December 5, 2010

Babies don't last but dishes...and laundry do

I loved having little ones around the house. I loved getting on my hands and knees and playing games with them. I loved when they played outside and came in covered in dirt. (I always believe a dirty child just means they've had some great fun) I loved singing silly songs with them wherever we the the car....walking down the street.

What I didn't enjoy was doing housework. Trying to keep up with laundry, clean walls and windows or even with what is in the back of the fridge. Never was any good at it.

I remembered a saying that was on the wall of our house while I was growing up and it fit perfectly. "My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy". It is what I lived by. If anyone came over to see my house they would be sorely disappointed but if they came to visit me then they'd leave feeling loved and lighter, having laughed much.

This brings me to one of my favourite poems. It is by Ruth Hamilton and I have loved it since I was young. The title suggests it's for a mother with a good number of children but I think a mother with even one child can appreciate the sentiments.

Song for a Fifth Child

    by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking. Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

November 23, 2010

Role Model Parenting

Role Modeling:

I  tell my children, clean-up their room and they look at my garage. I tell them not to drink and they look at my eyes when I come home from a party. I tell them to be honest, I have an escort radar scanner in my car and my tax return shows 'zero' income for the third straight year. And so there are those who leap all over the place pulling hair from their head and the employers tell their employees and the leaders tell the children to 'look at their parents'.

What good does it do to preach to someone
when the children look at their parents and say
"I'd rather watch a sermon than hear one, anyday,
So please my loving parents let your life show me the way
For I am but a mirror of how you live today.
Dad, I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there is no misunderstanding of how you act and live."
Hey mum. Hey dad. Hey manager.....
I'd rather watch a sermon then hear one any day."

What were you going to tell us dad about the psychology of winning? I replied 'Nothing, I was going to go clean the garage." I don't tell my wife to tell people on the phone I'm not in. No more 'National Enquirer' for me. No fad diets, gossiping, etc.
                                                                                Author: Unknown

The Little Chap Who Follows Me

A careful man I ought to be,
A little fellow follows me,
I do not dare to go astray
For fear he'll go the selfsame way.

I cannot once escape his eyes,
Whate'er he sees me do, he tries;
Like me, he says, he's going to be,
The little chap who follows me.

He thinks that I am good and fine,
Believes in every word of mine
The base in me he must not see,
The little chap who follows me.

I must remember as I go,
Through summer's fun and winter's snow,
In building for the years to be
The little chap who follows me!
                                                    Author: Unknown

If I Had My Child to Raise Over Again:

If I had my child to raise over again,
I'd finger paint more, and point the finger less.
I'd do less correcting, and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less, and know to care more.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I'd run through more fields, and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging, and less tugging.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd teach less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.
                                            Diana Loomans

November 22, 2010

On The Road Again...Travelling With Children

"Are we there yet?.....Are we there yet???....Now? Are we there now???"

Ohhh you've heard it before. My response is usually "Have we stopped the car? Are we getting out of the car? Are we walking to the ...........? Well then, we are NOT there yet."

Here's some fun games we use to play (and some we didn't but you may like to)to break up the time as we'd travel....or even during church or times the children need to be occupied.

Mr Squiggle: Here in Australia many of us grew up watching Mr Squiggle Children would send in a squiggle and he would make a picture out of it. He was very clever. (you can find clips of him on youtube and he even has a Facebook page)

What this involves is simply drawing a squiggle of some kind then handing the paper off to the child and they have to make it into a picture of some kind. I usually have them draw a squiggle next and hand it to me. Or you can simply have them hand it to each other.

Another version of this is when I'd write a description of what I want them to draw then let them go for it. For example "A monkey playing cricket with an elephant on a trampoline" or "A fancy race car with square wheels". You get the idea. It keeps them occupied for quite some time.

License plates: Keep track of the license plates you see from other states. See if you can find one from every state. Keep watching!!!

Alphabet:  Look at road signs, billboards, license plates, ANYTHING with words/letters. Start at A and go all the way through to Z. The first one to find all the letters wins. Wins what you ask? Well the honour of saying they won is what.

Songs: As I was growing up we loved to sing. The first game we played was shouting out a number (which would be a number from the hymn book) then we'd count to three and start singing the hymn. It was to try and catch everyone out. Then years later they went and changed the hymnbook on us and all the numbers changed.

We'd sing many fun traveling songs. Here's a list and the link takes you to a youtube link so you can hear the song.

One man went to mow....

There's a hole in my bucket.....

There was an old lady.....

Dingle, dangle scarecrow...

Teddy Bear's picnic....


Do your ears hang low....

On top of spaghetti.....

Found a peanut....

Bringing home a baby bumble-bee....

Here's some links that will take you to even more travel games:

Happy Traveling!!

Erma Bombeck wisdom

The other day I was going through a lot of papers I have as we are making a move from Australia back to the US very soon. I came across a folder of papers I was just going to toss out because they aren't relevant to my situation anymore but they were too helpful to just throw out to never been seen again. They are papers I found helpful as a young mother. I gleaned ideas of fun things to do with my children. I found them particularly helpful during the long breaks from school.

With that in mind I have decided to transfer the information to my blog in hopes that others will find it useful.

The first paper I pulled out to share with you was an article by the dear Erma Bombeck.

Treat Friends, Kids The Same

On TV the other day, a leading child psychologist said parents should treat their children as they would treat their best friend...with courtesy, dignity and diplomacy.

"I have never treated my children any other ways," I told myself. But later that night, I thought about it. Did I really talk to my best friends like I talked to my children? Just suppose.....our good friends, Fred and Eleanor, came to dinner one night and......

"Well, it's about time you two got here! What have you been doing? Dawdling? Leave those shoes outside, Fred. They've got mud on them. And shut the door. Were you born in a barn?

"So Eleanor, how have you been? I've been meaning to have you over for such a long time. Fred! Take it easy on the chip dip or you'll ruin your dinner. I didn't work over a hot stove all day long to have you nibble like some bird."

"Heard from any of the gang lately? Got a card from the Martins. Yes, they're in Lauderdale again. They go every year to the same spot. What's the matter with you, Fred? You're fidgeting. Of course you have to go. It's down the hall, first door on the left. And I don't want to see a towel in the middle of the floor when you're finished.

