Friday, February 29, 2008

Winter Shopping

Posted by MANDI at 4:25 PM 6 comments
Having missed out on the past couple of winters the kids have absolutely no warm-weather gear and, as we are moving back just as the weather starts to turn I thought I'd best rectify the situation. I'm not going to go overboard but they will need a few things to get them through the first few weeks.

Today I got a cute little denim overall dress for Offspring #2. It came with a long-sleeved t-shirt and I picked up some pink leggings to go underneath. Offspring #1 scored some track-pants and a couple of jumpers.

I also found a great bargain and couldn't go past it. It's warm, it's cute, #2 loves it and it was half-price. Roll on winter!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Posted by MANDI at 8:11 PM 3 comments
I really don't have a lot to blog about at the moment. The cooking has been a bit slap-dash of late. Not much crafting has been happening. I've been working like a crazy women - the trip to Port Red Dirt last week went well, the accommodation was good (a pleasant surprise in itself), the meetings went well, I (hopefully) managed to recruit a new staff member, made some good contacts and enjoyed some down-time with a couple of really lovely colleagues.
Yes, we are moving 1600km in about 6 weeks but apart from booking the removalists there's not much else I can do right at this moment. I'm waiting to hear back from our real-estate agent with regards to our chances of moving straight back into our own house. We have a long weekend coming up so will be sorting through some stuff and making a few trips to the tip. And I need to spend the weekend doing the inventory for the removalists. That is a huge job and I'm not looking forward to it - we've moved several times and it's the one part I really despise; listing everything and then coming up with a value for each item. I'm going to have to go collected junk mail/catalogues tomorrow so I have some ballpark figures to work from.
And to answer the questions posed in yesterday's comments...
- Obviously the "petition" that was started by my maternal parent and a certain across-the-road neighbour worked! A lesson that mums are always right.
- Yes I am planning to continue blogging and yes, hopefully the new job will have me working less hours and being at home a little more doing the stuff I like to blog about.
- I guess I'll have to change the name of the blog. But I'm not sure I really want to. I'm still thinking about that one.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Riddle Me This?

Posted by MANDI at 8:44 PM 9 comments
What do Dorothy's red shoes, a certain John Denver song and a Hothouse Flowers album from the early 90's have in common?
Give up yet?
Dorothy's shoes took her there, John Denver asked the country roads to take him there and the album title is where it is... HOME.
We're going home! Yep, for good. Hubby was offered a job back where he used to work, they want him so bad they are working to find me a job there too. So, in six weeks time I will no longer be a Red Dirt Mummy! Wooohooooooooo!
Hmmm... I guess the last bit kind of gave away the fact that I'm pretty darn pleased and pretty darn excited.
More details to follow later.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Found It!

Posted by MANDI at 2:12 PM 1 comments
I was looking for an entirely different recipe and found the one for the chewy choc-chip cookies I posted about a little way back. I cooked them a little longer this time and they are firmer but still lovely and chewy. Yum!

Quick Mix Chewy Choc-Chip Cookies
Australian Women's Weekly, October 2007

3/4 cup (165g) firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (110g)caster sugar
1 1/2 cups (225g) self raising flour
1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
185g butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
3/4 cup (140g) dark or milk chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)

1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease and line baking trays with baking paper .
2. Combine the sugars and flours in a large bowl.
3. Add the combined butter, egg and essence; mix to a soft dough. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Place level tablespoons of dough about 6cm apart on prepared trays; flatten slightly. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on trays.

*This time round I cooked mine for 18-19 minutes on 180C and I think they turned out much better than the last time.

Monday, February 18, 2008

We've Been Word-ed

Posted by MANDI at 9:25 PM 1 comments

And that's just a small sample! Life with a kid in Year 1 is never dull ;)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

He Loves Me

Posted by MANDI at 9:41 PM 4 comments
And no, I'm not planning to pull all the petals off just to find out if he really does!

