Not a craft Mum

Log onto pinterest and type ‘kids craft’ into the search bar. You’ll be inundated with endless pictures of bugs made out of pasta, flowers and birds made from plastic cups, busy bags, fluffy paints, 100 uses for a toilet roll and DIY learning games by the paper machete bucket load.

Empty Toilet Rolls Stack Up On a Black Background

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Have a look at my pinterest board and you’ll find 21 craft pins for kids.

I’ve attempted 1.

It was glow in the dark bubbles.

 

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Saaaaaaahhhh Cool

 

I’m not a craft Mum.

And that’s ok

 

When I had my first son, I had visions of caterpillars made from egg cartons, binoculars made with toilet rolls, newspaper pirate hats and pretty much every activity I had seen on Art Attack.

The only stand out craft we have made was a very hungry caterpillar out of paper and I did 90% of it.

I don’t enjoy arts and crafts, I really don’t and its taken me awhile to admit that…out loud because god forbid I be that mother who doesn’t allocate time to craft everyday. Any DIY project I attempt will end up looking like one of those ‘pinterest fail’ photos. I will cry if I ever see a meme floating around of my DIY with a ‘nailed it’ caption attached. That shit will follow you to the grave.

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I tried. I tried to collect recycling bits and buy glue and coloured card. I tried to organise googly eyes and buttons. I tried to have a dedicated craft area of our home but none of these things lasted. I ended up recycling the recycling bits because I hated having junk in our home, I packed away the craft area because it always looked cluttered and I got rid of the googly eyes and buttons because boy #2 came along and I just knew he was going to swallow one.

Instead I moved the card, the pencils and textas, the playdough, the paint and the colouring books into a cupboard that really doesn’t get opened that much unless the kids want the playdough.

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This is actually really cool…but I’ll never attempt it

My kids don’t seem to pester me for it, if they adored arts and crafts and asked me all day long then I would suck it up and give in but they don’t. S likes to draw and for his birthday from B he got a sketch pad and some nice pencils so he will draw quite a lot, B likes playdough and J would probably eat it if he could. When its someone’s Birthday they will usually make a card using a pre-packed Mr Maker kit and every now and then I buy these $3 craft kits from spotlight that has everything they need in it (thanks to my sister in law for showing me those little pretties, it makes me feel better about my parenting). Then of course there’s playgroup where we will do some sort of craft activity and S will obviously do some at school.

Is allocated craft time at home really that important? Am I a terrible mum for denying my children that. The answer is no, of course not. I don’t remember my mum ever doing craft with me, perhaps that’s why I don’t enjoy it, aha! its her fault! Geez mum, should have given me a frigging paint brush.

I cant sew either. If the kids need their favourite pyjamas stitched up or a teddy bears crutch closed together, they go and see Nanna and she fixes it with her sewing machine from the 70s (complete with green and brown floral travel case). If they need a costume for a party or school event, I go to spotlight or costume direct. I attempted textiles and design in year 9 and my best friend did all of my assignments except a baby’s blanket that I made and Mum still has it, most likely as a reminder of the only creative thing I have ever achieved.

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The thing is, some Mums love arts and craft and that’s awesome and they enjoy doing it with their kids and that’s even better. Some people love DIY canvas art or pencil holders, me? I would just rather go to Kmart and get that stuff. But seriously, why do we try to do things that we don’t enjoy just because we feel like we have to? I really used to feel like a bad mum because I saw so many adorable things people were doing with their kids and here I was with a $3 pre packaged spotlight bag. But as I’ve grown as a Mum I’ve realised that to be a good mum, all you have to do is find things that you do enjoy doing with your kids and do them as often as you can.

I may not be a craft mum but I’m a Mum who will read her kids a bedtime story every night and I’ll read with expression and different voices for every character, I’ll play lego until the sun comes up, I’ll kick the footy or play a game of soccer or cricket on the back lawn every time my son asks me to. I’m a Mum who will tickle and join in the big bull game with Dad, I’ll never pass up an opportunity to watch them ride their motorbikes or to go and catch yabbies at the Dam, I’ll pretend that my code name is ‘beauty’ when we play road wars in the car and I’ll absolutely make sure I say ‘over’ after every radio communication in the car cockpit. I’m a mum who will sign her kids up for every sport they want to play and I’ll be there to watch every game and every training session, I’ll take endless photos and actually have them printed in photobooks and not leave them on the hard drive forgotten, I’ll jump in puddles and climb trees, I wont flinch when my son brings a lizard inside and I’ll totally fire up google when he wants to find out what kind of lizard it is. I’ll make a cake with them and even though its slower, I’ll let them crack the eggs and of course lick the bowl at the end, I’m a mum who will listen to their stories and give just the right amount of enthusiasm at the right moments, I’ll play eye spy in the car and I wont pull them up on the fact they’ve changed their letter twice during their turn. I’m a mum who will make paper plane after paper plane because they’ve landed in the dog water or on the roof, I’m a mum who will fly kites and go on bush walks and show them how to handle animals gently. I’m a mum who will take them in the garden and let them plant the seeds one at a time so that they can be proud when they start to grow because they planted them.

