Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!


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I would like to wish everyone of my readers a Happy New Year and to thank you all for reading and supporting me through 2012.
I have been blown away by how popular my little space has become.
I have some rather exciting things happening next year. Firstly I will be blogging 5 days a week. Each day with a different theme too.
But first I am going on a little restorative holiday with my family. I won't have computer access while I'm away but I'll be back into full swing blogging from the 14th, maybe even a little sooner.
Hope you like what I have in store for you all next year.

Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Friday, December 28, 2012

My One Little Word and 2013 Goals

This year I didn't have a word to get me through the year. I did miss it. I wasn't going to have one for 2013 either. I thought having my goals was going to be enough. But as I thought more and more about my goals I heard a little whisper. That whisper was ...


GROW

When I think about my goals for the coming year I look at many different aspects of my life. I then think of a couple of different goals I wish to make in those areas. Sometimes I can only think of one, some areas I have heaps of goals.

These are my goals for 2013 {minus a couple of very personal ones}

Simple Living Goals
~ Put my compost scraps into the green recycling bin
~ Sew napkins
~ Sew hankies
~ Grow and use water kefir to aid our health
~ Make some soft cheeses and yoghurt form scratch

Relationships
~ Contact friends more
~ Spend more 1:1 time with the boys
~ Don't yell so much
~ Have fun more

Kids Development
~ Set aside time each week to work on ABC and 123 development, handwriting skills too
~ Do one craft activity a week

Housekeeping
~ Keep up with the Zone work
~ Add pretty touches

Craft
~ Complete boys blankets
~ Work on kids crafts
~ Start our blanket
~ Crochet a jumper for Ethan
~ Scrapbook one page a week
~ Sew boys pyjamas and pyjama bags

Health
~ Walk 5-6 days a week
~ Strength training 2 times a week
~ Build our immunity through kefir and other health foods

Blogging
~ Blog 5 days per week



Do you set yourself Goals for the coming year? Would love to hear about them?


Take Care
Becci
xoxo

New Challenge at DTE for 2013!

Remember my Let's Get Organised missions from last year???
Well I ran a similar bunch of missions over at Down To Earth but with more of a declutter focus than organisation.
This year I thought we need to move onto the next step, and that's maintaining our homes while we continue our decluttering and organising.

So this year, from 14th January we'll be working on Zones!

You can find the details over on the blog, there is a little prep work to do over the next couple of weeks too which will help you to be more productive during the year.

Hope you'll play along

Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Down To Earth e-book

DTEBook1

This year I was very lucky to receive an autographed copy of Rhonda Hetzels new book Down To Earth.
It is the most gorgeous book I have ever own. Full of fabulous content for sure but oh my the pages are just beautiful.

Fabulous news today that this lovely book has just been published as an ebook!
So for those in Australia who would rather a digital version it's available at various places for around the $20 mark.
If you know of someone who wants to live the Simple Life, this would make a wonderful present.
The hardcopy is still available, having just gone into it's second print run too.
Check out the Down to Earth blog for more details.


Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2013 Crochet-a-longs x2!!



Next year I'll be running two Crochet-a-longs (CAL's) via the Down to Earth forum.
One will be for beginners and the other for more advanced crocheters.
You can find all the details over at the forum here.

Hope to see you come and play along.

Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sausage Parmys

Sausage Parmys

The other week my IL's gave us some crumbed sausages they weren't too keen on.
I cooked up a couple for the kids one night and they burnt really easy on the outside and took a while to cook through. So I had an idea.....

Sausage Parmys
Sausages - as many as you need to feed your family
1 jar pasta sauce
1 cup grated cheese

Feel free to pre cook your sausages if you would prefer. I didn't for these and they turned out really well. Wasn't greasy at all.
Pour over the pasta sauce, top with grated cheese.
bake at about 200C for about 40 mins or until the sausages are cooked through and the cheese in nice and golden brown.

I think this would be a fab way to use up the leftover sausages from a BBQ this summer.

Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Monday, December 10, 2012

Our biggest {purchase} yet!

So I've been a little slack with Reverb. But I have been hanging out to answer Day 2's question.

What was your most significant expenditure in 2012?

It doesn't have to be necessarily the biggest expenditure, just the one with the most impact.

What difference has it made to your life?


