Friday, May 28, 2010

Taking time for mum

I had a light bulb moment this morning, mummy needs to book in "Me time".

My light bulb moment occurred as I was about to have a shower and I realised that my leg and underarm hair was nearly a groomeable length. The leg hair I could handle, I mean after all it is winter. But the underarm hair, I actually screamed and jumped back with shock. OK to much information you're thinking, agreed but I needed you to realise that when you are a mum sometimes the simplest of things fail to get done.

The problem is, that on the lengthy list of things to do each day kids are first priority, Hubby second priority (what he has the ability to take care of himself). The house is the third priority and Mummy is the last priority. On the majority of days mummy gets jumped off the list to another day (aka just dropped off the list altogether).

Why does this happen? Mothers these days are highly educated intelligent people who have temporarily dropped their careers to take care of their families. We all know that in order to properly take care of the family we need to firstly take care of ourselves. But do we do it? No. As there is always something more important that needs to be done, someone that needs taken care of, something that needs cleaning. Not only that, but we also take on extra jobs and constantly offer help to people even though we haven't shaved our legs in weeks. It seems when you become a mum your ability to say "no" is also eliminated. Pre children if someone asked me to do something, I would automatically say "NO" (loudly) sometimes even before they had finished asking. Once I had done this I could then consider the question and decide if I actually want to do it or not. Post children I say "Sure I can do that" and then "is there anything else I can do for you as well" and I actually mean it, I actually want to help. I get a thrill from helping other people, but sometimes the smarter thing would be to say "yes I can help you, but maybe after I de-forestise my legs."

I think as the children get older you learn to take time out, but with a new baby and a toddler it seems impossible. My mission for this month is to set 30mins a day aside for myself, granted it may not be in the middle of the day, probably more likely to be 10:30 at night but I will do it. My legs will not go unshaven again I will claim part of myself back, after all I am not just a mother, but a wife and a woman.

Minestrone soup Recipe

I just made the yummiest soup using veggies from the garden and whatever was in the fridge. Minestrone is the perfect soup to keep people healthy and warm in these cold days of winter. Now I am not normally a fan of Minestrone soup but after watching food TV and looking at the good old Edmonds recipe book I attempted to make one. This is what I did and yummo, it was exactly what my sick body felt like.

Some oil to fry onions etc in
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 leek
3 small funny looking carrots (ok so my carrots have not grown very big in the garden this year)
2 large potatoes
Half a cup cabbage cut thinly
4 leaves of Silverbeet
1 tin of beans, any but just not baked beans (well you could try but not sure how that one would work)
1 tin of tomatoes
Chicken stock ( or if you are like me and don't have any, a couple of packets of maggi onion soup etc)

What to do:
Chop up all of the vegetables.
Fry the onion and garlic, in oil or butter if you are feeling naughty.
Throw in the vegetables (remember just use whatever you have on hand)
Add water or stock depending on what you have available (I like to add twice as much liquid as vegies in this soup). I added a packet of onion soup and a packet of chicken noodle soup as I am quiet random and never seem to have stock on hand.
Throw in the beans and tomatoes from a tin, stir up and cover.
Leave to cook for a few hours.  Another option is to pop it in the crock pot and let it do its business.
Add salt to taste.
Please note if you choose to add pasta and are making more than one helping of soup, just add pasta to the soup you are going to use. Otherwise the it gets all gluggy and yucky the next time you want to heat up the soup.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sick Child Etiquette

How do you feel when you see a child that is all snoty with a cold at kindy, music or other activities? Do you take your children out when they are sick?

In the past I have always hermitised my daughter and I when either of us is sick. As I don't like going out and getting other people sick. Especially because my daughter is super cuddly and kissy with other kids and I would hate to have her smear her snot all over another child's face.

I on the other hand don't really mind if other children are slightly sick at kids activities etc but do mind when they are fully, green snot hanging out of their nose, sick.

With my second child having arrive in January I am now in somewhat of a conundrum . I now realise that with two children there is a huge likely hood that at least one of us will have a snotty nose at any given time during the winter.

So the question is; to go out or not to go out?

Having been in solitary confinement (ok trio confinement) for the past 2 weeks with my children, all of us having snotty noses, and coughs and feeling utterly miserable. I was at the point that I MUST see other humans or I would go mad. So this morning I ventured out to Kindy Music class. I was the only family member that was coughing by this point so I didn't feel to bad. In my defence after every cold I get a terrible asthmatic cough for a few weeks.

