Friday, July 31, 2009

Relax with some Morcheeba

I love Morcheeba, the mellow richness makes it perfect chill out music. Has your week been stressful ? Has July been one of 'those' months ? Well here's my gift to you. Kick your shoes off, grab a glass of wine (or herbal tea, if that's your thing) and take a moment to enjoy. Happy Friday.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dinner Time.

"Do you know that guy mum ?"

"The actor from the movie ?"

"Yes, him, I think I'm going to look just like him when I grow up."

"Really ? Just like Zac Efron ? That would be impressive." (And as about as likely as you turning into a werewolf when there's a full moon, but dream big little man)

"Yes and I'm going to sing just like him. I'm a really good singer."

"Are you ?"

"Hmm mmm."


"Yes Petal,"

*High pitched squeals*

"I'm a really good singer too, see ?"

"Umm yes, but you will probably be better without a mouthful of minestrone."

"Mum, I want to grow my hair long and let it hang over one eye. That would be cool."

"Ooooooh that's stuuuuuuupid, you won't be able to see, will he mama ? That's so dumb."

"You're dumb,"

"Am not, you're dumber."

"Muuuum, she just called me dumber and I could so see, out of my other eye, see."

*demonstrates by covering one eye and enthusiastically rolling the other eye*

*Roar of laughter* (that's Petal) "You're a pirate," *hic**hic**hic* "mama *hic* I've got the *hic* hiccups *hic*"

"Yes I can see that sweetheart, try not to choke on a butterbean,"

*snort* *guffaw* (that's Le Artiste) *fine spray of minestrone across the dining table*

*hic* *giggle* *sigh*

Just your average night around the dinner table at Casa Del Waffler, we've a few spare seats if you would like to join us one evening, it's a riot, just ask the children.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two words, sounds like......

There are days when living with two young children feels akin to being trapped in a perpetual nightmare of the longest game of charades known to mankind. You're sitting there under the glare of the fluorescent lighting in the bingo hall and all of a sudden you realise that no one else playing the game can actually speak English, in fact the odds are fairly high that if you could manage to get out of the bingo hall you would find yourself in a small village on the outskirts of Russia. I'm not the only one who's had this nightmare right ?

Anyway, we're now working on a new and improved system which involves guessing, charades and award winning mime and dramatic interpretation. I have to say, although I may be a tad biased, I do believe that Le Artise and Petal could be destined for Tinsletown domination, once they finish topping the class at NIDA.

Le Artise in particular goes for an entire body performance when attempting to relay a story. The words begin, and are repeated, and repeated and repeated, then he huffs and puffs (but no, does not blow the house down) and his eyes widen and his arms start gesticulating wildly. By this point I am pulling random words out of the air and throwing them at him....... School ? Boy ? Girl ? Today ? Xylography 101 ? Who says you can't have fun with the English language ?

It's quite an exhausting process for all involved but can be very rewarding when we finally unravel the plot, oh yes, high-fives all round before mummy nips off to gulp down a couple of pain killers before her head explodes.

Petal doesn't get caught out in the eternal repeat cycle which loses Le Artise, oh no, she just keeps on talking. Random words ? Who could possibly know ? The expression on her face says 'Look here, I'm telling you this fabulously entertaining story and yet you look completely perplexed. What gives Kimosabe ?' But even I struggle to keep up when a conversation starts with the flavour of grey clouds (for the record, they're smokey) and concludes with mistaking a log for a cow and would a unicorn eat fairy bread ?

I must admit, some days it can all just become a bit too hard and I allow the game to continue on it's merry way whilst I just nod and add the odd "Yes, hmm mmm, sure," But I just know that the day will come when I will get caught out in spectacular fashion, like the afternoon that Le Artise pipes up with,
"Mum, I'm going to begin work on a thesis examining existential philosophy and whether it truly is the 'explicit conceptual manifestation of an existential attitude.' You seem to be constantly confused and disorientated, do you consider the world meaningless ?"
To which I will cleverly answer " Hmmm mmmm, Ben10 is awsome sweetheart."

