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Easy, Freezy, Low-Sugar, Super-Charged Lunchbox Muffins

In my kitchen lab lately, I’ve been tinkering  with recipes for banana bread and muffins: good lunchbox and afternoon tea fare that will freeze well . I hate the idea of putting cake in a lunchbox. Baked treats need to be low-sugar and high-GI, but still yummy, so they will boost energy for the school afternoon, but also get eaten!

By George, I think I’ve got it.  You try these and let me know. It’s a big batch, made for freezing.

Ingredients:

4 cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup honey

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup butter

2 cups milk

2 mashed ripe bananas

2 cups of frozen blueberries

Optional superboost:

I added 2 tablespoons each of wheatgerm, chia seeds and raw cacao nibs. You can  supercharge with whatever you like or have at hand.  For instance: psylium husk, natural muesli, wheat or oat bran.  LSA mix  (linseed, soy and almond meal, available at health food stores), is delicious for afternoon tea muffins, but if you are cooking for a nut-free school lunchbox, leave it out. For extra sweetness, you could add chopped dates too. I also like to let my little chefs shake nutmeg and cinnamon in, just for the fun of it. As long as your mix is still the consistency of heavy cake batter, your buy alprazolam online uk muffins should rise beautifully. Muffins (and children) are very forgiving. 

Method:

Basically, muffin recipes all require one wet mix, and one dry mix, combined. This is a great time to get your little soux-chefs in the kitchen.

Melt the butter first, and set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 180. Combine flour, sugar and salt in one bowl. Add whatever superboosters you have found in the pantry or stolen from the service station.  (Naughty!)

In your second bowl, beat your eggs, add the bananas and squash them up with the back of a fork. Really get out all your latent stress on those bananas. Add the milk, vanilla, honey, and the cooled butter, and give it all a good mix.

Next, combine the wet mix with the dry.

Finally, stir through the frozen blueberries, without overworking the mix too much.

This recipe makes about 24 good-sized muffins. Spoon muffin trays 3/4 full, and bake for about twenty minutes. (Start checking at fifteen minutes. When they look golden, stick a knife in the centre of a nice fat one, and if it comes out clean, they are done.  Admire them on your bench with your little pineapple-pumpkin display for a minute. (Ignore the washing-up.)

Freeze, then add to lunchboxes and dispense to children with added kisses.

Bon appetit!

Modern Grooming: An Impossible Dream.

September 15, 1961. “Helena Rubinstein, 655 Fifth Avenue, New York. Class in session. (Visit the source to click a full-size version of this phpto that gives you a fascinating detailed picture of the scene.)

Large-format acetate negative by Gottscho-Schleisner.

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Make-up is an apology for your actual face?’ I love that. As I roll into my forties, I’m having trouble keeping up with the level of grooming that seems to be required of me to stay respectable. The post-millenial female appearance apparently requires shiny, styled hair, smooth legs, tidy bush, nice tan, tamed eyebrows, good nails and more. I’m not even entering some crazy world of anal bleaching, vajazzling or complicated make-up routines. Just the basics. I’m with Miranda Hart on this one.

If taking oneself seriously as a woman means committing to a life of grooming, pumicing, pruning and polishing one’s exterior for the benefit of onlookers, then I may as well heave my unwieldy rucksack to the top of a bleak Scottish hill and make my home there under a stone, where I’ll fashion shoes out of mud.

I love clothes, and I like to look nice, but I often fail to pull myself together. And as my face shows the years more and more, I can see that striving to look young and put-together is a bit of a losing race; a battle I can’t win, and one that is sure to make me feel sad. Nope, as I sit with a pair of undies holding back my frazzled mane, and contemplate dealing with the hairs that  have taken to sprouting from my chin,  I am deciding that I will just enjoy looking at the woman that are more stylish than I am, and adopt Anne Roiphe’s approach for myself:  ’A woman whose smile is open and whose expression is glad has a kind of beauty no matter what she wears.’

Death By 1000 Paper Cuts

Keeping the hoops swinging (just barely.) Paris Vogue, 1971.

Help! I am drowning in admin. Two kids in school, the start of term, and it’s crazy. The notes are multiplying, and it’s times like these that I remember  I am just a fake grown-up.

I wrote about this last year. Things haven’t improved.

As a single person I was hopeless at looking after my own finances. Paperwork was always lost, and bills were always paid late. Periodically I would enthusiastically begin new ‘systems’ to manage the admin of my life. This bit was very enjoyable: notebooks, highlighters, Post-Its, steely resolve. This time! This time!  Within days the system would collapse.

