Friday, February 28, 2014

][ photo safari \\ gates in my hood ][

Our front fence is in desperate need of some loving. In fact, I would love to rip it down and start again, truth be told. So on Saturday when we walked to the farmers markets I took a little inspiration from some of the fences, gates and entrances around our neighbourhood. There were several houses in a row which had mosaic tiles on their front path, which is beautiful. We have some fantastic architecture in this town, and of course we have City Park. In all her glory at this time of year, City Park was alive with sunshine, children playing and of course lovers lounging on the grass. I was more focused in the lovely structures in the park on this occasion however. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

][ belated valentines day ][

Mr TBT was away for Valentines Day, so on a recent trip home we decided to play catch up! 
Oh, Symphony Under the Stars is on. Perfect! Only dragging 4 kids under 7 out waaaay past their bedtime somehow didn't feel so perfect. 
Maybe we could hear it from our house! We'll get some scrumdiddlumptioushness from Alps & Amici and sit outside and have a romantic picnic and listen to Symphony Under the Stars. Perfect. 
Only it was cold. Too cold to sit outside for me (it got below 10 degrees ok! And yes, it is February). We'll sit inside. Oh. We can't hear the music. That's ok. It'll be nice to have some quiet. 
Then the snot hit. Like an avalanche. All 4 of them within 5 minutes of each other.
"Waaaahhh". One needs ventolin.  Quiet. Where were we? Marinated mushrooms. 
"Muuum. George is coughing". Another needs ventolin. Right where were we? Oh yes, the smoked salmon terrine. "Muuuum. I need the toilet. Ooooh what are you eating? Can I have some. Oooh. No fair". 
"Muuuum. I need to blow my nose, oooh that looks sooo yummy. Why do you get something special?" (At which point I had to hold myself back from giving a long winded explanation of the commercialisation of Valentines Day). 
"Waaaah" Temperature.  Panadol required. 
"Waaah."  More ventolin. Quiet. For a bit. Enough time to scoff some artichoke hearts and snaffle some white bean and almond dip. 
"Muuuum. I need to blow my nose and go to the toilet."
Finally. Quiet. Sicilian olives. Sopressa. French cheese. Romance. Snot. It hit me too. 
"I'll just curl up on the couch" I tell Mr TBT. I pass out in a feverish sleep for a good hour and wake up to find I've dribbled on my favourite cushion. 
"C'mon." Says Mr TBT. "Go to bed. Ill fix up the kitchen and come and tuck you in". Ahh. This is what true love really looks like. 

][ 8 \\ 52 ][

The 52 Project. As seen on Practicing Simplicity and My Bearded Pidgeon.

:: Rupert....seems suddenly sooo grown up!

:: Arthur.... Tucking into a baby cino!

:: Ingrid...doing the hoopla!

:: George...a lazy start to Sunday!

Anyone else doing the 52 project out there??

Thursday, February 20, 2014

][ dinner at mine \\ lamb kofta ][

If you pick your way through the jungle (front yard) and trek the Sahara desert (Arthur deposited most of the sandpit on the living room floor) and and slide past the oil slick (general household cleanliness) you can stay for dinner. Tonight we're having lamb kofta (lamb mince, lots of cumin, a fair bit of ground coriander, an insane amount of fresh coriander, lots of garlic and a dash of lemon juice). We've paired it with a brown rice salad and Greek yoghurt. What's on your menu tonight?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

][ take the time to journey ][


Having 4 kids under 7 makes it difficult to spend one on one time with each of the them. Even when Mr TBT is home I feel as though the first thing we do is catch up on washing, housework and shopping. By the time you add in Little Athletics, ballet or whatever it happens to be, decide to tackle a major project at home (landscaping, renovating, whatever) and blink it is time for him to leave again. 
In the mornings, after the school drop off I rush home to put Rupert into bed and try to get washing on and hung out. That is one thing that really bugs me about a front loader - the long wash cycle. Honestly, how the hell am I going to get clothes for a family of 6 dry in the dead of winter when there may be 2 hours of sunshine (if I'm lucky) and the washing machine takes 3 hours? 
Anyway, rush rush rush. Poor Arthur, this morning time is the only time he gets me to himself. And I'm playing washer woman. 
So today I decided the washing could sit in the basket for another day and joined Arthur in the sandpit. I'm ashamed to say I can't remember the last time I sat in the sandpit with the kids. We had a great time building (and destroying) sandcastles, playing farms and eating sand (not me so much). And as they say time flies when you're having fun.
We have been so worried about Arthur's language development, but as I sat there playing I realised he has more words than I thought. Here are some of Arthur's first words. 

Chicken (his very first word)
Over there
Thank you

It really is a beautiful age of discovery and I need to take more time to journey with him. I'm not going to get this time back. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

][ 7 \\ 52 ][

The 52 Project. A photo of my kids each week this year. More 52 projects here, and here.