"Did you wash your face before you came, Eleanor? I see a dark spot around your mouth. I guess it's a shadow. Do, how are your children? If you ask me I think summer school is great for them. Is everybody hungry? Then, why don't we go into dinner? You all wash up and I'll take up the food. Don't tell me your hands are clean, Eleanor. I saw you playing with the dog.

"Fred, you sit over there and Eleanor you can sit with the half glass of milk. You know you're all elbows with it comes to milk. There now, your host will say grace.

"Fred, I don't see any cauliflower on your plate. Have you ever tried it? Well, try a spoonful. If you don't like it I won't make you finish it, but if you don't try it, you can just forget dessert. And sit up straight or your spine will grow that way. Now, what were we talking about? Oh yes, the Gerbers. They sold their house. I mean they took a beating but....Eleanore, don't talk with food in your mouth. I can't understand a word you're saying. And use your napkin."

At that moment in my fantasy, my son walked into the room. "How nice of you to come," I said pleasantly.

"Now what did I do?" he sighed.

Erma Bombeck

How close to the mark is she? Do we really speak to our children as we should?

Of course we need to teach our children not to speak with food in their mouth and to leave muddy shoes outside, but can't we do it in such a way as to not crush their spirit at the same time?

November 10, 2010

Passionfruit Perfection

I LOVE passionfruit. It screams 'tropical'. I came across a recipe site that had a gazillion recipes that each use passionfruit in one way or another. Ok, ok, so maybe not a 'gazillion' but there was a LOT of 'em.

I decided that I would share with you the gems that I found in all of them. I whittled many out for various reasons. If they used alcohol they were GONE. If the method was too long or too work intensive they were GONE. And finally if any of the ingredients weren't something I've heard of or regularly used (like dried lavender flowers or 'titanium strength gelatin leaves') they were GONE.

Here's what we have left. I hope you find something you could enjoy making, eating and sharing.

Passionfruit curd

Makes: 3 cups


* 4 eggs
* 2 egg yolks
* 3/4 cup caster sugar
* 3/4 cup passionfruit pulp (see note)
* 125g butter, chilled, chopped

Add above ingredients to your shopping list

1. Place eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a 6-cup capacity heatproof, microwave-safe jug or bowl. Whisk with a balloon whisk until well combined. Add passionfruit pulp and butter. Stir to combine.
2. Microwave passionfruit mixture, uncovered, on MEDIUM (50%) for 6 to 10 minutes, whisking every minute, or until thick enough to coat a spoon. Pour passionfruit curd into sterilised jars and seal. Refrigerate to cool.

Notes: You will need 6 to 8 passionfruit for 3/4 cup pulp.

Passionfruit ice-cream

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

* 500ml (2 cups) thickened cream
* 375ml (1 1/2 cups) coconut milk
* 4 egg yolks
* 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
* 160ml (2/3 cup) strained passionfruit pulp
* Ice-cream cones, to serve


1. Combine the cream and coconut milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Remove from heat.
2. Use an electric beater to whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl until thick and pale. Gradually stir the cream mixture into the egg mixture. Pour into a clean saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 15 minutes or until custard coats the back of the spoon. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Stir in the passionfruit pulp.
3. Pour mixture into a shallow metal container. Cover with foil and place in the freezer for 3 hours or until firm.
4. Roughly break up the ice-cream with a metal spoon. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Quickly return ice-cream to the metal container. Cover with foil and freeze for a further 3 hours or until firm.
5. Scoop ice-cream into cones or bowls and serve immediately.

Notes: You will need about 8 passionfruit for this recipe.

Passionfruit curd cheesecake

OK...this one has a little more to it than I usually like but it still seems easy enough and sounds YUMMO!!!!

Ingredients (serves 12)

* 250g butternut biscuits
* 200g digestive biscuits
* 120g butter, melted
* 500g cream cheese, at room temperature
* 1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar
* 300g sour cream
* 2 eggs
* 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
Passionfruit curd
* 2 passionfruit
* 50g butter
* 2 eggs, lightly whisked
* 1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar
* 1 tbs lemon juice

Add above ingredients to your shopping list

1. Line the base of a 20cm (base measurement) springform pan with baking paper. Place the biscuits in a food processor and process until finely crushed. Add the butter and process until well combined. Transfer mixture to the pan and use a glass to press the crumb mixture firmly over the base and side of the pan. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
2. In the meantime, to make the passionfruit curd, place passionfruit pulp, butter, eggs, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and set aside for 30 minutes to cool.
3. Preheat oven to 160°C. Use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and sugar in a bowl until smooth. Add the sour cream and beat until smooth. Add eggs and lemon rind and beat until just combined.
4. Pour half the cream cheese mixture into the biscuit base. Dollop spoonfuls of half the passionfruit curd over the cream cheese. Pour over remaining cream cheese and dollop half of the remaining curd. Use a bamboo skewer to gently swirl passionfruit mixture and cream cheese to make a marbled pattern.
5. Place on an oven tray. Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until centre is just set. Turn oven off. Leave cheesecake in the oven, with the door ajar, for 1 hour or until cooled completely. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill. Spread over remaining curd to serve.

Passionfruit marshmallow mousse

Preparation Time

15 minutes
Cooking Time

5 minutes
Ingredients (serves 6)

* pulp from 5 passionfruit
* 250g pkt marshmallows
* 200ml cream
* 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
* 1 cup cut up fresh fruit
* extra passionfruit pulp


1. Use a teaspoon to remove the pulp from 5 passionfruit and place in a saucepan with 250g pkt marshmallows. Stir continuously, over a low heat until the marshmallows have melted.
2. Set aside to cool slightly, then stir in 200ml cream and 1/2 cup natural yoghurt until smooth. Transfer to serving glasses. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until thickens.
3. Top with the fruit and extra passionfruit pulp.

