Saturday, April 23, 2016

update on Evie's room - toys and books, organisation and space

Our living space is small. It works for us, we're used to apartment living and we really like it - but we simply do not have the space for dozens of toys, nor do we have a "toyroom" or a den to chuck them all in. And as I refuse to have a living area which resembles a toddler rave party, Evie keeps her toys mainly in her bedroom (luckily it is the same size as our master bedroom so she does have a lot of space in there).

I spent a few hours on Friday going through Evies toys and books, trying to organise things and make a bit of space.

Book storeage is my bete noire - the biggest struggle is trying to keep them tidy but still accessible for the kiddo. We have a small upright bookshelf from Aldi which holds a small selection, the rest are at toddler height in her built-in. And no matter how I arrange them, she is compelled to pull them all out all over the floor to get to one mofo'ing book! 

As you can see here, after tidying these seconds earlier she has pulled half of them forward to get the one she was after. It's not her fault, just not an ideal set up. I have seen a fantastic idea for a child-friendly book tub on legs, I am angling to have V make it for me (maybe in our next life when he's working during the day like a normal person and not perpetual vampire shift? hahaha sigh)

Stuffed toys are mainly in her bed - heaven forbid you try to get this kid to sleep without one of her "little friends" in there with her. They all have names and assigned spaces in her cot hahaha Thankfully I have managed to convince her to relegate a few of them to her lovely dolls' bed.

That teepee was such a great buy - it's rather larger than I would usually go for a kid's item but she loves snuggling up in there on her sheepskin with a book.

Any excess stuffed toys I manage to siphon out of her bed on the sly are stored in the bottom drawer of the tall boy.

The dolls' pram and the doctors kit are two much-loved items, that get played with daily.

This cardboard popup Paris came with the copy of Madeline which my brother gave to Evie for Christmas. It tends to get populated with little Schleich animals, and complicated scenarios are enacted involving hedgehogs swimming in the Seine and a lamb eating the flower seller's wares.

The dress-up basket in the background doesn't tend to get used all that much unless Evie has a friend over (especially her cousin who is a bit older and really into dress-ups!) 

That's pretty much it in the way of toys - poor deprived child hahaha Being limited on space is a great excuse for politely telling people not to buy birthday gifts! Until I can wrangle V into making that book bin, I think we are fine for now

Monday, April 18, 2016

weekend slow-down

The weekend has already been and gone, so I'm a bit slow off the mark - in my defence it's been flat out around the traps lately.

The tone for our weekends easing into the cooler weather has been slow and laid-back, just what we need with so much happening in the week.

This one is at an age where she is happy to play independently, but moreso lately she wants interactive play whether that be with her little buddies at daycare or mothers group, or with V and I. It's quite sweet, and certainly no skin off my nose sitting around in my jammies with a cuppa on a chilly Saturday morning. 

V has been working night shifts 6 nights a week, with Saturday the one night he doesn't work, so we took advantage of this and went out for Japanese for tea...

Meaning that the chicken I had in the fridge needed to be cooked the following day. Rather than roast it for just Evie and I, I decided to make it for Sunday lunch. It was rather well received by husband and child! hehe

Leftovers were turned into a slow cooked soup for our dinners - 11/10.

It was otherwise an uneventful weekend, which I rather like. V has been sleeping during the day of course, so Evie and I made a blanket nest and read her Brambly Hedge books...

And baked gingerbread with lemon icing.

Rounded out with a quiet Sunday evening of newspaper reading for mum and toys for bub, with the sun going down early and in spectacular fashion over our courtyard.

Here's to taking it slow, and enjoying every moment 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

rice pudding

What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She's perfectly well and she hasn't a pain,
And it's lovely rice pudding for dinner again!
What is the matter with Mary Jane?

I remember loving that A.A.Milne poem as a child, and Evie seems to find it just as funny when I read it to her.

Thankfully she doesn't have the same aversion to rice pudding as the little girl in the poem, as its one of my favourite treats to make for the family - quick and easy, all the ingredients tend to be to hand, and it's not overly sweet.

I use my late nana's recipe...

Rice pudding (serves 4)
~ 4 cups of milk
~ 3/4 cup of white basmati rice
~ vanilla bean, split and scraped
~ 1/4 caster sugar
Combine milk, vanilla bean and rice in a saucepan on the stove. Bring to the boil, then lower heat and simmer, stirring regularly, until the milk has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. Remove vanilla bean and stir through sugar. Serve topped with grated nutmeg.

We had some last night with stewed rhubarb, really seasonal stuff.

Perfect Autumn fare!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

pausing to reflect - april already

Can we all believe we are into April? 8 months since we settled and moved into our dream home. 4 months since I stated my new job (oh my goodness, how I love my job!) And less than 6 months before our little girl turns 3! Life is for the most part good and bright.

Every Friday I hit up the produce markets in the mall (plus coffee, yew!)

Last week's haul!

Soup weather is officially upon us! I've been making up a batch several times a week - highlights so far have been roast tomato, mixed vege and Heidi's leek and broccoli []

Cosy in a bowl!

V has started a new project at the airport and he has been working nights...

I won't lie, it's not been an easy few weeks. He is struggling big time with adjusting to the hours and being able to sleep for long enough during the day - I hate seeing him so tired and worry that he's going to fall off a crane or something! And it's really difficult having a toddler in the house when he's trying to sleep. Evie isn't a loud child, she doesn't squeal or make obnoxious noises, but ber voice is naturally quite high pitched and when she gets excited it can raise in volume. And it breaks my heart to have to ask her to use her inside voice all the time, and having her ask me whether she can go talk to daddy - having him there in the house and not being able to see him. We will get there. In the meantime, any tips from you shift workers for dealing with sleeping and eating properly? <3

At least we have him home which is always the preferred option!

