Sunday, July 26, 2015

Around Here

Around here we have just completed two weeks of Term 3 and are nearly the end of the AFL Football season.  We have been rugged up with the cold in Queensland of late and looking forward to spring.  Here's a few pics of what's been happening around here.

Sienna spotted this very faint rainbow above the next door neighbours house.

James getting ready to try out a new to me meatball recipe...the verdict from both kids was good.

Little girls are into loom bands and pretty nail polish designs.

She took me for a walk down to the creek near football this morning.

I made some Sticky Date Puddings to keep us warm this week..OMG this is so delicious.

Today's early morning game in the beautiful winter sun, a far cry from 2 weeks ago.

The beautiful sunset the other night.

The sky was just beautiful against the trees in our backyard.

Off to school camp at the Gold Coast for the week.

She had a sore throat so I was teaching her how to gargle with salty water.

Self portrait looking out my bedroom window.

Our turn to wash the jersey's.

Our family's favourite place for a wood fire BBQ and toasting marshmallows.

Winter is still here.....

Her foot was itchy so she was trying to get her shoes off quickly to scratch it.

This one is pretty good modelling for me even though she was telling me to hurry up.

There are always lots of Kookaburra's at this BBQ spot and we love hearing them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

On decluttering

Over the past year I have been trying to declutter our house however I feel I have only reached the tip of the iceberg and making a start is always good.  I have donated lots of things to charity that we no longer use including books, toys, kids clothes etc. however there are lots of items that I feel I don't want to give away but also can't be bothered to put on Ebay.  Eleven years ago I was living in Melbourne and one of the Mum's in our playgroup was hooked in Ebay of which I hadn't heard of it before.  She showed us the website and what you do and I sold a couple of things and bought a book of toddler feeding.  Then about a year later when I was back living in Brisbane I had lots of things to sell as my style was very country, old world charm, antique furniture etc. and we were getting ready to ditch the house and build a modern house on the property.  I sold about $1,500 worth of olds and ends and put it towards my first DSLR camera changing from my film SLR camera.
Over the years I've put things on Ebay and it's been a bit hit and miss and after a while I decided not to post anything because that requires working out postage, packing and taking trips to and from the post office.  Also things are so much cheaper to buy these days than they were 5-10 years ago that by the time you factor in postage it's not a bargain anymore.  So here in lies the problem that I don't want to use Gumtree and I don't want to use Ebay so my sister put me on to "Buy, Swap and Sell" Facebook pages.  I'm not a FB fan, I love reading blogs but I'm not into Facebook so I didn't want to join Facebook.  This also meant that I could never join a FB Group when people said - oh I'm on FB etc.  It just doesn't interest me at all and I love blogs and I have a private Instagram account for a few of my real friends and that's about it as far as social media goes.  So in order to sell stuff I had to set up a FB page of which I don't post anything on but set it up in order to declutter my house and pay some bills.

The thing I love about the FB buy and sell pages, just think like the old days of "Trading Post" except it takes about one minute to post your add after you've taken your photos and the best part about it is you are selling to people in your local area so once they buy something they are over to collect it the same day or the next day.  It has been the best thing ever to sell stuff that is good quality that I have perhaps changed my mind on, don't use or would rather have the money to go towards bills.  I have sold over $800 worth of items and this went straight towards paying bills like electricity and rates etc.  Clearing the house and paying bills has been worthwhile taking photos, writing out measurements and descriptions and getting stuff out to sell.  I gave up on Ebay and Gumtree  me and I know there are lots of scams on Gumtree even though people do have lots of success with this site however a closed group of your local Buy, Swap and Sell page has been a godsend.  I've sold handbags, kitchen jars, pictures, a mirror, fruit basket etc. decorating items, you name it I've sold it.

I highly recommend you get on to a local FB page and start decluttering as for me a local group is so much easier than anything else I have done in the past and it makes so much sense to sell locally.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Holiday Activites

As I mentioned in my previous post I wanted to give the kids holiday experiences to remember without costing a fortune.  I googled things to do in Brisbane and found out that Notorious was being moored at Manly Harbour for the week so we took a drive down there with a picnic lunch, skate boards etc.

It cost us $9 to go on board which was $5 for adults and $2 for kids so we got to walk around, go down into the ship and take a few photos.  The ship feels very small when you are on board and I don't know that I'd want to live in such a small space however it was great to check it out.  We were on board for all of about 15 minutes or so which was long enough to look around and take some photos.  After that we had our lunch which we brought from home and then the kids went for a bit of a skateboard ride followed by Sienna having a play in the water while James lay in the sun and read his book.  On the way home we got our $1 flake ice creams from the drive through at McDonalds for $3 and came home in the afternoon.  We had a lovely day out for $12 which is affordable for an interesting outing for 3 people.   I haven't actually been to Manly I think in about 7 years even though it's so close but normally we head off to Redcliffe Bayside but Manly was a lovely change.  Here's a few photos from our day.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Holidays and not spending money

We've just had school holidays here in Brisbane and we all know that it costs a little bit more having kids home from school than during the school term.  I was determined that I was not going to spend a lot of money as I have lots of bills due and still wanted to enjoy the holidays with my kids.  We did spend money but kept it to a minimum.

