The adventure of trying to make a house a home that we built for our family of six plus some craft, home décor, recipes & any family fun we might have.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Special Zucchini Slice

While Mr Opoes is away I’ve tried to make quick and easy meals as I need the meal to be cooking while I’m bathing the children. So tonight I decided to make my ‘special’ zucchini slice.  So what’s special about this recipe? It’s a great way to use any leftovers you might have and it’s great for picnics, school lunches, finger food at parties and it tastes great cold.  It’s a great all-rounder. So follow the basic recipe and if you want you can add any additional items during step 2.

Special Zucchini Slice
3 zucchini (courgette), grated
3 mushrooms, finely chopped
½ cup corn kernels
1 packet of wok-ready noodles or 2 cups cold boiled rice
1 cup of grated cheese
200 grams fetta cheese, crumbed
1 cup of diced chicken or any other protein
1 cup self-raising flour
½ cup of oil
4 large eggs
Salt and pepper to season

1. Pre-heat oven to 180˚C.
2. Grease a lasagna dish with cooking spray or a knob of butter.
3. Collect all your ingredients. Combine the zucchini, mushrooms, corn, noodles, cheese, fetta and chicken in a bowl.

4. Add the flour and mix together well.

5. Add the eggs, oil and seasoning. Mix together well, making sure the dry ingredients is covered  by the wet ingredients.

 6. You don’t want the mixture to be thick, this will make the slice heavy. Try adding an extra egg.

7. Pour into a lasagna dish, flatten with a fork and bake for 30 minutes or until set.

8. Serve hot or cold with a salad, chips or garlic bread.

Variations: depending on the amount of additional ingredients added you may need one or two additional eggs. You can also make these in a muffin tin, adjust the cooking time to 15 minutes.


Tuesday, 28 February 2012

How to frame a house

I thought that I'd show you a few pictures today of whats been happening on our block. This past week the weather hasn't been on our side so the chippies had a few days off and this means that our finish time has been put back for the second time since construction started. I'm planning on taking a trip up to the block after school pick up today so I'm hoping all the framing has finished.

Mr Opoes and I took a trip to the block on Sunday and with the front section completed I decided to measure the rooms up because they looked soooooo small. I've been told by everyone that this is a common feeling at the framing stage. What I didn't realise was how tiny everything felt. As we stood in the living room there was no way that this room felt like it was 5.8 metres along the front of the property, the tape measure assured us that it was. I'm sure when the plasterboard goes on, things will look different.

So here is a few pictures of the house.
This photo was taken from the garage door.
This is the front of the house, on the left is the living room, on the right is the kitchen area and at the end of the hallway the media room will be there. I'm actually thinking that I could use it during the day as a craft room and the good thing about this room is that it has concealed sliding door so my mess can easily be hidden.

View from the front door.
I can't wait to decorate the wall that's directly in front of the entry door. I'm going to create a gallery wall. There are a few things that are worrying me with this wall. It's 7.3 metres long, so I don't want to have it look cluttered, I don't have enough frames to use, I'm not sure if I should use a selection of things e.g. kid's art, photo canvas, coloured photos, black and white photos, decorative objects etc or if I should just use black and white pictures of our family so that it doesn't compete with the light in the entry? I'm really going to have to plan this out.

Looking down the hallway out to the wrong water tank.
This is the view from our bedroom door out towards the kids bedrooms, wet areas and the activity room. I'm hoping that the water tank gets moved soon otherwise its going to be quite difficult to move.

Looking into Mackenna's bedroom from Caelan's room
Mackenna's room is at the back of the house so she will get to look out onto the future vegetable garden, the trampoline and any yard that we'll have left. Now here is a picture of the most important room in any house.

The toilet or Water Closet.
To the left of the toilet is Quinlan's room which will eventually become Caelan's room and on the right hand side is the bathroom. Now if only I could train the children into cleaning the toilet and bathroom regularly I'd have two less spaces to clean each time. If only.....

