Friday, July 31

Here's a giggle and maybe some inspiration if you have teenagers...

Oh, so THAT's how you do it!!? Noted.

How you doing?

With these sunny mild days we've been having I'm really looking forward to spring and spending more time outside.
We were the broken house last week - within 24 hours the remaining 2 slots of our 4 slice toaster bit the dust and our microwave konked.  So we spent the weekend purchasing replacements plus a new heater given our one broke about a month ago and our main living area was being heated by a 3 column heater.. eek...  We also moved up our carseats to the next size as our tall girls have grown out of them and I'm pretty sure they're illegal.   Luckily we've been able to recoup most of the cost by selling the old ones.  Hoorah.
Is everyone thinking about how to make a meal from the contents of the pantry - the first waste-not-want-not challenge?  I'll be doing some over the weekend, can't wait to share them with you!  Also would love a suggestion for Challenge 2- email me or post a comment!

Cooks and crafters - don't forget that the Make-it-from-scratch carnival is here next Tuesday - if you don't want to participate, that's fine - come back and get some inspiration!  There's some really inspiring stuff in it this week.. if you do want to contribute go to the carnival website here by Sunday night...

Hope your weekend has a short-to-do list and lots of fun or nothing planned!

FrillyFrivolousFriday - Recession 101

I love this - found on a Manhattan billboard:
Photo Courtesy: Divine Caroline

Thursday, July 30

With Jo Frost ringing in my head...

I think things are on the improve.  I feel my head clearing, my attitude adjust.  I'm making it out of the fog I think.

As much as the public, parents and 'experts' give Jo Frost (the Supernanny) a hard time (well let's face it her 'unasseptable' is a little on the funny side, makes me giggle!) her methods do work. Show love, be consistent, be firm.  Naughty corner, age-for-minutes time-outs and explaining in terms that kids' understand the expectations...of them and you.

Another parenting guru I seek as a reference is Dr Tanya Byron.  She is a british child psychologist you may have seen her on the House of Tiny Tearaways (oh how I loved that show and wish they would bring it back! It's like Big Brother for parents and wayward toddlers) I have her book:  Your Child Year by Year.  It looks at development/health and behaviour year-by-year from ages 3-14 (so not your typical baby book) would recommend it to anyone!
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Salmon Macaroni Bake

I love shortcut recipes.  Don't get me wrong - I love pouring love into meals too but with three young children and a busy lifestyle not every night can be cordon bleu!

This recipe can have many variations too - so if you have veges in your fridge that need to be used, use them... what I like about this - that even if you don't have veges to add -most of the ingredients can be found in your pantry - with the exception of the butter and cheese.  I keep shredded cheese in the freezer so almost always have some.  A great opportunity to use leftover pasta too.

This feeds our brood plus 2 lunches - so suffice to say it feeds 6 - feel free to halve if you are cooking for less or don't like leftovers!

3 cups cooked macaroni/pasta (1.25 cups uncooked qty if needing to make)
4 cups milk (I use 1 cup milk powder from the pantry and fill to make 4 cups)
1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup tasty cheese
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1 x 400gr can pink or red salmon (or tuna!)
1 cup veges of choice (optional)
1 tb dijon mustard

Cook your pasta if necessary, drain and set aside in casserole dish.  If you already have cooked pasta from fridge, rinse with warm water to separate and drain and set aside in casserole dish

Mash salmon or tuna with a fork,and mix through pasta, do the same with the cheese, chop parsley and stir through
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius
If using powdered milk, mix - if not have your 4 cups measured ready to go..
In a saucepan, melt butter, add flour and stir until combined with whisk- gradually add milk 1/2 cup at a time and stir until it thickens, turn off heat when last 1/2 cup is add mustard and pepper, whisk through.

Add sauce to ingredients and stir through, add veges and stir through!

Top with breadcrumbs and heat in oven for 20 mins - or until breadcrumbs brown

Serve and enjoy!

RealityBites: It's not all black-and-white you know...

I'm missing Masterchef, I'm not into the 7pm Project - it's Rove Live meets the news trying to be the Panel... nup. Love Hughesy though - I hope it doesn't kill his career.

Project Runway
Oh man, that Michael is such a W-A-N-K-E-R!!!  I mean yes you can be camp and bitchy but seriously?  I loved that Jason called his dress like a 70's Patio Party Dress. bwhahahahaaa
And his sidekicks Amber and Lauren... honestly.. get outta here!! Amber is g-g-g-one.  Woot.  Her dress was appalling!

The triple threat of the 3 best designers - Mark, Anthony and William, there was no way on the planet they would be gone. Loved their collection - the detail of the back of Williams' design was exquisite.
Ryan has been in the bottom a bit so it wasn't a surprise to see him go though it is sad.  Kellianne.. she's got nine lives!  I did like her dress though!

