Monday, 31 August 2009


When Jack's vocab started to increase the Professor decided that Jack should learn how to say binoculars. I made a few half-hearted attempts to teach him but nothing doing. Then last week while reading a book featuring a binocular toting goat, I asked him to point to the binoculars and he did. That night when I was telling S about it Jack said 'binoculars!'. We were quite impressed (and we had thought him saying aquarium was impressive).
The next day I went to our version of the very useful box and found a cardboard tube and a ribbon and made Jack his own pair. He walked around the house with them hanging around his neck looking through them for animals (or so he told me). The only thing was that sometimes he would say 'Jack's noclars' or Jack's knockers. Oops.

More Macarons

Today I went to a friend's house for morning tea and knowing that she is a keen foodie decided that I should make macarons, or more specifically the raspberry and white chocolate ones from gourmet traveller. Foolhardy really considering that my friend is the meringue whisperer but there you go. I made them yesterday then assembled them this morning after I made my raspberry and white chocolate ganache (note to self next time make sure that raspberries are defrosted). They are okay, but I'm certainly not getting a job in Laduree anytime soon. They turned out much bigger than they needed to be and I don't like the piping marks

but I still managed to eat one before being diverted by the chocolate and hazelnut biscuits that my friend made. Delicious.
Jack must have thought so too because while Lisey and I chatted (for more than two minutes - a new record for mothers of small children) I noticed that the kids had become very quiet- too quiet - suspiciously so. And so I went to investigate and found that Jack had dragged a chair up to the kitchen bench and had helped himself to a biscuit or two (and one for Lisey's daughter). When we walked in they were sitting at the dining table munching happily (and quietly) away. Did I mention they'd already eaten chocolate cupcakes?


Even though we had some late winter frosts and a chill in the air, spring has been around for a while. The wattles have been in flower for what seems like forever and all the almond trees have been oh so casually scattering their delicate pink and white petals for a week or two.
The days have been warming up and this means not only buds aplenty but lizards are emerging from hibernation, as are their less popular cousins. Last Friday I had to herd a bearded dragon off the road. He didn't take kindly to this and puffed up like a zeppelin (I thought he was going to 'go' me) and then hissed like he had a slow leak. Eventually he scooted off to the side of the road where he glared at me balefully.
Later that day as I was driving along I thought to myself, 'hmmm...well if the lizards are awake then surely the snakes won't be too far behind.' The thought was no sooner in my mind, still hanging in a little thought bubble above my head when I saw on the road in front of me a brown snake*, about seven feet long. And so I ran over it. Before all those herpetologists get upset let me say it was an accident (really) and the reason I know this is that I didn't reverse back over it to make sure it was dead like some other people around here (yes I know we're not supposed to but what would you do?). I did look in my rear vision mirror though just to make sure that it wasn't somehow clinging to the underside of my car just waiting for the right moment to introduce itself.

*according to some internet sites (and it's on the internet so it must be true) the brown snake is the 2nd deadliest land snake in the world. I think I need to go and lie die in a dark room for a while and think about almond blossoms.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Shunting trucks

Just when we thought that Jack's Thomas the Tank engine obsession couldn't be any worse he's ramped it up a bit. He's obsessed with the books (ugh, lucky us!), the dvd's and playing with his engines. Yesterday morning he woke up and yelled,"Shunting trucks Gordon!" and today he said, "Bust my Buffers".
When I made biscuits the other day he used some spare flour (note to self buy more flour) to create a snowstorm for Thomas and Percy and Peter Sam to battle through. I filmed him playing and have uploaded it to youtube. It's not a thrill a minute but probably worth watching just to hear him say, "little engines puff away, big Engines puff awaaaaaaaay."

Sunday, 23 August 2009


On Saturday I did some volunteer hours at the toy library which was quite fun. The only problem was that I kept seeing things I wanted to borrow for Jack, but then people would come in and borrow them. I finally ended up getting a tiger tail and hat (because the tiger thing continues) and Cranky the crane.Cranky was a big hit, he always is, even though S said that he wanted to return him immediately because he falls apart and has to be put back together over and over and over. Jack is not sure about the tail. He asks me to put it on then takes it off three seconds later. Taking photos is challenging. And the problem with the digital camera is that as the shutter clicks he's already coming over to look at the pic on the screen at the back of the camera.And no, that's not designer stubble, Jack and S made cupcakes while I was gone. Guess who licked the bowl (I think he must've put his whole head in there).

Daddy Party

S had a birthday recently which created great excitement in this house because that means presents and cake (chocolate of course). For the main event we had a curry dinner (Butter Chicken, Lamb Saag and Daal) followed by the aforementioned cake (yes, I know it sounds gross and it was but we put a brave face on it and somehow managed to finish our slices). S loves chocolate so I decided to make Nigella's Chocolate Fudge cake (the recipe is here) which is a layer cake with loads of chocolate butter cream icing. She says it feeds 10 people or one with a broken heart. I added some grated chocolate and chocolate sprinkles as S calls them just in case it wasn't chocolatey enough. I made it earlier in the day and had to keep moving it to higher and higher shelves as Jack kept discovering its whereabouts. Then he helpfully suggested a gazillion times during dinner that maybe it was time for Cake. When it finally was cake time he was very excited and helped blow out the candles (he's getting very good at that - maybe someone is giving him lessons) and helped S with his slice. I've noticed that he always looks sad everytime we cut the cake - that's Jack not S. It's funny I've just looked at the photos and if you didn't know better you'd swear it was Jack's birthday.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

fly a kite

Jack has been kite focused for a while now. They just keep popping up in cartoons and in books and he never fails to bring them to our attention. I thought about making one and then yesterday I spotted one for sale and it was a rainbow one. We excitedly purchased the kite and Jack held it all the way home in the car. He woke up from his nap in a kite flying frame of mind but it was raining. After the rain we headed outside and gave it a try. Jack got slightly tangled

and I had a go but we didn't really get airborne. Then S came home and we had a quick bit of success but not enough wind. Maybe today...

