Tag Archives: toddlers

Baby nightmares and Spiced Pumpkin Soup

26 Jun

spicy pumpkin soupD Man was a late talker so when he cried out in the night I just had to guess it was a nightmare and rub his nappied butt till he drifted back off to  the Land of Nod.

You can tell by the cry if it’s just a ‘Mama, come give me some sugar’ moment, or a true night terror.

Whenever it was blatantly the latter I’d wonder what it is a toddler has nightmares about?

Not so much mystery with the Kikster. She’s a talker, my girl. I guess some apples fall pur-ty close to the ol’ gnarly motor mouth mama tree.

She has quite a few bad dreams, say, a couple of times a week and they range from calling out things like “go away!” or “stop it!”, and then rolling over, no intervention required, to full blown terror and needing loads of calming, stroking, and cooing.

She dreams of sibling violence which she describes through sobbing tears.

“D Man.(sob) Bit.(sob) My.(sob) Finger.(sob) Go away, D Man!”(sob, sob sob. Coo, coo, coo.)

“D Man. Pushed. My. Back. Kiki fall over.”

Big sobs. Huge.

You know those dreams where you dream your partner has slighted you in some way and you wake up cranky with them?
Sometimes I’m glad she’s trapped behind bars so she can’t commando roll across the hall in her pink flannelette camoflage pj’s,  slip soundlessly into his room and commit acts of revenge unbeknownst to me as I hunker down on the couch with a glass of wine as big as my head and a bowl of ice-cream as big as my arse.

You may think it sounds far fetched (the commando roll, not the size of the wine) but she’s a feisty one and a sleeping sibling is easy pickings.

It’s not all domestic aggression that takes up space in her nocturnal dreamscapes, however. She also gets prehistoric hysteria, or prehysteria.

We spend a lot of time talking, exploring, examining and discussing dinosaurs during waking hours in this house so it’s not a great leap to discover they penetrate her impressionable subconscious.

“Dinosaur. Ate. My. Teddy.”

“Dinosaur. Chasing. Monsters.”

Trying to explain the relationship between extinct dinosaurs and non-existant monsters to a sobbing two year old at  3A.M. is not really worth the effort so we’ve done a spot of bed hopping of late.

I used to be all “Oh no, never let the stinkers into your bed or you’ll never get rid of them” but you know, schnuggling up with a child that’s clinging to you for comfort, drifting off with their feather soft hair tickling your nostrils, waking up with sharp little toenails digging into your cheek, it’s is all part of the gig.

And I kinda like a stolen cuddle.

It’s comforting to wake with a sleepy warm kid because it’s winter and I never think of utilising my hot water bottle. They’ve gotta be good for something, right?

Another way to keep mega warm sans hot water bottles or sproglets is spicy soup.

Not in bed.

That’s weird, unless you’re that way inclined, in which case I recommend a water proof mattress protector because this vibrant soup will stain the crap out of your mattress.

spicy pumpkin soupSpicy Pumpkin Soup

What you will need : 

  • 1 butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cm ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder.
  • Fresh coriander, for serving
  • natural yoghurt, for serving

What you will need to do : 

Whack it in a pot minus the coriander and yoghurt.

Simmer till it’s mushy.

Wazz it in the food processor.

Serve it. Sprinkle it with coriander and drizzle it with yoghurt.

You’re welcome.




spicy pumpkin soup



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.

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.

Failing motherhood and a penis in the meat department.

31 Jan D Man and Kiki
So sweet and innocent looking....

So sweet and innocent looking….

Sometimes I see these beautifully compliant children standing nicely beside their parents at the supermarket and I wonder if they’ve been doped.

Their parent is often casually blipping their groceries through the self-service check out, taking their time as though they’re not harbouring a child-sized time bomb in their trolley, and these lovely children are waiting patiently, maybe they’re even helping and smiling and chatting cutely.

My kids don’t do that.

Ever, that I can recall.

I guess it may have happened once or twice but the other mortifying experiences are burnt into my brain.

Sometimes I see child in a cafe and they sit nicely on their butts and drink their drinks happily without blowing bubbles, spilling it, digging their hands in it, or fighting over whose glass is whose. They dexterously dip their chip into a little tomato sauce and politely eat it.

My kids don’t do that either.

Recently in the supermarket my two were screaming at each other in the meat department.

