All I want for Christmas….is Christmas!

Christmas hands-down is my favourite holiday of the year! Since I was a kid, Christmas has always represented something wonderful to me.  Even now as a fully-grown adult, I still get a little cray cray when I know Christmas is just around the corner! It’s a time of giving, love, and eating your entire bodyweight in desserts that have lovingly been dipped in rum, brandy, or any other manner of alcohol…I mean, what’s not to love? There are just so many examples of what I think makes Christmas one of my favourite times of the year, but I’ve done you all a favour and narrowed it down to just five….

Five reasons why I love me some CHRISTMAS!

1. Food.

Ok, I know this isn’t what Christmas is really meant to be about, and perhaps there’s some psychological reason it is also my ‘number one’ one this list, but seriously – Indulging in anything and everything you want just once a year really is a kinda magical event isn’t it? I love the roast meats, the ham, the delicious side dishes, and Lordy I love me some desserts! I know it may sound like I’m a gluttonous pig (I’ll accept that), but it’s not just about gorging yourself on lots of food, its more about sharing food at the table with family! Because let’s face it, in this day and age a family dinner is a rare thing so it’s nice that Christmas time is all about breaking bread with those you love! (P.s. I recommend wearing stretchy pants to allow for all that bread that you not only broke, but devoured in its entirety).

Just a simple Christmas meal…I hope there’s enough food!

2. Kickin it with your Nearest and Dearest.

Perhaps my favourite thing of all about Christmas, is its a pretty much guaranteed time of year when all of your family come crashing together and just hang out.  Coming from a split family, it’s a little more difficult logistically for us to see everyone on Christmas Day, but we sure do our darndest to make it work which sometimes means our Christmas Day is spread out over a couple of days to fit everybody in.  It can be exhausting, and it’s almost always stressful, but at the end of the day Christmas isn’t the same without family and friends and it’s kinda cool that we get to celebrate it over and over again!

Here’s a selection of the fruit-cakes that I’ll be kickin’ it with Christmas Day. No words really.

Family of Fruit Cakes

3. Singing along to Christmas Carol’s

Ok, this is one of my greatest joys at Christmas time, and I’m lucky that I married a fellow Christmas tragic because Trav indulges in my need to play Christmas Carols on high rotation at this time of year.  He even overlooks my severe Michael Buble obsession, which is a no-go zone for any other month of the year! Despite my years of having the Christmas Carols played over and over and over when I was employed in the retail industry, NOTHING can kill my love of Christmas Carols! I’ve even managed to find a radio station that plays only Christmas Carols on the weekend, so if you drive past a lady in a soccer-mum car who’s singing FA-LA-LA-LA-LAHHH! At the top of her lungs whilst stopped at the traffic lights, please feel free to roll up your windows and speed past, I totes won’t be offended!

Possibly the best Christmas Carol of ALL TIME! You know you love it.

4. Watching Christmas Movies (the good, the bad, and the hilarious)

This year, Trav and I decided we’d make it our mission to get through as many Christmas movies as possible.  We’ve watched so many already, some old, some new, some that we wished we’d never seen (Bill Murray in Scrooge – Seriously, the ‘feel good’ genre has never felt so BAD!) But my all time favourites are Love Actually, Elf & Home Alone, but there’s no denying that National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is the best Christmas Movie of all time. We watch it every year, and it just never gets old! It’s a Christmas classic and if you’ve never seen it, then you seriously have not experienced true Christmas-themed hilarity!

Can anyone else relate to this scene?

5. Being Lovely

Christmas is a time of year when even the hardest of hearts should soften, and go out of their way to be all sweet and lovely to others! There are SO many ways that you can be lovely at this time of year: You can bake cookies, you can donate small change, you can volunteer. The best thing is, it’s not only perfectly acceptable to be sickly sweet at Christmas time, it’s actually expected! You can dish out a whole lotta lovely to your friends, your family, and even some random stranger who looks like they could do with their own helping of Christmas cheer.  It’s these small actions that can really make someones day and I think Christmas is the perfect time of year to go out and just be kind to one another! (Oh god, now I’m quoting Ellen! See what Christmas does to me?)

Here’s a way that I’ve been lovely this year: Donating time and money to the Rafiki Mwema Charity.

Rafiki Mwema Girls

Tell me, what is your favourite thing abut Christmas? Or are you a grumpy ol’ Scrooge who treats it like just another day of the year?

