Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Boy to Man

He is always going to be my first born son. I just have to get my head wrapped around that he is now a young man....

Playing along with Trish at My Little Drummer Boys
My Little Drummer Boys

A Rack of ... wait... what? Chicken?

(Product Review - this is not a sponsored post. I was gifted a $30 voucher and 'Rack of Chicken' to try. Opinions are my own. Authentic and with integrity.)

Working both at home and at the art and craft store, means that dinner at my house is, on some days, complete madness. I'm exhausted and the last thing I feel like doing is cooking.

Ever since I went to the Lenards function in February I have been trying out their tasty morsels. Because I have liked their Facebook page, I get regular notifications of any specials and new and upcoming products. A item always in my freezer now is the chicken jumbos, a great alternative to a meat patty on a burger, and so easy to cook!

My two teens regularly cook in my house. Getting chicken from Lenards decreases the time and effot required to prepare dinner. I can confidently ask either Laura or Nathan to cook, knowing that it isn't going to require any supervision from me. That way I can sit down quietly with a cup of tea and recoup from the day .... Yeh, right! I wish!!

On Monday 10 June, Lenards are launching a new product - ‘Rack of Chicken’ in Tomato Chilli and Maple Pecan. My family was recently sent one of each of these to try ...oh, ok, if I must! :) Regular BBQers in this house, (we have five - don't ask) and cooked the 'Rack of Chicken' on the weber.

They were delicious - moist, tender and tasty. I will be definitely getting them again. One 'Rack of Chicken' would comfortably feed 2-3 adults. The kids found the Tomato Chilli a little too hot for their liking, but the adults enjoyed both flavours. I can see myself standing at the counter unable to decide which one to get!
Am I the only one who is so exhausted that come dinner time all you want to do is cook toast? How do you make dinner time easy at your house?

Monday, May 20, 2013

I spoke the truth

The truth will set you free.
The irony of this statement is that it was the only good advice my father, my abuser, gave me.
Today I will speak on the radio about how important it is to educate your children about sexual abuse and how to keep themselves safe. I'm free

From about the age of two, every now and then Laura and I would read a story book called Yummy touches, Yukky Touches. It was a book that had been given to me from my counsellor when I asked her how I could teach my children about sexual abuse and how to take care of themselves. It was a simplistic book, with simple drawings, and simple concepts. Themes easy to recognise for a young child. It talked about how you feel on a lovely sunny day compared to how you felt sitting in a hot car on a sunny day. One, you feel yummy inside, the other makes you feel yukky inside. It talked about five people, like your five fingers, that you could tell if something was making you feel yukky inside. As a parent you would discuss with your child who those five people could be.
It was great because it gave her and I a common point to start from, in language she could identify with. There were certain people in our lives that made me feel uncomfortable - 'yukky' inside. I made the choice that I would rather err on the side of caution then not listen to that uncomfortable feeling inside because someones feelings were going to get hurt. I am her mother. Its my job to protect her and teach her to keep herself safe.
One day when Laura was five, she and I sat together playing with play dough. It was lovely to spend time with her, one on one. Having a little brother meant it didn't happen as much it used to. It also provided the opportunity to have a conversation with her that we'd had from time to time. The yummy yukky chat. We would talk about the book, and who the five people were that she could talk to. Sometimes they changed, most of the time they were the same five people. People that I had very deliberately placed in her life. Mummy, Daddy, Sam, Sharon, Granma.
We had been talking, and had moved on to other things, what could we make, what should we have for dinner, just generally playing. Then, from out of nowhere, Laura looked at me and asked, "Mummy, when you were a little girl, did someone touch you?"
I froze.
My internal dialogue argued as to what my response was going to be, screaming all at the same time OH MY GOD!!!!!
I had made a very conscious choice when I had children that I would answer their questions truthfully, age appropriately, and if felt that they didn't need to know right now then I would say that. Not Lie.
OH MY GOD!!!!!
The pause between Laura asking me the question, and my silence was long enough to prompt her to ask me again. "Mummy? ... Did someone touch you?"
I looked at my darling innocent child, torn between telling the truth and wanting her to remain in a world that was safe, full of fairies and magic and bad stuff didn't happen... 
 I spoke the truth.
"Yes. ... They did." (and exhale...)
She looked at me, with those beautiful blue eyes, "Why did you let them?"
I took a deep breath. "Because no one ever told me that it was OK to say no."
She got up from her chair, came and sat on my lap, wrapped her little arms around me, giving me a big cuddle. My beautiful girl, who taught me what unconditional love meant.

