Monday, February 25, 2013

Meatless Monday: vegie smuggling tomato spaghetti

Last week I made a humungo batch of this "homemade tinned spaghetti" from Vegie Smuggling

The sauce is a blend of tomato passata, pumpkin and tinned beans and is supposed to taste something like tinned spaghetti. We didn't have the recommended two cups of pumpkin so I used a cup of grated carrot and a cup of pumpkin. I was enthusiastic about the idea of disguising pumpkin and beans into a form that I thought E, the ultimate pasta addict, would enjoy.

I don't actually remember the last time I ate spaghetti from a tin and so can't comment on whether this is similar, but it turned out to be a very sweet, pastey tomato sauce. It was so sweet that neither D or I liked it much, even though I jazzed ours up with a big handful of fresh basil and oregano, and topped it with sauteed mushrooms.

Adult version with mushrooms and herbs.
Next time I would remove the toddler portion
and then add a bit of vinegar or something else acidic.
E, however? HOOVERED it. And that's a good thing, as I have another six ramekins worth in the freezer for her.

Toddler version about 5 minutes before it was demolished.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


... we have played endless games of "tea party." This involves making "biscuits" out of playdough then "cooking" them in the (cold) oven, then dispensing them to toys on plates. Under the table. It is apparently mandatory that all tea parties take place under the table. Usually the toys decide they are hungry for something else other than just biscuits, in which case something like corn puffs or sultanas get very carefully divvied up onto each plate as well.

... we have answered so many questions starting with "but why?" This morning's version:
"Daddy, when you were born and you were a baby, who was your mummy?"
"But whyyyyyy?"
That one had D somewhat stumped.

 ...we have enjoyed combining an early evening garden water with E's bedtime shower. Squeals of delighted laughter are a very pleasant way to end the day.

... I was very glad to finish up at one job and have had a good first week at the new one.

... E is coping better with the fact that she refuses to have any kind of day sleep. Previously our late afternoons were a bit of a disaster zone leading up to a 6:00pm bedtime, but yesterday we managed early fish and chips at our friends' house and she wasn't in bed until about 7.30pm and it was fine. Hurrah!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Toilet Training Progress

Our current version of bribery

Dare I say that we are getting there?

E is still not indicating that she needs to go very often, but she is suddenly very compliant with requests to try.

And just when I thought that we were going to be carting the green Ikea potty with us everywhere for the next six months, she is very suddenly also very interested in the toilet, and having a surprising number of successes with it.

She has only had a couple of accidents all week and it's about time; I realised recently that our first lot of bribery were little chocolate ladybugs I was given for mother's day last year, and that means we have been doing this, on and off, for NINE MONTHS. (Look at this post from June 2012!)

I am feeling cautiously, quietly, gratefully (but still-kind-of-expecting-it-to-go-wrong) hopeful.


(And for anyone interested, please read the post below this for details of a Giveaway!)

Hunting for Ladybugs and a Giveaway

Hunting for Ladybugs is my friend Sarah's little internet sewing business. She makes all sorts of fabulous things for babies, children and the home. The business' motto is "handmade for  every day" and it sums up her products very well: lovely fabrics, practical designs and everything sewn to last.

Over the past few years Sarah has made a number of things for me, including:

* A baby hat and zip pouch to give as a baby gift:

* A fantastically sturdy beach bag with waterproof lining, big enough to throw several towels and everything else you need in:

* Little house door stop, filled with 2kg of sand, solid enough to stop our heavy front door slamming shut in the wind:

Mine is the one second from the left
* An insulated fabric alternative to a plastic lunch box. Inside is a short sleeve of patterned fabric, then the rest is waterproof, machine washable stuff. Sarah had them in mind as suiting a toddler's lunch or morning tea (which they would definitely work as - they'd be great to send a kindy kid or pre-schooler's lunch in) but I find mine is easily big enough to fit a drink bottle and lunch for myself and toddler on days when we're out and about.

On our recent trip to Sarah's family's farm in Quiarading we got the behind-the-scenes tour of the place where it all happens.

