Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Posting, With Pics!

Posted by MANDI at 7:58 PM 2 comments
I know my posts have been a bit sporadic lately and I haven't had many photos up here either so I'm making an effort to get back into more regular blogging as well as picking up my camera a bit more often than I have been. So, here's a post, with pics!

Here's my girl with her fat lips. Not that they've slowed her down much - she's till babbling away a mile a minute.

And here's my boy with his footy trophy.

And remember our puppy, Betsy? She's six months old now and the hard work of training her is paying off. She's still completely mental but she'll follow commands and is generally turning into a nice little dog. Remember how we were told she was a Border Collie? Yeah, not so much as it turns out. It would seem she's got a whole heap more Red Cloud Kelpie in her. In fact we rather suspect it's about 100% Red Cloud Kelpie and 0% Border Collie. Not exactly the breed we would have chosen but she's ours now and, despite the yelling when she digs up my roses, we all love her.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Posted by MANDI at 9:18 PM 4 comments
Just in case you're new to my little blog and don't know what the heck Gratituesday is... Yeah, I totally made that word up. But the idea behind it is something I do each week. Working on the 'glass half full' mindset that I'm striving for I'm actively looking for the little things in my life that I'm grateful for, thankful for or otherwise just plain happy about. Of course some of them are big things. Huge even. But the little things tend to get lost in the day-do-day bits of living. My Tuesday posts are short - a photo or two and a few words about whatever I'm feeling grateful for that week. If you want to join in on your blog leave a note in the comments and I'll come check it out. Or, if you're not a blogger, just leave a comment saying what you're grateful for.

I got home from work today to a worried Hubby and a crying girl-child with a face full of blood. It wasn't quite that bad but at first sight it sure looked pretty bad. She'd been swinging on the edge of the couch - something she has (they both have!!) been told not to do about nine hundred millionty times - when she slipped and face planted into the floor. The hard slate floor. Cue a seriously split lip spurting blood everywhere, very sore front teeth, bleeding gums, and a heck of a lot of noise. That's about when I walked in. Just to be on the safe side I ran her down to the local GP's clinic where the nurses checked her over and decided that apart from lips that could act as airbags, a wobbly tooth that was quite a bit wobblier and a serious case of bruised pride, she was just fine. You know that feeling of relief after you've been holding your breath for too long. Where the relief of letting air into your lungs kind of hurts? Yeah, that.

I fed her some nice soft, fluffy scrambled eggs for dinner and now she's tucked up fast asleep and all worn out. Tomorrow she'll have enormous lips, sore teeth and I'm expecting some decent bruising too and we'll deal with that then. But right now? She's fine. And I'm very relieved. And grateful.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Amazingly Clever Boy

Posted by MANDI at 8:45 PM 5 comments
Remember the footy mad son of mine? He's played his second year of under-9's for the local football club and his skills have really developed this season. He's worked hard on getting into the play, grabbing the ball and getting out again - or as it's known in our house ""doing a Juddy". We've reminded him of the need to stick to his man and stay in his position and he's taken that on board. He's come a long way this season and I have been so proud of his hard work but also impressed with how much he loves playing football and how hard he tries.

Yesterday the club held their end of season sausage sizzle and presentations. It's a big day with bouncy castles and inflatable slides, sausages and soft drinks and of course the presentations. All the kids get a medal for being part of the team and there are also some special awards too. My super talented, super clever, super gorgeous boy won the award for Best and Fairest Player and I couldn't be more proud of him. Watch out Carlton, he's looking to be on your player list in about ten years.

PS No, I'm not a pushy parent. Yes, I am being very tongue-in-cheek calling any kid in the Under-9's 'super talented'. Yes, I am fully aware that an award at nine years of age does not mean he'll hit the big league.  And yes, I'm doing my best to break that last bit to him gently.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Having a Whinge

Posted by MANDI at 8:38 PM 6 comments
So something happened this morning that hurt my feelings. I don't want to be all cryptic-like but I can't really go into detail so just bear with me while I have a bit of a whinge.

Rationally I know that it's just my ego that's been a bit bruised. And that those responsible mean less than zero to me and my life. But it still rankles a bit. Okay, a lot. And yes, ridiculously more than it should. It should be a brush-it-off-and-get-over-it kind of thing but instead it's stewing away and making me more frustrated as much over what happened as by my own inability to shrug it off.

So more as an affirmation for myself than anything else I'm going to make a few points:

1. I'm not actually invisible and I think it is incredibly rude when people treat me like I am.
2. Just because I might not be on your radar doesn't mean my opinions and ideas are any less valid or correct.
3. I am intelligent, funny and all kinds of awesome. The fact that you don't know that, or can't be bothered finding out, is your loss.

