Monday, February 28, 2011

It's the little things..........

When I get woken up each morning with a cup of coffee from Hubby and wet kisses from my toddler.

When I receive the first cuddle of the day from my big girl; she snuggles into my lap, her head rests on my chest.

When my son is completely ready for school by 7:30 am - such is his eagerness to get there.

Watching my children greet their friends with glee and they rush off to frolic, make mischief and have fun.

When I'm outside in the garden watching my toddler play with delight, the sun shines, a light breeze blows and I enjoy the moment.

When my baby is tired and sucks on her thumb, playing oh, so gently with my hair. I tuck her into bed, she snuggles down and closes her eyes.

When Hubby comes home for lunch and puts the kettle on to make us a cup of tea, we eat lunch together and enjoy the last of the lemon meringue pie, his incessant chatter makes me smile.

When my son first sees me after his day at school and his whole face lights up and so does my heart.

My daughter cries after another difficult day and I wipe away her tears and silently remember doing the same when I was a little girl.

When we have cuddles and cups of tea every afternoon while we swap stories about our adventures.

When we snuggle in for our story time and I make up another crazy tale; my children's eyes are wide with excitement and they cry 'Tell us more Mum, Tell us more!"

They are tucked into bed after cuddles and kisses and they're safe and warm and look like little angels in the warm cocoon of sleep.

When Hubby and I sit and talk and relax all while holding hands.

And I realise how lucky I am and I feel thankful for each and every day.

Life is fleeting.......embrace it while you can.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Crunchy Oat Biscuits

As far as I'm concerned there is a "certain" way that a good biscuit should be. Crunchy on the outside, chewy in the middle. I've tried countless recipes to try and acheive this biscuit-perfection and this is one of my (and my children's) favourites;

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup rice bubbles
1/2 cup dessicated coconut

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Combine flour, bicarb, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Add to butter & sugar mixture and mix well. Stir in oats, rice bubbles and coconut.
   Shape into balls and place on a biscuit tray 5 cm apart. Bake at 180C for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly before removing to wire racks to cool completely.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Disorganised Chaos!

One of the many things I've resolved to do lately is to be more organised; with four children, a husband who typically works 7 days a week and a slowly growing menagerie of animals, I live in a a state of what I can only describe as "Disorganised Chaos". It doesn't help that I'm allergic to housework and have a memory like a sieve.
    I've always aspired to be one of those "perfect" Mothers, you know the ones, immaculately groomed - not a coiffured hair out of place, faultless makeup and gorgeous clothing that hasn't been stained with baby vomit or gone through the wash with a load of towels.
   These "perfect" Mothers have perfectly behaved little darlings with impeccable manners; unlike my rag-tag bunch of monsters. I feel like I've spent the best part of the past ten years teaching them the virtue of etiquette, keeping their hands, feet and other implements to themselves and the good  old "do unto others ...blah, blah, blah", all of these things seem to have gone in one ear and other the other with my children.
 And my house! My house is the epitome of a disaster zone! Endless rooms of clutter, excess toys & the never-ending, mountainous pile of unfolded washing. My couch is regularly painted with Milo and yogurt and my walls display the latest artwork from my creative toddler. It doesn't matter if I spend a whole day cleaning and scrubbing every conceivable surface in the's all back again the next day. I'm sure that these "perfect" Mothers have "perfect" houses to match their "perfect" children.
   Another area that I need to be more organised in is my kitchen. I like to think that I'm not too shabby in the cooking department, the mess I leave afterward however leaves a lot to be desired (thank goodness the Man of the house is wonderful at cleaning up my kitchen disasters). When opening my cupboards you are at risk of being buried under an avalanche of appliances that don't work and when I do create a meal or bake something delicious it may taste good but it's not always pretty. Why can't I be one of these women that can bake a perfectly raised cake or whip up a cordon bleu dinner without breaking a sweat? (or anything else in my kitchen?)
  However, the more I think about it the more I can convince myself that the "perfect" lifestyle is not for me. Do I want to spend all day everyday cleaning up my children's messes when I would much rather be making the mess with them? Do I want to spend hours applying makeup and grooming myself when I could be spending the time enjoying my children's laughter and frivolity? Do I really have the time to spend perfecting each meal when I would much rather watch my children enjoy eating my messy creations? I may be disorganised but I am happy to be that way. Slightly ruffled, always smiling, a little bit perplexed, that's me.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Raspberry & White Chocolate Muffins.

