Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Nooshies 1st birthday cake for our day at the Zoo

So anyone would think that i really really love making and decorating cakes, and i guess that i have enjoyed the experience.  but i have only done it mainly because i don't like to do things by halves.  so when i decided that we were going to have a day at the zoo to celebrate nooshies actual 1st birthday...i knew that i was going to have to do a zoo cake.  I jumped on google and found a giraffe in the shape of a 1...perfect, so here is my attempt at this cake!
i'm a little on the lazy side when it comes to actually making the cake.  don't get my wrong, i know how to make a cake from scratch, but i absolutely love the betty crocker cake mixes and it's just a tad easier.  i think because you use oil in this mix, it keeps the cake extra moist so you know that it won't be all dry the next day when your all ready to eat it. 

i used 2 packs of the cake mix and baked 2 cakes in a rectangle tin, so i could make the cake nice and high.  
once the cakes were cooled and the tops cut off to create a nice even flat top, i used a thin layer of chocolate icing (the frosting from the packet) and some raspberry jam to glue the cakes together. I used raspberry jam simply because its a favourite of mine and personally think it goes beautifully together with chocolate!
i was prepared and the day before the cake making took place and i measured and cut out a paper stencil in the shape of a 1.  i have found that the cake really needs to be fully cooled when cutting out shapes, it is firmer and holds together much better.
using the frosting i covered the whole cake with icing and then again with the raspberry jam, this acts as a glue so the fondant i'm going use sticks nicely to the cake.  this was the first time i used jam over the icing and i loved it! the jam acted as a fantastic filler, and made the cake finish look extra smooth!

next i got needing with the fondant. I added some yellow food dye to make a creamy colour. after needing needing needing, i then rolled it out on the the bench covered in icing sugar so it didn't stick, then popped it over the cake. 

i dyed the left over fondant dark brown, rolled it and cut out some nice giraffe splotches to stick all over the cake. added a liquorice eye, fashioned some ears out of the fondant and secured them into place with some tooth picks.  i also added a little maine out of the brown fondant. and wella...i had myself a number one giraffe!
and it was delish!

Monday, 27 February 2012

be prepared for some sarcasm

Ive been a bit MIA this past week, so heres a quick catch-up........
a few days after Nooshies actual birthday, husbandito arrived home for his brake from work, which we all were looking forward too.
unfortunately it wasn't the fun fun fun filled week we had hoped for. between feeling completely run down, having a few girly issues and getting an ear infection, which may or may not have something to do the the huge glands i am sporting at the moment, I was a barrel of laughs and fun as you can imagine.  
all i've wanted to do this last week is curl up in bed and sleep, but how does one do that when you have a 1 year old trying to walk and needing constant entertaining, research colours and the like for a new house that should be getting built soon, and socialise while your hubby is home??? well you cut the socialising bit completely out, who needs to socialise anyway hey???
then you just run yourself down even more by still going to playgroup so nooshie isn't missing out on her socialising, so by the time your hubby is about to get on the plane to go back to work, your in tears! 
yes that right, thats what happened this morning. husbandito is all set to head back to W.A, and I was a mess, feeling like death warmed up crying to him in the bathroom, and apologising that his time off wasn't so much fun. of course he doesn't really care that it wasn't 'fun' he was just happy to be home with his girls, yet i still managed to feel guilty about being sick and not more perky.  
to top off this fantastic morning we are having nooshie monster decided that after we got back from the airport that she would spend the next 2 and a half hours crying. oh joy of joy.
anyway thats enough waaahhh waaahhh poor me. 

here's some pix of what we did get up to while noohies daddy was home.

waiting at the airport of daddy to get off the plane
nice weather for a bbq
hanging out in our pretend home...looking at displays for colour inspiration 
a ride at the shops with humpty dumpty.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

To die for raspberry sorbet

the warm weather has inspired me to make some delectable raspberry sorbet. sorbet is one of my favourite  treats so i am so excited to share this awesome recipe with you all

so you will need.
2         cups of water 
1 1/2     cups of white sugar
           a pinch of salt 
4         cups raspberries.

i like to use frozen raspberries that have been thawed as it is easier and cheaper.
with the cups of water and sugar, prepare a simple syrup, by mixing both in a saucepan over medium to low heat. cook until the sugar is fully dissolved. once the syrup is ready, add the salt and raspberries.

once it is all mixed in together you then need to blend it until its nice and smooth.  the strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. personally i like to leave some of the seed in the mixture.

now come the fun part.....getting to play with the ice-cream maker!!

once your magic machine is turned on pour all the mixture in and sit back and have a cuppa for the next 20 mins.

