Friday, 24 May 2013

Flashback Friday drunken shenanigans

Well it's Friday again, and you lovely readers know what that means don't you?? It means another Flashback Friday, where I go through the vault of all my oooold photos and find some to share with you. For anyone who wants to see my first Flashback Friday, please see here.

So today I'm not going back as far as I did last time, this time I'm going back about 5 years ago to when I was still young and carefree and Miss K was not even a gleam in my eye. They were days filled with nothing more concerning than whether to have pizza for tea again or walk across the road to KFC for dinner. And for a good time my little sister Nat would come over for a night of heavy drinking, and for some reason, photography.

That's right, there is physical evidence of us at our absolute worst.

Now sadly because of the large amounts of alcohol involved in these evenings, I don't have a lot of stories to tell, mainly because everything about that period is so very fuzzy. I know there was one night where Nat chased me out of the house with a tube of toothpaste in her hand trying to use it on me as make up, but the chase stopped when I opened the gate on her foot and removed part of her toe nail. 

I was too cool for hair moustaches, I wanted a beard.

I had a Playstation at the time, so we'd spend a lot of time playing Singstar, or Guitar Hero, there would be lots of laughing and absolute mayhem. 

We look like a pair of Hell raisers don't we?

If we were feeling girly we'd give each other drunken make overs, which went about as well as you'd expect them to go. Occasionally I'd have a boyfriend and he'd be invited into the fold for the evening, and then we'd drink him under the table. I remember one guy, (who I'm still good friends with, and he is a seasoned drinker from way back) passed out on the couch after a quickfire Family Guy drinking game, leaving us to continue our party alone. Given that every other time I've drank with this guy he is able to keep drinking well after I'm finished I was always proud of that night. (Is that a bad thing?) 

They are nights that I will always look back on with great fondness, and just a touch of regret that I've grown up so much in the past few years that I probably won't ever have a repeat of them again. Of course Miss K will never know exactly how well I used to handle my drink, and I'll never look at her drinking sessions in the same way that I saw mine, but I can say with great certainty that those were the good old days.

Well that's my flashback for this week, if you would like to see the rest of the participants, or you want to add your own flashback to the website, you can do so here.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Going Green with Prudence Claire

Hello everyone and welcome to another Wednesday morning. Now because I truly hate Wednesdays and would spend the entire day in bed if I can, I have decided to get someone else to do my work for me today. I recently had the pleasure of being introduced to the lovely Prue from Prudenceclaire, and she is something of an expert when it comes to sustainable living. Today she has very kindly offered to come along and teach us all a little bit about how we can change to a greener lifestyle, so please sit back and enjoy some of her wisdom.

Hi, I'm Prue.

Let's talk green.  Somehow over the years I've morphed into one of those annoying environmentally conscious people.  Everything I've learned along the way about "going green" has made me something of an accidental expert on the subject.  I can tell the difference between a genuine green brand and a green wash.  I even know what some of the numbers mean on the ingredients list (925 is chlorine, for example).

Most of us are concerned to some extent about the environment, our bodies and our kids.  It's not hard to introduce a few changes to your everyday life which can reduce your exposure to chemicals and have a huge environmental impact.

Here's my list of easy things you can do to green your life:

