Saturday, 31 December 2011

Kitchen (Mis)Adventure - Marion's Kitchen Thai Basil and Chilli Stir Fry

I love cooking (when I feel like it, not when I have to) and I love cooking shows. I like watching MasterChef  Australia and I think that I only missed one episode of Season 3 which was on the night I gave birth. In fact, it was on the TV while I was being prepped for an emergency C-section. I remember trying to watch it while my epidural was being topped up. I figured that was the closest I was going to get to watching my favourite show with a glass of wine. I'm sure somewhere in the back of my mind I contemplated delaying giving birth until after the show has finished. 

I usually dislike at-home cooking kits but I am a huge fan of Marion Grasby from Season 2.  After months of walking past her Marion's Kitchen range in the supermarket aisle, curiosity and lack of cooking motivation prompted me to give it a try. I chose Thai basil & chilli stir fry.

I like how each individual packet of ingredient is numbered and comes with easy to follow instructions. However, I don't like that she instructs you to stir fry the vegies first followed by the meat. I do it the other way around to make sure my vegies are not overcooked.

The sauce was a generous amount, she recommends 300g of meat, I used 500g and there was more than enough sauce. The end product didn't look like the sample picture on the box maybe because I used chicken instead of beef and mine looked more saucy. I added cashews to mine.

I expected it to be better than your average boxed cooking kit but since most of them are just plain awful it wasn't that high an expectation. It was actually really good. It tasted just like it was from a Thai restaurant. It was wonderfully fragrant and it tasted like it was made from fresh ingredients. It was flavoursome and mildly spicy. I would definitely buy it again and I'm looking forward to trying her other kits.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Bubby's First Christmas. Bubby's First Tooth.

As you can see, Bubby was quite spoilt. This doesn't even show the high chair my parents bought for him and the toy and outfits I got for him from the end of year sales. Hubby and I spent the better part of Christmas eve buying presents for Bubby. We were like little kids let loose in a toy store. We Bubby has almost the complete stuffed toy characters of Sesame Street circa 1980's. He has Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird, Mr Snuffleupagus, The Count, Grover and Elmo (although he's not from the 80's). We now only need Bert and Ernie. I really have my doubts if half of his toys are for him or for his parents. We also got him Scoobie Doo (Hubby and I did a divide and conquer of Toys r' Us and each of us ended up with a Scoobie). I was also going to get him the Super Mario set but had to restrain myself. I ended up letting him choose one Mario character. He smiled at most of them but King Koopa turned out to be his favourite. He squealed with so much delight when I showed it to him that I nearly bought him all of the King Koopas on the shelf. He also got heaps of toys from my in-laws. Now our house is filled with stuffed toys and lots of  "yellow plastic crap" as hubby calls them.

Christmas this year was so much fun. Everyday is so much fun.

Bubby's first tooth erupted today!. If I didn't see it I wouldn't think he was teething. He's his usual bubbly and cheeky self. I shall post a photo if he'll open his mouth for me without his hand in it.

ETA: A screenshot from a video my brother took:

Saturday, 24 December 2011

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

I probably won't get a chance to update until after Christmas, so if you're still reading we wish you a very Happy Christmas. May you have a joyful and merry time with your loved ones and be showered with presents. I know we will as we already have the best present of all!

Love Affair - Stripes

I noticed that we tend to gravitate towards stripes. Bubby, especially, is almost always in stripes. Exhibits A - Z:

I miss this grow suit so much. It was my absolute favourite, sadly he's way too big for it now

Daddy wears stripes too.

My favourite matching daddy/Bubby outfits. Bubby's cardi and beanie were knitted by my mother-in-law. Bubby wore it almost every time we went out in winter. Sadly, it's now also too small. Maybe my mother-in-law will knit a bigger version...

My very own navy/white stripes.

The whole family does stripes on my birthday.

Nautical-themed birthday party.

Even our bed linen is striped/nautical.

Bubby's pram blanket is also striped.

And long before Bubby came along his parents were already having an affair with stripes. Come to think of it, we also love navy.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Dream Feed

Photo Source: Essential Baby

The dream feed is a funny thing. It doesn't matter how deep in his sleep Bubby is bring a booby to his mouth and he'll feed. Actually, as soon as he is in the feeding position he'd open his mouth wide. On the other hand, if I bring a cheeseburger to hubby's face while he's asleep I don't think he'll dream feed on it. Or will he?

Monday, 19 December 2011

Never Trust a Quiet Baby.

