Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Boom-Boom Book

According to E - for reasons best known to herself* - and with apologies to Eric Carle. 

In the light of the moon, a little green egg lay on a leaf.
One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and - pop! - out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry boom-boom.
He started to look for some food.
On Monday the boom-boom ate through one apple. But the boom-boom was still hungry.
On Tuesday the boom-boom ate through two pears, but the boom-boom was still hungry.
On Wednesday the boom-boom ate through three plums, but the boom-boom was still hungry.
On Thursday the boom-boom ate through four strawberries, but the boom-boom was still hungry.
On Friday the boom-boom ate through five oranges, but the boom-boom was still hungry.
On Saturday the boom-boom ate one piece of choc-o-late cake, one ice-cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of sam-a-li, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake and one slice of watermelon. That night the boom-boom had a stomachache!
The next day was Sunday again. The boom-boom ate one nice green leaf and after that he felt much better.
Now the boom-boom wasn't hungry anymore - and he wasn't a little boom-boom anymore. He was a BIG, FAT boom-boom.
He built a small house, called a cocoon, around himself. He stayed inside for more than two weeks. Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out and...
the boom-boom was a beautiful butterfly.

* but which are apparently very funny. She now walks around with the book saying 'I call this the boom-boom book!' Quite possibly the cutest thing ever.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Conversations and play

E is playing. She is perfectly absorbed in her own company.  Animals are going in and out of the farm house in an order apparent to no one but herself. A running commentary accompanies it.

Look at this place. That where aminals live. Come right here.
Can I come in, say tiger?
Can I come in, say dog?
Yes. You must stay in.
Oh no, where is pig? Pig fell down. Oh look, Mummy, I found hen! I found hen! But where is ankleosaurus? I don’t know where ankleosaurus is.
That’s allll of the aminals.
Now let’s shut the door.
All of the aminals are going to bed.

I am enjoying 10 minutes to drink an interrupted cup of tea and marvelling at the pleasures of a $4 plastic farmhouse from the op shop!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dunsborough holiday mark 2

At about this time last year we spent a week in Dunsborough with friends and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. We repeated the exercise a fortnight ago, over the long weekend, in a rented house with Granny and Grandad.

The house we stayed in was right on the old Dunsborough foreshore and it was simply amazing. Four bedrooms, two king bedrooms each with ensuite, a bedroom with two single beds for E. (When asked what she did on holiday, E will tell you "we went to sleep. I had TWO beds!")

Here is the house from the outside:

If you walk down the front steps this is what you see:

If you cross the footpath that you can see at the edge of the grass above you find a little path:

And at the end of the path is the beach. Quite possibly the most perfect toddler beach in the world. At low tide there was 50 metres or more of ankle depth water, zero waves, rock pools and sandbars.

It was so safe we were quite happy to let E explore without having to hover right over her, (although D did decide a certain minmum of clothing might be prudent!) Needless to say, we spent a lot of time there.

Other features of the trip included a lunch at Duckstein Brewery - a table right next to the in-house playground made it very manageable, an ice cream at Simmo's and lots of walks and trips to the playground.

This house would be amazing in summer - we got plenty of use out of the beach and barbeque even though some of the days were decidedly cool, but it would be ever lovelier if it was warm. Anyone want to plan another trip, maybe for early next year?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Meatless Monday: How to use up garden excesses, or two ways with rocket

We have green vegies galore in the garden - kale, rocket, silverbeet and the leaves/tops of beetroot. I have enjoyed them but am now impatient to use them up so we can clear the beds for new summer plants. So I have been attempting a few different recipes with a common theme - they must involve plenty of greens! Here are two different uses for excess rocket.

Rocket and walnut pesto
5 cups of rocket leaves, stalks and garden bugs removed
1.5 cups of walnuts
0.5 cup of grated cheese (Parmesan or similar would be preferable but I used cheddar as that was all we had)
Enough olive oil or a mix of oil and water to make it smooth

Whizz the walnuts in a food processor until they are finely ground.
Add everything else and process until you have a green, oily paste.
That's it.