And speaking of all kinds of awesome - tomorrow marks five years since my first blog post as Red Dirt Mummy! Give my poor battered ego a little boost and tell me something you love about me and you'll earn my undying gratitude. And maybe a packet of TimTams.

And you could also go like my Facebook page (if you haven't already done it) - that'd make me feel a whole heap better...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's A Tired Gratituesday Here

Posted by MANDI at 8:36 PM 3 comments
So tired. Can't even stay up to watch the season final of Winners and Losers. Just grateful that I'm about to climb into my warmed-in-front-of-the-fire pj's and crawl into bed. Oh and on the warmed-in-front-of-the-fire pj's front, I'm grateful my lovely Hubby lit the fire (despite him thinking it wasn't actually all that cold...).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fitting It All In

Posted by MANDI at 1:56 PM 1 comments
Hoo-wee we've got a lot happening this week. P&C meeting, work events and a blogger's dinner for the grown ups of the house as well as footy presentations, birthday parties to attend and all the usual daily and school things for the kids. I was trying to be super organised and obviously just had too much stuff in my head - I raced off to do the food shopping only to discover I'd grabbed my to-do list instead of my shopping list. Hmmm, the grocery shopping wasn't quite as successful as I'd have liked but none of the things I managed to forget were vital so it worked out okay. After that I dashed in to pop the roast in the slow cooker for tonight's dinner. It would have worked slightly better if I'd remembered to switch the slowcooker on! Luckily I caught it in time so I just had to up the heat and bring down the cooking time. All's well that ends well and all that. But, playing by the rule that things happen in threes I'm wondering what else today has in store for me!

And here are the meals I'll be shoving at people this week as we run in and out of the house in all different directions.

Monday: Roast Lamb, roasted vegetables and cauliflower/broccoli cheese
Tuesday: Sausages with gravy and roasted vegetable frittata
Wednesday: Fish and Chips
Thursday: Oven baked chicken and asparagus risotto
Friday: Homemade pizzas
Saturday: Spaghetti Bolognaise (or maybe lasagna?)
Sunday: Beef and Vegetable Hotpot

Baking: Hmmm.... dunno really. I didn't get around to making the Apple and Strawberry Cake last week so I might make that.

What's on your menu plan this week? Got something yummy to share? I'd love to hear about is.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dessert, In A Hurry

Posted by MANDI at 9:29 PM 3 comments
Finally my energy has returned. I had a hectic day at work, raced out the door just after 2pm, pulled into my driveway at 3.02pm, raced inside and changed clothes then trotted off around the corner to collect the kids from the school bus for 3.15. I'd already done my 4km walk this morning but figured that another 2km's or so would definitely help shift the last few kilo's I'm trying to get rid. The bus is a new development for us - I'm the anxious one who worried needlessly while they loved the bus ride and grinned like lunatics as soon as they saw me waiting at the bus stop.

We wandered back home where I got on with the house cleaning and the kids got on with some play-dough. I managed a couple of loads of washing, cleaned the house and got dinner on and they, amazingly, kept their fighting to a minimum. Wins all round. We were most of the way through dinner when the question came up. Is there any dessert? Despite all the sweet stuff you see on this blog we don't actually have dessert all that often. And they knew the Daddy of the house had finished the last of the ice-cream in a late night freezer raid earlier in the week. Hmmm... what could I do for dessert. An idea slipped into my head and, with a wee bit of help from Google, dessert was created. This is a recipe that did the rounds a couple of years ago but I never quite got around to trying it. There are literally hundreds of different versions and the one I followed was good but I've made a few changes to the recipe that will make it fabulous. Offspring #1 scored my efforts a 9/10 so I think that means he liked it! The recipe is for one cake - I made two and we shared them between the four of us. In my opinion one serving of this recipe is waaaaay too big for one person. I had some cream in the fridge so had some with this but ice-cream would definitely be the way to go.

3 Minute Chocolate Cake In A Mug

You'll need:
1 large coffee mug
In the mug place 4 tablespoons plain flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon cocoa, 1 tablespoon chocolate chips and mix them together.
Crack 1 egg into the dry mix and stir well
Add 3 tablespoons milk, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, dash of vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly, making sure all ingredients are combined.
Microwave on high for 3 minutes.
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gratituesday, menu plans

Posted by MANDI at 11:25 AM 4 comments
It's wet, windy and wild here in not-so-sunny Perth. I'm off work today having finally succumbed to the cold and flu bugs and am snuggled up at home with the fire going and a couple of new CD's playing. I'm such an 80's tragic - the local supermarket had three CD's going for $25 and had quite a variety to choose from. Did I pick anything current? Even from the past decade? Um no, I chose Bryan Adams, Hunters and Collectors and Tears for Fears. And, despite the stirring from Hubby, I'm loving them!

