Sunday, October 31, 2010


this is his best smile
i don't think Sunday night's costume will be this scary ;)

A very happy Halloween to all my readers - hope you have fun trick or treating tonight, and that the sugar-overload doesn't make family life to uncomfortable.

PS: I still have no idea what my costume will be since I've left it last minute as usual (despite picking up two very nice jackets at Value Village yesterday). I think Lil' Sis red devil leftovers might be the answer (thanks for leaving them xox).

Any quick suggestions or commiserations from other SAH-parents who have been focused on That Mario Costume (there were at least 20 Marios at the school parade on Friday) or a quick fix princess in the house?

Friday, October 29, 2010

friday forte: the date night edition

There's nothing better for burying the mid life crisis than date night with a charming(?) young man. We had pizza at Flying Wedge, shared an ice cream sundae at Marble Slab Creamery, then hit Chapters in search of Silly Bandz (stretch 'em, wear 'em, trade 'em - the latest lure for Grade 2's to part with their pocket money; they are essentially overpriced rubber bands in funny shapes).

While it's not unusual for me to spend time with the Wee Guy, date nights are still special. He gets to call the shots mostly and I'm happy to go with the flow. It's an evening for us both to concentrate on each other's company without the distractions of housework, meal prep or homework creeping in. I think it' beneficial, definitely for me now that I'm being more focused on working more from home (yay! The business has covered child care costs for the second month running). I'm finding I do need some boundaries established between work, leisure and parenting times so that it doesn't all just flow into one confused mess. Multi tasking might seem to get a lot done but, in my opinion, it means that your mind is never truly on the job at hand.

Hence date night.
Hence a move to more equally shared parenting.
Hence a concerted effort to ignore housework during the week.

Hence dust bunnies (they make good wrinkle fillers).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

self portrait: in all my finery - the gratuitous pussy shot

Being in celebration of the Etsy Self Portrait Thursday challenge where a bunch of Etsy sellers indulge in online vanity by taking pics of themselves

One of the most fun parts of making jewelry is the trying-on part. It's like having access to Mad Aunty Susan's dress up box without having to endure the smell of ciggies or the stale scones. Whee!

Anyhow, when I make stuff I also try it on (don't panic - I do keep it hygienic, and never not never wearing the earrings). Bracelets are quite easy to model - all you need is a wrist. Necklaces, on the other hand, require some wardrobe prep as I'm a firm believer in matching the jewelry to the neckline.

For example, a round neck carries a bold choker or an opera length chain (note: yes, more bloody pics of her jewelry); a turtle neck can carry a funky bib necklace or long pendant; a casual shirt V-neck probably looks best with a simple pendant on a non-threatening 16 inch chain, or a sparkly collar for evening.

This morning's modeling called for full on empty-neckedness and cleavage. If you've got cleavage, why not advertise it with something that leads the eye there ..... and thus away from any 'problem' areas?

So I stripped down to plungingly low neckline, low enough for the gratuitous shot of pussy as it turns out.

I apologise.

It will probably happen again.

PS: for a closer look at the necklace sans pussy or flesh, visit the other blog

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

wordless wednesday: slow food

It is possible.
a discussion
the 'how to'
a year of slow cooking with links to crock pot stock making :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

do you know where you're going to?

south on the 97

and more importantly, who else knows where you are heading?

I've noticed an interesting stream of thought in my twitterverse recently relating to geolocation and social media, and it's not all "rah rah, jump on board". Much the opposite, it's sounding a note of caution and common sense especially for women. The app Foursquare is all about a bit of social media fun; you can play the game by announcing where you are in your locale ... and thus find new friends in the same neighbourhood. At the recent Social Media Camp held in Victoria, attendees were urged to sign in to Foursquare en masse to earn some kind of geolocatory accolade for biggest swarm. I did take a peek but didn't join in when I saw how intrusive a Foursquare account might be.

I've been aware of geotagging and similar since opening my flickr account. Any image you upload can be tagged with its point of origin - so far I've avoided doing this. Although my rough geographical location is available to any amateur internet sleuth, why make it any easier? A lot of my photographs are of home and family. In addition, I run an online business - people can find me if they dig. They can match locales with my images but I'm not going to hand them the shovel.

