Sunday, May 17, 2015

Raspberry And White Choc Muffins - Julie Goodwin Style


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Raspberry And White Choc Muffins

So as my quest for Mother Of The Year continues, at some point every week I'm baking homemade yummy stuff for the lunchboxes. I know - I'm a regular Margaret Fulton. Sadly, I missed out on a MOTY nomination this year but I reckon these muffins would have definitely got me over the line.

Today, it's raspberry and white chocolate muffins, a recipe taken from the fabulous Masterchef herself, Julie Goodwin. I love Julie - she's down to earth, she cooks stuff that all of us can successfully conquer (not major flouncy stuff) and it's always deadset yummy. So in the spirit of sharing the deliciousness, here's Julie's recipe. It works. And it's yum.

Raspberry and White Choc Muffins

Ingredients
2 cups of self-raising flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup white choc buds
1 1/2 cups of raspberries
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup of vegetable oil

Method
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl (include the choc chips).
Chop half the raspberries, combine all the berries with the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the centre of the bowl.
Whisk the eggs, milk and oil in a smaller bowl. Pour into the well and mix with a spoon or spatula until just combined and there are no lumps (but don't over mix)
Spoon mixture into muffin cases and bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes.

Eat at least one warm - it's a crucial step. And while each bite may require two hours on a treadmill to cancel out the damage, I have no doubt you'll agree that it's totally worth it. 



Friday, May 15, 2015

The Dangers Of Being A Social Media Vigilante


IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM |  Being A Social Vigilante
Here's a good lesson for all of us to consider if we ever choose to become a social media vigilante.

Earlier this week, a Dad was shopping alone when he spotted a life size Star Wars figure outside Target. He promptly decided to take a selfie in front of it for his kids. (Yup, a little nerdy, but sweet and harmless nonetheless). There were other children around him waiting for their turn and as he held up his camera phone to take a pic of himself, a woman assumed he was photographing in the direction of where her children were standing. Thinking he was a predator, she promptly snapped a pic of him, shared it on her Facebook account, publicly accused him of being "a creep" while calling for everyone to keep an eye out for him and report him to the police.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ten Things About Me

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Ten Things About Me
                             
Hey! I want to write and write but there's literally nothing happening in my life worth sharing this week. Nothing, I tells ya. Do you have 'bell jar' weeks like that? Literally, NOT ONE THING about me is interesting right now. So, in the spirit of the Instagram hashtag #tenthingsaboutme, I'm sharing some bits and pieces about myself that most people don't know. Here goes. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Getting Crafty With CleverPatch


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Getting Crafty With CleverPatch
                      
Look at us! We're doing craft! (I know. It's a certified miracle - save your applause, please.)

As a parent, you either love the idea of craft or you loathe it. I so wish I loved it a bit more but I must admit I'm usually too busy quietly stressing about the state of my Eames chairs under all that paint, glue and glitter to really relax and let go. I know. Life's too short. (But c'mon! Eames chairs, yo!) Admittedly, my two girls are both really creative types so I often find myself having that eternal parenting struggle between protecting the furniture and simply letting them go for it. Too often, the furniture wins.

Having said that, yesterday we absolutely, undeniably went for it. Craft ahoy. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

I Hate Swimming Lessons


IMAGE : PINTEREST | I Hate Swimming Lessons

* THIS POST MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF A FIRST WORLD PROBLEM.

Between the hours of 5-5.30pm every Friday you will find me at home dedicating the necessary amount of time to breathing deeply and recovering from the insanity and mayhem that is, the after school swimming lesson.

I hate swimming lessons. It's not actually the lessons per se, but more the indoor pool environment that I've grown to loathe. I. Hate. It. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Am I Blogging As My True Self?


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Am I Blogging As My True Self?
I've been asking myself this question quite a lot lately. 

Am I really blogging as my true self?

