Seriously… another one of THOSE days!?!

Me and the kiddy-winks are housebound, full up with a cold. You know the kind, sore head, streaming eyes, nose pouring goop like someone forgot to turn off the tap at the slime factory, really charming. Sick enough to make you feel really crap but not sick enough for the excuse to stay in bed all day and let someone else (hubby) take care of everyone for a change. Hubby is not sick, probably due to him vacating to the spare room at the first sign of a sniffle (not that I blame him), he is at work, making money to pay for all the throat lozenges, tissues and laundry powder we are going through. I feel sorry for him actually (not as sorry as I feel for me right now but sorry enough), he came home for lunch today to find me lying on the lounge floor still in my dressing gown, hair un-brushed, bleary eyed, croaky voiced and with a wad of toilet paper shoved up my left nostril.

Today has been another one of those days. I am not going to bother counting all of the EW moments so far, suffice it to say they have been numerous and disgusting and the day is only half over. I will provide you with just a snapshot of the 15 minutes leading up to hubby getting home for lunch…

I have just cleaned up the 4th nappy explosion of the day. On a mainly liquid diet, necessitated by how difficult it is to breathe with a blocked nose and a full mouth, the children have been eating a lot of soup and drinking a lot of juice. This has the unfortunate side-effect of similarly liquid nappies. We are running out of clothes, fast! Poor Miss R has been hit the hardest, she is just a snot pouring, pooping, puking machine at the moment.

As I am leaning over her wiping last nights dinner from half way up her back I feel the sudden warm rush that proceeds a bout of sneezing and nose blowing. Expecting the standard nasal drip that has been a constant these last two days I hastily wipe my nose on my sleeve – yes I know that is gross but as I had my hands full of shitty baby that was the least of my worries – to find that I am not in fact snotty, I am bleeding. Continuous nose blowing for the last two days has obviously burst a blood vessel as I keep spontaneously springing a bloody leak every few hours and this one is a doozy! The blood is literally pouring and with nothing to hand but wet wipes I make the, admittedly bizarre, decision to whip off my sock and jam the hem of it in my nose. Hey it held the blood back long enough to let me finish getting a new nappy on my girl. Not taking the time to re-dress her into her pants I let her run free in just her top and diaper and instead attempt to stem my crimson fountain.

At this point Master A draws my attention to him as he has finished his lunch and wants down from his high-chair. He is covered in jam. Feeling too horrid to bother with anything more complex we have had jam sandwiches for lunch and I am not sure exactly how much he has eaten but I would estimate conservatively that he is wearing at least a quarter of what I put on his plate. Despite the fact that I am still bleeding profusely I go to one-handedly clean the jam from, well everywhere. He sneezes and, with the kind of precision only a toddler can master, I now have a great jammy booger in the middle of my chest! He is delighted! Not only did he manage to hit Mummy but he also now has a huge booger bubble ballooning from his nose, I feel sick. I am vaguely aware of little hands tugging at my pyjama leg but it is not til I hear the gurgling cough and gag of Miss R choking on her own mucous that I look down, in time to witness her vomit all over my one naked foot. Still bleeding I liberate the boy from his chair, wipe the girl’s face with a wet wipe, mop up my chest and hop to the bathroom to run my foot under the shower.

By now I figure the only way I am going to stop the bleeding is to lie down, so, replacing the sock up my nose with a handful of toilet paper, I do. Two minutes later hubby comes home. “Oh Darling are you still feeling a bit crap?”

“Yeah something like that.”

Advertisements

More than just oats in the pot.

I know rolled oats/oatmeal/porridge/whatever you want to call it is not everyone’s idea of a yummy breakfast but around here they are pretty much staple morning fare. I guess because I was not made to eat it as a child (my Mum hates it because she was) I don’t mind it and certainly with a bit of tweaking it can be really tasty. I never knew this before, my husband always made it, and well, it was porridge, boring oats cooked in water and needing a ton of brown sugar to make it palatable. When he wasn’t home we had cereal from a box because it was easier and frankly, nicer. Then I saw Alton Brown on his show Good Eats saying that if you weren’t eating oats every day you were probably dying. I think that is probably a bit melodramatic but who am I to argue, I am certainly no food scientist. Anyway now I make it almost daily and have been having fun seeing how far I can take it from your run-of-the-mill gruel to something I want to eat.

