Friday, 27 May 2011

Gather ye Rosebuds

Gather Ye Rosebuds while Ye May - John William Waterhouse 1909

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.
                            - 17th century poem 
"To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time"
by Robert Herrick

 Today is my grandmother's birthday. She was born on the 27 May 1894. If she were alive today, she would be 117. I was telling Rocket (who is 6 years) this morning over breakfast, and pointed out to him that she died when she was 98 years old. 'What did she die from, mum?' Rocket asked. "Old age', I replied. "Old Age??!!', he exclaimed.
I realised in that moment, that death in his six year old eyes is in terms of something going wrong. My father died of cancer, Rocket hears about things like Cylcones, Flood, Tsunami's, and people getting sick. I'm sure that we have talked about old age in the past, but this has been so thoroughly overtaken by various disasters and illnesses, that it had been forgotten. Obviously none of us like to dwell on the thought of death, especially not with our children, but I realise this morning that his only concept of death was one where something had gone wrong, something that could (and maybe should) have been avoided, rather than a natural concept of being alive. Every creature on earth is born, lives their life and then dies. Perhaps it would be better for him to be getting this message, as just a part of life, rather than something horrible and tragic.
How do you explain Death to your children?
Perhaps this is a little too philosophical for a Friday morning, so I better get back to tidying the house! And after that, I will try and make sure that I do something meaningful and special today, and 'Gather Some Rosebuds'. What are your thoughts on making each day count?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Deleting Memories?

Last night I started doing a chore which I have been putting off for years. Sorting through our digital collection of photos. I LOVE taking photos, but I a self-confessed photo hoarder. The other day our computer wouldn't let me download more photo's because the hard drive was full, and we have a very large hard drive! I knew then that it was time to try and de-clutter (at least a little).

The reason that I find it so hard to delete photo's is because they are memories. Even the bad ones. I hate feeling that I am deleting a little part of our childrens lives, no matter how small (or blurry). But at the same time I finally realised that by not deleting them, and getting them sorted, then the good memories are not useful, as there is just way, way too much to go through to actually find what I am looking for.

I decided to take baby steps, and to only get rid of the ones that are really blurry, of people's backs, and where there are multiple images of virtually the same thing. This is probably a step that most of you manage to do at the time of taking the photo's, but I am really disorganised and very good at procrastinating. I figured that even if I only get rid of a third or a quarter of them, that is a really good start. (I often have a problem with not doing things, because I will only do it if I feel I can do it perfectly, so this is hard for me!)
There was a completly unexpected side effect of doing this for a couple of hours. My confidence in my parenting increased. A lot! I had chosen the year 2007, which is when my boys were 2 and 5 years. There were pictures of them painting, crafting, dressing up, in the snow, eating ice out of the bird bath, and the best thing? They looked really, genuinely, completley happy. It made me feel happy. And what's more, I felt like a really good mum. Something that I don't feel on a day to day basis as I make school lunches, do groceries, nag about doing homework. All the day to day things that we have to do as mothers don't make me feel like a good parent, but looking at these two gorgeous little paint covered creatures made me feel really really good, which is something I haven't been feeling a lot recently.

Are you good with organising photo's? What things do you do that make you feel like a good parent?


I managed to get a photo after more than half had disappeared.

I'm not sure what possessed me but I decided I wanted to make meringes. I think I had been thinking about birthday parties, and how my mum used to make the best party food, including beautiful pink and white meringue kisses (2 meringues joined together by creamy icing). 
The problem was that I didn't think ahead. When making meringues, it is usually best to do them last thing at night, and after cooking for about an hour, turn the oven off and let them cool completely in the oven. I made them in the afternoon, and then needed the oven to make roast chicken and vegetables. Ooops. After an hour of cooking the meringues, I pulled them out and assumed I had a disaster, but I was wrong. The next morning when we tried them (after they had been abandoned on the bench overnight). They were a little cracked on top, but beautiful and crumbly/crunchy on the top, and just a little gooey and chewy in the middle. They were SO delicious. So, if you have a couple of egg whites handy, I recommend giving them a try, they were a real hit with all the children! (and they all disappeared before I had time to make the icing to turn them into kisses!)

There are quite a lot of recipes on the net, but this is the one that I used, which is a bit of a conglomeration of others. 

