December 17, 2013

A Christmas Treat

It's the season for sweet treats! Delectable baked goodies begin to appear in all sorts of places - shops, churches, hair salons - tis America after all! - and I'm very much okay about it. I do like a seasonal treat or three. 

I stumbled upon this old-fashioned gem when needing a quick snack for Neighborhood Group. It's fast to throw together and made-up of things you most likely already have in the pantry. Win! 

PLUS - and here's the real kicker - it is completely gluten-free. No. Gluten. 

I would be lying if I said this was a thoughtful baking choice. It wasn't until I listed-off the ingredients for a gluten-free friend that we clapped and cheered at my feat of omission.

It is filling, sweet, and ruggedly pretty, with the inventive name of "Easy Slice". (I have no clue of it's origin's, since it's a hand-written recipe in an old cooking journal.)

Oh, and did I mention it's gluten-free?

here's what it takes...

1 cup of Saltana's (raisins)
1 cup of unsalted peanuts, roasted (I used lightly salted and they worked great)
1 cup of unsweetened coconut
1 cup of dark chocolate buds
1 cup of sweetened condensed milk

*50gms of extra chocolate for drizzling

here's what you do...

Heat oven to 400F
Grease and line a baking tin (13"x9" or brownie tin)
Scatter and mix the saltanas, peanuts, coconut and chocolate buds in the pan.
Drizzle with condensed milk.
Bake, covered, for 20mins.
Reduce heat to 355F, uncover, and bake for a further 15mins.
Cool in pan.

*Drizzle with melted chocolate and leave to set (I didn't actually do this part, since they seemed overloaded with sweetie goodness already.)

(And if gluten's no trouble, you could add cornflakes or oats to give it a little substance.)


December 1, 2013

The Chilly Season

The eating, snuggling, colorful, festive and THANKFUL season of November is still somewhat new to us. It took a few years to adapt from expecting sunshine, cricket and ice-creams, and we've come to now fully embrace and cherish this pumpkiny American season!

Framed by the changing color of autumn leaves and with the cooler weather creeping-in, it is a delightful time of year to gather with friends, light the fire and fill our tummies with outrageously good food {read: turkey and pie}. 

Plus, I get to dress Theo in knitted numbers that turn me to mush.

{More little squares of color and life can be found on Instagram: cassietasker}

November 4, 2013

Picking Back Up

My last post was almost 2 months ago. Yikes.

I may have dropped-off the pace a little. Just a teeny-tiny smidgen. And I believe I could list a few reasons why...

1. The hostile takeover by Sir Baby Chunk, who has enforced a law that calls for personal assistance during meal times, bath times & social interactions.
2. The just slightly less than usual amount of sleep each evening.
3. The slow pace at which my brain wants to currently function.
4. The energy sucker that is called "nursing". Sorry fellas, but it's truth.
5. My fear of only having one topic to blog about (see numbers 1 through 4).

My days have slowed considerably, but there is seemingly a lot less time in each one. A strange phenom. I flip open my laptop to blog but am distracted by, or even anxious about, what other more practical things I could be doing in the time I have while Sir B.C. sleeps.

I'm a doer. A get it done kind of girl. Set a task, write a list, push-on until everything is crossed-off. I enjoy completeness, which at its extreme is a fallen part of my character, and with an 8 month old, an almost impossible reality to maintain.

I'm very. slowly. learning, by the patient grace of God and the wisdom of others, to rest where I am, amidst the undone things of each day. The incompleteness is not a failing or incompetency - this usually being the source of my anxiety - instead it's the perfect portion God has given me in this season.

And now, to end on a completely unrelated note, a picture from NYC last month - where our coffee dates looked very different from past visits.

[Bluebird Coffee: there is a little floating head between me and my tasty latte.]


September 8, 2013

Snapshot: Plane Ride

There was a small but definite sense of dread as we sat down to begin the 14hr+ flight from Los Angeles to Sydney.

The little baby chunk was embarking on his first long, up in the air, no way to escape, journey.

As pleasant and {mostly} predictable as he may be, he has a rare talent for squealing like a banshee when the mood takes him. Say, if he's tired, hungry, dirty - these three things being the cornerstone of his baby activities.

I had a hunch his vocal stylings would not be so kindly received by a cabin full of slumbering strangers. 

Not to mention my own {delusional} new-mama desire to still travel like I did before - watch a couple of movies, cozy-up for some uninterrupted book time and 6+ hrs of sleep, all combined neatly with baby's needs.

*cue experienced-parent patting of my sweet little ignorant head*

Thankfully - HUGE "thankfully" - the baby chunk kept his squeals and squirms of discontent on the down-low. He nestled into his Qantas rent-a-pillow and played it like an old pro.

(I did not crack the cover of my new book. Or watch a full film uniterrupted. Or sleep for 6+ hrs. But I did exhale & allow the ball of anxiety in my belly to relax. I'll take that as a win!)