So there is only two more sleeps until Mr Opoes gets home and the kids can't wait. I'll be happy when he gets home because Viveca can stop pointing at random men and yelling DADDY, DADDY, DADDY.


Monday, 27 February 2012

Lights, Camera, ACTION - PART THREE

I want to apologise for the lateness of my last post, the computer wouldn't work with blogger and just trying to do the simpilist things caused it to crash. With Mr Opoes interstate at the moment I didn't have him here to help me fix it. So as promised I'm going to deliver the third section of my lighting series.

When it came to selecting a light the two wall lights they took the least amount of time, I was shown the wall lights and I quickly found the light I liked and in less than 3 mintues I had this ticked off my lighting list. The requirements I had for this light was that they were either black or silver and that we could use a warm light instead of a white light. This is the wall light that ticked both criteria. There isn't much to this light so I'm hoping that it'll last a while and the elements won't damage it.

The next item we needed was our ceiling fan for the alfresco area. It seemed really strange that you'd place a fan in an outdoor area when the breeze would blow through the open areas but as its a requirement by the State government then you do what you're told to do. Every sales assistant that we spoke to told us to make sure we got a good quality fan that was marine grade and because of this the cost of the fan goes up.

As we are having downlights installed in the alfresco roof along with this fan I have to make sure that the fan isn't too close to the lights otherwise it'll cause a strooving effect. This wouldn't be fun for your guests while your entertaining them especially if they are enjoying a few alcoholic beverages.

I've wanted to put pendant lights over my breakfast bar ever since I found out I was getting my own kitchen, a place for the kids to eat their breakfast, snacks and to do their reading while I'm making dinner. I'd seen a few kitchens in blogland and I really liked the look they had created. My favourite kitchen was Corrie's from Retro Mummy, its all white and I just loved the classic shape of her pendant lights she'd chosen but as I didn't want to copy her kitchen I took elements she'd used and then after talking to my sister Renee I started looking for orange pendants.
Reto Mummy's Kitchen.
An element of  glamour with these beautiful chrome pendant lights in Retro Mummy's kitchen.

Now I'll have the same coloured Caesarstone benchtop (snow) and our kitchen sink is also located in the island bench but we have a drip tray because we couldn't afford the look that Corrie has. So without further ado here is the orange pendant light I've choosen.
I'm liking this colour but I'm thinking that if it was a bit darker like an orange it would be perfect.
I have another image of it which is a scan of the pendant that I was given by Glenda from Wide World of Lighting at Morayfield. I'm sure that once I've received the lights and the electrican has installed them it'll look great.

Elgo Naro Orange Pendant Light
I'm thinking that having three of these hanging above the white breakfast bar and being able to see through to the black glittery splashback is going to look really neat. It probably won't be considered a classic look but its a classic line and it'll just add a bit of character to the kitchen.

WARNING the following pictures were taken by a 3 year old so they won't be the best quality but for someone who has only pretended to photograph things I think Mackenna did a great job. I'll wait for Mr Opoes to come home and I'll post better photo's on Friday. While getting the other lights I asked Mr Opoes if he still wanted to go with the pendant light we'd seen up at Morayfield. We walked over to the pendants that they had on display and we had a good look. I was after something that wasn't too flashy, modern, looked cheap but came with a hefty price tag. The sales staff had just removed a circular starbrust ball like pendant and I was drawn to it immediately but unfortunately someone had already grabbed it. So it came down to a discussion between two pendants that were quiet different, one had an Art Deco look to it while the other one had lots of cystals, it had a classic shape while also being modern with its colour and text.

The Art Deco pendant was cheaper by about $50.00 but it was a lot smaller than the other pendant light. So I left the decision up to Mr Opoes as I'd had enough of looking at lights, I needed fresh eyes (he'd previously been outside with Quinlan who'd been getting upset) and this is what Mr Opoes chose.
Mackenna's first ever photograph

Looking through the lamp shade to the cystals and floor area.

Round crystal that hangs in the middle of the pendant light you'll have to watch your head when coming through the front door.

