25 July 2014

Strange food requests and so many new words!

The boys are getting more and more vocal everyday.

"Please"

"Thank you"

"Curry puff"

"Proper fluffy please" (Hendrik)

And I ask "What veggie would you like for lunch?" Willem says, "Lettuce please."

19 months. Crazy.

But I am shocked and amazed that somehow they have taken to eating salad! And requesting it on a regular basis. It's probably just a phase and they will hate it next week. But still pretty cool...

 

 

27 June 2014

My future Edward Hopper and René Magritte

After struggling with the idea of managing my twins boys with paint, I finally was able to get the boys painting! I may have cried a wee bit :)

My goodness. I was amazed. They LOVED IT! Really LOVED IT! Hendrik was so upset when the session was over. LOVE IT! Seriously, they took to it like a fish to water... 

We used a homemade milk-based paint that I found here.

Basically, it's sweetened condensed milk and food colouring. That's it, easy as. As the boys still put everything in their mouths, it was important to be an 'edible' recipe. Henk wasn't into it. Willem didn't mind the taste. But it was rather tasty ;) After using it though, I think I need to make a version that doesn't take 4 days to dry! And it's so sticky! But mission accomplished. The boys are painting. I'm a happy happy mum.



Happy Friday!
Enjoy the weekend! 
xoxo





Persimmon Bundt Cake (and an almost Beetroot Gnocchi.)

The last few weeks have been a bit crazy.
Crazy running and jumping boys.
Me with food poisoning. Bad enough to send me to the doctor finally...
J working multiple weekend nights in a row.
We all need a break.

On top of trying to stay on top of life, I've been trying new recipes here and there... One still needing a bit of work is Beetroot Gnocchi, or rather I have a boatload of leftover roast veggie-gnocchi. They were ok. But just ok. I'm still working on those. I'll get there damn it!


But this one was a winner! We had a few persimmon kicking around in the fridge recently and while I was thinking of a way to use them as a chutney or something, I ended busting out the old bundt cake mould. I hadn't used it in ages and they always make some pretty cakes. I need to start using them more often. 

So this treat was first found here.


I made it minus the currants, which I just forgot (that happens a lot lately, they were sitting on the bench and all! Ugh.) and minus the nuts as you never know who might have a nut allergy these days. 

It's a pretty basic recipe really. Very similar to a pumpkin cake which is always a happy treat for me!

xoxo

26 June 2014

Some new adventures...


The Potty. Well, potties. I can't believe how eager they are to use them. We're only starting out and I'm not putting any pressure on them right now. But both of the boys are telling me when they need to poo and potty, so I thought we'd give it a go! Not too bad so far. They are more into washing their hands after and singing songs while sitting there... Pretty damn funny! 


And yes. New ouchies. *sigh* This we had to put a plaster on Willem's toe from a really bad scrape. And later in the morning, Henk's forehead decided to meet the edge of the coffee table. Within ten minutes of cuddles and drinks of water, we was back to bouncing on the couch and reading books. 

Ugh. 

This is what being a mum of boys is all about huh? 

x

*ps
Sorry for the icky iPhone pics. :P 

06 June 2014

A plastic-free life...

Is it possible?

It's something that I would love to achieve. Last week I realised how much our recycling had gone down. We recently started getting raw milk which is delivered in a 10L bucket that gets sent back to the farm every week. And we keep our milk in big glass 2.2L jugs in the fridge.

So that and getting the boys off formula recently (yaaayaayyyyy!) has cut down our fortnightly plastic/metal/paper recycling to one bag instead of two! That's pretty massive really.

But the question I have at the moment, plastic bags... The ones we do get from the shop are strictly used for rubbish. It seems sort of pointless to have my green bags with me everywhere if I'm still going to need a couple plastic shopping bags anyway! It's a stupid cycle that we need to break. It's the fact of the matter that they are STILL going into landfills. Frustrating!

We compost, we recycle, we try and avoid excess packaging, so that's all working. But we still have rubbish.

Then, I saw this image again recently and I started to wonder...

Yes, she is amazing. Always an idol, but the bin. A newspaper liner? This is what got me thinking. We don't need plastic bags at all... But what's the best way to go about this? Using newspaper and those pesky junk mail flyers to line a bin? A washable cotton liner? Or just go without all together?

What are your thoughts? How can we see an end to it?

X

 

05 June 2014

When toddlers go bad...

Yeah. It's been one of those weeks.


On and off eating.
Clingy.
"Up!"
Nappy rash.
Not napping.
"Up!"
Full on napping. Talking like 2+ hours.
Tantrums.
More not eating.
Cranky.
Cranky.
"Up!"
Cranky.
"Up!"

