{Cook & Hack} Cookies for days

As a mum to four I am always on the lookout for easy ways to make lunchbox prep just that little bit easier. It not only means the kids are fed (WIN) but also that I maintain my sanity (Bigger WIN).

Today’s tip is for freezing cookies.

I often find myself going back to the same recipe and just altering it, depending what’s in the pantry. I have listed the recipe I use below, it is one of those recipes that has been changed over the years but seems to keep going through the years. Having said that, I imagine most cookie recipes would be adaptable to this method.

I will make this recipe, then plonk it onto baking paper ->

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Next roll into a long sausage and cut in half ->

roll

Roll the logs in baking paper, then surround with glad wrap ->

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Write on them (if you choose) then whack them in the freezer. I don’t know officially how long they last, but we are yet to find some that don’t unfreeze well.

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Simply pull them from the freezer about 30 minutes before you want to use them. The beauty of the freezer-roll-idea is that you can just cut little discs to put on the baking tray.

These little cookies made a great addition to the school lunchboxes.

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INGREDIENTS

250g butter (softened)

1/4 caster sugar

1/2 can condensed milk

2.5 cups of self-raising flour

METHOD

Preheat oven to 170º

Step 1: Beat together the sugar, condensed milk and butter.

Step 2: Slowly add (and stir) the flour.

Step 3: Mix in any additives you have in the pantry. (See hint below)

Step 4: Place teaspoon size balls onto a lined baking tray and slightly push down.

Step 5: Cook for approximately 10 minutes in preheated oven.

HINT: Our common additions are sultanas, sprinkles, chocolate drops.
We also sometimes plop a dollop of jam or nutella on top of the cookies before going in the oven.

Cookies cook VERY quickly.
They are ready once they start to change colour.

{DISCUSS: Boys will be boys} A Peter Alexander controversy.

 

This Peter Alexander Sleepwear Pj shirt has been pulled from shelves for being offensive. Where do you sit? Are you offended?

peter alnexander

MY VIEW:

I think boys will be boys.

‘Boys’ does not have a definitive description in our home. Much like the term ‘Girls’. 

At the crux of it, biology makes boys and girls different. It is undeniable, there is an intrinsic difference due to chromosomes. You can’t argue that.

To me, the term ‘boys will be boys’ isn’t limiting boys to one behaviour or attitude. A boy (by biology) will act as a boy. He may play with trucks, dirt and enjoy fart jokes OR he may like making clothes or listening to Kylie Minogue music or kissing other boys. Boys will be boys, without an encapsulating definition of it. Girls will also be girls in which ever way they choose to define it.

Isn’t that the true beauty, knowing that boys will be boys and girls will be girls but no one tells boys or girls how to act.

If we are seeking gender equality then shouldn’t we just accept that boys and girls get to choose how to be boys and girls? By pulling this shirt from the shelves I believe the company is simply enforcing the idea that you are limited by your gender. If boys can’t be boys, what can they be?

The only downfall for me with this shirt, is the fact that Peter Alexander usually makes WAY cuter pjs rather than bland grey with black text.

Where do you sit?

Are you offended at ‘boys will be boys’?

{LOCAL LOVING} Dressed for School with success

Hands up if you like back to school shopping…

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Yeah. I thought as much.

Now hands up if you like shopping for your school uniforms while in your pyjamas, glass of wine in hand and sitting in the comfort of your own home.

Oh yeah, now I see some hands!

That’s exactly what you can with Dressed For School26221239_1784968354847375_977663032137088106_o

You can now order your children’s school uniforms online and have them delivered straight to you, or your work, or grandma’s. Whatever suits you that’s the beauty!

No more fights with irate 3 year olds who run around uniform shops causing mischief and mayhem while you try and find the right size for your school aged child.

It’s a winner for sure!

Make sure you contact  Dressed For School today:

| W: www.dressedforschool.com.au |

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| E: admin@dressedforschool.com.au |

{The Nest Writes} Why I let my daughter watch the news

The world has been quite senseless lately and as an adult I have days where I really am struggling to understand the whys. Having said that, I still find myself aching to know what is happening around the world and who it is affecting.

I have heard that a lot of people are stopping their children from being exposed to the news. That people are blanket banning news from their homes and in particular the eyes and ears of their children.

I am the opposite, don’t get me wrong I don’t sit on the lounge with my six year old and make her watch the graphic London footage, but it is on in the background. Her father and I continue to have conversations about events like those that are shaping our world.

My daughter understands that sometimes bad things happen to good people and that you can’t live your life in fear. She recognises that there are extreme people who don’t represent all people and they choose to do nasty things.

Just last night I had a discussion with her about different faiths and how you can’t simply categorise all people into the same basket. The conversation started because she had heard the term “All Muslims are terrorists”.

