Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Just A Little Update


Hello!
I am here, back again!
So much has happened these last few months, all starting with a very sudden and rushed moving of house.
A very long and terribly boring story of why we moved....
I won't bore you, I'll keep it short.
My poor husband was working hard and getting paid a very low wage. Not enough to cover our bills, so we gradually slipped further backwards.
Not good at all. (Especially with another little one on the way!)
So we decided drastic actions must be taken.
He made numerous phone calls, and I made one.
He got a better job, with much higher pay. It was in Sydney (a mere 5hr drive away).
So we decided on the tough decision on him staying with his parents in Sydney and Eve & I staying with my parents in a small country town 8hrs drive away.
Not an easy decision, but we knew we had to do it.
There was no way Eve & I could fit in his parents house and my parents happen to have a lovely little converted honey shed where we have been living.
So we went for the cheapest living arrangemennts possible and made a vow to really throw everything at our debt.
So far we have done quite well, it hasn't been easy though.
The distance is too far, but it makes his visits even more special.

One of the many advantages of staying with my parents (apart from their lovely company) is that Eve absolutely LOVES it here.
She chases chickens, but the ducks get the most attention. They can waddle pretty fast when they need to!
She "Mooooo"s at the cows and calls them by name now.
She "BAAAAAAA"s at the sheep.
She loves all the birds and tries to mimmick their tweeting.
But I think most of all she loves having her grandma so close.
She loves to go down to the house every morning to steal some breakfast.
She loves helping grandma getting the bucket ready for milking time, and even keeps grandma in line by reminding her that it's milking time NOW!
She helps in the vege garden while we plant and weed, she digs with her spoon, chases our dog or picks flowers for us.
She has grown so much and her vocabulary is expanding almost daily! Of course she is very fluent in her own little yabbering language and not afraid to chew your ear off!

The not so little baby bump is going well, a little wriggler who is already being picked on by his (not sure if its a boy but we all think so) big sister. I am so blessed to have such an easy pregnancy so far, the only difficult thing is being so exhausted but having to run around after a toddler and keep her entertained too!

The next steps seem very uncertain right now, all I know is that I promised my husband we would live in Sydney for one year but before we can even think of doing that we need to find somewhere to live down there! Most importantly somewhere we can afford! Renting is not cheap down there, the frugal lifestyle will be back in full force! First step: VEGE GARDEN!!

Here are just a few photos of our journey so far......



A new found love for Babar...



Enjoying her grandma cuddles...



The "BAAA"s



The lovely surrounds...



Modelling the pants I made for her from an old shirt..



They started so small...







And these were taken a week or two ago, already much bigger now!







Here's the new little edition to the family....



He'll probably be just as helpful as his sister in cleaning up....



When there's a sweet reward!!

Plenty more photos to come soon!
:)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Very Sick Household... Again!

I have been hit with a nasty flu.
As I am still struggling to get over it my poor husband got it too.
Even worse than me. Poor thing was rugged up in layers and still felt freezing but his skin was burning to touch.
He is much better today and returned to work, the house was quiet without him!
Eve has had a runny nose but hasn't turned any worse......Yet!
But then again she appears to be teething!

So things may be a bit quiet around here..... For a little while.
:)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday Is For Sharing.... Cheese Souffle!

I have had some cravings....
Cheese souffle cravings.
My mother got me addicted.
She makes the best cheese souffle.

So on Thursday night I pulled out my trusty Vegetarian Cookbook and flicked over to the souffle recipe.
Just ignore the unhealthy statistics underneath and you'll be fine.
I love this recipe, it is easy and doesn't take as long as it may seem.
To make things easier though I like to get everything measured out and ready.
If you do try this recipe I have one tip:
Leave your cheese out to get to room temperature as it will melt a lot easier. And try not to pack it down when measuring, I use the scales instead of cup measurements.

So here it is, in a horrible fuzzy photo as soon as it came out of the oven.....



.....Please don't look at my filthy stovetop!

It was perfect. Light and fluffy with a slightly crisp top.



So here's the recipe...