Teething? Possibly. I hope so.
Growing pains? How can you tell?

Any ideas?
xx

29 May 2014

Holy Winter! Where's the playdough!?

Ok ok. I know it's not THAT cold - or rather what cold used to be. Living in Minnesota for the better part of 8 or 9 years makes you hard. But winter here in Wellington just makes you grumpy. It's still cold. There is rain. 100k+ wind gusts. Almost freezing temperatures. But never cold enough to snow! At least seeing snow would make it alllllll worth it. 

We've all been trying to keep busy. Playgroups. Baking. Trying to evade those cold grumpy moments. And as we try to find new and fun things to do, my new favourite recipe for the boys is...

PLAYDOUGH. LOTS AND LOTS OF PLAYDOUGH.

Both Hendrik and Willem have been requested "plydu" every day since I made this first batch. It's one of those recipes that make you wonder why anyone would ever have a want to buy it in the shop. Easy. I got it at one of my new most visited blog/sites, The Artful Parent. You can find the recipe here.

It's so scary that these little men will be 18 months old in a couple weeks! Amazing. I remember seeing other kids at 18 months, thinking "I CAN'T WAIT!!!" And honestly, it's better than I ever imagined. Even with the newly found screaming and running and temper tantrums, watching them at this stage and all of the cuddles are truly amazing. 

Hendrik. Eating. Wanting cumr (camera). Watching birds. Eating.
Willem and his new favourite word, Helloooo. Getting upset. Getting more upset. Getting REALLY upset.
But they love each other. Cuddles and hi-fives on request.
And in case playdough, markers, toys, snacks, etc etc... Balloons. Always balloons. *pop*

With Love,
vH
x


16 May 2014

Growing up..

Today was one of those days when you realise how fast it all goes. Today was filled with questions being asked and actually answered. It's so odd.

"What would you like?" "Snack."

"Would you like some water?" "No."

Hendrik especially has begun to become this very adventurous, curious, independent little man. During playgroup, he wanted to go off and see what was over "there", he came back holding a hand of another mum, looking above the tops of the heads of other kids sitting on the floor, sees me waving to him and smiles his big smile with dimple and all, and comes trotting over. He came over, flung his arms around me and gave me a huge cuddle. It almost made me cry..

Then in the afternoon we went to the Lyall Bay playground. It was a stunning day, so it was a no brainer. As soon as they saw the water, "OSHN!!" Yep. Ocean. Hendrik decided he was going to walk on his own to the playground, looks out over the wall to the beach and the waves, and decides that's where he wants to be. He keeps walking past the swings and slides and down to the beach.

After finding their footing on the sand and finding a couple of shells for Dad, Hendrik sits himself down in the sand. He sits, quiet and calm, watching the ocean, the waves and the surfers. Quiet and calm. The seagulls and the airplanes, taking it all in. Willem cuddles my shoulders asking about passing surfers and pointing to them in the waves.

It makes me so proud on days like these. Some days, I'm happy just to have survived. But these are the days that make this journey truly amazing.

Have a happy weekend!

X

 

12 May 2014

The Charlton's {Wellington Portrait Photography}

After a wet and icky week, we all braved Percy Reserve and made some feathery friends!







I hope everyone had a lovely Mother's Day!!! xx

09 May 2014

The Hippie Ambitions of a Twin Mum - Part 1

When we found out we were pregnant, we were stoked. When we found out it was twins, we were scared. And to be honest, a little sad.

Let me explain. It's not as bad as it sounds. For me, I had my ideas and ideals already in my mind about how I wanted to bring a child into the world and raise a child. I wanted to have a water birth. Possibly at home. Meditation and calm during labour. Breastfeeding until the baby was at least two years old. Cloth nappies. Co-sleeping. All home grown and organic food. Making all of their clothes from NZ merino. The list goes on...

But when that "one" became "two", so much of that went out the window. Those ideals became un-achievables. That was the sad. A little heartbreak with the overwhelming joy.

The boys were born in hospital, in a bed that I couldn't move in, attached to so many beeping devices, there was no chance of getting my way there. But what I remember most days is NOT how I didn't have a water birth, or how I couldn't walk around and use gravity to ease the pain, I remember how lucky I am to have an amazing husband and two healthy boys.

So whilst my hippie, nature loving, eco dreams were somewhat crushed with the birth, there are so many things that you CAN do to still be an environmental friendly family. Even with crazy twin boys!

So we begin the journey with our tale of CLOTH NAPPIES!



Cloth nappies were going to be the go from even before we got pregnant. There were so many reasons why we wanted to go cloth - cost, environmentally friendly, and think about this - would you rather wear a soft cozy pair of undies or a crinkly, disposable paper undies? Hmmmm.. Yeah. Easy decision when you think about it that way, huh?!

