Tuesday, April 28, 2015

what babycino is that

You may have noticed that we go out to cafes a lot.
We do, it's true.
Having been born in Sydney's Inner West our girls are well at home surrounded by
Eddison light bulbs and artfully torn leather lounges.
They know their piccolo latte from their flat whites
and they know exactly how a babycino should be served.

So now that we live in the burbs we're on the hunt for the best babycino they have to offer.

Sadly I had a ton more photos on my phone but it has been lost forever into the abyss.

So enjoy these five. Click on the names for websites and locations.

Penshurst Deli & Cafe - $?

Your basic babycino. Froth, chocolate on top. In a paper cup for tiny unsteady hands.
No marshmallow but produced the perfect babycino monobrow.
Enjoyed by 1 out of 2 girls. The other had a pink milkshake.
A solid effort but by no means the best.
They have some nice caged in outdoor seating so we could enjoy the fresh air but not have our kids run into traffic.

The Palms Cafe - $1

Myl took Smalls here while we were on our church weekend away.
She spilt the babycino all over him. He wore it well.
Extra points for 100's and 1000's which added extra colour to his pants.

Laughing Goat Cafe - $0

HANDS DOWN BEST BABYCINOS EVER. The lady in the cafe came over when we entered and
asked if the girls could have a babycino and that she made them for free for all the kidlets.
Heck yes we said and out came the most phenomenal babycinos.
Froth, chocolate, 100's and 1000's, marshmallows, a chocolate flipping freckle AND a marshmallow.

This place is amazing. We spent ages enjoying breakfast and playing eye spy with the squillions of things they have decorated the place with.

Top cafe and my winner of the Babycino Cup.... which doesn't exist.

Lugarno Deli Cafe - $?

Standard fare babycino with TWO marshmallows and a teeny tiny cookie. Pretty good.
We can't remember how much it costs. I'd be willing to pay for this one.
The service is really nice too and they have high chairs.

I know this isn't about food but we ordered the girls pancakes to share and they brought out one serve of pancakes on two girl sized plates and it was just awesome.

This is our go-to before church breakfast or babycino place.

Meeting Morgan - $?

The new hipster cafe in town with super hipster babycinos.
Just look at that thing, it's flipping adorable in it's teeny tiny mason jar with it's ickle marshmallow.
I was all taking photos of it and Lu walked up and said,
"Look at that babycino, it's so small!"
And then she drank it down in one teeny tiny gulp.

Points for being so so rad but really, it's just too small.

Just a note, nobody paid me for these reviews. Nobody gave me anything for free. Except the goat place with their flippin' awesome cinos. But everyone gets em for free there.

Monday, April 27, 2015

two years old

smalls is two years old

She is a bursting bundle of opposites.
Her happy is oh so happy and her sad could darn near break your heart.
And that serious face...
She gets very shy around people she doesn't know but is a crazy daredevil when she's comfortable.
One minute she wants her shoes on, the next minute off.
She'd like to wear this dress, no this dress, no this dress!

Shes such a chatty little fella. She gives a running commentary on life and finishes most sentences with, "K?"
She's invented a dance called the lolly dance (performed when sweets are nearby) and sings
beautiful songs to us all. She also wrote her own knock knock joke.

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Trees who?
Trees fall down.

What a wit.

She also says pweeeeeese! She used to call rabbits "Peter butt's" (Peter Rabbit inspired) but now she
just calls them rabbits. It's nice when kids gain language but kinda sad when they don't use cute
baby words anymore.

Her most used sentence is "Cuddle Mama." Which, though adorable, gets a little taxing after the 3927423946273469237th time while cooking dinner.

She likes to eat all the food and is quite taken with babycinos. With marshmallow of course.
She likes helping me cook dinner or bake. She is a very efficient beater licker and would eat
all the cookie dough without bothering to bake it. (Wouldn't we all)

She uses the potty like a pro. Most of the time...

She's finally getting her four last teeth. The canine ones. They are taking such a long time to pop up.
I think we can attribute 3927423946273469236 of the "cuddle mamas" to these teeth.

She loves the swing, and digging, and baby dolls, and GABBA!, and 123 wheeeeeeeee, and dropping
Lucy off at preschool, (and pushing the preschool boys when they are playing with the toy she would
like and making them cry).

She likes her sister. They run around and play and laugh.
And then someone starts screaming. Usually Norah.

She shrieks with glee when she hears the front door and Dada comes home. She thinks his beard
is hilarious.

She's my crazy little pint sized dinosaur girl. I love her (and her intensity) so so much.

Why yes I did have to go back to Christmas to find a picture of her both smiling and clothed.

But that's nothing till you've seen the picture of the girls dressed up in Chinese traditional dress at the Friendship gardens on instagram. *snort*

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Books We Love - Husband edition

This special editon of Books We Love comes from my dear lovely Myl. It's one of my favourtie things to watch him snuggled up on the lounge with a book and two cuddly girls. 