They were loud. Really loud.

Not having an argument per se, more like screaming like two cavemen over the final dinosaur drumstick before the apocalypse set in and everyone died horrible deaths from acid rain and starvation. Know what I mean?

Using my public mothering voice I asked them to please be quiet as the other customers did not want to hear their screams, growls or blood curdling war cries.

 D Man was laughing manically between screams, tormenting his sister who was trapped in the pram, darting out of her reach before she could tear a clump of hair from his scalp, and Kiki was busting it up a notch from Feral to Foul.

I asked firmly for it to end.


I whisper-growled with the quiet death tone for them to stop.


There was a grey-haired, bespectacled lady perusing the lamb cutlets who was trying to pretend we did not exist. Fair play. I could seriously have walked out and left them there, hopping a cab to the airport and diving onto a plane to Puerto Rico.

When the final screech made my ears bleed I hissed at D Man to quit it and he proceeded to pull down his pants and waggle his penis at the pork cutlets.

Madame Grey Hair could no longer resist and she gave me a withering glare coupled with a tut.

Little terrors

Little terrors

‘I know, they’re foul and should never be allowed out. Their mother should be ashamed.’ I said in complete exasperation.

Lately I feel whenever I ask them to do anything they do the exact opposite. Even if it endangers them ; running on the road, wildly swinging sticks or sporting equipment, or just slapping each other upside UFC style.

Trying to get D Man to get dressed is unbelievable.

I ask him politely 10 times to get dressed and it’s not until I lose my shit, threaten violence and walk half way out to the car that he takes any notice….. and don’t get me started on bedtime.

Or teeth cleaning.




Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m failing motherhood.

I regularly lose library books, children’s socks and my cool.

I always forget the nappy bag, and 9 out of 10 times it doesn’t matter, but that other time?? Yep, at the mercy of kind strangers in the midst of a poonami.

I thought I’d be a Madonna-esque mother. Not pointy bra and crotch grabbing Madonna, but more like a gently smiling, blue swathed virgin, without the virgin bit.

I doubt Joseph ever walked in from a day hammering wooden nails and Mary thrust a whining, squalling, grubby faced Jesus in his hands as she hissed was going for a run before she killed someone.

I also doubt her sandals would have coped well cross-country.

There’s definitely a couple of minutes a day where they’re delightful, sometimes it’s even at the same time as each other. I love them dearly, don’t get me wrong, but I am struggling.

I’m not afraid to admit it to you for a few reasons.

One is that you’ve already seen my many lumps and bumps both literal and figurative, but also because if I’m struggling then surely, amongst all of those with it, onto it, composed, groomed mothers, there’s a couple of stragglers limping through to bed time daily wondering when the relentlessness will ease.

Since I started writing this I’ve had a mega breakthrough with D Man by taking away TV privileges. Do something the first time I ask, or that’s it for the day.

It’s working!!

One small win for Mama Bear and I feel like I can cope for another week.

It’s all about the little victories when the battle seems never ending, innit?

Me. All. Over.

Me. All. Over.

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Get your filth on in the Mud Kitchen

21 Dec kiki mud kitchen

mud kitchen collageKelly over at Be A Fun Mum is always so inspiring. She’s a beautiful mother. Thoughtful, thought provoking and gentle.

Not to mention fun.

She totally lives up to her name. Whenever I do anything super fun I think of her so when I set up my mud kitchen I dropped her a line straight away.

I’m down with dirt. I’m down with mud.

I can be a fun mum too.

Some things in life are quite simply meant to go together.

Gin loves tonic, a pie lives for sauce, feet adore massages and children delight in dirt.

A friend of mine was talking about setting up a mud kitchen in her garden complete with muffin trays and wooden spoons and my initial reaction was of fear of mess.

I’m often prone to this fear.

Then I thought about it.

I’ve been working on my acceptance of messy play for as long as I’ve had children and I think for the most part I’m winning. I can mix the Play Dough colours now without so much as a shiver, and when I find paint all over the children, and floor, I can now laugh rather than freak out… too much.

Texta/crayons/pencil on the couch or walls still gets me where it hurts however, but I imagine nary a parent out there is down with furniture enhanced by toddler graffiti.

The more I thought about my friend’s idea, the more I realized that the mud kitchen is actually quite genius.

To read more about setting up my mud kitchen pop over to Be A Fun Mum here.