:: Rupert.....taken literally the second he woke this morning. 

:: the midst of a frenzied tickling attack at the hands of his sister. 

:: Ingrid....her take on helping with the washing was to try on two of Mummy's tops, Mummy's shorts and Daddy's socks. All at once. 

:: George.... Being tickled by Dad!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sorry loyal fans...paperwork

I interrupt this broad cast for a quick spot of housekeeping.  Howdy.  So I've been learning all about blogging stuff at Blog with Pip.  I'm now signing up with bloglovin (all part of the process) and I have to publish a post with this code

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Done! Back to normal shortly.

][ taking stock \\ 2 ][

Making : progress on sewing badges onto little athletics tops. 
Cooking : home made pesto. Try stirring it through warm potatoes. Yummola. 
Drinking : water, though Mr TBT and I did enjoy a cider or 2 while he was home. 

Reading: Getting Started in Free Range Poultry by the NSW DPI. I know. I'm a nerd. 

Wanting: to read Vantastic by Kate Ulman, but I'm scared it might tip me over the edge and I might end up doing something about these itchy feet of mine. This lady isn't helping my cause, nor this lady either. 

Looking: forward to meeting my friend Kate's not so new baby Lucy. 

Playing: anything other than childrens audio books, 'The Best of Playschool' and Justine Clark. Sorry Justine, I love you but now that the holidays are over...

Deciding: that I must get better at decision making. 
Wishing: for more laughter. You can never have enough.
Enjoying: our wisteria which is flowering again! Now!

Waiting: for my iPad to arrive
Liking: that I finally finished the playroom cushions. 

Wondering: what I should be when I grow up? 
Loving: my husband and beautiful kidlets. 
Pondering: rhubarb. I just love the word. Not sure I like the vegetable. Something worth pondering though. 
Considering: what to plant in our new garden beds in the front yard. Maybe some rhubarb?
Watching:  the Family Confidential about Miranda Kerr on ABC. I loved living in Gunnedah. It is the most friendly town in the Australia. 
Hoping:that this divine sunshine will stick around. 
Marvelling: at the fact that since Melanie and I spoke last, she has got engaged (in the French Alps mind you) and up the duff. Where did the time go?
Needing: I don't think I really need anything. I have a want list a mile long though. 
Smelling: our neighbours cigarette smoke in our living room. Ugh. 
Wearing: a very old dress that reminds me of my friend Kate cos I bought it while visiting her on the sunny coast (I have a lot of Kate's in my life).  
Following: the news about that poor 12 year old girl who was married off, and hoping they throw the book at everyone involved. 
Noticing: my kids are growing up. Fast. 
Knowing: that Rupert is the lucky last I'm trying to take the time to enjoy it. 
Thinking: about my great aunt Kitty. She turned 98 this week. Happy birthday!
Feeling: for all those who have been affected by the bush fires. 
Admiring: my husbands handiwork in the front yard. 

Sorting: through baby things. I can't believe we have 3 sizes worth of clothes to re-home already. 
Buying: an iPad. Did I mention that?
Getting: excited about my iPad. 
Bookmarking: sooo many blogs to explore from my new friends over at Blog with Pip
Disliking: ugg boots as a fashion statement.  

Giggling: at the chooks. Still. Sorry. 
Feeling: like I need to be better at staying in touch with my dear friends. 
Snacking: way too much. Time to get my pre cub condition back. 
Coveting: my friend Helen's zest for life. Think I'll take a leaf out of her book, when I have the energy. 
Helping: a friend with decision making. Yes me. I can help others make decisions, I just can't do it for myself. Ok?
Hearing: Rupert's and Arthur's belly laugh makes me laugh too.

From the good ship Meet Me at Mikes. Want to play too? You're it. Copy and paste and fill in the blanks. 

Making :

Cooking :

Drinking :






Sunday, February 9, 2014

][ an eggcellent surprise ][

I have to be honest.  I have been cursing Mr TBT.  Poor Mr TBT.  After all his work jack hammering all the unsightly concrete in our front yard and all I could do is openly and publicly accuse him of putting the chooks off the lay.  It was all his fault.  I was certain.  
So imagine my surprise when, while painting the cubby (yes, still.  I seem to get about 4 cm2 done a day - but that is another story) I got a rather eggcellent surprise when I looked out the cubby window.  Look at em all!!  12 of them, plus another in our impromptu tomato patch!  Better still, they were all still fresh.  The best way to check if eggs are fresh is to immerse them in water.  If they sink they are fresh, if the float don't risk it.

Arthur was rather eggcited about the find.

