Monday, December 30, 2013

Feeding frenzy

An empty bowl?!

A travesty!

A momentary display of manners...

When's this nazi going to give us the go-ahead?

Finally, we can eat!

Is there a similar daily dance at your place?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Does buying your kid a second-hand Christmas gift put you in Scrooge territory?

I bought my daughter a second-hand present this Christmas. It's a trampoline and she LOVES it (yes, it's set up already). Part of me felt mean going the second-hand path, but after thinking about it there are many benefits:
* It only cost $80.
* It was already partially assembled. I was able to piece it together myself while the Prospector was at work. He was happy about that.
* No massive box and miles of padding, usually requiring a trip to the tip, to deal with. Ditto re Prospector being pleased.
* Buying a used item is gentler on the environment.
* We wanted a trampoline (in good condition), the sellers wanted theirs gone. Win-win.
* Rose doesn't give a toss how old or cheap it is. All she knows is she loves the things and now there's one in the back yard. 


She's not yet two so I thought she may have been a bit young for a trampoline. But every time we've been somewhere with one, she climbs on up and has a ball. She also decided the low-hanging shade sail over our veggie patch (which has allowed the weeds to run rampant but come hot weather does nothing for the perkiness of my tomatoes) was a trampoline and repeatedly asked to bounce on it. Clearly, I had no choice but to try and get one for her. Not that she's spoilt, or anything.
And, yes, I admit it's kind of fun for me too. Do you want to know how high I can jump before scaring myself?
Also, it's handy when I finally do my hand washing and need to lay everything out flat.

What's your take on pre-loved gifts?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Working out how to work out

As of tomorrow I'm going to have to get creative about exercising.
Twice a week we go to a council-run play group, which also operates as a crèche for parents who want to use the council gym. So Rosie 'plays' and I work out/walk on treadmill while reading on my iPad.
And today is our last play group session for the year. Ergo, the last time for a couple of months that I can drop Rosie into a room full toys, babies and preschoolers and hope they keep her occupied.
I always look forward to these sessions. Because I love the little gym. And exercise isn't bad either. Especially exercise done alone. The 'alone' part is more desirable than the 'exercise' part.

My local gym. Yes, all of it (plus a couple of
racks of free weights you can't see). And
this is usually how I find it - empty. I get it all to myself.
I've always found some joy in working out. But for a long time it was also stressful. Something to squeeze in around work and home chores, and too often with the sense I hadn't done enough. Plus, I was forever comparing myself to whomever was on the machine next to me. They always seemed fitter/stronger/hotter/better overall. 

The weight I have on my squat bar - a whole
7.5kg each side. Go me! Plus the bar - I don't
know exactly what it weighs but it's in the vicinity
of freaking heavy. 

None of that really happens any more. Now I enjoy exercising, as well as having exercised.
But finding ways to do it can be a challenge when a crèche isn't available.
There's walking of course. We do a lot of that. Gets a bit trickier in summer when the only bearable time to be outside is between 7pm and 7am. And the toddler is not in favour of going straight from the containment of one space (her cot) to that of another (the pram) in the morning.
Swimming laps drives me spare. And again there is the issue of child minding.
So, what to do?
Thankfully, the prospector works shorter hours at his new day job, so some afternoons he will be in charge of toddler care.
And I expect to make use of these:
A couple of my kettlebells.
Doing a kettlebell workout in your bedroom (because it has the best air con) alongside your shoes and shirts while a kid and cat look on from the bed isn't weird is it?
And there's always the option of dancing to the Wiggles. Which is bloody hard work, believe me.

Does scheduling exercise take a bit of work for you? How do you fit it around work and family?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mid-week mundanities

It was just Rosie and I again yesterday, with the prospector back at his new-old day job (more on that later). Had a productive yet relaxing day, but was shattered by the end of it. Waking early takes it's toll and every morning I think 'am definitely having a nap when young miss does today' but then I get caught up (usually in reading) and often don't. And then when she woke after only an hour I was glad I hadn't tried to sleep - I'd have got about 5 minutes and felt ripped off.
It was my first day of following a system of spending allotted hours on work/chores - from my to-do list, at least, not things like cooking dinner, folding washing, so on, that have to fit around other things and can't be put off anyway - some 'structured' play (because I'm told you're meant to do these things) with Rosie and taking the rest of the day as it comes.
Went for an early walk to Moran's (IGA) - before it got too hot and before she was likely to get tired and fall asleep in the pram, which results in day-nap malfunction. 

