Monday, August 31

Holiday update...

We don't want to leave. The weather is fantastic. It's wonderful seeing family and friends and Bangalow in particular is just amazing.

Here's the loot I picked up at the local farmers' market on Saturday:

Fresh tumeric, dried local bananas, pecans and macadamias - got some more other local fare at the Lennox Head Markets - fabulous stuff - will share later I promise!

Here are some pics of Possum Creek Eco Lodge I have to share!
This is bundy the resident horse, he's super friendly and will actually follow you around the property!

The macadamia orchard, less than 50 metres from back door of the hilltop cottage where we've been staying, we've picked TONS of macadamias - I will share that in detail when we get back! Needless to say there will be a few macadamia recipes! Beyond the macadamias is a plantation of lemon myrtle too. Smells divine.

Looking out -southwest from hilltop cottage
View north-west of hilltop cottage, looking out through the back garden and onto the macadamia orchard. This was our view from the BBQ area where we had dinner (yes, outdoors in WINTER)
Georgeous weather, eating barbequed king prawns and steak and salad... wonderful view, wonderful time.
Can't wait to come back!

Sunday, August 30

An important lesson when you start drinking

Do you remember when you were first eighteen and legal to drink whatever you wanted? To be considered an adult amongst your family and friends?

Here's a 101 to start your drinking career:

DO NOT start early
Do NOT mix drinks

Do not pass out before the party is over, because your PARENTS might do this to you...
Lastly, delete all evidence on said parents' camera, before they distribute it to friends and the www.

Heaven and Hell...scarily true.

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!  Sorry if you read this before or after church.  I thought it was funny.

Heaven is Where:
The Police are British,
The Chefs are Italian,
The Mechanics are German,
The Lovers are French and
It's all organized by the Swiss.
Hell is Where:
The Police are German,
The Chefs are British,
The Mechanics are French,
The Lovers are Swiss and
It's all organized by the Italians.

Saturday, August 29

Cherry Ripe Cheesecake

I know, I know, I'm on a cheesecake bender!! This is quite easy, and will surprise your guests!
Those who don't have access to cherry ripes - you may have something similar - they are cherry bars with cherry and coconut, covered in dark chocolate.
250 g chocolate biscuits (I used chocolate covered teddy bears)
125 g butter, melted
85 g raspberry jelly crystals
1/3 cup boiling water
500 g cream cheese
2 cups thickened cream
170 g cherry ripe candy bars, diced
Grease a springform tin liberally with canola spray.
Crush the biscuits in a food processor until they resemble fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and blend until combined. Press into a springform pan

Dissolve jelly crystals in boiling water. Soften the cream cheese with an electric beater then gradually add the jelly, beat until smooth.

Fold through thickened cream and Cherry Ripe pieces. Pour onto crust, cover with cling wrap and chill until set, 2 hours should do but it tastes better if it's left overnight.

SnapHappySaturday: Three times Three

Laura and Olivia are lucky that they always have someone on tap their age that they can play with - but it goes one step further - their cousin, Maya is 13 days older than them.  They are so lucky, I didn't grow up with siblings or cousins my own age - so moments like this I think are beautiful.

Friday, August 28

FrillyFrugalFriday: The holiday edition...

Yes, we're on holiday as the moment... a driving holiday.   We  lease our car and need to put on 40,000kms a year to beat the tax man slug us FBT so I'd say we'll be keeping this an annual event!  It's practically free travel!

How has this been a frugal holiday thus far?

A 'to go' breakfast for the kids with pancake, berries, dry cheerios and banana.  No Maccas for us!

We packed an esky.  I filled it with:
24 x softdrinks - this will do me and hubby the entire trip - and no expensive drinks at service stations
A cooled baked chicken - cost $6 on sale from local chicken shop.  Had it for picnic lunch along with some bread rolls, margarine, ham strawberries and salad from our fridge/garden.  We bought some extra milk and bread this morning for todays' trek.
A frozen meatloaf, we ate that last night again with salad - it defrosted on the trip up and we just put it in the oven at our apartment.
Frozen scrolls, scones, rainbow cake - all kinds of goodies I've baked over the weeks in portions of 3 or 5, for us as a family or the kids for morning/afternoon teas.

We are also going to check out some local farmers' markets to cut down on the cost of food, whilst sampling the best of the region!