This question has been bugging me in recent times, niggling away at the creative side of my brain which most of the time also doubles as my harshest critic. Truthfully, the answer is that I'm no longer sure. Maybe I am but I feel a bit of a disconnection to my own story lately and the words aren't flowing quite so freely. I feel like maybe I'm censoring myself a bit? This might be because I'm going through a few life changes; not the type of changes that see me driving a red sports car and shouting hormonal obscenities at random strangers, but more the kind of lifestyle changes that flip your world upside down while you hang on by your fingernails and hope for the best. More about that later.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Movement For Change - A Family Violence Forum


IMAGES : MARC ALPERSTEIN AND THE MOTHER LOAD | The Movement For Change


"I want to tell people that family violence happens to anybody, no matter how nice your house is, no matter how intelligent you are."    
Rosie Batty, Australian Of The Year 2015.


Here's a statistic that I didn't know existed before I took notice of Rosie Batty and her anti-family violence campaign. Domestic violence happens to 1 in 3 women here in Australia. 1 in 3. The Breast Cancer Australia Network suggests that 1 in 8 Australian women are likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 60 - that's a high and pretty devastating statistic in itself but 1 in 3??! If that's the case, how do we not all know at least two women around us suffering some kind of family violence? Truthfully, the answer is we probably do. We probably just don't know about it because of a) the stigma attached to being a victim of domestic abuse and b) because a large portion of society suggests that in some way the woman is to blame if she doesn't "just leave".

And therein lies part of the problem. Stigma, a lack of understanding and support, and silence.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lunchboxy Stuff...


IMAGE: WWW.LITTLEBENTOWORLD.COM


* NOT A SPONSORED POST BUT AN AFFILIATE PARTNERSHIP EXISTS.


Look! Bento Lunch boxes!! I know! Bento!

Do you have a bit too much love for lunchboxes like me? If not, you're excused and may I suggest you read one of my more sensible and thought-provoking posts. If you  love the plasticware vibe in a most unhealthy way, let's chant the mantra together:

"While my plasticware drawer may be spewing containers, dividers and colourful lids, I do indeed have room for one more lunchboxy thing".

Say it with me.

"While my tupperware drawer may be spewing containers, dividers and colourful lids, I do indeed have room for one more lunchboxy thing".

Are you now convinced?

IMAGE: WWW.LITTLEBENTOWORLD.COM
You need to check out Little Bento World. They have really cool lunchboxy stuff and if you're on the long and arduous quest for the perfect school lunchbox as I am, head to their website by clicking on the Little Bento World box in the right hand sidebar over there and all your problems may well be solved. Or at least your craving for that one more piece of cute plastic will be fulfilled. Either way, winning!

(Now get yourself to therapy before it's too late, you plastic obsessed minx...)




Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Making It Count - An Invitation To A Family Violence Forum


IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | Making It Count - A Family Violence Forum

The world of blogging has exposed me to so many fantastic and varied experiences since I began sharing here​ a few years ago. By far the experience I'm anticipating most is the opportunity to attend a forum hosted by The Nappy Collective on family violence next week, where I will have the chance to hear Australian Of The Year Rosie Batty speak about family violence from the front line and discuss the passionate campaign she has devoted herself to since the tragic death of her son Luke in 2014.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Aldi - If You Dare


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Aldi - If You Dare
* NOT A SPONSORED POST - JUST A RAMBLE

So I've recently discovered the benefits of shopping at Aldi supermarkets. I know. Aldi. It's a whole new world. 

I've discovered that I can pretty much cover our weekly food shop with a bit of clever planning, for about a third of what I was spending elsewhere. Seriously, A THIRD. And we're a family of four hungry hippos who live solely in anticipation of our next meal so that's good news all round I reckon. I did the Aldi thing a few times just to try, then what followed was an overwhelming sense of smugness for my new found economic windfall and therefore I've been back for several weeks in a row. Let me tell you, the smugness has not yet dissipated and in fact, it increases every time you step into a mainstream supermarket and get completely fleeced at the checkout. 

The checkout. That's where things at Aldi somewhat unravel for me. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Saturday Night In Da Hood..


