Monday, December 17, 2012

An Update!

 
Here we are! After an extremely busy few weeks we have moved into our new home in Canberra, yay!!
We have a beautiful real christmas tree.
Children are smiling,
and everything is in its place ( almost! )
 
I know I should have done it a month ago, but today I started the fruit soaking in the rum & brandy for the christmas pudding, I'll finish the mix and boil it on Friday,  crossing  my fingers it will be as nice as usual even though it only had a few days to cure!
We could not possibly have a christmas without my beautiful pudding!
 
I thought I would show you a few photos of how my decorating is going so far..
 
The good room
 
  We have green feature walls and I've decided I really like them!
 
This is the breakfast area off the kitchen
I'll put up some pictures of the dining room when its just right, my darling husband is doing up an old pine wardrobe, painting it white and turning it into display cupboard for me to have in there. So until then I'll show you the breakfast room!
 
The cubby house, all decked out for christmas!
The girls cubby has some of the best views in Canberra!!
 
I hope you are all enjoying your christmas preparations, I know I am!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

On the move, again!!




Hello everyone! Yes I know its been a few weeks but I have been very busy, you wouldn't believe it but after only a year here in beautiful Queensland the army is moving us back to Canberra! We leave in a few weeks and as you can imagine there has been much to organise. We are quite excited and I am particularly looking forward to yet another new home to decorate! So while I plan a christmas, organise children, pets and too many boxes, I will keep my favorite print in mind and simply keep calm and carry on!  


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Beautiful Christmas gift ideas for children...

 
 
I am a firm believer of "Less is more"
so I thought I would post today a list of the toys I think are must haves, that are really all a small child needs,they are well worth the money and I think you will find if you decluttered all of the plastic battery operated "things" you would be pleasantly suprised at how their imagination will blossom! Also how easy it is to keep a childs room tidy!
 
 
18mths- 3  
  A ball   
 Wooden blocks
A soft dolly or teddybear ( or one of each)
Farm animals ( I cannot recommend the shleich ones more highly)
Play dough
Story books
Play cloths & pegs ( to make little cubbys etc)
matchbox cars
jack in a box
Tricycle
 
 
4-6
A marble run
A baby doll & pram
A train set
A tea set 
A few puzzles
hula hoop
pop up books
story books
skipping rope
bicycle
Lego
cricket set
 
 
7-10
Uno cards
mechano
knitting nancy ( french knitting)
A little girl doll ( I highly recommend Australian Girl dolls here )
model planes
roller blades
easel, watercolour art book and paints
chapter books ( my girls adore Enid Blyton, and the boys loved the Tashi books)
Dolls house
billy cart
crazy catch
 
 
I will leave it at that, I hope I may have given you some lovely ideas.
 
 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Easy, 5 minute rasberry icecream.

 
 
This is so simple!
Firstly you need to have some peeled and chopped ripe bananas that you have frozen.
and a box of frozen berrys, The photo is of rasberrys, but mixed berries, and frozen mango work too.
Sugar, and thickened cream.
 
Put the frozen berries into your food processor with one of the chopped frozen bananas.
I add a tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 cup of cream but you can sweeten it to taste.
Process until there is no lumps and it is VERY thick
Keep processing in short bursts adding a little more cream each time until it reaches the consistancy of soft serve icecream.
 
Now serve and enjoy!
 
If you wanted it dairy free, coconut cream works very well in place of thickened dairy cream.
And is delicious if you used mango instead of the berries! 
 
 
 
 
 

My week at home, Wednesday

 
A normal morning routine today like yesterday!
I thought I'd give a tip on how to achieve the perfect boiled egg.
Put your eggs into a saucepan and cover with cold water, about 1cm over the eggs.
Set it on the stove and bring to the boil, watch the pot because when the water begins to boil put the oven timer on
4mins- soft boiled ( above )
5mins- med, the yolk being firm but slightly gooey in the very center
6mins- hard boiled
Take it immediately off the heat and run under the cold tap until eggs are just cool enough to hold.
or for hard boiled for sandwiches crack the shells slightly and leave in the cold water until they are completely cold, this makes them easier to peel.
 
I had a very quiet day today, I had a friend and neighbour over for morning tea
we chatted for awhile as morning tea went to near 1.00pm!
 
