I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Oh Crap! (literally)

Detoxing is all going great guns - DH even said I look slimmer (although I did kinda brow beat him into it, so I'm not sure his comment counts). I've been wandering around with a aren't-I-fab sort of aura lately. Truth is, I'm feeling pretty proud of myself for even making it this far. Have there been a few transgressions? Very, very few. In fact the only real one was yesterday, when DH and I found ourselves having:

- not eaten in several hours
- not near a decent food source
- 30 minutes left before school pick up time

...so I ended up eating a burrito, which had a tortilla (not approved) and some cheese (not approved). However it also had tons of lamb (only approved meat) and loads of vegetables (very approved.) So on balance, as falls of the wagon go, I'd say I didn't really fall off at all given that I made the best possible choice given the circumstances. The protein thing is getting easier now, too - the planning helps and the cans of tuna around the place REALLY help. So yay me on all fronts.

Until today.

This morning I raced out of the house, late for the gym (as usual.) In dashing out I forgot not only my carefully planned and packed lunch, but also my morning Spew Juice! It ended up being one of those days where everything is late, rushed, and a bit all over the place. Breakfast ended up being a no-added-sugar pineapple juice (thank you, cafe next to the gym). Lunch was 3 gluten free crackers I'd left behind on Tuesday plus 2 cans of tuna which N.N. left behind last time she visited. I even remembered to take all my supplements except one (to be consumed later tonight.)


I got busy and kinda forgot about the detox bit, and ate a cube of devil's food cake which was topped by a dollop of icing. It was, in total, about a quarter of a mouthful. DAMN, but it tasted good.

Tonight after dinner (christened "Lambapalooza" by DH) I was listening to my son read about the rain forests when I suddenly had a uncomfortable feeling in my stomach...and then realised that (*graphic content*) my seat was kinda...wet.


I blame it on the cake. My body has now decided to SELF detox, by way of high-speed exit of all consumed matter.

It was good cake, yes. But not THAT good. No more transgressions for me!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime


This amazing two seater outdoor love seat-with-canopy which DH and I swooned over (okay, it was me who was swooning) at the Home Ideas Show today:


That the person who made this cake is still employed, and has the graces to call themselves a cake decorator:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

You Know You're a Parent of Triplets When...

....your laundry pile reaches your armpit (literally). (Note: I am 6 feet tall.)

....you go to get the kids a small after school snack and it costs you $21.

...you see nothing wrong with parading around in the nude, because frankly they've seen it all from barging in on you anyway.

...you spend $300 on groceries and two days later, there's "nothing they like" to eat in the pantry.

...it takes 0.45 seconds for your house to go from immaculate to hurricane ravaged.

...no matter how many multi-pack rolls you buy, there will never, ever be enough toilet paper.

...whatever happens, HE did it.

...whatever happens, it wasn't MY fault.

...your hearing starts to go at age 32. Not because you're getting old, but because of all the screaming in your ear. Sorry? What did you say?

...you forget your kids names regularly. "Hey, Lex-no-Ki-no...WHOEVER you are, would you PLEASE stop whistling in my ear!!

...you have read almost every single beginning reader book in all the levels 1-31. You know some by heart.

...you are sure that your purchases alone cover the rent at the local K-Mart/Target.

...you often find yourself sounding like your Mom, "You call this clean?" "ALL I ask of you is to clean your room. Is that SO hard?!"

...you find yourself pricing 7-seater cars on the web. The next day when your daughter over hears you talking about this and interrupts your conversation to yell, "MUM! MUM! I think you should get a convertible!" you suddenly think this sounds like a GREAT idea. Surely the wind will drown out the noise?

...you find yourself wondering if your health insurance covers hip replacements, because you're going to need one after the endless games of "stacks on." (eg let's all jump on Mum until she begs for mercy, and then let's keep jumping!

...you start thinking that military school is not such a bad idea.

...you start to think of the entire world in threes, and wonder why other people don't think so, too. Why are family tickets always 2 adults + 2 kids? Why do snack packs of crackers always come in a bag of 10?

...you keep hearing ads on the radio for a health retreat, and you find yourself thinking you can tolerate Feiki in exchange for how quiet it must be up there.

Any more? Feel free to add them in the comments.