The current favourite with the kids is as follows:

To serve 2 (or 1 adult and 2 children)
1 cup rolled oats
small pinch of salt (trust me it makes a big difference)
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
about ¼ cup of sultanas or raisins
1¼ cups milk
1¼ cups cold water

combine all ingredients in a pot and simmer over a low to medium heat stirring often until thick and creamy, the slower you cook it the smoother and creamier it will be and the plumper and juicier the sultanas, approx 5 – 10 mins depending on how fine your oats are. If it has been cooked a bit long and has become too thick simply stir in a little more milk until you achieve the consistency you desire, or make a porridge float by allowing it to sit in your bowl for a minute before adding milk, the porridge will float like an island in the bowl (fun for older kids). Garnish with a sprinkle more cinnamon or if you are feeling extra decadent, a swirl of cream.
DSC01801

This is still kinda boring to me though the addition of cinnamon and sultanas means I don’t need to add any sugar which is a bonus.

My current favourite however goes like this:

To serve 2 (or 1 adult and 2 children)
1 cup rolled oats
small pinch of salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup desiccated coconut
¼ cup of sultanas or raisins or any other dried fruit that you like (I prefer mango, strawberries and papaya but apricots, cranberries, apples, figs etc will work just as well).
1¾ cups cold water
1¼ cups milk
small handful of chopped nuts and seeds(I like brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts and sesame seeds roasted but use raw if you prefer and any mix you like, if using roasted, salted nuts omit the salt in the beginning).

This step is not necessary but makes for a delicious change and adds a bit more texture… combine the first 4 ingredients in a clean, dry pot and stir continuously over a medium heat until the oats and coconut are golden brown (about 2-3 mins – do NOT leave it as it can burn in seconds if you stop stirring) and the cinnamon is fragrant.
Carefully add the water first (this will boil and puff up the oats almost instantly) then add the milk and dried fruit. Cook as in previous recipe though it will take less time, about 5 mins. As before add extra milk if needed and garnish with the nuts and seeds. Yummy!

Oh and here is a tip to avoid the horrible task of scouring out the porridge pot… when the porridge is cooked, remove it from the heat and let it sit for 2 mins before serving. Dish it into your bowls and then rinse the pot immediately, no scrubbing needed, it will come clean easily.

Next time I make my toasted porridge I will post a pic but as we are all full of a head cold here today, grumpy children meant I didn’t have the extra time to toast the oats first – I had to keep them from beating up on each other instead.

Do you have any other flavour variation that is popular in your house? I would love to try them.

Katie’s Gift

Finally I can show you the gift I made for my sister Katie! She has just started a university course in costuming (check out her new blog here) and I figured she could use some small storage drawers to keep all the little bits and pieces you collect when sewing and crafting.

As I mentioned before I searched a long time to find a set that I thought was the right size, right style etc but couldn’t find anything that really suited what I had in mind, so I bought a kit-set at Spotlight and set about decorating it myself. Now if someone was giving this gift to me (anyone? No? Ok.) I would prefer it in its kit-set form so I could have the fun of putting it together and decorating it to my taste but as she was in the middle of moving house and had already started the course I figured it would be better for her if she could use it straight away (also as I couldn’t justify getting one for me too – expensive much?!? – I could still have the fun of building and decorating I would have otherwise been denied).

Here are the before and after:

002 DSC01737

Katie is really (REALLY) into steam-punk and I wanted to embellish my little project accordingly but do you think I could find any really cool bits to go on it? No and short of smashing one of my own watches (not going to happen) I had to setting for keeping it simple. I did however do a pretty good job, I think, of painting it to look like it is made of aged, dirty copper. Despite a lack of little bits to decorate it with I am pretty pleased with the overall look of the finished piece and I think she was too.

April crafting project = Complete!

Toni’s “can’t get it wrong” White Cake

So as promised here is the recipe and photos for the birthday cake I made in celebration of Miss R turning 1 two weeks ago (tardy I know, sorry). I am also going to be lazy and not even write out the recipe here as, lucky for me some friends of mine, who have a fabulous blog that chronicles all of their crafty Pinterest endeavors, featured the cake I made for mine and my Mum’s birthday celebration as a guest post and I had included the recipe there. Since the basic recipe is the same you can check it out here… in fact this blog was one of the main inspirations behind me starting my blog and one of its authors, the wonderful Holly, was the first person I turned to for advice when setting up my own.

