17 July 2014

My Crazy Kids Ask To Do Chores...

Yes, I feel like this sounds like some crazy gimmick for a new product that will change your life forever!
(Insert cheesey salesman voice in there)
But no, it's not.
My kids actually enjoy doing mundane things like washing, dishes, scrubbing the shower, and my daughter even volunteers her toilet scrubbing services to her preschool at the end of the day.
Crazy, right!

They argue over who gets to bring the empty bins in...

 My girl loves to help cook dinner...

And wash the dirty dishes...

They even love helping grandma shovelling cow manure!

My boy likes the help me scrub the showers, and both kids know that their dirty dishes go in the kitchen, rubbish straight in the bin and dirty clothes into the washing machine or basket.
I don't even really have to ask them anymore, they just do it.

This isn't just a big brag post.... I swear!
Yeah sure, every mother wants to say how awesome her kids are, but I think it's really important that my kids learn to clean up after themselves, to learn how to keep a clean house and as they get older to cook and clean. 
My mother insisted that my brother & I learn how to cook proper food and were self sufficient when it came to housework and laundry. I am so grateful for that! I still see people who are in their late 20s (and older) living at home with their mother still doing their washing and cooking every meal.... So wrong!!

I don't wait until the kids are in bed to clean up the house. 
For a few reasons:

1: I want them to see me doing it. 

If they don't see it getting done then how will they comprehend that a person has to do every little thing they take for granted?

2. When they are in bed it's MY time. 

I need to unwind, relax, exercise and spend precious time with my man. My kids had all of me all day, now it's my turn, not the housework.

3. If I leave it, the workload increases!

If I leave something to do later, it just seems to pile up so fast into a mammoth cleaning effort! And that is the last thing I want to do right before bed. It won't relax me, and I won't sleep well at all.

Sometimes I feel like I may be too harsh on them, but other times I am so proud to hear them offer to help, insist on taking over and want to be involved. 

Plus I am secretly hoping that they will keep up these tidy habits well into teenagehood to spare me the trauma of stinky messy bedrooms! I can dream, right?

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10 July 2014

Zucchini & Preserved Lemon Fresh Pasta...

After my recent attempt at fresh pasta, I had a ball of dough sitting in my fridge waiting for me to use it.
One of my favourite quick and easy pasta dishes sprung to mind.
It uses some of the preserved lemons that I made last year and a few veges I usually have on hand.
Most of the time I add a tin of tuna too, which makes it a heartier meal.

Zucchini & Preserved Lemon Pasta

Serves 2


1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, julienned
1/2 preserved lemon
3 tbsp juice from preserved lemon jar
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

Pasta for 2 people.


In a large frying pan, saute onion in butter until starts to soften.
Stir in zucchini and cook until slightly softened.
Add preserved lemon and juice from jar.
Set aside.
Cook pasta until al dente and reserve 1/2 cup of water before draining.
Stir in 5 tablespoons of the reserved water into the vegetable mixture to make a sauce.
Add pasta into the frying pan and stir together.
Season with salt and pepper and stir fresh parsley through.

9 July 2014

Playing with pasta...

There's been something on my wish list for a while....
I've always wanted to make my own pasta!
I finally grabbed a bag of Tipo '00' flour and grabbed my little helpers for some messy fun.

We borrowed my mum's pasta rolling machine and proceeded to make a huge mess!

My girl was quick to learn and soon was rolling the dough out all by herself.
We rolled it into sheets and then the kids cut out shapes with cookie cutters.

I rolled a little extra and cut some fettucine for my "grown up lunch".

It was quick to cook...

They love their pasta plain and simple, but both with different types of cheese, of course!

Meanwhile I stirred in a little basil pesto for my green grown up lunch.

We followed the easy recipe and directions from Jamie Oliver's site over here.

The pasta tasted good, but the mess to clean up afterwards was not so great!
I'd like to make it again, maybe with less little hands though.

4 July 2014

Whole Orange Syrup Cake, A Healthier Alternative...

It's no secret that I like to bake cakes.
Sometimes I even like to eat a slice of that cake.
But recently I have been drastically reducing our consumption of refined sugars.

We all know they are bad, so I won't get up on my soapbox and lecture.

I have turned to a wholesome natural sweetener.
Raw honey.

I am slowly going through my old baking favourites and making them into a healthier alternative to the traditional ones full of the nasty stuff.
The latest...
Whole orange cake.

It is dense, moist and full of flavour.
The best part is that it's all done in a food processor. 
Less mess to clean up afterwards! Hooray!

Whole Orange Cake


1 orange, scrubbed clean and chopped into quarters
3 eggs
180g butter (can substitute for coconut oil or apple sauce but results will vary)
1/2 cup raw honey
2 cups wholewheat flour (this is where I get mine from)
2 tsp baking powder


1 tbsp raw honey
Juice of 1 orange


Preheat oven to 150/160*C
Melt the butter in a small bowl and stir in honey
Place orange in food processor and blitz until broken into fine pieces.
Add eggs, butter and honey mixture, flour and baking powder and blitz until combined.
Pour into a lightly greased cake tin and bake for 30-40mins or until golden.
Leave in tin to slightly cool and prepare syrup.

