Tuesday, 21 August 2012

One of those Days...

Do you ever have one of those days (or weeks) where it just seems that nothing is going well? 

Perhaps you're constantly running late, the kids are misbehaving and it is really getting to you (you think there are underlying issues but you can't quite put your finger on it, & if anyone else told you what they thought, you'd probably dismiss it anyway just because of your mood), someone's sick, stupidly you say to your 8 month old baby "Stop it!" in a stern voice because he won't take his dummy in preparation for a nap when he is clearly tired & you immediately feel guilty about it, you're tired from staying up too late & getting up several times through the night, there's something else there too but you just aren't sure what it is.

This is my day today!

Not good. 

I feel like I need to blurt it all out to a friend but at the same time I feel like all I have been doing is whingeing and whineing to my friends in dribs and drabs and feel I haven't had anything nice to say.  Well, the negative seems to be outweighing the positive anyway.

It's kind of one of those days where a good cry might help but I need a trigger.

So, in an attempt to try & lift my own mood (& perhaps yours too if you need it) here is a short list of things I am grateful for:
  • I have a hard working husband who provides all of the needs, and some of the wants, for our family
  • Generally speaking, my children are fit and healthy
  • My knowledge & understanding of the bible and all that entails is growing
  • The time that people are willing to spend with me to learn, grow with and understand our Lord and saviour
  • My decision to set up a small table in the loungeroom and move my sewing machine, felt and templates out here so that I can do some creating and still be able to keep an eye on the kids (and also grateful that Mr C didn't chuck a big wobbly & insist I get rid of it. Lol)
  • Without going into details I am also grateful for Paul Grimmond (author), Pam, Bec, Danny and the Monday night guys (this is just today, other people feature on my list at times too).  They are all AWESOME people in my life and the lives of my family :D

Hmmm, funny how when you focus on what you are grateful for the other stuff doesn't seem so important.  Don't even feel like that cry anymore. (Think I'll start a daily written list of what I'm grateful for.  Have you ever done that?)

Have a great afternoon!!!

Bye for now, K

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Hello Again...

I know it's been a while since I've spent time here on my blog and you know, I have missed it, but I've also been relieved not to "have" to create posts.

We all had a GREAT holiday together.  I am ever so grateful that Mr C & I had so much time to reconnect.  I think that was the best part of the whole trip.  He, off course, is straight back to his old mood with work but he is more willing to share with me now & I am more accepting of those challenges he faces too.

Having had time away it has given me a slightly different view of things.  I know before we left that I was talking about slowing down & simplifying our lives in our tiny house.  Well, having had time away together has made that seem all the more important.  Before I left I drafted a few posts along those lines so I guess I'll finish them off & share them with you.

Having been home for a week and a bit we are pretty much back into routine & it just seems too much.  Too much happening through the week to get to, not enough time spent at home working on little projects and more importantly on orders, and even more importantly than that, just spending time with my family in a relaxed atmosphere.  I think I have a short term solution to the sewing projects.  I just haven't done anything about it yet.  Hmmm, must get to it.

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday period as much as I did! 

Can't believe we are alredy half way through this year.

Bye for now, K

Friday, 6 July 2012

Vegetable & Tortellini Soup

I made this yummy little soup a couple of weeks ago. It was DE-LISH!!!  I got it out of the June 2012 issue of Recipes +.

1 tbspn vegetable or olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 red capsicum, chopped (but I only used a half)
400g can diced tomatoes with basil & garlic
2 large vegetable stock cubes
1zucchini, quartered lengthwise, sliced
250g dried cheese tortellini (found in the dry pasta aisle)
400g can cannellini beans, rinsed
1/2 cup shredded basil leaves
(And to please the non vege eaters in our house I also included 250g diced bacon but this soup really didn't need it!)

1. Heat oil in a saucepan over hightheat. Add onion, celery & capsicum (I also added the bacon in this step); cook and stir for 3 minutes or until soft.  Add tomatoes, crumbled stock cubes and 3 cups water.  Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low; cover.  Simmer for 30 minutes or unti lvegetables are tender.  add zucchini; simmer, covered, for 5 minutes more or until tender.
2.  Meanwhile, cook tortellini in a saucepan of voiling salted water for 8 minutes or until tneder. drain.
3.  Add beans to soup; cook and stir until heated.  Stir in tortellini and half the basil.  Season.  Serve topped with remaining basil. I served it up with some yummy bread.

Here are the pics I took on Mr C's iPhone (because I couldn't find my camera. he he heh, opps).

