Saturday, March 30

I Love Your Blog, and You!

I Love Your BlogThis post was supposed to be up last week but with the excitement of returning home, birthdays and resuming mothering duties, blogging some how fell into the back seat. Which was not exactly easy because after all the inspiration felt at the conference all I wanted to do was sit and write, and write and write. 

But I didn't. Go me right?

Anyway for all the above mentioned reasons and about a thousand more, I also haven't really read many blog posts this week. Granted I pumped out a heap on Tuesday for #IBOT but right now that all seems like a blur. I already knew I had this week's blog loving covered so I wasn't reading with that at the forefront of my mind.

You see the super organised and on top of it all Rhianna was supposed to have this post already done and dusted well before now. Instead the slightly delusional and not at all in touch with reality Rhianna is trying to squeeze it in with a million other things that have patiently waited to be done this week.

While I was at DPCON13 I had the great fortune of meeting two more than incredible women. Actually I met more than just two but these two are the ones that touched my heart and soul in the most deepest of ways. They left me with words that changed the way I saw certain aspects of life. Actually certain aspects of my life.

The first of these was Lisa from

OMG! This woman is all kinds of totally amazing. Her words of wisdom spoke straight to my heart. She may also very well have helped me overcome the issues I was having at rewriting my lost manuscript.

One of the things that I love most about Lisa is the way that she speaks of her children. Particularly how much she loves them. I know that all mothers love the children endless but the sparkle in Lisa's eyes when she talks of her offspring is infectious.

If you are heading over to read some of Lisa's beautiful words I strongly suggest you start here with the post that she read out on the first night of the conference. Totally amazing woman I tell you.

As is Shari from

Had it not been for Mum Talks Autism's dodgey show Shari and I would never have had the chance to sit and talk. Not chat, but talk and really communicate and connect. Within moments of meeting I knew I was in the presence on of awesome and as the night wore on I realised just how right I was.

Shari got me in a way that I haven't been got since I don't know when. Her warmth, love and understanding was amazing and I truly thankful that I ended up going to the dinner just because it meant our paths crossed. The universe sure has a funny way of panning things out sometimes.

So there is my blog loving for this week. What about yours? Read any great posts? Meet any awesome people? Head on over to MTA and join in the blog love sharing fun.

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Tuesday, March 26

Life changing moments and people

All that sparkles and glistens
Sometimes in life you meet people and have moments that are just simply life changing. 

They somehow manage to instantly connect to your inner core. 

Deeply penetrating your beliefs. 

Changing the way you think, act or feel.

There were plenty of such people and moments at the recent Digital Parents Conference held at the magical Curzon Hall.

On stage women shared some of the most heart breaking stories that one could ever imagine. I sat there at the back of room wondering where one would find the strength to live through what they did. 

I suddenly felt so small and insignificant. 

With so many amazing people all in the one room I wondered what on earth was I doing there? 

There were so many people who I knew but didn't really. 

Women who had made my heart go out to them as I read their tales told through their blog. Women who I really wanted to meet and connect further with. Women who I wondered how I could introduce myself to. Women who I wanted to talk to but didn't know how to keep them interested when there were so many other people around.

Hands up if you were one of the few
I felt brave enough to hand one
of these little beauties to?
There were others there that I knew not so well, but hoped for some strange reason they had heard of little ol' me. Not many of them had. 

It was always with great trepidation that I handed out my card. Wondering if the receiver was really interested in getting it at all. 

Which was a shame really because I thought they were such lovely little cards when I posted this to Instagram. In fact I still do think they are so lovely little cards. Which is lucky given how many of them I still have to hand out...

Not for a moment did I think that any of these women might be feeling much the same as me. 

Why would they when they were all clearly full of so much awesome? Why would they when they all seemed to belong there, so much more than me?

When I left to go to the conference, I was adamant that I would walk away much wiser than I went in. There was no doubt in my mind that I would have a positive experience and be richer for it. Despite my lack of confidence when I got there, before arriving I fully expected to be told of my greatness.

Which I was. 

Just not in the way I was expecting. But that's ok.

In fact it is possibly even better.

I have heard first hand how I have made a difference. How my words brought comfort and solace in a time of need. How I made others feel better about themselves. How we can touch people and change them, even without knowing it at the time. All the things I needed, when I needed them most.

As I predicted I will walk away from #DPCON13 a much wiser woman. Not necessarily in terms of great things to do with the blog. But more about me, myself and I. My three favourite topics!

Joining in for all the blogging fun of Tuesday blogging over at Essentially Jess
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Monday, March 25

I must confess I am awesome, or not.

My Home Truths
Firstly before I start my confession this week there is something that I need to first admit to. Last week when I saw this week's prompt I thought I would have it in the bag. So much so that I envisaged having this post written long before now. After all I have never held back from sharing the awesomeness of me, even if it is just contained to my own lunchbox.

Since then and now however a week has passed. A week that for me was full of action and adventure. Perhaps in fact too much action and adventure, which right now has left me feeling anything but truly awesome.

As you may or may not be aware, last week saw the Digital Parents Conference for 2013 take place. This year I went out of my way to make sure I was there. I sat back and watched from a distance last year and was not going to do so again. I wanted to be a part of the action.

