About Me

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The past two years have been all about adjusting to motherhood and finding my way through it via craft. The out pouring of this came in the form of my blog Aunty Mum. Now I'm finally finding my feet, the children are growing, I'm getting some independence and my interests are morphing . . . into cooking. Join me in exploring creativity in many forms, food, fabric, frowns and laughter.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tip of the Week

I had to clean the silver this morning and I thought . . . hmmm . . . I wonder how many people know this effortless method of silver cleaning.

All you need to do is place a peace of aluminium foil in the bottom of your kitchen sink. Sprinkle a liberal amount of salt in the bottom and then fill with boiling water. Place your silver in the hot water and watch the tarnish disappear before your very eyes. I am amazed every time I do this.

I decided that I'd make a traditional sponge cake this morning and if you're making a sponge then you need posh friends to share it with. So I called my mum and asked if she'd like to bring our posh friend Ann Marie over for morning tea.

Then I took a look at my cake forks and knew it was time they had a clean. You can't entertain a posh friend with sponge cake and then expect them to eat it with tarnished silver. Of course my mum, who is not posh, showed me up by having a ding dong with the road contractors as they scraped away half my road front lawn with a giant digger. Ah well, you can't win them all. Go Mum, that's what I say!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Some Days are Just Bliss

Sometimes there's a day, out of the blue, that just warms your bones, your soul and makes you glad that you're alive. This afternoon turned out to be one of those days.

I had to pick our little man up early as Nana wasn't feeling well. I had thought that might put the kybosh on my cruisy afternoon. It was, however, brilliant as he and our little one played for hours and they played well.

I dragged the sun umbrella out of hibernation, got the outdoor seat covers out of hiding and grabbed my crochet bag out of the car and settled down for a wonderful afternoon.

Rogan and Janae made up a game called "Don't get touched by the ball" where they bounced Rogan's ball on the trampoline and tried to avoid being touched by it. I'm not sure the neighbours appreciated the noise, but it was music to my ears after a week of fights, tantrums and crying. And I was quite impressed with the game . . . very inventive.

And I made that pot of tea I'm always banging on about, but never usually get around to making, settled myself at my favourite summer spot and created. Now it's not really summer, and I think the halter neck top I put on was probably a bit optimistic as within half an hour I had a cardigan on too, but it was the promise of the long months ahead that blessed me the most.

I love summer because we all live outdoors as much as possible and I can let the children feel that I'm really a part of what they're doing but they're still doing their own thing.

Unfortunately the weather started to close in, I got colder and colder and I had to retreat indoors. But it wasn't long until my neighbour turned up with her two girls, a bottle of wine and lots of laughs. Now I'm tyring to get through the last ten minutes before bedtime. I'm sure such a fabulous day will get me through!

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's all about Mollie Makes

Do you know it's been two weeks since I've been to Spotlight? I know . . . almost unbelievable. I decided that I needed to Cold Turkey Spotlight as it was becoming a bit of a Thursday morning habit. But this week they had a sale on fabric and I've been wanting to make these fabric broaches since I got my Mollie Makes magazine.

So this week I've been starching, ironing, cutting and stitching by hand these petals. As you can probably guess the hot pink is not my usual colour pick but I have lots of plain black tops that always need some shot of colour so I thought this might do the trick.

I have only one issue, and that's the size of the finished product. It's missing one round of flowers because it was getting so big but even so it's quite large. But, I need to get over my fear of large adornments because it seems to be the "thing" right now. I'm going to try this out on Sunday morning and see what response I get.

Then this morning I caught up with the lovely Carolyn and her brand new Mollie Makes mag. I can't believe that she gave it to me to read over the next few days. I warned her that there's a slim chance she may never see it again; but as she knows where I live it's more likely she'll sneak in and steal it away again if I refuse to return it.

See these lovely strawberry pin cushions? Carolyn is currently researching where we can get emery sand to stuff them with and then we're going to make some. I currently keep my pins in a dull plastic container so I'm really looking forward to having their colourful balled ends sticking out of a strawberry instead.

And now I think I need to get on with making some more flowers. After a coffee visit with my mum's friend the other evening I've been tasked with making lots of my headbands so that Chris can sell them at market for me. I've refused to do markets as my convenient excuse is that I sing most Sunday mornings. The truth is, I'm just not a sales person. Chris is very comfortable selling and she has volunteered my mother and herself to sell them for me as Christmas treats for little girls. She is even scouring the town for all the headbands she can find. Here's hoping she manages to sell them or every girl I know will be getting one for her birthday next year.

