Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year 2017

Happy New Year to everyone I hope you all had a lovely Christmas with your family and friends as well.  I find these years are going by much quicker as you get older however it's always nice having a fresh start and think about how you want to live your life in 2017.

In the last few years I've stopped buying "stuff" because I have too much stuff, most of the stuff doesn't make you happy and it costs money.  I have been decluttering using our local Buy & Sell FB group for the past two years and that money has gone a long way towards paying bills like electricity, rates, water and at the same time getting items out of our home.  I still have a long way to go however this has been a huge help toward our finances and also getting rid of things that I don't need, want or doesn't bring me joy anymore has been great.  


When Kmart brought out their decorating range a couple of years ago everything was so "cool" and so "cheap" I remember seeing a silver camera that looked like a chunky money box but wasn't a money box just something to put on your shelf if you know what I mean in terms of size etc and it was $7 which I thought was a bargain.  I love photography and loved this $7 decor item but I had got into the habit of not purchasing "stuff" anymore and even though it was $7 and I would have loved it I decided I didn't need it. 

The week before Christmas I was doing the Christmas shopping and Kmart had a lovely "Ho Ho Ho" print fully framed for $9 which I thought was great and thought for a moment about buying it.  As it was a week before Christmas I thought it's $9 and looks good but I'm just going to have it out for a week and then put it away for a year and I don't need another thing to store so I decided not to buy it at the time.  Fast forward one week when I had ti take some items back that were the wrong size and Kmart had a section for their Christmas items that were reduced and I saw the print for $3 which I thought I would buy it.  Again I stood there and thought I liked it when it was $9 and chose not to buy it and it's a bargain at $3 but again Christmas is over and I'm going to have to store that 33x44 cm frame away for a year and I decided not to buy it.  I really don't need it even though I still like it and it's now only $3.  I picked it up to take one last look at it nothing the shelf price said $3 however the framed print had a yellow sticker on it for $1.50.  I immediately bought it.  At $3 I could resist it but at $1.50 it was an absolute bargain so I brought it home and now I'm going to have to store it for a year but I'm okay with that.


Often when I see clothing that is on sale something that I ask myself when I'm standing in the shop is .... is it because the top was $40 and it's now down to $10 that has drawn me into the shop or is it because I really like the top.  If this top was $40 would I love it enough to buy it and wear it, and if so I buy it for $10 if not, I would not spend the $10.  Yes it's only $10 and you can justify it by saying to yourself if you wear it a couple of times you've at least got your $10 worth.  If it was $40 would I have stopped and wanted to buy the top.  This often answers my question and I walk away not buying the top.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas Lights

I love taking my kids to see the Christmas Lights every year and thank goodness Brisbane does not have Day Light Saving.  I remember when we lived in Melbourne (James was a baby one month old) and it didn't get dark until 9 pm at night so it makes for a late night for little ones to stay up to see the Christmas Lights.  Here in Brisbane the lights come on at 7 pm which is great so you can go out see some and come home in time for dessert and bed.  Here's a couple of pics from a local street near us where there are about 8 houses on either side of the street that participate each year.













Sunday, November 27, 2016

Around Here

Around here we are gearing up for the last two weeks of school with swimming carnivals, music concerts and award ceremonies.  There's always a push towards the end of the last term of school as everyone including myself gets very tired and exhausted.

James celebrated his 13th Birthday yesterday so now I'm the mother of a teenager and you wonder where all that time went.  Just think in another 5 years he will be an 18 year old which I think seems scarier to me.  I love that even though 18 year olds are adults they usually still have no idea about real life like rent, electricity, bills, insurances, internet, food costs and the life that parents (lets call them big adults) have to deal with.  James has grown into a lovely young teenager and I can't believe he is growing at the rate of about 1cm per month so that's 6cm since mid June and is slowly catching up to me.  Here's some photos of what's been going on around here.

My tips for the best birthday cake photo is to do it before the guests arrive.  I set this up in the morning and make sure you have your numbered candles facing the camera not the birthday person and then take your time to get the shot you want.  I then took the candles off the cake and popped it back into the fridge.  Later on in the afternoon after we had pizzas for lunch it was time for the cake you can just enjoy the moment, sing and cut the cake without trying to clear the scene to get your birthday person on their own when you have 10 guests there.  I always do this so I get my shot well before guests arrive.

James requested our family's favourite white chocolate raspberry cheesecake and he was pretty happy about it.

We had the family over for pizza's which we use pita bread for the bases and everything is chopped up in containers and you each make your own by selecting which toppings you want.

We love our Kmart Jackeroo Pizza oven which runs off a normal gas bottle...beats stoking up a wooden fire for 2 hours before you need to eat.  Very convenient and it cooks 3 pizzas at a time.  We actually got this a week before James turned 10 and celebrated his 10th Birthday with pizza's.

Found this in my shower yesterday morning.  I knew the kids hid the elf but didn't know where.

It's looking a lot like Christmas....my sister (James and Sienna's Aunty Lisa) always comes over to put our tree up with us.

James with his own sense of decorating the tree.

I love our pretty Christmas balls.

I took this photo for a friend who had her 2nd child....2 weeks old isn't she beautiful.

Sienna helping with dinner prep.

Self portrait........these are pretty hard to do vs the iPhone selfie.  This was with my DSLR.