Here is the adult version:

img_9903 img_9905

and the kiddie version.

DSC01740

Stupidly I forgot to take photos as I was making it but the modifications I made to the recipe this time are as follows…

To ensure I had enough cake to work with I mixed 1½ the usual quantity, intending to bake one batch worth in a 23cm circular pan and a half batch in a standard loaf pan (to form the body of the butterfly). After mixing the basic cake batter I split it in half and tinted one half of it pink and added some raspberry essence. Then, using a spring-loaded ice-cream scoop, I put alternating coloured dollops of batter into the two pans. I used a fork handle to create a few swirls resulting in a basic marble pattern.

When baked and cooled (I left it over night) I cut the circle cake to look a bit like an inverted peace sign (pattern here) and did just a bit of extra shaping to create slightly curvier wings.

Then using this butter-cream recipe:
1 cup (225g) unsalted butter
3 – 4 cups icing sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbs vanilla essence
up to 4 Tbs milk or cream
beat together until light and fluffy

… I gave the whole thing a crumb coat and piped the different colours (tinted with food colouring) on.

I had intended to create a lovely smooth finish and embellish it with detail piping, candies and shiny cachous however it turns out that icing a cake with two very interested toddlers hanging off your arms is really hard! I opted for the much easier, and actually faster, piping bag option and I think it looked ok – not quite what I had in mind but it got eaten just the same!

The Challenge

No-one who knows me would ever call me a slave to fashion. I have my own style, not quirky enough to be cool, not Nana enough to be naff, just me. Ok I wear black, just black generally but if I am feeling adventurous I will brighten up my look with a pop of colour… like grey. My best friend got married about 6 weeks ago and as her Matron of Honour she requested I wear white to match the rest of the bridal party. I don’t wear white – ever – so it is a huge testament to how much I love her that not only did I do it, I didn’t complain (much). I didn’t even wear white to my own wedding, but that was mine and I got to choose the colour scheme, this was hers so she got to choose but it illustrates how following fashion is not really high on my list of priorities. Every so often however a trend shows up that I want to follow and this time it came in the form of the 30 day challenge! They are all over the internet at the moment and it seems every body is either creating one, doing one or has just completed one. I even took part in one a few weeks back, inspired by some great girls whose page I follow on Facebook, you can check them out here (they are funny, real and very inspiring). Actually “took part” is not completely true – I started to take part in one, got about 12 days in, hubby got deployed, babies got sick and I forgot all about it. While I was doing it though I enjoyed the challenge and would like to try again. I was doing the 30 Day Squat Challenge but was also adding in some core and upper body work each day too. This time around I am going to incorporate a wider range of exercises and have devised my own 30 Day Challenge with the view to getting into the habit of working out on a regular basis. Most originally I have called it Toni’s 30 Day Challenge because, you know, it is really important to have a catchy title!

Here it is…

Toni’s 30 Day Challenge

Ok so I wrote it after a couple of drinks last night (my first in about 3½ years), I was celebrating (mourning is more accurate) Miss R having weaned herself and got inspired. Reading back over it in the cold light of morning I am feeling more than a little intimidated by the figures on day 30 however full of trite inspirational quotes thanks to a Facebook conversation with friends this morning (I even attached some to the bottom of the challenge sheet as you can see) and flush with Mother’s-Day-overindulgence-remorse I am going to attempt it as is, I may even surprise myself! So to hype myself up, some more over-used inspirational quotes… No time like the present, seize the day, believe you can and you’re half way there and my favourite at the moment, suck it up and some day you won’t have to suck it in… and all that. I start today!

The importance of toast for dipping and a regrettable lack of fireflies…

My son is quite smart, don’t just take my word for it, others who know him say he is too. He has just turned 2½ and has a huge vocabulary, has spoken in simple sentences since he was 18 months, complete sentences since he was 2. He can count to 15 and can recognise all of them in written form, can recognise about half of the alphabet in written form, knows all the basic shapes such as circle, square, triangle, star, etc but is also au fait with rectangles, pentagons, hexagons, crescents and trapezoids and has been for several months. He has figured out how to open our back door, even though he can’t reach the handle, and how to open the gate on our driveway (gulp). He is fascinated by the fact that caterpillars make cocoons so they can turn into butterflies and insists on going out every morning to say hello and check on the progress of the 3 chrysalis (kwisalis) on our fence. He is very polite, always saying please and thank you and if you thank him he will tell you you’re welcome. He also has great empathy and can often be seen comforting his baby sister with a rub on the back and a solicitous “you ok baby girl?” even though it was usually him who pushed her down/poked her with a stick/took her toys/stood on her/or any number of those horrible things older brothers do to their baby sisters. He understands the consequences of drawing on the wall (cross mummy = unhappy boy) yet does it anyway. Anyone who has met him usually comments on what a character he is – he is a funny little guy, times even deliberately and even his doctor thinks he is hilarious even though I can’t recall a time when has spoken more than 3 words to her. Maybe it is because he delivered those three words with his hands clamped firmly over his eyes so he was invisible?