And here I am now, the custodian of three small children. Suddenly I have to keep track of the most enormous amount of administration. There are school reading diaries and fundraising documents and fees. There are permission slips and vaccination schedules and sports registrations. It is like a tsunami of paperwork and it all makes me want to shout ‘Excuse me! I think there has been a terrible mistake! You have mistaken me for another kind of mother!’

I do occasionally (okay, frequently) forget the school lunch and/or the school hat and/or the lunch-order, but I have never forgotten to pick the actual child up from school yet. I think that’s pretty good. But where are the prizes for that, I wonder?  Who raised the bar so bloody high that it became expected for school mums to all be super-organised PA’s for our demanding child- bosses? Was it always this way? Did my lengthy, indulgent, enjoyable pre-parenthood years just give me a false picture about what being a proper adult really entailed?

In lots of ways, motherhood has asked me to step up and be better. More patient. More compassionate. Less uptight about defecating in front of an audience. Able to juggle hot-button questions like ‘Is God real, Mum? Like Santa?’ even before I have had my pint of morning www.mindanews.com/buy-accutane/ coffee. And as I enter the kids-at-school years, motherhood is asking me to get my act together and stop behaving like a secretary on my final warning.  Motherhood is requesting, in fact, that I become a grown-up.

There is a theory that I like that says that bad habits can’t be ‘undone’; just over-ridden and replaced by good ones. The brain sets in place the neural pathway of any habitual behaviour, and each time you do the naughty thing, you reinforce and strengthen it. The only way to build new habits is to practice and practice until you create an alternative, equally strong neural pathway. I have spent my adult life reacting to paperwork by putting my fingers in my ears and saying ‘lalalalala!’ and my brain has become very used to that strategy.  But now it’s time to stop.  And once I get started, there are other bad behaviours to address. I will replace my takeaway-latte addiction with organic green tea. I will replace fruit-and-nut chocolate with kale smoothies. I will stop averting my eyes from the kitchen floor and wash the kitchen floor. I will catch up on my yoga exercises instead of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

First things first: the administration.  Step One: stop putting school paperwork on the floor of the car to gently compost with the takeaway coffee cups and lonely sultanas.  Step Two: Create a new system. This will need equipment!  Step 3: Buy highlighters, notebooks and post-it notes. Step 4: Definitely stick to system this time. Definitely.

Ermegerd. I remember when I was little, my little sister Sam was given the notes to take to school. Not me. I was likely to absent-mindedly put them in the bin or eat them. But bloody Sam’s gone and moved to the country so I can’t just rely on having a sensible sister any more! What about when I’ve got three at school? Send help. Send advice. Send personal assistant.

 

Hive Mind: Housework

‘I hate housework,’ said Joan Rivers. ‘You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.’ I’m with Joan. The problem with housework is that it never ends. And when you are the stay-at-home primary carer,  there is no avoiding it. Children make mess faster than you can tidy it. Sometimes they even make a mess and then wee on top of it.

Some of us are better at coming to terms with housework than others. I am a natural nester,  but a shitty housekeeper. I lack the discipline to stick at the terrible mundane everyday tasks, and I constantly battle with myself over it. ‘Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition, said Simone de Beauvoir. ‘The clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.’

I know that Joan, Simone and I are not alone in this. So I’ve called in a couple of experts to this edition of Hive Mind. Today,  Beth of Babymac (Australia’s Martha Stewart but a better food photographer), and Em from the Beetleshack are going to try to crack the nut of this housework dilemma.

Beth is a systems woman. She is not housework’s bitch. Housework is HER bitch, dammit.

‘I treat the relentless, mundane, soul destroying work as something that just has to be done, ‘ says Beth. ‘Like going to the bathroom, or going to sleep, or drinking water, this shit just needs to get done. You have to tackle in bursts, and NEVER, I repeat NEVER stop half way. Set yourself a quick 15 min window with a few goals in it: for me I can get all the beds made, dishes packed and breakfast cleaned up in 15 minutes. 15 minutes never killed anyone did it? Go like the clappers – a cleaning whirling dervish if you will – and then reward yourself and do nothing for a few hours. I tackle washing like this. Any one household task. You will note though, that I am mental. And OF COURSE I occasionally think I will lose my shit if a knife with vegemite is placed on the sink rather than the dishwasher for the 675th time. I’m only human, even though I may have super neat powers.’ 