Passionfruit slice

Preparation Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 12


* Melted butter, to grease
* 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
* 85g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
* 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
* 100g butter, melted
* 1 x 395g can sweetened condensed milk
* 125ml (1/2 cup) fresh lemon juice
* 2 tbs passionfruit pulp


1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a 16 x 26cm (base measurement) slab pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the base and 2 long sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing the sides to overhang.
2. Use a wooden spoon to combine the flour, coconut, sugar and butter in a large bowl. Use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl. Transfer to the prepared pan. Use a metal spoon to press firmly over the base. Bake for 12 minutes or until light golden. Set aside to cool.
3. Reduce oven temperature to 150°C.Use a balloon whisk to whisk together the condensed milk, lemon juice and passionfruit pulp in a large bowl until smooth and well combined. Pour into the pan and spread evenly over the base. Bake in oven for 15 minutes until just firm to the touch. Set aside to cool completely. Cut into slices to serve.

Notes: You will need about 2 fresh passionfruit for this recipe.

Tropical ice-blocks

You don't need special ice block molds to make Popsicles. Use paper cups filled to your desired amount. Cover with foil. Poke a hole through where you want the stick to stand then put the stick through. I put the cups in muffin tins and put the muffin tray in the freezer to stop the cups from falling over.

Makes: 18


* 1/2 (750g) pineapple, peeled, cored, chopped (use canned pineapple is fine)
* 1 large mango, peeled, chopped
* 4 passionfruit, halved
* 2 cups lemonade/Sprite


1. Place pineapple and mango in a food processor or blender. Blend or process until smooth. Remove to a jug. Add passionfruit pulp and lemonade. Stir to combine.
2. Pour mixture into molds. Insert paddle pop sticks or secure with lids. Freeze until set.
3. Remove ice-blocks from molds. Serve.

Notes: You'll need eighteen 1/3 cup (80ml) capacity plastic ice-block molds and 18 paddle-pop sticks.

Coconut and passionfruit self-saucing pudding

Ingredients (serves 6)

* 1 cup self-raising flour
* 1/2 cup caster sugar
* 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
* 2/3 cup light coconut milk
* 1 egg
* 80g butter, melted, cooled
* pure icing sugar, to serve

* 1/2 cup caster sugar
* 3 teaspoons cornflour
* 1/2 cup milk
* 2 small lemons, juiced
* 3 passionfruit, halved


1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 6-cup capacity, 5.5cm-deep, 19cm x 25cm (base) ovenproof dish and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
2. Sift flour into a bowl. Stir in sugar and coconut. Whisk coconut milk, egg and butter together in a jug. Pour into flour mixture. Gently stir until combined. Spoon into prepared dish. Smooth surface.
3. Make sauce: Combine sugar and cornflour in a bowl. Sprinkle over pudding. Combine milk and 1/3 cup lemon juice (don't worry if mixture curdles) in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until mixture comes to the boil. Remove from heat and stir in passionfruit pulp. Pour hot lemon mixture over the back of a large metal spoon, over pudding.
4. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted halfway into pudding comes out clean. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

Summer Christmas pudding

YUMMO!!! Who wants to be slaving over a hot stove/oven around Christmas in Australia??? NO ONE! So here's the way to have your 'Christmas Pudding' and your 'cool' as well.

Ingredients (serves 12)

* 1 large ripe mango, cheeks removed, peeled, sliced thinly
* 350g Sunbeam mixed fruit
* 2/3 cup (160ml) fresh passionfruit pulp
* 100g packet glace red cherries, chopped
* 110g packet Sunbeam macadamia nuts, toasted, chopped
* 100g white chocolate, chopped
* 2 litre ctn vanilla ice-cream, softened
* 150g fresh mixed berries, to serve


1. Line 8 cup (2 litre) pudding basin with plastic wrap. Line base of basin with half the mango slices.
2. Combine the mixed fruit and passionfruit in small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes to soften. Combine remaining mango, fruit mixture, cherries, macadamias, chocolate and ice-cream in large bowl.
3. Spoon the ice-cream mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Cover with plastic and place in the freezer overnight to firm. Carefully turn pudding out onto a serving plate. Remove the plastic wrap. Top with berries to serve.

Frozen mango and lime cheesecake

This recipe looks super easy and I can not wait to try it. I'm thinking I'd even forget about the crust and just sit with the container and a SPOON!!!

* 250g packet plain sweet biscuits (see note)
* 60g unsalted butter, melted
* 2 x 250g packets cream cheese, softened
* 3/4 cup caster sugar
* 1 teaspoon finely-grated lime rind
* 300ml thickened cream
* 425g can sliced mangoes, drained
* 3 passionfruit, halved


1. Grease a 6cm-deep, 20cm round springform pan. Line base and side with baking paper. Place biscuits in food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add butter. Process until combined. Press biscuit mixture evenly over base of prepared pan. Place pan in fridge.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and lime rind. Beat for 2 minutes. Add cream. Beat for 5 minutes or until mixture is thick. Spoon into prepared pan.
3. Place mango in a food processor. Process until smooth. Fold mango through cream cheese mixture to create a marbled effect. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer overnight or until firm.
4. Remove cheesecake to a plate. Stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Top with passionfruit pulp. Serve.

Notes: You will need half the packet of biscuits for this recipe.

White chocolate mousse torte

Yes I know this one also looks a little fiddly but HELLO....White chocolate!!! Passionfruit!!! I'm thinking it would be well worth it.

Ingredients (serves 8)

* 1 sheet frozen ready-rolled butter puff pastry, partially thawed
* 1 tablespoon milk
* 2 egg yolks
* 1/4 cup caster sugar
* 300ml thickened cream
* 250g good-quality white chocolate, melted (see note)
* 3 teaspoons gelatine powder
* 3 passionfruit, halved
* 1 tablespoon icing sugar


1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Using a 24cm round plate as a guide, cut 1 circle from pastry sheet. Place on prepared tray. Brush top with milk. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and puffed. Allow to cool completely.
2. Grease and line a 22cm (base) springform cake pan with baking paper. Place pastry in prepared pan. Press gently to flatten (pastry will crack).
3. Combine egg yolks and caster sugar in heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure base doesn't touch the water). Whisk for 3 minutes or until mixture is thick and warm. Add 2 tablespoons of cream. Whisk to combine. Add chocolate, stirring constantly, until smooth. Remove from heat.
4. Place 2 tablespoons of hot water in a small bowl. Sprinkle over gelatine. Whisk with a fork until dissolved. Stir gelatine mixture into chocolate mixture.
5. Beat remaining cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold cream into chocolate mixture. Pour mixture over pastry. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until set.
6. Transfer torte to serving plate. Combine passionfruit pulp and icing sugar in a small bowl. Pour over torte. Serve.

