Tag Archives: family

Never forget the true meaning of Easter….. The Easter Show.

20 Apr the show

The idea of the Royal Easter Show sends shivers down my spine. Not those exciting anticipatory shivers, but more like the shivers you get just before you pass diarrhoea.

I get that The Show is kinda fun, but it’s just such a ball ache.

It’s the mission to get there, the throngs of bogans, the gaggles upon swarms of other people’s children, the Dagwood Dogs from oily smelling vans, the penned animals in humid tents, exorbitant parking, the waiting – oh, the waiting in lines – and the million dollars you spend in order to have this horrible day out.

I reckon it would be fairly safe to call me the Easter Grinch….. that was until this year. I was pumped.

I admit that I only braved the baby sister lame-o excursion to the Easter Family Show at Fox Studios, but it had everything I described just in smaller, more palatable doses.

In fact, The Grinch had herself bags of fun…. but man, that four hours felt like a 48 hour dance-a-thon. My feet were sore, my back ached, I was covered in a mild layer of dirt, and I had tomato sauce smeared all over me making me look like I’d been to battle.

The kids had a great day though but it’s hard to tell, check out D Man’s head when he’s finally got hold of the first hotdog of his life.

A horse walks into a bar, or what????

the arrival the show

 

the rides the show

the show

kiks and clowns the showDSC_0022

the lego, the showthe lego the showthe junk food the showjosh and ducks the showthe animals the showthe birds the showthe mice, the showthe love the show

the show bag, the showthe end the show

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4

10 Apr Dexter

first lookMy big little man,

1459 days we’ve spent together but it’s been 1460 nights.

35, 040 hours have past since you were first laid upon my bare breast and you looked straight at me, straight in my eyes, and they said -

I KNOW YOU.

That first night with you beside my bed I couldn’t sleep a wink. I couldn’t believe you were here. I couldn’t believe you were mine.

So perfect, so sweet smelling. That didn’t last.

D Man and mama

Countless heartbeats have passed between us but your heartbeats are your own now. I used to feel every one, but you are getting more distant as you turn from a baby into a boy. In a few more blinks of my eyes you’ll be a man.

They always said it goes fast, and it does. Not the nights. The endless, drawn out nights where you cried, or were ill, and I held you, but they seem so far away now when all you want from me is maybe a quick cuddle or to take you for a pee before you roll over and snuggle your face into Rat and spoon that toy that is no longer bigger than you.

You’re so confident and smart. You chat to people, and you charm them with your funny wit or silliness, unless you drive them nuts with your whining. That happens too.

You surprise me and delight me endlessly and I really couldn’t be prouder of you.

D man almost oneToday you are four.

The first birthday that I won’t be with you all day.

I feel a healthy dose of mother’s guilt over that, but it’s also the first birthday that your Papa has spent the whole day with you. He’ll show you a grand old time and we’ll kick it large on the weekend with a chocolate cake bigger than your head.

When we were leaving the supermarket today I gave you and Kiki a biscuit. You were stoked, but your cranky pants sister didn’t want it and she hit it out of my hand and onto the ground.

Then she wanted it, naturally.

I refused to give her another, and nor would I pick the one up off the carpark floor, and she squawked and squawked. As we were driving off she suddenly went quiet. I figured she was inhaling a really huge breath in order to give it some more however when I turned she was eating half a biscuit.

D man about twoYou had split yours and passed it over in the backseat.

Now, don’t get me wrong, boy, you are a stinker when you want to be, and you torture that poor sister of yours, but in that moment I saw your true character, and you’re a good dude.

Happy birthday, D Man.

I love you to the shops and back,

Mama xxx

DSC_0289 D Man 4

Milestones, tears and lunchbox scrolls

1 Apr scrolls

Kiki's first day of kindyKiki’s little body looked so tiny when her new pink and turquoise butterfly bag was hoisted onto her back.

She wouldn’t let me carry it for her even though with her water bottle and lunchbox it was kind of heavy. She was well chuffed to finally have a school bag to call her own. Maybe she’ll grow up to be lover of fine handbags, or kooky carriers that look like animals.

Or just a crazy bag lady.

Walking up the footpath, heading to her first day of daycare, my heart was as heavy in my chest as her bag looked on her shoulders.