Now it's Friday night and I have one little girl begging to get to bed so I'll leave it there for the weekend. Hope your's is enjoyable!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Never Discount the Healing Properties of a Cup of Tea

I needed rescuing from my children this morning. Boy, what a whirl-wind start to the week. Little Rogan has been coming into my room two or three times a night for the past couple of weeks, so you can imagine how tired I am. Added to this is the tension that usually arises when the children are gearing up for a visit with their mum. This morning it all came to a head and I thought "if I don't get out of here I'm going to hurt someone". So I bolted for the door and two minutes solace.

Poor little darlings got quickly on the phone to Nanny and Granddad and they came racing to my rescue. Isn't it strange how our parents can drive us potty but they're always there when we need them?

Anyway, Granddad loaded the kids into my car and took them off to school and pre-school while Nanny gave me a big cuddle, sat me on the sofa and made me a cup of tea. It's just the British way, but it works. Now the house is quiet, the washing is on the line, the floors are hoovered, the beds are made, the toilet and toilet floor are sparkling clean and I'm waiting for Andrea to arrive with her vibrant personality and funny stories.

Thank the Lord for grandparents and cups of tea!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Try this . . . you won't be disappointed

I just had to share this recipe that I've posted on my "Confessions of a Wannabe Chef" blog. It's based loosely on a traditional Rendang recipe but with a few Belinda twists.

If you love Malaysian or Asian food then this is the one for you. Next week on shopping day I'm going to indulge in some prawns and make a nasi goreng. I'll share that recipe then. It's also to dye for.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My New Toy

Look at this gorgeous combination of wood and steel. The wonderful Rex has loaned me a guitar so that I can practice and get back up to speed in playing. We found ourselves short of a musician this weekend and had to sing with cds. Boy that's much harder than it seems. So I finally admitted to playing once and that if I owned a guitar I'd be able to practice and think about playing in public. Well, Rex quickly piped up that he had two spares and I was welcome to one.

I looked at it when he brought it around and panic set in.  I could only remember the G and Am chords. Thankfully he brought around chord charts too and this morning after Mainly Music I printed off some sheet music. I have spent the afternoon sitting on my bed and now I can play three songs. I fingertips are raw from the unforgiving steel strings, my wrist aches from bending around the fret and my fingers don't span as far as they used to, but I'm feeling very positive for day 2.

And when my fingers have been too sore to keep playing I've been working on this. It will, when it's complete, be a doily that I intend to send to my lovely 91 year old aunt in Canterbury, England. She's a crafty girl from way back but her hands and eyesight don't allow her to make things like this any more. She was diagnosed with cancer a couple of weeks ago so I thought I needed to send something lovely to cheer her up. Hopefully this will work. This is an almost complete motif and I will need to make about six. I will join them together with smaller yellow motifs to give it a brighter finish.

Because it's been snowing nearby (we had sleet on the orchard yesterday) it's been too cold to get out in the garden so it's been the perfect opportunity to work on something like this.

So crochet and music. Ahhh, it's almost the perfect life!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sometimes I'm a spineless Mother

Yesterday Kayley had the whole world running about after her trying to figure out where the best jolly was to be found. As a discipline measure I informed her that there were no post-church playdates today. As I write this lovely Brenna is here and they're packing away the blocks they've been playing with. But that's not all they've been up to today . . . 

I've known that the day of letting Kayley get going on a recipe without my constant instruction was coming and it arrived today. The girls got the "kids cookbook" off the shelf and picked out a simple cupcake recipe. Apart from a little assistance in working out that 1/2 was half, etc they did a fabulous job. 

I put the trays in and out of the oven and whipped out a couple of batches of icing, filled the icing bag and let them go to it with the decorations once the cakes were cooled. I'm not sure how appetising they look to me but the kids love them. 

Rogan is seen here on his third I think.

So it seems that even though I backed down on my disciplinary measures I'm kind of glad I did. The girls have tidied up Kayley's room and they are clearing away the mess in the toy room so they have space to make a hut. Brilliant. That's one job off my list of things to do tomorrow.

And, I was so inspired by the girls trying something new that I've made a flaky pastry for dinner. I've always been a little afraid of anything other than short pastry because all the cooking shows I watch tell me pastry is a difficult thing to do. I can bash out a short pastry in my sleep so I felt the fear and did it anyway today. It's currently chilling in the fridge ready for the final roll out and filling with left-overs from dinner last night. I'll let you know how it goes.

