Friday, 30 November 2012


'kaetoo' Canvas Photo Boards is moving house today. I'll be without Internet access until next Friday, so will be scamming it from work and other places. So no Blog updates and slow replies over this period.

See you soon.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Are they twins?

Every Thursday and Friday for over a year now at least two people ask me if Miss 1.5 and Miss 2 are twins. "No, they're not," I reply. "One belongs to me and one to my friend." People look confused. Why would I purchase a second car seat and a double pusher to look after a child that is not my own?

Well, it's because when I was pregnant and thinking about the logistics of children and work, I talked to my friend, Kat, who was also pregnant and thinking about the logistics of children and work. We don't live that far from one another and we have similar values and parenting techniques. So, we arranged our part-time work days to be complementary and once Miss 2 was about a year old and Kat was going back to work two days a week, Miss 2 started staying with me on Thursdays and Fridays. And when Miss 1.5 was about one year old and I was going back to work three days a week, Miss 1.5 started staying with Kat on Mondays and Tuesdays (on Wednesdays she hangs out with Grandpa).

My mat. health nurse said that she had never met anyone who had an arrangement like this before.

There are lots of benefits. Miss 1.5 is with someone who I know and trust, in a home environment. Kat and I can share stories about what the girls did each day and call up if we just want to say "hi". Miss 1.5 learns things that are different from the things that I focus on - for example, Kat taught them shapes and letters before I thought to.

The girls are great friends and learn more from one another than I think that they do from adults. They keep each other entertained, which means that they are less dependent on mum. They also have massive fights, but that is part of learning how to share, so I think that it's good.

From my point of view, the arrangement is much more flexible than childcare. And it's free (yippee)!

The bad things? It's like having twins, really, so it's a pain when one of them is sick. The other one is bound to get sick (more specifically, Miss 1.5 is bound to pass whatever illness she has on to Miss 2) and looking after two sickies is hard work. You have to purchase double of all the baby stuff: car seat, pusher, cot, highchair. A bit more organisation is required to co-ordinate going out and to stop escapes in shops. And when one of us goes on holidays or gets sick, things can be a bit tricky.

I miss the year that Miss 1.5 and I spent at home alone, when it was just the two of us. I think that it's sad that I'm never going to have that time again with future children.

I think that for this to work, you need two families who have similar ideals and parenting styles. And to talk to each other, remembering that this is a friendship, not child care. But the child sharing arrangement is working really well for us and I'm looking forward to more double trouble from the "twins"

Friday, 23 November 2012

In The Kitchen - Round-up 16-22 November

Whip-around my kitchen...

On Friday 16th, Darren and I went to Radiohead and had a quick takeaway dinner with friends beforehand. Miss 1.5 was with Grandma and I made them both garlic roasted chicken with potatoes, red onion, carrot and mushrooms from for dinner. I had a quick sample: tasty.

Saturday 17th, Miss 1.5, Darren and I went down to Glenferrie and had dinner outside on the street, watching the trams and trains go by (Miss 1.5 loves large transport vehicles).

On Sunday 18th, Darren cooked up tasty seared pork skewers, in ginger, garlic, fish sauce and Chinese cooking wine, using the recipe from 'The Essential Asian Cookbook'. This was really good - make again!

Tuesday 20th was tuna bake, cooked up on Monday and reheated. Wednesday 21st was grilled chicken seasoned with cashew za'atar and bush tomato and served in wraps with salad and chutney and cheese. Last night, Thursday 22nd, was a beef korma curry in yoghurt and sour cream with potato, spinach, zucchini and cauliflower.

Beef korma curry.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Countdown to Christmas

There's little more than a month until Christmas and with all this renovation and packing, I have not even started Christmas shopping! Very boo!

The countdown, however, is on. Here are some madeit and Etsy advent calendars to help me take the impending festive season a bit more seriously.

