Thursday, December 20, 2012

Homeschool preschool

This year, I had hoped Peanut could to go to a preschool for three or four days a week. I wanted her to have some structure in her days and the experience of being outside the home and in a learning environment with her peers so the transition to "big school" would not come as such a shock.

Unfortunately, given our move, this was not going to happen. I did find her a school, and she will be attending, but it is only two days a week, and the classroom set up is so fluid they don't even have a designated time for lunch. It isn't what I had intended at all!

So I have an alternate plan.

Peanut will attend two days of school a week. She will associate with her peers, learn the realities if a hierarchical playground pecking order, and gain further confidence in being away from her family for hours at a stretch.

But the remaining three "school" days a week, we'll be homeschooling, complete with a schedule that involves set times for snacks! It's the best I can do in the position we are in, and hopefully it will be sufficient to set Peanut up for success.

We'll do literacy and numeracy every day (even preschool days, they don't seem to do much at school...) then on non-school days, we'll have PT and science one day, geography and art the next, then finally history and music. I know that sounds very scheduled, and it's meant to, but it's a schedule for me only. The actual lessons will be play based, last around half an hour (or more... or less... depending on interest level!) and start with provocations. I not a fan of piles of busy-work worksheets, I don't think they actually help much with retention. If I have my way, Peanut will barely realise she's "doing school".

I'm excited to start early in the new year, and no doubt I'll write about it here, so feel free to follow along!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Preparing kids for the move

I have a two year old and a three year old.

Thus far, they have been unfailing excited about the upcoming move, even though it has involved giving away their trampoline, throwing out three tricycles (who needs five bikes for two kids? After all, they can only ride one at once. It was getting crazy.) and leaving the schools they love and their first real self-chosen friends.

So how did we do it? How have we kept the whole thing positive? Here are my tips and tricks:

Start early. Many guides advise keeping the information about the move to from the children until just a few weeks before. I wholeheartedly disagree -- this is not the kind of thing to spring on your family. We began talking about the move about six months ago. There is a lot of administrative work to be done to move a whole family to a different state, especially when that move is being arranged through work, and all their additional layers of bureaucracy. This meant plenty of discussion between my husband and I, and if we hadn't introduced the idea to the children early on, they would have figured something was up and possibly worried unnecessarily.

Use props and play. When we first started talking about the move, I made the girls a book. It was just paper stapled together, and drawn with markers and crayons, and was very quick and simple to put together.  It used the girls names, and outlined what would happen during the move in story format. You know, the usual:
"Once upon a time there where two little girls called Peanut and Bug, who lived in a big house with their Mummy and Daddy and dogs and fish. One day, Daddy's job moved to Sydney, and so the whole family decided to move too. 
Removalists came to the house and packed everything that Peanut and Bug and Mummy and Daddy owned into boxes, then put them in a big truck. Then Mummy and Daddy and Peanut and Bug and the dogs and fish got into their cars, and followed the big truck on a long drive to Sydney. They were lucky and stayed the night in a fancy hotel. 
Then the next day the removalists unpacked all their things in the new house. Because Peanut and Bug were such a big help during the move, they were allowed to sleep in the same bedroom at their lovely new house!"
Then we brought out the Tonka trucks, and the girls spent the morning packing the dolls house into the truck and moving it around the playroom.

The story, written with their names in, and then the concrete modelling of the move really helped their understanding, and allowed me to identify and clear up any misconceptions they may have had about the move.

Show them the new house. This is easy if you are moving locally, but we're moving interstate. So when Dad went to the open house he took plenty of photos. We added these to the real estate agent photos, and regularly scroll through these on the computer. We have shown the girls their new room, their bathroom and the courtyard. They know the new house has stairs, and that we won't be able to play on the grass-out-the-front anymore, as there isn't any - it's a road. All these things help to manage expectations, and they feel familiar with the property before they have even set foot in the place. I also talk up the positives: "Look, this garden bed is empty, will you help me to choose the flowers for it? We can plant them together." and "Wow, that looks like a great corner for your art table! What do you think?"

We've also been cruising the neighbourhood on Google Street View finding the best route to the library, pointing out the new sushi shop and looking at the supermarket where we've ordered the Christmas ham. The girls are excited to arrive and see it all in person! (I don't know how I'm going to explain the shop-with-the-pole-dancing-ladies-painted on though - small steps. I keep having reminders that we're moving to the middle of a proper big city.)

Find them matching activities. Peanut currently does playschool and swimming lessons, so I have placed a great deal of importance on finding her matching activities in our new location. She will still be attending a preschool two days a week, and she will swim too. But we are adding dancing lessons as a reaction to living in a small house, much further from our local park - there will be limited space to groove in the house, and she does love an exuberant, flinging boogie. (Different to flinging boogers, thank goodness. That's the two year old's domain.)

Introduce the new school early. To ease nerves (hers and mine) I dragged the whole family on a six hour round trip to attend Peanut's new school's open day. This allowed her to meet her new teachers, find her way around the playground and classrooms, find and use the toilet (more important that you might imagine - that can be a real source of concern to young kids!) and feel happy and confident about the new school situation. Then, and I think this is vital, she could go back to her old school and tell her current teachers all about it. This allowed them to make all the usual positive mumbles (from trusted adults that aren't a parental unit, and are seen as school experts) about how good it sounds, and how much fun she will have, and how excited they are for her, which really reinforced the message.

Talk talk talk. Every evening I ask the girls if they have any questions. These have ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous (no, we aren't taking the toilet... yes, we have to take the dog.) but it keeps the communication channels open. I must have run through the timeline for the move a thousand times if I have done it once. (Tuesday pack, Wednesday put-it-in-the-truck, Thursday drive, Friday unpack... then Christmas! Yay!) I figure the more we talk, the more they know... and knowledge, in this case, is reassuring.

So that, for what it's worth, are my tips on a happy move with young children. I have two very excited  girls just waiting for the big truck here, happy to discard their trampoline to make it happen, so it's working well for us. I'm off to clean the blinds before we move... until next time!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Great Clutter Clear of 2012

We're onto our second skip bin of pre-move dumpage.

It's very confronting moving from a large house into a tiny cottage. You suddenly have the requirement to assess every item you own for functionality. We've culled considerably.

I've made some questionable choices. Do we need six smallish-but-unstackable plastic cauldrons for Halloween? Undoubtedly! But an exercise bike? Naaaaaahhh...

