Thursday, 25 October 2012

10 days of meat-free and counting

Ten days ago I started on a month meat-free to raise money for Save The Children Australia.

I was a little scared, and kind of chose this option because I could still have hot chips while my boss (who is going junk food free) could not.

So how am I feeling after 10 days?


Choosing to spend an amount of time as a vegetarian has forced me to think just that little bit harder about what I put in my body.

It's taught me that food does not need meat to have flavour. 

It's taught me that I can make kickass tabouleh.

I've suprised myself with how much I don't miss eating meat. At all.

(At the end of my month I might just not change back. And I don't think it would bother me too much, although I may be tempted by garlic prawns. Maybe.)

I've recently started using the SparkPeople app to keep track of my diet and exercise as well. This has been working really well for me, because I was worried that I might not get the right balance of proteins, carbs etc. Now I can see at a glance that I haven't had enough protein and grab a handful of almonds or whatever.

I've also started to bake healthier options. Using oil instead of butter in cakes and muffins. Using wholemeal flour if I can. I've even used chia seeds. That's right. WonderMan hadn't even heard of them until I gave him one of these muffins by Veggie Mama.

The one thing I do have to remind myself is to take my iron tablet EVERY MORNING with breakfast. Otherwise by 1pm I am a big puddle of wobbly jelly on the floor. I was already slightly low in iron, so this has now become essential.

And I have had my first run in with an unsupportive friend. Who insisted that being vegetarian was not a healthy option and that I would die of anaemia. But she could understand being a vegetarian if you were all hippy-la-la and couldn't stand killing animals. Because obviously that's going to make a difference when it comes to dying yourself. Yes indeed.

You should donate some coins to Save The Children. I promise not to die.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Lookit what I did!

In lieu of a blog post about the amazing and inspirational things I have been part of lately... I give you Tuesday's Achievements. 

Completed between the hours of 10:30am (when I finished tidying up, put the kettle on and declared housework time officially over" and 6pm when it was dinner time.

Achievement Number One:

Frogger Shorts

This was a shirt of my grandmother's, that she gave to me while clearing out her sewing room. It is lovely soft cotton, with lots of wear left in the fabric. I had a good look at it and after a little fiddling around discovered it was just big enough to make shorts for Frog. Seriously cute!

Achievement Number Two:

Tiger Tunic

A friend gave me a lovely vintage Holly Hobby bedspread set. It came with two curtains which she had never used as they did not fit the windows in her house. So I have several metres of this beautiful soft floral fabric, with a matching pink ruffle all the way around. The bird applique is made from a small section of the ruffle.

Frog is going to get one of these tops too, she is already pestering me about when I'm going to make her "birdy shirt".

So today I began my girls' summer wardrobe, and all it cost me was a few hours and a new roll of cotton.

I also Blogged On Tuesday.

I'm such a legend.


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Shiny Tinfoil

I love the internets for the simple reason that whenever I'm angry at stuff, I can click on stuff that makes me laugh. 

That's what the internets are for right?

Sometimes it's a little bit inspirational... and even better if it's inspirational without the GAG factor. I am not a fan of the never ending strong woman/god/ lolcat facebook feed. I will delete you. This is ok.

"Why are you doing your exercise Mummy?" 

"Well Frog, one day Mummy will be a unicorn."

And for the first time in weeks she didn't reply with "Why?". She gets it.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Can I Lick The Spoon Mummy?

Did you like the cake spoon when you were young?

Did it make you giggle, did you get some cake mix on your nose?

I did.

I loved doing things with mum. I pestered her all the time to help her - Can I help with the washing? Can I iron the hankies? 

Can I lick the spoon?

~ Good mums let you lick the beaters... Great mums turn them off first ~ 

 I think I was constantly looking for a way to spend time with her that didn't involve my sister. Growing up with a mentally ill sibling is tough, in ways you don't even begin to realise until you're almost thirty and your heart breaks for all the times you missed out on licking the spoon.

Mum says I have a lot more patience with my girls than she had with us.

She was cranky and in a hurry and "just wanted to get it done" because she was trying to have five minutes to herself. I didn't understand, and I probably cried many times when she shooed me out of the kitchen believing she didn't think I was good enough.

Kids think dumb things sometimes.