Ingredients:

60g Butter
45g Plain Flour
1 1/4 cups (315mL) milk, warmed.
1 1/2 cups (185g) grated cheddar, firmly packed (Easier to weigh so it doesn't form a brick which won't want to melt for you!)
1 tsp dijon mustard (I omitted this because I have none, still super tasty)
4 Eggs, seperated
1 Tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese (I also did not have any of this but it turned out perfect anyway)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400F). Grease a 1.5 Litre souffle dish. (I did not have one big enough so I used an oval baking dish I have)
  • Melt the butter in a large pan then add the flour. Stir over low heat for 2mins or until the flour is lightly golden and bubbling. Remove from the heat and gradually add the milk, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Return the pan to the heat and stir constantly until the mixture boils and thickens. Simmer for 1min, then remove from heat.
  • Add the grated cheese, dijon mustard and egg yolks and stir until the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
  • Put the egg whites in a clean dry bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. Using a metal spoon, fold one third of the egg whites into the sauce, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites, being careful not to lose any volume.
  • Gently pour into the prepared dish and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until well risen and cooked through.
  • Serve Immediately

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Cheesecake



I did it.
I made the cheesecake.
And boy it was good!
No recipe, just some chocolate, cream cheese and a tiny bit of gelatine to help it hold together.
Pop that on a crunchy chocolate biscuit and coconut base and yummo!

When we arrived at our friend's house the children (and adults) stared and commented.
Ooooh.
Aaaaaaah.

We had dinner, chatted and the children finished their food long before us, ready with just enough room in their tummies for dessert.
I sliced it up as everyone crowded around me, salivating.
Then there was silence.
We all ate.
The kids wanted seconds, but it was time for bed.
The youngest, 6 years old came up to me and gave me a sad face.....
"Are you leaving the left over cheesecake here so we can have some tomorrow?"
I told him yes.
"OH THANK YOU!!!!"
He gave me a gigantic hug and ran off to bed.
So sweet.
:)


(Not big enough I say!)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Motivation Levels Low.....Make A Cheesecake!

The dirty dishes are piling up, clean clothes are rarely seen and my hair needs a thorough wash.
Motivation levels are low.......
But!
We have dinner tonight with some lovely friends and I promised a chocolate cheesecake for dessert.
Yum...... Cheeseecake......Mmmm....
I probably won't follow a recipe, I'll just "wing" it. The thought of doing a swirly marble double chocolate design sounds like a good option.
But I did hit the Google search and found this recipe...



Triple Chocolate Cheesecake.

I have made this cheesecake before. It was so good!
But I made a silly mistake. I used very dark and very bitter chocolate (silly me grabbed the first block and didn't read the label!). It didn't totally destroy the cheesecake but it wasn't as nice as it could have been.

Then I found this:



Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie Slice

When my husband used to work in the kitchen of a retirement home they would make up gigantic trays of this slice. Usually too much so some would come home to me.
It was very yummy.
But didn't quite fix my cheesecake cravings....
Yes I am a cheesecake-a-holic!
:)

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Heart Whales



It all started with this cute little whale bank from Pottery Barn Kids....

Then I moved on to this gorgeous white whale basket also from Pottery Barn Kids (how I wish we had one of them near me!)



Then while perusing Etsy I found this beautiful happy little whale necklace...



And then this pretty little piece of whale love...



I want one of each please!
(WARNING: While surfing through the Art section on Etsy for pretty whale things I found some pretty graphic paintings. If you want that innocent, cute image of a whale to stay in your head....Don't go there!)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Rising Water...


Little girl, big storm.

It's been a bit wet in our little town lately.
The river that joins onto the creek that runs through town has been raging and causing lots of floods. Around town it looks like we are slowly sinking as the water rises.
As we left yesterday morning to go to a birthday party we were flagged down by our neighbour who warned us that the creek behind our house was getting higher and higher and it might flood over to us....... Yippee!
The rain was on and off and in a break of sunshine we went to have a sneak peek at the creek.....



You can see the debris in the trees from earlier in the day when it had been much higher!



Usually about 1/4 the size of this and barely moving.

The water had obviously been very high but was slowly going down though still very rapid.
We had a nice little walk, snapped some pics and just as we got home the rain started again. Those clouds were just waiting!








My goofy little dog & me. She loves our walks.
:)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Is For Sharing



This vegetarian cookbook was given to me a long time ago, and I am still very far from trying every recipe.
But when I stumbled upon this one.......I was instantly in love. It was the best, most flavourful soup I had ever made. It didn't have that dull watery taste of most vegetable soups.
I cannot count how many times I have made it, but enough to not need the recipe anymore.
Of course I tweaked it in the slightest. I did not add the beans. I'm not a huge fan of beans unless they are fresh off my vine or the snap frozen ones..... Tinned beans just don't do it for me.


(Just right click on the image and save)

:)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

10 Things I Love...



About my daughter...

