Sunday, July 11, 2010

my favourite things - Pretty blooms

One of my most favourite things happens to be something I only get to enjoy in my least favourite season...Winter.  I openly admit I am really not a fan of the cold weather and little luxuries like snuggling in front of an open fire; delicious hot homemade soups and georgous winter clothes just simply are not enough to make me like it any more!

But right in the middle of the misery I call winter, something beautiful pops up and makes it far more bareable, Cream Jonquils.

I'm not sure if its that they are a sign that spring is on its way; the simpleness of each stem blooming with multiple flowers; the stunning purfume that bursts from the bouquet and fills the house with its beautiful fragrance; or that they simply remind me of my late Nana who also liked them....No matter what it is I know I get a little excited when I finally see carefully bunched blooms of Jonquils sitting in a bucket at the local florist each winter.

And thats what happened just the other day.  I scooped up 5 bunches as soon as I saw them.  Now they adorn the lounge room buffet and the house has a hint of spring in the air.  Simple, fragrant and eyecatching...definately one of my favourites!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

understanding selfworth - who we are, not what we have!

In a society of materialism and image; where striving for better homes, better cars, better labelled clothing, better body image etc,  seem to matter more than moral stance, ethics, good old fashioned values, and the joy of relationships;  In a world where even children struggle to keep up with their peers, and advertising gurus bombard them with expectations on possessions and image;  Where children say, I am bored, as soon as they are left to their own devices for more than 5 minutes without electronic games or the latest high tech toy to occupy them; I thought I would share a little story that happened with my daughter. Its a story that got me thinking about self worth and how despite the pressures of society around us, there is still hope that we can be happy with who we are, not what we have!

Through various life experiences I have tried as a parent to show my children the value of relationships and community V's possessions (which I assure you they still have plenty of!).  It can be hard for any parent to find a balance between social expectations and pressures and not spoiling or doing our kids self esteem any harm.  I have always tried to be sensitive to these social factors and certainly don't brush off the reality of them in my children's lives. The reality is that this is the type of society we live in.  And the reality is that its hard for kids to not be drawn into a world of materialism and self gratification to feel accepted by those around them, or even good about themselves...goodness knows its hard enough for us adults to work our way through!

Which brings me to yesterdays conversation where my 3 year old made a simple, honest from the heart statement that made me very proud of the way my kids are view the world and themselves at this point. 

Whilst driving home from Kindy, Miss 3 pops out with, "Mummy, do you know what?"...I reply with a cheeky, "No I don't, who is What?".  She giggles and says," No Mummy I want to tell you something!  Mummy, I love Me, and Mummy, and Daddy, and my brother and my sister and Papa and Mima and Koro and.....who lives with Koro?  Oh yeah Mama, and I love Grandma and.........." the list went on.  She went through all the people in her life she loves, I'll be honest, it took a while.  Finally when she couldn't think of anyone else I asked her, "What makes you the most happy in the whole world?"....she smiled her contagiously gorgeous smile and said confidently..."all the people that I love make me happy!".  I smiled and said to her..."you know I am so glad you said that, but I am most glad that when you started telling me all the people you love, you put yourself first!  I always want you to remember just how special you are, and to remember that God made you perfectly and you should always remember to love being the person God created you to be!"  her reply,"God made me very special didn't he Mummy, I like me!"..."Yes darling, VERY special, and I love you too!".

Today too many of us forget the value of enjoying who we are and accepting ourselves. We look to "material things" to make us who we think we need to be, we forget that we are enough the way we are and that the things in life that cost nothing, like relationships, quiet time, walking along the beach, sitting in a park; those things can make us truly happy. 

Miss 3 could have listed off a myriad of material things which make her happy; her toy room, her videos, her cubby house, her bicycle, the swimming pool, her favourite baby doll....But no, she choose the people she loves, and herself!

I am so proud to know that she is so balanced and has such a lovely view of the world at the moment, I certainly hope its not something she ever looses hold of.

Today, take some time to remember who you are....and where your true worth lies!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

a good days start

Some days are harder to get started than others aren't they!  Its easy to get into the rut of grabbing the nearest cereal box or loaf of bread and scoffing down a boring, quick breakfast before we begin our hectic days, especially on a school or work day, am I right?  I thought I would share with you some ideas we use to think outside the cereal box when it comes to quick, convenient, healthy and yummy breakfast options....

As anyone who deals with food allergies in their home will tell you, gluten free, lactose free and soy free cereals can be rather less than appetising!  This is a challenge we face everyday!  I try to keep the morning meal interesting by preparing nicely laid out plates (I just love the miniamo collection, shown in the photo) with varying options...of course this doesn't happen everyday...but often enough that we get a good days start with a less than boring, but still super healthy breakfast. 

These are some of our recent successes: (you can change ingredients to suit your dietary needs of course; I use gluten free flours, lac free yogurts and gluten free muesli in these ideas)

Boiled eggs served with fresh fruit; 
Banana pancakes
Glasses layered with muesli, yogurt and fruit 
Medley of fresh colourful fruit with a side of homemade trail mix
Sweet corn fritters

I'll post some of these recipes over the coming weeks!!  Heres the banana pancake recipe to get you inspired:

Banana Pancakes

2 eggs
1 cup plain flour (or gluten free option)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk (full cream, lac free or soy all work)
2 small or 1 large ripe, soft banana, mashed

Beat eggs
Beat in flour, baking powder and milk gradually
Mix through mashed banana
Add a little more milk if needed to thin out batter

Cook as pikelets or as small pancakes

Serving suggestions:
*    Dollop of yogurt (lac free or soy option work nicely) , chopped banana or berries
*    Drizzled with lemon juice and a sprinkle of sugar
*    A drizzle of honey
*    Just on their own with a spread of butter (or alternative butter spread)

I hope you enjoy making and eating these as much as we do! 

I'd love to hear from anyone who tries these out or if you have some ideas of your own!

Monday, July 5, 2010

embrace the moment

My best friend and I have been through a lot together and through those experiences have come to realise just how precious life is. Now, we embrace the moment, any moment, to do something special together. Sometimes its just as simple as sneaking off alone to meet at our favourite boutique coffee shop to indulge in one of their divine chocolate mud cakes; while others are planned days of fun for us and our children.

In this fast paced world where too many days fly by and details are easily forgotten, where life is short and you never know whats around the corner, we relish the opportunity to create beautiful memories from the simplest of events for both us and our families.

One such occasion was inspired by the fanfare of Melbourne Cup, the freshness of spring, beautiful flowers and the joy of friendship. The weather was perfect and we decided to take our daughters, then aged 4, 3 and almost 1 to Manly foreshore for a special picnic.

Complete with a pretty tablecloth to sit on, cozy cushions, summer dresses and fascinators in our hair, the 5 of us had a beautiful afternoon lazying under the shade of the trees, and taking in the beauty of spring.

A tasty menu of fresh salad, chicken, chocolate dipped strawberries, crackers and dip with glasses of lemonade made for a lovely simple spring picnic.

The delight and giggles of the girls made it simply perfect...definitely a moment to embrace!