Charades, do you love it ? I'll just bet that you do. It's a game that the whole family can enjoy over and over and over.....

Monday, July 27, 2009

Todays lesson : Camouflage

Camouflage is all about instinct, is it not ? Wild animals aren't gathering at the watering hole to pass on tips : "Yeah Frank, look you're doing okay, but with your yellow tones I highly recommend you stick to the tall, golden grasses on the plains. You're sticking out like a sore thumb in the lush green vegetation and the antelope can see you a mile away, just thought you should know."

Taking a moment to survey the neighbourhood, I have been gobsmacked at the lack of basic camouflage skills. Take the above, this is Cat, and this is a camouflage FAIL. She gets points for matching long, fluffy fur with long, fluffy grass but it's frightfully apparent that she has put very little thought into her colour scheme. Hope you are sleeping with one eye open Cat because you're not fooling anyone, no matter how small a ball you roll into.

Fat Cat has taken a different approach. She gets points for finding a nook and trying a surprise additional height element. But at the end of the day, black against white and green = camouflage FAIL.

Teddy is working on the 'if I can't see you, you can't see me,' angle. Nice try Teddy but you are still missing the basic principle of camouflage, blend, blend, blend. Sorry Teddy, camouflage FAIL.

Wait, what's this......let me look a little closer, why Teddy, well done. You have been paying attention, which is more then I can say for those stubborn felines who are just begging to be carted off by a stray mountain lion. Can you see what Teddy has done everyone ? That's right, Teddy is blending in with the clothes hamper, what a clever Teddy.

Teddy.....Teddy.......has anyone seen Teddy ? I seem to have lost her. Teddy ? Oh well, I'm sure she'll turn up soon, in the meantime I hope you have all learnt a valuable lesson about camouflage, when in doubt, colour match and blend. Now where on earth could that Teddy have gone ?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Oldies, but Goodies.

I am a book worm, oh yes I am, and I have been since I was a wee little poppet. I used to go for a visit to Grandma's house and spend the afternoon locked away with her collection of childhood books, hours of musty, dusty, literary goodness.

The other day I began to ponder the whereabouts of a few little ink and paper treasures which I had been unable to part with over the years. I had a little rummage and voila, there they were, a little mustier then I'd remembered and housing a few beetle and bug families, but otherwise, good as gold.

A Little Silk Apron was actually my mother's book and was printed in England but unfortunately doesn't list a publication date. It's a tale about Tasseltip rabbit who appears to be suffering from an unfortunate case of myxomatosis in a handful of the illustrations, but is otherwise a very sweet tale filled with bindweed braces and pennies wrapped in dock leaves.

Sam And The Firefly was an old favorite and my grandmother hunted high and low on a recent trip to America to locate this copy for Le Artiste and Petal. How could you not love a story that features a firefly named Gus ?

Ambrose Kangaroo delivers the goods is from the Young Australian Series and was printed in 1978. I'm pretty sure you could find all sorts of interesting bits and bobs at Mr & Mrs Wombats Universal Emporium and I'm positive Brolga's birthday party would have been a complete hit. You can't go wrong with orange, lemon and raspberry cordial, a tin of fancy biscuits and two bags of mixed sweets, can you ?

Fables of Leonardo da Vinci is from 1972 and features some fabulous illustrations from Adriana Saviozzi Mazza. I particularly love this one of the lovestruck unicorn, poor old sap that he was.

And last but not least, a copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales printed in Yugoslavia, again without a date. Poor old Grimm's was given a slight make-over with a green pencil and a green texta (I'm guessing that I was going through my green period) but green dashes aside, it is full of fairy tale fabulousness.

What lovely sweet treasures indeed, I only hope that my children love them as much as I did and that they will pass the test of time and be around for many more generations of little Wafflers to enjoy.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Garlic Roast Chicken Recipe.

We love garlic, oh yes we do. We eat garlic most nights of the week, the more garlic, the better. I gave the kids cloves of garlic to gnaw on instead of teething rusks, no, not really, but they have adapted to our garlic laden dishes with a culinary gusto and enthusiasm which makes me proud.

