• My child is not naughty…

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    … and neither is yours.

    Naughty is not a word we use at home. Not intentionally; it’s just turned out that way. To me, the word ‘naughty’ is a meaningless word. It doesn’t accurately describe a child’s behaviour when they’re doing something that you think they shouldn’t be doing.

    So when one of our children is being ‘naughty’, depending on their age, depending on the behaviour, I’ll usually redirect them, or describe what they’re doing, why I don’t want them to do what they’re doing, and what will happen if they do it again.

    I don’t think the phrase “stop being naughty” is useful at all. They may or may not realise what the ‘naughty’ behaviour is, and if they do know what it is, they may not immediately see an alternative or see why they need to stop.

    What could a boy do instead of hitting his sister with a stick? He could hit a tree. A tree (unless it’s a sapling) won’t get hurt and cry like his sister will. Or, if both siblings agree, they could hit each other with pillows or soft toys instead. What could a boy (and his parents) do if he deliberately wants to hurt his sister and make her cry… I’m not sure, as we’ve not been in that situation, yet.

    Another reason why I’m not a fan of the naughty word: ‘naughty’ means nothing. The word ‘naughty’ originates from the word ‘naught’, zero, nothing, worthless.

    And children are anything but zero, nothing, worthless.

    Kate from KateSurfs.com has a well written piece also about the word naughty and why her four year old doesn’t know what it means.

  • Super Simple Sourdough Sandwich Loaf

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    Click the links for more info. If you just want the recipe, keep scrolling.

    I’ve recently (the past few months) got into making and baking sourdough bread. To make sourdough bread you use a sourdough starter to lift your loaf instead of commercial yeast.

    So the first step is to obtain or make your own sourdough starter. I tried making my own years ago and failed and gave up. This time I used Debra Wink’s pineapple method which uses just a few tablespoons of flour to get the starter going, much less wasteful than the methods I had tried before.

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    When your starter is 2-4 weeks old, and doubling after each 12-hourly feed, then you can try baking with it. There are a million recipes for sourdough bread online. I tried a few: the easy no-knead dutch oven round loaf, the basic sourdough bread… all OK, tasty, but a bit flat and not quite what I was looking for. I wanted a simple sandwich loaf for our family.

    I kept baking and reading and watching. I baked regular bread loaves using yeast instead of starter. I bought some high protein bread flour and digital scales. I made a plastic scraper from an empty plastic container.

    Then I tried this recipe which, unlike the ones I had tried before, uses a sponge, sort of like a large watery starter, and I cut out a couple steps after reading this recipe.

    WOW.
    What a difference.
    I was amazed when the dough more than doubled in size after less than 4 hours and threatened to spill over the edge of the largest loaf tin I had.

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    So let me add to the million sourdough recipes online. Here I present my own super simple sourdough sandwich loaf recipe.


    Super Simple Sourdough Sandwich Loaf


    Ingredients

    0.5 cup starter (100g)
    Just under 2.5 cups warm water* (500g)
    Just over 2.5 cups white bread flour (375g)

    Just over 3 cups white bread flour
    (450g)
    2 heaped teaspoons salt
    (15g)

    Method

    In the evening, take 1/2 cup of starter from the fridge and mix it with the water, and then the flour, in a large bowl. Cover and leave out to ferment overnight. This is your sponge.

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    In the morning you should see heaps of bubbles.

    Add the rest of the flour to your sponge. Mix, cover, and have breakfast or wait 30-60 minutes.

    This wait is called the “autolyse” and I used to skip this not understanding the difference it made to the dough. It makes ALL the difference if you’re a newbie like me. It makes the dough less sticky and much easier to handle/knead.

    After breakfast, add the salt. This is not only for flavour but does something to the dough so don’t skip the salt. Sprinkle it on top and fold the dough over it while still in the bowl.

