and a chance to relax. Alone. Without anyone demanding anything from me. I also knew that the next day I would feel refreshed because I would be able to have a full nights sleep without any interruptions.

Before I became a parent I thought I knew what hard work was. I was wrong! Nothing could have prepared me for the daily exhaustion I feel as a parent. For the loneliness of motherhood I often feel while Daniel is at work. For the never ending list of chores that need to be done, and the never ending demands of a child. I thought I would be fine, but in all honesty I am constantly struggling. Sometimes it is even too difficult to even think about leaving the house. I know I am not alone in these feelings, but sometimes it feels that way.

This is why I am so blessed to have such a wonderful support system around me who I am so thankful for, because without them I just wouldn't survive. I have my Mum and Anne (mother-in-law) who are constantly there if I need them. Plus, I have awesome friends who are only a phone call away, and less than a five minute drive commute. And they are all extremely good at making me feel very special on my birthday.

I spent the morning and afternoon with these friends as we shared cups of tea, pizza, cake and chips. It was relaxing and just what I needed after a few difficult days. Shelley even baked me the best birthday cake.

Isn't it just wonderful!

As a child my mum used to bake cakes like these for our birthdays. However, I never asked for this cake in particular. It was just a bit 'girly'. I do remember my sister's having this cake though.

Nicholas and I before blowing out the candle!
In the afternoon Shelley and I went for a walk. It was super cold so we rugged the babies up and headed out.

 The walk didn't last long before it started raining, but thankfully, we came prepared!
In the evening my parents, Daniel's parents and my sister came over for dinner and dessert. Nicholas even joined in the fun, refusing to go to sleep while everyone was here.

It was a great day and very relaxing. Thanks everyone for being there for me and helping me through the difficult times of parenthood.

And a song about babies that don't sleep... just for fun.