All bragging aside (yes I will stop now) it doesn’t really matter how quickly he learns that the number on Lightening McQueen’s side is 95 not 59 or that leaving the plug in the sink while he plays waterfalls will flood the bathroom, he is still a 2½ year old with all of a 2½ year old’s views on the way the world should be. Any deviation from that idyllic view will inevitably lead to a melt down of some sort.

Some of these melt downs are predictable – like the small ones that happen if I forget to take the “snakes” (stringy things) off his banana before I give it to him, or the significantly larger ones that happen when I explain to him the Team Umi Zoomi will not be coming back on the television because Millie, Geo and Bot do not like little boys who try to sellotape the cat to the wall – so I guess I should have seen it coming when I presented lunch without the toast yesterday. It was cold and I was tired and the kids were hungry and so whether it was these or the fact that old circuits mean that I can’t run the microwave and the toaster at the same time without both quitting, that caused me to make the, obviously wrong, decision to skip the toast and just serve baked beans and poached eggs for the midday meal. Now this is usually a hit with both of the kids but as I put it on the high chair tray in front of Master A his face clouded. I asked him “whats wrong?” and he looked at me with great confusion showing on his face and asked “where’s the toast Mummy?”. Putting on a cheery voice I replied “You don’t need toast do you? What do you want toast for?”, at this his shoulders rounded, his head stretched forward and shaking his head side to side and looking at me as though I was the biggest moron on the planet he replied “dip, dip, dip!”. I tried to convince him that it would taste just as good as it was, that the bread was ALL the way down in the kitchen and that I wasn’t having any but he wouldn’t accept any of it. The wailing began… “Neeeeed toast to dip”, “Oh Tooooaaaaast”, “it’s Dangerous!” (anything he doesn’t like is dangerous). At the point where he crossed his arms like little vices across his chest, snaked one hand out, crooked his finger and with as much venom in his voice as he could muster growled at me “you HOOK” I gave up. I made toast.

“Hook” is currently the biggest insult my little man can lay on you and he reserves it for when he thinks you are being particularly badly behaved. Captain Hook is the epitome of naughtiness in my sons opinion and to be likened to him shows just how really terrible you are!

Luckily the freshly made toast did the trick and lunch was happily being devoured allowing me approximately 10 minutes respite. Then the next melt down started. This one caught me totally off guard however, as we were presented with a problem we had not yet encountered. In an effort to placate my little terror and ease lunch into a more peaceful affair I had consented to allow the Disney Jr channel to play as we ate. Special Agent Oso was delighting the children by teaching us how to catch fireflies. Upon finishing his meal Master A declared that we should go outside to catch fireflies too.

Sigh

I now had to very gently explain to him that we don’t have fireflies here (no point in using the excuse that they only come out at night and not in the torrential downpour that we were experiencing – he has a good memory and would only keep bringing it up until conditions were right), that they are only in other countries and so we can’t go and catch any. The grief was terrible. How do you deal with tears over absentee bugs? Lots of cuddles later the drama was over but it got me thinking… I believe I am going to have my hands full with this one when he gets to school. The girls are going to love him! He is pretty cute, with thick hair and ridiculously long lashes framing green eyes. He knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to get it, is funny, caring and is capable of showing great sensitivity. A ladies-man in the making I think. Oh Dear.

There is porridge smooshed into the couch, cat sick on the carpet and poo in my hair – it is going to be one of THOSE days…

There was no indication when I rose at 5:30 to see my husband off as he left to throw himself out of a plane, nor when I collected Miss R from her cot so she could snuggle in the big bed with me and Master A until a more civilised hour, not even as I lay unable to go back to sleep due to the 3.8 equivalent shaking of the house caused by the trucks rumbling past to the nearby housing development, that the day was going to hold so many, gag inducing, EW moments.