I may not be a craft Mum but I’m still a good Mum.

 

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Why Hello there 2016!

First and foremost, Happy New Year. Bit late, but as they say better late than never. We went away over Christmas/New Year and the break was exactly what we needed. Although a holiday with little humans is never that relaxing but none the less it was good to get away.

Since getting home I’ve had a chance to think about this year, there are a few plans in the pipework with the house and N has already dug his heels in deep with more landscaping around the place. I’ve now got beautiful front gardens and entry paths, waiting for a bit cooler weather to plant them out. They are huge, they will need some serious planning.
Anyway I didn’t really make a new years resolution but I just thought about the things I want to accomplish this year and this is what came up:

  • Be more productive
  • Declutter the house
  • Swear less
  • Continue working out
  • Do 5 chin ups

 

So the last two are pretty straight forward, I’m already working out/eating well but I want to continue that to get to my goal of 5 chin ups, I can currently do half a one. Such a weakling but 4 weeks ago I couldn’t even do that so I’m getting somewhere at least. I seriously slacked off over Christmas and ate all the things. But now we are back in routine, I’m straight back into it.

And yes stop swearing. I swear too much, its so bad.

As for the first two I thought about how I’m going to tackle those two. Back before I had J I use to use a system called ‘the six list’.  Read more about it here, but basically what you do is at the start of every day choose six things you want to accomplish for that day in order of priority. Complete each one and tick it off, if there is anything you haven’t completed then put it on the next day. Like I said, I use to use this method before J was born but then all of a sudden I had three kids and life was cray cray that I could barely manage one thing let alone six and its safe to say my house has been a shamble ever since. Which is a shame because I think using the six list when I had J would have been a useful tool but I think I was stuck in ‘I still have two children and can do all the things’ mode and my six list was a little ambitious.

Which brings me to my next point, keep it manageable. Don’t put 6 massive jobs on it that you have no hope in hell getting done. Maybe choose 1-2 bigger jobs and 4-5 smaller jobs, obviously depending on your day/time constraints.

For example my six list for today

  1. Start on laundry cupboards
  2. Blog Post
  3. Hang new clock
  4. Empty Buffet Spare Drawer
  5. Make Yoghurt

I’ve completed the whole list, except the yoghurt which I will do tonight. I write it down on the side of my weekly planner on my fridge so its in front of my face all day.

 

Moving on to point 2, declutter the house. Again since J has come along I’ve obviously had less time and my house seems to be getting cluttered. Its not too bad, I’m the total opposite of a hoarder, I love throwing stuff out. But even for someone like me, its easy to accumulate crap. So each day that I’m home, I’ve given myself the challenge of decluttering an area of our home. Nothing big, so instead of doing the whole wardrobe in one go, I’ll do a section of it. If you look back to todays six list, I’ve put ‘start on laundry cupboards’ rather than try to do it all at once which is way to daunting. But I’ve started and I’ve done what I can. I need to make a space in the pantry for my vacuum cleaner which currently lives in the laundry cupboards that I want to put my towels in.

As part of the challenge, each day I have to get rid of one thing. Either throw away, donate or sell. Today I got rid of the old vacuum cleaner…to make room for my Dyson! Woohoo!

During the last week I’ve been organising our bathroom cupboards. They actually weren’t too bad, they just needed a clean and to get rid of a bunch of stuff I don’t use. Basically I just want to make better use of the storage space we have. Here’s my cleaner cupboards.

 

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My side of the cupboards has my cleaning caddy for the bathroom and our bedroom plus my Katcher window cleaner, my extra toiletries (deo, fake tan, moisturiser), towels for our bathroom, nail stuff and toiletry bags. N’s cupboards just have his toilet bag and some moisturiser plus spare toilet rolls.

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My makeup drawer

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Extra bits and pieces that I use most days.

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And my hair appliances

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N’s top drawer is his man stuff

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And shaving drawer

Much neater and much  more practical than before. I just had too much stuff in there and the space wasn’t being used effectively. As for the drawer dividers, mine are from ikea and N’s are from red dot.

So that’s me really, I would like to continue my blog and have made the decision to try and blog at least once a week. I don’t think that I can commit any more than that at this stage but we will see how it goes.