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.

If you subscribe now to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list you will automatically receive my new mini-eBook ‘A Bit On The Side’  – A collection of fabulous summer salads and side dishes.

I’m extending my freebie offer to keep up the Christmas spirit.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All ($35) head to the Holsby Shop right now. You will also receive the Cook Once Feed All eBook (worth $15), plus the new eBook ‘A Bit on the Side’ (worth $5) as a bonus gift in your inbox today.

Three for the price of one, and you save $20.

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.

HOLSBY TV Iron Chef:Suburbia

17 Nov

I recently met, and developed a little lady crush, on the wonderful Mandy Dos Santos, nutritionist from Little People Nutrition.

It was refreshing in this day and age of hyper-sensitive eating (for which there is an important place – I’m not poo pooing), to find someone who has a very similar food philosophy as myself.

We discussed this sympatico over a schooner of beer and a bowl of fries and we decided we really needed to do some cool shit together.

A pair of busy mums, living a good two hours drive from each other, cool shit was hard to co-ordinate…. and then there was this.

Going head to head in the kitchen two suburban Iron Chefs battled it out over the kitchen bench only to be judged by the harshest critics in the world.

Those Japanese actresses are a piece of cake compared to…

The Toddler.

I present to you


Our guest iron chef was victorious this time, but stay tuned for more opportunities for Mrs H to win the crown.

To see the complete recipe for the brown rice sushi check it out here

To see the complete calamari recipe check it out here

I am launching my new book on the 28th November. 11 days….The countdown is on!

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. This book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

If you subscribe now to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list you will automatically receive my new mini-eBook ‘A Bit On The Side’  – A collection of fabulous summer salads and side dishes.

To pre-order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All ($35) head to the Holsby Shop right now and you will be the first to receive the hard copy book after it launches on the 28th. You will also receive the Cook Once Feed All eBook (worth $15), plus the new eBook ‘A Bit on the Side’ (worth $5) as a bonus gift in your inbox today.

Three for the price of one, and you save $20.

Winning :-)

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.


10 Apr

Three years ago, after 22 long hours, I held my son in my arms, and in that moment my entire life changed forever.

I have always wanted children and known they were in my future and I couldn’t wait to hold him, even before I was pregnant, my arms longed for him.

Even though I had this longing, I don’t know if I was fully prepared for what it actually means. I mean, you know about the serious lack of sleep heading your way, but nothing really prepares you for the endless months of sleep deprivation.
You realise that, unlike a horse or cow, a baby human is completely dependent on you for years, leaving you little space to be you anymore.
You become a new you. Most of the time it is fine, but sometimes I pine for the old me.
My spontaneity has gone. I have become kinda o.l.d.

Today was my big boy’s third birthday. I have such nostalgia today but it’s not for him. It’s for me. My life.

Maybe something has inherently happened at Terrible Twos has given way to Fucking Awful Threes, but the last few weeks I’ve felt like perhaps I’m not quite as equipped for this job as I first thought.

Yesterday I fantasised about going for a walk. On my own. And not stopping…… I imagined the whole scenario.

I’d drop the kids to the neighbours so they’d be safe until Mister H came home and by then I’d have just disappeared. I have always had a sense of the dramatic.
I used to think the missing persons people had met with foul play, but maybe some of them were just tired of picking up after everyone and being pierced with shrill syllables.

I don’t really want to disappear.

It was just a fantasy. Sometimes I fantasise I’m on The Voice too.

I just thought maybe out there on my walk I wouldn’t feel so torn in pieces. Trying to fulfil everyone’s whims is a fuller than full time job but my time card doesn’t get any extra hours.

There is a new tone in Mister Three’s repertoire that pierces my brain and I can’t reason with him. The Super Nanny would shake her head at me, but I really don’t know how to parent this new person in my house.

I love him with my whole, entire being, but he is grinding me down.

I also wasn’t prepared for what children would do to my relationship.

Three years ago my boyfriend became my baby daddy, and something changed in that. Now instead of nights dining and drinking, we play musical beds until the sun comes up and then he’s gone at dawn for the day and it’s me left. I miss my boyfriend. He’s become kinda o.l.d. too.

My friend’s husband said the problem with us girls is that we have too much time on our hands to think and internalise our feelings, and that perhaps in this time we focus too much on the negative stuff.