My Detox Mojo

Tell you what, I should have KNOWN I would succeed at this whole detoxing thing. Let us examine the facts about me, and the facts about this process, which make it a sure-to-be hit:

1. It involves following rules. I am an awesome rule-follower. Provide me with some parameters, tell me the big picture, and tell me what to do and I'm all over it. This doesn't mean I won't question the rules (because believe you me, I certainly will) - it just means I operate better in a defined environment.

2. It involves a list. This has two lists - the 'enjoy' foods and the 'avoid' foods. DOUBLE list action, people. DOUBLE. YEAH! Only problem is that there is nothing to cross off, which as we all know is list heaven to someone as goals driven as I am.

3. It allows chocolate. According to the naturopath, anything not listed on either list is a "neutral" food which you can enjoy in moderation. Chocolate is not listed (ha!). Now I haven't actually HAD any chocolate, but the fact that I could if I wanted to makes me happy.

4. It has pineaple on the approved fruit list (and thus juice list). I luuurrvveee pineapple juice but until now have avoided drinking it because it's so high in sugar. The fact that I am now bouncing off the walls, well...that's okay, because I'm allowed to. *bounce, bounce*

5. It makes me feel superior, and we all know it's all about me anyway. Some years ago I read M. Scott Peck's Road Less Travelled. I forgot about 99% of the book, but the one line I remember is that, "delayed gratification leads to increased reward." It's often a line I'll remember when I'm wanting to eat something which I really shouldn't. So when I manage to avoid eating or doing something self-destructive, I'll often think, "YAY me. I *so* don't need that and I *so* am better than that and I *so* am going to look hot in a bikini." A little bit of confidence goes a long way.

...and as for the Hurl Juice (cow's booby milk as mentioned earlier)? I've discovered that it does dissolve, especially if you forget it's there and spend 10 minutes on the phone with a friend. Ahh, yet more excuses to talk (and talking is exercise, right?!)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Gotta Love That Pineapple Juice

The good news - this is actually getting pretty easy. So easy that I am worried (of course) that I'm missing some part of the instructions. Interestingly letting go of the carbs isn't all that hard - although I will admit to having rice twice so far. In my defense it was basmati (on the approved list) and in both cases I had less than a rice bowl worth, and it was accompanied by copious amounts of meat and veg. So I'm feeling very virtuous, if I do say so myself. DH is convinced I am on the Chinese food diet, because very little gets me very full, and then an hour later I'm hungry again. The solution to this is pretty easy, though - a small handful of grapes, an apple, or a couple gluten free crackers and I'm good to go.

Yes, my halo IS nice and bright, isn't it?

In other news yesterday we took the kids to Ripponlea, for the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Now before you go all how-dare-you on me, let me just say that the actual Easter part of it lasted, ohh...maybe 2 minutes? Long enough for the kids to pick up an egg or two and go, "Eww! MELTED!" and then run off into the grounds of the mansion. If you are in or around Melbourne and you have some free time, pack a (low carb, high protein) picnic and head off there. It's absolutely beautiful, with tons of things to explore and trees to fall asleep under. DH and I enjoyed a whole afternoon of what I like to call PPM's - Perfect Parenting Moments. Nobody was fighting, crying, whining, annoying one another, or being downright so irritating that you find yourself wishing you were young and single again. Everyone was just happy running around in the sunshine.

...and it's the running around part which makes me glad I'm doing this whole detoxing business in the first place. Fact is, if I want to be old and grey and still be able to run amok with my kids, I've got to get healthier than what I am now. Bring on the quinoa!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Detox-a-go-go, Days 2 & 3

I realised that it's a bit hard to daily blog this detoxing business because I'm often not done with the whole bye-bye-nasty-bugs until quite late at night - so I'm rescinding my promise and instead promising to blog more often about it all.

5 recent detoxifying observations:

1. It's damn hard to eat that much protein. I'm supposed to have 1-2 'palm size' servings of protein at two meals. Dinner is fine but lunch is just....hard. Cans of tuna anyone?!

