Sunday, July 05, 2015

27/52

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Photos by Lamb & Fox who visited for tea and cake a few days ago. She's a brilliant photographer and I always love seeing the way she captures the children.

Che: so incredibly grown up of late. Seven is such a pivotal age...so much awareness, attitude and questioning. 

Poet: cheeky little thing who is often lost in her own little world of imaginings (I love to listen as she plays make-believe)

Percy: my littlest love, adored by us all.


10 COMMENTS


Friday, July 03, 2015

the middle child

I didn't know whether to trust those cliches, the one's about the troublesome middle child. Surely they were folklore? Surely they can't apply to every family?

I'm here to tell you that Poet got the memo about the official role of the middle child and right now, she is fulfilling it incredibly well. Some would say she is excelling. That little hand that fits so well into mine has been poking and prodding Percy every time I turn my back. A few days ago she back-chatted me and told me I would be the one sitting on the step if I didn't listen to her!

Her high-pitched giggle has a tinge of mischief about it and her little tongue has been poking out at the most inappropriate of moments. She also knows exactly how (and when) to push Che's buttons and whilst he is quite adept at ignoring her, even his patience is wearing thin. She is bubbling with energy and sass; she goes, goes, goes all day and come 7pm she is, quite literally, out like a light.

Gosh I love her but goodness she can be hard work. She really is the spark in our family; the jumping, climbing, dancing, bouncing, singing, leaping, yelling, pulling, tugging one. She fights and loves with all her might. Her knees are grazed and her brow is bruised and her pigtails are becoming more Raggedy Anne as the days go by.

And yet her affection is at an all time high. Countless times a day she will say: "I love you SO much, Mum. More than a double rainbow and a unicorn."

The middle child about to turn 4. Equally rambunctious and adorable.


10 COMMENTS


Thursday, July 02, 2015

simple food | tuna + herb pasta

Firstly, this is not a foray into food blogging...think of it more like a friend handing you a quick and easy recipe to make when inspiration and interest is waning. If your meal repertoire is anything like mine, you might need a break from the monotony of it all. I've found that in the past year or so I've been making the same meals - week in, week out - simply because I know they'll get eaten (and more often than not, there's usually one person who turns their nose up). 

Tuna + Herb Pasta has been a mainstay in our household for a good few years since I found something similar in Tess Kiros' book Apples for Jam. It's affordable, uses basic ingredients, can be made in about 20 minutes and, most importantly, it's delicious. I make it once a week and it's gobbled up for dinner and usually re-heated for lunch the next day (I send it for school lunch in a funtainer thermos - we own two of them and they are fabulous!). It also makes a lovely salad come summertime. 

If you want to bulk the meal up a bit, serve with blanched broccolini + beans, a big salad and a few chunks of sourdough...then imagine you're eating it on a banquet table in a Tuscan villa.

Tuna + Herb Pasta

these measurements are by no means accurate, trust your instinct with this one...

a few glugs of olive oil
a few stalks of celery - thinly sliced
two cloves of garlic
a small-medium zucchini - finely grated
185g tin of Sirena tuna in olive oil
400g tinned tomatoes
generous handful of society garlic, flat-leaf parsley + chives* - chopped
pasta of your choice (penne or spirals work well)
salt + pepper

Add a few glugs of olive oil to your pot and heat to medium. 

Crush the garlic, thinly slice the celery, finely grate the zucchini and add to the pot. Stir for 10 minutes or so and then add tinned tomatoes. Bring to a gentle simmer before adding tuna, chopped herbs and salt + pepper. Your pasta sauce is basically done....simmer it for about 20 minutes. 

Add your pasta to boiling water and cook for about 8 minutes. Drain (but leave a little bit of water in as it helps the sauce to 'stick' to the pasta - Jamie Oliver taught me that). Stir the pasta through the tuna sauce.

Serve and enjoy. 

*these three herbs are incredibly easy to grow and seem to thrive regardless of your level of green thumb. Yes, you need them in your garden...


