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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Bunches

There's something about a little girl in piggy tails isn't there?? So cute. So sweet. So innocent. So incredibly cheeky :)











(*Note ... this post is purely and simply for my Mum to prove that I do in fact "do" Miss J's hair! Sadly though these piggies typically last two, maybe five, minutes if I'm lucky!!)

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Sunny Days

One of the best things about life in Bots would have to be the weather. Most days are blue skies and sunshine no matter the season. It rarely rains except during the wet season (Nov/Dec) and even then, for the last few years, rainy days have been few and far between.

We also typically get a good four to five months of pool weather - with the days so hot, hot, hot, that the only way to cool down is either under the air-con or a running leap into the pool.

But the days I like best are the ones we're having lately - a bit fresh first thing in the morning, but by midday the sun is shining and its lovely and warm outside. Every afternoon you can find the kids and I in the garden mucking about, playing, exploring, and soaking up that glorious sun.










 













Big Brother, Little Sister

There's something special about sibling relationships - the bond, the trust, the friendship. But the relationship between a brother and a sister is especially lovely and one to cherish I think.

Having an older brother myself, and knowing how nice that can be, (and also how annoying and painful!! Hello continuous smacks to the back of my head as I walked past!!) I am absolutely loving watching the bond and relationship develop between LL and Miss J.

LL is just starting to understand that he's the "big brother", that this is a special and important job, and what it all entails. He's starting to realise that he needs to help his little sister with some things, watch out for her, and help take care of her. He is also at times getting annoyed by her, wanting her to leave him alone, and not wanting her to play and join in his fun.

Miss J of course idolises and adores him. She loves it when he's around - when they play chasey, ride bikes, and jump on the trampoline together. Whatever he's doing she wants to be in the mix too. And even if he hurts her, pushes her away, or snatches the toy she's playing with, within seconds it's all forgotten and she's right back next to him or following him around.










The other day LL was crying - it was the end of the day and he was very much over everything. Miss J followed him up to the bathroom and tried to give him a hug and kiss - cause that's what you do in our house when someone is crying or upset. LL pushed her away and told her to leave him alone. I know he's young and he can't possibly understand yet how hurtful what he said and did can be, but I felt so sad in that moment for Miss J. The love of the baby sister is not always wanted or appreciated.

Thankfully LL's words and actions really made no difference to Miss J. But I really want LL to learn and realise how lucky he is to have a little sister. She is always going to love him. She is always going to idolise him. She is always going to think he's amazing, can do no wrong, and will always be his biggest cheerleader.

And biding all that, she will always, ALWAYS, think his funny faces and "poo poo" talk is just the funniest thing EVER!!!





Monday, 8 July 2013

Cheeky

Meet Mr and Mrs Cheeky ....



These two are getting cheekier and cheekier by the day.

Miss J is that one year old cheeky. You know the type - look at me I'm so cute, look at me, how clever am I, look at me, I can stand up in my high chair or the pram or on the chair or anything I shouldn't even try standing up on!! That type of cheeky.

LL, well he's just plain and simple three year old cheeky - answering back, you say do that but I'll do this, I don't want to go to bed, I don't want to eat this food, I don't want to brush my teeth, I don't want to have a bath, I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it, no no no no no and some more no, kind of cheeky.

Both types have two things in common - they are trying and they are tiring.

But at the end of the day they both make me smile as it's all part of growing up, and learning, and pushing the boundaries, and working out who they are.

Plus those cheeky smiles, well they are pretty cute!!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Soupy Kind of Weather

The weather is slowly, slowly, getting chillier around here lately. It is by no means arctic winter conditions but for Bots it's a little fresh. As a result, the winter comfort eating has well and truly kicked in at our place. Soups are a-go-go.

There are two in particular which I seem to be making on rotation. They are easy and yummy and so I thought I'd share.

Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup

What you'll need:
750g peeled pumpkin
1Tbsp oil
1 and half Tbsp red curry paste (I tend to a be a little more generous)
2 onions peeled and chopped
2 cups of coconut milk (approx 1 x 300g can)
2 cups of chicken stock

How to do it:
Cut the pumpkin into pieces


Heat the oil, add the curry paste and onions, cook for approx 4 mins, stirring


Stir in pumpkin, coconut milk and chicken stock


Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for about 15-20mins until pumpkin is cooked.

Puree in blender. And enjoy with some crusty fresh bread.

This soup is so good, and even better the next day when it has had a chance to thicken up a bit.

Bacon and Pea Soup

What you'll need:
4 rashers of bacon, diced
50g butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped into small pieces
2 litres of chicken stock
1 cup of frozen peas
250g risoni
2 Tbsp fresh parsley

How to do it:
Put the bacon, butter, onion and celery in large heavy-based pan, cooking for about 5 mins over a low heat, stirring occassionally

Add the stock and peas and simmer covered for 5 mins (I find it takes mine a while to come to a simmer so I up the heat to medium)

Increase the heat and add the pasta, cooking uncovered for 5 mins, stirring occassionally.