2. The not being "allowed" to eat some things isn't bothering me as much as I thought it might. The bread thing IS an issue, though (yes, I AM a big baby about it) so DH was sent off to acquire some gluten free bread. You know, that stuff isn't bad at all. Okay, so it's not GREAT and I wouldn't eat a whole loaf in one sitting, but it's really quite edible. I'm also finding I'm not wanting bread as much, anyway. (I didn't write that last sentence. I think the aliens overtook my body temporarily. Not wanting bread?!)

3. The supplements taste like shit, but you can get over this if you stir them like crazy into your morning juice and then chug the whole thing. I tried to eat a teaspoon of it raw - because that stuff does NOT actually dissolve in liquid - and ended up with a mouthful of sticky gelatine-esque sand which I then had to pick out of my teeth (are you loving this imagery or what?). Yeah. Not pretty.

4. I stupidly read the label of said supplement and discovered it's made out of bovine colostrum. Isn't colostrum early breast milk? I am drinking (and attempting to eat) COW BREAST MILK twice a day?! Gag. Puke. Hurl and shudder. What have I gotten myself into?

5. In the last 3 days I've eaten way more fruit and veg than normal, feel much fuller a lot of the time, and I'm sure it's my imagination but my skin looks better. Hmmm...

11 days to go - by the end of it I'm thinking I'll change Michelle to just "Elle" because, you know, it apparently is a name that works well for supermodels. (Which I am going to be.)


One more thing: Go and check out http://www.thebestofblogs.com and nominate some small-time bloggers you like. I'm supporting this not just because I think you all love me and want to nominate me, but because it's a really great way to support the smaller, less traffic-heavy blogging community.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Detoxing Diva, Day One

Contrary to popular belief (and recent posts) I'm actually pretty positive about all this. Now while I didn't exactly bound out of bed and eat an entire bowl full of quinoa, I did look forward to my detoxed self looking hot in a bikini (someday).

So - Day One.

- I like pineapple juice
- I felt quite full for most of the day
- I ate 2 more pieces of fruit than I otherwise would have
- I avoided gorging on the pizza that was at the temple gig tonight. Actually, I ate none. (Mostly because they ran out, but also because I am, of course, perfectly in control here. *snicker*)

- The mix-with-water supplement very nearly made me hurl, twice. Man but that is NASTY stuff. Bearable only in pineapple juice.
- I think I'll have to meal plan a lot more than I am now. I've realised that a lot of my carb eating comes from convenience. Much easier to throw together a sandwich and bowl of cereal than it is to throw together a quinoa and beetroot salad with a side of sardine fillets. I'll get over this, though.
- I'm always thinking ahead to my next meal. I'd rather NOT have to think so hard, but I think this too will ease with time.

...and before you think I have it "in for" quinoa (and I get a nasty email from the Quinoa Justice League or something), let's just say it's such a dorky grain (being ancient, weird looking and all) that it's easily made fun of. There's got to be something I make fun of, right?

In a nutshell, Day One = EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY (lemon being on the approved list of course.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Eyes Have It

Those who know me in real life would say that I am a realist. I tend to be pretty sceptical about things, a real I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it kind of gal. One now infamous story about me illustrates this point. Some years ago I worked with a woman who claimed to be a Reiki master. Several of the other people in the office fell for believed in her powers and let her bullshit heal them. She would ask you to hold your hand at waist level, and then she would hold one of her hands above and the other just below your hand. Anyway she'd then close her eyes and go all shhh-I'm-concentrating and you would just stand there.

Several people claimed that while she wasn't actually touching them, they could feel intense warmth on their hands. Shortly thereafter they felt somehow lighter and freer. Ummm, yeah. I stood there and felt nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nuttin'. When I said this (because, of course, I WOULD say it) she would claim that I was too "blocked" to reap the benefits of her skill.

Uh-huh. Sure. Yep. BLOCKED. That's it.

Since that day, I've often referred to Reiki (pronounced RAY-KEY) as....wait for it... Feiki (say it out loud. FAKE-E.)

I think you get my point. So how is it that I spent over an hour today listening to someone tell me all the things he could see...in my irises? Listened to him talking about eating for my blood type, talk about all the things my urine "says" about me, and so on. (You have no idea how much I wish I was kidding. Who knew that pee could talk?) This, my friends, would be because in recent months more than one person has told me about "naturopathic weight loss." Basically, we're talking a 'natural', holistic view to weight loss. One where it's not about calorie counting, it's about learning more about your body and it's functions and then making the right choices based on that.

