Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Calendar

though i would share the activities in our advent calendar for this year.
in each of the pockets we have a small piece of paper with a christmas activity for the countdown to christmas. some of the pockets also have a chocolate treat...i think there r only 5 chocolate treat ones.
here r our activities

  1. Put up the christmas tree
  2. Visit Santa
  3. Go gift shopping
  4. Make wrapping paper
  5. Draw christmas pictures
  6. Watch a christmas movie (the old ones i watched when i was little, u know the animated ones with rudolph saving the day)
  7. Listen to christmas stories and then draw a picture of the story
  8. Donate a gift to the wishing tree
  9. write christmas cards
  10. Email santa
  11. Play christmas games on the computer (see links below)
  12. carols by candlelight
  13. christmas concert
  14. listen to carols
  15. make a christmas decoration
  16. make the christmas cake
  17. make christmas coookies
  18. christmas window art
  19. Make grandparent presents
  20. make a hand and feet reindeer
  21. make christmas gift tags
  22. wrap christmas presents
  23. make a christmas table centrepiece
  24. share the story of christmas, track santa on santa tracker (maybe midnight mass, still up for discussion)
  25. share the joy of christmas

we like having activities in our advent calendar, builds nice excitment for the day and helps us teach the kids about giving and not just recieveing and we r starting to teach them this year about christmas and the purpose of the celebration.

here r some christmas links to great websites (games, gift tags, recipes, australian christmas site) (email santa, santa tracker, stories, games, recipes)

none of this really cost me any money. we have a cloth reusable advent calendar, there r plenty of colouring in pages on the internet. the only money i have spent is the repositional paint for the window decorating and i bought the old christmas movies. but for the most part free activities for us to do each day. mostly from free internet sites. if the two above dont suit your needs try a search it brings up plenty! including countless sites of colouring in pages and stories.

ive used the above two before, including in a school situation.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

jingle mouse

how cute is he

i made two

u will find the tutorial to make him here

jingle mouse was very easy, and quick.

we r looking forward to putting them on the tree of which we will be getting a new tree....a big tree woohoo...ive always wanted one! its my tuesday job

my camera we heard back...the lense can be repaired a cost of course but a cheaper one than a new lense....sooon!! until then its the trusty mobile phone photos, im so sorry!

i have some cards to share with u all over the weekend made for the dec dare at aussie dares and some sewing. some pj's for lilly and pj pants for me

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

my fried rice

as i was making it for dinner tonight i thought i would share the recipe.
its so not fried rice but dont tell my kids that. they love it!
and its something that has morphed into the rice i make today. ive been making it forever. since i was at uni and it would feed a house full for a few days and was cheap as chips to make.
i pack it with veg that my kids eat willingly under the its fried rice name.

u will need
2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
hoisin sauce
soy sauce
1 head broccoli
1 large onion
2 carrots
peas and corn (frozen is fine)
4 or 5 mushrooms
bacon/chicken/prawns/pork/ham (optional)
sesame seeds/cashew nuts
olive oil and seasme seed oil
2 eggs

cook the rice in the microwave, on the stove or in a rice cooker using absorption method. and set aside. no need to chill it, so u can cook the rice as u prepare everything else.

in a wok or large frying pan add a splash of olive oil and the seasme seed oil. cook a wedge cut onion. add meat if using meat. and cook until meat is cooked. add chopped vegies. cook for a few minutes.

add to the wok 1 or 2 tablespoons of the hoisin sauce. plus a tablespoon (or a good splash we dont measure) of soy sauce. i also add a little bit of water...couple of tablespoons at this point and then cover and let it simmer away until the veg is cooked, but not totally soft.

push the veg aside, crack the eggs into the wok and cook. break them apart and mix in with the veg.