Another thing to note is that I was sanitising my daughters hands and making sure she wasn't coughing or snotty to prevent spreading what ever the evil bug was that we had.

Am I the only paranoid one out there or do I just need to chill out. I think I am slowly chilling as with two children now it is either chill or hibernate for the winter.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Introducing my friend Baking Soda

Ever since I got into this environmental kick I have been looking for alternatives to cleaning and beauty products available today. Ok I am no environmentalist by any means. I like to think of myself as a suburban environmentalist, I mean I care, but not enough to pull a muscle over it or anything.

When I first started getting all environmental, I tried all of the new "Green" products in the supermarket and health stores, trying to do my bit. Yes they were good but also very expensive, often more so than the normal products available . At that same time I was listening to a talk back radio show with Shannon Lush a cleaning guru. She was my hero, she could get stains out of anything and mostly using trusty Baking Soda and Vinegar. This started off my "what can I do with Baking Soda" kick. I tried using Baking Soda a lot of different ways and eliminated the ones that just didn't work for me. Three years later I am still using my favourites to clean, shine and deodorise my house. So here are my favourites:

• Soap scum cleaner: This gets rid of bath grim in a single wipe, so much better than those toxic smelling cleaners on the market at the moment. Mix Baking Soda and dishwashing detergent (for example Sunlight etc) to make a paste. Use this to clean your bath and shower , I also use it to clean my stainless steal kitchen sink as it makes it shine again. Great for any tough grime.

• Shoe deodoriser : If you have smelly shoes just sprinkle some Baking Soda in the shoes and remove it before you wear them.

• Fridge deodoriser: You can also put a bowl of baking soda in the fridge to absorb smells.

• Damp rid: Place a bowl of Baking Soda with a drop of your favourite essential oil in a damp area of the house. This will absorb smells and moisture, just remember to stir it up now and then.

• Sprinkle and Vac: Instead of buying expensive carpet deodorises just sprinkle Baking Soda over the carpet, leave over night if possible and then vacuum up.

• Brighten up your washing: You can add Baking Soda to you normal wash cycle to brighten up your washing, make a paste with water and rub into a stain. But be ware, it is said that Baking Soda and washing powders containing Baking Soda can damage your re-useable nappies (especially bamboo material) so be selective.

• Drain cleaner: put lots of Baking Soda and either boiling water or vinegar down the drain, this cleans it out nicely.

I like to buy a big bag of Baking Soda from Moore Wilsons etc, that way it is more economical than buying thousands of little packets from the supermarket. Enjoy your day and may the Baking Soda be with you.

A great site to reference other Baking Soda and green tips is:  Green Living tips

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How things have changed "In my day...."

I remember on long road trips my parents would give us the "back in my day" speech and tell us how it was when they were young. They described that there was no TV and when they did get TV it was only in black and white for a long time. "Wow no TV" we used to say but how did you survive, what did you fill your days with.

This got me thinking, what will I tell my children in my "back in my day" talk, what has changed over the years since I was young. I realised that it is going to be a dam big talk over multiple road trips, as so much has changed.

They are going to think we are sooooo old when I tell them that when I was little not only were there no cell phones our phones didn't have buttons on them and when it rang we didn't just pick it up, we had to wait to see if it was our ring, as we were on a party line. If we called a business, there would be no automated voice telling us what to press or say, we actually got a real person on the line and chances are they were located in an office down the road definitely not India or Indonesia.

How am I going to explain that we didn't have a computer until I was 8years old. When we got our trusty Amstrad, there were no flashy graphics or pictures, if we wanted anything we had to type it into DOS. Games were restricted to snakes, tennis (two lines and a ball) and battleships. We had no Play Station 1, 2, or 3 or PSP. No Nintendo Wii or other virtual games you can actually play and see it on the TV. Not only did we not have wireless internet we didn't have broadband or even a connection through the telephone line, we just DIDN'T have internet. There were no social networking sites, no tweeting, no email, no googling things you didn't know and definitely no blogs. People had to actually talk to each other to share their thoughts and feelings, we wrote letters and went to the post office to send it. If we didn't know something you had to ask dad or look it up in the giant and super heavy encyclopaedias. If you wanted to know something ,about someone you had to ask the village gossip rather than just googling them.

We had no digital cameras and online photo albums, we actually had to use a camera with film in it, then go and get it developed and put them in a real album. If you wanted to carry pictures of your friends and family around, you didn't just pull out your cell phone. You had to carry a little album around in your purse.