I should have had a clue upon rising again at 7:30 when my 2-and-a-half-year-old son exclaimed cheerily over the biscuit coated fur-ball in the middle of the hall carpet. I didn’t, instead I wrangled my 1-year-old daughter away from it, preempting her desire to pick it up and dutifully cleaned the mess (thank goodness for carpet shampooers).

I could not however avoid the slap in the face that was my next clue. Having finished his morning cocoa Master A had, as usual, filled his nappy. As it was a very cold morning I had prepared oats for all of us and carried them down to the living room for a cozy breakfast in front of the heater and morning cartoons. Unwisely (in perfect 20/20 hindsight) I put the porridge bowls on the couch in order to take care of the aforementioned full nappy. It is my opinion that the nappy companies have it all wrong, it seems that no matter what brand you buy they will inevitably be printed with some loveable furry creature or a quartet of colourfully clad men who sing about over-heated tubers.

They should, in fact, be printed with a bio hazard label and a warning –  Caution! Contents may cause retching, enter at own risk! – To my intense displeasure I found that the chronically mislabeled nappy had leaked and there was fecal matter all over the inside of my wee man’s pyjama pants and on his legs, EW 2. As I am cleaning this and him up I am unfortunately unaware of darling Miss R’s steady progress toward the couch and the waiting breakfast. Catching sight of her last-minute I lunge for her in an attempt to avoid the inevitable mess that will result in her successfully making her goal. I miss. As my triumphant girl happily massages what was supposed to be our breakfast into the fabric of the sofa I look back to discover that, in my frantic reach, my long, untied hair has swiped across my boy’s shitty backside and THERE IS POO IN MY HAIR!!! Cue intense dry heaves… EW 3.

Three shampoos and a deep condition later, seated on a freshly cleaned couch (lucky that shampooer works on furnishings too!) I feel somewhat human again and have a pretty fair idea of how the rest of the day is going to go.

I was not wrong…

I have a bit of time after breakfast before the rubbish truck is due to arrive so I take the opportunity to empty any uneaten leftovers and squishy fruit into our yet unfilled bag. As predicted I reach into the fruit bin and immediately plunge my thumb into a partially rotten cucumber, EW 4. As I carry the now nearly full bag outside to check for rubbish blown into the yard (or brought in by my kleptomaniac cat – he doesn’t care what he is stealing so his most common night-time acquisitions are trash) I stumble while swerving to avoid the sludgy remainders of what appears to be an apple dropped from our tree, drop the rubbish bag and scatter rice and vegetable peelings all over the path (I did mention in my bio on the “about” page that I am clumsy) EW 5!

EW’s 6 and 7 came in the form of further shitty nappies and although they were expected it didn’t make them any more fun. Thankfully I am given a reprieve and there are no more cringe worthy events for the rest of the afternoon or during dinner, bath time or even baby bed times. As would be expected I let this seeming calm lull me into believing that my icky moments were over (for that day at least).

Wrong!

As our bed time came Hubby and I readied ourselves for bed and proceeded to the bedroom. Shimmying Master A into the middle of the bed from his usual sideways position we climb in too, one on either side of him (yes we co-sleep – more on that in another post) and start to settle in for the night. Enter EW 8… emitting a loud groan our boy opens his mouth and out gushes a fountain of vomit! My husband (bless his strong stomach) grabs him up and holds him while wave after wave of half digested dinner comes pouring from our son. I would like to submit here that this be considered EW’s 9, 10, 11 and 12 also, as not only did he vomit on himself (EW 8) which is revolting enough but it was also all over me (9), hubby (10), the bed (11) and our pillows (12). What followed was a blur of showers, bed changes, pillow hunts, soothing cuddles and a very tired mummy grateful that finally, at 1:30am the day was finally over!

 

Goals Update – Week 2 – Lesson: Learn to be your own Cheerleader

What is it about writing these updates that I dread so much? I have employed almost every procrastination ploy I know, short of actually doing any real work around the house, to avoid writing this – hence it being a day late. I probably should actually be working on the housework but then I guess I am using this as a procrastination tactic for that too.