ACCOMMODATION - we're on our way to a friends' 40th birthday in Ballina, but also to catch up with my Aunt who lives in Bangalow (Byron Bay).

We planned to stop in Port MacQuarie - which is a half-way-point each way - and booked a self-contained apartment for us for $105.50 per night for 2 nights via - it's basic and functional.  Perfect really. 

In Bangalow (heaven) we are staying on my Aunt's property which is enormous and is a tourist attraction in its' own right with a rainforest, macadamia and olive farm on site plus a horse, ducks and cheeky dog Charlie (see his blog here) .  (Lyn (my aunt) runs a very successful (and very inviting!) self-catering accommodation with Possum Creek Eco Lodge - Hilltop (3bd house) and two Bungalows (1 bd)  check it out here)

All the accommodations are self-contained on our holiday so no expensive restaurants or room service necessary - no buckets and buckets of washing when I get home either - I can wash there.

Beaches and walking are free!
Of course we've checked out the Big Bowling Ball at Lake Cathie yesterday, and today we'll be checking out the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour.. before seeing the Big Prawn in Ballina,  our country is so funny!
We are looking at going to both Ricardoes (on the way home - that's actually a definite!) and TimberTown (time permitting) which  both seem affordable and fun!

How do you save money on holidays? (Besides staying home!)  Anyone done houseswapping?  I'm going to look into that!

FrillyFrivolousFriday - T-shirts to wear to work on casual friday...

Fathers' day presents perhaps?
I can see my hubby wearing this one

Thursday, August 27

Irrational fear of ...

the making of my own baklava.  Silly huh?

I love baklava. I mean, I ADORE baklava.  But only good baklava.  There's plenty of crappy baklava out there you know.  I fell in love with baklava when backpacking through Europe some 16 years ago.  Since then it's been pretty hit and miss as I'm very dubious about tasting it.

It might not be as good.
It might be terrible.
In fact it might turn me off baklava forever.

I have, luckily found some magnificent baklava in a little kebab shop not far away from here, so I can buy it pretty much whenever I get a hankering.  It's honey is not too strong and not too sticky, but it is delicate and flavoursome. The pastry is always a little bit crispy and the nuts are crunchy and never taste stale.  I'm salivating typing this!

I've got many baklava recipes.  I just don't trust myself.  I don't want to mess with the magic of brilliant baklava.  Irrational right?  Is there anything you would never dream of making?

Activity Report: Oceanworld, Manly

It's a bit sad that we've been to many of Sydneys' tourist traps and not been to the one virtually in our backyard!  My Mum was in town and staying a short walk from Oceanworld, which I thought was a brilliant opportunity for a day activity.  We've not been to the Sydney Aquarium as a family - I've been pre-kids when it first opened, and we've been to Sydney Wildlife World (next door) so I suppose that's next on the list.
OK, so Oceanworld.   When I went as a child (which admittedly was at least quarter of a century ago) I have fond memories of the fairy penguin show, the seals.  I just want to warn you - there is none of that anymore. If you want to see Fairy Penguins and Seals (and the cutest otters for that matter!) you'll need to go to Taronga Zoo.
But what Oceanworld does have is sharks, and stingrays, and plenty of them.  The bottom level is the 'tunnel tour' and you walk through the tank and see many types of fish, port-jackson and grey-nurse sharks.  The Stingrays are ENORMOUS.  They were breathtaking.  Everything is accessible to smaller kids.
On the mid-level there is smaller type fishes - seahorses, 'Nemo's' and 'Dories' and the Touchpool.  This is where kids can touch the fish and things.  There were shark eggs (those twisty seaworld looking things) and some other smaller sea-life and fish.  The kids loved this bit.
The upper level is now about wildlife - goannas, tortoises and lizards.  You can look down into their pits and see some baby ones too.  They have shows a couple of times a day where you can get your pic taken for $10.

We did see some kids having parties there and the party prices were pretty reasonable at around $18-22 per child for party food and personalised tour.  They also have sleepover options.

It only takes about an hour to get through the whole place, though you could stretch it out further if you did the free tours.

It's in close proximity to Manly Wharf (5 minutes slow walk) so I would recommend a ferry ride, a picnic at the esplanade, maybe a little wade and then icecream afterwards.
West Esplanade Manly

Reality Bites: Roll in the lemmings...

