Monday, March 26, 2012

Unusual Market Vegetable 1: Pumpkin Greens

Mr Provincial and I had a discussion over the weekend, the conclusion of which being that since we arrived in Darwin we have not eaten nearly enough vegetables.  The cause we decided was not knowing what to do with three-quarters of the vegetables we encounter at our essentially Asian market (Rapid Creek for Posie Patchwork's info).  So we decided he would purchase one or two extra 'unusual' vegetables a week and we would research how to cook them once he had brought them home.

This week on of those vegetables was a $2 bunch of pumpkin greens which he asserts were selling like hotcakes to the Asian and African communities.  My research confirms they are widely eaten in South Asia and rural Africa.  They are a rich souce of Vitamin A.

I found some more complicated recipes on the web, but in the end decided to keep it simple.  After rinsing, I chopped the greens into large pieces, and stir-fryed them in a little olive oil and salt for about 5 minutes (until cooked down).  

Then I tossed through about four cloves of chopped garlic.

Can you say delicious?  Even ginger ate some of the stems - they sufficiently resemble beans for her to give them a go.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I've had a bit of a case of late pregnancy brain for the last couple of weeks, but I think last night tops it all.

I put Ginger to bed at her usual time of 7pm.  Wandered out to the loungeroom (Mr Provincial was in the study doing a tutorial and lectures), watched the news, did a bit of sewing, rang my 91 year old Grandmother (she's on Perth time so a bit behind us) and chatted to her for an hour and a half.  All in all, it was about 9:20 when I went into the kitchen to put the phone away. 

And, I thought 'those are little twitterings coming from Ginger's room, surely she can't still be awake".  I wandered down the corridor to see - and I had left the light on in her room for all those hours!

She was wide awake and quite accepting of Mummy's apologies for keeping her up.  I got her up, gave her a cup of milk and we read a few stories before I rebedded her for the night.

I don't know whether I should just put the episode down as an example of how good she is at entertaining herself.  Two and a half hours for a near two year old, without so much as a tear (the noise of crying does penetrate to this part of the house).  

I am planning to just let her sleep til she wakes this morning.  After all, Mummy owes her that much:)

*These photos were from naptime a few weeks ago.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}


Ginger loves having her photo taken at the moment and looking at the resulting image in the camera.  I love this moment of pure joy.  She had just tossed her comforter or 'comf' as she calls him in the air as I asked her to look at the camera.  She thought she was pretty funny.


Ginger is 2 at the start of April and with baby boy due a couple of weeks later, Mr Provincial and I have been under pressure to get her birthday presents finished just in case he comes early.  I can proudly say they are now all complete, wrapped and ready to go.

Mr Provincial made Ginger a play kitchen per these instructions.  I made a coordinating tea towel and pot mit.  I am not sure if she will be satisfied with the pot mit as she has a preference for the gloves in the kitchen - but this will do initially.

My present for Ginger is a teepee from The Crafty Minx book.  I borrowed my copy from the library.  Lets just say that I had no idea of the price of dowel rods when I started this project.  To say homemade is not always thrifty would be an understatement.


Ginger has taken a liking to 'stomping outside' (as distinct, from the time I put her in the bath to do it because it was simply too wet) in her 'boots'.  The boots are a concession to the fact that her mother is paranoid about all the soil borne diseases up here in the tropics.

The lack of clothing reflects our current potty training stage.  More on that in a moment.


Just a warning that this may be a case of too much information, so feel free to end your reading now:)

Ah, the joys of potty training.  I don't know if it is the conducive climate but up here in the tropics people seem to toilet train their children very young.  I came home a few weeks ago in a total panic because we hadn't even started the toilet training process, and Ginger's compatriots at our children's activities were well on the path.

I bought Kmart and Big W out of their smallest size training pants (Ginger might be almost 2 but the girl is skinny), a potty and a training seat.  But, a month on we have made little progress.  Someone has brilliant control when out of nappies - Girl can hang on for hours.  But actually using the potty is just not happening (and don't even try the real toilet - the screaming and rigid body).  

Initially she flatly refused to use it at all ('no potty' and 'no nicks'), and now while she will sit on it when it is evident she really needs to go we can't actually get her to relax enough to actually use it.  We have tried bribes - we read to her while she sits, give her stickers and stamps just for sitting and half a teaspoon of icecream for success (though success is a relative term, since she stops herself after a mere trickle).  Oh, and we tried the pouring water technique next to her potty.  

Regularly she asks for a nappy when she needs to wee and since we are concerned she will end up with an infection if she doesn't go (since she hasn't been for hours) after cajoling with the potty with no success, we end up giving in.

Lately, I have felt like Maudie (of Maudie and Bear - my favourite toddler book).  More than once both Ginger and I have ended up in tears over the whole process.  I realise late pregnancy is not the most convivial time to toilet train, but neither will the months after the baby arrives.

