November 2015Life Love and Hiccups: November 2015
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Monday, 30 November 2015

Easy Entertaining This Christmas

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Brought to you by Coles

Do you know that I only recently learned how to cook a beetroot?

No, seriously – it’s sad isn’t it?!

For my whole grown up life I only ever eaten tinned beetroot, because I honestly had no idea how to cook it.

No offence against the lovely people who make tinned beetroot … but … freshly cooked beetroots? Man they leave that canned stuff for dead.

The same thing pretty much goes for rhubarb.

I can remember the first time I tried rhubarb - as if it were only last week. I ate a massive bowl full of stewed apple and rhubarb with vanilla ice-cream for dessert when I had a sleep over at a friend’s house when I was about 12.

It was like heaven on a spoon and I think I may have actually licked my bowl clean when my friend’s mum and dad had left the table.

Despite the fact I swore to myself that night that I was going live on stewed apple and rhubarb for the rest of my life, I haven’t actually ever made it for myself or for my kids, until now… some 30 years on.

The problem I had with the rhubarb was pretty much the same issue I had with beetroot. I didn't have a clue how to cook the darn stuff.

I do now.

I’ll be honest, my lovely hubby does most of the cooking in our house and I would be lying if I said that I loved to cook. But every now and then I do enjoy getting in the kitchen and trying out new things.

Mostly it is on the weekends when I am relaxed and have been to do the shopping and have been inspired by all the colourful in season produce... that or I have just watched a marathon Masterchef session.

Every week at Coles they have specials on their fresh fruit and veg, so keep your eye out for some of those veggies you have been meaning to try and give them a go.

If like me, you are a bit of a novice when it comes to cooking new veggies, then here’s some recipes I have put together using rhubarb and beetroot and all the delicious in season offerings – all of which are the perfect for gatherings with family and friends throughout the festive season.

I promise, these recipes are pretty much dead set fool proof so not only will you have time to enjoy those festive gatherings, you will also be mastering ye olde beetroot and rhubarb in no time at all.


For more easy ideas and mouthwatering recipes this Christmas – check out the handy Coles Christmas Menu Planner here.

Bon Appetit.



1/4 cup of chopped coriander
10 cherry tomatoes quartered
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of crushed garlic

Smash your avocado to a a chunky paste and combine all ingredient.
Mix together well and serve with flat bread and crisp sugar snaps



 CHICKEN
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoons smoked paprika

Combine garlic, olive oil and park in a bowl and coat your chicken with the mixture.
Set aside in the fridge for 30 minutes before char grilling your chicken on the barbecue.

DRESSING 1
2 tablespoons tahini
100ml olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
80ml water

Combine your tahini, vinegar, olive oil and garlic in a bowl and with a stick blender blitz until smooth. Slowly add your water and continue blitzing until you achieve a creamy dressing consistency.

DRESSING 2
100mls olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon wholegrain mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon crushed garlic

Whisk all the ingredients together

SALAD
1/4 cup of chickpeas
2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons of chopped marinated artichoke

Place your beetroots individually on two squares of aluminium foil.
Drizzle generously with olive oil and season with sea salt.
Cook in a 200 degree oven for 45 minutes.
Once cooled, peel the skin off your beetroot and slice into wedges.

Assemble your salad together, scatter with small pieces of goats cheese, place your sliced chicken on top and drizzle with your choice of salad dressing.

500 gms of Rhubarb
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup of water
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Wash your rhubarb and cut of the leafy part. Cut your rhubarb into 3cm pieces.
Peel your apples and dice
In a saucepan stir your ingredients together and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until the rhubarb and apple softens and the space becomes a syrup.
Serve with ice-cream for bonus points.

As always you can Shop the ingredientsonline (click on each ingredient for the links) or pop into your local Coles store and browse the fresh fruit and veg aisles for inspiration. Don’t forget to pick up the latest free issue of the Coles Magazine when you are in store or you can downloada copy here.

Are there any Veggies you would love to try but have no idea how to cook?
Are there any veggies you stone cold refuse to eat?