Today I would like to share with you a superb garlic roast chicken with pancetta & rosemary potatoes recipe. It is by Silvana Franco and I discovered it in the September 2008 edition of the ABC Delicious magazine. We all love it and I'm sure you will too.

Serves 4

1 kg potatoes (such as pontiac), peeled & cut into 1cm slices
1 garlic bulb, separated into cloves
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked, plus extra sprigs, halved
Grated zest of 1 lemon, fruit quartered
35g unsalted butter
1.8 kg free-range chicken (I usually use a 1.6kg chicken & cut the cooking time to 1hr, 15min)
150g thickly sliced pancetta, cut into thin strips
1 1/4 cup (310ml) dry white wine

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Put potatoes into a saucepan of cold salted water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 mins or until just tender. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, place garlic, rosemary leaves and lemon zest in a food processor. Add 1/2 tsp of sea salt and process to a paste. Add butter and plenty of blk pepper & process until well combined.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Starting from the neck end, carefully work your fingers underneath the skin to loosen it, working your way down to the thigh area, being careful not to tear the skin. Spread garlic paste between the flesh and the skin, smoothing it down and around the bird as far as you can - make sure you get plenty on the breast as this is the driest part. Tuck the lemon quarters into the cavity. Tie the legs together with kitchen string, then tuck the wings under.

Layer potatoes, pancetta and rosemary springs in a roasting pan. Sit the chicken on the top, breast-side up, and pour over the wine. Season and roast for 1 1/2 hours, basting occasionally, until chicken and potatoes are golden and the juices run clear when you prick the thickest part of the chicken thigh. Rest chicken, covered loosely with foil, for 5 mins, then serve with potatoes.
Not the healthiest recipe I have, but oh, so very delicious.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Underutilised Inventions

I believe that there are some very clever people in this world. They invent useful things designed to ease your workload and improve the quality of your life. Yes, they do.

Of course you may have also come across an invention that made you scratch you head and say "Urm, yes, I suppose that could come in handy, if I ever find myself stranded at short notice in the Kalahari desert holding a biodegradable shopping bag containing nothing more than a piece of string and a paper aeroplane." But you can't win them all.

There are other inventions which really are very useful, or, could be very useful if you ever thought to use them. The one that leaps straight to my mind is the humble toilet seat cover. Have you ever noticed it ? It's that big round lid piece that generally rests up against the cistern (yes, I do own a do-it-yourself plumbing guide and I am totally up with the professional lingo).

Funnily enough, it was my grandmother who bought the cover to my attention (bald patches and toilet seat lids, she has eyes like an eagle I tell you). She mused over the fact that we all had covers and yet most of us didn't use them, weird huh ? And now that I've shared this quirky little observation with you, I just bet you won't be able to pass a toilet cubicle without glancing inside to see if the lid is open or closed.

And just for the record, so you're not kept awake at night wondering does she or doesn't she, I tend to leave the lid up because I think it looks strange when it's down. Doesn't make any sense at all, does it ?

Nominations for the most Underutilised Invention of All Times ? My vote goes to the toilet seat lid. What would you vote for ?

Additional note : Thanks to Angela and numberchic I have been informed that the toilet lid does in actual fact have a hygienic purpose. I would like to formally amend the record to show that the Waffler house will be revising the toilet lid policy from 'open' to 'closed'. Thanks ladies.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Boy Next Door.

Did you have a boy/girl next door when you were growing up ? I had a boy next door, but not in the Dawsons Creek sense. He only moved in when I was about sixteen, he was very nice and I may or may not have peeked out the second storey window occasionally when he was chilling out in his back garden wearing nothing more than pair of footy shorts...but, I digress, it was a romance free yet lovely friendship.