Australian Idol Listening not watching - Well that kind of describes my Australian Idol exposure this week.
There have been a few pleasant surprises, and I'm not sure if it's this new crop of hopefuls or the fact that Kyle isn't there anymore, but I'm not hating it.  The only one who has truly stuck in my brain is Ashleigh.  In fact she blew me away.  I couldn't keep my eyes off her.

(see her here on this clip, roughly just over 1/2 way through)

Project Runaway Australia
12 hours to create 3 pieces of a collection?  Crazy?  Tears? Yes, yes.

Roll in the lemmings - First year Fashion Students - oh joy.  'Welcome to the Fashion Industry, BITCH'. God love Anthony... picks a boy 'with better legs than most of the girls'!  His collection... hmmm!

Poor William - talk about being shafted with fabric choices!  Very relieved he got through.  VERY.  Sad that Mark was gone - it was the right decision though, tough call between him and Ivana.

If Henry says 'Passion in your Fashion' I might just break something.. love him but please, no more!!

Kate is gone - her outbursts are immature and utterly annoying - don't let the door hit you on the butt!  Dayshaun - PLEASE let him go next, Maybe he can take Megan with him?

Wednesday, August 26

Here's a new meme for you...for the love of blog

These are questions I always like to ask... so I'm asking all of you because I want to know ! And if you post on your blog, you'll be asking those who read your blog too!

How did you come up with the name of your blog?
What was the first blog you followed?
What's the latest blog you followed?
What blog do you follow that surprises you doesn't have more followers?
The blog you adore the style of?
The blog you visit first thing in the morning?
The blog you go to for a laugh?
The blog you go to live vicariously or get inspiration from and why?
Which blog did you get this from?

Now, I will answer! (it's only fair!)

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

Well we live in Terrey Hills, a little bit of semi-rural loveliness in Sydneys' north - and having three girls, it seemed quite appropriate. It's grown on me now... I still love the title.

What was the first blog you followed?
I'm pretty sure it was Meagan at Bowenvale 321, but it might have been Martha Stewart...

What's the latest blog you followed?
It's impossible to be unhappy in a poncho

What blog do you think is an undiscovered gem? - 11 followers? Seriously - get on to it people!

The blog you adore the style of?
I love Mia's new layout - much more oriented towards the info junkie like me!

The blog you visit first thing in the morning?
Usually I'll go through my dashboard and look what all the overseas blogs have published whilst I've been slumbering, but more often than not, I end up on 'Telles' blog FatMumSlim or Lorraines' NotQuiteNigella

The blog you go to for a laugh?
Many! But a guaranteed laugh is Jo Blogs - I just wish she updated more often :)

The blog/s do you go to live vicariously or get inspiration from and why?
Well again, probably NotQuiteNigella - I miss the days of scouting for a new restaurant or going to a restaurant that wasn't prefixed with 'family'... Katy and Rina inspire me to cook, and Make it from scratch inspires me not to be lazy and try new things!

Which blog did you get this from?

Healthy Almond honey oat yoghurt muffins - no mixer required

I found myself at the beginning of this year saddled with 3 litres of organic honey and almond yoghurt with limited useby date, and I was stuck what to do.

Make Iceblocks?

We did all of the above, but I did make a bunch of muffins using this great recipe from Bindi Nestors' blog.  It is a flexible recipe, so use the fruit and yoghurt you want to achieve different flavours.

1 cup yoghurt
1 cup rolled oats
1 egg
1/2 cup olive oil (but works with vegetable, canola oil)
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup mashed banana
1 1/4 cup self raising flour

Preheat oven to 220 deg c

In a mixing bowl, mix yoghurt and rolled oats together with a spoon.  Put in fridge for 30 minutes, not a minute more,not a minute less.

Add the ingredients in following order and mix gently in with spoon in following order:
egg, oil, sugar, banana, flour.

Pour into muffin pans in muffin tray, bake for 15-20 minutes, until cooked in centre.

Freezer friendly!

Word-to-the-wise Wednesday - Kids' craft for handmade gifts

Have you got your fathers' day presents sorted yet?  I'm still working on mine but really need to get things sorted! 

With Christmas coming up I'm looking at some home-made gifts - it's more personal, made with love and kind to the back pocket.  I've bought some supplies at Edex, and I'll be getting some more - here's some of my ideas (Mum if you're reading, please close the window!)