Its moments like these you need Minty

I started this post over a week ago.  Only now after a week of crying and sadness have I been able to finish writing this.  I’m not going to sugar-coat it, it’s not a happy ending. It is however a sweet and funny story of the great love that we felt for our cheeky British Bulldog Minty.  I wanted to share with you her story so that you don’t take your own family pet for granted, and to acknowledge our sweet girls presence on this earth. We were so privileged to know her and now this post is dedicated to you, Minty. RIP little girl! xo Your Family

Our girl Minty

I started this post over a week ago…

I love dogs.  I always have! Since I was a kid I’ve pretty much always had a pet dog in my life. Growing up I was lucky enough to have lots of different pets, I also had a pet cat and a couple of pet budgies, but none of those ever came close to love and companionship that you feel with a pet pooch.  That’s why when I took our current furry friend Minty to the Vet today I knew that I wasn’t going to cope all that well if they told me she was sick.  And guess what. She is.

Minty, or ‘Minteesha Felicia Puppia Tokyo’ as she’s affectionately known around these parts is our family pet, and we’ve had her for about 5 years now.  She’s a chunky, white pure-bred British Bulldog who looks like a barrel and acts like a tiny puppy the size of a Chihuahua. When we first met Minty, she was living with our dog breeder Lisa.  We already had another bulldog at the time, Deirdre who had come to live with us a few years prior, so we already had a love for Bullies and their weird and wonderful ways. As soon as I laid eyes on the Mint Monster I was instantly besotted with her! She was a little weird looking, had yet to grow into her big boofy head and was clumsy! She was constantly running into things, much to our amusement.

When we first met Minty she was only six or seven months old and had already lived a colourful life.  When she was born, she had a hole in her stomach and some of her internal organs were on the outside of her body.  The Vet told our breeder that she probably wasn’t going to survive as she’d need a major operation to fix the problems and she was too small to live through it.  Lisa, being the worlds biggest dog lover insisted that the Vet at least try the operation as there was no chance she’d live otherwise.  Lo and behold, our little Minty was a fighter, and survived that operation against all odds.  When she came out of the theater they’d wrapped her up in little white bandages, all rectangular and white like a little Mintie lolly in its wrapper.  That was how she was christened with her name Minty and it’s stuck ever since.

When Mint was still a puppy, she struck more bad luck when she was run over by a car.  Once again, despite her injuries Minty lived to see another day, albeit with a few more bumps and bruises and with a little less vision in one eye.  When we heard her story, and the fact that she was needing a more permanent home, Trav and I just couldn’t say no.  We agreed she’d be good company for Deidre and we were excited to have another fur baby become part of our family.

The day we went to collect her to bring her home, I sat down to pat her and she immediately hopped into my lap, all 21 kilo’s of her!  She refused to budge, as though she’d decided that whether we liked it or not she was coming home with us! Her and Deirdre became fast friends. They got up to mishief all day long, and were spoilt rotten.  They went through countless beds, toys and kennels and became quite good at destroying things.  One night I awoke to a lot of noise outside. Was someone trying to break in?  I turned on the light and found Deirdre and Minty ripping planks of wood off their brand new kennel.  They’d pretty much dismantled the whole front side of the kennel with their teeth.  I couldn’t believe it! They didn’t even stop when I yelled at them.  This was after all their house, and their rules! Suffice to say that was the last kennel we ever bought them.

Sadly, Deidre passed away a few years ago of a suspected heart attack on a very hot day. She was my first baby, and it was heartbreaking to arrive home and find that she’d gone. I cried about it for weeks and still get a tear in my eye when I think of her. She was like our first child in many ways and taught us so many life lessons about unconditional love and responsibility.  Even though we still had Minty to think about, both Trav and I found it hard to face Minty after Deidre died.  The days after her passing both Trav and I found it hard to face Minty.  She reminded us so much of our beloved Deeds, and we both struggled to sit and spend time with her when we missed her naughty sister so much. Minty took it all in her stride and just continued to be all naughty and cute, and eventually were realised that she was missing her big sister too, and that she needed us as much as we needed her.

Since Violet was born, Minty has become even more precious to us, as the relationship between the two of them has blossomed over time.  Violet adores Minty and the two of them often get up to mischief when I’m not looking. Since Violet was a baby, Minty has watched over her and would always become distressed whenever Violet cried or got upset.  If someone came to the door when it was just Violet and I at home alone Minty would become protective and bark at whoever was there.  A few years earlier Minty had had a litter of pups herself and her old Mama instincts would kick in whenever Violet was around.  Violet had taught Minty to be patient, tolerant and gentle, terms that I would never have used to describe Mint in the past!