I can be like that occasionally. But I know the pain that a busy, tired and stressed mummy can create without even knowing. I try really hard to say "yes, let's do it" instead of "not now". Sometimes I just want to read my book and that's okay.

Frog likes to cook. The toy kitchen passed on from her big sister is her biggest treasure. She's forever stealing cups and spoons and whisks from my kitchen. If you can't find something, just ask Frog.

I asked her what she wanted to do last Wednesday.

"Make cupcakes with Mummy!"

Okey dokey.

Now, cupcakes take effort right? Beating the butter and sugar takes forever and the kids wander off or throw a tizzy because they want to eat them "right now!" before you've even turned the oven on.

I have the solution. In the form of Mum's Cream Cakes

Complete with Frog demonstrations.


1 cup of sugar
3 eggs
1 cup of cream
1 & 1/2 cups of SR flour

For chocolate cakes use 1 & 1/4 cups SR flour + 2 Tablespoons cocoa
For orange cakes add grated orange zest.
Add a few drops of food colouring to a plain mix for something different.

Place patty pans in trays.

Beat sugar and eggs together until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour in cream and beat into mix.

Sift in flour and fold into mix.

Fill your patty pans 3/4 full. (We use the small old fashioned patty pans, just in a muffin tin to keep them tidy)

Pop them in a 180C / 170C fan forced oven for approx 20 mins, or until risen and springy when touched.

 Cool on a wire rack. Ice and decorate as you wish.

Et voila! Soft, scrumptious cupcakes.

This recipe makes about 30, and they freeze really well when cooked.

They also makes great desserts.

Cut a small circle out of the top and fill with jam and whipped cream.

Replace the top and dust with icing sugar.


And don't forget to lick the spoon.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

So everyone I know thinks I'm crazy...

I mean, clearly I am, but there's obviously a threshold where those that love me go from "Oh yes, she's slightly eccentric" to "What. The Hell?"

And always for things that seem to me quite unexciting. I have a very conventional family. Sometimes I am astounded just how conventional and mundane.

It's ridiculous really - we are a family that has accepted and supported "big" things like my unplanned, unmarried teenage pregnancy and subsequent single motherhood. I'm pretty much guaranteed to do absolutely everything in my life backwards to the norm, and everyone just nods their head and gets on with it.

But then I do something small, a lifestyle choice or a decision that affects no one but me, and they all freak out.

Like my latest choice - to go meat-free for a month.

When I told my mother I'm pretty sure she must have heard "going to drop nuclear bomb on local town".

A little support would have been nice. Or preferably just "oh that's nice" and completely ignoring it because it's not really something that requires fireworks.

People will accept so much craziness ("I did not have sexual relations with that woman") but have a heart attack because I decide I'm not going to eat Johnny Baa-Lamb for a little while. I am well aware their heads may explode if I decide to stick to it after my month is up.

I think we all know who is crazy here.

Luckily, I have great support at work. And that's because I am part of their Health Kick Team, and many others are going without wine, junk food, sugar or meat in order to help those that need it most.

I'm raising money for Save The Children. Their vision:

~ a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation ~

 If going without some crispy bacon can help them achieve their goals, I'm there.

You can support me by donating some coins here.

I'm off to visit the lovely Veggie Mama, because I really don't want to starve to death before the month is out, that would be slightly inconvenient.

 Oops... I forgot the IBOT thingy.... here you go! (Sorry Jess!)

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Did you have a good day at work?

Well... no actually.

Because today I didn't go to work. 

I put my child in daycare and spent the day doing things without a 3 and 1/2 year old tornado following along behind.

A mental health day, if you will.

I used to be against taking these days. 

While I understand the need for everyone to have respite of some kind, in Hicksville I used to be the mother that was sitting in the carpark crying because she had fought and fought and fought to get her child a permanent place and couldn't, thus endangering her much needed job. 

All while a train of unemployed, lazy mothers paraded in and out of the centre more than twice a week dumping their entire brood to be cared for by someone else whilst they got together and drank endless tons of coffee and smoked never ending cigarettes. 

Legitimate respite for whatever reason - no family support, children with special needs, children at risk, etc - I understand and support this.

And I finally found that I needed it too.

After months of never being away from Frog other than to go to work or to a meeting, of never once peeing without a full cabaret show, of putting off all the paperwork and errands because after the third shop or office she is unmanagable (lets face it, it's not much fun being dragged around from bank to post office to shops where you can't touch anything); I'd had enough.

