Sunday, 26 February 2012

Dear Blog,

I'm sorry. I have been neglecting you. For the meantime though I have found something more important to temporarily spend my time on... My sanity.

Boring I know, but here's a couple of pics from my iPad...

ME, Hi

A picture by Miss Pants using the iPad Play school app

Little h, on Australia Day morning 2012
This wasn't an iPad pic, but I discovered these YUMMY bikkies at Pip Squeaks this week

That is all,

Bye for now, K

Prawn, Tofu & Egg Noodle Stir-fry

This recipe came from  a sample sized Australian Healthy Food Guide magazine that arrived with my BUPA health insurance magazine recently.  Similar recipes can be found on the Healthy Food Guide website here.

The original recipe called for chicken, but I decided on prawn.  The kids ate it too but only the older kids liked it. I've since made it again, (last night) because I forgot to take a picture of the final product.

I got it all ready early in day so all I needed to do was cook it
300g fresh rice noodles
cooking oil spray
300g peeled green prawns
500g pumpkin, peeled, cut into thin slices
2 cups broccoli florets (I just used a whole head)
1 bunch baby bok choy, shredded
4 green onions, sliced
Bottle of Oriental Plum marinade/stir-fry sauce (recipe called for 1/3 cup but I used it all)
250g firm tofu, cut into small cubes

We even had the tofu
  1. Place noodles into a large bowl and cover with boiling water.  Separate with a fork, drain and set aside.
  2. Spray a wok with oil and adjust heat to high.  Cook prawns in batches until cooked through and set aside.
  3. Return wok to high heat. Add pumpkin and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add broccoli for a further two minutes.  Add bok choy and onion. Stir-fry for a further 2 minutes until bok choy is tender.  Return prawns to wok and add stir-fry sauce. Add tofu and noodles.  Toss through to combine before serving.
cooked the prawns in batches
Vegies done, about to finish off

Ready to serve :)  (Minus the tofu, with extra pumpkin & prawns)

Afternoons get pretty busy in our house with two doing homework and reading, one wanting to do homework, one needing feeding and three out of five weekday afternoons we have extra activities to get to.  So where possible I get things ready ahead of time.  The vegies and tofu were all cut and the prawns were peeled and deveined waiting to go.  I just put everything in the fridge till it was time to get dinner happening.  I wish I could say I was organised enough to tell you I do this all the time but I'm not...  Perhaps one day I will be, but I doubt it. Lol.

The second time I made this I purhased 1.2kg of green prawns, peeled and deveined them and omitted the tofu. I used 700g of pumpkin instead of 500g  and also used Honey, Soy & Garlic sauce the second time. (The kids and I preferred the Oriental Plum version better but I think it comes down to personal preference. You could easily make your own sauce too.)

Bye for now, K

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

WIP: Wednesday a week on (oops)

I had a shocking week last week & it's taken this week to get over it. I am hoping that things will start to calm down for me now though...

During the past fortnight some things have suffered from lack of attention (the blog & I included I'm afraid), but I  have made SOME progress.

I got the socks done for Master H.  It's just an easy way for me to tell whose are whose.  I'm sure some people probably don't bother (and at times my boys don't either) but it makes it easy to tell which one of them has been flinging them about their bedroom and missing the wash. ha ha ha

I've also been working on a few cushions.  Here's a glimpse of two of the many I have to make.  The horse is for a Gypsy themed cushion so I'm hoping it resembles a Gypsy trailer or wagon.  The other is also something I've never worked on before.  I know... Owls have been around for ages and I know they are probably past their prime as far as fads go but what can ya do?!  I also donated some goods to a Charity Auction on facebook for Epilepsy so one of the cushions is for the winning bidder on a cushion of mine.  There are several others to be made and I have ideas for some of them and I'm hoping to have enough time to get to them in the next few weeks.  I'll keep you posted.

Hmmmm, what else has there been?  Oh yes, this very simple wrapping paper with matching card for Valentines Day.  I can't remember now where I saw the idea but it just used a squished up toilet roll to make the heart shape.

Oh & then there was the Pillowcase Challenge that I'd been talking about...

...In support of the Canberra Centre for Newborn Care's NICUCAM service, Bec from Little Toot Creations decided to hold a crafty inspired Auction on her facebook page.  All you had to do was create something from a pillowcase.  It could have been a spare one laying around your house or an old one from an op shop or even a "proper" vintage style one you scored somewhere.  All the donated items were auctioned on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 February, 2012 on the Little Toot Creations facebook page.  Here is a link to the album that all the entries were in.  (Assuming the album doesn't change, you might get some ideas for something crafty yourself.) 

