21 February, 2012

Cakes and clean kitchens.

Things are pretty good.

I cleaned our kitchen from top to bottom (literally) this weekend. This would be between holding and feeding Madam while Himself painted a wall in the living room. Our house is looking good. We chose a lovely shade of duck egg blue for the wall, which has done an admirable job of covering up the patch job Himself undertook to fill the holes left by the previous owners. Not sure why there were so many holes in the wall over the fireplace, maybe they couldn't decide how high to hang the mirror...

I didn't necessarily intend to spend most of Sunday in bleach up to my elbows. All I started out to do was clean the glass hood over the hob, but to get a good angle on it I had to get up on the ladder... that's when I saw the tops of the cabinets. Once seen, they could not be unseen. Out came the bleach and multiple scrubber pads, not to mention most of a small rainforest's worth of paper towels. (I know, I know, shame on me. I stick with reusable as often as I can, but sometimes only a paper towel will do.) That led to a total re-org of all my kitcheny bits, including barricading Sophie's regular perch on top of the pantry in an attempt to stop her from hanging over my shoulder like a grotesque while I cook. Yeah, I said grotesque. Because a gargoyle has a spout in its mouth. I learn things from Stephen Fry.

The other highlight of this week was the opportunity to cook a proper meal for a change. As I'm sure you're all tired of hearing, Himself doesn't eat. I mean, he eats, but he doesn't want me to have dinner ready for him when he gets in at night. He says if he eats a big meal in the evening he can't sleep well. (Yes, he's a bit of a granddad about it.) So he eats toast, or cheese and crackers, or a bowl of cereal. Skinny bas...ket.

Our next door neighbours are fab. I chat with the mum regularly, the dad has helped Paul out with numerous household jobs, and the sons are both perfectly nice guys. I had momentary thoughts of matchmaking the older one with one of my sisters, but I couldn't pick which one to set him up with so I finally gave it up for lost. Anyway, the mum and the younger son share a birthday. Let's face it, I'm skint, so I decided that instead of proper gifts I'd cook them a meal. I waffled around with choices, but didn't want to freak them out with anything too exotic, so I settled on chicken pot pie with new potatoes. The fun part came with dessert. I pinned a cake months ago that I'd been looking for an excuse to make. Thus the journey to fourteen layers began. Yes, fourteen layers. Well, it was meant to be fourteen... it turned out more like eighteen or twenty. I just kept going as long as there was batter left.

I'll say now, this was the second fiddliest cake I've ever made. It's only second because the most fiddly cake I've ever made requires a candy thermometer for the icing. This narrowly escapes the title, though. It's no joke. It probably wouldn't have been so bad if I'd taken the advice of pretty much every person who'd tried it and posted online, which would have been to buy a load of the disposable aluminum cake pans from the pound store. No, I decided to just cycle my three silicone pans through the oven multiple times. Three hours later, I had a cake. *lol* No joke. Between taking one out of the pan, cleaning it and the non-stick liner, waiting for it to cool, filling it again and getting it back in the oven, it was a long process. Even so, it was very fun. The meal went over very well, apparently they all ate so much they were having a hard time walking afterwards, which I take as a compliment of the highest order.

Next on my list are the curtain's for Madam's room. Maybe I'll get a start on those this weekend and continue with the productive trend. Or maybe I'll bake some more, as Himself's sister and her husband are coming up to stay over on Saturday. She's a sucker for anything chocolate... maybe I should make the monster cake again? We'll see if the pound store has those pans, that's going to be the deciding factor. For now, I'll leave you with this. When the neighbour saw the cake for the first time, the first thing out of her mouth was "Have you seen the movie Mathilda?" *grin* Rock on with the massive cakedom. And a good night to you all.

07 February, 2012

Musings upon flailings.

My daughter has figured out that kicking is great fun. Not kicking me, or the cats, or anything specific at all. Just kicking. The sheer act of flailing her legs around seems to be (to her) the single most amusing thing that's ever happened. To be fair, I find it pretty funny too. Even when I'm trying to change her nappy or get her dressed. If you're having a hard time picturing these struggles, imagine trying to put pantyhose on an octopus. And the octopus is on speed.

I took her to Costco last week to stock up on the basics... you know, thirty-six pittas, twenty-four tortillas, fifty-four rolls of toilet paper and a vat of houmous. I took the Moby wrap with us just in case their trolleys didn't have baby seats, which turned out to be a good move, because they didn't. I started her off the old way, cradled with her head on my right side. Ask me how long that lasted. *grin* Constrained Madam is not a happy Madam. So, I switched her around to upright facing me. Turns out she didn't appreciate an up close view of my cleavage either. So I turned her to face out, hoping only that she could refrain from tossing her cookies on my shoes.

She loved it. I mean, she LOVED it. She stared from one person to the next, babbling away, and that's about when she realised that her legs were free. She started kicking. She kicked from kitchenware to baked goods, continuing through the refrigerated section and all the way to the checkout lines (those of you familiar with Costco will realise that her kicking took up a good hour and a half) where all of a sudden she stopped. That would be because in the fifteen seconds it took for me to pick a line and get in it, she fell asleep. My guess is that kicking is exhausting. She was so deeply out that I had to tuck her head into the wrap. All anybody could see were her little legs poking out the bottom. She slept through unloading the cart, paying, getting to the car, unloading the cart into the boot, and never woke up even when I took her out of the wrap and put her into the carseat. She slept all the way home.

The Mimi has come for a visit, she got into town a week ago. We spent a couple of lazy days, but anybody who knows The Mimi will know that those didn't last. *lol* She's "organising" me. Today we spent a few hours in the living room, packing up clutter and cleaning surfaces. We went out earlier this morning and picked up a few picture frames to finally put some good shots up on the walls, and also got a big handled basket to put Madam's cloth nappies and wraps in rather than piling them at the foot of the hearth. Mimi being Mimi had the candles lit and the lights on in the fireplace so that when Himself got home from work he got the full effect of our work. *grin* It doesn't count if the stage isn't set, right?

The other development is that we're trying Madam with bottles and soy formula. Not all the time, just one per day. Our chiropractor said that one bottle of formula per evening might help Madam sleep through the night, and said the difference between formula and breast milk is like the difference between a turkey dinner and a salad. I'm still doing the vegan thing, so I didn't want to get normal cow's milk formula, and Himself outdid himself sourcing the soy version (I think he had to try four different stores before he found it). We tried to give her a bottle of straight formula last night, please see the picture below to see how successful that endeavour was:

Tonight we mixed it about one third formula and two thirds breastmilk, and damned if she didn't suck it down and then take a nap on Himself! We'll do it again tomorrow night, carrying on adjusting the levels of formula to breast milk until it's solidly formula. As it was, even though she only swallowed about ten millilitres of the formula last night, she only woke once in the night and went back to sleep afterwards until almost nine o'clock this morning. I got a good uninterrupted six hours, for almost the first time in a month. Bonus points to Madam.

So, I'm going to settle in and finish watching McLintock with The Mimi and then get to bed. Tomorrow holds a plethora of fun for Madam, she's got her last installment of immunisations in the afternoon, so wish us luck.