There are 3 lights in this pendant and each one is decorated with crystals and a lamp shade. The main decorative element is that the arms are made to look like rope.

I hope you have enjoyed looking at all the lights and fans we've purchased. I'll get some better pictures on Friday when Mr Opoes arrives home. Thank you for stopping by, I'd love to here what you think about the entry light?


Lights, Camera, ACTION - PART TWO

For people who know me the one thing that they can all agree on is that I'm either organised enough that I'll arrive at a function very early OR that I'm very disorganised and I'll never get things completed. Today has been all about the later. I had plans that involved getting up before the kids, enjoying a hot cup of tea in front of the computer while I wrote part two of my lighting series and then Mr Opoes, the kids and I would drive over to the block, take photo's of the progress before heading to North Lakes to do the weekly shopping.

Well nothing got written, the tea was cold, the drive to the block consisted of continual complaints. When we arrived the eldest two needed to go to the toilet so the photo shot was abandoned, we had a quick look and then we went to North Lakes to use the toilets. The groceries also fell through because we met a friend from school, the kids seemed to hit a sugar high which was followed by naughty behaviour. So it was back home for sleeps and rest time for the older two. By this time it was 3pm, day over....

So as promised I'll show you same of the other lights that we purchased last weekend. With my first electrical plan I'd intended on having about 60% oyster lights, 30% downlights, 5% pendant lights and the other 5% would be made up of  wall lights and a ceiling fan. With the limited budget we have I soon realised we couldn't afford that many oyster lights (it was looking to be about $40 per light and that was without the globe) and that downlights were a cheaper option (3 downlights to 1 oyster light). 

the five purple round dots show the location of each oyster light
I've never been a big fan of the oyster lights because they have always looked like round saucers stuck on the roof so when the new Masters store opened at Morayfield I was surprised to see that you can now buy square oyster lights and some of them even had decorative glass to make them look even more attractive. After visiting the lighting stores I also discovered that you didn't have to have them recessed into the ceiling, this means making a saving on the insulation - yah.

square oyster light that looks rectangular. Source unknown
What I love about this light is that the light shows through each side of the oyster as the round oyster lights are in encased and this defuses the light somewhat. So Mr Opoes and I now knew what style of oyster light we wanted we just needed to find an square oyster light that was within our price range.

We'd been given quotes ranging in price from $59.99ea to $79.99ea so we ended up getting this light for $49.00 and the square oyster large for $62.00 instead of $89.99. The good thing about these oyster lights is that there is a chrome plate and this will help to hide any dust that gathers in the light fitting.
You can see the glass plate and the chrome plate
We purchased a large oyster light for the kid's activity room because the price was good, we'd need a good light source at nighttimes and I wanted to make a distinction between the bedrooms and the activity room.

The other lights we purchased were a sensor light, two spot lights and two exhaust fans for the ensuite and the kid's bathroom. We got a good deal on these items, we even upgraded the spot light and sensor light. This meant that we purchased a quality product at the price we were originally quoted for a mid-range product.

Sensor Light

Spot Light

Silver Exhaust Fan this is a 3 in 1. It's a light, a heater and an exhaust fan. It's a good buy for $79.95

These are the boring lights of the house but I do love my oyster lights and I think that they will tie in with that classic look I'm going for. In a few years time they will have moved from the modern look that they are today too been classic.

Stay tuned for the last part of my lighting series. Tomorrow I'll be showing you my wall lights, ceiling fan but more importantly you'll get to see breakfast bar pendants and the surprising entry light that Mr Opoes chose. We will have to make a slight colour change to sections of the light but that's not something we'll have to do straight away.


Saturday, 25 February 2012

Lights, Camera, ACTION - PART ONE

I'm sitting here in the dark, dark study writing a post about the beautiful lights we bought and I can hardly see what's in front of me. How funny is that? The other day I wrote about the joys Mr Opoes and I'd had while trying to find 3 pendant lights for our breakfast bar. We'd spent time getting quotes from various discount lighting stores so that we could get the best possible deal. It's still very difficult to go looking at all those lights without wanting to spend up big on all the new trendy and modern lights. I had to keep telling myself that we're going for a classic but stylish look and to just stick with that.

