Jun 16, 2017

Ella-isms, v1

Three is a fun age. I promised to post a blog post every Friday and in lieu of having anything else prepared, here are some Ella-isms from my equal parts polite and crass, just-turned-3 yr old.


In the car on the way home from church
Ella: I had so much fun at sunday school!!!
Me: Did you? That's great Ella. What did you like about it?
Ella: I just weally like da boys actually.

Just casually to herself one day: "Goodness me look at dis baby! he's so cute and tiny."

Me: Daddy has smelly farts. 
Ella: Me too. I have da smelliest farts in da world

When prancing around in her chosen outfit (below): "I wear dis sometimes, to keep me cute."

After I thank her for something: "you're most welcome!"

Me: What would you like for breakfast Ella?
Ella, in loud stage whisper: Sugar!

Jun 9, 2017

Friday, Peppermint marshmallows (& recipe)

I had this crazy idea that I could *try* to post a blog every Friday.
I've always enjoyed having a Friday read online - my personal fave being the 'Best and Worst Dressed Celebrities' that Stuff.co.nz (New Zealand's news website which, FYI, is about 20% actual news ;) ) put out every Friday.

So here's my Friday contribution!
In a sweet aligning of stars and fate I actually managed to make something yeserday that I've been wanting to make for 1.5 years since we visited Aspen, Colorado in the Winter time and froze our little hineys off.

Aspen is the cutest little town and since we couldn't afford anything from the shops (haha... but really, browsing $6000 handbags has no appeal to me) we ducked out of the snow into a hotel and ordered Hot Chocolates. They came with house-made peppermint marshmallows and we sat there in these big wingback chairs by a ginormous fireplace having our hot drinks. It's one of my favourite memories from that trip.

SO, I had to recreate it, and here I am over a year later ticking that one off my making bucket list.

 I got the recipe from food.com and just adjusted it slightly to be peppermint, and coated with cornflour instead of icing sugar so that they wouldn't get sticky again. (Icing sugar dissolves...)

It made a heaping container full and I set them in a smaller pyrex casserole dish so they'd be extra thick. (I captured some of the process in my Insta-stories - it will expire in about 8 hours!)

And I should add - they taste as good as they look! Silky smooth, light as air and instantly melty when you pop one in your mouth. 

My taste tester agrees.

You DON'T need a candy thermometer of any of that annoying jazz that always puts me (and probably you) off making confectionary items. It really is as easy as waiting until the mixtures starts boiling, then throwing it all into your mixing bowl and beating for a few minutes. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was! I chose this recipe because it doesn't require corn syrup/glucose syrup. So you are pretty much guaranteed to have the ingredients in your pantry already.

Here's my adapted recipe:


2 tablespoons gelatin
8 tablespoons cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup cold water
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2teaspoons peppermint extract

  1. Dust an 8- or 9-inch square pan with cornflour / corn starch. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, soak gelatin in 8 tbsp cold water. Set aside.
  3. Combine granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a large heavy saucepan.
  4. Cook and stir over medium heat until dissolved.
  5. Add gelatin and bring to a boil.
  6. Remove from heat. Pour into a large mixing bowl and let stand until partially cool.
  7. Add salt and peppermint extract, along with 3 drops of green food colouring (you can add more if needed once you start mixing).
  8. Beat with an electric mixer until soft and double in volume. About 10-15 minutes.
  9. Pour into prepared pan to about 1 inch thick.
  10. Set to cool until it will not stick to your finger.
  11. Cut into 1.5 inch pieces with a hot knife and roll in corn flour / corn starch


Jun 1, 2017

3 months, 3 years

It's 4:53pm, the breakfast dishes are still on the table caked with cement dry porridge. Witching hour started a few hours too early and there's a squawking baby on my hip who won't feed even tho he is clearly hungry but is acting like feeding angers/hurts him... a scene I am way too familiar with. I've spent the last few days in a blur of a sick toddler who roams around the house crying and coughing at 12, 1 and 3am, various medical appointments, cooking enough food to keep my family alive, turning the washing machine on only to completely forget to get the clothes out that day, wondering when my baby is magically going to start taking long day-naps, and consistently running out of time to unpack suitcases from our trip away last week. 

BUT. There is so much joy in knowing these little people and getting to watch them grow.

I sometimes wish I was better at blogging and trying to record what these days are like. We're past the '4th trimester' and life chugs along. I'm slowly finding a groove in what I'm ok with in the baby-parenting scene. We don't have set nap times or decent day sleeps and feeding has been a journey, but, I'm stoked to still be breastfeeding thus far and have learned a lot along the way (Calum wants me to become a lactation consultant after all my experience in the field of difficult-baby-feeding). This little guy is so mellow in personality (except sometimes when it comes to food).
And our little lady is turning into a funny and confident preschooler. 

Pasta spirals are boiling on the stove (what will I cook with them? No freaking idea), Ella is watching Peppa Pig, and my baby is doing his rather cute little cry in the bouncer because I'm sitting here writing this. Nearly done! Did I mention I have a nasty bug/cold/fluey thing too? We do what we have to do to survive.

May 3, 2017

Wearing, eating, and other stuff.

At this particular point in time both my kids are asleep. IT'S A WEDNESDAY MIRACLE!!!

