Thursday, December 28, 2006

And Now It's Our Anniversary!

Posted by MANDI at 9:17 PM 2 comments
We have been married 9 years! I know lots of people have been married lots longer but I think it's pretty impressive. Didn't do anything especially romantic but we did spend the day together which was nice.
A quick update:
Christmas was wonderful. Offspring #1 LOVED it! He is amazed by Santa's extreme cleverness, especially how he knew exactly the toys that #1 "weally weally wanted". #2 wasn't quite as impressed and found all the people and noise a bit hard to cope with. They have both been sooooo very good while we have been away. They are completely out of their normal routines, away from home and all the little comforts and being dragged all over the country side to see people they don't know very well or, in #2's case, just can't remember. Poor #1 had a not-so-mini-meltdown tonight after a very long day and some late nights.
The shopping has slowed but not stopped completely. I have grand shopping plans for Saturday and will aim to squeeze in one more good 'shop' before we head back but am rapidly running out of time.
I am just loving this holiday. We have been catching up with friends (generally involving lots of champagne), relaxing and just enjoying our time together.
BIG NEWS FOR FELLOW FOODIES!!! I bought my covection microwave oven today. 44 litres of gorgeous-ness! WOOOHOOOOO!!! I am so darn excited that I nearly can't wait to get back to Red Dirt Central just so I can open it and play with it. Now that's excited!
I had planned to post some Christmas pics but... since I forgot my card reader and I'm using Mum's computer, well you get the idea. Instead I'll have bazillions of pics to post when I get home.
Thankyou for the birthday wishes. I did try to respond to them but Blogger was being painful.

Friday, December 22, 2006

In The Big City

Posted by MANDI at 2:51 PM 2 comments
WooHoo!! It is so excellently excellent to be home for a few weeks. We had a good trip down, the kids were great and coped well with the drive. Arrived Tuesday and since then I have shopped (spent $600 yesterday! oh dear) had my hair done (I am just about totally in love with myself LOL) caught up with friends, and just loved being here. I'm at Mum and Dad's for my birthday lunch at the moment - lots of yummy 'party' food and some lovely presents. I asked for lots of cooking stuff and recieved a new loaf tin, a friand tin, a couple of cook books I was after that I will share recipes from when I return home, a very daggy old CD that I really wanted (I'm too embarrassed to share it with you!).
Anyway, must run and drink some more champagne with Mum before we go out for dinner with the in-laws.
I'll check in next week with some photos of the kids and our holiday.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

See You In A Month

Posted by MANDI at 3:18 PM 5 comments
We're off tomorrow morning for a month long holiday to the Big City! We're going to take three days to drive down, just taking it easy and try to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. We've planned a week or so with each set of parents, a few days down south with a couple of sets of friends, and throughout there will be lots catching up with friends and family and shopping (WOOHOOO!!! that bit is very exciting) and then three days to drive back up. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone, doing some shopping and, of course, Christmas.
Offspring #1 is so excited he is just about bouncing. It's wonderful that he is so excited about seeing Nanny and Pop, Grandma and Grandpa and his friends but it seems that the excitement is taking up space in his head usually reserved for skills like listening, minding his manners and, my personal favourite, following instructions.
The washing is all done and sorted, now I just need to cart it all out to the caravan. The presents, along with several bags of baby clothes now outgrown by #2 and headed for a friends baby, have been stowed in various under-storage areas. The food for the trip has been sorted and needs only to be 'esky-ed' tomorrow morning and I just need to check the first-aid kit and make sure we have baby panadol and bonjella for a teething wee person who is unhappily chewing on anything she can find.
I will try to check in once a week or so and share news and pics of our holiday but will be back for real mid-January.
For now, the House of Red Dirt wishes you and yours a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year. See you in 2007.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

And The Heavens Opened

Posted by MANDI at 10:40 PM 3 comments
We just had our first rain for the season! Considering how long it is since we have seen rain it was pretty exciting. We got 10ml of rain the temperature dropped by about 10 degrees, then it got humid and steamy. Aaahhh, the wet season in Red Dirt Central. You've gotta love it.
Before the thunderstorm we had the grey skies roll in and this beauty in the sky. If you look carefully you can see the second rainbow too.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

OUCH!!

