Friday, 30 August 2013

Making Memories

My baby turned 20 months old yesterday.

He's just growing up WAY too fast and I'm trying hard to remember all the special things he does and the new things he learns- all through the fog that is the sleep deprived life of a parent of a young child/ren. 

I think one of the best things about the advent of technology like iPhones, iPads and other magical devises is the ease at which we can preserve our memories.

Kid doing something cute?  Whip out your phone.  Take a snap.  There's even a bunch of apps that can crop it, filter it and make it look amazing.  A record of that memory forever!  You can even now upload it to one of many social networking sights and share that memory with the world!  Amazing!

I'm constantly wishing it was this easy when my eldest son was younger.  It's been very hard tracking down photos of him to put into his scrapbooks. I'd have been able to share so much more of my amazing trip to Africa too back in 2001.  (I am, however, rather glad this technology did not exist whilst I was at High School or University.  Yikes!)

I'm sure I'm not the only one who remembers the days of taking a snap, waiting to finish up the roll of film, waiting until it was processed and only then discovering that your subject had, in fact, blinked.  Or moved.  Or poked his tongue out.

With my youngest son, I've chosen to keep a record of his growth and development by posting a photo a month.  

Some are simple snaps with a bit of text added to record his age.  Some are Pinterest-inspired works of art (in my humble opinion!) In most I've tried to showcase his development, achievements or interests.

It really has been so much fun and I love looking at how much my little angel has changed in those 20 months.

So, here's a little history of Rohan to hopefully make you smile...
Newborn perfection

Finding comfort
The birth announcements I never did get around to sending

Rolling over
Enjoying solid food
Sitting by himself

Loving books
Pulling himself up


 Really likes shoes

Do you love this new photo technology as much as me? 

Oh, and if you'd like to see some of the other memory-saving ideas I've collated see this Pinterest board.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Recipe: Sweet Potato & Blueberry Muffins

I make a lot of muffins. 

They're perfect for lunchboxes, after-school snacks or breakfasts on the run.  They're also the perfect vehicle to play around with in order to cater for all food allergies or dietary requirements.

These Sweet Potato & Blueberry Muffins are based on a couple of recipes I've combined in order to make them gluten free, dairy free, nut free and refined sugar free where necessary.

And before you hear sweet potato and freak out, give 'em a try- yum!

Sweet Potato & Blueberry Muffins
1 large Sweet Potato (about 500g)

1/2 - 3/4 cup milk of your choice (rice, almond or regular.  The amount you use will depend on the water content of your sweet potato)
1/2 cup oil (I like coconut, but you can use extra virgin olive too)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 - 1/2 cup organic pure maple syrup (optional depending on your tastes and the sweetness of your sweet potato)

2 cups of gluten free flour (if your blend does not include Xanthan gum add 1 tsp)
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
2 tsp baking (bicarb) soda

3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1. Wash your sweet potato, prick with a fork and roast on 200'C for about an hour or until tender.  Cool.

2. Grease or line a 12 cup muffin pan. (I like silicon liners)

3. Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl, making sure to break up any lumps in the bicarb.  (You could sift, but I'm way too lazy!)

4. Peel the sweet potato, mash with a fork (or puree in a food processor if you prefer).  Then add the milk, oil, vanilla and maple syrup, if using.

5. Add the wet ingredients and the blueberries to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Spoon into the prepared muffin pan.
6. Bake at 200'C for 20-25 minutes.
7. Enjoy!
Like most gluten free baking, they go stale quick but they freeze well.

Do you have a muffin combo I've just got to try?

Monday, 26 August 2013

A Mad Hatter's Devonshire Tea Party

My children's school fete was last weekend.

This year I had the good fortune of working with an amazing group of parents and teachers to help coordinate the Preschool's Devonshire Tea Stall.

Now, you know much I love a good theme!  (If not see here, here, here, here and here!!) We decided to make this year's stall a Mad Hatter's Devonshire Tea Party.
After lots of Pinspiration, searching through my cupboards for tea pots and bunting, and a very generous donation from a local florist, we ended up with this...

Each table had flowers, sugar and spoons and a table number.  

The table numbers were made with giant playing cards, some with gorgeous drawings of The Mad Hatter's Tea Party on the back.

We had lots of comments about how lovely it was to have a quiet place to sit.

And the stunning flowers...

People were raving about the good coffee, our extensive variety of teas...
and, of course, those delicious scones with jam and cream.

We even displayed some of the entries in our Colouring-In competition...

 Lots of amazing parents donated food items and their time to run the stall...

Hopefully we raised lots of money for the school.

And- if you live in Darwin and need a florist- we can highly recommend "Flowers from the heart" at the Nightcliff Shopping Centre for their professionalism, attention to detail and incredible floral arrangements.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Spontaneous Combustion

I'm a planner.

If you know me or have been reading my blog for any length of time then you're not surprised by this piece of information at all, I know, but I needed to open with that. A confession, of sorts.

I love making lists.  I get a thrill sitting down with a fresh piece of paper and writing a title.  Even starting a "To Do" makes me feel in control and at peace. It's pathetic a little sad.

Obviously, something I don't cope well with is spontaneity. 

Even the word makes me shudder. 

I'm not entirely sure why the thought of any sort of spontaneous event leads me to think it could all end in disaster.  Spontaneous combustion, if you will.

Part of it is my own obsessive-compulsive issues, sure.  Another part is the fact that three small children and spontaneity don't really mix.  Things like food, drinks and nap times really do need to be considered and planned around.  For the sake of everyone's sanity.  

Finally, I guess it's also because new situations can be kind of unnerving.  

What I'm discovering more and more on this adventure that is parenthood, my reaction to things will influence how my children deal with similar situations in their futures.  Bottom line - Modelling how to cope with new situations is something I need to do for my kids.

So, I've been very pleased with myself when we do throw a few 'fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants' moments into our weekends.

On one such weekend, while out and about, we decided to head to "the park" armed only with a few snacks that we grabbed at the grocery store en route! (Fortunately, I am always within reach of my well stocked Nappy Bag, so we had water bottles, hats and baby-friendly, organic, natural insect repellant too!)

We ended up at the George Brown Botanical Gardens here in Darwin. This chance visit has led to us "discovering" one seriously cool tree-house. 

Three levels, stairs, ladders and slide make this a winner.  

The fact that it's build around an amazing, still-living-but-looks-like-it's-fallen-over tree is really awesome.

We had ourselves a play and a picnic.
The children's garden has a few other features, like a mini maze and a bamboo forest, which are fun for kids. 

It was so much fun we even went back the following week for a hike through the rainforest section of the Gardens to the waterfall.

Of course, that trip was planned.  There were snacks.  And water bottles.  And backpacks.  And the dog.

But, the 'spontaneity' of our visit meant that we didn't know the waterfall was closed for repairs!  But, you know what? ...We had lots of fun anyway.