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Saturday Night In Da Hood
Hi Monday, you evil minx. Why the hell am I so tired today? Oh yes, Saturday night. 2am. Salt 'n' Pepa's extended mix of "Push It". Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". That explains it.

We have the most fabulous neighbours. I think we underestimate how much better life is when the people who live around us are also our friends. On Saturday night the folks opposite turned the big 5-0 and they put on a 1980's themed shindig in their backyard (hence Vanilla Ice and his Debbie Gibson-esque date in the image to the left there).

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hello, Friday Night....


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Hello, Friday Night

"Friyay!" 

Made it and not a moment too soon. Forget the two junior members of the family - I'm totally spent from a huge week and if it was age appropriate I'd have thrown myself on the floor, my arms and legs would be flailing and I would be releasing a high pitched screech by now. Instead, I've loaded a spoonful of Nutella into my gob - clearly that's how I tantrum in my forties. Sarah Wilson would be so proud. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Spiritually Speaking......


IMAGE: THE MOTHER LOAD | Spiritually Speaking
Hi! Remember me? I've been a bit sporadic lately. The beginning of 2015 has seen me balancing precariously on a knife's edge to be honest. Picture that guy who walks a thin line across incredibly high crevasses wearing those funny ballet slippers and you get a sense of where I'm at except instead of that long balancing pole he carries, I'm carrying shopping bags. Always the damn shopping bags.

You know when there's stuff happening, it's big and life changing, and really it's not just your stuff to share, but also other people's? Well mostly it's our stuff but let's just say I'm hoping that lots of heavy, oversized jigsaw pieces fall into place very soon and I can come down off the high wire. I don't want to jinx a positive resolution by opening my big mouth and declaring my needs and wants to all so instead, I'm calling on the universe privately to show a little kindness and guidance and I'm promising to do the same in return. REALLY promising. I'll happily become Mother Flippin' Teresa if I need to.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Standing Up With Rosie


IMAGE : SMH.COM.AU | Standing Up With Rosie
        
I feel so strongly about anti family violence campaigner and newly appointed Australian Of The Year Rosie Batty. 

I can't quite put into words what affect she has had on me, but I find myself in awe of her as a reluctant celebrity but also as a woman who could be my beloved next door neighbour, or friend. I find myself paying attention to her message so closely, wondering how I can help her movement in some way. I study her expression intently whenever she pops up on my screen, just to see if I can read how she really is behind her focused determination. I study her to see how she is doing not as the voice of an important cause, but as a mother who lost a son, and as a woman who is still very much emerging through her own dark times. I look at her and I remind myself that I can really cope with pretty much anything in my own life if Rosie is successfully putting one foot in front of the other. And man, she is. She's doing so much more than that. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

NGV Summer Children's Festival 2015


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | NGV Summer Children's Festival

* NOT SPONSORED, JUST SHARING THE SCHOOL HOLIDAY LOVE. 

Last week was one of those annoying groundhog day weeks where every day kinda imitates the one before. Wake at the same time, shower, have in depth discussions about who's having what for breakfast, nag about fresh air and sunshine and basically enjoy the finer points of parenting all day until it all starts again the following day. By Saturday, I was ready to quietly climb out a window and run far, far away. (Instead, after hearing "Mum, I'm bored" for the 112th time, I screamed into a pillow for five seconds and felt much better).

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Wasted Energy Of Envy


IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | The Wasted Energy Of Envy
Envy - noun, plural envies.

1.a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc.

Envy. It's perceived to be a pretty ugly trait isn't it? I've always thought that people who waste their time and energy on such an emotion are by definition ungrateful for their lot and have very much a 'glass is half empty' attitude. It's a black and white view which may be partly accurate, but now that I'm in my forties and have experienced a bit of what we call 'life's rich tapestry' (a nice way of saying the crappier bits of life) I'd say it's often a bit more complicated than that for some. Circumstances are usually to blame for a person's envy of another, and although it comes down to their perception of these circumstances, sometimes it's damn hard to see the majestic sunset through the dark forest, even for the most optimistic of us. And I get that.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Best Chewy Choc Chip Cookies EVER


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Best Chewy Choc Chip Cookie EVER
                            
You know that feeling when you excitedly reach for a perfect-looking choc chip cookie and upon first bite it feels as though you've just bitten down on a piece of granite? Yeah - I know. The very definition of a first world problem.

