Monday, 17 March 2014

Doing Less and A Girls Only Picnic By the Sea Shore

A lazy weekend. One spent mostly on our own while my husband was away on a boy's camping trip. There was a time when my husband worked fly in fly out from Perth. Leaving me with our daughter, then eventually our two daughters, every second week.

Now that my youngest Jessie is older, I no longer feel daunted by caring for our two on my own. Despite this, the same old worried feelings that I often felt when my husband was working away, crept back in. What was I going to do on my lonesome to keep these two entertained? Even with a morning spent at the local pool with a friend, it left plenty of empty time to fill.

What I have learnt from similar anxious feelings like this. That when you have a strong urge to do more, often the best choice is to do less. What could have been a weekend full of outings and catch ups with friends to get us out of the house, became something completely the opposite.

We baked. We ate what we had in the fridge and cupboards. We played. I kept things simple; meals, activities and expectations of myself. I didn't rush through the household chores. I stayed in my pyjamas for longer than I would normally. We just did less.

And what I found. More calm moments. More stillness. More concentration in the girls play. Less tantrums and end of day raggedy behaviour.

It all reminds me of conversations had with my Nanna and my Mum. About times past, where not everybody drove cars, and trips out of the house with children were weekly ventures. Not daily rushed affairs to get out the door to dance lessons, play group. music and other such things. While the boredom of that type of living seems stifling to me, I can see the positives in it. More chances for children to just be. To play in their own little world. 

The truth, that sometimes that need to be social and busy, is more our own, and not our children's. Before this weekend I wouldn't have considered us to be "over-scheduled" in regards to the girls planned activities. But now I can't help but wonder if we might be. Just a little. 

Our afternoon trip to the "sea shore". Imagined and created by Amelie. A bike ride to the shops to collect food for our picnic. A rug to stop the sand from spoiling our food. Talk in hushed tones due to a nearby sleeping baby. Endless cups of tea. It was delightful.

Do you find doing less makes parenting easier?
Or are your children better when they're kept a little busy?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Oven-Baked Tuna and Tomato Risotto

With a husband away camping for a long weekend it's been just myself and the girls. I worried that the girls might have missed their Dad (he has been out of phone range, so we really haven't heard from him at all). But things have gone more smoother than I expected.

I won't say that they haven't missed him. But they have been their usual selves, playing happily together one minute and snatching toys from one another the next. All of which was a huge relief. Nothing worse than trying to calm a toddler and trying to explain the reasons why we can't call Daddy today.

So after a busy morning at the pool with friends and over tired children this afternoon, it called for a simple filling meal tonight. Our go to. One that everybody eats without complaint. 

Oven-baked Tuna and Tomato Risotto

875ml chicken stock
10g butter
2 tspns olive oil
1 medium brown onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
425g can tuna in oil, drained gently
1 cup frozen peas
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbspns lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180C, or 160C fan forced.
Bring stock to boil in medium sized saucepan. Meanwhile, melt butter with olive oil in large saucepan, cook onion and garlic, stirring, until onion softens. Add rice, stir to coat in onion mixture. Stir in hot stock and tuna.
Place risotto mixture in a large shallow baking dish, cover with foil. Bake in oven, 15 min, stirring halfway through cooking time. Uncover, bake another 20 minutes. Stir in peas, top with tomatoes, bake uncovered, about 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from oven, stir in lemon juice.

Hope yours was a relaxing weekend x

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Yellow { and The Power of Colour }

My emotions became the better of me during the week. I found myself in a slump. An emotional slump. A blogging slump. I was in a mood. And a very negative one at that.

I was over the constant 40 degree heat day after day after day, over the repetitive sameness that can be living in this town at times. Over being stuck in the middle of nowhere. Annoyed that it's costing the four of us $6,000 to return home to Tasmania for Christmas. I wanted to be back in amongst civilisation. Visit the beach. Visit a trendy cafe. Be anywhere else but here.

I found myself on Pinterest one night (when I should have been in bed sleeping). Pinning wildly. Surrounded by so many beautiful and inspiring images and ideas. And I was reminded of the power of colour to lift and brighten your mood.

Yellow truly is "my" colour. I find it so uplifting and happy. You can't help but think good thoughts when you look at images such as these. They are certain to put a smile on your dial.

What I'm clearly realising, is that I need more splashes of yellow in my life and home. I've always coveted a yellow dala horse so it's probably time I tried to find one. And while I continue to try and convince my husband that we should paint our dining chairs yellow, I might just have to settle for some yellow nail polish, for now. But mostly what I need is to buy a house with stairs, because of all these images, the yellow wall papered stairs are my absolute favourite. Instant happy.

Do you have a colour?
Does it brighten your mood?