add in the rice now and mix it all around. sprinkle with seasme seeds/cashew nuts.
serve with sweet chili sauce

menu 2

well my menu from last week is nearly over. some reflections for future reference.
zucchini slice...a big winner!! it will be back in the menu very soon.
emily would not eat the chicken sticks...and they were yum and she was having a moment over the crumbed chicken (nugget size) too, but they were both also yummy, so we will try her on them again soon.

we have fried rice for tonight and then beef and carrot ragout tomorrow. we will see how they go.

if your looking for a menu that keeps working, without having to write one every week check out julies blog. link in side bar. she hasa great5 week menu that doesnt change but has plenty of room to move so that u are eating differently.

anyway i thought i would keep sharing our menus and some of the recipes. if u wanted to try menus and mine suit u and your family use away.

menu 2

this coming fortnight we will be having

  • pork sausage and potato salad and greens
  • lamb chops and veg
  • chicken stirfry and rice {hoisin based stirfry, we will use little chicken and lots of stirfrying type fresh veg}
  • creammy mushroom and bacon pasta {but we dont use cream, i will use evaporated milk instead}

first of our veg based meals this week will be

  • stuffed roast potatos. {easy ,bake a well seasoned skin on potato -i will start ours in the microwave - then cut open add butter and some cold salads we r thinking slaw, top with sour cream and cheese}
  • fish and salad plus roasted potatos {fish choice is up to dh, itjust depends whats good, but it will be pan seared and oven finished}
  • warm beef salad
  • roast meat {depends whats on special} and veg
  • hamburgers on fresh homemade rolls with homemade mince patties and salad
  • pizza on a homemade base with homemade pizza sauce
  • apricot chicken in the slow cooker
  • second veg based meal will be roast pumpkin pasta
  • and attempting to add a third veg based meal this week, but its a totally new one for us so i dont know how it will go crisp rice omelette from donna hay with roast potatos and green salad
  • and last this fortnight will be a meal out. probably at the local wine bar or the pub for parma night {im not sure i get the whole parma thing, but its huge down here}. we r trying very hard to not do takeaway. going to an affordable local walking distance place gets us all out of the house and is nice. and supports local business


  • self saucing chocolate pudding - we didnt eat it last week so all ingredients r still in the cupboard
  • fruit salad


  • homemade orange coridal
  • homemade chocolate topping
  • homemade muesli
  • daily homemake bread
  • eaisyo yoghurt


  • caramel-filled biscuits from donna hay and new for us
  • lavash bread crackers
  • apple muffins
  • scones

and something i can decide yet!

and finally...we found a great fruit shop. its in a town about 20 minutes away from here, it reminds me of older style fruit and veg shops and it aways smells devine. i hate supermarket fruit and veg, and well im waiting waiting for my own produce to start, so im happy to of found this local to my council shire small business that well and truely deserves our hard earned money over the supermarket!

Friday, November 21, 2008

zucchini slice

thought i would share this recipe
i have no idea where it came from, a friend from work many years ago passed it on to me after she made it for a work shared lunch.
its yummo!
375g zucchini
1 large onion
3 rashers bacon (optional)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup oil (i used good olive oil)
5 eggs (i only had 4 yesterday and it worked fine too)
salt, pepper

grate unpeeled zucchini coarsely, finely chop onion and bacon. combine zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese, sifted flour, oil and lightly beaten eggs, season with salt and pepper. pour into well-greased lamington tin (16cmx 26cm), bake in moderate oven 30 to 40 minutes
serves at least 6

i have cooked this with less oil, it still works well
i have frozen it for short periods of time, works well
yesterday i made it with only 4 eggs, so used all the oil required, worked well.
and to take to peoples places i have made it as mini muffin size (takes less cooking time) and they will walk off the plate.
ive made it with bacon and without.
the best part i got zucchini into the kids and they loved it!
we had 4 slices for dinner with salad. and the remaining two for lunch today with salad.

i will be making this again when we harvest our own home grown zucchini's later in the season. its a great way to use them up.