Or so I thought.

Turns out that spending two days surrounded by a whole heap of people that I don't know is quite overwhelming for this little country bumpkin. I have returned home with a whole range of mixed emotions and a lot of them do not equate to awesome. Which is so incredibly daft, because on more than one occasion beautiful kind hearted people went out of their way to make sure I knew how they felt towards me.

Some of the kindest words ever from Miss Cinders
There were others as well, who said things like they loved how I got them, made them feel at ease and that they felt better for having met and spent time with me. Amazing stuff I tell you. Being told that meeting you made the whole experience of the conference worthwhile really is an awesome thing to hear and I thank those that said it to me. 

Only right now it feels hard to feel awesome. Or even conceive there was a time I was even close to awesome.

Why this is I don't really know and can't really say. I guess we all get filled with self doubt at times and right now I am just overflowing with it.

What I do know though, is that this too will pass and before long I will be once again brimming with awesome and sharing forth said awesomeness. Cause, you know, I am awesome like that.

Make sure you check out more awesome confessions over at My Home Truths
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Saturday, March 23

A Birthday and a Sister

Image credit
Sitting on the swing gently swaying back and forth it all seemed like a dream. Brushing my toes over the blades of grass below my feet I would try and stretch them to touch the ground. My little legs just not quite long enough. My little mind was just a buzz of activity trying to make sense of what I had just heard. Despite being so certain that it would happen the way it did, I still couldn't believe it was really real.

Just over a year earlier my mum had asked me what I might like for my upcoming birthday. I was about a week or two away from turning six at the time. While a new Barbie, or doll would have been nice, I had my heart set on something much bigger.

As much as I loved playing with my younger brother he just didn't quite cut the mustard when it came to helping dress my beloved dolls and rearranging the furniture in the Barbie mansion I had a acquired a few months earlier for Christmas. Likewise the thrill of backyard cricket, car racing and GI Joe explosions had a limited appeal to myself.

For the most part, my brother and I got along famously. With two and a bit years between us, we were able to most things together and love every minute of it. However when I wanted to plait hair or play dress ups he was more than a little reluctant. There was no doubt in my mind that a sister would solve all my problems.

Apparently though a week before your birthday is not enough lead up time for your mother to organise a baby sister as a present. While I thought this was a little disappointing I was understanding on the premise that there would be one sorted for next year.

My birthday came and went and I was overjoyed with the new additions to my Barbie clan. The thoughts my next birthday and a baby sister as a present were soon put to the deepest depths of my mind. After all there is a lot of other things to take in when you are only six.

In September I noticed that mum started to look just a little bit fatter than what she normally did. Turns out that the reason for this was because she was busy growing a little baby. Back then the whole checking of the sex was not really done. Not that it mattered. I knew that the baby growing was a girl. Just like I knew that she would be born on my birthday.

Day in and day out my mother, and everyone else I shared my excitement with, gently tried to tell me that there was no guarantee that the baby would be a girl. They would also try and convince me that it probably wouldn't be born on the required day. I refused to give heed to either notion. I would be getting a baby sister on my birthday and that as they saw was that.

'Babies are unpredictable and come when they want' they would try and tell me. Not that I would have a bar of mind you. The fact that the doctors predicted her to be born over a week earlier would also not sway my conviction. My heart of hearts just knew that I would get my baby sister for my seventh birthday and that's all there was to it.

The morning of my birthday finally arrived. They always seem to take forever, but this one seemed to take even longer. I guess that is just what happens when you are expecting the best present ever.

When I awoke to see that my mum was still just as fat as the day before and there was no little baby in her arms I was a bit disappointed. Actually I was a lot disappointed. When she explained that she would just have something to eat and then get Daddy to take her down to the hospital my disappointment quickly dissipated.

Once mum had eaten, dad had cut the grass and the two Debbies (Mum's besties) arrived to hold the fort, mum and dad went off to get that baby out of mum's tummy. It felt a little strange not having my parents at my birthday party but given they were getting my baby sister sorted I didn't mind so much.

By the time guests arrived and presents started flowing in I had totally forgotten what my parents were doing and had one of the best parties ever. There was a lovely sewing basket cake and plenty of fun and games. We had a rather flash swing and jungle gym activity thing in the front garden which always kept us amused for hours on end. Though I can recall an incident on the slide at this party that ended in tears...

As the guests started to leave I began to think of my mum and when she would return with my present. She given me a few things to open before she left but I was still waiting for the big one. Turns out I didn't have to wait too much longer. Shortly after the last guest arrived dad came home to take my brother and I to meet our new baby sister. 

Even now, the memory of that day is one of my strongest. Sitting there on that swing waiting to go and see my dream come true of a sister. Words can not explain the special bond and love that we have for each other. Even now.

Some twenty eight birthdays later I still love the fact that I share my special day with my special sister. In fact there have only been a handful of birthdays where we have not been together. They are absolutely awful. Though I am slowly getting better at dealing with them. With us both having families now and living at opposite ends of the country, it is just not going to be as feasible as it once was.

