Friday, 26 April 2013

Super Delicious Sugar Free Breakfast {A Recipe}

This recipe is sugar free, gluten free and dairy free and completely delicious. It’s my take on one that Talia shared on her blog aaaages ago… This quantity was enough to feed my family of four (2 big people + 2 little people)

Apple & Cinnamon Coconut Breakfast Risotto



  • 3/4 cup arborio rice
  • water
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • cinnamon
  • 1 apple
  • 1tspn rice malt syrup


Cook your arborio rice over a medium heat, adding a little water at a time and stirring until it absorbed each time. You’ve made risotto before right? You know the drill. I think I used about 3/4 cup of water just to get things going.

Then, I switched over to adding the coconut milk. I found because it’s significantly thicker than water, it takes a little longer to absorb – in fact it doesn’t really absorb completely -  and goes a little gluggy. Don’t worry though, it ends up a beautiful creamy custardy consistency.. just completely delicious.
Keep on going with the coconut milk until you’ve used it all. If you think it’s too gluggy, add some more water.

Sprinkle in some cinnamon. I probably used about a teaspoon, just do it to your taste. Grate your apple, and add that to the dish. When it’s grated it cooks quickly in the hot risotto, and just adds some sweetness and beautiful flavour.

Swirl through your teaspoon of rice malt syrup. If you eat honey, then you could use that instead.

Ta-daaa!!That’s it! Easy isn’t it? It is seriously so delicious. A perfect porridge alternative for gluten free people. The coconut milk helps to make it incredibly filling – I wasn’t hungry till lunch time after the bowl I had. It was a big hit in our house. Well, Reuben didn’t love it but he’s a creature of habit and he wanted his wheetbix dammit! Mayana on the hand thought that ‘coconut rice’ (her favourite thai food ever) for breakfast was the best thing she’d ever heard of and practically inhaled it, which is saying something when I consider the number of eat-your-flipping-breakfast fights we’ve had lately!

This was so yummy, I look forward to it becoming a regular as the year creeps into winter, and honestly I would quite happily eat it for dessert too.

Give it a go!!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Anzac Day


Tomorrow is Anzac Day. We will be going to the dawn service. I can’t remember a year in my life that I did not attend an Anzac service, and it is so important to me that my children should learn to commemorate this special day also.

It’s interesting with Mayana, she is starting to become more aware and ask more questions. It’s a fine balance to talk to my four year old about why we have Anzac day and what it means, that it’s more than just a day off for Papa, and why we are getting up so early and what we are going to watch. I want her to understand that it’s important, that people have sacrificed a lot (including people in our own family history) to allow us to live in the place and the way that we do now. But she is far too young to need to be fully aware of the horrors of war, and all that is associated with it.  I have an uncle who is serving in the military, and we talk about how he and other soldiers now and before them help to keep our country safe. I asked her just now why we are doing Anzac Day and she said, “It’s to remember about all the people who look after our country, hey.”

I heard a piece on the radio today, a lady (a very educated professional) who is dead against ‘celebrating’ Anzac Day. [Just for the record, I certainly don’t think that ‘celebrating’ is the right term at all. To me it’s commemorating. To me there is nothing very celebratory about what or why we remember Anzac Day, but anyway…] She talked about how farcical it is that people go to Gallipoli, or walk the Kokoda Track or lay wreaths for soldiers at cenotaphs. I just couldn’t gel to what she was saying at all. I really, truly believe that Anzac Day is important. I think in our generation, which hasn’t really seen war.. at least not in the way that our grandparents did.. needs a reminder every now and again of what our young country has been through. We get too comfortable, and entitled, and can easily forget that it all came at a cost. Anzac Day to me not only is about remembering the men and women who served our country in the battlefields, but women who waved off husbands and were left alone at home with their children and an unknown future, people who were ravaged by the wars, whose homes and towns were annihilated, children left orphans, women left widows, women and children raped and abused, families destroyed… The whole thing is just so abhorrent, but it happened. And I can’t help but think it is just so right for us to take just one day… (and really such a small part of a day) to remember this. To pay our respects, and spare a few thoughts for them all… the ones that lost their lives and the ones that made it home.

Every Anzac Day I watch the returned soldiers march by, every year their group is a little smaller, they’re all a little frailer. Every year they bring tears to my eyes. I imagine them as young men, younger than my husband, some of them drafted and with little choice but to go and fight in a big, terrifying war. They make me proud, and I want them to know that I am proud, and thankful, and so very grateful. And I want to teach my kids to feel that way too. Lest we forget.