I had a phonecall from the Obs office yesterday to say my latest bloodwork showed an iron deficiency, so hopefully some iron supplements will give me the boost I need to tackle this everest of child development. I must admit I am tempted to give the whole process a rest for a few months and try again later.  Perhaps, while physically ready, Ginger is not emotionally at the place to be doing this at the moment.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Keep Calm, Craft On: Birthday Crown

Apologies (once again) for absence from these parts.  Just two weeks before her second birthday Ginger is busy cutting her two year old molars.  And, while we have not been having the night wakings that accompanied earlier teeth arrivals she has been one clingy bub during the day. 

Also, Mr Provincial is back at university and has the computer mornings and evenings, leaving me only Ginger's naptime to post.  Frankly, at 8 months pregnant I have been taking that time to nap too:) Oh, and lastly we are weaning Ginger from TV.  She has only ever really watched one playschool episode a weekday, but lately she has been asking to turn the TV on.  Mummy had a little freak out; so the TV is out of bounds for the moment.  We are a week into the new regime, and all is going well but there goes that useful half hour of tidying or blogging time.  I know as her imaginative play develops I will win back that time many times over, but the beginning stages are tough.

Anyway, I have found time to finish Ginger's birthday crown.  Finally.  Just a year late.  I have a reveal of her birthday presents, which are also homemade, coming later in the week.  I used Nicole's tutorial, which was really simple.  Did learn something too - did you know in Australia you can label something as wool felt even if it is not 100 per cent wool.  Not overly happy Jan (sorry, old yellow pages ad reference there

I used a card Ginger got from her Godmother at her baptism as inspiration.
Pom Pom asked for an update re baby boy.  He is doing well and has dropped down, currently on my right side (the midwife thinks he is actually pinching a nerve or something because I have cramps in that leg every night but none on my left).  He is a little on the small side.  At 35 weeks, I have a fundal measurement of 31 weeks.  But at least he has grown.  On my preceding two visits, a fortnight apart, he didn't grow at all - while the midwife was really calm about it and said he could just be tightly curled (and they would do a scan if he still hadn't grown this visit), I had an apprehensive couple of weeks. Heartbeat is strong as usual and he gives good kicks so I know pretty regularly that he is alright:)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Homemade English Muffins

One of the doyens of the Australian cookery scene is Stephanie Alexander.  In her epic A-Z of ingredients recipe book The Kitchen Companion she gives her basic (and highly forgiving) recipe for American style muffins and writes "English-style muffins are flattish yeast buns intended to be split, toasted and buttered.  They are available everywhere one buys bread".

Shame on you Stephanie, they are also very easy to make at home.  I made our first batch using the breadmaker and this recipe on the weekend.  And they are in a class of their own - while you can clearly identify that they are English Muffins they have a much better flavour than the supermarket versions and, not all the added ingredients.  Is there anyone else that gets uneasy when they read ingredient lists on packets?  It doesn't always stop me buying a product but it certainly makes me uncomfortable.

Our breadmaker is proving its value day after day.  I have ummed and ahhed over making its purchase for so many years; and while I did  make bread by hand it was highly supplemented by bought loaves.   The breadmaker is making sure everything is happening at home.  By far the best price we could find was on Powerbuys.  I have to say their customer service was excellent.

And, Ginger is loving the boxes.  Here she is reading "Jack" in one of her boxes.

Monday, March 5, 2012

February in Photos

I am sitting here on the couch trying to pinpoint exactly how February managed to pass me by with barely any posts.  It is not that there hasn't been a fair bit of crafting around these parts; blogging material for sure.  Or, was it the crafting that stopped the blogging?  It certainly didn't halt the blog reading; so perhaps that is the true answer.  Thoughts to ponder.

Anyway, I did quite a bit of crafting for Valentine's day.   Our actual celebration itself was relatively low key - just our planned dinner and The Pioneer Woman's Sheet Cake.  Oh my - you must make it.  I used the leftover icing as an icecream sauce; it was that good.  Sorry to tempt you during Lent:)

From The Children's Year

My garland cut from Ginger's artwork - this is my favourite heart.

A felt heart garland.  Again, from The Children's Year.

A love bird made for all my loves - this one is for baby boy!  Of course, he didn't join us. But I thought it best to be prepared.

Ginger and I made playdough and it got a lot of use through the month.  When she wants to play with it now Ginger says she wants to do "rolling" - obviously referring to the rolling pin with which she is very impressed.

And, what took me most of the month and the project afterwhich I am vowing never to again buy cheap synthetic batting.  The money you save is more than offset by the amount of time you spend digging fibres out of your sewing machine.

One of our friends is going on a mission trip to Thailand and has said she will go and visit our Compassion child.  So I made our little girl a quilt, and put together a bag of school supplies and clothing.  I also couldn't resist making a package up for her older brother - I didn't want him to feel left out. I had a little more difficulty in doing his as I am not entirely sure how old he is.  Bee, being our sponsor child, I know all the details for.  Boss, I just have to infer on from previous correspondence.