Eat with pasta and more cheese, or maybe as a dip with crackers and vegetable sticks.

Potato, lentil and garden greens soup

This soup looks like liquid grass but tastes fantastic. And anything with this many veggies has got to be healthy.

(Serves 2)
1 brown onion, chopped
A big salad bowl full of garden greens - mine was about half rocket, a quarter kale and a quarter silver beet
3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups of vegetable stock
1/4 cup of dried red lentils

Fry the onion in olive oil in a big saucepan until soft and golden.
Add the potatoes, stock and lentils. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes and lentils are soft.
Add the green stuff - if using kale add it first, then the rest a minute or so later. Cook for maybe another 60-90 seconds.
Mulch everything with a hand blender.

Serve with a spoonful of plain yoghurt and sourdough toast and feel very, very virtuous.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The signs of spring

I am a bit enamoured with this weather.

The heater's off, I hope permanently (or at least until next winter, anyway!)

I'm wearing thongs rather than ugg boots around the house. I no longer need socks in bed.

We're eating masses of strawberries and I want salads for lunch instead of pasta.

In the garden I can tell it's spring because
 the water table and wading pool have made a comeback

the apricot tree is promising good things (and this year we have bagged the first baby fruits that have appeared so we might even get to eat some!)

we're nearing the end of the bok choy and kale, and the broad beans are looking very

We are spending hours outside any chance we get.

Hurrah for a change of seasons, there's nothing like it to lift the spirits.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Conversations with my chatterbox

A random monologue on Granny's garden:
Granny has a duck in her garden. Aunty Suse bought it for her birthday. Sometimes it rains in Granny's garden. Granny has new swings.

This dialogue with E playing all parts I overheard whilst lurking hopefully by her bedroom door to see if she had gone to sleep yet:

Hello, Olephant.
Would you like a biscuit?
Yes, I would like it.
Let’s eat it, Olephant.
Careful, Olephant, you’ll fall down.

Whilst pretending to be Curious George on the trapeze swing at Granny and Grandad's (and fortunately, I might add, not in the park or somewhere else public):
Granny, I want to go in a cage. Put me in a cage, Granny! Put me in a cage and lock it with a key! I want to go in a cage with a balloon on my hand!

(2 years and 5 months).

(With apologies to Kylie from Octavia and Vicky for stealing her post idea.)

Friday, August 17, 2012

This is the winter of our discontent

... and of COLDS. E is onto her third or fourth since the beginning of July and we are sick of being sick around here.

Robyn Barker, that guru of all things baby and toddler, assures me that children's immune systems are worst in the year they are two; apparently the immunity they have from birth/breastfeeding is lost by about 12 months and it then takes time to build it up again on their own. Supposedly it is sorted (well, at least improved) by their third birthday.

Bring on three!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

28 months

  • means an insatiable appetite and constant demands for "a bitey* apple, Mumma!";
  • has not yet brought "why" but has brought endless renditions of "what dat?" ;
  • seems to have spelt the end of daytime sleeps;
  • except when it means falling asleep in the car at 4:30pm and sleeping until morning!
  • is a much better ability to eat with a fork;
  • sees a continued adoration of Bot (Spot) and Maisy and a relatively newfound love affair with Doralee the Dinosaur;
  • has seen some quite complex sentences, for example, "look Granny, piggy dangling from E's finger!"
  • involves size three tops and size two pants;
  • is endless energy and requests to "go Kings Park";
  • means a non-stop commentary on everything that is going on;
  • is an unpleasant return to 5am waking because the sides of the cot are no longer present;
  • varies between playing very nicely with friends and pushing, shoving and "mine!";
  • heralded a return to nappies, because sitting on the potty is boring when you have so much else to do;
  • can be wilful and defiant;
  • is quite a random age but there is a lot going on, and other than toilet training all of it is really quite lovely so it seemed appropriate to reflect on some of it!

