Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Disco Birthday Dinner

Party Rockers are in the h-o-u-s-e song gets us going.  Sienna told me yesterday that she wanted sausages for her birthday dinner so I was happy to oblige.  We do this nice and simple, little sausages, rolls that cook in the oven in 5 minutes and butter and sauce.

In honor of it being her birthday and I wanted to fancy it up a bit, I decided we would have a disco dinner at the coffee table.  I gave her the disco light for her birthday this morning so we popped that on, I cooked the sausages on the BBQ outside and we put her iPod shuffle on with Party Rockers blaring and ate our dinner.  Our little party was over in about 15 minutes including me standing on the chair to take photos with a point and shoot attitude.

Bear in mind I had my ISO pumped up to 4000 as I wanted the dark "night-time" to be in the photos rather than adding more light. These photos are extremely "noisy" or "grainy" in the old photography language. So even though these photos are not "technically perfect" they are "emotionally perfect" to me as we had a celebrated another lovely birthday dinner.

We all decided that in light of our pancakes for breakfast and a sprinkle cupcake for afternoon tea that dessert (normally yoghurt, peaches or homemade ice cream) was off the menu as we have had quite enough party food for one day.

After dinner I read Sienna her new story book called "Room on a Broom" which is a beautiful hardcover book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and she thoroughly enjoyed listening to.

She had a great day and I'm digging the Disco Dinner memories we made tonight.

Birthday Pancakes for Sienna's Birthday

A number of years ago I started the tradition of pancakes, ice cream and maple syrup for our birthday breakfasts.  It requires a big effort on a school day to do this so I made some home made ice cream yesterday in the Thermomix and made the pancakes this morning for breakfast.  We topped the birthday girl's pancakes with the cutest little owl candle that I bought last week as she loves owls.

The kids came into my room about 6 am and woke me up and James first gave Sienna his present which was a Owl Pillow Pet (a cushion which is soft and flat and then folds up to be a little owl).  She was thrilled with the present and she was very impressed because the present was wrapped up with the cushion flat so to a 7 year old it was a huge present and he also wrote a lovely card to her.

Then it was presents from Mummy....a disco ball, a craft kit with pens and plastic stencils, a beautiful story book about a witch and then a box with lots of little things in it like a packet of tennis balls, some bubble mixture, a plastic paint pallet which is good because she has some paints from Nanny and Pop.  Some glitter glue and a sparkly pink pig money box with $2.00 in 20 cent pieces for her money box.  All in all she was one happy 7 year old.

James told me they woke up at 5.45 am and he let her come into his room and play with some old toys until 6.00 am when they thought they would come and wake me up.  At that time in the morning I lay in bed with my iPhone taking pictures of her unwrapping her uploading iPhone photos is not something I do regularly as it's a bit of a process for me so for now you can enjoy our yummy pancake breakfast photos.  Happy Birthday to my happy smiley little girl.

Sienna turns 7

Sienna turns 7 in the morning (I'm still up as it's Tuesday night time but officially Wednesday am).  This little girl has been so excited for the past 12 days counting down until her 7th Birthday.  She even made a special count down chart above her bed complete with a biro attached so she could mark it off in the square when she woke up.  I love how she goes about to do these little things all by herself.  Little kids are so cute like that.

Last night when I was reading her bedtime story to her she told me that when she went to bed tomorrow night (ie tonight) that she didn't want me to say to her "tomorrow you'll be a 7 year old" because she said that would make her too excited and she wouldn't be able to sleep.  Well I didn't say that to her tonight however she did mention "remember don't say it Mum" to me and this little girl could not get to sleep.

It's bedtime at 6.30 pm in our household and then we read books and lights out at 7.00 pm and this Mummy Bear is officially off duty.  It's been non stop since I left home at 2.30 pm to pick them up and when the lights out at 7 pm, I'm off the clock (well I'm really on call 24/7) but this is my end to my official work day, then I'm on know where you work late nights to get stuff done with no interruptions.  There's the tidying up the kitchen, checking notes and the 101 other things mothers do but once they're in bed that's my time.

So tonight Sienna went to bed but couldn't sleep because she was too excited....she kept coming out to see me and the last time she came into my bedroom at 9.50 pm still awake because she couldn't sleep.  Normally she is fast asleep by 7 pm so this was clearly her little mind waiting for the morning when it would be her birthday.