I made this...
I sent Bec three photos (because I'm not that "with it" when it comes to photo editing, in case ya hadn't noticed. Lol). She transferred them into ONE.  I had never made a pencil roll before.  I used a tutorial I found on the You Go Girl! Blog.  It was SUPER easy.  I didn't have the Dove chocolates, but I'm sure if I had it would have been even easier :)  I made it from a spare pillowcase belonging to Miss Pants, some scrap pink, a couple of buttons & a hair elastic.  Oh & I cheated with the binding and used this tape stuff that I can never remember the name of.  (Feel free to let me know what it is.)

I'd really love to hear about what you've been working on (& it'd let me know I'm not the only one reading my ramblings. Or maybe I am.)

Bye for now, K

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Meaty Pasta Bake

Sorry that this weeks Friday Food Find comes to you on Saturday but things happen...

This recipe can be made beforehand and frozen for a quick midweek meal when you know you'll be otherwise tempted to grab takeaway (I really should remember this more often), or just made in the morning & reheated that evening (I often pick recipes I can do that with).  If you pick your ingredients well it's relatively healthy too.  You can have all reduced fat/skim options in the topping or skip the topping completely.  This recipe is what I used and there was plenty left over for a few lunches.  I used the bigger type of macaroni but I think next time I might use the tiny macaroni or even the little baby shells.  I think they'll fold through more easily.  Everyone has probably had something like it & just forgotten how easy it can be to make.

Meat Sauce:
700g lean mince*
420g can tomato soup, undiluted (homebrand is fine)
1 small onion finely diced
1 cup grated carrot
3/4 cup grated zucchini
3/4 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used salt reduced)
2 teaspoons beef stock powder
3 cups cooked pasta

(I had NEVER made this before, it is normally Mr Creator's domain)
1 tablespoon reduced fat butter
3 level tablespoons plain flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup grated reduced fat cheese

Preheat oven to 180deg.

Cook pasta as per packet instructions.

Cook mince in a large non-stick frying pan until browned.  Add tomato soup, onion, carrot, zucchini & peas. Cook while stirring for 2 minutes.  Add stock powder and tomato paste. Cook for further 5 minutes stirring often.  Fold through cooked pasta and spoon into lasagne style dish.

Melt your butter/margarine in saucepan, add flour, cook for a minute. Slowly add milk using a whisk, stir continuously, to avoid lumps**.  Pour the sauce over the meat then sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Just prior to going in the oven...

Miss Pants said she didn't like hers but when it was reheated and given to her again for lunch the next day, because her dinner had been glad wrapped and put it in the fridge untouched, she DID like it. Everyone else loved it.

* I used Woolworths heart smart beef mince in this one, but next time I will use the Heart Foundation Tick Approved Turkey mince.  We eat a lot of mince (because it's so cheap) and have found that there are still healthy options in mince.  It's great. 
** I didn't think I needed a whisk but I got it out quick smart!!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

WIP: Oh Dear...

...I seem to have lost another week without really achieving much.

Note to self: Update 2012's Resolutions to inlcude less time WASTED on computer, more time actually DOING "things"...

But, here you go,  Miss Pants has her name on her cushion and hand towel. 

I only did her cushion the night before she went to pre-school for the first time.  She LOVED pre-school!!  I was thinking of using that day as a crafty/sewing day, but now I'm thinking perhaps I should use it to get to the gym with only one child in tow and to spend the rest of the day enjoying our little man and resting.  Hmmm, I'll let you know what happens.

I can't think of anything else that I specificially made this week. Lots of thinking and note taking but not much making.  Perhaps my expectations of myself are a little high at the moment. Perhaps not.


Bye for now, K

Monday, 6 February 2012

Bad Baby, BAD

As you may have read, we have four children.  The youngest is still a baby.  He’s nearly 3 months old already. 

People often ask if he is a Good Baby.

Is there really such a thing as a bad baby? Really, it implies that babies can be naughty.  He’s not NAUGHTY.  It’s not something he knows how to do.  He can’t make a decision to do something that I may have otherwise taught him not to do or say.

So, here’s some little bits of GOOD about our newest Little Man. 

