Fake it ’til you bake it.

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I didn’t really care for baking until I got pregnant with the Little Mister back in 2011. When the urge hit, I went a little bit nuts (I’m really not joking). Luckily my joy for it has since evened out and now I like doing it regularly. It can be a cost effective way to fill out Mr Unprepared’s work lunches and to provide the Little Mister with interesting enough snacks. It is also the way that I pad out the end of the pay period (when the cupboard and fridge are looking a bit bare). I find ways to throw as many random ingredients into a muffin or some other such thing as I can. Everyone thinks I’ve done something special for them (yay – baked goods), but all I’ve really done is scraped some weird stuff together so we don’t have to go back to the supermarket any sooner than we have to!

(and yes I do love love love online grocery shopping but sometimes I forget to order it ahead of time or can’t be bothered which is probably the most lazy – or tired if I’m kind to myself – a person can possibly be)

But make no mistake. I am not actually that awesome at it! I am never going to be on Masterchef and I honestly do not really know what I’m doing most of the time! I am not spending hours studying the art of whatever it is that people who can cook real good study (and I’m not even going to apologise for that poorly constructed sentence). I’m a total fake and I don’t care if everyone knows it.

It can be hard to find time to gather ingredients and it can be difficult to then create something with them, with a demanding toddler (who as much as I love his enthusiasm is not always as helpful as he – bless his heart – thinks he is).

*whispers* Sometimes? Sometimes I use *gasp* PACKET MIX. Yeah. Those cupcakes on Instagram? PACKET MIX. My secret? Raid the cake decorating section of the baking aisle in any major supermarket *OMG*.

Seriously. No-one cares. THEY TASTE LIKE CAKE.

Another tip? Have a baking kit. Once I started to keep one, shit got so much easier. I can bake almost any time I have a chance, instead of thinking, “WHAT? This recipe requires FLOUR? What kind of f*ckery is this?”

Here’s what I keep in it (always replenishing stocks):

  • Self raising flour
  • Plain flour
  • Caster sugar
  • Icing mix/icing sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cocoa
  • Patty cases
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons

Well, those are the basics, anyhow. It sounds like a lot, but if you go to the shops just the once, to begin with, the hard part is done! I’ve slowly added some extra bits and pieces (piping bag with nozzles or choc chips and sprinkles etc), but those simple things can get you a long way if you have some eggs, butter and milk in the fridge (don’t even get me started on how awesome and magical and versatile eggs are)! I know a lot of you are looking at this thinking, Kez. This is hardly revolutionary. I mean, who doesn’t have these things? Well, all you people who can probably bake better than me, until recently, I did not have these things. Ever. Every single attempt to bake was either thwarted from the get go or involved a time consuming, inconvenient special visit to the supermarket. It made it all a BIG DEAL. So tiring, really.

Now I just google recipes that have the ingredients I have to work with (e.g. a banana and a lemon or something equally weird) and get started! The other day it was canned corn kernels, store bought salsa dip and grated cheese!! WTF? I find that taste.com.au is an awesome resource (and no this is not a sponsored post – it is just my honest and independent opinion).

Another tip? Keep it frickin’ simple. Stay the f*ck away from recipes with ingredients you’ve never heard of or will never use again. Stop reading that recipe when it starts talking about doing weird things with the ingredients that you do not know how to do and cannot learn that day. I mean, I admire those who like a challenge, but for anyone like me who just needs to put something on the table to avoid mutiny, just stick to what you can handle! Use what you’ve already got. Trust me. People will think you are way more awesome than you feel you really are. Don’t make it more stressful than it has to be! There are HEAPS of really tasty recipes out there that I just know you’ll be able to handle. Also…Siri is a gun at converting things like farenheit to celcius, so don’t worry if that awesome recipe from an American blog/website/Pinterest sounds scary with all its weird numbers and measurements ;)

I do love learning new things here and there. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to master a new skill. I just don’t always have the time for it and I’m so OK with that.

Fake it ’til you bake it.

Or buy it from the shops. No judgement here haha.