Friday, 27 November 2015

As Bright & Sparkly As a Pile of Poo

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You know what - my mood today is as bright and sparkly as a pile of poo... or something like that.

I'm guessing from the lovely soft genteel photos of my children that I put at the start of this post that you weren't really expecting me to say that right?

Actually I have been kind like this all week really which is why I haven't been game enough to blog and although I can't actually pin point exactly what it is that has me in such a foul mood, I'm gonna go ahead and blame it all on ISIS, the cost of GIN, the fact that I am ferociously pre menstrual.

Whatever.







I'd like to have some happy ending to this story to share with you... something like how the sight of my beautiful children having fun and frolicking on the beach made me so happy that the bad mood literally melted away and revealed a glowing happy sunshiny Sonia.

Pffft... but that would be a big fat lie.

Whilst they did manage to brighten me up a little because hello - kids, sunshine and the beach is kind of happy stuff - the truth is I'm still in a really stabby mood and probably shouldn't be allowed anywhere near sharp objects or anything expensive or breakable for 24 hours... give or take.

Such is life!

Have a great weekend you guys.

Who's going to the Kidspot Party tomorrow night?
What are you up to this weekend?


This is our final Weekend Rewind for this year as we are heading into the silly season and we know things start to get any crazier than usual for us all.

We will be back next year but for one last time this year, let me introduce you to our gorgeous Weekend Rewind Hostie - Karina from the Laney Files.

I have been fortunate enough to catch up with Karina and I have to tell you she is every bit as lovely in real life as she is on her blog. Pop on over and say hello when you have linked up!

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This is our last Weekend Rewind for the year, but to play along simply link up your favourite post from the past week and then if you get a chance, pop around and say hello to some of the other lovely linkers. The Weekend Rewind blog hopping party starts every Friday night at 8pm and links will close on Sunday night at midnight. Link up here or over on Zoe's blog (A Quirky Bird) (Bron Maxabella is on a WR vacay)It does not matter where you link as your link will show up in all places.




Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Northern Beaches Alive and Living

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That stunning photo above is from the incredibly talented Sean Mulcahy from Australian Network Productions.

OK so he's my brother... and I may be a little bit *ahem* biased, but that doesn't for one moment take away from the fact that he IS an incredibly talented individual.

I'm pretty sure I've told you before about my big bro. He'a camera man slash producer slash photographer slash drone operator who not only had the privilege of filming Princess Diana's funeral for the world to witness, he has also travelled along the front line of warn torn countries capturing the images we see on our news.

He is also the dad of my precious niece Meg whose beautiful voice I often share on social.

Talent clearly abounds in that side of the family huh?!

And because my pride is kind of at busting point right now - I just wanted to share a video Sean made of where we live on Sydney's Northern Beaches.

Five years it took to create this video.

FIVE YEARS!!!

And more than 90,000 photographs painstakingly pieced together to create this masterpiece - Northern Beaches - Alive and Living.

Proud much?

Yep.

Enjoy!

"After 5 long years and more than 90,000 photographs, my tiltshift portrait of Sydney's Northern Beaches titled "Alive & Living" is finished. 


The Creative Creatures Film Festival was the final motivation I needed to get it over the line and as such, is a proud entry into this years event. 


Having traveled to more than 60 countries, I have been unable to find anywhere I would rather live than where I do in the Northern Beaches. We are extremely lucky to have such an amazing stretch of coastline between Manly and Palm Beach with such a diverse array of activities available to us.


This project was a labour of love, using a technique involving taking hundreds of photos of a scene with a tiltshift lens. The tiltshift lens gives the illusion of a very narrow depth of field using selective focus and thereby creating a 'miniature' look. The photographs were then joined together to form a 'time lapse' sequence and effectively a video. It's not a new technique and there have been many wonderful projects completed using it including those done by Keith Loutit.


This is my celebration of The Northern Beaches." - Sean Mulcahy



OK cue the shameless plug!