Few more decluttering jobs for the next week:

  1. Kids craft cupboard
  2. Bottom of pantry (to make way for Danny..the dyson. I think its way more practical to have it in the kitchen)
  3. Linen
  4. Continue with laundry
  5. Bottom of S wardrobe

That should keep me busy. If you want to join in then show us your decluttered homes on social media. Use the hashtag #dailydeclutterchallenge. I cant wait to see the results!

See ya round like a rissole

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Super Easy way to clean your Oven Trays

before and after ovensWhen we went shopping for our new ovens, the smiley salesman talked me into buying the pyrolytic  ovens and then I somehow managed to talk my husband into buying not one, but two pyrolytic ovens. I mean, they could clean themselves! Why wouldn’t you buy them? Well, what they actually do is completely incinerate anything left in the oven and turns it to Ash, that you then  just wipe away, its that easy, just wipe it away.

So we bought them and I drove home feeling incredibly chuffed with myself, N drove home scratching his head as to how and why we bought two ovens. But anyway I was stoked. No more scrubbing for me. Oh how wrong I was.

Fast forward a couple of months and the day came when I could finally test out my flash self cleaning ovens. I had been checking and rechecking my ovens to see if they were dirty enough to warrant using the pyrolysis function. I grabbed my manual and flipped to the right page to see what I needed to do and almost cried when I saw the first instruction,

“Take out all oven trays”

SAYYYY WHAAAAAAAAAAAA??!!

No, no, no the smiley salesman said they would clean themselves! What use is a self cleaning oven if they don’t clean the trays? And what’s worse is I didn’t just have one set of trays to clean, I had two sets! Stupid smiley salesman ‘forgetting’ to share this information. If I ever see him again, I would seriously punch him in the face.

So for the past two years I have been happily cleaning the actual oven with the push of a button and I’m not going to lie, it still is pretty cool. One oven is predominantly the meat oven so it gets pretty nasty. But I have been cursing smiley salesman every time I scrub the trays which never ever ever ever come up clean, especially meat oven trays. I may have killer biceps on my right arm but I still have dirty oven trays and that is just not ok.

So I took action into my own hands, I jumped on Facebook and asked around as to what I could use. A bunch of suggestions came up to use things I didn’t have already, but then a couple of people suggested Napisan, I have that!

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So basically all you do is pull all of your trays out and pop them in the bath.

trays in bath

I suggest putting a towel down to stop the trays scratching your bath. Then, sprinkle 1 cup of napisan over your trays.

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Fill the bath with hot water until it covers your trays. It was suggested to let it soak overnight but I just let them soak for about 4-5 hours.

bath full

So after 4-5 hours I grabbed a scourer and wiped over the trays and all the gunk came right off! A couple of places with more stubborn marks took a little scrubbing but nothing compared to how I use to scrub. Life changing, in the time it took me to do one tray I can now do all of the trays.

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TA-DA! Amazing, so sparkly!

after trays

The filters at the back also came up really well, as did the drip trays at the bottom. There had been marks on the drip trays that I had never been able to get off, but I managed to scrub them off using a little elbow grease. Chucked them back into my freshly cleaned ovens and stood back to admire them. I was super excited when I told N although somehow I don’t think he shared my enthusiasm, I think the day we bought two ovens still haunts him. However, he doesn’t complain when I cook two roasts at a time now does he.

one oventwoovens

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How your parenting style changes from kid to kid.

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I always thought I was a pretty cruisey mum, it wasn’t until I had baby number three that I realised, maybe I wasn’t as cruisey as I thought. I remember taking my baby home from the hospital and feeling so overwhelmed with the task ahead. What was I supposed to do with this small, crying, shitting human who was constantly hungry? I had no idea. Every book I had read I had forgotten. Everything I thought I knew about being a mum seemed like a bunch of crap. Each day I slowly navigated my way through motherhood, learning as I went and now five years later as I juggle my three boys I look back and realise just how easy that one little bub was. He was by far my easiest baby or perhaps I just had more time on my hands to feed and settle and he just seemed easier, I’m not sure. But none the less here are a few things that have changed along the way.

Cot Setup

Kid #1 – You spend forever searching for the perfect cot set complete with matching bumpers and mobile.

Kid #2 – You find cot sheets that compliment your nursery and a matching mobile

Kid #3 – You grab the first set of sheets you find on the shelf because you need to be back in time to pick your eldest up from School, your youngest is having a tantrum because you made him get off the merry-go-round in the food court and you’re so fat and pregnant because you have left everything to the last minute. Shit! You still need a car seat!

Bottles

#1 – You sterelise everything.

#2 – You wash the bottles on their own in boiling hot soapy water, then rinse and leave them to dry on their own rack.

#3- You wash bottles with everything else and leave them to dry with everything else.