    Then slap/stretch/fold the sticky dough for 10 minutes. Watch the video to see just one of many kneading techniques. When you’ve got it down pat you’ll be able to transform the sticky dough into smooth elastic dough without putting any extra flour on to your work surface.

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    When the dough is looking and feeling gorgeous (smooth and elastic), shape into a log and plop into a LARGE greased loaf tin.

    To make the log shape, sprinkle a bit of flour onto your work surface and flatten the dough lightly into a rectangle. Fold the top down to the middle, press the seam with your fingers/knuckles, then fold the bottom up and press again.

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    Cover and leave for 4-6 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
    For a tastier, more sour loaf, cover and leave for 8-12 hours in the fridge.

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    Heat oven to MAX (230/250c) and bake for about 40 minutes. Water/ice-cubes in the bottom tray create steam just before putting loaf in which helps create a great crust.

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    This is what I do:

    10min @ 250c
    20min @ 200c
    Remove from tin and put back into oven for 10min.

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    YUM!

     

    * Use cooled boiled water if your tap water is heavily chlorinated.

    Tip: If the loaf is too large you can reduce the amounts of flour & water by about 1/2 a cup. (Or… just use a smaller cup!) I’ve also tried this recipe with spelt flour: the spelt dough turned out to be much wetter than wheat dough so I added about 1/2 cup more flour. You can also try replacing the water with milk and adding egg white & cinnamon & sultanas with your flour in the morning for a yummy sultana bread.

    Another tip: for a softer crust, simply wrap your bread in a damp tea towel after removing it from the oven and the tin.

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    Etsy find of the day!

    That’s me! (Or rather, that’s one of my cloth books.) Yesterday evening, out of the blue, I received six custom orders in the space of three hours through my Etsy shop. Which is really unusual because I’d normally get six in a good week. (And I hadn’t had one of those since Christmas.) After some »more

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    A surprising experiment

    Towards the end of last year I made the decision to make my cloth books out of all natural and biodegradable materials; to swap the polyester satin ribbon for silk ribbon, the polyester fleece padding for cotton/bamboo padding, and to only use cotton fabric and cotton thread. And I wanted to do an experiment to »more

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    Out with the new and in with the old

    If you’ve been following my facebook page you’ll know what’s coming up this year at Cloth Books for Baby. The materials I’ve used for the past two years to make my cloth books include: cotton or polyester fabric, cotton thread, polyester fleece padding, polyester satin ribbon, and wood rings.   So a mix of natural »more

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    My Chewable Book of Babies

    Any mum will tell you that babies love looking at photos of other babies. As a baby, our boy used to kiss the babies he saw in his first library books! Kiss them and then chew the pages that they were pictured on. Not the best diet for baby and not good for the book. »more

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    Cloth BUMS for babies!

    Please help me choose a name for my new venture… Cloth Books for Baby is now making cloth BUMS for baby. I’ve coupled my love of modern cloth nappies and recycling/upcycling and I’m making nappies from much-loved but unused clothes in my wardrobe and possibly yours too. I have three names to choose from: – »more

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    Cheap quick easy no-sew DIY duplo lego playmat

    This is the quick easy no-sew duplo playmat I made this afternoon. It took me about 30 seconds to make and cost a total of $12. Can you tell what it is yet?! Aren’t those pool noodles useful for all kinds of things?! These cost me $3 each from Kmart. The fabric is an old »more

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    Flats Challenge Day 7

    Seven days of using, and hand-washing, flat nappies instead of using disposable nappies or more expensive modern cloth nappies and using a washing machine. I did it. I can get the t-shirt that says “Been there. Done that.” Today was spent moving more stuff from our old home to our new home. Driving there and »more

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    Flats Challenge Day 6

    Today we moved. Yes, moooooooved!! Moved to a new home. We’ve been moving little things and getting our new place ready for a couple of weeks now. But today was the big move: moving clothes and beds, baby and nappies, toddler and toys. It was a HUGE day. Flat nappies from the day before got »more