And so it's decided - we're going to keep him this size forever.


September 2, 2013

Snapshot: Melbourne

How many family members can you fit on a park bench?

Snapped one chilly Melbourne afternoon by my 6 year old nephew, this is one of my favorite photo's from our Australian visit.

I realize it's quite unremarkable... Off-centered. A little out of focus. Missing more than 1 beloved family member. It's a throw-back to film photography, before we could immediately edit and delete.

An imperfect picture capturing a moment I want to remember.

There we are, snuggled on a park bench near the Shrine of Remembrance, taking a momentary rest and chatting about things of little consequence. A real keeper.


August 16, 2013

Sydney Eats: The Grounds

There's a lot to love about this tasty Sydney spot. For locals, I'm sure it's ooold hat.. For visitors (us!) it's delightfully new and exciting, and encapsulates what we enjoy about Sydney eats.

"The Grounds" in Alexandria has just about every base covered - great coffee and beautiful food, served in a cool urban/industrial space, a huge outdoor patio for take-away eats, a flower shop, even a quaint children's "zoo". When bathed in warm winter sunshine and buzzing full of Sydney-scencers, you might think there wasn't another single place in the city to be!

While I was bopping and hopping around trying to get a crying baby boy to sleep, I killed the time getting snap-happy and thought I'd share it with you here -

[Grilled halloumi, avocado & tomato on sourdough toast. Gaaaah]

[we shared the morning with these lovely ladies - Nate's sisters - and their husbands. Definitely the best part of the whole shabang!]


July 26, 2013

Baby Cave

Theo {politely} booted-out future house guests and inherited a space that is quite large for a teeny-tiny human - especially one who presently has no ability to sit unassisted [the little monkey rolls around on a few square inches of space and I'm here mulling over furniture and wall hangings!]

Because of the size of the room - plus budget, time, a pending Aussie tour and major issues with procrastination - it's been a work in progress. I'm slowly covering the empty walls and filling-up the carpeted area, in the hopes of creating a space that is welcoming and warm.

How urgently does a 5 month old need to lounge in his upholstered armchair, afterall? 

Here are some highlights from Theo's baby cave -

New and pre-loved books.. Note: "Counting Rhymes" by Little Golden Books is a touch more racists than I remember as a child. Can't say I didn't chuckle.

 [Letters by dear friend Keely Scott, from our pre-baby party]

A formerly yellow granny armchair, turned new and blue!
Sitting pretty is Xander the Zebra, bought all the way from Africa with Aunty Katherine.

[See the original granny chair at Project: Armchair]

[Prints from Paper-Sparrow]

My all-time favorite reclaimed furniture item at Porter Rd - Theo's gloss red dresser with snazzy gold and glass handles. This may eventually get a blog post all its own, but until then, you can spy the original at Project: Dresser.

Nate's contribution, made with love - a Lego Sydney Opera House. Pieces of home. Literally.

Harvey, from Aunty Bel, keeping an eye over things from the bookshelf.
Canvas art by Sandra's McCraken's littlies, a gift given while I was in hospital with the twins.

Theo's corner of sleepy goodness and the most complete of all 4 corners in his room.
[Crib from Babyletto; rocking chair, similar; rug from; "This is New York" wall calendar; curtains from UO]

Zooming in... This beautiful blanket was knitted by both my Grandma's - Granny Kate started it and Grandma Philbey finished it, before my older sister was born. I love seeing it each time I walk into Theo's room. It's a reminder of the women I love and miss, who are a part of Theo's story.

And just in case you think this all looks fluffy and full and finished... Hello blank wall space! Tis not the only one..


July 10, 2013

From the Camera Roll

As much as I'd hoped to write and share about a marvelous design feat or a new recipe triumph, my days are circling around a little person who magically makes my time disappear! I've not had too many spare hours to tinker and snap pictures of a new endeavor. 

Turns-out, presently, HE is my new endeavor!

Try as I might to come-up with something outside the realm of baby, alas, my camera roll consists of him, and therefore, so too shall this blog post.

Here below, the faces of Theo, 4 months old -



June 12, 2013

Honey, lets take a holiday beside the sea

Truth time: we are indecisive holiday planners. We 'um & ah' over when; where; how much to spend; how long to go for; should we drive, fly or paddle; will it be rainy or sunny; high season, low season, mosquito season? On and on and on.

We talk ourselves in circles until we eventually decide it's just easier to stay home.

Travel for work? Sure. Travel for vacation? Hopeless.

Last week, uncharacteristically, we had a few chats, made a few phone calls & road- tripped on down to Rosemary Beach, Florida. Just like that. All grown-up.