Do you make a point of commemorating Anzac Day? Do you think it’s important to teach the next generation to do the same?

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

my birthday present

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was a very spoilt girl this birthday! My husband and my family pooled their resources and gave me my dream sewing machine!


It’s so pretty and fancy and I never thought I’d own something like this. When Pete not so subtly asked me in the leadup to my birthday what I’d be looking for in a sewing machine, I said one that sews without skipping stitches, eating material, randomly snapping needles and actually does more stitches than just straight stitch.


And he chose the Brother NX-400. This machine has nearly 300 stitch types, it threads itself, you can use it with our without a pedal, it has a whole bunch of different feet, including one for buttonholes, and which lets you actually sew a button on, it cuts the thread when you are finished sewing, you can lift the foot using a lever with your knee so you can leave your hands on the fabric, and you can even design and program your own stitches! I’m a little bit in love.

I’ve been a little addicted to playing with it and have done more sewing projects in the last week than I have in the last year! It’s so much fun to use, and it’s really got my creative juices flowing. I have so much awesome fabric stashed and I’m loving watching the pretty material turn into useful things right before my eyes.

Here are a few of the things I’ve been working on…


A skirt for myself. I haven’t made myself clothes since I was pregnant with Mayana, and I love this one. I used the lovely heavy kind of linen fabric I’ve had stashed for a while. Love it!


And of course I had to make Mayana one too! I absolutely love hers. I accidentally made it more high-waisted than I intended to but I’m glad I made that mistake because I LOVE how it turned out. And I also feel compelled to mention that I did not ask Mayana to pose that way, she came up with that all by herself…


This was a gorgeous quilt panel that was given to me about three years ago. I had no idea what to do with it until I glimpsed a cute alphabet book on Pinterest and felt a flash of inspiration. I’m so happy with it! I love the colours and illustrations of this fabric, and I think this was a good use for it.


And finally this little experiment. My first foray into proper patchwork. Also inspired by Pinterest (don’t you just love that place!). It’s a little bit wonky but I’m pretty proud of my first attempt. I really enjoyed doing this, and learned a lot along the way. I have an idea of what I’m going to do with it but I’m not totally sure just yet… you and I both will just have to wait and see!

So I am LOVING my new machine, and the world of possibilities it has opened up for me. I’m really enjoying creating so many things lately – not just sewing but crochet too. I’ll have to do a post about that sometime soon because I’ve been challenging myself a lot with designing things and making my own patterns and I’m really excited by it.

Do you have a creative outlet? I’m the sort of person who dabbles in just about anything, I’m not happy unless my hands are busy. What projects do you want to tackle next?

Monday, 15 April 2013

A Camping Adventure

We have been planning to go camping for AGES. Last time we went camping, Mayana was only about 10 weeks old! Since then we have collected a few more bits and pieces, and talked a lot about little changes we would make to ensure that the experience was comfortable and enjoyable.

Of course, life got busy… weekends were rainy, and somehow we haven’t managed to do another camping trip in four years! Every time we’d have a plan it would rain or someone would get sick. This time we asked my sister and her husband to join us, we set a date and decided to stick to it. Pete even took a day off work so we could make it a long weekend. Unbeknownst to me, he had also invited a whole stack of people to come and join us as well, as a celebration for my birthday. He’s never organised anything for my birthday before, let alone a surprise like this! Unfortunately rain was forecast for the weekend, and one-by-one people who had planned to come pulled out. Eventually, on the day we were meant to leave, Pete told me of the plans that had fallen through. He was so disappointed! We questioned whether to bother going, because to be honest we didn’t really fancy camping in the mud that much either! However, we decided to go out for a drive and check out the area. We’d chosen a camping ground only about 25 minutes from home, and when we got out there we saw that the ground was actually reasonably dry, and after agonising over the weather apps on our phone for a while, we rang my sister with the news that the camping trip was back on. Rain or not.

And I’m so glad we went. Sure, it rained pretty much all night Friday, and most of the day Saturday, but my clever husband had rigged up a fabulous shelter that kept us and our belongings dry, tweaked very carefully with the dozens of ropes that he is obsessed with having (they’ve finally come in handy babe!). I had invested $30 in a large, heavy duty tarp which became our floor, and that along with the massive 3mx3m picnic rug that we bought from Aldi a few years ago meant that we even had a dry floor, and plenty of space for Reuben and Mayana to crawl and play. On Saturday afternoon the sky became lighter, and slowly but surely patches of blue began to appear. By Saturday night the sky was filled with stars, and we woke to a perfect blue sky on Sunday morning. Everything (including the ground) dried out so quickly, and we had a perfect camping day for our last day.