I've also noticed the privacy issues surrounding Facebook, and more recently Etsy (where sellers have been encouraged to sign off with their real names to "establish credibility and engender trust", regardless of how much anonymity they feel safe with). It seems that every account you open for whichever service online wants a piece of your www DNA ..... but did you know that these services are not shy about spreading it far and wide too?

The two tweets which piqued my interest directed me to reasons why people are deleting their Foursquare accounts. (side note: bleh! if someone can show me how to directly link to the actual tweets i'd be v grateful). Some don't think it adds value to their online experience, others worry about Facebook's new geolocator (which I am opting out of as fast as a guin can piss on the floor) but others (women), and this is what scares me most, have reported unpleasant creepy interactions with strangers who know both who they are, and where to find them. Not.nice (not sensible either).

On a slight tangent but still on the privacy kick, guess what happens when you link your smartphone up with your social media? It blew me away but suddenly I have the email addresses and phone numbers of everyone I am linked to Facebook. OK it's the same info as I can find on Facebook itself but suddenly it's there, mobile in my hand and on my phone. Am I the only person who finds this uncomfortable? If I post from my smartphone to a blog or wherever it can also broadcast my location with the entry. I can turn it off but I'm still getting my location broadcast randomly (and reassuringly wrongly too, about 15km away).

It's enough to make me not trust the technology. Now, I've spent my adult life trying to remember what my parents said about stranger danger - this new online social media world is a whole different piece of cake. Personal vulnerability can be broadcast to any number of observers at the click of a button, and with ease. I don't think it's sensible to make the job any easier for those who wish to do harm.

Interestingly, I'm becoming more aware of how fortunate my own exploration into this 'new' online world in advance of my son's immersion might be. A lot of parents I speak to have no idea how Facebook (the big bogey man) works, let alone twitter, 4SQ or whatever. With any luck I can stay ahead of the curve for a while and might be marginally more clued up than him; maybe for enough time to steer him into these uncharted waters safely.

Sooooo ..... is it only me having the nightmares about social media and children? or does using social media mean checking your common sense in at the door?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday diversions

Spending Sunday at the Port Moody Rock and Gem Show with the Wee Guy while mr ebb gets his 'lycra and the lads' Sunday morning cycle run in.
This (the rock and gem show) is an annual tradition - he gets to smash a rock and decorate another while I catch up with a friend and hunt out some interesting cabs. We also get a peek inside the workshop and I continue to hope he'll eventually get the lapidary bug (cheap source of cabs for me).
How did your Sunday morning go?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

smashing pumpkins

pumpkin patch 2010, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

Over at Mommypotamus you can share the story of how you gathered your little pumpkin .... remembering the 'then' sometimes makes the parenting 'now' seem just that little bit easier :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

friday forte: ..... dudette - it's saturday

Pro D day
surviving yet another pro D day; playing pokemon from the sofa

.. and Saturday evening too! What gives (friday forte, my a** - to paraphrase John Malkovitch in Red)?

Well, I did warn you!

This week I have been working my little buns off (insert whichever metaphor is your choice) and Have Achieved Much;
  • (this one's the biggie) Christmas inventory for two bricks and mortars (as opposed to online shops) completed - labelled, inventoried and ready to deliver (shop handmade, shop local folks!)
  • lovely chat with potential retail and teaching venture in the big smoke
  • hoovered stairs (not really bragworthy but they needed doing)
  • survived one Pro D Day, with migraine, in style (SD43 - please reconsider putting so many damn staff training days in before christmas - I have it on good authority they spend their time making hanging baskets anyway)
  • sundry stuff (which means I have forgotten .....)
a bit under the weather?
this is what pro D days do to you

However, in this mad blinding rush of human efficiency I have missed Self Portrait Thursday so now you will never know what I was thinking on Thursday ..... and I've also forgotten :)
I missed my nominal day off too (which I've been trying to schedule in).
I missed one day of work (see Pro D day above).
I missed out on exercise so cannot justify a blondie or delicious homebake at Cafe Divano (my reason for life itself)(and a great place to get some work done, eh?).

multi strand daisy chain
a little something i made this week (it's going to the Blackberry Gift Shop for the Christmas Marketplace)

To make up somehow we have ended up with not one but two mortgages on our house (?) for our renewal.
And we had a 'little chat' with the Wee Guy's teachers re: his behaviour in class (le sigh).