It's a very virtuous feeling to have a house free of clutter. I've scoured out all the "man-drawers". (Well, except two, a boy does need a dumping-ground, and one upstairs and one downstairs is actually a preventative measure. It gives defined limits to the spread of used batteries, old library cards from other states, locks without keys and keys without locks, and a web of ipod earphones.

Here, Michael McIntyre knows what I mean:

Meanwhile, the mass clear out has been confronting for the children, too.

We had to give away the trampoline. It would have taken up more than half the outside space of the cottage, and it wasn't even particularly large. Luckily we could offload it to a good friend who just moved into the neighbourhood. The gaining and losing daddies made quite the spectacle carrying it off down the middle of the road, and as the three year old watched it go, a little sob or two escaped...

I thought "here we go" (she hadn't reacted negatively to the move at all yet) and knelt down to comfort her. Her bottom lip was quivering, but she was trying to hold it all together. She looked at me searchingly: "Mama, but... I don't WANT to give Daddy away!" Poor kid! Once she realised Daddy would be home again in five minutes, she was totally fine, happily waved goodbye to the trampoline and headed inside to play.

So our house feels empty. We're rattling around inside it, and we're ready to move. Roll on Tuesday!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Refocus. Refresh. Renew.

I've spent the last two years trying to live the life of a country housewife.

As a massive over-reaction to leaving my job to be a full time stay-at-home-mother and homemaker, I threw myself into the role. 

I learnt to bake bread, kept two delightful chickens, and taught myself to sew. I cloth nappied, sang the praises of cleaning with bicarb and vinegar, and making my own laundry detergent. And the whole time, I blogged. I suspect I was trying to justify myself. 

But the "Accidental Housewife" blog grew stale, and became more of a persona that authentically me. So it's time for a refocus - I'm starting fresh.

The blog is getting a slight facelift and a rename. I'll still be "The Accidental Housewife" but the blog will be CityCottage. 

It's a good time to do it - we're moving house in a week. Moving from our Canberra sprawl to a tiny inner city cottage in Sydney. Moving from three bedrooms to two. Moving from the house that welcomed home our littlest baby and our newest puppy. Moving from the friends that the children and I have made at playgroup and playschool. 

But I am excited. So excited! From all reports, the cottage looks lovely. (I haven't even seen it yet - just some slightly blurry photos taken by my husband, from at least a foot higher than my normal perspective. He's tall!) 

The area is the kind of trendy suburb that caused professions of undying jealously from the heavily tattooed, dedicated hipster gentleman behind the postal counter, when processing my change of address application. (Is that good? I'm still deciding.) And it really is incredibly central, in one of the most exciting cities in Australia. The zoos, the museums, the aquarium, the parks... all beyond compare. And the beaches! Woo!

So this iteration of the blog, unlike my last solely housewifely focussed ramblings, will be about our CityCottage. The move, our settling in and the subsequent insane shuffling of belongings trying to fit them all in, and then on to raising my girls and life in the big city. I hope you choose to follow along!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I'm tanned. Unnaturally tanned. FAKE tanned.

And frankly? I look awesome.

This is not awesome. I do not look like this.
It took a while for me to come around to embracing the concept. I am firmly of the belief that real tans are "skin cells in trauma" (thank you Australian Cancer Council)  and it seems a bit silly to me to walk around all fakely-brown, perpetuating and supporting the brown-as-a-fashion-statement movement. But I like the way I look when I'm tanned. It suits my face, it suits my hair, it makes me look toned and thinner. Never mind that my clothes all look great against tanned skin.

However, I want my daughters to love themselves the way they are, without artifice. I work hard at it. I praise my own body so they learn it's ok to love theirs. I emphasize "clean and neat" over pretty when they are getting dressed. But I wear makeup regularly, and is a fake tan much different? I'm a walking brown contradiction.

Crunch time came when we had a fancy ball coming up for Mr Accident's work. He loves to take me out when we are both glammed up, so we decided I should have a tan to polish the look.

Now, I am something of a tanning virgin. I have had one fake tan before but it was a good ten years ago, pre kids, pre marriage, but not pre-Mr A. He remembered the tan lines and he liked it. He was looking forward to his wife coming home brown. But probably not as brown as I was when I strolled back in through the door....

It is impossible to maintain much dignity in a fake tan studio. The tanner asks you to hold poses like you're stopping two lanes of traffic, pretending you have bear claws, then tickling the sky. You're sprayed with a concoction named after a tropical cocktail, then fanned with what appear to be turbines stolen from an unsuspecting jet.

And even though you have asked for "just a touch of colour" you will walk back out that door as brown as an acorn. I also walked out sans undergarments, at the tanner's suggestion, which meant I felt like a thorough freak. I scuttled back to the car through the back streets and alleys, clutching my purse to my chest, dark enough to blend into the shadows. But I'm sure that's a common enough sight around that shop! (Actually, on a second perusal of the photo above, I was about that brown. And wearing about that many undergarments....)

Once I was home I disregarded the tanner's eight-hours-until-showers rule and jumped straight in and scrubbed. Luckily, the acorn brown faded to a golden glow, and I was fit to be seen in public again.

Alas my dignity was in for yet another blow. As I stepped from the shower and leant over to dry myself, Mr A asked what the strange white lines on my bum were. Turns out the tan lines he was looking for had multiplied - last time I had a tan, my butt was... ahem... just ever so slightly higher. This time, the new creases back there had left white gaps on my legs. I had pale butt whiskers! I don't think I've laughed so hard in weeks. Perhaps the tanner should add "bowing" to her list of tan poses.

So, my friends, do you tan?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On time and teapots

I stopped blogging for a month to see if I missed it.

I did. A bit.

I didn't miss the time it chewed up.

I didn't miss the self-imposed obligation to post daily.

I had an undercurrent of dissatisfaction that was growing steadily stronger. I would feel inspired to post, but then I would need a post for that day, so instead of producing something well thought out and rounded, I'd blat out a sub standard missive which usually failed to impress me, let alone my readers.

I am inspired to write by reading. Everything from Roman legends to trashy crime. It lights a fire in me, and replaces the words I spill onto the page. But I didn't have time to read because each time I sat I was required again to write.

And I loved the community developing, but I didn't have the time to actually read the blogs of the people with whom I felt this kinship. Heck, I was even starting to neglect my real life friendships.

So I stopped. Enough. A month away. And it did me so much good.

But what did I do instead?