There were so many choices and so many options when it comes to brands and styles. What we decided to use are considered pocket nappies. Basically, inserts and an adjustable shell with a pocket for the inserts. They clean up fairly easily and because you can separate all the parts, they dry relatively quickly. 

When you first look at the cost of investing, it can be quite daunting. They can go for about $20 per nappy. And when you have twins, that gets really expensive really fast! 

So with that in mind, I decided buying used nappies might be the way to go. Yeah, I know, it sounds gross. Someone else's kids used these before my boys... But how many times have they been washed and hung in the sun... After some convincing, it was exactly what we decided to do. It ended up costing us about $6 per nappy including inserts. Amazing! 

We ended up with a mix of two brands, Baby Cheeks and PeaPods. The boys have been wearing the Baby Cheeks since they were about 3 months old. The PeaPods we ended up with were larges, so they have just started fitting into them. And between the these two brands, I really like the PeaPods! They have foldable bamboo inserts that work really well! They are a nice simple design and feel quite soft and stretchy. They can wear the PeaPods for naps and not leak, which is good. 

For overnight though, we do put them in disposables. Mostly huggies. But again, because somehow, someway, these boys are prolific wee'ers... They wear a cloth nappy over their disposables at night. It's worth it. They never wake up at night from wet pyjamas anymore! What a hassle that used to be! 

Here are a few tips and bits and pieces that we have learned so far :

Getting rid of the poo : This is Jacob's favourite job! But for some reason we is extremely keen to share this job with me whenever possible... It's gross. Really gross. But the best tool I've found - an old heavy duty rubber spatula! You can scrape off even the worst poo-tasophe with a good one. 

Washing nappies : Be prepared to do a lot of laundry. And by this I mean A LOT of laundry. I have a load of nappies go through the wash about every other day. This is in addition to the normal day to day laundry. My life has become "never ending laaaaun-dryyyyyy".. Sing it with me... La da da la da da la da dahhh. 

I hate sunshine : Actually I lie, I love sunshine! (and you can never quote your favourite Disney movie too much) Nappies and inserts love sunshine too! Especially New Zealand sunshine, nothing like a lack of ozone to bleach out your clothes naturally! Whenever it's possible, they hang outside on the line soaking in the sun and being blow around by the our lovely Wellington wind.

Tea tree oil : A drop or two once in a while in a rinse cycle is great! Tea tree, as you may know, has antiseptic properties and it makes everything smell a bit nicer.

Speaking of the smell : Cloth nappies will be smelly sometimes. After a little while, wee soaked nappies can make your stomach turn. I find this happens when the weather isn't great and hanging them outside is nearly impossible. If your nappies aren't drying fast enough, trying popping the inserts into a dryer on a hot heat and the outers on an airing cycle in the dryer or hung in a room with a dehumidifier. Always check the washing label first before you use a dryer! The plastic backing can shrink and pull away from the nappy, completely ruining the nappy.. Trust me on this one, I've lost about 4 or 5 this way.

Liners : We were using liners for a while but gave them up. I can see why they promise longer life for your nappies, and while many brands claim to be flushable and biodegradable, they clog up our 100 year old plumbing. When you have to scrape poo off double the nappies, everything needs to be streamlined as well as possible. Liners were just making everything just that bit more difficult. 

Wipes : I just recently started using cloth wipes at home as well! I went out to the local recycle shop, picked up an old polar fleece blanket for $3, gave it a nice hot wash and dry and cut it into squares. That's it! No hemming, no edging, and because polar fleece is soft and cleans up so easily, I'm a little mad at myself for not doing this before! We still use biodegradable store-bought wipes when we are out and about, but heaps less than we have been. 


I'd love to hear from everyone else fighting to pooey battle in cloth! What are your best tips and tricks?? What type of nappies are you using?? 

x

28 April 2014

At it again! {Wellington Portrait Photography}

It's been a good few years, and I feel a bit out of practice, but I'm shooting again! I have some lovely friends here in Welly that have kindly donated their families to the cause. Well, let's put it this way - if you haven't ridden a bike in 10 years, you aren't going to win the Tour de France?! You get the jist. :)

These are some of my favourites from Sunday's outing with Lucy and her lovely little family!





I'm really looking forward to photographing more over the next few weeks! Check back for more soon!!
x

21 April 2014

Vegan Corn Chowder - Meatless Monday

This weather! Rain, rain and more rain! If this is the start to winter, I'm not sure I'm looking forward to it anymore. Everything is damp, laundry is taking forever to dry, everything smells musty. At least it's not cold... Yet!
Last week, I made this super hearty soup with a heap of leftover corn on the cob that I completely spaced serving at our latest family cook-off. Yeah. It happens. Nobody went home hungry. The corn was not missed. So score for us!