A quiet baby is always up to no good. Last night I left Bubby on the floor while I folded up some clothes. He was happily watching me and I look at him every couple of minutes to make a funny noise when he calls out 'Ha!" to get my attention. He was very quiet for a while and when I looked down he had shoved a receipt in his mouth and was very enthusiastically chewing on it. There was a small bit still hanging out. I had to pry his mouth open and fish around in there with my fingers to make sure I got every bit out that I actually made him throw up a little. He seemed to think that was a game and was also looking pleased with what he'd done. Unfortunately, there was no time to grab the camera. We think we got all the bits out but it was impossible to try and put the receipt together to see. If he ingested any it would have only been a very tiny piece. I never leave paper on the floor so I think the breeze must blown the receipt off the table. I didn't give any solids as he's already had his fill.

Another time, I was having my afternoon tea and having a bit of quiet time to myself while Bubby was also having a quiet time on the floor. He had managed to move off his mat and was observing the fringe on the rug. I just let him since he didn't look like he was eating it. When I walked up to him I realised that he was practising his fine motor skills by unravelling the knots on the fringe of the very expensive silk rug. He was two-handedly, expertly pulling on it with his pudgy little fingers. I say expertly because on closer inspection there were several undone knots along the edge of the rug. He must have had plenty of practice on a number of occasions. I have since put a beach towel with fringed ends over his mat but this boy has taste as he is not as impressed with a towel as he is with a Persian rug. I think I need a play pen, or a cage.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Educating Boys

Photo source: Loretta Chin
Is mighty expensive. My husband and I have been buried in prospectuses, application forms and schedules of fees for some weeks now. (Yes, I know, Bubby is 6 and a half months now, we've left it so late. Isn't it ridiculous?) The prospect of 13 - 14 years of tuition fees is enough to make you want to rob a bank or take all your savings and place it on the roulette in the hopes of doubling it. Oh wait, that last one is on the (over)price of Sydney properties. One school we are were considering has limited intake years, The boy pretty much has to start at the school from pre-preschool for a place in prep and secondary schools. Their early childhood centre (read: glorified child care) is currently $24,000 a year for 5 days a week. Shocking. I wonder if it still qualifies the parents for childcare rebate. One school has a pre-school entry which is basically where boys are 'trained' to be cooperative and to be able to concentrate for longer periods. This appeals to us as anything that will turn Bubby from the unruly puppy that he is to a real human being can't be a bad thing.

So if it's so expensive why not just go public, you might be wondering. Some public schools are good, some have a bad reputation. You have to live in the right area to get into the good ones. The right areas are a long commute from the city, some are hideously expensive suburbs. One of the schools we're considering is close to hubby's work, the other is close to mine. Plus there's the added advantage of very cute prep school uniform. Bubby will look so good in a little blazer with a little tie and a little hat. I hope Bubby is clever enough to get into a selective public high school, then maybe we won't have to sell our kidneys.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

A Moment to Myself. Bubby's 6 Month Check Up. Matching Outfits. How to be a Glamorous Mum.

Bubby is asleep, hubby is at a work dinner, I have done some tidying up and have a load of washing in the washing machine. I have a moment to myself. As I type this the time is 9.51 and I'm just about to eat my dinner. Because it's just me I can't be bothered cooking. I just made myself a couscous salad with smoked salmon, grape tomatoes and pine nuts. It's really a case of what can I throw together that doesn't require cooking. The closest I got to cooking was when I boiled the water for the couscous. Come to think of it I practically haven't eaten anything that's cooked today. I forgot to have breakfast and for lunch I had sushi. I suppose the rice in the sushi is cooked but that's about it. I'm practically on a raw food diet. Don't worry, it won't last. As if I can be associated with any form of diet other than bad.

I missed breakfast this morning because I had to get Bubby to his 6 month check up with the paediatrician. It takes a while for both of us to get ready. Bubby was in fine form. In trying to assess Bub's development, the doctor didn't have to do much. Bubby tried to grab the doctor's stethoscope, tried to eat the toy he was being distracted with, tried to roll off the bed, tried to sit up, chitchatted away, laughed at the doctor several times, was bouncing on my knees while I was talking to the doctor and when I mentioned that he doesn't like to sleep in the daytime he yelled out "Na!" at the word sleep.  He got an A+ for his 6 month report card with the comment "V. Good development". Bubby gets a gold star

The 6 month check up is pretty special so we dressed up. Bubby wore his green onsesie that he wore here and here, and I wore my military green shirt dress. I tried it on yesterday to match Bubby's Commando onesie.
On me: shirt dress - Target. On Bubby: onesie - Carter's, pants - Sprout
I was trying to go for a military look to match Bubby's outfit but I think I looked more women's prison matron. I like the dress but for the colour. I have a love affair with shirt dresses but that deserves another post on it's own.