I made a canvas doll for Peanut. My grandmother had given me a doll kit when I had my first daughter, and it had sat unused in the sewing room for years. I finally dragged it out and cobbled together a very simple and sturdy lady, with a plethora of lacy undergarments and a horribly complex dress. Peanut loves it. I can't stand the sight of it, because I embroidered the face on crooked and it looks like it's scheming.

I made jam, another skill I had been putting off trying.  I found cheap and delicious strawberries and some practically free mason jars, and made four pots. Peanut refuses to eat it, but it has had rave reviews from everyone else.  I'm pretty sure Bug thinks it's ambrosia, and I would happily eat it five times a day. I gave a pot to my friend and a pot to my neighbour, and then went home and washed the sticky red remnants off my kitchen ceiling. (Posie, I'm considering that jam as my entry in your Olympic Food Challenge. I know it's not mussels, and I know it's a month late, but it's both tricky and delicious, so in my mind it counts.)

I've started teaching Peanut basic reading. She's taken to it very enthusiastically and can put plenty of simple words together. Watching her figure it out and actually finish (awl-by-mysewf!) some simple books is fantastic. One of my great dreams for my children is that they grow to be inquisitive, and love the words that can show them the answers.

Another great dream of mine is for Bug to be toilet trained. We're well on the way - she has had numerous successes, and about two misses a day. Unfortunately, for all her accuracy, she is very very frequent. Every twenty minutes frequent. There's not much time left in the day when a third of it is taken up by rushing on the call of "Maaaa! Wees in toi-yet!" Additionally, Bug has realised that a successful attempt brings reimbursement. I'm pretty sure that child is now 98% Smarties (you are what you eat) and I am also beginning to suspect she's gaming the system. Well, more power to her. As long as I'm not changing nappies I don't mind, and I'm sure the novelty of hours on the loo will soon wear thin. I hope.

We're moving to Sydney at the end of the year. We still don't have a house. I was reading "The Female Brain" this morning (a very interesting book, and not as short as Mr A insists it should be.) Apparently as a woman I am programmed to see any minor hiccup like this as a major threat, akin to a tiger at the door of my den, and stress far more than is actually reasonable. I concur with this assessment. I'm mildly freaking out. I'm in a tizzy. I want a house, and I want it by yesterday. I think it might be time for a cup of tea.

A cup of tea from my new teapot! I turned thirty, and this is EXACTLY what I wanted. Mr A came through, and I am one very happy lady.

So, to sum up, I took a break, it was nice, I kept busy, I am back, but I won't be posting here quite as often. Allons-y!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Once we went a walking...

I took my girls a walking, a walking in the woods...

Well, the bush, anyway. We'd set out from home on what was a beautiful sunny day in our local micro climate, but once we hit the local mountain it was COLD. Clearly when Jack Frost gets booted from the sunny lowlands, he takes to the hills. I took this photo just before lunch!

Bug took to the hills too. She took a while to find her feet on the rocky ground (that was a bit distressing for a scrub-raised kid like me, I'm inadvertently raising little city slickers!) but she soon hit her straps and took off. Way off. The kind of "off" where you eventually think you should call her back, but then she just looks round cheekily and keeps on running... 

I had brought some index cards for Peanut to record interesting things. She was busy sticking down all the different kinds of leaves she could find, when Bug brought her a rock. So she stuck that too. Funny monkey.

Nice views, eh bro? (I may be watching some kiwi's-taking-over-the-Gold-Coast show while I type. It's terrible. I highly recommend it.)

We built a little lean-to as a play house. The girls wanted to live there forever. Bug crawled in, flopped down on her back, and refused to come out again. I think she was knackered after all her running away. Which is a bit rich, really, because she had actually been carried most of the walk. Otherwise right now we would still be at the trail head, looking at interesting pebbles, instead of home watching "quality" tv.

Pfft. Quality TV. Who am I kidding? If I'm not careful, the kids will pick up on this trash subliminally while they sleep, and I'll end up with two little duck-faced teeny boppers...

Oh no. Too late.

Friday, August 17, 2012


My children come from a long line of runners. And by runners, I don't mean sporty-race runners (although we do that too). I mean toddler runners. Running from mum runners. And we're quick ones, at that.

Here is a delightful photo of my aunt as a child. Note the industrial strength leather harness. From my experience with dogs, I assume it's because she managed to chew through her previous cloth lead.

I was given a harness for Bug the other day. I welcomed it - the giver loves my girls as much as I do, and would be equally pained to see them run into danger. But the gift made me think. Why have I never had a harness for my girls before?

I can see the positives. Knowing your child is safe and attached in an airport or near a busy road would be very reassuring. Let alone when you are trying to concentrate on something in public, and then you look up to find your children have wandered away! But by the same token I have seen a mother haul on a harness like it was attached to a recalcitrant dog, pulling her small son around the supermarket while he stumbled along behind her, crying.

I am the woman who refused to buy a GPS until I could map-to-ground perfectly, and who didn't want a dishwasher. I am wary of things that seem too easy, and I fear that if I used a harness I would fall into bad habits.

In my limited experience, taking the "easy" road with child training usually ends up being harder in the long run. I would prefer to take the time to teach my girls the correct behavior the first time, and then reap the rewards afterwards. It seems easier than putting off the training until later, when they are already set in their ways. Besides, the smaller they are, the easier I can catch them and scoop them up while they are still learning!

I also come at this from the relative luxury of having just two intelligent, healthy children. I understand that it would be markedly different if the child had a physical or mental impairment, or if there were multiple small children in a family.

Once Bug had learnt to walk, she immediately wanted to run. And she wanted to run unencumbered by my hand. Usually in a busy car park. I took the time (and it did take time) to teach her that she either held my hand when I asked, or she was carried. No arguments, no debating or crying, no other options. If she wanted to walk, then the default was holding hands. And if she wanted to run? She had to ask. No pulling away, no darting off. So now she says "Mama? Run mummy? No hand?" And it's wonderful. I let her loose as often as I can, but I like knowing she will be safe with me - and importantly any one else she walks with - just holding hands. So it's lucky our new harness is also a handy backpack, disguised as a very cute puppy. It's still getting plenty of use and love!

On a related note, I have also trained my girls to keep both their hands on the car when they are in the car park. It keeps them safe, but it's also funny to see them lined up like little hoodlums in a police raid. Hey, I get my kicks where I can.

So, gentle reader, did you harness your children? Will you harness? Were you harnessed?
Or, like me, do you prefer not to?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stress. I need some.

Sometime I wish my jobs here at home were just a little bit...harder.

