Thursday, 26 June 2014

Everybody Loves a Poo Story

My daughter has reached that delightful, precursor-to-toilet-training age where, upon filling her nappy or 'producing the goods' (as my mother so euphemistically terms it), she will take off her pants, undo her nappy and leave it wherever she happens to be standing at the time.

Now I'm quite sure that none of you out there would be particularly impressed with a photo of one of the genuine articles mentioned in the above scenario, so here is a photo of how her brother and I react when we discover one of these said articles.

In observing his only sibling evolve from a tiny baby into an independent-minded miniature little lady, my son is both endearingly fascinated and mildly disturbed by some of her behaviours. One of his most frequent questions to me these days is: "Did I do that when I was a baby?"

Last week, after Annalisa had houdinied her way out of her outfit, stripped off her nappy and smeared its contents all over Ben's bike in the time it took me to take the shopping in from the car, he asked me just that.

"Well, you didn't do exactly that", I answered him. "But you did do a couple of things even worse than that which involved poo".

"What were they?" he said, with the intonation of excitement that most nine-year-old boys tend to revert to when talking about poo.

It seems it was time to open the floodgates of memory lane.

"When you were a little bit older than Annalisa is now," I told him, "I thought you were having an extra long sleep-in one morning. I went into your room and discovered that you weren't sleeping at all and that you had done an enormous poo, taken off your pyjamas and your nappy and had painted your cot and the walls in it. It took me all morning to clean the cot and the sheets and your clothes and the walls. And you".

He squealed with laughter.

I actually have photographic evidence somewhere of this natural disaster, but I'm not going to go searching for it as I'm quite sure you'd rather be spared from that too. I will say, however, that it was an event which cemented itself firmly in my mind forevermore as the a-poo-calypse.

And yet, this is not even my most memorable poo story.

"What's the other thing I did with poo?" he asked, jumping up and down on one leg in anticipation.

As I whiped poo off Ben's bike, he sat down on the grass beside me and seeing as this was one of those rare occasions where I had his complete attention, I told him that story too. It went like this ...

When he was little and we lived up in the tropics in Darwin I'd often let him run around in just his nappy if we were just at home for the day.

That meant it was really easy for him to undo his nappy whenever he wanted to and as he got older he used to do it a lot. Sometimes he'd take the nappy off even when there was nothing in it just so he could run around naked. (He squealed with laughter again when I said the word 'naked').

One afternoon, I was waiting for an electrician to come round to our house and fix up a problem we had with the electricity in the lounge room. When he arrived and knocked on the door, I realised that Ben had taken off his nappy again. I located the nappy, but because it didn't have any wee or poo in it (insert giggles) I put it back on him and answered the door.

This was the first time I'd met this electrician. I didn't tell Ben that he was of Mediterranean heritage and about a generation and a half older than I was. I left that out because I thought the significance of this information would probably be lost on him. What happened during the electrician's visit was bad enough without adding the fact that Mediterranean men, particularly ones belonging to older generations, usually have very set ideas about how a housewife should look after a home. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

At first the electrician was really friendly and chatty and told me what a beautiful baby Ben was. I asked him if he'd like a coffee, he said yes, and I went off to make it while he checked all the electrical plugs in the lounge room.

When I came back with the coffee, it was like he was a completely different person. The smile had left his face.

'It's all fixed', he said flatly.

'That was fast', I told him.

He grunted something inaudible.

I handed him the coffee and he drank it so fast I'm surprised he didn't burn a hole in his gullet.

'I'll send you the bill in the mail', he said, handing back the cup, packing up his toolbox and heading out the door. without so much as a 'thank you' or a 'goodbye'.

After he left, I stood there in the loungeroom and pondered what had just occurred. How was it possible for someone to walk in the door in such a good mood and to exit it ten minutes later in such a bad one for no apparent reason? It couldn't have been that he didn't like the way I made coffee; he was grumpy before I even handed it to him. Was it something I said? But it couldn't be - I hadn't said anything to him between asking him if he wanted a coffee and brining it back to him.

I paced around the room trying to make some sense of it all and then, as I rounded the corner and stepped behind the sofa I saw it ...

Right there on the floor, in front of a power point, hidden from view from where I had been standing before, was a great, ginormous log of poo.

one mother henI Must ConfessThe Multitasking Mummy

What memories of poo do you have? Please don't be shy - regale me with your poo tales ... or have you banished them from memory? 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Hot Chilli Chocolate

I've mentioned before that hot chocolate is one of my favourite things about Winter, and my favourite hot chocolate recipe of them all is this one for hot chilli chocolate that was passed onto me by one of my sisters.