Yes. Total bullshit.

I went along, though, because of late I've had a few (minor) issues which are annoying me. My skin, for example, is totally crap. Monster zits at age 32. Yup. Lovin' that. NOT. Exhaustion, various other skin irritations, restless sleeping, hair which can't decide if it's oily or dry or both, a libido which is on permanent holiday and so on. Small stuff but theoretically all things which (it is claimed) a naturopath can help with. So I figured, what the heck and I went along for my assessment.

Over an hour, 2 supplements, 1 pee specimen, one iris inspection and a big fat bill for $142 later, I left.

I still think it's a load of crap.

At this point, though, I FEEL so crap about myself and I'm so bloody tired, I'll give anything at all a go. The naturopath vacillated between being totally weird ("Type B bloody types are incapable of efficiently processing tomatoes") and totally reasonable ("At the end of the day I can give you advice, but nothing changes the simple fact that weight loss comes from energy in versus energy out.")

So, armed with my supplements and a list of foods which us Type B's can eat and those we should avoid, I'm embarking on a 14 day detox. He thought this was a good way to start weaning me off my current diet of what is currently 90% carbs, 5% dairy and 5% protein. So I'm not cutting anything out cold turkey, but trying to eat on the left side of the Type B chart. Difficult, considering the right side has .....bread. cereal. corn. rice. couscous. beef. chicken. Even green tea is on the no-go list. Oy, oy, oy.

God help me. Actually, blog land help me - because I'm going to try and post every day of this 14 day period, just so you guys can enjoy my bout of extreme bitchiness which is sure to come of this.

Then again, maybe it will...unblock me. Best to go find the number of the Feiki master, just in case.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Nice, Shmice

Esquire magazine has recently published their list of people who aren't as nice as you'd think they'd be.


Nurses, clowns and flight attendants...okay, I get it. They deal with the general public when the general public are not at their best. They deserve to be not-so-nice. Alex Trebek, I've never met so I can't comment on his nice-ness factor. I don't know what a belletrist is (but doesn't it sound naughty?!) My personal favourite in the list is "fathers of female tennis pros," because they certainly seem to get into a whole heap of trouble, don't they?

..but... PASTRY CHEFS? Says WHO (other than Esquire) that we're not nice?

I am *so* nice. Especially when I'm not being a bitch.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


This week us Jews celebrate the el cheapo version of Halloween - Purim. Kids dress up in various costumes and we eat food which is reminiscent of the story. After all, what's a Jewish holiday without food?! The Purim story is called the Megillat Esther and it reads like a decent Hollywood blockbuster script. Plenty of love, intrigue, passion, deception and of course, a decent villain who we all love to hate - Haman.

Among other things, Haman is deserving of some mockery, at least in a culinary sense. A traditional Purim food is Hamentashen (pronounced home'n-tah-shen), a triangular cookie meant to represent Haman's 3 cornered hat...or his ears...or his pockets (3 Jews = 4 opinions) Traditionally Hamentashen are filled with various jams, poppyseed and almond or date fillings.

Hamentashen are a very easy thing to make and kids love them, so it's a perfect cooking with kids activity. In my case (no surprise) I cheat and use a basic sweetpaste dough as the base rather than a more complex butter cookie recipe. You could use pretty much any roll-out sugar cookie recipe, or just cheat even further and use the tubes of stuff you can find at the supermarket. Kids can help by making the dough and then doing the rolling out and so on, but I find it's much less stressful to make the dough and roll and cut the circles yourself. Arm the kids with the fillings and let them at it. This recipe can also be used as a tart base, to make plain sugar cookies, to line pie tins, and so on.

I should also say that the business has wreaked havoc on my home baking. All my trusty utensils are in my commercial kitchen, leaving my own home bare of baking essentials. So I made these with no Kitchen Aid (instead using my hands and a fork), no rolling pin (a wine bottle did the trick), no piping bag (small spoon worked), no decent round cutter (a cup works) and no actual recipe (it was in my head.) In other words, you have no excuse not to try these yourself.