  1. The way she clings to me, throwing her small arms around me when I get her out of bed. She loves her cuddles as much as her mummy does.
  2. Her laugh, it is pure joy.
  3. That she shares everything with me, mainly her pre chewed sloppy toast but I still pretend to share it with her. It makes her laugh.
  4. Watching her off in her own little world, running around the house, bouncing from one toy to the next.
  5. Listening to her "read" her books to herself.
  6. Her cheeky smile.
  7. The way she twirls and plays with her hair, just like her mummy.
  8. When she dances, her hips swaying and her shoulders bouncing up and down. Hilariously cute.
  9. Seeing how excited she gets when her daddy gets home, the look of love on her face.
  10. .........Ok, I love EVERYTHING about her, even when she poops in the bath I still have a smile on my face.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Exciting News!

We are horrible at keeping our own secrets, my husband and I. We found out 2 weeks ago that I am pregnant (yes, yippee!) and decided we'd wait to find out how many weeks along I am until we tell everyone.
My friends and family are too smart.
Some just know me too well, and others read everything I say and jump straight to the conclusion of "she's preggers!"

Event number one that started the cloud of suspicion:

I had to have a blood test done.
I HATE having blood taken. I get anxious, sick, borderline panic attack and have to lie down, close my eyes and usually grip my husband's hand so tight he winces in pain.
This time I was worried, with my last pregnancy I had a horrible blood taking experience and was afraid it could happen again. I had been sick, my morning sickness with my first pregnancy was awful, severe and I am pretty sure I spent about 3.5 months doing nothing but vomiting everything back up that went in my mouth. The day of the blood test arrived, I was feeling ok, only vomited once that morning so was fairly happy with myself. Then after arriving, telling them I am a complete and utter pansy and will need to lie down, I was ushered off into a room with cute baby animal posters and a high bed with stuffed toys glaring at me. Yes, I am where the children come too get their blood taken, and I don't care.
After the usual light hearted chat, I stared at the posters while the nurse attempted to suck my veins dry........ Something was wrong.
It wasn't working.
My veins kept disappearing every time she jabbed them.
She asked if I had drank much water.
Yes I have but I have been sick.
Oh.
So you are dehydrated.
4 nurses and six needle stabbing attempts later they finally managed to get that precious blood out of me.
With a baby needle.
I walked out of there with both arms looking like pincushions.
Never again.
So this time I drank water all day, constantly sipping.
No matter how many times I had to rush off to pee I was determined to make this time easier.
Well it was.
I got to lounge in a comfy recliner chair and found out the reason why my blood doesn't want to come out. My veins are very deep so they have to really jab that needle in there to get to them.
It is slightly embarassing to bbe so deathly afraid of needles when I have gone through 20hrs of labour, drug free only to have a gigantic needle shoved in my spine right before I finally pushed my baby out. Yeah, childbirth I can handle but stick a spikey thing near me and I will get all woozy and possibly vomit on you.

The second suspicious activities:

I have been hit with morning sickness hard. Out of nowhere. Sick all day, exhausted, drained.
My sweet husband has been helping me so much. I wish I could return the favour with a decent cooked meal. I haven't baked any bread in over a week now, we had to buy some! But I have to admit, I love the light and fluffy texture of my toast in the mornings, it does my stomach some good.
Since I have been sick I have become a bit of a hermit, missing out on my usual weekly outings like playgroup, Women's Ministry, Mainly Music (fun music play time for kids). People have noticed, asked if I'll be there and I've had to fob them off with pathetic "I'm not feeling so well today" excuses.
At church you could hear it in their voices when they asked "So how are you feeling today?" that they knew what was going on. On Sunday it seemed like everyone was onto us, we had been caught! So we got one of our lovely friends to announce it to everyone. Not that they didn't already know!

So that is why I have been sick, lazy and stuck inside the house. I desperately want to do some gardening but have no energy and the thought of vomiting in my yard in front of our neighbours is not very appealing either.

So I'm going to snuggle back in bed with my vegemite on toast and cup of tea and keep counting down the days until that sickness disappears...
:)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Other Baby



She was tiny when we got her.
Still bottle fed, had severe diarrhea and loved the constant attention when a bottle was coming her way.

These days...........
She doesn't like being alone.
She steals the chook food.
She is a fussy eater.
She cries if she sees you walk past the window when she misses you.
She loves to play with our dog.
When she escapes she runs next door to play with the other dogs.
She thinks I am her mummy and gets very excited when I come outside.
She loves coming in the house. NOT allowed to at all but she sneaks in sometimes when I am juggling a gigantic basket full of washing.
She wags her tail when I pat her.



This is the most recent photo I have of her...... She was on her chain out the front but found out it reached inside. I heard her clip clop her way in and managed to haul her out before she made a mess everywhere!

