Friday, 30 August 2013

Fun Chocolate Mousse

The thing about trying to eat a little healthier, sugar-wise, is that you discover a whole world of healthy eating that you never intended to delve into. I don't have any particular desire to be dairy free or gluten free or anything else free to be honest, but I am certainly reading a lot about it and know it works well for many people.

Finding beauty - Bought flowers iii

 This week's flowers. Anemones this time.


 A portrait of my children every week for a year.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Doing it different

I was sitting on the floor picking up some old spoons that I use in food photographs (someone had pulled them out of the sideboard and made a mess) when I was struck with quite a revelation. I'd much rather eat with old cutlery - like those lovely sets they have in the second hand shop up Cuba St, you know, white bone handles, the kind your Grandparents had - than the run of the mill "modern" Briscoes kind of cutlery.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Making quiet times happen

Hi Parents. I wrote recently about having a quiet time for kids each day, and I've had a few comments from you (outside of the blog) so thought I would follow it up. The big challenge for many, of course, is how to get our kids to participate!

I've done a bit of thinking, reading and asking around (thank you so much those of you made suggestions) and I'm afraid there's no simple answer, but perhaps you can be encouraged with a few ideas.

Orange Cocoa Balls

You're a tough crowd you lot. I'm very excited about some of the sugar alternatives I wrote about recently, but wasn't greeted with a long list of rapturous responses. Being mostly Kiwis, I'm thinking you're probably just excited on the inside. So. Keep up the excitement everyone...

The challenge with many of these sugar alternatives is how to swap them for sugar when a simple straight swap won't work. I see my experimenting with them in two ways. 1. -  using them in new and different kinds of recipes where other people have done the hard work or swapping in the new ingredient is an easy swap, and 2. - fiddling around with favourite, standard recipes to include the new ingredient but still getting the consistency right.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Finding beauty - Bought flowers ii

Ranunculas this week. We could get quite used to the florist that is conveniently next door to the supermarket.

Lessons in party planning

We had a party at our place a while ago. You will have seen somewhere along the way that Reuben had his 4th birthday recently. I didn't write a post about it because, well, just because I had a fun time, that doesn't make it an interesting read for you. And let it be said, I don't write this blog and include pretty pictures just to try and make you think I have a beautiful life, but to remind me that there is beauty in this life.

But as it happens, I do have something interesting to say about the party. Lucky you.

Friday, 23 August 2013


A portrait of my children every week for a year.

My list of Favourite Things

I think I have done it. Here it is, my list of favourite things. It's *really* long and very precious, I feel like I'm revealing a big piece of my insides. Thank you so much, all of you who had a go at this too, you helped to unblock my blockage! And I loved reading about you. I love your lists! Some things that you wrote down I already had on my list in exactly the same words, others helped prompt me of similar things.Thanks for really understanding the angle I was getting at on this too, it's a broad topic but you got it just as I meant.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Food play... what's coming up.

Well there is so much to learn! I've been poking around the internet and the supermarket, discovering all kinds of new food to try. Here's a round up of what's on the boil in my kitchen at the moment, and what you can expect to hear about from me in the near future. If you're excited about any of these, grab some for yourself and let's get in to it...

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Preschooler dressing mat

I don't know what the deal is in our household when it comes to getting dressed. Well, it's probably the same in your household if you have a preschooler. As soon as the clothes are out and ready to go on, Reuben turns in to some kind of gymnast/monkey/bouncy ball/disappearing act/actually-totally-normal-four-year-old.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Savoury snack inspiration

With all this talk I've been doing over at The Cook's Sponge about eating less sugar, I've been thinking for a long time that we need to put together a list of savoury snack options. It's great to find some sweet alternatives to sugar, but really, it would be good if we ate a little less sweet sometimes. I've always thought that the key to eating less unhealthy food is to find some appealing healthy options.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Sugar and alternatives

Welcome to my summary of all I have been learning regarding sugar. This has been taken directly from my old blog, "The Cook's Sponge," for quick access here at The Sponge. My updated stance on sugar alternatives can be found at the end of this post, and I'll be continuing to experiment with these on The Sponge. I'm so excited by all the good alternatives available that I've highlighted them so you can find them easily.

Cashew Nut Butter

Hi Cook's Spongers, this might be a relief for you. Let's duck the question of sugar alternatives for the moment. I've discovered a great savoury snack. Actually "discovered" is not the word, and you probably all have a version of it that you use every day.

Friday, 16 August 2013


A portrait of my children every week for a year.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

My overflowing fruit bowl

Here's a little beauty. I've really been trying to keep my eye out for some, and this arrived on my porch yesterday. "Oh wow" said Esther when she saw it all piled in to the bowl.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Being alone

I've been thinking a bit lately about children - and adults - having the ability to spend time in their own company. I think it's such an important skill for children to have, when they are young and when they are older.

I have noticed for years the way so many of us can't stand at the bus stop without putting our heads in our cell phones, or, it seems, do almost anything at all alone without turning to technology (or quickly grabbing a few friends).

Friday, 9 August 2013


A portrait of my children every week for a year.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Muesli Bar

I had some great news about glucose for Cook's Sponge readers recently, but it was tempered somewhat by the news that glucose eaters really need to stop eating sugar - the two don't go well together. However, if you're doing the glucose thing, it is great news!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013


I've created a Facebook Page, so do join us if you can. There'll be more opportunity to chat, links to interesting and mostly relevant articles, and I'll let you know when I've put up a new post.

If you make a comment on a post, you can click to the bottom right of the page on "subscribe to email" to be notified of any replies.

If you don't like the way clicking on "read more" jumps you down the post to the next line, you can instead click on the post title which will include the first paragraph. If this makes no sense, try both and see what you like!

Favourite Things

 I sang "My Favourite Things" to Reuben the other night, as I have been doing a bit recently. You know how it goes, "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with string..." It's pretty cheesy stuff actually, but we've been doing a lot of 'Doe a Deer" lately, so it seemed like a natural progression. And he loves it.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Thursday, 1 August 2013


  A portrait of my children every week for a year.

Botanical Gardens, late July

I had a little seed of an idea a couple of weeks ago and it was a nice one, so I thought I should really run with it. Reuben and Esther and I were in the Botanical Gardens, it was mid July, and I was aware of how they were sitting quietly (the gardens, not the children), on the brink of spring, when they would burst in to colour and life. How nice it would be, to document the bursting. So that's what I am doing. It strikes me as a project that will not only be interesting, photography-wise, but good for the soul. Aren't I a good girl, for following it up? So may I present to you, Wellington Botanical Gardens, in Winter: