That time we made pizza dough

Ever hear about a pizza dough recipe that only uses like 3 ingredients & one of them is yoghurt? Well, besides being extremely sceptical I decided to attempt it as one of our covid-19 lockdown “crafts”…

Ingredients: 1 cup of Yoghurt (seems like any plain will do, I went with double cream as that’s the shorts yoghurt of choice), 2 cups self-raising flour (you can make your own with cake flour & baking powder, think it’s 2 teapoons baking powder to 1 cup flour), smidge of salt (himalayan for the win).

Tell the shorts you’re going to be making homemade pizzas, bask in their un-enthusiasm as if they’ve been down this road before (it was only once, & after their reaction, & hanging my head in shame at my failure I’ve been too scared to attempt it again…until today…dundundaaaaaa), & crack on. After mixing the ingredients in a bowl, tip it out onto a flour sprinkled kitchen counter & start kneading it together, adding more flour if it becomes sticky. Rejoice inwardly when youngest short comes to investigate what it is you are doing & asks if she can be involved in the squishing (silently pray that the chops will actually eat this & that it hasn’t been a colossal waste of yogurt, flour & time). At some point you should probably pre-heat your oven to 260°C (must be hot otherwise no crispy crusty for you), & grease some pizza pans if you have (I used some pie dishes). Divide dough in half & allow the youngest short to roll it out (she’s having an amazing time, oldest can’t be bothered). Place dough in greased pans & spread out to the sides (youngest short has now disappeared). Add a little olive oil/tomato paste/tomato sauce/whatever you have on hand as a base, add some toppings & bake in oven for 15min – comes out kind of like a deep dish pizza with a thick crust, so if you prefer thin use a larger pan or divide the dough into 4.

Whilst baking, continue to stress about what it is you have actually done…I mean yoghurt, in pizza dough, wtf! My life is over, no-one is going to eat it, I’ll never be trusted to make food ever again. Anyway, oven buzzer goes off, this is it, is it even cooked through, who knows! Take pizza out, de-stick from pan, cut in 4 slices, breathe a little because it looks like it’s cooked. Add more dough, toppings etc. into oven. Ask Husbander to take the food out to the little darlings who are causing madness outside. Sigh when the food is returned due to them now wanting to eat inside. Watch pizza slide off plate onto newly vacuumed & mopped floor. Grip hands tightly to prevent oneself from losing it. Finally observe shorts sitting down & attempting to eat the pizza, walk away from the silence (is it good, is it bad, give me something, anything) & serve Husbander & yourself. Hide in bedroom. Suddenly the oldest short startles you declaring that this is the best pizza in the world & can we make it every day (ummm, no, but maybe in a few days time?)…no other pizza dough recipe required – this is the one! The holy grail of pizza…Enjoy 🙂

That time we made Flapjacks/Crumpets/Griddle Cakes

This…is THE ONLY flapjack/crumpet/griddle cake recipe you’ll ever need/want/have/make.

Ingredients: 1 cup of self raising flour, 1 egg, 1 cup of milk (no sugar, no salt, no worries). Including short people is compulsory. Makes about 20ish depending on how big you make them.

Let the shorts mix the ingredients (makes them really happy for some reason), add more milk or flour until you have a decent runnyish mixture (or until you’re happy with the consistency), & then if you have one add the mixture to a squeezy bottle (kind of like those old school red & yellow squeezy bottles, which you can still get as far as I know). Needs to be a screw top squeezy bottle otherwise you’ll end up with batter & the top part of your bottle in the pan (been there, done that). Heat pan. Squeeze out some batter. When you see many tiny bubbles (looks a little creepy if you’re that way inclined), turn over. Paranoid checking is welcome until the bottom side is also a nice golden brown, remove from pan.

Depending on the size of your pan you can usually do a few of these at the same time so as to prevent the short people from screaming that they haven’t been fed in the last 21 months. Don’t be afraid to experiment with shapes (the shorts will be in awe & crown you as their leader) unless you don’t handle well under the pressure of shape ideas being thrown at you from all directions.

Serve warm with a bit of syrup drizzled over (if you have more than one short make sure you give them both equal amounts of flapjacks AT THE SAME TIME to prevent war from breaking out in your living room area & having the house set on fire). I’m planning to attempt this again soon with some food colouring added…I might even let the shorts flip the flapjacks.

Happy Making! P.s Make sure to follow @Mayhem_and_Chaos1984 on Instagram if you’re keen to see what arty farty crafty things we’ll be getting up to, during our covid-19 lock down, as we get up to them.