  • While running your shower waiting for the hot water to come in, collect the water in a bucket and use it to water plants.  You can also collect the water from your kitchen sink.
  • Plant a veggie patch.  Check out which plants deter bugs and you can intersperse them amongst your vegetable plants - a lot of herbs that you might want in your garden anyway will also keep the bugs off your other plants.
  • Get yourself some chickens.  If you have chickens and a vegetable garden there's wonderfully complete cycle where you eat the eggs, feed the chickens your food scraps, and you can crush the egg shells to deter slugs and snails from eating your veggies.  Plus, later you can kill the chickens and eat them.  Just kidding.  Or am I?
  • Get rid of your lawn. This is a little radical, I know. But a dead lawn is an ugly lawn, and watering it is such a waste of water. Install synthetic turf or if you don't like the look of that, pave, install garden beds with drought tolerant plants, whatever - just get rid of the water sucking lawn.
  • Always choose drought tolerant plants that flourish with minimal water. Or better yet, choose plants that are local to your area. Tropical plants are beautiful but all that bright green fleshy foliage needs LOTS of water. If you live in an arid area like me in Perth, for heaven's sake choose plants that aren't going to struggle in the blistering conditions.
  • Compost your food scraps to use on the garden. Start to look at your rubbish bin as a last resort. You want to put as little in there as possible.
  • Don't use your toilet as a rubbish bin either - the less solid waste to be broken down in the sewer system, the less chemicals they have to use to break it down.
  • Sort your rubbish as you throw it away - get a dedicated recycling bin to put next to your normal waste bin.
  • When throwing out plastic bottles, remove the lids. They're a different type of plastic and therefore have to be processed differently at the recycling plant.
  • Things that should go in your recycling bin - plastic wrap, al foil, tin cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles.
  • Buy your groceries from farmers' markets or independent supermarkets instead of Coles or Woolies.  You can learn more about the Coles/Woolies duopoly here (this video is from 2010 but the information is still relevant and accurate).
  • Walk, take public transport or ride a pushbike to places nearby - if you ride a bike, BONUS! Incidental exercise!  You'll be green AND hot.
  • Choose local sellers online.  On eBay you can refine your search for items near you only.  This saves on fuel and transportation costs.
  • Buy secondhand: search for secondhand items instead of new ones on eBay and Gumtree.  I often hear people say "Oh, it already exists so I may as well buy it" about buying new items.  In actual fact, by buying something brand new you're adding to the demand for new items.  Go op shopping!  The great thing about op shops is they're not really in vogue at the moment so there is SO MUCH great stuff.  I remember in the 90s when everyone was into grunge all the op shops had been picked over so many times it was impossible to find anything but mom jeans and Bill Cosby jumpers (although nowadays that stuff would be really popular).
  • Take reusable bags to the supermarket.  I'm from SA where plastic bags are practically illegal and when they're not readily available at the shop (or when you pay 20c per crappy compostable bag) it's amazing how quickly you get used to bringing your own.
  • Choose bamboo over cotton.  You can find bed linen, towels and even clothes made out of bamboo.  It is about a thousand times softer than cotton, it's a fast growing crop, requires about a third of the amount of water that cotton does, has no natural pests.  I have some bamboo towels and every time people come to stay they marvel over how fluffy and soft they are.
  • Choose glass instead of plastic e.g. I buy my tonic in the little glass bottles instead of the big plastic ones. Bonus is that it doesn't go flat.
  • Get a front loading washing machine - saves water, electricity AND much gentler on your clothes.  Not only that, it actually cleans them better than a top loader.  True story.
  • Do your washing in cold water instead of hot.
  • Dress to the weather - put on a jumper and socks instead of turning on the heater, wear cool clothes in summer instead of cranking up the air conditioner.
  • Don't use your air conditioner unless it's less than 15 or more than 35 degrees.  If you must run the air con, set it to 20 in winter and 25 in summer.
  • If you're lucky enough to be building your own home, choose an energy efficient design.  A roof full of solar panels doesn't count, although it is a great start.  A truly energy efficient building uses less power and water and creates less waste, and in some cases actually contributes positively to the environment.
  • Choose energy saving light globes and it goes without saying, don't leave them blazing all day and night. 
  • Turn off or better yet unplug your appliances at the wall.
  • Invest in Enjo cleaning products and do away with chemicals altogether.  Enjo is amazing and cleans better with less effort than using chemicals.  I don't know how it works, I just know that it does.
  • If you're not into Enjo, tear up old clothes to use as cleaning rags instead of paper towel - reduce waste and the incredibly toxic pulping process required to make paper products.
Let's be realistic.  This is a long list.  I don't do all of them.  I can't be bothered to turn off and unplug my appliances at the wall.  My sister does this and I salute her.  I just cannot be bothered to plug in and unplug the TV every time I want to watch it.  I also can't be bothered to collect the water from my kitchen sink, although I do collect it from the shower.  My fiancĂ© Blair feels the heat and so we run the air conditioner in summer more than I'd ever do on my own.  Sometimes I just grab the spray and wipe and the paper towel instead of the Enjo glove.  We're all human.

The point is to find a system where you're doing what you need to for the environment without getting pissed off at the inconvenience.  Anything that you do is better than nothing.  Don't beat yourself up about the things you don't do and just be proud of those that you do.

The fact is that living responsibly is not as easy as being lazy.  You do have to make an effort and change your habits and if you don't really care then it will always feel like a massive pain in the ass.  To me, it's become so ingrained that I barely think about it anymore.  It wasn't until I wrote this post that I realised just how much I know about this stuff now.

I hope this has been helpful or got you thinking about the things you can do.  The difference you can experience in your own health and well being when you do away with chemicals in the home, as well as the positive impact on the environment when we're all using less power, less water, less EVERYTHING, is tremendous.

xxx Prue 

Ok so how many of you learned something today?? I know I certainly have, and even though there are a lot of things on this list that we all already do, I believe we can all do a little bit more. I'd like to give a big thank you to Prue for coming by today, if you want to learn more about sustainability, or read anything else this lovely lady has to say, please stop by her website and show her some of your wonderful love. 

Well that's all from me for today, I'm now going to go and remove all the lids from the bottles in my recycling pile. I'll be back again soon, and in the meantime, please pop over to Prue's website to see some very important secrets about being a parent, that I have shared with her readers.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

May is for Moms - An Interview with My Daughter

And we're back with the third and final installment of the May is for Moms series today. I have had the best fun with these posts, and I'm very sad to see the end of the interviews today.

Now today's interview is special for me because it's my baby girl's turn in the spotlight. Of course around here she is the centre of attention all the time, but given her inability to read, write, or even really talk, it's hard for her to be a part of my blog except for me to tell stories about her to you guys.

Now given Miss K's above mentioned inability to talk or write; how did I get any answers out of her? Well that's simple of course, with a video camera. And how did I get her to sit still long enough to actually get any answers out of her? Naturally I bribed her with food. Now even though I sat through all of her answers and even responded to her, I have no idea what the heck she is saying here, so please, please don't ask me to translate.

If for any reason you can't see the above video, you can view it on Youtube here

Well that's it, I don't think television is really ready for my hard hitting style of interviewing just yet, but it was fun to sit and chat with Miss K for your amusement. I'm glad to know that Miss K appreciates the sandwiches I make for her so much, especially since she gets one every single day. (Except when she decides she wants a banana.)