We have a little boy next door, for arguments sake lets call him Little Lord Fauntleroy or LLF (we don't want to be here all day, do we ?). He is a little older then Petal, he is English, he wears coke-bottle thick glasses and is cute as a button. Unfortunately LLF's affections are torn between Petal and Le Artiste, the allure of a 'big boy' is tricky for a little fellow and I watch his small face scrunch up in consternation as he tries to navigate the treacherous waters of natural sibling rivalry.

Last weekend the children played musical houses, backwards and forwards, wearing a little path through the gap in the hedge. LLF has taken to calling me *insert adorable British accent* "Mummy," to which I dutifully respond, much to the confusion of my own children. Petal pops next door and gazes up at our neighbour with soulful puppy dog eyes and requests if there is anything for her to eat, because she's "staaaaarving." (We're saving a fortune in grocery bills, LLF is a grazer, Petal is more a three course kind of girl) and Le Artiste just looks at the two littlies and shakes his head whilst trying to work out if a batch of fresh scones is a better deal then playing Olympic Sports on the wii.

I love watching the way the children interact and how they are equally at ease in my home or next door. It's comforting to have wonderful neighbours and we're trying really hard not to scare them away.

Next year heralds Petal and LLFs transition to the 'Big School' with Le Artiste and I'll be interested to see if the dynamics between them changes. Petal has already been grilled on numerous occasions by Le Artiste as to who she will marry, LLF or Action Man ? (a favorite friend from kindergarten) and to see her sigh, roll her eyes and retort "Oh, I don't know," makes me smile and feel a little pang as I sneak a glimpse into the future.

So which team will you be on ? The Boy Next Door or Action Man ? At this stage I'd give it 50/50 odds because lets face it, women can be fickle and who knows, Simon Baker Jnr could be waiting at the school gates. Eek, I think I just gave myself another grey hair.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fold a piece of paper, how hard can it be ?

Le Artiste and I went on a very pleasant little shopping expedition yesterday. We picked up all sorts of bargains, including two fabulous little crafty packs of origami for kids. Origami, excellent idea don't you think ? Really it's got to be pretty simple, there's an instruction booklet, lines marked out on the pre-coloured bits of paper, childs play no ? The box stated that it was suitable for children aged'm not sure where they found these seven year olds who could manipulate a piece of paper into a prehistoric creation, but I'd sure like to meet them and shake their hands. Here's what happened when two 30something year old adults had a go :

Now this was a dinosaur that had been prepared earlier. I'm not sure if it was meant to be inspirational or just a cruel taunt to prove that we were obviously idiots and it was perfectly easy to make a dinosaur, see, here's one to prove it.

This was my best effort after two hours and considerable cursing.

And this is what a lovely origami bird should look like, so easy, anyone could do it.

And here is a parrot that The Coach whipped up. It's super don't you think ?

Suffice to say we will not be entering the World Origami Championships, but it was fun.....sort of, in a pull your hair out kind of way. Think I might stick to wrapping presents, that I can do.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The easiest scones in the world.

Are you feeling tempted to lick the screen ?

I'm ashamed to admit that this scone recipe was given to me about four years ago by a lovely friend, and it was only with the Masterchef scone revival that I thought to dig it up and start baking. I know, what's the good of me, right ?

Anyway, I thought it might be nice to share this super easy recipe with you, because these scones are super simple, super cheap and super tasty. In case you were wondering, the word of the day appears to be 'super' and I won't feel offended if you throw a 'dooper' in for good measure.

So without further ado, here is my friend, K's, Best Ever Scone Recipe.

4 cups self raising flour
2 tbl caster sugar
1 cup chopped dates
rind of 1 lemon (finely grated)
300ml pure cream
300ml water

Preheat oven to 210 degrees.

Combine flour, dates, sugar & lemon rind. Whisk together cream & water. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until JUST combined and forming a non-sticky dough. Turn dough onto a floured bench top and with a minimum kneading, form it into a 5cm thick blob (oh yes, it's all technical terms around here). Cut scones with a floured glass or scone cutter & place close together on a baking paper lined tray. Bake for 15-20 mins (I'm finding the time varies depending on if you have the scones bunched or separate) until you tap on the top of the scones and they sound hollow. You can also brush milk on before baking and sprinkle the tops with sugar, if that's the way you roll.