That time we made ninja stress balls

First official site post of the new year…would be great if someone could tell me where the time has gone. So anyway we’ve been allowing the short people to watch The King Of Random YouTube videos from time to time – honestly I’m loving all the crazy experiments, & the shorts too – & so a few weeks ago I felt brave enough to attempt one of their more crafty projects…enter the stress balls.

All you’ll need are some balloons (about 3 or 4 per ball), some flour (we used white bread wheat flour as I had some from my attempted bread making days, but cake or self raising should work too) , a decanting container (plastic honey bottle works great), a 500ml cool drink bottle cut in half (brain still says 500ml, it’s actually 440ml) – this gets inserted into the honey bottle (or whatever bottle you choose, not too big though. But I’ll keep referring to it as the honey bottle so as not to confuse myself, lol), scissors, some short people (i.e smaller, sometimes annoying, versions of yourself), a heap of patience, an area you don’t mind having covered in flour & probably a cup of tea (was too early for Gin).

So insert cut cool drink bottle upside down into honey bottle & pour in flour. Remove cool drink bottle whilst telling short people to remain patient & make sure all the flour is in the honey bottle. Stretch balloon neck over the opening of the honey bottle & turn upside down so the flour falls into the balloon – If you’re feeling courageous you can allow your shorts to attempt this. Then very carefully remove the neck of the balloon from the bottle. Gently squeeze the air of the balloon whilst still keeping the flour in the balloon (probably not a good idea to let the shorts do this part unless you want all surfaces to look like a flour bomb has gone off). When you are satisfied that you’ve removed all the air, carefully snip off the neck of the balloon (just above flour level). You can either now ask one of the excited shorts to hold the balloon whilst you snip off the neck of the other balloons or you can pre-snip the others beforehand (the last balloon you add will need to be snipped top, bottom & sides, preferably in a contrasting colour to the other balloons to really make it ‘pop’). You will now need to stretch the empty snipped balloon over the flour balloon, making sure you cover the opening of the flour balloon with the non flour balloon. If you want a really firm stress ball you can add another balloon before the final ninja touch otherwise go straight to gently stretching over the balloon with all the cut-outy parts.

Taaaa daaaaa! Now repeat making these until the short people are satisfied & leave you alone to drink your tea 😉

*The oldest short loved his so much it made it to show & tell – proud mommy moment…These are also great if you’re looking for an inexpensive party favour idea.

That time I was picked to test a bolster beanbag pattern

A few weeks ago there was a sewing pattern tester call (this is when pattern companies want to release a sewing pattern they’re designing but it needs to be tested first…get rid of all the gremlins etc. & they select a few various sewing people’s with varying degrees of sewingness). I applied because how difficult could it be, then held my breath as I’d never been picked before, then let my breath out as I can’t hold it forever without turning blue & passing out (doesn’t sound very appealing).

Dundun daaaaah! Cue dramatic music as yay, I had the major honor of being selected *happy dance*. And now begins the process of being a tester (it’s all very technicial). The following is based on true events…

Accept invitation to tester group. Faff for a few days. Go onto group & see some people have already completed theirs (who are these non-procrastinator people?). Locate instructions & download, yadayadayada, speed through instructions, select necessary pattern pieces to print. Have message pop up that the printer is offline (it’s frikkin not, I turned it on). Moan to husbander because he’s probably the only person who would care. Troubleshoot printer. Printer now printing. Mentally high five yourself. Line up pages & then go wondering around the house looking for the tape dispenser, whilst starting to feel annoyed because you know you’ve seen it somewhere. Find dispenser. Tape pages together & cut out the shapes you need. Go delving into the deep, dark crevices of your fabric until you locate ones that look big enough for said project. Take all items to the lounge.

Start laying out the fabric. Curse fabric when it doesn’t want to fold neatly. Squint eyes at pattern pieces, line up fabric, pin & cut. Curse fabric again because you should have cut out the larger pattern piece first, but oh well you can still make it work (brain tired). Finally cut out other pattern piece & make a note to get zips at the place that sells zips on the way home. Get out potential stuffing from the cupboard & leave to get the short people.

Collect short people & take them with to the zip selling shop, locate zips whilst short people think this is an amazing shop to play hide & go seek in (more like hide & wait for mommy to freak out because she can’t see them. Thankfully Chaos will let out a little shriek now & then & because mommy has ninja keen hearing she can pin point location to within a few cm’s). Leave shop. Do mommy & short people things & breathe a happy sigh when checking in on the tester group that the final date has been extended, because you have also since realized that you will need to make 2 of these tester bean bags otherwise there will be short people anarchy & the world as we know it will be destroyed (or just my house). Weekend has commenced so not much more can be done except making sure that all remaining pieces for BOTH bolster beanbags has been cut out.

