Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Getting it right....

As the Summer holidays draw to an end I always reflect on the holiday that has been.

Preparing myself mentally for the feeling of loss I have Every. Single. Time.

The loss of my constant companions.

I love the noise of the Summer holidays with my crew of five.

Listening to the slow drizzle of small humans into the lounge room in the morning to snuggle with each other on the couch to watch cartoons.

The same cartoons I snuggled on the couch to watch with my siblings all those years ago.

Easing into breakfast that is more like morning tea by the time the hunger calls them to the table.

Weet-Bix is devoured and so the day goes.......

Children around.

Mumma in the kitchen.

Meals driven by hunger....not by the clock and need to keep routines.

Pyjamas are the clothing of choice.

Bare feet.

Unmade beds.


And then WHOOSH.......

Just like that the house falls silent.

My Summer companions are back at school.

Every holidays I start with this nagging sense that because we have chosen to have a big family it means that I have to say 'No' to a lot of requests.

The disparity between the ages makes doing a lot of things really really hard.

Dragging the littlest around to activities that the older kids like is just asking for meltdown city.

It usually ends in tears.  Mine mostly.

I have talked to another friend- who is a mumma of many- of this conflict.

The feeling that the big ones give up a lot because of the little ones.

I think about it a lot.

I have talked to my mum about it.  Also an experienced mumma of many.

There is no denying the feelings are there.

What I looked for this holidays was what my lot gain by being in a family of many.

No matter our family- the size, the type, the way we parent- we all strive for this feeling of 'Getting it Right'.

We can't.

At least not all the time.

But we can try to give our kids the best we can.

And my kids genuinely enjoy being with each other.

On reflection of this Summer holiday just about to end...... I am happy that I have given my kids space, time & freedom to be.

To be a friend.

To be an explorer.

To be a thinker.

To be a scientist.

To be a musician.

To make mistakes.

To be a learner.

To be a cook.

To just be........

Perhaps they don't miss out on that much after all.

Summer holidays and hungry tummies means dinner time comes & a mad scramble to satisfy the Hangriness (hungry= angry)!
This is a quicky but a goodie!
I always have a supply of frozen Edamame. And i usually have various types of Tofu around too.
This meal is perfect as I can get it to the table in the time it takes the rice to cook- 15 minutes!
It is super nutritious and soooooo good!


  • 1 packet of frozen soybeans
  • 1 packet of marinated spicy tofu (from Asian grocer- or substitute with firm tofu)
  • 1 red chilli
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • szechuan pickled veg - or I used fresh Wombok
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • oil
Heat a pan or wok to a high temp.
Add a tablespoon of oil.
Add cabbage and garlic & chilli.
Fry till fragrant & cabbage is soft.
Add edamame.
Stir till edamame is defrosted.
Add tofu.
Add oyster sauce, fish sauce and sugar.

Heat through and serve with fluffy rice.

There were a lot of ball games at our place over summer...mostly driveway or beach cricket but I love this song and we listened to a lot of Jim Noir this Summer so it seems perfect:


  1. I could have written this post (though perhaps not so eloquently, and I only have 4 children- all girls). But yes, I love January for it's nothingness and everythingness! My children use that time to remember that they enjoy each others company and to live in a self directed way. We barely go anywhere and sometimes I feel bad about that when I look at all the activities their friends do, but in my heart I believe they get so much more out of roaming and free-playing and just being. Thanks for the recipe- it was my favourite thing to order from a particular restaurant in a previous life...

    ps. my big girls went back to school/ kindy yesterday and the baby and I m.i.s.s them!

  2. I think your kids get more than most parents would be able to give their own. Amazing Ruth - your style, fun, amazing food and meals and love of culture and cuisine that will be with them forever. You can't get that going to some activity.

    I hope this silence is not too hard. Try and relish it. enjoy it. Be in it. Before you know it, it will be 3pm and it will noisy again x

  3. Ruth, you are such an inspiration to me and I strive to become the mama you are as my boys get older!!! It's so easy to get caught up in the trickiness of having a young family and to be easily hassled and frazzled but I love how much you, not only love your boys, but adore spending as much time with them as possible and especially family time. These are the things I want for my family as they get older. But for now, I take the lesson of appreciating and enjoying the moments I have with my boys and working on being "present" as much as possible!

    I hope you get back in to the swing of the school term, and take comfort in the fact that's it's a short one this time!!!!