Australian Network Productions is a full service production and development company that can assemble the correct team of producers, directors script writers, cameramen, audio engineers, post-production specialists and online developers


You can view some of Sean's other work on Vimeo here.

Or you can find him at;
Sean Mulcahy – Email: info@anp.com.au

Friday, 20 November 2015

Barely Intelligible Nothingness

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It's a super quick one from me tonight, especially given the fact it was damn near impossible for me to string more than a few words together today (that actually made any sense anyway), let alone sit here and try to forge any connection between my brain and my keyboard.

I really don't have much more than barely intelligible nothingness on offer sorry.

Sleep is very much needed in our house right now following a night of next to no shut eye - courtesy of one of our precious boys being rushed to hospital last night for an emergency procedure.

The good news is he is doing OK today and he will very soon bounce back to his normal chirpy self. 

In the meantime, bed is calling... for everyone in this house.

I look forward to doing some much anticipated blog reading over this weekend and catching up with what everyone has been up to... but until then - I bid you goodnight! 

Have a fabulous weekend you guys and for my fellow Sydney siders - stay cool, she's been a mighty cooker of a day today! xx


This week's guest hostie is the lovely, down to earth mum and blogger Toni from Finding Myself Young. Toni shares her life stories in such a beautifully and honest and refreshing way so be sure to head on over and say hello to her.



To play along simply link up your favourite post from the past week and then if you get a chance, pop around and say hello to some of the other lovely linkers. The Weekend Rewind blog hopping party starts every Friday night at 8pm and links will close on Sunday night at midnight. Link up here or over on Zoe's blog (A Quirky Bird) (Bron Maxabella is on a WR vacay)It does not matter where you link as your link will show up in all places.


Thursday, 19 November 2015

The Unspoken Impact

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By the time we got into the car this morning to go to school, no one in our family was really talking to each other.... except for the hubby... but that's really only because he had already left for work and so he wasn't around to be involved in the silent treatment.

The two youngest boys had begun the morning with a rip roaring argument about someone taking a bookmark out of someone's book and now someone doesn't know which page he is up to.

Gah!

The oldest boy was kind of sulking because I yelled at him to "feed the damn dogs already" and then I laughed at him when he attempted to squeal his dissatisfaction at actually being asked to feed someone other than himself, and his new deeper vocal chords defied him by refusing to co-operate and instead let out something that kind of sounded like a bear giving birth to triplets.

And then there was me - tired and cranky because I had sat up until 12.30 trawling the interwebs and reading psychic predictions on what is going to happen to our world for the remainder of 2015 and 2016 (yeah I know!!!), and then I spent the night tossing and turning courtesy of horrific nightmares and a snoring husband.

All totally first world problems. Believe me, I  am so acutely aware of this.

As we sat waiting for our turn in the school kiss and drop line, I told the boys that I thought we were all being absolutely ridiculous arguing about such stupid things considering the state our world is in.

They kind of looked at me like I had three and a half heads and I am not sure if their mouths were agape from the shock of me actually talking to them again so soon after they displayed such turdish behaviour, or the fact that I was so unusually teary and emotional about what I was trying to say to them.

Probably a combo of both.

I don't expect them to 'get it' to the point that all us grown ups 'get it'.

As so many of us do every day, I try to protect them from what atrocities are going on in the world in a bid to preserve their innocence.... but when they carry on with so much fuss and bollocks about something as daft as losing a place in a book, I really do want to sit them down in front of the TV and make them understand how insignificant their woes are.

I didn't though.

I gave them each a kiss, told them I loved them and then kinda sorta shoved them out of the car.

In my defence I was still mildly pissed off at them.

They were being PARTICULARLY turdish this morning.

So ahhhh - I haven't much felt like writing on the blog this week or hanging out on social media this week.

Strike that - that's a lie.

I have felt like writing, a shitload actually, but it was mostly about my thoughts on Paris and Beirut and Syria. But nothing I could possibly say could do the enormity of the events that have gone down, any form of justice or use.

And so then I considered writing about bright happy stuff like Christmas, and work news and pretty things made of marble and rose gold....

