IMG_4263

A dinosaur birthday party

A brainstorming session with my toddler meant that my bubba got a dinosaur party. Not because he loves dinosaurs, but because Peppa Pig’s little brother had a dinosaur party. That pig has a lot to answer for.

DSC_0606

I made a dinosaur-spiked tee from here. It was SO easy and SO quick. Such a great tutorial.

IMG_4263

I watched this video and used this template for the cake. I used my ol’ sugar-free banana cake recipe (see below) with buttercream icing.

IMG_4265

I found a dinosaur sandwich-cutter at Officeworks.

IMG_4267And something little for the adults! (Half white, half bubbles and fruit).

20150320_114059

And, finally, some “lolly bags”.

20150320_114137

(I was quite proud of my dino pasta thankyou cards).

We had some craft activities to do to, but we just didn’t need them! Cubby houses, scooters, bikes and food are all too exciting.

*****

Sugar-free Banana Cake Recipe

  • 125g butter
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups SR flour (I used part white, part wholemeal)
  • 1/2 cup milk (any milk works fine if you need to go dairy-free)

Cream butter and bananas together. Add eggs and beat well. Gently add flour and milk. Bake for about 25 mins at 180 until a cake tester comes out clean.

IMG_4222

Toddler planner

My little one is a bit OCD. Like her Mum. Already. Eek!

She always wants to know what’s happening each day, what day it is, and gets quite irate if we change plans.

I was getting a bit sick of the repetitive conversation, so I decided to make her a planner, so we could easily talk about what was happening each day/week.

I searched pinterest and fell in love with this one from Mama.Papa.Bubba. So I used this as a guide to make my own.

IMG_4222

The velcro sticky tags make it flexible and we can just print out more pictures if we need more activities. It’s a great way to initiate conversation and discussion, and will hopefully last a long time since we laminated it all!

What organisational activities have you done with your kiddies?

IMG_4187

Cape-tastic

A million years ago, I saw a waitress wearing a lovely drapey shrug thing. I should’ve asked her where she bought it, but I didn’t. So I jut kept thinking about it.

Then I found some lovely flowy fabric in Lincraft. And was still thinking about the cape.

I found this picture on pinterest and thought, yes, I can do this! (Unfortunately, the link is broken on pinterest, so can only give you this pic).

2eb7807c57c7012c5dd48822c173cc56

 

It is literally a rectangle, with 1/3 of each side sewn to create a sleeve. I just draped the fabric over my shoulders to decide how wide to make it.

IMG_4182

I put some pretty lace along the edges.

IMG_4187

And voila! Not the best picture but I think you get the idea.

 

IMG_4177

Delightful doorstops

Hmm… the second post in a row with an alliterated title…

Aren’t these cute???

IMG_4177

IMG_4178

We have DESPERATELY needed decent doorstops in our house (ooo! more ‘D’s!). The kiddies’ door just wouldn’t stay open and we have used a toddle shoe for the past year. I was using a phone book for the front door, but the bubba started munching on that. And the back door doorstop seemed fascinating to him too, and now I just can’t find it.

These cuties were so easy and I whipped all three of them up in half an hour or so. I used scraps of fabric and a 2kg bag of cheap rice did the three of them. You can find the fantastic tutorial here at ‘So Sue’. I made the larger ones using 9×9″ squares, with about 4 cups of rice.

Highly recommended if you are in a desperate doorstop situation as I was!

IMG_4155

Tigereye Tomato Tart

Now this was a lovely gardening surprise! These little beauties grew from some great little seedlings that I bought from Bunnings. It’s a trailing tomato plant, and I unfortunately planted my tomato plants too close together, so I have to pretty much climb into the plants to pick them! When I plant these again next Spring, I think they’d do really well along the edge of my garden beds.

They are so super-dooper pretty. And delicious. And juicy.

IMG_4155

After picking them I put them in this little pie dish, just because it was the right size, but then I couldn’t stop thinking about tarts.

I wanted to keep the tomatoes as ‘the hero of the dish’ as they’d say on Masterchef. So, I whipped up a Stephanie Alexander pastry (see below), briefly baked it, threw on the tomatoes, some fresh basil, dollops of ricotta and S&P.

IMG_4170

When it popped out of the oven, I gave it a quick drizzle with fancy olive oil.

IMG_4175

So good. So I made it again. Then next night!


Taken from Stephanie Alexander, The Cook’s Companion, pg 965

Polenta crust:

  • 3/4 cup fine polenta
  • 115g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 75g butter
  • 1/2 cup cream

Mix the polenta, flour, salt and baking powder in a food processor. Add butter and process until the butter pieces are pea-sized. Add cream until dough comes together. Refridgerate until needed (at least 30 mins).

This made enough for two tarts. The recipe is designed for a ‘closed’ pie, so it didn’t need blind-baking. However, because of my tart-style, I pricked the base with a fork and blind-baked it for about 10 mins, then added the filling and baked it for another 15-20 minutes or so.

Also, because of the juiciness of my tomatoes, I cut them and left them to drain on some muslin cloth for a while before constructing the tart.


I have plenty more tomatoes. If you have any recommended recipes, let me know!

 

 

IMG_4146

Low FODMAP desserts

One of my besties is on the low-FODMAP diet to help with some health problemos. I cook for her regularly, and at first I freaked out quite a lot when I looked at the no-go list. And then add to that dairy and egg allergies from other family members!! Desserts become quite difficult…

But I’m getting it sorted now, and I’m particularly proud of two desserts that I pulled out for Christmas, and then her birthday.

