Tuesday, July 31, 2012

It's An Oldie

Posted by MANDI at 8:20 PM 3 comments
Last night's conversation with my wee girl was a slight variation on an oldie, but a goodie.

She was looking at her reading book, impatient to get on with her nightly reading, while I was putting the last of the washing onto the airing rack in front of the fire.

Her: Mum, what does S-A-Y say?

Me: Say.

Her: Yes, what does S-A-Y say?

Me: Say.

Her: Yes, say?

Me: Yes. SAY.

Her: Mum! What does it say????

Me: Say!

Her: Well if you're not going to help me, don't worry about it!!

And she stomped off down the hallway while her dad and I laughed ourselves silly.

Then I called her back and we looked at the word together and sounded it out and worked out that S-A-Y really does say... say.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day One. Done.

Posted by MANDI at 10:02 PM 0 comments
We made it out the door with a minimum of fuss, I got to work on time (a few minutes to spare even!) and we're all set for tomorrow. School clothes are laid out and school bags are packed just waiting for lunchboxes.

I got in to find a massive MASSIVE list of things to get through. A huge HUGE list of instructions to be followed. And the usual enormous ENORMOUS number of emails that are always waiting after a few days away from work. But I ploughed on and made a good start on it all so in all it was a good day.

Then I came home to make a quick and easy oven baked risotto. And because I wasn't paying attention I grabbed the regular white rice instead of the arborio and... well... the yummy dinner we were going to have wasn't quite as yummy. I saved it but it was neither pretty nor delicious. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

And tomorrow the term start for real.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Reality Bites

Posted by MANDI at 7:30 PM 5 comments
The ironing is done, school clothes are sorted and put away, school bags (and pencil cases) have been checked, cleaned out and restocked. Yep term starts tomorrow, and with it, I start an acting position that involves higher duties and more work hours for the next five or so weeks.

In a strange quirk, both kids are looking forward to returning to school. Poor #1 was sick with the flu the last week of term and through most of the holidays while the rest of us have had varying levels of head colds over the past couple of weeks so the holidays have, for the most part, been necessarily fairly quiet. The promised play-dates didn't happen and there were no sleep overs (apart from at Nan and Pop's while Hubby and I ran away for a couple of days) so I think both #1 and #2 are pretty keen to see their friends.

I've got a couple of meals in the freezer for this stint but haven't done nearly as much as I would have liked. I guess I'll just have to spend next weekend getting a bit more sorted out.

And the hardest bit is that tomorrow morning I'll be sitting at my desk reading through what needs to be done earlier than I woke up this morning. That's gonna hurt. It's gonna hurt bad.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

iPhone Madness

Posted by MANDI at 9:22 AM 0 comments
I finally caught up with the rest of the world and got a smart phone last week. Hubby and I checked them all out and were torn between the Samsung Galaxy and the iPhone but finally went with iPhone for a whole bunch of reasons.

The first couple of days were... ummm, trying. It took me a little while to get my head around the workings (and less than a week later am only just sussing out some parts of it!) but have finally worked out how to answer the darn thing - yes, that was an entertaining few minutes - and have dived into the world of apps. The 10 year old boy-child has been very supportive and helpful with the games side of things and hints from other blogs have helped too. I'm seriously in love with Instagram, the Coles app has some great recipe ideas and the Where To Eat app is very informative.

So, if you're an iPhone junkie, what are your fave apps? What should I be checking out? And have you got any hints for the phone itself - maybe shortcuts or stuff that seems really simple now but took you a while to figure out? I'm the first to admit that I'm totally resistant to new ideas until I get my head around them and then I'm a total convert. So c'mon people, lead me down the path of conversion!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

And We're Home Again

Posted by MANDI at 10:54 PM 0 comments
We got home late this afternoon, collected the cat from his boarding kennel, picked up the kids from their grandparents house and I had the washing machine going not long after. Just a couple of days away leads to a whole pile of laundry needing to be done!

But...we had the most wonderful time and our trip to Must really was one of the highlights. That alone was worth the three and a half hour drive! The food was outstanding, the service was spectacular and the wine menu has to be seen to be believed. One of the things I really loved was that they sold drinks by the bottle, the glass or the taste. A 'taste' was half a glass - perfect for someone like me who is a total lightweight when it comes to alcohol so has no hope of finishing a bottle (and quite frankly a couple of glasses is quite often more than I can cope with) but would like to try a couple of different wines.

We arrived early in order to have a pre-dinner drink - we were thinking a cocktail - but decided on a wine instead. We were going to go with a Chardonnay from one of the local Margaret River wineries but were easily persuaded to go with a taste of that and a taste of a French Chardonnay. Hubby and I shared both and Oh.My. Goodness. I thought the WA Chardonnay was quite lovely and then I tried the French one and it was heavenly. From there we went onto a Champagne from Spain - partly because I love my bubbly but mostly because I'd never had a Spanish bubbly before (very nice!) - then back to the French Chardy for me and a French Cab Sav for Hubby before I finished with an Italian Moscato and Hubby topped off the evening with a Cab Sav from Argentina. Talk about around the world!