How are you at cooking/baking? What’s your favourite thing to make? Or are you the buy it at the shops type? x

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I have an announcement.

*drum roll*

You may not know this, but this week we added another member to our family! A gorgeous puppy. I’ve never seen the puppy and the Little Mister in the same room for some reason, but I know they’d love each other if they ever met.

This furry member of the family entered our lives last Tuesday. I thought it might just be a one day thing at first, but he seems really happy with us and he’s stuck around.

The crazy thing? This puppy (who the Little Mister has named after one of our other dogs – original) is the most obedient and well trained creature I’ve ever had the pleasure of raising (even easier than a toddler).

This puppy can roll over, sit, stay, lie down, fetch and shake hands on cue. This puppy follows me around faithfully. Enjoys head scratches and tummy scratches. Wags his tail when he’s happy. He’s even partially toilet trained (my other dogs certainly were not when they arrived). He doesn’t have fleas or allergen inducing fur. He’s the perfect pet.

He jumps a little bit and he pants a bit, which is a bit of an annoying sound, but he’s just delightful. It’s really funny when he gives Mr Unprepared loving licks to the face.

Yep. That little puppy is indeed the Little Mister’s alter ego. He’s been pretending since last week. It’s hilarious but I admire his commitment to his character (and he’s an adorable and easy going doggie). Also, a new actual puppy? Ain’t nobody got time for that! ;)

World Mental Health Day: My promise.

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I have a confession. I am an appointment putter-offer. I find ways to procrastinate when it comes to my health and well-being. I am by no means a martyr (trust me), but I just let time get away from me. I support my husband in making the appointments he needs to and I will always have the Little Mister’s back. I just can’t seem to be as motivated to do it for myself. I don’t say this with any smug pride about putting everyone else first. It really isn’t a great thing. I admire those who remember themselves and make sh*t happen. I know that for my family to function, I need to function!

I often wait too long. Whether it’s for me-time like beauty maintenance or for regular health checks (skin, lady things etc), I always wait until I’ve lost the plot before I make those calls and commit to those times. I always wait until the fatigue, anxiety, resentment or lack of confidence in myself have gotten on top of me. I always seem to wait until I’ve snapped at someone or had a mini meltdown. Because that’s healthy.

Sure, sometimes circumstances might mean that it’s impossible to do these things at the optimum time for my sanity, but I need to try harder, that’s for sure.

Sometimes I get annoyed at Mr Unprepared because he just decides on what he needs to do for himself – socialise, make appointments etc – and then he does them. Not a bloody care in the world! No guilt! I get so jealous. SO JEALOUS. But I need to take his lead more. I need to stop telling myself it’s too hard. I need to stop talking myself out of everything. I need to stop getting so ridiculously guilty about asking someone else to take care of the Little Mister for a few hours here and there. I need to be a bit more honey badger (honey badger don’t give a sh*t) and put myself first when I need it. Before the meltdown. It’s called maintenance and that’s perfectly justifiable and why haven’t I ever thought of it this way before??

Yesterday I took the whole morning to myself. I used a spa voucher from my sister and brother in law to get my nails done. It was glorious. I got to soak my feet in a petal filled tub and everything. There was peaceful music playing. I could talk to the beauty therapist without being interrupted. I could also just sit back and say nothing and soak up the quiet. QUIET. I got to leave the spa with the fingernails (and toe-nails) of a chick who looks like she’s got her sh*t together. Hell, my nails are so hot right now. I could almost be the next Pinterest nail model (if there was such a thing). I am THAT on trend. And while I am not easily sucked into the superficial, there is a bit of a thrill about that. Just a reassurance that I haven’t totally lost touch! Cool stuff doesn’t have to just be for everybody else to enjoy!

I am so glad that even though the voucher still had about six months left on it, I got on with it. I booked it (a big step for me haha). I was so grateful for such a gift. I also got to feel even more guilt free because I didn’t have to pay anything – so basically it was perfect! Awesome! Also, my parents stepped up and took the Little Mister when my brother was feeling ill and couldn’t (although it is always SO appreciated that he’s willing to do that for me)! Thanks, family.