Last Wednesday I did something that was huge. I used my voice. I spoke my truth, in about as public arena as I have ever been in. On ABC 612 with Steve Austin.

When Naomi from Seven Cherubs contacted me asking if I wanted to do something in educating our children about how to keep themselves safe from sexual abuse my answer was a resounding YES! My own experiences led me to seek information on how I can keep my children safe from the moment I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. Its information that I passionately feel needs to be shared, over and over, and over again.

Sexual abuse is not a warm fuzzy subject people want to talk about. Because it's not, it is even more important that we are having these conversations, sharing information, educating our children. We teach our kids how to stay safe on the road, the right foods to eat to look after our bodies, how to not spread germs when you have a cold. Constantly, every day, we have opportunities to teach our children something about the amazing world we live in. Yet, so many of us balk when it comes to discussing with our children how to keep themselves safe from predators.

Do they balk because they don't know how to approach it? or have a mentality it won't happen to my child? or because they would rather not look, don't see? It could be any of these reasons, all of them, or something completely different. My plea is don't balk. Walk outside your comfort zone, and educate YOURSELF so you can educate your children.

Bravehearts is a valuable resource for parents. Want some facts? This PDF is full of them. They run an education program Ditto's Keep Safe Adventure Show and have resources available to buy through their online shop.

There is a myriad of children's picture books that can be used in a safe, healthy way to share information with your child. I have listed three below:

The Right Touch A Read Aloud Story to Help Prevent Child Sexual Abuse by Sandy Kleven
Everyone's got a bottom by Family Planning Queensland
My Body Belongs to me by Jill Starishevsky

I looked at the catalogue at my local library. Two of the above books where available to borrow. So check out your local library if you don't want to buy one.

Nathalie over at Easy Peasy Kids also has some great resources - this blog post talks about teaching your children how to say no

Seven Cherubs has also written 10 Tips to protect your children from being sexually abused.

I can't thank Namoi, Amanda and Steve enough for the opportunity to stand back in my power. I'm back from that place of fear. I'm not going anywhere. I have a voice, and I'm going to use it.

If you want to hear my debut on the radio click here to get taken to the podcast.

Please re-share this. I will never ask you to share a post of mine every again. But this one. Please.

This is as real as you can get. And because its so important to me to reach as many people as I possibly can I'm joining up with Jenni from Story of My Life May Challenge - Day 20 of Blog Every Day In May. Get real. Share something you're struggling with right now.

Friday, May 3, 2013

I'm going to tell you a secret, but if you meet me in person you are NOT allowed to do it!

There are lots of things that make me feel uncomfortable. But for the sake of brevity (and the fact that I have already posted FFS Friday I will tell you all of one thing that makes me... (oh I'm shuddering just thinking about it...) uncomfortable. No, scratch that. It makes me feel physically ill.

I loathe, detest, and despise Jelly. (For those of you reading in America, I'm referring to Jello, not Jelly, otherwise known here as Jam.)

I know. It may sound completely crazy (and lets face it, if you have read anything else on this blog of mine, its stands to reason that some of my idiosyncrasies can be considered a little crazy), but I really can not stand it. Thinking about it. Looking at pictures of it. The smell of it. The way it wobbles, glistens, all smooth surfaces.... ughhhh.