Advent Christmas Snowman Calendar by Joy Sisters

Christmas Advent Calendar by Enchanted Creations

Christmas Advent Calendar by Tied With A Ribbon

Christmas Advent Calendar Bunting by Bekahdu Handmade

Advent Calendar Timber by Modern Malady

Christmas Advent Calender by Gozi and Pop

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Moving House - Weeks Five and Six

I have been slack in updating you about how our house renovations are going. We had the whole house rewired and networked, which made an awful lot of mess and meant that the interior was pretty much out of bounds for two weeks.

In the meanwhile, Darren and our neighbours from our old house dug a trench along the fence and lined it with chicken wire, before refilling it. This should slow down our dogs' attempts to visit the new neighbours.

I attacked the out-of-control roses a bit more. My neighbour, obviously not feeling used enough after taking four loads of green waste to the tip and digging a trench, came over to help me devise devious plans for removing roots.

Miss 1.5 is exploring all the new parks.

And now we are plastering and sanding and prepping for painting in our last week before the official move! It's not going to be finished before we move, or for another 5/10/500 years, but it's going to be home!

Friday, 16 November 2012

In The Kitchen - Round-up 9-15 November

Quick whip around...

Friday 9th was shakshuka (Israeli eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce) from 'SBS Feast Magazine.


Saturday 10th was chicken soup made from all those carcasses of roast chickens, with lots of vegetable and we had that again on Tuesday 13th. On Sunday 11th I made prawn pilau from Bowl Food and on Wednesday 14th I made the prawn heads into prawn stock and turned that into soup with udon noodles, vegetables and prawn and chicken dumplings.

Yesterday, Thursday 15th, some mice (two small children) got into my defrosting pastry...

... but I still made some successful pasties, filled with potato, spinach, carrot, salad onion, leek, zucchini and curry powder.


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Toddler Art - Sticky Letters

We revisited the sticky window, but this time with letters. I cut a 'C', 'J' and 'A' out of paper and put them on contact, sticky side out (there would have been more letters, but I ran out of contact). Then Misses 1.5 and 2 stuck coloured paper on the contact and we talked about which letter they were sticking them on.

Miss 2 is still not convinced about sticky windows. She opted for putting stickers on the coloured paper (which Miss 1.5 pulled off).

Miss 1.5 favoured the letter 'J' and left the other letters quite empty.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Washi Tape Letters

I haven't sprooked my wares on this Blog for a little while. These are my newest creations: little canvases embossed, painted and embellished with washi tape. So cute!

Friday, 9 November 2012

In The Kitchen - Round-up 2-8 November

We've eaten a lot of beetroot this week. Interesting...

On Friday 2nd, I cooked caramelized ginger chicken from Pauline Nguyen's 'Secrets of the Red Lantern'. This is chicken and onion (and other vegetables) in fish sauce, ginger, garlic, sugar and stock. Very good.

Caramelized ginger chicken.

Saturday 3rd, Darren barbecued some lamb and I made a potato and pumpkin salad with spinach and roquet and croutons, dressed in a sour cream and mustard dressing. Beetroot on the side. Summer must be coming - I can tell because Darren is getting attached to the barbecue again.

Lamb and salad.

On Sunday 4th, Darren roasted a pre-marinated lamb shoulder on the barbecue, along with a lot of vegetables, since we had both my parents and his mother over for dinner. It was a great feast.

On Monday morning, I had a SMS asking if I was interested in a bag of lettuce and a bag of spinach from a friend at work. People ask me things like that. This worked out perfectly becuase I was lucky enough to have my mother-in-law come over on Tuesday 6th to cook dinner for us. She made delicious san choy bow, using some of the aforementioned lettuce.

Wednesday 7th, I made salmon kedgeree using the recipe from 'Home Food'. Although the recipe calls for a salmon fillet, I always add tinned salmon to my rice that has been cooked in onion, curry paste and stock. I also throw in vegetables - in this case mushrooms, the spinach and broad beans from my mother-in-law's garden. This version was topped with boiled eggs and sour cream.

