Now I know this is a little from left field - I mean so far I have talked about my love of cake but not actually shared any recipes and all the talk with sugar at the moment is more about quitting it rather than embracing it.  Yeah, I know .... I'm a rebel. So you probably didn't see this coming but ... life's like that.

Using the cinnamon spice I bought as part of my  Coles Circle booty I  wanted to put together some simple recipes for lunchbox treats.

Today's treat are Apple turnovers. These keep really well in an air tight container for three to five days, so you could make them when you have some time on a Sunday and have lunchbox treats for the whole week.
1. Peal 4 to 5 medium size apples, core them and cut into slices. I used delicious apples. Put them into a pot on medium heat with a little water (so they don't stick) add some cinnamon sugar to make them nice and sweet. Cook them until they are soft but before they go mushy.

2. While the apples are stewing defrost two sheets of puff pastry and then cut into four even pieces.

3. Separate the four pieces of puff pastry and leave a little bit of space on the tray to work with.
4. Let the apples cool down a little bit so they don't make the pastry soggy. Then put pieces of the apple onto one half of a pastry square.
5. Fold the other half over to form a triangle and seal it shut with your fingers by pressing.
6. Push down around the two joined edges with a fork to make them look a little bit fancy.
7. Place all the triangles onto a baking tray with cooking paper (so they don't stick to the tray) and brush the top of each piece with milk and then sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon sugar on top.
8. Bake in a moderate oven for around 10 to 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them. You will know they are ready when they are puffed up and golden brown.
9. Two puff pastry sheets make enough for 8 tasty apple turnovers. They are really nice warm with ice cream or even cold the next day in lunchboxes. If you love sugar (and who doesn't!!) you could also top them with a little icing once they are cooled down.

This is a really easy cooking project you could even get the kids involved with.  

Enjoy,

Lee
 
 
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Starts off nicely enough. Focused and playing with colour.
I don't ever remember a time when my mother put down a load of washing or pushed the house cleaning aside to sit down and play a game with me because she felt guilty that we weren't doing enough activities together. Not that I have a bad mother, that's just the way it worked then. Your mother said "get out from under my feet and go outside and play" and you did. So why is it that mother's today suffer from this guilt? You feel bad if you don't get down to their level and play enough. You feel bad if your kid isn't signed up to enough activities because he might be missing out, or worse falling behind. You feel bad that you are not interacting enough with them. Perhaps you should be making flash cards or homemade playdough or cities from old shoe boxes! I personally blame those overly organised people who make everything look effortless and look like they are always doing worthwhile, fun, yet organised stuff with their kids, including making flash cards. I wonder if there's a class to become one .....

Anyhoo, in an effort to do more with the kiddies (as opposed to just cleaning up after them) I set up some paints, a small canvas and a paint smock for my 2 year old. I thought I was thoroughly prepared. Great idea you'd think..... not so, but at least he enjoyed it. So I guess we reached our objective even if the National Art Gallery is not beating a trail to my door any time soon.

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Wow, how did that get there?!
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I missed a spot, I'll just fix that up there.
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So there are other things to use than the brush and this is what happens.
The take away lesson I got from that was that I should only give him one colour at a time. Too many colours were just too much to handle at once - and clearly all colours are supposed to be mixed into one disgusting colourless mess if that's what you are given.

Just so you know, I also had a paint shirt on - just in case messy little hands started to get a bit too touchy feely and it did take quite some time to clean up after. So, not only did I take time away from cleaning up to participate in the activity but it also created more work.... but that's how it goes with kids. That's how they roll.... 

So, what sorts of activities are you participating in with your little people and how have you fared with yours?

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The finished "work of art"
I also wanted to let you know that Mother Load has now joined Facebook so come and say hi!! On reading an article about social media overload recently, it got me thinking about  my blog challenge and what I would like to achieve with my blog, so I have decided to make a few changes from blogging everyday to blogging every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and on special occassions.  I want Mother Load to continue to be fun and fresh and I don't ever want to get to a point where I am repeating myself and it's not fun for me (or you!). I will also be around on facebook every other day, posting away.