sorry no lense jammed and its all off being fixed i hope

Thursday, November 20, 2008


this is made from a mccalls pattern
has 6 different things to make up.
this is for lilly, im going to put it away from christmas. but im happy with how it turned out
tonight i hope to sew her a few more things. another set in a different style and a dress. then i will work on some emily things

ornament swap

just thought i would share what ive been up too this week
ive been taking part in a christmas ornament swap
and this is what i made to send to my partner. actually everything that was in the i have to post u basket went this morning. woohoo!!!!
the ideas for everything came from martha stewart website, i would love to give a link...but i dont think i could find some of it again if my life depended on it, i know i was on the site for ages looking around at her crafts for christmas section. lots of clever things.
i also made the box. makes everything look so cute
i visit daily this site its a link to all sorts of handmade craft instructions. its a must visit site! this is where i found the box link.
lots of rain, lots of trying to keep the kids entertained in the last 48 hours. the rain is good but.
my vegies r loving it all
i have some awards to give out
thanks to those that awarded me
i will get onto it tomorrow i promise

Sunday, November 16, 2008

do you ever

do things u know u shouldnt??

that for me was 60minutes tonight. we always watch
but stories involving toddlers that die or nearly die i should really be kept away from!
how quickly i can be reminded of what happened to us, and by what could of happened and how close we came!

backyard swimming pools, i know i wont be inviting one into our lives ever.

we r however looking seriously at a reversing camera for the car, i cant seem to reverse until i know the kids r with daniel as in like a totally compulsive checking every 5 seconds type response to what happened to us.

we managed to scratch together $50 to donate to ronald macdonald house this week..:)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

menu planning

i often menu plan
its a great way to save at the supermarket, it also helps me toremember to try new things i have found or to cycle things inthat we havent bothered to have in a while. it also makes me look in the cupboard before i go shopping (a job i hate! and one i am looking forward to saying good bye to one day soon on the fortnightly basis that is) anyway i thought i would start sharing our menus they go for two weeks generally.

im not good at saying on tuesday in two weeks i will have...because i end up looking at it and going no way! yuck. so we have found the best way for us or me hehe is to have 14 meals on a list and we just crossthem off when they r gone.

so this next two weeks we will be having
spaghetti bol twice (canned tomato, tomato soup, tomato paste, mushroom, mince, mixed herb sauce, with homemade pasta)
rice paper rolls (a fav in this house usually with lots of raw veg and stirfried chicken)
zuchinni slice and salad
quiche and salad (probably ham, onion all homemade)
crumbed chicken, homemade chips and other veg
pizza (homemade base, with various toppings)
chicken sticks (homemade) with salad
sausage, mash potato
roast chicken and veg
fried rice
bacon and egg pie and salad
beef and carrot ragout (slow cooker)
hamburgers(homemade mince patties, homemade bread rolls)

Its nothing special in terms of feeding ourselves, but i know that emily in particular will eat something if im lucky from each of the meals. she isnt into taking risks with food and refuses to eat if she doesnt like something. i am trying to find some veg dishes that she will eat. last week we had veg patties on our burgers...emily wouldnt eat, which was a shame because we all liked them, so this fortnight im going to try zucchini slice and fried rice (no meat) and see what happens. lilly used to love zucchini slice so im hopeful of some success with that one. im trying to work into our eating 2 meals per week that r just veg far ive got one in each week, its hard going with my house of meat eaters...but we r getting there slowly.
lunches we generally eat leftovers, tuna and salad open sandwiches on fresh daily baked bread or we r out or lilly is at preschool. so i left lunch off our menu planning. we usually incooperate eating out once a week too, but for the next fortnight we decided to stay home for dinners because i had mylovely friend marnie here lastweek and while we were great for dinner opting to stay home we spent a bit over lunch time and on some wine for after the kids were in bed asleep toohehe..:) so we rfinding the balance a bit this fortnight.