I seem to have mislaid my midlife crisis somewhere .....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: evening sunshine

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


pumpkin patch 2010, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

This morning's little adventure involved a short commute, a medium length wait outside a computer lab (in which my nerves ran amok), an even shorter period in front of a computer followed by elation, then relief.

This morning it was confirmed that yes, I do speak English. In fact I speak English well enough to be educated in English and can thus proceed with my college application. The fact that I have so far receive all my education in English is apparently not that important.

This is a great reassurance to me since I do not speak any other language (seeing as I took sciences back at High School in Scotland which is, by the way, officially a monolingual country, and apparently could not accommodate language skills with science in the school curriculum) and thus failing a test of English would have been quite a blow to my self esteem.

Failing an English language assessment at this stage in my life would indeed cause me to question how I have managed to gain a graduate degree, a PhD and all my High School exam certificates ..... all taught in the English language (which by now you will understand is the only language I speak) during my education in Great Britain (monolingual apart from bits of Wales, a few villages in Cornwall and the elevated or island-y parts of Scotland).

Without wishing to hammer the point home (but I will nonetheless), failing to speak the only language I've grown up speaking would ..... render me speechless ....

..... which is I'm sure what you are wishing on me now :)

PS: I got 120/120 for the reading comprehension so I understand wot is wrote too. Yay me :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

friday forte: plans and intentions

studio time
hard at work at the bench

I think I can leave the mid-life crisis to chug along by itself for a while and concentrate On Other Things. For one, Christmas is coming up and I've recklessly booked up for not one but five craft fairs (three of them are all-weekenders). High on my priority list is creating enough inventory for them, and also for the two craft boutiques plus a couple of gallery exhibitions I've committed to. It's all good business sense ....... but I'm getting a little antsy about how much I have to do.

This is in addition to managing the social media and blogging for the artist's society, and undertaking a re-write/revamp of a local non-profit website (... there aren't enough hours in the day .... wail).

I've also applied for a diploma course (part time only - I'm not completely nuts) in professional writing (anything to justify the amount of time I spend online!) so I have an English assessment to schedule (to prove, as a monoglot UK dweller, that I can speak the language) then (if all goes well) a portfolio to pull together and a group interview to prep for.

In summary, I really do need to ruthlessly timetable my days, plus plan out a business strategy to boot. As well as committing to cover two days per week after-school care (which is when I plan to do most of my work I guess), my business will also potentially be funding college courses ..... I've done the sums and they don't look too bad (and this is where I start pitching the "buy my carp" message .... I'll try not to ..... I'll be at Canzine West on Saturday hawking my wares .....). My business needs to make obscenely huge amounts of  some money.

In translation (sob) that I need to cut down on my online "frittering" time (adiós twitter) and "up" the creating time. I need to blog more efficiently here by writing/scheduling posts in advance (my collection of mobile tools will help), I need to blog more there to market my work, I really ought to tend to my online shops more efficiently (they do need weeding), and streamline the domestic stuff (monthly menus, sharing housework, etc.). I promise I will not be hard selling over here but expect more mentions of what I am up to "at the bench" (see above - there won't be any time left for parenting/housework/spousal crises).

Oh, and I want to fit in some snowboarding time when the snow hits .... am I being realistic? or do you want an email once I'm back on my usual pre-menopausal track? sign up below

Thursday, October 14, 2010

SPT October 15th: what am i thinking about?

SPT October 15th, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

SPT = self portrait thursday, in which a bunch of Etsy sellers take pics of themselves and post online in a flickr group to stay in touch :)

(thinking) fashionista! thrifted Rocketdog boots, thrifted tunic, thrifted cardi, new haircut and leggings :)

SPT October 15th
(thinking) how can he be so grumpy in the morning? and how come I still have to remind him how to get ready for school when this is the third year of us doing the very same thing each morning?

wire crochet daisies
(thinking) whee! it's component day - I get to put all these together! (will they be ready in time for this weekend's craft fair??)

(thinking) ugh! should have done this last night ....

(thinking) phew! another piece ready for a gallery show. but how much more do I have to make, have I got enough time (panic panic).

mr and mrs pig
(thinking) how much longer? (mrs pig on the left was diagnosed recently with cystic kidneys. she's drinking a lot more than normal which means her kidney function is already compromised).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

wordless wednesday: random acts

Monday, October 11, 2010


Oh ... and Happy Thanksgiving. We celebrate late in this house - there's no family to descend on (us), no big meals (heck! we're not even canadian in anything other than certificate), and for domestic efficiency, any cooking of birds is done at the end of the weekend so the afters last into the busy times (I'm sneaky).

