Monday, September 29, 2008

What's A Long Weekend...

Posted by MANDI at 8:53 PM 4 comments
without some jobs around the house?

Here's Hubby's latest piece of handy-man-ness

I had a big empty space of wall and needed to fill it up. More pictures? Nah. Some shelves? Now that's a good plan but what to put on them? I know! Cookbooks.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

More De-Cluttering

Posted by MANDI at 8:37 PM 4 comments
We've been back in our real house a couple of months and everything has been unpacked and had homes found. Now we get down to the nitty-gritty of re-arranging furniture and 'stuff', finding better homes for bits and pieces that aren't quite in the right spot and making a few little improvements here and there. We have some fairly grand plans but they're a little way off yet so for now it's just the little stuff.

The lights in the kitchen used to look like this.

Now we have these pretty ones.

The kids bathroom got a fab new shower curtain. It's lots more fun to wash with the fish than it was with a plain white curtain from the $2 Shop!

And the kids bedrooms got lovely big cube bookcases, with some bright coloured baskets and buckets, for their books, toys and games.

Now everything has a place.

And there's a place for everything.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Posted by MANDI at 7:52 PM 2 comments
That's Offspring #1's newest word. He came out with it at the dinner table and ever so sweetly told his dad that he was "adorable". Sadly, he wasn't too sure of the meaning, but it sounded good.

#1's school had Crazy Hair Day today. They got to go to school with crazy hair and could dress in clothes to match their hair. They were asked to make a gold coin donation and the funds raised are to be given to charity. I wasn't prepared to break out the coloured hairspray - he's only in Year 1 and I figure he's got to have something to look forward to when he gets a bit bigger and these kind of events are held. Instead we used some styling mud and lots of Mum's hairspray to create some cool spikiness and he got to wear his surfie clothes. Our neighbour (aka Anne at #3) asked if I'd dressed him in red to match his hair! I hadn't even considered that LOL.

Here's a pic of my boy looking adorable.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ridiculously Easy

Posted by MANDI at 8:41 PM 1 comments
Here's another one from the book 4 Ingredients. This was too easy to even be considered cooking. I served it with some rice and vegies and the kids hoovered it up. Hubby and I thought it was okay, probably not one I'd rush to make again but it's a quick to prepare, easy to put together, kid friendly meal so chances are we'll be seeing it again at some point!

I used the leftover chicken with some pasta and pesto the following night and that went down a treat too. After several weeks of Offspring #1 refusing more than a mouthful of dinner it was a pleasant change.

Chicken and Jarlsberg Casserole
4 Ingredients by Kim McCosker and Rachael Bermingham
Serves 6

6 chicken fillet breasts
6 slices Jarlsberg cheese
420g can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 180C. Place chicken in a casserole dish and cover with cheese. Mix soup and milk well and pour over chicken. Bake for one hour at 150C.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Posted by MANDI at 8:17 PM 6 comments
I was listening to the radio on the way to work the other morning and Peter Walsh was being interviewed. He's a Professional Organiser (yep, with capitals!) and had some interesting things to say about de-cluttering and keeping your 'stuff' managed. A couple of days later I was at the library and his book It's All Too Much was on the new books shelf so I thought it was worth a look.

As you know we've moved a couple of times in the recent past so, theoretically, we shouldn't have too much clutter. We actually did a pretty good job of cleaning out when we moved back from Red Dirt Central but I'm always surprised by the amount of 'stuff' we have. There were many boxes that were never unpacked while we were in Red Dirt Central - the house was too little, the yard was too small and there just wasn't anywhere to put it. It was all stuff we wanted to keep so it was left boxed up and bundled away in the shed and store-room. When we moved back to Perth and were renting for three or so months we only unpacked half our belongings - the kids stuff, the kitchen and just what Hubby and I needed to get through. Then when we moved into our 'real house' we did, in my opinion, a fairly good job of unpacking. The vast majority was done inside the first week and lots of bits that had been packed away for the whole time were discarded in the process. Two trailer-loads went to the tip and various bits and pieces were given away. I was quietly pleased with how it had all gone and figured we were done.

Until... I tripped over a box the other day and realised that there were actually three boxes that still needed to be unpacked. I pegged today to do it and, after a leisurely breakfast and some procrastinating, I got on with it. I was a little bit ruthless, but still held onto some things I wasn't quite ready to let go of. I sorted through pictures from daycare and pasted them into a scrapbook that had been purchased for exactly that purpose,culled the 973 scribbles to a more manageable number, burnt countless pieces of paper with personal details on them and drastically reduced the amount to be kept. While I was sorting it all the information from Walsh's book echoed round my head and kept coming back to one thing. There were things that I'd been carting from house to house for the past umpteen years that had only been used once, would never be used again and were really only taking up space. One thing in particular kept flashing through my head. So...

I threw out my wedding dress.

I have zillions of photos from our wedding day. The dress is lovely and very un-wedding-y, just exactly as I wanted. It makes me look skinny and gorgeous, again exactly as I wanted. The photos bring back lots of wonderful memories but the dress is just a dress. A dress that doesn't fit, and hasn't fitted for a long time. A dress that is stained, despite dry-cleaning, and slowly yellowing as it gets carted from one house to the next. A dress that is not likely to inspire oohs and aahs from my daughter when she marries many years from now. So, it's gone.

Considering I'm about the most sentimental person I know, I'm terribly proud of myself!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Playing Mummy

Posted by MANDI at 9:29 PM 9 comments
Offspring #2 had her babies 'sleeping' all around the house while I was getting dinner ready. She has a distinct style when it comes to settling them to sleep.