So I thought I'd share with you the type of lights we required to light up the 337.08m² of our 5 bedroom house. 'In Queensland it's a requirement that 80% of the total fixed lighting in your home must be covered by energy efficient lighting' so because of this Mr Opoes and I choose to include a heap of downlights as this was a cheaper option and we could better control the amount of light by simply changing the wattage of the light globe. We'd  considered using LED lights but numerous sales assistances had told us that we'd have to replace the entire light when the light globe blow. So you have to toss up between the economic cost of the LED light (RRP: $59.00 ea) and the approximate time (1200hrs) that the globe would last verses the cost of a replacement globe ($4.95). The other consideration too was that technology changes and in a few years time your LED light may no longer be available. Although we initially wanted to go with LED lighting we just could afford to spend that much money on holes in the ceiling lights.

As you can see from the electrical layout we need a large number of lights.
Mr Opoes and I had decided that we'd be looking to buy some downlights, oyster lights, exhaust fans, sensor lights, spot lights, wall lights, a fan and some pendant lights. So after collecting 3 quotes we dropped the kid's off at Grandma and Grandpa's place and we headed off to our chosen lighting store. Upon arriving at the store we discovered that they were having a closing down sale, there was 10% off all floor stock and all display stock was 50% off. We couldn't believe our luck especially as we'd only gone to fix up our quote (had a few lights that we really didn't need) and to take photography's of what we'd chosen so that we could sit down over coffee and have a final talk. That all changed when we realised what a great deal we'd be getting on the lights.

So Coral Homes gave us an allowance of 29 ceiling lights and 1 ceiling fan for the entire house. As you can see from my initial electrical layout above we have more lights than the allowance accepts. So remembering what our sales consultant told us prior to signing the contract we've decided to talk directly with the electrician to see what price he'll quote us. I'm hoping this will provide us with a means of saving money.

The circles highlighted green indicate were we'd be placing the downlights, we required 5 down lights outside and 27 downlights inside. Initially I was going to go with square downlights, however each sales assistant told me that if the electrician didn't place them perfectly and so that they all lined up with one another you'd notice if they out of line and/or off-centre. With this in mind I opted to go with the round downlights, if there are any issues with them they are easier to work with.



The other reasons I went with the round downlight was because the fitting is easy to remove making changing the light globe easy, it also has the frosted section that the square downlight has but its much smaller and you can move the internal section so that the light can point in different directions. This will be particularly helpful in the alfresco area and at the front door.
This will be very helpful in different sections of the house.
All the lights have elements of a brushed chrome finish, the reason for this is its won't need to be polished. It's like ordering matt photo's instead of gloss photo's and then not being able to touch them as you won't want to get finger marks all over the chrome.

Stay tuned in for part two we will be looking at the oyster lights, exhaust fans, sensor lights and spot lights. On Monday we will finish off by showing you the wall lights, ceiling fan breakfast bar pendants and the entry light. The entry light will surprise you.


Friday, 24 February 2012

Slimline Colorbond Water Tank

It's funny with all the planning, preparation and decisions made while getting organised to build a house you'd think that you would remember all most of the choices you've made. So you can imagine that we'd remember we'd always wanted to install a Colorbond slimline water tank on our block. Here's a few of the reasons why a slimline was need:
                        P   they take up less room
                        P   we didn't need to have our boundaries relaxed 
                        P   they are less likely to deteriorate over time
                        P   we had more colour choices

This is the style and size we've chosen
So last night I was showing Mr Opoes the photographs I had of the timber frame work and he saw the picture of the water tank which I wrote about here. He asked me if I was happy with the colour, the size of the tank and how plastic it looked. I said YES to each question and then began thinking at least it will be filling up due to the heavy rain we were experiencing at that very moment.