But I'm still appreciative. The sun shone and so did the son. He rode his bike properly for the First Time Ever, just as mr ebb and I were beginning to lose hope. I mentioned maple leaves on the other blog (in a rabid attempt to sell some of them).

.... and then ...

Me: So, I'm running the dying laptop on Ubuntu right now.
Lil' Sis (on other end of skype connection): Ubuntu?
Me: It's like the last hope for dying computers, when they're too sick to cope with anything else. It's like Windows Incredibly Lite, and doesn't really run anything. Any attempt to run a Windows program is met with a polite refusal or "ooh, we've never thought of that before!"
Lil' Sis: Ubuntu ..... it sounds like that drink thing we used to get ..... what was it called? Um Bongo
Me: Um Bongo! It had a really wild advert on telly about "drinking it in the congo" ... totally colonial, not a hope these days
Lil' Sis: "Um Bongo, Um Bongo, they drink it in the congo" (laughing). Wish I could remember it a bit more.
Me: I'm sure it's on YouTube .... anyway (pause as skype breaks down again, insert obligatory "are you still there?" comments) Happy Thanksgiving.
Lil' Sis (no longer puzzled by quaint Canadian festivities, bless her): Happy Thanksgiving - I suppose I should be sorting out an plane ticket soon. How's the turduckenpigdonkey thing going?
Me: Ugh! I finally caught sight of one on a friend's twitter stream - all I can say is never.
Lil' Sis (laughs)
Me: However, we are having turduckenpigdonkeygiraffeelephanthippo for Christmas (more laughter) .... it's sharing a room with you. Is that OK? I thought it could have one bed and you could have the other. I'd need to turn the heating down though and open the windows (more laughter) and pray that the bears were hibernating .....
Lil' Sis (still laughing): and a line of prawns down the backbone
Me: Ah, seafood .....but I'm not saying which backbone.
(mucho laughter and danger of knicker-wetting)
Lil' Sis: Yes, I'm sure it will be on YouTube
Me: You, get your tickets sorted.

..... and it was! Happy Thanksgiving (here's to a wicked sense of Brit humour).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In a former life

From Evernote:

In a former life

10 years ago I would have been at the conference on the second level - this year it was a social media conference which held my attention.

salsa (the salad, not the dance)

salsa tonight!

Another quick way to save time, save brain cells, and spice up mealtimes = theme night!
I bring you slightly Mexican night, since I would not claim any authenticity what so ever.

Salsa - the salad
  • Dice a punnet of cherry or grape tomatoes (smaller ones are generally sweeter and therefore more acceptable to maturing palates). 
  • Finely dice a quarter red onion and add to a bowl with the tomatoes.
  • Add lime juice (approximately half a lime), chopped cilantro, salt and pepper to taste.
Guacamole - the spready stuff
  • Mash one ripe avocado with juice from the other half of the lime.
  • Add a teaspoonful of garlic puree or finely chop/crush a clove (whatever, to taste, eachto their own).
  • Season if required. 
  • Optional: add chopped cilantro, finely diced red or green onion
  • Keep in an airtight dish until serving or it will go brown and provoke cries of "yuck" and general non-compliance :(
homegrown 2008 (and a little earlier)

The more astute reader will note that the above dishes are merely sides. The feast can be completed with a do-it-yourself taco fest (ground beef chilli, or fajita-style chicken), ready-prepared enchillada, microwaved taquitoes or similar dishes, or even a tamale pie (spicey bean hot pot under a cornbread and cheese crust). If you're ambitious then chicken enchilladas are ridiculously simple to make at home. A couple of cooked chicken breasts shredded into a grated cheese, green salsa and cream sauce, and diced tomato mix makes a great filling. Arrange the filled soft tacos or similar in an oven-proof dish on a bed of more of the green salsa/cream sauce. Top with more sauce and Monterey Jack cheese. Bake at 385 F for approximately 20 minutes until bubbling. A dollop of plain yogurt always completes each serving.

bon appetit :)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

the high fructose corn syrup post

making barley sugars
making candies at Beamish Museum (old fashioned sugar rush)

Well, the debate/scrum hit my corner of the blogosphere last week. A blog tour of mommybloggers have been given the low down on high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) by none other than the HFCS industry itself, and another group of mommybloggers are shouting them down. I won't pretend to be touched by the politics, the outrage and the wrath being visited, or the cry yet again that 'only mums can save the day' but I have started noticing how often this foodstuff(?) appears on my packaging. It's rather a lot (I also have a bottle of it in my larder ..... we made snow globes with it one year).