So that is my little other baby called Esmerelda, or "Ezzy" as we call her.
She does get us in trouble, make a mess and too much noise but she is our cute little pet, a part of our family.
:)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday Is For Sharing

I haven't been feeling too well lately. Actually quite sick.
My motivation levels are dipping so low our dinners have become the laziest meals ever.
The other night I went as far as putting food on a tray and into the oven. In a random burst of energy a few hours before dinner I had cut up some veges and put them in my steamer ready to go with our fish and chips.......
......
....
...
..
And after all that effort I couldn't even eat it all!
I picked at my chips, ate all my veges (yes mum you should be proud I ate them first!) then had most of my fish.....Until halfway through a piece I got the sudden urge to be sick so goodbye yummy dinner!

Tonight it will be another simple but hopefully nutritional meal....
So I have turned to my trusty cookbook.
My best cookbook I have.



And after flicking through to take these snaps my eyes (and my stomach) seem to have settled on this one....



In fact, the instant memory of it's yumminess makes me want it NOW! I'll just have to convince the husband that I need it enough to go to the shops and pick up a few supplies.
Usually we have most ingredients in the garden or fridge but our last shopping trip my head was in the clouds and a few things were forgotten.

Anyway back to the yummy recipe....


(Yes I am really that lazy/ill that I'm not typing it out for you.....)

You should try it.
But my suggestion is without the mint.
I didn't add it the first time I made it so the next I decided to try it......
NOT AGAIN.
It was not so good.
Changed the whole taste and not to my liking.

Anyway!
I'll be sharing more of my favourites from this cookbook every Saturday.
:)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Getting Dirty



I should get out in the garden and do some weeding. It is bad, very, very bad.
It is hard to find the time, I have to wait until my dear husband is home to keep the little girl entertained.
I ventured out today to assess my vege patch.
The broccoli is almost ready to pick. I killed a few nasty slugs having a munch on them!
Everything else is still small, but I guess that is to be expected in winter.
I finally picked my carrots which seem to have been there for an eternity. I can never get big juicy carrots!



I think some research is needed for my next lot!
:)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake



Think that looks yummy?
Go here to The Pioneer Woman's website for the recipe.
Make it. You know you want to.
Try not to eat it all while it is still warm. (Very hard to do)



This recipe makes a HUGE tray of cake with plenty of icing. My cake rose a bit more in the middle so the edges are almost half cake, half icing.
The hole in the photo was my attempt to push some of the icing from the edges into a neat little well...... And it was also our little taste test. (Has to be done!)



The fruit bowl looking very lonely in the background.... Fruit or cake? Hmmmmm......

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday Is For Sharing

On Tuesday I did some baking. I felt it was necessary since we had only one jam drop biscuit left and my husband had eaten all of his chocolate.
EMERGENCY! SWEET THINGS NEEDED!

I tried a recipe from the Pioneer Woman (I have a teensy crush on her cooking skills, check her out here if you haven't met her yet). I tried out her recipe for "Spreads" found in the cookie section. But I'll tell you more about those later....

On to the recipe!
My friend gave me this recipe after we scoffed some of these at her house once. It has to be the most soft and delicious muesli I have ever eaten. It crumbles a bit but that would make it just perfect for serving with yogurt for breakfast. I must try that!



Apricot Muesli Bars

Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 30-35 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup dried apricots - chopped
1 cup water
1 cup plain flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup coconut
150 grams butter
1 tsp baking powder

Directions:

1. Combine apricots & water in a saucepan, boil until all of the water is absorbed.
2. Combine flour, oats, coconut and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Stir in brown sugar & butter into apricot mix, stirring as it melts into a syrup.
4. Add apricot mix to dry ingredients & combine.
5. Pour mixture into a slice tin, pre-lined with baking paper.
6. Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes at 180C, until golden brown.

Trust me, it is good...




After both trays of goodies were cooled I sliced them up and popped them into my favourite little tins.
Now you can sit at the table and decide... Fruit or yummy baked treats?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Crafty/Study/Spare Bedroom Makeover



This used to be our spare room.
It is my crafting space, my husband's computer space and also our spare bedroom.
Also known as a pig sty!
But after days of cleaning, sorting, hauling in a huge set of drawers and vacuuming again and again it finally looks good.



I still need to make some proper curtains....
The desk has a bit of mess, but it is much better!



I pulled out this set of drawers from our shed and vacuumed and wiped them down to shove all my fabrics and other bits and pieces in.....
On the top left hand side is my box of patterns (mostly vintage) and the middle is my work in progress box. A LOT of stuff in there!



The beds for our very infrequent guests...



Next to the single futon there is a big set of drawers which we filled with more stuff.....
And of course my dressmaker's mannequin and more drawers full of crafty stuff.



So there it is!
Still not quite child friendly but much better.
:)