Needless to say, there's been little crochet going on lately. Ah well, I have six hours tomorrow so hopefully it's pouring with rain so that I can't get out in the garden, hang washing out or do anything outdoors so I can make a few more blocks of my blanket!

Friday, August 12, 2011

All about Budget

My friends have often said "oh I got this recipe from the Destitute Gormet" and I've thought . . . HUH? So I finally decided to research this enigma.

And I found this fabulous website. Most of us have to live to some kind of budget, and when you've got multiple little people in the house that budget can feel awfully tight sometimes. I know mine does on a weekly basis. So it's been wonderful to find this source of healthy, tasty and thrifty food ideas that kids will love too. I'm certainly going to try one or two out on them that's for sure.

The other huge blessing in my life has been a reminder that being a mother doesn't automatically mean you have to be a stropy mare (aka bitch) and that my children are well behaved or not depended more on my behaviour than theirs. My two school kids see a Councillor at school due to the myriad things they've been through with their biological mother and father and there's absolutely no shame in it. In fact, it's making awesome changes in their lives. But it wasn't until I sat down with her this week to chat about my gorgeous boy that I remembered to chill out, see the lighter side and to do a little more praising, a little less shouting and some more effective discipline.

So, I put on my happy face yesterday afternoon, I plugging in my positive vibes and I put a stool just inside the front door. I explained, very calmly, that the stool was henceforth the time-out spot (or the "naughty chair" as it's already been dubbed) and told them they'd get a warning and if behaviour didn't change they'd be put there for an appropriate amount of time. Janae decided she'd try it out there and then and climbed onto it, declared herself naughty and told us all to leave her alone. It was the most peaceful five minutes I've had in ages.

What a beautiful afternoon we had yesterday. The Naughty Chair didn't need to be used until this afternoon and I was amazed at the effect. Rogan screamed and shouted at me until he finally understood that the timer didn't start until he stopped yelling at me. I told him he could cry if he wanted but he needed to stop screaming at me. He did so and before the five minutes were up he was quiet and contemplative. I went down the hall after five minutes and he said "I'm sorry I shouted and was naughty. I love you." We had a cuddle and a wee chat and he was wonderful all the way to bedtime.

Of course, I'm under no illusions that I won't be in need of a good bellow because I can't contain my temper at some stage in the future. I'm also aware that my children have a tendency to be quite badly behaved when the mood takes them so the naughty chair may be frequented often but, as a parent, it's sometimes necessary to be reminded that it's a labour of love and not a dictatorship (well, I do anyway). Bless my little babies as they sleep. May tomorrow be bright, full of smiles, lots of kisses and plenty of laughter. May the same blessings fill your home.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

All About Colour

This morning was one of those where I didn't feel like getting out of bed, going anywhere or doing anything. You know those mornings at the close of winter when you're fed up with dark starts, cold weather and if you went somewhere hot and relaxing you don't think you'd ever come home? Yep, that's how I felt as I dragged myself out of my bed today. It's not been the ideal day with some tough family news, but it's all okay when you head out to the patio and find this little gem waiting to greet you.

I've watched these spring flowers for weeks anticipating their final arrival and this is the first one. If only you could smell it because it's just sensational. And there are lots more that are about to burst forth too. I'll have to wait a few days before I can snip some to sit on my kitchen table and keep me company.

So I laid this on the table instead this afternoon. Life, being what it is, hasn't allowed me the head space or even physical space do do any work on it in the last couple of days, but that's okay as I need to get some more yellow tomorrow. I think I'll try to get some more colours too. I think I'd like to add some greens and some purples just to make it feel a bit more complete.

Thankfully I'm still loving the look of it. I'm amazed at how the variegation in colour is working and how these colours seem to work together despite their brightness. Hopefully tonight I might get to completing another one but I'm not too hopeful of that. I think another early night is beckoning. But perhaps I'll be able to post a much more complete blanket next week. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I Love Kite Flying

I arrived at my parents this afternoon to what was shaping up to be a stormy afternoon. The wind was blowing and Janae said she wanted to make a kite (or a hite as she calls it). I quickly remembered that we have some kites hidden away in a cupboard. We hid them away because the last time we used them both Rogan and Janae let go at the same time and they ended up attached to the neighbours roof. These particular neighbours weren't very impressed by the events so we haven't done it since.