We spoke about how the Islamic faith is actually one of the most peaceful religions in the world, but that some people choose to interpret it entirely differently. Much like how some people can choose to read the Catholic bible differently to most.

A six year old has blind faith and she doesn’t see a reason to discriminate or judge others and that is the exact reason why I think it is important for her to see what is happening in the world. I don’t want her to hear parts of news, jokes or judgments from small minded people and think that’s how we should all feel.

I have zero psychological qualifications and to be honest am probably breaking some cardinal rule that I am not aware of but if I engulf her with protection now and ban all news reporting and coverage then how does she build her own impression of the world? airport copy

There are some really horrible things that happen in the world but I can’t change those things. What I can do instead, is to start a conversation with her.

We heard on the news a few weeks ago about a baby that had been abandoned by his mother, so that started a brief conversation about mental health and depression and the importance of watching those around us for signs.

We saw another story about a 13 year old who had reportedly been approached on the way to school by a strange man. So this time we were able to discuss the importance of stranger danger and being aware of our surroundings.

On the news we saw Prince Harry and his involvement in the Invictus Games. So that started a conversation about wounded war veterans and the support they might need when they return home.

We watched an article about childhood obesity rising in Australia so we were able to discuss ‘sometimes foods’ and the importance of exercise.

My greatest fear is that if I protect her too strongly one day she will realise what a lie she has been told. I think it is really important not to raise a naïve little person who does not see the difference between good and evil, and as unfortunate as what it is, if she doesn’t also see bad she won’t be able to appreciate the endless good that also exists.

I want my children to ask questions, I need them to want to justify things that are completely unjustifiable. The reason for this is so they can understand just how unfair the world can be. I don’t want her to grow up believing that everything will go her way because sometimes life doesn’t discriminate the goodies from the baddies but regardless you still have to stay a goodie.

I truly believe that anything that starts a conversation is good, she needs to feel free to approach me about things she hears or how it affects the world around her. Turning off the news only shelters them for a little while and isn’t it better to let them learn coping skills instead?

I would love to hear your opinions, maybe I am completely off-field but in a world that is changing and evolving ever so quickly it’s nice to have an open discussion already on foot about all types of topics with the youngest minds around us.

 

{Raising Little People} Bringing confidence back mama…

Effective Ways to Improve Self-Confidence for Mums

When people say that having a baby is a life-changing experience, they are most certainly telling the truth. It’s a miraculous thing that turns your whole world upside down – and for the most part, in a good way.

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However, women are rarely candid when it comes to the downsides of motherhood, mostly for the fear of sounding like a ‘bad mum’. It’s not all peaches; there are amazing moments, but there are also gruelling, exhausting and frustrating ones, and it is time the stigma is broken and we tell it like it is. While I love being a mum, and there isn’t a job in the world I would rather do, I have to admit that, after the pregnancy my self-confidence, especially the part connected with body image, took a bullet. The hormonal changes, the extra pounds, lack of sleep, lack of quality time for yourself and your partner take a huge toll on you. The wake-up call came, and I answered; I realised, that, if I want to be a good mum I need to be a happy one, and that entailed taking back my sense of womanhood and femininity. I decided to become all mum action instead of all mum talk and self-pity.

I truly hope that my journey of self-rediscovery will be at least of some help to all the mums out there dealing with the same issues, and I will be happy knowing I was of help to at least one of these amazing super-women.

It takes a village…

…or at least a great partner and a little help from friends and family. New mums tend to take on a lot all by themselves. This is a huge mistake. Asking for help does not make you a bad or inadequate mum; you are only human after all. Learn to delegate and not micro-manage. Let your spouse or partner take their share of chores and responsibility. When you take care of your baby together, it doesn’t only serve to take the part of the burden off of you, but it’s also a bonding experience for you and your hubby. Don’t shy away from asking your family to pitch in. One of my life-savers was enrolling my baby girl in a great early childhood service Little Learning School; not only did I know my precious little one was in good hands, playing and learning along the way, but it also gave me the extra time to pamper and regain my sense of self, both as a woman and a wife.

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Get your body back on track

I’m going to be completely frank – I was not the least bit happy with my post-pregnancy appearance, and it didn’t matter how much my hubby told me I was beautiful, I just didn’t feel that way, and I think a lot of new mums can relate to this. I decided it was high time to stop wallowing and avoiding mirrors, and reclaim my body. With a pinch of good time-management and aforementioned help, I started by changing my dietary habits.