Violet & Mint

As Violet grew older, the two of them grew closer. Minty is often subjected to all kinds of abuse from Violet, who insists on sitting on top of her, pulling her ears, putting her fingers in her mouth and one time she gave her an impromptu rectal exam.  Poor Mint didn’t see it coming and Violet was bathed in hand sanitiser for weeks just to make sure! Despite all this, never once has Minty snapped at her, growled at her, or made any other notion that she’s annoyed by her human sisters invasive fingers.  In fact, Mint seems to understand that this little person is her best friend and she would always reciprocate by giving her wet kisses and following her around the back yard like a shadow.

I think this is why, when I noticed Minty hasn’t been herself this weekend that I really worried.  Minty wasn’t just our dog, she was our daughters companion and best friend and protector! Aside from that, she was also one of my babies.  I made an appointment for her to see the vet first thing in the morning, and after a quick consultation the Vet told me exactly what I didn’t want to hear.  Minty was sick. She needed surgery ASAP, and that surgery would be risky.  I did my best not to start bawling on the spot.  I thanked the Vet, booked the surgery and walked out of the Vet’s office.

As I sat in the car with Violet and Minty in the back, I couldn’t help but cry.  I felt sad for Minty, and sad for myself, but most of all I felt sad for Violet.  She was blissfully unaware that her puppy wasn’t well, and she’s too young to understand the complexities of losing a pet.  I tried not to think about it, but I couldn’t help but feel miserable on the drive home.  I tried to focus on the positives and tell myself everything would be fine.  I hoped that it would be.

V & Mint Kiss

I finished this post one week later…

I wrote the first part of this post when I first worried that something was wrong with our beloved Mint.  I didn’t admit it at the time, but now that she’s gone I can admit that I knew that things weren’t good.  I had that familiar gut feeling that Mama’s get when you know that something is wrong.  It doesn’t matter how much you try to ignore it, it’s still there.

After Minty’s initial surgery, the Vet had told us that despite her initial problems, that once he operated on her he found a multitude of other issues.  Turned out, our Minty, who was acting cool like nothing was wrong, was actually far worse that we’d imagined.  After a few days at the Vet’s she was well enough to come home.  Looking back now, I’m so grateful her last days were spent at home with her family.  After a few sleepless nights, for both Minty and myself, I still had a bad feeling that something wasn’t right.  We took her back to the Vet on the Friday and he agreed she wasn’t as good as she could be.  He asked us to leave her at the surgery for a few hours so he could do some tests.

A few hours passed, and my phone rang.  I knew before I answered it wasn’t going to be good news.  The Vet told us he’d have to operate again, and that it was high risk. I clearly remember the call: I was in Big W looking at Christmas lights at the time.  What a ridiculous juxtaposition of events.  I hung up the phone and waited for him to call back.  When the phone rang again, it was the Vet telling me that it was indeed worse than they’d thought, and that she’d passed away.  Even the Vet sound teary.  I just hung up the phone and bawled my eyes out, in the middle of a homewares store.  I didn’t care who saw, or that people were staring.  I was heartbroken.  Not only that, the feeling that I’d had for the past week or so had just been validated. I’d known this was how it was going to end right from the start.  And I hated that I was right.

Miss Minty and all her cuteness

Miss Minty and all her cuteness!

It’s been a week since I received that phone call.  Nothing much has changed, we’re still sad.  We’ve not moved Minty’s food bowl or bed, as its still feels too soon to do something so final.  I still come home and go straight to the back yard to see her.  I still have that fleeting moment of confusion when I don’t see her there, waiting for us at the back door.  Trav has commented that he often still hear’s her trade-mark panting from the back yard. I knew that I’d miss Minty, although always assumed we’d have her for much longer.

It’s the silly things that we miss the most.  Her licking the backs of your legs, which drove us crazy.  Her white fur shedding onto EVERYTHING. Her ability slip stealth-like through a tiny crack in the door just so she could sneak inside and hang with her humans.  Her smothering Violet in kisses whenever they were together, leaving Violet smelling like dog spit (that drove me crazy).  Her wee-ing on her bed, or anything else that wasn’t the grass.  I miss every single naughty, gross thing that she did. And feel sad about how mad it used to make me, when I realise that just having her around, being a total brat was actually a real privilege.

So for anybody who has a dog who is naughty and far from perfect. For anyone who’s dog drives them crazy on a daily basis, go and give then a big squishy hug and love them for all their faults. Because I guarantee that you’ll miss that behaviour when they are gone.  I know I do.

It’s super cheesy, but I have to say it: Its moment’s like these, you need Minty.

RIP Minty girl! We hope you’re happy up there in heaven, destroying stuff, licking people, and wee-ing on everything!

xo Marns

Violet

Marns the Mama and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad DAY!