Always fiercely independent Kiki wouldn’t even let me help her by taking some of the weight, so I left her because essentially that’s what this day is about.

The second cutting of the cord.

She’s been looking forward to this day for weeks, always sad when we drop D Man off, always wanting to stay and play with the kids. She’s ready. I have no doubt, it’s just that it’s come sooner than I thought and my heart is a little heavy.

This is a milestone. For Kiki and for myself.

Next Monday I’ll be starting a new job. My first day of work in four years. Technically, between writing books and blogs and scripts and stuff I have barely had a single day off, but now I’m GOING TO WORK.

Somewhere that will require pants and a bra.

Kiki’s first day at kindy is a turning point that marks the beginning of big changes in my life, and all our lives, and her smiling face as she was smearing Clag glue all over paper with more abandon than I would never allow at home reminds me that this the beginning of a new era and not just the end of an old one.

She’s only going two days a week, but right now that feels like a lot.

Kiki's first day of kindyI felt quite brave walking in but 15 minutes later as I kissed her little golden head goodbye I was quite shaky on the insides.

I gathered my things and called goodbye to her one last time, but she didn’t even turn to look at me as she was engrossed in something new and exciting.

It’s lucky, I suppose, because she would have seen tears welling in my eyes and a spectacularly wobbly lip as I severed that umbilical cord just a little bit further and say farewell to my baby.

I’ll pick her up after lunch. Just a short day on your first day, but I made sure her lunch was a special one, because she’s also mega proud of her new lunchbox. It’s just like her big brother’s, you see, and she thinks he’s pretty cool except when he’s licking her hair, sticking dinosaurs down her nappy or stealing her food.

scrolls2Cheesy lunchbox scrolls

Yield : 10 

What you will need :

  •  1 ½ cups plain flour (I used spelt)
  •  1 ½ cups wholemeal flour (I used spelt)
  •  3 teaspoons baking soda
  •  1 pinch Salt and cracked black pepper
  •  60 grams chilled butter, chopped
  •  ¾ cup milk
  •  3 tablespoons Mrs Balls Chutney (or whatever chutney floats your boat)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 rashers of bacon, diced
  • 2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs or thyme
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  •  1 ½ packed cups grated cheese
  • 1/2 zucchini grated
  •  Extra milk, for brushing (may require more)

scrollsWhat you will need to do :

Preheat oven to 210°C

Fry off your bacon until cooked and yummy. Set aside to cool.

Quick-whisk the flour (don’t forget my whisk trick, just whisk it! Place the flour into a bowl and give it a good whisk to aerate and remove lumps. My cheats’ version of sifting)

Add baking powder, salt and pepper and herbs in a bowl and add the butter then using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs. Toss in your chopped spring onion.

Make a well in the centre. Combine the milk with ½ cup water and pour the liquid into the well. Using a flat bladed knife, cut through the flour mixture until it comes together as a rough dough. If it’s too dry, add a little more water a teaspoon at a time.

Tip the dough onto a work surface dusted with flour and knead lightly until it can form a ball. Don’t overwork it. Roll out the dough to a rectangle approximately 30 x 40cm in size.

Mix your tomato paste and chutney together and smear over the entire surface, then sprinkle with cheese, cooled bacon and grated zucchini.

Roll up to form a big cigar. Slice the roll into pieces approximately 2cm wide and place scrolls so they are touching each other on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush each scroll with a little extra milk

Chuck them in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through and crunchy. If the scrolls start to brown too quickly cover with foil
.

Cool on a wire rack then break apart.

kiki's first day of kindy

Supermarket mayhem and spelt hot cross buns

22 Mar spelt cranberry hot cross buns

spelt hot cross bun ingredientsPeople with no children really don’t understand the pain that is grocery shopping with children.

They cruise blissfully up and down the aisles, maybe gently comparing products, reading labels and chatting on their phone. Parking their damned trolley in the middle of everything as they dawdle.

Every time I enter the supermarket with my two kids I feel like I’m on an episode of It’s a Knockout, or maybe one of those wacky Japanese game shows where a massive flesh eating lizard will bite your arse if you’re too slow.

I wish I was more organised and a meal planning type person but I’m not. I never know what I want to eat three days in advance so I end up spending a lot of time at the supermarket. I’m there at least three times a week on average.

