Thursday, February 7, 2013

Toast

The girls usually bite big chunks out of the middle of their morning toast rectangles, turning them into some kind of amorphous animals that squeak at each other over the breakfast table.

It's well established that Peanut is the mother while Bug is the baby. I would like to say their conversations are complex and deep, but normally they consist of high pitched "Mummy, mummy!" and "Baby, baby!" Ad infinitum.



But this morning Peanut, being hungry and with big plans for drawing a giraffe right after breakfast, scoffed her toast.

When the squeaky bread child came calling across the table, she was very blunt: " Sorry, but your mother has been eaten. Try again tomorrow."

The toast baby did not seem too perturbed.

Mrs Accident: raising resilient* children since 2008....

*read "shockingly callous"

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sweeping it under the carpet

I have a confession. It's sordid.

Oh, alright, it's not sordid. Not even a little bit, in fact.

Actually, I don't know why I started like that, let me try again:

I bought a carpet sweeper.

(Now I know why I started like that. You've all just rolled your eyes and scrolled away, right? Riveting. Woohoo! Mrs Accident's found a new housewifery tool! Call the Associated Press! Man the phones! We're onto a winner!)

My carpet sweeper is a bold blue, like the colour of a banana in a surrealist painting.

It has gears and cogs and bristles and brushes, and I've seen them all, because the damn thing falls apart at the slightest provocation. (Or violent provocation. Bug thumped it down the stairs.) But the nice thing about simple machinery is the ability for it to be repaired, so my fine carpety friend lives to sweep another day.

And it gets a work out every day.

And here we do have a sordid confession. My floors used to be shocking. I was embarrassed to be called the Accidental Housewife, because anyone who came to my house would have taken one horrified, shaking glance at my leprosy withered floors and assumed that any housewife that may have once inhabited the home had indeed met with a nasty, career ending accident.

But no more!

I hated pulling around our heavy old vacuume. I felt like I was enduring some kind of Ancient Grecian punishment. The thing was effective, but the outcome was barely worth the effort involved. It was not something to be done daily, but with two small kids and two dogs, it certainly should have been!

Enter carpet sweeper, stage left, (and exit, and enter, and exit... it usually takes a few passes... ok...wait... got it!)

It's light and quick enough that I can do a zip around every day, keeping the floors looking nice and holding off the vacuuming for absolutely ages. Yonks. Eons! (I recently went three weeks without vacuuming once. It was heaven. And probably terribly unhygienic. Please don't tell Martha Stewart!)

It's also good for that heartbreaking dilemma when you just finished vacuuming, the floors are pristine, then the toddler wakes up and grinds her post-nap corn cracker into the carpet. Instead of throwing the toddler, carpet and cracker out the window, you can simply grab ol' sweepy and divert years of pesky police involvement!  Mrs Accident, saving you from yourself since 2013. Your welcome.

So embrace your inner 1950s housewife, and get in early on my newly proclaimed carpet sweeper fad!

(Or, you know, not. I don't want to boss you around or anything. It's entirely up to you. I'm just saying they're good, that's all.)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Peanut, IV

To my darling Peanut,

tomorrow is your fourth birthday party.


You're beside yourself with excitement. You spent the last hour before your nap running up and down the stairs, launching from the banisters the parachute men your Daddy bought you, and squealing "Whoo! Best Day Ever!"

We're having a pony party for you tomorrow. There's horses on your cake, and even though we couldn't find you a horse pi├▒ata you're still pretty damn excited about the stegosaurus one instead. And (shhh!) we're taking you to the stables for a surprise pony ride tomorrow morning too. I cannot wait to see your face.



 If anyone asks you what you like, you take a deep breath and tell them "pink and purple and princesses and ponies and sparkles and unicorns!"

But that's not why I'm writing to you today.

 Today I want to tell you, not what you like, but what you are like. A snap shot of you at three and 364 days.


Where to begin? You're brave. Incredibly so. When you needed injections, you knew it was going to hurt. You were worried. And it did hurt, I could tell. But you held my hand, took a deep breath, and didn't cry at all. The nurse was astounded, but I wasn't surprised. You're the kid who gets straight back on her scooter after a bad crash, the one who falls off the bed head four times in a row because you are absolutely certain you can master climbing over the end rail, and won't quit until you've done it, damn the pain! (Did I mention you were quite tenacious?)