Allow me to introduce you to the easiest, chewiest choc chip cookie you'll ever eat. It's fine. You can thank me later when we're both at the gym working these little beauties the hell off our expanding rear ends cos they're filled with gooey, fatty evilness. Nonetheless, rest assured that every bite is worth it. (And yeah, we call them cookies thanks largely to the generational influence of Sesame Street). 

Friday, January 2, 2015

There's No Place Like Home


If you could live absolutely anywhere, where would it be? I mean even if you're completely happy with your current roots, where would you love to call home if you had to relocate without limitations? 

I'm a total homebody. I'm not at all adventurous and I have never strayed too far from the security of the place I've always called home. Some people are restless - they live for journeys, new experiences and exploration but that's not really me. I love to be surrounded by the familiar and predictable. I know - I'm the very definition of boring. Look up boring in the Oxford and there's a boring, nondescript photo of me in a knitted jumper stroking a boring cat. At times I regret not having the urge to experience new horizons but my comfort zone is where I live best and on most days, I happily accept that. 

Lately however, we've had to give thought to expanding our horizons due to a quest for new job opportunities. The tides are shifting around us like tectonic plates and although change is not something I choose to suddenly embrace and celebrate, sometimes it's not about choice but about surviving, evolving, thriving and succeeding. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas, Muckers!!!!


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD AUSTRALIA
                     
Wishing each and every gorgeous one of you a wonderful Christmas break with friends and family. 

Thank you for all of your support, encouragement and enthusiasm this year - my humble 'lil blog has kicked some awesome personal goals in 2014 and I certainly couldn't have done any of it without all of you feeding my love of writing and gently shoving me forwards. 

Here's to a healthy, happy, ass-kicking 2015! There's good stuff just around the corner for all of us - I can feel it.

Now carve up that ham before I eat the legs off your chair..!



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My 2014 Summer Reading Wishlist...



IMAGE: THE MOTHER LOAD | 2014 Summer Reading
* THIS POST IS IN COLLABORATION WITH BOOKWORLD, AN AUSTRALIAN OWNED ONLINE BOOK STORE.

So - Christmas, eh? I can't quite believe it. Wasn't it February like five minutes ago?? Surely!

The way I see it, there are two distinct ways of looking at the festive season. For me, the first involves general panic, a multitude of lists and a tendency to overspend as we prepare for the big day while madly trying to juggle the end of school activities, work, and the stuff that doesn't end just because Christmas is coming. That's where I'm at right now and it's where I've resigned myself to be until 24th December at 5.00pm (as per last year, and all previous years).

The second way to approach the festive season (and indeed my preferred way) is to think about the break that will be our reward after the mayhem, allowing us to finally stop at the end of a relentless year, catch up with friends and family and eat way too much leftover pudding. After a somewhat challenging 2014 for our family, I'm looking forward to taking some serious time out, have some chilled out conversations that don't revolve around a schedule, and to read a book or two from my long and neglected reading wishlist.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Squishy Marshmallow Me.......


IMAGE : PINTEREST.COM | Squishy Marshmallow Me
Since having kids, and particularly as they've reached school age, I've become such a big squishy sentimental marshmallow.

A wide variety of incidental parenting moments can set me off but nothing does it quite like a school event. It seems that whatever the occasion, as soon as I step into our school theatre to attend an assembly, presentation or production, I habitually get the lumpy throat, the stiff jaw and the teary vision before anyone has even uttered a word. It could be as simple as someone getting their music certificate or a science award; whatever is on the day's agenda, my lip always begins its uncontrollable quiver.