A huge thank you to Amy at Not Your Average Crazy for coming up with this awesome series, and for allowing us to join in the fun with her. I hope you've all enjoyed the glimpse into the life behind the scenes around here. To check out the rest of the interviews, please visit her website and enjoy some more fun.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

May Secret Subject Swap

Welcome to take two of May's Secret Subject Swap. This week 11 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else, and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Secret Subject Swap

Below are links to all the sites now featuring  Secret Subject Swap posts. So sit back, grab a cuppa and check them all out.

Baking In A Tornado
The Insomniac's Dream
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
The Pursuit of Normal
The Momisodes
Searching for Sanity
Black Sheep Mom
Moore Organized Mayhem
Daily Dose of Damn
Tiny Steps Mommy
Mom Rants and Comfy Pants

My subject is When you were asked as a child what you "want to be when you grow up" what did you say? Are you doing what you thought you would be doing? and it was submitted by Tiny Steps Mommy

When I was a kid, what I wanted to be when I grew up changed fairly regularly. At various times I wanted to be a writer, a nurse, an actor, a beautician, a librarian, a singer and Mrs Johnny Depp. Now there are slight problems with wanting to become every one of those things, which I shall go through with you guys now, in list form, because hey, who doesn't love a nice tidy list?

A writer
I love to write. I have loved it for as long as I can remember it. The problem is I hate my writing. I write here as often as I can, and while I think some of the stuff I put on this website is freaking hilarious, I'm always terrified I'm the only person who enjoys it. And writing here is actually pretty easy because I'm just writing about stuff I know. This is just like the most public diary I have ever owned. The minute you ask me to write a piece of fiction my brain goes into overdrive with every big and fancy word it knows, and before long, the reader needs a thesaurus just to understand that I'm talking about a meadow. My dad suffers from the same disease, except he doesn't proof read his stuff as well as I do, resulting in one descriptive piece where he described a field as "verdant, emerald". (For anyone who doesn't understand the irony, he just said green, green.) Every time I think of this piece of writing I start singing the green green grass of home. Now I actually took a creative writing class with my mum when I was about 12 or 13. I was the only child there in a room full of brilliant adults, my mum included, who could write with the best of them. One or two of these wonderful people have actually gone on to have works published, which makes me verdant emerald with envy, but their success is well deserved. I on the other hand struggled to make sure every piece I wrote didn't turn into an essay, and I ended up giving up on my dreams of being a famous writer.

A nurse
I come from a long line of nurses. My mum was a nurse, all of my aunts are nurses, one of my uncles is a nurse, my grandma was a nurse, my great grandma was a bartender. (That has nothing to do with anything, I just think it's cool.) A lot of my best friends from high school went on to become nurses, and one of them even works in the maternity ward of the local hospital where Miss K and I spent 3 weeks after she was born. It was nice having a familiar face around, especially during the long nights where hospitals can be pretty lonely and scary. But it takes a very special person to be a nurse.  For one, you can't be squeamish. I am a sympathetic vomiter, and I can't even watch a scene on television where there is puking. I've watched Youtube videos where people squeeze pimples, or pull cactus spikes out of various body parts, and while it is absolutely fascinating to see, I couldn't actually bear to see it in person. Of course when you have no choice but to cope with stuff like that, I'm OK, but I turn to jelly as soon as the crisis is over and I can go back to being a sook. So that ruled out becoming a nurse.

An actor
So from grade 3 to about year 11 I was convinced I could become an actor. I even got all the enrollment information from the National Institute of Dramatic Arts so that I knew what I had to study in order to be accepted there. And then I got to year 12 drama and hated it so much I decided I never wanted to become an actor ever. I think I suddenly realised that I didn't enjoy making a fool of myself in public anymore, which kind of makes acting a bad career move.

A beautician
I actually held on to this dream well into my twenties, and even though I couldn't even get my local TAFE to accept me into their course, I went and took a couple of short courses that would help me get my foot in the door. But then I learned that the world of beauty salons is actually pretty cutthroat, and being a plus size beautician is not an asset when you are trying to get established. So I could have tried anyway, and put in a lot of hard work just to be accepted, but I realised quickly that I didn't have that kind of fight in me.

A librarian
I love the library. I have ever since I was a kid and mum used to take us up every few weeks to pick out some new books. I decided given how much I love libraries and books in general, then a librarian would be a good career. Then I found out you have to go to university to become a librarian. Why the heck do you need to do that? Does it seriously take 4 years to learn the Dewey Decimal system?? Do they have a special class to master the art of shushing loud patrons? Can I take an elective in the best disapproving stare to give to someone when they return a book in a terrible condition? I was not going to spend thousands of dollars and years out of my life learning those things, so that put an end to my dreams of being a librarian. (Apologies to any librarians reading this now, I'm sure the course was entirely necessary for you all, and you must now all be masters at wheeling trollies full of books around bookshelves.)

A singer
Now I spent years thinking I was a terrible singer. In school musicals I would hum quietly or just mouth the words if I could get away with it, and when we sang the national anthem every Monday at school I would sit there quietly mouthing what I thought the words were hoping that no one noticed that I was stuffing up our country's song every single week. In year ten my music teacher pulled me aside and told me I had to come and get singing lessons with him every single week. I thought it was because I was so terrible that I needed extra help, but apparently he thought I had a good voice and needed guidance to make sure I was using it properly. So for the next 3 years I had weekly voice lessons, and I joined the school choir and the blues band and got lead singing roles in the school musicals. But I still didn't think my voice was all that good. Which is why when I left school and there was no longer a whole team of music teachers propping me up every day, I quickly gave up on any illusions that I could be a singer. And now the only person who hears me sing with any regularity is Miss K, and she quickly tells me to shut up as soon as I begin. So I guess that answers that question once and for all.