James is back into his Rubik cube and was trying to explain to Sienna how to do it.

I love that these crazes come back....I remember my Grandmother years and years ago being into the Rubik cube.  Also James was into about 2 years ago but now he's back into it learning all sorts of algorithms for it.  His memory just amazes me.

And my smiley silly funny creative girl....

Making a Foosball machine out of a cardboard box and wooden skewers and pegs.

And of course Sienna's humour is everywhere around here.  This was meant to be my piece of water melon.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Banana Cake Recipe

This cake is so soft and not heavy like banana bread so if you are wanting to use up those bananas and make a cake, this recipe is for you.  Best Banana Cake Recipe ever in my opinion.



BANANA CAKE
I used a Square Cake Tin 22cm (inside measurement approximately 20cm).

INGREDIENTS

  • 125 gms Butter
  • 3/4 cup of Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 medium sized ripe or overripe Bananas
  • 1/4 cup Milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Bi-Carb Soda
  • 1.5 cups Self Raising Flour


METHOD

  1. Cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Mash bananas (making 1 cup).
  4. Add mashed bananas to creamed mixture, beat until just combined.
  5. In a cup, mix the milk and bi-carb soda.
  6. Fold in flour and the mix/soda mixture by alternating the flour, then the milk/soda mixture etc until it's all in the bowl.


BAKING
Bake in moderate oven (160 degrees fan forced) for 50 minutes or until you can place a skewer into the centre of the cake and it comes out clean.  You should set a timer for around 40 to check on it and it may need more or less than 50 mins depending upon the size tin used.  You could also use this recipe and a muffin tin which means they would need 20-25 mins depending.  The skewer in the centre is the test if it comes out clean.

Let cake cool completely in the tin before icing it.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 100 gms Cream Cheese
  • 50 gms Unsalted Butter
  • 230 gms Icing Sugar


METHOD
Place all ingredients into a mix master and mix until combined.
If you have a Thermomix place all ingredients in bowl and mix for 20 seconds on speed 5 or 6.
Ice cake when it has completely cooled down.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Getting back to Nature

Last Sunday I took the kids for a lunch time BBQ and bush walk.  Our BBQ is really basic and we love it.  One packet of sausages, one loaf of bread, Tomato & BBQ sauce and cut up onion in a container with olive oil and brown sugar so they caramelize when cooked.  Some plastic plates, tongs, spray, 6 paper towels and water for the kids and diet coke for me.  We have a picnic blanket that stays in the boot of the car so it's just our food and cooking things and off we go.

We went to Bellbird Grove which has a trail to an old Gold Mine which is uphill but not difficult at all and is basically just a walking track.  At the top there is a little miners hut and the shaft which is covered over.  There are some signs along the way talking about the Gold Rush in the early 1900's.  There's basically nothing there except those two things and signs along the way however it makes for an interesting walk and I've been wanting to take the kids on this walk for ages.  We weren't in proper walking shoes the kids had thongs on so it's a pretty mild bush walk.

This outing cost us $7 ($5 for the sausages and $2 for the bread) and we usually have sauce and onions in the pantry.  We do not have money to spend on luxury days out and our recent trip to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was a very special treat for us.  We love going on simple BBQ's and getting out in nature and to me this is way better than some other things that cost lots of money.  Here's a few pics from our day.













Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Around Here

Around here I can't say I have been doing any gardening and my veggie patch is still full of weeds.  I know it will make me happy to get into the garden but there always seems too many other things to do.  My local garden shop closed down after many many years which was very sad so now I have to go to Bunnings for my plants which it not 2 mins down the road.  I did take the kids on a BBQ and bush walk to the local historical Gold Mine on the weekend and we had fish and chips in the park for dinner on Saturday night and the kids had a play on the swings etc.  I'm so glad that my kids still love the park particularly James who is turning 13 in 3 weeks time.  Thrilled that he doesn't think swings at the park are uncool and happily gets outdoors.  This is what I want to remember about October.

Sienna setting herself up in the front hallway doing some crocheting watching a tv show on her iPad.

The sunsets lately have been pretty.

Behind our house we have a pathway of trees.

Sienna and I and the pretty leaves.

My first born....he turns 13 in 3 weeks time.

This little cow wanted to come over to see what we were doing.

Golden hour photo session with my kids.

Such pretty light and my two kids.

Sienna's art work on the table.

Afternoon sun on the washing.

Playing Uno together on the couch.

Colouring in this month has been fun.

Sienna set herself up with a drum kit using the bags of compost as a seat and rulers as drum sticks.  She makes me laugh with her creativity.

James nearly a teenager.

This pic was designed to show off her hair do which she is really into at the moment which she loves.

James and all his school friends are into "bottle flipping" at the moment so they throw the bottle up with the hope that it lands firmly on the ground and lots of times it doesn't.  Let me just say that this drives me crazy from the noise of the bottle hitting the ground when done inside our house over and over again.

Sienna jumping over the swing at the park.

The kids made these biscuits on the weekend and had lots of fun.  This is Rhonda's biscuit recipe which makes heaps of biscuits.  I make the recipe and we cook half and then I freeze the other portion to make another day.

James dressed up for Halloween this year....Sienna was off at a school Halloween Party so I don't have any photos of her this year.