Posted by MANDI at 12:00 PM 3 comments
I was cleaning the bathroom this morning and decided that the shower needed a good scrub. So I crouched down in the shower to scrub gunge from the corner. I forgot that the shower cleaning stuff makes the floor waaaaayyyy slippery. I scrubbed a bit too hard and my feet shot our from under me and I made a very inelegant dive onto the shower floor landing on one knee, one wrist and one elbow. Nice look!

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Special Treat

Posted by MANDI at 7:52 PM 3 comments
I have been longing for some of this cheesecake for ages but couldn't quite bring myself to make one when I didn't have anyone coming to dinner to share it with. While I probably could manage to eat the whole thing (over a few days!) I thought it wasn't the wisest idea. And while I did have people I could invite to dinner trying to find a date that suited everyone, and their kids activities, was near impossible. Finally on Saturday we managed to tee up a date with some friends and I got to make what I think is just about the yummiest cheesecake ever!


White Chocolate Cheesecake
From the Ugly Binder



185g (1½ cups) crushed plain chocolate biscuits
90g butter, melted
500g cream cheese, softened
400g can sweetened condensed milk
200g white chocolate, melted
300ml carton cream
1 tbsp gelatine
¼ cup boiling water
100g dark chocolate, melted

Combine biscuite crumbs and butter. Press into base of 23cm springform pan and refrigerate until firm
Beat cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Beat in white chocolate, then beat in cream.
Combine gelatine and boilng water, stir until dissolved. Beat gelatine into cheesecake milture and spoon over crumb crust.
Swirl dark chocolate through cheesecake mixture and refrigerate until firm.

I used chocolate chip fudge cookies for the base this time round. I have experimented with lots of different types and this is definitely my favourite. I usually make this the night before I need it so it is nice and firm when it's time to serve it up. Hope you like it. Here at the House of Red Dirt it's a firm favourite.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

An early birthday gift

Posted by MANDI at 9:00 PM 0 comments

I received an early birthday present this week. It's not my birthday for a couple of weeks but my friend, D, was leaving town and she gave me a birthday/goodbye/sorry-we're-leaving gift. It's a cookie jar in the shape of a cup-cake. I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! My old cookie jar was dented and ugly and I said to D a couple of weeks ago that I needed to get another one. She said that was the only clue she needed LOL.

The very gorgeous cup-cake cookie jar



And here is a pic of the cookie-mix-in-a-jar gifts that we made for #1's kindy teachers. As usual, not a great shot, but you get the idea.



Today I was out scrapbooking all day and got a few pages of #2's baby album done. I'm pleased that I finally managed to get her first photos scrapped, especially as she is 15 months old now! Here are some pics of what I got done. I forgot my 'special' pen so they still need the journalling to be done but you get the general idea.








We were out to dinner last night and I made one of my favourite desserts - white chocolate cheesecake. I'll be back tomorrow with pics and the recipe.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Teacher's Gifts

Posted by MANDI at 9:13 PM 3 comments
Tomorrow is the last day of kindy for Offspring #1. What a big milestone. He seems pretty cool with the whole idea but a certain Mummy is feeling a bit sad and sorry! We made Cookie-Mix-In-A-Jar for #1's two teachers for their Christmas gifts. I think they turned out pretty well. We did a test run last week and made a batch of cookies (they are Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies) to see how they turned out and were quietly pleased with them. The main thing I wanted, besides them being tasty, was for the recipients to not have to add too many other ingredients or follow long and complicated steps. Anyway, I got the recipe from a site called Gifts From Your Kitchen that is well worth checking out - lots of yummy recipes to try.
I have tried to post pics of the finished gifts but someone (ie the Hubby!) changed the settings on my camera so the photos are huge and I'm not sure how to make 'em smaller so Blogger will be happy with them.I'll get him to fix them up and post them later.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Snicker-who?