3 egg whites (room temperature)
180 grams caster sugar
couple of drops of vinegar
pinch of cream of tartar
small splash of vinegar
small splash of red food colouring

Preheat oven to around 150 degrees. Line 2 trays with baking paper. When separating the eggs, make sure there is no yolk in the whites or they won't whip properly. Beat eggs with cream and tartar until white and fluffy. Slowly add vinegar followed by sugar (very slowly), vanilla essence  and food colouring. Spoon mixture into a piping bag (you can just use a freezer bag with the end snipped if you don't have a piping bag, just be careful it doesn't burst!). Carefully pipe small amounts of mixture onto lined trays, leaving around 2 cm between each meringue. Place trays into oven for around 1 hour, then turn off oven and leave to cool completely. Cross your fingers and hope that they turn out ok! 

A friend of mine said that her mother would always make meringues at the same time she made mayonnaise (egg whites for meringues and yolks for mayonnaise). Do you make meringues of mayonnaise and have a recipe that always works for you?

Saturday, 21 May 2011


Last night I tried Mini Egg and Bacon Pies from Easy Peasy Lunchbox Winners. Mine were not nearly as beautiful as the original picture, due to my slap dash method of Friday night cooking. Also, Emma said she used a wine glass to cut the pastry circles; either my muffin dishes are much larger than hers, or her wine glasses are much bigger than mine :) So, mine were rather free form, but they were definitely delicious. The man of the house enjoyed them greatly, and the boys actually ate them, and one without bribing! Which is basically the only time they have eaten a food that has such a significant egg content. Not an outright winner with the kiddies, but we take baby steps with new foods in our house, and hopefully it will be on the menu again soon. Thanks for sharing the recipe Emma!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Perfect Morning!

Photo by a 'real' photographer
The red smear next to her lip is from where she applied her lipstick this morning
Through the branches you can just see the photographer, I didn't know the etiquette about photographing someone elses shoot, which is what I really wanted to do, so I took this one from quite a distance instead.

Molly May and her Monkey

running through the autumn leaves

Me and Molly May

When Molly May realised that the Model from the swamp was outside the cafe window


Molly May and I had the most perfect morning this morning. It was a typical overcast autumn morning, but instead of doing the usual grocery shopping, we decided instead that we would go to the Heide Museum of Modern Art. We arrived, and discovered that it didn't open until 10am, so we went for a little walk through the gardens and into Banksia Park instead. We were wandering along a rather secluded path when I heard a woman screaming. I thought hesitantly ventured a little futher to see what was happening, and realised that she was screaming because she was lying in a pond. She must have been freezing, given that it was probably only 7 degrees! It seemed that we had inadvertently come across a photo shoot. The photography had about 4 different camera set up with amazing looking lenses, and was getting the model (who was in a sexy red dress and full makeup) to do lots of different looks and poses while lying there in the muddy swamp! Molly May was astonished and kept asking over and over 'what is she doing?'. The model kept catching Molly May's eyes and chuckling. Molly May just wanted to stay and watch, so we did for quite a while, which secretly I was so happy about, because for me it was amazing being able to watch a professional photographer at work.
I have just started to do a photography course, which is something that I have wanted to do for years. I did photography for the HSC, and have always loved it, but had time to learn more, so I am SO excited about doing this course. We have had three lessons this week, and it was the main reason that we were at Heide this morning, so that I could practice, and was the rationale I was using for not feeling guilty about being there instead of doing housework.
We went for a little wander, and I took lots of pictures of Molly May and the Autumn leaves, and then she wanted to go back to 'meet the people', so we walked past the photographer and model again (who were just packing up and said hi). The photographer said 'let me take a few pictures of you two with your camera!. How exciting! To get photo's of us on my camera by a professional photographer!! I felt very lucky :)
Then Molly May and I headed to the cafe at Heide for a warm cocoa and coffee. The photographer and the model showed up soon after, and the photographer met his next clients who were a couple with a toddler.
Apart from the ones with me in them, the other photos are ones I took. What do you think? Are there any you are drawn to? I find the theory of the photography much easier than the practice, and find it really hard to judge my own photos, so I would love some feedback!

* and no, we didn't end up actually going to the museum, maybe next time if we don't get so distracted!