As someone who sticks pretty well to Australian or New Zealand wines (with the odd French Champers for extra special occasions) having the chance to try wines from all over the world was amazing.

The meal was just as fabulous. We'd decided not to start with an entree - we'd had an entree with pretty much every meal while we were away and I was determined to have dessert with this one. I simply can't do three courses so had to sacrifice the entree. Oh the sacrifice! My duck leg confit with spiced pears and braised red cabbage was fantastic and Hubby declared that his 30-day aged sirloin beef was, if not the best he'd ever had, pretty darn close. Followed up with a creme brulee with caramelised banana and a coconut icecream this really was a meal to remember.

And, yes. We'll definitely be back. And luckily the original Must is up here in the big smoke  because while this might be a once in a while kinda restaurant for us, we're both determined that it won't be a once in a lifetime one.

Monday, July 16, 2012

We Really Must

Posted by MANDI at 6:13 PM 1 comments
Today we slept late, enjoyed a yummy breakfast and then hit the road. We checked out a few camping sites, that we could stop at with the kids over the summer, and then moved onto the wineries. Several tastings (and a purchase or two) later we ended up at one of the local breweries for lunch. A shared tasting plate was perfect and showcased some of the delicious local products. A bit more site-seeing took us through to late afternoon when we felt that a spa and a bit of a relax was in order and headed back to our B&B.

Now we're off to dinner at Must - this was always part of my plan for our getaway and we're both really looking forward to a fantastic experience. Click on the link and check out the menu (as well as the venue and the wine!).

Tomorrow we head back home, but not before we hit a couple more wineries and enjoy lunch somewhere to finish of our little 'break away from the world'. This has just been total bliss and I really hope we'll make the effort to do it again. Maybe we'll have to hit up Nan and Pop for babysitting again in six months or so...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I've Run Away

Posted by MANDI at 9:54 PM 5 comments
Run away with my husband that is. We've taken off for a couple of days and are enjoying some 'us' time. The kids are having a mini-holiday with Nan and Pop while we spend some time catching up with each other. This is the first time we've ever left the kids for longer than a night. It's also the first time we've gone away together, without them. So exciting.

I booked us into a fancy-schmancy B&B - king sized bed, a spa, a balcony out to the forest, and all a ten minute walk into town. Lovely.

We've been to a winery for some wine tasting and then for a delicious lunch, wandered through the town we're staying in, been out for dinner and booked tomorrow night's dinner at a restaurant with a seriously fab reputation. And now I'm gonna go snuggle with my gorgeous husband. And yes, 'snuggle' might be code for something else...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ten Days

Posted by MANDI at 8:15 PM 0 comments
Ten days till I have to be back in my office, that is.

Yeah baby!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hair Cut Regretsky

Posted by MANDI at 5:37 PM 0 comments
So I got my hair cut on the weekend. If you consider how I wore it for a long time...

it's still quite long.

But if you consider how I've worn it for past couple of years...
It's really quite short.

It's in a bob, of sorts that sits just on my shoulders and I love, love, love the length. But the cut isn't quite doing what it should and, quite frankly, it's not doing me any favours. I've spent the past few days filled with the dreaded Hair Cut Regret.
So tomorrow I'm going to ring my hairdresser and book an appointment for her to have another go at it. I can't entirely hold her responsible for how it looks - she did exactly what I asked for so this time round I think I'm going to have to find a picture and attempt to explain what I want in words rather than waving my arms around and saying lots of, 'well you know' and 'um just whatever you think really'!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Yes! It's A Recipe Post!!

Posted by MANDI at 9:06 PM 360 comments
But before we get to it, some blatant begging. I've entered a competition at kidspot.com.au to win a new car. A Nissan X-Trail Ti to be precise. In order to be in the running I need votes for the photo I entered - it's the kids in the car at 6am on a sunny summer's morning ready for a road trip. Just click on the link - http://bit.ly/PbQKWY -  and it'll take you to my pic where you can press the button to vote. You can vote once each day and at the moment I'm sitting in 27th place so I'd really, really, really appreciate your votes. And just think, if I had a fabbo new car I'd be able to go more places and then I'd have more stuff to blog about. Wins all round!