I didn't make it back yesterday with my menu plan. I'm really trying hard to make the dinners on my work days really really quick and simple. I'm not getting in till about 5.30 (normal for many of you, I know, but really very late for me) and as we normally eat between 6 and 6.30 so the kids can be in bed for 7.30pm I'm finding it hard to race in, throw dinner on, catch up with the kids, oversee homework/sign notes/look at library books/adjudicate arguments and also say hi to Hubby. Where I can I'm going to be making things ahead of time that can be flung in the oven as I walk in and I'm thinking that the aforementioned Hubby might just have to take over one of the meals.

So this week we'll be eating:
Monday: Baked fish
Tuesday: Cheats Chicken Parmigiana,
Wednesday: Meat Pie, chips
Thursday: Baked Lamb Chops
Friday: Meatball Subs
Saturday: Rustic Simmered Chicken
Sunday: Roast Lamb
Baking: Apple Strawberry Cake, cheesymite scrolls.

And since it's Tuesday I suppose I'd better do a Gratituesday post too. This week I'm actually grateful for last week - I was so grateful that the recently retired old folks in my life (aka my parents, aka Nanny and Poppy) are indeed retired and weren't off gallivanting 'round the countryside (as they will be this week) and were not only able, but also very willing, to have the kids for me while they were sick last week and I was still trying to get to work and make a good impression. So, thanks Mum and Dad! I know I said thanks then, but I really, really appreciate you taking care of the kids for me.

So share the love with me people. What are you cooking up this week? Tried any new recipes you want to share? Or, what are you grateful for?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Week That Was

Posted by MANDI at 5:34 PM 4 comments
Uggh! More than a week after the ridiculously quick onset of a cold I still feel like crap. Crappier than crap in fact.  My face hurts, my throat and chest hurt, my ribs hurt from coughing so much and if I do very much at all I feel even worse. Apparently cold and flu tablets and my system don't go together very well. They worked great for a couple of days then, I think, my drug-intolerant body just couldn't cope with them anymore and I got the shakes and sweats about 20 minutes after I'd taken them. I left them alone for a few days but was heading out yesterday and needed to feel better. Instead I got the shakes, sweats, pounding headache and thought I was going to throw up. Not nice at all. And yes, if I'm still feeling rotten tomorrow I'll head to the doctor and let him check me out.

I also had both the kids sick - #2 early in the week then #1 took over the sickness reins. They got to stay home and be loved and cared for by Nanny and Pop while I dragged my sick and sorry self off to work. Because for all the 'don't spread your germs around' arguments there are just as many "I'm still on a casual contract and don't get paid for sick days" and "I've only been there a week, I can't call in sick" reasons too.

But we still managed to get done what needed to be and finally Friday arrived and both kids went off to school while I enjoyed a day off. Okay, enjoyed might be stretching it but it sure was a relief.  I dropped the kids at at school, caught up with a few of the other mums and stayed for assembly. Offspring #1 was presented with a certificate for the improvements he has made in maths and it was lovely to be there for that. He had no idea and beamed with pride - so cute!

Saturday saw Carlton playing their only game in Perth for this season so, come hell or high water (or a crappy cold) we were all going. For one heartbreaking minute Hubby thought he'd missed out on tickets but... praise be to the internet, we got them. It was an awesome game (yeah, we won!) and the kids loved seeing their footy heroes up close and in the flesh. Okay, not that up close but we were in the same stadium! I got a giggle out of sitting next to #1 and listening to his cheering and jeering and, when I missed something vital, having him explain what had happened.

So now I'm playing on twitter and facebook, menu planning for the week ahead and listening to my boys play an intense game of footy on the Wii while the girl-child watches kids cartoons in the other room. Dinner is sorted. A variety of meals from the freezer - I let everyone choose what they wanted: #1 had curried sausages, #2 has macaroni cheese, Hubby has beef and veg hotpot and I think I'm going to go with roasted sweet potato soup. Gotta love when you freeze the leftovers for just this kind of night. And then you've gotta love eating them and making more space in the freezer.

I'll be back tomorrow with the finished menu plan.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

It's All About Perspective

Posted by MANDI at 6:37 PM 3 comments
When I look at the floor in my house I see a tired looking slate that is long overdue for stripping and resealing and, despite it being vacuumed and mopped on Friday, looks like it could do with a good clean.

Offspring #2 saw something entirely different. She came to me this afternoon well pleased with her discovery that the layout of the slate was ready made for hopscotch. And that kept her entertained for a good half hour!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cupcakes Galore

Posted by MANDI at 8:22 PM 1 comments
I realised I haven't shared a recipe for a while so thought I pop in something sweet and fun just in time for the weekend. I've made these gorgeous chocolate-y cupcakes three times so far and just love them. They've gone down a treat with each group I've made them for and any hopes I've had for leftovers have been well and truly dashed. That's the kind of praise I like! They're also super simple to whip up, whether you're cooking on your own or have small helpers assisting you.