Keyrings - got a favourite family photo?  Or maybe just one of the kids?  Make keyrings for everyone!
These cost $9.90 for 10 key rings.   Edex also have them in in rectangle and heart shapes also.
I'm a big fan of Envirosax - the take with you shopping bags but I think it would be nice to make some too.  Some with handprints of my girls:

Large Library bags are $27.39 for 12 bags (41cm x 37cm)
Biocolor Fabric medium - $13.09 each
3 colours of Biocolour paint (of your choice) @ $11.99 each

Total = 76.45 for 12 bags/gifts = 6.37 each

If you're fund-raising for preschool or playgroup, this might also be a good idea as a fundraiser - sell bags for $10- $15 each.

You could also buy some transfer paper and print your own photos on your inkjet printer and iron those on!

Tuesday, August 25


Blog This challenge this week is to share your 'wish list' - what you are coveting, be it realistic or not, material or not, practical or not.

My covet list is a mixture of all these things. Some not remotely realistic on our budget, others something we're working towards... all achievable in over time I suppose (maybe moreso when I go back to work!)
1. Le Creuset Large Oval casserole dish in turquoise. I think it's divine. I don't own any cast iron casserole dishes, and this one is the one I lust after.
2. Sunbed, times two actually. We have an unused and quite frankly ugly area of our garden I would like to use better this summer. These two are part of that plan. I can see myself with the Sunday papers, can't you?
3. A bedroom make-over. We need a new mattress most importantly, then a storage idea for the computer stuff.. then new linen. I wish pottery barn was here.
4. 2 or 3 long pine planters - is just the ticket to finish off the area I'm puting the sunbeds, with some of the agaves from the front garden (free!)
5. My eternity ring. Channel set princess diamonds eternity band. I think I'm another 4 years off this, but I love it so.
6. A weekend away with my hubby. Alone. Stay where we stayed on our honeymoon. The Walsh Bay Suite at Sebel Pier One. Bliss. Dinner at Nicks' Seafood. One day, I will surprise him with this.

Kids' book review: The Lamington Man

We got this book last week from the Scholastic book club - so glad we did.   In fact the first day we got it, I read it twice!

What's it about?
It's about a lamington man who comes to life and leads Molly, her cat, the next-door neighbours' dog on chase to the river where a cunning crocodile awaits.

What did we love?
It rhymes and it's catchy and the kids can repeat the 'run, run as fast as you can' bit. 
It's got a few hidden giggles for parents
Illustrations are fun

Author: Kel Richards, Illustrations by Glen Singleton
Publisher: Scholastic
Price: RRP $14.99 (purchase here $12.37)

Takes about 10 minutes to read.  Great for ages 2-6.

What will they think of next #18 - The Smart Measure

I love this.  How cool is it?  A jug that measures not only visually, but digitally - exactly.  Rina,  I think you're going to want this!

Source: Gizmodo

Monday, August 24

Truly, I'm just trying to help...

I use this blog for more than just entertaining you guys and recording my somewhat schizophrenic content (yes I'm a bit all of the place I realise!).. I use it as my personal cookbook... and I find the search thingy pretty much USELESS.  Sorry about that.

So I have against all my recipes further labelled them - baking, cakes, biscuits, beef, lamb, freezermeals, dairy-free, chicken and the one I plan adding to - 30minutesorless - because we're all time-poor aren't we?
So feel free go visit my labels now, if you want to find recipes - you can now see them by categories.

Any others you'd like to see? Let me know!

Anal? Me?  Never!

Good, to Forgive; Best, to Forget?

Yesterday I passed a sign on a church that displayed this Browning quote.. and it got me thinking - is forgetting really best?

I don't know whether I'm a good forgiver - probably but I'm not a good forgetter. If someone has hurt me, it's unlikely I'll forget... I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and in my mind give a million excuses why they might have hurt me - 'they weren't thinking' 'they didn't really mean it' 'stupid mistake' kind of thing but if it happens more than once, there's pretty much no turning back. Life's too short. But again, a heartfelt sorry goes a long way.

But what is this really trying to say?
Forgiving is good - because forgiveness also sets you free in many ways - Forgetting is best - best to move on? Best to be open ?

Forgiving can be hard, but I think forgetting is much harder.

Meal Plan Monday - short week

Well as you know - we're off this Thursday so the meal-planning is somewhat different!