Mr Magoo had a small sip and declared "Wow, this tastes HEAPS better than I thought it would!"  Yeah thanks Mr almost 9...  
H liked the tortellini ad bacon best and ate them first.  Silly duffer should have saved them for last but he hasdn't figured that out yet. Lol.

I will DEFINATELY make this again!

Bye for now, K

Friday, 29 June 2012

3 Minute Chocolate cake

This week for the Friday Food Find I have cheated ever so slightly.  I have made this cake a few times.  Even Mr Magoo has made this cake.  He made it when his grandparents were coming to visit.  Well, a few weekends ago Mr C was pretty bored so he & Miss Pants spent some time together and made a cake.  Now, except for the bit where Mr C used a slightly too small cake tin (ring tin) & it over flowed all over my oven, and stank the house out for DAYS, it turned out REALLY well.

90g margarine or soft butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tbspn cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1 cup self raising flour

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
Beat the margarine and cocoa to a paste.
Add eggs, then flour,sugar & milk all together.
Beat for 3 minutes.
Spoon into a greased ring tin or 7" x 11" pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
ice when cool as desired.

Mr C iced it upside down & cut off the bits that hung over the sides of the tin, then ate them.  He served it up with a dollop of lite cream.  THANKS DEAR!!  'Twas Yummo. 

Bye for now, K

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Mum's Advising Mums

I've been thinking about this post for a while.  It never seemed quite finished but now I think perhaps I'm not supposed to finish it.  Perhaps YOU are...

Remember in May I went to the Christian Women's Conference.  Well after that I was thinking that it'd be pretty cool if there was something like that for Mum's.  Just Mum's, not "women" generally.  Not that big though because it would be near impossible to get through what you wanted to get through.  Much like a typical day as a Mum I guess, but when you are taking time out from your normal day to learn about how you can better connect with your kids or get some useful advice about dealing with particular ages & stages you want it to be time well spent.

Then a few weeks ago I read this post.  I quite like the blog 71 Toes.  I've been quite busy dealing with sick kids, and trying to catch up with things in between, but  I thoroughly enjoyed this post.  Especially the first lot of dot points in the post.

They called it a Motherhood Retreat. 

I think it sounds like a fabulous idea.  They ALL stayed at someones house.  I can't imagine anyone having a house big enough to accommodate all those women, however, it wouldn't be that difficult to rent a furnished house for a long weekend and find a bunch of cheap hotel rooms nearby to fit everyone in.

Each of the women seemed to take a turn to present 'something' of interest to everyone regarding motherhood.  I think the fact that each of them prepared information to share is really great.  It says to me that they really are interested in being better mothers.  They are seeking out information to help themselves and other Mum's to grow in their roles.  After reading the post I'd really like to take a look at the book Your Child's Self Esteem.

Don't you think it would be AWESOME to participate in something like this.  You contribute but also learn!!  I think I would LOVE it!!

Bye for now, K

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Autumn is Gone...

Winter is here ALREADY. *Sigh*

We didn't really have much of a Summer here :( Yet Autumn came along quickly & now it is Winter ALREADY. *Sigh*

Spring and Autumn are my favourite seasons. My Nanna used to love visiting us here in Autumn. Here are a few pics I took with my very-old-very-in-need-of-replacement mobile phone.
Love these reds

Lovely Yellows & Reds

I got these pic's using Mr C's fancy pants camera and wanted to share them earlier but I've been slack & my laptop doesn't share the same software as Mr C's camera (so I couldn't get the photos for a while because the PC had a temporary holiday).

See the little sucker leaves, even they are changing colour.

Love this view in the afternoons.  These trees look like they're on fire some days.  They look better when it's cloudy.

Beautiful colours

We enjoyed some walks this Autumn.  We collected some leaves, and enjoyed stomping through the crunchy crackly leaves too!!

The first lot we collected dried out, cracked & came unglued from the pages they'd been stuck to, so I laminated the pages.  We collected more leaves & I laminated them before we used them for anything.  It seems to have helped them keep their colours too.   The great thing about laminating them is that we can use them again.

Here's a picture of our family, created by H.  That's me holding Little H on the right.

There are a few Winter related crafts I have in mind. Have to wait & see whether we get to them.

Now, just to share how lucky our family is I thought I'd point out that as you read this, we are on our way to sunny Cairns!!  Yep Far North Queensland awaits!  (Not so sure we'll want to come back.) 

Bye for now, K

Friday, 22 June 2012

Ham & Cheese Scrolls

This weeks Friday Food Find comes from Nicole (aka The Planning Queen) at Planning with Kids.  I've made vegemite & cheese scrolls & twists before but I'd never done this variety so technically they're new to me & qualify for my FFF.

