Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Oh, b….ananas!

July 8, 2013

I put a piece of fruit in each child’s lunchbox every day – or a pouch of fruit puree.  Fainjin in particular much prefers the puree, and will occasionally rant and rave at me in the morning if he spots a banana instead of a pouch in his lunchbox.  I always tell him to take it anyway in case he’s hungry, and somehow he always is and it gets eaten despite the protests.

Every so often we’ve seen “banana protectors” at the supermarket, special banana-shaped boxes designed to keep your banana bruise-free in transit.  The children have been enchanted, and I have been dismissive.  Just eat the banana first, before it gets rattled around too much!  The price of the boxes was off-putting too.

Then last week I spotted banana boxes for under $2 each, and on a whim decided the kids could have one each.  When I brought them home, it was like Christmas.  They were all so excited, couldn’t wait to take a banana to school.  Even Fainjin didn’t want fruit puree the next day.  For less than $6 I had an outstanding success!

Today was the third day the children have used their boxes.  When we got home after school and they were bringing their lunchboxes out to the kitchen, Fainjin looked rather shamefaced.  “Mum… when I had my lunch, I think I threw my banana box in the rubbish with the banana peel.  I’m really sorry.”


© UpsideBackwards 2013.



January 6, 2013

Dinner tonight was chicken and rice with vegetables.   Babess “finished” and put her plate on the bench – and I noticed she had eaten her rice and veges but not any chicken.  I’d only given her a couple of little pieces in any case, so I called her back and told her to eat them.

She ate the first one, then looked at me.  “Hey Mum, is this chicken made of real chicken?”

“Yeesss….” I wasn’t quite sure what she was asking.  I’m not in the habit of serving faux chicken (although my own mother was guilty at least once of serving rabbit and calling it chicken).

“Does it say ‘boock boock’?”

“Well, it used to.”  She looked at me, and I could swear she raised a single eyebrow.

“It’s dead now.  That’s why we can eat it.”  I didn’t think I really needed to go into details.

She popped the second piece in her mouth, then went to find her brother.  “Hey, Fainjin! Did you know, this chicken is made of real chicken?  That says ‘boock boock’?”


“But it died.” sad voice “So now we can eat it!” happy voice

“Yeah, ‘cos it dies, then the supermarket turns it into meat.”  Big brother was happy to show he already knew all about it.

These kids crack me up.

© UpsideBackwards 2013.


October 9, 2012

Daycare are having a cake stall this week, along with an open day.  I was wondering aloud what at make, when Pearl offered to make a chocolate cake.  “Me too!” said Fainjin, and “Me too!” chimed in Babess.

“OK then, off you go,” I said, and watched them do it.  Pearl assembled all the ingredients, occasionally asking me for help when she couldn’t reach something or wasn’t sure.  Fainjin and Babess squabbled a bit over the best position to watch from, but soon enough things were peaceful and productive.

Pearl measured and sifted the dry ingredients, and added the wet.  She encouraged the younger ones to help her count the measures and stir the batter.  I lined the cake tin for her and helped scrape the batter into it.

I was pretty impressed.

They all scampered off to play with the Lego.  I put the cake in the oven, set the timer, and called them back to tidy up the kitchen!

I’ve added 3 batches of fudge (it always sells well) and one of Moro Bar Crisp to the our contribution.  Let’s hope the hungry hordes descend with open wallets.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Home again

October 6, 2012

We are home again, all thoroughly spoilt by our time in Australia.  We had (mostly) fantastic weather, caught up with several friends and some family, visited lots of fun places – including Questacon about 7 times! – and ate wonderfully well.

We got home after midnight last night, so it was a late wake-up this morning, especially because of the current 3-hour time difference between here and Melbourne.  Getting the children to bed on time this evening was an exercise in futility, too.  They went into their bedroom in their pyjamas at 7:30, but there was a lot of giggling, singing and playing until well after 10pm.  I expect tomorrow will be a late-ish wake-up too…

Today we have unpacked, done the laundry, and generally settled back in to being home.  The children have loved being back in their own bedrooms with all their books (Pearl) and toys (Fainjin and Babess), and had a good time riding their scooters in the sunshine and inspecting the garden with me.

The irises are opening up nicely, and there are even some ranunculus making a nice display.  The sunflowers the kids planted just before we left have sprouted – at least a few of them – and we have more seeds so will plant some more this coming week.  Of course, the weeds have appreciated our absence even more, but we’ll just keep working away at those.