Have a wonderful Weekend and see you on Monday!!

Cheers,


Lee
 
 
Hey there Groovy Chicks,

I hope that you have had a great week.... and if not it's almost the weekend, so perhaps next week can be a do-over. I know as a stay at home mum that not having a regular "working" day or even working week can mean that days often blend into each other. I know myself I have forgotten what day it was a number of times this week. So I have put together a few lovely things to inspire, motivate or perhaps just make you smile.

Lunch Box Inspirations and Pretty Tasty Things

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Timbuktu Magazine
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Picture from design-dautore.com
I don't know that I have the time or energy to actually make either of these "dishes" but I
thought they were great anyway. Lunch box inspiration never goes astray. If you
have a go yourself I would LOVE to see it! And that cake looked so beautiful -
what can I say.... I love a good cake.

Crafty Stuff to do with the Kids

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from www.smallhandsbigart.com
I really love this idea. Very simple but lots of fun!! There are a few options for making these. You could have some dress up fun first (each child needs four different outfits - so you have a picture for each side) or you could just use magazine pictures. Either way it would be fun. You can get the kids involved in the cutting and gluing and then the actual fun of mixing and matching the bodies. I know kids love doing stuff which is all about them, so having pictures of your kids to do this with would only add to the entertainment value. Instructions are at http://smallhandsbigart.com/blog/featured-article/mix-match-dolls/  if you want to see how they did it and learn from their mistakes. Awesome idea!

The winner of ........ I wish I was there right now.

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Italy in the summer picture from design-dautore.com
I included this picture because it has been so very cold in Melbourne lately and I really wanted to be there in the warm... and it looked so very beautiful.

Websites to Check Out

OK, lastly I know I have already brought up www.picmonkey.com before but if you have not had a little play with it already you are really missing out. So I have decided to include (with her permission, of course!) a before and after example from someone I have converted to a lover of picmonkey. No, I am not on commission... I just love what you can do with it!!
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Before picmonkey
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After picmonkey.
I told you it was impressive!!
Anyhoo, I am hoping you have enjoyed today's joylights. These really are a few of the things that have brought me some joy this week or just amused me.  

Have a wonderful weekend.

Cheers,

Lee

PS Sending a big warm fuzzy hug and I hope you feel better real soon to my BFF Daniela, who is not doing so well this week.
 
 
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Hi ho, I thought I might use today's post as an opportunity to tell you what I am up to and what happening with the blog.

Well, as you will know if you have been following Mother Load, I have been busily blogging along each day, which is both a good and bad thing. Bad, in that I have to think about what to bring up each day (and then get to actually writing it up) but good because it really gives me a focus each day. A surprising and unexpected benefit of writing a blog post each day is that it makes me pay a little more attention to what's happening in my life, conversations I am having with friends and things going on around me. So, in essence it has really allowed me to be really present in the moment, which is nice. Time seems to pass so quickly and it is really easy to miss the moments around you, both good and bad. Another positive side effect if you will, is that the posts have become a little bit cathartic and allow me to work throw stuff that's rattling around in my head - almost like having a chat with a good friend. Listening to what's going on with them and offering some ideas. So, that's nice. Well, for me anyway. You as well, I'm hoping. So I shall continue to blog away, I guess until I run out of stuff to talk about, that is.

Now, you may or may not have noticed but up in the top right hand side of the this page (go on have a look) you will see a little box for you to be able to subscribe to Mother-Load. All you need to do is pop your email address in the space provided and you will never miss another Mother-Load post, Yay! You will also get it hot off the press - so as soon as it goes live, it's in your inbox. Woo Hoo!

Now, I know that some people like to read blogs but aren't keen to participate through comments, so I am contemplating whether to set up a facebook page to make it easier for readers to connect and add their own comments or questions, in addtion to the blog. I would love your opinions on this.