Notes: To melt chocolate: Place chocolate in a heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on medium (50%), stirring every minute with a metal spoon until almost melted. Stir until smooth.

October 15, 2010

Embarrassing my kids

I was asked the other day by my soon-to-be 15yr old son:

A: "When did you decide to be an embarrassing parent?"

Me: "Ohhh...long before you kids were born."

So there you have it. I'm an embarrassing parent....and dang proud of it I might add.

I thought I'd share some of the embarrassing things I have done, or do, in case I can 'inspire' other embarrassing parents around the globe.

I will start with the fact that I grew up with my own 'embarrassing parents'. My mother would openly sing while we'd be walking around the shops. At one time I was in a little store with my mother while she was singing. We were the only two there along with the lady behind the counter. I told mum to "Shhhhh...don't sing". I must have been 15 at the time. Mum stopped singing and the lady behind the counter said "Leave your mother alone and let her sing." I never again told mum to "Shhhhh".

My mother also likes to use words other than the correct ones. For example: instead of asking for the 'instructions' she'll ask for the 'destructions'. It's not a 'knife', it's a 'Kah-nife'. It's not an 'avocado' it's an 'Ah-vock-a-do'. One of my greatest fears about getting pulled up by the police for speeding or broken headlight or something, is that I'll say "Yes ossifa" because I heard it so much growing up.

My father wasn't exempt either. My father would randomly go and open the front door of the house and YELL "I LOVE MY WIFE!!!". He was well known around the place for his rendition of "The Three Little Pigs". It was just him up on stage without any props or costumes. Ohhhhh everyone would be in fits of laughter. If only we had a recording of it so I could share it with my own children now. There was also the time when we were playing  Blind Man's Bluff  one FHE. My father always thought it funny to pretend to be and pretend to sound like mum to throw the person who was blindfolded, off. This one night he went even further and went and threw on one of mum's nightgown's so that if he was 'caught' he might be able to confuse the person even more and they really might think he was mum. But wait, there's more....the room we were playing in was the front room by the front door. Beside the front door was a window so we could see who was at the door. This meant whoever was at the door could see us. On this particular night dad decided to be even funnier and climb on top of the filing cabinet, in full view of said window, while wearing my mother's nightgown. We were in full swing of the game and didn't hear the first knock at the door but we surely heard the second one. Yup....someone from around the neighbourhood had come to speak to dad about our dog. We were all in fits.

I'm thankful for my 'embarrassing parents' and the wonderful memories they have created for me. With that in mind, of COURSE I wanted to be counted as one of them when my own children started coming along. 

When my oldest was in grade 7 (schools over here go 1-7 and 8-12) and lined up with her entire grade level to go on a field trip I did what I though all parents would do and YELL out from across the road "Have fun S!! 'Member mummy loves you. Have a good time. Love you. BYE....." 

When my children have gone on camping trips or conferences of any length (anything from three nights to two weeks) I generally run along side the bus waving and blowing kisses while pretending to cry that I'm going to miss them. Yes, even when my son went on his grade 12 ski trip. Of course when they get home and off the bus I'm there again yelling their name while running up to them telling them how happy I am and how much I missed them.

When my daughter was in grade 8/9 she begged me NOT to beep the horn or yell out when I dropped her off at school. Which of course meant ALL of us in the car wound the windows down and yelled out to her. It wasn't long after that when she said it didn't bother her anymore because all the other kids around, had parents too. It's a good thing because for her 16th birthday I printed off photos of her as a baby as well as a couple of recent ones, and plastered them on the fence across the road from school so EVERYONE would see them when they came out. There were balloons and streamers as well.

When my oldest son M started high school (which is grade 8 over here)I told him that if he didn't kiss me goodbye when I dropped him off at school I would go after him. He tried it one day in his first year. He knew full well I couldn't keep up with him. He jumped out of the car with a huge grin on his face and took off. I got out of the car and walked in the direction he ran. He and his friends would bob their head from around the corner of buildings and give me a huge grin before taking off again.

I proceeded up to the office and asked them where his first class was. I made my way down there where he realized he'd been foiled. He tried to get past me. I said to him "You can either kiss me on the cheek HERE or I'll go to the front of the class and tell everyone why I'm here." He knew I'd do he gave me my kiss on the cheek and ran into class.

While in his last year of school he tried it again. I was wearing mismatched clothes, a robe and slippers to drop him off. He knew I wouldn't walk around the school grounds to find him dressed like that. He jumped out of the car with a grin on his face. I knew that he was gonna take off.....only this time he jumped the fence. I jumped out of the car and YELLED as he ran through the throngs of kids mulling around the front of the school..."M......... C........ YOU GET BACK HERE AND GIVE YOUR MOTHER A KISS!!!!!!!!!!" He just kept on running and grinning. We had a good laugh about it when I picked him up. He told me all about the comments the kids at school were making about it. 

One day while I was up at school I walked past a child's classroom. He was in grade 4 at the time. I knocked on the door and the teacher asked "Can I help you?". I said "No. I just wanted to tell everyone that I love Ch....." He grinned and shook his head.

Not all children can be as accepting to these kind of actions. I have one child who I can not be so bold with and I know the boundaries. Use your 'embarrassing skills' wisely and not in a hurtful way.

I have found on the internet that there are sites dedicated to us 'embarrassing parents'. One site suggests a list of things that kids find most embarrassing:

Teenagers' top most embarrassing parent behaviour:

  • Shouting or telling them off in public
  • Treating them like a child
  • Trying too hard to be cool in front of them and their friends
  • Wearing embarrassing/uncool clothing
  • Telling bad jokes in public
  • Shopping at uncool shops
  • Calling them by their nickname in public
  • Singing in public
  • Talking to their friends
  • Acting like a teenager in public
  • Kissing them in public
  • Dropping them off or picking them up from outside school
  • Getting out the photos of them when they were a child
  • Dancing in public
  • Telling stories about when they were a child
  • Hugging them in public
  • Talking to them in public 
They also suggest ways to be seen as a 'cool' parent:

How to be a cool parent

  • Treat you like young adults
  • Give you space/not fuss when you have friends over
  • Let your friends hang out at your house
  • Treat you to nice things, e.g. clothes, holidays, meals out, etc
  • Offer lifts to you and your friends
 After reading this list I believe one can be BOTH and I look forward to the day when my children have their own children and join the ranks of 'embarrassing parents'.

