“Dame Wash Alot.” Or rather, damn! I wash a lot…

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After seeing a post today by Be A Fun Mum and a recent post about washing by Barbara Good from The New Good Life, I thought I’d share how I tackle the never ending piles.
Pictured, is my indoor washing line. It doesn’t matter what season it is here in Victoria, there’s pretty much always a chance of rain. My dirty little boys can go through two to three changes of clothes a day easily, so with all those ‘little people clothes’ I often run out of pegs outside on the washing line. Thus, the overflow goes on here, a sturdy, tidy clothes rack with ample room, that doesn’t collapse like some of the other crappy wire/metal ones you can buy.
In addition to this, sometimes it can be 11pm before I get a chance to hang washing out so this way it’s easy to hang inside before I go to bed and is often dry by morning. It was originally one large playpen which was awesome for about 6 months but quickly out grown. This has given it another life – sideways. The beauty of this system is that I have room for a basket for each family member beneath so I can sort and fold straight into the baskets (with their names written on them!) That way, even if I haven’t put it away yet they know exactly where to find their clothes without having to rake through a big pile. In the photo, they are in the dining room-come playroom, but they are very light weight so I move them around the house to wherever I feel they are most out of the way at the time. The other thing that I love about my indoor washing line is that through winter we are running the heater anyway, so we might as well take advantage of this, killing two birds with one stone (awful expression!) instead of running the clothes dryer as well.
Another system I have which I think helps a lot is that I wash our clothes separately so they are easy to sort. The kids have a dirty clothes basket so I wash theirs together, my husband has two – one for his filthy work clothes and one for his casual clothes and I do mine separately. There is another basket in the bathroom for towels and linen. If I’m honest I pretty much always dry these in the clothes dryer. I don’t really use it for much else as its so expensive but towels come off the line like cardboard otherwise. (I’m not into chemical softeners.)
Finally, I don’t iron. Not one thing. I don’t even have an ironing board. I think there is an iron in a cupboard somewhere that a guest once bought to iron her shirt for a job interview. Honestly, life is too short and I am too busy. I spent my childhood watching my mother loathe her piles of ironing and while granted, thanks to her hard work, we always looked immaculate, I don’t want to spend 1/4 of my life ironing. Im not going to get to my death bed and think “gee, I wish I’d ironed that shirt in 2005.” Maybe when the kids start school next year I might do school uniforms but even then, with boys pants and polo shirts, I think I could get away with drying them on hangers. A lot of fabrics these days don’t crease badly anyway unless you’re wearing 100% cotton.
So there you go. That’s how I tackle the endless, thankless chore of washing! Well, me and a gigantic 10kg washing top loading machine.
Feel free to comment with your tips!

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Slow Cooked Beef, Barley and Vegetable Soup

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Nanny’s Soup

There are few greater feelings for a mother than having dinner on at 9.30am – knowing that you won’t have to pull a rabbit out of a hat later on when everyone is tired and cranky. Better still, is when dinner is this magical healing soup.
It’s based on the delicious soup my mum made us every winter to fill our bellies and ward away the coughs and colds. Which we all have here at the moment – terrible coughs, aches, fevers and chills. It’s rough taking care of sick kids when you’re delirious with fever yourself…
Anyway, hopefully this soup will help return us to good health. (And hurry up Spring!)
It’s cheap, it’s easy and utterly delicious. I make a huge batch so that I can freeze half.
Nanny adds a packet of chicken noodle soup to hers at the end for a bit of extra flavour but as we like to avoid additives I add half a cup of risoni, some mixed dried herbs and a good pinch of sea salt instead.

Here’s How:

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In a slow cooker (or large stock pot if making in the stove top)

Add:

At least 500 g of a cheap cut of beef – I used 4 pieces of Osso bucco this time as I like to get all those healing minerals from the bones and marrow but I’ve also used gravy beef, casserole/chuck steak etc…
1.5 cup soup mix (Barley, split peas etc…)
1 diced onion
2-3 minced/finely chopped garlic cloves
2 carrots diced, chopped or grated
2 celery sticks, chopped
Optional (1 grated parsnip)
2 litres stock
Top up with 1 litre of water
Good pinch of salt and cracked pepper
2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
1/2 cup risoni

Cook on low for 8 hours
After 4 hours, remove meat and cut into bite size pieces, return bones and all to the pot.
Add risoni 1 hour before serving.

Enjoy:-)

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Really awesome things to do with leftover bread – Part 1

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*If you are not into grains or carbs, this post is not for you I’m afraid…

Mind you, we don’t eat a lot of bread here. Well, C does actually. He drives a truck for work and he needs food that can be managed easily so sandwiches or wraps tend to be a daily staple for him. J5 loves a toasted sanga, but while R2 will munch on some toast, he won’t eat sandwiches at all. I love bread, I just don’t think the love is mutual…
Anyway, we often end up with half a loaf of uneaten bread. I’m not one for wasting food, to me it’s just like throwing money in the bin, so I thought I’d share a series of posts about what we do with our left over or day old bread. This is part one…

TASTY TRIANGLES

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These are essentially little tarts made from bread and leftovers. You can fill them with anything – bolognaise, savoury mince, tuna mornay, casseroles, baked beans, bacon and eggs etc… This time, I used the rest of last night’s bacon, zucchini and tomato risotto. (made with brown rice though, not aborio)

Step 1
Cut a diagonal slit from the centre to one corner of a piece of bread.
Cut one crust off and fold the bread in to form a triangle cup.
Squish the bread together to seal and line a muffin tin with 12 pieces.