This is expenditure is both the most expensive spend we have ever had and will also have the biggest impact on our life. Not for 2012 though, but next year for sure. Here it is:

van500
Say hello to our Jayco Expanda 16.491b!


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The front end.
Door is to the left.
The cupboard will have the tv sitting on top of it.
Bed is ours


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The dinette.
Fits us all comfortably.
The table is much wider than in the Swan.
12v tv sitting in it's box under the table.


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Looking back towards the other end (door on your right)
Kitchen sink, fridge and microwave on the left.
Oven, pantry and wardrobe on the right.
Boys bed at the end


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Kitchen sink, 150Ltr fridge and microwave.
I'll be setting the kettle up here too.


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Full oven, including an automatic rotating shelf.
The small cupboard to the left of the oven has a pull out pantry.
The rest of the pantry is on the left hand side of the big cupboard.
The other side we will fit with drawers for our wardrobe.

I'm so happy that I have my larger fridge this time. Weren't able to upgrade in the Swan. We also have a wind-up aerial which will make life much easier and also a 150w (?) solar panel too!

And that's it! We were a little disappointed that our custom made canvas flys weren't made in time. But Jayco are picking up the van thursday and having them fitted over the weekend. The we'll have her back for good!

Can't wait for our first trip away!




Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Menu Plan 6th ~ 19th December


This will be my last Menu Plan for this year. Next fortnight includes christmas and we take a rather relaxed approach to meals over that time. After New Year we'll be taking a bit of a break too so no real menu plan.
Once we are back on board I'll be posting my Retrospective Menu Plan each Monday. We'll have a linky party each week too, where I'd love for you to share your menu plans.

Thurs ~ Pasta Alfredo and Garlic Bread
Fri ~ Chow Mein 
Sat ~ Hamburgers
Sun ~ Omelettes
Mon ~ Sausage Parmys and veg
Tues ~ Stroganoff Mince, rice and veg
Wed ~ Pizza

Thurs ~ Quiche and Smashed Spuds
Fri ~ Easy dinner
Sat ~ Fried Rice and Chicken Wings
Sun ~ Rissoles and veg
Mon ~ Sausages and veg
Tues ~ Chops and veg
Wed ~ Spaghetti Bolognaise and Garlic Bread

Baking:
Well I actually don't quite know what I am going to bake.
I need some chocolate cake in the freezer and some cookies wouldn't go astray.
Have fallen off the baking bandwagon a little oops.

Desserts:
I have plenty of orange and lemon cakes in the freezer that I need to start using up. So looks like lots of cake and custard for dessert.

Do you Menu Plan? Would love for you to share, just fill in the Linky tool below

Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Where am I?

Yesterday Kat proposed a question to us:

How are you starting this last month of 2012?

Take a moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath and ask yourself the question: how do you feel...

... in your body? in your mind? in your day job? in your creative life? in your heart?


Right today I am tired. My hands are aching a little. Some from the crochet I have been doing, but also from chopping up a heap of veg to make 6! pasty slabs yesterday, some of which are for our dinner tonight.
My feet are sore from standing barefoot on our lino (with no underfelt straight onto concrete) while I baked the said pasty slabs and 2 doz cupcakes as well as last night dinner of fried rice and marinated chicken wings.
I haven't slept well the last few days due to the warm weather. The people staying in the holiday house across the road had a nice party last night that woke me a couple of times too, but nothing too bad.


But my mind is feeling fabulous! I am a whirl with so many plans for next year. Plans for my personal and family life, for blogging, for Down To Earth, for every aspect of my life. I am so excited for what 2013 is going to be all about!

I have a few day jobs. The first and foremost is being a Stay At Home Mum. I am very passionate about this 'job' but I know I can do so much better. A wave of calm and tolerance has swept over me of late and I am feeling so much calmer and patient with the kids which is so wonderful.
My other day job at Lime Tree Creations is winding up. I can no longer crocheted the fine doilies and trims I have been making and selling for the last 2 and a bit years. I am a little sad to be stopping this work, but I am also rather excited about how LTC will be being revamped in the new year.


My creative life is rather stifled at the moment. I have hardly scrapped at all this year. I am itching to get back into it though, however my creativity is needing to be channelled into making christmas presents right now. The rest will have to wait.

My heart is full of love for the changes that I have realised I have had to make this year and for the excitement of what those changes are going to mean for my family and myself in the new year.