After some careful research, I found just the right foods that would allow me to eat healthy but that are also good for my baby as I was still breastfeeding. I turned to oats, yogurt, as well as salmon, plenty of greens, blueberries, and the wonderful matcha tea, to help me detox and give my metabolism a boost. In my determination to get my body back to at least close to what it used to be, aside from changing my diet I hit the gym, and I hit it hard. It felt amazing, and once I got my stride back, I couldn’t wait to go back. Not only did working out help with my weight, it also greatly helped me to regain my body-confidence and even my sex-drive. What a lot of people won’t tell you is that once the baby comes, the sex goes out the window, and you need to make a conscious effort to connect with your partner physically. Once I felt sexy, I was able to believe my husband when he told me I was. Of course, some new makeup and a great new hairdo didn’t hurt, and neither did a change of wardrobe. You might not be able to fit into your skinny jeans just yet, but there are so many mum-chic styles out there that will make you feel super sexy and stylish.

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You are more than parents

Once you have a baby you and your partner become parents, and at the beginning, parenting gets in the way of romance, which is completely natural. However, you should never let romance fizzle out of your life. Make the time to have a meaningful conversation with your partner. Leave the baby in good hands of family or professionals, and take your partner on a romantic date. Romance doesn’t just happen; you have to work on keeping the spark alive. Establish ground rules – no talking about nappies, bottles or any baby stuff – this is the time for you two to reconnect. Take it a step further, romance doesn’t have to entail only candlelight dinners. Remember the things the two of you used to love to do together. See a movie, go to a concert, take the day and spend it at the beach, ride bicycles, whatever you loved to do pre-baby, and go back to it. Couples who do things together – stay together.

Take the time to fall in love with your partner all over again, and remind them why they fell in love with you. It will not make only you happier – it will reflect on your child as well, as kids are very aware of their surroundings and can sense whether they are in a home that is filled with love.

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tracey clayton

{This is life} Radio Silence

So, the battery in my car died this week. I don’t know how it happened as I refuse to admit loudly to the hubs that he was correct in assuming that I left the lights on AGAIN.

So I am awaiting the installation of a new car battery in the next few days, it has been a frustrating experience, from making sure each time I park my car the nose is pointing in the right direction in case I need a jump start through to the petrol I am using by leaving my car running for fear of it dying again! The most infuriating problem however has been the fact that the auto security on my radio has kicked in and I need a code to restart it. So, because I told the hubs I knew EXACTLY where the car book was and refuse again to admit my failings in all things car-manual-organisation I have been living in silence. Radio silence. headphones

These are the things I have learnt in a week of radio silence.

I can hear fights before they happen.

This one surprised me. Seriously. All of a sudden because I am not distracted in co-song harmony with my gal pal Taylor Swift I can hear the nigglings of a fight between the natives before it even happens. An example was the one time I heard this “Nope, nope, nope. Tis mines piglet”. This was the undeniable rumbling of fisty-cuffs in the back seat. Due to my lack of audio interference I bounced my voice through the cabin and told the kid to return the piglet to the toddler. Problem solved even before it really began.

List it.

On my morning drive to work I have been making lists in my head of all the things and jobs and stuff that I have to get done. Due to the quiet inside the car I have had time to think about paying the phone bill, cancelling the kid’s doctor’s appointment and planning what we will have for dinner. It’s funny how the background radio sound cancels out the ability to think clearly about the mundane.

Grateful.

In the silence I have been compiling a list of things I am grateful for. The silence has given me the ability for mindfulness. Good health, a hard working and loving husband, kids that aren’t arseholes all of the time.

Pelvic time.

When I stop at the red lights or roundabouts I now have nothing better to do than my pelvic floor exercises. I mean 3.5 kids did exactly nothing good for that situation that I look for opportunities when I can.

Call.

I call all those people I haven’t had a chance to speak with lately. For some reason my radio won’t play music but will let me utilise the Bluetooth to call. So hello grandparents, long lost friends and doctor appointments. It’s totes multitasking.

So, while it may not be ideal it certainly has made me aware that sometimes radio silence is exactly what the doctor ordered.

 

{The Nest Writes} What I wish I knew before her

Before having children I thought I was complete. I liked myself, my husband and the little life we were building together. We were two people that together faced the world and lived a life of adventure, travel and snuggly movie nights on the lounge.

Our life was lovely, but we decided not long after being married that it was time we extended our family to include a new little human.

Putting aside the fact that creating a human life is absolutely tremendous and amazing, it is a pretty damn extraordinary that a whole person (or three!) would not exist if my husband and I had never met.

Like most young couples we were excited and nervous to start trying, thankfully we didn’t have to wait long before those little blue lines confirmed that our lives would be changing forever.

I don’t think you can ever prepare yourself for the introduction of a child into your life, I know for sure that no matter how many books you read or how many classes you attend that you never will really know the power of a child on your life until you hold your own babe in your arms.