I spent the afternoon making chicken and vegetable soup,
 
and after homework etc the children went to the park, and I baked the bread to go with the soup.
evening routine went beautifully
 
 
And  guess what?
I'm doing a little cross stitch,
and having an early night!!
 
Goodnight!
 


 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My week at home, Tuesday..

 
As usual my day began in the laundry, before I woke everyone up. 
9am after my breakfast I put another load on the line, and commenced serious dusting.
To be totally honest I havent dusted properly all school holidays!
Seriously if the cats sat still long enough I would have given them a wipe over with a damp cloth too!
I paid close attention to the playroom today, as the Ikea unit in there gets very dusty and it had become quite untidy, also due to school holidays.
I forgot to take a before photo but here is the after. Much better! I also vacuumed the couch in the room and put a fresh throw quilt on the back.
 
 
10.30am and I was up to vacuuming the house, and I gave the toilets and bathrooms a good scrub.
Even though these areas are on the childrens morning duties, they are only expected to do a light clean and a tidy. Twice a week they get a propper scrub especially the toilets, If you have boys you will understand! I recommend a bucket of hot soapy water and a firm brush and I do all around the base and grout. Because drips etc will soak into the grout and there will always be an odour that mopping alone will not remove.
Below is my ensuite, I love plants in bathrooms! I have found peace lillys do very well.
 
 
12noon and I hosed the back pergola and our labrador Fletchers outside bed, cleaned his water bucket and watered the pots out the back and our herb garden.
I found a catapillar eating my nasturtiums and promptly fed him to our blue tongue lizard for lunch.
 
1pm I sat down put my feet up and flipped through some  old issues of my favorite decorating magazines with a cup (or two) of tea!
 
 
2pm I tidied my desk and took care of the household correspondance. Then at 2.30pm I made a batch of scones and whipped some cream as I was expecting a lovely lady for afternoon tea after school.
What a shame there was no-one about to lick the beaters! Oh well waste not, want not! Yum!
 
 
A quiet afternoon of homework, lovely conversation and scones with jam and cream.
Our evening was much the same dinner, Lilly and Bella-Clare in bed at 7pm. Gracie in bed at 8pm and the boys at 8.30pm all is peaceful as I sit here, I think I'll go and do some of my cross stitch with "Escape to the country" Goodnight!



Monday, October 8, 2012

My week at home, Monday...


Good morning! Here I am at 6am about to wake the children. I thought I would start by telling you that probably the most necessary part of keeping on top of things is getting up an hour before the rest of the family. It gives me time to shower, do my hair&makeup and dress in peace and quiet with a nice cup of tea. I also hang the load of washing I put on overnight, put another load on, make my bed and give the ensuite a quick once over. It makes a huge difference and really makes each day start off fresh and positive! Usually I would make Shane a cuppa and bring it in while he gets ready for work, but he's away at the moment( again!) so moving on to morning routine!You will find details for our morning and afternoon routines HERE.

 
 
 
Children are off to school and It's breakfast time for mummy, A good breakfast is so important! Porridge, fruit salad, a boiled egg and a pot of tea, this takes less than 15mins to prepare and it is so lovely to sit down after a hectic morning to a nicely set table and a delicious breakfast everyday, on weekends we eat as a family at the big table. I've had this little breakfast routine for years it is so worth doing.
 
9am and I watered the pots out the front, and pulled out a few weeds.
I then hung more washing, vacuumed and mopped the floors.
11.40am I braced myself to tackle
THE PANTRY!
Lets just say that after the busy school holidays it was not looking it's tidy and uncluttered best!
 
 
Before


 

After


 

Before I knew it it's 3pm and children are due home!
Afternoon tea time
Homework and dinner preparation.
Bring in all the washing.
followed by baths and showers
5.30pm Dinnertime! ( I have a bell you know, they litterally come running)
After dinner and I take Stevie to Airforce Cadets while big kids do the kitchen clean up and Lilly watched disneys "Sword in the stone"
 
7pm and I'm home folding and sorting all of todays washing.
Putting Lilly and Bella-Clare to bed.
And then writing this!
8pm Gracies off to bed.
9pm Off I go to fetch Stevie. my darlings Josh and Pat stayed up to watch the girls while I was gone.
10.30pm and here I am more tea in hand ready for bed!
Good night...
 
 
 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My week at home....