But that just felt so lame and shallow.

I think we underestimate the impact the sort of things like what happened and continues to happen in Paris and Beirut and Syria has on us psychologically you know. At least I underestimated it as far as I am concerned.

So lovely people, I guess my point is this;

Go easy on yourselves this week - mankind has taken one hellava a massive beating.

Spread love and kindness to all that you can and try not to stress over insignificant things in your day.

Be grateful and gracious and compassionate and empathetic.

And most of all - shine bright... in spite of the oppressive darkness we might all be feeling.

How are you coping with all that has gone on?
Are you discussing it with your kids?
Has it changed your perspective at all on your every day doings?

Monday, 16 November 2015

Getting Our Kids Home To Us Safely

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Brought to you by Nuffnang and Transport for NSW

Letting my kids catch the bus home from school for the first time on their own was and continues to be SUCH a big deal to me given I am pretty much being a self confessed bonafide helicopter parent.

My kids on a bus without me there to protect them… that makes me nervous.

Towards the end of last year (and after much begging on their part) I agreed to let them catch the bus home from school. 

For the first four months or so I waited at the bus stop for them so that when they got off, I could make sure they crossed the road OK and walk the short two blocks home safely

After a while they persuaded me to wait for them across the road from the bus stop, and then up and across the road, and then eventually, nearly a year on, I allowed them to walk all the way home from the bus stop by themselves.

Oh believe me, I struggled with letting them do this by themselves. I struggled because I want to be there to protect them. I kind of NEED to be there - at least for my own peace of mind.

We are parents.

We worry.

Full stop.

But the reason we worry is because things can and do happen. Things can go tragically wrong in a mere split second.

Did you know that between 2010 and 2014 there were 122 kids aged between 5 and 16 years that were casualties (and fatalities) in bus related incidents, and 96 of those accidents occurred during school travel times (7.30 to 9.30am and 2.30 to 5.00pm)?

That is a bloody good reason for any of us to be worried.

26 of those casualties were kids aged 10-12 - the age of one of my own three boys.

That’s the age group that generally think they are old enough and responsible enough to make on the spot decisions, but the reality is they simply do not have the maturity of an adult brain to accurately gauge the risks. The fact that there is an increased number of pedestrian accidents during school travel in the 10-14 aged group, compared to the younger kids, is testament to that alone.

Our kids will reach a point where they want their independence, and at some stage we really do need to give it to them to some degree… and that is hard to do, I know

But it is part of growing up and all we can do is equip them with as much as we can so that they can protect themselves when we aren't there to do it for them.

We need to teach our kids to be safe both in and around buses.

We need to talk to them about this and remind them to Stop, look, think and Listen. We need to USE all that energy we put into worrying about our kids to some good use and teach them HOW to keep themselves safe.

Transport for NSW is working very hard to raise awareness about bus safety for our school age kids in order to reduce and prevent accidents, and they have launched a Be Bus Aware campaign.

We parents need to work with them to spread the messaging so that we can ensure our kids arrive home safely to us fro school.

The inaugural Bus Safety Week ran from the 1st to the 7th November and it is the perfect time for us to reinforce the safety messages to our kids.

The key messages we need to give our kids around safety in or around buses include;

STOP, LOOK, LISTEN and THINK. Be aware of the cars and trucks and other buses when you are crossing at your bus stop. Don't just trust that drivers see you, take charge of the situation yourself.

Get back from the kerb when you are waiting for the bus or to cross a road.

Don't push in line or muck around when you are waiting for or getting on a bus.

When you are on the bus - SIT down. Keep your bag on your lap or under the seat and both you and your bag need to stay there until it is time to get off the bus and the bus has come to a complete stop.

Do not look at your phone, play with any technology or be distracted by your friends when you are getting off the bus and crossing the road. Focus one hundred percent on crossing safely.

Use the pedestrian crossing or the lights to cross the road and walk, don't run.

This video below is targeted at kids in primary school and it is designed to get them thinking like a secret bus agent, teaching them how to identify danger and how to stay safe when travelling to and from school.