The biggest hit of the holidays was going to Jolly's Lookout for a Bush Walk and BBQ which for us is a matter of a packet of sausages, a loaf of bread and some sauce...super easy.  I haven't been to Jolly's Lookout for a long time and I knew I wanted to take the kids on a little bush walk.  As we had a prior commitment in the afternoon we opted for the little 1.5 km bush walk followed by our BBQ lunch.  They used to have wood BBQ's up there so we took the marshmallows to roast them however they have since changed over to electric BBQ's which are a great convenience but not as much fun for the kids.

There are two bush walks from here a short 1.5 km one which we did and it only took 30 minutes including stopping to take photos and a 4.0 km one which we will do next time.  My sister and I were taking it slowly photographing things along the way and the kids ran ahead.  The only condition was that I had to hear them so there was lots of yelling Cooee back to one another so I knew they were okay.  Seriously....the kids were so excited to go on the bush walk and laughing and running and it made me laugh because anyone would think they have never been out of the house...they were so excited.  After the bush walk they wanted to go again, after the lunch they wanted to go again but we had to leave so there will be more bush walks in the coming weeks.  It was great fun and such small walks so there is really no "trekking" just a walk in the bush which is very suitable to me and the style of walking I like to do with "walking and photographing".

This activity cost less than $10 as it was just the sausages and a loaf of bread and I took sauce, water for the kids, diet coke for myself and my sister and some home made chocolate cupcakes made using this recipe.  This type of holiday activity is my preferred over a theme park any day.  While we were cooking the sausages the kids picked up some big sticks and were trying to make a tee-pee out of them.  Sienna is naturally drawn to the outdoors but I love that when we are at a place like this James gets into it as well and they let their imagination and creativity take over.  We had a great time and if you haven't been to Jolly's Lookout before put it on your list of things to do in Brisbane.

Jolly's Lookout was named after Brisbane's first Lord Mayor, William Jolly, this lookout offers expansive views of Moreton Island, Brisbane Valley and the Glass House Mountains.  The Mayor was so taken with the view that he agreed to build a road to the lookout for better access.  It's about a 20 minute drive up the Mountain from Walk About Creek.  PS...don't you love that kids wear shorts in sister and I were rugged up but kids don't feel the cold like we do.  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Recipes from the blog

Since it's school holiday time I thought I would go through some of our favourite recipes that I've posted on the blog previously and gather a few of them in the one place.

Our favourite Pizza Base recipe.

Home made Rustic Olive Oil Crackers these are so easy.

New York Times No Knead Bread always a winner.

Raspberry Lemon Muffins....OMG these are amazing.

Home made Granola.

Lasagne & Sticky Date Muffins with Butterscotch sauce.

Our family favourite Chocolate Coconut Slice.

Chicken & Leek Pies my kids love these as do I.

Rhonda from Down to Earth Home Made Biscuits recipe.

Brownies & Pizza Scrolls.

Home made Dumplings recipe from Celia at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial blog.

Apple & Cinnamon Cake from Kate Berry of The Lunch Lady blog.

Swedish Meatballs although they take a little time to mix and roll them this recipe will not disappoint.

Home made pasta recipe.

Irish Soda Bread and this one is a must with the herbed butter with fresh herbs....makes all the difference.

Home made baked beans which we make and freeze in small containers.  We have been making this recipe for about a year and a half now and we love them.  I don't buy any tinned baked beans from the supermaket any more.

Making home made Turkish Bread is very satisfying and with all bread you need to factor in time. Think of the end result (ie for lunch or dinner) and work backwards to start your recipe.

Home made Yoghurt is great for the kids and they also like to mix in some fresh berries.

This Apple Slice Recipe is from my Mother In Law and OMG it is AMAZING.  The recipe looks like a lot of instructions but it is so easy and tasty try this one for your next morning tea or dessert.  It uses a big tin of apples so you don't even have to peel them and cook them, too easy.

Make your own Vanilla Extract, so easy and I haven't bought any since late 2013.

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe ever, just put all the ingredients in a mix for 5 mins.

Home made Tortilla recipe.

Seeded Crispbread recipe.

Buttermilk Scones for afternoon tea....these are quick to make and soft and fluffy.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese made with turkey mince which has a nice rich flavour.

Five Seed Bread is great for toast for breakfasts and very healthy too.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Around Here - Backyard Edition

Often it's the things that we see everyday around us that appear to be insignificant at the time that one day in many years to come might mean more to us than it does at this moment.  Take the humble everyday backyard for example.  The veggie patch is pretty well non existent at the moment except for one very lonely tomato however I still like to spend some time wandering around the backyard taking photos of what is well "just the backyard" in July 2015.

At the side of the house looking towards the backyard.

Looking up - our TV antenna.

Our Ikea hangers we use to peg the clothing on the line.  Check out my Washing Process here.

Pretty red tips have started to appear on this bush.

Our humble backyard washing line which I love.  It's half in the sun and half under cover.

Towards the chicken coop.

This trampoline has been worth it's weight in gold for the past 4 years.

The trumpet creeper is flowering everywhere in Brisbane at the moment and I love it.

My little tomato plant.

Sienna's cubby house made with as many brightly coloured beach towels as she could find.

Sienna was here - my crafty daughter.

Looking down.

Home grown goodness....these golden eggs still bring us great happiness.

Another one of the trumpet vine.

Looking out the front.

A close up of these beautiful orange beauties.