Breakfast time. Thank god for onesies
- in them she still resembles a baby, not
the toddler she really is.

In the morning: Churned through a good chunk of the to-do list. Even made custard. And by leaving it on the stove for an eternity it actually did thicken on its own - why can't the recipe say it takes more than half an hour? Apparently you're meant to stir it while it thickens but I'm not standing at the stove, spoon in hand, that bloody long. The recipe is from the Commonsense cookbook but devoting close to a (pretty much mindless) hour to something that results in less than half a litre of food doesn't sound very sensible to me.
I left the mix to its own devices, gave it the occasional stir to get rid of lumps and whaddya know, I got custard. Proper smooth, thick creamy custard. Which incidentally makes me want to hurl (always has) but Rosie would be hooked to a custard IV if she could and I'm sick of buying commercial stuff, so it was made for her.
Whacked it in a nifty EZ Squeezie thing, handed it over and it was met with approval.
I've been making my own chocolate fudge stuff (dairy and sugar free) for a while and needed to make another batch. Tried a new recipe. Didn't like it. So made a batch of the original stuff and mixed the new stuff in to try and mask it. Kind of worked. Eating the blend will be no hardship, but will stick with the original one in future. 

In hysterics with Trixie. And no, I have never
before allowed dogs inside. I must
be getting soft.

Later in the morning: Tackled one of my most hated tasks. Fecking filing. Finished it and promptly researched ways to cut down on paper crap. Subsequently swapped what accounts I could to email billing.
Late afternoon: Rosie's lack of sleep caught up with her and she decided she needed to be glued, or, when that was too boring, within arms reach, of mummy for every remaining moment of the day. Glued to me on the trampoline, much wailing when I dared move a few metres away and ducked inside to check on dinner, more wailing when I wouldn't watch TV with her because I was serving dinner, glued to me while we ate dinner... (She was very relieved to get to bed. And she wasn't the only one. )
Earlier, the prospector had come home with a ginormous hamper of Christmas 'goodies'. Seems every staff member got one, provided by the guy who picks up the scrap metal. By 'goodies' I mean processed, sugary, gluteny, preservative-y items generally called food. And a jar of salsa. At least I'll enjoy it. (Yes, it's a lovely gesture and I was impressed and grateful. It's just not the sort of stuff I appreciate like I once did, what with the paleo/clean eating thing. Bah humbug.)
The hamper, containing about half it's contents.
I had to pull the rest out so it would
fit in the cupboard.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2013, where are you going?!

The calendar tells me 2013 is almost done, even though it feels like it's only a few months old. It's been quite a year for this rambler. 
I had some significant losses - my dear old dog (the other dear old one is battling on), my grandfather-in-law, who died in January, I had an early miscarriage and the prospector was retrenched from his day job. 
Also, my baby became a toddler.

January 2013. Kindly sitting in one place.
Late November 2013. Playing in the rain.

Of less significance, I lost patience with a few TV shows. I can no longer tell you what's happening on True Blood, Sons of Anarchy or The Newsroom. I probably can, however, tell you what letter Anthony used in his alphabet segment on the latest Wiggles episode. Should you like to know.  
I also made some significant gains/discoveries. Chiefly, paleo/primal living and minimalism/simple living. To me, these are almost the same thing, and I interpret them as focusing on being kind to yourself - your body and soul - as well as those around you, and the planet. 
I feel like have been leaning blindly towards this kind of lifestyle for a long, long time. And it has been a revelation to finally stumble on practical theories and guides on how to actually live it. 
Also gained were new skills and confidence through my graphic design course. Though my lack of practice means I've forgotten half of them now. 
And two cheeky puppies have moved into the rambler residence.

Cleo and Trixie.
We travelled a bit this year (three trips over east and back and two to Perth, for Rosie and I). And between that and study and freelance work, the year was busier than I'd have liked. Still, I count myself lucky to have also had countless wonderful moments and (almost) every day living life exactly as I want to. 

How's your year been?
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