Mrs Johnny Depp
Ok this one should be pretty obvious, but just in case you can't tell why this one would never work, let's compare the two of us.

Johnny Depp

It's simple really. Until I look like Vanessa Paradis, I'll just have to settle on dreaming of becoming the next Mrs David Boreanaz.

That, I want that.

Well that's all from me, thank you to Karen from Baking In A Tornado for letting me be a part of the May Secret Swap, and thank you also to Nicole from Tiny Steps Mommy for my subject for this week. Be sure to check out the rest of the bloggers before you leave here today, in that list is some of the funniest and most brilliant bloggers I know, so you're in for a real treat.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Baby's got a brand new bed

Well I don't know about you guys, but right now I am dying. I have the man flu. Everyone keeps telling me that I just have a little cold, but they couldn't possibly be right. I feel like absolute crap, and I'm about to go visit WebMD just to find out exactly how long I have to get my affairs in order. And then I'm going to disown Miss K for passing this horrible cold on to me. Of all the things she shares with me, her bugs are definitely the worst.

Well I'm not actually here tonight to complain about how sick I am (which I really am), I'm actually here to share a pretty big milestone for Miss K and I. And like all milestones, this one comes with photos.

Believe it or not, she is the spitting image of her aunty Sam in this photo.

Now it may be hard to tell from that photo, but what you are looking at is Miss K's first night in a big girl bed. It's really just her cot with the wall taken off, but it's just a temporary bed until I can get her a real big girl bed. We've had to do this because with her jumping on the bed every morning she's managed to break one of the slats, so I had to do something to put a stop to the jumping, and this was really my only option. 

The photo was taken last night while I was madly trying to get her to settle down and actually stay in her bed. She was fine while I was in the room, but the moment I stepped out she'd be up and running after me with Elmo in tow. I actually tried at both nap time and bed time to get her to sleep in there. Nap time was much worse, because she cried the whole time, and I ended up taking all her toys out of the room, because as soon as my back was turned she'd be up and playing with something new. My favorite time was when I walked in to find her having a bash on the drum kit. Subtlety has never been her strong suit.

So I decided to skip the nap yesterday and try again at night. This time I sat in the room with her, slowly getting closer and closer to the door, but again, as soon as I left the room she'd be up. We ended up taking a break from bed time for five minutes so I could have a breather, and she fell asleep on the couch in less than ten minutes during this break.  I'm considering this one a win even though she technically didn't fall asleep in bed, because once she was down she stayed down till 7 this morning. 

So tonight I decided to try again. She'd missed her nap again today, and we went to speech therapy this morning, so that's always good for wearing her out. Plus she spent the afternoon at my big sister's house playing with her cousins so that I could have a much needed rest, so needless to say by the time bed time came around she was well and truly ready for sleep. I tried sitting in the room with her again, but this time I didn't move. I sat on the ground at the foot of the bed very quietly ignoring her, and within 10 minutes of going to bed she was fast asleep. So even better.

I'm going to keep doing the same thing for another couple of days, and hopefully by this time next week she'll be OK with going to bed by herself and we'll be one step closer to her being a big girl. I've actually been dreading this step for a long time now, but we'll get through it like we do with every big change, I guess I just hate the fact that my little girl really isn't a baby any more. 

Well that's all for me, I'm off to go sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself until bed time. And maybe eat an entire bag of jelly beans too. Stay awesome everyone.

Monday, 13 May 2013

May is for Moms; an Interview with my Mother

Hello again and welcome back to the second part of the May is for Moms link up parties, as hosted by Not Your Average Crazy.

Today is all about my mum, and although I talk about her a lot around here, as she has been kind enough to let Miss K and I live with her for almost 4 years now, she has never come and talked to you guys herself. It's probably just because she is such a shy and retiring person, just like me really.

So the deal is the same as last week, Amy has asked a series of questions, and I've asked mum to come along and answer these for me, and then you guys come along and read it and marvel at how awesome my mum is. So please be upstanding and give a big round of applause for mum.

1. How did you feel the moment you found out you were pregnant with me?
I was very excited because I had been trying for you.

2. Was I a wonderful surprise or carefully planned?
Not carefully planned. We wanted another child, but we got you instead. Thanks mum, I feel the love.

3. What was the most challenging time in my childhood? Why?
When we discovered that you had Epilepsy, getting you tested for that and treated was nerve wracking because we'd never come across any of that before. You were also a very introverted and introspective teen who had a lot of trouble at school, and you made a lot of silly mistakes, so it's a toss up between those things.

4. Did you worry more about me as a child or now that I am an adult?
I worried more about you when you were a teenager. Now you have settled down and you don't do silly things. You were a VERY silly teenager

5. What is one thing that you thought was deeply important when I was a baby that you now realise did not matter at all?
The one thing I worried about when you were young that I didn't worry about so much with the other kids was not letting you get hurt, and protecting you too much. You made your mistakes, you had your accidents but you're still alive today so it's all good. 

I certainly am. Well thank you to Amy for another awesome set of questions. To check out Amy's post, plus the link up to the rest of the party goers, visit Not Your Average Crazy here. And be sure to tune in again next week for my last interview with Miss K. You won't want to miss this one, trust me.

Well until next time, stay awesome.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Mother's Day again

Well we're here at yet another pseudo holiday designed to get people to buy chocolates and flowers. But because I get gifts this time, I say HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY BITCHES!!!