Every day this week I am going to post about exactly what I do housekeeping wise, and how I do it.
This will include my housekeeping routine, meal plans, errands/budget , exercise etc. I'm hoping that I can show you all that running a clean, organised and welcoming home with a large family is not as difficult as some might think, and you dont have to sacrifice your health, sleep or sanity to do it! All it takes is persistance, a positive attitude and yes, discipline! I'm not advocating that you chase the children around with a stick, ( I am joking, I do not chase my children with a stick!) But a firm well thought out routine makes a HUGE difference, so does having set boundarys of what is and is not acceptable behavior in our home.

                                                 Here is my "Spring cleaning list"

This is the list of household tasks that make up my Spring seasonal clean. The list stays fairly similar for each quarterly clean, with only a few differences relevant to each season.

# Wash all doona inserts and covers also decorative cushion covers / pillowcases, hanging cushion/pillow inserts on the clothes line in the sun for a good few hours to kill dustmites. Starch and iron doona covers and cushion covers / pillowcases well, and make up the beds. If changing linens etc for a different Spring/Summer look, store them appropriately in the linen press.

# Wash all couch slip covers and throw rugs. Also wash any decorative throw cushion covers from living areas and hang inserts on the line as for bedrooms. Be sure to iron the couch slip covers before putting them back on or they just wont look as nice.

# Clean out and re-organise pantry.

# Thoroughly clean refrigerator and freezer, removing shelves/drawers etc and washing in hot soapy water and drying really well. Pull it out from the wall vacuum and mop underneath ,aswell as wipe over the sides and the back.

# Laundry- clean washing machine and dryer, tidy laundry cupboard and wipe over all walls and ceiling for dryer "fuzz" Pull out machines, vacuum and mop underneath.

# Tidy and wipe down kitchen cupboards, drawers and shelves re-arranging things if necessary.

# Tidy and wipe down bathroom vanity cupboards, drawers etc as for Kitchen.

# Tidy linen press, checking items for wear and necessary repairs/replacements.

# Clean all ceiling fans, air conditioner vents and filters.

# Clean all skirting boards, windowsills and wash down the walls in every room with sugarsoap. ( The children help with this as it is a huge job)

# Wash all windows inside and out. The best way for inside is a bucket of hot soapy water with a cup of vinegar, a dish sponge, a good squeegee and polish dry with a glass cloth. Outside I use a soft indoor broom again hot soapy water and vinegar and I rinse with the hose then squeegee. The broom is great for security/fly screens. ( this is also a huge job, it will take an entire afternoon so I plan for it)

 Well thats my list. It takes at most 2 weeks to complete, some of them I manage a few in one day. It makes everything else easier on a daily basis when these things are done once a quarter.

I will begin my " Week at home with Carli " posts on Monday evening,I hope you enjoyed your weekend!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Menu plan recipes





As promised, here are some of the recipes for this weeks menu plan...

SUNDAY: I buy such a large roast for each Sunday, as after everyone has 2-3 slices with dinner there is plenty left to make the meat pie later in the week ( that is why I said make extra roast veg save leftover gravy & greens too) There is also some for cold meat and pickle sandwiches.
The cauliflower cheese is easy, boil or steam your cauliflower pieces (dont throw out the stems when you chop it up! I put them through the food processor and add it to the chicken soup) Make a basic white sauce and fold a couple of handfulls of grated cheese through it, put cooked cauliflower in an oven dish, pour sauce over and sprinkle with a little nutmeg. Bake it for around 15mins on 200 degrees until its bubbly and golden.
Chocolate pudding; Cream 180g butter, 1 &1/2 cups sugar and a dash of vanilla extract mix in 2 beaten eggs. alternately fold in 1 cup of milk 2 cups of SR flour and 1&1/2 tablespoons GOOD cocoa
spread batter over the bottom of a fairly deep cassarole dish. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of cocoa over the top. Then carefully pour 2 cups of boiling water over the top. Bake at 180 degrees until the middle cracks a little and it springs back to touch( about 30 mins) serve with runny cream.

MONDAY: Everyone does spaghetti bolognaise in their own way I like to add bacon. What I refer to as a "childrens salad" is iceburg lettuce, carrot pieces, tomato, yellow capsicum, cheese pieces and chopped boiled egg. I toss all of this with a little salad creme/mayonaise the kids love it!

