Aug 17, 2017

Life Lately

If I'm being perfectly honest I have felt head-underwater for the past 5 and a half months with this delectable little soul.
Allow me to grace you with a gratuitous selfie featuring: co-ordination with each other AND with my iron.


Rebellious eyebrows included. Or "eye-brellas" depending who you are talking to around here.

We've had some miserable weather and on this day I convinced Ella that reading her library book would be really exciting if we made a nest. I can pretty much convince her to do anything by using the words 'special nest'. Ah, 3 year olds. She lay down here and said "Mum....? You can bring me some icecream if you like."
Well played, miss diplomacy '17.



Speaking of bringing food to people.... the other day I walked past the couch where Ella was setting up for a game of doctors I presume and she said "Um, Doctor Mummy?? You forgot to, um, bring me some food." And then THIS conversation happened which cracked me up because clearly this is her memory of pregnancy with me. You know, because all I did was lie on the couch and eat chips. But truly - Bluebird Ready Salted + Salt & Vinegar potato chips saved my life many a time.

It has been nearly 6 months with Josh, and I'm in complete denial because there is NO STINKING WAY that an entire half-year has slid by without me really doing anything except surviving and keeping my children alive, and fairly happy but emphasis on surviving. The other night I took a video of Ella making Josh laugh by blowing fart sounds when I had achieved pretty much nothing else that day and I suddenly realised that these giggly fart-loving offspring are what I have created. Six months of my literal blood, sweat, tears, milk and hopefully no other bodily fluids tho I've probably missed something have created this sibling set of little stinkers whom am I all too pleased to call my own. And that's what I've done for 6 months. (Plus the 9 months before that.) Which is over a year of, well, sacrifice. I don't think you really get sacrifice until you do this parenting gig. Like, I may have saggy boobs for the rest of my life. YOU KNOW??????!!!! 
No?


We've been doing other stuff too, but to be honest my brain has been a whirlwind of how to fix my baby's breastfeeding issues for um about 5 months now and I'm only just (hello formula) starting to feel like we may be coming out of the woodwork. I'm lucky to have possibly the happiest baby alive as my child - like tonight he sat by himself in the bouncinette giggling and chatting for a good 10-15 minutes. The exception would be when it comes to feeding - but that's an intricate story for another day to add to my own personal breast-(or-not)-feeding  wall of fame (have you been reading here for long enough to remember Ella's story?). 

Welp, I have a coughing spluttering preschooler who can't sleep and a crying baby who apparently isn't asleep either to deal to.

Adios!








    

Aug 10, 2017

Konmari-ing my closet

Maybe you've heard of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up". Maybe you think it sounds weird and creepy to be thanking your clothes, letting your socks 'rest' after a job well done, and releasing your belongings to be one with the universe if they don't 'spark joy'.

I'm with ya.

But after reading a lot of reviews about the famous 'Konmari Method' of decluttering I found it all looked rather addictive and I wanted to try it. I'm no hoarder, but shheeeeez do we own a lot of stuff. I'm frequently purging and decluttering so I was skeptical that I needed any kind of 'method' but there were a few points to this system that I decided to use and I found them helpful:

1) Declutter by category, not location. For example, on this day I decluttered ALL my clothes, gathering them from my car and every corner and bag in the house. Most of them happened to be in my wardrobe, but it wasn't technically a wardrobe clean-out. 

2) Put ALL the things together in a big pile so you can really see it all laid out. It's mind-boggling how much you can pull out of a closet, chest of drawers, bedside drawers, etc. I found that I could instantly see that my lack of sports t-shirts could be resolved easily by shifting some old tshirts into the sports pile instead of using them as sleepwear..... etc.

3) You take everything OUT and then you sort through looking for the things you want to keep - as opposed to looking through your wardrobe for things to take out.

4) If you're not keeping it, you thank it and then release it. Well, gotta be honest, I've never been one to chat with my clothes, but I do think the attitude of gratefulness allows you to get rid of things more easily.

5) You declutter in a very specific order., beginning with clothes and books. I found several checklists online to follow. Just google 'Konmari Checklist' for one.

Onward!

Here's a bunch of stuff that I ruthlessly threw in a basket to be rid of or deal with later. How long will this basket sit in my room? Will I go through it and fall in love with each piece over again thus defeating the purpose of this exercise? Time will tell...

Meanwhile it's weird to have only one item of clothing on each hanger, and half of my wardrobe free!


I also just discovered that I own 12 sleeveless tops. Quite a lot for someone who almost always wears sleeves!