Hope you're feeling loved today too.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ho Hum

Posted by MANDI at 7:58 PM 0 comments
Not much has been happening at this end of the world. I had some girlfriends, with all their kids, round for a few drinks Friday afternoon but apart from that it was a fairly quiet weekend. Hubby and I both went into work for a couple of hours on Sunday. We split the kids, #1 took his bike and went to ride around Dad's workshop while #2 was kept occupied on the couch in my office by a Hi-5 DVD.
We've had heaps of rain over the past week or so and a few good light displays during the night. It hasn't rained all day long but we've had a couple of good long showers each day and some bucketing rain each night. Last night's thunderstorm was fairly impressive - the rain was really heavy, the lightning was impressive and the thunder was LOUD! There's a storm brewing quite a bit further up the coast. It might turn into a cyclone towards the end of the week but then again... who said the weather was predictable? We had another low further down the coast and quite a way out to sea that was forecast to turn into a cyclone by about today but it has disappeared into nothingness. Hubby's not impressed but I'm quite relieved. Besides the fact that I just don't like the darn things, I don't have time for a cyclone right now. I have meetings organised, work trips planned, play-dates set and have also been scheduled in to listen to reading on Tuesday mornings in #1's classroom.
Well, the kids are asleep and I have reading for work to do so I'd better get on with it. I'm aiming to appear as though I know what I'm doing AND what I'm talking about at Wednesday morning's meeting. It's kind of a big ask but I'll give it a go :)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Rather Itchy...

Posted by MANDI at 11:03 PM 0 comments
but nothing more to report from the lemon flavoured lamb last night.

I'm very pleased but definitely not going to tempt fate by trying any of the other 'off limits' foods in the near future.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Three In A Row!

Posted by MANDI at 8:07 PM 6 comments
I am loving myself sick at the moment (Mmmm, having a Kath and Kim moment there LOL). I have been super organised this week and, even though it kind of fell in heap today, have managed to make decent, interesting meals - both lunches and dinners.

I was doing okay and had tonight's dinner planned, then I forgot to take the meat out of the freezer! But, a new recipe book I am falling a little more in love with each day, the defrost setting on my fabbo microwave and a hubby who happily cooked it all on the barbie and we had a great dinner. I am seriously loving this book - I walked in the door at 5.45pm, sent Hubby and the kids to cool down in the pool and we were eating before 6.30. Gotta love that! This recipe uses lemon, and although my body doesn't generally cope well with lemon I decided to give it a try - it's only a tiny bit of lemon and it gets cooked so I'm reeeeaaallllly hoping that I'll not be waking up covered in hives. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Lemon and Oregano Lamb
delicious. 5 Nights A Week by Valli Little

600g (about 8) lean lamb fillets (I used lamb steaks)
Finely grated rind and juice of 1/2 a small lemon
2 tablespoon roughly chopped oregano leaves
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons olive oil

Combine the lamb, lemon rind and juice, oregano, honey and olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Make salad (the recipe book included a salad to make but we just had a quick garden salad)

Heat a lightly oiled chargrill pan over high heat until just smoking. Add the lamb fillets (in batches if necessary) and cook for 3 minutes each side for medium, or until cooked to your liking.

Remove the fillets from the pan, cover with foil and rest for 4 mintures. Slice the lamb thinly and serve with a salad and lemon wedges.

Like I said, I used lamb steaks so I didn't slice them up or anything fancy. Hubby cooked them on the barbie and then we plunked 'em on a plate. They were delicious.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mid-Week Dinner

Posted by MANDI at 8:02 PM 4 comments
I'm undecided about this one - it was all pretty easy to put together and the kids liked it but... I think it needed less sauce so I'd probably use about two-thirds of the ricotta and cream in the recipe.

Cheesy spaghetti with bacon and peas
delicious. 5 Nights A Week by Valli Little

500g spaghetti

1 cup (120g) frozen peas

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 rashers of bacon, cut into strips

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

250g smooth ricotta

300ml pure (thin) cream

1 cup grated parmesan, plus extra shaved parmesan to serve

2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley (oops, forgot to add this)

Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan on boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. Add the peas to the pasta for the last 2 minutes of cooking time, then drain both well and return to the sacepan.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a deep frypan ovver a medium heat, add the bacon and cook, stirring, until it starts to crisp. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Drain off some of the fat. Add the ricotta and cream to the bacon and stir over a low heat until combined and warmed through. Remove from the heat and add to the pasta with the grated parmesan and parsley. Toss to combine and season to taste.

Serve with extra shaved parmesan and extra black pepper.

PS: Is anyone else having Blogger issues at the moment? I can't get the spellcheck to work and the formatting has gone a bit mental.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

And She Cooks!

Posted by MANDI at 8:52 PM 2 comments
Yeah, I know. It's been a while since a cooking post so I thought I'd best get myself sorted and cook something blog-worthy. This was tonight's dinner - everyone liked it, Hubby raved, the kids didn't complain and I thought it was okay. For my taste it had a bit too much fish sauce, I'd use half next time. Oh, and Mum? If you're reading this... this is from the Christmas present you gave me. See, I am using it!