I'm at my worst when they run a video to music. Oh God - the power of an audio visual soundtrack! Why can't they just use the Benny Hill Theme or something? I'm pretty sure I have missed many key moments of my kids' participation in the video montages, thanks firstly to the 'Wind Beneath My Wings'-esque music and secondly as I always find myself fumbling around in my bag desperately seeking an old lipstick-smeared tissue instead of actually watching.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A One Child Week


IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | A One Child Week
Felt a bit weird sending my sensitive and slightly teary ten year old gal off to school camp this morning. 

Funny how, although your kids can be completely different to you in so many ways, sometimes quite suddenly they display a characteristic that is exactly you, through and through. Like me as a child, these days Miss O is a bit prone to an affliction I refer to as 'pre-conceived homesickness' (feeling homesick before you've actually been anywhere) and also the 'long, sad goodbye' (a dread and sadness about saying goodbye well before departure and a feeling that the impending separation is absolutely FOREVER). That's me all over. Still is a bit and I guess as she's getting older, it's her too.

Monday, November 10, 2014

November. Let's Do This.


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | November. Let's Do This
                         
Meet my new friends above. I'm so needy and they're always there for me, no questions asked. Especially the brandy.

So! Bronchitis is a barrel of laughs isn't it? For the last two weeks I've lived somewhere between sounding like Carlotta Of Les Girls, and a pack a day emphysemic. It's not been all that fun - just ask the innocent bystanders who live with me and who have ears in good working order. I'm fairly sure I heard my six year old mutter something like, "...for the love of God." under her breath the other day after one of my thoroughly well put together coughing episodes. Can't say I blame her. I'm totally sick of me too. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Born To Run, At Any Cost....


IMAGE : HERALDSUN.COM.AU | Born To Run, At Any Cost
Anyone else feeling sad and generally uncomfortable about the outcome of this year's Melbourne Cup? I am.

It's going to sound weird and as though I've just discovered my conscience, but I'm harbouring these sudden feelings of unease given the fact that I've never really given a lot of heartfelt consideration to the ugly side of a sport which can at times, be fully (or at least partly) responsible for the untimely death of defenceless animals. My sense of unease is about both my own lack of objection prior to now and also about my own realisation of what potentially takes place behind the scenes in the racing industry; in the darker shadows of the sport. I would never attend a rodeo, a dog fight and I even detest fishing so I wonder why that one day in November has always simply passed me by as an ordinary event and even at times as a welcome part of the social calendar? 

Before anyone jumps on me about one-off freak incidents, about an objection to banning the sport outright and that one should be a vegetarian to be truly pro animal rights, let it be said that this is just about my own new found feelings of unease towards the 'sport' we call horse racing, not a self-righteous rant about what the world should do and not do. I'm not standing up loudly calling for a ban (although it would be nice in a perfect world, but as we know the world ain't perfect). I'm simply feeling sad about the death of two horses after a race which is well known to be one of the most gruelling, even for the fittest, most enthusiastic thoroughbred. I'm annoyed at my own prior ambivalence and general naivety and I guess I'm now against putting these animals through something that once may have suited their "born to run" nature, but at times maybe not.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Little BUPA Blog Award Stuff.....

                       
IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | A Little BUPA Blog Award Stuff
So in case you missed me spouting off on Facebook last night and as the above title suggests, it appears that The Mother Load has been named as a finalist in the 2014 BUPA Blog Awards! I'm just a little bit excited (but clearly not as excited as Honey here). I don't expect to go all the way given the competition, but recognition is good for the soul, no? Yes! I say yes!

As an aside, it's worth noting that I never win anything. No really. In high school I won a squash racquet and didn't even know about it until I found it in the back of Dad's car two weeks later. When I asked my PE teacher what I'd won it for, he simply threw his head back and laughed riotously at the obvious irony. Yeah, sport wasn't really my thing. Stuff him, though. I may yet take up squash, become a world champ, and smack some fast balls into his windows. Maybe.