Posted by MANDI at 8:24 PM 4 comments
I realise it has been awhile since I did a food post so thought I'd best get myself into action. To be honest I haven't been cooking anything terribley exciting, I have been making proper meals and all but they have tended to be family favourites, like spag bol, tuna mornay or lamb cutlets that I have fine-tuned and tweaked to our tastes and don't follow a recipe for anyway. Late last week #1 and I felt like some cookies so had a search through the ugly binder and came across a recipe I had been wanting to try for some time - Snickerdoodles! Yes, I admit it was mostly the name that intrigued me but also everytime someone had spoken of these cookies they told me how much they loved them so of course I wanted to try them too. They are super easy, super crunchy and super yummy! I really loved them dunked in a cup of tea while #1 enjoyed them with a glass of cold milk. The day we made them I was cruising through a number of blogs I read regularly and realised that Ellie, the Kitchen Wench, had made snickerdoodles the same day. Her recipe is a little different to the one I had and I'll be trying hers next time. I also realised that I had taken the same type of photo (although her photo is, as always, terrific and mine is ummm... not) but since we had given half the cookies away to a friend and eaten a large number of the remaining ones I couldn't take another pic. Oh well!!


Snickerdoodles
from The Ugly Binder




150g butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1¾ cups self-raising flour

rolling mix of ½ cup cinnamon scented caster sugar (or ½ cup caster sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon)


Preheat oven to 225˚C. Cream butter and sugar together in a bowl, mix in the egg then the flour. Take teaspoons of the mixture and roll into a ball then roll it in the cinnamon sugar rolling mix until it's well covered.

Place each snickerdoodle on a greased tray, leaving room for spreading. Press slightly flat and bake for about 10 minutes or until they are just turning golden at the edges. Remove from oven and leave cookies to cool on tray. They will be quite soft but will turn crisp as they cool.



Makes about 30.

PS I haven't had any comments for ages. Is anyone reading this? Please say hi if you've dropped by, even if you don't normally comment. You can even be anonymous if you want LOL.

Friday, December 1, 2006

A Concert Report

Posted by MANDI at 9:05 PM 0 comments
Well the end-of-year concert was a fabulous success! The kindy kids were so very cute - the boys were in surfie shirts and boardshorts or surfie-style shorts and most of the girls wore their swimmers and pretty coloured grass skirts. #1 did a terrific job of remembering the dance - I guess the other kids did too but I wasn't watching them LOL! He danced his little heart out and you should have seen the wiggle when he did "the schnorkel" AKA the snorkel, where they hold their nose and pretend they are under water. Apart from jumping to face the wrong way one time (at least he wasn't the only one and it didn't faze him in the least!) he remembered it all and as you can tell, we were very proud of him.



My beautiful boy all dressed up in his surfie gear




He has come such a long way this year and is so much more confident than he was even 5 months ago. I was so worried that the move to Red Dirt Central would be really hard for him because he was/is such a sensitive little soul who feels things so deeply, but I think it might have just been the best thing for him. He loves kindy and waves me goodbye quite happily every morning. He still misses his friends at home, especially his 'bestest friend' who lived across the road, but has made some new friends easily. That said, he is going to a different school again next year. The new one is closer to our house and I am also far happier with it educationally. I went to collect his book order during the week and got the chance to have a good look around and it is just so much better/nicer/newer/cleaner than his current school. It does help ease the mummy-guilt that most of his kindy class are disbursing and heading off to different schools and that there will be 2 or 3 of his class-mates at the new school with him. But with the growth I have seen in him this year I am more confident that we are doing the right thing for him and that he will cope well with yet another change.
 

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