You know your child doesn’t have a peanut allergy because:

#1 – You wiped a little peanut butter on their arm and if they didn’t have a reaction you proceeded to give them a tiny taste with your mobile phone next to you in case you needed to phone 000. You then monitored them closely for the next 24 hours and checked on them 2-3 times while they were asleep. You also followed this same strategy with taste number two.

#2 – You gave them a taste, made sure they didn’t react and proceeded with your day as normal.

#3 – You found your baby nibbling on an almond he found on the floor.

Activities

#1 -You have signed up for mothers group, playgroup, kindy gym, rhyme time, swimming lessons, story time, toddler dance and never missed a session unless its during naptime.

#2 – You take your baby to swimming lessons and one of the others.

#3 – You take your baby to its older siblings activities.

Nap time

#1 – You do not go anywhere during naptime, visitors are not allowed over during naptime and you plan your day according to naptime.

#2 – You plan around when the two kids are having a sleep at the same time otherwise baby can sleep in the pram/car.

#3 – Baby is woken up for school drop off/pick up, extra curricular activities and spends 80% of naptime either in the car or in the pram.

First foods

#1 – You introduce one pureed vegetable at a time every few days as per the instructions in the baby food book.

#2 – You give bub a mixture of pureed vegetables or whatever you are having.

#3 – You give bub whatever you are having.

Water

#1 – You give cooled boiled water until 12 months

#2 – You give cooled boiled water until 8 months

#3 – You don’t give cooled boiled water.

Toys

#1 – Has a large variety of Lamaze baby toys.

#2 – Plays with the leftover toys from 1st baby.

#3 – Plays with the items in the utensil drawer

Parenting/baby research

#1 – You read every book, magazine and internet article you can find on pregnancy, child birth, breastfeeding, baby food and commit them to memory

#2 – You have a flick through a few magazines/books that you didn’t read last time and wished you had.

#3 – You got this shit, you’ve done it twice before.

Hospital Stay

#1 – You don’t want to leave hospital because you’re shitting yourself about taking care of this small human by yourself without the nurses on call 24/7

#2 – You cant wait to get home to your own bed and your cute little toddler

#3 – You don’t want to leave the hospital because your meals are brought to you, you can pee in private, watch what you want on TV and taking care of a newborn is a breeze compared to what awaits you at home.

Baby Milestones

#1 – You encourage your baby to roll over, sit up, stand and walk.

#2 – You help bub reach them but you don’t push it.

#3 – You duct tape your baby to the floor

Breast milk

#1 – You are constantly doubting your supply, you are constantly trying to boost your supply with excessive pumping and eating every milk boosting food under the sun.

#2 – You know you have enough milk but you pump once a day anyway.

#3 – Who has time to pump just to boost milk, you know you have plenty anyway.

And last but not least:

Kid #3 – Most days begin with coffee and end with wine.

What things did you do with your first that you don’t do with your third?

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The Beginners Guide to a Green Smoothie

green smoothie

I know what you are thinking, it’s not rocket science. Grab some baby spinach and some fruit and chuck it in a blender with some ice, pour into a mason jar with a cute straw and voila, instant superfood, right?

Wrong. If you don’t know what you are doing it can be disastrous. Getting the right blend of ingredients is much like getting your vegemite toast right, the vegemite to butter ratio has to be perfect and that can take years of practice. And if you get it wrong, be prepared to gag and never want to try it again.

We all know the benefits of a green smoothie. It’s full of green stuff and we know that’s good for you because our mums told us so. They gave us the same spiel that we now give our own kids. Eat your greens; you’ll grow up big and strong. Sweet! Hand me that glass of greeny goodness. But for me, I have found green smoothies help dramatically with my skin. I have the skin of a teenager; I get pimples like no other. Actually I think it’s worse now than it was when I was a teenager because back then I was trying super duper hard not to get pregnant and I was constantly on the pill, but now, for the last five years I’ve either been pregnant or breastfeeding so my skin is like a full on pimply battle field. So during Summer I was drinking one a day, without fail and my skin was beautiful. It was clear and glowing and delightful, yes delightful. However Summer turned to winter and I got out of my smoothie habit and my skin took a nose dive back to 2005. Call it coincidence or whatever but for the last two weeks I’ve gotten back onto the smoothie bandwagon and again, I’ve noticed improvement. So I’m staying on.

Plus of course it’s a great way to great extra veg into the kidlets. S will drink a green smoothie no problem, B will drink about half but that’s ok as long as he is drinking it I don’t care. I sit there smiling happily to myself knowing they are ingesting 3-5 different kinds of veg. High five to me.

