Monday, June 28, 2010

And Now He Is 8

Posted by MANDI at 7:49 PM 6 comments
Which makes me the mother of an 8 year old! Wrong, wrong, wrong!!

Here's my gorgeous 8 year old boy on his birthday present. I think his butt might have to be surgically removed from the seat as he's hardly got out of it all weekend.


And because I feel compelled to prove, year after year, that cake decorating is just not my thing here's a photo of the birthday cake. It's supposed to be an Aussie Rules football field, the candles are the goal posts and the ball is a chocolate clinker.


In other news about #1, he brought home his school report today and it is BRILLIANT! He got great marks, fantastic comments from his teachers and a really positive comment from his classroom teacher. It hasn't been a particularly great year school-wise (in my opinion) and I am so so so proud of him. Now we're on the downhill slide to the mid-year school holidays and I can't wait for Friday!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Finding A Comfy Spot

Posted by MANDI at 8:37 PM 7 comments
I was indulging in some kids tv with Offspring #2 this afternoon while I was folding some clean laundry. I wandered off to put the clothes away and returned to find #2 had a new chair. She was thoroughly engrossed in the tv show and had grabbed a cushion to make herself comfortable. You'd never guess there are two perfectly good couches in the room!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Yay for Rhubarb

Posted by MANDI at 9:50 PM 2 comments
I found the recipe for this scrummy Rhubarb Crumble Slice in the newest issue of donna hay magazine. A crunchy biscuit base, sugary rhubarb filling and crumbly crumble topping . Seriously fabulous.

Go buy the mag, it's totally worth it!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Catching Up

Posted by MANDI at 9:10 PM 1 comments
Whoa, has it been over a week since I was last here? Where did that chunk of time go?? Life here is a little hectic at the moment - with the work we're doing around the house taking up pretty much every spare minute and leaving me worn out at the end of each day, combined with work, running around after the kids and all the other things that being a wife, a mum and running a house entail I just haven't had a whole lot of free time. And the next couple of weeks look set to be even crazier as I'll be working pretty much every day. A totally insane decision that is already making me a little stressed but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. Besides, after that I'll have two weeks holiday (at home, working on the house and yard!) to relax and catch up.

So what's been going on?
Offspring #1's thumb has pretty much recovered so at football today be managed to land on his shoulder. Yes, his shoulder. Luckily it doesn't seem to be more than a pulled muscle. His birthday is later this week and he's on a pretty big warning that if his behaviour at home doesn't improve there won't be a birthday at all. That said, I'm actually getting worried that his birthday present isn't going to arrive in time.
Offspring #2 has had a little leap in learning and wants to write every word ever spoken, written or thought. She has me making lists - parts of the body, things in a house, things we can see, etc, and then copies them all out, colours them in and generally has fun playing with letters and language. It's amazing to watch and so much fun seeing her little face light up when she works something out.
The reno work is progressing nicely. We've started the wall at the back of the house and I've been busy pulling out plants, ripping out the old coffee-rock retaining wall (it's hell on the hands and nails), pulling up brick paths (also hell on the hands and nails) and over the weekend I've put new plants into the tiered garden beds at the front of the house. As a result of all that I've not been doing quite as much baking and cooking as normal but I have tried a few new recipes. I'll try and get them up during the week.


And finally... I roasted a leg of lamb in the slow cooker for dinner tonight and decided to go the extra bit and do roasted vegies and cauliflower and broccoli gratin. I had plans to make a delish new dessert that a friend had shared with me but the kids vetoed that suggestion - they wanted marshmallows cooked on the fire that Hubby had going in the front yard. I said no, #2's asthma has been playing up and there was no way I wanted her out in the cold smoky air. Hubby to the rescue...

They simply toasted their marshmallows on the inside fire. And loved every single sticky mouthful. Thinking outside the square? Who knew it could be so much fun?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Oh Dear

Posted by MANDI at 6:10 PM 2 comments
When I collected Offspring #1 from school yesterday he told me that his hand hurt. I threw it a cursory glance, declared that it was fine and started to lead the way to the car, grabbing his hand as I walked. Oooops, grabbed the sore hand. He yelled and cried and I took a closer look then realised it was actually quite swollen and, after a poke or two, that it was very tender. Decision time. Take him home and listen to the moaning (he's a total sook) or go straight to the doctor, pay through the nose for a visit, and get it seen?

Off to the doctor we went. Who sent us down the hill for x-rays. Who charges us even more money and then sent us back up the hill to the Dr so he could tell us #1's thumb was badly sprained but not broken. The hand was bandaged to provide it with some support and he was told to take it easy, not take part in his sports class today and that hopefully he'd be fine for the footy game on Sunday.