I believe the key to a good scone is minimum fuss and a flippant attitude. Following this mantra I've yet to be disappointed. Good luck and happy baking.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The more sedate version for those not heading out clubbing this evening. Enjoy.

A song to end the week on.

I just dare you to not start tapping on the table or nodding your head. Adele at warp speed with Johnny Depp thrown in,what a way to end the week.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Good morning, good morning.

Oh yes, winter is well and truly upon us. It was a little tricky getting out of a toasty warm bed this morning, the air was chilly, oh yes it was. But arise I did, because in our house, I am the rooster, hear me cock-a-doodle-doo.

So I threw on my fluffy warm dressing gown, slipped into my 'oh-so-fashionable' uggies, opened the blinds and lo and behold, look what I saw. 6.30am ain't half bad, don't ya think ?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The light....the light....

Have you ever noticed those bewildered people wondering around the shops in a zombie-like trance ? Today I was one of those people. The sun just seemed so darn sunny, there were little feathery creatures making noises in the trees and there were other humans, gads, was it all a vivid dream ?

What on earth could have caused this paralysing state of disassociation I hear you ask (well I think that's what you're asking, hard to make it out though all the static crackling, darn ESP). Was it lack of sleep ? A large rogue bowling ball conking me on the head as I ventured out for my morning latte ? A handful of sedatives slipped discreetly into the aforementioned latte ?

Well, no, surprisingly it was none of the above.

Today I was taken off-line. I know, here, would you like to borrow my brown paper bag ? Perhaps a nip of bandy ? I'd like to reassure you all that the matter is now well and truly back under control. I have wrangled the laptop back off The Coach (work from home, goodness me. Sure having an income is handy but at what cost, WHAT COST ?)

Anyway, I just thought I would share my pain with you all, because lets face it, if you're sitting here and reading this, you and I are cut from the same cloth. But guess what (please don't tell The Coach I'm saying this) it was actually kind of nice to get outside and mingle with the flu ridden masses in the mild winter weather, just for a little while. Now, let's log back in and see what I've missed.....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's all about the cheeks, Petals, not Fat Cats, although hers are nice by cat standards.

Happiness, in a (rather large) nutshell.

Before I even begin today, I'm going to give you a little warning. Sometimes I am a Gummi Bear, a squishy Gummi Bear that's been left in a warm pocket, a squishy Gummi Bear wrapped in a marshmallow coat. Do you get my drift ? I think you do and now that we have established the tone for today, I am happy to continue.

I have been tagged by the witty, lovely Kerri from Life And Other Crises with a 'Happiness Thingy'. The aim is to list six things that make me happy, then six blogs that I enjoy. So lets see how we go (you may want to keep a little bucket handy in case I go Gummi Bear overload).

1. Petal's cheeks. Oh how I love them, they're warm and mooshy with a lingering chubbiness of the toddler she once was. When she sleeps they take on a rosy glow. I adore kissing them, and luckily, she is more than happy to snuggle in and indulge me. I will miss them but for now, I shall kiss and kiss and kiss.

2. Le Artiste when he blooms with pride. My son and I have a complex relationship. I think it stems from the fact that in many ways we are very much alike. We like our own space. We strive for perfection and are often frustrated when our goals are not met. But sometimes, something works. For Le Artiste, his pride swells when his artistic endeavours are met with "oohs and aahs." I love watching his body language transform, the way his eyes light up as he struggles to contain a huge grin and the way he blooms. Yes he does, and I must say, I bloom a little with him.

3. A Pause. I don't know if you're familiar with A Pause, but for me, it's a moment when something gorgeous just makes you stop. Stop everything. It's a second where you think, wow, right here, right now, I am glad to be alive. (Are you reaching for the bucket yet ?) I wish I had more Pauses but they're frightfully unpredictable (somewhat like the weather faeries) so when the next one comes along, I might even try and make it a double.