Today is World Mental Health Day. Last night I visited the website and made a mental health promise to myself (they have a really cool Promise Wall which you should really check out and post your own promise too). I had only 140 characters to work with, but basically I called myself out on all of the above. I will look after myself. Maintain instead of fall apart (physically and mentally).

I chatted with Mr Unprepared about my promise last night. He told me that he has my back. Always good to hear.

I am lucky to have the support network and resources in my life that I do. I need to utilise these sometimes.

What promise would you make for yourself and your mental health? Leave a comment!

Short mama problems.

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You may be aware that I am quite vertically challenged. At only 5 foot tall (that’s about 153cm in my case), I would probably not be making the basketball team, is what I’m saying. Actually, there are other factors like my lack of coordination, athleticism and general lack of interest, but let’s not let that get in the way haha.

I’m pretty OK with being short. I get called ‘cute’ a lot. I can’t reach stuff. But life is good.

One thing I hadn’t anticipated was having a tall child. I am sure (sorry dude) this is all just a ‘going to peak early and be a short-arse like his parents’ situation, but for now he is tall. He is well over half my height already (he’s three in a month’s time) and that’s an understatement, I think. About half way between my belly button and my boobs. This doesn’t stop me from looking after him quite effectively (I think). I have grown muscles I didn’t know I could grow and there are always ways to adapt. Wrangling can be challenging on a not-so-great day (usually in public of course), but it’s all do-able.

When I cuddle the Little Mister, people probably can’t tell who is carrying who.

I’ve noticed that normal people with normal sized children don’t get a second glance. When a normal sized person carries their normal sized toddler through a shopping centre, everyone goes, “Awwwwww.”

Because they think it’s sweet. Oh, bless. That toddler is a bit tired and awwww look at how they are resting their heads on their mama’s normal sized shoulder. Awwwww.

When I carry my toddler through a shopping centre because he refuses to walk and refuses a trolley or stroller, everyone looks scared. I can see their minds working sometimes, “OMG. That kid is so big compared to her! Why is she carrying him? Isn’t there another way? She might drop him! She looks overwhelmed!!”

Sigh. I want the ‘awwwww’s!! Give me the ‘awwwwwww’s too!

Sometimes it can be harder to deal with the kinds of toddler protests where he ends up lying like a wet noodle on the floor. I can’t scoop him up as easily – although it’s not as pretty, I manage – and march off with him. Maybe my centre of gravity is too low or something haha. I can feel a little self conscious when it happens in front of other people. I always feel like I look less confident/competent/assertive or something. Obviously I am very grateful that Mr Unprepared is a help with it all when he is not at work. It’s easier for him! Often I have worn myself out during the week and it’s a relief to have a small break from the physical stuff. I’ve been known to gasp, “No more! No more wrangling! Aaaargh!” at the end of a very long week!

It will be a relief when the Little Mister becomes a little less unpredictable (as toddlers can be when let loose)!

The main thing is that he knows I’m the (loving but firm) boss, because one day he’ll be taller than me and that day might not be so far away!!

Do you have a tall child? Are you a short parent? Do you look at short parents with tall kids in the shopping centre and wonder what the hell is going on? ;)

Some inspiration for decision making.

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Making change in our lives can be scary and intimidating. It can mean jumping into the unknown (or the relatively unknown). We often have to take some kind of risk in order to reach our goals. Moving to a new town/city, taking a new job, changing your lifestyle, making that big investment. Turning up at those events where we do not know anyone. Sometimes when we know that it’s the ‘right’ thing to do for us, we just have to let go and jump right in. The worst thing we can do is never take any risks at all, because of fear. Sometimes getting out of that rut or that well worn comfort zone can be exhilarating and open us up to new experiences which will enrich our lives. Sometimes we really truly know deep down that we need to do something a bit scary in order to grow and strengthen our character. It can be something huge or it can just be as simple as talking yourself into driving somewhere you’ve never been on your own (instead of making an excuse not to go) or striking up a conversation with someone you’ve never met before. Gotta find that courage!