TUESDAY: Meat and veg pie is very simple. take all the leftovers from the roast ( leave some meat for sandwiches) chop them all up and put in a bowl, mix through mashed up cauliflower cheese and reserved gravy. Make a quick shortcrust pastry, line a pie tin or two if there is enough, fill with the mixture put the top on and brush with eggwash,( I sprinkle sesame seeds on top). Bake at 200 degrees until beautifully golden.
Cheese Penne is just cooked penne noodles tossed in a little butter and some grated cheese while hot.

WEDNESDAY: "Carrot Stew" ( we call it this because of a book called The tawny scrawny lion that the children loved when they were little) Chop the chuck steak into pieces, and dice an onion and a couple of bacon rashers, brown in a frypan and put in the crockpot( slow cooker) Chop 1 of the kilo bags of carrots, 2 stalks of celery, the sweet potato and 3 regular potatoes add this to the crockpot. Pour over 1 tin of tomatoes, add 2 tablespoons of gravy powder a teaspoon of dried garlic, a teaspoon of english mustard and a splash of red wine if you have it, otherwise dont worry( Port is BRILLIANT just dont tell hubby!) Put it on low in the morning and it will be ready for dinner around 5ish.

THURSDAY: Spinach & Ricotta canneloni, defrost the frozen spinach and mix through the ricotta cheese. Put mixture into a piping bag and pipe into canneloni shells. Lay the shells in a single layer over a lasagne dish. Finely dice a 1kg bag of carrots, a brown onion and 3 celery stalks. Saute these in a little butter and olive oil with some garlic, add 4 tins of tomatoes,a cup of chicken stock and a hand full of fresh oregano (dried will do but use less) Put 3/4 of the sauce into a food processor and blend until thick. stir this back into the remaining unprocessed sauce. Spoon sauce liberally all over canneloni shells in dish and be sure they are properly covered. Top with grated cheese and bake on 160 degrees for an 45mins-an hour let it stand for 15mins before serving.

FRIDAY: is self explanetary. Use half the mince to make your burger patties ( the other half was for the bolognaise) I make the buns with my bread recipe. The chips are the frozen ones from Aldi.

SATURDAY: Chicken Soup, This does take some preparation. On the night before, put a whole chicken in the crockpot along with onion skins (I save them from the onions I chop for the burgers), celery tops, a few garlic cloves and 3 dry bay leaves. Top it up with water to cover the chicken and set on low overnight. In the morning, remove the chicken and place aside in the refridgerator. Strain the stock into a bowl or jug and also refridgerate. Later when its cold, remove the layer of solidified fat from the top of the stock ( save this if you like, it makes great dripping for a savory short crust pastry). finely dice 2 brown onions and in a large pot, ( I use my big cast iron one) sautee in a little butter and olive oil with 2 teaspoons of crushed garlic, a teaspoon of dried rosmary and the zest of a lemon. Put any celery and carrots you have left for the week through the food processor and cook with onions for a couple of minutes until they soften. Pour in the strained chicken stock and bring to a simmer, meanwhile, pull half the chicken meat off the bones and add to your stock, ( you can save the rest for sandwiches) put all the other vegetables you have left for the week including the brocolli and cauliflower stalks through the food processor and add to the soup. At this point I add a packet of frozen spinach portions and a couple of teaspoons of massel chicken stock powder. Once you have it back up to a rolling boil you can add some abc soup pasta or some pearl barley if you have some in your pantry store. I serve the soup sprinkled with some grated cheese.
Rasberry Pudding; The cake batter is the same as the above chocolate pudding just dont add the cocoa. Spread an entire box of frozen raspberries, 1/2 a cup of sugar and 1/2 a cup of water on the bottom of a buttered  cassarole dish then pour the batter over and bake at 180 degrees for around 30 mins until golden and the center cracks and springs back to the touch.
Custard; Cream 6 egg yolks, 125g sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add 60g of plain flour and stir to make a paste. Put 500ml milk and a knob of butter in a saucepan and bring to the boil. When at the boil add 1/2 the milk to the egg mixture whisking vigorously until smooth then whisk in  the remainder. Return mixture to the pan and bring to the boil to thicken ( approx 2 mins) allow to cool a little and serve poured over raspberry pudding. This custard will set when cold so it is also perfect for tarts, vanilla slice, trifles etc.