Friend comes over on the Wednesday to work & to make sure you stop procrastinating (domestic goddess duties took first place the previous days, I swear). Spend morning pinning zips, squinting at instructions, talking out loud as that might help my brain decipher instructions, humming along to music & stuffing up zip on first bean bag. Decide that nobody has time for unpicking & so try again on second beanbag because you’re 96% sure you’ve got it figured out. Enjoy the sweet smell of success (was probably just my tea) & start attaching other pieces. You & your friend congratulate each other on the work you both accomplished & once again it’s time to collect the short people.

In the last few days leading up to the deadline it’s a blur of unpicking, acquiring stuffing, finish sewing, finally adding the stuffing within the inside cover & a sigh of relief is heard throughout the land as I get to stand back & admire my creations (it’s alive, it’s ali…no not really). Take photos, submit, done…and now I can finally share the end result.

I have since learnt that once a procrastinator always a procrastinator. Sewing requires copious amounts of tea. Zips ain’t that bad. And the toddler size beanbag makes an awesome cushion for series/movie binging.

Happy sewing!

That time we attempted baking

How people without children bake (a 10 step process):

Open cookbook, select recipe, take out required ingredients, locate needed utensils. Measure out ingredients, mix, bake, remove from oven, congratulate oneself, eat created product.

How people with short people bake (an 11 364 step process):

Decide that today seems like a good day for baking, plus it will kill some time until the husbander gets home. Plus, baking, yum! Select cookbook & browse through recipes whilst keeping one eye (& ear) on the short people.

Select easy enough sounding recipe & start taking out ingredients.

Inwardly congratulate oneself when oldest short person realizes what’s happening & excitedly passes on the message to his sister & they grab their plastic chairs & choose their spots by the counter. Try & have a teaching moment on how & when we use/preheat the oven. Give up due to glazed looks on short people’s faces.

Start measuring out the butter & ask the short people to see if they can recognize the numbers on the electric scale. Ask youngest short person to stop trying to eat the butter/leaning on the scale/pushing her brother off his chair.

Add sugar. Mix, then hand over the spoon to Chaos as she asked to mix first whilst Mayhem sulks. After a few minutes let Mayhem have a turn whilst Chaos sulks as she considered 5.3 seconds an adequate amount of time for her brother to mix.

Take short people to lounge & tell them the baking will only commence when they both stop crying. Wait for everyone to regather in kitchen & attempt mixing, take 2.

Allow mixture to be sampled. Allow more mixture to be sampled. Shoo away onslaught of fingers otherwise there won’t be any mixture left.

Let short people add remaining ingredients & inwardly sigh at comments like “but I haven’t had a turn” (you just did, like 3 seconds ago) & “I can’t see” (you can, your eyes work perfectly, use them).

Finish mixing everything & set aside.

Start tidying the counter whilst trying to get Mayhem to understand that shoving the used utensils to the other side of the counter does not count as tidying up.

Take out cookie cutters & breathe in relief when there’s no arguments over their cutters of choice.

Dust flour on counter & rolling pin. Roll out dough. Curse quietly under breath at dough sticking to rolling pin & counter. Stop fingers from grabbing dough whilst still trying to roll it out.

Cut a dividing line in dough, let dough sides be chosen. Help Chaos cut out cookie shapes. Smooth Mayhem’s side as Chaos keeps wanting to cut out shapes on his side too. Allow Mayhem to have his turn. Place cookies on baking sheet, sprinkle with blue sugar & place in oven. Tell short persons to go to the lounge without telling them that the remaining dough can be re-rolled & cut. Cut out more shapes.

Take out cookies when done, muttering angrily because they’re now sticking to the non-stick baking sheet & they’re super hot. Allow cookies to cool whilst quickly scoffing down some of the headless dinosaurs & ear-less bunnies that didn’t make it (tell yourself you’re saving the short persons unnecessary visual trauma).

Serve cookies & give yourself an internal high five when the kids express that they love the cookies (they can be ridiculously picky). Make yourself tea, take a deep breath & remind yourself that you will never attempt baking with the short persons again…until next time.

That time of an attempted VIY (Vix-It-Yourself)

Required steps:

• Have an awesome coffee play date with a likeminded creative friend.

• Friend proposes awesome space-saving idea for aluminum foil & wax paper & such, using just a magazine holder (What!!! Just a magazine holder?! Yes, just a magazine holder, focus!). 