Ice Cream Bubbles

The highlight of my terrible, horrible, no good very bad day: Bubbles in the shape of an ice-cream cone.

You know those days that you look back on and just think, why the hell did I bother getting out of bed today? That was my day yesterday. It sucked! So I was determined that today would be different, that I’d wake up with a positive attitude, and turn it all around. Instead, the only positive thing about today was that I was positively pissed off! Why? Ok then since you asked…

Yesterday I woke up in a funk. I don’t really have a good reason why, but let’s just put it down to lots of little things not going my way.  V, who is usually an angel of a child, has not been all that angelic of late.  She’s at the boundary-pushing stage, where it doesn’t matter how much I scold, threaten, or as a last resort smack her (read: tap her gently on the bum because I’m anti-smacking or more just a giant pussy) she turns her sweet little face towards me and looks me dead in the eye. Then, after a slight pause laughs heartily and promptly continues doing what I’ve just asked her not to. Sigh.

On top of that, I’m gearing up for my first ever Christmas trade with my little business. For those of you with your own retail business, you’ll know that this is the busiest time of year, and therefore one of the most stressful!  I started out all pumped up and full of ideas, but as Christmas creeps closer I’m quickly losing that sense of anticipation and excitement and I’m instead filled with anxiety and trepidation! Every day I sit down with my to-do list and the expectation that I’ll complete at least one item on it.  Before I know it, its midnight, and I’ve spend the last four hours trying to make a crappy little Facebook ad which upon completion can only be described as ‘shit house’. Yep, I could have used that time to drink wine/take a bath/sleep/cry but instead I wasted it on a ridiculously bad Facebook ad that will never see the light of day! Ahh woe is me!

As I’m sure most of you have experienced your own versions of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day I’m sure that you can relate to the fact that once things start to take a turn for the worse, that turn often leads you down a one-way street to a little ol place called ‘Funky Town’. Now don’t get excited and start singing along, as I am not referring to the super fun sounding ‘Funky Town’ described by the talented band Lipps Inc. I’m instead referring to the place where I reside when in revolting mood, or ‘funk’. So for all intensive purposes today (and yesterday) was and is all Destination: Funky Town. Population: ME!

I made every effort to make today a good day. I wore my tropical shoes with the toucan’s on them. To me, this was a  sure fire way to ward off any negative vibes…but alas the shoes were no match for funky town! I kept trying to send positive happy vibes out to the universe, but the universe kept pretending that it couldn’t hear me, much like Violet does when I tell her not to climb on top of the TV cabinet. Seriously, sometimes I feel like reversing my own anti-smacking stance and giving the Universe a good hard punch to the face!

Toucan Shoes

My Toucan shoes. Or perhaps now known as my Toucan’t shoes.

So for the record, I want to say I tried….I tried to turn that frown upside down, but I just ended up with a weird grimace that wasn’t convincing anyone. I tried to tick off something from my to-do list today but instead I achieved nothing except for buying three containers of bubbles in the shape of ice-cream cones (that were without a doubt, the highlight of my day! and only $3 each).  I tried to be patient and loving as I wrestled a crying, red-faced toddler octopus into the car this afternoon for the long drive home. But instead, I just felt like crying and screaming even louder just to drown her out.

By the time I got home the demon child (I mean Violet) was asleep. I surveyed the house and concluded that it did indeed look like a bomb had hit it, which was exactly how I’d left it. Sadly, my care factor was below zero so I stepped over the piles of toys/washing on the floor and ignored the state of the kitchen as I put the sleeping toddler into bed and wondered if it was too early to have a wine (I concluded that it was, but only because there’s not a drop in the house. Must rectify this situation when the child awakes).

I’m now in bed, venting to you lot instead of putting any effort towards the bazillion things that I should be doing. I’m also wondering how the hell I’m going to conjure up something for dinner when I haven’t bought any groceries for a week. Two minute noodles anyone? Oh wait…we’re out of those too. Le Sigh.

Anyone else residing in Funky Town?

Has anyone else now got the song Funky Town stuck in their head?

Have I ‘Gotta move on on’? 

I’m a Certified Clever Cookie! (and I’m celebrating)

I'm a Clever Cookie

It’s official you guys: I’m a Clever Cookie! And I’m not alone. In fact, there are hundreds of other Clever Cookies that are now hitting the blogwaves like it ain’t nobodies business, actin all fancy with our new-found skills!