I know it was a really long post, I do hope that the menu plan and these recipes are helpful to somebody!

Monday, September 17, 2012

A menu plan with a difference

My dream kitchen!
 
Today I am showing you not just my menu plan for the week, but also how I budget, and some of the recipes that I use. I shop for $280.00 per week, this includes cleaning products but not pet food. This is obviously a small budget to feed a family of 8 and I would like to share how it can be achieved without compromising on quality and still maintaining a balanced healthy diet.
Achieving this means that more of our income can be put towards childrens clothing, shoes, school fees etc, not to mention the occasional trip to the quilting store( yay!) and family outings.
 
I suppose the first thing I should tell you is that I make almost everything from scratch, including 2-3 loaves of bread a day. Baking my own bread makes a BIG difference, it costs about 50c a loaf and I know exactly whats in it. I might also mention it is fantastic warm with melty butter and honey! My recipe is here
                         http://athomewithcarli.blogspot.com.au/2011/04/beautiful-bread.html

I like to cook and run my home the old fashioned way, yes it can be hard work but it really does make a happy family!


Here is my menu for the week,

SUNDAY- Roast with baked potatoes, pumpkin, carrots and onion. ( make extra roast veg and set aside) Cauliflower cheese and baby peas.* Dessert- Chocolate pudding with cream.

MONDAY- Spaghetti bolognaise with childrens salad.

TUESDAY- Meat and vegetable pie with cheese penne, broccolli, carrots and baby beans.

WEDNESDAY- "Carrot Stew"(beef cassarole) with hot bread and butter, baby peas & beans and corn on the cob.

THURSDAY- Spinach and riccotta canelloni and a simple salad.

FRIDAY- Homemade hamburgers with chips and milkshakes.

SATURDAY- Chicken soup with hot bread and butter. * Dessert- Rasberry pudding and custard.

BREAKFASTS-
weet-bix or porridge
tinned fruit
eggs on toast with bacon
bakedbeans on toast with bacon

LUNCHES-
Meat, cheese and pickle or Egg, lettuce and mayonaise sandwiches.
Little bolognaise pizzas. (weekends)
Fresh fruit

MORNING TEAS-
Vanilla cake

AFTERNOON TEAS-
Crackers, apples and yoghurt.

DRINKS-
We do not buy any softdrinks, fruit juice or cordials. I never have, sometimes I may buy some lemonade or make some cordial for a treat, usually its for an occasion or a picnic. The children happily drink milk, water, herbal or green tea. I drink alot of herbal teas and green tea and Shane has a green tea in the mornings and a cup of coffee after dinner.


I shop at 3 different supermarkets, ALDI, COLES and WOOLWORTHS.
I only go to woolworths for my Crisp ironing starch and the dry yeast for the bread, as the others dont stock either of them. I dont get the yeast in sachets it is better value to get Lowan yeast in the red container and measure by the teaspoon when needed. ( keep it in the fridge once open)
I will copy out for you the list/receipt for each store.

ALDI
4x 3 litres full cream milk
1 box froz rasberries
2x 500g froz baby peas
1kg bag froz green beans
2x box froz spinach
2x 500g block butter
500g block cheese
1 tub ricotta cheese
600ml cream
2 500ml tubs yoghurt
1 bag froz crinkle cut oven chips
6 250g tins of diced tomatoes
1 litre bottle olive oil
700ml bottle tomato passata
500g jar tomato paste
1kg pkt spaghetti
500g pkt penne
1 tin pineapple slices
1 tin beetroot
4x 825g tins of peaches or two fruits in juice
700g jar of honey
2 pkts crackers
vegemite
1kg white sugar
3doz eggs
dishwashing liquid 99c
dishwasher tabs $7.99
laundry liquid concentrate $4.99
laundry soaker $2.49
3kg roast pork shoulder
2kg beef mince
1x $5.00 pkt budget bacon
1x $5.00 froz chook
1kg chuck steak

TOTAL- $ 153.50

COLES
2 boxes canneloni shells
tin of chicken massel stock powder
425g box coles traditional gravy mix
3x 2kg coles plain flour
1x 2kg coles self raising flour
3x 900g bags coles rolled oats
2x 500g coles soft icing sugar
20 pack white Quilton 3ply toilet paper.