Today I made sure that I had a firm hold of the string as well as Janae and we had a ball. As I'm particularly camera-phobic I made mum help Janae while I snapped.

But it hasn't all been fun and games today. Last night I finally finished my cushion cover . . . and here it is! My mother has this lovely and rustic looking seat at her back door so I made use of it to show of the colours in the cushion. This design is so far outside my comfort zone that I can't even begin to explain it to you. But I think I love it. It's also completely random which is also against the grain.

I didn't have to purchase one ball of yarn to make this and that's always a bonus . . . especially when showing a completed project to tight fisted mother . . . I am mean. I did, however, have to purchase some yarn for my second project which you can see sneaking into the bottom right of the picture. I've only done three squares and I'm already head-over-heels in love with it. I think, once I've shown it off over the sofa for a couple of weeks that it might live on my bed. I'm so scared of the children trying to drag each other round the lawn on it that I don't think I'll be letting them anywhere near it.

Tonight the All Blacks are playing rugby against the Springboks and as I don't have Sky TV I'm spending the night at my folks with the girls. Which means I'd better stop enjoying blogging and head down to the kitchen to prepare dinner. MMMMMmmmm wild venison on the menu tonight. No faffing about with it . . . sear it, rest it and eat it. What I'm going to put with it is causing some concern though. Any ideas?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What a Melting Pot of a Day

I had to start with this photograph this afternoon because what had started as a pretty lovely day turned into a bit of shadowy affair really. I've never been big on confrontation but today I decided that it was better to have my say rather than just avoid a friend who had really upset me. I won't go into details but you can imagine how I was feeling on the inside when I arrived at school to hear this friend shouting out a telling off to my little Rogan across the play ground and then launch into a tale about his last sleepover there to the other mothers sitting with her, not realising I was standing right behind her. As you know, eves droppers never hear good of themselves so I didn't stand around to hear what it was all about and went across, got Rogan and left the school. In a very uncharacteristic move I went back to school and told her how I felt. I know Rogan is anything but the little angel he looks like; I know that he has issues with keeping his little hands to himself; I know that I'm in constant discussion with the school counselor and teacher about this; I also know that this little boy has been through a whole lot in his first five years. Thankfully the story has a happy ending in that I managed to talk my way out of a bitchy tirade into a constructive conversation. 

So now I can concentrate on the more pleasurable things from my day . . . like a yarn sale at Spotlight. Wahh Hoooo! I stopped by for my weekly Thursday morning visit and grabbed a couple of balls for my up-coming project and a ball for a hat I have on order. When I got to the counter I discovered that my already very reasonable and favourite yarn was on special. "Wait," I uttered breathlessly. "Can you keep these here and I'll go grab a couple more?" The assistant had a sense of humour thankfully, and there was no one else in the whole store. So, like a mad woman I dashed across the shop.

 And I got these two balls.

And these two balls. Talk abut a bargain. I was so excited about my purchases that I decided to come home and . . .

. . . organise my basked so it looks more like a basket of pleasure rather than a handbag belonging to a woman of ill repute. I keep popping around the corner just to gaze into this basket of promise because it makes me smile.

And then I thought I'd better be honest and show you my WIP bag. This is the bag full of bits that I'm making my cushion cover out of. I now have five rows complete and only have two more to go. As tomorrow is my other "day off" I'm planning to get a few chores done this afternoon (getting added motivation from the fact that my mother is coming over to babysit tonight and she'll frown if that giant pile of washing isn't folded and put away) so that I can drop everyone off tomorrow morning and come home to my faithful teapot and table. Hopefully tomorrow I might have a completed front to show you.

Monday, August 1, 2011

At last . . .

my children are developing taste buds. I so wanted to post a picture of their delicious desert that I found in Donna Hay's latest Kids edition of her magazine but it was virtually inhaled after their dinner that there just wasn't the opportunity for a picture.

But their dinner was a great delight to me. I have all these gorgeous Asian ingredients since my cooking class a few weeks back so I threw a bunch of stuff in a pan and crossed my fingers. Janae refused to eat it but she is only 3, the other two had three helpings each so I was jumping for joy that they are finally eating food I enjoy too.

And I had to share this cushion cover update quickly as I'm starting to really fall in love with it. These little bursts of colour are just so friendly. I can't wait until it's finished now.