Back when I was little there were no iPods, let alone iPod nano, no dvds not even CD's. We used to have walkmans that played a tape. I am thinking by the time my kids are 7 or 8 years old that tapes will no longer be around. All of the tape players would have gone off to Florida to live with the record players that retired years ago. I can probably visit a museum to show my kids a record player, that I used to play my Muppets record on ( how old am I feeling right now). When we were young we had a big old box of a TV, if you wanted to move it you needed approximately 4 strong men it was so heavy. It only had 4 channels on it, luckily we only ever had 2 channels to watch when we were young so no worry about running out of space.

So many things have changed it is nearly impossible to mention them all, I mean shops weren't even open on Sundays, shopping wasn't a pass time, we went shopping when we needed things. Everything was simpler, or was that because I was young. What's scary is that things are changing every second, what will my children tell their children when they have their "In my day" talk.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The lost art of the dinner party

I have fond memories of all the dinner parties my parents used to host. Preparing food days in advance, the whole family pulling together to get the already spotless house clean and tidy. The best crockery was brought out and cleaned. The silver was shinned up until you could see your face in it. Tables were placed together in order to squeeze 12 or more people in. The nicest table clothes were pulled out along with their matching napkins (no paper napkins in sight). My job was to set the table with the best of everything. Now was the time to test my knowledge on which piece of cutlery goes were and in which order. Crystal wine glasses were pulled out of the display cabinet, I tell you it was a magical time. Once the guests had arrived and kids had been shown off we were all shuffled off to a separate room with our chippies and TV.

These dinner parties weren’t just a slapped together meal, it was often a four course meal. With soup for a starter, always rich and creamy. My favourite was the cauliflower and broccoli soup that were both poured into the bowl at the same time creating a fantastic bowl of soup with green broccoli on one side and white cauliflower on the other side. Then there were the entrees, white bait fritters, fish mornay in pastry cases or crapes wrapped around chicken and mushroom in white sauce. The main course was usually a selection of roasts, crispy potatoes and thousands of vegetables. Then my favourite course....... Ah dessert, the work that went into desert was just spectacular and what was better was that there was always left over for us kids to eat the next morning. There were homemade cream puffs, chocolate ├ęclairs, custard squares, cheese cakes, Pavlova’s (triple layer with banana and caramel lathered over it). Oh the memories of those tastes, it was pure heaven.

I have always been inspired by the effort involved in these parties and also the wonderful food that was created. But it seems that they don’t really exists anymore. Restaurants are so much easier, less preparation and no dishes to do. If I do have people around for dinner, it is usually just a roast and the deal is that the visitors bring a dessert). So I am determined to do one proper dinner party before I get to retirement age (that gives me approximately 30 years). Why you ask don’t I just do it now, wellllllllll although I can cook, I cannot really COOK. So practice I must. I have started.... I made pumpkin soup (easy I know) but this time I went by the recipe and it was actually nice. Over this winter I plan to make other more intricate soups. I am kind of excited about practicing desserts but the only problem with that is that we will be left to eat them and get fat, oh well sacrifices must be made for the greater good.

Oh and I just realised another complication, we don’t own nice crockery, or silver wear (or even the extra knives and forks involved in entrees and desserts) so the deadline of retirement may be a smart idea as it seems I have to save up for equipment as well.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Throw away society

Environmental rant of the month....

How things have changed. In my parents generation if something broke you got your trusty screwdriver out and fixed it, or if you really had to admit defeat you took it to someone to get fixed. These days if something breaks you merely throw it in the rubbish and buy a brand new, WAY better, one. In the process filling landfills and messing with the environment.

Back in the day you could buy quality goods that real people had made with materials that normal people can tinker with and fix. For example my parent’s fridge lasted, if I remember rightly, 27 years (pretty sure that one was replaced on their 27th wedding anniversary and not because it was broken). One of their original pot sets has lasted years, and to prove that point I have now inherited it and it is brilliant. I remember at my granddad's house, his teapot handle fell off so what did he do, he screwed a goat horn onto it and it lasted the rest of his life. In my mum’s day, when you were young you saved up your money and brought nice expensive sheets and towels and put them into your glory box to save for when you got married. People sewed their own clothes, knitted jerseys and cooked everything from scratch. They made jams, biscuits, cakes and chutney’s, grew vegetables in their own garden.