My aunty and her partner and my cousin’s little girl came out for a surprise visit in the rain on Saturday. Even though they couldn’t come and stay, it was so so lovely that they made the 4 hour round trip just to come and hang out for a while.

We ended up having such a lovely time, and none of us regretted going, in spite of our one rainy day. It was fun to live simply for a weekend, with no technology and distractions, being able to give 100% quality time to each other and the kids, engaging in fun games with Mayana, eating, playing board-games and chatting... I’m so glad we went. And it wasn’t as hard to organise and clean up from as I had built it up to be in my head. Peter really is a fabulous person to go camping with. He is efficient, and does a great job at making a comfortable space. We feel that we have a good enough set up that we could easily go for a weekend camp on a whim, especially that the spot so close to home where we camped this weekend. We are already looking forward to the next time we can go out!

Until then, I’m sure we’ll all enjoy looking at our photos from the weekend and reliving the lovely memories that we made…


We went for a few walks in the rain. I bought the Safari sling with us, and Reuben enjoyed riding with his Tante Boo. He LOVES umbrellas and thinks he’s so clever holding onto them.


Mayana was absolutely delighted to have her cousin Keira visit our campsite!


No dodgy camping food for us! Bethanie and I cooked up gourmet dinners and breakfasts, we definitely ate well…


On our rainy day, Pete dug trenches with his heel to keep the water away from our campsite, and then went for a dunk in the freezing cold lake to get the mud off. When the sun came out we all went for a swim in the lake and it was absolutely beautiful.


Our brother in law Lachlan took charge of a lot of the cleanup (did I mention how much I LOVE our camp kitchen? Makes life so much easier) and Mayana was his very willing assistant.


Reuben has started playing peek-a-boo and thinks he is just so hilarious. Let’s face it, he kind of is. Cutest baby ever.


Our brilliant, dry set-up.


On Saturday morning I snuck down to the lake to take some pictures of the reflection while the water was glass-still.


Pete was most impressed with his bargain $5.00 double burner gas stove! It was the perfect addition to our camp kitchen. Look how brilliant our living area was!


I just can’t get enough of that smile!


Bringing along a drawing book and a pencil case was the best idea ever. Even when it was raining and Mayana was confined to a relatively small space, she was quite happy to entertain herself with drawing many gorgeous pictures.


I love this jump between this photo and the next. One minute he’s sitting peacefully watching what’s going on around him, when suddenly he realises his Papa is mixing up his wheetbix, and he wants it NOW!!


Camping in the rain was made bearable by the fact that I had dry feet. And when it was really rainy, I also had gumboots. If I had had wet feet and a muddy floor, I’m pretty sure I would have made Pete take me home immediately!


Reuben has been doing a lot of standing up without holding on lately. Of course as soon as he realises he’s not holding on he gets a fright and falls over. I managed to snap this blurry picture for evidence. He actually took his first independent steps not long after this was taken! He can only manage about four in a row, but it’s definitely a start!


Mayana loved helping in whatever way she could. She absolutely had the best time camping, and tells me she even loved it when it rained.


When the sun came out, Pete strung up his hammock and invited me to go spend some time reading. It was lovely, and I was feeling very dozy laying there in the sun when I suddenly heard footsteps coming towards me. I peered over the edge expecting to see Mayana, and instead was confronted with a huge and very disconcerting goanna! I squeaked to Pete to come and help me (although the rational part of me knew that he wasn’t going to be able to jump up in the hammock), and jumped out of that thing quick smart when he made a mad dash up the tree that my hammock was attached to!


Blergh. Still gives me the shivers!


We had gone for a walk in the rain and found this gorgeous spot, and I was very keen to go back and take some photos when the sun came out. We went back and got these snaps just before we left on Sunday.


It was a little more rippled than I would have liked, because Mayana and the boys were having great fun throwing and skimming rocks in the lake!


Isn’t she just the prettiest!


And isn’t he just he handsomest!

So there you have it… we FINALLY went camping. It was a brilliant weekend, and we hope that next time we have some other people who would like to join us!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

a flying adventure

Earlier this month, Reuben and I (along with my Mum, Dad, sister and brother) took a trip to Perth to attend my cousin’s wedding.

Mum, Jordan, Reuben and I had to leave this year’s Easterfest a day early to catch our flight. After some kerfluffles with our tickets (which thank the Lord we had Jordan with us because Mum and I were just about having kittens) we boarded the plane and took off on Reuben’s first ever flight.


waiting to board his first flight!