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I think that sometimes we live life on auto-pilot and the result we want is not reflected in our actions. I try to stay really conscious of whether my actions and thoughts reflect the changes I want to make in my life. You’d be surprised how often we can catch ourselves doing the same thing we’ve always done, but just praying it will all miraculously turn out differently somehow! Remember that little saying about the definition of insanity…?

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People will always have an opinion. Some people speak from direct experience, but sometimes people are quick to tell you that the decisions you make go against THEIR principles. They might even go as far as worrying loudly about you, because you haven’t chosen the same way they would have (even though you’re really happy with what you’ve decided). Unless they are the ones who live with the results, should they really have a say? You know best what your desires, passions, dreams, and aspirations are. You also know better than anyone how your decisions will affect those closest to you. YOU will have to live with the outcomes of your decisions, so YOU need to be comfortable with them. There’s no point being uncomfortable because you’re scared of what somebody else (who is removed from it) thinks.

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Sometimes we are asked to decide things. Tough things. But when we ask ourselves what we value more – what we’ll look back on our life and be glad about – it becomes really clear what we need to do. Do you value family, relationships, career, money, happiness etc etc? What is more important when some of these things are at odds with each other? Hey presto – there’s your answer. I am not saying that executing those decisions is simple and easy, but knowing what you need to do can be if you stay true to yourself and maintain your integrity.

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I hope that whatever decisions you face today, you are able to do what is best for you :)

Thanks for reading! x

Where I’m from.

This post has been inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s September Photo a Day challenge x

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When people ask me where I’m from, it often means “Why are you an Asian looking person living in Australia? How did you get here?”

I’m fairly happy to answer that I’m adopted and that I’ve been in Australia all my life – it’s pretty much all I’ve known! Earlier this year, I got to visit my birth country (South Korea) for the first time. The photo above is a shot I took at night time on the beach of Busan, the city I was born in. While it brought up a lot of feelings for me, it was also a really cool place. I’m so relieved I liked it so much!

Visiting Korea really taught me a lot about myself. Clarified for me a lot of feelings I’ve had surrounding my adoption. I am so glad I got to experience it with my family – Mr Unprepared, the Little Mister, my parents and my brother (who was also adopted). Today, if you were to ask me for my honest answer about where I’m from (and were willing to hear the true answer straight from my heart), I would tell you nothing has changed. My answer is ‘Australia’. It’s my home. It’s where my real family are from – the family I’ve known and loved (and been loved by) all my life. I am very happy with that. You know, hashtag blessed and all that.

You can read more about my experiences visiting my birth place here:

Busan: The city I was born in.

How it feels to revisit the place I was born.

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On a whole other note, today marks the last day of September. That means that the challenge I set myself – to blog along with Fat Mum Slim’s Photo a Day challenge for the whole month of September – has come to an end! I must say it has been so wonderful to do. I was feeling a bit ‘blah’ after I’d finished blogging about our big trip to Korea and Japan, so this came along at a great time, when I needed my creativity to get sparking again. Some posts have been better than others this month (oops), but I have really enjoyed writing a lot about stuff I might not have thought of, had it not been for Fat Mum Slim’s daily photo prompts. Thanks, lady! :)

I admit that it was very time consuming and at times, tiring. I found that weekends were the hardest. I skipped one day. I wrote some of my blog posts a little late. By the end, my posts were getting a bit short. By the end of the month, I was kind of secretly looking forward to today. I am so grateful for my new followers, who I am assuming came to me, because some stuff I wrote during this challenge caught their attention – hello! I am so glad to have you here! I loved that blogging daily (or almost daily) kept me motivated and documented my daily life in a way that tells my story for a snapshot in time. I really hope that after this challenge I am able to find my own daily inspiration (although days off will be great too)! For those who have stuck by me during this month, while I tried something different, thanks! Back to regular programming as of tomorrow (whatever that is)!

I will just stick to Instagramming my #fmsphotoaday from now on, I think!

You can check out Fat Mum Slim’s prompts for October here, if you like! If you choose to blog it, let me know! I’ll cheer you on! x

See you in October, everybody (that’s tomorrow so you won’t have long to miss me)! ;)

Wish: Spring, where are you???