School Lunches

Frog, Goose and Bear's mum is on a quest for healthy (ish) lunch ideas for school. My boys at the moment are happy with a fair bit of repetition and simplicity, which makes my life less complicated in the mornings, but I do like the idea of trying a little bit harder, especially for 6year old Rocket who doesn't mind a bit of variety (9 year old Zander doesn't really like change - a bit melancholic and choleric when it comes to temperaments). Something that has worked in the past is my version of Fajita's.  I know that they are technically not Fajita's, but nonetheless that is what we call them in our house! Basically, I take 1 tortilla and place it on a non-stick pan over medium heat, top a little scattering of grated cheese, then some ham, then a little more grated cheese, then top with another tortilla. The second lot of cheese is just to ensure it sticks to the top tortilla. Once the cheese has started to melt, flip it over to brown the other side slightly
I use ham and cheese for the children, because I know they like it, but I have used leftover bolognaise sauce for grown ups which is yum. Some ideas I would like to try and shredded chicken and avocado; tuna and corn; and feta and pumpkin. Technically you could probably use almost any combination you like and experiment with different flavours. We sometimes have these as a quick and easy dinner served with a green salad, but when there are leftovers (which is rare), they go straight from the fridge into the lunchboxes the next morning and always get eaten.

Muffin Verdict

Well, the verdict on the muffins when the schoolboys got home was not favourable. Youngest boy would not try at all, and oldest boy said they smelt rotten, then got half way through and wouldn't eat it because it had cooked fruit (he thought apple) in it. Looks like it is a fail, so I am still on my quest of trying to find a healthy-ish snack for lunchboxes and after school.
Oh well, at least the puppy seems to like them.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Healthy Muffins..

Pear and Oatbran Muffins
I love to cook, or at least I love to cook when the food is well received and appreciated. Unforutunately, this is rare, unless the food is known and was liked in the past. My children are my harshest critics when it comes to food; and have a range of dislikes that have to be accommodated. For example, none of them likes sauce. This rules out: spaghetti bolognaise, tomato sauce, tuna mornay, pasta carbonara, strogonoff, berry coulis, etc. Until recently they all would have ruled out chocolate sauce, but although it is a rarity in our house, they are coming around on that one.
I would however, like to broaden the usual meals that I cook, and at the same time try to look to increasing the health factor of what I make. Today I experimented with some pear and oatbran muffins. Pear because there were four of them sitting on the bench looking very sad, because my children don't seem to eat pears. Oatbran, because I was reading the Dukan diet the other day, after hearing that Kate Middleton's weightloss prior to her wedding was due to this, and Pierre Dukan is a big advocate of Oatbran being very healthy.  
Stirring is busy work
Baby needed to help
 My littlest person has tried them, and ate some of it, but she is not a fan of cakes usually, so I wasn't expecting a big response from her. The big challenge is to see how they will be received when the school boys get back this afternoon.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Welcome to the Snuggery

noun /ˈsnəgərē/ 
snuggeries, plural
A cozy or comfortable place, esp. someone's private room or den; cubby: a small secluded room

 After Blogging virtually privately (just close friends and family) for the past two years, I have decided to make the leap into the big wide world. At first I thought that I would just try harder with my original Blog and make it publicly searchable; but somehow that didn't feel right; a new fresh start felt right.

The house where I grew up in had a Snuggery. It was (and still is) a cosy room,with cut glass windows where light streams through in rainbows, full of antiques and memories, and a light globe that hasn't needed to be changed for more than 37 years. A place that has always welcomed guests, and has drawn them in to feel like part of the family, even if only for an evening. My virtual Snuggery is where I am trying to create the same safe, cosy place. It is also how I would like to be able to describe my life, and how I parent, but I don't feel I am there yet. I am on a journey, constantly trying to evolve and feel that I have finally created a 'Snuggery'.

I am a mum to three gorgeous little people, aged 2, 6, and 9.  They are my inspiration; my universe. In the life of my eldest, we have moved 8 times, and lived in 6 cities, 4 different states, and 2 countries. There hasn't been a lot of geographical stability for any of us. Up until the last move, this hasn't particularly bothered me, but something has changed, and now I want to put down roots. I want to ensure that I have stability, the problem is that I don't have much control over the geographic nature of our life (that would be to do with the love of my life); so I am going to create the Snuggery instead.

So, welcome to the snuggery. Feel free to settle in with a nice glass of red, or curl up with a nice warm blanket, warm your feet by the open fire; and join me in creating a Snuggery for me and my family.