It's terrible when I've had one of those niggly, annoying days. The kind of day when it took me Two Whole HOURS to get the the bottom of the laundry folding pile (a trip away will do that) and then I wander in to Peanut playing next door, only to find I now need to refold all Bug's clothes too (Peanut needed clothes for her teddies, apparently. They were very well dressed.)

The kind of day where we escaped the housework and fled to the park, only to find it already over run by a particular local family I find to be totally out of synch with mine - the kind of family where the mother says "oh, I love long day care, it means I can get rid of the kids from 7am until 6pm!" Shudder.

The kind of day when I am expecting Mr A home for family pizza night, but he messages to say he'll be late home at 6, and then calls at 6 to say he'll be even later...  Poor Mr A.

And there's the rub.

None of my issues are particularly stressful. Nothing is very hard about folding laundry or park socializing or making pizza solo. And that's the problem!! It might be annoying to me, but do you think I get one iota of sympathy when Mr A staggers in after saving the world, juggling millions of dollars of equipment and organising hundreds of men, sending them to far flung places? No siree Bob. No sympathy.

Not. One. Bit.


I need a harder job, so I get bubble baths run for me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cutest Party EVER!

Ok team, here's the plan. 

Find two sisters. Have them live really far apart. 

Like Perth - Venice far apart.  

Then have them give birth to their children at around the same time. Make the kids a girl and a boy. Wait a year, then have everyone gather together at the grandparent's house for a ridiculously cute first birthday party.

You'll need the basics - a Women's Weekly Birthday Cake number one cake. 

Wait... let's make it two cakes, one in pink, one in blue. (Put them on separate cake boards, so no one confuses a joint first birthday with that of a transgendered eleven year old. You can never be too careful.)

Order in the biggest, sugary cupcakes you can find, because dude, those things have glitter on them. Glitter! 

And add gourmet party pies, sausage rolls and the best pasties in Western Australia. 

Better get someone to make fairy bread... and lollies, too please!

Find an engineer with heaps of spare time and a hankering to DO something, and get him to hang your decorations. This ensures perfect uniformity, and gets Uncle Seb out of everyone's hair for at least three hours - engineers get it right the first time, but damn, they take their time.

Finally, add in a liberal sprinkling of helium balloons (don't let the teenage hooligan take them outside and let them go, you'll have none left) and then invite over the absolute plethora of people who love those two little babies. It will be a total hit!

{Word of warning. If you just happen to be visiting this party with a three year old and a one year old, for example, and you leave the three year old in the care of her Papa while you put the one year old to bed, make EXTRA SURE that while you're gone, said three year old doesn't consume more than one cupcake. Two is probably too many, three definitely so. In fact, three will probably cause those cupcakes to be regurgitated all over you and your shared bed six hours later. How do I know these things? Intuition. Certainly not hard won experience. Ahem. In other news, I may never be able to eat pink cupcakes again.}

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Absence Note

Dear Interwebs, 

please excuse         Mrs Accident        
for her absence on the         last week           
as she was        visiting relatives in Perth.        

Ahhh Perth. Sunny, sunny Perth.

T-shirts to the park Perth.

Picking all the grandparent's cumquats Perth.

Teaching little sisters how to do somersaults Perth.

You wouldn't believe me if I told you I'm glad to be home, would you? 

But I am. 

(Even if the temperature difference is about 20 degrees!) 

Home sweet home. 

And blog sweet blog... 

I'll be back tomorrow with some pictures of the cutest party ever thrown. 

See you then!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Snark on Pinterest

One thing that truly surprises me is the lack of snark on Pinterest, especially considering the pins and commentary are all public.  When I'm having a bitchy day myself, it's so hard not to jump in and write back. I want to bring a bit of honesty to the medium. I want to get on there and go "really? REALLY?!"

Hey pinner, I bet you're not really "Making this ASAP!" You're probably just snugged on your couch pushing "refresh pins". That's not ASAP. Get cooking.

That marinated vegetable salad does NOT look delicious, you fibber.

I sincerely doubt your half baked exercise routine produced that exquisitely tan, toned tummy you have used as the pin picture.

Adding boatloads of food colouring to your kids food to make it "exciting" is not a good parenting decision.

And don't get me started on the "OMG so CUTE!!1! ^.^ Squee!" people insist on writing on their nail art photos. It's fancy paint on dead skin. Go do something constructive like solving world hunger, or blogging something. Geez.

I could go on for hours.

I realise I'm probably the only person in the universe who has these evil Pinterest commenting compulsions. Better call the men in white coats.

I'll snark them, too.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Cloth Nappies

Cloth nappies!! HUZZAH!!

We love our cloth nappies at Casa Accidental. If you've somehow attained a lovely young sprog, or are about to have one join your family, hopefully this post will inspire you to give cloth nappies a go. 

There are many different types of cloth nappies. A good description of the different types is here. I'm not going to go into a debate on different styles and their merits, it's been done, but I will tell you what I like about ours. 

We use modern pocket nappies. There is a fleece inner layer that wicks moisture faster than any disposable nappy I have found. Small bums stay seriously dry. (Big bums probably would too, but my sprogs are both bumless wonders. I can empathise. It's a genetic flaw from my side of the family. There is no juice in our caboose, no junk in our trunk... but I digress.)

The outer layer is waterproof, and the inside is an absorbent, removable bamboo insert. 

I love the removability. It means they are quicker to dry than other all-sewn-in nappies. Even so, I have twice as many inners than outers (following me?) so they can take their sweet time and languish on the line if they choose. 

Let's run through the washing process. First, find a small child and get them to soil your nappy... 

Tip the solids into the toilet (you should be doing that with your disposables, anyway. Don't put poop in the bin, people! Gross.) The microfibre means this is super easy, but if you are really squeamish you can buy flushable liners. I don't know if these would effect the wicking as we haven't tried them. I have visions of people rapidly stuffing a liner down the back of little Billy's nappy-rash-prone bottom when he pulls a "poop face"... 

Now here is our change table on an idle Wednesday, scratches and all. Pure reality. Yes, it is in the shower. This is the only place in the girl's bathroom it would fit. It's super handy, unless Sarah is staying over and needs a shower!

You'll notice the tightly lidded bucket down the bottom - that's for the dirties. I separate the inner and outer, and put them both in there. I "dry pail", no soaking here.

You'll also notice the messy pile of nappies on the upper shelf:

Pre-folding is for chumps, I build as I go. It doesn't take long and Bug likes the extra seconds of singing while she's on the table.

