Sunday, March 24, 2013

embroidered label for a special toy

this is bunny:

bunny is arty's beditme buddy. he tucks her under his arm and snoozes with her every single night, and for every single nap.
recently, he's taken to carrying her around with him during his waking hours as well. he's just learned to walk, and seeing him toddle around, clutching her to his chest, is face-meltingly adorable.

now that she gets around a bit more, and his attachment to her has become so pronounced, i've started to get a little worried about her getting lost, and how upset he would be if that were to happen. so today i embroidered a little label for her, so that if she is left somewhere, she has a better chance of finding her way back to us.

here's how it did it...
(n.b., this is for toys with a looped tag still attached)

embroidered labels

what you'll need:

cotton tape (like this)
cotton embroidery floss
embroidery needle (size 8 is my preference, but use whatever you like)
water erasable fabric pen
a sewing machine (optional! if you don't have one, it's fine to just use some cotton and hand stitch)

what to do:
  • about 1.5cm in from the end, carefully print your baby's name and a phone number onto the cotton tape with your erasable pen 
  • cut it from the roll, 1.5cm from the last digit of the phone number
  • using a simple backstitch, carefully stitch over the name and number

  • thread the tape through the tag loop on the toy, with the right side of the stitching facing inward.

  • make the tape into a closed loop, either by hand stitching it with cotton, or sewing it up on your sewing machine.
  • turn the loop the right side in.
easy peasy! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

family noms: slow cooker beef and red wine stew

autumn's here! the days are cooling down, and the time is right for stews, soups, and other warming meals. which means it's time to crack out the slow cooker.
i LOVE the slow cooker. it's the ideal way to cook when your largest chunk of free time in any given day is the baby's nap time.

slow cooker beef and red wine stew


3 middle rashers of bacon, chopped
2 brown onions, chopped
700g beef blade steak, cut into roughly 3cm cubes
4 small potatoes, diced
1 large swede, peeled and diced (this kind, not this kind)
1 medium carrot, chopped
200g cauliflower florets
200g green beans, chopped
1 bottle of red wine (don't panic! the alcohol cooks off, so you won't intoxicate your family!)
3 cups stock (preferably beef, though chicken or vegetable are also fine)
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
6 tbsp plain flour
approx 2tbsp olive oil


  • coat beef in flour, and set aside, reserving excess flour for later.
  • drizzle 1tbsp olive oil into a frying pan, and sauté bacon and onions together until onions go glassy. place these in the slow cooker bowl.
  • place some more olive oil in the same pan, brown beef in batches, and add it to the slow cooker bowl as you go.
  • place all vegetables, wine, worcestershire sauce, and stock in the slow cooker, and cook on high setting for 1 hour.
  • reduce heat to low setting, and continue to cook for a further 4-5 hours.
  • approx 20 mins before you are ready to eat, scoop out a few spoonfuls of the liquid, and add it to your reserved flour, mix into a paste, and then stir this through the stew. this will help it to thicken.
serve with mashed potato, and steamed greens.

as with all soups and stews, there's a lot of room for flexibility with this recipe. for example, the root vegetables that i have suggested add up to about 1kg in weight. you could make that amount up in any combination of root veg, including turnip, or sweet potato.

you don't have to use blade steak. i use it because it's a good, cheap, tasty, stewing cut.

as you use a whole bottle of the stuff, there's no need to use expensive wine for this. it cooks long enough for the quality not to matter that much - i usually use a $5-$10 bottle from the supermarket and it's always delicious.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

why we get muddy

i want my kid to know the joy of getting covered in mud.
to weave his fingers in and out of blades of grass.
to find a big puddle, plonk down in the middle of it, and SPLASH!
to poke at snails.

i want him to play under the sprinkler.
to dig holes.
to follow a lady beetle to the furthest corners of the yard.
to find out what lives under that rock.

and if his clothes get a bit grubby, he gets big smudges of dirt on his face, and his fingernails are filthy, GREAT!
if he sometimes has to have two baths in one day, oh well!
as far as i'm concerned that means he's doing childhood right.

Friday, March 15, 2013

mummy's on the telly!

so you all know that sj likes to cook, right? well, she does. and last year, she was a contestant on the great australian bakeoff - the first australian series of a british reality show that we (and many of our friends) adore.

it's going to air on a major tv network in the next few weeks, and i am so excited to see my girl on the tv!

we're already seeing articles in the paper, and ads in magazines - they're promoting it so much that i'm half expecting to see her face on a bus shelter one of these days!

she's going to be blogging about the show so if you're interested in following along, head over and have a look!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

family noms: zucchini slice

we have had a bumper crop of zucchini from our garden this summer. they have been plentiful, and large, and they just keep coming. we've had to give a stack of them away because we've had more than we could possibly use, in spite of pickling them, baking with them, and grating them into all manner of dinners.