Lastly if you enjoy reading Mother-Load please share links to posts with your friends and help spread the word.

Now I'm off to get ready for toddler swimming lessons with my two year old. In this very cold  Melbourne weather there is little else I feel less like doing right now. I can't wait until my little devil can get in and go for it on his own, whilst I sip a latte and watch on from the sidelines. But until then ... he does love getting in, so you do what you've gotta do.

Cheers,

Lee

 
 
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You know that you love your children no matter what. Sometimes you may not like them very much or the choices they make but you still love them... regardless.

So it is frustrating as a parent to be angry at someone you love so much. The thing about kids is that they know where your "hot" button is and how to push it. You think to yourself I cannot believe they are being so ungrateful or rude or whatever it is, when you have given so much of yourself for them to grow. It is hard to believe when you sneak in to watch your baby sleeping, you listen to their soft breath and look adoringly at their chubby little hands that they can and probably will, turn on you.

Now by turn on you, I am not referring to an extreme situation a la the Menendez Brothers, more a moment of extreme frustration. You know the one. The moment when you are filled with fury and this little voice in your head says "I would never have spoken to my mother like that!!" ... and rightly so, she probably would have belted you into next week.

So now that you are the parent and you are trying to remain calm and not lose control - by completely "losing it". How do you deal with it? Well, as Dr Phil always says "you teach people how to treat you" and I really really believe this to be true. As a parent it is your job to set the boundaries and here is the hard part... actually police that boundary. It is the child's job to see how close they can get to that boundary and perhaps how far over it.

Now I am not saying that this is easy because it certainly is not. On one hand you want your kids to just do what you tell them and behave themselves but on the other you don't want them to go out into the world and except things blindly. You want them to question things, to see how far they can go, to see what they are capable of and what they can achieve. I mean those are good qualities. It's just that when you are already flustered, trying to get dinner, helping with homework and everything else and they keep asking for biscuits or chips or whatever and it's almost dinner time and they just wont let up, you want to scream!

Whilst those trying times are enough to make you want to pull your hair out, it is the moments where they back chat, speak to you like dirt or you find out that they have lied to you which are the ones that chip away at your soul. Not only do they make you feel angry but more than that, hurt. They can create such a great sense of disappointment deep down in your being.

Well, I guess the only thing you can do is... feel hurt. But whilst you do this, dust yourself off take a deep breath and take a good hard look at the boundaries. Look at what you are allowing to happen by the way that you respond to situations. If you let them call you an idiot this week, what's next week?? Every time you let one go through, you are moving the boundary lines and what it is that you will accept as reasonable behaviour.

Nobody said being a parent was easy.... cause it bloody isn't. But you still love them anyway...

Cheers,

Lee






 
 
It's a hard thing to find where you fit in the world and often we think this is a delimma that only affects teenagers and their choice of classes for high school and university, which will ultimately impact on which direction their lives take. But I have come to the realisation that it isn't only teenagers who feel this way. There are many points in your life where you stop to take a breath and then wonder where the hell you are and how on earth you got there.....and more importantly question what you are going to do next.

Now, I am by no means an expert on what to do next. I have spent a good proportion of the last few years wondering what I was doing and what would come next... and since having been off work part time and now full time (and being a full time mum - which just means your hours are crap, your "boss" screams at you and you are forever preparing some type of  meal) it really gives you time to ponder what you are actually doing with your life and what your purpose it. Where do you fit?

It seems that life is full of labels, you are someone's daughter, someone's sister, someone's wife - but at each of these points, you belong but you are still your own person. You go off into the world to make something of yourself and to leave a mark that says to others "I was here and I was important". But I feel there is a slight power change when you become a mum. When you get to the point that you are someone else's mother (and mothers are very important) you begin to wonder when you stopped being you and started just being someone else's somebody else.

