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

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Star Facecloths

As you know I've been making dishcloths for a while now. So it was only natural that I would start to make facecloths too.

I saw this pattern on Pinterest and thought it would be really cute for my boys. Now that I have all this gorgeous Bendigo cotton I have no excuse right. So I sat down last night with the pattern and whipped some up. I made 4! Yes4! They only take just under an hour to make. I did make a couple of changes though. The main one being that I used a 4mm hook rather than the suggested 5mm and I added an extra round in to make up for size. Obviously you can make these as big as you like though.
I started making a couple of pink and purple ones for a present. Eli took a liking to them but "don like purple mum". So I hooked up the yellow one above and them made a matching one for Ethan. I showed them to the boys this morning and they can't wait to have their showers now.
I think next time for us I'll add a loop to hang them up in the shower though.
I can see me hooking up many more of these in the near future

Linking up with:

Take Care

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Menu Plan 10 ~ 23rd November

Well last fortnights menu went out the window a tad. We have been battling a cold/flu/bug for the last two and a half weeks now. Luckily we are on the ends of it but it meant that often I wasn't up to cooking what we had planned. So lots of rearranging happened.

I must get back to baking too, just not quite sure what, might just keep with a few faves, and a new one. The Sour Cream and Apple Slice was a huge hit, so will be making that again this week. Bonus that granny smiths were still only 99c/kg too so I bought a nice big bag today and will stew them up.

So here's this fortnights menu:

Thurs ~ Campbells Spaghetti and Garlic Bread
Fri ~ Chow Mein
Sat ~ Ikea meatballs and chips
Sun ~ Bacon and Eggs on toast
Mon ~ Corned Beef and veg with onion sauce
Tues ~ Slow Cooked Lamb Shank Casserole
Wed ~ Train Smash {post to come}

Thurs ~ Marinated Pork Spare Ribs and veg
Fri ~ Chicken Casserole
Sat ~ Tuna Mornay
Sun ~ Roast Pork
Mon ~ Beef Casserole
Tues ~ Sausages
Wed ~ Shepherds Pie

Sour Cream and Apple Slice
Frugal Choc Mud Cake
Condensed milk cookies

Linking up with:
The Organised Housewife

Take Care

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Beach Vintage

I just love looking through all the goodies that Beach Vintage have. Did you know they have started their own fabric store called Fabric Traders??

I have been drooling over this red gingham check oil cloth the last week or so. I'm going to order some soon to make a tablecloth. It will be one of my very first projects with my new sewing machine!

I am thinking I might even trim it with some of this. What do you think?? How retro will that be??

If you're really quick and pop on over to Beach Vintage you might just be quick enough to pick up a surprise pack!!!

Take Care

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Woolly Bliss!!!

First of all I must excuse myself for not blogging the lats couple of weeks. Our family has been hit with some virus that has rendered my completely exhausted {to the point of tears} and the kids whingy and clingy as usual for a cold/flu/bug.
I really hope that my energy levels return soon as the house is not how I would like it and I am missing my bloggy time.

Anyhoos....A while back I decided that I wanted to make my boys a hexagon motif blanket each for when they had their single beds. I knew what colours I wanted too, was just a matter of saving some money so I could buy enough wool {hopefully} for one blanket at least.
So after much deliberating, even contempating a colour change, I decided to order the wool. As luck would have it that day I receieved a mail out from Bendigo Mills {my wool of choice for these blankets} and they were having a pre price rise sale! I was able to get my balls for $1.50 cheaper than what the new price is going to be. So I placed a nice sized order for the wool plus a heap of cotton too. I plan to crochet up a heap of facewashers and dishcloths in nice pretty colours. Plus I have a handbag or two planned too.

Here's the order:

The cottons

I then had a play around with some colour combos
 Honeydew, daffodil, snow, blue

 Honeydew, pink rose, snow

Latte, nutmeg

 Snow, wild lavender, blush

 White, pink rose, blush

 New ochre, latte

 Snow, blue, daffodil

Daffodil, blush, honeydew

 Pink rose, wild lavender, blush

And now for the colours of the boys blankets

Brick, delphinium and junior navy

I can't wait to play with the hexagon motif blocks and show you the colour combo I will settle on.

Nothing like a woolly parcel to brighten the spirits!

Take Care