Friday, 31 May 2013

Bake a Sponge!

If I bought a cake every time a birthday happened in this house, I would need to return to paid employment to support the cost!
Sponge cakes are the ultimate birthday cake. Traditional, flavoursome and easy. Able to be decorated or dressed down in any form. I love baking these retro favs! My kids think they are sensational and actually ask for them at birthday time. I am so flattered! Best of all, sponge cake is inexpensive and convenient. No difficult ingredients or complicated steps. No trips to the supermarket either! Yay!
I have two favourite sponge recipes. The first is a traditional recipe. I think it results in a slightly puffier sponge. (Pictured above). The second, photographed in stages below, is my super fast, lazy Mom sponge. Basically a throw it all in the bowl at once, mix and bake type affair. Who doesn't love one of these recipes!
You will need 2 sponge tins. Mine I am so proud of! My husband found a box of retro kitchenware on a junk pile one night in our neighbourhood. They are about 40 years old and I love them! I like to think of the old lady who once owned them, who baked for her own kids' birthdays and then her grandkids! I think they add even more retro cred to my retro baking!

My retro Willow sponge cake tins

If you do not have the said tins do not despair! Any round cake tin will do even if you have only one. You will just need to re-line it with baking paper when the time comes to bake the second cake.

Traditional Sponge

4 eggs, separated
1 cup of caster sugar
1 cup of self-raising flour
1 tablespoon of boiling water

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
Grease, flour and line 2 sponge tins with baking paper. (Or one reg. cake tin to be used twice).
Beat egg whites until thick and add sugar until dissolved.
Beat in egg yolks.
Fold in sifted flour and when blended, add the boiling water.
Divide mixture evenly into the cake tins and bake for 30 mins each.

Two prepared sponges ready for baking

Super-Fast Sponge Cake

To a mixing bowl add:
1 cup of self-raising flour
3/4 cup of caster sugar
3 eggs
60 mls of milk
1 tablespoon of margarine

Beat all ingredients together for a good couple of minutes until smooth.
Divide mixture evenly between your prepared tins and bake at 180 degrees C for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden.

Fill your sponges with jam (and cream too if you wish) and decorate with icing and whatever toppings you prefer for the occasion.
When people gush at your savvy baking ability, you can secretly feel proud that there really was no effort involved to whip this up!
Why not bake it this weekend?!


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Sunday, 26 May 2013

My Week In Pictures...


Celeste is now 6 months old. (Though developmentally she's actually 5 months due to prematurity).
She is now at the stage of becoming bored quickly. Babe always has to be at arm's reach. When no-one else is around on weekdays, I must now lug her about the house. Here she lies on the floor of the boys' room while I clean it. Had to snap this picture as she was pretty happy about the new and exciting room to look at.

Gaming. Endless gaming! My kids are screen addicts.
I baked and decorated this sponge cake for my youngest man.
On Thursday my Taite turned 5!
He enjoyed his cake...

He loved his new Tardis money box

...scooter, volcano making kit, sonic screwdriver...

Indiana excited in the driveway. On our way to an appointment but the prospect of shopping awaits!

A rare, still moment for a Mom and son shot. Still couldn't get the silly faces to stop!
Success! Gorgeous Taity in his new blue coat. Also Tardis blue!
Purchased here
Indiana and Celeste. Here we are in the waiting room at the hospital awaiting an echocardiogram.
Celeste was born with a tiny hole in the heart. She had a heart murmur diagnosed at birth.
Apparently this is common in premature babies. They can no longer detect the murmur when they listen to her heart so we are all hoping it has closed. The scan was fairly quick so I think this will be the result. Fingers crossed!

A happy little team! Nappy bag by Petunia Pickle Bottom in Marigold Medallions purchased online at Nordstrom
You can buy Petunia here in Australia.
Another milestone for Celeste is reached. Here Celeste is having physiotherapy. She had a positional turn - a strong favouring of turning her head to one side. Another common ailment in premature babies. It can lead to head shaping that is asymmetrical. Happily, this week she was officially discharged. Miss has been doing her own working out and corrected her problem herself! Physio was all praise for my efforts but everyone at home knows I really did none of it as I was just too busy!
Following this session she had her immunisations. Not very happy!
What did your week look like?

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Friday, 24 May 2013

A Busy Life...

Let's face it. Life with 6 kids isn't easy. I can assure you it is very far from the world depicted in The Brady Bunch! 
Chaos, noise, fighting, laughter...mess!
It can be difficult to rise and face the endless demands of a few children on a good day. When there's a lot of them, it is even more harrowing. Throw in a bad day and it's just horrendous!
This past fortnight I have been unwell with a virus. Think cold, headache, know the type of unwell I am referring to. It has been tough. Especially since my virus passed itself on to the littlies. More work than usual and less patience from Mom.
Often my daily life is a real slog. It's like an endurance marathon.
Physically, mentally, emotionally I must continue as the central cog in the machine.
I must face whatever the day throws at me regardless of how I feel. Many kids demand that of you. It is rare when I get a true moment of freedom. Usually it is granted when I get really sick; when I am truly bed-bound. When Dad has to take over. Hardly freedom, but a small taste of respite at least.
All Moms share knowledge of this. 

