Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Stealing Magnolias

We are moving house soon.
Finally leaving this "just temporary" ramshackled old renovators delight that we have called home (or, "The White House") for three years.
Don't be fooled by the size, we only live downstairs as upstairs is uninhabitable. You can read more about that here 

During this time we have paid minimal rent, with the understanding that we wouldn't ring the owner/landlord up every time something went wrong.  The Husband and the Father-in-law have thus spent many many hours re-wiring light fittings that started smoking; re-digging sewerage systems that started stinking; laying kitchen benches down over peeling old lino; removing chandeliers that were really really wobbly (and fugly); and a million other little things that regular tenants would take for granted.

While we rent out our own house in Brisbane and get bills for plumbers who have cleaned the gutters for us, we (ahem... the Husband) have been here cleaning our own clogged Belgian gutters. When the tenants in Brisbane complain that their curtains are degrading, we get new ones hung, while meanwhile the curtains here are probably highly sought after in a 1950's vintage fabric kind of way, if only they were stable enough to take down and wash.  While we lay mice traps out in our loungeroom here and rejoice at catching the little buggers, we are simultaneously paying a pest-man some exorbitant fee to go remove a paper nest wasp from the front porch of the Brisbane house.

It is thus with not much sadness that we will depart this rambling old dump, and move to bigger and greener pastures.  We will have a kitchen from this century, a bathroom with a floor you can safely walk on, an attic bedroom (!) and enough bedrooms for me to turn one in to a sewing room! I AM SO EXCITED! We will have twice as much space for our chickens,and three times as much grass for the husband to mow kids to play on.

There are a few things I will miss though.

  • The view out of the kitchen window, looking down our garden to what was once a well established cottage garden, with apple trees, hazelnuts and walnuts (and squirrels!), rhododendrons, daffodils, tulips, azaleas, elderflowers, plums, blackberries and holly. It's so nice to watch the seasons change from the same window over the years. 

  • The close proximity to the supermarket (we can see our house from the carpark and it's literally quicker to walk there than to drive and find a carpark); and, mostly, 
  • The Magnolia Tree. 

flashback! how little are my big kids? this was from 2011. 

Bumba the rabbit will be moving with us

This house is for sale as "project ground" which means it will likely be demolished and replaced with 4 apartments.  The beautful Magnolia tree doesn't stand a chance. I am, at this moment, trying to convince the Husband that we can perhaps dig up the tree and relocate it.  Sure it will fit in the back of the Renault, and no-one will even notice it's absence.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Consistent parenting (!)

I love these two photos, taken 2.5 years apart, unintentionally.  The two older kids having their first taste of broccoli or first experience of real 'solid' food (we did a bit of 'baby led solids' / a bit of spoon feeding... all very casual)  They were so NOT impressed. 

I couldn't wait to get the third (and final!) installment when Ollie was offered a broccoli 'branch'. But, you know what this monster child went and did? Loved it. Ate it all. Mushed it up and smacked it in to his mouth and then picked up as many little pieces as he could and ate those too. 

I know it will have no bearing on his penchance for broccoli once he is older. The FlourGirl loves it now, while the Wombat almost vomits when asked to eat anything green.  
But at least they can look back and see that we treated and fed them fairly, equally and consistently! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cherry Pie

Jumping back in to the blog with a five minute dessert spectacular that the kids can pretty much make themselves. I'd say 'pantry cupboard staples' but it's probably a bit of a Belgian thing to have jars of cherries lying around in the  back of the cupboard. Here they eat cherry tarts, rice pudding with cherries, and even meatballs with cherry sauce. I got in trouble from the husband the first time he suggested meatballs and cherry sauce (frikadellen met krieken) for dinner, and I said 'Yeah, OK, but with what? Mash? Vegies? Pasta?'  But no, you are not allowed to serve it with anything else. Nothing, just a piece of white bread. Meatballs, cherries and white bread - add that to your list of nutritious Belgian dinners!

Anyhoo, it was Valentine's Day and I had a jar of cherries in the cupboard, a packet of pastry in the fridge, some eggs from our very own chookies, and a packet of marzipan left over from Christmas. So I invented a cherry pie for the cherry-lovin' husband, and it was delicious.