It should be noted that we also used various non-traditional fillings. Recently one of my fellow writers at Candy Addict sent me a massive box of American candy goodies. So our Hamentashen are filled with Hershey's Kisses and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups as well as the more traditional jam. Enterprising six year olds also dipped a toe into the molecular gastronomy movement with the invention of the "Claire 2000." Yes, a Hamentashen with a dollop of raspberry jam and a Peanut Butter Cup on top. My son ate one and literally swooned. You've been warned.

I wouldn't recommend the Kisses route, though - the damn things are made out of some scary unbreakable chemical compound and thus do not really melt. Instead they go kinda wrinkly and then mealy and ... well, gross. Use a more appropriate melting chocolate instead.

...and while it's not essential to eat your dinner while watching these bake, it does make for an entertaining photograph.

Hamentashen, emzeegee style
150g butter, at room temp
150g sugar
300g plain flour
2 eggs

(Note the formula is 1:1:2 so you can scale up and down as required.)

In a bowl of a mxer with the dough hook attachment (or just with your hands), mix the butter and sugar until incorporated - do NOT cream. Add the flour and mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs - ensure there are no large butter lumps. Add the lightly whisked eggs and mix until just combined(a fork will do this nicely). Take out of the mixer and give a good squish with your hands to bring it to a ball. Allow to rest at least one hour (but nothing bad will happen if you don't. It just may be a bit hard to work with and shrink a bit on cooking.)

Generously flour your work surface and the dough. Roll out to about 3 mm thickness and cut out circles. On each circle place about 1/2 tsp of mixture - don't overfill as it makes a mess. Then follow the method as demonstrated by my son below: bring up the two sides to form a point at the top. Then bring up the bottom curve and pinch the corners together to make a triangular shape. (There are various philosophies about how to do this so the filling does not explode. It's all bull****. This method works.)

Bake on lined cookie sheets for about 18-20 minutes at 180C or until golden on the edges. A warning, the jam will be MOLTEN when it comes out, so resist the urge to pop the bubbles. Cool on a wire rack and eat, preferably with an enormous glass of milk.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cake Bragging

...because, well, I can!

Home Truths, Gym Style

Man on the treadmill next to me:

I get it. You're buff, you're hot, you're young, you can get the treadmill up to 18kmph and therefore, you are to be noticed. However, I feel you need to know two vital things. Firstly, no matter how cute and buff and whatever, running on a treadmill in 3/4 length jeans makes you look like a DORK. Seriously. You totally wreck whatever fast runner guy cool gym cred you had by running in those. They need to GO. If you're wondering why you're still single (given that you are hot, buff, etc etc)..I'd have to say it's the jeans.

Secondly, the gym requires that you bring a hand towel to mop up sweat and whatever other bodily fluids you may excrete. The towel is not, I repeat, NOT a fashion statement. PLEASE try to actually use it. It totally grosses me out to see your sweat flying off and landing on my machine. Really, it's hurl worthy. Would it be so difficult to wipe your Botox'ed over-tanned brow? I think not.

Fat Lady on the Elliptical trainer:

Here's the thing, fat lady. I'm fat, too. In fact I'd venture to say that I am fatter than you are. So I understand the difficulty in getting gym clothes which look okay, feel okay and also hide all those kilos. I feel your pain on this one. I do! We are sisters in (flabby) arms, we really are. However. When you wear leggings to the gym, you really should wear a complete pair. As in, a pair which does not have an ENORMOUS FREAKIN' HOLE between your legs. A hole so large that when you are elliptic-ing away, we can see the top part of your thigh bulging out where it is chafing against the other thigh. Ellipticals are higher than most other bits of equipment and your legs move farther apart. So you practically take my EYE out every time you go a step. I am begging you. Please, please go and buy a new pair. I'm so proud of you for sweating it out, for trying to shift that weight. In the meantime, though, there really is NO need to embarrass yourself or the rest of the fatties there by dressing like that. Have mercy!

Perky girl at the desk:

You're annoying. I forgive you, because clearly being annoying is part of your job. The weird ponytail bobble thing? Not only does it show ALL your roots, but it's slicked and pulled back so tight, it looks like you'll never blink again. Re-think it.