I'm using my night-shift evening to good effect and poaching some pears for tomorrow morning's porridge. Night

Saturday, March 26, 2016

all things Easter...

We have had the most amazing, hectic long weekend! I'm still recovering, in every sense of the word. Many late nights have meant that the little girl is having a loooong nap, so I've got a cuppa and have settled down to write an Easter update...

I was able to make it to E's daycare Easter hat parade. The kids all made their hats in class - E was very proud of the fact that hers had a pink bird on it. The kids were all so adorable "parading" around, even with the occasional tears of fright hehe So glad I could make it.

I've spoken at length about my great loathing for all messy craft, and how glad I am that they do such wonderful arts and craft at daycare so I don't have to do it at home! Well, I decided we would try dyeing some Easter eggs...

Blowing the insides of the eggs out was so difficult! I won't tell you how many eggs went through trying to get the holes big enough without breaking the egg! E thought I looked hilarious blowing out the eggs. Then once they were hollow they of course floated, so I had to keep turning them in the dye and bobbing them under.  I bought some Greek Easter egg vegetable food dye and I think they looked nice when they were finished (and miraculously my benchtops remain white!) Maybe we will leave it several years before trying again haha

Saturday morning we made crepes for breakfast - very serious business...

We hosted a family BBQ for 15 (plus kids). One of my dad's sisters was over from New Zealand with her family, some of whom we hadn't seen since our wedding 8 year ago! I had thought maybe I over-catered on the wine, but with this and a case of Sierra Nevada beer plus the four bottles they brought over, we weren't left with much the next morning! I believe my brother took to boys out afterwards too. That's stamina!

So so much fun. We threw the kids into a bubble bath around 8pm after E told us she was tired, then my sister took her kiddies home and we put our little one to bed. She conked out like a light and we rejoined the party - winner! I foresee lots more late night parties held here in future 

You would never guess the mayhem out here the night before! I'm eternally grateful to my conscience which prevents me from going to bed without cleaning and tidying up.

The Easter bunny brought E a small Cadbury chocolate egg, which she thought was just the best thing ever. We had a quiet morning in...

Then headed to the Temple with the whole family, for Buddha's birthday celebrations.

Vegan char siew noodles! I refuse to share this with the kiddo, she's voracious when it comes to Asian food. And I was hungry!

It's been so amazing seeing my cousins hanging out with the girls and how much they all adore each other. It makes me sort of sad that my parents moved over here and my siblings and I didn't get to grow up with these people, and only get to see them occasionally. It also makes me see what wonderful dad's these boys are going to be! Hopefully one day all our kids can play together.

I'm off to do some cooking and freezing with all these long weekend leftovers! I hope you've all had a wonderful long weekend and the Easter bunny was good to you

Saturday, March 19, 2016

season of mellow fruitfulness...

I always forget how much I love Autumn until it arrives, with its cool, breezy days and mild sunlight. I'm sorry to bid farewell to summer, and our long lazy weekends spent at the beach, but Autumn is pretty nice really!

E was sent home with Ollie the class Elephant from daycare last week, and she was so excited she was shaking haha She was so sad to hand him back on Friday 

As a special girls treat, I took Miss Chubby-Toes for her first pedicure. She chose her own colour and sat like a (very solemn) statue the entire time, the girls kept trying to get her to crack a smile!

Season of smock dresses and knee socks! Hooray!

Last night, I headed out with three lovely friends (originally part of my mothers group) for a girls night. We hit up a local wine bar for prosecco and rose and cheese before moving on for dancing and vodka tonics, before making it home just after 1am. These ladies are seriously my rock, this is why I always talk up mothers group. Sure you might not click with anyone, but you may get lucky and make good friends for life.

Felt a little shady this morning, I think more down to tiredness than anything else (nights out are a lot tougher when you can't sleep in until 11am the next day! heh)

Threw on some comfy gear and took the kiddo for a refreshing swim and a play at the park...

These two together, just slay me. Dead. She is absolutely loving having him working locally (so am I for that matter!) 

Swung past the nursery on the way home and picked up these babies, we will plant them this afternoon.

Currently the little one is sleeping, I've got osso bucco in the slow cooker for tea, and pumpkin and garlic roasting in the oven for soup, and I'm several loads of laundry in. Not bad for the morning after the night before! Pass the coffee haha

Keeping a weather eye (see what I did there?) on that sky, ready to run out and grab the laundry

Yes, it is! 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

the whole point of the week is the weekend...

Another weekend is drawing to a close, and what a lovely weekend it has been! V has been harbouring a touch of the man flu this week so we left him at home and headed to the UOW Discovery Centre on Saturday morning and caught up with my sister and her two kiddies. Always a nice way to spend a rainy morning.

Pulled out the scotch fillets I'd stashed in the freezer after last Saturday's abortive celebrations, popped those bubbles that had been chilling allllll week, and added some oysters to the mix. Better late than never! Happy belated birthday darling V!

We'd had vague beach-related plans for today but of course the weather decided to pack in so we took E for a swim indoors and then to the Buddhist Temple for a vegan lunch...

Little Snake baby of mine <3 

My special ones

Scoffed half my cha shao noodles - decided she wanted lotus tea too - foodie bird haha

Walked back into our place towing a tired toddler and V went, ahhh now I get why you run around like a crazy lady doing laundry and dishes and putting on the slow cooker before we leave the house - yep, getting to sit down with a coffee and a book while the kiddo sleeps is worth all the crazy-lady-running of a morning! Working locally and doing afternoon shifts he is getting to see our little daily routines in a way he's always missed out on before.

Imagine a Cate-shaped indent on that couch 

I have designs on a pizza for tea so I think I had better get organised and book somewhere. Wishing you all a lovely Sunday, what's left of it