Baby chunk cruised down the highway for 8+ hours with us, grabbing lunch at a truck stop like an old pro. And we, for the first time in months, saw the ocean. The glorious, vast blue sea we miss so much! We breathed in the salty air, squished our toes in the sand, and wandered amongst the many pastel shirted families of summertime.

Rosemary Beach is one of the more unique and interesting seaside towns we've visited in America, made-up of row upon row of beautiful holiday homes and pretty gardens, and bikes for hire to ride amongst it all. (Theo's wobbly infant head issues sidelined the bike idea and we opted to walk instead.)

It was probably a teeny-tiny bit naive to take a 3 month old on a beach holiday. His precious lily-white skin needing to be protected from the sun; nap times, feed times, exploding poopey-diaper times all occurring beside the sea. It did make for quite a different trip and we had to adjust our expectations along the way. I'm sensing a general parental nod across the internet...

The lazy balcony hangs were shorter and our dips in the ocean no longer as a twosome. Finishing a magazine article took me the better part of a day!

Be that as it may, we didn't want to delay in initiating Theo into the ways of his coastal-dwelling people. In my Australian heart I believe he took it all in, watching the children who can control their wobbly heads play in the sand, dreaming of a time when he will too...

And in years to come, we will tell him all about the first family holiday we took beside the sea.


May 21, 2013

Little Markers

The baby chunk is 3 months old today! 

Apparently we've confiscated his hands... Much to his shock and alarm.. Especially since he just worked-out they are attached to his arms and he can make them dance and sway so fancifully.

His hand waving - and other similar ground-breaking discoveries - help mark his movement through the months and we are having a grand ole time watching and cheering him on. 

(I feel bad for the day when he discovers smiling and blowing bubbles isn't a momentous achievement.)  
It's been an interesting new season for me, transitioning out of the usual pattern of work, social plans, pottering around the house and trying new creative endeavors. How a small, immobile person can take-up so much time I do. not. know. 

But this infant stage is flying by - 3 months already! - and so I find I have to remind myself to relax into the mum thing, to not be anxious about what's not done, and soak up what is... A chubby-cheeked baby Theo!


(*they're not really-truly confiscated, he's just rocking his little Aussie sleeping bag and giving me a good laugh with his no-hands dance each bedtime. "Lano & Woodley" anyone?!)

May 12, 2013

Turning a Frown Upside Down

(I don't suppose it's a frown in the former picture, so much as a look of disillusioned melancholy.)

Theo is sending more sunshine our way every day! This of course means we're sounding more unhinged every day, in an attempt to get a reaction... Thank goodness it's just the 3 of us at home & we can switch-on our reserved parental mode for public outings.

Come smiles or banshee screams, he is our favorite little fellow.

Happy Mothers Day, one & all.


April 30, 2013

Helping Hand(s)

I've been spoiled. Lulled into a safe, cozy harbor of comfort by my dear mum who put her life on hold and came to do life here in Nashville for the past 6 weeks.

Groceries were on demand.

Carpets vacuumed.

Nap times uninterrupted.

Hair washed on time.

Company for walks, late nights and meal times while Nate traveled out of town.

The poopiest of diapers changed (& with such willingness! I actually started to think I'd be doing her a disservice if denied the task).

Given my current, slightly disarrayed state, there is a chance I may have forgetten that I actually had to do this mum thing on my own! So very spoiled... Mum's visit was a gift, and like only mum's can, a great reassurance that I wont break the baby.

In return? Oh, she got hers... Theo had a surprising number of "unsettled" times that Granny just happened to know how to solve.

Mum left last Tuesday... Nate left 2 days later... From 6 hands down to 2....

.... I'm typing this in my pajamas. 


April 15, 2013

Cousin Love


Oscar came to visit! It was the sweetest watching Theo meet one of his cousins.

Such immediate joy & affection... At least on Oscar's part... I beleive Theo catching-up in the eye-focusing / neck control / fine motor-skill departments will help!

We pray these two little ones look-out for each other & develop a dear friendship over the years, even across the many miles.

Nate & I know we'll have to be intentional to connect Theo with all his far-away family & make their presence felt with photos & videos, even maps! These pictures are hopefully the first of many to help build a story that anchor's Theo in familial love.


March 27, 2013

It's Been A Month...

 So far, so good! Four weeks into his new world adventure and Theo is settling into the groove.

Mostly he's working on the usual baby skill set of "in one end, out the other", with some crying, sleeping and burping mixed throughout.

I'm sure Nate and I stare at Theo for longer than is normal... Talk in far too much detail about his simple little happenings... I do more washing than expected for such a teeny human... And have NO clue where the hours disappear to in a day - the fact that this blog is only 1 day late is a miracle!

Best yet, we've had family in town to enjoy and delight in our little guy. I've decided that the joys of life (and heartaches) aren't fully realized until shared and experienced with community, and the most special community for me is family.

I'm looking forward to posting a cousin/aunty/grannie blog next!