For the last few weeks, I’ve been a student of the Clever Cookie School of Blog run by Chantelle Ellem and Rowe Timson. And guess what? It’s been AMAZING! Maybe even life-changing! (Woah Sheila, settle down…it’s just an e-course!) I’ve made so many new friends, learnt so many skills, and got to hang out online with one of my biggest girl crushes ever: Chantelle Ellem (aka Fat Mum Slim). She’s all lovely, and hard-working and inspiring, but at the same time just a regular ol’ Mama who loves her babies and has hard days like the rest of us. Anyways, I’m always down for a bit a good ol’ learning, especially if I can do it in my Jimmy Jams! (Which I did most days).

Now, despite my best attempts to never successfully graduate anything, I’m very proud to say that I’m now a certified graduate from the Clever Cookie School of Blog! Yep! I’ve even got a little badge to prove it! (see menu to your right). Full of pride and giddy school-girl excitement, my fellow Brisbane Clever Cookies and I got together for a little graduation celebration recently…and since these girls will most likely end up my bloggy besties, I thought it worthwhile to introduce them to you all since I’ll be no-doubt chatting about them here from time-to-time!

Brisbane Clever Cookies

Here’s how it went down:

After weeks of anticipation, we all met up at Le Bon Choix patisserie in the CBD (FYI: That’s french people, for ‘The Good Choice’ and a good choice it was!) After a few formal real-life introductions, we all got down to business: Drinking coffee, eating cake, and swapping hilarious Cookie Classmate anecdotes!

The first of the Cookies to arrive was Lauren from Create Bake Make.  Lauren was not only punctual which was impressive in itself (she has small children), but also lovely! At first she seemed a little on the quiet side, but once we got chatting we soon learned of Lauren’s many talents! Not only is Lauren a ridiculously talented baker, she’s quite the little entrepreneur! She’s modest about all of her achievements, which is probably why she failed to mention that she also holds a degree in Behavioural Science (i.e. She’s a smart cookie that can also bake cookies).  She’s also super thoughtful, which became evident when she produced bag upon bag of freshly baked cookies for us all. What can I say, the girl can COOK! It was at that moment that I knew we’d be great friends. She’d be the enabler, and I’d be the chubby one.

Next up was pint-sized Karin from Calm to Conniption (potentially the best blog name ever. I literally have a conniption every time I say it). My first impression of Karin was that she was cute. She was all blonde and petite and sporting a nice little baby bump which I resisted the urge to pat. Karin was warm and friendly from the get go.  Turns out though, under Karin’s cute little facade is a whole lotta cheeky! This pocket rocket was full o’ sass! and I loved it. Karin has a quick wit and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is! Let me give you an example. On Karin’s ‘About Me’ page she explains how she suffers from “FOMO” or ‘Fear Of Missing Out’. In Karin’s words: My ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ makes her as indecisive as fuck.  With classic lines like that, who wouldn’t love her?  She also mentions that a delicate flower she is not. Thanks Karin, but I think your blatant use of the f-bomb on your About Me page pretty much covers that! Her blog is funny and random and I think if nothing else, you should at least read her ‘About Me‘ page cos it’s a cracker!

Next up was Susan of My Style to a Tea. Susan and I immediately bonded over our shared love (read: obsession) for all things Mimco.  Susan was wearing the cutest aqua leather bracelet that I’m now obsessed with. Thanks for encouraging my obsession Susan!  Another thing that we have in common is that she’s a newbie blogger too.  My first impression of Susan was that she was well put together (You know those people who roll out of bed and look all chic without even trying?!) She’s also a multi-talented Mama, as she casually threw into conversation that she you know ‘makes quilts’. Cos you know, everyone could make a quilt if they really wanted to, right? (Well no, Susan, they can’t!).

Susan is definitely one to watch.  I chuckled my way through her first post where she introduced her reason for starting a blog as part of her New Years resolution. I love that she admitted this despite her first post being more than 6 months into the year! It is because of her tardiness that I know we will get along famously. (This post should of gone up a week ago, but I know at least Susan won’t be judging me!).

Citron Tart.

The delicious Citron tart that Emma watched me eat.

The next unsuspecting Clever Cookie at our table was Emma from 93 Frocks. Emma made a strong first impression on me: Pretty, blonde, and rocking a kick-ass pink lippie that if I attempted to wear would just look 80’s tragic. Emma was very personable and polished with the tiniest English accent that made her sound a little bit fancy.  I wondered if her polished persona was due to her background in Communications, but to be fair she was probably just born that way! I wasn’t familiar with Emma’s blog at the time so I was absolutely appalled when we all sat down to ridiculously lavish sweets and Emma just ordered a coffee (Ummmm Pardon?).