The staff at my local know us by name, and I often ponder the fact that I’m there more regularly than them.

They’ve helped me find my lost children, watched me lose my shit, seen me forget my wallet after scanning a trolley load, and watched D Man ride the Guide Dog Association dog wearing Raybans and a smile.

I’m finding the usual mayhem has doubled or tripled now that there are shiny wrapped Easter eggs lurking down every aisle just waiting for chubby hands to knock over the display.

Which is imminent, no doubt.

spelt hot cross bun dough provingAnd will be as embarrassing as the penis in the meat department, I’m sure.

As patient and lovely as my local supermarket may be, I do have one complaint about them.

They don’t make great hot cross buns….. in fact, they don’t actually bake any on site, and by the time I get to the measly table stocking them there are only fruitless or chocolate chips ones left.

spelt hot cross bun makeshift piping bagFruitless hot cross buns are not the real deal, and neither, my friends, are chocolate chip.

However, if you’re looking for real deal hot cross buns, these are the shizzle.

They’re a little heavier than the traditional, you could use plain flour if you wanted, but we just fell in love with them and I’ll make these babies all year long.

Easter Schmeaster.

spelt cranberry hot cross bunsWhat you will need : 

    • 2 1/2  cups wholemeal spelt flour
    • 2 1/2 cups plain spelt flour
    • 1/4 cup caster sugar
    • 2 teaspoons yeast
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon allspice
    • a few grinds of black pepper
    • 1 1/2  cups sultanas
    • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
    • finely grated zest of one orange
    • 1 egg

300ml milk

  • 100g butter

For the glaze :

  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

What you will need to do :

Set aside 3 tablespoons of plain spelt flour to make your crosses with and combine the rest in a large bowl with your wholemeal flour. Give it a quick whisk to get any lumps out.

Combine with fruit, sugar, yeast, spices, salt and orange zest. Stir through.

Pop your chopped up butter and milk on the stove and warm gently until the butter has melted. You only want your milk to be just above luke warm, not hot.

Make a well in your flour mix, crack in your egg and add your milk and give it a good stir to mix together.

Turn it out onto a well floured surface and knead, baby, knead, until it’s nice and smooth. Probably looking at no less than 7-10 minutes.

Lightly oil and clean bowl and put your dough in and cover with a clean tea towel and place somewhere warm for 40 minutes or until about double in size.

Knock it back and knead again, then cut into 12 equal pieces and shape into balls. Place them into an oiled square baking tray and cover again, leaving for a further 40 minutes. Once more they should about double in size.

Preheat oven to 220C.

Mix remaining flour with 1/4 water and make a smooth paste. Using a piping bag with tiny nozzle or a sandwich bag with the corner cut out pipe on your crosses. Mine were a bit manly but rustic is good.

Pop into oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 200C and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until golden brown. They should sound hollow when tapped.

To make your glaze combine the sugar, spices and 1/4 cup of water and stick onto a medium heat in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and leave to simmer for 1-2 minutes, not stirring. Brush glaze over buns straight from oven.

spelt cranberry hot cross bunsThese are best eaten the day they’re made with lashing of butter. The following day they’re great toasted, and the day after that……

Italian Bread and Butter Pudding. The recipe for the pudding is in my book, not on the blog.

If you have the book, check it out, if you don’t…. what are you doing???

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All head to the Holsby Shop right now and receive both the hard copy, and the ebook, plus my new mini ebook A Bit On The Side.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

5 Snack Series with Mouths of Mums

18 Mar date slice

smoothies for toddlers (1 of 1)You may have recently seen me spruik on my Facebook page my recent article for Mouths For Mums.

It was 5 Great Snacks for Toddlers.

What I failed to mention was it’s actually a 5 part series over the coming weeks whereby we cover snacks for every age group (including grown ups. There will be wine and chocolate in that one as they are their own angelic food group which is as important and vegetables in my mind).

Snacks are the things we eat between meals that keep us going.

date sliceThere is a mood that occurs when you wait too long between meals and that is known as HANGRY.

As it suggests it’s a combo of hungry, and angry. I get moody (cranky ass, impatient, short tempered) when I’m hungry, as do my spawn.