So, how to make the perfect green smoothie. Keep it simple people. Don’t go crazy adding your LSA or your chia seeds and powdered green superfood, you can do that later. The key to a really great green smoothie is to use more veges than fruit and to use a range of veges you wouldn’t normally eat for maximum nutrient benefit. For example, I eat a lot of baby spinach already, in salads and with my poached eggs, so I don’t see the point of adding more to a smoothie. I might as well use something I don’t normally eat, like Kale. However if you are new to the smoothie world, stick with baby spinach as it’s not as bitter as Kale. And like I said, try and add a variety, not just one vegetable. The more the better. My vege intake bumps up to 10 a day when I drink a green smoothie.

veg

So to begin with find a base leafy green. Like I said I use Kale but you could use baby spinach, silverbeet, English spinach or even beet greens. I use both kale and silverbeet because it’s really easy to grow so you can grow it yourself and have an endless supply. You just keep picking it and it just keeps on growing. And aphids hate it, they won’t touch it. Unlike Kale, which they ruin every year. Chuck your base green into your blender, start with a good handful, you can add more as you get used to it.

Next you need your fruits. Ideally you want 1-2 fruits but if you need 3 then whatevs, just try and cut back later on. No I don’t believe all this, fruit is full of sugar bullshit but since a green smoothie is about the veges then let’s try and stick to them. A banana is always my main fruit, always. You can get them any time of year, they freeze well, they are sweet and they make your smoothie creamy. So chuck your banana in. The next fruit I use is usually an in season ‘tropical’ fruit. I have tried just using pears, apples or oranges but I find they don’t mask the flavour enough, perhaps with baby spinach but not so much with your stronger green veges. So I look for things like mango in summer and rockmelon in winter. I am not a huge rockmelon fan on its own but in a smoothie, it’s great. It’s up to you how much you use. I use about 200g but that is for a big smoothie that feeds me, B and S. Don’t use berries. They will make your smoothie a really ugly colour when mixed with green vegetables. So not good for Instagram.

Now you want to add your extra greens. My go to is cucumber and celery. Cucumber is fabulous in neutralising the overly green flavour, it’s practically tasteless but very refreshing. Otherwise I like to use things like Brussel sprouts, the green bits off cauliflower, avocado or beet greens. The more I’ve got, the more I use. But if you are just starting out, stick to celery (half a stick) and about a 4cm chunk of cucumber.

Next you add your water. I like my smoothie fairly liquidy, I can’t drink it if it’s too chunky and neither can my kids. They prefer it juice like. So I use about 450ml of water (again this is for me and the two boys, if it’s just for you then start with 200ml. Add more or less as you need). Then I add 4-5 blocks of ice, it tastes better if it’s cold.

Now blend it up. I blend my smoothie in my thermomix for 1 minute. There is not a single chunk left, I can’t stand chunks. You need a good blender, especially for kale and celery. Have a taste and add more fruit for sweetness or water if you need it.

Once you have found a mix you like then you can add other healthfoods. I just find if you go guns blazing in the beginning then it’s going to be hard to find out what needs taking out/putting in to make it taste nice. I don’t really add anything to mine. I don’t see the point in adding powdered greens because my smoothie is full of greens anyway and I already eat a range of seeds and nuts every day in my muesli. I have tried adding my protein powder but it made it taste really gross because it was a vanilla protein. Perhaps a plain protein powder would work better (I use bareblends as they are all natural). I have added quinoa flakes in the past to up the protein content, or LSA.

So as a rundown:

Choose 1-2 base green (handful) – Any kind of spinach, Kale, silver beet or beet greens

Choose 1-3 fruits – Always use a banana plus 1-2 pieces of a sweet in season fruit like mango, pineapple or rockmelon.

Bulk it up with extra greens (start with small pieces and increase as you get use to them)– cucumber, celery, avocado, cauliflower leaves, nasturtium leaves, Brussel sprouts (start with 1)

100-400ml water depending on how watery you like it, start with 150-200ml and add more as you need.

Once you have a good flavour then add in extra super foods like LSA, chia, quinoa flakes etc.

Blend, enjoy and gloat about your superiority of being a green smoothie extraordinaire.

Or just enjoy, whatever floats your boat.

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Raw Chocolatey Deliciousness

I’m not sure if you remember but recently in a post I said I haven’t been able to find a raw dessert that my picky sweet toothed husband enjoys, I lied. I forgot about this little beauty I whipped up one afternoon. He said he would still prefer chocolate (who wouldn’t) but he ate it and he enjoyed it, so I know its good.

Yes, like many raw desserts it contains dates and nuts so if you have a nut allergy or you are avoiding fructose, stop reading, click back and find something else to sink your sweet tooth into. You also need a good food processor as the mixture gets quite sticky.