I wash the nappies on their own in a hot wash, with just a teaspoon of laundry powder and a big splash of vinegar in the rinse. The vinegar kills any nasties, and also strips any remaining soap so the inners stay beautifully absorbent.

In winter I dry the insides in the clothes dryer, with a dry towel or two to speed things up (damn Canberra weather). Summer they go on the line. The outers go over the shower rail above the change table. Handy!

(See that pink bottle of stain remover there? Also handy - keep your stain remover where you undress, so you remember to spray before you leave your clothes in the hamper. It's heaps easier than hunting through the load when you're about to wash it, and gives the stains plenty of pre-treatment time.)

And that's that.

All up, cloth nappies mean about one extra load of washing every two days or so, which isn't much in this house. The drying in winter can add up, but we still come out in front compared to the cost of buying disposables. It cost about $750 to set up my cloth nappy stash, which sounds like a lot (I bought about 12 in each of three different sizes, however they are now available in more adjustable sizes that do birth to toilet training).

But consider this: those nappies have done both girls. I have calculated the cost of disposables, and for two kids they came out at about $4500. FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS! We've saved enough for a holiday, even factoring in washing costs. Score!

Did you cloth nappy? Will you?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Soap Holder Tutorial

I've seen some awesome soap making tutorials around. 

This is not one of them. Given the best soap makers beg you not to have children and small animals in the way while you create, it's clearly not something I'm meant to be attempting. 

Instead, this is a tutorial for a soap holder. Bug likes to sneak into the bathroom and dig her fingers into our lovely lavender soap, gouging out chunks and smearing it onto her face. The only upside is she smells divine. 

Since I couldn't find a reasonably priced, wall mounted, plastic soap dish in any of the stores I frequent, I decided to DIY. Here's how:

You will need a face washer / flannel / wash cloth (oh, what-ever-you-want-to-call-it. Bob.) and a small loop of ribbon or elastic. 

Take your Bob and chop it in half, and put half to one side. You won't need it.

Chopped in half. I made two - one to use, one as a spare.
Fold your remaining cloth into thirds, with the raw edge at one end.

Now we are going to sew up the raw end. I ran a straight stitch then trimmed and zig zagged over the end:

These are obviously not my actual stitches - mine are far bigger and uglier ;)

Then, once you're all sewn, turn it inside out.

It should look like this!

Now, if you want a hanging loop, grab your elastic or ribbon and stitch the ends together.

Stitched up. 
Pin your loop into the corner of your cloth, far enough in to be caught in a seam...

...and then run that seam along the open end.

You can see the seam here.
And there you have it! A lovely purple soap holder bag for our lovely lavender soap.

The soap will take a second or two to maneuver into the bag, but it is also just tricky enough a toddler can't maneuver it back out. Success!

So, gentle reader, did your kids ever get into the soap or similar? My dog ate a whole bottle of olive oil once. Now that was an experience!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


We went ahead and planted our tree on the weekend.

It was hard to find a spot, given it is supposed to grow 12 metres tall and be quite spreadish, but I eventually picked a place by the letter box Not too close to impede our local postie, not too close to the road to make trouble.

I love using a shovel. Almost as much as I love using a mattock. There is something so satisfying about driving it into the dirt and turning up clods. 

I suffer from Bunn-nesia. It's the mind fog that occurs when you wander into the local hardware store (Bunnings, in this case) and can't recall a single thing you actually need. Instead you find yourself buying miniature painted wooden ducks on sticks, or more twine. This time I was suckered in by tiny metal watering cans for the girls that match mine - purple for Peanut, green for Bug. Hopefully they will last a bit longer than our old plastic one. It faded and fell apart in a matter of months. Panzer may have had a hand in speeding it's demise...

Of course once the tree was in and watered, there was mud.

So. Much. Mud.

The girls stomped in it and ran up and down the path comparing muddy footprint sizes and generally getting dirty. I had to wash Peanut's jacket after she lost a boot in the sucking ooze, stumbled backwards down the mild slope and landed on her bum in a puddle. She thought it was HIGH-larious. 

I reckon this little adventure will become an annual Accidental celebration, to be added to the annals of time with "Happy Ham Day*".

Hooray for Tree Day!

{*There was no ham at Christmas one year. Mr A was gutted, so I bought one in the post Christmas sales. And so it passed - Happy Ham Day now fills the long, tortuous gap between the celebrations of New Years and Australia Day. Because to go without a party for a whole 25 days is just unthinkable!}

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Everything I hate about 50 Shades of Grey

So I read 50 Shades of Grey on the weekend. I finished it as much "in one sitting" as it is possible for a mother of two small children to pull off without endangering her kids. The first chapter is truly terribly written, but I kept on going because I hadn't reached the sex yet, but by the time I did I was too far in to extricate myself. It reached the point where I was reading as quickly as possible, just so I could mercifully reach the end.

It made me cross. Not just because of the writing, the heroine's constant "inner goddess" twaddle or the annoying lip biting, but because of the example this, the fastest selling paperback of all time, is setting to younger women. I was disturbed to learn that it is popular among "teenage girls and college women". Is this going to be the first literary erotic role modeling these girls have? Will it shape their views on how relationships are supposed to work? Will the popularity of this book mean the gents assume this is what all women want in real life? I'm terrified for them all.

First up, pedophilia. Never acceptable. Even if it is between a teenage son of a crack whore and his adopted mother's friend, and somehow "saved" him. What a crock. This is exactly the kind of crap pedophiles tell themselves to justify their actions, and having it defended repeatedly in this book (by the main, exceptional successful, character no less) is deplorable.

In a tale about BDSM the power imbalance is obviously going to be a key plot point, but the power imbalance here extends way outside the bedroom. When our two main players meet he is a billionaire company owner while she is a broke college girl. She requires his approval in order to complete a task for her overbearing room mate, least she endangers her cushy living conditions.

The power starts and remains completely in his hands. As the novel plays out he constantly reminds her by buying ludicrously expensive gifts that she feels uncomfortable accepting, probably because she realises he is not lavishing affection, but rather reinforcing his power. This is further underlined by him constantly knowing her location and home addresses. Even she calls it stalking.

But what can Anastasia do? She has brought herself up on a steady diet of historical British novels, where the heroine's first love is usually her one true love, and they then live out their happily ever after.

And, after all, Anastasia does think she is in love. With a man she has known for a week or two. That, ladies and gentlemen, is called hormones. Just hormones. How can she possibly love him in that time frame?