I adore raspberries, their intensely sweet flavour bring back evocative memories of my childhood; carefree days spent on (one of the many) properties my gypsy parents owned. We would pick the wild raspberries and blackberries that bordered the creek where my sisters and I played. The juices would run down our faces as we gorged ourselves on these beautiful and exquisite fruits.
This is one of my favourite recipes involving raspberries, as with all muffin recipes it is essential that you do not over mix the batter, a lazy stir is all that is needed.
3 cups of plain flour                                                   
3/4 cup of caster sugar                                               
3/4 cup of brown sugar                                               
1 1/2 tsps baking powder                                           
4 eggs    
1 1/2 cups of milk                                                                            
120grams melted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence                                             
1 cup raspberries 
3/4 cup chopped white chocolate
Raw sugar for topping                                                                                                   

Line a muffin tin with patty cases and preheat the oven to 180c.
Sift flour, caster sugar, brown sugar and baking powder into a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine eggs, melted butter, vanilla & milk, whisk until combined. Add wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated. Very gently fold in the raspberries (use frozen if you like)and white chocolate. Scoop batter into the patty cases until each one is 3/4 full. Sprinkle a little bit of raw sugar over the top of each. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Just the perfect thing to sit, relax and have with a cup of tea.....I think I'll do that right now.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Love Sundays!

Mostly because it's the only day of the week that the whole family is together. Although if I am being entirely truthful it is because The Man Of The House is home, therefore children are occupied with tormenting him. This in turn leaves me to do something I enjoy sans children....baking.
    Usually I will be super-organised and bake healthy treats for the week ahead but today I made an was decided that something artery-cloggingly fabulous was needed after my week of sleep deprivation. Sometimes nothing will soothe away the trials and tribulations of being sleepless in suburbia better than a calorie laden chocolate cake; this cake my friends, is one of the best.........
                            Golden Chocolate Cake
100grams dark chocolate (break into pieces)
275grams brown sugar
225grams soft butter
125mls golden syrup
2 eggs
200grams plain flour
1tsp bicarb soda
1tbsp cocoa
250ml boiling water

Preheat the oven to 180c, butter and line a springform cake tin (23cm)
Melt the chocolate either in the microwave (watch carefully!) or over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool.
Beat together the sugar and soft butter until light and creamy and then add the golden syrup. Add one of the eggs, beating it in with a tablespoon of flour, and then the other egg with a tablespoon of flour. Fold in the melted chocolate, the rest of the flour and the bicarb soda. Sieve in the cocoa (please, no lumps!) and last of all beat in the boiling water ( I just boil the kettle and pour the water straight out of this) Mix everything until smooth and pour into the baking tin. Bake for approximately 1 hour, although I would check it after 45 minutes as it tends to brown on the top very quickly.

You can serve this un-iced but as I was going all out with the decadence today so I topped it with a delish golden syrup & chocolate icing;
Whip together 80grams of butter with 60 grams of icing sugar until fluffy. Whisk in 30 grams of cocoa (a bit at a time or else it flies everywhere) Then add 2 teaspoons (be generous here) of golden syrup and 2 tbsps of milk. Beat until you have a lovely, smooth icing.

The cake...just before I ate it.
 I like to ice mine slightly messily, so it has that lovely, homemade, rustic look....or it could be that I'm just lazy........

To Sleep....perchance to Dream.

Until recently our darling Toddler has gone to bed at night without a hitch. Sure, she woke up continuously throughout the rest of the night but actually getting her to go to bed at the beginning was a doddle. This was always a call for much joy & celebration from the Man of the House and myself, we would happily plonk ourselves down on the couch for some much needed trashy TV and indulge. Last Tuesday was pretty much the same as usual, all kiddies in bed, house tidy (ish) and Hubby and I happily partaking in the latest rubbish on the box. That was until a little voice piped up from next to me "Mumma?". It was our darling Toddler. How on earth did she get out of her cot? I took her back down to bed, tucked her in and said goodnight. Five minutes later she was at my elbow again "Mumma?". The little monkey was escaping! That was it, once she had started with the Houdini act there was no stopping her, she came out continually until I finally stayed in the room with her and patted her.....for an hour and a half! Missed all my favourite shows and my downtime. Needless to say I was a very grumpy Mumma that night and even grumpier when Little Miss decided to join us at midnight in our bed and then proceeded to spend the rest of the night with her feet in my back. The next night was the same and now it's turned into what she thinks is a wonderful game. Unfortunately the pair of us are so sleep deprived that we are not much fun to be around at the moment. This equals much suffering for the Man of the House and the other three children who do sleep.
Sleep? Who me?
How to deal with this? If I could manage a coherent thought at the moment I'm sure I could deal with it sensibly and logically but I'm struggling to put two words together let alone deal with my escapee of a child! I think it may be time to move our little girl into a big girl bed.