...and can someone explain why NO gym is ever temperature controlled? Every gym I've ever been a member of (lots) has millions of floor fans all over the place. They're not effective, they're a hazard (many a person I've seen tripping over the cords) and frankly, they're a waste of money. Why not put in proper air conditioning when you build these places?! What is that about?

The above not withstanding, I'm loving my gym time...especially getting to watch an hour of VH1. It not only makes me feel about 15, it also makes me glad that since everyone has earphones in, nobody can hear me singing along to MIKA singing "Big Girls...You are Beautiful!" (my new anthem.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Yet More Sex Talk

After school today, one of the teachers approached me (not a good thing, as it's either a) to rat on one of my kids or b) to get me to volunteer for something). She wanted to tell me that my son had been explaining to the rest of his class the mechanics of sex. In full detail. Apparently the other kids were listening in rapt attention.

Her reaction to this was basically to take him aside and say that while she was glad he understood about it, really - not everyone wants their kids to know that kind of information. So, please, could he not talk about those things at school? I understand where she is coming from - it's no different to the Tooth Fairy or Santa. Some kids know the truth (as it were), others don't. I firmly believe it's a parent's right to choose how and when to explain about all these topics. In our household the policy had been one of age appropriate honesty. So when they asked a few months ago about how babies actually get INTO the tummies of mummies, we explained.

In detail. Appropriate detail. We also referenced the very handy video at the Melbourne Museum. A video they've seen dozens of times, which shows the whole experience in all it's soft focus but very real glory. As is the way of 6 year olds, a song was born. A song with only one lyric: "Daddy put his peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenis in Mummy's vagiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnaaaaa!!!" (repeat. ad naseum, at full volume, in public.) When said Daddy returned to the car (because, of course, it was me who was confronted with this conversation), the kids asked if what I had said was really true. Because it if WAS true, then that meant we had done it THREE times to have them. And that, my friends, is SERIOUSLY GROSS and EEEWWW and YUUUCCCKKKK.

Never mind that having them actually required NO sex. Not even once (unless you count all the practising.)

DH's answer? An embarrassed, mumbled, "Well, it's been known to happen." At which point he looks at me, eyes wide, and silently asks, "What the hell? I go to pay for petrol and THIS happens?"

Needless to say many conversations about sex followed, and we just kept on with the party line of an honest, age appropriate answer.

So today, when the teacher thought I should clearly be mortified, embarrassed and apologetic, I just looked at her and smiled and said, "Well? Was he at least accurate?!"

Apparently, he was.

Very accurate.

She couldn't quite understand why I looked so proud.

Because I'm Special, and I Deserve It

Welcome one and all to the new look emzeegee & the hungry three! Rebecca at Artistree Designs shmick'd this baby up for me, and I have to say I am loving it. Sassy, fun, gorgeous, and all about kids and food...oh, wait, that's ME! The blog redesign was a gift to myself - having decided not to close it down, it was time for a bit of a facelift. Editor in chief is also undergoing a bit of a facelift, with a brand spanking new gym membership (already well worn) and house renovations mere weeks away. It's all happening, people. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Proof Positive of a Higher Power

I pretty much thought my Slurpee days were over for the year. Summer officially ended on February 29, so my 'excuse' to get one ended, too. However this week in Melbourne has been pretty hot, so when the kids asked to get a Slurpeee...well, what sort of mother would I be to refuse such a nice request?

I (almost) had a massive excitement attack, right there in the 7-11.

The featured flavour....after months of horrible ones like sherbet and apple blackcurrant (wtf?) and random crap like mango...

The featured flavour is...


Oh. My. God. Two of my most favourite flavours - IN ONE CUP. It tastes...frickin' awesome. A party on my tongue. I'm not sure who was happier about this. Me or my DD1, who said, "MUMMY! It's your FAVOURITE!" She and I then spent a happy half hour drinking and slupee-ing and saying, "This is the BEST flavour EVER!" and smiling wildly happy stupid grins at one another.

You gotta train 'em early, you really do.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Yeah, best we just leave that one alone...

Another sign my kids are growing up is that they now mostly shower rather than bathe. Sometimes two will shower together, but more often they go one at a time - to save time and my sanity. Often one will have a shower, and one or another will have a bath - but it's been a long time since all three of them jumped in the bath tub together. Mostly this is because they are just too tall, and also because 3 kids + body of water = tsunami. Today the trio jumped into the bath together, and were having a grand old time, until DH and I heard this:

DD1: MUM! MUM! Guess what?! [insert gleeful voice]
Me & DH: WHAT???