And onto the cooking...
I ripped my way through a few cooking magazines over the weekend. Quite literally. And came up with a bundle of new recipes to try. I've been a bit slack in the cooking department of late - getting in late from work means I've got to be super organised for those nights and, quite frankly the rest of the week I'm trying to keep up with the kids, the house and everything elseand not a lot of energy is left for playing in the kitchen. We still have proper, good, nutritional meals but we're seeing a fairly high rotation of the same meals.
But having a little bundle of new recipes for insiration got my cooking mojo fired up and I tried out one for dinner tonight. It was quick to throw together, super simple and I had almost everything on hand. This is what the finished product was supposed to look like. Pretty, yes? Yeah, you'll see what mine looked like in a minute.
A few notes: not being a big curry fan, I used only 1 tablespoon of the curry paste and that worked just fine for me. I left the pineapple out altogether. I used frozen corn instead of baby corn and green capsicum not red because that was what I had. I think this needed a bit more moisture as the rice wasn't totally cooked through (but cooked enough!) and could have done with another few minutes but was getting dry. I'd add maybe another half cup of water and cook it for another 10 or so minutes. And with all those extra instructions... this really was yummy. With the notable exception of little Miss Fussy, aka Offspring #2, we all liked it and I'd make it again.
One-Pot Red Curry Chicken and Rice
from Super Food Ideas, July 2012

Serves 6
500g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed, cut into 3cm pieces
2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 cups Jasmine rice (I just used regular white rice)
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1/2 of a 440g can pineapple thins, drained, chopped
1 red capsicum, chopped
125g baby corn, diagonally sliced
400ml can coconut milk
1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup frozen peas
fresh coriander leaves, to serve.
1. Preheat oven to 200C. Place chicken in a bowl. Add curry paste. Stir until well coated. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, if time permits.
2. Place rice in an 8-cup capacity baking dish. Top with onion, pineapple, capsicum and corn. Pour over coconut milk and boiling water. In a single layer, arrange chicken on top. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 10 minutes.
3. Uncover. Bake for a further 30 to 35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with peas. Stand, covered for 5 minutes or until peas are heated through. Serve topped with coriander.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Holiday Pottering

Posted by MANDI at 8:55 PM 3 comments
We've had a busy but relaxing day here in the hills. It was cold but sunny so I had the fire going in an effort to keep warm - Offspring #1 has been unwell with the flu all week so I was trying to keep him warm in an effort to get him to stop coughing. He missed most of the last week of school and even had to miss his footy game this morning. I knew he was really sick when he stopped eating - he's always been my good eater and now usually eats more than me at most meals. I made a joke earlier in the week about him having man-flu but read something in today's paper about the flu versus the common cold and, hmmm bad mum moment 3922, realised that he really has had the flu.
I made this Penne with Creamy Bacon Sauce for the kids for lunch - it was super quick and easy and they both loved it. I made a couple of changes based on what I had in the fridge and pantry and think this would make a perfect Sunday (or Tuesday cos that's my killer night!) night easy dinner.

After almost nine years of living here - well, minus the couple of years we were in Red Dirt Central - we finally got wardrobes for the kids. There was a robe recess in each room and when we moved in shoved #1's lowboy (chest of drawers, whatever you want to call it) in there and hung a rail for his clothes and got on with living life. When #2 arrived in our lives much the same thing happened. Hubby had plans to build a proper built-in-robe in each room but, as you'd know if you've read along, there are so many other projects on the go that this one just kept getting put to the back of the list. Anyway, just recently one of the furniture stores had a big sale and I snapped up two bargain wardrobes that fit the spaces perfectly and, as of tonight, there's a proper wardrobe in each of the kids' rooms. A wardrobe with doors!! Oh the joy!!

We also fitted in a fun maths activity this afternoon. I know! Fun and maths activity aren't normally things I'd associate either. I was doing some baking this afternoon and the kids were playing with my kitchen scales so I figured they may as well have some fun and learn something at the same time. I had them grab a few things from around the house and draw them into a workpad. Then we guessed (estimated!) what each one weighed and wrote that down with a question mark next to it and finally weighed the item and wrote down the real measurement. It kept the kids entertained for about an hour and they're dead keen to 'play weighing' again tomorrow. Here's #2's rendition of her afternoon tea cupcake...

Not sure what we're up to tomorrow. #2 starts her netball clinic and the rest of the day will depend upon #1's cough and the weather.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hooray for Holidays!

Posted by MANDI at 8:24 AM 3 comments
Hooray, school holidays have started. I have to work three days next week but for the rest of the two weeks I'm as free as a bird. We don't have any big plans at the moment, although now I've typed that I realise that actually we do have stuff planned. Offspring #2 is enrolled in a netball clinic that runs each morning of next week and I've arranged a couple of days away for Hubby and I - the kids are going to their grandparents for a couple of days so it's a little holiday for everyone. Well, everyone but Nan and Pop...

We're also hoping to see a couple of movies. I want to see Brave and the kids are voting for Ice Age 4. Add in some bike rides, board games (#1 was given Yahtzee for his birthday and it has been a big hit with everyone in the house) and whatever else we can dream up and we should end up with a pleasantly filled but still relaxing couple of weeks.

Right now, at 8.20 on the very first day of holidays we've just finished 'special brekky' ie bacon and egg toasted sandwiches and Hubby and the kids are on the couch watching Muppets From Space. Not a bad start to the holidays. Not bad at all.

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