we will also bake
bread daily
lavash biscuits
jam drops
donut cupcakes
muesli bars/slice
and make
a dip or two for snacks
and more muesli for breakfast

i will also add two deserts (we dont often have it, but like to know itsthere if we want it)
apple crumble
self saucing chocolate pudding

so thats us...what r u planniing on having this week??
share away

Sunday, November 09, 2008

support ronald mcdonald house this weekend

i cant even begin explaining just how thankful we are to ronald mcdonald house. You never imagine u will need them, you think what a great thing they r for the familys of sick children and if your anything like us dont really think much more about it. Until u need them. housing for familys is very much in need close to the childrens hospitals around australia. we were so lucky to be able to use the facilities of ronald mac house at the royal childrens in melbourne for our entire stay eariler this year, i have no idea how i would of fed myself, showered, and had a small place to call home during those weeks. knowing that lilly was safe over at the house with either myself or dan or my dad or mum made things just a little bit easier to cope with.
i wish we were in the position to make a donation that would make a difference, like many of the familys helped by ronald mac house we r not. we donate all our change each and every time we enter a mcdonalds and across the year i guess that adds up to a few hundred dollars. right now in aid of ronald mcdonald house mcdonalds is selling cookie houses. the cookies r from byron bay cookie company and r yummy. $2 from every house sold goes direct to ronald mcdonald house charity. if thats all u can do this week we urge u to step inside a mcdonalds this week and purchase a house. small amounts add up to make a difference.
we will be on hand at mcdonalds wendouree on saturday morning for breakfast to lend our support to mchappy day as funds r raised for the chairty. it is of course a cause held dear to the hearts of everyone in my family after emilys accdient. to read more of our story emilys accident can be found in the labels of my blog
be generous if u can

Thursday, November 06, 2008

where we r at

with our simple living change.
  • i forget the last time i actually bought a loaf of bread, we generally make a loaf a day. a mix of white, wholemeal and bread rolls depending on my mood and what is in the pantry.
  • cleaning wise we have had a huge change, we r now on septic so many of the products i once used r out the window. we r generally getting by on vingear and bicarb, i usually wipe the benches down at the start of the washing up using the clean water with homemade dishwashing liquid in it. i am however back using a dishwasher...woohoo...but cant use alot of homemade powders because of the borax (it cant go in the septic), and that fact that in vic i can not for the life of me find washing soda...go figure. in the washing machine for our clothes we r using environmentally friendly, septic friendly liquids...its as good as its going to get i think. the floors for the most part we r using dry flat mop for sweeping, and a mircrofibre wet mop for mopping. mircofibre in the bathroom too, thankfully i have no mould problems in this house. when the microfibre just wont do it (esp with a toilet training toddler on the floors) i do go for something a little more!
  • we took a bit of a pledge to not buy new clothes...its going well. for the girls and myself im making quite bit...the only things on the buy list r underwear and school uniforms.
  • christmas : the kids r getting ALOT of homemade items this year. at their ages they wont know the difference.
  • we r growing some of our own food.

its still a work in progress atm, as we build beds etc, i hope they r all going by sunday/monday. all the plants will be raised from seed by me, i have been working on that for ages and i have numerous things ready to go in the garden beds by monday..:) we have choosen to landscape parts of our new yard with etable plants and vines. alot of the yard already had etable trees. and this morning i was greeted to this view of my garbage bin potatos...they r poking their little heads up woohoo. i have two bins of potatos and more seed potatos to go down in the garden beds next week too. its all a bit late i know. but we r enjoying the changes..:) in the gardens so far we already have planted a bay leaf tree, 2 beans, 1 snowpea, 2 zuchinnis, 2 corns, 2 cucumbers, i just poped them in the beds that were here.