I didn't actually go & use Nicole's blog so I'll just let you know what I used.

3 sheets of puff pastry
approx 200g shaved ham, roughly chopped
a few handfuls of grated cheese

Preheat oven to 200 deg C
Line a bikkie tray with baking paper
Sprinkle ham & grated cheese over the sheets of puff pastry making sure you leave a couple of centimetres at one edge bare.

Roll the pastry towards the bare edge forming a log.  This edge will help seal the scroll.

Cut the log into pieces 2-3 cm wide.
Place on baking tray & pop in the oven for about 15 minutes.
I wasn't sure whether they'd cook better on their side or flat.  I think they cook better flat but look nicer truned upside down after being cooked on their side.  What are your thoughts?

Bye for now, K

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

WIP: Simple Softie, Upcycling Jeans

I had seen this book before.  I wanted it!  It came up at preschool one day in their fundraiser stuff that sits at the front counter.  I NEEDED it & it was cheap so I got it.  (Then I got the exact same one from my Mother-In-Law for my birthday. Great Minds... Lol.  Might swap it for book number 2.)

 H decided to make one of the finger puppets in it.  He made THIS cute little thing.  He traced the pattern bits himself, then cut it out & traced around it onto the felt.  Hw did it ALL himself, pretty much.  I threaded and knotted the needle for him (each time).  And I did undo & redo a couple of stitches where he competely missed stitching the second ear in place but he did the face himself. The eyes are there but as as I've said before the quality of pics leaves a LOT to be desired at times.  I think he did a great job!!

I grabbed some jeans out of my wardrobe & put them on one day only to discover that they were SUPER short.  I didn't actually pay for these jeans mind you.  They were cast off from a friend & made it into my wardrobe with a few other pairs of jeans, but these ones were shorter.  Obviously I had worn them rolled up at times but hadn't had them out for quite some time.  I've been thinking about wearing skirts more lately but haven't because I only own three & wanted to get some long boots (without heels) to wear with them.  It is pretty cold here already after all. So I figured that if I turned these jeans into a skirt then I could get some boots with my left over birthday money from my Mum. YAY!!  So here are my before and after pics.  I used THIS TUTORIAL as a guide.  It was EASY.  My overlocker kind of died before I was finished but I've been wearing it anyway.  What do you think?

Sorry... This last one was taken with my dodgy phone & didn't get edited before upload. Here it is though, skirt AND new birthday boots. I added some decorative stitch, similar to the stitching on the back pockets, to the cut off leg pieces before adding them. For my first effort I think it turned out REALLY well & if I can do it, ANYONE can do it!

Bye for now, K


Friday, 15 June 2012

Choc Coffee Muffins

About a month ago I hosted a Chefs Toolbox party and we made the YUMMY Coffee Choc Friands from the website.  I didn't get to take a picture of them so I changed the recipe slightly and made them again, to suit me, hoping to take pictures but I forgot, again.  Sorry about that. 

Anyway, here's what I did.

1 cup icing sugar
2/3 cup plain flour
1 cup almond meal
180g butter, melted and cooled
6 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons instant decaffeinated coffee granules, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
100g white chocolate drops

1.  Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
2.  In a mixing bowl combine sugar, flour, almond meal, butter & egg whites.  Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
3.  Pour dossolved coffee into mixture & mix well.
4.  Fold the white choc drops through.
5.  Spoon mixture evenly into the muffin (or Friand if you have it) tray.
6.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
7.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from the tray.

They were good but I have to admit the dark chocolate gave it that something extra (I am NOT a fan of dark choc), so perhaps next time I'll try milk chocolate instead of white.

Mr C said he could barely taste the coffee, I thought it was OK.  It wasn't what we normally drink (& he has really strong coffee) so perhaps that made a difference.  I'm not sure.

Perhaps next time I make them I'll remember the photos.

Bye for now, K

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Slow Down & Simplify

I found this blog yesterday, Slow Your Home.  I found it purely by accident, and thought it seemed so fitting given that I have this overwhelming desire to declutter my life.  This post arrived this morning, by email, so I thought I should share it, just in case you are in the same place right now.  Perhaps it'll give you the motivation you need. 

I had a little look around through older posts and I have a feeling it is going to become one of my favourite blogs to read.

Go on, pop on over & have a look.  Maybe you'll decide to join in with 2012 in 2012.

I'm thinking I'll have to record my own trials and tribulations into the world of decluttering my life.  Perhaps I'll share them with you...

Bye for now, K

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Strange Perspectives

OK People, I don't often ask for EVERYONE'S thought or opinions on things, but I REALLY need some help with this one...

