Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Last week I bought my daughter a Barbie doll from an op shop. I stood in the store with the Barbie in my hand and hesitated. Would this plastic doll be a bad influence on my daughter and contribute to negative body image later down the track? Then I thought…she’s a beautiful black doll with a groovy hairdo, and so ultimately the hair won the day. All she was wearing at the time was a $1 price tag on her stomach, so I decided that I would buy her an outfit. I imagined something along the lines of a tailored grey pant suit with some groovy Converse style sneakers or ballet flats.

Later in the week while I was getting some photos processed at Big W, I ducked over to the toy section and headed to the Barbie doll clothing. Perhaps I’m naïve, but I was shocked. Let me take a moment to describe the choices that were before me:

Pink sequins, pink ruffles or pink diamontes?
The 5-inch twist your ankle heels or the 6-inch break your neck heels?
The barely cover your behind micro mini skirt or the wildly inappropriate for any real life occasion fluorescent pink ball gown with matching gloves and tiara?

As far as I could see, there wasn’t a single item that a woman would wear to the shops, a picnic or let’s say, to work.  I had Barbie when I was a girl and I don’t remember her being like this. Has Barbie fashion changed over the past 30 years or am I simply seeing her now with ‘mum’ eyes? I left the store with a naked doll and a grudge against Mattel.

Later in the week when I was doing some grocery shopping, I stumbled across a little find in the baby aisle, hidden amongst a small assortment of toys.  A blue astronaut space suit from the Barbie I Can Be range. Yes, blue! And it even came with practical, flat space boots.

I was surprised to discover that when I dressed Barbie in her astronaut suit, she became irresistible to my 2½ year old son. Barbie was suddenly elevated to the dizzying heights of Buzz Lightyear.  My son spent the afternoon in the backyard flying Barbie around chanting “To Infinity and Beyond”.

Amazing what the right outfit can do.

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I have a fussy toddler with a very discerning vegie-detecting palette. Consequently I’ve become quite skilled at hiding vegetables in his meals.  These homemade sausage rolls have lots of vegies in them and are so delicious that they feel like a naughty treat.  The mixture freezes beautifully, so it’s easy to wrap any leftovers and have an emergency stash in the freezer.

Healthy Sausage Rolls


500g lean, premium or heart smart beef mince
Puff pastry sheets (I use 25% reduced fat Pampas puff pastry. As a guide, one sheet makes 6-8 small sausage rolls.)
1 brown onion, finely diced
A mix of fresh vegetables (ie 1 carrot, 1 zucchini, 1 capsicum and a few green beans)
1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
Herbs and seasoning (I use oregano, salt and pepper)
1 egg (to glaze the puff pastry)


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Lay out several sheets of puff pastry to defrost on the benchtop, then cut in half.
  3. Cut all vegetables into small pieces then blitz in the food processor. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate and/or finely dice the vegies).
  4. Place beef mince, bread crumbs, onion, diced vegies, tomato sauce and seasoning into a bowl and mix thoroughly (using your hands is best!)
  5. Shape the mince mixture into a long tube shape and place along the centre of the puff pastry.  Fold puff pastry over so the mince mixture is completely covered.
  6. Beat egg lightly then brush over the top of the puff pastry.
  7. Cut the sausage roll tubes into desired size and place onto an oven tray that is lined with baking paper.
  8. Bake in oven for approximately 20 – 30 minutes or until sausage rolls are golden brown.
  9. Roll any leftover mince mixture into long tube shapes and wrap individually in gladwrap to freeze.  This will make defrosting and preparing your sausage rolls next time quick and easy.


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When you marry an ecologist you’ll never hold another can of inspect spray in your hand again.  Nothing dies on their watch. There have only been two occasions when I have drawn a line in the sand over our little multi-legged friends.  The first was when I discovered 150 newly hatched baby huntsmen spiders in the baby nursery.  The second was the discovery of a family of redback spiders living happily in our compost bin. And even then, he hesitated.

I wasn’t prepared for our children to be similarly inclined and this has been one of my greatest parenting challenges.  Unlike my son, at least my husband has the good sense never to come running towards me with an outstretched hand yelling delightedly:

“Look at my spider/millipede/dragonfly/beetle/skink/moth!”

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