Wednesday, July 29

It's my turn to 'Make it from Scratch'

Next week I'm going to be guest-hosting the Make it from Scratch Carnival. It's the first time to my knowledge it's been hosted here in Australia.

What is it?
Bloggers link their recipes or creations - of things they have made 'from scratch'.  If you have an interest in this you can discover a whole lot of new blogs and ideas on how to make from scratch culinary delights, or useful household items or gifts. It also is a great way for other bloggers to find you!

There are three categories
Knitting, Crafts etc.

It would be FANTASTIC to get more aussies in the carnival, well more people!  Click here to see the Make it from Scratch HQ or here to submit your own post to the carnival - anyone can do so!!

One Pot Dinner - Chorizo and Fennel Hotpot

Now when I picked up some fennel at the local fruit market my hubby looked at it with much distaste and a 'what IS that'? I knew at that point there was no putting it in a salad and feeding it to him so cooked it must be.... and guess what? He thought it was yummy!

For those who haven't had/cooked with fennel it's like a slightly aniseedy celery. A bit more robust in texture though. It features in a lot of mediteranean cooking and the seeds are used extensively in many cuisines.

Challenge yourself - buy some! It's in season at the moment so very cheap - around $1-2 for a bulb.

1 large bulb fennel, diced
4 chorizo sausages, sliced in 1cm slices
1 large red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 x 10cm stalk rosemary or 1 tb dried rosemary
1 x 420gr diced tomatoes
1 x 420gr can white, butter or cannelini beans
2 cups chicken stock
1 tb tomato paste
2 tb olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in deep frypan, and cook the chorizo on each side - when done, take out of the pan and set aside.

Add the onion, fennel, garlic and rosemary, add about 1 cup of the stock and simmer until fennel and onion softens (about 8-10 minutes)
Add the chorizo back, and the tin of tomato and tin of beans stir through
Lastly, add the last cup of stock, and the tomato paste, salt and pepper and simmer until thickened.
You could eat this on it's own or with rice, veges or over the top vege mash.

Word-to-the-wise-Wednesday - bargains to be had..

If you have a creative streak or you don't like logo clothing or you're after an inexpensive school jumper - check out - plain coloured Tees, jumpers, aprons for babies to plus-sizings - all in good quality fabric and finishing. For example, cap sleeved t-shirts in a lycra cotton blend (think Bonds stretchies) is $7.50 - but if you buy 2 - you get 20% discount on both - if you buy 10 or more you get 30% off and so on... I placed an order with my best friend last week and we split our postage - worked out very cheap!
They also sell transfer paper that you can make your own transfer to put on your piece of clothing if you have a inkjet printer... Christmas presents? Kids' birthday parties? Get to it!

Also, Snapfish have free delivery for orders over $30 - until 4th August - use code SHIP30AU9

Tuesday, July 28

signing up for the funny farm....

I'm usually quite controlled and measured, but this past week has been a killer.
The downside of having 3 girls in an 18 month age-difference range is what I'm experiencing right now. The testing of boundaries. TIMES THREE.
All of them questioning/arguing/challenging/disobeying.
This I can handle if one of them is having an 'off day'. But lately it's EVERY day. Rude, attention-seeking behaviour - which I am giving them the attention. In positive ways - but then one mucks up and it's a bloody mutiny - I spend so much time putting children in and out of naughty corners, bedrooms that I'm just run ragged.
I've had a tension headache for a week I can't get rid of. I'm seriously getting to the end of each day and thinking about drinking as a coping mechanism... and anyone who knows me - knows that's NOT me. Two cocktails tonight.  TWO.

I've got to stay consistent and not kill someone!! It's HARD.
So if I'm not around online-blog-otherwise - you know why.. I might either be at the funny farm or at the hospital.
Positive attitude tomorrow.  It's got to get better!

What will they think of next #15 - Control your kid by remote?

Control your kid by remote - no joke!

Well maybe just a little one!  Every parents' fantasy - a remote control to stop screaming, tattoos, sulking, a button to command a please, thank you, to tidy their room - don't you love it.

A great fun gift from Home Couture - maybe a gift for that idealistic parent-to-be or clueless babysitter...
•No batteries required: powered by positive thinking.
•To operate, just point remote at subject, push any button on the remote and hope for the best.

Monday, July 27

The recipe for the perfect day:

The BlogThis Challenge this week is to share your recipe for the perfect day - here's mine that I can devise after a challenging day with my kids - I need a break!

  • I get to sleep in to 9.00am
  • Hubby has taken the kids to the park by that time and has breakfasted, dressed kids and house is clean, load of washing out (hey, I can do this, he can too!)
  • I catch up with the SMH whilst having some breakky in my PJ, no interruptions.