The right side is almost completely empty now, leaving me room to gather these gift bags into an old duvet bag and get them *finally* off the floor!!! And I can actually see them! Bending over to find stuff on the floor makes me mad. Must be a throwback to pregnancy.


What will I do with the empty shelves on the right??? Oh the possibility. I guess I'll leave that until I'm further through the Konmari Checklist and need to find somewhere to put our overflowing linen.

On the left, I have a shelf for each of: swim gear, maternity gear, and snow gear.


It feels pretty good to have a clean closet. Books are next on the checklist. Immediately followed by paperwork or something equally awful that I may never survive.

Let's not talk about the rest of the house that my 3 year old messes up literally faster than I can clean. Would you ever know that I clean/tidy constantly? 

 I think not.

Have you Konmari-ed anything?








    

Aug 3, 2017

Favouritest favourite chewy chocolate chip cookies [Recipe in pictures]

I know I know, another recipe post, but isn't there something delicious about watching a recipe come together without having to actually cook it?! Or is that just me? After this, you probably are going to actually cook it anyway. Come on now, it's the weekend! Pretty much.


MMMMMMMMMM these are only the most delicious cookies I've ever made.
I'm a bit of a connoisseur of the humble chocolate chip. Read: I'm so fussy about cookie perfection that it took me like 10 years to find this recipe and now I'm done with all cookie recipes because this is my go-to forever and ever amen.

It's crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle, spreads out whilst cooking and gets that crinkly top that only the finest brown-sugar-and-melted-butter cookies get.

And it feeds quite the crowd - I made 28 medium-large cookies with this recipe. 

Let's get crackin.

A big ol' slab o' butter.
(Technically: 170gm or "one-and-a-half sticks" if you are American)


Melted in the microwave. None of this dicing business, just melt the whole brick, my friends.


Good enough.

Now dump in 1 cup of brown sugar and half a cup of white.

Mix mix mix in your cake mixer. Or with your really, really buff arms and a wooden spoon, if you are brave and/or ripped (not I).

Add the egg (and the extra egg yolk if you are feeling less stingey than me. It still works with only one egg - but the extra yolk in the recipe makes them richer and possibly even delicious-er.).... and the rather large amount of vanilla extract (1 tablespoon) that makes it so good.
Appetising or what.

Let your food mixer beat this a bit until it's nice and glossy looking like so.


Now biff (technical term: sift / measure / incorporate) in your 2 cups of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. You only need to sift, if your baking soda is actually caked up, in my rather reckless experience. So, no sifting here.


Mix it on slow until it's just incorporated...


Mmmm. Kill me now.


Actually now.


Wait, now.

That's 2 cups (give or take! 2 cups is a lot!) of milk chocolate drops I'm talkin' bout. Dark is nice too... or better yet, a mix of half dark and half white like I made here.

You can smell the deliciousness a mile away. It's vanillary chocolate-chip glory that would easily rival any "Mrs Higgins" cookie place you should innocently walk past on lambton quay blowing eau' de' cookie your way and forcing you to buy a great-smelling but debatably less-great-tasting greasy brown paper bag of cookie.


I use this nifty cookie scooper from Moore Wilson's that I'm fairly certain is actually an icecream scoop. What can I say. #expert

Space them nice and far apart, flatten them a teeny bit with your hand, and if you want to be fancy, plop some extra chocolate chips (or drops in this case) on the top.


For me, I bake these in a moderate oven (just slightly under 180c) for only 8-9 minutes. They are even better if only done for 7 minutes. Now, maybe my oven is abnormally hot because the original recipe I stole all this from said 15-17mins. So I'd say just take them out when they're looking slightly browned like so:

(I squeezed the last cookie dough ball into this gap on the tray so they are all quite friendly in this pic):


Cool them on a cooling sheet if you have one, and watch that crinkly top become a little more crinkly and horribly tempting for someone like me who actually can't eat any of these ingredients and is just torturing themself for the sake of a blog post and being able to give cookies to friends.


*sigh*


Enjoy!

Here's the more recipe-ish recipe, adapted from Allrecipes.com.au

Ingredients 
Makes: ~28 cookies

2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
170g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Grease baking trays or line with baking paper.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg and egg yolk until light and creamy, then add the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt) until just blended. Lastly, gently stir in the chocolate chips. Drop cookie dough 1 large teaspoon (like a smallish ping-pong ball size) at a time on to the baking trays. Cookies should be about 8cm apart. Flatten slightly and top with more chocolate chips if desired.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool on trays for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.