He makes a valid point. The hours and days of child rearing are so long, it’s easy for your thoughts to turn sour and begin picking at yourself like a crazy bird picks it’s feathers.

Maybe it is as simple as choosing happiness… and wearing earplugs so I can’t hear the whinging.

I am nostalgic, this evening. As my baby turns three.

On another note, I ate a lot of chocolate cupcakes today….. didn’t help the blues but shit they were yummy.

How To Prevent Your Toddler From Killing Your Baby.

27 Feb


If I had a dollar for every time I said ‘Be gentle with your sister’ I could buy myself a First Class one way ticket to somewhere peaceful where pool boys massaged my feet whilst I drank cocktails the size of my head.

One moment of relaxed vigilance and my baby could be unwittingly suffocated, choked, or just ridden off into the sunset by her exuberant big brother.

Today, I popped over to Sleeping Could Be Easy to give my friend Nina a few tips on how to keep her gorgeous toddler away from her soon-to-be newborn twins.

She said this gave her a chuckle, but also made her scared…..

She should be.

I have marvelled many times about the fact that second children are ever conceived, in light of the fact that first children really play havoc with your sex life, but something I have observed in the last 9 months, is that it’s a miracle our second children make it to their first birthdays.

It’s generally not that our first child is malicious, but more inclined to love the new baby a tad fiercely……

To read the rest of this post pop over here

Have you caught your toddler being over zealous?

If you know someone that’s got a new baby and a toddler, flick this over to them.

You may save a baby’s life!

Toddler versus Tabby. An action adventure tale of oral hygiene.

23 Jul

I recently promised one of my readers some action/adventure as I was a little stuck in the mummy blog rut. How much childbirth and boob stuff can you really blab on about? You want adventure? You want action?

Try cleaning your kids teeth. That’s friggin’ action.

There are high speed chases that occassionally end in collisions and people flying through the air, there’s explosive language, and even sporadic nudity, his, mine, both – anything goes.

I often think that I would have more luck cleaning Mister Fluffy Pants’ (yeah, that’s my cat’s name – what of it???) teeth than I do D Man’s, although, I would no doubt end up with slightly clawed forearms. I somehow feel that the overall trauma would be somewhat less. Of course, I would have to buy the cat his own toothbrush as sharing one with your cat would be weird……as it stands, I’m stuck attempting to clean a very uncooperative toddler’s teeth with varying degrees of NO success.
I googled for some technique tips and read of one woman who grabs her tortured kid in a head lock but that seems altogether a tad ballistic, especially when you take into consideration that this round of teeth with fall out eventually anyway, so perhaps World Wrestling Federation tactics are not the way forward? Surely, it will only cause negative associations with teeth cleaning, or a pro-wrestler with dazzlingly sparkly chompers who enters the ring with a Dora the Explorer toothbrush?

It’s highly recommended to brush your toddler’s teeth twice a day, and to clean each tooth thoroughly, including the backs…… INCLUDING THE BACKS???. How the hell are you supposed to get the backs, twice a day?  I’m working on the theory that if I clean each tooth in his head once a week, we’re doing ok. I’d love it if D Man was compliant, with a flip top head for easy access, but he’s usually hopping about, grabbing at the toothbrush and anything else within arms reach (contact solution, hand soap, toilet roll, which, FYI, is never the same once it’s landed under a running tap).
I also really loved the handy tip about turning the entire tooth cleaning experience into a game. Obviously, D Man got that memo before I did because he’s turned it into an awesome game of Catch Me If You Can, Loser.

I’ve got a little system going on. Basically, I squirt toothpaste on a little Ben 10 electric toothbrush, whilst weilding a mini-mouth manual brush in my other hand. When he opens his mouth to suck the toothpaste off the one he’s holding (whichever one takes his fancy on the day) I lever the remaining brush into his gob and brush as swiftly as I can. He’s bites it, he blows raspberries, then he manically shakes his head from side to side like he’s front row at a Nirvana concert and then he bolts.
I’ve given up chasing him and decided that we can try again in the evening. Not becuase I don’t care about his oral hygene, I just know that this will not be the only battle of the day and I need to conserve my battle strategies.