I feel STRANGE.  I have this weird feeling that I need to go and see the slums of India, or orphanages in Uganda or something like that.  You know, I could say I feel like travelling abroad and seeing Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower, or Holland in spring, or travel by Gondola in Venice but Nooooo, I think of these strange places and some of the poorest people in the world that I feel I have to visit.

I'm feeling kinda unloved, unappreciated and ungrateful at home at the moment. Yes, I'm the one feeling ungrateful! How do those three words fit in the same thought together like that?

I said to Mr C last night that I feel the need to declutter.  Not just decluttering the house of material posessions but also my emotions.  Does that make sense to any? It didn't to him.  Actually, he didn't have a response to any of this.  Do you?

I don't think I actually have anything to contribute to these countries or the people that live there but I think I've perhaps ignored them (for want of better word) for long enough.  So, while feeling completely inadequate to take on any sort of trip like this, I seriously don't think that being a World Vision child sponsor is quite what I need.  It doesn't even come close to what I'm feeling/thinking at the moment.

I said to Mr C that I am ashamed of the job I've done as a parent so far.  Not entirely, don't get me wrong, but the behaviour of our kids at times & the awful way they speak to us at times is just apalling.  There is no excuse for it and I have to take responsibility for it because I spend the most amount of time with them.

Perhaps I'm just feeling like I haven't done anything worthwhile with my life yet, or perhaps it's just itchy feet & I need a change.  Perhaps it's just that I've pretty much been housebound for the past month with sick kids (Outings to the supermarket just don't excite me).  Perhaps I'll feel differently after our upcoming holiday.  Perhaps one day this will all make sense & I'll travel & do something worthwhile.  The funny thing is though, I don't feel like doing it here, in my own town, state or country.  I wonder why that is.  I'm sure there are plenty of homeless and hungry people in my own backyard that I could visit.  What is it about other countries that I am drawn to? 

Have you ever felt like this??  What did you do about it?

Bye for now, K

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Quiet Again

Sorry guys, I've been pretty quiet this last week. 

Been trying to spend a little more time one on one with Miss Pants.  (Hoping it will improve her mood/behaviour.)  We did a little bit of crafting together, a little bit of reading, a little entertaining, and LOTS of watching Mr Maker.  I got a couple of DVD's to distract her on our upcoming trip so she's opened one early.  I figure it's cheaper than her watching the episodes on the net.

I have a couple of food posts drafted but not finished off so you miss out this week.  I also have a WIP partially written.  I'm not sure I'll get time to get them done for you this week as Little H became spotty yesterday!  It's a long weekend here so I'm hoping to get some cooking done, to stock up for the week ahead, while Mr C is home, just incase Little H becomes so miserable that he won't let us out of his sight.

On the upside, we are REALLY glad he's not going to be taking it on holidays with him!  He should be recovered well & truly by then.  It'll probably make my packing that little bit more stressful though... Ah well.  You can only do what you can do.

I read a few blog posts this week that I wanted to share.  Perhaps I'll get a chance to get to them later.

Bye for now, K

Sunday, 3 June 2012

MORE Kids Books

As I have said before I LOVE getting the kids books.  It can be a pretty expensive little task, but when we buy them through Scholastic Book Club at school or preschool the school benefits too, and often you can get some REAL bargains (& good presents to stock up on for later).

Some of my purchases, in the past few months, have been season specific.  I got four Easter books in a pack.  Then I got this book for Anzac Day.

I had ordered this book and we saw it read on tele one day.  Not sure whether it was on Driver Dan's Story Train or Playschool.

I just LOVE the style of illustrations in puffling.So beautifully drawn.  You know those times you see something & wish you were talented?  This is one of those times for me. Lol

I got these two in the hope that Miss Pants and H might take on board a little of the story's...

This is one of those absolute bargains I mentioned.  It's a funny little story and when you use funny voices & accents it is even better :)

Now, I'm a little ashamed to admit this but we have finally started our GRUG collection at long last.  We now have Grug goes fishing, Grug and the green paint, Grug and the rainbow, and Grug goes to hospital.  They came in a pack.  I might just need to order some more too.
I haven't made ANY progress on my wish list of books though.  What have you been reading?

Bye for now, K

Friday, 1 June 2012

EASY Muesli Bar Slice

This really is the EASIEST muesli bar recipe I've ever come across.  It was soo easy & sooo yummy that I haven't even taken a decent number of pictures to share so check out Retro Mummy's Blog, where I found this recipe for her clear pic's.