August 7, 2010

Old Time Cooking

When I was growing up I don't think I ever had a doughnut. Did I even know what they were? Probably not. Did I miss out by not having them? Heavens NO. We had something just as wonderful. We had 'Puftaloons'.

What are puftaloons? Well they are fried bits of dough smothered with golden syrup...or honey.

Here's the recipe:


2 Cups S.R. Flour
1 desert spoon butter
¼ Teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk
Oil for Deep Frying

Combine flour and salt in a bowl, rub in butter, make a well in the centre and mix in milk to make a soft dough.

Turn out on a lightly floured board and kneed lightly until smooth. Roll out to 2 cm thickness, cut into rounds with a scone cutter (about 3cms diameter).

Heat oil in a large thick based frying pan and gently fry until puffed, golden and cooked through turning as you go. Drain on paper towel. Serve hot with honey or Golden syrup or roll in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Note: Could make savoury ones with bacon and cheese.

July 21, 2010

Oh the places you'll go!

Have you ever read "Oh the places you'll go" by Dr Seuss? It's one of my favourite books to read to my friends when they're having a rough time of things. I'm such a sook that when I read it to them I always get choked up.

Well....right now I'm feeling very much like that character from the Flintstones who always had a cloud over him. His name was 'Schleprock'. So this morning as I'm in my 'woe is me' pitty party, I started thinking about what, if anything, I could do or say to a friend who was feeling as I am right now. One of the first things that came to mind was, I'd read them 'Oh the places you'll go'.

Unfortunately I can't get my copy out to read because it's packed away for a move we are supposed to be making (which is really the catalyst for the stupid cloud over my head I guess). I went in search on the internet to see what I could find and lo and behold I find the words to the story.

Here's a link to what I found:

"Oh! The places you'll go." 

If you don't own your own copy of this book then I would recommend you getting one to have on your own bookshelf. When you get it, read it out loud....or come see me and I'd love to read it to you.

July 19, 2010

Dust if you must...

I just received a fun email from a friend. It reminds me of a couple of my favourite sayings in regards to housework:

"My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy"

"If you must write in the dust, please don't date it"

"I don't clean the windows because it blocks out the UV rays keeping us safe inside."

So here's the email. I'd love to hear some of your sayings about housework...or 'avoiding it' more to the point.

LADIES!!! Remember...a layer of dust protects the Wood beneath it.

house becomes a home when you can write 'I love you' on the furniture.'

I used to spend at least 8 hours every weekend making sure things were just perfect - 'in case someone came over'
. Finally I realized one day that no-one came over; they were all out living life and having fun!
NOW, when people visit, I don't have to explain the 'condition' of my home.
They are more interested in hearing about the things I've been doing while I was away living life and having fun.
If you haven't figured this out yet, please heed this advice.

Life is short. Enjoy it!

Dust if you must ........

but wouldn't it be better to paint a picture or write a letter, bake cookies or a cake and lick the spoon or plant a seed, ponder the difference between want and need?
Dust if you must, but there's not much time . . . ...
with rivers to swim and mountains to climb , music to hear and books to read, friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must,

but the world's out there with the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair, a flutter of snow, a shower of rain. This day will not come around, again.

Dust if you must
, but bear in mind, old age will come and it's not kind. .... .

June 28, 2010

A&W Cream Soda

WOW.....I've just made a drink that is exactly like A&W Cream Soda (here in Australia we'd call it Creaming Soda).

A&W Cream Soda

1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup very hot water
1 cup corn syrup (Glucose)
1/2 tsp PLUS 1/4 tsp vanilla
10 cups cold soda water
1/8 tsp Lemonade Kool-Aid powder (unsweetened kind) Don't worry my non-US friends I'm working on a substitute recipe for this.

Dissolve the sugar and Kool-aid in the hot water.

Add the corn syrup and vanilla. Stir well.

Cover and chill syrup until cold. When the syrup is cold, pour 1/4 cup syrup into a glass and add 1 cup cold soda water. Stir gently, add ice, and serve.

Corn Syrup/Glucose over here costs $5 for about the size of two cups so it wasn't really economical so I found a recipe for a corn syrup substitute that I have just tried and it really WORKS.


  • 2 c. white sugar
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • Dash of salt
Combine all ingredients in a heavy, large pan. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and put cover on it for 3 minutes to get sugar crystals off the sides of the pan. Uncover and cook until it reaches soft ball stage. Stir often. Cool syrup and store in a covered container at room temperature. It will keep for about 2 months. Makes almost 2 cups.

I made this recipe then before it cooled too much I poured it straight into the cream soda mix I made and it worked just fine. If I allowed it to cool much more it would have been too sticky and a lot of the mixture would stick to the sides of the saucepan. If you double the cream soda recipe then the corn syrup recipe is the perfect amount.

June 23, 2010

Family Home Evening a.k.a. FHE

Last night for our monthly Relief Society activity we went over Family Home Evening helps. We first spoke about all the helps available for FHE lessons. I love searching the internet for FHE lesson that have everything you need. Here are a number of lessons that I have found helpful over the years. I am very thankful for the clever people who are good enough to share their talents with us.

This link has Ten lessons that are based on Gordon B. Hinckley's book "Standing for something". They include topics such as 'Love', 'Gratitude', 'Civility' and more.

This site has 14 lessons you can download that go along with the Gospel Principles book.

This is a link to LDS Living which has many, MANY wonderful pdf files to download.

After the lesson we love playing games. One of our family favourites is 'Don't Eat Pete'. Just go here and print off a coloured or black and white version of the game, buy a bag of M&M's or smarties and play. (instructions are included on the game)

Here's another version of the game for the older has more boxes.

Other fun games:

Hawaiian Charades

This is one of those humorous and ridiculously fun family games that can get a little out of control in the right circumstances. Each person, with his/her back to the crowd, without talking and using only their rear end, must spell a word for the rest of the group to guess.