You're a natural performer and you love to sing and dance for your family. However, I mostly think you enjoy do it by and for yourself. I often catch you around a corner somewhere, eyes shut, swaying and singing along to a tune only you can hear. (Thankfully, although I can't hear the music, I can hear your lyrics, and they are pure comedy gold. My personal favourite thus far was an epic love song to your dolly with the golden hair. You would give any tragic ballardist a run for their money.)



You adore your baby sister. You make her bed every day, even though I've asked you not to regularly - it's her job! But you persist, because you have an incredible service streak that runs right through you. Your the kid who does the dishes without me asking. You're the girl who runs to find my shoes, because you've overheard that I'm heading outside and deduct I might need them. You ask to help with every household chore, and can dust and hang laundry and clean a bathroom and sweep perfectly, just because you like to be of assistance.



You like wearing dresses, and painting, snuggling the dogs. You like scooting and drawing and playing school. You think cake is an icing delivery system. You hate pizza, but will devour a calzone in a flash. You'll eat the cherry tomatoes, but won't touch the big ones. You like milk, the more chocolatey the better. You only have bananas in a smoothie. You're convinced you're the fastest runner in the world and get cross when anyone beats you.



You're my first born, the apple of my eye, the skin to my banana, the crust of my pie.

I love you, baby girl. Happy birthday!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Kindergarten at home: Learning about Japan

So we just finished our first week of homeschool. The whole, first, four day week! Epic. We're such professionals now. Ask me anything, I'll give you the homeschool answer.

But seriously, it went quite well.

Our doll's house is copping some serious weather.
I was kind of planning on doing a weather-focused week (it was SO wet on Tuesday!) but it quickly morphed into a Japanese week when we found some interesting books at the library. This tied in nicely with our work on teaching Peanut that she comes from Australia - no point teaching her about her country and culture, if she doesn't know that there are others that are different!

Fish kites. 97% glue, 2% dog hair.


So we read "The Magic Paintbush" by Julia Donaldson (of Gruffalo fame), and "Yoko's Paper Cranes" by Rosemary Wells. We made paper fish kites, and I let her in my cupboard to throw together a poor recreation of a kimono (note the socks and sandals... and that's my dressing gown!)

Kind of wished I'd insisted on her brushing her hair...
We painted our names in hiragana, and made some cherry blossom fans. We ate sushi and wasabi peas (Peanut made a wicked face, then went back for another. And another...)

We read about Japanese gardens, then recreated one in a dodgy white plastic tray with a couple of white pebbles, an old Buddha statue we found caked in dirt when we were planting our veggie garden, and a stick for the pattern rake.



And in between all that, we did some addition practice (first with a workbook, then some dice, then marbles, and finally adding the spots on dominoes.... But not all on the one day, of course!) and started in again on letters and reading. It took a while for Peanut's brain to find it's groove. I could see her searching the back of her mind for the letters she knew she knew, and getting frustrated with herself for taking so long. She wiggled in her seat, sighed, threw her head on the desk, and then suddenly, miraculously, read the whole of her "Gus the Duck" book by herself. It was a terrific lesson to her in pushing beyond what she finds easy and mentally comfortable, and having a spectacular success. I'm so glad she kept trying!

Her handwriting tells me we may have a future doctor in our midst.


She has also spent the week trying to convince me to let her have another (oh, just one more please Mama!) of her alphabet cookies. I rolled the dough into long snakes, while she made them into letters. Usually back to front ones, but cookie dough is easy to flip! I was planning to have some left over to freeze for when real school starts next week, but I think that's a pipe dream. They are pretty damn tasty for learning aides.

So, all around, it was a terrific success. She was excited to learn new things, had a rip roaring time, and got to eat cookies. Win!

Monday, January 21, 2013

I Love Lucy

We are a Two Dog House. 

However, with the necessary removal of our previous child-chasing, Archie-terrorising, Great Aunt-growling Panzer, we were missing a dog. 

Besides, Archie is nothing but a glorified canine throw pillow anyway.

And so.... 