3kg navel oranges
3x 1kg bags carrots
4 sweet corn
med kent/jap pumpkin
500g zuchini
3 kg potatoes
1kg brown onions
1 spanish onion
1 large gold sweet potato
500g broccoli
2 lettuce
1 cauliflower
5 kg apples
1/2 a celery
3kg bananas
1 kg tomatoes

TOTAL- $115.00

WOOLWORTHS
lowan dry yeast
1x can Crisp starch

TOTAL- $9.80

As you can see the grand total comes in at just under $280.00, I will post some of the recipes later this week for anyone who may like them. I'm considering doing a few more budget shopping list and weekly menu plan posts, I thought perhaps they may be helpful?  I would love you to let me know if it would.
Have a lovely afternoon!




Monday, August 27, 2012

Bella-Clares Birthday



 
 
A lovely cake for a lovely girl!
 
 
 
 
We had a "Garden Party" with lots of  young ladies!


 
 
Bella-Clares beautiful sisters had  a lovely time too!

 
 
 
The tea table.
 
 
 
We served,
Assorted sandwiches.
Fruit platter.
Quiches (mini).
Cheese platter with crackers, ham & salami.
Vanilla & chocolate wafers.
Butterfly sugar cookies.
Mummy's special strawberry & cream tarts.
Cordial
Plain lemonade
And of course plenty of water!
 
 
 

 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pretty Singlets


I am a firm believer in the singlet! Especially with children, they are invaluble during spring and autumn when it is chilly and the children take off their jumpers when running about and playing.
As you can see above I buy the traditional bonds singlets for both the girls and boys, the ones pictured are the girls style. I prefer these as they are simple, practical( they are quite long and tuck into pants and stockings well) well made and warm. Unlike some other examples I've seen in department stores that are aimed at little girls and tweens but are SO inappropriate! It is difficult to tell which ones belong to which child after a few washes because the size tag fades, so for the last few years this is what I do.
For each of the girls I stitch a grub rose on the front of each one in a different colour for each girl. Gracie has Blue, Bella-Clare has lemon and Lilly has pink. I also buy plain white knickers and do the same so they have matching sets.


Traditional, pretty and practical!
And when sorting the laundry it easy to see who's is who's at a glance!
Obviously the boys dont have roses! When they were little I put their first initial in red for Josh, Yellow for Stevie and Navy for Pat.
I have found the best place to buy childrens underwear is at "Best & Less" You can buy both the singlets and knickers individually for around $5.00 a singlet and from $3.00 for each pair of knickers, I haven't found anywhere else that sells plain white knickers for girls. 



Saturday, July 14, 2012

A little tip...


Just a tip for today, If you have a formal dining table that is not used terribly often. Keep it set, it only needs to be done simply, with some nice china and a vase of flowers from the supermarket( or your garden if you  are lucky enough to have them) I makes the room feel "polished"and if certain family members see any free surface as fair game for spreading their homework, colouring, craft etc about this is an excellent deterent! Giving you time to issue a gentle reminder of the correct place that these things should be done!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Warming up my decor...







                              

 
Hello everyone! I havn't been posting much lately, as Shane has been away for a few months and I was really busy! So I need to catch up. Even though we are in Queensland it is still fairly cold now that its winter, and if this week's anything to go by, very wet and grey too!
I have decided to warm up my decor a little by storing away all of my blue accessories, in favor of a little deep red and soft greens. I LOVE this doona cover, its Laura Ashley and just so pretty!

 

 
These hang in the childrens bathroom

 


What do you think of my new couch in the family room? It needs a side table, I thought a lovely old singer treadle machine would be perfect, I just have to find one! If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them...





On the lounge in the good room I changed from the wedgewood blue and cream embroidered  cushion, to this one it's a favorite of mine. The book is called "Velvet Pears"by Susan Southham. It is truly beautiful filled with stories, photos etc from the 30 years of journals she kept whilst she and her husband renovated their 100year old cottage and created a most spectacular english cottage garden in  country SE New South Wales,  just beautiful...





Saturday, June 9, 2012

My favorite winter breakfast.