Also, Beth is not afraid to shout. ‘I have learnt over the past 12 months or so to give warnings to all members of my family that I am nearing shout mode. It goes a bit like this: “Daisy you need to get dressed and Harper you need to brush your hair because we are leaving in 7 minutes. Daisy you need to get dressed and Harper you need to brush your hair because we are leaving in 5 minutes. Daisy and Harper you are not listening to me, you need to get dressed and Harper you need to brush your hair because we are leaving in 4 minutes. If you don’t start to get dressed, I am going to get cranky and I am going to shout at you both. GET DRESSED. I also swear when I am shouty. It’s not good I know, but I do it. They know I am serious when the swearing begins.’

Beth, like all of us, somewhere deep inside, carries a secret shame.

Cupboard Management, ‘ she bravely shares. ‘Open any cupboard in my house and you will see shit spilling from it. I have a friend who was SHOCKED with the state of all my cupboards. If it has doors and can be shut then I don’t care what happens in there. I need to work on this, except then I remember that I have a life and really cannot be fucked. I think I need to live in an open shelved house.’ 

Beth’s house in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales in Australia is gorgeous. Really gorgeous. I had to ask, because I know you want to know this too:  ’Beth, you have a beautiful house, gorgeously styled. It’s like homestead porn. Is this real, or a brilliant illusion that you have created while you type at your laptop in a dingy shed like the Unabomber?’

‘My house actually looks like it does on the blog and Instagram ALL THE TIME,’ says Beth. ‘ As I said, I’m mental. I like clean and neat for my state of mind - always have since I was a girl – and it’s not going to change. Of course mess comes with life and we have kids, lots of visitors and entertaining so of course mess is around at times but dead set, it’s usually like this. Ask any of my friends or family…just don’t open the cupboards!!!’

Em from the Beetleshack – honest, warm and thoughtful –  has three small children, and she wrote a post last year that really resonated with me.

I call the problem ‘Saturday Syndrome’ – that moment, every week, when you come to terms with the fact that it might be the weekend, but you don’t get a day off the bloody housework.  ’Each weekend, often on a Sunday morning I find myself in the usual predicament – stressed about the state of the house,’ says Em.

‘During the week I spend a good portion of each day tidying up. I wipe up after breakfast and put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. I cut a plate of fresh fruit for morning tea then wipe up and put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. I make the kids Vegemite sandwiches for lunch then wipe up and put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. My days are punctuated by spray and wipe sessions and you know, it’s kind of got a nice rhythm about it. It’s work and I’m okay with that.’

‘Yet on a subconscious level I expect the weekends to be different. I secretly think that maybe someone else will sort the washing and wipe the wee from the toilet seat and the floor. So when I leave my coffee cup next to the bed, my breakfast plate on the table and my pj’s next to the shower, It’s with a jolt of surprise that I find them still sitting there waiting for me.What? Don’t they know it’s the weekend? It would appear not.’

Em tells it like it is:  relentless. ‘Look, I’m just going to come out and say it. I’m over it. I’m over the mess, the noise, the wet beds (theirs not mine), the sleepless nights, the crying, the fluff balls down the hall and the mess – oh have I said that already? I’m SO over the mess.  I’m over the week days, the weekends and especially the long weekends. I’m over the washing and the cooking. I’m over the bickering, the whinging the negotiation, the mediation. I’m over the wee that always seems to be on the bathroom floor.’

Me too Em.

Family life is chaotic and messy and wonderful. I love our little home, I cook and I clean all day long, and I have great respect for the crafts of the homestead – cooking, making, repairing, mending. But I dream of  coming to a calmer, more organised and disciplined place with the ‘work’ of the house. Basically I really want to be Rhonda when I grow up. Okay, with a touch of Beth. And Lily Tomlin.And Larry David.

I digress.

Thanks Em and Beth for your honesty, wit and charm.

Would you like more advice from Beth on the big issues of domestic life? Cushions, floor-mopping, sheet-placement? She’s a font of wisdom on the life domestic. Funny too.   Visit Em to read about life with small children, craft, art and gardening, and while you’re there; take the Beetleshack House Tour - it’s hilarious. 

 

If you have hints, tips or fabulous systems on managing housework, please leave them in the comments. Are you a Beth? An Em? A Rhonda? Do you embrace the filth? Or do you apply hand-sanitiser before you grasp your partners rambutans? Do tell.