Please, do yourselves and your kids a HUGE favour and get them to watch this 6 minute video. 

Share it with your friends who have kids and share it on your Facebook page - let’s just get it out there. It is a fun but effective away of getting these safety message though to our kids and will go a log way to helping to prevent any further casualties during school hours.




For more information please visit www.safetytown.com.au

Do your kids catch the bus to or from school?
Did you struggle with letting them go like I did / do? 

Friday, 13 November 2015

I'm Calling *Cough Cough BULLSHIT Cough*

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I had a meeting about one of my boys at his school yesterday.

Just so we are clear I actually called the meeting.

I know!

Insane right?!

I mean who offers themselves up for a meeting when there is a big fat chance you are not necessarily going to like what you hear.

I'm having a bit of trouble motivating one of my squidions to do his homework and I needed to talk to his teachers about whether it is something they are also finding is happening at school, or whether I am just a complete pushover who can't get her kid to do his homework?

I mean I don't blame him.

My boys that is.

Personally I think homework totally sucks, and if I could - I would avoid it at all costs too. But as the current rule stands at their school, homework needs to be done to the best that we can manage.

"We are finding it a little hard to motivate him to do his work" was the response I got to my question about how he is doing during school time.

Ummm welcome to my world... I wanted to say but didn't because that's not really the sort of thing a proper adult says to her child's teachers.. I think.

"Do you have any tips on how you keep him motivated at home?" I was asked.

Sooooo I guess this is where the confessions begin and any credibility on my part ends.

"Ummm I printed off registration forms for another school the other day and left them on the kitchen bench so that they were sure to be 'found'" I began with.

"Aaaaand, I may have also googled images of boarding school and juvenile detention centres and left them open on the desktop too. I added.

I'm not sure if it was admiration or disgust written all over his face, but I am gonna go with the one that is better for my ego - admiration for my outstanding matching of wits to a very wit rich child.

"Ahhh ok, then maybe we should try letting him know that you and I are talking and that might shake him up a little" our lovely teacher offered.

"Oh we, you and I ( I said pointing to him and I) We talk ALLLLL the time" I declared.

"OK so I pretend to talk to you.. you know just to keep him on his toes and all that and that's really because I had to stop pretending to call the police because everyone told me that was like a REALLY bad thing to do so.... ummm yeah".

And so my meeting with the teachers clearly went a long way to explain my son's lack of motivation.

He's probably too busy spinning *Cough Cough BULLSHIT Cough* to his teacher like his mum does to him to actually have any time to focus on getting any proper work done.

I will probably get the right balance one day when it comes to  this parenting gig... and I will make one heck of a responsible grandparent.

I hope...

OK Your turn, fess up.

What big whoppers have you told your kids lately?
Are you for or against homework at your house?



This week's fabulous guest host is the gorgeous Tash from Gift Grapevine. Tash is one of those people that you feel like you have known forever.. even though you have never actually met other than through her blog.

She has a knack for find the best gifts ever and frequently makes me want to have another baby just so I can shop for baby items.

Yes I REALLY did just say that.

Ha!



To play along simply link up your favourite post from the past week and then if you get a chance, pop around and say hello to some of the other lovely linkers. The Weekend Rewind blog hopping party starts every Friday night at 8pm and links will close on Sunday night at midnight. Link up here or over on Zoe's blog (A Quirky Bird) and Bron (Maxabella) blogIt does not matter where you link as your link will show up in all 3 places.


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Cause I Am THE ENFORCER (Cringe)

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Can we just talk about punishment for a few minutes?

And by punishment I mean, what we attempt to do when our kids have pushed us so beyond our limits we bust a valve and mid meltdown (OUR meltdown) we throw out some kind of lame ass consequence that we know we have like maybe half a chance in hell of carrying through.

Clearly I am speaking from my experience here.

These past two weeks I have taken a stance people.

I have had enough of delivering empty threats and I have planted my feet firmly in the sand and held firm on what I have promised in the punishment department.

