Thursday, September 22, 2011

On My Mind Today ......Tutus and booties

My daughter an I recently made this gift for a friend who is expecting her third baby, but first daughter. The tutu, made by my talented daughter, now adorns the nursery. The booties are cotton, and I am pleased with how they turned out. 

It was so satisfying to give a completely handmade gift using materials that we had at home. I put the booties in a pink organza bag. Then we packaged the items in a box covered with marbled yellow and pink paper that we had made years ago, and my daughter made a lovely matching card. 

Visit Down to Earth for this Friday "On My Mind" feature.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dreamy Ice-Creams

It wouldn't seem as if making ice-cream fits into the Elastic Mom approach to life, but when the cream is skimmed off buckets of milk from the cow in the field nearby, then ice-cream churning is definitely an Elastic Mom pursuit. If I'm not too careful with my ice-cream passion, then Elastic Mom could rapidly become Spongy Mom, or Squishy Mom.

In the middle of Winter, on our frosty school break, I was gripped with ice-cream fever. I made four types of ice-cream in one week. The results were superb, ultra rich, creamy and smooth....

... definitely of the one-scoop a day to savour its goodness type of thing.

 Day 1: The best vanilla ice-cream in  the world. My discerning five-year old nephew gave it his rare stamp of approval. His mom likened it to a certain well known gourmet brand beginning with an 'H'

 Day 2: Chocolate fudge ripple ice-cream layered with peanut butter patties. Unbelievably scrumptious.

 Day 3: Peanut butter and 'Jelly' ice-cream. Not just any jam, but my home made apricot jam from last Summer. Oh my word! The best PBJ you could ever taste, so good that it was gobbled up before I could get a decent pic.

 Day 4: Roasted banana ice-cream with chocolate sauce. Sounds odd, but think of caramelized bananas roasted in brown sugar, then cooled and mixed with cream. Dense, but delicious.

Day 5: The grand finalé.... a scoop of each. Much bowl-licking happened that night. Votes were taken and the chocolate fudge ripple with peanut butter patties won hands down.

All credit goes to David Lebovitz and his awesome book, The Perfect Scoop. His superb vanilla ice-cream recipe is here;

oh, and credit goes to my generous son for the pocket-money-busting book voucher that he gave me for my birthday which bought the book;

and to my loving husband who heard my rather loud hints that an ice-cream machine would be a perfect birthday present;

yes, and credit to Daisy, Jasmine, and Clover, the pretty jersey cows who provided the creamy milk;

and, my sweet friend, Lisa, who owns the cows;

and our awesome God who thought of ice-cream when He created cows.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


With Spring in the air, something familiar has been rattling around in my brain for the past few days.

It is the urge to do a WARDROBE PURGE AND PLAN

Every Spring and Autumn, when my little ones were still little, we would pull everything out of their wardrobe. Then we'd lay out the clothes available for the approaching Summer or Winter, and assess what was needed. This was always a gleefully anticipated time, a time to see how much they had grown as they tossed garments into the give-away or throw-away piles depending on their state of repair. We then packed away the out of season clothes. It was an exciting time to anticipate the adventure of a shopping outing with Mum. It was also time to go 'shopping' in the top of the wardrobe.... trying on garments for size and squealing with delight when they fit...

... What did I just say?

Yes, the top little cupboard above the wardrobe. This was the storage hole for hand-me-downs from older children. My children, like true Elastic Kids, were never too proud to gratefully accept second hand clothing from family and friends, and neither am I.

As we planned what was needed for the new season, I kept a few basic principles in mind to keep me on track.

1. Look at the colours of the garments that fit, and are left for the coming season. Are they mostly blues, or pinks, or greens?  What other colours would complement what is already there. Note this on the piece of paper which is going shopping with you. For instance, I remember one season buying items in shades of beige, cream, pink and orange for my daughter. This allows everything to mix and match.

2. My wise mum once told me that a child only really NEEDS three of each type of garment - one on, one in the cupboard, and one in the wash. So that was my basic guideline for seeing to their needs.
eg, three pairs of shorts, three pairs of longs, three warm tops, 3 dresses etc.

3. NEEDS and WANTS are two very different things.

4. For some garments, ONE will suffice. eg. warm winter jacket, raincoat, belt, bathing costume, sun hat etc.

5. I then wrote a list of what to buy for each child, in order of priority.

6. For that month I budgeted a modest amount for clothing and then treated my child to a planned shopping day with me, often including a yummy smoothie stop to keep energy levels up.

7. Any items that were lower down on the priority list were then pushed on until the next month.

In this way, my children's needs were met and they also learned the art of delayed gratification, as well as an appreciation for careful planning and careful shopping.

Now that my daughter has her own allowance, she plans and buys her own clothes. My son is  in his last season with me buying his clothes. I still feel the urge to purge and plan, so maybe later my daughter will let me help her look through her clothes.

My own clothes are another story - they WEAR out. I have stayed roughly the same size for the past fifteen years so I seldom need to replace them.

This all said, there is nothing to create DESIRE, than going shopping in good clothing stores. My best way to SAVE is to STAY AWAY. Browsing and not buying is depressing, so unless I am planning on buying something, I seldom step into clothing stores. Just yesterday I made the mistake of browsing the new Spring fashions with my daughter - she was looking for a dress. Oh my, I drove home WANTING so much. But this morning, when I looked into my wardrobe, I realized that I still have much more than I NEED.

Cultivating the art of contentment is a necessary skill for any Elastic Mom.