 

Other Hive Mind posts:

 

Morning Routines

Kids, Disability and Public Spaces

Interesting People: Calamity Jane, Alaskan Homesteader

Calamity Jane is the author of a blog called Apron Stringz, a gloriously irreverent and thoughtful hub exploring the shit and the diamonds of what she calls ‘punk housewifery’. Smart and honest, CJ is never afraid to probe the ugly and difficult aspects of motherhood and domestic life. 

‘I walk a weird line between wholesome organic crafty mama and ranting punk bitch,’ says CJ, ‘and it’s sometimes hard to know quite where to set my bags down.

Apron Stringz is largely sleeping now, although CJ occasionally pops back for a little brain-dump. Now living in Alaska, she is studying permaculture.  Today, CJ talks about what blogging has meant to her; how ‘yielding to motherhood’ works, and what it like to spend winter on an Alaskan homestead.  

The experience of writing a blog has been complex and fascinating.

 

I started out wanting to write a how-to blog, but as it evolved I found that I gleaned so much more from my introspective, nitty gritty, too-personal posts. I am a writer by default I think, really what I am is a thinker. A deep thinker, who loves to share the process with others. Blogging allowed me to do that. Even more it gave me the opportunity to voice those tangly emotions that so many of us feel, but cannot put words to. Apron Stringz became a place where I championed, not so much the housewifery, as I had expected, but the women behind the aprons. We mamas are so hard on ourselves. So I became a cheerleader of sorts, with a foul mouth and a quick sense of humor.

 

I genuinely loved feeling a part of a community, leading a community even, in a sense. I loved feeling like, even though I might never meet them in person, might never get to stay up until 2 am talking about everything under the sun with them, there were a handful of ladies out there who really got me. That’s a classic internet allure. Now matter what kind of freak you are, there are other freaks like you, and you can find them and “chat” with them.

 

I had always sneered at internet communities before, but I really did feel something there. I felt like the friends I made were at least some part real. Not as good as a flesh and blood, lives down the street friend, but not just ‘better than nothing’ either. It was meaningful, and wonderful, and absolutely my favorite part of blogging.

 

I had a small readership by many standards, a few hundred regulars. But it felt big to me, I felt moderately famous. Fame is a strange thing. It’s intoxicating, to be sure. These few hundred people give a shit what I have to say? These people listen and care. But more complicated– these people think I am awesome, they think I am amazing, they admire me.

 

No one seems to talk about this aspect of blogging, but it is a massive ego stroke. And I am a person who thrives on praise. I used to be obsessively attached to my “stats” and checked them several times a day. I watched for comments with almost angst. If I didn’t get comments on a post I felt so disappointed. And like any addiction, the more I got the more I needed, until 3 or 4 comments saying “yeah, sing it sister” were not enough. I needed someone to wax poetic about how I had changed their life, they couldn’t understand how I could write so eloquently, and mine was the most amazing blog they had even read.

 

There were even a few times when I only got one or two comments on a post I had worked hard on, and I felt mad at the readership, under appreciated, used. I had put myself out there, poured my heart out onto the page, and barely gleaned a thank you. The comments where people offered advice especially irked me. Rather than lavish me with the praise I deserved for my brilliant work, they were telling me how to do better?

 

It was petty, and small. I admit it. I knew those folks were just trying to help. But I needed the adoration. I always need adoration (therapists in the audience, feel free to tell me why), but particularly at that time in my life, when I was feeling so less than fabulous. So mundane and average. I needed people to think I was hot shit.

 

I don’t mean to sell it short. There are so many parts to my experience of blogging. That www.mindanews.com/buy-celebrex/ part sounds ugly, or at least cheap, and maybe it was. There are many more noble parts, and many incredibly enriching parts about writing a blog. I often miss it, and often think about starting again.
But, it always comes back to how many hours are in a day, and how many other things I want to do in my hours. I am not a super high energy person, and I need a square 8 hours of sleep. Once I finish the banal chores of daily mothering, there just doesn’t seem to be time left for me to do all the cool shit I want to do, and write about it too.

 

On yielding to motherhood

 

I do feel like the intense yielding phase is done. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of yielding left to do, and every day is still filled with the challenge of it. But I don’t feel like it’s breaking me anymore. I am an incredibly independent woman who does not like to have to bend my own life and desires around anyone else. I also have a visceral reaction of repulsion to neediness, so the small years were extremely hard for me.
Life is distinctly more possible these days, and certainly a lot of that is directly in relation to my kids ages. They are now 4 and 6, and they hang off of me a little less.