This morning I had a wonderful sleep in until 9:30, and then mum and I exchanged gifts through Miss K. She got the new My Kitchen Rules cook book, and I got a brand new pair of winter pyjamas and a box of Malteasers. You may not think that a person could get excited about pyjamas, but given that the last time I was given a new set was when I was getting ready to go to hospital to give birth 2 years ago, they were well overdue, and I was super glad to get them. So much so I even took a photo of them.

They're so warm and fleecy.

Some of you may remember last year I made a card for mum for her Mother's Day. Well this year I did exactly the same, but given how much things have changed over the past 12 months it only took me an hour to complete this one, instead of the 3 days I spent last year, and I'm just as pleased with the results.

The colours aren't that purple in real life, my camera just hates taking photos indoors with energy saving light bulbs on.

Miss K and I also spent an hour at the park with her dad and his new girlfriend, and I got a second gift there too, a dolphin statue like the ones I used to collect while Miss K's dad and I were still together. 
Again, not that purple. Stupid camera

Firstly I was surprised I even got a gift today, given that yesterday we had an argument at the end of his visit with Miss K, so to have a civil conversation with him today was going to be good enough for me, but I got more. Secondly thanks to my darling daughter, the statue you see there isn't exactly what I received, as I let her play with it when we got home, and it got dropped, so one of the dolphins is now missing a head. 

Well that's all from me, I'm now celebrating the best present I could have asked for today, and that is complete silence. Miss K is in bed, mum is at my big sister's house babysitting, and my baby sister is staying close to work tonight, so I have a whole house to myself and a big box of Malteasers begging to be eaten.

So Happy Mother's Day to all the mums out there, you know who you are, and an especially big Happy Mother's day to my own mum, plus a big hug and kiss for putting up with both Miss K and I for as long as she has, anyone who has lived with me can tell you that can be difficult at times, but she does it with love and patience, and it is because of this that I still maintain that she is the best mum in the world. 

Be sure to tune in tomorrow, because as a special treat, my awesome mum has agreed to answer some questions for the May is for Mom's series linky party, so that will be posted up some time soon.

Stay awesome everyone, and I'll be back again with reinforcements soon.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

What it means to be a mum

So Miss K and I had another fight this evening. It was a big one too. There was screaming, and yelling, and smacking and yes, even a little bit of vomiting. Gotta love a two year old for being able to throw a tantrum. And what was the reason for the tantrum?? I was yet again forcing her to eat something she didn't want to. It isn't even that she didn't like tonight's meal, it's just that she's had it 3 days in a row now and she's quite frankly sick of fried rice. She's like her grandma in this respect. Mum can only eat something for so long before it becomes tedious and she needs a change. I on the other hand have been known to eat the same meal for a week straight with no problems. But then I'm also the person who watches the same DVD every single night for a month at a time when I go to bed, so perhaps I'm not the best person to speak to about mixing things up.

The thing is, as angry as I was at Miss K, and as frustrated as I was that I had to clean up the thrown rice, and spew, and dodge her little hands when they swung out at me (she really stings when she makes contact with you, I've learned that one the hard way.) I had to be the one to get over my anger first, otherwise she wouldn't have calmed down. Of course I still needed a few minutes with my back turned to her, both to get my point across that tonight I was really mad, and to give myself five seconds to just breathe, but being the adult in this relationship means that I have to get over my crap really fast and help her out, and that's just what it means to be a mum.

We had a talk after the fight was over and she was out of her dirty clothes (well I talked, and she lay curled up in my lap whimpering.) She was taking such a long time to calm down, which is odd for her. Normally once I'm talking to her again she cheers up and moves on with her day, but this time she clung on to my shoulders and wouldn't let go, so I asked her if she thought I didn't love her because I  yelled at her. She said no, but I'm not sure if she didn't mean yes. (No tends to be her stock answer for every question that isn't do you want a drink.) So I explained to her that even when I'm yelling at her and making her eat food she doesn't like, it's because I love her, and I want her to be healthy and happy. And when I'm stopping her from climbing in the window, or jumping on the furniture, it's because I love her and I want her to be safe.  It was a strange conversation to be having with a two year old, but it seemed to do the trick. She still clung to me like a barnacle, but at least she'd stopped crying.

I don't know whether to call tonight a win or a fail. I let my baby girl get so upset that she threw up, something I've been so careful about in the past, and I wasn't sympathetic to her when it happened either, in fact it took everything in me not to yell at her even further. And sure, I managed to get her to eat some of her dinner, but tonight definitely would have gone a lot smoother if I had given in and just made her a Nutella sandwich. Then I would have been the awesome mum who gives her kid everything she wants in life. Sadly this fight, just like every other one we will have isn't about being the popular mum, it's about being the mum who teaches her kids right from wrong. It's about being the  bad guy in their eyes now so that they can be decent human beings when they grow up. That's just what it means to be a mum.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Recipe - Potato, Chicken and Leek pie

Hello again and welcome to another recipe Monday. For all of my Aussie friends, sorry that I didn't get this posted in time for your dinner tonight, but there is always tomorrow night. And given that it will be Tuesday, maybe you'll be in more of a mood to cook. I never feel like cooking on Mondays, sadly my local pizza store has also chosen Monday to be the one day out of the week that they don't open, leaving me absolutely no choice but to throw something together so that Miss K doesn't stare at me like a starving lion.