I have made the most delicious discovery lately!
As some of you may have read in a much older
post of mine A good breakfast I am a firm
believer that a propper meal every morning is a must!
I had over summer become quite addicted to
having a bowl of fresh mango, strawberries and blueberries
topped with roughly chopped macadamia's and
almonds with my tea and boiled egg each
morning. Then I would go out for my daily walk.
But alas! mangoes went out of season, so did
strawberries and I can only get nice frozen
blueberries!
After several weeks of trialing various combinations
of seasonal fruit, I have come up with a
winner!
The Apple, pear and ( frozen) blueberry compote.
I still top it with macadamias and almonds, but
I blend them up so they are crumbly.
The kids love it too!



I simply peel and chop the apples and pears ( use quite
ripe pears they are sweeter) cook them on a low
heat with a little water till they are a little mushy
and stir through frozen blueberries. The heat of the fruit cooks
the berries enough.



The blended nuts keep very well in the fridge, as does the
left over fruit compote.
I store a weeks worth and heat a bowlful each morning
and top it with a tablespoon of the nut mix

Seriously delicious!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

When someone is sick


It is always hard work when somebody or several somebodies in
the family are unwell. Trying to care for the poor things whilst
preventing everyone else from catching the "sicky germs"as they
are affectionately reffered to in our home is not easy,especially if
they are struck with something like gastro, and I dont think I need to spell out why!
I know not everyones family is as large as ours but I thought I might
share my tried and tested system for dealing with it.

First and most importantly
QUARANTINE!!!
The person or persons in question are on bed rest and NOT to leave their room,
except to use the bathroom/toilet.
If the child shares a room and the other child is well, I will make up a bed
elsewhere for the well one, usually in my room or another sibling who is not sick.
We have two bathrooms so I am able to quarantine that aswell if it is
a gastro type bug.

Hand washing routine becomes very strict for everyone, my normal liquid soap
gets swapped for the anti-bacterial/viral one, I also put the purell hand sanitiser
out in the bathrooms, kitchen and the quarantined bedrooms.

If it is a gastro bug BOTH bathrooms and toilets get disinfected immediately after
use ( this prevents cross contamination if someone who was well gets sick too)

The sick beds get their linens changed and washed every morning and dried in
the sun ( providing the weather accommodates) Bad colds and flu can
go on for days so this is also for the comfort of my patients, not just for
cleanliness.

When cleaning up vomit disposable gloves and a vinyl apron are a must!
The apron can be wiped over sprayed with an anti-viral spray like glen20
and hung in the sun.
Speaking of aprons it's not everyones thing but a couple of  fresh, clean pressed aprons
everyday is nice.

Being on bed rest can be hard for children, particularly small ones!
so I give them things to do on a tray in bed, such as colouring, lego, my little pony
books etc. I also might put the laptop on the end of the bed and play
a movie on it for them. They are NOT allowed computer games as it does not encourage
rest. 

I also bring their meals on a tray, If they are up to food.
Favorites in our home are
vegimite toast and a boiled egg.
warm stewed apples.
mummys chicken soup
"special dinny in a bowl"
chopped fresh fruit
ham, cheese and tomato toasted sandwiches.
Cups of herbal teas and hot honey, lemon and ginger are also very comforting!

Well thats about it, the only other thing I could add is a nice warm lavender
bath followed by vicks vapour rub and a hot water bottle in the bed when the
weather is cold, is always good.





Monday, April 9, 2012

Impromptu Tea Party...



What else is there to do over the easter holidays?
Why hold a tea party of course!
We decided one morning to set up a garden tea,
and invite Nannie to join us, after all we did have  alot of
cake from our baking lessons....















We all enjoyed a perfectly lovely afternoon!
"THE MENU"
Chicken, aioli and lettuce sandwiches
Strawberries and cream
The afore mentioned cupcakes
"BEVERAGES"
Tea ( of course)
Lime cordial
Iced water
                                                   








Let them eat cake!


It's the school holidays, and my girls requested lessons
in various things, Baking being at the top of the list.
And so we started with cupcakes, and learned that a basic
plain cake recipe can become all sorts of different things!
LILLY - Chocolate
BELLA-CLARE - strawberry & marshmallow
GRACIE - vanilla & rasberry jam



 



They lined up along my kitchen bench, ingredients and homemaking notebooks
at hand, ready to produce something spectacular!



As you can see, we were not without the local scavengers
hoping to find leftovers in bowls and wooden spoons unlicked!





I thought they did a fabulous job, dont you?