 

But to be fair to myself, another part of the easing is due to my semi- successful learning process. I still have a long way to go, but I have gotten way better at yielding, at accepting the compromise that family life necessitates. I have gotten it through my thick skull, at least on some level, that all those words– compromise, yield, submit, bend– are not bad words, indicative of my failure to be a strong woman. Rather, yielding your own ego to something greater is a unique strength, which I have come to see as ultimately feminine.

 

On Alaskan life

 

It’s really not all that. True I sleep with firecrackers on my bedside table all summer, in case a bear gets into my coop in the night. True, we also eat black bear for dinner at least once a week, as well as moose and wild caught salmon. True, we have unbelievable mountains right outside our window, and our tiny town is surrounded by hundreds of miles of absolute wilderness with nary a Wal-Mart to drive to.

 

But for the most part, our life is more or less like any middle(-lower) class family, in any other first world country. We have a car, and a house, and all the regularly obscene accumulation of stuff. We have “devices” up the wazoo, our kids watch an embarrassing number of cartoons in a day and My Man just bought himself an X-Box for Christmas! Our life is really a mash up.

 

My “homestead” consists of a backyard with chickens, ducks and a few large garden beds. Yes, the spring purchase of almost 50 little peepers was ballsy. I may or may not regret that move, the jury is still out. But, I’m now in the ‘reaping rewards’ stage– getting 10+ eggs every day and roasting a bird from the freezer at least once a month. It is fun, I like to have something to obsess about, and the poultry project has been a good focal point for my thinky tendencies.

 

I am still keen on permaculture, and taking this winter to go back over the design I made for our property last year. Do you have real winter where you are? It’s a marvelous season of amnesia, in which a person is able to forget all that she didn’t get done last summer, and truly believe that this year, this year everything she plans out on paper will become a reality. And then, since spring is still months away, you get to maintain this delightful amnesia for ages and make even more, and even better plans! Winter is a season for brains like mine to flourish, in blissful ignorance.

 

Here’s to the boundless possibilities of summer yet to come!

 

You can read more from CJ at Apron Stringz here. I recommend this letter to new mothers, and this post explaining why washing dishes is a radical political act. You can also read about her adventures in Alaskan permaculture here.
 

 

Thanks CJ!

 

Previous Interesting People posts:

 

Carly Findlay, appearance activist
Jo Thornely, internet celebrity
Lexi Campbell-Kentmann, blogging superstar
Gerri, Claire and Carmen, mums of nine kids

 

Martha Stewart’s Food Photography Is Disgusting

This story made me laugh so hard.

Lifestyle goddess/insider trader Martha Stewart has been catching some flak on the wires for her hilariously bad food tweets. She appears to be employing some kind of anti-filter to make everything she photographs look inedible.

Jesus Christ, Martha, says one commenter.  The fuck is that.

Others agree. That soup pic looks like a toilet bowl after an attack of intestinal flu. Just try looking at this for more than three seconds without spewing. That looks like a present from my dog.

Martha, of course, is regal and unapologetic.

Read in full here.

Link via Tori (whose food photography, like her food, is beautiful).

2014: The Witterings Of An Old Labrador

(image source)

It’s been a week since I’ve written here. My fingers are itching to figure things out a little, my brain is having trouble engaging gear, and  I’m feeling…out of sorts.

Le New Year!

We bailed on a party up the road and spent the night watching Harry Potter with the kids and eating chips. Bed before eleven. K quietly got pissed while I held a hot washcloth to my blocked and painful sinuses.

I’ve been spending a sorry hour or two with middle -of-the-night insomnia lately. I think lying down aggravates my stupid face. Yesterday, my back started playing up too, so when I woke up for last night’s midnight party with myself, the miserable silence was oppressive.

I headed out to the lounge room to watch TV and Keith, my solid comrade,  traipsed out behind me. On the couch, we experienced the joys of early morning free-to-air. TMZ was horrifying: celebrity-baiting by lecherous pumpkin-tanned creeps. The best show featured a religious couple, heavy on the Pan-Stik; the minister earnestly speaking for his wife, who nodded like a dashboard ornament.  They introduced an Australian preacher, who just could not pull off the theatre of American evangelism with her ‘chicks for Jesus’ kind of folksy Outback shtick. It was comedy.

Keith and I lay on the lounge. He draped a beach towel from the laundry pile over his cold feet while I necked back a Sudafed and Nurofen cocktail.

‘You’re my best friend,’ I said to Keith.

‘I’m your only friend,’ he said.

Ha ha! It’s not true, of course. Ha ha! How we laughed!