So that's me. That's where I am at. Where are you at?



Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Reverb 12


Remember Blogtober? Well Kat over at I Saw You Dancing is now running Reverb12!
It's about reflecting on the year just past and looking forward to 2013.
Something I have been doing mentally for the last few weeks.

I am not promising to blog everyday. That is something I just cannot do at this time of year. It's just crazy. But I will be here a few times a week posting about my reflections and plans and also about my everyday stuff.

Hope you hang around to read my babblings. If you are taking part in Reverb12 then please pop a link to your blog in the comments section so I can check you out :)

Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Garden excitement!!!


We picked our first tomato!! Well by we I mean Brian and Eli did lol Eli at it and loved it!
Photo is a little blurry. Rather hard to get a 3yo to keep his hand still :)

Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Garden update

I found something very exciting when I went to water my tomato plants this morning.


COLOUR!!!! Yep a couple of the cherry toms have started to turn red!!!

My other cherry tom sits in the shade just a tad but she has finally started fruiting!

The Gross Liste toms are coming along too, slowly slowly

Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Monday, November 26, 2012

Turning a Cot into a Daybed


My boys have had those flip out foam sofas to sit on in the family room until now. But they are getting really grotty and yuck.
I have been dreaming of getting them a cheap sofa instead but the budget isn't stretching that far, and won't for quite a few months yet.
Then I thought today, I have a cot/toddler bed sitting in the shed. Have tried to sell it a couple of times, but no bites. So why not turn it into a day bed for them!

 Before, including mess
After

 The boys chillin'
I put a flannel sheet down on the mattress fist then one of my crocheted blankets.
The Humphrey pillowcases and the pillowcase behind the Cars cushion are from when I was a kid!

Have you repurposed a cot before??


Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Friday, November 23, 2012

Ponderings....



Recently I have found myself pondering about next year. Pondering about what it will hold, but also about what I want to happen next year. What my goals will be.
I am not one to make resolutions, but I do like to set myself a focus and goals for the year.
I try to look at all the areas of my life and set 1-2 goals for each.
Areas like
~ My relationships
~ Kids learning and development
~ Simple Living
~ Health
~ Blogging
~ Craft
~ Housekeeping

Another area I have been looking at is my moderating duties at Down To Earth. I love this forum, it's just like home to me. Rhonda and the mods have been working hard behind the scenes recently and have had a bit of a re jig of the forum and have introduced 4 new mods in the last week or so. It's growing so much!
I have some ideas for different challenges that I plan to run next year and I am so excited about them. There are some other fabulous ideas for learning new skills and swaps being bandied around too, next year is going to be amazing!
To be the first in the know head on over to the forum and sign up. Such a wealth of information and a fabulous supportive community I have never seen in a forum before.

Have you begun to think about next year yet? Do you have goals?

Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Menu Plan 22nd November ~ 5th December

{Potato Pie ~ recipe coming soon}

Our second to last frugal fortnight! Starting to get a little tired of the same meals over and over.
But I did make the most scrumptious Potato Pie the other night. I'll be recreating it again this week, but using mince instead of gravy beef and will work out a recipe for it. This week I sort of winged it.
I haven't been making too many desserts or baking either. Had quite a few bar cakes in the freezer so we've been eating those with some custard for dessert when we've felt like it.
Found a few recipes that I like the look of that use Quinoa. I've never used it before or tasted it. Will check out the price of it this week and if it's not too expensive for our current budget I'll make a few new things with it this fortnight.

Thurs ~ Pasta Carbonara
Sat ~ Baked Spuds
Sun ~ Meatloaf
Mon ~ Tuna Mornay Bake
Tues ~ Snitzels and veg
Wed ~ Pizza {extra baked for lunch boxes}

Fri ~ Fried Rice and Marinated Chicken Wings
Sat ~ Sausages and veg
Sun ~ Potato Pie
Mon ~ Fish fingers
Tues ~ Omelettes
Wed ~ Spaghetti Bolognaise

Do you menu plan? Would love for you to share, just link up below

Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lunchbox Inspiration

Ethan's lunch box today
Fresh mango
Apricot yoghurt
Mini quiche
Leftover drumettes from last nights dinner
Apple
Banana Oat Cup
Banana pikelets
Dried apricots, sultanas, goji berries, craisins and banana chips
Rice crackers, cheese and cuccumber
He also has a water in his water bottle to drink


Take Care 
Becci
xoxo

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mince Stroganoff...Sorta




I have cooked many different stroganoff recipes over the years. Some from scratch, some from packets. My fave would have to be the Chicken Strog recipe from one of the Symply Too Goo To Be True cookbooks. But this time I didn't have the much needed can of light evaporated milk. So I decided to wing it. It's not a true strog but it's still a yummy dish. I didn't add any cream etc but you could easily do that if you wish.