Someone who saw me in that dress commented that I looked nice. I am vain. I take care to make sure I look 'put together' before I walk out of the house. I'd rather skip breakfast than walk out in jeans and t-shirt. T-shirt? What's that? However, I am far from being a glamorous mum. Faux Fuschia is a glamorous mum. I don't know how she stays so Jackie Kennedy with a baby. She mentioned on her blog that Witching Hour was upon her. For a brief moment I was comforted by the thought that this Domestic Goddess was just one of Us, you know, mere mortals. However, the comfort is short lived when the realisation dawns on me that despite the Witching Hour she can still dress well, have Superior Hair, Declutter, have Unchipped Nail Polish and bake and cook as the Universe directs (She will want credit for using her Terminologies). Meanwhile, I sit and observe my house that has been hit by a tornado that is only 6 months old and eat Bhuja Mix because it's dry, can be shovelled into my mouth while feeding and won't stain the couch should it spill. The only thing that I have in common with Faux Fuschia (apart from having a baby boy) is that I have a fauxrchid. I got it to replace the real orchid that used to live in this pot.

So yeah, I like to appear glamorous but I'm far from it. I don't even think I achieve the appearance of glamour. Last night, I found a mango stain on my white top. I don't know how long it's been there and I don't even want to think about where I went in public that day. Like green, yellow isn't my colour either. Then there was that time when Bubby vomited on himself and I didn't realised until we were at the end of our one way street that the vomit ended up in my dry clean only pants as well. I was wondering why I could still smell spew after I have changed Bubby's clothes. Someone did say to me that I will soon learn that there is an acceptable amount of spew on your clothes that you can still show yourself in public. I'm afraid I crossed that line that day.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Kitchen (Mis)Adventure - Thai Red Curry, or is it?

How's this for a fail? I just tried to make Thai Red Curry using Tom Yum paste. Why the hell do the packets look the same??? I was in a rush while shopping and I grabbed the red packet next to the packet of Green Curry paste (which is, unsurprisingly, green).

It's not actually the first time I've made that mistake but in the past I realised my error before I left the supermarket. This time I didn't notice my error until I was ready to add it to the wok. I suppose it wasn't too bad in the end. It still tasted similar just a little bit sour and not as spicy. It will be interesting to see if hubby notices the difference.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The 4 AM Chat

Bubby, 4 AM is not a good time to practise talking. Certainly not as loudly as you have. We all want to sleep, including you, if only I could make you realise it.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Bubby is 6 months old today!

My current FB status:
This time six months ago, after a week of pre-labour, I was being induced and watching some very bad daytime TV, while listening to Sherlock's heartbeats. Four hours later I was introduced to my new best friend, Epidural, and another three hours later I would be in theatre for an emergency C-sec. It would be another 40 minutes before a very tiny and wrinkly Sherlock was born. It would be another five days before he is finally named.
Sherlock/Bubby at 12 hours

Bubby has grown and developed so much. Not only is he exactly 4 kg heavier and 16 cm longer, he also has so much personality. He loves to play peek-a-boo, loves animal noises especially barking but hates quacking. He loves to look at himself in the mirror and chew on everything and sometimes simultaneously

 For someone with a very limited vocabulary he talks a lot. He says 'Dadadada' when he's in a good mood and cries out 'Mememem' when he's upset. He probably figured out that Daddy is fun but Mummy fixes things and makes everything okay.

He can sit up on his own so long as he doesn't suddenly whip his head around 360 degrees or tries to eat his own foot.

He can almost crawl. He gets up on all fours then moves his knees forward but just hasn't figured out that he has to move his arms as well so he topples over. For now, the less mobile he is the better.

He likes his solids and insists on feeding himself.

He's a pretty good eater and would devour even food he finds disgusting. After gagging for a bit he finished a bowl of mashed avocado.
He loves to fly.

He does silly things like hide under the blanket then have a look around.

He is just generally cute, adorable and has lots of personality.

I love you my baby boy! You are worth a lifetime of 3 AM feeds. I mean that figuratively, of course.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Kitchen (Mis)Adventure - The Gourmet Snag

Last week I had lunch at the swish new food court at the Westfield Sydney CBD where everything gives a gourmet vibe with matching gourmet price. I settled for a place which sells what looked like New York style sausages. After several minutes of deliberation, I decided  on the simplest item on the menu, an Australian fare with a beef sausage, tomato sauce and cheddar cheese on a brioche bun,  because I simply couldn't decide. As I watch it cook in the open fire grill, I had high hopes that my gourmet snag with the gourmet price will be so juicy and delicious that it will rock my world. Well, it didn't. It wasn't dry but it tasted as gourmet as a school fundraising sausage sizzle not even as tasty. Don't get me wrong, I'm no snag snob. I love a good sausage sizzle but I don't pay $7+ for it. The best part of my snag was the brioche bun. I'm glad I didn't pay more for a fancier item on the menu. My friend who had the chorizo said hers was really salty. I could have done with a bit of salt on mine.