I’ll miss the delightful creations at Brunetti‘s, but at least I have another week of school holidays to work them off by taking the kids for long walks!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Reasons to visit Melbourne: great food, trams, and your own bathroom

October 1, 2012

The children are enjoying being in Melbourne this week.  They are very enamoured of the trams, and Fainjin is particularly keen to ride on an “extra-long one that is blue”.  He must have seen one go past and decided it looks especially sleek.

We went out for dinner last night, or rather stayed out as we had been out most of the day.  When I suggested we feed the children in town before going home, The Dad started looking at fast-food sort of places, but I cried foul.  Melbourne is known as a foodie city, and I wanted real food, a bit of an adventure – nothing that would challenge the kids toooo much, but something a little out of the ordinary.  Pearl readily agreed to the idea of Chinese food, as she had enjoyed going to a yum cha with friends in Canberra last week.  Fainjin was more reluctant – no surprise there – but he will and does eat plain rice, and in the end he was quite happy.  We found a likely-looking place in Chinatown, but they had no table available, so we wandered a little further and found another one.  It was very child-friendly, and had lots of Chinese people eating in it (always a good sign).  It also had a window from outside into the kitchen, so the kids could watch wide-eyed as the chefs prepared meals.  The chefs smiled and waved at them – another encouraging sign.

The Dad and I shared a spicy duck dish, while the kids stuck to fairly plain fare of rice and pork dumplings, but everyone was happy.  Dessert was very large bowls of chocolate ice-cream for the children (none of them could finish it!), and The Dad and I shared a bowl of mango ice-cream and a plate of glutinous black rice in coconut jelly – absolutely delicious!

This morning Fainjin noticed that the master bedroom in our apartment has an ensuite bathroom, and exclaimed in disgusted envy, “Babess!  They have their own bathroom!  Again!”

Babess came running to look, and tsked in sympathy with him.  “We should come to Melbourne by ourselves, when I’m a Mummy and you’re a Daddy,” she said, “without Kate and [The Dad].”  “Or Pearl,” agreed Fainjin.  The Dad and I were heartily amused that this would be their motivation to return!

Today we spent most of the day at Melbourne Museum, mostly looking at dinosaur skeletons and playing in the playground.  It’s a great museum, but the biggest attractions for the kids were the set of oversized Lego blocks in the play area and the colouring-in activity in the upper gallery.  That was fine, it gave us time to catch up with the friends who were accompanying us.

Afterwards, they played in the gravel courtyard outside, bringing us “crystals!” (bits of quartz) with great excitement and staging running races for which they devised their own handicap system to accommodate the different ages and sizes of the several children present.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


September 17, 2012

Recently The Dad and his team played in a football tournament nearby.  They had 90 min or so between shortened games, so I had said to invite anyone who wanted to come back to our place for a bite to eat or just a place to sit.  I was planning to make a nice slice for them to have with coffee if they felt like it.

The day was terribly windy, as spring days often are here, but fine enough.  Until the game was about due to start.  I looked out the window and it was pouring down!

Pearl and I swept into action.  She grabbed as many towels as she could find and deposited them by the front door for the team to dry themselves off as they came in.  I whirled around the kitchen wondering what on earth I could cook up that would be hot and quick – I had about 45 min before who-knew-how-many soaking wet and cold men would arrive.  I’d already made the sweet slice, but I didn’t think that would comfort them all that much.

I got some sausage rolls out of the freezer, and raided the fridge for soup ingredients.  Luckily I’d just been to the supermarket, so had some fresh chicken and plenty of vegetables, as well as pre-made chicken stock and crusty bread to go with it.

Pearl bustled around doing lots of little jobs, fetching and carrying, and always reappearing to ask “What needs doing now, Mum?”  I think she had been impressed by the ferocity of the downpour and was glad not to be out in it herself!  I set her to helping peel and chop some veges, and she watched me make the soup.

“So…  soup is just boiling water with stuff thrown in it?”

I thought that was a pretty good description of what we were doing!  It tasted pretty good to me, though, and the five cold wet footballers were incredibly grateful for their warm welcome.  I hear the rest of the team, who had demurred at the invitation, sincerely regretted that decision once they heard what they had missed!

For my part, I was very grateful for Pearl’s cheerful and willing help, and made sure she got full credit for it.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


August 15, 2012

Our daycare provides morning and afternoon tea and a cooked lunch for the children.  They are very good meals, and children with allergies, intolerances, and other requirements are well catered-for.  They also give the children the opportunity to try food they might not get at home, for whatever reason.