Happy birthday little sister, you will always be the best present I will ever receive.
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Friday, March 22

Things I Know About Beautiful Ladies, Kind Hearts and Amazing Connections

Once again I am pretending to be all sorts of cool and write another post while traveling on the wonders of public transport. For this little country bumpkin the excitement of catching a train has still not worn off. In fact just between you and me, the idea of just sitting uninterrupted with my thoughts for an hour and a half is all kinds of awesome.

Mind you it would be all kinds of more awesome if I wasn't so darn tired.

Last night saw the gala dinner to conclude the wonders that was the Digital Parents Conference 2013. While the official proceedings were done and dusted by eleven, there were a few lovely ladies who joined me in some rather wonderful conversations at the hotel bar.

Most of those with me had the good sense to only hang around for an hour. Naturally our beautiful Things I Know host Miss Cinders, and myself lack that good sense and hence why we were creeping into our respective rooms at around three o'clock this morning. I would like to say live and learn, but honestly I would do it again in a heartbeat. Chatting and being with her was beyond all kinds of awesome. It felt like I was with a life long friend I had known forever.

So what do I know this week?

I know that even though I had a mini meltdown yesterday I am still glad I came.

I know that I am so, so, so, pleased that Mum Talks Autism's shoe broke and that she saw it as a sign to drag my sorry ass to the gala dinner, that I wasn't going to, due to the afore mentioned mini melt down.

I know that it is wrong for a group of young men, or perhaps boys based on some of the pimples, to get on my train, with the freshest and most loveliest smelling McDonalds. Especially when I am starving and desperately in need of more sleep.

I know that there in the last few days I have met some truly amazing women. In fact truly amazing doesn't even begin to describe them.

I knowI know there will be many a post to come about said women.

I know that my train station is fast approach and as such I must bid you all adieu.
Make sure you head on over to and share all the things you know and find out all the things that others know.

Fairy wishes & butterfly kisses

Thursday, March 21

Breaking all the rules. Well some of them anyway.

Image credit
For those unaware, today is Thursday. Which for the past few weeks has meant it is the day I blog about healing foods. Sadly though this Thursday will not see that happen.

This Thursday sees me living it up in sunny Sydney for day two of the highly anticipated Digital Parents Conference, or for those playing along on Twitter #DPCON13. It is all kinds of awesome and a whole lot more. Right now my little brain is just buzzing with all that it has seen, heard and taken in.

Originally I had planned to have all my posts written and scheduled before I left. Though we all know what happens to my best laid plans...

Mind you after some of the sessions and information today I can't help but wonder if I should post at all. Apparently the latest trend in blogging (so I discovered today) is slow blogging. Where you don't have to post each and every day. Which for someone like me who has made an internal commitment to oneself to blog everyday is a little bit disheartening to hear. But oh well can't win them all I guess.

The whole why say something if you don't have anything to say concept does make a little bit of sense to me. But at the same time there is a nice challenge in being able to conjure up something when you thought you had nothing.

Thankfully more than one person has said that it is ok to break the rules as long as you know which rules you are breaking. Which I am totally down with. If there is rule to break then break it I will.

Fairy wishes & butterfly kisses

Wednesday, March 20

Planes, trains and missing husbands

If sitting at the airport typing away at the airport made me feel like a grown up, sitting on a train on doing it with a hot cup of coffee next to me at stupid o'clock in the morning makes me feel grown up and ultra cool, perhaps even chic. At least on the outside.

On the inside I am a jumbley bumbley mess of nerves.

So much so I can't even think of the right words to be putting in here.

As much as I can't wait to meet my blogging buddies in person, the thought of all those people all in the same room really makes my heart skip a beat or two. I can't help but worry if my clothes, hair, in fact just me in general will be slip seamlessly into the crowd rather than stick out like the sore thumb I feel I am.

Deep down I know that it doesn't really matter. I should just be happy with me as I am, and really I am in so many ways, it's just... ... ... well... ... ... let's face it, everyone wants to be liked.

Only the butterflies swarming in the pits of my stomach are flapping about for much more than just that.

Going to this conference, on my own, without Mr Awesome by my side to hold my hand and tell me all will be ok and to remind me of my awesomeness is a big thing. In fact this whole week away without him is a big thing. He really is my rock and as I realised yesterday pretty much my life line. I really would be lost without him.

fyi as I am typing this my eyes are welling and I am fighting back tears.Why I am not sure. Nor am I sure why I am telling you. Right now it all just feels a bit too much for this little small town girl who feels lost without her husband.

Thank goodness I don't do make up.

This will be the longest time in nearly ten years that we have been apart. I don't really like it. I am surprised actually at how much I don't like it. I also don't like how I don't like it as much as what I do. It makes me feel all dependent and weak. Perhaps I am.

Which I also don't like. It ruins my internal image of me being this brave, strong, independent and I can handle anything type of woman. Deep, deep, down, hidden in some recess of my being though I do know I am that woman when I most need to be.

I can call on her and somehow she will find her way out. And calling on her right now I am.