at the 10 minute mark

at the 20 minute mark


Monday, 13 February 2012

she's almost 1

with my baby girls first birthday coming up in a few weeks, i thought it might be nice to reflect on the journey we had to get Lala to this point...it was a long road and not an easy one at all...and I'm sure i will shed a few tears while writing this one! so here goes....

can i even have a baby?
Husband & I around the time we found out I had PCOS
lets go back to 2009 ....after years and years of being on countless different pills, i decided it was time to have a break as i felt that my hormones where going crazy and needed to calm right down. 80 plus days passed before i had a period, and as most women know, this is not normal, so off to the doctors i went.  i heard the usual speech of 'you have been on the pill a long time, you just need to give your body time'...blah blah blah...i had another 80 day cycle and then another 80 day cycle. at this point i was sick of it, and wanted answers, this time i wasn't going to except the 'your body needs time' line.  i seemed to have a lot of the symptoms for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (pcos), such as acne, excess hair growth, and the irregular periods, but as i'm not at all over weight the doctor was not convince at all.  in my heart i already knew i had it, i think that why i pushed so hard to have the tests done.  my stubborn nature paid off and the doctor finally agreed to do some blood tests and have an ultrasound to rule out pcos out.  and just as i suspected it was confirmed that i do have pcos. i remember sitting in the doctors balling my eyes out, and being told that if i wanted to have kids i really needed to start trying as soon as possible, as there was a 90% chance that i'd need to go down the ivf track. the throught of ivf and all the hormones you have to go on while doing it scared me, and at 27 i felt i still had plenty of time to try alternatives to help me conceive.

pins and needles
a few months came and went without me doing anything pro-active. i think i was so caught up in being diagnosed with pcos and feeling that i needed to do something about having a baby, that i really didnt know what to do!  then in november 2009, while walking down to get my lunch on my lunch break, i walked past a sign that i've walked past a million times, it simply read 'acupuncture'. bells went off and i thought 'why not...why not just ask about it'. so thats exactly what i did, and a week later i had my first appointment with my beloved acupuncturist! i could write blog after blog after blog on how much i love acupuncture, but i'll keep it short for now and just say, that with a combination of diet, chinese herbs and needling we got my cycle down from 80 plus days to 42 days. this meaning that we had double the amount of times i would ovulate and therefore doubling my chances of falling pregnant.

positive tests
we gave acupuncture a good 3 months of getting my body into shape before we started 'trying'. and it all seemed to work straight away, because by february 2010 we had a positive test result! i couldn't quite believe that we had been so lucky! i went and saw a doctor and got a referral to an obstetrician that was recommend to me and that worked out of the hospital i wanted to have the baby in.  my gp also suggested that i have a dating scan done because of the erratic nature of my cycles.  how exciting, i would get to have an early scan, see a little heartbeat and find out exactly when i would be due. well a heartbeat we didn't see, and although the sonographer was trying his hardest to stay positive, i think we all knew that this pregnancy wasn't meant to be. i spent the next 2 weeks doing blood tests in which we watched my hcg (hormone produced when pregnant) level rise and rise, giving us all hope. i had days of being really positive and then days of feeling that this pregnancy was wrong and wishing it all to be over so we could start over again.  then came the time to have another scan, by this stage most of my pregnancy symptoms had stopped and i felt like this was just a formally. the scan confirmed that i had had a blighted ovum pregnancy, in which a sac and placenta forms but a baby doesn't. this explained why my hcg level was going up as the placenta is what produces this hormone. it was now early april and because i didn't naturally loose the pregnancy i was booked in to have a small procedure. it was a weird feeling, i don't know if it was because the shock of it all had worn off, or because i had also just lost my 4 year old Maltese terror tragically the week before, but i wasn't an emotionally mess about it, sure i was fine about it, but i didn't fall apart.  its funny that i often still feel guilty about how i was more emotionally distort over my dog than this pregnancy.

pick yourself up and try again
6 weeks after my curette we had our beautiful wedding day, and by beautiful i mean torrential rain and howling winds hehe. only 2 weeks after our fabulous las vegas honeymoon we got to see those fantastic 2 lines again!  as you can imagine i was quite nervous about this pregnancy and didn't really allow myself to overly excited about it. on the day i was booked in to have my dating scan done, i had some spotting. trying my hardest not to go into a complete panic i spoke to my doctor who told me just to hold tight and see what happened at the scan. well what we saw was the most magically thing i have ever seen...i tiny little flash...a heartbeat! it wasn't until a week later that i got a call from my gp, as the scan had shown why i had the bleed. we had lost a twin, most likely an identical twin. with this news came a mixture of emotions, i was instantly sad, but within a minute was relieved that i wouldn't be completely thrown in the deep end by having twin, then i felt  really guilty that i could ever think like that. every so often i get a little teary when i look at lala and think there should have been 2 little angels sitting here.