Luckily it's his left hand so all is good school-wise, just can't do sport. He decided to help me out and write the note to his teacher letting him know.


I thought it was super cute and simply added my bit on the end:

Dear Mr Teacher,

As Ben has so succinctly stated, he has sprained his thumb rather badly - x-rays show no break - and is not to do sport today.

Kind regards,
Ben's Mum


When I collected him today the teacher gave me back the note. He and his student teacher thought it was super-cute too and that I might like to keep it. They didn't know I'd already taken a photo of it this morning LOL.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Swirl

Posted by MANDI at 7:55 PM 3 comments
The recipe for this delicious, though not without it's moments, cake has been torn from one of the recent foodie mags but I neglected to note which one on the page itself, so no credit given here. Sorry.

While I was making this I was pretty much convinced that it would be a disaster. The cake batter seemed to be too thick. The recipe stated that I should 'pour' half of it in the tin but this was just not of pouring consistency - more like scoop it out and shake it into the cake pan. Then I was supposed to swirl the jam through - really hard to do with a batter so thick it moves with the knife rather than letting the jam be dragged through it. But.... But! The end result was completely worth all the agonies I suffered - this is moist, delicious and wonderfully more-ish.
My whole family have fallen in love with 'the pink cake' - as you can see from the photo I overdid the icing just a wee bit LOL. I would suggest that you use a runny-ish sour cream, mine was very thick and I think that might have led to the difficulties I found with the cake batter. Otherwise, just persevere and trust that it'll all end up okay. Because it will, I promise.

Strawberry Swirl Cake



Melted butter, to grease (or canola spray, like I used)
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
2 cups self-raising flour
300g carton sour cream
1/2 cup strawberry jam (raspberry jam worked great)
2 cups icing sugar mixture
15g butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons hot water
2-3 drops pink food colouring

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Lightly brush a 2.5L (10 cup) capacity bundt tin with melted butter.
2. Use an electric beater to beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Use a large metal spoon to fold in the flour and sour cream, in alternating batches until well combined.
3. Pour half the mixture into the prepared pan. Spoon over the jam. Use a skewer to make a swirl pattern. Top with the remaining cake mixture.
4. Bake for 45 minutes (mine took another 10 or so minutes) or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Add the butter and water, and stir until smooth. Stir in the food colouring. Spoon icing over cake. Set aside until set.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Why I Should Stick To Scarves

Posted by MANDI at 12:50 PM 3 comments
My knitting skills are coming along. I'd say they're coming along slowly rather than nicely but they are coming along. I can cast on without thinking too much about it, I've got knit and perl down and I'm very proud of my casting off. But the counting stitches kind of sucks and attempting to create anything more interesting than a row on plain knit or plain perl is generally less than successful. I've made several scarves - a couple for Offspring #2 who loves them, one for me and I'm onto my second one for #1, he chose bright red this time round.

I did finish the dress I'd started for #2's teddy. It was miles too big for Teddy so one of her babies is wearing it instead. I especially like how the bobbles on the straps of the dress look more like nipples - charming. Not!

And I think that it illustrates perfectly why I should indeed stick to scarves. Or maybe I should teach myself to crochet instead.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Oh, hello!

Posted by MANDI at 7:40 PM 5 comments
Sorry, I've been a wee bit busy this week and by the end of each day I could hardly move enough to deal with dinner, baths and bed never mind about such things as blogging. What have I been doing? Well, I think I'll make this one a bit of a photo essay.
Remember the turf we laid last weekend? We ended up liking it so much we thought we'd do some more. So we had another big pile of dirt delivered...


Then I ordered the turf and arranged for Hubby to collect it after work on Friday. Which was kinda dumb because it meant I had to get the dirt spread during the week. So I hopped to it and got to work...



The turf was duly collected and we had to do a few last minute bits of preparation, including compacting the soil so that the turf could be laid upon it. As with any job, safety equipment is vitally important...


As is shadowing the person whose jobs you would like to take over...



And by mid-afternoon on Saturday we had us some new lawn. And some aching bodies.




Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Girl Loves Me

Posted by MANDI at 12:02 PM 4 comments
Her: I love you Mum.

Me: I love you too baby.

Her: I love you more.

Me: I love you forever.

Her: Yeah? Well I love you for 16 years and that's a lot lot lot.

Hmmm... I guess that means she thinks she wins. But I know I'm the winner really.
 

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