Fairy wishes & butterfly kisses

Tuesday, March 19

Budgeting and sticking to it

Being a single income family on not exactly the biggest wage in the world means that budgeting is a high priority in our house. Sticking to the budget is even more important and not quite as tricky as I once thought. With that in mind I thought that today I would share a few of my budgeting tips.
Image credit

As part of the Digital Parents Conference 2013, RAMS is hosting the Loose Change Round Up, which this post is participating in.

For us a budget is the only way to make sure that everything that needs to get paid does so in a timely manner. Knowing when expenses are due and preparing for them before the due date really takes the stress out of finding the money at the last minute.

When preparing a budget start with the biggest and most regular payments. For most people this is the rent or mortgage repayments, followed by other loan repayments (such as car or personal loans).

From here the next step is to work out approximate expected costs for regular bills such as the phone and electricity. Looking at previous bills and averaging out a weekly amount to put aside means that when the bill arrives it is more likely you will have the money already saved and put away. This same principle can be used for other regular expenses such as car registration, insurances, and the like.

To get into the habit of putting the money aside each pay some people find physically putting the money in separate envelopes each pay the best idea. Though with the modern wonders of technology it is just as easy to have automatic periodical payments set up for most of the regular bills.

When creating your budget it is always a good idea to make sure that you include items such as entertainment and fun activities. Even if it is only a few dollars every week that accumulates towards a monthly family outing or something similar. Neglecting to include such areas is where most budgets fall through. As with most things in life it is all about balance and moderation. Budgeting is no exception.

One of the easiest ways to remain accountable for what you spend and help your budget stay on track is to keep a record of everything that you spend. Being aware of what you are spending will alert you to areas where you may be spending excessively or where you may be able to cut back if needed.

So in a nutshell here are my top budgeting tips to create a budget that you will stick to

  • Be realistic with the amounts 
  • Include all expenses including fun ones and savings
  • Start small and build up once you get the hang allocating the money
  • Set up direct debit and automatic payments where ever you can
  • Write down where you spend you money. Especially on all the little things. It is the best way to keep track of how your money is actually being spent and whether it is budgeted for or not

It is Tuesday and I have blogged, you should too.

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Monday, March 18

I must confess I am more than just a little excited

As I write this I am feeling incredibly grown up and all kinds of excitement with just the littlest hint of nerves.

This is me sitting at the airport waiting for my plane to depart.

Yes that's right, my plane I am finally off on my highly anticipated adventure to the big city of Sydney for the Digital Parents Conference 2013. Adding to the excitement of it all is that I get to spend two glorious days with my sister and her adorable son.

Total squeeeeeeee!!!!

There are all kinds of things that I have wanted to share with you before now. Things about how I feel leaving my children for almost the first time ever. Prior to this the only times I have ever really been away have seen me come home with a babe in arms. There will be no babe in arms after this adventure though I assure you of that. Those days are done and dusted.

I have also been meaning to tell you about what I was doing this time fourteen years ago. Life was certainly a lot different to what it is today.

Sadly though I must confess that I have just not found the time. And quite frankly I am not sure when I will. All in good time though as I a sure that I will find. I do after all essentially have the week to myself. Well I don't have the needs of children to tend to. Just quietly there, I confess I am especially excited about that!

This may or may not end up linking with the lovely Kirsty over at My Home TruthsAll just depends how much fun I am having in ol Sydney town I guess

Fairy wishes & butterfly kisses

Sunday, March 17

It's finally here!

Original image from here, word added by me

Well today is the day that I have been waiting for. Waiting for what feels like forever as well I might add. From the moment I booked my air travel I could feel the trepidation grow just as quickly as the anticipation and excitement began to build. Forever is also what it feels like since I was without the needs of a child to consider

This whole putting myself first, just doing what I want. Without thought or consideration of anyone's need, wants or desires, but my own. It has been way too long

There is no doubt though about it being the right thing to do. 
Not from me, or Mr Awesome. 
He's awesome like that.

Naturally all the things I thought I would have done by this point in time I haven't. Well maybe not all but most. For a little while I actually thought that I would have my bags packed a full twenty four hours before I left.

Seriously I am delusional at times. Or perhaps just easily distracted.

You see before I could pack I really needed to do a bit of a tidy up. As awesome as Mr Awesome is, it is just not fair to leave him too much of a disaster zone. Plus I want him and the kids to be having as much fun as possible and not worried with boring things like cleaning and washing clothes. 

At least for the first few days anyway.

Only somehow moments before Miss Six and I started tidying we decided to do some colouring in together instead. Before we finished, Mr A and Miss Eleven were home and before we knew it the afternoon had slipped away and it was time for a quick frolic in the park with some friends.

Naturally the quick frolic turned into a leisurely picnic dinner complete with strawberry liquor champagne, fresh fruit and cheese and biscuits. Sadly only Miss Six was with me so I still needed to source food for everyone else. 

Which I didn't mind too much because as much as I may have spent most of the late afternoon sipping champers and nibbling cheesey crackers I was also just a little bit hungry. Kids Fattening Centre sorted the dilemma and before long kids were fed, washed and bed with minimal fuss. 

My bag however remained largely unpacked. 

Nor was I longer able to pack it because the bag is still sitting at the back of the very top shelf in the room of sleeping children. Totally impossible to access in the dark and silently.