Linking up with Sonia from Life, Love and Hiccups and Maxabella Loves for their weekend rewind x

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

A Cup of Tea With Me

Hello there, welcome to My Yellow Heart. If we haven't met before, and you're joining me through Pip's Blog With Pip linkin, then it's lovely to meet you and thanks for stopping by.

On a whim, I enrolled in the Blog with Pip course to improve my blogging skills. It has been a busy last few weeks. I've met a lovely supportive group of fellow bloggers who have inspired me to continue what I'm doing here, to do it better, and in a more creative and smart way.

Pip has been inundated from endless questions from all of us, and is truly the most patient person you could ask for. Teaching a group of people how to get your own blogging host, domain, change to wordpress is no easy task (one I'm still in the process of changing). Something always goes wrong, codes don't work, or it can simply feel overwhelming. Nothing has been too much to ask of Pip, at any time. She has been a huge support.

If you're considering enrolling in the next intake of the Blog with Pip course, please do. I can't recommend it highly enough. You certainly won't regret it.

My final assignment, to end our blogging course with. A way for you to get to know me a little better, if you don't already. So please feel free, to pour yourself a cup of tea, enjoy a piece of orange syrup cake and sit with me. I even brought out my special tea cosy, a gift from my Nanna especially for the occasion, and I don't do that for just anybody in 40 degree weather.

And for those in my blogging group who are amazingly crafty, know that this knitted, or is it crocheted (I'm not actually sure about that one, I think crochet) tea cosy from my Nanna might be as close as this blog gets to a knitting needle for quite sometime yet.

1 } Name, state and a bit about what you do on a daily basis.
I'm Carla, and I live in the West Australian Pilbara. Think lots of red dirt and dust, hot weather and stunning coastlines. I like to look at it as our red adventure. I am a stay at home Mum to our two spirited daughters Amelie and Jessie. What do I do on a daily basis? Well I pick up endless amounts of toys scattered on the floor, tidy, cook, do craft, play dolls, build up ups and clean (occasionally). And while I might complain about it some days, I really wouldn't want to have it any other way.

2 } Favourite things to do.
I enjoy cooking, pottering around home, reading, music and writing. Living in this part of the world has really inspired us to travel and see new places while we're living here. Getaways to the coast, day trips to all the amazing rock pools and national parks that surround where we live is definitely a favourite thing to do for me at the moment. The landscape is amazing and so different to what I grew up surrounded by (I'm originally from Tasmania).

3 } Favourite place to be.
I miss walks along the beach. I miss a cool sea breeze. The beach is easily my favourite place to be.

4 } Favourite things to eat and drink.
I love seafood. And I also really love it when somebody cooks for me, then I really don't mind what I'm eating! I'm equal parts tea and coffee drinker and I love nothing better than a glass of wine, or a vodka lime and soda (fresh lime only please).

5 } Favourite inspirations.
I'm inspired by people who take risks, and make big changes to achieve their dreams and get to where they want to be. I love listening to peoples hopes and plans for themselves and their families.

6 } Something I want to know more about.
I'd love to know more about my Portuguese family history, but lack of time and language barriers have made things complicated so far. On the to do list.

7 } Some favourite blogs.
I enjoy reading lots of blogs. Some inspire, some give me a taste of that beach lifestyle that I miss, others give me house envy or food envy, or simply just make me laugh. I love some of the more well-known ones such as BabyMac, Maxabella Loves, Tales from A Happy House, and Life, Love and Hiccups. But I also really love some of the smaller blogs such as A Little Bit Country, Teacups Too, Honey and Fizz, House Nerd and Cake Crumbs and Beach Sand.

The blogging world is like a rabbit warren, you can so easily get lost in it and find yourself up at 11pm and still reading!

Find yourself doing the same?
What are your favourite blogs to read?

Monday, 10 March 2014

Simple Apple Loaf

If you're anything like me, than variety and trying to encourage yor children to eat different things is important to you, especially when you have a toddler who is picky about what she eats. 

Anybody would think that we had a pet monkey at home with the amount of bananas that are eaten in our house at times. It is the only reliable food that my youngest will eat some days. While it's not the end of the world, and she is of course thriving and healthy, I can't help but feel a little worried and annoyed about a diet that consists of bananas, milk, ritz crackers (which must have nothing on top), tuna, scrambled eggs, sausages, rice and porridge. Oh yes and chocolate, she can bring herself to eat that.

So I am always attempting to smuggle in any other fruit, aside from banana, or vegetable into any dish I can, in the hope that it might actually be eaten.

This loaf passed Jessie's lick test and is also enjoyed by everybody else. It has become a bit of a go to, there's nothing in the cupboard recipe. We always have the ingredients in the kitchen and it's so delicious and simple. And never dry.