* a "bitey" apple is a not-cut-up apple.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Maisy and Spot resources

 I have written before about E's enthusiasm for all things Spot, but I'm not sure if I have said anything about her devotion to Maisy. The lure of both of them somewhat baffles me - after all, in a book titled "Maisy Goes Shopping" you can be sure that Maisy is going to go shopping, but nothing else whatsoever is going to occur. I also find the style of the Maisy pictures pretty unappealing, but I assume that toddlers love both Maisy and Spot partly because the pictures are so simple and easily recognisable. That, presumably, is also the simultaneous attraction of the stories for children and their banality after one read for adults - everything about them is recognisable, understandable, part of every day life. 

Anyway, I digress. I thought I would mention the Spot and Maisy websites in case they are of interest to anyone else. The Maisy website is It has a list of all the books as well as a few free books that you can read in their entirety online. However the main thing we have been using it for are the free printable colouring-in sheets. E is just addicted them - over the last few days every time she has a spare moment she has been going to the study door (where the printer lives) and begging "Mummy get Maisy, Mummy get Maisy." It also has a few things we haven't used such as recipes for gingerbread and lemonade, and printable game sheets such as spot the difference and matching.

The Spot website is It likewise has a list of all the Spot books and a few interactive games, but the main thing we found useful as the birthday party resources. E's Spot cake and banner were courtesy of this website.

I realise it's all just commercialism intended to make us spend more money on their products, but both sites have provided some useful diversion. Besides, at the moment if I want to preserve my hearing and my sanity, my choice about whether we do more Maisy colouring is pretty minimal!

Friday, June 29, 2012

The road to no more nappies is not for the faint of heart

Dear God, the road to no more nappies is a trying one. 

Today has been a mixed bag: success at the little loos at King's Park, complete disaster later at home. The kind of disaster that happened in the two minutes I was trying to put the shopping away, left me gagging (literally), required a lunch time bath and which meant that the shopping list now reads: Napisan. Anti-bacterial wipes. Hand sanitiser. Enough said. 

E is now "resting" in her room (with a nappy firmly on I might add) and I am airing the house out.

But I am grateful that we are getting there. It is a long, frustrating and occasionally disgusting road, but at the end of it is independent toileting, hurrah. 

And if anyone has any tips for how to ensure the solids wind up where they belong, I'd also be grateful for that!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Domestic Goddess One Pot Roast Chicken

We were having a bit of a blah afternoon until I decided to cook this and the smell of it wafting through the house acted as a multi-hour lift. I based it loosely on this recipe but we had different veggies so I used those instead. I also reduced the amount of veggies so it would serve two adults and a toddler about whose roast vegetable eating habits I am realistic enough that I didn't really cater for her.

1. Chop about 200gm of bacon into short strips, fry them in an oven proof and stove proof pot with lid until they are crispy.
2. Into the same pot put half a leek cut into rings, three small carrots peeled and chopped into chunks, two large potatoes peeled and quartered, and 10 button mushrooms. Stir veggies and bacon together.
3. Add half a cup of white wine (or more if you have it - the original recipe called for 1/2 a bottle but it also used enough vegetables for four people) plus two cups of chicken stock. Put the lid on the pot, crank up the heat and bring to the boil.
3. While that is happening, stick a lemon and a handful of rosemary up the chicken and slather the outside with olive oil and salt and pepper.
4. Put the chook on top of the veggies and put the whole lot in the oven.
5. Cook it for 1 hour with the lid on at 180C and then half an hour (or more if necessary) with the lid off. Baste several times during the lid-off time so the chicken browns.
6. When it is cooked, take the chicken and vegetables out and put them on a serving platter. Put the pot back on the stove, stir the sauce to loosen any bits off the bottom and thicken it with cornflour paste to make a gravy.
7. Tell your family that from henceforth you shall be known as Nigella.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A big girl room

 On the weekend we ticked off another box on the road from babyhood to childhood: the sides came off the cot.