1 sheet puff or shortcrust pastry
100g marzipan
1 jar cherries, drained
2 eggs
100ml cream
1 tablespoon sugar

Line a pie dish with the pastry
Get your eager and willing kids to chop the marzipan in to small pieces and put that on to the pastry, along with the cherries.

Whisk together the eggs and cream and sugar and pour over the top.
Bake for about 25 minutes at 200 degrees C.

I should really have blind baked the pastry as it had a bit of a soggy bottom, but for a super quick and easy dessert, this was a winner.  The marzipan kind of melts in to the egg and cream mix and forms a frangipane, but there are chewy little bits of caramelised marzipan on the top. Delish.

Almost as much of a winner as our bright pink new tablecloth which made it's debut for Valentines Day, much to the delight of the FlourGirl.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Birthdays, Giveaways, Dinosaurs...

It's crazy here at this time of year.  As a family we manage to squeeze three out of our five birthdays in to a 4 week period, which also happens to include Christmas and New Years. Our wedding anniversary and the Mother-in-Law's birthday just about top off the month of madness and celebration.  Tomorrow it's my birthday and after that we get a big break. Phew.

The highlight of the month was the Wombat turning three. I don't know how he suddenly turned from being a baby in to being such a BOY. He's lovely. Still throws a mean tantrum, but he plays so well, and he loves to draw, and he is gentle with his little brother, and loves to come in to our bed for cuddles in the morning. He is shy and quiet and a bit anxious around other kids, but he's loud and stubborn and independent at home.   He chose a dinosaur cake (it's all about dinosaurs at our place, the FlourGirl is still drawing them, and the boy is watching BBC documentaries about them whenever he is allowed to watch TV, true!!)  

I made 24 little baby dino cupcakes for him to take to his pre-school class, and one big Mumma Stegosaurus for out little party at home. It was a hit. He was soooo impressed.  The green and black plates are marzipan, which I used to dislike immensely (think old school Christmas cakes with artificial almond extract flavoured topping), but they use it a lot here, and sell all different colours in crafty shops for cake decorating. I quite like it now, and it's not so sweet.  It's more common than fondant. Remembering that they don't even sell icing sugar in bags here, just tiny wee boxes for one to sprinkle on ones waffle! Anyhoo.  Three boxes of icing sugar later, this was the cake:

My new toy, soooo in love. 

To say I am over cake would be somewhat of an understatement, though I will squeeze in one more slice since the Husband has taken up the challenge of cooking a Sacher Torte for me tomorrow.  

In other non-cake news, I am running a giveaway over on my Facebook page. If anyone wants to go in the draw to win one of your kid's drawing appliqued, pop on over and enter here...  It finishes on the 22nd Jan though, so be quick.  I'll choose a random winner tomorrow.

I'll be back. I have snow to share... x

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 in numbers

In no particular order:

Babies born: 1

Minutes spent in active labour: 20
Collarbones broken during birth: 1
Competent doctors / midwives encountered: 0

Boob feeds given: 1200+
Kilograms of baby grown: 10.5
Growth charts grown off: 1

Kids sent to first day of kindergarten: 1

Little boys toilet trained: 1
Toilet floors mopped: 597653

Kids still in nappies: 1

Trips to London: 1

Trips to Belgian holiday theme parks: 1

Number of times that dude appears in the background of our photos: Too many

Chickens adopted: 4

Number of which were roosters: 3
Eggs laid by replacement hens: 4

Cushions and pictures sold by Tailorbird: ~ 90

Cushions featured in German magazines: 1 

Cars of ours smashed in to by drunk drivers: 1
Houses of ours smashed in to by drunk drivers: 1

Snowmen built: 1

Kitchens redecorated: 1

Teeth lost: 1

Teeth gained: 6

Haircuts: 1

Swimming lessons attended: 18

Birthday parties attended: 4896

Rainbow layer cakes cooked: 1

New bikes ridden in: 2

Nights of broken sleep: 365 

Tim Tams eaten: 0
Twisties eaten: 0
Cherry Ripes eaten: 0
Meat pies & sauce eaten: 0
Fish and chips at the beach eaten: 0
Swims at the beach swum: 0
Number of days Vegemite is past it's expiration date: 365+
Number of illnesses suffered from eating aforementioned Vegemite: 0

Photos taken where all three kids look respectable: 0 

Ways in which I love them: Eleventymillion trillion and 9. And back.


Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy 2013. 
Thank you for reading my blog!