• Google potential places that may have these holders. 

• On the way home from coffee play date decide to quickly swing by a stationary shop with the short people, that should still be open, because it will bug you if you have to leave it until the next day & the shorts are game.

• Arrive at stationary shop with short people.

• Locate metal magazine holder 

• Attempt to not dry heave at the price (succeed), convince yourself that you’re doing the right thing & that the metal holder will last longer than it’s plastic rivals. 

• Take a moment to *dramatic pause* THINK OF THE CHILDREN (in this case the “children” being your kitchen drawer that will now have more space in it). 

• Make purchase.

• Congratulate yourself on well behaved short people. Enjoy a game of yes/no-which-cars-have-their-lights-on that the short people have just invented. 

• Find yourself 5 minutes away from home trying to maintain your cool whilst the short people have resorted to smacking each other & crying because the one does not agree with the other’s something-or-other statement which was probably pure drivel anyway & you cannot even remember what it was to begin with. 

• Arrive home & see husbander is already home. 

• Breathe a sigh of relief. 

• Short people also now happy (it helps when mommy has cleverly timed the arrival to be after daddy-home-time). 

• Place purchase on kitchen counter. 

• Some time much later (include supper eating, repeatedly asking short people to get pajamas on, a bucketload of kisses, tickles & giggles, sneaking out their room, some sketching, tea drinking & series watching) go to bed not having started the VIY, & now you can’t fall asleep because it’s annoying you, just sitting on that friggin counter, sending you irritating magazine holder thoughts. 

• Write blog post.

• Promise yourself: Tomorrow perhaps…

That time I de-cluttered

So what feels like many moons ago I attempted a de-clutter challenge. It was fairly successful…many a black bag, filled with random crap, was given away, sold or buried (no, nothing was ACTUALLY buried. Ok, maybe just well hidden in the garage). Many days were crossed off in precise order or I’d just shuffle them around if I woke up and was just like ‘Nah, not today study cupboard, not today!’ But there’s a darker side to purging that no-one really talks about, consisting of anxiety attacks when you see how many random items you’ve hoarded over all these years of your existence, which leads to copious amounts of tea to help you calm the frick down, which then leads to a caffeine overload so now you’re walking around like a jittery Duracell bunny needing to wizzle (brain takes a detour thinking about which bunny came first – Duracell or Energizer. It’s Duracell, I googled), moving items you’ve convinced yourself to keep from one part of the house to where they actually belong (and of course it’s to an area you’ve JUST PURGED) and you’re still left with all the hoarding that currently looks like it has exploded onto your bed that you now have to re-home before picking up the short people from their daily schooling in what’s now become down to the wire (red wire or blue wire, I have no idea and it’s bugging me. Stupid movie flashbacks), because if they get home and see any of this you can be pretty sure they’re going to try and find a way to squirrel it away among their things (mom has cool stuff, ok?), and you’ll only discover this in a few weeks time when you purge again.

Let’s face it, once you start down the dark, spirally road of de-cluttering it never actually ends…you’ll find yourself purging again in a haphazard sort of manner as it appears you didn’t get rid of enough stuff the first time round and you feel the walls closing in on you as the Husbander is freaking out because the pots and pans have been stacked in such a manner that requires the jaws of life to get them out (wasn’t me), the Tupperware is starting an uprising in an attempt to take over the snack shelf and you’re struggling to breathe because you literally just sorted these lids 2 days ago and you’re currently missing 5, so you blindly lunge for that cup of tea that you made sometime this year and you’re hoping it’s not cold but you’ll drink it anyway (desperate times call for desperate measures) and that first sip hits and ahhhhhhh, happy place, heart rate normalising, brain has stopped attempting to do the macarena and…where were we? Ah, yes, purging…it’s fun, you should do it sometime…

That time I decided to de-clutter…

So, some many moons ago (probably a few weeks) a friend suggested I watch Julie & Julia…it was always on my “I’m-sure-I’ll-get-around-to-watching-it-someday-or-another-but-I’ll-probably-forget-until-someone-mentions-it” list.

It…was awesome, and I am currently on the hunt to locate my Grandmother’s small string of pearls to wear whilst doing Martha Stewart type things, which has inadvertently led me to a spring clean challenge (I like to think of it as THE PURGE…It must ALWAYS be spoken as if you are a pirate & about to descend into battle, with accurate facial expressions & the theme tune to Pirates of the Caribbean playing at a respectable level in your head. You may want to practice in the mirror. Savvy?) because I am unable to locate said pearls, or actually anything that has to do with anything for that matter! Continue reading