What is it? 
HFCS is broken down just like ordinary table sugar (the disaccharide, sucrose) in the body, yielding two monsaccharides (the building blocks of sugars) fructose and glucose. The main difference is that in HFCS, the two monosaccharides are free at the start whereas they are conjoined in sucrose. And I guess this is where the arguments begin. If it's just like ordinary table sugar, should HFCS be cast as the bogey man and should we be more concerned with total sugar intakes as a cause of obesity?

Metabolic Changes
Certainly, fructose and sucrose ingestion causes metabolic changes in man and rhesus monkeys which contribute to development of obesity, and their effects are worse than ingestion of glucose alone. It's the fructose which is the culprit but is HFCS worse?

Well, it just might be. Adding sugar sweeteners (glucose, fructose, sucrose, HFCS) to the water source of groups of rats interfered with caloric modification. In other words, when drinking in excess calories the rats failed to compensate by eating less of the solid diet. Compared with the water-only control group, energy intakes were similar in all the sweetened groups, however it was only the HFCS rats which gained significant weight and adiposity compared with the controls or the glucose-only animals. Somehow, the HFCS promoted weight gain over the course of the study. The short and long term effects of HFCS intake vs. sucrose have also been seen in another study involving rats (they are far easier than humans to regulate nutritionally) where despite taking in fewer liquid calories than the sucrose group, the corn syrup animals ended up fatter again.

In Man?
But that's rats. What about humans? Humans are much more difficult to regulate in a nutritionally and exercise-concise environment, hence the plethora of research on rats, monkeys and even dogs. Most studies linking HFSC consumption with a rise in obesity have been epidemiological rather than nutritional, i.e. population studies show that the increased rates of obesity are associated with increased sweetened beverage (a major source of HFSC in the US) intakes. The initial premise that sweetened beverages somehow blunt the satiety response i.e. would promote overeating, have proved false, and a short term study (with beverages supplied by PepsiCo no less) showed no significant hormonal changes associated with sweetened beverage intake.


Fructose - silent but deadly
But fructose itself has been implicated in the development of the hormonal changes in metabolic syndrome, a precursor of Type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. One author has stated that although it's natural, it shouldn't be assumed safe, and in another abstract, HFCS is implicated in damage even without concurrent increase in bodyweight (unclear which species is the test subject here).

In Conclusion .... not really
So where does this leave us? Well, it leaves a group of mommybloggers feeling very beleaguered as they relay 'the message' from the HFCS industry out to their niche of the blogosphere. It leaves another bunch of mommybloggers feeling all riled up and indignant and betrayed by the sisterhood perturbed.

... and it leaves the rest of us feeling confused. For myself, I will be taking more note of what I read on ingredient lists, probably moving away from products with HFCS in them since I think that with all the research around, the jury is still somewhat out. I don't think it's as innocuous as we're led to believe. As with most things nutritional, I do prefer my food to be as nature kind of intended (minus the bugs, dirt, plant toxins, excess fibre, etc). I shall add HFCS to the list along with trans fats (remember those?) and total sugars as items to cut down on.

please note, many of the articles I read through are found on PubMed as abstract only. I do not have a paid subscription to full text. Wherever possible I gleaned from full text articles in preference to abstract only.

Friday, October 08, 2010

friday forte: the "letting go" edition

a walk in the park?
putting some distance between the family and myself, i might be able to see the woods for the trees

After wasting an entire precious childcare day last week the penny has finally dropped. I need to separate from domestic life if my dreams are to have any chance of seeing the light of day ..... which is deeply ironic since all my plotting and planning is aimed at a working life in, around and in spite of my family.

But this one wasted day, spent dwelling on crap parenting moments followed by a spousal let-down, has shown me that I must indeed split my "business" persona from my domestic life if I am to make any progress carving out a fulfilling, rewarding (and paid) existence.

One of my main sources of strife .... OK probably my biggest source of strife is The Family life (no mafia connotations intended). What happens in The Family stays in The Family, and I have to deal with it. I'm in one of the least supported, most unrewarding, unrecognised and undervalued roles in today's society so no wonder it's stressful.