growing a baby
20 week scan
growing a baby is hard work...it's exhausting!...i count myself to be one of the lucky ones, i managed to have no morning sickness through the first part of my pregnancy. everything was pretty smooth sailing up until our 20 week scan. at this scan we were told that the baby was a little bit smaller than they would have liked, so we would need a follow up scan in a months time. it was the same story at 24 and 28 weeks. then at 29 weeks i was diagnosed with gestational diabetes! this turned my world upside down, i went from working and being able to eat whenever and whatever i wanted to having to stop work so i could look after me and more importantly my baby.  i was put on a strict diet, having to only eat certain foods at certain times and regularly checking my blood sugar levels. eating and counting my carbs almost became an obsessions. at the start i would have to write everything i ate down so i could keep track. thankfully i was able to keep my blood sugar in the healthy range just through diet and i didn't to go on any insulin.  by 30 weeks i was having scans every 2 weeks, which i'm telling you was getting very expensive!

32 weeks
at 32 weeks a couple of days after i had some photos of my not so huge baby bump taken, we were told that it looked like my placenta was starting to fail, this was exactly what the sonographer had been looking and waiting for. i was sent straight off to the hospital to be monitored. my little fighters heartbeat was strong, so i was sent home, and put on bi-weekly monitoring sessions at my obstetricians  rooms. while my monitoring was going along really well, i was struggling to put on weight, which meant  i pretty much had to eat as much steak as possible! come 34 weeks i was very eager to have another scan and see how my placenta was traveling. well it was good news, it hadn't gotten any worse and because baby had been doing all the right things at my monitoring sessions, on thursday afternoon 2 days before i would be 35 weeks i was told that i could have next week off! the next day i spent most of the day telling anyone who would listen about how pregnant i felt, how uncomfortable i was, how my back hurt and how over it i was. i remember my mum saying to me that i was really waddling around. baby was still breach and i could have sworn that its head was jammed under my ribs! OUCH. this day was exhausting, i had never felt so uncomfortable in my life, so i went to bed nice and early. i woke at 11:59pm i thought the baby must have kicked my bladder and i needed to go to the toilet, as soon as i stood up, i felt a huge rush water....

we're having a premmie
6 mintues old
when my water broke a minute before i was officially 35 weeks, i wasn't full of excitement, it was more shear panic...it was too early, the baby was still way too small and breach which meant a c-section. we arrived at the hospital a little after 1am, i was put on a monitor and given a few shots of steroids (the most painful injections ever, but vital to help with lung development) and i was told to sit tight as the doctor wanted to hold off the delivery as long as possible so i could have more steroids.  between having contractions and texting my best friend i got no sleep at all! by 10am it became apparent that there was no way i was going to make the 24 hours that the doctor had hoped for.  i remember very clearly her turning to my husband and saying 'lets get this show on the road, we don't want a foot falling out'. then we got the talk that really made things real...we were told that the baby would be taken straight to the nicu or the special care nursery, would need help breathing, would have to have a feeding tube and we wouldn't be able to hold our baby.  i guess they have to prepare you for the worst, but its hard to stay clam after hearing all this.  with green day playing in the background, and little tugging with forceps (i was right her head was jammed under my ribs!) at 11:13am baby Lala had arrived weighing a tiny 1.7kg (3 pound 14 ounces) , the fantastic team in theatre got her breathing after 4 minutes and because all her vital signs when pretty good, i got a very quick cuddle and she was taken to special care.

our little pocket rocket
lala's first booby feed
i don't think lala knew that she was a permmie, it seemed she didn't realise that she should have needed more help than she actually did. within hours of being born, she proved the doctors and nurses wrong and had a strong sucking reflex, and by day 3 she had started breastfeeding. her weight gain seemed steady at the start and it looked like we were going to be able to take her home after only a week in special care. we did have a minor set back with her weigh at the 7 day mark so she ended up having to stay in a few more day. all up lala was in the scn for 11 days, which is amazing for a bub so small,  and meant that we only had to leave her in hospital for 5 nights without me there. the first night i left her at the hospital was just dam right painful, as soon as i got to my bedroom i burst into tears, i had a huge feeling of emptiness and really felt that it wasn't fair that everyone else that was discharged from the hospital that day was at home cooing over there newborn.
taking our baby home
the process of getting up and going into the hospital everyday felt surreal, and almost like a job. we would get up at 6am to be in the hospital by 7:30am for lala first feed of the day, usually husbandito would then go off to work and pick me up at 6:30pm.  once we did get lala home we ran our house like a special care nursery for a good 3 weeks, limited visitors, tempter control 24/7, and excessive hand washing.  through this time we were so lucky to have great family support  at home, we were also very blessed to have the support of a fantastic maternal and child heath nurse, for the first 3 weeks at home she came to see us and would weigh lala at home twice a week. from then on she saw us weekly for the first 3 months and then every second week up until 9 months. we now have a happy and healthily baby, yes she is still small but she is defiantly our little pocket rocket!