This post has been inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s September Photo a Day challenge.

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I am a big fan of thinking positively, but I’ll be the first to admit that I need to have a bit of a silly rant…

I thought I had escaped the winter blues. I really thought I had beaten them. It really really helped being away for the month of June and spring tricked us into thinking it was here early – showing exciting signs as early as August (something quite unusual). But no. The rain, the cold and the wind are back. Very clever, winter. Very clever. I see what you did there. It’s October in a couple of days, so you’d better f*ck off soon. You’ve out stayed your welcome, well and truly!

Is this because I went shopping for summer clothes? Started eating salads and exercising? Well, haha. Joke’s over now. Come on. Be fair. I’m getting pretty annoyed, really. I feel sluggish again (something about lack of Vitamin D I am guessing). I am almost approaching white hot rage when I step outside and I feel the horrible chill in the air (even worse when that chill has invaded the INSIDE of my home). Winter, I am DONE. We are so O.V.A.H.

I am wishing for clear, bright, cloudless days. That beautiful feeling when you wake up to a sunny morning. That summery feeling in the air. People out and about, inspired to make plans for barbecues and beach days. The freedom of not having to wear layers everywhere. Just me, a cheery sun dress and a smile on my face (oh and underwear – I would wear underwear). I love how awake I feel each morning when the weather is beautiful. That craving for beer in the sunshine with friends and family.

I wish for that beautiful gap between freezing winter and sweltering summer (I think it’s supposed to be called spring – hello where are you) where you do not have to run air conditioners or heaters. You can just co-exist with the weather in perfect harmony, without fighting it. I wish for that.

I wish for beautiful Sundays spent with my little family at the foreshore, checking out the markets and getting out of the house together just for fun. I wish for trips to the local parks and playgrounds, knowing that the play equipment won’t be too wet to use. I wish to wear open toed shoes all day, every day.

I have become seriously frustrated. And lethargic. But mostly frustrated.

BRING ME SOME SUNSHINE AND NO-ONE GETS HURT.

What is your favourite kind of weather?

Game.

This post has been inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s September Photo a Day challenge (only a few days to go)!

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I’ll keep this one short (long weekend and all)…

This is a photo of the Little Mister in a playground cubby house at the winery we visited today (for a very special high school friend of mine’s 30th birthday). He became fast friends with my friend Liz (the nicest person on the planet and great with kids haha) and they played a little game together. She would knock on the window, they’d open the shutters (he couldn’t quite do it on his own), he’d greet her with a lovely “hello” and she would ask him for something – everything from a drink of water, to a meal, to a pet bunny rabbit. He would disappear back into the cubby house and come back with an imaginary item that she had requested. He’d hand it to her, then she would give him some imaginary money.

It was a lovely exchange to watch and it was so kind of her to spend time with him, when he was so over tired and restless (someone skipped a nap so he could party). Nothing more heartwarming than watching someone taking the time to be kind to your kid.

Hope you have all had a great weekend x

Celebration: The little things.

This post has been inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s September Photo a Day challenge. unnamed

So I woke up this morning after a terrible sleep (someone who shall remain nameless may have snored a lot bit and the weather wasn’t so quiet either). Then there was a power failure at home. Then I dropped Mr Unprepared off at the train station so he could go and watch the AFL grand final with friends (which then caused the Little Mister’s heart to break). Then I saw a dead seagull on the road, which is weird, because when do you ever see a dead seagull in the road? I’ve never seen one hit by a vehicle before (and I’ve seen plenty of species mowed down). Do they, like, drop out of the sky of old age? How long does a seagull live for, anyway? So many seagull related questions, so little time…

Then I thought that just as a one off treat for the Little Mister, I’d get him a little fast food breakfast (scandalous!) on the way home. I get into the drive thru and what do you know. My purse isn’t in my bag. While our bodies were thankful to dodge a fast food bullet, I was a little bit annoyed that my purse was AWOL and a tiny bit embarrassed (the girl at the window pointed out that there was a sneaky little exit from the drive through for people like me so that we didn’t have to reverse out or drive the whole way around like dorks).