I love reading with my daughters. The first reason I enjoy reading because I get to go on an adventure with my daughters. It is like we have access to every world, universe, time period by opening a book and diving into the story. Whether we are wondering where the green sheep is or whether Aslan will save the day a new world of adventure awaits. The second reason is that I have enjoyed seeing the stories we read become apart of their stories. Children are so readily influenced by the world around them as they learn who they are and what the world is like that they exist in. It is a great blessing to read stories and see those stories become apart of the personalities of my daughters. I rejoice as I see them enjoy being protected like Lucy from Narnia, or being brave like the paper bag princess, or knowing that what they need most when they are scared is a cuddly bear to look after them. We all care about our children and we know that so many things influence who they are and how they experience life. It is wonderful bringing the voices Donaldson, Smith, Omerod, Lester and more to help teach my daughters of the wonder of life they may experience. 

Image Credit School Library Journal

  • The Lion, the witch, and the Wardrobe - The Chronicles of Narnia - C S Lewis
    • My eldest Daughter was named after one of the main characters in this book. We loved the character and therefore we loved the name. It was the first book I read to her as she lay sleeping on my chest as a little baby. One time I was reading it to her and she cried appropriately when Edmund betrays his brother and sisters. In this wonderful tale of difficult pasts and wonderful futures where animals can talk and you can have tea with a faun it feels like anything is possible. I love the way this story stretches my daughters imaginations. There is a look of wonder as I see her mind working a thousand miles an hour to imagine the place of Narnia and the fun to be had there. 

  • Maudie and Bear - Jan Omerod
    • I read this to both my daughters. It a series of stories of Maudie (a little blonde girl) and bear (a bear) as they go about everyday life. They encounter such problems as what they should wear when going for a bike ride and what to have morning tea as well as issues like how to act when you have accidentally hurt a friend. I love this story simply because I am bear and my daughter is Maudie. It feels like Omerod has written a book about us, for us. We have played day long games where I am always referred to as bear and my daughter is always Maudie (I am sternly corrected if I get that wrong and call her by her real name). At the end of one of the stories where Maudie is particular flustered by the events of the day and she is overwhelmed in tears bear’s response teaches me how to look after a little girl who is flustered and overwhelmed with tears. Sometimes little girls just need to sit in someones lap and be cuddled with a warm drink. 

  • Magic Beach - Alison Lester
    • I love this book because it makes such a clear connection between life and imagination. The book follows the pattern of one page describing the situation that you might expect at a beach and then the next page enters the imaginative mind and allows us as readers to enter the world of adventure. Waves are wild white horses galloping past, sand castles are places to protect from dragons, little boats are large yachts looking out for pirates, sea shells are treasures left by the pirates as they steal ashore in the middle of the night. This book captures the joy I see in the freedom that imagination gives my children. Every circumstance has the potential for new events. Blank pieces of paper in the car become treasure maps that only my daughter can read and direct us from. Every piece of wood or stick becomes a wand from which magic changes the world around us. Dragons often appear and are to be hidden from. Life is not boring with imaginative children as the regular things of life become so much more. 

  • The Paper Bag Princess - Robert Munsch
    • I love this story because it teaches my daughter that she can be more then a pretty face. She is capable and creative. She can learn and run and try hard and be brave and not wait for her prince charming to save her but take on the world herself. I can be pretty negative towards princess movies/books/themes because generally the princess seems to make ridiculous choices for the sake of a man i.e Ariel from the little mermaid gives up her greatest gift for the sake of loving a man. My hope for my daughter is not that she will settle for something because that is what she has but that she would be a princess who fights her own battles and travels her adventures. The paper bag princess doesn't settle for the silly prince who only cares about how she looks but goes off into the distance knowing there is more to her then a pretty face. She is wise, creative, clever, and above all brave. All things I hope for my little ones. 

  • Sunshine - Jan Omerod
    • This story has no words, only pictures. Yet it is not a simplistic picture book. It tells the story of a little girl and what life looks like for her each morning. I love this book because I get to tell the story with my girls. We look at the pictures and tell the story together. As they have gotten older they have noticed more details and they told the story better. They have added emotions and facial expressions. They know the funny bits and the sweet bits so they look forward to them. I like this book because more then any other book we tell the story together based on the pictures before us. It readily becomes a story we make together. My favourite part is where the little girl wakes up her daddy by giving him a kiss on the cheek. This has now become apart of our family tradition, sometimes I fall asleep just to get a little kiss. 

  • Honourable mentions - The kings happiness - Ikea, Anything by Julia Donaldson and Axel Schaeffer, Matilda by Roald Dahl, BFG by Roald Dahl, Where is the green sheep?

All image credit Amazon.com unless otherwise stated

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

crazy party lady

We decided to throw two birthday parties in two days for the girls.
Different groups of friends, new preschool buddies, different ideas about what
a birthday party means and my love of a good challenge all made it happen.

It was so great.

Norah had the Saturday big friends party.
We had lots of little kids running round like crazy.
Lollies, frankfurts and sausage rolls
and rainbow jelly.
A tent under the hills hoist.
Pass the parcel - Norah cried when it landed on her.
A baloon forest.
The lolly dada man. Pin the watermelon on the lady's mouth (Lucy's idea)
A blue cat cake. I gave Norah the choice and of course she chose the blue cat.