I intend to make a few posts over the next couple of days, however it is this one that I am reluctant about. Maybe it is my need to succeed, not in general terms but is everything I do. If one aspect of my goal achievement is not up to scratch I have difficulty accepting my successes in other areas. I read a quote the other day that went like this… Sometimes people expose what is wrong with you because they can’t handle what is right about you… It was in a post on Facebook by a popular New Zealand personality and she was talking about not collecting the 1’s. That despite the fact that 299 love you it is the 1 that doesn’t that has the power to bring you down. Why is it that the love/admiration/respect of the 299 is not enough to stop the 1 from hurting? I think I need to add a new goal into my list:

15. Don’t collect the 1’s

I am my worst detractor too, I know it. I am not happy unless everything I do is exact. I also know that my reticence about this post stems from only one of my goals not going to plan. Somehow being slim or achieving a steady rate of weight loss has become the benchmark by which I measure all of my success. The crazy thing is I have only just completed week 2 of my set time frame and have already achieved more than in any other 2 week (or probably even 4 week) period of the past year.

After a week of birthday cake and being too busy to fit in much (read: any) exercise I am almost positive I have put on weight. Note here that I said “almost positive I have” not “have”. In an effort to not collect the 1’s I have resolutely avoided stepping on the scales. I don’t want to know what I weigh this week, I don’t want to let it bring me down, in fact I am not going to step on the scales again until the end of week 4! Instead I am going to focus on what I am doing well in other areas, work at fitting more physical activity into my day and consciously making healthy food choices.

Although I said I didn’t manage any exercise I did mow our lawns. I have never actually timed myself but I think it takes somewhere between 1.5 and 2 hours to do them. I split the job over 2 days and both times resulted in an elevated heart rate and a substantial glow (who am I kidding? I was sweating!) so I think that counts as a workout – I paid myself as though it was anyway. Current savings toward my new wardrobe – $11.00

I also listed a whole bunch of my stuff online but some of the auctions haven’t closed yet and the others haven’t had payment made so I can’t count them either. That means no change in my current debt status unfortunately. I will be listing more tonight though so hopefully the next 2 weeks (by the time payment is actually in my account) will show some significant improvement. It has been a very creative week though and along with the card I showed last week for my lovely Miss R I also made a similar card for my sister to go with her present (which I will make a post for this afternoon now that she has it) and made significant progress on my home management folders. They are at a stage now where I can show photos so I will post them as soon as I work out how to include a link to the sites I got my inspiration and printable inserts from – credit where credit is due I believe and as these were not my own creations I think that is only fair. I also have made a Mother’s Day card for my Mum but again I can’t show you this until she has it later this week.

There have also been a few new creations in the kitchen, some of them my own inventions too so I will post the recipes for those in the next couple of days. I will also include the recipe and photos for the birthday cake I made for Miss R’s first birthday celebration we held in the weekend. Most exciting though I have plans in the works to start a playgroup/music and movement group for my littlies and the other preschool kiddies in the Army housing area. Fingers crossed there are enough other Mums out there interested in joining as I really want this to work. My Mum started one for my sister when she was a baby and we were living in a small country town with nothing already set up. It was very cool and the kids loved it.

I think that is all to report this week in terms of goal progress. Reading back over what I have written above it doesn’t seem like much, but baby steps will get me there still and in my new determination to believe the 299 I am proud of what I have achieved!

cheer_ese

Goals Update – Week 1 – Lesson: Don’t get discouraged, small achievements still count.

To be honest I am not all that enthused about writing this update. I should be, I have started making progress on several of my goals but I guess the ones I wanted to see the most advancement on haven’t really met my expectations.

I only lost 200g this week. I must say here that I am not at all surprised and I have no excuses, I really didn’t try very hard and made no effort at all to make any changes to my diet. I am not really sure what I was expecting, that maybe having declared that I am going to lose weight my body would be oh so cooperative and secretly ditch the kilos by stashing them subtly behind a shrub or down the storm drain as I walk around the neighbourhood. It didn’t, as I know it can’t, yet I somehow still feel let down just a little. I did however get in three workouts over the week which is about a 300% improvement on the week before so it is not all doom and gloom, though I have yet to bust out my Pilates DVDs. Frankly I think I should just be grateful I didn’t put on weight, last I checked twice baked smashed potatoes and chocolate brownies are not diet food. I am paying myself $1 for every 15 mins of workout I manage to fit in. I need the incentive and I think a shopping spree for a new wardrobe will not only be most welcome at the end of the year but also, most likely, necessary, as I won’t have many clothes left that fit if I make my goal.