As do most people, possibly you.

Although snacks are largely interchangeable and anyone can eat any of them, I’m really working on the idea of concentration spans at snack times, i.e. little kids have NONE, packing in nutrients and fruit and vegetables (sneaking them in), and energy required for growing bodies and busy minds.

Today we’re taking a look at the Pre-Schooler. They are a strange and wonderful species with boundless energy and curiosity.

Head over to Mouths of Mums and check it out – 5 Great Snacks for Pre-Schoolers.

banana coco maple yoghurt

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All head to the Holsby Shop right now and receive both the hard copy, and the ebook, plus my new mini ebook A Bit On The Side.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

The Jerk

15 Mar pants

Scoping out which part of cowhide to vomit on…. wooden floor not appealing.

There’s another man in my life that I don’t really talk about much.

He’s a total fricken’ pussy, in all senses of the word but I think it’s time I let him out from under the bed, metaphorically speaking, because realistically he ain’t coming out for no one until it’s good and dark , and the kids are in bed.

I’m not hiding him from you – he’s fairly wraith like in his abilities to make himself scarce – but for such a small, quiet dude he’s probably the biggest jerk in the house. Mind you, that would probably just depend on the day.

We all seem to take turns, myself excluded.

Naturally.

I’ve referred to him in passing, and mentioned how he ruins my stuff by ignoring his array of expensive scratching posts and choosing instead to scratch the shit out of my big, gay, salmon couch.

Jerk

Jerk (that’s just a yoghurt stain….scouts honour)

10 years ago I was dating a dude who paraded me past the vet’s window when there was a tiny, weeny, bald shaven kitten the size of a fist who had been eaten by a dog.

The dog owners found the poor creature in their yard and they took it to the vet where their initial thoughts were to euthenaise the kitten… until he looked at the lady vet with his big green eyes and she was a G.O.N.E.R..

‘Look at him, BAY-by‘ said the boyfriend. He used to emphasise that first syllable of baby. I kinda liked it.

He wants to come home with us.’

But I wanted a Lady Puss. Not a Man Cat.

I went, solo, for a moggy date to the vets to hold the poor, sick cat that I did not want to prove to myself how much I did not want him.

Who was I kidding? Schmuck.

Those green eyes with flecks of gold clocked me and……G.O.N.E.R.

My whole life I’ve picked the broken waifs and strays and tried to fix them, did I really think I wouldn’t crumble and desire to give this boy cat all the puss love I had in my heart?

This was pretty much how my love life went in my 20′s. Find a broken one, and try to save him… although there was a little stint of find a young one and train him up.

Needless to say, those paramours fell away into sweet fragments of my history but a cat is no short love affair.

Anyhoo, 40 minutes and 50 bucks later, I was told I could pick up my kitten in a few weeks when his wounds had healed, and heal he did. Mister Fluffy Pants, aka The Jerk, is reaching middle age age now at a ripe old 10 years old.

When I cried, he sat with me, when I got drunk, he slunk around my ankles, and when I got laid he’d try to sit on the bed, with various success depending on the modesty of my lover. We were a team for a few years, Pants and I.

He was always shy after his traumatic beginnings. So much so that for years no one believed I even had a cat but when it was just he and I home, he loved life.

I guess where it all went south for The Jerk was when I shacked up.

Mister H hates cats, Mister Fluffy Pants in particular, but that makes Pants more determined to sit on him.

I like that about cats.

To make feline matters worse I got knocked up. I didn’t want Pants sitting all up in my face, and he’s never forgiven me for the little peeps. He thinks they’re the jerks.

Mr F Pants treats me like his girlfriend, which I’m supposed to be flattered about but in actuality it means that he randomly attacks me, and only me, in a display of power that I’m supposed to find sexy… but I don’t.

I find it creepy, and a scary, and my ankles constantly have razor like slashes across them from his onslaughts.

His preferred place to vomit is either on my Persian rug or my cow hide…. never on the vast expanse of wooden floor.

Jerk.

I feel for that Jerk though. Living his days sleeping under the bed, hiding from sticky, grabby hands and coming out to bite me at night.

It’s not easy going from being Top Cat to Top Jerk.

How the furry fall.

pants

Did your furry friend fall from grace when you had a family, or keep its ranking??