Now the recipe that I am about to share with you is definitely not something that I'd cook on a Monday, it's more like a Friday or a Saturday recipe. I need a lot of energy in me before I tackle anything as challenging as a pie. (For anyone who isn't completely impotent in the kitchen, you can do this every single day, I just have special needs as a cook.)

Ok so to make a potato, chicken and leek pie, you will need several things first.

2 sheets Shortcrust pastry for the base (or 2 sheets puff pastry if you prefer puff pastry and are happy blind baking it, I have given instructions for both methods.)
1 sheet Puff pastry for the top
500g chicken breasts diced
1 leek sliced
3 - 4 medium sized potatoes diced
1 and a half cup roughly chopped mushrooms
2 tablespoons of plain flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup cream
Salt and pepper to season
Milk or egg for the pastry crust

Serves 4

To make your pie:

Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees celsius (390 degrees farenheit) or 180 degrees celsius (350 degrees farenheit) if you have a fan forced oven.

If you are going to blind bake your bottom layer of puff pastry, do it now. It is fairly simple, just grease your pie dish and lay down your puff pastry sheets so that the entire tin is covered, including a lip at the top. Trim off any excess pastry. Pierce the pastry in several places to prevent it puffing up while it cooks. Place a sheet of greased baking paper or tin foil over the pastry (greased side down) then cover the top of the paper/foil with a layer of pie weights, or a generous amount of rice, making sure that the coverage is heavy enough to keep the pastry flat. Bake in your pre heated oven for 15 minutes, then remove the pie weights/rice and paper/foil covering and bake for a further 10 minutes until golden brown. If you haven't placed enough pie weights or rice on your pastry and it has puffed up, just press it down lightly before returning it to the oven. 

In a fry pan pre heat some oil, then cook the chicken for 5 minutes until it is lightly browned.
Add the leeks, potatoes and mushrooms, and cook for another 5 - 7 minutes until the leeks are softened.
Mix the plain flour into a small amount of water, to make it easier to combine with the other ingredients, then pour the liquid into the fry pan. Cook for another minute stirring.
Add the chicken stock and cream and bring the mixture to the boil.

If you are using shortcrust pastry, grease your pie dish now and line it with a layer of short crust pastry, ensuring that it has a lip. Trim off any excess pastry.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pie dish, and brush the edge of the pastry with milk or egg.
Place the top sheet of puff pastry and press the edges down with a fork or your fingers.
Cut a small slit into the top of the pastry, then brush the top with egg or milk to give it a nice shine. Remember that the heat from the mixture inside will make the pastry quite soft and fragile, so you need to be gentle when brushing liquid on top so that you don't tear it.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.

Now that right there is one slice of pure delicious. Sadly it didn't last long in our house, but I always take that as a huge compliment.

And now it's your turn. Go and make this pie and impress your friends and family with the ancient art of pie-making which is really being lost in this day and age, especially with the freezer section of every supermarket full of row after row of machine made pies. 

Well I'll be back again tomorrow with another life hack, but until then, stay awesome.

May is for Moms: an interview with myself

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to my blog yet again. Tonight I am partaking in a three part linky party series in honor of Mother's Day next weekend. For full details of the party, as well as how you can join, please visit Not Your Average Crazy now and get writing.

So tonight's episode is an interview with myself. I have to answer a series of questions as asked by Amy from Not Your Average Crazy.

1. Before you ever even had children, how did you feel about being a mother?

Well for the longest time I didn't want children. Babies scared the absolute bejeezus out of me, and I hated the thought of being tied to a little person for the better part of my adult life. But then when I was 19, my niece was born and everything changed. Holding this perfect baby in my arms for the first time, I could see myself doing this for real one day. And while I wasn't in a hurry to become a parent, I knew that I had been put on this earth for one reason only, and that was to be someone's mum.

2. Since becoming a mother, what is something that has happened that you never thought would?

I think the biggest thing that has happened since I became a mum was how much I have calmed down as a person. Before Miss K was born I would jump from one drama to the next, making stupid decision after stupid decision. I would wear my poor family down with my constant meltdowns and various crises. But since becoming a mum, I've realised what is truly important in life, and that my actions don't just affect me. So in order to be a mother that I can be proud of, I've started acting like a real grown up. (Most of the time anyway. There are some supermarket aisles that just beg to be danced down.)

3. Is being a mother less difficult, more difficult or exactly how difficult you imagined?

In some ways it is exactly as difficult as I imagined, and in other ways it is more difficult. When people say that parenting is a full time job, they mean a 24/7 job. As in you never get a quiet toilet break, a hot cup of coffee, or privacy when you are getting dressed ever again. The parenting books also never tell you how to cope the first time your darling offspring tries to eat their own poo. (Yeah that has happened, and the appropriate action is to scream like you are on fire. It scares the hell out of them and gets them to drop everything.) But the best thing is that parenting is infinitely more rewarding than you can ever imagine, and that makes it all worthwhile.

4. What is your fondest memory of being a mother (so far)?

I think all the free hugs and kisses I get as Miss K's mum are the absolute best part of this job. Especially when I haven't begged for them. There are the hugs you get when the whole world has crashed down around your child (otherwise known as they fell down and scraped their knee), the hugs you get when they are tired and want you to take them to bed, the hugs you get because they are super happy, and the just because you're there hugs. I think my absolute favourite hugs are the ones when Miss K is trying to comfort me. I guess because these are the rarest hugs of all, they seem to be the sweetest.