This was actually a bit of a blessing in disguise. 

I actually had two and a half thousand words waiting for me to edit them. It was kinds of a pressing matter because someone was paying me to do so and naturally the deadline was beginning to loom.

It is with great pride that I say I managed to resist the gorgeous temptation to sit and watch this 

Instead just buckling down and getting the work done. Followed by diligently tapping this post out. Which while I hope has been entertaining for you to read, has not actually aided in my bag packing.

How long before departure is your bag packed?
Are you easily distracted like me?
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Saturday, March 16

A two for one special kind of week

I Love Your BlogI am really disappointed that I didn't manage to get an I love your blog post out last Saturday. With all the fun making a pig in mud cake and excitement of our night out to celebrate the turning awesome of Essentially Jess followed by a night alone in a hotel room with Mr Awesome, I just never got around to it.

Which I gotta say, did actually make me a little sad because the whole blog loving sharing thing really is the most wonderful feeling. Especially after my poor baby like behaviour as well. It's not like I don't know how it feels to not get acknowledge for I assume is just pure awesomeness.

But I digress.

And I am sure it won't be too much longer till I can bring myself to congratulate all those who received their very deserving nominations in that stupid competition that left me feeling rejected and unloved. I still can't believe how much it stings. Especially since I didn't expect to even make it past the nomination stage. I just thought I would get nominated. Again though I digress.

So in light of my absence last week I thought I would share with you the post that I loved most then. It was written by the ever lovely Robyn over at

She may not write all that often, but when she does, boy is it worth the read and The Fly is no exception. It was the most powerful writing I read that week. In fact it was quite possible some of the most powerful words I have read for quite some time.

What ever you do go and read it

So that was last week. What caught my eye this week? A lot, though as I was in a man flu induced coma when I did most of my blog reading at the start of the week, I am having trouble recalling them now.

One that does jump to my mind is from the queen of all things bogan,

Originally it was her confessional post at the start of the week that saw Ness, earn my bloggy love this week. However when I was just there to steal her header image this post confirmed to me that I had made the right decision. Long live the eighties!

If there is a post or a blog that caught your eye this week you should head over to Mum Talks Autism and join in the blog loving sharing fun.
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Friday, March 15

About Me Update.

So it is that time of year again when I have felt the need to update my about me page. The fact that competition judges are popping by at this time of year, has nothing, well not much, to do with it I am sure.

While I can't actually locate them right this very moment I am sure that I have preserved all my previous about me updates. It kinda feels like another way of persevering my growth and development both as a person and writer over time.

Anyway I hope that you will agree with me that the newly revised version is the best so far. Mind you I have just realised that I failed to really introduce the children. Minor detail I know.

So without further ado I give to you for the sake of prosperity my old about me.

Now according to my research all the good bloggers take the time to create an about me page.  So here is mine.

In a nutshell I am mum to three beautiful girls.  For the purpose of this blog they shall be known as Miss 11, Miss 6 and my baby Miss 2. Not exactly the most original of names I know but it does at least provide the illusion of some anonymity.

I am also wife to a wonderful and much loved husband.  He is my rock, my everything, including my childhood sweetheart.  Though I still had the pleasure of many a toad before my knight in shinning armour and I were able to get our act together. Without him I would be lost and without sounding to cliché he completes me.

We have decided to make ends meet on a single income.  I am rather pleased with the fact that I get to be the one that stays at home and gets to do the kid thing. Traditional full time paid employment is something I hope I never have to go back to.

I have always dreamed of being a famous writer and in recent years I have been taking steps (albeit small ones) towards making that dream come into fruition.  I still have a rather long way to go, but apparently getting there is half the fun.

I tend to blog about almost anything but mostly it is just about my day and the thoughts that have fluttered around my head at some point.

I believe in fairies, being kind and appreciating all that you have.  I love breastfeeding and cloth nappies.  I would like to say I am crafty but that would be a slight distortion of reality.  I still try on a regular basis though and every now and then I get lucky and something comes out not looking too bad.

Thanks for stopping by.  Make sure you have a good poke around and read lots! If you are interested in looking further inside me you should have a read through here

May in every way this be a special day, filled with fairy wishes and butterfly kisses

In case you are curious to see what the new one is like go here
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Thursday, March 14

Healing Foods - Artichoke

It wasn't until after I published last week's post that I realised perhaps going in alphabetical order would have been a good idea.

Live and learn I guess.

With that in mind today I present some handy info on the humble artichoke.

Image from here

Artichokes have been on dinner plates since Roman times. However it was not until the 16th century the artichoke was discovered to aid digestion. Artichokes are believed to be of assistance for the gallbladder, liver and kidneys as they increase the bile output of the body. As eating artichokes also increase the flow of urine they can also be of use to relive fluid retention.

It is also believed that the artichoke may help maintain blood sugar levels. Traditionally artichokes have been recommended to diabetics as they contain inulin. Which is a form of starch that resists digestion as well as limiting the rise in blood sugar levels after eating.

Now I have never had much to do with artichokes. Something to do with living in the tropics I suspect. Apparently though you can thinly slice small artichoke heads, sauté them and them to dishes such as risotto. Which kinda sounds pretty yummy.