Salmon kedgeree

Last night, Thursday 8th, we had people over for dinner again and Darren and I cooked roast chicken. I marinated the chickens in lime juice and jerk seasoning, and Darren then barbecued them. There were also wedges of potato and mushrooms stuffed with mushroom stems, garlic and parsely, cooked on the barbecue, roasted beetroom in cumin, coriander, garlic, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, asparagus with grated cheese, and a salad of the lettuce, tomato, cucumber and capsicum. Yay for barbecues.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Toddler Art - Playdough

Making playdough is easy. Weigh out 100 g flour, 50 g salt and 1 teaspoon cream of tartar. Put it in a saucepan with half a tablespoon of oil.

Add food colouring to 150 ml water.

Add the liquid gradually, mixing to get rid of the lumps.

Heat, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken suddenly, keep stirring until it is very stiff.

Let it cool. Then play!


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Moving House - Week Four

Exhibit 1: Re-blocking makes a lot of mess.

Exhibit 2: Knocking down barbecues makes a lot of mess.

Exhibit 3: Removing panels and plastering makes a lot of mess.


Friday, 2 November 2012

In The Kitchen - Round-up 26 October - 1 November

Back in the B.C. (before children) days, we ate Vietnamese at at different restaurant on Victoria Street once a month. Everyone who was invited (about 30 people) had a number and whenever they came they had to order that item and then put it in the middle to share (usually around 10 people showed up). It was tasty, fun, meant that we didn't have to think about what we were ordering and was a great way to try new foods, like tendon and betel leaf. On Friday 26th, I rounded up some of the old team and we went to the restaurant that we had rated the highest, but didn't order by numbers. The food was still good, but perhaps not as exciting.

On Saturday 27th, Darren and I went out alone for a Greek dinner for our wedding anniversary. Lovely.

Sunday 28th, Darren cooked some mussels in a cream and coriander sauce using the recipe on 'BBC Good Food', with extra mushrooms. He baked some potato slices with rosemary and salt as well, for the frites.

Mussels in coriander cream.

On Monday 29th, Darren cooked up some beef meatballs, based on the recipe for veal meatballs which involves herbs, Dijon mustard and egg in 'The Cook's Companion'. He added in some vegetables and cooked some rice and the meatballs were looking lovely until I suggested throwing in some tomatoes as well. Upon which the meatballs disintegrated. Still tasted good.

Tuesday 30th, I was in a bad mood and defrosted the pork and vermicelli noodle fillings from previous weeks (1 and 2). I thought that they could go in the left over rice sheets to become rice paper rolls, but we only had six, which wasn't enough to feed five people. Then I thought that I could make banh xeo (Vietnamese pancakes), which was a stupid idea, because I did a big banh xeo experiment over several months a couple of years ago and found the correct recipe after many, many failures and knew that the secret was to let the batter sit for an hour or so. I ignored all my experience and used a recipe from SBS which didn't stand the batter and was a miserable failure. Tasted fine, looked like slop. I'll have to go back and use the correct recipe and make lovely, crispy, tasty banh xeo to make up for it.

Things went better on Wednesday 31st. I used some premade pizza bases and put tinned tomato in the blender with some leftover pesto dip to make a sauce. Then I cut up ham, salami, mushrooms and tomatoes for the topping, added cheese and anchovies and baked. Just before the end, I threw on roquet and baby spinach. Yum.

Last night, Thursday 1st, I made bunny chow from SBS 'Feast' magazine again. This time I was cooking for people who like spicy food, so I threw in the chillies and added hot curry powder - worked well. I also made some banana icecream (not really icecream, since it's not mixed) using an old recipe from the 'Epicure' in 'The Age', which is bananas, egg yolks, brown sugar and sour cream blended together and then mixed with soft peaks of egg whites and glucose syrup before freezing. A great result!

Apologies for the lack of photos.