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Posts Tagged ‘Toddlers’

Carrot and Apple Ice BlocksSeveral years ago I attended the Newtown festival on an incrediblly hot day and was blown away by a stall selling 100% pure fruit ice blocks. I immediately went home to experiment with my own version. After a little trial and error I realised that the secret to making a good ice block was to create a mixture that doesn’t ‘separate’ as freshly juiced fruit is prone to do. The trick I came up with was to puree the fruit to mix with vegetable juice. This ‘fluffs’ up the mixture and creates lovely even ice blocks. With the warmer weather upon us, I thought I’d share my simple instructions for homemade ice blocks. These are pure wholesome goodness and the kids love them. The only drawback is the amount of equipment you need in comparison to your available bench space, but it’s well worth the time and mess to stock your freezer for summer.

Carrot and Apple Ice Block CollageEquipment Needed

Juicer

Steamer set

Food Processor

Ice Block Moulds (these are a few dollars in K-mart or discount variety stores)

Ingredients

2-3 Carrots

4-6 Apples

1/4 cup of water

Instructions

1) Peel and chop apples.

2) Steam apple pieces on stove-top until soft (approx 15 minutes)

3) Place apple pieces in a food processor and blitz until thick and smooth. Set aside.

4) Juice carrots.

5) Combine pureed apple with carrot juice. Add water to dilute a little.

6) Pour into ice block moulds and freeze.

Makes approx 6-8 ice blocks depending on the size of your moulds.

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My little boy leads the anti-vegetable movement in Sydney. His zeal has brought out new levels of deceit in me as I smuggle vegies into the least suspecting of meals.

Recently a strange phenomenon took place.

It all started with a trip to the petting zoo, where he fell in love with guinea pigs.

From that point on he has wanted to be a guinea pig, even though we explained that guinea pigs eat carrot sticks and cucumber (and showed him some YouTube clips for reinforcement).

Now that he is a guinea pig, he eats carrot sticks with great gusto.

Just like that.

He also walks around most of the day on all fours and squeaks when I talk to him..but I’ll take my victories where I can.

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It’s been a busy month in our neck of the woods.

Almost impossible to believe but my two babies turned 1 and 3. As their birthdays are so close together, we had a combined party at the park. In a month of brilliant Sydney sunshine, the party landed squarely on a weekend of rain and record gale-force winds. As children are blissfully immune to bad weather, we grown-ups proceeded bravely outdoors.

At the party we had…

Rugged up children bearing bikes, trikes and scooters and rugged up relatives bearing fruit platters and presents.

A cake-off. The 3-year old’s Nigella Lawson Chocolate Cake versus the 1-year old’s Donna Hay Carrot Cake. In my humble opinion, the hands down winner was Ms Hay. Her carrot cake is so fabulous, it will be the subject of my next blog entry.

Loads of fabric bunting that was double gaffer-taped to poles and flapping madly in the wind (though I managed to get a miraculous ‘still’ shot between gusts).

Little handmade touches that included Where the Wild Things Are invitations:

Duck-food for a bike/scooter trip to the pond:

And take home goodie-bags made with scrapbooking paper and this handy little sticker making machine I found on my op-shop travels:

Oh and what do you do if it’s a Saturday morning and there’s only one table at Sydney’s most popular inner west park? You get an early morning covert operation underway to mind the table, is what you do…(thanks uncle).Until next year kiddos.

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My son has been obsessed with Lego for a few months now. Most of his constructions have been via his personal Lego Monkey. This morning, at a month shy of 3-years, he spent 10 minutes quietly in his bedroom before emerging to display his first independent Lego construction, undirected and unassisted.

Oh and not to state the obvious…it’s a moon buggy.

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Peak Hour [pēk ou-er]

n.

1. The period of the day during which family activity in the home is at its highest, children are at their neediest and parenting stamina is at its lowest.

Peak hour in our house is usually between the hours of 5pm – 7pm. It’s a period of heightened activity when multiple meals are prepared and served, eating is supervised, food messes are cleaned, baths are run, children are washed, teeth are brushed, protesting bodies are dried, pyjamas are sourced, children are dressed, hair is combed, beds are prepared, books are read and endless negotiation over lights out and sleep.

Each day when the clock ticks over to 5:00pm I have a moment of pre-emptive exhaustion. It is incomprehensible that we will survive the next few hours.

To my ongoing amazement, we always do.

Then after that last protest is heard and silence finally descends upon the house, all the things I have been adding to my ‘after the children are asleep’ mental to-do list throughout the day, just dissipate with exhaustion.

Peak hour is hardcore. It’s for people with nerves of steel.

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We have a lovely neighbour that dotes on our children. She spends time with them in the garden, buys them little presents and sneaks freddo frogs to our son when we’re not looking. She’s their honourary Aunty.

On the weekend she gave this little tea cup to our daughter. She told us that she’d seen it in an antique store years ago and fell in love with it. She bought it just in case she had a daughter. Now with her one boy all grown up, she wanted to give it to someone special. I couldn’t think of a more perfect gift for a little girl, or boy for that matter.

Since my son turned two, we have started having regular ‘tea parties’. We lay his table with a tablecloth, set napkins and serve tea with cake. I think it teaches him table manners and the enjoyable ritual of sharing a cup of tea. He has a groovy United Nations mug his real Aunty bought him back from New York. It will be great when my little girl can join our tea parties too.

And speaking of tea, saw this little find, The Vintage Tea Party Book, at Gleebooks:

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My boy loves wheels.

He is fairly indiscriminate in this regard.

Trains, cars, trucks, utes, buses, street sweepers, golf buggies, vans, trailers, trikes, bikes, carts and jeeps.

And Lego versions of all of the above please.

My husband thinks it’s glorious and for the past 18 months has been reliving his childhood.

So for me, there is something quite satisfying about an afternoon playing house.

Yesterday afternoon my son set the table and prepared me an extravagant meal.

That was repeatedly zapped in a pink microwave.

All the while settling his ‘baby’ to sleep.

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This past week we have been visiting my family interstate. My mum lives on the outskirts of the Barossa Valley in South Australia, in a little place I like to think of as the land the Internet forgot.

As a parent, I’m starting to approach these trips with a mixture of excitement and dread. I love seeing my family but it’s the ‘getting there’ that’s the hard part.

Imagine a slippery little fish flip-flopping around on the jetty…then try and put a seatbelt on it. This is our boy, pumped with excitement, on a flight. Ten minutes in and he’d quickly vetoed his carefully selected activity books and become disinterested in the in-flight entertainment. He squirmed and wriggled and protested relentlessly about the unjustness of his seatbelt. The only things that gave us any time-out were snippets of movies on the iPad, in-flight refreshments and a little excursion to investigate the bathroom facilities. Thoroughly.

The baby was a lot easier. The flights had been timed to coincide with her naps and she complied beautifully. (This may be due in no small part to the return of our old nemesis, the dummy.)

Highlights of the trip:

Celebrating the first birthday of a little miracle boy.

The crazy chaos when the whole family got together for a photo shoot.

Marvelling at the changes in all my nieces and nephews.

Watching my brother-in-law’s stand up comedy act.

Finding a babysitter in the most unsuspecting of places.

Lots of cups of tea with my mum and my sisters.

Listening to my little brother sing Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah at the kitchen table after dinner. That song was in my head for days.

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Lego mon·key  [ˈlɛgəʊ ˈmʌŋkɪ]

n.

1.      A person who constructs Lego models at a child’s bidding.

The Lego revolution has started in our place. What our 2 year old son lacks in dexterity and concentration, he makes up for in dad-labour.

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