1...2...3 WHACK

This games involves three players...a wrapped lolly/candy and a rolled up newspaper (you can decide the thickness). One person holds the newspaper. Another one holds the candy behind their back and chooses which hand to hold/hide it in. Then they bring both hands in front of them for the third person to choose which hand is hiding the candy. The person chooses which hand they think the lolly is in simply by touching the hand. If they guess correctly they get to keep the candy and someone else gets to play the game. If they choose incorrectly the person with the newspaper WHACKS them. It's all good fun...I promise.


One of the most important things with FHE is that there is ALWAYS a treat afterwards. Sometimes we've jumped in the car and headed to McDonalds for a .50 cent ice cream. Other times I've been more prepared and actually made something for the evening. Here are some recipes that are quick and easy.

One gal last night brought along something she called 'Lolly cake'. Apparently its a real treat in New Zealand. I found a website that gives the 'history' and includes a recipe of this yummy (and oh so colourful) treat.

A treat that has always been a hit in our house...and with the kids in the neighbourhood, is Sherbet (a.k.a. Pixie Sticks). It's a powdered candy that is usually used with licorice sticks or lollypops/suckers.

Fizzing Sherbet Powder (Candy Powder)

1 1/2 cups icing' sugar (confectioner's sugar)
1 teaspoon bi-carb (baking soda)
1 - 2 teaspoons citric or tartaric acid
1 - 2 packets of jelly (jello) crystals OR 2 tablespoons any flavor powdered drink mix (kool-aid, tang, etc.)

Sift all ingredients into a container. Then you can add small amounts (maybe 1/8 cup) to a sandwich bag or even a cup. Give them a lollypop and ENJOY.

Another treat that was shared was homemade chocolate. I grew up on this and really enjoy it.

250g copha (My American friends will find something called Palmin. Probably at a health food store)
1 cup pure icing sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup

Sift icing sugar, cocoa, powdered milk. Melt copha over gentle heat, add to dry ingredients. Mix until smooth and thick. Pour onto a cookie sheet covered with baking paper.

I like to add coconut that I've roasted or raisins or even rice bubbles for some variety.

I'd love to hear about your FHE treats and games so please share.

June 22, 2010

Lemon Slice

I found this recipe on and thought it sounded yummy enough (and easy enough) to share with everyone.


Too easy lemon slice

Makes 48 squares
Egg-free, nut-free (check your biscuits)
  • 2 x 200g packets shortbread biscuits (I used Paradise Butterscotch Shortbread)
  • 2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 400g can skim condensed milk
  • 125g butter, melted
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped


  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 30g butter, softened
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut
Grease a 20cm x 30cm slice tin with butter. Smash the biscuits. Place crushed biscuits, coconut, lemon rind and condensed milk in a large bowl. Melt butter and add to other ingredients, mix well. Firmly press mixture into tray.

To make icing, sift icing sugar into bowl and stir in butter. Add lemon juice one tablespoon at a time until icing is a smooth, spreadable consistency. Spread slice with icing, sprinkle with coconut, refrigerate until firm and then slice into squares or triangles. Store in the fridge.

June 18, 2010

My Bucket List

After a comment I made on my Facebook page the other day, I was asked about my 'bucket list'. I don't know that I've ever really thought of certain things being on such a list but here's things I have wanted to do and would like to do before I die. They are in no particular order.

  • Try Sushi.....CHECK (Tried it but didn't like it the first few times. Still not a big fan but I don't screw my nose up at it anymore)
  • Make fresh pasta......CHECK (I am now the proud owner of a pasta roller machine and plan on making it in different flavours even)
  • Make a quilt....CHECK (It was only a baby quilt and all I did was hand stitch around the pattern on the fabric BUT it was still quilting)
  • Be asked to speak at a Women's Conference....CHECK
  • Publish a book
  • Own matching furniture and not just furniture that will do the job and can be bought off eBay or from yard sales
  • Fly in First Class or Business class
  • Make a difference in someone's life
  • Watch Queensland Maroons make history by winning FIVE series of Origin in a row...CHECK
  • Shave my head
  • Find a bra that actually FITS and 'lifts and separates' (was that a bit too much info??)
  • Get my teeth whitened and prettified
  • Get a star on the Hollywood walk of fame (Ok....I'm not serious about that one)
  • See the snow...CHECK
  • Ski.....CHECK (Hated it!!!!)
  • Make homemade bread.....CHECK
  • See Mt Rushmore and the statue of Liberty.... 1/2 CHECK (I got to see the Statue of Liberty last year on a trip to NYC...and I did cry)
That ought to do it for now. This list can be added to at anytime.

June 12, 2010


I've been given a lot of rice that needs to be used in a timely manner. So I've been looking up recipes online to see what I can 'create' with it. For me to try a recipe it has to meet a certain criteria. It has to sound yummy, it has to use normal ingredients...not ones you have to find at a specialty store and use only for that particular recipe, and it has to be easy. With that in mind I am including on my blog, the recipes I have found that I plan on trying over the next couple of weeks.

I have looked through HUNDREDS of recipes but only found a few that meet all my requirements. So many of them use ingredients I can't even pronounce let alone know where to buy. Oh well. So here are the few recipes I've found so far. I will continue searching because now it's a challenge to find more than just these few.

Sticky Rice

Soak the rice in cold water overnight. Drain, rinse in cold water and drain again. Place in a steamer lined with muslin or greaseproof paper and steam for 40 minutes or until soft, swollen and sticky.

Reserve 2 teaspoonfuls of the coconut cream that has risen to the top of the can. In a large bowl, mix remaining coconut milk with salt and sugar, stirring until dissolved. Add the rice, stirring well, then cover and leave for 30 mins to absorb the milk.

To serve

Serve at room temperature. Place a large spoonful of rice on each plate. Cut the bananas into chunks on an extreme diagonal and arrange next to the rice. Spoon the reserved coconut cream over the top and scatter with sesame seeds.

Serves 4.

Arroz con huevo frito(rice and fried eggs)

This is a Cuban dish.

1 cup of white rice
2 cups of water
1 pinch of salt
4 garlic cloves

Stir all ingredients together, cook for 20 minutes or till ready.