Monday (Today)    Pasta Bascaiola
Tuesday                 Liss' sticky thai chicken
Wednesday            Homemade Hamburgers

Now, that's not all, no, that's not all.  I'm going to be doing some new snacks/munchies to take on the road... stay tuned! 

My Mum came down from Cairns last Thursday and bought with me (possibly illegally?) some monkey(sugar) bananas and some ENORMOUS passionfruit - black and yellow and also some black sapote (chocolate fruit) -it's also called a black persimmon - let's hope it gets a better review than the orange persimmon from my hubby - ha!  They are nice on their own but I would love to make some new creations with those before we leave too - I'm going to be BUSY.

If you've got any recipes you'd love to throw my way for any of those fruits, please leave a comment - I can use all the inspiration I can get!

Sunday, August 23

If you're after some fun blogs to have a looksee at:

I've discovered the hilarity of these ones - funny-mummies

VodkaMom. A woman after thine own heart. She loves vodka! I mean, why wouldn't you combine motherhood and vodka? Sounds perfectly normal to me! Witty and painfully honest... she pokes fun at herself, her life and her kids (with love of course). and there's just enough seriousness to make you think... My recommended post here.

Mad Boastings of a Cheapskate Mom - a mixed bag really - I enjoy her posts that talk about her life and misgivings as a mother - cracks me up. recommended post here

Those with multiples will love this site 'You've got your hands full' british Mum of fraternal twin girls and journo/author Linda Jones shares her feelings and findings on life with multiples and life with kids in general.
recommended post here


No, not from blogging world, but we're off on a mini-driving holiday on Thursday.. can't wait. We're headed to the Ballina/Byron area with stop overs to break up the driving each way in Port MacQuarie.

So now being frugal, and organised I'm looking at making some snacks/treats for the drive (we'll be driving about 24 hours in total there and back sparing side-trips) and we're staying in an apartment our first night, so I want to make a dinner to freeze that will defrost in the car on the way up too.. so I'm on the hunt for some new recipes...  I'll also be planning some games/activities for the road trips too.

The weather's warmer as we head up north, I'm looking forward to that.  I'm just looking forward to good times with family and friends (hubby's cousin and family, my aunt, one of our groomsmen and his family)

Board Game or Bored Game?

I have so many board games. I love them, but haven't played them really since having the kids - more because it was a dinner party type tradition - haven't had much opprotunity for that but I think this summer could change that!

What do you have and what do you love? What would you like or does the idea of a board game bore you to death?

So - what have we got:
Scrabble - Deluxe with lazy-susan-like board that spins
Monopoly - Standard English + Aussie Version
Trivial Pursuit - Genius Edition (might have to get the junior one down the track right?)
Baulderdash - I love this!!
Trivial Pursuit - last time I played this I had a specific party at my old house - got a whiteboard from work - loads of cocktails - good times.
Trouble - great game to play when you're downing shots! (oh and the kids will 'get' the real game so a good one I think)
Guess Who? - a recent addition from Eloises' birthday party..

Saturday, August 22

Lemon and Ginger Baked Cheesecake

Maybe I have lemon and ginger in the brain because I've got a cold? No idea but I went to make a baked cheesecake from a recipe my friend Di gave me, but alas, I didn't have enough cream cheese.. so I found another recipe but it seemed a bit bland. I'd bought some gingernut biscuits today (on sale for $1.49 a packet!) and mused how yummy they would be in the base. I also have the gigantic lemons to use... so there's the concept people. What I had!

8 Arnotts Gingernut biscuits
8 Arnotts Nice biscuits
100grams butter, melted
250grams cream cheese (I used light)
zest of one large or two small lemons
1 tb lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tb ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tb white sugar
Preheat oven to 150deg c
Crush biscuits in plastic ziplock bag or whizz through food processor until they resemble small crumbs
put in bowl, add melted butter and mix, then press into greased small springform tin.

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until it whips into a light smooth texture, slowly add one at a time, beating in between the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, milk, vanilla essence and ginger, then eggs, one by one.. ensure mixutre is smooth.

Turn mixture out on top of base and put into the oven for 25-30 minutes until it sets...

Combine in a bowl the sourcream, vanilla, sugar, ginger and cinnamon in a bowl. Spread on top of cake and put back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until set again.

Refrigerate for 5 hours before serving.


Frills in the Hills Copyright © 2009-2015