My brain couldn’t really compute this girl sitting at a table full of french desserts, none of which she was eating.  I tried to assess the situation before me. Do I hate her? Is she some kind of evil sorceress? Perhaps both. I decided that because I liked her pink lipstick so much, I should give her a chance.  Turns out she’s a weight-loss queen, and her whole blog is about her amazing transformation through weight loss, good eating, and exercise. And I’d dragged her to a patisserie. *Awkward*.

I’ll be honest…I thought that would be the end of the friendship (not eating cake in a patisserie is usually enough for me to discount a person) but Emma is so open and honest about her choices, and she has the resolve and discipline of a buddhist monk! What can I say, I was impressed! Her story is incredible and you should definitely check out her blog, it’s inspiring! Check out her fun frock posts here.

Last to arrive was Sasha of From the Left Field.  Sasha was a little late but she soon established herself as a bit of a fire-cracker from early on! Sasha is a bit of a walking contradiction.  She’s all edgy and tattoo’d, and looks like she might be a Yoga instructor or the lead singer of a female rock group. Instead, she’s Dr Sasha, a fancy, serious psychologist who reads people’s minds for a living!  She insisted we all address her as ‘Dr Sasha’, which seemed excessive, but if we didn’t I was scared she’d hypnotise us all to act like chickens or something! (Ok, I may have made that whole sentence up. Perhaps I’m a pathological liar? Must remember to ask Dr Sasha…)

In all seriousness, Sasha was super lovely and down to earth, and she’s got a great sense of humour! She writes like she talks so her blog is not only interesting, it’s a lot of fun to read. I enjoyer her recent post on imaginary friends, which you can read here.

Do you have a favourite blog? Share it in the comments below!

Easy Like Sunday Morning: I’m Makin’ Waffles!

Easy Like Sunday Morning Waffles

Around these parts, Sunday = Family day! Family day generally involves lazing about in our PJ’s and a little breakfast cook-up by yours truly.  Lately, I’ve stepped it up a notch in the breakfast stakes, thanks to our fancy new waffle maker!

I actually bought the waffle maker for Trav’s Fathers Day this year.  For those of you that know me, you’ll know what a big deal this was as I don’t like to encourage such frivolous, impractical gifts. I DESPISE worthless appliances like fairy floss makers, egg cookers, slushy makers etc so this was a pretty big sacrifice for me to make!

In stark contrast, those of you that know Trav will also know that ridiculously pointless appliances are precisesly the sort of thing that he lives for *sigh*. So being the ever-so-selfless and generous wife that I am,  I swallowed my pride, morals and standards and bought him an embarrassing waffle maker appliance that makes stupid heart-shaped waffles (I know…you don’t need to say it! I KNOW).

Predictably upon receipt of this ridiculous gift, Trav was beyond stoked, and shockingly he was in the mood for waffles!.  Because it was Fathers day, I felt obliged to fulfil his request so off I trudged to the kitchen to make the man some friggin heart-shaped waffles. I measured out the ingredients (sorta), fired up the waffle maker, and I was good to go.

Now I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but when it did, it totally took me by surprise.  Perhaps it was the smell of the waffles wafting through our house. Perhaps it was while I drowned the plate of waffles in delectable maple syrup. I can’t be 100% sure, but what I am sure of is that I sat down, swallowed my pride and scoffed that ridiculous waffle. And it was freaking delicious. As i sat there, shovelling bite after bite into my mouth,  wondering what the hell I’d just done, I realised my worst fears had just eventuated. I’m not proud to admit this so publicly, but I feel it’s important to just come out and say it: I LOVED it. I loved that stupid, pointless ridiculous appliance! And because I’m all about facing my fears,  I’m taking the brave step to share this embarrassing fact with you all.

I wasn’t totally accepting of this fact at first. I’ll be honest, I felt a barrage of confusing emotions…Who am I? What have I done? Does this mean I’m going to now buy a hot dog maker?  I wasn’t able to answer these questions… all I do know is that within that moment, home-made waffles were the BOMB.COM and I was totally, unequivocally HOOKED on them. (Noooooooooooooo!)

Once I’d made my peace with my newfound obsession I then went about making waffles for breakfast EVERY SUNDAY. The first couple of times I made them I used the recipe provided with the machine, but I’ll be honest, it was WAY too much effort for this lazy cook! It required the separation of egg yolks, beating until soft peaks formed, yadda yadda yadda. Despite the ethereal taste, it all seemed a bit too hard (I’d be prepping for longer than it took to actually cook and eat the waffles!). So one weekend I did a quick google search to see if I could find a Thermomix recipe that was a little easier….and I found it! A dream recipe that was quick, easy AND crazy delicious! It was the Easy Peasy Thermomix Waffles recipe. And you guys need to try it!