I don’t even know what to call it. Is it a chocolate slice or fudge or a brownie? so chocolatey deliciousness it is.

fudge

INGREDIENTS

2 cups walnuts

2 1/2 cup pitted dates

6 TBSP Choc protein powder (if you don’t use it then don’t add it in)

1 cup cacao (or cocoa if you aren’t fussed about it being “raw”)

2 TBSP raw honey (or rice malt syrup or maple syrup)

1-2 TBSP coconut oil

METHOD

  1. Chuck the walnuts in your food processor and blitz until fine, leave a few chunky bits if you want.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients in and process until combined. Add 1-2 TBSP water to help it combine if you need to.
  3. Line a 15×25 slice pan with baking paper and put the mixture into the tray.
  4. Smooth it out using the back of a wet spoon. Its super sticky so don’t stress about making it neat.
  5. Freeze until you achieve a consistency you can slice – usually about an hour.

Enjoy, don’t eat it all at once or that defeats the purpose of it being a ‘guilt-free’ dessert.

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Pizza Sauce

pizzasauce

It is Pizza night in the HAM+3 household, hear the kids jumping for joy. I’ve cut and prepped all of my toppings and while my pizza dough is proving happily on my kitchen counter I thought I would share my pizza sauce recipe. As always I make it in my thermomix but I will share the stove top version with you all.

pizzadough

INGREDIENTS

1.5kg Tomatoes

6-8 Garlic Cloves

1 onion

big bunch of basil

big bunch of oregano

50g olive oil

50g red wine

5g rock salt

METHOD

1. Using a food processor, chop up your garlic, onion, basil and oregano. Add your tomatoes and process until a puree.

2. Pour tomato mixture in a large pot, add the rest of your ingredients and bring to the boil. Then simmer gently for 30-45 minutes. It should reduce down to a nice thick sauce. Cook for longer if you want it thicker but keep an eye on it, you don’t want it to reduce all the way down.

3. Pour into a large sterilised jar and keep in the fridge. Enjoy on your favourite pizzas or make some pizza scrolls!

pizza

75 Things I want my boys to know

boys bush

Raising three boys is scary. But not because at any given moment you could feel a sword in your back at the same time as being told to “reach for the sky”, or turning around to bear witness to your child launching himself off an exceptionally large rock in an attempt to fly and nor is it because most nights you find yourself dangerously navigating your way through a sea of Lego. No, none of those reasons. Raising three boys is scary because that really is a whole lot of man you’re unleashing into the public. What if I get it wrong? There are enough douchey men in this world, I don’t need to be adding another three more. We all want to raise good, kind hearted, sensitive and loving men. But what else is important? I often find myself thinking of things I want my boys to know and so, my list of seventy five was born. I am sure there will be more, but for now.

