Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Mystical Kookaburras

G'day Jack!
An old friend dropped in for a visit the other day. He didn't call ahead, but I made an exception for him as we hadn't seen him for quite a while. I did however wonder why he chose now to fly by.

Kookaburras are all affectionately called Jack in my family. I've always loved them. Ever since the age of six or so when one of these cheeky friends landed on a picnic table smack bang in front of me, ate my sausage in bread and stayed for a bit of a chat.

I appreciated his manners.

Some of my friends think I laugh like a Kookaburra. I take it as a compliment, better than the witch description I got as a kid sometimes.

When we moved into our bush-set home, we noticed the local resident Kookaburras straight away. Perhaps the past owners fed them, but we never have. Instead I hope they eat the Scary Unknowns that slither through our back garden, as nature intended. They don't often come close, usually preferring to perch in the nearby gum trees and gurgle a song at us in the afternoon. But when they do stop in, I always say hello and ask them what they've been up to.

On the very first day that Firstborn came home from the hospital the Kookaburras set up a welcoming party on our clothesline. They sat there for an hour checking him out while new parents and grandparents sat on the back desk taking it in turns to hold our new prince.

They turned up again a few days after my baby daughter first arrived home. It's like they want to welcome new life to the house.

I'm not sure what the significance is. New life, curiosity, a Dreamtime totem?

That, or they think there is tasty new grub around.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Get your Smash On

Smashing things is so therapeutic, don't you think? Of course, in this day and age there are few places that smashing is acceptable.

One place it is OK is the kitchen and so sometimes I retreat to my happy place and create things of yummy goodness that also help me smash out any of my frustrations. It's a win-win for me and the whole family.

My recent victims were new-season cherries. Gentleman loves a good cherry, so around Christmas time each year I buy some for him to enjoy. I like them to, but I am not a fan of the pip. And I am hesitant to give them to my three-year old Firstborn for that reason.

So when I found this dead simple recipe for Cherry Clafoutis I decided to forgo the jarred Morello cherries in favour of fresh and get my Smash On! You just whack the bejezzus out of those things with a knife blade (just like garlic) and out pops the pip. Unlike me, you could remember to put on an apron prior to smashing.

Those red juices are sooo satisfying!

Sharing is caring, so here is my recipe. Added bonus - it's gluten free!

Cherry Clafoutis

4 eggs
3/4 cup of milk
3/4 cup of pure cream (I just used good ole Coles thickened)
2 tsp vanilla extract (I used 1 generous tsp of vanilla bean paste)
1 1/3 cups almond meal
2/3 cup caster sugar
670g jar of drained Morrello cherries (or use smashed, depitted and FRESH cherries)

Grease your flan dish (or a pie dish if you are not fancy). Arrange your cherries over the base. Whisk together the eggs, cream, milk and vanilla in a separate bowl until combined. Process the sugar, almond meal, salt and cream mixture until smooth. Pour over cherries and bake at 180 (degrees Celsius) for about 30 minutes or until the mix has set and is golden on top.

Yummy served warm with vanilla icecream or cold with double cream.

I served it to my parents after they had Firstborn over for a sleep-over.

Sweet all round!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Tales from the F*#king Beach

We went to the beach for a weekend getaway. It followed a week of agonising behaviour from Firstborn son. 3.5 year old behaviour swings from delightful to dastardly.

My little fella surprises me everyday with his gorgeous ideas and spontaneous cuddles, but Oh Boy, can he whinge! My brain was so spun in knots from the constant muuuuuuuuuummmmmmmying and screaming that it made me fall over last Tuesday with babe in arms. Not kidding.

So the decision was made to escape for some fresh sea air. Gentleman took Friday off, we packed the car and went to stay in a friend's vacant beach side home for 3 relaxing, care-free and fun days.

Relaxing it was not. I can't even remember what care-free is, but some fun was had.