5. If your children only learn one life lesson from you, what do you hope it is?

I think the most important thing I can teach Miss K is know what you want, and believe that you are worth it.

Well that's all the questions for now. If you tune in again the same time next week, hopefully there will be an interview with my mum here (I still have to ask her yet, wish me luck.) And I'll be back again tomorrow with another recipe Monday, so if you are lacking inspiration for what to cook for your family for dinner, tune in tomorrow for a delicious idea. 

Well until then, stay awesome, and don't forget to check out the rest of the wonderful mum posts over at Not Your Average Crazy now.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Flashback Friday

So today's post is for a new linky party created by the lovely Melissa at Forgetting Mess, Pausing Time. We have been asked to dig through all our old photos and post a new one up each week and tell the story that goes with the picture. Now I am very lucky to have an awesome big sister who put all our old family photos into the computer a couple of years ago, so all I had to do today was dig through some CDs today and I found all the old pictures of me as a kid.

This photo was taken at one of our houses in Horsham. How country does that look? from the crooked gate in the background to the water tank on stilts. I think the giant structure next to the tank is even a windmill. I only have a few vivid memories from our time in Horsham, as I was only 4 when we moved to the other end of the state, but I always have a feeling that life up there was pretty carefree. (How could it not be? I was a baby.) The back yard seemed massive to me as a kid, I know that besides that in-ground trampoline that I'm sitting on in this picture there was also a large vegetable garden nearby. I think there was also a jungle gym somewhere else in the yard. But that may have been at another house. 

I know the driveway was really long, and the school bus stopped right outside our letterbox. I don't know if I did it every day, but I remember walking with my big sister to the end of the driveway in the mornings and waiting with her till the bus came to take her to school. As I walked back to the house I could always hear the Magpies and various other birds singing. It always seemed so peaceful and remote. We went mushroom picking with dad, and had picnics of Barbecue Shapes in the row of trees at the back of the yard. There was a shearing shed somewhere nearby that had been condemned, and we weren't allowed to go anywhere near it, but it never stopped us. We used to climb up to the roof that had partially collapsed and slide down the planks of wood (I think it was the roof anyway)

Mum and dad ran a trampoline centre somewhere in town for a little while, which is part of the reason why we had that trampoline in the back yard. I remember spending weekends playing at the centre with my big sister and little brother. There was a caravan park next door and if we were really good (or really bored) mum would let us go to the kiosk there and buy a lolly. I preferred the quiet days at the trampoline centre, because it meant that we were allowed to play on the trampolines for as long as we wanted. A great game was jumping from one trampoline to the next, till you reached the end of the row. The trampolines at the centre had rubber matting over the springs, unlike the one in our back yard, so you couldn't hurt yourself, nor could you climb underneath the trampoline. Of course we weren't meant to climb underneath the trampoline at home either, but that never stopped us. I know my big sister used to throw balls down there and make me retrieve them. Once I was well underneath the trampoline, she and my little brother would start jumping. I remember eating dirt more than once as I dived on the ground to dodge the feet coming towards my head. It sounds mean, but we would laugh about it once I was back up again. Just another one of those strange games children play.

It was such an idyllic life that I lived the first four years of my life, lots of room to move and play, and because it was so remote we were basically free to do as we pleased all day. I actually went through the town part of Horsham a few years ago on a trip to Alice Springs with my mum and uncle, but there was nothing there that I remembered. But the town never interested me as a child, I had everything I needed in my back yard. 

Well that was a fun trip down memory lane. If any of you want to join in the fun, you can find all the details for Flashback Friday here

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Mad as Hell and the Rant that Proves it

Ok I know I missed out on yesterday's recipe post for this week, and at this stage it doesn't look like I'll get a life hacks out today, especially given that it's now Wednesday morning, but I have had to take a break from my computer since yesterday otherwise it would have ended up out the window. 

The sad thing is it wouldn't have been the computer's fault that it was thrown out of the window. Despite the BSOD* that keeps happening with alarming regularity these days, the reason for my anger wasn't in the computer itself, but in an article I read. One of the bloggers I have read ever since I was introduced to the wonderful wide world of blogging a year ago, Corrie from Retro Mummy, was featured this week on the website Essential Baby. The article was about the rise of the "retro housewife" and despite the fact that it was written by a woman, was so full of misogynistic crap, I saw red. I popped over to Retro Mummy's website to see what she had to say about the article, and saw a completely different side to her story than what the original article wanted me to see.

The article painted a very pretty picture of Corrie as a Stepford wife, complete with "a patchwork skirt and bare feet" (really? did she have to be barefoot? the only thing that would have made that worse was if she was pregnant at the time and holding her youngest baby on her hip. Now that I think about it, Corrie has put photos up from the photo shoot that accompanied the article, and in each picture she has displayed, she is very clearly wearing shoes. What the hell was this writer trying to do?) They described the rustic dining room table, complete with a vase of Irises, and a delicious cake cooling (on the windowsill I'm assuming.)  They contrasted this scene of domestic bliss against her former life as a credit analyst playing with the big boys, almost with a sense of regret that she had stooped so low as to give up a high profile job to play at mummies and daddies. There were several similar stories of other Stepford wives, complete with herb gardens and bee hives and complete happiness, but no real sense of the women behind the facade.

