Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Let's Get Organised 2012!!!

Just under a week until our Let's Get Organised 2012 missions start!!! First mission will go live monday morning Jan 2nd!!!

You will need a few things to help you along the way.

Firstly a diary.
Personally I have chosen a paper diary with a day to a view as I have lots going on. But in recent years a cheap diary form the $2 shop that has a week to a view has been fine for me.
You may even choose to go electronic.
Choose whatever will work for you.
You will not only be writing in appointments etc but will need space to write a short To Do list each day.

Secondly some sorting boxes.
You will need 3 boxes. One for items to give away, for the rubbish and to put away
You can choose to be as cheap or as fancy as you'd like for these. Packing boxes are great, cheap clothes hampers would work fine too. Use whatever's around your house or you can get hold of easily and cheaply.
Something like this:

Looking forward to getting into it all next week with you all!

Take Care

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Baking ~ Raspberry Ribbons

Decided I'd try a couple of recipes I've recently seen on Pinterest. But first check these out...

Aren't they cute?? I bought them recently with a voucher my sister gave me for my birthday.
They are lovely cups and spoons and are pretty too!

Ready for a recipe??

I saw this pin the other day and knew I was going to have to try this for christmas. As with any new recipe you must try it before the big day. Now I didn't have any Betty Crocker mixes in the cupboard and wasn't about to go out and buy any so I searched through some books to find a nice basic sugar cookie recipe.I found a recipe I liked but it needed adapting. It's not too sweet which is good as the jam is sweet enough.

Eli with the final product

Ethan giving his ok to the recipe

They were rather yummy.

Beccis Sugar Cookie
50g butter
1/3C sugar
1/2t vanilla
2/3C plain flour
1T milk

Cream butter and sugar. 
Add in the remaining ingredients and mix to a firm dough.
Roll into a log and press into a flat log shape.
Make a burrow down the center using a wooden spoon handle. Carefully not to press too deeply.
Spoon jam down the middle.
Bake on a lined tray at 180C for about 20 mins or until lightly golden.
Let cool on the tray. 
Drizzle with melted white choc if desired.
Allow to set and cut into fingers.

Take Care

Wanna Play?

After a bit of coercing from a few good friends I've decided to run a year long decluttering and organising mission next year!

From Monday Jan 2nd I'll be running weekly missions focussing on our room of the month. They'll be simple missions, mostly only taking between 15 - 30 mins to complete.

All missions will be posted here on the blog, but for some extra support pop on over to my new Facebook page!

I'll be back after christmas with a bit more of a run down. Love to see you over at Facey though!

Take Care

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Altering a quilt cover

I picked up a couple of quilt covers for $5.99 each at Savers the other day for the boys. Saw this really cute blue and green checked one with cars and aeroplanes all over it for Eli and Ethan picked out a Scooby Doo one rather than the vinty BMX one I liked (kicking myself I didn't get it anyways).

Brian debated with me that it was a double bed, I said no way it's single, look the tag says so too. Get it home, wash it up, hang it on the line. Damn he was right! So after a second of panic I thought I should be able to take it in either side a bit and make into a single bed quilt cover.

So today was the day finally! Ethans been pestering me all week to have his put on his bed but I've been putting it off until I could have Eli's ready too.

I pulled out my brand new sewing machine that Brian bought me for my birthday, read the instructions, worked out the bobbins and stuff, then I was all set to go.
I used another quilt cover that I know fits our quilts nicely as a template. Found the middle of each quilt cover and measured how far from the edge I needed to stitch in. 20cm. Then I thought, hold on, the quilt is checked so I'll just follow the lines! It looks square. So I did. How wrong was I!!! There was a variation of up to 5cm in some places! So I had to unpick it. No quik unpik, ours broke months ago and I hadn't bought a replacement. No fear I'll use my Birch craft knife, worked brilliantly.
Realised that I'd have to measure from the edge to make it even but no tailors chalk. A dear friend suggested using a pencil, so I did. Great idea!
So first side measured and stitched!.
Then for the second side. Measure using the other single quilt cover, only 15cm. Ooops mustn't have had quite the middle, oh well it won't matter as the material is an all over design. Double checked holding our quilt against, yep all good. Stitched that side up then still keeping the quilt inside out I put the quilt in to be sure.
I then zig zag stitched a bit form the straight line then trimmed the quilt cover. I so need new sewing scissors mine a cactus!!
Turned it in the right way, inserted quilt a voila. A single bed quilt!!!!!!

{sorry nothing I do will make rotate this pic the right way, please turn your head}

Ethan Scooby Doo quilt cover 

The boys room.