4. Dark Chocolate. Lindt 70% cocoa works quite well for me. No further explanation required.

5. A great film or book. I love a journey. I'll happily go into space, back in time, into the derelict house with my torch battery running low, wherever. Just take me with you for a little while because my imagination knows no boundaries.

6. Cooking. We are a family who love to cook. Petal is the official carrot peeler. Le Artiste is the stirrer (in more ways than one). The Coach is the inventor and I am the recipe follower. We enjoy growing food, harvesting (you know, grabbing a handful of herbs or a couple of tomatoes) it, cooking it and eating it. I think we would've made excellent Italians.

Phew, aren't you thankful I had to stop at six ?

Now, six blogs I enjoy. I'm still rather a novice at all this blogging business but I have certainly smiled (and sometimes laughed, right out loud) with :

Life And Other Crises


You Might Want to Sit Down For This....

Dancing With Frogs



Now go and have a lovely day and if you come across A Pause, smile and enjoy.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Quick run, the greys are coming.

I may be slightly disillusioned here, but I would like to believe that I am capable of ageing gracefully. My mother has aged gracefully which gives me hope and for the most part, I think I'm doing okay. Sure there's that well set crease in my forehead (thanks mum for bringing that to my attention a few years back, love you x) and those little 'smile' lines crinkling up the edges of my eyes. Sure, some mornings it takes a good couple of hours for the crease mark left by the pillow, the one running from the edge of my eyebrow to my chin, to fade and smooth out. Sure, I'm a little self-conscious of the thinning hair near my part (again, thanks to my grandmother for pointing out that I should probably try parting in different places to avoid a bald spot, love you too xx).

But, and it's a big BUT, there is one element of the ageing process that I am struggling with.

There you are in the bathroom, humming happily away and things are looking good. The eyebrows are neat and co-operative, the concealer has done it's job and covered those pesky under-eye shadows, yep, it's gonna be a good day, just have to dry the hair and you're ready to face the day head on.

You're almost done, you tilt your head and raise your brush and....there........RIGHT THERE.....glinting cheekily in the morning light, heck, standing in a happy little mass and waving at you, is a cluster of grey hairs. Have you been there yet ? I'm not talking a single strand here, they don't even register as a blip on the radar they're so quickly yanked and disposed of. No, this is the silver collective, taking comfort with the safety in numbers motto. These are the hairs that defy hairspray and laugh at your attempts at styling. They're little crinkly buggers and I just don't like them.

There is, however, a lovely little solution to morphing into the Silver Vixen, and in my case her name is Ingrid. She is my saviour and she works magic. So my little grey nemesis, laugh while you still can, because next week, you'll be getting a make-over. Alright.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hello and welcome.

Hello and pleased to meet you. My name is AussieWaffler. Well all right, that isn't actually printed on my birth certificate, but it is a name that I have adopted wholeheartedly on my journey into cyberland and I now answer to it, along with Mummy, Mama and Hey You.

I'd like to introduce you to my family. Firstly, there's The Coach, my husband of many moons, the man who cooks our Sunday Roasts and who can often be found on the weekend drifting happily up and down the aisles of our local hardware store.

Then there's my son, Le Artiste. He's seven (very, nearly, eight) and has unfortunately inherited many of his mothers more neurotic traits. But boy he's a tidy little fellow and you should see his lovely neat cutting and pasting. Yes, enough said I think.

Lastly, there's my daughter, Petal. She's a four year old Princess-in-waiting, and it could be a rather a long wait given the lack of Princes around at the moment. She has a flair for the melodramatic, deep affection for our crabby old cat, Fat Cat, and a love for all things pink, sparkly and downright girly.

We live on a mountain and I love it more then I could have imagined possible. I have moments which literally take my breath away, the perfect breeze, a quiet street dappled in golden, late afternoon sun, the shimmer of the far off ocean on a clear, post storm morning. Just little things which make me smile and think "Yeah, now that's what I'm talking about."

So welcome to my blog, I hope you enjoy reading my waffling as much as I enjoy writing it.