Good birth weight.  4580g

Good Appetite.  He feeds approximately every 2 hours REGARDLESS of what I do to try & hold him off, but he does give me SOME relief at night by going about 5-6 hours between feeds. (Remembering that this means from the start of one feed to the start of the next.)

Good Set of Lungs.  The two steroid injections I had at 32 weeks gestation helped with that & has resulted in his...

...Nice big voice.  Which may or may not affect my hearing in the long run, but hopefully it’ll continue to help him keep/get himself heard.  He does after all have three siblings to compete with.
I found this pic here, it is not Little h, though there are similarities.  Namely the crying...

So, in case you were wondering, he does NOT feed every four hours, he does NOT just sit & smile at me when he is awake, and he’s NOT such a good sleeper.  He does NOT sleep through the night.  Am I tired? No not really.  I’d call it EXHAUSTED!! I know things will get better as he gets older & although I hate to sound as though I'm wishing our lives away I'm really looking forward to him getting a bit older.  At this stage, even a month makes a difference.

Oh, and keep in mind too that mothers with good OR bad babies can suffer from Post Natal Depression (PND) & will more than likely NOT like to be asked "Is he/she a good baby?", regardless of their answer.  It may just be another source of Mummy Guilt for them.  I will share what I know about PND at a later time. When I feel more able.  I promise. 

Bye for now, K

The Missing Parent...

...Is Me

It is hard to discuss issues you may have as a parent when one parent is distracted... But when you need to talk about things while not in earshot of your children, MAKE the time!!

Lately I've been feeling that I'm not being the best parent I can be. We have four children and I don't feel like I'm doing a good enough job!  There are a whole heap of emotions that go with this feeling (making me an emotional wreck). It makes me want to learn, and put into practise, what I can do differently.  Then I spend hours researching parenting books and websites so that I don't have to read through all the drivel to get to the good bits. And you guessed it, this results in further guilt & even more time wasted that should be spent actually parenting.  I spoke briefly with my husband about this who said I couldn't approach it that way.  I asked what he meant and he said that you can't just do it like that.  It turns out you can! You don't just walk into a work place and know what to do.  You talk to people, you read things, and you have training. So why should it be any different with parenting? I mean it is MORE than a full time job for many of us.  Why not try to be the best you can be? After all, it is our own kids furtures that depend on it.  Honestly, who can say they didn't read a single thing about pregnancy & childbirth, or attend a single ante-natal class, or talk to a single person about their experiences?  So why should it be any different with actually raising the child?  You take on board all the information you can & then adapt bits to suit.   

Taking the littlest ones to play group, music, kinda gym or any number of other activites aimed at infants to pre schoolers (& their carers) is an excellent start, but at times I just don't feel like leaving the house.  Sometimes I don't feel like having other kids influence them in ways that I don't really appreciate.  I mean, that's what school is all about isn't it?!  Still, I will do some of these things because, quite frankly, they are a great place to speak to other parents about their experiences, their parenting style, and to share tips & advice.

It is also important to make time for ourselves.  Often as parents, particularly the main care giver, we put everyone & everything else first.  There's soooo much to do as a parent whether you are working or not.  Unfortunately the needs of ourselves usually get put aside till last, or completely forgotten.  I know I sew occasionally but I'd hardly call it ME time.  Especially when I have children who seem to interrupt me constantly.  It's the same when I'm on the phone.  As soon as it rings it's as though a little switch gets flicked and everything becomes so important that they have to tell me straight away. Am I right or am I right?  For me has become incredibly important to make time for exercise.  Not entirely sure how I'm going to do that yet but I know I need to.  I feel better when I do & that flows on to everyone else in the family including Mr Creator.  We've been discussing options to fit in exercise.  I personally feel that it is important for the kids to see me/us exercise too.  You know, "What you see is what you learn".    

Other than that I don't know what WE as parents, or I, can do differently at this very minute, but I feel that we need more "family moments". You know, “doing stuff” as a family, rather than a bunch of people that live in the same house and just sit around bored or agitated all the time. (I quite enjoyed our little family trip Graze Brasserie a few weekends ago, and I think the rest of the family did too. But, we still need to “do stuff" more often.  You know, sometimes we go on picnics & it doesn't always feel that we're connecting as a family. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's like I'm not all there or something. It's a bit like going to the park. It just doesn't do it for me. I do get in & play with them but I spend a lot of my time worrying about them falling or getting hurt in some other way (especially since one trip to the park resulted in a trip to emergency after a fall/bump to the head & a bit of memory loss).  I'm thinking that squishing us all on the lounge in front of a family movie with a big bag of popcorn on a rainy Sunday afternoon would be lovely. Or an afternoon stroll along the pathways around a local wetland.  Perhaps they don't though. Perhaps I should ask what they'd all like to do.