Corrie tells a sadder story than the blissful scene that the "journalist" stumbled upon the day she arrived, telling how she had chosen to turn her back on the corporate world for the sake of her children because her mother had been unable to do the same. Corrie was a latch key kid who spent her afternoons watching children's television while her mother was off earning a buck. She refused to put her children through the childhood she had lived through, and wanted to make sure that when they came home, there was an adult there to care for them, listen to them and be a parent to them. Why that never made it into the article I will never understand, but apparently that doesn't make for interesting reading for some people because it's not even hinted at in the Retro Housewife. 

Now for any of you who haven't read the article yet, you're probably wondering why I'm so angry at a superficial article describing pretty people playing with pretty things. Well that is because the article then did a full 180, pulling out the big guns of a group of angry feminists, shaking their fists at these women deliberately choosing to stay at home and raise their families, and blaming them for the decline in working mothers in the workforce. One woman in particular is angry that the very generation after the first feminists started fighting for "the right for married women to keep their jobs, to have equal access to promotion, and to be paid the same as men, scores of women are walking away and saying, 'We'd rather be Mummies" Well the last time I looked, women still weren't getting equal access to promotion, or equal pay. Is she seriously surprised that mums are starting to re-evaluate their priorities? That they have started to decide we don't want to be super mums, some of us are happy simply with the title mum.

The term Super Mum has been thrown around a lot over the years, and the image that it conjures up is of the working mother. She gets up at 5, makes sure her kids are fed, dressed immaculately and then ferried off to their excellent school in the latest model Range Rover. Then she schleps across the city to her job, works her butt into the ground for 8 hours, then gets home, cooks dinner, does the dishes, does the laundry, mops the floor, makes tomorrow's lunches, and then probably pleasures the husband before collapsing into a coma for 5 hours. The problem with this image is I don't personally know anyone who could sustain it for more than a week before she needed to be institutionalised. I know we women are strong, but I don't think even Superman would be able to cram that much into his day. (Especially with working 2 jobs, one of them including facing death every single day.) 

The problem with the super mum is that the title assumes that the mother has to do everything. It doesn't say anywhere in the title that she gets help from the family with anything. So a lot of women are putting themselves under extreme pressure just to live up to an incredibly unrealistic and dangerous image. Hell I'm a stay at home mum, and even I can't muster up the energy to do absolutely everything that needs to be done in a day. So the fact that women are starting to realise that we can't do everything and we need to simplify our lives is of absolutely no surprise to me at all.  

But apparently I seem to be different to the feminists because they are surprised. And they are angry. They call this move to more traditional roles "self sabotage" and say it "cements gender stereotypes". They also say it suggests a "downturn in ambition in women", as if being a mother is a completely unambitious pursuit. Rubbish! You want to make sure that your children turn out to be the best versions of themselves, then you have to be damn ambitious, because raising children is not for the weak hearted. 

Then the feminists turn around and pull the same man hating stunts they have been pulling for years and start saying that maybe men need to stay at home more. Men need to be the home makers while the women go out and get jobs. Well I don't know about any of you, but every man I have ever dated has been a terrible housekeeper, and I would feel better leaving the running of MY house to a pack of wild chimps than any man. (This of course does not apply to my little brother who is the best stay at home dad I know, and his house is always spotless.) Women are by default the home makers because they are the ones that are able to look at a room and see absolutely everything that needs to be done. Maybe not all today, but it will get done. We have the ability to write lists in our heads and we have internal calendars and the ability to memorise a shopping list to the point where we can do the grocery shopping in our sleep. Now these skills may not seem important to you, and you may think they would be absolutely useless in the working world, but they translate there too. Which is why women are as great in the working world as they are at home.

Now I'm doing the 180 I hear you say. But I'm not, and that brings me to the thing that makes me angriest of all. These feminists, these women who feel that they know everything about gender equality and what women are meant to want have forgotten the fundamental fact behind feminism. When the feminist movement was started, it was meant to be about CHOICE. Women wanted to be able to choose whether they wanted to go out to work or stay at home. Women wanted to be able to choose what happened to their bodies, women wanted to be able to choose where their futures lay. And as far as I'm concerned these women aren't anti-feminists, because they are choosing to stay at home and be housewives and mums. 

Now despite my anger at the women featured in this article, I'm not anti-feminist. I am glad that the feminist movement happened, because thanks to the pioneering women who started it all I am free to take birth control. If I ever wanted an abortion (which I don't) I am able to go to a safe and clean hospital instead of a back alley butcher. I have been allowed to be a single mother whereas once upon a time my daughter would have been taken away from me and I probably would have been shipped off to a mental institution or a convent. I am free to work if I want to, or stay at home and take care of my daughter if I so desire. These women were brave, and ambitious and not afraid to say "Give me what I want or I will raise hell to get it" and I thank them for their bravery. But to have their message warped to suit the feminists of today makes me mad as hell. This is not what they wanted. They didn't want women drawing a line in the sand and saying this side is the right side and that side is the ignorant and wrong side. But thanks to the Neo-feminists of today, that is exactly what is happening, and I think it sucks.

Image courtesy of
Pictured: what the feminists want us all to look like

Well that is my rant for today, I would love to hear what you guys think, even if you disagree with me completely. Don't be afraid to pipe up with your two cents, but I ask as always that you leave any name calling at the door. Hopefully I'll be able to resume my normal "unambitious" writing tomorrow, but for now I'm off to bed. Stay awesome people.

*Blue Screen of Death AKA the worst thing you want to see appear on your computer screen ever.
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