For example, I’ve never been keen on tinned beetroot, so it’s not something we have in our pantry.  You can imagine my surprise when one of Babess’ teachers mentioned that Babess is quite a fan of the stuff.  Apparently she will sit and munch slices until it’s all gone.  I had noticed some clothes coming home stained red, but had assumed they were playing with dye or red paint that day.

I asked Babess about it, and she said yes, she loves beetroot!  And when we were next making a shopping list, she asked me to get her some.  So of course I did.

Tonight on the bus home she was telling me how much she likes white sauce.  That’s another thing I’ve never been all that keen on – I don’t mind it, but I don’t make it for myself as a choice either.  Babess tells me she loves it, and she knows how to make it.  It’s not just ordinary white sauce, though.  “You have to put green stuff in it.”

“Parsley?” was the only green stuff I could think of to add to white sauce.

“No,” she corrected me firmly.  “Lettuce.”

That’s going to be a funny-tasting white sauce, I reckon.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Winter holidays

June 30, 2012

The first day of the winter school holidays is for

-sleeping in

-playing with Lego

-watching movies and tv most of the afternoon (while also playing with Lego)

-having play picnics in the lounge and hall and bedroom

-shutting yourself in your bedroom and listening to CDs while reading library books

-having smiley-bear pikelets for afternoon tea

smiley-bear pikelets

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Birthday party fun

June 24, 2012

Today we hosted Babess’ birthday party.  Six of her closest friends came bouncing down our driveway, parents in tow, to be greeted with squeals and laughter.  There is nothing more exciting than seeing friends you normally only see at daycare come to your house.

When everyone had arrived, presents opened and ooooohed over, The Dad took them all outside with a bottle of bubble mix each.  Thank goodness it was a lovely day!  We’ve had a few shockers recently, but we got sunshine and no wind when it really counted.  The neighbourhood was awash in bubbles in no time, and there was – again – much bouncing and squealing of laughter.

Bubble mix exhausted, they came inside and tumbled over each other to wash their hands and sit up for afternoon tea.  I had made a “caterpillar cake” – about 20 cupcakes in a row, with gummy-snake “legs” on each one except the head, which had marshmallow eyes and a drawn-on smile.  Each segment/cupcake had a letter of Babess’ name, a “4”, or a heart/star/swirl design.  I was quite proud of it.  I did notice that most kids ate the lollies but not necessarily the cake part though.

Birthday feast!

Apart from cake, there were chocolate crackles, chippies, fruit, milky-way racing cars, sausage rolls, cheerios (cocktail sausages), fairy bread and juice.  Much too much food.  Never mind, fairy bread for dinner won’t kill our family!  Attending adults were well-fed too, and a couple of large pots of coffee went down well.

As the sugar took hold, we shooed the kids outside again and my wonderful niece set up a “tattoo table” so all the little ones could choose temporary tattoos for arms and hands – and even legs.  Then there was much running around and exploring the house and playing with toys, as the adults chatted and enjoyed a bit more than the two-second “oh hi, nice to see you” conversations that you tend to get at daycare drop-off and pick-up.

Babess’ birthday ink

Eventually, things wound down as kids got tired and were taken home before reaching meltdown.  I did not do “goody bags”, and no-one missed them (huzzah!).  I did threaten to send extra chocolate crackles home with anyone whose present contained more than 100 pieces, but it was all good-natured fun.  Even the ones who gave Babess a huge beading kit laughed.

HOW many beads?!?!

Babess thought it was a great party, and Fainjin enjoyed it too.  I’m pretty sure the guests had a good time, and we didn’t set fire to anything, spark any allergic reactions, or have any accidents drawing blood.  I think we can call it a success.

(I still want to be invited to a Lego Robotics party at Stimey’s house, though!)

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Big words from little people

May 21, 2012

Tonight after their dinner, Fainjin and Babess were filling up on toast.  I suspect they’re both about to grow again…  Fainjin wanted “one with vegemite and one with jam”.  Babess wanted “both with jam”, and because she is immensely proud of her big brother’s efforts, she wanted “jam made from Fainjin”.

Fainjin appreciated the compliment, but was moved to correct her.  “It’s strawberry jam made by Fainjin.  Not from me.  If it was made from me, I’d be… an ingredient!”

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

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