Warm up orange juice and stir in honey until melted completely.
Using a fork, poke holes all over surface of warm cake.
Drizzle syrup all over and leave to cool.

Or, if you are like me....

Have a little "taste test" while it's still warm....

3 July 2014

Confessions of a modern day homemaker...

I was standing at the sink, rinsing a plate and listening to my kids running around laughing when it happened.
I looked around me and I smiled.
I felt so happy.
I love this life.
I love being at home with my kids.
I love cooking dinner every night (though sometimes I'm tired and it's not very impressive!).
I love when my fiance walks in the door after a long day at work.
I love that I can stay home and fill that old stereotype of a 50s housewife.

A mockery, but this is my true paradise. Call me crazy, but I love it!

So why does everyone say it's so bad?
It is constantly mocked in this current modern world where mothers are pursuing careers of their own.
I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
But when I am being judged because I chose my children over a career.
That bothers me.
I'm not saying that it's a choice, a one or the other situation.
But I see being a stay at home mother a rewarding "job".
I am making a long term investment in my children.
I want to be close with them, support them, discipline them and have fun with them.
Most importantly I want them to grow up and always know they can come to me with anything.
You can't build a strong, trusting relationship from nothing. It doesn't "just happen".

So why do some people decide to pick on those who enjoy the life at home.
No, it's not a holiday.
No, we don't sit on our asses all day reading magazines and drinking coffee while the kids sit in front of a tv screen for hours on end.

Have you ever noticed how much more mess there is when you all stay at home for a day?
Oh yeah, lots!

It starts at breakfast, toast crumbs on the floor and milk spills on the table.
Dishes start to pile up.
Getting dressed and dirty clothes fill up in the laundry.
Keep them busy, sit and read, do puzzles, paint, draw, play games.
Soon enough it's morning tea time and food must be prepared.
Then clean up the apple cores and cheese wrappers while they hastily munch.
Table needs another wipe down.
They are off and running, full of new found energy.
Better hang out that washing but first bring in the dry.

Soon enough it's lunch time.
Clean that mess up and then maybe sit for a minute to have some lunch myself.
Hmm... Dinner.

Kids need to get outside.
Run around, gather firewood, feed chickens and cows.
Round up the kids and get inside.
Activities... What now?
Should try and light the fire while getting dinner ready.

Our dinners never look quite this impressive!
Dinner ready and waiting, the man arrives home.
Kids hungry, let's see if they eat anything tonight.
Time to tidy up the table.
Motivate kids to tidy up toys strewn all over the floor.
Time for bed kids!
Brush teeth, pajamas on and into bed for stories.
Time to relax!
This is where my amazing fiance steps in.
He gets firewood, tends the fire and washes up the dishes while I'm getting the kids into bed.
Yes, he's pretty amazing, and he's all mine.

So it's not all Pinterest and coffee and kids looking after themselves.
But it's fun, it's exhausting, but it's the life I have dreamed of ever since I was a little girl.
When people asked me what I wanted to be....
"I want to be a mum."

30 June 2014

Kicking off the school holidays with Pete the Cat...

My daughter first heard this story and song last year at preschool.
She's become a bit of a fan.
Since my boy started preschool this year he too loves Pete the Cat.

So I did some searching this morning, and found some crafty stuff for us to do.
The next two weeks there will be NO PRESCHOOL, so I have to try and keep somewhat organised to keep us all sane.
As sane as possible in this house!

We coloured, cut and pasted.
We listened to the songs and sand and danced along together.
In our pajamas of course.
We do a lot of early morning crafts!

Here's our end results.... As you can see, one was a team effort with mum...

Here's the printables we used...

26 June 2014

Just Another Chaotic Morning...

This morning was like most.
Rushing around trying to do 6 things at once.
"Get dressed!"
"Brush your hair."
"Eat your breakfast."
"Don't ignore me, can you please LISTEN!"

My daughter was adamant.
She did not want to get dressed.
Instead, she wanted to sit and eat her toast with the tiniest nibbles.
I was getting frustrated.

"You don't want to go to preschool in your pajamas do you?? Everyone will think you are silly and laugh at you!"
Yes, mother of the year award goes to me.... Teaching my child she will be teased if she looks different to everyone else. What was I thinking!
Oh, wait, I was not thinking at all...
I was running late.

"Yes! I do want to wear them to preschool, and I can show all my friends."

Well..... That backfired!
My quick attempt to motivate her turned into a stubborn stand off.
I won.
I walked over to her, kneeled down so we looked eye to eye and said in my stern cranky mummy voice.
"You need to get dressed now."

And, voila!
It worked!

We weren't terribly late, so it gave us a little extra time for our chilly walk.
There was frost everywhere, in all the shadows.
We looked at grass, leaves, studied the lines of ice and melted it with our warm fingers.

This morning was like most.
A lovely one.