And if she hadn't run (after he beat her) when the heady mix of pheromones wears thin she would find herself firmly ensconced in a relationship with a man who gets off on her pain.  A man who is willing to boldly confront a virgin with a contract about sticking his fist up her bum, and then smack her with a belt a few days later. And she will be trapped there by her own upbringing - striving to "fix" him, looking for her happily ever after, and no doubt failing miserably.

It concerns me deeply that this kind of novel is being so widely read and lauded. Yes, it has sex scenes, but it is not sexy. There is nothing sexy about such an imbalanced, unhealthy relationship.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Shapewear.  Ughh. I've succumbed to the ravages.

First up, here is an interesting link: Chuck Norris Jokes

Right, now all the lads are gone, let's crack on, shall we? After Peanut, my body bounced back. It might have been all the exercise. (She was too small to complain when I stuffed her in a stroller for hours at a time. Things have changed.) It might have been the smaller meals. (Mr A was away for 8 months, so I ate like a girl.) Or it might have been that after one child, your body still recalls what it used to look like. Whatever the reason, I rejoiced.

This time? Not so much. There was no bounce. More like a weighty flop. And after almost two years of looking at my abs beseechingly (for my abs beseechingly, more like) I've finally realised that, until a minor miracle occurs and my diet and exercise become supportive of my midsection, nothing is going to change.

Which of course, while true, is absolutely no help to me now. I have parties to attend, dammit! Frocks to rock!

So I purchased what Mr Accident kindly calls Vanity Pants. I justified it by finding a 1940s quote on the net, something along the lines of "If you find yourself needing supportive undergarments, then for the sake of humanity, just go and bloody buy some!" I may be paraphrasing. 

Shimmying into the underwear shop took some bravery. I'm not a fancy-knicker-buyer at the best of times, and these were not the best times. I found the shapewear section by aiming for the large wall of beige. From the descriptions on the labels, those pants could do anything. Whittle this, lift that... I was starting to think I was buying a handy western cowboy. Perhaps he could whittle me a saddle to sit atop my waistly saddle bags.

I figured the "light control" pants wouldn't cut it, and steered straight to the industrial strength. And I bypassed the little underpant shaped ones, honing in on a set that run bum to boob. In beige. With seams. SO sexy. I was hoping that, by having the end of the pants as far away from the fat as possible, the chub would just even itself out and I would avoid spillage.

No such luck. Somehow (in a way that totally defies my understanding) the roll of blubber from my tummy migrates to two small pouches under my arms. It's warm. It's soft. It's in the wrong place. It's confusingBut, it's still an improvement. 

I'm sold. My jeans look better, my fancy frocks skim instead of stick, and my only regret is I didn't buy another pair.

So, you lot. Do you wear shapewear? Do let me know, so we can admire our under-arm bulges together...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tree Day

Australians don't tend to over-complicate nomenclature. "Oh look, it's a brown snake! What'll we call it? Brown snake? Well, that makes sense to me..." 

Brown snake
(image from here)

"So we've built this flash bridge. It's over the Sydney Harbour..."

The Sydney Harbour Bridge
(image from here)

And don't forget "red belly black snakes", "red back spiders" and "the Great Sandy Desert." Yup, we're just a regular font of imagination, down here. (This makes me feel better about Peanut naming her horse "Horse" and her fish "Fish". It's in her blood.)

So when our delightful northern cousins decided to have Arbour Day celebrations, I can just imagine the confusion that generated Down Under. "Arbour Day? What the flaming heck is THAT? Oh, planting trees? Yeah, we'll be in on that... but only if we can call it Tree Day."  And so it came to pass.

It's National Tree Day this week - Friday for schools, Sunday for the rest of us. 

Peanut and Bug helped me pick out our tree yesterday. We're going to plant it in the front yard, if it ever stops raining. I considered registering our site as an official location (you get a free Lorax mustache kit!) but I think I'd rather just keep it as a family tradition. Also, I can't be bothered - I've too much laundry to be posting letters. 

It will be nice to leave something behind on our street when we move on at the end of the year. Perhaps when we are passing through Canberra again one day we can drop in and visit it. 

There is still time for you to go out and grab a tree if you want to join in. Ours was only $15 - not much, really, for a lifetime of shade, beauty, and oxygen production. So go on, hug the earth - stick a tree in it. 

A How-to Guide to Becoming a Frugal Foodie

{Today we have a guest post from the team at Frugal Dad. Thanks for the info, guys!}

While the definition of "foodie" is somewhat debated, most can agree that a foodie simply loves the sensuous experience of food. Not just any food, however: food comprised of high quality ingredients and adventurous pairings. A foodie is curious about and appreciates a vast array of food options. By using cost conscious websites like for deals, coupons and savings advice you can improve the quality of your life and be -- yes -- a frugal foodie. Here, you’ll find tips on how to prepare and savor quality foods on a budget. 

DIY Foodie

You aren’t about to blow serious cash on your local gastro-pubs to find out what the new trends are popular in the world of foodies. While molecular gastronomy is a hit with foodies lately, these creations require serious investment. The frugal way to become a foodie is to bring your focus home. Think about the quality of your ingredients and price of the equipment you need. Try searching food blogs for ideas and inspiration. Alice Waters is widely held as the person who inspired the foodie movement in the U.S., a champion of recipes with simple, quality ingredients using only a pan, a slow cooker and a wooden spoon to make foodie magic.

Slow Cooking 

If you buy the less expensive cuts of meat at the grocery store, you can slow cook or braise it. If you work all day, you can put a pork shoulder in a slow cooker with a marinade (that can be as simple as a single bottle of root beer!), and when you get home, you have tender, juicy pork that will feed you for a week.

The Whole Chicken

You will also save money by buying unprocessed meats -- for example, opt for an entire chicken rather than just the drums or breasts. Not only can you use the meat, but you can use the bones as well. Bone broth is the most nutritious broth you can consume because marrow is packed with minerals essential for your own bone and joint health. Fancy that! Of course, “using the whole chicken” can be a metaphor for all of the food you use in your home. If you can find a way to use it, use it!

Shop Farmer’s Markets

Another aspect of foodie culture is enjoying locally grown, organic produce. This is because the food will be more appropriately ripened since the farmers know they will not have to transport their food long distances. Farmer’s market prices are cheaper than grocery stores since they do not have to pay corporate middle men, truckers, or anything of the sort to get their food to you.

So, now that you know it’s possible to be a frugal foodie, head to your local farmer’s market this week to smell the tomatoes!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

All grown up

I spent hours this afternoon trawling through the Accidental photo archives. It's hard to believe how quickly the girls have grown. The dogs, too. And Mr Accident and I used to be so young! 