My kids often surprise me when I am falling apart. When I am on the brink of total collapse, one child will spot the signs and step up to the task of being leader. Often this happens without me asking. It may be pulling the younger ones in line, helping to bake the next day's lunchbox treat or even making dinner. Just helping to tidy up is a massive relief.
Sometimes they make it a team effort. All of them will enjoy helping out in whatever capacity they are capable of. It is always a welcome gesture. It makes me feel proud that they have learned some great values and are putting them into practise. 
When motivation is lagging, I don't hesitate to offer rewards. We have a chocolate reward system. Earn it for tidying or getting in bed fastest. Whatever needs doing will be done with the chocolate incentive scheme! It works in the good times and the bad.

Some washing awaiting me at the bottom of the stairs. This is what I found upstairs in bedrooms after I had already done a morning's load! Washing for a family of 8 is an overwhelming experience daily. It is my most detested task!

A second set of arms helps to soothe and entertain Celeste's demands.
Siblings are superb babysitters. Celeste is never happier than when she has her brothers and sister around. A large family is a healthy breeding ground for learning life skills like caring and sharing.

The boys being silly. This is pretty much their typical behaviour, all day long, every day.
It's a long week!

I tried to get a photo of Taite and I on his last night of being 4. It's supposed to be an embrace but looks more like restraint! Impossible! 

The view from the top of the stairwell. My laundry chute. To make a dull job exciting, I try to toss it when I know it will land on a child!

Sparkling moments. Nursing Celeste makes a special time for me to sit with her and just be.
Thank god for this quiet blessing!

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Sunday, 19 May 2013

My Week in Pictures

Any morning, this sweet face...
After school go-carting on the balcony...

Can you imagine the noise?

Bedtime woes

A cake baked and photo snapped for a competition

Mother's Day

and cuteness!

Selfies with Celeste and Taite


Bubble blowing!

A sisterly moment

Monday brings an Autumn scene

One of the bonuses of blogging is seeing your life in pictures.
It gives me perspective to photograph our day to day tedium, challenges and fun. From these images I can glimpse both how we seem to the world and how the world seems to us, especially through my children's eyes. It reinforces my Mom role. Am I doing okay? Are the kids enjoying their childhoods?
Moms often miss out on many of the little things. We are so busy cleaning up after everyone and taking care of our bubbas that we miss the most special moments in the mayhem.
Having six children has helped me live in the moment, but I still miss bits. Looking back at these images makes me certain I will linger longer to see the fun when the giggles are next happening!

What did your week look like?

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Thursday, 16 May 2013

From Little Things Big Things Grow


Pictured is my daughter Indiana at her primary school graduation night.
Indiana was born in April of 2000. My wobbly and exciting launch into motherhood began with her.
She was and remains both my student and teacher as the saying goes. My first born. My baby who grew and grows too fast!
Raising a daughter is such a gorgeous experience. The mother / daughter relationship is a very special one indeed.
For Moms,
Daughters are the keepers of memories and traditions.
Daughters are great friends and helpers.
Daughters are fantastic to share shopping experiences,
have girlie giggles with,
confide in.
We share sneaky-girlie chocolate treats too!
(I know about your many secret trips to the pantry to eat the chocolate spread straight from the jar. Or the chocolate chips for baking! Or any other sugar filled thing that may contain taste potential)!

I had no way of knowing when Indiana arrived, that she would be followed by four brothers!
Since I had set out to have two children only, she was to be indulged.
Indiana took the arrival of each brother in her stride. She adored them as babies and liked them to varying degrees further down the track.
As siblings do!
In the meantime I snarled at my man for not encouraging me to dress her in pink perfection!
Instead I opted for sensible options like blues and neutrals which could be passed onto a boy (someday)? I still have those red Hello Kitty Mary Janes purchased in Shanghai when she was just 6 months old. I carefully stored them in the belief that another 'girl' child of ours might wear them.
Through it all, Indiana continued to hope for a sister.
Another girl in the house to play with.
To share her stuff with.
You can imagine her excitement when on the 29th of November 2012, the news was given to her of Celeste's arrival!
I love the photo above of their first cuddle and a wish come true.
For me, memories long forgotten of raising a daughter have returned.
What a joy they are!
Having another girl in my life has been a slow dawning. Even as I write, the gravity of her presence is becoming known to me. It continues to grow.
Another keeper of memories.
Another to share with and pass on, the family traditions we create together.
Another bonus for me has been the dress up doll I can play with all over again! I am indulging my every girlie desire, along with Indiana, to make this little princess look gorgeous!
Some recent acquisitions:

The retro yellow pea coat

The butter yellow vest

The velour indigo overalls with owl and birdie trims

Outfits purchased at

Pumpkin Patch Australia

Australian Women Bloggers Directory by Blog Chicks

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