Apple Loaf

2 cups self-raising flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tspn mixed spice
1/2 tspn cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
2 eggs
4 medium granny smith apples, grated with their skin still on (I've also used red apples, and it still tastes just as nice)

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 14x20cm loaf tin.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, spices and salt.
In another jug or bowl, whisk together the oil and eggs.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, add in the apple and mix until just combined.
Pour mixture into the loaf tin, smooth the top, scatter over flaked almonds (optional) and bake for 50-55 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. (Cover with foil if getting too brown around 35 minutes).

This is a Veggie Smugglers recipe. I can't recommend Wendy's cookbooks highly enough if you're struggling with a picky toddler. I'd love to say that my girls devour their salads and vegetables, but they just don't, as much as I've tried. Her recipes are great at sneaking as many vegetables as you can into your children's diet. I know that some are anti this idea of sneaking fruit and vegetables into food. But I believe more in exposing children to different tastes and textures, and creating a love for that taste, which will hopefully lead to them being able to eat them in a less sneaky form in the future.

That's how I choose to look at it anyway!!

Enjoy x

Friday, 7 March 2014

Offspring { Please Come Back Patrick Reid }

Did you catch the preview of the new season of Offspring this week?

Season five hasn't even started, and already I find myself quietly crying over the preview. How beautiful was it. And the most adorable and sweetest of babies (who even looks a little like Patrick). And the Proudman family. Billie. I still recall her line in the final episode at the pool where she says to Nina, "I'll cover you. If you can't love this baby, I'll love it until you're ready." Gorgeous. All of it.

With or without Patrick, the show will always be amazing. And as much as I love Billie, my girl crush on Asher Keddie, as herself in real life, and as Nina will continue. But what I really want to know is, where are you Patrick? And please come back. Even if it is a Bold in the Beautiful style resurrection from the dead. I seriously won't mind. Maybe you have just been off hunting for bears again. I will happily forgive the complete lack of plot line. No questions asked. No explanation necessary. Just come back.

I don't know what to expect, or how I'm going to feel about this upcoming season. I can't imagine Offspring without Patrick. It's like a little bit of grief that I'm still learning to accept and live with (yes I know, he isn't a "real" person, thank you caring husband for reminding me). This season is going to be a tear jerker. The playing with the handmade rocking chair. All the missed moments. It will continue to be the only show, where no talking or disruption of any kind is allowed while it's on, excepting the ad breaks.

In the meantime, while I patiently wait for mid May to come around quickly, all I think I can realistically hope for, is that Nina's constant daydreaming continues throughout this upcoming season. So that I can see Patrick a few more times. Preferably without his top on. Or smiling. Exactly like this.

Hope I'm not asking for too much.

Any guesses on what Nina (and Patrick) might have chosen to name their daughter?

Linking up with Life, Love and Hiccups and Maxabella Loves for their Weekend Rewind.

Monday, 3 March 2014

A Photo Safari { Our Weekend }

I'm doing a four week blogging course with Pip from Meet me at Mikes. It is keeping me a little busy. Tweaking html, setting up to change my blog over to wordpress. My to do list keeps growing longer and longer. And it's all computer related, which isn't my strong point. So finally I'm getting around to completing and posting my first mini assignment. I opted out of the first assignment, which was to post a podcast of yourself on your blog. Let's just say, I did the podcast, and I didn't like the sound of my own voice. Better I stick to writing.

So here it is. My first assignment, which is in truth the second assignment. A photo safari. Five photos that capture my weekend.

Ordinary moments. A nothing special weekend, where lots was achieved around the house and yard. Those kind of catch up, tidy up weekends, that sometimes you need to have every now and again. That completely describes ours.

We recently celebrated our wedding anniversary, and I am loving the colours in the flowers that my husband gave to me.

We watched our big girl ride all the way down the street, and all the way back home for the very first time.

I managed to get through the ever increasing pile of hand washing that was accumulating in my laundry. Anybody else noticing how so many more clothes are now hand wash only? Even children's clothes. It's getting a little ridiculous.

Amelie sat through her first movie, The Little Mermaid. And was mesmerised. (See I told you it was an ordinary type weekend). Me, I couldn't move on from the fact that The Little Mermaid was made in 1989. What?!!! I swear it was the 90's. Watching this movie with Amelie, made me feel rather old.

A little bit of painting with water.

All intertwined with endless cups of tea.

There is something about taking photos of ordinary moments in your weekend that can really make you appreciate the magic and simplicity that is your life. And make you feel entirely grateful for all that you have. Thanks for this assignment Pip, I will definitely do this again x
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