And of course, people find this fact a delightful form of torture for me. My kids, and friends (nice friends eh?) will wobble it on a spoon near me, laughing at my reaction.

When my children were small, I would make it for them - reluctantly. When it came to serving it, I would have to do it through closed eyes, gagging all the while. Now, they kids make it themselves, and gleefully chase me around with a spoonful of it, wobbling at me.

Right that's it. I can't write another word about it. It's making me feel sick.

Do you have something that makes you feel so uncomfortable that you feel like you going to throw up? Something, that to other people, is a very normal thing?

Playing along with Jenni - Story of my life Blogging every day in May. Today's prompt:

"Things that make you uncomfortable"


Oh look. It's FFS Friday


I often read Dear Baby G FFS Fridays. It a weird kind of way it makes me feel better that the snap shots we see of other peoples lives aren't all photoshopped in amazingness. Not because I'm glad that they are having FFS moments, but because it puts my FFS into perspective. In reality life is full of FFS and wonderful moments. And because I choose to look at the half full glass most of the time, and push the FFS moments done, they often don't get acknowledged. And sometimes that just isn't healthy. We all need the opportunity to vent and release, in the hope that by doing so the negative energy those FFS moments are causing will dissipate.

Well that's my theory and I'm sticking to it FFS

The man I live with lost his job on Monday, along with fifty other guys FFS
Which means that after 5 weeks of being at home after taking voluntary redundancy, and less then a week back at work he is at home AGAIN FFS
Which means he is going to drive me bat shit crazy FFS
I need a fucking holiday BY MYSELF FFS
It ain't gonna happen FFS
I want a massage, a pedicure, a facial, a manicure and I want someone else to organise it and pay for it FFS
That also ain't gonna happen FFS
My daughter informed me that she has changed her mind AGAIN about going to schoolies FFS
I hate the fact that I can't do anything about it FFS
I am having trouble going to sleep, staying asleep, and having horrible nightmares FFS
This makes me a cranky irritable person to be around, and if one more person asks me whats wrong I may just explode FFS

You are so right Sarah - this is cheaper the MOFO therapy!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Turn on your creativity. Its in all of us

When I lived on the house on the hill, there was a huge play room. A place for my children to play, and hang out, and a place for me to create. Its the only place I have ever lived in that allowed me easy access to the things I use to create. I had a table, and book cases, and space for my easel. It was wonderful.

When the children were at school, I would put on music - anything that my heart desired, and paint and paint and paint. I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people say 'I couldn't paint if my life depended on it'.

You see, I believe that everyone has the ability to create. In some form. Be it sewing, crafting, sculpting, writing, painting, drawing, craving... you get the idea. It is only the individual who limits their ability to create. I had a number of friends come and paint with me for the day. Armed with a canvas, and a sense of 'I can't paint', they would come to the house on the hill, and stand in front of their empty canvases, too frightened to put paint on it. To frightened to let go of the logical side of their brain and let the creative side take over.

I would be madly away in my creative world, and they would still be standing looking at their blank canvas. Covered in paint, paint brush or palette knife in hand, I would guide them over to the stack of art magazines and books I have. "Here. Look. Stop thinking so much about it, and just look for somewhere to start." This would always end up being the point of departure for them, and they would start to paint. Timidly at first, then with more abandonment. It was wonderful to observe.

For me, creating - specifically painting - is soul feeding. It helps restore my equilibrium. For many reasons, I stopped painting as much as I used to. Since I started working in an Art and Craft Supply Shop, my desire to paint has been reignited and I am creating again. And that is a wonderful thing.

Todays prompt is "Educate us on something you know alot about or are good at. Take any approach you'd like (serious and educational or funny and sarcastic)" I KNOW that everyone has the ability to be creative.