On the present front there's presents from Mummy and James and Nanny and Pop in Melbourne, Aunty & Uncle and cousin in Melbourne and then my sisters (her Aunties).  I usually get the kids to open Nanny and Pop's present the afternoon before the birthday so that they can take the time to enjoy the present and appreciate the moment.  I'm sure you can relate to Christmas day where present after present is open so quickly that at the end of the unwrapping you have no idea who gave what to them since they are all lumped together so for birthdays I like them to enjoy the moment.  This afternoon she opened Nanny & Pops present which she was very excited about.  Also Nanny and Pop sent a tiny gift for James and one for me also.  James got a little clip on light to read in bed and I got some beautiful soaps which I love and had just run out of that morning.

Here's some photos of the present unwrapping and the yummy cupcakes I made today.  I made mini chocolate ones with royal icing for her to take to school to share with her class.  

She was laughing in the photo above the mini cupcakes because James had discovered one of the names of the paint colours on the back of the box called "Burnt Sienna".  Sienna thought this was hiliarious and we have talked about this before that Sienna is a colour - reddish brown.  They thought "Burnt Sienna" as a paint colour was very funny indeed.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Home Made Raspberry Jam

I have longed to make some home made jam however the whole "canning/preserving" thing seems very intimating to me.  Reading a book sounds great however for this particular hobby I would like to be shown how to do it by someone already doing it.   A couple of years ago I did attempt to make Strawberry Jam in the Bread Maker as mine has a jam setting on it however the kids didn't like it, the strawberries cost me a fortune and the bread tin ended up with hard set sticky jam on it which required the assistance of my good friend to help me scrape it off the tin.

So with my first attempt was a complete failure on so many levels and I haven't tried making it since however I love the idea of home made jam and my lovely friend Karin just made some plum jam to be kept in the fridge eaten rather than storing it for a year on a shelf so I got up the courage to give it a go.

Actually it was pretty simple as I just used the Thermomix and sterilized the jars in the oven and it was all done in no time at all.  I found the instructions on how to sterilize the jars in the oven from Rhonda at Down to Earth Blog.

I made 3 jars of jam and the kids and I love it and really appreciate their Mum making them home made jam.  They know that home made things taste better, they know because they are home made they don't have nasty chemicals in them and are way better than the store bought items.  I get lots of love from them for things like this....yeh Mum....

I used this Thermomix recipe and bought frozen raspberries which were the cheapest at the supermarket at the time.

I checked the "per kilogram" pricing to work out the best price for the raspberries, not the box price which I was explaining to James in the supermarket the other day when I saw the blocks of cheese.  I was trying to show him the blocks of cheese look the same, same brand, same packaging, different flavour, ie mild vs tasty and they were both $6.50 however one had 50 gms less.  They both looked identical and yet one was $11 per kg and one was $9 per kg.  It takes a mathematician to get around the supermarket these days and not get ripped off by very clever packaging.  A while back I worked out the ham the same way, same packing etc. yet one had dropped their net weight to 80 gms instead of 100 gms and no one is the wiser so the price goes up because you are getting 20% less product but when you are buying it the price is the same as it was last year and the same packaging. (now I've had my little rant about the clever ways companies are trying to rip off consumers I'll get back to my jam making adventure).

After I had made the jam it only seemed fit to make some scones for afternoon tea as well.  I normally make scones using a recipe with buttermilk and the scones are soft and fluffy however I didn't have any on hand and didn't want to make a special trip to buy some so I used a recipe on the net however I will definitely go back to my buttermilk scones next time as there was no comparison.  The kids had no problems devouring the scones and jam so it has been a very successful jam making venture and of course there are the beautiful little jars to put the jam into.

I would love to learn how to do canning properly one day however these little jars of jam are going to be consumed before they will ever have the chance to go off.  Has anyone else made jam recently?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sibling Bickering

We all get that siblings annoy each other and that's just life.  There were 5 kids in my family who had to get along, take turns and whatever else goes with 5 kids.  My kids only have one sibling each and therefore only have to negotiate with one person which TV show they are going to watch, who's turn it is on the trampoline, who is walking through the door first, who is having the first or last bath however lately they are annoying each other (and one more so than the other) what seems to be like 24/7.  Surely if you have to share or take turns with one other person your life should be pretty easy.  I know I am not imagining it and it is driving me to complete and utter distraction, so much so that I sent these two little photos on my phone to two of my girlfriends saying........HELPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP.  Do you ever feel like you are going to tear your hair out if someone says one more time "he/she is being mean or annoying me"

At least I got a giggle out of the photo/text messages but in real life I was not laughing. Just send the TV camera's and Jo Frost because I know we would have a top rating TV show on our hands - we are the "before's" at the moment.  How do you feel when it just doesn't seem to let up.

