Saturday, 3 March 2012

Homemade Bread

We've been making our own bread for the last couple of weeks. I always thought bread would be tricky but it's actually super easy. And very satisfying. Tastes better than the supermarket stuff too. We've been using this recipe.

We don't have a bread maker, so we do it by hand, but even then it's not hard and probably only takes 30 mins all up.

This is what the finished product looks like. We made a few loaves and froze them, then defrosted them overnight when we knew we'd need them in the morning. The best bit though is eating it fresh, straight from the oven!


I've been teaching the boys the bible story of Moses being given the Ten Commandments by God. We've been roleplaying it with the Story Bears, which has been lots of fun.

I asked Hamish the other day if he could remember what God gave Moses on the mountain.

He replied "vitamin tablets!"

I guess he was half right!

Adventures with worms

We've been digging up an area of our garden to turn it into a vege patch, and in the process, finding lots and lots of worms. A while ago, Mum gave me a worm kit and they appear to have set up home very successfully in our dirt. There are long thin ones that are very wriggly, and big fat ones that are much more sedate.

The boys really like them, but I've had to start downplaying the worms. This decision was made not long after Hamish proudly told me 'Look Mum, I've made lots of worms!', a feat sadly achieved by pulling one worm into four pieces. Ouch.

And there was the time Michael held up two halves of the one worm and told me 'broke!'

And lastly, there's Hamish's idea that worms are for keeping. In his room. He runs off with them, then tells me to come and see the worm in his room - I follow him in, and there's a small pile of dirt on the carpet with a (thankfully alive) worm on top.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Family Photo

Sunday School craft

So cute!

No fanks, he has a ute!

Adam bought a ute recently. The boys are quite taken with it.

We were driving on Saturday and a very expensive, sporty car, a Nissan 350Z, drove past. I said to the boys, "look, there's a car your dad would like!" Hamish replied "no fanks, he already has a new car, it's a ute!"

 And this morning we were driving again, listening to Georgie Parker sing "I Feel Good". One of the lyrics is "so good, so good, I got you!". Hamish piped up, "did you say you've got a ute?" He didn't believe me when I explained the real lyrics, so now he thinks the words are "so good, so good, I've got a ute!" I think we'll be singing that one a lot around here....

A few Hamish-isms

'Constructions' = instructions
'Ear stick'= gear stick
'Forken knife' = knife and fork (always sounds like he's swearing!)

He has funny ideas about what happens at night time. He thinks that we all go to bed at the same time he does (and was quite surprised the other night to find us up watching tele after 8pm). He also thinks that people come into our house and return things he's lost. Eg 'while we were sleeping, Jenny came into our kitchen and put my drink bottle on the bench'. Another theory recently involved Adam apparently driving to Jennys house (which is just over the road!)to retrieve a Buzz Lightyear toy. In actual fact we found Buzz under the lounge and put him in Hamishs bed while he slept. It's lovely seeing him try to make sense of the world!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Small update

I keep meaning to blog more often, but it never seems to happen. So I thought I'd try shorter posts using the iPhone. I like keeping a small record of goings on. So, in short:

Adam starts his new job tomorrow for MPDI, otherwise known as my brother. He's bought a ute. The boys looove it. Mike pointed to it today and said 'mine'!
We've started a restricted diet for Hamish, to try to settle him down a bit. He's always been a live wire but we felt it was getting out of hand. So far with less chemicals and additives in his diet he's more focused, more affectionate and less grumpy. Amazing how much diet can affect behavior. He seems happier which is lovely.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship with the Idiot Box

Sophia has written a post mentioning the guilt involved in how much tv kids watch these days. I have to admit, this is something I wrestle with most days. I think the issue is that I wish my kids watched less tv, but in reality it's just too hard to get through the day without it. I need the mental break, and the physical break, just to get the basics done ( cooking and laundry, a bit of cleaning).

My current issue of annoyance with the whole situation is the people who write the reports recommending kids under 2 don't watch any tv – because that's all well and good, but seriously – how are we supposed to manage otherwise? The pressure is put on the mothers to somehow do everything with littlies in tow, which is just impossible. Especially on lack of quality sleep. They should suggest other ways of managing down time, instead of just making us all feel bad about relying on the tele.

