A Photo Digest.

My friends, it turns out that a crawling baby makes things on a whole SO much easier. Day to day, Millie has more independence and is so happy to explore. This stage is so much fun. She crawls around and explores the lounge room. After a hasty day of childproofing (because it turns out that in our house, crawling was not a gradual thing, just an instantaneous happening) the lounge room is MilReady (tm).

So I have a bit of no-baby-in-my-arms time now. However, crawling is not enough for my darling.

She wants to walk.

What?

Three days after she learned to crawl I caught her in my peripheral vision pulling herself up and planking, yoga style on a box. And now the coffee table.

Seven days after that I saw her planking on her Fisher Price walker and pushing it forward, taking four steps in the process.

Again, WHAT?

So Mr S and I spend our days putting cushions in front of the pointy edges of the coffee table, replacing the cushions around the pointy edges of the coffee table when she decides it's ace fun to pull them out everywhere, nursing her bruised forehead, crawling around the floor with her, putting CDs out of each, nursing her bruised cheekbones, replacing the cushions again, nursing her bruised head... you get the idea.

I haven't mentioned the talking either.

Two weeks ago she busted out 'DADADADAD'. Thanks kid. I love that I spend most of my days, and most 5ams with you and you can't wait to see your father. Then last week I heard a faint 'Mamamama'.

On the weekend she crawled up to me, tugged my trouser leg and said 'Mama? Mama?' Melt.

Yesterday she learned to clap. This learning business, it never stops, does it? She's experimenting with some other sounds appearing and it's so fascinating to watch her change and grow every day.

Here's some photos from our week for you to moon over look at...

Hanging by the river in Huonville

Sunday arvo with Dad.


Millie & her boyf Oliver.

Millie's first Amy Kendall & The Kitchenhands band rehearsal.

She's an Aussie kid with her Saos.

Millie spies... 





Mrs Smyth... bombards you with pictures...

When I was pregnant I was lucky enough to meet lots of other women due around the same time. Some of them, I already knew. And some of them, I sort of knew by association but our burgeoning bellies cemented the deal.

Millie's friend Archie came over on Monday with his Mum Neidra, and we spent the whole day lolling about the house drinking lattes whilst our babies tag team napped, then we had lunch down by the river in the sunshine and went for a big walk through some abandoned orchards. I thought I'd share some snaps with you of our day, because seriously, our kids are far too cute.

Millie... check out that massive duck. And my spotty pants.

All is well Mummy, I've got my yellow ring.

Wow Archie, those pants are awesome. Can I eat your shoes?

If Oobi want me in their next catalogue, I'd consider it.

The Orchard. The ErgoBaby. The sunshine.

With my pink Dunlop Volleys I'm ready to run. Or crawl. Whatevs.

My sunshine.

Mrs Smyth... makes Double Baked Melted Centre Brownies.

On my list was 'Bake weekly.' It's no secret that in his house we are massive fans of anything home baked. Mr S bakes once a year - my birthday cake. I make his, he makes mine, it's how we've always rolled. Other than that, the baking's up to me.

I love baking brownies. So simple and so delicious. This recipe has taken me through many variations, my favourite still being additions of dried cranberries, white and dark chocolate. However, Casa Smyth was short on white chocolate and dried cranberries, so it was two kinds of dark chocolate instead. I know, dreadful.

I did a bit of a pictorial of my process for you. This also coincided with my '24 hours with' documentation for Sarah over at Dear Baby G.

We started with this...
I started after Millie self settled in the cot for the first time in weeks. EMPTY HANDS? WHAT NOW? I toddled around the kitchen getting everything out and measured in record time, because honestly? A baby that suddenly self settles again makes me uneasy and overjoyed. In equal measures. And makes me work at lightning speed in case she wakes up before her allotted 40 minutes.

I love learning about baking and I've always wondered why this recipe calls for eggs first. Can anyone enlighten me about this?

This is my best kitchen friend, my Willow Blue Kitchenaid. 
I love baking from a trusted recipe. This brownie recipe lives in my display book that I made when I moved out of home. It's full of family recipes and some that Mr S & I cut out and thought they'd be nice. I have an entire bookshelf of cookbooks and really, I mostly cook from this one. I've been baking these brownies since I was about 13 and Mum tells me that it's from a No Frills Cocoa packet. Way to give me glamorous designs on this Mum. I'd like to think it's at least from a Bourneville Cocoa packet...

64% & 72% chocolate. Choppity chop chop chop.
Ingredients together and I'm humming away, with one eye on the time. The kitchen and our bedroom are at opposite ends of the house, and it's very convenient when you lock yourself in the kitchen to get away from the screaming every now and then don't hear the baby wake up, but I kept an eagle ear out. Radio silence from the bedroom. Brilliant! 

I get the mix into the pans, and I hear the protests of a baby who hates waking up almost as much as she hates going to sleep. I go and retrieve her, we play a peek a boo game through the cot bars and I sing my version of 'Breaking Up Is Hard To Do'... 'Waking Up Is Hard To Do'.

My baby is free range.
I give Millie the empty egg carton that the politely poses with but has no idea why I've given it to her. She's happy enough to sit in the Bumbo while I finish up.

Pans in the oven, timer on, we head to the lounge room. Millie knows just how to pass the time. Pushups anyone? (No. No thankyou.)

I did a thousand you know...

Then, we had these.*
Delicious!

Fancy Brownie Recipe
125g margarine (whatever, I don't do margarine. I used unsalted butter.)
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa (I'm pretty sure I always use more than this.)
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts/chocolate/kitchen sink

Method
  1. In a large bowl beat eggs.
  2. Add sugar and butter and beat until smooth.
  3. Add baking powder, salt, sifted cocoa and flour, beating thoroughly until all ingredients are mixed.
  4. Add vanilla and other additions. Mix should be firm, not runny.
  5. Spread mixture into a greased sandwich tray and bake at 1800C for 30-35 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool in the tray. After mix is cool, using a sharp knife cut into slices.
footnote
Mr S & I had a cup of tea and brownie as I was writing this. The brownies I baked for 20 minutes are not cooked. Gooey and delicious, yes, but not cooked enough. They're back in the oven and now they're extra fancy brownies... Double Baked Melted Centre Brownies.