Through multiple discussions with girlfriends on this topic I know that it is not just me who feels this sense of disconnection with the world. Feeling like someone who desperately wants to find their "place" but just doesn't know where to start looking. It's like starting out on a journey and you don't know where you are going, you just know theres a journey involved.

So the hard part starts with actually working out where you want to go and what you want to do. So, where do you want to go?? And don't give me all that palava about being too busy to do anything either... if you found something you enjoyed enough the time would appear.

It almost seems a little selfish to be looking for a purpose and I know that is something which plagues many women on this journey of self discovery (yes, I know I'm generalising but men hardly ever suffer guilt for this reason). You find yourself surfing the net or sitting comatose infront of the television after you have finished dealing with everyone else problems.... and all the mess they have created in the process. And you might come across something about a person with no arms, or legs, or a tsunami somewhere or even a shooting... and you reprimand yourself for being so selfish about finding a purpose for yourself when there are people in the world who are really suffering. But you still have that hole and that need for purpose even after that..... 

Well, all I can say is that there is still plenty of time to discover. Try new things, go different places, surf the net .. I'm not saying you will find the answer but maybe the journey will lead you somewhere that will. Take some time to look after the person who does all the looking after ... after all, you'd do it for them, why not you? 

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
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Now I do have to admit that I didn't actually watch the show (and by all accounts I didn't miss much) but the "dramality" show The Shire aired last week on TV here in Australia.

From recounts of what took place on the show it seems there are a plethora of topics I could be bringing up based on the shows lack of social conscience.... but what I really want to talk about is beauty. A friend (yes I really do mean a friend, not as in "a friend" who is actually just me not wanting to admit it) watched the show. She brought up a discussion which took place between two of the "characters" which went something like "so, if you could like choose, if your children were either pretty or smart, like, which one would you choose?" to which the reply from her over tanned, over botoxed, breast enhanced, lip filler, false lashed friend was "definitely pretty, cause then it would be like easier for them to get ahead in life" (who saw that coming??!).

Anyhoo, it got me thinking about which one is actually preferable and what are the benefits of both. I mean obviously pretty sometimes gets you in the door but it's your smarts that keep you there...... and really in the end pretty fades but smarts don't. So I know which one I'd be rooting for should I ever have the choice. And really, when you have a good hard think about it, pretty is in the eye of the beholder (and whatever is in fashion at the time)- where as smarts aren't so subjective.

I really believe that beauty is skin deep and sometimes it's not even that deep. I have known pretty people who weren't that pretty on the inside and it was definitely reflected on their outsides (a la Shallow Hale, with Jack Black -  if you've ever caught that movie). I also know people who are not classically beautiful but they are such amazing people they seem beautiful anyway.

My father and I were discussing this phenomenon one day when he recounted a story from his past. He said he knew this guy who was by all accounts a great guy and my dad really liked him. Anyway, I guess he was feeling down one day as he said to my Dad "I don't even know why anyone likes me" to which my dad replied "well, why wouldn't they?" and he went on to say "Well, I'm really short and overweight, and I wear glasses. I mean I'm not much to look at". My Dad later told me that it changed the way he saw that guy, he said he had never even noticed those things about him before. Being a great guy had made him actually seem taller and thinner than he was. Which is something to really think about. I  mean, this guy did himself a disservice by pointing out his faults!

So at the end of all that what conclusion do we come to on the debate of beauty verses brains? Well, a friend said to me today "there are no ugly women, just lazy ones" and that's pretty much true. If you are not classically beautiful you can always opt for outside help but if you're a dumb arse... well, you're on your own. 

Toodles,

Lee

 
 
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Here's the thing, you know that your son is too old to take to the female toilets with you when he is old enough to shave.... and if you haven't seriously looked at drawing the line quite some time before that, then you may have a few more problems with boundaries than just when to stop taking your child to the toilet with you (mumma's boy anyone?). But, when should you start sending them in on their own??