Thanks to a bit of googling I discovered this handy how to, on eating and cooking artichokes. Really there doesn't seem to be much to it. You simply boil in water till tender. If you wish to keep the colour fresh rub with some lemon juice or squeeze into the water while boiling.

One of the things I love though, is that all the goodness of this wonder vegetable is still available even when pickled. Which makes these beauties a little more easier to find out of season. Where I live everything is often out of season.

With that in mind I am off to give this little beauty a try.

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Please remember I am not a professional, this is not advice,
just some stuff I have read and wanted to share.
The best medical advice always comes from a professional,
so make sure you double check with yours.

If you want to share there are buttons below

Tuesday, March 12

How to make a 'Pigs In Mud Cake'

A month or so ago our IBOT hostess with the mostess liked a picture on Facebook. Knowing that her birthday was just around the corner I took it as a hint. After all it is not every day that you turn thirty.

All in all not a bad effort.
Even if I do say so myself
While I am no cake baker I closely examined the picture and decided it was well within my capabilities. Really all it was, was a chocolate cake surrounded with kit kat bars and a couple of fondant pigs wallowing on top.

Easy as!

Though I did decide that a trial run was in order as well. Which worked out well because then that gave the birthday girl a cake to have with the kids and a cake for the adult party. Win, win. Though according to my girls a better solution was to let them have the trial. I foresee a few more pig cakes in my future this year.

Since I am a sharing, caring kind of blogger I am going to let you know how I went about it all.

First up you need to have some chocolate cakes. I cooked made three from the recipe that I found on the side of the self raising flour that I purchased for the occasion. I tried going to their website to link it in, but would you believe that it is not on there?

There is this one for a rich chocolate cake which I must admit does sound rather nice and not unlike the one I used. Alternatively you can try and copy it from this photo
This is not a sponsored post, just me telling it how it is.
or perhaps head down to the local supermarket and check out the backs of self raising flour packets.

Anyway even though I cooked three you probably only need two. I just wanted one to practise with. Also if your cake is a lovely rising high cake you may only need one. Mine were dense and heavy and not very high at all. But since there were two of them the same it worked well.

Now because two cakes sitting upon each other is a lot of cake so I broke it up with a raspberry cream filling. Again totally easy.

See that yummy raspberry cream in the middle there?
Get a cup and a half of frozen raspberries, whack them in the blender with a bit of cream (about 200ml) and blend away. Spread in between the two cakes. Don't worry too much about spreading all the way to the edges of the cakes. The pressure of the top cake will push the mixture out to the edges.

For the top of the cake, as in the mud, I made a chocolate ganache, which sounds rather flash I know, but again, dead easy.

My cupcake friend explained it easily when she said you just get twice as much chocolate as you do cream. Melt them together and stir for a while. Let it cool and you are done.

I was doubtful, but it turns out that was pretty much all I had to do.

Using the ganache I stuck the time out's to the edge of the cake. It went much easier than I expected. For the trial run cake I used finger biscuits and only did a single layer. This also worked quite well, especially if you didn't want a huge rich cake.

The trial cake with chocolate fingers instead of time out or kit kat. 
Probably could have squeezed a second layer of cake in, if it weren't a trial. 
Mind you once the pigs and mud were own the empty space on the fingers wasn't so noticeable.
Seriously can someone please pin this shot for me?
Surely this is pin worthy material?

Possibly more cake photos than you really need to see but it didn't seem right to leave any out

So the only part left to tell you about is the making of the fondant pigs. These were not exactly dead easy like the rest of the cake but they were not exactly to tricky either. I have actually a whole post lined up on handy fondant tips. It is just a matter of getting it out of my head.

Fondant is lots of fun and can be used for a whole range of things. It is possible to make your own, but since a decent size box from the super market is only around $5 it is a worthy investment in my mind.

Fondant is essentially just yummy play doh
It is best to prepare the fondant shapes a few days before you actually need them. To get all the low downs on making pigs out of fondant check out here or give it a quick google. 

I decided that I could just wing it and just between you and me I don't think I did too bad a job! It really is just a matter of rolling a few different shaped balls and gently pressing them together. A dab of water also helps hold the fondant in place.

So what did the birthday girl think of it all...

Excuse the dodgy lighting, apparently that is what it is like
when you go out

It is Tuesday and I have blogged.
You should too.
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Monday, March 11

I must confess I acted like a baby, but did I mention I have fabulous hair?

I must confess with My Home TruthsOh me oh my have I got a doozey (? possibly not a word but in my head it sounds ok so I am going to run with it) of a post for you today.

Which is both good and bad I guess.

Good that my life can continue to give me rather interesting bloggy fodder. Bad in that I sometimes make a bit of an ass of myself in the process.

As a regular reader you would know that on the weekend Mr Awesome and I absconded from our parenting life and pretended that we were real people and when I say real people I actually mean people without the responsibilities of children. What makes them more real than parents I am not sure but there is certainly no dispute that it is a whole different kettle of fish.