Caramelised Chicken Cutlets
Kitchen: favourite recipes and advice from the AWW Test Kitchen

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 chicken thigh cutlets (800g), skin on
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly (I used the stuff from a jar)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (I used light)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander

1. Preheat oven to 200C.

2. Heat oil in large frying pan; cook chicken, both sides, until browned. Place chicken in a single layer in baking idish. Roast chicken, uncovered, in oven, about 25 minutes or until cooked through.

3.Meanwhile, heat same pan: cook onion and garlic, stirring, until onion softens. Add sugar and sauces; cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Return chicken to pan with coriander; turn chicken to coat mixture.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Verdict Is In

Posted by MANDI at 4:52 PM 3 comments
A conversation on the way home from school:
Red Dirt Mummy: So, how was the first day of grade one?
Offspring #1: Well I don't really see the point in going.
RDM: (horrified) What do you mean?
#1: It's not like I learned anything today. All the stuff we did? I already know how to do it. I didn't learn to read or anything.
RDM: But mate, it's only the first day. You've got all year of being in grade one to learn stuff. I don't really think...
#1: We only did three things and none of them were much fun. So I don't think grade one is going to be that good...
RDM: (thinking furiously and trying to salvage the situation/conversation/educational future of her firstborn child!) Umm...well....
#1: (in a sad voice) and I was so incited.
PS: Upon further questioning it seems that he did do drawing, and the teacher read a story, and the new teacher they have is really really nice, and he made a brand new friend, and recess was good fun and... the mummy in this story thinks it's all going to be okay!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Getting Ready For School

Posted by MANDI at 10:19 PM 3 comments
School's back tomorrow and the sadness at reaching the end of the holidays is mixed with just a touch of relief. I love school holidays - no rush to get kids dressed (#1 obviously dresses himself but sometimes the effort I have to put in to make that happen surpasses anything you might expect!), breakfast eaten, beds made, dishes done and everyone out the door. I love being able to do stuff with the kids, especially spur of the moment kind of stuff, and just hang out and play with them. But, at the end of the veeerrrryyyy long summer holidays it's nice to return to some structure and routine. And Offspring #1 has been craving 'school work' for absolutely weeks. We've done lots of 'school work' at home - working on his letters and his numbers, doing reading, etc but he doesn't believe me when I tell him he's learning stuff when we do cooking, or craft, or just clean up the house (okay, maybe I am making it up when I tell him the last one LOL) and he keeps telling me that he needs a real teacher so he can learn more stuff.
I have decided that I need to get super organised with school lunches from the beginning. Now I'm back working I need to take lunch, the boys both need lunches and Offspring #2's daycare doesn't have a cook at the moment so I need to provide lunch for her too. I'm aiming to come up with ideas that are a little more exciting than plain sandwiches - we also can't have anything with peanuts or nut based products as the other three members of the Red Dirt household all spend the day in places where they are banned.
So far I have made:
- cheese scones, a tasty treat for a snack. There's a batch in the freezer.
- berry yoghurt muffins - a favourite recipe that I've posted about before, this is another nice morning tea snack. Only 10 of the dozen I made today made it to the freezer.
- oatmeal and raisin cookies, another recipe I've posted before and a firm favourite here. They are cooling on the bench and smell divine. They'll fill up the cookie jar nicely for after school (and for something sweet with my cup of tea).
- trail mix. This was purely experimental and I'm not sure how well it will be received. It has a mix of popcorn, cornflakes, dried apples and apricots, sultanas and some toasted pepitas and sunflower seeds. I'm thinking it will be a good snack for the times Hubby and I aren't really hungry but are looking for something to nibble on while we're working. It's also something different for #1 to take as a recess snack.
I also made a roast in the slow cooker today. It was cooked perfectly - beautifully tender and very tasty. The recipe came from Slow Cookers for Dummies, worth checking out of the library rather than buying it I think, and now I have roast beef for sandwiches for the next few days.
I also have a few interesting (well, interesting to kids probably) lunch ideas that I'll be trying out so I'll let you know how they go.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I'm Addicted

Posted by MANDI at 7:59 PM 4 comments
After saying that I couldn't really see what all the fuss was about I finally (yeah, always slightly behind the trend!) worked out Facebook this week and am totally addicted. I've been over there playing all week - that's why there have been no blog posts, no clean washing, no interesting meals, not much at all really.
Anyway, if you know my real name come by and say hi (or you could just say hi here - that would be nice too!)

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