I don't normally notice the passage of time, but sometimes I just have a moment of clarity. I had one today, watching Peanut swim her first whole lap of the pool. 

She hopped out, dripping wet, and ran towards me grinning. 

And time slowed down. 

I realised that somehow over the past three years that I became a wife, and a mother, but I've been so busy being a wife and a mum I rarely stopped to actually noticed it. 

I've become a grown up. 

What a surprise!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's your turn

I think it's time for a delurker post.

I love checking up on my blog stats. Not so much the numbers, encouraging as they are, but the locations! Fascinating.

I have plenty of Australian visitors, and a few from America, too. A couple from the UK (I think that's you, Gartcott!) and some from South Africa (Hi Stel!) But who else is here?

I'm turning this post over to you, my dear semi-regular reader, my adored occasional or never-before commenter. Come in! sit down! And write...

Monday, July 23, 2012

The "hen-d" of an era: bye bye birdies

Ethical question: is it ok to eat your own pets? Even if they are chickens? I'm firmly in the eating is ok camp. Mr A is not.

My position is based on the argument that, if you wouldn't eat our chickens, why would you eat any chickens? At least ours were ethically raised, free range and only occasionally chased by a crazy puppy. I hear puppy chasing is de riguer in those battery hen houses. And the puppy is a wolf.

Mr A's stance is that they are cute and fluffy and our pets. It's a pretty solid argument. It's certainly not worth upsetting marital harmony for the sake of two dinners, so Mr A won.

We're moving at the end of this year - Sydney, this time. I've been hitting up Google Earth and the real estate sites, and it's growing increasingly obvious that it's not going to be a chicken friendly location. Since Canberra has a dearth of anonymous chicken adoption drop locations, complete with friendly nuns and a strict chicken education system, I had to find an alternative. Luckily, a coincidental chat with another mum at play school led me to the perfect home. She was about to buy chooks that day!

I spent a delightful morning chasing the chooks around the back yard. It is surprisingly difficult to stuff two large chickens into a small mandarin box. Get one in - no worries. Get two in? IMPOSSIBLE. The dogs and the toddler were not helping. Stop opening the box, Bug! Stop chasing the hens under the trampoline, Panzer! Mien gott.

So, we're now henless.

Tomorrow's job is to reclaim the backyard. Scrape all the pine bark off the grass, take down the fences, scrub out the henhouse and turn it back into a kennel. And somehow recover the grass. Do you have any lawn tips? I could use them...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Facing the facts

It's official. I'm a ghost.

Winter has not been kind to my skin, or my skin tone.

I was gently spackling my skin with a light truckload of foundation, trying to polish over the ravages of a Canberra winter, when I realised my foundation was a touch too dark. And by too dark, I mean it made me feel like white bread smeared in nutella.

Luckily it was a shopping day, so I resolved to remedy the situation post haste. Unluckily, I didn't check the colour of my current foundation before rushing off to buy another pot. I just assumed I would get the lightest shade available, probably something called "albino snowman".

Struck mute by the tyranny of choice that is the beauty counter, I inevitably went for the same old brand, and chose the very lightest colour available - ivory.

It looked pale as pale, snowy white linen in a jar. A little pot of liquid cloud. In fact, it looked too pale. Well, winter's long, I'm only going to get paler, right?

So I bought it anyway...

It's the same tone as the one I already had, my trusty jar of nutella. Yep, I'm a ghost.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The tuneless song

There's a love song that's sung in our home.

It's wordless and tuneless. A constant beat, flowing through my life, pouring out of Mr Accident and straight into my heart.

I find stanzas dropped in the bathroom, where I see that the newly washed nappies have been hung up to dry.

I find a note or two in the bathroom, when my electric toothbrush has mysteriously been put on to charge.

There's pages and pages of music in the kitchen, when I am feeling sick and dinner appears on the table.

I hear it when he makes me a lemon and honey tea for my sore throat. I hear it when he rubs Bug's sleepy back. It's there when the chooks are let out on an icy morning.

I don't know if he realises the effect it has on me. I walk around my home and see all the things he has done - the thousands of little expressions of love and service - and it's like walking around in a constant gentle hug.

My friends tease us as "the newlyweds". We've been together eight years, but I still get that same old flutter when I hear him at the door.

I hope my actions show him my love, as much as his do to me. I know I'm guilty of spending "five minutes more" on the internet, of ducking a hug when there's dinner to be made, or begging out of sitting for a bath-side chat when I think there is something more important to be done. More important? Who am I kidding?

Mr A, my darling: I will do better. I will try to sing for you the way you do for me. I suspect my first verse will be entitled  "cookies". You're welcome. ;)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Peanut went to her little friend's party. She wore her favourite blue dress, her white tulle party "hairclippy", and had a big bugger of a scratched mozzie bite right in the middle of her nose.

The birthday girl's mother is a professional children's photographer and she documented the entire party, including all the children with their faces beautifully painted. A few days later she dropped around and gave me a large mounted photo of Peanut. It's gorgeous. The blue in her face paint and dress sets off her stunning eyes (stolen from Daddy), and she has on a beautiful, genuine smile that lights up her face. But the mozzie bite is gone.

Photoshopped away.

It makes me uncomfortable. It's still Peanut in the picture - her face shape hasn't been changed, her eyes are still the same colour, it's her through and through... except it isn't. Because she never looked like that.

Now Peanut is still young. She's not likely to remember that she had a huge red hole in her nose that day, from a night spent unconsciously scratching an itch. And I still ended up with a beautiful photo of my daughter. But I hear they are offering a retouching service on some school photos now, and it concerns me. At what stage do we draw the line?

I have an excellent school photo of me from about year nine or ten. We had just come in from playing soccer for PE, and we had barely five minutes to change into uniform. My photo shows me red faced and flushed, with damp sweat curls around my face, falling from my scraped back hair. I look beautiful. I really do. That photo caught me at my best, grabbed the essence of my favourite part of my school days and saved it forever. Retouching would have ruined it, made it just another plastic photo, carefully documenting an event that never really happened.

Maybe it's just me. I feel the same about staged photos. You know the ones - you're snugged up reading to the baby, but then in comes the self appointed family photographer. They decide to move the book, direct you to point somewhere random, and then get cross when the kid is more interested in what happened to Hairy Maclary than getting her picture taken. Or the "stop playing on the swings and peek through this tunnel so I can get a photo" pictures. In my view, either you catch it when it happens, or you're fresh out of luck. No do-overs. No faking.