E is very pleased. She told everyone at daycare on Monday (and everyone who will listen subsequently) about how Daddy "built" her bed and how it has blankets in it. (Her cot always had a pile of blankets fit for the Arctic, and exactly the same ones are in the bed, so where this came from we have no idea).

D and I are less pleased that our evenings have suddenly disintegrated: the thrill of being able to get out of bed on her own and come running into the living room, laughing hysterically ("E got out of bed! E running to Mummy! Now E running back to bed!!") is yet to wear off.

We are trying to focus on the nice parts: reading stories on the bed together before lights-out, the added space in the bedroom now we have rearranged it, the easier access when we want to sneak in after she has (finally) gone to sleep to give her a pat and a kiss. And hoping that the novelty wears off very, very quickly!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Late afternoon gratitude

Image from
At the end of an afternoon that has been inexplicably stormy (both literally and metphorically) I'm making an effort to feel grateful for:

* A 15 minute walk in the pram in between rain and thunder. An uphill, blood thumping, nose warming walk. 

* Returning to the house with renewed patience and enthusiasm, the quick whizz-around-put-the-toys-away that followed, and the relief of everything being tidy-ish that followed that. 

* The deliciousness of chicken pot-roasting in our absence, in time for us all to eat dinner together in an hour.

* Playschool!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Meatless Monday: corn and fetta fritters

Here's one for the Veggie Mama, and her Meatless Monday link, 'cause it's veggie (obviously) and it's got fetta in it!

Got the recipe from here.

Cooked it last night, intending to give it to the toddler whilst D and I had something else. Tasted the toddler's dinner and liked it so much that the plan of cooking a second dinner was rapidly abandonded (hurrah!) There were crunchy little pops of corn, salty fetta and slivers of spring onion, which I used along with parsley and chives as the "micro herbs," whatever they might be. The two year old insisted in smothering each bite (as well as everything else on her plate, including the cherry tomatoes) in tomato sauce but who am I to judge? We had ours with green salad and tomato relish.

Definitely going on the repeat list.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Suddenly my two year old could use adverbs

Well, one at least.

At the moment, everything around here happens "suddenly."

"Suddenly E putting blanket on Belle's [the cat's] head!"

"Suddenly E drinking orange juice!"

Probably the funniest was E running at top speed across the oval near Mum and Dad's,  yelling "suddenly E turning into butterfly!"*

We think that the phrase must appear in one of her books, although we can't think which one. I expect the answer will come to us in a flash, when we're not really thinking about it. Suddenly.

* The Very Hungry Caterpillar is popular lately.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book of the Week: Ladbird Favourite Fairytales

I'm attempting to resurrect my much neglected Book of the Week series.

This week's seal of approval goes to the Ladybird versions of classic fairytales.* Little E received "Little Red Hen", "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," "The Three Little Pigs" and "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" for her second birthday and has been having a great time with them. They would be good for early readers to practice on, but they are also fun to read aloud. I am really enjoying her enjoyment of such familiar stories.

They are straightforward renditions of the classic tales, with a bit of rhyme and humour. The illustrations are bright and simple. Most pages involve the characters making a comment in speech bubbles which is lost on Little E but which I think would be appealing to a child learning to read. The books themselves are hardcover but with paper pages (ie, not board books) and they are cute easy-to-hold squares.

E is particularly enthusiastic about The Three Little Pigs. Her "rest" yesterday consisted of her going to bed with a pile of books and yelling "little pig little pig let me in" at the top of her voice for 20 minutes.

I was initially a little apprehensive that E would be frightened or upset by some of the more gruesome aspects of fairytales but it hasn't bothered her so far, quite possibly because she doesn't understand it. The demise of the first two pigs is phrased as something like "and that was the end of the first little pig." When D paused his recital of the story to ask E what she thought happened to the pig, she said "he ran home to his mummy."

Needless to say, all four of these books get big thumbs-up from us.

 *This is not a sponsored post.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hip hip hurrah! The crowd went wild!