The thing with mothering 2 children is my instant-prioritisation skills have hit the roof. If I have 30 seconds, I can go pee and fill up my water bottle for the next feeding marathon. If I have 5 mins, I can tidy up some toys and unload the dishwasher. 30 mins buys me time to hang a load of laundry and get dinner crack-a-lacking even if it's only 9.30am (because who knows when the next chance may come? probably tomorrow). An hour? In an hour I can vaccuum and bake and pay bills AND.... today's miracle... start typing a blog post. Will I have to finish this one-handed because my boss wakes up and demands milk? Probably.
Do I have an idea of what I'm going to blog about? Nope I'm typing really really fast right now NO TIME TO THINK

The only pair of jeans that fit me (because they are really stretchy and all my pre-preg jeans can't even go past my knees.) Combined with slouchy tops worn over stretchy tank tops so I can do the pull-one-top-up-and-one-top-down for a slightly more discreet feeding situation. And yoga pants/leggings because they fit.
Image result for leggings meme

Pretty much nothing because I'm on a strict diet to help my baby's feeding. JK - I just can't have dairy gluten soy eggs nuts shellfish garlic onions tomatoes or a bunch of other stuff.

When I'm stuck on the couch under a baby - which is often - I've been reading the Mix & Match Mama's blog and I love it. It's less showy and more interesting that a lot of other blogs I read.

I don't know why my post-pregnancy self is so into cooking right now but I've been using my ceramic cookwear to make slow-cooked stews and casseroles and risottos and it's so good. I never knew how much I was missing out on by not using a dish that can work both on the stovetop (in place of a fry pan) and also in the oven like a casserole dish. Calum can't believe what I'm churning out in that thing. Probably helped by the fact that his expectations are set nice and loowwww after 9 months of me hating cooking.
Image result for chasseur cookware
A kind friend also gifted me Nadia Lim's quick weeknight dinners cookbook so I'm looking forward to getting organised and meal planning with that!

If I get 10 mins to do some baking it's a good day. Rare, but good. Winter is coming here so I made Mix & Match Mama's pumpkin bread the other day. It was really flat with my substitutions (GF, DF and so on) but soooo tasty. Calum ate virtually the entire thing slathered in butter after I took one piece. Pumpkin Bread must be an American thing - it's sweet and more like what we'd call a muffin taste and texture.

Excited about:
A family holiday coming up, and mother's day (prob be a flop but I'm going to push for having brunch somewhere and I don't think the hubs will take much convincing).

To create a cosy atmosphere in our home this winter seeing as NZ has absolutely no winter atmosphere. Where we live, Winter = rain, wind, rain, wind, and a bit more rain with some more wind. I'm envisioning soups and stews by the ambient light of some fake battery operated candles. :D
Image result for hygge
[A bit of Hygge wouldn't go amiss around here!]

Thankful for:
The fact I'm so far still breastfeeding after 9 weeks and even with all the challenges, it's been so much better than my first experience.
[And that he's so delicious]

Learning to let go of:
Having a clean house when guests come round. If I waited until the house was presentable I'd never see anyone! I do what I can, whenever I can (see intro to this post!). And sometimes I can't. Often my hands are full of a fussing baby and a testy toddler, and the hubs is working ridiculous hours. (Who drops their income to start a new business and has a new baby at the same time???? Crazies like us I guess.) Writing this post right now is the laziest thing I've done in a while and is only happening because I don't have to cook dinner tonight. It doesn't make sense, but in all the challenges and sleepless nights, tears, stress, and concerns... we feel really happy. My goal and prayer for this year was PEACE in our home and it's here and palpable. I'm so grateful for that.

Over and out

Apr 3, 2017

Life lately

A little update on life with our two kids!

Crazy town.

I don't know how people do this whole newborn + older child thing several times over. There was a moment today while I was unloading the dishwasher, rocking the baby on the kitchen floor with one foot and trying to stop my preschooler from wiping her snotty nose on his blanket without having a world-ending tantrum, in the middle of my messy kitchen, whilst we were at home because we missed our dentist appointment because we didn't have car keys because my husband took them to work accidentally, even tho we all got dressed especially and by 'we' got dressed I mean I physically put non-peed-on clothes on every member of our family that I thought: THIS IS MY LIFE NOW.

[When he had slightly more hair a couple weeks ago]
I've become one of those parent people. You know, who can't finish a sentence without being interrupted, deals with other human's bodily fluids on the daily and knows more about the signs and symptoms of infant acid reflux than whatever is actually going on in the world. (What IS going on in the world??? Oh wait, I forgot I don't care. No. Mental. Space).

My previously-immaculately-dressed daughter has developed an uncanny knack for wearing her pants backwards and placing too-small shorts over top of correctly-sized jeans, resulting in the world's epic-est wedgies, which she brazenly claims are perfectly comfortable even when they clearly are not.

And I'm the parent who defeatedly leaves the house with said pre-schooler wearing some cray cray outfit because, like before, don't care.

We went to church the week after Josh was born and I remember snickering to myself because I'd normally have a cute outfit on Ella but on this particular day she was not even wearing shoes, and her t-shirt was speckled in toothpaste.

And then there was that time on a freezing, blustery wellington day that was blowing a gale and she stripped off totally starkers in front of the midwife who was visiting us, and before I could stop her ran out onto the deck and dived gleefully into the frigid paddling pool that was left there from a much sunnier day. I couldn't convince her to come out so she had an icy swim in full naked view of the health professional sitting in our lounge. #parentoftheyear. Just post me my medal.

Classic Ella conversation spoken loudly from any public toilet:
"Um, I not finished yet. I got two more BITS coming."
"Are your doing poo? Is it coming out? Can I see???"

Other fun one liners from her:

"I want to wear ALL da undies!!!" with glee when I try to convince her to wear only one pair at a time.

"I CANT SEE MY EYES!!" with horror from backseat of car.

Bringing me one of her many letters where she writes fake words "Here you go my little darling!"

About a game she had played the day before: "I not played dis in a long time. It was weeks ago. I just can't even bememmer it."

My life:
It looks all very serene in a cute photo doesn't it?

It's not. It's hard. SO hard. But there is also a distinct peace here.