Saturday, January 30, 2010

We Have Grass! (Well, sort of!)

Remember that backyard renovation that came to a stand-still?

Well, in the interim, we have decided to grass it. Mind you, it's only half done, but you get the idea.

As for the top level...that is still under discussion!

Nothing gets done quickly round these parts!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Australia Day!

Yes, I am the daggy one who has the flag on my car!!!!

And how's this for great overseas wear???

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Travel Up-Date.....Frustrated by Italy!

The plans are still in motion!

1) London.....booked!
2) Paris......booked!
3) Italy.....not-so-booked!

Now, if anyone can tell me a good apartment or hotel in Rome that is reasonably priced but fairly central....please let me know....quickly!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Plight of Parenting A Teenager!

I love my son, I really do. He's smart, sassy, social and has a wicked sense of humour. And I really enjoyed talking to him. But now that he's a teenager, our conversations has taken on a completely different turn. They go something like this:

Superteen: Mum, can I go to the city with my friends?
Me: No.

Superteen: Why not?

Me: Cause you are too young and the city is a big place with lots of unknowns.

Superteen: That's not friend *insert name here*'s mother lets him go.

And then there's this one:

Superteen: Mum, can I catch a bus to the(far away, major) shopping centre?
Me: No, I don't think so.

Superteen: Why not?
Me: Cause you are too young.
Superteen: That's not friend *insert name here*'s mother lets him go.

And one of my personal favourites:

Superteen: Mum, can I walk to (the next suburb over) McDonalds?

Me: No.

Superteen: Why not?

Me: Cause you are too young and it's a long way with a whole section of river.
Superteen: That's not friend *insert name here*'s mother lets him walk there.

Yes, there seems to be an unending theme of me thinking that the Superteen is too young and him telling me what other parents let their children do. Now, don't get me wrong, I realise that in many ways I am probably kids tell me that all of the time. But I do wonder about the wisdom of the decisions that other families make.

Sometimes, it seems to me that some people offer their kids a whole lot of freedom that does not sit comfortably with me. Kids riding bikes on busy roads, kids waiting around at night times in dark places for pick-up rides, kids being trusted to walk streets and shopping centres, often on their own. Perhaps it is because I've worked with children for a lot of years and know that despite what they seem on the outside, they are still children on the inside. And at the ages of 13, 14 and 15 this is legally still the case as well. I also understand that while parents are particularly vigilant with their first child, by the time their third or fourth one comes along, there is a much greater understanding and ease that comes with parenting.

I also accept that I cannot 'cotton wool' my teenager forever. In a few years, he has to be trusted to drive a car and heaven help me when that happens! Imagine the worry that I'll do then!

So I am getting better. I have now consented to him walking to the local shop (ok, it's a 7 minute walk with no major roads to cross) and am allowing him to go off on his own to shop, while I am in the centre. I'm even agreeing to 'dates' with the new girlfriend.

But inside me, there is always that worry for his safety. Mobile phones are great though and I have a new piece of armoury in my parenting arsenal. If he nags me about going somewhere or doing something that I am not comfortable with, the solution is simple. My response? 'Ask Nanna! If she says it's ok, then I agree, too'! Works every time!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Gluten Free Jaffa Cake.....Yum!

This recipe was given to me years ago by a friend and is one of the best and easiest cakes to make and impress your friends with. I made it last night and took it to the new year's eve party that we went to. It is great for those gluten intolerant people (check the other ingredients before adding obviously for gluten products) although is tasty for everyone to eat! Be warned is very rich and full of calories!

Chocolate Jaffa Cake


2 large oranges
250g almond meal
1 cup sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon bi carb soda
2 teaspoons orange liqueur (optional although I've never used it in this recipe).


1) Cook whole oranges in water for 2 hours, simmering. You can do this the night before making the cake if you like. Drain and let cool.

2) Chop cooked oranges and blend (skin and all!).

3) Beat eggs and sugar in a bowl until fluffy.

4) Add other ingredients.

5) Line cake tin with paper. Bake for about 80 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (I baked in a fan forced oven at 170 degrees for a little over an hour and then turned the heat right down as it was virtually cooked, so check your oven after the first hour to decide!).

Chocolate Icing:

Melt 250 grams of dark cooking chocolate in a bowl over boiling water. Beat in 300ml heavy cream until smooth. Cool for it to stiffen slightly. Spread over cake. Keep in fridge. This cake only lasts a couple of days so best to eat quickly.