Becci's Mince Stroganoff
500g beef mince
1 onion, diced
3/4 brown bag of mushrooms, sliced
2-3 teaspoons of crushed garlic
2-3 heaped dessertspoons tomato paste
2-3 teaspoons beef stock powder
4 tablespoons paprika, or to taste
1 Ltr water, approx
1 Tablespoon cornflour

In a large fry pan brown off the onion and mince until onion is soft and mince is brown. Add the mushrooms, cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the garlic, paprika and tomato paste, cook a couple of minutes.
Add the beef stock powder and water.
Allow to simmer, covered for about 30 mins to make it all nice and tender (I let it cook while I did the rice and veg).
Add more water if the mix is too dry. We like ours rather saucy to go over the rice.
Taste for seasoning. Thicken by making a paste from the cornflour and a little water, stir through.
Serve with rice or buttered noodles.

A couple of notes. If you have a nice liquid beef stock use that instead of the stock powder and water. I added a little water at a time for a little while then poured the rest in. The amount you need might vary.
Remember this is just a recipe I whipped up last night so all amounts are approximate.
Of course change the amount of garlic and paprika to suit your taste.
Add cream, sour cream or even a little milk if you'd like.

Everyone loved this last night. It was very strong in flavour, not spicy though, just the way I like it, so if you prefer milder flavours play with the ingredients or add some dairy to tone things done.
The youngest two scoffed this down and I think they could have easily eaten another bowl if there was more. Next batch will be double!

Enjoy!
Becci
xoxo

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I Love Lunchboxes!



I was a very lucky girl last week to be drawn as the winner of Organising to Make Life Easiers Rubbermaid Giveaway.
Ethan has his lunchbox but Eli's been wanting one too, so this was just perfect.
I love it. I love how it all snaps together and how many of the items can be mixed and matched.
The only thing I don't like is that it doesn't come with a cooler bag, but I am sure I'll be able to find one when all the fancy lunchboxes are out with the back to school sales soon.


You can see how it all works in this little clip.


The large salad container has this fantastic little insert where you can put the tiny container of salad dressing and any other salad bits like croutons or dried noodles so they don't get soggy.


The insert also fits perfectly in the sandwich container. I can my boys loving having some dip in the salad dressing container with some crackers or carrot and celery sticks.

I loved packing the boys lunchboxes last night. Even though Eli will be at home all day I thought it would be good to have it packed to make getting snacks etc easier.


 Vegemite and cheese sandwich, orange

Cuccumber sticks, rice crackers, dried apricots, sultanas, raisins, goju berries, cranberries, Laughing Cow cheese, apricot yoghurt

Ethans lunchbox:
yoghurt, rice crackers, pickled onion and cheese sandwich, orange, cuccumber and Laughing Cow cheese.
Ethans also has an apple for fruit time at kindy and will be home at lunch.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Menu Plan 8th ~ 21st November


We have been doing really well with out frugal budget so far. Pretty impressed with it.
This week I discovered a local lady who is making up scrummy fruit and veg boxes. I'm really hoping that I'll have enough left over from shopping that I can order a small fruit box to be delivered on our off week to get us through. Fingers crossed!

I don't really need to do much baking this fortnight, still plenty of bar cakes in the freezer, but I am out of muffins etc for kindy, so will have to concentrate on stocking them up.

Our menu plan:
Thurs ~ Sausages in bread
Fri ~ Pasta Carbonara and garlic bread
Sat ~ Homemade Pizza
Sun ~ Baked Spuds
Mon ~ Roast Chicken (pieces) and veg
Tues ~ Mince stroganoff, rice and veg
Wed ~ Marinated lamb chump chops and veg (on sale this week)

Thurs ~ Chicken Parmys and veg
Fri ~ Spaghetti Bolognaise and garlic bread
Sat ~ Devilled Sausages and veg
Sun ~ Fried Rice and Marinated Chicken Wings
Mon ~ Homemade meat pie and veg
Tues ~ Savoury Impossible Pie, Smashed spuds and salad
Wed ~ Hamburgers

Baking:

Dessert:
Apple Slice
Apple Crumble
Creamed Rice


Do you Menu Plan? Would love for you to share it, just link up below!


Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blogtober ~ Day 31!!!

I made it!!! I blogged everyday for a whole month!!!

I honestly wasn't sure if I would make it or not. Especially when gastro struck us twice. Lucky I was organised and had posts scheduled most of the time.

So what have I learnt?
I have learnt that I CAN DO IT!!!
That I really do need to get a blog planner to keep myself organised.
That I do have lots more I can blog about.
People are interested in what I have to say!

So where to from here?
Well I won't be blogging everyday. Probably every few days until next year when I plan to blog 5 days a week.
I've devised a bit of a plan as to how I want that to work and I think it's going to work really well.

I have a bit of a poll happening on our FaceBook page asking what sort of posts you would like to see more of. Would love for you to take part if you have a spare minute or two. Feel free to add more options and to leave a comment either here or on the poll.

Thanks so much for everyone who has been reading along and to Kat at I Saw You Dancing for hosting this fab event this year



Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Choc Chip Banana Caramel Pie



Yesterday was my birthday and I decided that I would like a Banana Caramel Pie for my birthday 'cake'.
I saw some links on Pinterest to some pies using a choc chip cookie base instead of the usual pastry so thought I'd give that a go.


I just used my Condensed Milk Cookie dough. About 1/2 the batch made two big pies. I baked them at 180C for I think about half an hour? I didn't really look at the time, when they were nice and golden I took them out.
I thought the bases seemed a little thick, hard to get them thin with the choc chips, but they turned out fine. The edges were a little thick though.


I boiled up the best caramel ever but popping these two cans of sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan of water. Make sure the cans are covered. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 3 hours. Making sure the water doesn't evaporate, just top up if needed.
I have used generic and brand name cans. Normal topped and pull ring and all work just as well as each other.
You can also do this in the slow cooker. If you have a white slow cooker insert like I do, I would recommend placing some alfoil in the bottom of the insert to stop any rust marks. Black inserts wouldn't be a problem though.
Cover with water and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Makes the best caramel. This one isn't as dark as usual but still tastes yummo!
You can keep this for months in the fridge. Apparently goes well just back in the cupboard too but I haven't been game to try that. Couldn't bare to have caramel go off!



Then when it comes to assembling the pie you just slice bananas on the bottom. Pour over the caramel. Better to do this while it's still warm from cooking otherwise it can be a pain to try and spread it without dislodging the bananas.
If you've poured it warm allow to cool and then top with whipped cream.



Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Monday, October 29, 2012

Let's Get Organised Wk 41 ~ Lounge Room Deep Clean

Well here we are! The last weekly task for Let's Get Organised!!!

This weeks missions are:
~ Wash curtains
~ Clean windows
~ Dust and clean skirtings and architraves
~ Clean any marks off walls
~ Clean doors and light switches
~ Clean light fittings
~ Vacuum, sweep and/or mop floors

Wow 41 weeks!!!

I hope that you use the next few weeks until christmas time to go back over the deep cleaning tasks and get the house all spruced up for the holidays.



Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Sunday, October 28, 2012

WIP


Just a little sneak of a tunisian scarf I am making for a christmas present. Love how this stitch looks like knitting.
I am using Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury yarn (machine washable wool) in 8ply. The colour is Brick.
I'm having aweful trouble with the ends rolling though. Hoping it will be ok once it's blocked. The yellow dishcloth was the same too.
Any tips on how to stop the ends rolling? It's not just a little bit it's inches!



Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Christmas 2011 ~ A cushion for Mother in Law


My Mother In Laws house is decorated in blue so I knew she'd love a cushion make in blue and off white.
She loved this cushion and is now hinting at a queen size cream blanket done the same :)




Take Care
Becci
xoxo

Friday, October 26, 2012

Christmas 2011 ~ A basket for my sister

For my sister I made some baked apple pie sugar scrub, hand crocheted some face washers and some make up pads and added some handmade soap to a basket.
Excuse the dodgy night time photo, I took this late on Christmas Eve as I was wrapping.



Take Care
Becci
xoxo