Here is what the sewing room looked like "before":

It was originally a single car garage with roller door.
Then she and husband Brett did all kinds of magic and look at what it became!

Complete with little helper P

Want a closer look at that amazing fabric stash?

Soooo much fabric, ready for transforming
 And here is the lovely lady herself, hard at work:

Hiiiiii Sar!
Sarah's Etsy shop has a bunch of things ready made, but if you want a particular size or want her to custom make something a size, colour or a brand new design she will gladly do that too. Stuff she has custom made recently includes quilts, nappy bags, matching infant sets, Santa sacks, Santa stockings and pencil cases. You can visit Hunting for Ladbugs on Facebook here ( or on Etsy here (

Sarah is very generously offering one Suburban Sonnett reader their choice of item from her Etsy store, up to $30 value excluding postage. To enter you must:

* Become a "follower" of Suburban Sonnet if  you're not already; and 
* Leave me a comment saying which of the ready-made goodies in Hunting for Ladybugs' Etsy store you would most like to own and why.

For an extra entry, "like" Hunting for Ladybugs on Facebook and then add a second comment telling me you've done so and your second choice from Hunting for Ladybugs' Etsy store.

The winner will be the comment that Sarah decides is the most amusing, worthy or interesting. The winner will receive their choice of product from Hunting for Ladybugs' Etsy store, up to the value of $30 excluding postage.

Entries close at midnight on Friday 15 February 2013, WST.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Holidays with the Farm Family

Over the long weekend we headed to Quairading for a farm holiday and old school friends' catchup. The Farm Family consists of Farm Mum S, Farm Dad B, Farm Girl P (3 years) and Farm Boy A (18 months). Also there were our other school friend J, her husband A, and their son J (12 months). With six adults and four kids it was one full house! Thank you S&B for being brave enough to host us all at the same time.

The Farm is about a 2.5 hour drive from Perth - just long enough to feel like you have gone somewhere but short enough not to be too trying on small folk and those who must share a car with them. We stopped at York, which is about the half-way point.

The four children turned out to be one of the nicest parts of the weekend. It is definitely our first experience of more children being less trouble. E&P played together beautifully and the two smaller boys trundled along after them, sometimes being included, sometimes not. It was lovely to see E&P playing a game that involved hiding under the blankets, putting the teddies to bed then waking them up again. (We discovered later that this game also included smushing copious amounts of crackers into the carpet, but you take what you can get).

I have been to farms before but not such a real, working farm as this one is. The Farm Family are lucky to be part of an extended farming family that has managed to buy up quite extensive amounts of land in the area and thus be able to take advantage of economies of scale. It makes sense when you learn that one piece of machinery costs $200,000. The result is that you can drive for kilometres without leaving the extended family's land. We had a great time on Saturday going out in the ute with the dogs to move sheep from one paddock to another. I'm sure this is quite routine for people on a sheep farm but for us it was interesting.

Sheep-watching out the window
I vary between thinking that the country in this part of the world is desolate and finding the starkness beautiful.

 I became a bit obsessed with the harvesting patterns in the crop stubble and took about six squillion photos of them:

Probably the best bit was making the sheep run.

Run, sheepies, run!
And then driving home along a gravel road in the late afternoon shadows.

Upon getting home, feeding and bathing and putting to bed of small people was required. But once it was done, the grown ups sat on the verandah and enjoyed the sunset.

The next day the three (grown-up) boys went off to be manly and engage in Proper Farm Work, pulling down 1.5km of old wire fence so a new fence can go up. At lunch time the rest of us took a picnic and went to meet them.

After lunch some running and climbing of nearby rocks was necessary.

I wanted to add some photos of the picnic and rock-climbing but Blogger is refusing to cooperate for some reason.

It was a great weekend and one we hope to repeat.

The other thing the weekend involved was a bit of sewing time in S's fancy new sewing room. She runs a little internet based sewing business called Hunting for Ladybugs. Stay tuned as I will tell you all about it soon!
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