In a pan put 1/4 cup of olive oil. Cook eggs...count on two eggs per person. When eggs are cooked put them on top of the rice. Salt to taste.

Rice Dish for Po' Folk

1 c. kidney beans
2 c. cooked rice
1 c. stewed tomatoes seasoned with chopped onions
Salt and pepper

Optional: Green pepper, oregano, parsley.

May 24, 2010

Parents Glossary of Kids Kitchen Terms

I have been going through my stacks, and stacks of recipes in order to cull a good many. I came across this list that I must have found when my children were little. I hope it's 'helpful' to others with young children now.

Appetizing: Anything advertised on TV
Boil: The point a parent reaches hearing the automatic "yuck" before a food is even tasted.
Casserole: Combination of favourite foods that go uneaten because they are mixed together.
Chair: Spot left vacant by mid-meal bathroom visit.
Cookie (Last One): Item that must be eaten in front of a sibling.
Crust: Part of a sandwich saved for the starving children of China, India, Africa, or Europe (Check one).
Desserts: The reason for eating a meal.
Evaporate: Magic trick performed by children when it comes time to clear the table or wash dishes.
Fat: Microscopic substance detected visually by children on pieces of meat they do not wish to eat.
Floor: Place for all food not found on lap or chair.
Fork: Eating utensil made obsolete by the discovery of fingers.
Fried foods: Gourmet cooking.
Frozen: Condition of children's jaws when spinach is served.
Fruit: A natural sweet not to be confused with dessert.
Germs: The only thing children will share freely.
Kitchen: The only room not used when eating crumbly snacks.
Leftovers: Commonly described as "gross".
Liver: A food that affects genes, creating a hereditary dislike.
Lollipop: A snack provided by people who don't have to pay dental bills.
Macaroni: Material for a collage.
Measuring cup: A kitchen utensils that is stored in the sandbox.
Metric: A system of measurement that will be accepted only after forty years of wandering in the desert.
Napkin: Any worn cloth object, such as shirt (this includes sleeves) or pants.
Natural Food: Food eaten with unwashed hands.
Nutrition: Secret war waged by parents using direct commands, camouflage, and constant guard duty.
Plate: A breakable Frisbee.
Refrigerator: A very expensive and inefficient room air conditioner.
Saliva: A medium for blowing bubbles.
Soda pop: Shake 'n Spray.
Table: A place for storing gum.
Table Leg: Percussion instrument.
Thirsty: How your child feels after you've said your final "good-night".
Vegetable: A basic food known to satisfy kids' hunger - but only by sight.
Water: Popular beverage in undeveloped countries.

May 15, 2010


When my children were little we wold make 'countdowns' for many things. Whether it was for a school field trip that was coming up or for their birthday. Here are a couple of links for fun ideas for birthdays.

Fun ideas for Birthday fun

A fun Birthday Board

Dangerous things you should let your kids try.

I remember when my first child was born and a dear family came up to the hospital to visit. I let their children hold my baby while my mother-in-law looked on in horror, even to the point of trying to take my baby from me to prevent me from letting the children have a hold.

I remember watching new mothers not let other children anywhere near their precious babies for fear they'd give germs to their little one. Here I was telling kids to come see, touch, and even hold my baby.

I would also notice that when babies would drop their dummy/binky/pacifier, the new mothers would run to a hot water tap to sterilize it or have a clean one ready and waiting. Here I was picking up my babies binky, sucking it off and handing it right back.

I love seeing kids come in from play all covered in dirt. It means they've had fun. Let them pick up bugs...I've even retrieved a few from between teeth.

My husband hated when I'd let my children go outside to play without wearing shoes. When it came time for them to ride bikes he was even more mortified that I allowed them to ride shoeless. When the kids would come home with skinned toes he'd think that proved his point and couldn't believe I'd kiss them, wipe their wound and send them out again without shoes.

The point kids survived. They don't remember the scrapes and the scars they do have my boys think are 'cool'. Here's a link to a blog that talks more about dangerous things we should let our kids do.

Happiness Machine

Here is a video clip of the Coco-Cola Happiness Machine. It just makes me smile every time I watch it. I would have loved to have been a part of something like this.


Hamburger in a can

Don't ask me how I found this. I don't know how I find half the things I find. I simply click on links that lead me from one thing to another. It is exactly how my mind works most of the time. is a link to a HAMBURGER IN A CAN. Sure sounds yummy doesn't it. It does seem like the perfect gift to get the person who has 'everything'.

The Human Touch

Recently I had some surgery on my eye. I HATE needles. But more than just hating needles I hate that my surgery was to be performed under local anesthetic. This meant that I was going to be able to hear everything that was going on but worse than that was that because the doctor would have to open my eye from time to time, I was going to SEE things. Things like the scalpel coming at me etc. Things I didn't need or want to see. (Before the doctor started I quickly stopped him and told him that I didn't want to see any of this so he made that possible)

As I was getting prepped I had many nurses come up to me and ask me all the questions. I was sure to let everyone of them know of my fear. One nurse came up to me and introduced herself as Lee. She said her job was simply to hold my hand throughout the ordeal.

From the moment I was wheeled into the OR, Lee was there holding my hand. I was aware, though I couldn't see, of everything that was going on. The cutting, the talking/discussing, the stitching, etc. But the thing that was most important to me and what I actually focused on was Lee and her beautiful hand holding mine. To me, the most important thing happening in that operating room that day was that there was someone holding my hand.

As things would get a little more intense, I felt my hand gripping more tightly onto Lee's hand. When she would feel me squeeze she'd give my hand a reassuring little rub. After she would rub my hand a little...and we're talking a second or two....I was able to relax my grip on her hand.

I'm not sure how long the surgery took, maybe an hour maybe more, maybe less. But what I do know is that, even though I'm a 45 year old mother of 4, I learned that when someone asks "Do you want someone to go with you to hold your hand?", I really do!

March 14, 2010

Relief Society Birthday

Last night we had our monthly activity and it just so happened it was to celebrate the organization of Relief Society. Relief Society, probably the largest and the oldest women's organization in the world, was organized on March 17th 1842.

Here's a bit of trivia for you: In WWI there were 50000 female members of the Red Cross in the USA. Of that number, over 47000 of them were also Relief Society members. I think the number was 47358. That's pretty incredible.