First they have to lay face down, then the blanket is pulled up till they're just about completely covered and then they are patted 'gently' (in a manner reminiscent of the Heimlich Manoeuvre!) while being shush-ed to sleep rather more loudly than would generally be conducive to sleeping. The babies are told off at regular intervals and are threatened with all manner of punishment if they don't "go to sleep right now, no more mucking around!"

I went to grab the camera to take some pics of her 'being Mummy' and came back to find her being even more Mummy-like. She was busy taking photos of her babies while they were fast asleep!

You sure do learn a lot about yourself from your kids LOL.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Quick Breakfast

Posted by MANDI at 9:57 AM 2 comments
In keeping with our 'special' Sunday breakfasts we tried another version of French Toast today. This is one of Bill Granger's recipes and is easy to make, quick to whip up and was very well received by all in the house.

French Raisin Toast with Cinnamon
from Bill Granger's Every Day

4 eggs
375ml milk
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
8 slices day-old good-quality raisin bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

To Serve
maple syrup
icing sugar, to dust

Whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and nutemg and our into a large flat bowl. Soak each slice of bread in the egg misture until it is completely saturated.

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter and,m once it has started to sizzle, add the bread in batches and bcook for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Lift out the bread onto a baking tray for 10 minutes or until puffed and golden. Drizzle with maple syrup and durst with icing sugar to serve.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I Got Mail

Posted by MANDI at 8:21 PM 1 comments
On our last trip to Exmouth I met a lovely German backpacker and was reminded of how much Iris had loved the town on her travels around Australia. I decided to send her a couple of small things to remind her of the town and picked up a tea-towel, postcard and some tourist-y information brochures. I was so pleased that she liked them and was thrilled when she asked if I'd like her to send me a tea-towel from her home town. Her package arrived this week and was more than just a tea-towel.

She sent a postcard and explained some about Henry the Lion, along with a couple of lion tail keyrings that the kids promptly nabbed for themselves,

A fabric shopping bag (which has been added to my shopping bag stash), and, of course, the teatowel.

Thank you so much Iris. I was thrilled to receive your package and well all loved the gifts inside.

I love my blog every day but days like this make me marvel at the friends you can make through it. I might not get to meet these friends in real life but through our blogs Iris and I share a little bit about our lives and I'm so glad to call her my friend.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Happy Birthday #2

Posted by MANDI at 8:32 PM 6 comments
#2 and I went to the Playschool concert on Friday as part of her birthday present. She was completely overwhelmed and spent most of the time sitting on my lap just staring up at the stage but she didn't stop talking about it all the way home. My 16 year old inner self was absolutely thrilled that Alex was one of the presenters - OMG I was in the same room as Frank from Home and Away!!! Yeah, I'm a big dork LOL

Here's my little girl all dressed up ready for the concert. I can't believe how much of a 'big girl' she looks in this pic.

Her birthday was on Saturday and we had an afternoon tea birthday party for her. As usual, there was waaayyy too much food (will I ever learn??) but we had lots of fun. There were a bunch of kids running around the yard having a great time, lots of family and friends and we loved being 'home' for her birthday.

The cake was an absolute disaster. As per #2's wishes, it was to be a Hi-5 cake and I'd bought a Hi-5 cake topper some weeks ago. When I opened it on Saturday morning it was smashed in about 512 pieces and completely unusable. Hubby rose to the occasion and ran to the seven local shops to no avail so I ended up attempting to freestyle the Hi-5 hand. Hmmm... the result was less than impressive and ensures that I will never take up cake decorating.

But we all had lots of fun and #2 loved being the centre of attention. This was the first time she really 'got' the idea of her birthday and she loved unwrapping the presents, telling people "thankyou", being sung to, and of course eating more junk than I ever let her eat.

I did love the cupcakes, and so did all the kids.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Posted by MANDI at 1:50 PM 4 comments
Hubby has finally arrived home. He got here just in time for #2 to have a really bad asthma attack - probably the worst one so far. I would have managed it on my own but it was really nice to have some back-up again. I know that lots of families have a parent who works away but this is a first for us - he was away for 10 days (the longest we've ever been apart) and I'm really pleased with how well the kids and I coped with his absence. We just made a few adjustments to our regular routine and got on with it. The kids were spectacularly well behaved and #1, especially, was a huge help.
Hubby really enjoyed the trip he made - he was further north than he's been before and in a really remote area. He finally 'did' the Gibb River Road, a long-time goal of his, and is glad he did it in a hire car. The track is incredibly rough - supplies are taken in by boat rather than having trucks travel the road - and quite slow going in some places as a result.
Preparation is well underway for #2's birthday party on the weekend. We're having a Hi-5 party at the birthday girl's request so there will be bright colours and lots of 100's and 1000's (coloured sprinkles for the non-Aussies) on EVERYTHING! I'll have pics for you next week.

Monday, September 1, 2008

More Lamb

Posted by MANDI at 9:13 PM 4 comments

Here's another lamb cutlet recipe. This one's easier than any of the others and, while it's not going to number 1, I'll be making it again.

Oat Crusted Lamb Cutlets
from 4 Ingredients by Kim McCosker and Rachael Bermingham

Serves 4
800g lamb cutlets
1 cup small oats
4 tablespoons parmesan cheese
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 190C. For the best result put oats through food processor or blender, then combine them with parmesan cheese. Dip cutlets in beaten egg, then oat mixture to coat. Place on alfoil in a baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.


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