The experts, who hand out advice on this matter, also recommend no lollies. They stick to the teeth and the sugar has a little party that boogies on down in baby teeth. We rarely give him any lollies so that’s under control, but they also mention that dried fruit is the root of all dental sin, as it’s as full of sugar and sticky as a lolly and attaches it’s sticky goodness to tiny teeth and creates oral havoc….. Oh….. I see. We eat sultanas and dried apricots all the time, am I doing something bad???  Dang. I love dried apricots. He loves dried apricots. I think that this pearly set of milk teeth may be in big trouble.

Thankfully, we need not worry too greatly, as he’ll get a whole new Hollywood smile by the time he’s 10 or so (guessing, no idea) because I really do need to conserve my energy for more dramatic action/adventure scenes.

NB I would have dearly loved to post a picture of D Man and Fluffy Pants, but to say their relationship is precarious is an understatement. D Man loves Pants. He wants to pat him, rub his nose in his fur, and have tea parties with him. Pants hates D Man and wishes he was never born. I hate those one sided relationships.

Super Yummy, Healthy Muesli Bars for Rugrats and Rascals

27 Mar muesli bars

It’s so hard to find good snacks for munchkins that are easy to pack and carry and are not full of preservatives and hidden nasties.

Muesli bars are awesome to throw in your handbag but I made the fatal error of buying a whoop from the supermarket after discovering their popularity. It wasn’t until I was home that I read the ingredients – rookie error. I found that a certain brand, synonymous with ‘health’ were so chocked full of sugar, oil, additives and fake fruit that I really couldn’t in good conscience feed them to D Man (company shall remain nameless although may rhyme with Muncle Schmobys). Then upon further investigation of yummier ones with less additives I discovered they were a million dollars per bar and over a couple of weeks could bankrupt you.

My household is a peanut butter lovin’ household and I’m sorry to say I can’t go past a bog standard salt added, sugar added version….although I do buy light as it makes me feel slightly better about my addiction (hell, if that’s the only one I have left I’m doing ok!), but recently a very dear friend of mine of singing the praises of all natural, all singing, all dancing pressed peanut style peanut butter. I got all righteous about it and decided not to start off with a little jar, no, I bought a whacking great bucket and decided, from now on, my family would only eat healthy peanut butter………Mister H turned his nose on day one, and D Man shortly followed suit, leaving me with a big tub of the stuff sitting in my pantry……. so I got to thinking, mmmmmmm, peanut butter muesli bars????

If you’re a nut free household you can omit the peanut butter but you will need a little more honey to keep it from crumbling into a million pieces upon first bite!

For something I’ve never made before I’ll often poodle around on google for a while and check out a couple of different recipes to see how the basic structure of said thing is (i.e. : what’s needed to keep it all together and not fall apart upon first bite) and then I’ll amalgamate and tweak until it’s mine.

So, after extensive muesli bar consumption, and a lot of dried fruit wind, here’s what I came up with.

Yield : 20 bars, so perfect to take for play with friends

Makes 24


  • 125g butter
  • 1/4 cup honey (1/2 a cup for no peanut butter version)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup raw sugar
  • 1.5 cups puffed brown rice (avail in either cereal aisle or health aisle at major supermarkets)
  • 1.5 cups raw quick cook oats (these are smaller pieces and easier for little jaws and digestive tracts to handle)
  • ¼ cup mixed seeds, pepitas, sesame, sunflower, whatever you want
  • 1.5 cups dried fruit of your choice. I love cranberries, sultanas, apricots and dates
  • ½ cup shredded coconut


Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Mine is 34cmx22cm to give you an idea of how big you need.
Combine honey, peanut butter, sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and stir for about a minute to let it thicken a little. Remove from heat and set aside.
Throw all your dry ingredients into a big bowl together and make a little well in the centre. Pour over your syrup and stir it until all dry ingredients are well coated and combined. Spoon into tray and I press down firmly with a big spoon to make it nice and even but also to compact it as much as I can before cooking. Pop it in the over for about 20 minutes, depending on oven, maybe 25 minutes, until it’s golden. Remove from oven.
At this stage, I get a clean cake tin and I press this puppy down as much as possible. The first time I made it I was picking up puffed rice from all manner of nooks and crannies so I reckon this step is imperative unless you want to eat outdoors or you have a dog that likes muesli. Leave to cool, put it on a board and cut into desired size.
I get about 20 pieces but I may be known to cut them chunky…..cos I’m a pig.

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