  • we r trying to make everything we eat from scratch, that we can atm. see the museli a tthe top of the page...blogger wont let me move it for some strange reason. i have wanted to make my own for weeks, finally this morning was the day. i dont know why it took so long as it was very easy. and its so yum. i didnt measure anything, but it has a pack of rolled oats, half a pack of bran (i used processed bran i cant stand the flakey stuff), coconut, dried apple and apricot, sutanas, a seed mix, pine nuts and almonds that dan roasted in the oven first (worth it, i wouldnt of but he wanted to) i think thats it....shake and your done...i had mine with milk this morning, but im going to make some vanilla yoghurt today for tomorrow cause i bet it will be since with that too. i couldnt tell the price of the museli i didnt count it bad i know...but i have enough of everything except the oats to do it all again so its not to bad when i put it like that. i have purchased an electric fowlers vacola preserving kit from ebay so we can make tomato sauce, pasta sauce, beetroots etc and get stock pilling our own food, i should have it next week so that will be some interesting experienmenting to come!
  • we decided whenw e moved to change our eletricity. we went to go switch and compared the deals around. we wanted to go with some green energy. 10% green power saw no change in the bills we were paying, but we went 25% for $1 extra per week. i would love to work towards 100%. we have done alot of thinking about the electricity we used during winter. i know its part of living here but we were running the dryer for every wash for months because things just wouldnt dry. i saw a mrspeggs clothesline advertised. its a portable line that is better constructed than the clothes airers etc that r available. anyway we need a new clothes line here. so we decided to go with a portable one, that will easily come inside and hold a load of washing well over winter so it can be dried in the rooms we pay to heat. might as well get what we can out of it., we r interested to see how much of a difference this will make for us over the winter months if we dont have to run the dryer ALL the time.
  • im still knitting dishclothes (everyone even my chef dh loves them)
  • we have cut out most throw away items
  • we have reduced our rubbish by making things from scratch because there is no packaging, by giving things to preschool for construction and by starting our compost off, and by making emily's training pants ive reduced the nappies we r using to mainly a night time useage. (that one is also good for the bank balance!)
  • another big change we have all made is a committment to stop using shampoo and conditioner. we have started by using an apple vingear rinse and having another few weeks to go before we start using bicarb for our hair as well. the vingear rinse was surprising! the first time we were oh i dont know...the second time was bit better...the third and my hair was like i had usedsome expensive shampoo and was so lovely. im preparing myself to go through the ups and downs again when we change to the bicarb as well...but the vingear taught us it will get better and with great results.

well thats just a bit of what we have been working away on since deciding to live this life. we r all happiler, healthier and never bored thats for sure

Monday, November 03, 2008

moving houses and so much more

moving week went well, we were all out of the other house on tuesday and it was all cleaned by thursday morning and the keys handed back, im still unpacking here and going through things and getting rid of things we no longer need.

as promised the start of what im calling

a tour around my house, i will share part of our home every month as we change it and make it ours
i started with the outside

because these r going to be my veg garden beds. i have 4 of them going up the side boundary of our property. tomorrow dan is going to hoe them up, im going to add some cow poo and compost and then on the weekend i have ordered some organic garden soil to be delivered. and come sunday afternoon i hope im showing u all some planted out beds. i have lettuce and tomato ready to go...some cucumber and zucchini, a popcorn, carrots, beets and much more coming on. i cant wait. we will add a makeshift fence around this garden to keep the dog out and the rabbits...and the kids! i also have an arch for the veg garden entry and a grape vine to grow over it. we went with recycled railway sleepers..c grade ones they were $20 each and we brought them home while we had the moving truck so we saved on delivery charges too. dan put them all in place today, and i had two left over and we found some old ones out in the yard so we have added a garden bed to the front of the house, i will share pics when its organised.this is the view down the back of our block, just through those trees is a road. but i love this view makes me forget that we live in town. we have some landscaping plans for this to thicken it up i would like to put a bike track through it for the girls to ride on, also we have a natural low through the bottom part of the yard im going to get some river rocks and turn it into a dry creek bed, we dont want to lose it because its the natural drainage of our property...but we will work on the landscaping plans slowly one small part at a time. forgive the scared looking dog, she could sense the storm that came and didnt do anything, it sort of missed us, we did move her inside after this pic. i think this is one of my fav parts of my house this view. i love the older machinery around the place. i love the painting, of which we r lucky to have being in a hertiage house and all! this is the little porch outside our loungeroom and side door way. i can so see sitting out here watching the girls play. or looking at my veg growing. i want to find a new location for the wood there too. beside this is a lovely OLD rose im going to pop in a few other roses in this location too. they will be nice to bring inside for flowers too. we r waiting on a screen door for here too as this will let in that lovely cross breeze we seem to get here over winter. we will put one on the very front/back door (we havent worked out what to call it yet lol) too. but the house has been really lovely during the day.