This discovery, along with some other not so pleasant discoveries,  (you know the warm and sticky discovery on the bottom of a bare foot) has meant that the chooks no longer roam our yard, terrorizing poor Mango Dog and generally ruling the roost.  I'm not kidding, Mr TBT had to actually stand guard while Mango ate his dinner yesterday.  Nope, we have dedicated a corner of the vegie patch to Chateau le Chook.  They aren't too happy about it, and in fact I'm rather glad that it is the far back corner.  I couldn't cope with the constant evil eye and pacing up and down the fence willing, daring us to set them free again.

With the big kids back at school Mr TBT knocked this up in a day.  Along with his faithful sidekick of course.

Now what to do with all the eggs?  We had pizza that night, and popped an egg or two on the pizza.  Eggcellent, if I do say so myself.

What's your favorite way to use up eggcess eggs? I feel an egg and bacon pie coming on....

6 // 52

The 52 Project.  A photo of my children, every week for the year.  See more 52 projects at My Bearded Pigeon, and Practicing Simplicity.

:: Rupert....absolutely fascinated with the quilt a dear family friend Jane made for George.  All the children have played and slept on it and it is definitely one baby thing that we will be keeping.

:: full swing at the pool.  Arthur throws himself enthusiastically into life in general, as no other 19 moth old I have ever met.  I think this picture captures his spirit and enthusiasm beautifully.

:: Ingrid....was very pleased to take the class bear Bobby home in the very first week of prep.  Bobby has had quite a busy time with us, and was well and truly ready for a well earned rest!

:: a rare quiet moment, listening to an ebook.

][ recipe ][ diy gluten free burritos

What do you think when someone mentions Mexican & dinner in the same word? A cheesy taco kit dished up on mission brown dinner plates by your mother sporting shoulder pads with Dire Straits crooning in the background? Or is it a vaguely memorable Christmas party at that 'new place' on George St. You know, the one where Jacko stole the sombrero after 10 too many margaritas? 
Well try this for tasty. (For the record I couldn't get my hands on any ripe avocado, but we hardly missed the guacamole).
You need:

• gluten free burritos

:: meat sauce
• onion
• chilli, finely diced
• garlic
• 500g beef mince 
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 1 tablespoon ground coriander
• 2 teaspoons paprika or to taste 
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1/2 a tin of diced tomatoes 
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• tin of kidney beans, drained
• fresh coriander to garnish
(I also added a tablespoon of my vegetable stock concentrate, made in the thermomix but I don't recommend putting a commercial stock cube in). 

Fry the chilli, garlic and onion in oil until soft. Brown the mince. Add the spices. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste (and stock if using), season to taste and simmer for 15 minutes or until the meat is cooked. Add kidney beans and heat through. Garnish with coriander. 

:: veggie sauce

• onion
• chilli, finely diced
• garlic
• 1 tomato finely diced 
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 1 tablespoon ground coriander
• 2 teaspoons paprika or to taste 
• 1/2 a tin of diced tomatoes 
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• tin of kidney beans, drained
• fresh coriander to garnish
(I also added a tablespoon of my vegetable stock concentrate, made in the thermomix but I don't recommend putting a commercial stock cube in). 

Fry the chilli, garlic, tomato and onion in oil until soft. Add the spices. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste (and stock if using), season to taste and simmer for 10 Add kidney beans and heat through. Garnish with coriander. 

:: grilled corn salsa
• 2 cobs of corn, grilled on the bbq corn cut off the cob
• 1 red capsicum, diced
• 1/2 red onion, diced
• 3 tablespoons coriander
• 1 tablespoon lime juice 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl 

:: tomato salsa
• 3 nice red fresh juicy tomatoes
• 1 red onion diced
• 3 tablespoons coriander 
• 1 chilli diced very finely (optional)
• 3 tablespoons lime juice
• pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. 

To serve, pop all dishes on the table, with Greek yoghurt and grated cheese and go for gold!

Friday, February 7, 2014

][ back to school ][

Finally, it's school time! Actually, the holidays went really quickly - even the weeks that Mr TBT was away.  We usually take some flowers from our garden for the teachers, but with our herbs in full swing we decided to make herb bouquets. 
The combination of rosemary, oregano, thyme and chives smelled divine. The chives are in flower as you can see, which added a bit of colour. Yummo!
So, here they all are, ready for the first day of prep and grade one.

The Christmas bikes have had a workout too!
I'm so pleased Ingrid could be in Mrs Brown's prep class. George had a lovely year last year and Ingrid will do so too. Mrs Brown is a bit special. Here are some of the wonderful things the little preppies discover when they arrive:
Upstairs we go to the brand spanking new year 1 classrooms. I was sooo pleasantly surprised to see the play based learning continue. There were buntings spread on the floor made of black paper with a box of chalk next to it; a basket of sticks with wire and beads for the kids to create with;
Succulents on the drawing table;
Games to play and patterns to make. 
Not to mention, friends to play with. 
Or to read with...
And lovely things all round...
Ahh. Makes me want to go back to school!! What would get you back to school? Anything?