  1. Love to read. Not read because you have to, but enjoy it.
  1. Deodorant does not take place of a shower; it doesn’t work if you don’t shower and it doesn’t work better if you put more on.
  1. Do not take your pants off while still wearing your socks. So very wrong.
  1. When you meet a girl, leave her just the way you found her. Don’t raise your fists or your temper at her. Don’t call her names or kiss and tell. Be a gentleman for goodness sake.
  1. This also means learning how to cook, girls love that shit.
  1. You can always call me or your Dad. I don’t care what you are doing, what time it is or how much you have been drinking, ring me and I will come and get you. Always.
  1. Work hard and don’t be a smart arse.
  1. Your teachers don’t care how cool your mates think you are, respect them and listen to them.
  1. It takes a bigger and smarter man to walk away. Never start a fight but by all means defend yourself if you are in danger.
  1. Whoever made the saying ‘nice guys finish last’ was an asshole. Be a nice guy.
  1. Food comes from the Earth, not from a packet. Eat healthy, wholefoods and exercise as often as you can. Your health is one of the most important things you can look after. You have one body so treat it well and it will reward you with a long life.
  1. Hug people and hug them well. None of this one-armed-half-assed bullshit. People will remember you if you hug well. Just don’t be creepy about it.
  1. If you want to look at Porn then go ahead, just be aware that it is acting. And make sure I don’t find it.
  1. Don’t speed, don’t drink and drive, don’t text and drive. Don’t do anything while driving, except drive.
  1. Whatever money you get make sure you spend a little, save a little, invest with a little and donate a little.
  1. Remember peoples birthdays and not just by facebook. Keep a birthday diary and ring people on their birthday. Especially me. And don’t forget Mothers Day.
  1. Buy your girlfriend or wife flowers just because. Buy a friend flowers just because and take some to your Nanna while you’re at it. Actually any significant girl in your life you can take flowers to just because.
  1. I also like flowers just because.
  1. If your girlfriend or wife just so happens to be a boyfriend or husband, no problem. You know how I don’t like to compete with girl’s affection around here so it’s cool with me.
  1. Find something you’re passionate about and don’t ever let anyone take it from you. Anybody who wants to shouldn’t be in your life.
  1. You will make mistakes, lots of them. The important thing is if you learnt anything from them.
  1. Say sorry and mean it. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it.
  1. Think before you speak/act and you won’t need to say sorry as much.
  1. Learn how to compromise, it’s a useful tool in all aspects of your life.
  1. Underpants are meant for underneath your pants. Don’t let them hang out of the top.
  1. You can tell me anything, I will not judge you and I will endeavour to help you if you need it.
  1. Take photos, lots of them and keep them organised. There is nothing worse than not being able to look back on your favourite memories.
  1. Which also means investing in a good camera, not just your iphone or whatever smart gadget is around 20 years from now.
  1. Learn how to shake hands properly. Your Dad will teach you that one.
  1. First impressions last, so make it a good one.
  1. That doesn’t mean you have to fit in, be yourself but be prepared for all situations.
  1. There is a time and a place for kicking around with your mates but there is also a time and place to be respectful, courteous and well mannered.
  1. Some good old fashioned gestures will never go unnoticed. So open doors for people, offer to pick your date up instead of meeting her somewhere and pull her chair out at said date.
  1. Know when to keep your mouth shut.
  1. Don’t hold grudges. Either figure it out or forgive and forget. Life is too short to hold that kind of anger.
  1. Sometimes the friends you have may change as you change. That’s ok.
  1. Accept it and admit it when you are wrong.
  1. Alcohol is not taboo. It’s ok to enjoy a drink, its ok to get drunk. It’s not ok to use it to solve your problems and it’s not ok to get so legless that you forget what your name is. But if you do, refer to point 6.
  1. Drugs will fry your brain, take all of your money, cause you to be in trouble with the law and will be incredibly difficult to give up. Just don’t even go there. Nobody looks at a drug addict and wishes to be him.
  1. Its ok to cry in private and its ok to cry in public. It’s ok to cry.
  1. Your Dad and I are on your side. We want you to succeed, remember that.
  1. Treat your girlfriend/wife as she deserves to be treated; remember she only has one life as well. Don’t ruin it for her.
  1. The same goes for your children. Give them a great childhood; you know kind of like the one we gave you. Be there for them, they won’t remember the fancy kitchen benchtops, new cars or the numbers in your bank account. What they will remember is you being there to watch their first football game or dance recital, they will remember you being there to teach them how to ride a bike, they will remember you tucking them in every night and reading them a bedtime story, they will remember you putting bubbles on your face and pretending to be Santa Claus when you gave them a bath and they will remember you throwing them in the air and knowing 100% you were going to catch them.
  1. If you want to get a tattoo, I advise you to wait until you are at least 25. Your 18 year old self may approve of the bionic sleeve but your 25 year old self may not.
  1. Don’t be a smart arse to policeman.
  1. Its ok to want to win, it’s how you act when you win that matters
  1. Its ok to lose, same rules apply.
  1. Don’t be mean to nerds, they run our country. Don’t be mean to athletes, they work hard. Don’t be mean to the artistic, they create beauty. Don’t be mean to people, they are people, like you.
  1. Taking a photo of your old fella and sending it to a girl is not a turn on. Do not do it. Ever. Even if you are asked to. Just don’t.
  1. Learn how to keep yourself, your house and your car clean. Unlike above mentioned penis photo, a clean man is a sexy man.
  1. Be nice to your brothers. They are the best and longest friends you will ever have. And it makes your Dad and I feel like super awesome parents seeing you guys love eachother.
  1. Change your sheets, weekly. Don’t argue. Just do it. Yellowing sheets are disgusting.
  1. If you cringe at how your friends act, choose new friends.
  1. Thank people, always.
  1. Do not ignore your bills, speeding fines and tax letters. They will not go away, just deal with them and if you can’t, bring them to me and I will help.
  1. Listen to people, not only to learn but to hear what they need to say. Take in what they are saying rather than thinking about what you are going to say next.
  1. If you get the opportunity to volunteer for a worthy cause, take it. It will make you feel like batman.
  1. Not everyone will like you, if they choose not to get to know you before they come to that conclusion then that is a reflection of them, not you. If they do know you but don’t like you, that is fine, not everyone has to get along.
  1. You don’t have to like everyone either, just don’t be an asshole about it. And make sure you get to know them before you decide you don’t like them; otherwise that does make you an asshole.
  1. Smile at people and say hello to strangers in the street.
  1. Yous is not a word
  1. Express your feelings. It doesn’t make you weak, it means you are human
  1. You can disagree with someone’s choices if they conflict with the standard you have set for yourself. However, it is not ok to judge them based on those choices.
  1. Never video your intimate moments, it never ends well.
  1. Be thankful for what you have, you may not have everything but you sure as hell have a lot more than some people.
  1. You do not know everything, no matter what your age.
  1. You can always learn something, so keep listening.
  1. Somebody, no matter their age, can teach you something.
  1. Attitude will get you further than skill.
  1. Always use protection. Teen pregnancy will make your life difficult, as will chlamydia.
  1. Have compassion.
  1. Do not follow trends in regards to haircuts. Find a timeless style that suits you and stick with it.
  1. Create a bucket list and accomplish it.
  1. Never start a sentence with ‘No offence, but…”, because it will always be offensive.
  1. Explore the planet and experience different cultures, learn the history of our world. You will always have a home to come back to so don’t be afraid to let yourself wander.
  1. I love you, I have always loved you and I will always love you.