We got home and I was ready to give up hopes for having a smooth day, when I realised the power was back on earlier than expected and the Little Mister was in an amazingly good (peaceful and quiet and happy to play by himself) mood. Someone got better sleep than I did it seems!

So what little things am I going to celebrate today? 

1. I have decided to embrace the whole being at home by myself (i.e. the only adult anyhow) on grand final day thing. I am never that excited when my team isn’t playing (does that make me a terrible football supporter?) and I’m enjoying the fact that we don’t have to go out in the awful weather for a while. While the Little Mister napped, I watched a chick flick (that just happened to have Channing Tatum in it) instead of the football (suck it Mr Unprepared hahaha). I got half the dishes done (big achievement). I’ve chilled with the Little Mister, had THE best couch cuddles, and I helped him to make a special drawing for his daddy.

2. I’m celebrating a little unexpected weight loss on the scales. While I am focusing on more than what numbers I see, it is good confirmation that I’m on the right track (even if I am not yet making 100% good nutrition choices).

3. It’s the weekend, and a long one at that. Enough said!

4. It sounds so silly, but I’m excited to take the Little Mister with me to pick Mr Unprepared up from the train station tonight (it won’t be very late at all but it will be dark). I’m going to get him all fed and bathed, in his PJs, and it’s going to be a super exciting night time adventure. Anything that happens at night time is exciting to the Little Mister, considering his bed time is 7pm haha. I can’t wait to see his excitement at something different happening tonight. He’s going to give his daddy the picture he made today and he’ll be so excited to see him again. I get so much joy out of seeing the world through the Little Mister’s eyes. Stuff that seemed boring BC (Before Child) is now so much more fun. Hopefully it won’t backfire, but Mr Unprepared did promise me a sleep in tomorrow ;)

5. I think the Little Mister’s latest growth spurt may have levelled out a bit – yay! I put his jeans on him yesterday and I didn’t have to roll the legs up at all, like I have all winter! It’s like he shot up overnight! He slept well last night and today he’s been a wonderful angel (as much as an almost 3 year old can be of course haha). He just seems…calm. Easy. I FRICKIN’ LOVE IT WHEN HE’S LIKE THIS! Bliss.

What are you celebrating this weekend? Big or small?

FMS Photo a Day: Angle. Best. Best angle?

This post has been inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s September Photo a Day challenge. angle

I took this photo of the Little Mister while he sat next to me at the dining table. He was wearing his adorable new little Monsters Inc shirt and he looked so grown up, yet so little, that I wanted to eat him all up. This angle is my favourite. I get to see his beautiful eye lashes (he didn’t get them from me – lucky little bugger) and it kind of keeps him looking little when I know he certainly isn’t going to stop growing any time soon!

We had just got home from the best morning (see how I worked the ‘best’ prompt in there?). We’d been invited to a friends’ classroom (she’s the teacher), along with a lot of other adorable toddlers (many from my mothers’ group) so that they could play with the big kids (year sixes) and learn about orang-utans (their topic for the last school term). It was adorable and despite the Little Mister being really tired after a less than awesome night’s sleep (I should know – urgh), I’d been really excited about it. Nothing cuter than seeing big kids taking the little ones under their wing. I couldn’t wait to see my grown up friends and I was happy for the Little Mister to see his little friends.

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the adorable invitation

The Little Mister was paired up with an older boy and it was so sweet how he seemed nervous and wanted so much to do the right things to make us feel welcome. ADORABLE. The kids broke the ice with the little ones by playing with toys (kindly brought in from home by their teacher), then read them short speeches about the importance of saving the orang-utans and about deforestation in Borneo. Of course, that’s when the Little Mister had a mini melt down due to lack of sleep, but we fixed it fairly quickly – phew! We were fed morning tea (and what a spread!) and the Little Mister was read to by his older buddy, before being presented with the story book he’d made for him to keep. Such a feel good experience and wonderful for the Little Mister to see what it’s like in a real classroom.

It was a struggle to keep him awake in the car on the way home, but all was good. It was Friday. Yes.

What did you get up to this week?