It's all very well to say that kids do better without tv, but they don't exist in a vacuum – what if I end up resenting them, don't get dinner cooked, the house is a bombsite (well, more than it usually is anyway!) and I'm going crazy for lack of mental space, meaning I turn into a grumpy mum and wife? Surely it's better overall if they watch some tv while I try to get things under control around the house and clear my head.

I've decided tv can be a good thing when used wisely. I've started putting it on at 8.30am when Sesame Street is running, and I use the half hour to read my bible and pray, and take my various vitamins. I figure if I spent this time looking after myself, it will give me energy and perspective to manage the rest of the day wisely. I also usually put the tv on at the end of the day when I'm getting dinner ready, or running around tidying up, getting ready for baths etc.

It's when the hours in front of the screen creep up to 2 or 3 hours a day that I regret the situation – but as Sophia notes, sometimes you just do what you have to do. A pity that our society isolates families the way it does, meaning there are less people around to share the load of child rearing. And on balance, I know my kids have a pretty good life. A bit of tv doesn't change that.

But still, I wish I could do without quite as much of it!

Health Update

I thought it would be sensible to use some of my time on the train home from work (around once a fortnight) to write my blog posts – gives me a chance to get things down in writing and means all I have to do at home is to post them up.

So, here is an update on Michael's health issues. He's 20 months old now, the same age Hamish was when Michael was born. It's a bit of a spin out! Although much of the last 20 months has been very hard work for everyone in the family, it is becoming easier to enjoy the good bits and ride out the bad.

So – we eventually discovered that Michael reacts to glutamates, a natural chemical found in a variety of foods. Although he doesn't do too well on lots of gluten, it was the glutamates causing the real problems. It took six months to sort out, by a process of trial and error and elimination.

Now that we know what to avoid, life is much easier. He doesn't wake constantly at night, unable to get comfortable. He doesn't get constipated. He has a healthy appetite. He settles easily to sleep and is no longer woken by the slightest noise.

He is still waking regularly at night, because he hasn't had much practise at sleeping alone. By regularly, I mean every 2 – 4 hours. His first long stretch of an evening recently went from 3 to 4 hours, which to me, is the most exciting thing to happen in a long while! I'm confident he will continue to gradually improve, and my sleep is already becoming less and less affected.

When I think back now to how life was before we sorted out the food intolerance issue, I want to cry. I have a strong sense of frustration and almost desperation when I remember how hard it was. Particularly trying to get him to develop good sleep habits – I now know I had no chance given the sort of diet we used to eat, but at the time I tried and tried and tried to get him to self settle, without putting him through controlled crying. (Incidentally, I'm now very glad I didn't push that as all it would have done was cause us both great distress, and not fix anything.) It felt like a problem I couldn't solve, but had to – because the impact on everyone in the family was quite negative. It was a hard road to walk, just exhausting and unrelenting. And if not for a chance comment by our doctor, we might not have figured it out even now.

These days, I am often still worn out but I can see signs that it is getting better and I'm trying to build up my own health after so long of pushing myself. I'm taking a raft of vitamin supplements and am cutting back on breastfeeding – not weaning completely but limiting the number of times I feed Michael during the day.

I have to do more cooking than before – I make healthy, gluten free pancakes for breakfast most mornings, and I usually have to cook something for lunch – can't do sandwiches for Michael as gluten free bread is expensive and doesn't taste all that great. We rarely have takeaway. We can't have meals that have tomato or sauces in them (eg soy sauce is a big no-no, as is gravy). It's all manageable, although more labour intensive than before. Totally worth it for a healthy kid though!

And as for the little guy himself – he is a happy kid, most of the time! He has plenty of energy and loves exploring his world and having a laugh. He eats with great gusto and loves getting our attention at the dinner table. He often laughs as he eats his dinner, because he's done something to make Adam and I look at him. He is sometimes clingy (seemed to be very clingy all winter!) but more often than not, a snack will satisfy him and he's happy to potter around the house. He knows how to get what he wants though – he screeches! He is very demanding (as all toddlers are), and it's up to us to set limits around him as he tests out his growing independence.