Now I've heard that chilli is very good for whipping up the metaboloism and I like that very much since it means I feel no guilt whatsoever in slugging back vast quanities of this drink, knowing that the chilli counteracts the chocolate and my now super-fast metabolism will just burn it off before I even have time to think about it. So far this Winter that theory's been working out well for me. I'm sure my jeans just shrunk in the wash this week and the extra long time it took me to button them up had nothing to do with my affection for this beverage.

Here is the recipe. It will make you two delicious cups of hot chilli chocolately heaven.


2 cups of milk

2 reeds of chilli, split and seeds removed (just use one chilli if you'd prefer a milder version)

1/2 a vanilla bean. split (or a splosh of vanilla essence if you don't have a bean)

1 cinnamon stick (can use a few shakes of ground cinnamon if you don't have a stick)

Half a block of cooking chocolate, grated


1. Simmer milk in pan with vanilla, cinnamon and chilli

2. Heat through for approximately one minute

3. Whisk in grated chocolate and continue to simmer until melted

4. Remove from heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes before drinking

5. Get drinking! (and if you have blocked sinuses, get ready to have them blasted back to normal)

Bake Play Smile
Melting Moments

Do you have a favourite type of hot chocolate?

Have you ever tried hot chilli chocolate?

Do you know any other fun recipes with chillies?

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Edible Word Games

I have often wished I could eat my words and last night I did just that ... with the help of my son and some cookie dough.

We've always loved playing word games together and after owning a set of alphabet cookie cutters for the last six years and never even taking them out of the box, I decided the time had come to put them to good use and make up an edible word game.

While Ben was at school yesterday, I got out a pen and paper and, through trial and error, came up with nine special six-letter words. What's special about these words is that you can take one letter out of the original six, rearrange them and they will form a new word. Then you take a letter out of the remaining five, rearrange them and they form another new word, and so on until you are left with a single letter word (I or A).

When I'd done that, I wrote out the rules of the game for him:

Rules of The Edible Word Game

1. After deciding which player is going to go first, that player looks at the six letter word in front of them and works out which letter they can take out so that the remaining five letters form a word. 

2. The player then eats the letter s/he has taken out and it becomes the next player's turn.

3. Players can rearrange the remaining letters if they need to but do not have to if it is not necessary.

4. The game continues until only a single letter word remains. The player whose turn it would be directly after the player who ate a letter from the two-letter word is allowed to eat this last letter. This game works best with two or three players so that there is an even distribution of cookies in each round. (My son is not a fan of diseven distribution!)

5. All words used must be words you would find in an English dictionary.

6. All players must remember to chew with their mouths closed.

When he got home from school, we made the cookie dough and cut it into the letters we needed (I didn't show him the process from getting from the six-letter words to the one-letters words, I just let him know each of the six letter words so he'd know which letters to cut out).

I made him wait until after dinner before we played and by then he was just about jumping out of his skin with excitement, his competitive spirit being just as much to blame for that as his anticipation of eating large quantities of choc chip cookies.

Here is how we played out the nine rounds:

Here are some things I have learnt while we were playing:

1. Each round gets easier and faster as you go along. That means you have to eat faster too.

2. I got so caught up in the excitement of preparing to play that I didn't really think about the fact that for two people to play nine rounds would mean eating 27 cookies each. We didn't actually end up eating 27 cookies each. But we gave it a good shot.

3. There are word possibilities other than the ones we used. For instance, rats could also be star, mane could also be name, cane could also be acne, eat could also be tea, team could also be meat or mate, darn could also be rand, dance could also be caned and stare could also be tears.

4. Likewise, there are also other possible word patterns for some of the rounds. The round that went master, steam, team, eat, at, a could also have gone master, steam, seam, sea, as, a; the round that went Easter, stare, rats, sat. at. a could alos have gone Easter, tears, star, tar, at, a and the round that went please, lapse, slap, sap, as a could also have gone please, lease, ease, sea, as, a. 

5. It is possible to put a spanner in the works and muck up a round by thinking you are on the right track then coming to a point where you can't go any further. For example, if you went from garden to grade instead of grand, you could then move onto dare and then are, but then you wouldn't be able to go any further. To try and avoid this, I went first in each round to move the game in the right direction.

If I ever play with this with an adult one day rather than a child, I am going to write into the rules a suitable punishment for any person responsible for destroying the game. Assuming they had already gobbled up the wrong letters and the original word can't be reconstructed, they should be forced to forfeit all remaining cookies on the table to the other player. And considering that I would have thought up the words and their solutions before the start of play (leaving the other player at a distinct disadvantage), I think this rule will work considerably well in my favour!

Melting Moments

Do you have a favourite word game?

Could you make an edible version of it?

Could you eat 27 cookies in one sitting?

Do you know any other special six-letters words you could send my way?