I most recently made them to take for morning tea as I finished up at work. I was planning something slightly fancier but a request was made for cupcakes so I made a batch of these and a batch of Bill Granger's vanilla cupcakes that I've posted before here. Both were well received with requests for both recipes and not a single cake left at the end of the day.

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
from Australian Good Taste, June 2011

makes 18

100g butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup dark choc bits
chocolate frosting
100g butter, at room temperature
3 cups icing sugar mixture
1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 cup milk
110's and 1000's, to decorate

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line 18x 1/3 cup muffin pans with patty pans.
2. Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a separate bowl (I don't bother sifting them and the cupcakes still turn out fluffy.) Fold the flour mixture and the milk into the butter mixture in alternate batches until just combines. Stir in the choc bits to combine.3. Divide the mixture among the prepared patty pans and smooth the surface. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Set aside to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. To make the chocolate frosting, use an electric beater to beat the butter until very pale. Gradually add the icing sugar, cocoa powder and milk and beat until well combined.
5. Spread the chocolate frosting evenly over the cupcakes. Sprinkle with 100's and 1000's.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Posted by MANDI at 8:06 PM 4 comments
The first day went well. I am stuffed but that's mostly from driving an hour there through constant stop start traffic in the pouring rain (as opposed to twenty minutes out towards the 'country' with minimal traffic and a 110km/h speed limit) and then another hour home in the same stuff.
Everyone was very nice, the buildings are quite new - like about 8 years old rather than 110 years old - and purpose built rather than struggling-to-meet-the-current-needs-and-heritage-listed-so-there's-not-much-you-can-do-anyway. I got to dazzle them with a little bit of knowledge I had that they didn't and it's always nice to make a good first impression.

So today, I'm grateful for a good first day. And I'm also saying thanks to all of you who wished me well here, on facebook and in real life. Mwah xx

C'mon. Share. What are you grateful for this week?

Monday, August 1, 2011

MIA, Me and a Menu Plan

Posted by MANDI at 9:39 PM 4 comments
Last week kicked my butt. It was a crappy week all round. Work was flat out as I attempted to wind things up and was stymied at almost every turn by someone wanting something that wasn't on my already enormous list of stuff to be done. The kids were, quite frankly, fairly vile. They bought sibling rivalry to a whole new level. It resulted in them being banned from speaking to each other for two days. Extreme but it had the desired result. At least for a couple of days. My body was so sore which I can blame on nothing more than aging and the rotten weather we've been having here in Perth. And because of all of that I didn't keep up with my daily walking and ended up feeling even cruddier. And because I felt cruddy I just kind of hid from the world and waiting for the crud to lift.

So this morning I dragged my butt out of bed, met my neighbour at the gate, walked my nearly four kilometres, got rained on (several times in the one walk) and came home soaked but ready to start the day. And I got so much done and feel so much better for it all.

Lesson learnt.Walking (ie exercise) makes me feel better and feeling better means I can deal with what the day brings a little better which results in everyone being happier.

I start at my new job/workplace tomorrow. It's not exactly a new job because it's pretty much what I've been doing for the last 14 or so months, though there are some new parts to it (but I've done most of them in various other roles too) and it's for the same organisation but it is at a new worksite so there will be a whole bunch of new stuff to get used there. And I've got quite a bit further to drive through the metro area in peak hour traffic. I haven't done that in years so that'll be something new. Which reminds me, I still need to double check that I know exactly how to get there!

And I'm going back to working three days in a row. Now I know that for lots of you that sounds like an absolute doddle but this year I've managed to swing a day off in the middle which has made life very cruisy indeed. Adding that in with the getting-home-later means I'm going to have to be even more organised than normal. Tonight I've prepped all the stuff for tomorrow's dinner so hopefully hubby will remember to switch on the oven when he gets in and it'll be good and hot for me to get home and chuck the roast into. Well, that's the plan anyway.

And here's one part of my organisational plan for the week:
Monday: Slow Cooker Osso Bucco with potato mash, green beans and cauliflower/broccoli cheese
Tuesday: Rolled Roast Chicken with roasted vegies and cauliflower/broccoli cheese (I made double on Monday)
Wednesday: Tuna Casserole
Thursday: Quiche and steamed vegies
Friday: Pies and chips
Saturday: Lasagna and salad
Sunday: Soup with focaccia
Baking: Cheesymite scrolls, easy chocolate slice, Not Quite Nigella's Easy Pear Tea Cake (all already made and eaten and/or in the freezer). I'd like to have another go at macarons if I get a chance.

What's happening in your world this week?

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