Kids being Kids

Kids these days live very differently to kids in my day.  We used to get on our bikes, ride up and down the street, ride to the shop, go down to the creek at the bottom of our street with buckets and nets and look for fish, tadpoles and generally ride to each others places during the day time all without our parents.  There other kids living in our street and we all hung around together.  My kids are now 9 and 6 (Sienna is 7 next week) and they have never even ridden their bike on the road (I've made sure of that).  They are more protected these days and whether we just didn't hear about those "not so nice things" happening back in my day, these days with TV, Social Media, Twitter, Instagram, videos on U-Tube and the like, we actually are right there witnessing things live as these events unfold even though we read about events in the newspaper we actually watch them live.

I remember in September 2002 I was watching the TV with the Twin Towers in New York after the first plane crashed into it and then stood in my lounge room all the way over the other side of the world in Australia and watched live as the next plane crashed into the second tower.  We watched the Tsunami live on TV as it is happening, so we are made aware of events around us and events on the other side of the globe as they unfold in live time

Anyway back to my story of me riding my bike on the road as a child and my kids are 9 and 6 and haven't done that before.  Last week I took them to the bottom of our street which is a dead end and unless you live in the 2 houses opposiste you wouldn't really have a need to drive into this section of road however we walked down there and the kids rode their bikes on the road.  I sat on the footpath watching them thinking how this was a big deal for me to let them ride on the road and how safety conscious I was compared to what we did as kids.  There were no helmets in my days, we had big banana handle bars on our bikes which were all the rage and we all wore home made Hawaiian shorts and crop tops which I made myself using the old treadle Singer Sewing Machine.  Just in one generation how things change, and I can't even begin to imagine how different the lives of kids that James and Sienna will have in the future will be different to their lives now as kids.  All parents want the same thing and that is to protect their kids and keep their children safe.  I just think about Daniel Morcombe as a 13 year teenager and I can't help thinking we are not over protecting our kids these days.  Goodness knows when I have to protect them from people on the streets and these days it's people who you can't see you also have to protect them from ie inside computers.  Those ones are the worse kind because they are a "nothing".  Someone approaching them on the street who makes them feel uncomfortable is one thing but someone out there in the world of the internet who they can't see, well that is an entirely different story.  Kids don't know what they don't know.  The world certainly is a very complicated place in 2013.  In the meantime look at my kids riding on the road.....unfortunately it did result in one of them having a big tantrum which made it unpleasant well - for me mostly but I tried to be the mother and give them a little bit of freedom by having a ride on the road.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Treasured Artwork

Last year for Mother's Day Sienna gave me a drawing with some words on it which were very special to me.  I put the drawing away in my draw because I wanted to keep it so I could frame it.   As the piece of paper it was on was very long and skinny (ie longer than an A4 piece of paper) I didn't know how I was going to frame it.  Yesterday I decided to scan the artwork and cut and past each of the words to fit onto a 6x4 photo and then I printed it at home and popped it into a little white Ikea frame.  I soooooo love 6 year olds stick people drawings and I love the way we are holding hands and I love the way I have different coloured hair to Sienna.  I just LOVE LOVE LOVE this little bit of artwork that comes from Sienna's heart to mine.  Here's the 6x4 picture which I scanned into photoshop.  This is what I call valuable art.  I'll try and dig James beautiful pictures out and scan them as well as his was equally meaningful to show me what he thinks of his Mum and how I love him and Sienna.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Around Here

We have been busy getting back into the school routines and trying not to drop all the balls at once however I have just realized today 2 balls have already been dropped when I thought I was on top of it 100% today.  I am still taking my photo a day and love snapping some Instagram Pics on my iphone also.  This weekend I have to copy photos onto a USB stick and get them printed to go into my Project Life Book.

Here's a few pictures of what's been happening around here.  The Block Renovation Show is back in full swing and I love this show and that's about the only thing that's on at the moment.  Rosie and Jazzy our chickens are enjoying wandering around the yard as soon as the kids come home.  Sienna lost another tooth yesterday so that's one for January and one for February and today I had a few girlfriends around for morning tea and all of them brought me chocolate for Valentines could be any day of the week they bring me chocolate and it would be I am stocked up on chocolate to help get through those moments when the laundry is everywhere, the kids are annoying each other and you feel like running away with the circus so here's some photos of our week.