Having been around children my whole life (I was the oldest of five, with my brother being 12 years younger than me!) I thought I was all over it. I knew how to change a dirty nappy, how to prepare a bottle. I knew how to read nursery rhymes and how to wash singlets. They are all the things I knew how to do, but parenthood is so very much more than that. It’s so much more than the things to do, it’s the feels that are the strongest.family

So, I wrote this letter to pre-baby me…

Dear Me,

So, you’re going to be a mum. Congratulations!

I need you to know though, you are about to change in more ways than you will ever really know. Parenthood is overwhelming and suffocating. It is the longest marathon of your life, blended seamlessly with numerous amounts of sprints that are over before you know it. It is empowering and satisfying. Devastating and uplifting.

I think the part you are likely to struggle with the most, is the eternally paramount urge to worry. You will worry about everything. Has your baby eaten enough, does she weigh enough, is that rash normal, is she smiling early enough. That’s the strangest part, the worry begins long before you even held her in your arms. You will worry about the foods you eat during pregnancy, worry about how many kicks you feel, worry about giving your new little person a name and how that name will grow with her over the years.

The worrying during parenthood is completely overwhelming, it never truly ends. To be honest you have always had a moderate level of anxiety that you have managed quite well during your life, but be prepared for the fact that suddenly those anxiety levels are going to be heightened exponentially.

Elizabeth Stone once said that “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” I really believe that no truer words have ever been spoken. Once you have a child you are no longer one. There is a part of you that exists outside of yourself.

That is the really difficult thing to get used to, the fact that you are responsible for another entire human life. A few days after her birth, your husband will return to work. The visitors will stop coming. It will just be you and your little pink bundle left alone together. The responsibility you feel will be encompassing, but my darling, so too is your instinct. That’s the thing no one really tells you about. Deep inside, somehow, you just know what to do.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not easy! but, somehow you survive. You learn, you develop, you grow.

After a couple of days you will know her tired cry and her hungry squeal. You will learn that she likes to be patted on the back when going to sleep and does not like her feet being touched. You will learn that she likes cuddles but won’t fall asleep in your arms. Like anything it will get easier the more time that goes by.

Darling, the challenges are strong; the lack of sleep is a killer. Everything is worse when you are tired, everything is harder, everything is tougher. I promise though, it doesn’t last forever. One day, when you don’t even realise, it is you who wakes during the night and not your baby. Then the next night the same thing happens until one morning you wake up and realise you both slept throughout the whole night.

I just say, take the time to breathe in those sleepy moments, while it may not feel like it when you are buried in the trenches of sleeplessness, those little moments of you and your baby in the cool hours of the morning will be gone before you realise. The dark mornings are quiet and a wonderfully brilliant time to bond. There is no distraction, just you and your little one.

As they grow the worrying just gets worse, on their first day of school you are likely to cry, not because you are necessarily sad but because you are proud, you are realising your little baby is growing into a unique little person of her own. You will not be able to fight their battles for them, nor make sure everyone is nice. You little person needs to find their own place in the world. Just know though, you have done everything you can to prepare her.

You heart will bound when she takes her first steps, starts to run and learns to jump. Just as you start to think she no longer need you, a little voice will cry out for you in the night and you will be reminded that the little part of you on the outside is still only young and vulnerable and in desperate need of her mummy.

Your heart will break the first time she comes home crying because someone was mean to her. You will want to fight the battle for her and march into the school, but instead you have to teach her to be brave. Teach her to stay strong and teach her to take a stand.

Above all, the most devastating moment of your life will be when she gets hurt. It will literally feel like you are breaking into a million pieces. The pain associated with a sick child is nearly unbearable and you will feel desperately hopeless. on the flip-side there is no moment greater in life than seeing your child healthy and, even more importantly happy.

It is so easy to become engulfed in your new little person but remember those other people around you. Make time to be with your husband. A baby is an extension of your relationship, not the only glue that joins you together. You had a wonderful life together before so work hard to keep that spark alive. It will be hard, but he is worth it. You are worth it.

You will realise how easy it is to make sacrifices for another person. The last piece of cake, the rest of your pay check, the chance to go exploring the world yourself. Funny enough though, the price you pay in sacrifice is nothing compared to what you get in return.

So, my dear, you will never be the same, but you will be a better kind of different. You will learn patience and resilience. You will instinctively become protective of this small little human. You will forever be changed because a little part of you is now roaming around on the outside. Don’t give yourself too many heavy expectations, just aim to raise a little person who is happy and kind. She doesn’t need to be the best at everything, really at the base of it, she just need not be a jerk.

Embrace it the journey. AND remember, sleep is for the weak.

Love from,

Post-child you. 

Audrey&Mama