  • Have a shower - uninterrupted.

  • Dress and go out - have haircut/massage meet my bestie for lunch without her kids.

  • Go home, hang out with kids or go to a park, swimming etc.

  • Make kids dinner - arrange a babysitter

  • Go out to dinner with my hubby - to one of our favourites - Balmoral Bathers' Pavillion. Nicks' Seafood or Meat and Wine Co.
  • Home and chat to early hours with hubby.

In short though - any day would be perfect with no arguing/back-chatting with children!! Today has been a Barry-Crocker-Shocker!!

Meal Plan Monday

Tonight - Sausage Fennel Hotpot (I could convince anyone who is dubious about fennel to eat this - it's delicious!)
Tuesday - Tuna Macaroni Bake
Wednesday - Chilli Con Carne
Thursday - Hearty Ham Soup (made in slow cooker)
Friday - Home-made hamburgers
Saturday - Gnocchi
Sunday - Roast Lamb Dinner
As we went to Dinner on Friday night - I have some fish up my sleeve for a swap/stretch out shopping and instead of making the beef casserole last week I used some of the spare sausages I had - so I also have some beef up my sleeve for down the track too.  Going to try and keep this mealplan to plan..!

A dying art?

on the weekend we were repairing the 'house of broke' (aka replacing the heater, toaster and microwave which have busted over past weeks - also known as goodbye tax cheque) and as I was completing all the warranty forms (after the laptop incident extended warranty is now my friend)  and I realised how awful my handwriting has become!

Then I thought about it - what do I write these days?
Shopping Lists (and for my big shop I type this into my meal planning spreadsheet!)
To do lists
The odd form here and there  (not often)

That's it?

No wonder my handwriting is shocking.  I used to have nice handwriting.  I used to get complimented on it. 

A dying art ?

Sunday, July 26

OctoMom plus 14 - coming to your tv soon apparently

Those of you who watch Jon and Kate plus 8 (or rather seper8) might want to stop watching multiple birth reality right now.  Nadia Sulieman - yes 'Octomom'  has apparently signed on to do reality with her 14 kids and it starts in October.  I've read that apparently court documents reveal that each child will be paid $250 a day and 15% of all earnings will be placed in trust for each child when they turn 18 or legally leave home.
Part of me is disgusted, the other is curious.

Mummy did a bad, bad thing.

On Friday night we celebrated my Mums' birthday (it's on Monday but she was in town Friday) and I did a bad, bad thing.
We went to Dee Why RSL (sounds bad but it's actually really nice) and I smuggled in dessert. You gotta have birthday cake right?

It was also the perfect excuse to use these fabbo cupcake boxes that I bought from Sugar Daddy Cake Design - a re-usable and fold-down boxes with clear tops so you can display your wares.

The 2 cupcake ones are $2.10 each and the 6 cupcake ones are currently on sale for $2.25 each. (bargain huh!?) If you like gifting cupcakes - it's a must!

So I got to use my new wilton teal food colouring and I already had the rose cashous (from Wheel and Barrow yonks ago) and the gorgeous cupcake papers I bought from Alfresco Emporium. The flowers I also bought from sugar daddy - they are 25c each.
The result:


I made a discovery yesterday at Spotlight - the quilting section. Even though I'm not a quilter and I don't see that changing there are some beautiful fabrics! I picked up a lovely rosey pink and red rose on aqua background and some other fabric with the same aqua background (pictured!) and also some red sheeting. What am I doing with it? I'm making Eloise a new duvet cover.

Eloise's room is currently pink and white gingham with sky blue touches but it's kind of a 'little girl' room and whilst she is five, I'd like her room to take a more contemporary feel and less 'baby' if that makes sense. I plan on using some of the aqua/rose fabric to make scatter cushions and a canvas also. I'm also going to add trim to the new rose curtains I bought for a bargain $20!

I need to add some new handles to her draws and wardrobe and probably update the trim too - currently its red and sky blue. I might see if I can get away with it but if not I will change it.... and also cover her lampshade.

I'll keep you updated!

Saturday, July 25

Lauras' parallel universe...

It's a bit of a Laura day today given that snap-happy Saturday today was her too!

I don't know if this is normal for a 3 year old but our Laura has a parallel universe going on.. one that has 'her other Mum and Dad, dog Dougall and baby sister, Charlotte'.
This parallel universe has the potential to be very embarrassing should she talk to unsuspecting general public about this 'other' family.

Her other Dad likes to wear her Mums' skirts.
Her other Mum is a busdriver and can also drive a rocket ship.
I have no idea where she gets all this from but it's something that I think I'm going to have to bring up at the 21st...

