Is there anything better than watching kids reenact picture books?

I didn’t think so.

A new book in the house means it MUST be read at least 5 times a day for the first few days. And this makes sense, how else are they going to memorise it and reenact it?

This week’s book of choice is Oliver Jeffers’ Once Upon An Alphabet. It has a little story for every letter of the alphabet so they haven’t learned them all yet. But we’ve only had the book for three days.

The best thing about this book, and many of Jeffers’ books, is how the characters are repeated throughout, some visiting from his other books. Our new favourite duo is the Owl and the Octopus. This duo has been racing around the house solving all sorts of problems: finding cucumbers, fixing cups, etc.

Sleepytime songs

Tonight as I was putting the girls to bed, miss-almost-four asked me to sing the song I used to sing when she was just a little baby. This got me thinking about how our bedtime song routine has changed over the years and how I’ve come up with some really good combinations of songs to sing them to sleep.

Now if I actually had any talent I might video myself and put up YouTube clips, instead, I’ll just make a list (and you’ll have to make up your own tune for the ones that I’ve invented).

Bedtime songs
– Au Clair De La Lune
– Frere Jacques
– Hush Little Baby (momma’s going to buy you a mockingbird)
– Another Day Has Passed (this was a song I found in the brilliant book by Jane Cobb, What’ll I do with the Babyo, and she didn’t have the music in there so I’ve made up my own tune)
– Twinkle twinkle little star (we do this science version at night:
– La La Lou (from the movie Lady & the Tramp)
– Time For Bed (actually a picture book by Mem Fox that I’ve turned into a song)

What’s your favourite bedtime song?

Self saucing microwave pudding; or Why I need to start exercising

Two blog posts that I’ve been meaning to write lately are probably connected so I guess it makes sense to join them.

Exercise. Something I haven’t really ever done consciously, it’s just always been part of my lifestyle – biking/walking to work. Although my two munchkins keep me moving plenty I’m feeling now that my youngest is one it’s time to focus on that pregnancy belly. So when I stumbled on to this link to fighting belly fat exercises the other day, I thought I should give it a go. Time will tell if I stick with it, and if it makes a difference, but maybe by writing it down here I’ve got a better chance of keeping it up.

Now, enter the evil microwave self-saucing chocolate pudding. Seriously. My belly fat does not need any help! But this is just so darn easy and SO good! I can’t even remember how I came across this recipe but it is decadent.

I basically follow what is in the linked blog post, summarised here:

  • Mix equal parts (~ 1.5 Tbsp): sugar, cocoa, self-raising flour, milk
  • Sprinkle with: /li> 1 tsp cocoa, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp water
  • Zap it for 30-40 seconds
  • Top with a little ice cream, or even milk, and enjoy!
  • Made this today while both girls napped and added a few pieces of chopped pear. Yum!

    Too hot to roast the chicken

    We’re working on budget meals in my house these days so when I saw a plump looking chicken in the shops for a good price I thought a roast chook would make a perfect mid week meal. Trouble is, we are having a bit of a heat wave so I didn’t want to turn on the oven…

    Enter the BBQ. No rotisserie spit in our hand-me-down barbecue so it was time for me to learn how to butterfly a bird.

    Yes, I’m 37 and I’ve never butterflied a chicken. Heck, most of the time I buy boneless/skinless breast and thighs so I don’t need to deal with the raw meat more than necessary. I have to admit – I liked chopping this bird up. Maybe I’ve become less squeamish or maybe I’m just more ready to accept where my food is coming from, but I liked preparing the chicken pieces myself.

    I followed these instructions for how to flatten a chicken, and used the honey balsamic glaze from that same recipe when barbecuing. I ended up just cutting it into quarters instead of leaving the two halves since by the time I’d taken out the backbone and breast plate they were only held together by skin.

    Easy, delicious, and economical.

    Homemade sausage rolls

    Didn’t get any pictures but I need to jot down how I made these because we all loved them!!

    Approx ingredients were:

  • 1 large yam
  • 5 green/spring onions
  • 1 large zucchini
  • handful of breadcrumbs
  • grated cheese
  • ~500gm quality sausage mince*
  • 2 eggs plus 1 white
  • 1 egg yolk for brushing tops
  • 6 sheets frozen puff pastry
  • Grate or finely chop all the veggies, mix well.
    Cut pastry to size and roll with sausage filling.
    Brush tops with yolk.
    Bake 20+ min in hot oven (180-200 C) on tray lined with baking paper.

    The first time I made these I took them out 5 min before finishing, mopped up any fat and flipped them over. I didn’t bother the second time and they were just as good.

    I’m sure you could put in different veggies and adjust the breadcrumbs based on how watery they are.

    * I used an Italian pork/veal/fennel blend from our local butcher

    Cinderella Ate My Daughter

    The trouble with the book is I talked to people about it. I really should have read to first. Everyone had an opinion. Some defensive, some belittling, some curious.

    Overall, it was a fun read. I struggled a bit with the “research” as much of what she references is personal experience or hearsay. But my biggest beef is the lack of ideas of what to do about this problem. Every chapter seems to end with what can be summed up as: that sucks, but what can we do?

    That said, I enjoyed it for what it was: an affirmation of my concerns about raising my girls in this world where their choice of favourite colours are pink, pink, or shades of pink.

    Been rewatching The Sopranos

    So I thought is take a stab at Baked Ziti!

    Following this recipe, it’s pretty elaborate so I’ve split it over two days. Today I’ve made the Sunday Sauce and we’re having the meats and a bit of the tomato sauce on polenta. Mixed in a few frozen peas for colour and serving with creamy cauliflower soup.

    Will let you know tomorrow how the baked ziti works out!



    Update the next day…

    In the morning I was talking with the hubby about how elaborate making this baked ziti was and wondered if it might be easier to just use tomato sauce instead of the fancy many-meats Sunday Sauce. Well, that was before we tried a bit of the cold Sunday Sauce while I was assembling the Baked Ziti.

    “It’s like liquid meat,” he exclaimed.

    It was that good. Then combine it with pasta and three kinds of cheeses – wow.