I was so disappointed and underwhelmed that I decided to make my own gourmet snag. I rocked up to my local Woolies where they have just renovated their deli section and filled it with lots of gourmet delights. I bought a couple of Wagyu beef sausages, pickle relish, shredded mixed Italian cheese and crusty rolls. I already had whole egg mayonnaise (a staple in my fridge), Dijon mustard and home brand tomato sauce at home. The result was this:

It doesn't look all that pretty because let's face it, a snag ain't ever gonna look pretty but it tasted GOOD. My just under $2 sausage was so juicy and bursting with flavour even without the condiments it would have been good on its own. The chips looked a tad bit overcooked but I always give hubby the best ones. Next time I will try it with American style mustard and gourmet buns from the Becasse bakery. Hubby's verdict - it's pretty good which is a 4/5 (that's because he didn't have the mustard and had bbq sauce instead of tomato sauce. He seriously doesn't know what he's missing out on ). My verdict - it rocked my world!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Sleepy Cuddles

I haven't been able to post during the AM feeds because the WiFi connection in Bubby's room keeps dropping out.

Things have not been so good lately, yesterday being the worst. Bubby woke up every two hours in the night but didn't sleep during the day. At times like that you really have to dig deep in your psyche to keep your sanity. I look at the 1000+ photos of Bubby in all his cute and adorable glory.

The other thing that keeps me sane and one that I only ever get during the overnight feeds is the sleepy cuddle. Bubby doesn't fall asleep in his mummy's arms like most babies do. I trained him to put himself to sleep very early on and that's pretty much the only and quickest way he'd fall asleep. However, he usually feeds in the middle of the night while fast asleep. So once he's done I get to cuddle. Even stupid o'clock feeds have their silver lining.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

This is what happens when Bubby is left alone (in the middle of a big room) for a few minutes and I forget to surround his mat with pillows.

He's not even crawling yet.

I always hoped that my son will go places.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Babies are Prohibitively Expensive

Who knew that something that weighs very little and takes up so little space could cost you so much money. Not only are baby things already expensive but it makes you want to buy the most expensive of all. Take the nursery, for example. There are cheap cots at Target or Big W but I fell in love with the Boori Sleigh Royale (which is, of course, even dearer than the standard Boori Sleigh). It costs more than our Queen sized bed which is also a sleigh bed. Then, naturally, the rest of the nursery furniture has to match. No, I didn't get the Royale Sleigh range. The total of all of Bubby's nursery furniture cost less than price of the Royale Sleigh cot alone.

Photo source: Boori website
The pram was much the same. I fell in love with the Bugaboo Cameleon, Peg Perego Skate and the Stokke Xplory. Mainly because they come in the most delicious colours and designs. They are all too big and too expensive for me so I settled for the Bugaboo Bee in the limited edition off white canopy and sand base. I bought it on sale, of course. I knew I made the right decision when I found out that, apparently, the streets of Paris are swarmed with them. Get it? Swarmed. Bees. Anyway. I didn't just buy it because it's cute. It also ticked all the boxes - light, compact, easy to manoeuvre, under $1K (on sale, anyway) and, well, cute.

Stokke Xplory. Photo source: unknown

Bugaboo Cameleon. Photo source: unknown

Peg Perego Skate. Photo source: unknown

Bugaboo Bee limited edition colours. Photo source:

They're just some of the big purchases, there's also the hundreds of little purchases that just keep adding up.

Right now I'm researching car seats and I really want to get the Safe n Sound Meridian because it has the highest safety rating. Again. it's on the top end of the scale. I won't bother posting a pic as it doesn't come in exciting colours. If it did I probably would have bought it already.

I want this high chair.

Bloom Fresco Loft. Photo source: Baby Bunting.

This cool piece of baby furniture retails for $699. It's a freaking high chair not a designer handbag! For that amount of money I could buy two LV mini pochettes, or an Hermes clic-clac bracelet, or a Tiffany & Co key pendant and still have enough spare change to buy at least four high chairs from Ikea. And this is how I put things into perspective.

Bubby woke up at 1.30 am. Oh well.

ETA, woke again at 3.50 am. The blog is living up to its name.