Waffles with Banana and Blueberries

I pretty much followed the recipe with a few exceptions (you know me!).  I omitted the bi-carb soda based on some reviews noting that it’s inclusion in the batter made the mix a little gritty. Also, because I didn’t have buttermilk on hand (does anyone?), I substituted it with regular milk and just added vinegar, and this seemed to work just fine.

The batter made more than enough waffles for the 3 of us, so maybe half the mix if you are only cooking for 2 or 3 of you (or you can make a total pig of yourself and eat them all. Who am I to judge?!).

To finish off these delectable home-made waffles, I would throw some fresh blueberries and sliced banana on top (FYI fruit cancels out the sugary syrup, making them a totes healthy option, and really no different to having an apple for breakfast). I’d then drown the lot in maple syrup (Trav would also add ice-cream, but I’m not even going to go there!).

These waffles are so good that you just HAVE to try them! – and if you don’t have a waffle iron, well I totally recommend you buy one just so you can experience the home-made waffle nirvana like I now do every Sunday (Seriously).  For those of you eager beavers who are already typing ‘waffle maker’ into Google, let me save you the trouble. This is the one we have and it’s small enough to hide in the cupboard when people come over (in case they’re like I used to be, and would make judgements on your character based on this one stupid appliance alone). Oh, and I almost forgot to mention! The best part about this little waffle maker is that it also has a little dial for ‘crisp control’, meaning you can make them as crunchy (or not crunchy) as you like! Genius!

Donkey from Shrek making waffles

Donkey and I have the same idea!

I know that some of you who’re reading this will be wondering whether or not you can ever forgive me for my misfortunes, and I totally get that. All I ask is that you try them and if you can resist their waffley goodness, well I guess you’re a bigger person then I am! (PS I didn’t mean you’re literally a bigger person than me, lets face it, with the amount of waffles I’ve been consuming that’s pretty unlikely!)

Tell me: What’s your favourite Sunday breakfast? And do also hate worthless appliances?

There’s a Ninja Turtle under my couch! (and that’s not all).

Pirate is scared at what he'll find under the couch

Monday. Ergh. For me its the most dreaded day of the week due to the boring routine that inevitably follows. Today’s exciting task was to clean up the family room. Yay. So with Violet taking her morning nap, there was nothing else for it.

I walked in and assessed the damage: There was crap EVERYWHERE.  I didn’t bother tidying it over the weekend because well, it was the weekend! But the fallout of that decision was now flaunting it’s squalor in my face.  I couldn’t stand it any longer.  I never know how long miss V will sleep for these days (could be 30 mins, could be 3 hours!) so I prioritise my task list.

  • Pick up 50 bazillion toys that have been carefully and methodically strewn across the room
  • Wipe down and de-salmonella-ise the high chair (I hate this job! why do high chairs have so many crevices?)
  • Wipe every visible surface that’s been touched by grubby fingers (i.e. all of them)
  • Vacuum the play mat
  • Vacuum the floors
  • And finally: vacuum under the couch.

Now, I’m a very thorough vacuum-er. When I vacuum (which is generally once a day in high-impact areas) I like to do it right.  I’m talking behind doors, under mats, and of course, under the furniture. So you should have seen the look of shock on my face when I bent down to look under the couch on this particular occasion. OMG…..! It was not pretty.

There was so much crap under there. Like, I’m not exaggerating…it was hideous. What if somebody had visited and casually glanced under the couch and seen the multitude of sins that were residing there!?!?! I shudder at the thought.  Despite being thoroughly ashamed and embarrassed, I thought it was my duty to share a selection of some what I found with all of you (so that you don’t feel the same shame and horror that I did!).

So here’s what I found under just one of the two couches in that room (I can’t share it all with you, as I need some of my dignity to remain intact!).

What I found under the couch

Mr Potato Head’s hat.  We bought Violet a Mr Potato Head when we were overseas on holiday recently.  It was a bribe toy and proved very popular.  I have no idea where the rest of Mr Potato is currently situated, but I’ve found his hat! Hurrah!

A teaspoon. This one was from this morning, as usual I made myself a coffee and was trying to drink it in peace when V decided she wanted to share.  I always keep the spoon on hand so she can have a bit of the milk froth, and then distract herself with the spoon. I don’t feel too bad about this one because it’d only been there for an hour or so.