as we work outside alot this month i will share more. water tank going on the other side of the house next week by friday i hope.

well i managed to make it through another round of sytycs. i so didnt expect too its so close the voting. i had no internet this week so the lovely rach from scraptacular text me all the details and my interent was back today, thats a whole other story.

this week we had to make two layouts

this is based on a pencillines sketch
emilys first visit to the park after her accident. she was pretty funny. screaming wow the part wow, wow the park, with a im going to play inthere somewhere too lol. everyone was looking she was just so excited.
this one had to have a title, journalling and an 8x10 photo. this is miss lilly last weekend at her preschools 30th birthday. pockets the clow was there, and he kept her entertianed while i took some photos.

and yes finally im back with an internet connection. bigpond was having a minor moment i think, i actually felt bad for the people working there it wasnt their fault. if u r waiting for a bigpond anything atm and it hasnt happened RING THEM my order for a connection was held up 4 times! with no real reason at all. we have come to the conclusion that telstra empolyee's need to speak to people and not computers. on monday telstra man rings, im coming to connect your phone...huh! we have no line, it has to be built u guys sent me an mobile homeline. ok he says im coming anyway. ok...he gets here goes for a walk around our property and comes back. your phone line is coming from the stree in front of yours. werid but true, there is no record of this line anywhere. ok so that solved one problem. by 6.30 that night we had the phone up and going no worries. woohoo. other phone was returned to telstra and we were set. we were told to ring bigpond again for adsl line tests etc, but there was a heap on concern over the very old phone line holding adsl no worries i said we r going wireless. he said ring u may not have too. so i ring. the firstof 3 1hour phone calls with bigpond. spoke to a guy he said thats great lets test the line, shows it should be ok...great...he says im not cancelling your wireless order just yet...great i say, he says lets get your old account transfered and see what happens. 12 the following day u should be good. next day internet. im left thinking thats ok we didnt think it would work. i ring bigpond to let them know its not working. turns out they had not even turned it on yet! the order was stuck in an error. oh ok. whats the status on our wireless...also stuck. great. can u fix it. yep no worries. thanks great. but instead of fixing the orders we had, the orders were started all over again! r u kidding me. phone gets cut off battery ran out...bugger. later that night i ring back. explain i was cut off and want to check its all good. explain what i want. he looks. ok yep its all good your adsl modem will be sent out to u u will have it in 10 days...huh! umm i have an adsl modem. oh ...turns out my transfer experiment was turned into a brand new internet order. i dont think so! he fixed it, and checked everything and found out it was all stuck. finally someone fills out a form and within 24 working hours its fixed and im here. im here sitting on my adsl line, the line we shouldnt be able to have but do have...go figure. no only that but today 4 weeks to the day of the order my wireless modem also turned up! we now have to send it back. i tell u i dont think they know what the hell is going on. i dont blame telstra workers u could tell they were pulling their hair out with me. thankyou sara for everything u did too. we partly buggered up stuff witht he land line experiement. we r going to experiement with this connection this week and see if its ok and then decide on the weekend about the wireless. i so dont want to change my email addy.

anyway i hope everyone is having a great week. i even sleeping again...funny how the change of one thing can change something else. this house makes me feel happy! i had forgotten that feeling.

im back!!

got my internet back today...after much buggering around from telstra
but ime here

backwith a real update later