Which is why I'm trying to make some changes (which will benefit The Family too, not just me). Unfortunately the changes I'm plotting and planning don't offer an escape route as I'll probably be mostly working from home.

Offspring bolshiness? Spousal ineptitude? Non-functioning domestic appliances? No respite for the work from home parent. No escape via commute (please, I commuted into the City of London for seven years so no quips about how terribly tiring the journey is - I know) and That Domestic Crisis is still readily at hand. The dwelling where the latest meal refusal or parental tiff took place is also my workspace, with the scattered toys, unappreciated stack of neatly folded laundry and defrosting carcase (for the next attempt at adequate nutrition) as ready reminders.

No escape! Each time I feel I've been "betrayed" which, in retrospect, is a wee bit OTT ..... but my family are still holding me back.

In order to be productive and stay focused I need to develop a domestic thick skin ... or short term memory loss ..... or an "off" switch or erase for family emotions .... I need a "sleep" mode for part of my brain. I could switch seamlessly from full-on domestic angst to "efficient and creative business woman" without moping around feeling misunderstood, crappy or just plain mad.

No more days lost to questioning my confidence, wondering "if I can do it if I'm as bad as that" (whatever 'that' is). Is there a 12-step plan, I wonder?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

self portrait thursday: a snapshot

grim cam girl, at work in the library (no, i;m not taking my top off)

so, what's been going on in my head today?

  • high fructose corn syrup
    It's hit my section of the blogosphere, yet another mommy wars but I have started noticing how often this foodstuff(?) appears on my packaging. It's rather a lot (I also have a bottle of it in my larder ..... we made snow globes with it one year). I'm pondering a post about it for after the weekend ....

  • Nobel prize for medicine to test tube baby pioneers
    Professor Robert Edwards was awarded this year's Nobel prize for medicine (sadly his research partner, Dr. Patrick Steptoe died in 1988). Their work opened the door to parenthood for an estimated 10% of the population, with advances in the technique now giving couples a success rate equivalent to those that are fertile. (Their work also opened up a deep scientific discourse regarding assisted reproduction, one which is still ongoing and I believe will continue as the long term effects of hormonal intervention are monitored). I smiled though when I read that Louise Brown, the very first IVF baby, had her own baby in 2007, no conception problems.

  • a whole day of childcare ahead of me
    spent the day writing, creating and finishing some volunteer work at the gift shop

  • dinner for this evening solved - ravioli and pasta sauce, pulled from the freezer (phew!)

  • smiles at last night's silliness with my Wee Guy
    It's good to connect again after a week of "difficult parenting"

  • Thanksgiving on Monday - IMO more hassle (dumb holiday)
    It's known as Harvest Festival back in England which can be avoided by not going to church (Scotland does something similar but without the fuss - we're waiting for guising at Halloween and then Hogmanay, with St. Andrew's Day in between). School will be out, mr ebb will be home, peace will be shattered and there'll be a bird to cremate ..... good times ;)
  • whee! I sold an acorn pendant in my Etsy shop this afternoon
    So, it is worth listing pieces there after all :)
  • looking at my SPT*, I don't think I'll be earning much money as a cam girl .... ah well.

SPT = self portrait thursday, in which a bunch of etsy sellers take photographs of themselves then meet up online :)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

child slave labour (from the archives)

(did you know, in blogger you can pull up your list of posts to edit and sort by 'drafts'? no, neither did i - look what i found from waaaaaaay back. check the date on the photo. can't remember if nana liked it since it came in a run of handpainted gifts, but i bet she did)

This is what I have had the wee guy slaving away at - another painted ceramic gift for a relative.
This time he's done most of the work with only moderate supervision. The background was sponged by him then he stamped the leaves and used finger prints to make the poppy petals. I just added the leaf veins and the detailing on the flowers.
Result = hopefully one happy nana!

Monday, October 04, 2010

monday is whale watching day

whale splash before a deep dive
a whale of a tail

Monday was whale watching day.
three humpback whales


Sunday, October 03, 2010

making ripples

jellies - always exceptional, always photogenic

Hmmmm .. so linking your twitter and Facebook is a bad no-no? According to the gurus at Social Media Camp Victoria, a kitten/unicorn/something dies if you do. OK mea culpa - I do.