3 COMMENTS


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

three steps to a simple home

It's all about thinking simply. Or simply thinking? Both, actually.

When I first started decluttering I figured that I'd go through each cupboard, sort the contents into piles and only put back what I really wanted to keep. In my naïveté I presumed that once I was done with each room, I would be basking in the aftermath of a job well done and get on with my day, unencumbered by all the stuff. That was all well and good until I realised that the first cull is never the last; decluttering is addictive.

Simple living, at its very core, is about habit. Some of us fall into this way of living out of necessity, others do it by choice. Regardless of the motives, simplicity requires you to embrace a new way of living and, ultimately, a new way of thinking. It is so much more than the physical act of decluttering - it requires an entirely new mindset.

Generally, habits are hard to change. In this day and age, we like a quick fix and simplifying the home is anything but a small job. I know many people who, if it was affordable, would hire someone to come in and do the hard work of sorting and culling. But there's a lot to be said for getting your hands dirty and doing it yourself; it's a practise that gets you thinking - about money, silly purchases, practicality and necessity. It can be confronting but it can also be enlightening.

Consuming, coveting and hoarding habits are hard to shift. You may be completely adept at cleaning out your wardrobe but if you then indulge in a few frivolous shopping trips you're right back where you left off. Essentially, nothing has changed. So, how do you simplify the home for good? How do you shake the old habits and cultivate new ones? A three-step strategy, if you will....

1. declutter- slowly and steadily.

In my opinion, starting is always the hardest step so make it easy for yourself: choose a kitchen drawer, set the timer on your phone and work solidly for 15 minutes without interruption. Once you have completed it (and yes, sometimes a focussed 15 minutes is all it takes) move onto the next. Instead of setting the lofty goal of an entire day, work in stages (this is particularly helpful if you're a mum with small children) and get a little bit done each day. If you start to get overwhelmed by the enormity of the job or exhausted from the repetitiveness, remind yourself why you started in the first place; come back to your intentions.

Whilst decluttering my home there were countless times when I experienced that sick feeling associated with buyers regret; my indulgence was selfish and inconsiderate and all I had as a result was overflowing cupboards. When you sort through the stuff in your home it tends to stir memories but it also conjures an emotional response. My advice? Acknowledge it, sit with it, learn from it...move on to the next cupboard with newfound awareness and enthusiasm.

2. don't replace what you culled, even if the idea of brand-new-everything is irresistible.

Empty space often begs to be filled but...ignore it! Bask in the ease of less stuff, less cleaning and subsequently, more time.

3. practise restraint and think before you buy.

Granted, this is the tricky part and for me and it's taken a good long while for my mindset to shift. My old habits of frivolous spending and buying on a whim were hard to break but once I realised how careless I had been, I was motivated to change my spending/acquiring habits for good. Consider asking yourself the following when you're about to buy:

- why do I need it
- is it affordable?
- where will it live?
- how long will it last?
- am I succumbing to a trend or buying it because it's timeless?
- do I really need it?

To think before you buy - it's nothing new but somewhere, somehow, we lost our way. In my opinion, when you buy with awareness you have more appreciation for your purchase, you're more likely to look after it and as a result, it will stand the test of time.

How has simplifying your home changed the way you spend your money?


19 COMMENTS


Monday, June 29, 2015

26/52

"A portrait of my youngest children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Poet: dancing, always dancing (despite a heavy head and grouchy temperament).

Unfortunately I can't post Percy's portrait this week...I took some photos for one of my favourite children's clothing labels and as a result, Percy will be in their summer catalogue. As much as I would love to share his scrumptious face, I can't. I have however tucked the photo away in my 52 Project file to be printed at the end of the year.