Add the parsley and serve.

This is super yummy and like the pumpkin soup is really good the next day once the pasta has soaked up more of the liquid.

Feeling a tad chilly of late?? Give these a go. I promise you won't be disappointed.

What's your favourite soup?


Pizza Night


After an impromptu complex driveway chat on Friday night with some of our neighbours, we decided Saturday night would be pizza night at our house. Mr B makes absolutely scrumptious pizza and every time he makes it, it just seems to get better and better.

Good food, great company, and a couple of drinkies - what more could you want??

Typically, we make the same ol' pizza toppings every single time - ham and pineapple, and either supreme or just meat. Last night we thought we'd branch out and have a go at something different (as well as our usual!).

When Mr B and I lived in Perth many moons ago, pre-Bots and pre-kids, we went to the Little Creatures Brewery down in Fremantle a few times for some lunch and beers. They made an absolutely delicious blue cheese and pear pizza. It was one of those things you always remember; it was that good.

So yesterday we tried to re-create that yumminess here in Bots. I found a random recipe that sounded about right on the internet and we followed that.






The kids were big helpers - LL especially!! Miss J just wanted to be in the mix. Unfortunately it didn't result in either of them eating any pizza as I had hoped, but still it was fun having them help.

The blue cheese and pear pizza came out ok. I, personally, wasn't raving over it as the blue cheese was a little strong for me, but Mr B, and the other husbands all seemed to think it was rather delicious.

We decided to follow the savoury pizzas with something sweet. A dessert pizza! I scoured the internet again for ideas. I was literally salivating as I scrolled through. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate seemed to be the general theme. Due to the lack of nutella in our pantry though, I shied away from the chocolate dessert pizzas and instead stumbled over this - Godfather's Cinnamon Streusel Dessert Pizza. I have a bit of a thing for cinnamon sugar at the moment so I knew instantly we had to make it. And we were not disappointed. It was divine. It was so good I had two, maybe three slices.

Image from here

Unfortunately I don't have any pics of my own to share. It was literally straight out of the oven and into our mouths. Just typing this now makes me want to go and whip up another one. MMMmmmmm.....

It was such a great night; I can feel another one coming on really soon.

An Evening of Books


Tuesday night this week saw me playing host to the lovely ladies of my bookclub for our monthly get together to eat, drink, chat, gossip, laugh, and oh yes ... talk about books.

With all the power outages and load-shedding we have been experiencing here lately in Bots, to say I was a tad anxious about the evening was an understatement. Would we or wouldn't we have power? Would it go off at 5, 5:30, 6, or 6:30pm, as it has been doing most Tuesday evenings. Would I get dinner cooked without interruption or would I have to resort to the BBQ as back up? The whole planning of my menu basically revolved around what I could transfer to the BBQ if needed.

In the end I decided on slow-roasted sirloin, with cheesy potato bake, and a salad. Followed by apple crumble (to which I added about a cup of frozen raspberries just to add some tang) and homemade custard.

For some reason my brain was a little mushy that day, and when reading the instructions for slow roasting the sirloin, I didn't take into account the recipe called for a piece of meat 2-3kg in size. My piece was about half that. So instead of adjusting the cooking time to suit, I followed it word for word. Idiot! Serious idiot!

Fortunately for me I have a food saving husband, and after it had been slow roasting for 4 and a half hours, Mr B realised it was more than done, and wouldn't in fact be needing the last burst of heat for 30 mins as the recipe suggested. I just about lost it. It was ready an hour too early. And upon first inspection it actually looked quite ruined. What the **** was I going to do?? I couldn't serve that up. It looked too dry and really there's nothing worse than dry, tough roasted beef. Arrrghhhhh!!!

To add to this state of confusion, we were in the middle of putting the kids to bed. LL was a bit hyped up due to Mummy having visitors for dinner, and Miss J, who was overfull on dinner and milk, proceeded to do a few power chucks to clear her system all over here sleeping bag. Cue more hysterics.

Some days I am just no good in a crisis. Tuesday was one of them. Thankfully I managed to stay calm enough to clean up Miss J (with Mr B's help), read her some stories, put her down to sleep, not yell at LL for not staying in bed, and welcome my first guests to the "disaster" of an evening. Chaos!

To calm down a bit, while Mr B assessed the meat, I took LL to light the candles for dinner. Thankfully there were a lot of candles, and with a bit of chit chat with some of the ladies, I was finally able to calmly investigate the dinner situation.

Much to my relief I found Mr B in the kitchen confirming that the meat was in fact ok. With some gravy or this sauce, it should actually be quite tasty. Relief; instant relief!

I proceeded to pour myself a glass of wine, welcome more guests, and got on with making the rest of dinner. After all the shenanigans it actually turned out pretty good. In fact the whole evening was lovely. Good food, great company, lots of laughter, some wine, and some chatting about books, it really couldn't have been any nicer.



LL helped decorate the table - he was all over the stickers for the name cards :)
 

 

Cheers!



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