I realised while I was taking these pics that their room has been done quite cheaply. Their beds {are actually convertible bunks} we picked up second hand for $80. Came with one mattress, we bought another one and will buy them decent matresses once they have night trained.
Much of their bedding is either stuff I had from Randall or I've picked up at Savers.
The chest of drawers in the middle used to be their big brothers.
Eli's blanket was made by their Nan, I made the blanket on Ethans bed years ago.
The big bear on the chest of drawers we bought for $5 at Toys R Us on a sale.
The knitted teddys on each of their beds were made by their Nan. The blue bears were their presents when they were born from their Daddy.
The little stool next to Eli's bed Randall made in Tech.
The rocking horse was made for Bryce when he was born by his Pop.
The car mat $20 at Cheap as Chips.

Anyways I'm very proud of my first sewing project, well the first one for about 13 years anyways!

Take Care

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Menu Plan 8th ~ 21st December

Wow getting very close to Christmas isn't it!!! I've found a few nice recipes that I want to try this fortnight. Trying new, but simple, recipes is a great way to get the cooking mojo happening again, so why not pop one or two on your men plan this week.

Thurs ~ Campbells Spaghetti
Fri ~ Marinated Chicken pieces and veg
Sat ~ Rissoles and veg with mushie gravy
Sun ~ Roast Pork and veg with homemade gravy and apple sauce
Mon ~ Slow Cooked Sweet and Sour Beef
Tues ~ Chicken snitzels with Hawaiian topping
Wed ~ Loaded Wedges

Thurs ~ Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks
Fri ~ Shepherds Pie
Sat ~ Slow Cooker Saucy Sausages and veg
Sun ~ Roast Chicken and veg
Mon ~ Pizza Rolls
Tues ~ Chicken Carbonara Pasta Bake
Wed ~ One Pot Spaghetti

Honey and Carrot Muffins
Reindeer Cookies {advent}
Spiral Cookies {advent}
Candy Bark {advent}

Take Care

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent Activities Day 5 - Floor Puzzles

I bought this floor puzzle the other week at Big W for about $8, can't remember exactly and thought it would be a great advent activity.

The boys were very excited to start with. Not sure Eli quite got the concept as he kept picking up pieces we'd already placed right.

But eventually it was done.
Ethan wanted to keep it set up for when Daddy got home (in about 4 hours) but they were about to have some lunch and I know that would be disaster.
So we packed it up and I said they could ask Daddy to help them with it later on tonight.

Take Care

Monday, December 5, 2011

Swap Goodness!!!!

Happy day today!!! More swaps in the letterbox!!! This time my dishcloth swap run by the lovely Jodie at Jelly Wares!

Here is what the lovely Nara sent me:

Firstly my apologies. I had already started to unwrap the parcel, being the impatient being I am, then thought, oh camera, so I quickly tied the bow up, not very neat is it?
The dishcloths feel soooooo soft, I can't wait to use them. I love the heat pad too. It's a giant version of a doily that I make for my Lime Tree goodies but has been crocheted using a strand of each of the colours the dish cloths have been made from.
Eli loved the stars and we've already hung them on the tree.

Thanks again Nara. I can't wait to share what I made my recipient!

Take Care

Crafty Declutter

Today was finally the day to declutter and organised my Yarn Stash!!!!



 Cushion Inserts, Fibrefill and some UFO's

 Cotton and cotton blends for face and dish cloths

 Left: Acrylics
Right: Wool - Need to get another container for the misc wool I want this one mostly for the red, navy, and light blue for the boys hexagon motif blankets

Finer cotton for my Lime Tree goodies

All bar the cottons in the seagrass basket will be stored in my mess of a craft room. 
The cottons are stored in a cabinet in the lounge room for easy access.
I also managed to throw out 1/3 of a grocery bag full of labels!!!!

I feel so much better now this is all sorted!

Take Care

Advent Activities Day 4 - The Gift of Giving

I believe it's very important to teach our children the gift of giving.

We have some elderly neighbors who are quite poorly atm. They are lovely people and are often passing over a bag of tomatoes or silverbeet to us.

I sat down with the boys with a basic christmas card and some stickers and had the boys help me to decorate it. We then packaged up the last two Gingerbread Men from yesterday and took them over.

Ethan and Eli
{oops bad shadow}

Our neighbours just loved seeing the boys and receiving their little gift.

Take Care

Advent Activities Day 3 - Gingerbread Men {recipe}

What's Christmas without Gingerbread Men????

The boys loved roll out the dough and cut the men out. The didn't like having to wait for them to cook and cool before we could decorate them though!

We used cut up snakes for the mouths {look a little grumpy don't they?}, M&M's for the buttons and sultanas for the eyes.