Overall, life is much more enjoyable now and I'm relieved to be able to move forward. I still don't think I'm recovered from the experience but we're on the right track.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Reality check

Just in case you think I spend all my time making up fun play activities and enriching the lives of my little boys, this morning Hamish has clocked up 3 hours of TV watching. He's only been up for 5 hours. I'm too tired to do anything much, apart from lie on the lounge. Adam had to get up before 6am to get to work early today, so we all got up early too. I've had really poor quality sleep for the last week (more so than normal!) so today, the TV wins.

I did make pancakes for breakfast though.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Hamish being 'Worker Hamish'

A Story Bears' Picnic

As the boys haven't been able to go to usual activities this week (owing to contagious disease!) I've been finding fun stuff to do at home with them. Yesterday I told Hamish that the Story Bears had delivered a letter for him the night before, when he was asleep. The letter said that the bears were having a picnic that afternoon, and asked if the boys could help them get ready for it.

I had them look around the house to find 6 bears (positioned the night before) holding notes with instructions for activities on them - they had to read some bear story books, listen to a bear song (I bought 'Teddy Bears Picnic' on iTunes), make party hats and streamers, go to the shops for party supplies, make some pancakes, and watch the tv show 'Bear in the Big Blue House'.

This all culminated in the picnic in the afternoon. It was lots of fun, and I was glad to have some pre-planned activities to look forward to throughout the day.

Hamish and the Bears modelling their party hats


Oscar watches on

Michael wondering what I have just put on his head!


Michael feeding a bear some pancake

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Well it turns out that the spots and runny noses I mentioned below are an infection called Hand Foot and Mouth disease. Both boys have it, and I'm hoping I don't catch it! They seem to feel a little unwell, but not too bad really. We are staying home all week though as it is quite contagious apparently.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Literacy, Families and Learning

I've been enjoying reading Trevor Cairney's blog lately, particularly his posts about play. Here are a few I like:

The Power of Simple Play

The Importance of Play - Part 3

Another month

Another month has gone by without my managing to post anything here. Sigh. I just don't get the time, although I wish I did. Here's an update on goings on around here:

We had around 6 weeks of everyone being unwell, and it finally passed. For a few weeks. Now Michael has a rash and Hamish has a runny nose again. Ho hum.

Our family daycarer took the boys for a sleepover on Friday night - very generous of her to offer to do it and lovely for Adam and I to have a break from the evening and morning routines. It's the first time I've slept all night in my own bed for around 18 months. It was great, but unfortunately the following night (last night) was a shocker so the sense of rest didn't last long. Still, I am grateful.

I heard Saffy barking strangely the other day and went to investigate - she had baled up a large bluetongue lizard who had backed himself into the pool - his front legs were out but his back half were in the water. I got the dogs out of the way and scooped the lizard out of the water. He didn't look very well, and I wasn't sure if he wanted to be in the water or not. He sat there for a while on the edge of the pool and then disappeared. Saffy is out there now, barking again at something on the other side of the fence, so perhaps the lizard is there.

Story Stones

I really like this idea for a story telling activity. I think the boys would go for it...although I would probably use cardboard instead of stones.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Rice Play

Hamish and Michael quite enjoy playdo. Hamish likes playing with it; Michael prefers to eat it.

Yesterday, I came up with something to stop Michael shoving it in his mouth - I gave him a cup of uncooked rice instead, and a few small containers. He had a great time playing with it, and even though he did eat some, it didn't bother me because I didn't think it would hurt him (unlike playdo which is glutenous). It kept him occupied for a good 20 - 30 minutes, leaving Hamish and I to playdo in peace!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Pain of Death - and The Hope of the Gospel

At church we've started a sermon series on Genesis. Today's sermon was about the bit where Adam and Eve are cast out of the Garden of Eden for disobeying God.

During his talk, our minister discussed how death came onto the scene and how wrong it is. He said something that really struck me - that death terminates relationships. How true this is. And how painful.

Thankfully, the story doesn't end there in Genesis! He also referred to Romans 5:17: 'For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ'.

A crop!

I planted a few potatoes some months ago, and have been watching their progress with interest. Only one plant ended up growing well, and I was disappointed to see it die back in the heavy rain we had recently.

Today on a whim I had a poke around to see if it had sprouted anything under the soil, and was very excited to find some potatoes! Only a handful really, but still - wow!

My mind is now filled with the possibilities of a larger crop...we eat potatoes all the time so the thought of growing my own is very appealing.