Vegan Corn Chowder

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients :
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 kumara, peeled and diced
  • 5 corn cobs, already cooked, kernels removed
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • freshly ground pepper
Method :
  1. Saute the onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the celery, carrots, potato and kumara and saute for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the corn kernels and stock to the veggies. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  4. Puree with a soup wand or in a blender.
  5. Serve up with some freshly ground pepper and done!

I served this with some roasted cabbage and it was amazingly filling! All three boys devoured it! And the leftovers were popped into the freezer.
Enjoy!
x

16 April 2014

A short afternoon to Waikanae

One of Jacob's best friends lives in Sydney with his beautiful partner and their, now, TWO kiddos! We got to meet the newest edition this past weekend out in Waikanae! 


Hello Ollie!!!!

Such a happy and handsome little man! The boys were a little curious about him. Willem especially. Sorry Willem, no little siblings for you! You'll have to make due with the "cousins"! 

We had a lovely time and it is always so nice to see so many lovely people, I always feel like I'm part of their family and that makes me feel incredibly special, even though it's usually chaos with our boys around.. So thank you!!!

And how could we all not love a picnic lunch for the boys and Eden!! (Thanks Sue!) They LOOOOOVED the chocolate yogurts! Hopefully, next time, Hendrik will actually use his spoon!



xoxo

11 April 2014

Willem and Apple.

I know I post a lot of photos of my two wee nuggets... But I can't help it! And of course, I have to post them for Grammy Weber! We love you! Miss you!! x
Hendrik wants the camera. Always. Wants. the Camera.

These toes of Hendrik's are now walking toes. Look out world.

Willem and apple. And YES this is Willem...

Giggles for Timmy.

Have a great weekend!!
x

The Shampoo Dilemma, and oh yeah, I finally cut my hair!

A little back story on this. My hair. I've had it all sorts of ways over the years... 
Long and brown.
Marilyn Monroe short and platinum blonde. 
Annie Lennox short and blonde. And brown.
Medium length and bright red.
Streaks.
Highlights.
Long again.
Short again. 
Fringe. 
No fringe. 

You get the idea. 

My latest hair dilemma was the fact that my last hair cut was when I was still pregnant with the boys! No lie. My hair was down to my waist. Long. Tired. And the fact that I hadn't worn it down in about six months was a good indication that it needed to go. So ta-da!


Loving it! And sorry about the no-makeup me. It's a bit frightening! I know! Also, I think it's quite funny how my long hair doesn't even fit into the frame. And how much do I look like my Mom!!! (Love you Mom xx) But having short hair feels so much better for me. 

One thing I had forgotten about with having short hair was - I have to wash my hair everyday! Or least every other day.. When I had long hair, I would easily go a week or more without washing it. Maybe a little cocoa-cornstarch dry shampoo here and there, but not everyday maintenance.

The shampoo I was using still left my hair a little sludgy. There was a lot of buildup going on and for shorter hair, it felt noticeable. Blah. It was an "earth-friendly" product, no names here. But...

Anywho - in steps ecostore! I was asked via KiwiMummyBlogs to review one of their latest shampoo and conditioner combos! What perfect timing! 

I started using the Volumising Shampoo and Condition and within a day, my newly short hair was so much softer and - imagine this - much more voluminous! It's not very often I find something that does what it claims! And I can go days without any extra product. Dreamy. And I know this may seem like a silly thing - but to me it makes a difference... The design they have chosen for their caps has a nice small hole versus other shampoos that just ooze out product. Yeah, silly. But everything about these products are a plus.

     

We have (mostly) been an ecostore family since the day we moved to NZ. Everything from their cleaning products to body wash for the boys, we love them. And if you check out their site - read up on their ethics. Ace. 

So, as I said before - stoked. 

Hope you enjoy it as well!
x


10 April 2014

A family weekend away - Castlepoint

The boys have had their first overnight, New Zealand road trip! I had tried to plan the drive out around the boys naps and it worked like a charm! They were happy and chilled out most of the ride.
We met up with the some of the clan in Masterton and had a lovely walk around Queen Elizabeth Park, with some good playground time, and some lunch. It was the perfect point to stop.
 Such beautiful weather, such beautiful autumn colour. Swans, ducks, acorn whistles and apples.
Another hour or so driving, lead to this...

Photos do not do it all justice. The rest of the weekend was rainy and windy, but still fantastic.
I am so proud of our little men. I wasn't sure how they would go with the long drive like that. But they were so great. I can't wait until the next road trip!