An assortment of pegs. I’m not sure why I ever decided to buy my child toys, since one of her favourite play items is the clothes pegs.  I’ve literally bought twice as many pegs as we previously owned, so that I don’t have to scour the house looking for them when I’ve done a load of washing.  To be honest, I’d prefer them to be hidden under the couch than left lying on the floor as I’ve slipped on a peg on more than one occasion, and it is both painful and humiliating.

A tiny Cabbage Patch Baby figurine. Again, no idea how long she was there, but Nicolette (yes, thats her name!) seems to find herself in the strangest of places around the house.  Under the couch is actually quite acceptable in this instance.  In my water glass however, is not.

A piece of bread crust. God. That could be from today (she had toast for breakfast) or weeks ago! I wonder how long it takes a piece of old crust to go mouldy? That might help in working out how long its been there (must google that later).

A french fry. Ok this one is embarrassing.  It’s bad enough we’re eating fast food on the couch (what are we, the Simpsons?) but this could also be from the weekend, or weeks ago.  I have a husband who goes crazy for Maccas so I blame him for this one. Trav: you should be totally ashamed of yourself!!!

A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Yep, theres a TMNT under my couch.  Raphael to be exact.  You may be surprised that my 15 month old girl even owns a Ninja Turtle, but if you knew us, you probably wouldn’t be.  Both Trav and I were TMNT fans as kids, my favourite was Donatello (the purple one) and his was Leonardo (the blue one).  Trav took advantage of me going on and on about not just buying girls toys when she was born (apparently it’s not good for there development and pigeon holes them as stereotypical girls). So I agreed we should buy her one. But when we couldn’t decide on whether she should get my favourite turtle or his, a compromised was reached and Raphael found a new home.  Perhaps he appreciates being under the couch as I’m sure its somewhat more sanitary than a sewer?

So now you all know my deepest darkest under-the-couch secrets! I’m also pleased that there is no longer anything embarrassing under my couches, and that all the offending items have been relocated to more appropriate corners of our home.

Are you brave enough to tell me what’s under your couch?

P.s. If it’s nothing more than a clean floor, then we should probably stop forcing the friendship as we have nothing in common 😉

The Lighter Stuff

Finding the Lighter Stuff in Life with Marns the Mama

A bit over a year ago, I stopped watching the news. Not because I didn’t care what was going on in the world, but because I can no longer stomach the violence, terror and fear that is constantly being thrust upon on our TV screens now that I’m a Mama. I know that might sound ignorant, but being a mum changes you and I couldn’t process the negativity going on in the outside world when the inside of my world was so joyous and full of love for my small person.

In recent weeks, despite my best attempts to ignore them, those heavy headlines have managed to infiltrate my perfect little world and have left me reeling.  To make matters worse, arrests regarding these unspeakable acts were made in my very own neighbourhood. That’s not really something you can ignore, and it left me rattled. I considered never leaving the house again (seriously!).  I also considered moving to somewhere remote where we might be safer, but the more I tried to come up with viable solutions, the more I realised that you can’t live in constant fear, and you can’t avoid all forms of danger completely no matter where you are.

So what’s the answer? 

Perhaps the true moment of clarity came when Trav and I had settled in one night and were watching TV.  Trav offered to go to McDonalds and get us a McFlurry ice-cream for dessert.  Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal (in fact, it probably occurs way to often in this household!) but in light of my newfound paranoia, I was worried!  “What if something happens to you?”  Trav looked at me, and in a very serious tone responded: “If we can’t leave the house to get McFlurries…Then they’ve won”.  I realised he had a point, and despite the fact that his point was made as a joke, it actually made total sense!  I realised he was right.  I don’t want to live in a world where I can just go out and get a McFlurry when I want it! Do you? Heck no!

It also made me realise that despite all the yucky stuff going on in the world, that we are human, and we need to laugh sometimes! We need to focus on the lighter stuff in life and not just sit around and let the fear and worry consume us! Seriously, why else do puppies, chocolate and reality tv exist?!  Cos it’s the lighter stuff in life that makes the world go around!

Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it! Watch this video below, and despite all the crap going on in the world right now, I bet it makes you smile…..right?

Wanna help spread the lighter stuff  in life? Yay! Let’s collaborate!

Just like the examples in the video, wouldn’t it be nice to help people to switch their focus to the lighter stuff in life instead of all the doom and gloom? I mean how easy would it be to do this one small thing!? I’m going to give it a try, and I invite you all to join me!

If you’re tech savvy, use the hashtag #TheLighterStuff on social media too so we can spread the lighter stuff even further! See? Don’t you feel better already? I know I do!

Wishing you all Love, Light & McFlurries!

xo Marns