One of the best things in the world is unlocking your front door and smelling the scent of a pine tree that's been basking in the sun all day.
It is midsummer. The nights are short and the days are long. I can't help but think back to our first Christmas with Max- the long dark evenings, the coldsnow. A world away now.
This is an attempt to recreate one of the delicious dishes made for us by a friend. It was her grandmother's recipe. She keeps promising to pass it on to me, but I am too impatient. I adapted this recipe, and it turned out really well. It's the ultimate comfort food, and a real sweet treat. Perfect for a new mum.
Cardamon rice pudding
3 cups full cream milk
1/3 cup basmati rice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Bring milk, rice, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt to a boil in a large heavy saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently for about 20 minutes, by which time the rice should be tender. Then add sugar and apricots and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Toast almonds under the grill till lightly browned. Sprinkle over the rice pudding. Serve warm.
Over the past eight weeks we have received so many meals from mums. Our mums, our friends who are mums and the amazing mums who belong to our Playcentre. Pies, lasagnas, roast chickens, fresh loaves of bread, curries, cakes, brownies. Simple, wholesome, everyday food that each of them has taken time out of their busy schedules to cook and deliver to our door. Too many of them were eaten standing while trying to bounce a non-sleeping baby. Or eaten late at night after he finally did go to sleep.
I am so deeply grateful for these gifts. It has been wonderful at the end of a long, tiring day not to worry about getting a meal together, and know that something savory and good for my family to eat will be on the table. Thank you all so, so much.
Little huisjes from Holland, a pair of pukekos that my brother made and two little windmills- salt and papper shakers we were given at our wedding. And flowers, picked by one of Max's little friends from her family's garden, in celebration of Iggy.
With a little baby and a busy toddler, and a husband who's had a heavy workload- life has been very full. And it's now December, which means Christmas, and family, and sunshine. So much to look forward to.
This is Iggy Daniel Morris. Born on the 12th of October at midnight, during a wild and windy storm. We had him at home, with our amazing midwife Rhondda Kerrins.
So somehow three weeks have slipped by, and Iggy has already grown out of the clothes we first put him in. Little babies grow so fast, it's heartbreaking.
Little slippers and a bonnet I made from patterns in the book Sweet, simple and handmade, by Melissa. I used a soft corduroy and a Liberty tana lawn, which I also used in the quilt I made for him. Every baby boy needs a co-ordinated slipper/bonnet/quilt set, no?
It seems like every morning at 4am, the baby wakes up and starts kicking. And I start thinking about baby prepping. Sorting linen closets and loads of white washing. Tiny socks and muslins. My mind ticks over and over all the little things to do. It's normal, I'm counting down now.
The quilt for this baby is finished and I'm so happy with it. If you're wondering why I've been very haphazard about updating the blog, it's just I'm less than two weeks from my due date. And I'm tired. And there's lots of little things to do to get ready. Like sorting linen closets. Nesting instincts.
Max is nearly two. Well past being a baby and into toddlerhood. Right now he is yelling at me because he doesn't "want it", as in he doesn't want to have a nap. These photos were taken last week, right before we moved his cot out of his room. He looks so tiny in his big bed.
A second baby means you already have all the stuff you need from the first kid. I have lots of lovely blankets and clothes all stashed away from Max's early days. But I really wanted to make something special to celebrate this new life, something especially for this new baby to always have.
This is a work-in-progress shot. The boldly patterned Liberty fabric (the teal cloud/ocean print) also featured in Max's quilt. Mum warned me triangles are harder. She was right. But the quilting is nearly done and it's looking good. I referenced this tutorial as a starting point, and made up the rest as I went.
We spent a weekend in Tauranga recently, staying at Mount Maunganui. The Mount (as it's known) will forever be for me the place of teenage New Years parties with my girlfriends, and excessive sun and booze. And guys doing laps of the main.
So many years ago now. I'm all grown up. And a misty cool early morning beach trip with my kid was just what I felt like. No more getting drunk in the sand dunes for this lady.
(Oh and I updated the previous post so you can find Toby's book online. Here you go.)
Next Thursday is the day! Toby's book, Don't Puke on Your Dad will be launched! There's a bit of a party at Beatnik, his publishers. Here's the video invite which I shot. Come along, the more the merrier. I am so, so excited.
Toby and I talked about the idea of this book before Max was born and the book just kind of grew along side Max. It was so hard at first for Toby to find any time to draw, with the sleepless nights and working days and just being a new dad. But he stuck at it and I am so proud of him.
It's kind of impossible for me to be unbiased (I do feature a bit) but I think the story the book tells is so easy to identify with for any parent, and Toby talks about being a dad with such honesty and humour, it will make you laugh and cry. Probably at the same time, which is kind of what parenting is like sometimes.
It'll be available in bookshops next week! Or you could get a signed copy at the party. And you can order it online here. All just in time for Father's Day. Wink wink.
Max watches everything his dad does. Right down to the crossed ankles.
"At some level, the children are aware of what the adults really care about, what they judge to be interesting, worth doing, worth probing, and worthy of their time and serious attention. The children know what the adults take great pains to explain, take pictures of, make notes about and display very carefully".
- Lilian Katz