Lucy had a few of her new preschool friends over for a fairy party.
We had a very sugar filled afternoon tea
little teacups and pink jelly
nuggets and fairy bread (of course)
and babycinos for all.
a fairy and fairy treasure hunt,
party games which four year olds are so much better at!
There was so much happy screaming.
So good.

Most of the time I was having too much fun to take photos but here's a few.

Monday, April 20, 2015


I don't really know a whole lot about sports.
One thing I do remember comes from playing cricket in primary school. More specifically playing Hit and Giggle. Not knowing very much about the rules of cricket I can't really tell you how these games are different except that I have an inkling H&G is a good deal more interesting.
We'd scatter around the oval under the hot Australian sun.
Broad rimmed school hats atop our heads. Someone who actually played cricket (usually a boy) would show us all his mad bowling skilz under arming or using some whip your arm around manoeuvre with his favourite tennis ball.
One of my yellow and blue clad classmates would hit the tennis ball right up into the air. We'd run about like ants in the rain until the ball would come hurtling back down to the ground.
I might have been hopeless at sports but it wasn't until high school that I became too cool for them so if the ball came hurtling in my direction I would put my arms out in front of my face trying desperately to catch it. More often than not it would bounce out of my hands and onto the dusty crunchy grass.

"Butterfingers!" The boys who played cricket on the weekend would call.
It was, as I would come to understand, their highly sophisticated term for someone who dropped the ball. The ball would be tossed back to the kid with the mad skillz and play would resume.


These last couple of weeks in the lead up to Easter have made me think back to that little uncoordinated kid in primary school.
All the tennis balls flying up in the sky and me with my hands outstretched trying to catch them. Not wanting to be the one to drop them.

I think of the lists I've made, the hours spent thinking of all the things to do, the run sheets, the alarms set on my phone to remind me to do this and that. I think of myself as an efficiency machine, super mum, super lady. Getting stuff done!

Then I think of the things I've missed out. The conversation I didn't make time for, the badly organised meeting, the excess chocolate consumption and lack of exercise follow up. The butterfingers causing things to slip.

And then, as is prudent at Easter time, I think of Jesus.
Hanging there on that cross.
He is no Butterfingers.

When Jesus went to die he left no job undone.
He didn't drop the ball.
The time was made.
The love poured out.
His work finished.
It. Is. Done.

And Jesus, he's not just the role model ball catcher.
He's not the one who we've got to be like or suffer the consequences.

He didn't drop the ball, because we could never keep hold of it.
He held on tight because we never would do so.
He put himself upon the cross so that we might never go there ourselves.

And there is joy and peace and hope in this news.
My purpose lies not in my ability to juggle or hold or catch but to trust in the one who can.

I'm a butterfingers.
My hands will slip and fumble
but God's strength will never end.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

four years old

My big girl is four years old.

She's just the greatest. I could go on and on.
A killer imagination and facial expressions galore. She's helpful and kind and loves to sing.
She's full of questions and getting braver and more adventurous by the day.
She says the sweetest things and even though she loves going off to preschool she's not too
big for a big ole mama cuddle.

I'm really enjoying four so far.

But let's let Lu speak for herself. Just like last year, I've asked her a set of questions about herself. Here are her answers with my clarifying comments in italics.

I'm so glad that "cookies" wasn't the answer to 50% of the questions this time.

1. Favourite colour - pink
2. Favourite toy - Barbie Cinderella The one she was holding
3. Favourite fruit  - Apples
4. Favourite thing to watch on TV - Hoopla Doopla
5. Favourite food to have for lunch - Peanut butter sandwiches and bacon and cheese rolls.
6. Favourite thing to wear - Dresses. The dress I am wearing right now.
7. Favourite game - Hide and Seek. 
8. Favourite snack - Pink marshmallows.
9. Favourite animal - Giraffes and monkeys.
10. Favourite song - The princess songs. Itunes Frozen radio station. Any song with a lady waltzing about warbling with lots of strings is pretty good. 
11. Favourite book - The Steadfast Tin Soldier. 
12. Your best friend - Olivia from preschool. 
13. Favourite cereal - Cornflakes
14. Favourite thing to do outside - Play on the swings.
15. Favourite thing to drink - Orange Juice 
16. Favourite holiday - Our church holiday. It was fun and Kiara was there!
17. What do you like to take to bed? Rainbow unicorn. Rainbow unicorn is just pink. Lu told me he's called rainbow unicorn because he wanted to be rainbow and maybe God could make him rainbow. 
18. Favourite food for breakfast - Weet Bix. 
19. What would you like to have for dinner on your birthday? - Sushi We actually had leftover party food for dinner but made up for it later in the week with sushi AND Cinderella movie.
20. What would you like to be when you grow up? - A ballerina But we're not doing lessons. Lu tells me she already knows how to do ballet.

And here she is in all her wild and lovely glory.