Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Falling in love with a freezer.

While yes, part of me is falling in love with a freezer because every time I open it it's a milisecond of not feeling like I'm going to turn into a puddle that someone will have to clean off our hardwood, it's mostly because I'm (dare I say it) a lazy cook. I let food go off. I actually cringe and shudder about how much food I've wasted over the years from my sheer laziness. It's not good, it's not environmentally friendly, and it attracts various rodents that live around our house. 

Preserving food often brings up images of old women bottling tomatoes and making jam, I've (sadly only just) come to the realisation that my freezer is the perfect tool for preserving food and helping my mornings run smoother. Fucking shocking discovery, I know.

I know most people use their freezer to batch cook, I just cant. For some reason batch cooking doesn't work for me, I get lazy knowing my freezer is full and spend a week not cooking, then I'm back to square one. So I focus mainly on one of the benefits of living in Queensland. Fruit. Audrey would live off a steady diet of banana, grapes, tomatoes and pears if we let her. This means that at times I buy way, way waaaay too much fruit, then Audrey goes to stay at her dads, or we spend a solid couple of days out of the house, and it goes off, and I get angry that I once again, wasted food.

Chopped frozen fruit has been a godsend lately. 40 degree days have Audrey and I craving Ice-Cream, smoothies and anything else that isn't above 2 degrees celcius. Lemon juice from extra-cheap lemons from our greengrocer have been made into ice-cubes, perfect for adding to water on the extra hot days, and we've been making guilt free, healthy sorbets and ice creams, and many green smoothies have replaced traditional breakfasts. The freezer has also come in handy to help us organise our mornings. After our last shopping trip, I washed all the greens and had Audrey tear the leaves into small bits, then froze individual portions. They're ready to be chucked in the blender with some ice, water and a few pieces of fruit, and wham bam thank you ma'am, you've jumped onto the healthy hipster bandwagon. 

Though damn them, because they're delicious.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Sorbet in a Cup.

I despise Summer. I blame this on my Melbourne DNA, due to the fact that I would much rather be in snow, hale or rain than be in any form of heat. Summer in Brisbane for Audrey and I has so far been… interesting. Audrey, a born Queenslander, but Melbournian at heart complains constantly about heat, and I can't even blame her for this when I'm walking around in my underwear cursing the sun for it's existance.

One of my remedies for balmy nights is what has been dubbed 'Sorbet in a Cup'. It's cooling, and delicious, and most likely falls into that 'clean eating' bandwagon that most people are blogging about. But I love it mainly because it stops me getting into my Subaru and going to the closest 7/11 for a Slurpee.

The man in our home hates a lot of things. Anything green. Anything fruity that isn't a mandarin. Anything Vegetarian. Chia Seeds. Health Food shops. Green Smoothies. Coconut. Fruit Juices that aren't packed with artificial sweeteners. So, a lot of things that I like. At times this makes me want to throttle him when all I want for dinner is a vegan eggplant stew and chickpea cookies for dessert. Anyway, I made this tonight for 'dessert', it's cooling down a bit at the moment in Brisbane, but the hot days have still left me craving fruits and ice-cream.

Sorbet in a Cup Recipe.
-1 cup frozen berries (I uses mix of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries)
-1/2 Mango
-1 cup coconut water
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 teaspoon chia seeds

Blend and enjoy.

I also give this to said man in the house. He loves it, despite all the things he hates being in it.
Heh.. heh..

How is everyone else doing with Summer?

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Where in the World is Patchwork Natural?

Things have been rather hectic in the abode of Patchwork Natural lately, and it was only when a friend mentioned my blog that I thought 'Oh. Shit. Yes. My blog. Might wanna jump on that'.


The craziness of life has lately been spurred on by a rather long trip home, attempting to unpack, a re-enrollment for a new Kindy for the Dinosaur, toilet training for said Dinosaur, and some unfortunate (to say the least) news of a wonderful friend and role model is weighing heavy on my heart, and the hearts of my family.

I so desperately want to write, but words form in my head and the sheer exhaustion of having my plate full has me resting my head on my desk, fingers poised to type, then grabbing a bottle of wine instead. It will come soon, as life settles back to its relative normality and I come to terms with the terrifying changes happening around me. My world around me has revolved and changed and settled into another place, and I'm stuck looking around at this whole new life that so far, I haven't made full sense of.

I know I'll be back in a few days, words can only swirl around in my head for so long.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Holidays, Dinosaurs, and Laundry Squabbles.

I feel like I've been gone from the blogosphere for a while, though in reality I'm not a big name and it's only been two weeks. A lot has happened in two weeks. It's been an ebb and flow of life and holidays. Good and bad. A ying and yang of life. I managed to somehow (with all my bad luck) win over $800 worth of goodies from the lovely Sonia over at Life, Love and Hiccups. I found out a few hours before setting of on holiday to visit my rather dysfunctional family for two and a half weeks, through the entire flight with Audrey I repeated the mantra 'You have won lots of stuff. Lots of nice stuff' at least 50 times.

It's been good to be back home in Melbourne. Through the family tensions, Audrey losing her beloved best friend and resident dinosaur 'Saurus', 40 degree days, and a few run ins with my dad over whether I'm 'hogging the laundry', it's so far been good. It's been nice to see Audrey playing with her cousin, running laps of the park I frequented as a child, and fishing in a bucket on her great-grandmothers back porch under the tree my mother planted as a teenager, a subtle reminder of where mine and Audrey's roots always are. It's been two weeks of watching the next generation of children playing together when it only feels like yesterday that it was my cousin and I. However, I'm missing home and can't wait for the moment I can collapse back into my own bed, and Audrey can't wait to cuddle her Guinea Pigs again.