But then…

This is what happens when I feel like crap: I isolate. I become very protective of my limited energy and I retreat to solitude wherever I can carve it out. I’ve felt, over the the last six months, often unwell, often overwhelmed. Life with small children is unavoidably busy. There is work, there is housework, and always, relentless forward motion. The next thing,the next thing.

I have been bad at keeping up with my friends. Text here, email there. Facebook ‘like’. Quick Instagram comment. Social media is in fact a great buy alprazolam online legally boon for these times – getting out and out about feels a bridge too far. I need to retreat and conserve the juice in the tank, and at least online, I can feel connected in part to what’s going on outside my little nest.

It’ s a good nest. It’s happy. It’s where my healthy children sleep, and my supportive parents live nearby. We have food and shelter and luxuries like takeaway coffee and osteopathy and iTunes. I have so many heartwarming moments with the kids and Keith, every day. I cherish this life.

But I am struggling to stay positive right now. Which…you know, it’s this low-level constant sickness; I think, beating me down a little. Just just reading back over all this self- indulgent moaning makes me cringe a little/lot. Why am I  recounting this stuff? Shut up!  Stoppit! What kind of strange little diary am I curating here? For what? For who?

I’m not sure of the answer to that,  but I do know this: What is the point of this space if not to be honest? What is it otherwise? Bad fiction? A fourth-rate magazine? The witterings of a nobody into the wind?

I don’t know where this little blog will travel this year. I know that I have some really interesting interviews for you. I have roped in wiser minds than mine to tackle some of the everyday domestic issues that interest me. I have plans, and at least three and a half ideas on a Post-It note somewhere. You can think of me as a farty old Labrador, if you like, offering you up a dead mouse every once in a while. The mouse might stink, and fine okay, the dog does too, but you know, in the right light, she has a charming smile. And her furry back is nice to put your feet on.

Mostly, I am going to aim for truth. And a little bit of funny.

But not today, it seems.

Happy New Year, all of you who have visited here. Thanks for your supportive comments, your advice and your company.

White Wine In The Sun. Or; Shit, Look at This Christmas Post I Forgot To Post.

Haven’t been here for a week. And look! Forgot to post what appears to be a heartwarming message brimming with Christmas spirit. Buggerit, will post it now, while I think about how to write about New Years.  Oops. See you in half an hour. 

Are you hosting Christmas at your place this year?

Yes?

Bloody hell, I salute you.

How are you doing all the crazy Christmas prep and still keeping your house guest-ready? My place looks like a glitter bomb went off. It would be demoralising if I had a minute to think about it. I think it feels worse because I’m sick right now, I’m SO TIRED, so I’m lumping about the place like a wet blanket, muttering lists, and I tell you, if I had five bucks for every time I’ve said ‘ah, fer fucksake‘ I would not have blown my Christmas budget.

I definitely need a break in the weather. Some down-time to reboot the system. And perhaps, mop the floor.

Tomorrow Keith stops work for a bit, and we’re looking forward to some screen-free time. No little blinking  blue lights for a while. Rather, books and couches and pianos and sandy feet and maybe a campfire or two.

It’s been a big year. My plan is to return to you in a week or so with a nicely adjusted attitude.

Happy Christmas to you and yours! May your days be merry and bright. x

Here’s Tim Minchin.

Homemade Lemon And Vinegar Surface Spray

When you are trying to get kids to help with the housework, anything that squirts from a bottle is a winner. When preschoolers get involved, situations are unpredictable, but  you can be reasonably sure that at some point, your cleaning spray will make contact with an eye.

This surface spray is much kinder to an unsuspecting retina than a more complex collection of chemicals. And here’s the truth – it cleans just as well. Totally fine. Vinegar is a naturally biodegradable disinfectant, and lemon essential oil is antiseptic, antimicrobial, and bactericidal.

Also, it helps to have low standards.

This is how I make mine:

Into a spray bottle, I mix:

1 cup of white vinegar

I cup of water

A little squirt of dishwashing liquid.

A few drops of lemon essential oil.

That’s it. Give it a shake, and it’s ready for small hands to squirt liberally onto windowsills, tabletops, onto plants, down pants…

When The Op Shop Gods Are Smiling

Behold!

My new thingy!

The picture is a little dark, but this cabinet was forty bucks at the op shop. It’s now housing the games, the random precious things, the place-mats, our beloved eagle lamp and the K-Dog’s house-plants, which have spent years migrating about with no permanent home.

Interiors happiness! Meanwhile, the girls keep arranging knick-knacks. They have caught the magpie nesting gene, it seems.