Monday, 10 August 2009


Today Jack and I went to a kid's concert in Wagga put on by the Kapooka Army Band. We've been to a couple of these now, the Sydney Symphony baby proms and one at Cootamundra. I think it's hard for the musicians to find a balance between playing music and having some fun.
The concert today was great, even though Jack had a serious case of the wriggles he told me he enjoyed it. When the compere asked if people like the flute Jack was the only one who said "YES!!!" so loudly that she looked our way.
It was pretty wacky with the members of the band dressing up and running around (I think Superman need to 'ahem' adjust his suit and Darth Vader forgot his helmet and had to go backstage and get it) . The music was good and the kids enjoyed themselves. The finale was the Shrek Swamp Karoke medley and I couldn't resist taking a pic of the costumes. Apologies for the blurry pics but I had to share those Shrek costumes and oversized novelty glasses .

Granny Boyd's biscuits

I am in love with these biscuits. They are simple to make, quite ordinary to look at and yet there is something about them that is so delicious that I just cannot help baking and eating them. They come from Nigella's book How to be a Domestic Goddess and she describes them as 'dark, smoky and melting'. For some reason I googled them and now realise I am not alone in my appreciation.
She suggests eating them with vanilla ice cream, which is of course a great suggestion. Yesterday Jack and I made some with smarties on top (he loves to squish them right down into the dough - almost as much as he likes to eat the smarties) which are all gone. I've still got some of the originals left, though maybe not for long. So here's the recipe and yes they only have four ingredients (but they'll taste better than any of those recipes - you know the ones I mean)


300g Self-Raising Flour
30g Cocoa Powder
250g Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
125g Caster Sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
  2. Sieve Flour and Cocoa Powder and set it aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar till light and pale in color.
  4. Mix in flour mixture, it might look like it needs liquid, but keep working the ingredients in and it will form a dough.
  5. Roll into walnut-sized balls and arrange these on the baking sheets.
  6. Flatten these balls with the back of the fork.
  7. Bake for 5mins at 170 degrees C and then turn the temperature down to 150 degrees C for a further 10-15mins.
  8. The biscuits should feel firm on top although not hard. Remove from the oven and transfer to cool on wire rack, before storing in air-tight container.
As Jack would say, "thank you very much mummy, licious!"

Sunday, 9 August 2009


Yesterday we had an orgy of face painting at our house. I asked Jack what he would like to do and he replied face painting and funnily enough I'd just bought some so we were good to go. I asked him what he wanted to be and he again replied without hesitation, "Tiger".
So that's what I did.
Then it was my turn. And after S finished mowing the lawn and came inside he got the treatment too. I think mine has a bindi on my forehead and if you look closely my ears have been done too. For me he used all the colours in the pack whereas S got the monochromatic approach.We kept our faces on (well Jack and I did) for a trip over to Mudgeegong and hoped that by the time we arrived that the Swans (ie. the Mudgeegong team of choice besides the RivColl Bushpigs) would be beating the Tigers (Richmond) otherwise Jack might be persona non grata (not likely).
Jack was so taken with his Tiger face (I think it's because of Shere Khan in the Jungle Book) that everything was referred to as Tiger does this or that as in "Tiger Jumps" (trampoline), "Tiger runs", "Tiger farts" (said with relish while he jumped on the trampoline - who says males can't multitask?). Today there are only faint stripes on his face but the 'Tiger' thing continues. Tiger has been to the gym, the shops, a walk, played on the swing and the trampoline and now, understandably, Tiger sleeps.

Sunday, 2 August 2009


On Saturday we took the latest toys back to the toy library (a purple car and a roundhouse). Jack bolted in the door, plonked himself down in the red car and started saying, "red car! red car!"
So we said," how about this?"
and he said, "red car! red car!"
In fact he kept saying red car without pause for the next 15 minutes until we left with the aforementioned vehicle (it certainly entertained the Nanas in the large print section as he drove past them and into the lift).
We also got a doll's house and people because whenever there is one at playgroup he just cannot tear himself away. And both have been a big hit.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Charlie and Lola we love you.....

I wasn't really sure about Charlie and Lola for a while there. Their books were ones that I was aware of but not fussed about. Earlier this year Jack wanted to borrow their DVD from the library so we did but it wasn't a hit. Then we borrowed a book called But excuse me that is my book! (I wrote about it here and it was such a huge hit that we were suddenly very keen on Charlie and Lola.
So once again when Jack wanted to borrow the DVD I said yes (actually I said,"one, only one - no you can't borrow all of these - yes that's right just one - you decide - Charlie and Lola? Okay."
And home we trotted with our library bag. Then a miraculous thing happened. We watched an episode based on the C & L book I will not ever NEVER eat a tomato, where Charlie persuades Lola to eat all sorts of food that she would normally never, EVER eat. Lola, like someone else we know, is very fussy about food but when Charlie describes peas as green drops from Greenland and mashed potato as fluffy clouds Lola happily gobbles them up. Jack was mesmerised and then we went to the supermarket and he asked me to buy peas (hurray!) and corn (huzzah!) and watermelon (calloo callay - though I think we can thank Justine Clark for that one) and he wants to eat them. Asks me for vegetables and devours them by the spoonful. Could the aliens who have stolen my child and replaced him with a pea loving one please make contact!
We love you Charlie and Lola!