I miss those days and some of us will confirm that our generation are going back that way a little bit. We have a veggie garden, plastic house and I try and cook most things from scratch. I hate buying throw away cleaners, like disposable cloth window cleaners. I hate all the packaging around everything these days. I use reusable nappies and wipes and always recycle. I have more than one savings account and have never paid interest on my credit card, as it always get paid off in time.

I am reminded of the throwaway society, every day. We have a 21 year old living with us (and it’s not just him but most people his age). It scares me the way young people think and the fact we have a whole generation of people that think it is normal to throw everything away, not even bothering to give it away, or sell it. If a car breaks down, ah I will just get someone to take it away and buy a new one. Cell phones get replaced faster than I can say “oh you have a new cell phone”. The general ability to take care of one’s possessions doesn’t exist, as they are so easily replaced. Savings accounts..... who needs savings when you can have a credit card or overdraft facilities. Its all about competing to get the flashest things and the newest technology and it doesn't matter how you managed to pay for it.

Now I know I can’t fight the industrial revolution and the fact that people make money off creating goods that have a limited life span. I can’t change that goods are packaged to the max so that their product sells not their competitors; or that people in third world countries have jobs because of the throwaway society.

But what I can do is teach my children what I think is important and hope they buy into some of it. Like......
• That things don’t have to be thrown away all the time.
• If you take care of your things then they last longer.
• If you no longer want something then chances are there is someone out there who would buy it, or better still someone less fortunate that you can give it to.
• That it is important to save money and not rely on credit all of the time.
• The joy in growing your own vegetables and making food from scratch.
• That you don’t always need to buy flash cleaners etc when baking soda and vinegar does the job just as well.
• That there are consequences for every action you make so think wisely.

Anyway that is the environmental rant of the month, until next month, see you later.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Learning Hindi

Yes this is my new thing, some of you may think it’s weird, what a choice and why. Well to explain it, my husband is Fijian Indian and his whole family speak Hindi. My husband understands it and speaks a little but mainly smart arse Hindi.

So my reasons are that I want our kids to understand and speak Hindi, as I want them to retain their culture. More importantly I want to make sure that when Hubby’s family is talking in Hindi that they are not talking about me.

Quite often I am at family events (with older family members that don’t speak English) and I try to look like I am listening but....... after 2 hours of trying to listen to a language you don’t understand I am sure the best of you would tune out. So I start watching Hindi television, which to be honest is pretty dam good, again, I just wish I could understand it.

My mother in law is very good at explaining things to me, but still I struggle. I spent many hours learning from CD’s a few years ago, when we owned an Indian restaurant. But to be honest I am feeling my age and my lack of ability to retain knowledge. Is it always this hard to learn a new language when you are old (sorry older), I mean two year olds can pick it up WHY OH WHY can’t I.

So people I have my books and CD’s back out and am learning Hindi. I am even trying to learn how to write it, but at the moment having trouble trying to remember how to write the vowels. I am determined to stick with it (hold me on that people call my bluff). Most of you reading this are probably thinking, jeeze forget Hindi how about you try and master English. Yes I know but all in good time people all in good time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Starting out

Today I decided to do something with my life. Not that I haven't done something with my life already. As I have two wonderful kids and a lovely husband, a great house and basically everything I need. But now that the kids are giving me time to think, breath or whatever..... I think I should do more than be a business analyst. I mean what the hell is a business analyst anyway its just a name given to any job that doesn't actually have an exciting job title, like astronaut, biochemical engineer, exotic dancer you know the ones. So I decided that I need to find a new niche. Something that I am good at, something that is my special talent.

Now usually with a special talent you don't have to go looking for it, its just there. Like a friend of mine is a great sewer and has created her own business sewing groovy little kids clothes. Another friend creates websites and does a dam good job of it. A lot of other friends are teachers which I consider the ultimate calling. I tried that once and really didn't work for me. Ahhhh it drove me nuts, it is such hard work and the kids, don't even mention the kids.

So, my special calling, I thought about being an artist but it seems I am not that brilliant at that, doing paintings for my own house and presents seems as far as that one will go. I thought about sewing like my friend, but to be honest I can't even figure out how to get the sewing machine working let alone following a pattern. Then there is cooking but ask my husband, I don't think a business will be built out of that. What else is there left, I mean I can play the piano reasonably well, and basically do everything else, reasonably well. So it seems I don't have a calling or special talent that makes me, me. What makes me, me is that I am normal. So I thought I would start a diary and get writing and maybe I will find my special talent. Time to get my average thoughts down on paper, actually we are in the new millennium I am writing it on the computer.

So the the blog begins.......
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