  4. Just about to do my own back to school post so it was lovely to read yours, and Kate's too. As a mum of five I always love to read about other family experiences. Like you I too sometimes feel that we are a bit limited in what we can do, organising seven people can be dementing. Travelling is harder, going out to dinner can be tricky and expensive, providing opportunities for all age groups is challenging. But I LOVE having five, I cherish our times together and easily forget the hard bits. For kids growing up with several siblings there are so many advantages and some of these will only be seen in years to come. I'm going to miss my gang too, I feel a little teary about it actually. But then there will be some more time for me, and I'll be looking forward to the next holidays!! Have fun in Tassie, xo

  5. As always I love your blog! Lovely photos, that pizza oven looks awesome! As a mother of 2 I sometimes struggle...I don't know how you do it with 5 and admire your strength.

  6. Same. I love time with my kids, love the no-routine, they even tell me they love doing all the mundane things, I do on a daily basis to keep our family ticking over.
    Love love love space, time and freedom.

  7. All we need is love after all.

    There is plenty of that..

    Our cup runneth over.


  8. Ugh, I am dreading it.
    I had a mini melt down today.
    Tried to convince the bot to pack up and head north again.
    I miss my girls and the easy breezy days already.
    And I know for certain your biys are not missing out.
    They have a wonderful, well balanced, awesome life.
    I think they would ALL get something out of a trip to a certain organic farm one day though......

  9. Dearest daughter Ruth. 'Getting it right' - does that dream never go away? All these years later I still question myself about how much to do, how much to give - but more and more I realise the true joy of simply being - with you, my 5 dear dear children and your so beautiful children and with my other good friends and, too, with myself. I am so lucky now to fully enjoy my life with no routine at all. Love it! I have always relished spontaneity and flexibility - those unbidden moments and opportunities that emerge just when they are most welcome. Like a surprise visitor - or 6. (then I dont even have to dream of cleaning the house first.) It is such a delight for me to spend time at your house as you are intuitively tuned in to your brood at the same time as regaling me with some marvellous story or opinion or idea as the coffee machine hums. Meanwhile the vagabonds are spinning and cavorting or quietly engrossed, reading or playing - or not so quietly expressing themselves. It's all constantly happening - they are growing and changing before my eyes.It is a richness beyond compare. I do know the dilemma of wanting to give each individual their due and trying to juggle that with the practicalities of a large family but from my point of view your children could not be luckier. You do an absolutely wonderful loving job.

    1. Here Here! Such a wise Mama! And I think many times how wonderful it is for Ruth to have such an amazing childhood and beautiful mother / mentor / and friend to bring her where she is today!

  10. I think we all strive to be better, be more and I reckon we will forever more. It makes us human and I know for me it helps me keep track of what I do and don't want for me, my boys, our family life. My mum used to say she never understood why people would say they couldn't wait for school to resume. We loved being together and still do! There is no one I'd rather spend my life with than my family. I know it must feel a stretch some days Ruth - I have two and it feels that way - but with every inch of my being I know your house and lives are filled with love, laughter and support for the people that matter most. You're awesome. Xxxx

  11. Beautiful Ruth, just beautiful. Your words, your photos, your food & most of all your family. Not because it'd perfect - as if anyone's is - but because of the love that's in your pictures, your writing and mostly in between the words.
    We all wonder about getting it right, and I think that's a good thing. It means we're thinking, reacting, evolving along with out family & it's needs.
    A beautiful post xxx

  12. Oh I know exactly what you mean. It feels like I wait for months, counting the days until the holiday comes and then it's that heavenly time of no lunches, no pick ups, no schedules - I can handle the arguments and the constant food if it means no lunch boxes and homework folders. Your mother's comment was just gorgeous.


  13. Hi, Just found you through Babymac. Your lot is so big, I only have two and they are super close together, I can't even imagine the struggle to balance all of those different needs. But I can see you do a heck of a job!

    P/S. I make a similar dish but with peas instead and use nutritional yeast as a flavoring...do you ever cook with that? Strange but yummy!

  14. Your beautiful boys are some of the best, brightest, loveliest boys on the planet.
    You are doing everything RIGHT, for them and for you and for your family.
    The older ones have years ahead of them to do older-kid stuff - with friends, at school and out and about.
    They are all lucky to have such a cruisey, happy, slow-fun home environment, where they can just be...whatever they like and

  15. hi.....i am hearing you.....I have three kids....but my partner is one of nine...that blows my mind....imagine doing it for twenty years????, but they all love each other and are incredibly balanced and amazing, fun and happy people. My second starts school tomorrow ...boo.....(still loving your blog by the way!)

  16. Oh yum, yum and yum. Will DEF. try that recipe. Great blog btw. :) x

  17. Ruth, like you, your boys are beyond cool. I love their style in the top photo. :)
    You are one of the most inspirational Mums I've ever come across. xx


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