The crowd consisting of me, and 20 plastic animals, that is.

The reason? A wee in the potty. A "need potty please" wee in the potty.

That was around lunch time and there have been two more since then.

In between, I rushed out and bought a couple of sheets of stickers to be handed out every time a wee or poo lands in an appropriate destination.

I'm sure there will be set backs, but the beginning of the end of nappies is very, very exciting.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

And now we wait

Before (from about July 2011):

First step: get enormous pallet of limestone delivered. These are actually the leftovers, photographed to be advertised on Gumtree. Fortunately a nice man came and gave us $30 for them shortly afterwards.

Second step: wait a good two months or so for Perth to decide that it wasn't necessary to turn on temperatures of 30 degrees plus every day such that the thought of hefting around 65kg blocks wasn't completely ridiculous.

Third step: enlist a few helpers and convince them to spend two mornings of the Easter weekend doing some seriously heavy lifting:

Thanks Craig! Thanks Cillian!
Not all "helpers" were as helpful as each other.
That plastic crocodile (the beloved Tom) you can just see in E's hand?
He definitely didn't pull his weight ... ha ha.

And ...

... voila! 

We have a wall! Compare the first photo to this one and see how crazily the passionfruit vine has taken off between last June and now:

Then we got a huge load of dirt delivered, managed to get it into the new garden bed with just a wheelbarrow and shovels, and just in time. That night was the wettest weekend we've had since last winter.

And look what we've done since!

The seeds are from Eden Seeds. From the shed onwards they are: broad beans at the back and dwarf sugar snap peas at the front; in the next section, pak choi and red Russian kale; in the third section, rocket and rainbow silverbeet; in the fourth section, nothing yet but plans for carrots, potatoes and radishes. About half the seeds are protected with the miniature greenhouses that worked so well last year - the rest will be as soon as we drink up enough soda water to make some more! 

I am very excited at the prospect of having our own veggies in a few months time. I am even hopeful that we have planted enough that D and I might get to eat a few - one of E's favourite games over summer has been "finding 'matoes" and needless to say D and I barely got to taste one!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Left to her own devices ...

... E decided to wear her hat inside and show her toys a good time.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Patience (of a sort) pays off

Lookie, the passionfruit vine must have heard all my complaints about it being a stupid-infertile-good-for-nothing-hasn't-produced-a-flower-in-nearly-three-years-maybe-we-should-just-pull-it-out-and-start-again.

But is it a funny time of year for passionfruit to be flowering?

Monday, April 9, 2012

E's birthday fiesta(s)

Our baby turned two last week. What a week it was for her. It actually started the Friday before with a cake at playgroup. Daddy as well as the cake came to playgroup which was very exciting.


The day of E's actual birthday (Tuesday), D and I both stayed home. (Normally E goes to Granny on a Tuesday and I think Granny, who had been planning special birthday activities, was a little disappointed to hear that her services were not required that day). We started the day with pancakes, and proceeded quickly to presents. Then it was off to Scitech. A hollow half-sphere around which a ball could be rolled around and around was a source of particular fascination. We also enjoyed a fish tank with a hole in the middle in which you could put your head for special fish viewing pleasure, and a mirror that made wonky reflections. After a two and a half hour sleep (a very nice birthday present for Mummy & Daddy!) the afternoon involved lots of painting in the garden. (Thank you Aunty Katherine for the well-timed art smock present!)

On Easter Saturday we had a little party at home with all the immediate family. Chocolate cakey (with candles) had been requested and produced. I even managed to make it in the shape of Eli's beloved Bop. Aside from lots of crumbs in the icing, lending a more dalmatian-like finish to our version than the original, it turned out quite well.  
As well as cake the party involved (as all parties should) lots of presents, food and cuddles with special people.

Happy birthday darling girl. Mummy and Daddy take such pleasure in you and are so proud of all your achievements. It is a joy to watch you grow up.

**There is a version of this post on my private blog with more photos**
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