Reward Charts

Oh lordy, I have been MIA lately. Apologies. School holidays and general busyness has gotten in the way. I have been doing a fair bit of decluttering and organising lately and I am itching for a visit to Ikea so I can start updating the boys toyroom. So  watch this space for more on that later.

But I’m here today to share my boys reward charts. For the last year or so I have been using a modified reward chart for S that I found at Kmart but since B has gotten to the stage of needing some encouragement I figured its time to upgrade. Problem is, I couldn’t find a reward chart that I liked. Most were chore charts but we don’t have set chores for the kids and a lot of them had Mon-Sun written on them which I didn’t want. I just wanted plain old reward charts in a design I liked. So I decided to make some myself. Nothing fancy but hopefully something that works.

But first, a little on my reward/discipline system. In terms of discipline I really like the 123 magic method. It seems to be working well for the boys and it pulls them up on their negative behaviour – namely whinging and whining which drives me mad. I like that it allows you to give them a reason why you want them to stop and then if they choose to ignore it you are able to stop the repetitive behaviour before you get to shouty stage. Which is what I had been doing and it was making me feel like shit. So since the adoption of 123, I shout less which is a win in itself.

But as for reward, I’ve tried a few different systems but they never seemed to last. That was until I started this latest method. I follow a simple system of encouraging good behaviours and helpfulness rather than giving a set chore list or set list of good behaviours. If the boys are playing nicely together then I will tell them that they can put a sticker on their chart, if they eat all of their dinner then they can put a sticker on their chart, if S has achieved something at school then he can put a sticker on his chart or if they do something around the house that’s helpful for example feed the animals, pick up their toys or clear the table then they get a sticker. So basically anytime they do something that warrants praise, they get a sticker. Like I said we have been doing this with S for awhile and its been great. B has just started using his reward chart but as you can see in the last 2 days he has put two stickers on. 

Once they complete a full row on the chart then S gets $2 pocket money and B gets a little page of stickers. Once they fill up the entire chart then they get to get something from the reward box. The reward box contains things that I know they will like. Sometimes if I am out shopping and I see something they might like then ill buy it and pop it in the box.

I don’t really take stickers off their chart for negative behaviours unless perhaps they have gotten to the count of 3 (in the 123 magic method) and we are out and I have no other option for a time out. However I usually have another option like no icecream at the end of the trip and to be honest they don’t often get to 3.

So since the boys are batman mad (you may recall the costume saga we had) I figured a batman chart for both of them would be great. So I created one just using paint and word, laminated it and popped in on the fridge. Because its on the fridge its magnetic and so I use the magnets from the old Kmart reward chart. However reusable stickers could work or even just ticking the boxes.

batman chart

I have made plain PDFs of the charts for anyone who wishes to use them. Or I have made ones that you can add a name underneath the bat. Enjoy

plain batman chart

name reward chart

And as for the costume saga, it finally came and it is amazing and S loves it. Please note, stingy Bali costume on B.

Lexi xxx

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Blueberry Sauce

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This is my favourite thing to have on my Greek yoghurt to give it a bit of flavour. My kids love it in their yoghurt also which is great because the kids flavoured yoghurts are full of sugar so this is a nice and healthy substitute. I do cook this in my thermie (cook on Varoma, speed 2 for 12 minutes and then blend) but I will give you the stove top recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1kg frozen blueberries

1 lemon, juice and zest (this much gives a noticeable lemony flavour so reduce to half if you want, but I like it, its nice and fresh)

1.5 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

1 green apple, sliced, skin on (optional, this gives it a bit of sweetness and the pectin in the skin will help thicken it)

METHOD

1. Combine all ingredients in a pot and cook over low-medium heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don’t boil.

2. Let it cool and then put into blender and blend until smooth.

3. Enjoy over yoghurt or whatever you fancy.

Lexi xxx

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