And here is Christmas in a Glass (low-FODMAP, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free):

IMG_4142

 

IMG_4146

 

The bottom is a layer of coconut tapioca pudding. I boil 3/4 cup of tapioca pearls in water, drain them, stir in a tin of coconut milk and let it set in the fridge.

On top is cinnamon-salted popcorn, a candycane, fresh blueberries, coconut chips (these are McKenzies brand and are beautiful) and gingerbread. I altered a Donna Hay recipe (from Issue 78, pg 150) for the gingerbread.

Gingerbread dough (more FODMAP friendly):

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup treacle
  • 2 1/2 cups GF plain flour
  • 1 tsp bi card soda
  • 3-4 tsp ground ginger (depending on your palate!)
  • 1-2 tsp mixed spice (depending on your palate!)

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the other ingredients and beat until it comes together in a smooth dough. Press into a tin and back for about 30 mins at 160 degrees.


 

Then, as a birthday cake, I made a layered pudding! The tapioca is the same again on the bottom. The next layer is frozen banana (freeze bananas, then whiz them in the food processor until they look like icecream) and topped with ganache. I made the ganache using 2/3 cup of coconut milk and 90g of dairy-free dark chocolate. And again, sprinkled with coconut chips.

Looking back, I realised that this is actually a pretty health dessert – the only sugar is in the dark chocolate!

IMG_40931

IMG_40941

20150113_182842

Potty Training

A wise mama said to me that potty training would be the most stressful parenting journey that I would go through. She sure was right. For the toddler years anyway.

We’d owned a potty for a while and now and then she’d use it, but not often. And she was starting to develop a bit of a dislike for it, so we decided it was time to change that. Plus, it was Summer and a good time weather-wise. We’d tried the sticker-chart reward system, but she just didn’t seem that fussed about it.

I read a lot*. I printed out blog posts. I highlighted my favourite pointers. I made lists.

Three days is what everyone says, so that’s what we planned for. Hubby took a day off so that we had a long weekend to work with.

We’d been talking about buying big girl undies (just like Mummy and Daddy) for a week or so before our weekend. Two days before our start date, the little-y and I set off for Kmart. We made a big deal about it, and talked about it the whole way in the car. We spent some time choosing what she wanted. Again, another big deal when we got home to tell Daddy. I think we even called the grandmas to tell them too. The next day we washed them all and kept talking about the concept. And talking. And talking. We said goodbye to all her nappies. They were now only for her baby brother. She was a big girl now.

On the first day, she did well. We started with accidents but would often finish in the potty as we rushed her there. We thought it would be important to keep the potty in the bathroom so that she got used to holding on until she got there. I really liked this idea and I think it was quite important. It also meant that  we weren’t looking for where we last left the potty. Every ten minutes or so, we’d say “remember to tell Mummy/Daddy if you need to do wees or poos”. We also often asked whether or not she had dry undies and when she did, she got a big congratulations.

Day two, she seemed absolutely exhausted. Almost every time was an accident. I think we were just hounding her so much that her poor little brain just didn’t want to listen to the questions anymore.

From midday on day three until the end of the day, she had dry undies and she even did a poo in the potty! We were so happy!! But perhaps a little over-confident…

Daddy went back to work on Monday and I decided that a trip to our regular playgroup would be a safe idea. There were no carpets, she knows the people well and everyone else is a Mum who has already gone through potty training with at least one child.

I prepped a toilet bag: cleaning wipes for the toilet, a fold-up toilet seat, changes of undies and clothes, plastic bags for wet things, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. I was ready.

When we arrived we went and ‘checked out’ the toilets so that she knew where they were. I asked her every now and then whether she needed to go. And then I took a phonecall. Bad parenting move, Mama. She, of course, had a massive accident in the thirty seconds that I was outside the door. So, she was embarrassed and probably a bit scared because she couldn’t see me. Ugh. I think I felt safe, but she didn’t. In retrospect, we shouldn’t have left the house.

And for the next few days, every wee was an accident. It was horrible. I was getting stressed. She was getting upset and we were all exhausted. By Thursday, I was at my wit’s end. Hubby took a day off to give me some space. Bubba and I hung out at IKEA (did you know it’s free tea and coffee during the week? Nice.).

We also realised that she was holding on until she got into bed when we put a pullup on for night-time. So, we just got rid of the pullups. We had a few night time accidents. But, we were prepared with clean sheets, mattress protectors and pjs, so we could make the change super-quick.

And with more persistence, by the following Monday, it started to work again. We introduced a reward (which we hadn’t done up until now) and she could watch some Peppa Pig on our tablet when she used the potty successfully. This was a huge help. The night accidents were also reducing. Things were finally looking up.

We had a four-day holiday with no day-time accidents. We had the potty in the car with us, but she only used it once. We did do pullups overnight, purely because I didn’t want to travel with lots of sheets. But she coped with this idea.

And now? I can tell you when her last two day-time accidents were: the 14th of Dec and the 28th of December. She’s done it. She’s amazing and she’s a little trouper! And we don’t need Peppa anymore.

But, I’d like to rename it seven-day potty training!


*The e-book from 3 day potty training

*50 potty training tips from real mums
*Potty train in just three days