What would your suggestions be?

Bye for now, K

Friday, 3 February 2012

Easy Apple Muffins

This week the older boys went back to school on Monday.  I decided to make something for them for when they got home from school that I could freeze for their lunch boxes for next week too.
This post from The Organised Housewife has HEAPS of ideas that have been contributed by her followers.  I decided on this one for Apple Muffins (& may just make those Cheese & Herb Muffins when I’m done here, AFTER a little exercise perhaps. lol.)   Of course I bookmarked The Organised Housewife’s page so I can come back to it easily.


  • 2 cups SR flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4tbsp sugar (I used raw sugar)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter/margarine
  • 1/2 cup grated apple/fruit (I used a can of apple and chopped it up).
Tinned apple chopped
All mixed up

·         Sift flour, salt, sugar & cinnamon together
·         Add milk & beaten egg
·         Mix lightly
·         Stir in melted butter/margarine and fruit
·         Mix just long enough to combine ingredients
·         Pour into greased muffin tray filling them 2/3rds full (I used mini muffin trays & filled to top)
·         Bake in hot oven (180deg) for 20-25 minutes (but it was quicker using mini muffin trays)

This recipe made 42 mini muffins so I have frozen several muffins in small freezer bags to stretch them out over a few weeks (minus the ones Miss Pants & I scoffed down before the boys got home to devour their share for the day).

They were LOVELY too.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

WIP: Bit on the Slack Side...

Man, I tell you what, this blogging business along with Fat Mum Slim’s January Photo-A-Day Challenge has been keeping me BUSY.  Well, THAT and four kids. Lol.

I did not get a frame for my cross stitch.  I did however buy several photo frames to put up around the house.  I even got photo paper so I can print the photos.  It is something I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time.  I have been waiting for input from Mr C though since I’ve kind of been expecting him to put the hooks on the walls but you know what, I’m sick of waiting.  We don’t even have ONE picture of Miss Pants in a frame on a shelf, let alone on the wall, and she turned THREE in December.  NOT GOOD ENOUGH MUMMY!!  Haven't printed them yet though.  Hmmm, anyway moving on...

I still haven’t quite finished Miss Pants’ hand towel.  It’ll be done by next week though when she needs it.  See, NEARLY done.

I asked Mr Magoo (8) if he’d like me to make him a pencil case for school since this is the first year he’s had to provide his own pencils and textas etc for school.  He thought it was a fantastic idea.  I asked if he’d like me to make it out of some camouflage fabric I already had. But NOOOO!  Yes to camouflage, no to the colour options available.  I had blue, grey (& pink) but he wanted green.  I sourced the fabric, found some lining and went with a zipper I already had.  I’d love to say I was clever enough to just whip it up but I wasn’t, I used this SUPER EASY Tutorial that I found on the blog Skip to my Lou.  Turned out alright though for a first attempt I thought.  Will probably be OK making another one without the tutorial too. He can’t fit his ruler in it though because the zipper I had wasn’t big enough to allow it.  Oh well, I always had a much smaller pencil case that never held my ruler but I survived, and so did my ruler.

It turns out that Miss Pants also needs a Cushion for Pre School.  While scouring the junk shop for suitable photo frames I came across a purple cushion for $4.00. SCORE.  (Cushion insert’s purchased locally cost more than that.)  I MIGHT add her name to it.  Time will dictate.

Master H found an old long sleeved plain white polo shirt that Mr Magoo used to wear to school.  He wants me to put a picture on it just like I did with his PJ’s.  He decided on a design, an electric guitar, then changed his mind, SEVERAL times but finally decided that this was OK... 

You see, I have some fabric with lots of little pirate heads on it just like this one.  I am planning to use the fabric for the flag, then white (or maybe even natural calico) & black fabric with a little hand stitching for the pirate.  Then he changed his mind again & wants a PATCH on the eye, not a winking eye.  Grrrr, think I might forget that little detail & go with the wink because it's cute, but we’ll see.  Sorry about the image quality.  It was a QUICK point & shoot.

I know it’s not much but it keeps me going.  I still have the Pillowcase Challenge that I mentioned last week to work on too.

Bye for now, K