My issue is that my eldest child who is only 9 is very tall and has been mistaken a number of times for a high school student in the past, (actually that happened once when he was in grade 2 - but the person who assumed that was very short, so maybe she assumed every male without facial hair taller than her was in high school, I don't know). Basically he is  now only about 15cm shorter than me and wears the same size shoes. Anyhoo, we were out at a shopping centre together not so long ago and I took him to the female toilets with me (he actually wanted to go to the men's alone, but I am just so uncomfortable with that) and as he was walking out a little ahead of me, the cleaning lady said "Aren't you a little old to be in the ladies toilets?". Now I missed this exchange but when he told me about it, I wanted to go back and question the cleaning lady about her understanding of when it was appropriate to send little boys into a closed room, on their own with grown men with their penis out?? My son, of course was mortified by the whole thing and would not let me go back to "talk" to the cleaner. 

I know I said he was tall and he is - but that's just on the outside. Inside he is still an easily led, immature, 9 year old boy. So my dear friends, I ask you....at what age do you send your child in on their own to use the men's toilet??? I have a friend who still takes takes her boys into the ladies change rooms to change them after swimming lessons and at 9 and 7, I think they are a little old to be in with naked female strangers who want a little bit of their own privacy. So I get that. There are options. Such as the family change rooms. But there are not usually family toilets - I mean there are the unisex disabled toilets but I don't want to be hogging those ... if that's not illegal anyway, it's definitely frowned on.

So what do you do?? Continue to take them in with you? And then when do you stop?? Or do you just send them into the unknown when they "look big enough" and stand by the door, counting down what you feel are appropriate minutes for a toilet visit (which obviously leads to you having to then discuss what they are planning to do in there, so you can give them enough time to actually get the job done).

Opinions are welcome and are in fact asked for. So what do you think??

Ta Ta,

Lee

 
 
I don't know whether it is this cold Melbourne weather which I have really had enough of or just being a stay at home mum on this monotonous mouse wheel that is wearing me out. But I would really like to have a little break from reality..... and perhaps a nap.

How about you??

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
Welcome to Friday! I have put together a few tasty and fun things for you to look at this week. Things which made me smile or I just thought they should be shared. I hope you like looking at the Friday Joylights as much as I like putting it all together for you. 

Well, today is a bit of a special day ... probably more for me but I am sharing it with you anyway. Today marks the end of the first month of posting online for Mother-Load.. Yay me!! Yes, I know in the grand scheme of things a month is not a fantastic length of time (and when people have been dating for that length of time and feel the need to celebrate it, it's really a bit sad) but when you look at the fact that I have kept to my (self) challenge of posting everyday it's pretty impressive...... well for me anyway. So yay, look at me go!

Happy 1 month Mother-Load!!

OK, enough about me ....  First up we have

Websites you should check out.

Did you ever want a recipe book where you could put in what you actually have left in the fridge and pantry and it gives you some great ideas on what you can make with it?? Well da da, here it is  - My Fridge Food http://www.myfridgefood.com/index.php - just click on the ingredients you have and away you go. Try it out for yourself.

Stuff on my "to buy cause it looks so tasty list"

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Mr Stanley's Pink & White Coconut Ice from www.johnlewis.com
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From Ganache Chocolates.
How yummy do these things look? How could you not want to get your hands on them? I love coconut ice - and this box is sooo pretty.... and really, what do you say about chocolate and shoes!! I should think, no words are necessary...

Kids activities to give you a bit of quiet time

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From holistichomemaking.org
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Ocean in a bag by Crafts and Art for children.
I love love love both of these fantastic ideas and I will definitely be giving both of them a whirl to keep my small person entertained.  (I have attached links to the pictures for the original blogs and instructions for you to have a go - if you so desire)

And lastly ... things that looked yummy and made me happy

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From DeelusciousCupcakes
As you may have noticed by now, I do have just a little bit of a sweet tooth. Oh alright, a big one. But these were just so pretty how could I not put them in!?

Have a wonderful Friday, look around for things that make you happy and make sure you notice that lovely moment when you find them.

Toodles,

Lee