I hope you've got some lovely weather for me, Brisbane.

And I hope that everyone had a wonderful Festivus.

Monday, 9 December 2013

A Very Brisbane Christmas.

I love Christmas, I love shiny baubles, Pudding, and choosing out beautiful handmade gifts. I love everything bout it. For my family, Christmas isn't stressful. The day may become a little hectic when it comes to food and people arriving, but that chaos for me is comforting. My grandmother, however, just shakes her head and says that 'This is the last year!'

Everyone has forged their own little routines and traditions over time, my aunties annual Christmas Eve Party where her Fireman partner dresses up as Santa and stands on the roof, before climbing down and distributing books among the children (complete with his Fireman buddies cracking a few OH&S jokes over their beers), a big barbecue and the ceremonial lighting of the citronella when the hoards of Mosquitoes arrive.

My traditions followed the way of Myer. I always admired the christmas windows as a child, they took my little breath away. My dad would take me whenever I visited him in Melbourne, we would drink coffee, and wander around the city. I was so little, and sipping my Babychino and watching Melbourne's CBD go by, I felt so grown up. I loved it. I loved it so much that I knew as soon as I fell pregnant that it was a tradition I wanted my child to enjoy. Her first two years of life we visited the Melbourne Myer Christmas window and my heart swelled as Audrey stared on, amazed. This year we made some big changes. One being our move to Brisbane, and her dad and I deciding to no longer be together. Despite this, the our odd little family headed off to the city. Her dad and I keep a wonderful relationship still, and the three of us had an amazing time.

I got bearded

Audrey's dad got a call, and he too was bearded.

Then, Audrey. She giggled, then sighed 'Muuuuum!'

After the Christmas window we ended up at the Brisbane Christmas tree. 
Audrey's mind was blown by the size.

We posed for a nice photo, and Audrey ate the beard. I like it.


Just how every Christmas should be.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Homemade Fossils.

Just in case it hasn't been apparent, my daughter Audrey is obsessed with Dinosaurs. So when my lovely new friend Laura (who stalks this blog, hi Laura!) suggested making clay dinosaur fossils, I jumped at the idea. This morning was the perfect time as Audrey had the day off kindy and as is my nature, I hadn't made a single plan for the day.

We didn't use clay though, as the nearest craft store is almost half an hour away, and instead we opted for the wonderful salt dough that only has three ingredients and can be made with basics from the pantry. After I'd cut off various pieces and rolled them out for Audrey, she got to work stomping her toy dinosaurs around and making her 'fossils'.

After we had a sufficient number of footprints, I left the tray in the sun to dry out for about half an hour, then put them in the oven. The half an hour outside helped the drying process, and meant they needed less time in the oven, in turn giving the oven less time to heat up my whole house. A large bonus for anyone already sweltering their way through the day in Queensland.

At the moment we don't have any decent painting materials, or sealing spray (which I highly recommend for any painted crafts) so they're only halfway done. I'm hoping that tomorrow we'll get to the shops and get a nice stock of sealer, brushes, and assorted paints, and get busy decorating. My inner child is busting out to decorate those babies.

Do you have any good craft ideas for toddlers? I'm always hunting for new ones!

Salt Dough Recipe

1 cup salt
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup water

-Put the flour and salt in a bowl and gradually add water, working it together to form a dough
-Knead roughly for around 2 mins, adding more flour if needed to reduce stickiness
-Roll dough out and have fun!
-Bake your creations in a 100 degree celcius oven for 3 hours, allow to cool then decorate.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Dinosaurs, footprints, and lattes.

 It started at 4.45 in the morning. I heard the thunk of two size five toddler feet hitting the ground, a muffed 'Morning, Saurus' as she cuddled her favourite toy, then the undeniable creek of her bedroom door opening. I shuffled further down the bed and pulled my blankets over my head, because at 4.45am you are tired enough to actually believe that if the child can't see you, they'll leave you alone. Ha! The just woken, and surprisingly coordinated Audrey, catapulted herself on top of me, pulled back the covers, tucked her toy 'Saurus' under my blankets and jumped in next to me, I feigned sleep to no avail (surprise…) as I was poked in the face and asked repeatedly for breakfast.

In my parenting haze, a Dinosaur Train DVD was put on the tv, a bowl of cereal appeared before Audrey, she ate and tv watched while I passed out on the couch for a whole blissful 10 minutes. After the breakfast dishes where expertly dumped in the sink to deal with when I didn't feel like death, I put a scrap of fabric on our dining table, my old work notebook, a few paints and told Audrey to go to town.

I drank two double shot lattes while Audrey played and painted, and as I started to properly wake up I started to really watch her play. A large part of Montessori is following the child, their interests, and letting them learn through the things that interest them. I was fascinated at how naturally this came to Audrey as she darted outside to grab various bits of nature to paint on and with, then the experimenting turned to Dinosaurs. We painted them together, then painted their feet to see which ones made the best paint footprints. This kept Audrey occupied for a whole 2 hours. 2 hours! I felt like I'd hit a jackpot.

The cuteness of her self-led learning made me feel so grateful that I was open to this slightly alternative approach to living and education, some days I feel like the lack of structure is ruining her and I'm a terrible mother, but days like this make me see our lives in a whole new light.

Does anybody else go the way of self-led learning? Audrey's father was un-schooled with his 6 brothers and sisters, and although that isn't an option with Audrey, I feel like we found an amazing middle ground.