(drumroll please, I promise she's worth it) 

....here's Lucy! 


Half kelpie, half schipperke, all love.

I would show you a picture of her sitting up, but I'm not sure she's capable of it when we're home. Every time we look in her direction she collapses in a heap in the hope of a belly rub. She even sleeps on her back, legs akimbo, neck stretched long. But she's a streak at the park!

She's amazing with the kids. She's calm, she doesn't jump up, she doesn't steal their food, and she doesn't mind if they take her ball to throw it. And if Bug does throw the ball her very hardest, all of two metres? Lucy will leap on it enthusiastically, gallantly playing the game as best she can, with exact the same energy and enthusiasm she expends on a proper throw by Mr Accident. 


Here's Bug, using Lucy as a pillow. Both of them are extremely happy with the situation. 

Archie has settled down immensely. You can almost hear the relief in the tone of his ongoing snores. He has a friend for the park, company for the morning garden romp, and someone to spoon with at night. Lucy has even joined him in his stair sleeps, stacked like a doggy bunk bed. 


Here they are. Lucy's actually dozing here, her nose though the balustrade, halfway between where I was sitting upstairs, and Mr A downstairs. (Then I moved of course, causing a complicated rearrangement of sleeping locations. Very thoughtless on my behalf, I know.)

Lucy has started to heal my heart. I didn't want her. I was still in shock from Panzer. I didn't feel I could welcome another dog so soon. But Mr A found her from a rescue group, and she was so perfect we couldn't pass her up. She needed us. We needed her too. And she's been a balm for everyone.


So that's how we'll leave this post today. Lucy exhausted from her run at the beach and flat on her back at our feet, and Archie snuggled in the beanbag and snoring contentedly.

We are a two dog family.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Happy Ham Day!

There is a horrendous void in the celebratory calendar between New Years Eve and Australia Day.

A void that can only be filled with ham.

Enter the patented Accidental Household's Happy Ham Day.

Well... alright, so its not actually patented. Yet. Therefore, if you enjoy ham as much as we do, probably best to jump on the bandwagon now. To assist you, here are the Accidental Happy Ham Day social conventions:

1) there must be a hot, freshly roasted, generously basted ham.

2) only invite people whom the whole host family likes. No charity invitations are to be issued to annoying friends, no relatives are to be invited solely out of a sense of duty. If you wouldn't invite them to the pub, then Happy Ham Day is not the time for a catchup.

3) it's BYO sides. If guests want a sandwich, then they had better bring bread. And if they want roast veggies, then owning a car oven is advisable. (Do they exist? Perhaps they should.) The hosts of Happy Ham Day are obliged to provide ham, and ham only. Anything else that may be available is a delightful bonus.

And so, adhering to those fine rules, yesterday we warmed our new CityCottage with a delicious, clove studded ham, litres of cider and a boat load of friends. (A boat slightly larger than a dinghy, but smaller than a ferry. I suspect about a yacht's-worth.)

Oh, the ham! I'm quite sure the pig, had he known how amazing he was going to taste and how he would be fussed over and complimented, would have considered willingly donating his left leg to the cause. The basting made it glow, and the salads and breads our friends brought as sides complemented it perfectly. (For the record, I did do up some roast veggies. They were quite well received, but nothing compared to Mr Ham.)

We sat down to lunch at the table, and didn't move until far, far later that evening. We ate all the ham, the sides, and then ordered in pizza. We drank all the cider, the wine, then sent an envoy to the bottle shop. Four rowdy dogs played under the table, and four rowdy kids ran up and down the hall, all insisting they were not tired, and all sleeping the minute their heads hit their beds.

I sat at the laden table and finally spent time, after far too many years, with some of the people I love most in the world. The best friends of my youth burst from high school and scattered to the four winds - different careers, different states, different continents. But now, twelve years later, we all meandered back home at same time, and congregated around my dining table. Its a strange, wonderful old world.

I just wish I had some ham left over to eat in it!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Doomsday? I'm ready!

I have been watching far too much of "Doomsday Preppers".



I've been inculcated.

I bought a water filter.



I bought two way radios.



I bought solar and hand cranked torches.

I have dehydrated potatoes and peas.

I am ready for the zombie apocalypse.

Are you?