Easy Peasy Carbonara Sauce

On the days when the thought of cooking dinner makes me want to run away, instead of calling for pizza, (because seriously have you seen how much pizza delivery is these days??!), I call on the quickest, easiest meal I can make. It's so easy my teenagers make it. (Actually the gangsta teen makes it the best, but shhhh, don't tell the teen queen).

We always have bacon in our fridge, or ham. And always mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and eggs. Pasta is a staple carbohydrate in my house. (When you have two sons that never seem to stop eating, I'm always looking for cheap filling healthy food.) More often then not, we have thickened cream as well, but sometimes this is the one item I will implore on the gangsta teen to bike to the local IGA to get for me. Good lad that he is, he always does.

Last night was one of those dinner nights. So pasta Carbonara it was. Every single time it's made it's scarfed down like there is never going to be food provided again.

The basic recipe I use is from Taste. I love that site. I love the app even more! Anyway... Where was I? Oh yes, the basic recipe. If I have left over chicken I will put that in, or sun dried tomatoes. Added bonus is that its a cheap and cheerful recipe that fills the masses.

This is the basic Carbonara sauce:

2 teaspoons olive oil
200g sliced pancetta, roughly chopped (I always use bacon)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 egg yolks (at room temperature)
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1/2 cup thickened cream
75g Parmesan cheese, finely grated (I use packet grated Parmesan cheese)

Heat oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add pancetta bacon and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until pancetta bacon is crisp. Drain on paper towel.

Cook pasta as per instructions - I use whatever is in the cupboard.

Whisk egg yolks, eggs, cream and three-quarters of the Parmesan together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Add egg mixture and pancetta bacon mixture to drained pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Toss over low heat until well combined. Serve with remaining Parmesan.

Buon appetito!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The tale of two sisters

Once upon a time there were two sisters. The elder one was born as the result of a liaison between a troubled, angry young man of 21, and a confused, lonely, vulnerable young woman of 22. After 3 months of the angry young man not leaving the lonely young woman alone, (staying in his car to sleep in the front of her home - oh my god, does anyone else see the alarm bells right now!!) they married. Within these three months the angry young man had already physically assaulted the lonely young woman once, in a drunken rage. The miraculous conception of me - I mean - the elder sister also occurred.


When the elder sister was born, the lonely young woman felt a love so strong that it birthed within her the protectiveness of a lioness, and she was able to leave the angry young man behind. Alas, that angry young man had the persistence of a wasp, and targeted the lioness, becoming an angry thorn in her side - and the confusion, loneliness and vulnerability leached in, and poisoned the courage that the birth of her daughter had instilled in her.


The angry young man wanted another child. At all costs. The lonely young woman had left and come back, left and come back - so many times already. She could not, would not, bring another child into this situation. So she discreetly applied methods to help that to not happen - but it seemed the universe had other plans, and the younger sister was conceived three years laters. Amongst chaos, drama, violence, terror and fear.


From the womb she felt these emotions ebb through her mother's blood into her own.The angry young man was a musician, and moved where ever he could get work. Home was a caravan and caravan parks - like gypsies they trawled the east coast, occasionally residing in houses. The lonely young woman fell deeper into the black hole of depression until hope of any other existence ceased to exist. The younger sister grew within the lonely young woman's body, hearing the shouting rage, feeling the violence that was going on beyond the walls of the floating world she was in. The sense of danger was so strong that she firmly entrenched herself within the lonely young woman's womb, her feet blocking the exit. Regardless of the younger sister's reluctance to enter a world that was full of anger and rage, the forces of nature took over, and she was expelled from the safety of her mother's womb.


So began the tale of two sisters, and the journey they went on as children of an angry violent young man, and a confused, lonely, vulnerable young woman.



Jenni, at Story of my life has set the challenge of blog every day in May. I would like to be able to say that of course i will, but its highly unlikely. I like the prompts she has given for each day. They appeal to me. There are prompts there that I think I will find cathartic.

The first is the story of your life, or an interpretation. This is the story of where I began.




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