so i was pretty happy when i made this last night, and found it so delicious that i'd be happy to eat a whole lot of it, and even happier when both sj and arty also enjoyed it immensely.

zucchini slice


6 eggs
400g grated zucchini
1 cup self raising flour
1 large onion finely chopped
3 rashers of bacon, chopped
2 cups of grated tasty cheese
tbsp olive oil

  • preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius
  • heat a medium frying pan, and add olive oil
  • fry the bacon in olive oil until it begins to brown, then add the onions, and continue to fry until they begin to turn translucent
  • set onions and bacon aside to cool off a little
  • whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl
  • sift in the flour, and whisk to combine
  • add the zucchini, bacon, onions, and 1 cup of cheese, then stir til thoroughly combined
  • line a small lasagne dish with greaseproof paper, then carefully pour mixture in, and sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over the top
  • bake in oven until the cheese has browned, and the middle no longer wobbles when shaken (approx 35 mins)

we had this with salad for dinner last night, and then arty had some cold for lunch today too. yum!

if you wanted to make this vegetarian, you could sub out the bacon, and add sweet corn kernels instead.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

first words

when arty asks me what his first word was, i don't think i'm going to be able to tell him. because it didn't just happen all of a sudden.
first he babbled. 
then he started to make speechlike sounds. 
then those sounds started to sound like words but weren't really attached to the objects he was talking about.
and then, slowly, the words began to be coupled with what they actually meant.

he now says a bunch of words, and is really starting to make himself understood. for the record he says:

  • yes
  • no
  • up
  • down
  • gone
  • bubble
  • pop
  • mum
  • bath
  • dose (for josie, his oddmother)
  • Pablo (the name of the neighbours' dog, which he uses for all dogs)
  • cat
  • that
  • bang


his understanding of language is developing at a cracking pace. he can follow simple instructions like "put it on your head" or "put the blocks in the box", can identify some body parts like "foot" and "tummy", and he understands a lot of action words such as "clap" and "shake".

i am so glad that he is developing new ways to talk to us, and express himself. 
we're going to be having in-depth conversations about finger painting and lego before we know it.

Friday, March 8, 2013

baby noms: green eggs

this is the easiest recipe in the world. it's perfect for a baby who loves eggs (arty can't get enough of them), and it just makes them that little bit interesting and different. hey, if it's good enough for sam-i-am, it's good enough for us!

green eggs

2 eggs
1 tbsp pesto (shop bought is fine, but home made is better - for a delicious nut-free pesto recipe, have a look at this one on sara-jane's food blog)
2 tbsp milk (optional)


  • whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until thoroughly combined
  • cook in a small saucepan, over low/medium heat until scrambled
  • serve with a slice of bread and butter, or toast fingers.

see? so easy, it hardly deserves to be called a recipe. and it has arty's most enthusiastic tick of approval - he ate it while making actual "om nom nom" noises.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

two questions NOT to ask lesbian parents

there's no escaping it - being a same-sex parent invites curiosity and interest.
most of the time, i'm ok with this. i'm a big believer that dialogue opens minds, so i am usually pretty happy to have conversations about how happy, ordinary, messy, and delicious our family life is.
this is one of the reasons i blog so candidly about it.
it's one of the reasons that several nosy people in cafes have had a kind answer, and not a facefull of coffee when they've asked questions that crossed lines they wouldn't have dreamed of crossing with a straight family.

but by the same token, there's nothing more personal than making a baby, and nothing closer to home than family, so a bit of sensitivity goes a long way.
showing a general interest is one thing, but some questions come along with a load of subtext that i'm really not happy with.
to me, these two are the worst:

whose sperm did you use?
(subtext: "who's the real dad?")
it's often followed by questions like "do his parents know they have a grandchild?" "how involved is he?" "what will the baby call him?"
for us, it devalues the structure of our family, and makes it seem like you're trying to interpret it in terms of a heterosexual nuclear family framework. which doesn't work. because that's not who we are.
our family has two mums in it. two loving, present, involved parents. we conceived our son using donor sperm. while he's a vital factor in the whole family-making process, being a donor is a world away from being a parent.

who gave birth to him?
(subtext: "who's the real mum?")
it's amazing how quickly people start deferring to me over sara-jane when they know that i am arty's birth mother. i don't think it's ever a particularly conscious thing for people, but it happens with astounding reliability. questions about his growth and development are directed at me instead of her. people seek permission from me rather than her before giving him food, or playing a game with him.
which, frankly, is bullshit. because we're both his parents. we both change his nappies, bathe him, feed him, cuddle him when he cries, sing his favourite songs to him. we daily earn the title of "mother", it is not simply bestowed by virtue of genetics.

i'm not saying that it's wrong to be curious. in fact, i think being interested in how different families work is completely natural, and actually really important. i'm just saying, before you ask a lesbian parent about their family, have a quick think about what you're asking, and why you really want to know the answer.