Now I wouldn't exactly call it a healthy muesli bar recipe but it is the best tasting one I've tried in a while.

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup rice bubbles
1/2 cup shredded/desiccated coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
good splosh of maple syrup or honey or golden syrup
and I added half a cupt sultanas too

Preheat oven to 160 deg C and line a squre or rectangular baking tray with baking paper.
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl
Pour into the tray and flatten out making sure it's fairly evenly spread.
Now the recipe I saw said to bake for 40 minutes until lightly brown but it only took 30 minutes in my oven & smelt delicious!!  (My oven's a bit strange. Slices & cakes take less time to cook, meat takes longer.)
Leave it in the pan to cool if you can.  We couldn't...

Bye for now, K

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Prints with Kids

Using an apple

Pretty necklace print

Miss Pants did a few "moons"

Foam flower prints

Linking up with My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday

Bye for now, K

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Spotty McSpot Spot

What a strange few weeks we've had.  First there was the gastro bug that seemed to go through most of the town, then the flu, and now we have a confirmed case of Chicken Pox in our house.  (Probably with one more to come.)  It is certainly one of those ocassions where I wish I could take it on for him myself.  I know I'd be miserable & itchy too, but it would be easier than seeing him go through it :(

I was absolutely blown away yesterday though.  We received an offer from people at church to make a few meals for us. Oh my, how nice was that!!  I said no though. I'm not the sick one.  It was pointed out to me that I may not be sick but people understand how hard it can be with sick children to get things done & they just want to do something nice for us.  I understand that, so I said that if Little h gets it (which is likely since he & Mr Magoo share a room & Mr Magoo usually holds Little h in the bath) then I would accept a few meals because Little h will be miserable & not understand why I'm putting him down to cook meals & carry on with my daily tasks as a wife & mum of four.

How absolutely amazing is it to have people in your life that are willing to do that?!  (Yes, I know, I too have my name on the roster to provide meals for others but it's such a strange & wonderful feeling to be on the receiving end of such generosity.

So this morning I took H to school & left Mr Magoo (aka Spotty McSpot Spot) home (with ph numbers & the neighbours home next door) & when I got home I found hin reading this...

and listening to this

I quite like this CD.  We borrowed it from a friend but I think we may just need to pop into the local Christian Bookstore where I got that book from & order it in.  We borrowed two CD's but this is our favourite. 

Well, better head off to the shop and find something soft for dinner.  Spotty Mc Spot Spot has pox in his mouth & throat so it's making things really difficult for him.  He suggested beef strog but I pointed out it'd be pretty hard to swallow.

Bye for now, K

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Why Me, Why Now God??

If there is one thing I am beginning to REALLY despise hearing it is the excuse used for things that are hard in our lives at the moment. That excuse being "it's just where you're up to in life" or "everybody goes through a stage like that". Now without sharing specific examples (because they are just too close to my heart & too difficult to share right now), I can safely say "What a load of BS!!" Is it really necessary to provide an "excuse" for a particularly difficult time in life? Is that not like trying to explain away a completely unexpected illness?

Well I don't really know where that came from but it has made me think about some of the sermons we've heard in the past few weeks, from Philippians. Part of Philippians tells of how Paul was locked up, in chains and still he rejoiced in Christ!

Yes, I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.       Philippians 2:19

I'm pretty sure I couldn't rejoice if I was locked up like that...

I read a blog post recently that was on this very topic.  This self pitying questioning faith topic. You can find it here.  It references a verse from Jeremiah. 

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

It basically says to me that God will use what you have been through to make you a better, stronger person, even if that sometimes means dealing with things you'd rather not deal with.  I actually find comfort in that. Paul managed to rejoice in his difficulty.  I can not, but I will move forward regardless and I will do it with Christ leading the way. (If you interested, read on & find out what he says in verses 12 & 13.)

Remember the old saying "Ask & ye shall receive".  I wonder where that came from.

This song has been with me this week.

Bye for now, K

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Fancy a Shave Anyone?

Last weekend, Mr C was away for the day abseiling, we'd been for a bike ride/walk to the shop & the weather was still warm for Autumn so I decided to set up some outside messy fun for the kids.
Start with a large plastic container (from under the kids bed) fill it with shaving foam

Add some paint

Let them at it!!

Tip for me: Don't get too close with the camera

Miss Pants was really getting into it!

Then she actually DID fall into it!  Shower number one.

It's not very clear from this picture, but shower number 2 was next & NO, the paint didn't wash out of that white shirt.  WHAT WAS I THINKING??

They had a ball!!  They want to do it again.  It does feel pretty cool in your fingers.

Bye for now, K