Anyways, as I was saying the mister and I went out into the big city to celebrate a friends birthday. Last year, when I stood down from my sixth consecutive year on school council I was presented with a little voucher at the local casino complete with a food and beverage package. Talk about feeling the love. Sadly the voucher expires soon so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a real night of being child free.

Oh and boy did we make a night of it.

Dinner started to wind up by about ten thirty. Which for us oldies was well past our normal curfew and while we could have kicked up our heels a bit longer if the truth be told the idea of relaxing on a hotel balcony was just too good to pass up. So we hot tailed it back to our hotel room.

Sitting there, squashed up on the smallest balconies in the history of balconies, with just Mr Awesome and a drink of choice was beyond blissful. It was just the quiet wind down time that we both needed.

Perhaps someone should have
put one of these in our room
image from here

Now judge not, but we mutually agreed to have some quiet time with our phones. It is something neither of us get to do all that. Well at least not without a thousand interruptions and we all know how cruddy that is.

Sadly but not really surprisingly this is where things start to go horribly wrong.

So there I am on top of the world, feeling all la-ti-da with myself and how great both me, myself and all that I do are. As I swipe my finger down my newsfeed every blogger that I have subscribed to (or so it feels) is declaring their gratitude at being nominated for some top blogging list.

One that I could have easily nominated myself for but didn't.

I did last year. And every time that I got into a conversation with someone about it I seemed to be the only one that didn't get nominated by someone else. I didn't want to go through that again.

Last year I could justify no one knowing me well enough to nominate me, I very much kept my writing to myself back then. Over the last year though, especially the last few months I feel that I have put myself out there a whole lot more. I was sure someone somewhere would nominate me.

To be on the safe side I even casually mentioned to a fellow blogger how strange it was I hadn't received a nomination. Knowing full well she would then go and nominate me, which apparently she did, but the powers that be have for some reason kept my nomination email away.

Turns out after a few drinks I should stay away from things like status updates

Not one, but two dodgy less than adult like status updates regarding my bitterness.
The second, which I scheduled for 3 o'clock in the morning because as much as I wanted to put it out there
I realised how terrible it made me look and didn't really want many to see it.
Turns out my readers seem to be around at such a time.

Now thankfully these are not as bad as they could be, but they are still not exactly my finest moments either. Especially as I have since found out there are a whole range of more worthy than I who have also somehow been overlooked. The worst part is that I know that I am not even really in the running if I were nominated. And I am fine with that.

As awesome as I am there is still so much more I could and possibly should be doing that right now I just don't plain deserve to be offended about not getting a nomination.

So there you have I confess to acting like a big baby in a drunken stupor. 

I would also like to add that I really do have fabulous hair as well.

If you have something you need to get off your chest, head to  My Home Truths and join on in.

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Sunday, March 10

It is stupid o'clock Sunday morning and someone hid my modem

Being the doting wife and mother that I am, when the children started fussing in bed, refusing to sleep due to some misconception that it was wake up time, I begrudgingly pulled my head (complete with fabulous new hair), off my not as comfy as I would like pillow. This resulted in the rest of my quite happy to lay down for a bit longer body, being dragged from my incredibly comfortable in every possible way bed. 

Oh how I love my bed
What I would like to be doing.
Image from here
The difference between yesterday morning and now is beyond amazing. Ridiculously amazing.

Yesterday morning saw me peeling my weary eyelids open well after stupid o'clock had passed. In fact it was more like I can't believe it is really this late. Yes that's right peoples yesterday I got woken up at 8.30. And it wasn't by children. Instead it was the mother of the lovely little boy that has been hanging with us during the week. She just wanted to let me know that he had been taken down by the gastro bug and hoped the girls didn't get it.

I wanted to type back the girls are at Nan's so no skin off my nose, well at least till three that afternoon. Only I instantly felt bad and remembered how mum didn't cope well with vomit and would have no qualms about calling me and cancelling the rest of our little getaway.

Mr Awesome and I had absconded to a hotel near the city. Actually it was the local Casino hotel. Which sounds kinda flash I know, and it is 5 star, but there is also some kind of country bumpkin not really as 5 star, feel about it in some places. I am sure the fact that I didn't get the deluxe spa room that my voucher stated had nothing to do with my disappointment, but that is all a post of it's own, for now all that really matters is that Mr A and I had a night, morning and afternoon off.

It was pretty darn exciting.

For the night part we went to dinner and helped a beautiful lady celebrate turning thirty. We returned to our hotel, where we sat on the balcony over looking the new flash rooms that we weren't staying in and had a few drinks. It was quite blissful really. Despite the bitterness I fought to ignore as I scrolled my Facebook feed and saw blogger after blogger give thanks to being nominated in some competition. But again that is a whole other post as well.

The view was stunning. We were on the top floor and while the balcony was barely bigger than the table and chairs it held we didn't mind. We didn't need a reason to be sitting in each other's laps. Three children means we rarely find ourselves alone for any extended amount of time. Having a leave pass for eighteen hours meant we would barely be out of arm's length from each other during that time.