DS: No we didn't!

Oh holy sweet mother of god, I think it's time that we banned opposite sex bath time.

Because, you know, I don't want them going all Flowers In The Attic on us.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Cakes Have Fat And Sugar

One of the more entertaining side lines to the new business is the funny or just head-scratch-worthy phone calls I get. One lady called asking for baking advice - "How do you know when a cake is done?" Several have called and asked for recipes ... ummm, yeah. I'm really going to give those away for free. Go try allrecipes.com, would you?

One guy called asking for cellophane bags so that wedding guests could take away pieces of cake with them. Cake which *I* didn't make. When I suggested he ask his cake maker, he said, "Oh. Hadn't thought of that."

Some people call and ask for toddler-sized 3D cakes and then wonder why it's more than $50, and why I say it will probably feed more than the 12 people they want to feed. Others ask for the impossible - like the lady who called at 5:15 on a Friday night wanting a cake for 8am Saturday morning, because she forgot it was her daughter's birthday the next day. (Mom of the Year award, anyone?) I *could* have done it for her - but by then I'd just finished cleaning the entire kitchen after a 9 hour marathon decorating session. So, sorry, but no.

Then there was the ancient old lady who called for a price on a wedding cake. Mud cake, to feed 100 people. Decoration? "Oh, something nice dear." Nice as in a ribbon or two, or nice as in an entire cascade of handmade sugar flowers? "Just something NICE, dear." Tiers? "I'm not sure. Perhaps 2? Is that what people do these days?" Icing type? "Oh! I can't...oh...I...well..I...I'm not sure they've thought about any of that." At this point I saw no point in discussing it further, so I gave her a price and said it's "not less than XYZ dollars." "OH! ...that much? Oh, well, that seems quite pricey." I then nicely suggested that she have the couple in question contact me to talk about the details, and ended the conversation. The poor woman is destined for a massive coronary when she calls the other Melbourne custom cake makers and finds out that what she thinks is quite pricey is actually quite reasonable.

I'm ALWAYS nice to the people who call - they're my bread and butter, after all. Plus you never know when a bit of kindness can go a long way. So if I can't help, I'll redirect them to someone or somewhere that can. Sometimes, though, I'm just left shaking my head.

Yesterday's phone call left me, literally, speechless. Now the actual request wasn't all that unusual. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Good afternoon, Three Sweeties, emzee speaking.
Customer: Oh. Hi. I need a cake for my 2 year old's birthday party, and I was wondering if you make any healthy cakes?
Me: Healthy cakes?
Customer: Yes, as in, less sugar than other cakes, not as much fat. You know, a healthy birthday cake. Maybe with all fruit or something?
Me: Um, no, sorry. Pretty much all the cakes we made are not healthy. Healthy cake goes against my cake philosophy (yes, I said that, but I laughed to soften the blow.)
Customer: Yes, well, I thought that might be the case. I've been ringing cake makers ALL AFTERNOON and they all pretty much said the same thing.
Me: I don't think you're going to have much luck on this one ....

...and then I went on to suggest some healthier options for her...

- Fruit tart (which is pastry and custard and fruit)
- Meringues (which is sugar, but no fat)
- Searching on-line for something like a zucchini cake or a banana bread or something which she could make herself

See? I was nice to the lady. Heck, she sounded totally desperate! At the end of the conversation, I hung up and found myself thinking, "Surely after calling people all afternoon, you would get the hint that cake is not generally a health food? and anyway, healthy birthday cake? For a 2 year old? Guess who's going to be needing eating disorder therapy in 10 years?!"

I am totally for kids eating healthier. I even wrote more than one article about it.

Birthday cake, though? That's SACRED. Holy. Not-to-be-messed-with. You've got a birthday ONCE a year (or in my case, twice...but that's another story.) If you can't forgo your tofu and steamed quinoa diet for that ONE day, when can you?

For what it's worth, I'd rather run around the neighbourhood naked with a lit firecracker up my ass than bake or eat zucchini cake.

But I was nice to the lady.