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Breathe

15 Feb kiki and I whangarei

Life has a myriad of ways to leave you breathless.

sunset whangarei

Sometimes fear will suck the air from your throat.

deer at Zion

Sometimes grief will knock the air from your gut.

northlands, new zealandSometimes a full moon rising on the horizon will take your breath away.

almost full moon whangarei

Sometimes cold water will push the air from your lungs.

whangareiSometimes laughter can leave you gasping.

Sometimes love so big fills your throat and no air can squeeze through.

kids at whagarei

Sometimes filled with longing you may forget to inhale.

reotahi bay, whangarei

Once in a while you find a special place… you find somewhere you can breathe.

kiki and I whangarei

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The edge of Nowhere and Raspberry and Passionfruit Scones

13 Feb raspberry and passionfruit scones

raspberry and passionfruit scone ingredients

My Dad is a fairly quiet sort of a guy.

Actually, not that’s entirely accurate. He’s intelligent, charming, chatty and after a few drinks leans towards a tad rowdy (I’m speaking of the tree this apple fell from after all) so perhaps one ought not describe him as quiet.

In a little house on the edge of Nowhere my Dad lives a fairly quiet sort of life.

He has his routines.

He potters about quite happily in his garden and whiles away hours reading book after book whilst listening to the tick tock of his mantle clock as gulls gently call him from the bay.

There’s a cafe up a very sheer hill that he walks to and chats with the girls when he feels like it, but mostly his company is seagulls and the odd seal, dolphin or whale.

Quiet.

Peaceful.

And then came Hurricane Holsby.

Instead of squawking gulls he has fighting toddlers.

Gone is the gentle lap of the tide on the shore, and it is replaced by elephant like stomping up and down and down and up his hall and the Peppa Pig opening score.

The gentle buzzing of bumble bees cannot be heard over the incessant farting, crying, fighting and giggling… and that’s just me.

I try to stay on it, but his neat little house doesn’t know what hit it.

Kiki insists on downing trou and peeling off her nappy (and then running around with her leggings around her ankles in that totally Monty Python-esque waddle), so there are nappies and the odd wee strewn about on the floor…. today I barely saved the Persian from a nugget.

I know sometimes it all gets a bit much for the poor man, but for the most part, I know he flippin’ loves it.

These babies are bringing a life to the ol’ boy that I rejoice in watching.

kids at whangareiI’m shit at relaxing so I’m finding new bush tracks to run, and I accidentally ran up a mountain twice. It was truly exhilarating once I caught my breath.

Mount Aubrey, WhangareiI’m writing a lot and I’m baking up a storm.

Banana, Dark Chocolate and Carrot Bread, and these scones. Too much to eat, but I’m giving it a crack.

These are inspired by Bill Granger’s Blueberry Breakfast muffins but he uses cream where I use yoghurt.

Any berry would work and just make it up from there, cowboys.

raspberry and passionfruit sconesWhat you will need : 

  • 250 g (9 oz/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 100 g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup passionfruit swirled yoghurt (or whatever floats your boat)
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • a little milk for glazing

What you will need to do :

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor until well combined. Add the butter and pulse until it is roughly chopped in and the texture of breadcrumbs.. Tip into a bowl

And mix in the eggs and cream with a knife. Gently mix in the berries with your hands.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press into a 15 cm square. Cut into quarters and then cut each quarter in half. Place on the baking tray and brush with the egg and milk glaze. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm, with lashings of butter.

raspberry and passionfruit sconesCook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All  head to the Holsby Shop right now.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

Portrait 365 : 42

11 Feb My Dad, Richard.

My Dad, Richard.

My Dad, Richard.

‘The drive to the Ngawha hot springs is only an hour’

He lied, but the 5.5 hour round trip was worth it.

If you like what you’re seeing, or want a little more info about this image why not like my Facebook page now as I have a little spiel there.

You can also subscribe via email, or follow me on Instagram at The Holsbys to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

Portrait 365 : 40

9 Feb Joshua
Joshua

Joshua

‘Can we go and get the Ninja Turtle Slime now?’

Bribery is alive and well in jungle.

If you like what you’re seeing, or want a little more info about this image why not like my Facebook page now as I have a little spiel there.

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