Gingerbread Men
125g butter
1/2 C brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 C golden syrup
1 egg yolk {save the white for the royal icing}
2 1/2 C plain flour
1 T ground ginger
1 t bicarb

Royal Icing
1 egg white {saved from the biscuits}
1 1/2 C icing sugar
food colouring

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg yolk and golden syrup.
Fold in dry ingredients in 2 batches.
Press mixture together, knead on lightly floured surface until smooth.
Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Roll out to 4mm thickness, cut out shapes.
Transfer to lined baking trays.
Bake in moderately hot oven for 8 minutes.
Cool on trays.

Spoon icing into piping bags and decorate. Use the icing like glue to add your lollies.

Royal Icing:
Whisk egg white in a small bowl with a fork.
Add icing sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking til smooth.
Colour as desired.
Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth while using.

Take Care

Advent Activities Day 2 - Christmas DVDs

I picked up a few new christmas dvds at Big W this year. We had a couple but could always do more.

I thought the kids would like a cartoon first up.

This one was only $2...and you know what it really showed, kids weren't that into it, oh well.

Take Care

Advent Activities Day 1 - Letters to Father Christmas

Our first activity for Advent this year was to write letters to Father Christmas.

I used this free printable from The Organised Housewife.

Ethan was right into writing his letter, being 3 he had to have Mummy write it for him, but Eli wasn't that fussed, he did it, but really had no idea.
After addressing our envelopes (yep I did put a stamp on them before posting) we walked up to the corner of our block and popped them in the post.

Take Care

DTE Swaps :)

I love taking part in swaps. I love planning what I'll make, creating them, wrapping them up, sending and then waiting for my recipient.

This is my first year at Down To Earth. It was the dishcloth swap earlier in the year that brought me to DTE and now it's time for the christmas swap.

I decided to crochet some bunting and hanging christmas decorations that I had seen at Attic24. Plus I had seen this on Pinterest and wanted to make a crochet version.

So here they are:

and what did the lovely Lisa send me???

Aren't they lovely???


Take Care

Friday, November 25, 2011

On My Mind

Thought I'd take part in my very first On My Mind today.

On my mind today are many hooky projects I have on the go. I have finished my order for Handmade Halo and I can now concentrate on some christmas presents I have to make. Cushion covers, pot holders, bags, wash cloths...then there are the non christmas projects I have on my go like my hooky bag and wash cloths I want for us.

This is a Friday photo feature that anyone with a blog can join. To take part, post a photo on your own blog, write a short caption explaining it, and link it back to here from your blog by saying you're part of "On my mind". Please write a new post, don't link to an older one. When you've done that, come back here and add a comment below, with a link to your blog.

Take Care

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Advent Activity ideas

{my advent calendar is similar to this
Each year my kids have always had a chocolate advent calendar. Last year was the first year I made my own using one of the Kaiser Advent Calendars though. I loved it. Well Kaiser have done it again and brought out a new one which I of course have to have! So I thought I'll keep last years as the choccy one and this new one as  an activity one for the kids!
Each day will be a little note explaining what our activity for the day will be.

I have mixed up the activities so that some are easier than others. Obviously there are going to be days when we are busy so those days will be something easy like watching a dvd or reading a book. Other days will be baking or crafting.

Big W have had some great activities for rather cheap too (ie under $10 and are reusable year after year).
I have bought a Grinch Floor Puzzle, Grinch lace up cards, a couple of books (will add to these each year) and a heap of chrissy dvds out for bargain prices!

I have worked out what day I plan to do what activity but really most things can be switched around as needed.
Christmas Eve I am starting a new tradition. Been meaning to start it before now but better late than never right? I have bought the kids some new jammies and they'll get them in a vintage pillowcase Santa sack on Christmas Eve. My way of making sure they  have new jammies ready for Christmas morning photos!
We will take a trip up to Lobethal one night and check out the christmas lights display up there but will wait til closer to work out what day. Better to make sure the weather is nice and it's also nice to have a grandparent or two to join us to.

So here's my list in no order:
Silent Night DVD
Rudolf DVD
Night Before Christmas in Cartoontown DVD
Shrek The Halls DVD
12 Days of Christmas book
Aussie Christmas book
Reindeer cookies
Gingerbread men
Candy bark
Spiral Cookies
Floor Puzzles
Lace cards
Colouring in (I bought new christmas colouring books for $1.99 each in Woolies today)
Paper chains (going to use up old scrapping christmas paper)
Making our own christmas paper
Painted Christmas Trees
Paper Plate Snowmen
Christmas themed playdough
Letters to Father Christmas
Lobethal Lights
Local Christmas Pageant
Take some baking goodies to our elderly neighbours

I have one space left where the kids can choose what they like to do, or if I find something awesome we'll do that instead!

Are you doing any Advent Activities??? Would love to hear about it link up your blog posts below!