I have had more luck with my debt clearing efforts however and have sold quite a few items online. After auction success fees and keeping aside some to pay myself for workouts completed I have managed to pay $160 off my credit card. Not bad for week one I reckon! I intend to list at least as many , if not more, items this week. I would like to double that figure next week… wish me luck.

I have had to put aside my Home Management Folder project. I have searched a long time for exactly the right gift for my sister for her birthday and having had no luck at all I have started to make it myself. I would love to post a photo of it so far but as she reads my blog it might be a bit of a spoiler for her. Considering her birthday was back in March and it is now nearly May I think she deserves to see her gift in all its finished glory and not the deconstructed, half-finished thing it is now. I am seeing her this coming weekend so am attempting to fit what would normally be a months worth of crafting into a week, though with Hubby away for most of the week I have nights to fill. I am confident it will be done. I will share photos when it is firmly in my sister’s possession. I can however show you the card I made for my baby girl who turns one tomorrow!
Cupcake Card

I will post pics of her cake after I make it for the little family party we are having this weekend.

My new recipe for the week was kind of a backwards adventure this time in that, for the first time, I followed the recipe for the above mentioned brownies. I have made these several times but as I am what I call an “experimental baker” I have never (ever) followed the recipe as it is in the book! I have always changed ingredients, added extras and/or cooked it differently. It was nice, not nearly as exciting as my usual concoctions, but nice even so. After making my sweet girl’s cake this week I will however (sigh) be hanging up my bakers hat (metaphorically – I don’t actually own or wear one) in favour of lean cooking from now, for the foreseeable future at least. In the next couple of days I will create a recipes page on here if you are interested in trying any of my culinary adventures yourself.

Oh and “whats for dinner?” – no longer an issue! I made a 6 week (yes a whole 42 days worth with no two dinners the same) of meal plans. For the next 6 weeks I will try to follow the menu I have written and see if it makes a difference to my dinner time stress levels. Fingers crossed…

Sock, Sock, wherefore art thou missing Sock?

I went sock-less today. Search as I might I simply couldn’t find a matching pair. They go into the washing machine in pairs, I hang them on the line in pairs, yet there is never a pair in the drawer. This is not a new phenomena but a regular occurrence in our house, well for me anyway. My husband always has his socks in pairs, lots of pairs, but it is not hard to make pairs when every sock you own is army issue green. I would be willing to put money on him having a sneaky stray single sock hiding in the back of his drawer, it can’t be just me, surely?

My home most definitely reflects my state of mind. When I am feeling low or having trouble concentrating my house is a mirror of the inner chaos. I can’t find anything, it seems everything we own is dirty, used, empty, in the washing machine or in a pile on the couch/chair/bed/floor. Then there are those very (very) rare times when I am focused, organised and feeling good and the house shows that too. The laundry is clean, dry, folded and put away, the dishes washed, dinner cooking and plenty of teaspoons in the drawer (we make a lot of tea in this house). My husband would probably try to tell you that this never happens but I maintain that it does (if infrequently) and I am sticking to that (actually clinging desperately, in the hope that I am not a lost cause).

I mentioned in my first post here that I wanted to find a system that works for me so I have done some (a lot of) research. I have found a whole bunch of websites dedicated to helping S.H.E.’s (sidetracked home executives) like me by helping them out of their C.H.A.O.S. (can’t have anyone over syndrome) and teaching them to F.L.Y. (finally love yourself) – see I am even learning a whole new language with this, it must be good! A while back I found FLYLady and thought she was good but didn’t really do anything about it. I have decided that her system is the one I will attempt to follow as she makes sense to me and doesn’t assume that my house is in any way close to where I want it. She assures me I am not behind, I don’t need to catch up and recommends just starting where I am – Hooray! So many of these dedicated sites give great long to do lists that would be impossible for anyone but a childless stay-at-home spinster who is perfectly organised and does nothing but clean, but I can’t reach that window to clean it, there is a pile of laundry in the way!

FLYLady recommends creating a Control Journal for your home, as do most of the similar sites and I have decided (there is that word again!) to do this, to create a home management folder to help me keep on top of the cleaning chores, household expenditure, bills, birthdays, shopping lists, contact lists, appointments, knowing exactly what that is in the back of the freezer etc that keep overwhelming me. This will be my craft project for the month of April as well. Multitasking, I am so clever! I will post pics when it is done.