Despite having a late checkout I didn't want to spend all morning sleeping. I had been hoping that I could wake at around nine, write for an hour, have coffee and then be ready for our lunch booking at twelve. When we climbed into bed at around one thinking that we had nailed the not drinking excessively thing. Only when I woke to the text message I discovered that perhaps we may have been mistaken.

I am not saying I had to pop to panadol but I am pretty glad I did. The whole just being able to roll over and go back to sleep was just too good to pass up. Sleep has been a little elusive of late so being able to sleep in late on a Saturday morning really felt quite luxurious.

Especially right now.

Shortly before six o'clock two little bodies decided that they needed to be up close and snuggled in to their mum. Which would have been fine if all then just went to sleep. Which of course they don't.

"It's morning time mumma" says the littlest one.

"Why yes it is" I moan as try to coordinate getting out of bed without actually opening my eyes. Fun times I tell you.

Looking for the positives I think of all the lovely writing time this early morning rise will give me. Until I get down stairs and discover that Mr Awesome is currently not so awesome as he has hidden the modem. 
We have an 11 year old that would rather surf the net than sleep so sometimes there is no other option. Hiding spots are never the same in this house either

It is a moment or two till I realise that I can write without the internet. I just can't publish. 

Sigh can't win them all and with any luck the day can only improve.

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Friday, March 8

Happy Birthday Jess!!

Now I don't know if you have heard or not...

...but the ever awesome Jess, creator & head honcho over at Essentially Jess is having a birthday, today.

Without at doubt Jess is one of my most favourite bloggers. She is open, honest and totally caring about everyone else much more than herself. Which made me think I wanted to do something a little bit special for this auspicious occasion. 

After all a mum only turns thirty once. Or as Jess likes to put it awesomeness, since that is what she was counting down to.

Naturally my first thought was a rather awesome blog post about how awesome it is to be thirty and how awesome Jess is, but we all already know what a super star she is.

So I put my thinking cap back on.

And then it hit me.

A vlog.

Ah huh. You heard. A vlog by yours truly.

Buckle in and hold on as I present me, presenting a birthday wish to a very lovely lady.

Ok so not surprisingly but that didn't go quite as plan, but go it did so go me I guess? The poor sound quality and shaky hand can be put down to first time nerves I think. That and the fact it was rather late when I got around to filming.

There were so many things in there that I forgot to say. I wanted to give thanks to Ness because it was her favouriting of my tweets that gave me the intestinal fortitude that I needed to go ahead with all of this. I also can't believe that totally forgot to send some birthday fairy wishes and butterfly kisses over to Jess. I tell ya the excitement of it all just blew me away.

You should totally head over to the Essentially Jess Facebook page and leave your own special birthday message for the birthday girl. I am sure it will totally make her day.

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Thursday, March 7

Healing Foods - Cabbage & Broccoli

This is the first instalment in my healing food series based on information that I have sourced from Miriam Polunin's rather awesome book Healing Foods, A Dorling Kindsersley Book first published way back in 1997. In this amazing concise yet information packed book Polunin shares 50 foods that do amazing things for your body. She also explains how some foods lend themselves to aiding various conditions and areas of health.

The first healing foods we are going to look at are cabbage and broccoli. These belong to the cruciferous family of vegetables. Other members of this family include cauliflower, brussel sprouts, curly kale, kohlrabi, and mustard greens. The family is named after the cross shape of their four petalled flowers. Many all round nutrient boosters are found in cruciferous vegetables.

Image from here
Often overlooked as bland and tasteless, raw green cabbage is actually a rich source of folate. Making it ideal for women planning pregnancy as ample folate levels lessen the risk of spina bifida in baby.

Raw cabbage juice is believed to be a traditional remedy for helping peptic ulcer sufferers. Sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage, has been used to improve digestion and gut health.

Studies now suggest that even a single serve of cabbage, be it cooked, raw or otherwise, can reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Broccoli has always been one of my staple greens because while I didn't know why it was good, I just knew it was. After reading this book however I now know what is so awesome about these beautiful green trees and will be eating even more of them.
Image from here
This green wonder food is high in antioxidants, beta carotene and vitamins C and E. Broccoli is an all round super food jam packed with folate, calcium, iron and zinc, to name but a few.

Both cabbage and broccoli can have the following health benefits
  • reducing the risk of cancer
  • help lower risk of heart disease and stroke
  • lessen the risk of spina bifida
  • may cut risk of cataracts
Cabbage may also have the added benefits of speeding up the healing of ulcers and helping improve digestive system. While broccoli is believed to help combat anaemia due to the high levels of folate and iron.

However it should be noted that both cabbage and broccoli can reduce iodine absorption. Therefore those that consume more than three serves a week should ensure that they are eating iodine rich foods. Seafood, especially shellfish and seaweed are quite high in iodine levels.

Both vegetables also contain 'goitrogens' which may cause swelling of the thyroid and as such those with a thyroid dysfunction need to eat with caution or avoided. Apart from that though both these healing foods should be eaten liberally.

For those concerned about the flatulence that is sometimes associated with cabbage cooking with carminative spices, such as dill and fennel will help.

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Please remember I am not a professional, this is not advice,
just some stuff I have read and wanted to share.
The best medical advice always comes from a professional,
so make sure you double check with yours.

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