He was SUCH a good traveller. He was really antsy when we were waiting at the gate… whiny and crying and carrying on like a pork-chop. I was feeling a little worried about whether this behaviour would carry over to the plane, and I could see looks of trepidation in the eyes of my fellow passengers. However, after a bit of protesting during take-off (and no one can blame him for that!) once we were at altitude, Reuben snuggled into my arms and promptly fell asleep, and continued to sleep for the entire flight, until after we had landed!

We had a lovely time in Perth. Of course the highlight of the trip was seeing my beautiful cousin Emily get married to her husband Andrew. Their wedding day was gorgeous, and made all the more special by the opportunity to spend it with my awesome extended family who we definitely don’t get to see enough of!


Emily and Andrew’s wedding ceremony was beautiful and so God-focussed. Such a wonderful young couple, with a brilliant future ahead of them! It was extra special that the man marrying them is Emily’s grandad.


My date for the wedding scrubbed up pretty well huh?


and I felt pretty glamourous in my slinky little black beaded dress, which (I just have to gloat a little) cost me $10 on sale from $95!!!


There are no words to explain this.


I absolutely loved that I got to sit with these two beautiful cousins at the reception. I had such fun catching up with them!


Nothing like a bridal selfie!!

I was also very excited to introduce Reuben to all of the family for the first time, and in particular to my beautiful Oma.


Because we got to Perth the day before the wedding, the bride to be demanded as many cuddles with Reuben as possible, before she went off on her honeymoon!


Reuben meeting Sarah, his great Tante Christina and cousin Sam


Later in the week, Reuben and Sam had a playdate together. These two are about 11 days apart in age, but much more than that in size!


Oma enjoyed many snuggles with my petite man. She was happy that she was able to carry and cuddle him for longer periods of time, because he is not very heavy!


Reuben was pretty popular over in Perth. There was always a pair of willing arms ready for a cuddle, and they didn’t even mind that he comes with a pukey-cloth and an inevitable vomit stain. Lovely family!

Our time in Perth was both busy and relaxing. I feel like we packed in plenty of activity, but we also got lots of sleep-ins (seriously, Reuben slept until after 8am Perth-time – which I just have to point out is 10am Qld time – every single day we were there!). I unfortunately had a very unpleasant toothache episode whilst there, but luckily for me the uncle we were staying with is a doctor, and looked after me well!


I enjoyed spending some time with my lovely uncle and Godfather Oom Campbell,


and with my beautiful aunty/Godmother Tan Tan.


I got to sit next to another lovely aunty, Tante Anthea, when we went out for dinner one night.


After which, this may have happened.


And I had a fun day in the city shopping with these spunky people!

Above all I just enjoyed spending as much time with my very-loved family as possible. And it was extra special to be with them to celebrate my 26th birthday. I have never had a birthday in Perth or with any of my extended family from there before. The family made a huge effort to come together for a lovely dinner, and I appreciate it more than I can say. (So thanks!!)


A 26th birthday selfie!


So many awesome people came out to celebrate my birthday with me!


me with my cousin Zac


And with my beautiful Oma


And with my sister Alexie and cousin Caleb

Our flight home was scheduled for just on midnight, the night of my birthday, and a handful of cousins accompanied us to wave us off. Our flight ended up being delayed for an hour, so we plonked ourselves in the middle of the gate lounge and made the most of the extra unexpected time together. Reuben had been asleep at my uncle & aunty’s house but woke up when we were leaving, and stayed awake for our entire delay. But the kid is really a magnificent traveller, and this time managed to fall asleep during take-off, right in the middle of that it-feels-like-someone-is-sitting-on-my-head sensation you get as the wheels leave the tarmac. He slept the entire flight, as we got off the plane onto the tarmac and into the airport, through multiple arm-changes as we took turns using the bathroom, through collecting our baggage, and halfway out of the airport, only awakening when a screaming toddle was wheeled past us in a pram!


Having a fabulous time in the middle of the transit lounge in the middle of the night!


My angelic travelling baby…

Reuben and I missed the other half of our family very much, and were so happy to be reunited with them again. Reuben and Mayana hardly let go of each other for the rest of the day, it was absolutely the cutest thing ever.


Siblings reunited. So. Flipping. Cute.

And while it was definitely weird having a birthday away from my husband and daughter, I was one very lucky lady when I got home to the most fabulous surprise present ever…..


Seriously. More on that later.

We had a lovely time away, and I feel honoured that I was able to be present for Emily’s big day. I love my big wonderful noisy family, I’m so blessed to be a part of it! And I can’t wait to go back for more… but next time, I’m taking the rest of the family with me!


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