In other news, we are officially half-way through the year! And whilst I have the excuse of a new baby to use when these posts are late (sometimes by a whole day) I must admit that it's also getting more difficult to photograph Poet. I find the perfect age to photograph children is from 18months - 3.5 years; they go about their day, often oblivious to the camera and to their own appearance. As they venture towards four their awareness generally expands and all of a sudden they are smiling cheesy grins for the camera. As a photographer you have to up your sleuth-like game and it can get difficult (especially if you have a babe in arms and you're not picking up the camera as regularly).  

I'm also back to working on my photography series...more to come this week. 


7 COMMENTS


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

simply practical : for your socks

This is, perhaps, the epitome of banal, but if a muma is going to have anything to write home about, it's an invention that makes the hum-drum of washing that much easier.

Socks are rarely a covetable clothing item but they definitely are an essential in the smalls department. They also have a habit of going missing on a regular basis. Cue enormous frustration and the rhetorical question: "Where did that sock go?"

Enter the humble sock holder. While it doesn't promise to find those missing socks, it does make the hanging-drying-folding process so much easier. As a bonus, it saves room on the hills hoist which is always necessary after a few days of rain.

It's the best $3 (from Bunnings) you'll spend all week (perhaps second to the coffee after a restless night).

Also:

Bamboo pegs
Wooden "peg people" pegs (perfect for school holiday craft)
My preferred, smells-so-good, laundry detergent


10 COMMENTS


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

family dynamics and the new baby




When I called my mum to tell her that Percy had arrived I could hear Poet whining in the background: "Humph, I'm wanted a girl baby!" In the weeks that followed she regularly rubbed my still swollen belly and asked: "When is the girl baby coming out?" 

In retrospect, her disappointment was to be expected and I'm relieved she felt comfortable enough to express it, then and there, and get it out of the way. Because now? It's complete and utter adoration (especially when she is given the time and space to pull the fluff out from between his fingers and toes). Just this morning she really, truly embraced the mummy role and spat on her finger before wiping milk off his face.

A new baby brings with it unsurmountable joy and complete and utter overwhelm. Those first few weeks are emotionally charged and once the bliss wears off (give it a few days) the reality really starts to hit home. Everyone is in a state of limbo as they attempt to adjust and meltdowns are the norm. But you know what was most confronting about this shift? It was surprisingly difficult for me to mother Che and Poet. Yes, they were more demanding of my attention (understandable) but I was so deep in the post-birth haze that my ability to console them, let alone answer questions and deal with difficult behaviour, was beyond me. Is this common? I've never heard anyone else mention it, let alone be privy to a discussion between other mums. Perhaps it's the almighty power of motherly instinct, to place all your energy into nurturing and protecting the newborn. Or perhaps it's just a simple case of physical discomfort, hormones and exhaustion; dealing with tantrums and engaging in conversations about Harry Potter required far too much brain power.

Alas, I made it through and now I am quite adept at a conversation about the antics at Hogwarts.

At almost four months in, we are all starting to settle, really feel comfortable, in our new roles. There's a definite sense of clarity that returns at three-months-postpartum and I can now see how Che and Poet have adjusted. Che (almost 8) has been phenomenal; he gets himself in and out of the shower, makes a snack, ties Poet's shoelaces, brings the wood in, asks me if I would like a glass of water...and yet I feel like he's been the last to receive my attention because he is so independent. Poet is naturally demanding and incredibly affectionate and all she wants to do is be close to Percy (basically on top of him) so as you can imagine, I really do have to have eyes in the back of my head. But you know what I have noticed? As brother and sister they have become closer; they've forged ahead together and have a new-found bond that sparks as many beautiful moments (like above) as it does raging arguments.

Over the past few weeks, as I've had more space, I've been making a concerted effort to spend dedicated one-on-one time with Che and Poet. Of course, the timing has to be perfect so we aren't interrupted by Percy but even if it's five minutes, it makes all the difference. And if we are interrupted? Well, that's the way it is for now, and we all need to be a little more patient. There is five of us, after all.

When your new baby came along, how did you help your children adjust?


14 COMMENTS

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