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Costco anyone??

todays adventure was of the shopping variety...a trip to costco!
just like any other normal shopaholic i feel that costco is heaven, but over the past year i've become much better at controlling my urge to grab and buy EVERYTHING!.  today nooshy and i took my sister for her very first costco visit, and it reminded me of just how overwhelming the costco experience can be. there was lots of "look at this" and "oh my god"'s being said and you could see the awe of just how big the warehouse was all over her face. luckily or unluckily for my sis, she is over here in melbourne from Kalgoorlie so couldn't buy too much...how would she get it back???  although there was some talk about posting things back! 

todays shopping goal was pretty simple....get a box of nappies. thats it, thats all i needed to get, a box of nappies. it started off well, for once i actually remembered to complete step one in having a successful costco trip....i took the pram out of the boot so there was actually room in the the boot...too many times we have gotten back to the car, and had to pack it like we are playing a game of tetris! so i get a pat on the back for that one! so things were going well...nappies were put in trolly, along with a few other useful items, bandaids, hand wash, along with some dr pepper...hey don't judge! 
now before i did mentioned that i had gotten better at controlling myself not to buy out the whole warehouse...well i have, but this doesn't mean i don't have a few slip ups...um like like the huge jar of picked cucumbers, the giant bag of cheezels or the big pink bunny seat i just had to get my daughter! 

well what can you expect from a shopping addict??? 

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Party People in the house....

sunday was party day in our house...woooooooo
and what better way to celebrate nooshies up coming 1st birthday than with a  sausage sizzle and ice-cream party!

saturday was filled with cake decorating, sorting lolly bags, and ice-cream making! we were so blessed to have my big sister come and help with lots of the pre-party prep. one job that she did an amazing job on was the chocolate ice-cream! 
heres how you can make some yummy yummy chocy ice-cream for yourself using your ice-cream maker!

3/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
pinch of salt
1    cup whole milk
2    cups thickened cream
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
step 1...whisk together the cocoa, both sugars and salt, add milk, using a hand mixer on low, beat to combine until cocoa, sugars and salt are dissolved. stir in the thickened cream and vanilla. cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
step 2...once chilled turn on your ice-cream maker and pour the mixture in...watch it turn into yummy ice-cream! 
step 3...ENJOY!

while this yummy treat was being made i was also in the kitchen creating a hot-air balloon cake! now i must admit me and the icing had a few disagreements mainly due to it being too hot. but we managed to kiss and make up in the end, and i think i managed to pull off a pretty good birthday cake.....

next on the list was the decorations....finally i got to put up my party bunting, and create my pom pom hot-air balloons!

party day started bright and early so husbandito could inflate the balloons! and i was really lucky and nooshie had a nice long morning nap and by 11am the party was starting!

the sun may not have made quite the appearance that we had hoped for, but it was warm enough for the kids to play with their bubbles outside and for everyone to enjoy their snags and ice-cream.

the birthday girl was a bit over whelmed with the amount of people and babies in her home, and i have had to deal with sore arms the past few days, from having to lug her around with me for the entire party....but i think when it came to present time she pepped up and enjoyed herself. 

after weeks of preparations, hours of party planning, sewing, baking, and ice-cream making it was all over in the blink of an eye. but worth it!!!!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

so tired....can't wait to tell you all about the party!....but it will have to wait....sleep is needed!!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Lala's Cake Smash

i've been busy busy busy this week. who knew that a 1st birthday party would be so time consuming?? 
its my own fault, as always, i have taken on too much and i'm not prepared to let people help me out too much.

i have to share with you just what has been keeping me so busy. yesterday to help celebrate little nooshie turning the ONE in a few weeks, we did a cake smash!  a cake smash is when you let your child go completely nuts over a brightly coloured and over the top decorated cake, quickly followed by a bath!

so here's what happened........

so messy and so much fun.....can't wait to have another baby so i will get to do this again!