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Step 2
Fill triangle cups with leftovers.
*I drizzled a little olive oil over the empty bread baskets too but it’s not really necessary.

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Step 3
Top with grated cheese and bake @ 180 C for approx 30 minutes.

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Step 4
Such a perfect weekend lunch or quick midweek meal Enjoy🙂

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Bread Posts Still To Come…

Part 2 – “Savouries”
Part 3 – “French toast, family style”

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What goes down, must come up.

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The town where I live rests between two steep hills. We live on the top of one hill. The kindergarten is on the top of the other.

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So I suppose it’s a matter of perspective – an absolute b#%ch of a walk, or an ideal way to fit a decent workout into my life.

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Today, I chose the latter view. With skies blue enough to inspire the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, I got my inactive arse off the couch and walked the beautiful tree lined streets to J5’s kindergarten. It was wonderful! I was essentially drunk on vitamin D.

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I’m slightly obsessed with trees.
Little R2 has a toy camera and it gives me such joy to see him taking pretend photos of trees like his mum. I can’t help it – I just find their winter branches spectacular.

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Lovely limbs, all connected, stretching up and out in search of sun and sky.

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Remember how Rumplestiltskin asked for straw to be spun into gold?

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I think I found his gold… Stunning!

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I’m proud of myself for tackling those hills today. It felt like the first step towards curing myself of a hearty dose of the winter blues. What goes down, must come up.

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The Most Surprising Moments

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Most surprising are those moments in mothering,
When you’ve done nothing but shout all day
and you’ve wished yourself far away,
To somewhere quiet, somewhere clean,
Somewhere where white linen is more than a silly idea.

When being a mother is swallowing you like a prescription pill,
and you’re breathless with quiet rage.
Frozen in the face of anxiety and expectation,
And guilt and judgement
And paperwork.

When the tedium of washing and cleaning
and questions and cooking and washing and feeding
and fighting,
is equal to the weight you now carry on your stay at home mum belly…
And everybody is asking you “what’s for dinner?”

There will be a sparkling little moment,
A tiny shiny jewel,
Worth far more than the ring that brought you here.
Perhaps more precious and bewildering
than even conception itself.

Your little boy with his enormous heart,
And eyes like your own,
will for no reason other
than the fact that you are his mother,
Say to his brother, “let’s go and pick mum some flowers!”

And his brother will say “yes, good idea!
But not too many.
Because flowers are nature
and without nature,
we can’t breathe.”

In those most surprising moments,
I’m so thankful I am here.
And I smile at my babies
Who noticed the pretty daisies
Long before their mother.

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Winter Garden

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From the excitement of settling snow so close to home last week, to the magical morning visits by Jack Frost over the past couple of days, our garden and entire local landscape has been experiencing an exciting, changing face. The nights and early mornings are icy cold but the days have been bursting with sunshine and colour.

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As I hustled the kids out the door for an early kinder start this morning, we found ourselves quite side tracked by our frozen garden, sparkling under the gradual rising of the sleepy sun.

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The garlic, leeks and cabbages are all coping quite well with the extremes, apart from a few hungry slugs or snails and a soccer ball here or there.

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The peas, though still growing, have been flattened by recent winds and rather than climbing up its legs and levels, appear to be snoozing at the base of our tee pee.

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The leaves of broccoli and cauliflower are staggering under the weight of the heavy frost but should perk up as they thaw out – much like the rest of us.

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The kids were absolutely delighted to see Jack Frost had signed his handy work on the back of my car.

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And as the afternoon cheered up, I took the boys for a walk around the neighbourhood. Set among the naked trees, stark and beautiful against blue skies, we noticed the gums, quintessentially Australian, still dressed in their slender leafy best.

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And my nose tickled as we passed by golden wattle blooms whispering “Spring is coming! Spring is coming!”

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Snow Day!

I realise for many of you, snow is nothing new. But for us here in central Victoria, Australia, it’s a real rarity.
Don’t get me wrong, it gets cold, really cold. Frost covered lawns, hail, rain and crazy winds. Even snow occasionally, but rarely does it fall so heavily and settle on the ground so thick.
Today was just magical for us. Our boys now 5 and almost 3, have never seen snow and I haven’t had many opportunities in my life either to have a snowball fight or build a snowman. Limbs and leaves clothed in sparkling white, it was truly a sight to behold.

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We live in a country-ish town at the foot of Mount Macedon and this afternoon we bundled the kids into the car in their warmest woollies and headed up the mountain. Snow began hitting the windscreen as we drove higher and was met with squeals of delight… By all of us!
Honestly, it was like driving into Narnia.

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A place where magic happens and memories are made.

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The kids were beside themselves when we jumped out of the car, running off to make tracks in the snow, noticing how it crunched beneath their boots.

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Television has obviously taught them about snow ball fights as they wasted no time getting stuck into that.

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And before long, C and I joined in too.

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J5 got busy rolling snowballs…

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While R2 went exploring…

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And of course, snowmen were constructed by cold, wet little hands.

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Big and small…

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It was the most fun we’ve had as a family in as long as I can remember.

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Sometimes as adults we forget how to just play

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Home for hot showers, hot cuppas and hot, salty fish n’ chips.
Perfection🙂

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