When we moved here I booked Frog into two permanent days of daycare a week, so that when I was called in on other days I was more likely to get a casual spot. It kept me at the top of the waiting list. When I was given my monthly relief roster I would move and re book days that were outside of those permanents, leaving them free for someone else on the list.

After much pushing from WonderMan I have started keeping one of those days a week even if I'm not working, because I was starting to sag at the knees. My mind was turning to complete slush and I was slowly spiralling downwards and could feel the clouds pulling over.

My family are 600kms away. Gone are the days of "taking the kids to Granny's" occasionally. 

This works for me.

It takes a village to raise a child. They are a part of my village.

Who is in your village? 

Linked up with Jess at Diary of a SAHM for IBOT

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Fairies at the bottom of the garden...

"When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. And now when every new baby is born its first laugh becomes a fairy. So there ought to be one fairy for every boy or girl."
                                                       James Matthew Barrie (Peter, in Peter Pan, act 1)

I spent many years of my childhood constructing fairy gardens with my Aunty M. She would keep them on her front porch until the end of the school holidays, and tidy them away after we forgot about them in a few weeks, leaving the boxes fresh and new for us to to start again next holidays.

She gave me the boxed set of Flower Fairies poetry books that I had pored over for many many years until the books almost fell to pieces. Tiger is forever bringing them to me to be fixed up, and I tell her never mind, the fairies like to be well loved.

I thought I would revive a little of the magic of my childhood and took the kids off to gather some supplies to make their own fairy gardens.

You can make one too!

You need:

A box/dish/tray. Today we used foil bbq trays



A small pot or old coffee mug or teacup for the fairy shelter

A shallow dish for a pond. We used the saucer from the pots we used for the shelter.

Flowers, leaves, decorations. We used a mix of plastic, and real flowers out of our garden.

First we filled our trays most of the way to the top with dirt.  

Then the girls positioned their pot on it's side, party buried in the dirt to make a shelter. Then they pushed their saucers into the dirt to make a pond, and decorated around with pebbles.

Lastly it's just a matter of filling  up the garden with flowers and leaves and whatever else you can find until you are happy with it. Everyone's garden will be different, there is no right and wrong!

Tiger used the tiny daisies by our front steps as "lillypads".

Now we have to put them in the garden so the fairies can visit!

Frog wanted hers by the front door, Tiger put her under a lavender bush so it would always smell nice.

Now we have a special place for our fairies to rest and play!

Frog spent all afternoon running out to "see if the fairies are there yet!" I'm going to sprinkle some fairy dust (glitter) around to show her that they have visited.

And lastly, we found this groovy cocoon on a geranium bush. There is something green inside so we are hoping to see a butterfly emerge soon. 

Today was a window into the sparkles of my childhood. The best gift I can give my girls is a cloak of magic and wonder, just like I wore.

 I think that people who can't believe in fairies aren't worth knowing. 
                                                                                      ~Tori Amos

Monday, 1 October 2012

Man flu is bad for your (mental) health.

I need another cup of tea.

Looks like I'll be making it myself because WonderMan is absolutely definitely hanging on by his fingernails at death's door.

A few weeks ago we picked up the nasty bug that just keeps on giving. Frog started it all with the earache from hell ending into a spiral into asthma. 

So we've all had the bug come and go in varying degrees over every few days for weeks now and just have to hope it will eventually go the hell away.

And of course this dear man of mine is "soooooooo siiiiiick uuuuuuuuuggghhh I can't lift my arms I'm so weak aaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhhh My head hurts and my throat hurts and my muscles hurt and oooooooooohhhhh Have I got a fever? I feel hot. I'm cold. Really cold. Turn the heater up. I'm all sweeeaaaattttyyyyyyyy."

I know exactly how he feels because I have exactly the same bug. 

But am I making a fuss like this? No. When he asked me how I was feeling "My throats a little swollen again" must have been his cue to find how many ways he could possibly be sicker and make my life hell.

I'm sick of the drama. 

Sick of the three year old stupid questions, attention seeking and not fecking listening. I have a three year old and she does my head in on a daily basis. Getting the same crap from my life partner is torture.

And every moan is pushing my last remaining nerve until this little bug may actually end up killing him.

 I need another cup of tea. With added valium.