(before you read this, if there are any words that you have no clue 'stake' or 'ward' then here's a link that will explain them. LDS Lingo for beginners.)

So we had the activity last night. It was a great success. How can you tell if it's a successful evening? Well when the tables and chairs are packed up and STILL the ladies are standing around chatting, dancing and LAUGHING for more than an hour.

In our ward we have monthly Relief Society activities/meetings. Yep, that's right, monthly. For years I've been suggesting to a president here and there that they need to get back to holding monthly activity rather than just the groups that were going on. If the groups are working in other places then that's great but around here, they weren't.

When I was called as a counselor in stake I thought I had a better shot at moving them in that direction but nope. So the first thing I did when I got called as president in my own ward was start monthly activities. First one was a 'Chocolate appreciation evening'.

We started off with a few sisters attending. I think there were maybe 8 of us there that night. In the 5 or so months that I've been president the numbers have more than doubled AND I'm getting sisters coming up begging me to have it on a different day/time because it doesn't suit their job and they haven't been able to attend. Last night I even had one come on her lunch break just so she could come.

Last night I was asked by a few sisters what the activity is for next month and when is it. I couldn't remember so as they were talking amongst themselves THEY came up with what the activity will be. You beauty!!! No matter what the activity is that I had down for next month, I'm happy to postpone it because this is all about the other ladies and what they are interested in. MONTHLY WORKS!!!! So does not over planning, not having to decorate to any great degree AND you don't have to spend much money.

For example: Last month sisters started asking what our activity would be for this month. I said that it was going to be our 'quarterly' activity and would be the birthday/anniversary of RS. Questions like "What will we be doing?", "What do you want us to wear?", "What do we need to bring?" and "What do we need to do for it?" were the norm.

I've attended these evenings where it's been a beautiful sit down meal and there's been a big song and dance about Relief Society or I've been asked to be a part of the 'song and dance' which has involved scripts and practices. I've enjoyed those evenings but mostly due to sitting around laughing and talking to the other ladies. I wanted this year's activity to be more 'sitting around laughing and talking' than anything else.

So when the sisters would ask me the questions I already had the answers: "We're going to have a PARTY!", "It's a party, come comfortable", "Bring nothing" and "You don't need to do anything". The sisters were looking forward to it.

We had party foods...nothing flash. I think the only thing homemade was the b'day cake which was a yummy chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. It wasn't ordered from the store to have "Charity Never Faileth" on it and it didn't have different coloured frosting. It was a simple and YUMMY cake that had candles (that were never lit) in it.

The decorations were cheap party favours and some lollies wrapped in gold or silver foil down the middle of each table. There were some party hats as well.

I did splurge and bought this big cylinder thing that had confetti in. After we opened with prayer I popped the cylinder to a loud bang and streamers flying high in the air. "Let's Party!!"

We had a fun party game with inexpensive prizes. We would have had another game or two if I had brought white board markers instead of chalk but oh well...we still had fun. The game was just me asking questions like "When was RS organize?", "Who was the longest serving RS General President?" etc. The prizes were what really made the game fun. I didn't want to spend more than 60 cents for a prize so I went up and down each isle looking for things that would meet that criteria. Here's a list or what I found: a can of beetroot, a bag of pasta, a packet of french onion soup, a packet of jelly and half a chocolate bar. Each prize that was handed out brought on huge laughter especially the half chocolate bar. had to be half of one to equal the costs of the other prizes!!

If you're missing the monthly activities in your ward then be the squeaky wheel and get them back up and running because they WORK!!!

January 23, 2010

Why I hate Shopping for a Bathing Suit.

I was going through some files on my computer when I came across this one that I received in an email from a friend back in 2004. I loved it back then and love it just as much today. Read it and enjoy a good laugh.


When I was a young woman in the 50's the bathing suite for the mature figure was boned, trussed and reinforced, not so much sewn as engineered. They were built to hold back and uplift and they did a good job. Today's stretch fabrics are designed for the prepubescent girl with a figure carved from a potato chip.

The mature woman has a choice--she can either go up front in the maternity department and try on a floral suit with a skirt, coming away looking like a hippopotamus who escaped from Disney's Fantasia, or she can wander around every run of the mill department store trying to make a sensible choice from what amounts to a designed range of florescent rubber bands.

What choice did I have? I wandered around, made my sensible choice and entered the chamber of horrors known as the fitting room.The first thing I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength of the stretch material. The Lycra used in bathing costumes was developed, I believe, by NASA to launch small rockets from a slingshot, which gave the added bonus that if you manage to actually lever yourself into one, you are protected from shark attacks as any shark taking a swipe at your passing midriff would immediately suffer whiplash.

I fought my way into the bathing suit,but as I twanged the shoulder strap in place, I gasped in horror---my bosom had disappeared! Eventually, I found one bosom cowering under my left armpit. It took a while to find the other one. At last I located it, flattened beside my seventh rib.

The problem is that the modern bathing suits have no bra cups. The mature woman is meant to wear her bosom spread across her chest in a speed bump. realigned my speed bump and lurched toward the mirror to take a full view assessment.

The bathing suit fit all right, but unfortunately it only fit those bits of me willing to stay inside it. The rest of me oozed out rebelliously from top, bottom and sides. I looked like a lump of play dough wearing undersized cling wrap.

As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from, the prepubescent sales girl popped her head through the curtain, "Oh, there you are!", she said, admiring the bathing suit. I replied that I wasn't so sure and asked what else she had to show me.

I tried on a cream crinkled one that made me look like a lump of masking tape, and a floral two piece which gave the appearance of an oversized napkin in a serving ring. I struggled into a pair of leopard skin bathers with ragged frills and came out looking like Tarzan's Jane, pregnant with triplets and having a rough day. I tried on a black number with a midriff and looked like a jellyfish in mourning. I tried on a bright pink pair with such a high cut leg I thought I would have to wax my eyebrows to wear them.

Finally, I found a suit that fit....a two piece affair with a shorts style bottom and a loose blouse-type top. It was cheap, comfortable, and bulge-friendly, so I bought it. My ridiculous search had a successful outcome, I figured. When I got home, I found a label which read: "Material might become transparent in water."