SnapHappySaturday: Red-polka-dot-bikini

I must be wishing for summer weather again, this time last year I took the girls (solo!) up to Cairns to visit with my parents. The weather was amazing. It's lovely up there this time of the year. Whilst looking at the pics I came across this one, of my Dad and Laura, just having a quiet moment at Muddies playground. I love this pic. I've photoshopped it to make it black and white apart from the red-polka-dot-bikini. Here little hand on Dads' lap... I love it.

Muddies is a great water playground, provided free by the council, it's on the esplanade near Cairns Base Hospital and also has play equipment and a cafe attached to it, a must for toddlers plus, it has areas specifically fenced and arranged for each age range.

Thursday, July 23

Waste Not Want Not Challenge 1 - Let me feed you from my PANTRY.

Let me feed you from my PANTRY.
Share your pantry musthaves and a dish you make with them - tinned, boxed, dried, packet...!
It can be for a family dinner, a quick snack or when people drop by un-announced...
Give us inspiration to not only add some recipes to our repetoire, but non-perishables to our shopping list!

Post your link in the comments by next Friday 31st July

Let's try and get loads of people participating OK?  Spread the word!  Feel free to display the tile below:

I take the challenge!
Frills in the Hills

To add it to your blog just get into your blogs 'layout' area, add a new text widget to your sidebars and copy and paste in the html code (in a single line) that appears below, you can change that first line to say anything you'd like:

Me likey.

I'm a nut for kitchenware.  If you ask most people who've been to my house I have enough if not too much but I still love it.  So scouring the net - I've found a few things that I love, and you might love too.

Scoop and Sift - I have a tupperware sifter so I don't think I could manage to sneak this in, but it's beautiful no?  If you don't have a sifter I might be able to live vicariously through you?

$24.95 and has a 25 year warranty
Top shelf dishwasher safe
From Wheel and Barrow

Also from Wheel and Barrow this cute lunch bag would be perfect for containing snacks for daytrips with my brood.  Beautiful and reasonable $14.95

Whilst I'm on the cup-cake fetish - I bought these today from Alfresco Emporium (Happy Flower ones)
They wrap around your cupcakes and give them that little bit of flair $14.95 for 12 - a bit on the extravagant side but I have a plan for them! 

RECIPE: My Nans' recipe for Lemon Butter the old fashioned way...

My Nan shared with me her lemon butter recipe (and even wrote it out, don't you love her writing!?) and it's not a microwave shortcut like Court's recipe but it's yummy! Just because I can't do anything by the rules, and Court's recipe was a passion fruit lemon butter and at the time I didn't have any passion fruit - this is my Nan's recipe for lemon butter and I've varied it to make lemon passion fruit butter.

My Nan used to make lemon butter when I was young, and it was never in the family fridge for long. We would devour it. It's great to have this recipe and now make it for my family!

4 eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water (substitute this for passion fruit pulp if making lemon/passion fruit butter)
2 tablespoons lemon zest
125gr butter, chopped into cubes

Mix eggs, juice and sugar together in a glass bowl and then place over simmering water (double boiler style).

When sugar is dissolved, add pulp/water, zest and stir.

Add butter 1/4 of quantity at a time until melted, add the next quarter and so on, keep stirring.
Simmer for a further 15 minutes, or until the butter sticks to back of spoon.

Take off the saucepan, and leave to cool for 20 minutes.

Pour into sterilised jars, then refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Serve on toast, bread or use as filling for cakes.

I will forgive and even encourage you if you eat it with a spoon! :)

RealityBites: Tears and Annoyance

OK, as most of Australia watched this week - Julie won Masterchef Australia.  I myself was pleased, I personally didn't relate much to Poh's food philosophy - although I love hainese chicken!  Julie cooking from the heart - something she does with her family and the most enjoyable part of the day was sitting with her family and enjoying a meal she prepared together is something I related to 110%.  I was tearing up when she got the second 9/10 and it just escalated from there... by the time her boys and hubby ran through the door I was sobbing!

We can all look forward to the Masterchef cookbook in November in time for Christmas and Julie's cookbook next year (a good mothers' day pressie huh?). Julie is also writing a column for Australian Womens' Weekly.  Poh has been offered a job in Tokyo by Luke Mangan, we'll need to see what happens there....

I caught the end of this show last week, and this week I caught the whole episode - Stylista - where a whole bunch of pretentious prats backstab and outwardly bitch to snaffle a job at Elle Magazine.  It does have elements of The Devil Wears Prada.. it's interesting, irritating.. I think I'm going to watch it again.

Project Runway - Michael is so annoying. Amber isn't as annoying. Mark is getting increasingly annoying. Jason Brunstons' appearance is extremely annoying. It was annoying that Kristie's outfit at the challenge issue was ruined with her bra. Her outfit at the judging was ugly. It better get better is all I'm going to say... maybe it's the editing that's annoying?  Love Anthony. Don't mind Kellyane.


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