Take Care

Menu Plan 24th November ~ 7th December

I just love Campbells Spaghetti Sauce with Beef. Yeah I know probably full of preservatives and E numbers but sometimes life just calls for it. I normally cook my own bolognaise sauce but after I have been shopping the last thing I feel like is slaving over a hot stove. So I grab a couple of cans of this sauce, a nice big bag of spaghetti and dinners done! The sauce is rather nice cold straight out of the can too shhhhh!

Brians working a few nights this fortnight so I get to have some slack dinners Yay!

Thurs ~ Campbells Spaghetti and Garlic Bread
Fri ~ Out for Snitty Night mmmm
Sat ~ Lasagna - a huge one so I can freeze some
Sun ~ Bacon and Eggs on toast
Mon ~ Corned Beef and lots of veg
Tues ~ Apricot Chicken, rice and veg
Wed ~ Special Baked Beans {recipe to follow this week}

Thurs ~ Marinated Baked Chicken and veg
Fri ~ Baked Potatoes
Sat ~ Sticky Sausages and veg
Sun ~ Roast Chicken and veg
Mon ~ Hamburgers
Tues ~ Marinated Spare Ribs and veg
Wed ~ Chow Mein


I need to finalise what we are doing with our advent activities. There will be some baking done for that too.

Linking up with:

Take Care

Sunday, November 20, 2011

So pretty

Last night I hooked up this face washer for a lovely lady that I am doing a bit of a barter with.
I used Bendigo Mills 8ply cotton in Pink Rose.

I am so in love with this colour and pattern together. Wouldn't it make a gorgeous baby blanket????

Take Care

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Take Care

Exciting news!

I am very honoured to have been asked to be a moderator at the Down To Earth forum!

Down To Earth is a forum about getting back to basics. About learning the long lost skills of homecaring, sewing, knitting and crochet, cooking from scratch, green cleaning, becoming self sufficient, and slowing down.

You might just recognise Rhonda. She has recently started writing her own column for the Australian Womens Weekly about frugality and the simple life. Rhonda also has a book entitiled Down To Earth due out in March!

The girls are just awesome. Often when you find people who are living the green self suffient life they can almost be snobbish if you aren't doing everything to live that life. This forum is not like that at all. There are families that are living the full on self suffient life and those like me that are just making changes where they can. Everyone is warm and welcoming and lots of fun!

I joined this lovely forum back in March after following Rhondas blog for a few months. It was this dishcloth swap that got me in and I love it there. I have learnt so much from the wonderful girls. I've made my own lemon cleaner and soap and have learnt so much about the simple life.

So for those of you that haven't checked it out yet, please pop on over and say hi. You'll find me hanging out in the Handmade Self Reliance section!

Take Care

Family Faves: Train Smash Mornay

I know odd name isn't it. I have no idea where the name came from but this recipe was made by a close family friend for many years. We always had it when our families came together for saturday card nights.

This is a fairly simple recipe and almost everyone that has tried it has loved it.

 First of all collect your ingredients:

Onion, Carrot, Zucchini, medium grain rice, tomato soup, mince and curry powder {full recipe is below}
I'm making a triple batch here so we have lots of leftovers, it's a fave that we haven't had for a while.

 Chop the onion and grate the carrot and zucchini. Cook for a couple of minutes.

 Add the mince and brown off. Then add the curry powder to taste and the rice, then cook for a couple of minutes.

 Add tomato soup and a cans worth of water. Stir to combine.
I then cook this on the stove top stirring constantly, making sure the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan, for about 10 minutes until it starts to thicken.

 I then pour it all into my slow cooker and put on low for about an hour or until the rice is nice and tender. 
Or alternatively you can continue to cook on the stove top for about half hour or so must you must keep stirring or the rice will stick.

 This is what it will look like when it's done. We like ours fairly thick, but feel free to add more water if you want it more like a risotto. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
You can add some frozen peas and beans if you like.

We serve with buttered toast mmmm. 

This is a fab mornay to take to a shared tea / potluck dinner. Place in a casserole dish and crush chicken or plain chips on top!

Train Smash Mornay
500g beef mince
1 x 420g can tomato soup
1 onion
1 carrot
1 zucchini {optional}
1-2 tablespoons of curry powder to taste
1 cup uncooked medium grain rice

A couple of notes:
I tend to use the large cans of tomato soup and only use Heinz, other brands just don't do it for me.
You can add whatever veg you like. Originally the recipe had peas and beans in it but I'm not that keen on them so leave them out. I only use zucchini when it's in season too.
Add curry powder to taste. This isn't a curry so is not meant to be too strong. However feel free to add more is that's what you like.
Uncooked medium grain rice is best. You can use normal long grain rice bit the texture will be slightly different. You could no doubt use arborio or risotto rice too but I haven't tried that.
And of course this always tastes better the next day!

I hope you give this recipe a try, please let me know if you do.

Take Care