All I wanted to do that first morning was get to the beach before it got too hot and baby needed a sleep. So a whirlwind of baby feeding, breakfasting, cleaning, finding, packing and sun screening (seemingly all done by moi) ensued with Firstborn whinging his way through it all. When it came time to leave he refused to put on his shoes and started screaming, I finally cracked. I got down on my knees and sobbed. For five minutes I was Martyr Mum with my complaints that nothing I ever did was good enough, crying that nothing I do will ever keep you happy. Gentleman tried to coax me out of the black with a 'Come on Babe, it'll be OK once we get there'. With graciousness-not, I replied, 'OK, let's go the the f*#king beach then and get it over with'. I'm classy like that in anger.

Walking out the door, Firstborn turns to look at me and ask 'Mummy, are you happy? Are we going to the f*#king beach now?'. Yup, I know. First class parenting exemplified.

And yes, it was fun once we got there.

Does any parent ever relax on a holiday with young kids? If you do, spill because I really need some hints!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Hellllooooo China!

Cookie pic by Arvind Balaraman
 When I was recently pregnant with my daughter, my Firstborn son was two turning three. So we'd well and truly entered the realm of toilet training, learning about our body's 'bits and pieces' and baby growing in mummy's tummy.

Now, I am doing my best to be one of those truthful Mums that use the real names of things and answer the questions as best and as simply as I can. Even so, I think it just sounds SO weird to hear Penis and Vagina being said by a little un. My own baggage, I know. So instead I opted for Peepee and Gina, thinking that they sound pretty close to the proper words and won't be such a hurdle to jump when we later switch.

Man, I was so proud of myself. I'd stepped over the awkwardness, been upfront and I wasn't passing on my hang-ups to my boy. I felt I had helped changed the world somehow: the next generation is going to be unhindered - no sexism, no racism, respectful of others. And all because of me, PowerMum!

Can you see the fall coming?

Seven months preggers and I couldn't face cooking after another long day at work. So we decided to call on 1800 SPRINGROLLS. Loaded son and father off to hunt and gather (and enjoy 15 minutes of peace while they were gone). Boys return laden with rice and other Asian goodies to tuck into but my Gentleman looks unusually flustered. He recounts the trip to the restaurant.

Apparently Firstborn enjoyed the male bonding time en route and decided to check in with Dad about Man- Things. "Dad, you are a boy an you have a Peepee". Hearing agreement, Firstborn continues, "An I am a boy an I have a Peepee".

"But girls don't have Peepees, they have Chinese".

It could've been worse. My Gentleman is relieved Firstborn didn't talk to the lovely, elderly restaurant lady who gives this golden-haired cherub prawn crackers every visit about eating Ginas.

Quick smart we set about clarifying and reinforcing that girls have Ginas (g-g-g) NOT Chinas. I even remembered to mention the innocent misunderstanding to his sweet and proper Asian carer at daycare so she wouldn't get a shock (and wonder what we were telling our son at home).

So two months later, believing the issue to have been dealt with and having written the story down as one for the 21st birthday, I really shouldn't have been surprised when Firstborn looked lovingly at his fair, red-headed and blue-eyed little sister and asks me,

"Mama, did Baby come from your China?".

This parenting gig keeps me on my toes! How have you explained the 'bits and pieces' and 'birds and bees' questions your monkeys have come up with?

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Cherry picking

OK. So I have been sitting on my first post forever. I have no idea how to do this thing, so I've decided just to Bloody Write.

I'm blogging because I can. I enjoy reading other's blogs and have started to feel a bit loathesome for not sharing as much as some of these fabulous women. You can check out who I stalk on my sidebar.

Six facts about me:
* I'm a mum of two; one newbie and one 3.5 year old.
* 3.5 year old is a handful, but dynamic. My love for him is like a rollercoaster. Scarily, I think he takes after me.
* Newbie is just divine. Maybe it is because she is the second and I know a bit more about this thing called Motherhood. But I also think it is because she takes after her father. Time will tell.
* I hate it when people try to get into a lift before others have exited. I have been known to tell people off for it.
*My husband is a true Gentleman. I'm not quite sure to this day how I wrangled to have someone like him stick around. But I do wish he could do house-stuff without step by step instructions.
*I have a brain, but most of the time choose not to use it. Life is easier that way.

So go on, tell me something about you...