And posting to your blog is a crime if it's not awesome material? I can go with that, but bottling it up inside is a crime too IMO..... and you don't improve unless you exercise that muscle ... mea culpa ..... I do publish acceptional instead of exceptional.

This all makes incredibly sound sense, but to me it's business-biased. It makes me want to tidy up the content, publish awesome and consistent exceptional, media-specific posts on my other (business - 'go buy some of my jewelry') blog, but here on (the newly acquired - yes, seriously! type into your browser address bar and see where it gets you. go me!) my little old 'rant and rave, get me thru motherhood and the menopause eventually' blog the status quo will remain.

I can understand the sense behind specifically targetting the message going out to the venue it's going to be broadcast to, but with a personal blog and social media network I'm not sure .... does it really matter? If it's not destined for your portfolio what impact will those faux pas make? What ripples will I fail to generate as a result? and what ripples do I expect to make anyway?

wee guy and his virtual splash

I guess if I miss out on That Upgrade or a freebie item because I've seriously dinged my Klout, then maybe I'll start 'taking things seriously' but until then, blogging is cheaper than therapy and with 24/7 access.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

mini break

a room upgrade???, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

me, mr ebb and the Wee Guy are off on a mini break to Victoria. tomorrow I'm attending Social Media Camp Victoria, while the boys indulge in manly activities (?) without me.

we plan to meet up again in the evening and compare notes. I'm sure they will have sworn an oath of secrecy in blood, whereas I will be only too happy to witter about twitter.

meanwhile, here's the slideshow ...

Friday, October 01, 2010

friday forte: food for thought

caramelising the peppers
caramelising peppers and trying to stay upright

After a ridiculous amount of thinking and plotting and planning over the summer, I've decided to Really Give The Business A Go and also Build Up My Portfolio so I can go back to school.
This of course looks better on paper (and even more plausible floating around in the ether of my brain) but will require some Serious Discipline on the home working front. I know I can do it. I was ruthlessly efficient writing up my PhD thesis At Home (but that was in the days before the internet .... gasp!) and I still consider myself well organised (it's just the family that gets in the way).

So, how am I trying to streamline my days, working smarter and not longer?
The answer is, in part, scheduling. Yes, I'm even meal planning - a whole month's worth of dinner menus. Don't hate!
It's not as boring or as obsessed as it sounds, and has cut down on gazing dumbly round the kitchen at 6pm. I cannot think rationally when hungry at the end of the day and our budget won't allow eating out very often. So at the end of the month I settle down with notepad, a pen, a gin and a stack of cookery books/magazines. I mark off special events, weeks when mr ebb is away, evenings when a fast or frozen meal is vital, and construct my list. So far, I've shaved time off the evening prep, almost never run out of ingredients or had nothing to eat, and we've tried some great new recipes from my undiscovered collections. S.m.u.g.

Let me share!
This one's a real quick supper, not complicated and acceptable (mostly) to fussy little palates. It's also highly nutritious, calcium-packed superfood for a mid life crisis :)

food setting

Caramelised Pepper and Goat Cheese Flan

  • 8-9 inch short crust flan case; ready prep, homemade or pastry sheets
  • 3 red, orange, yellow bell peppers, sliced into your preference of shapes
  • half a red onion, diced fine or sliced long
  • caster sugar, a sprinkling
  • olive oil
  • 3-4 eggs
  • cream, plain yogurt or milk 
  • goat cheese, creamy or crumbly
  • seasoning if preferred

  1. Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan, then gently fry the onion and peppers until soft. Sprinkle with a couple of teaspoons of the caster sugar, mix and turn the heat up. Stir until the sugar has caramelised around the veggies. The aim here is not too charred but interestingly burnt!
  2. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with a couple of tablespoons of cream, milk or yogurt.
  3. Add the peppers, etc to the prepared flan case. Crumble the goat cheese over the top then pour in the egg mixture.
  4. Bake 20-30 minutes at 385 F until set (there should be no runny stuff).
  5. Best served warm with a green leafy salad. Also good cold, will freeze if wrapped then defrosted at room temperature.
Substitute milder creamy cheese for less-receptive palates - feta can be good too, or maybe mini bocconcini.

Bon appetit! and forte ...

PS: Real Simple usually has some one month dinner road maps to get you on the right track.

caramelised peppers quiche

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