My dislike of staging doesn't extend to purposeful photo taking. If you've planned a proper photo-shoot, by all means sit your kid on a chair in the forest and snap away. Feel free to take fifteen group photos to get the right one. But don't make our normal playtime feel substandard because it's not being done photogenically enough. Life is not a film shoot for Facebook.

And my daughter? She meets my standards for beauty every single day, mozzie bites and all.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Friends in Unexpected Places

Funny how a baby changes things.

We had a visitor the other day. (Actually, we've had visitors every-bloody-day this week. I'm buggered, and the floor is officially sick of being cleaned. Today? No visitors. Peanut was still in her PJs at 11am. But I digress...)

I was a bit nervous about her coming. Her husband used to work with Mr Accident, and I had heard some horror stories. She was, apparently, the ultimate career woman. She had a spreadsheet for everything, a set plan for life, and was as cold as sashimi salmon.

When Mr A last saw them they were newly married and trying for a baby. She was planning on returning to work directly from the labour ward, give or take a week. Mr A and his mates used to tease her husband relentlessly. It was clear who "wore the pants".

And now she was coming to our home. I was worried. I used to do her job. I used to have a spreadsheet for everything. I used to have a plan! But now my world has shrunken to not much more than a irretrievably finger-marked couch, and two little devils who won't eat their eggs. What would we discuss?

Turns out, she's had a baby.

Turns out, she didn't go straight back to work.

Turns out, she's trying for another, and never wants to go back again.

Soul mates!

Well, close enough.

She agonizes over leaving her first born in care, while she works until number two, just like I did. She plan to breastfeed as long past first birthdays, same as me. She even has issues "civilianising" her hair, just like I do!

We had a lovely morning drinking tea and watching our children play.

I hope I see more of her.

I reckon she might like to borrow my apron pattern.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Housewife's Creed

When I was younger, I was in Guiding.

I can still remember the excitement as my Mum dropped me off for my first Brownie Meeting. I had just turned six, and I had been waiting for the day for four long years.

I loved the friendships, I loved the games and the crafts, I loved the uniform. But what made the biggest impression on me was the Promise and the Law. It gave me something to strive for. A concrete but simple set of rules I could hold myself against and see how I measured up.

I still try and uphold these ideals daily, especially the good old motto, "Be Prepared", but I was thinking - what if I had a set of guidelines for my role as a housewife? A creed of sorts, one pertaining particularly to this point in my life? Forgive the cheese, but I had a crack:

The Housewife's Promise 
I will strive to fill my home with peace, joy and contentment. I recognise the responsibility and privilege of my role, and I embrace my tasks with enthusiasm.
The Housewife's Creed 
A Housewife is proud of her career  
A Housewife maintains a positive outlook 
A Housewife cares for herself 
A Housewife takes responsibility for the well being of her family 
A Housewife takes care of her home 
A Housewife is productive 
A Housewife improves her skills 
A Housewife is thrifty 
A Housewife creates traditions and memories 
A Housewife serves in her community
And, not to forget, the Housewife's Motto: "Get on with it!"

You'll notice I capitalised the word Housewife. That's because anyone can technically be a housewife - you just need to be married and at home. But to be a proper Housewife takes work. Actual effort. Getting out of bed and having a goal. Having some pride!

So, what do you reckon? Want to join my Housewifely gang? And, way more importantly, what's our uniform going to be?

I reckon this probably needs a badge...

The Accidental Housewife

Friday, July 13, 2012


I had an epiphany last night.

I've been stressing.

I don't stress often - my job as a mother and a housewife is not exactly taxing. Big day to day decisions include "what's for dinner?" and "is making pink sparkly play dough three times in a row imposing restrictive gender norms on my daughters?". You know, the big stuff.

But I have been mulling over a big question - what to do with the rest of my life? My professional life, obviously. My personal life is going to involve wiping weetbix and school runs for a long time to come, all hopefully with Mr A as my loyal sidekick. (What's that, darling? I'm the sidekick? Surely not...)

Bug hasn't been sleeping well (I think she's been getting a bit cold) and so I haven't, either. And the concerns of my undecided yet impending future have been magnified by my muddled, sleep deprived head. It's been worrying me.

Mr A and I have decided that I will get a paid job once the girls start school. (He's always careful to specify a "paid" job, he values the work I do at home very highly, thank goodness.) This means that I would need to start retraining at the end of this year.

But what to train into? I want more than a job, I want a career. One that fits in with my family while they are young. Something that, once the girls become increasingly independent, I can pour my energy into. Something I can be passionate about, that holds my interest. Something that pays a reliable wage. Something I will love!

I woke this morning after the first solid night's sleep in week. And I woke with a firm knowledge of what I want to do. It was clear in my mind soon as I lifted it off the pillow.

I will be a high school English teacher.

And now I feel a fresh burst of enthusiasm for my future. I love words. I love sharing knowledge. I have enough command presence to manage a class (but I might eat my words when faced with a class of year nine boys.)

The next step? Researching universities.

How exciting!

**EDIT ...or perhaps I'll be a geography teacher... Apparently my mind is not as made up as it could be!**

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pumpkin Soup

Time for the second installment of Mrs Accident's patented Winter Warmers! Cheap and simple ingredients, easy to prepare, and guaranteed to infuse your home with an aroma that will leave you impatient for dinner time.

Now this comes with a warning - if you're after a fancy recipe with prepared with all the finesse of a French chef, you have Come To The Wrong Place. My crushed ginger comes from a tube, and my chicken stock comes in small cubes from the cupboard. But heck, if my soup tastes this delicious with basic ingredients, I can only imagine how amazing it would be with the fresh stuff! Lets get to it.

Pumpkin Soup

Image from here


50g butter
2 onions, diced
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
Salt and pepper
1.25kg pumpkin, peeled and chunked.
1/2 litre chicken stock


1) In a large, heavy based saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and stir in the onions until they have softened. Add the ginger and salt and pepper, and give it a good stir.

2) Add the stock, bring it to the boil, then add the pumpkin. I usually cut my pumpkin up into thin slices, so it cooks quickly, but if you've got all the time in the world I guess you could just chuck it in whole. You might even have soup by Christmas!

3) Simmer gently until the pumpkin is very soft, then puree the lot.

4) This serves up beautifully with a dollop of cream or natural yoghurt, and a sprinkle of coriander, but is just fine without. It freezes well!

So, dear readers, what winter warmers do you like? Share, and we'll all get fat and warm together!