Oh but I have felt like such an asshole for it too.

After the foot through the wall incidence, my kids were the ones staring longingly out the window on Halloween night at all the witches and zombies and their overflowing buckets of sugar travelling up and down our street.

My kids were the ones unenthusiastically handing out treats at the front door for the lucky ghouls who didn't happen to be grounded that night.

My kids were the ones that every ghost and goblin had to practically pry the treat from their hands and make a run for it before the gifter yanked it back along with the rest of their collected stash.

My kids were the ones whose faces on Halloween (despite being unmasked) were scarier than any of the made up spooks that came to our door.

Yep, when that foot went through that wall, I delivered the mother of all punishments.... I cancelled Halloween.

More than that... I actually went through with it.

AND they were also grounded from going out to play for a whole week.

AND they had to hand over all their saved up pocket money to pay for the fixing of the wall.

AND they were not allowed to play their beloved summer soccer that week either.

And although I was proud of the fact that for once I actually carried through on my threatened punishment, it practically killed me to do so.

I felt like shit people.

A mean, horrible, unrelenting pile of punishing poo.

I think my kids have learned a good lesson from it... at least I hope they have. And I do know for certain that neither them nor I want to relive that experience again anytime soon.

So it brings me to my questions my fellow parents;

What kind of punishments do you hand out at your house?
Do you stick to carrying through with them or do you end up caving like I often (usually) do?
What is the biggest punishment you can remember receiving yourself as a kid?

Monday, 9 November 2015

Mourning That Little Voice

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It seems like a strange thing to mourn something or someone who is still with us... but it happens and those feelings of grief are real.

Be it the end of a friendship, the loss of something you hold precious or simply change and all that comes with it, it is enough to kick start a good old dose of grief.

14 years ago my beautiful dad fell gravely ill and was put into an induced coma so that they could put him on life support and give his body a fighting chance to recover from the septicemia that was attacking his system.

It was nighttime and we were all gathered at my Mum and Dad's house when the call came through from the hospital and despite the exhaustion we felt from the shock at how quickly it all happened, none of us got much sleep that night.

We all laid awake reliving memories, thinking about what was happening and praying for miracles. I was lying in bed ringing my Dad's mobile phone over and over again just so I could listen to the sound of his voice on his message service.

I was so worried that he would slip away from us that night and I would never hear his voice again. I was fearful that I would forget what his voice sounded like and that thought was simply too much to bear and so I rang his phone again and again and again trying to immortalise the sound of his voice.

My dad survived that awful ordeal and fourteen years on I am so grateful that he is with us and I can still hear his voice.

I am however mourning the loss of another voice, a different one to may dad's, the voice that once belonged to my oldest son.

Oh gosh, he is still here with us... sorry I didn't mean to scare you. I just reread that sentence above and totally freaked myself out.

No, thankfully Kai is fighting fit and growing bigger and hungrier and hairier by the day, but I did get the shock of my life the other day when I rang him and of course being a teenager and all that, he didn't answer his phone and so his message service kicked in and a squeaky little voice informed me that he was not available and to leave him a message.

Well my heart practically burst a valve or three right there and then and my eyes welled over at the sound of his sweet little voice.

That voice is no longer with us.

It has been replaced instead by a deeper more mature voice and I realised that I need to come to terms with the fact that I will never hear that squeaky little voice again.

Unless I can convince him to never change his voicemail message (which is highly unlikely) I need to accept that that voice is now gone and allow myself to grieve for the little boy that no longer exists and instead focus on the gorgeous young man who has taken his place.

I had forgotten about that little voice... in fact I didn't even notice it had gone, which kind of makes it all the harder to swallow because I wish I had taken more care in preserving that sound via video or something or other.

Gah, this parenting thing doesn't get any easier does it?

There is always something waiting around the corner to steal our breath away and yank at our heart strings.

But I wouldn't give any of it up for anything in the world.

I am just so grateful for the privilege to feel all of these crazy emotions that come with being a mum.

Do you get what I am talking about? Am I making any sense at all?