At lunchtime I rang Mr Opoes after I realised that the price we'd paid for the water tank didn't marry up with the product that had been delivered. I had Mr Opoes contact David (from their customer service department) to clarify
Notice anything different
that we had ordered a slimline water tank. Although I was heavily pregnant while all this was happening I was sure we'd gone with the slimline tank because I remember looking into purchasing one outright as I knew a 5000 litre tank wasn't what we were being quoted. In the end I stopped researching because it would have meant insuring it which would have cost us a heap more money.

As I was about to pick the children up from school I had Mr Opoes find out what was happening so that the water tank could be changed without it causing too many issues with the framework been put together.

At 4pm Mark rang to inform me that he had ordered the slimline but it was going to take 10 working days to deliver it. This means another variation form to fill in, sign, fax and post away. So far we have about 10 variations that we've done so I'm hoping that there isn't too many more.

Due to this happening today I'll blog about our brand new lights over the weekend. I hope you have a great weekend, I'll be looking after the kids solo on Saturday as Mr Opoes is attending an all day workshop to help plan for future development at Caelan's school.


Thursday, 23 February 2012

The writing's on the wall for Australian politics

I got another phone call from Mark (building supervisor) wanting to know where our variation to the linen cupboard was? Mr Opoes had to fax it to him from work, we don't want any more delays with the build. Mark then advised that despite the bad weather looming, the carpenters had arrived on site and started on time. This news set my mind racing, will the weather hold to allow the work to get a good start? The forecast is for wet weather all week.
In the afternoon after school, the kids and I made our near daily trip to the site to see what had been done. I was surprised to find that significant prep work had been done by the chippies. Coral Homes gets their carpenters to construct the frame on site which means that it can take a little bit longer.  
This is just one of the piles of treated timber cut to size and sorted by room.

I thought this picture was an omen to what happened politically a few hours later in Australia.
The chippies write on the timber to identify the room and to save confusion.
Come Monday morning the Labour Party will be writing either Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard's name on a ballot paper to determine who'll be Australia's Prime Minister. Hope this can save Australian's from confusion.

The finished wall frames are been placed on our alfresco slab which will allow for the chippies to easily move them around considering that the alfresco area is in the middle section of out house. I wander if putting the wall frames up will make the house look big or small?
These are finished wall frames, so things are starting to take shape.

The rainwater tank has arrived. Hoping the guys have placed it in the correct position because the way the weather is looking we might have a full tank prior to moving into the house once its completed.

I think the tanks brought the rain because shortly after these photos were taken, the weather closed in and there was a thunderstorm. The good news was that the guys got a full days work in before the rain arrived. Hopefully the same can happen for the rest of the week as there are more storms forecast. 


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Lighting up our house

Over the weekend Mr Opoes and I went looking for lights to put in the house. It doesn't sound like a difficult task but you really don't want to overload yourself with too many choices. It can become confusing trying to find the same light in each shop so that you can possibly get a great price. The one item I spent all day looking for was the three pendant lights that will hang above our breakfast bar. I'd found a few pendants online that I loved but there seemed to be something about each of them that wouldn't work.
Industrial Light from Gumtree
There were 3 of these available, they were silver and it was possible to add some colour to them without it being too much hassle. Problem was that they are secondhand, it might be a project that didn't get finished and Mr Opoes wasn't a big fan.
This is 'Jasper' and I thought it was funky BUT the main problem here was that the shade's colouring was wrong and the store is located in Liverpool, New York so that means that this fitting wouldn't work in Australia. Not happy.
I love this pendant light. Why because it's orange, shipping is free, it's fun and modern while also having a classic look to it and because of this I WANTED IT. It wasn't until I looked closer that I discovered it costs $680 per light (total cost $2040), its RED and not orange and again this is an American online store.

I then changed my search narrowing it down to Australian stores and I found 3 lights I really liked. The first is simple, classic while also being minimalistic. I was a little unsure of having 3 of these across the breakfast bar. I wanted some type of WOW factor so I crossed these off my list.
found here
My next pick was this beauty. I fell head over heels in love with it as soon as I saw it. It's modern, bold, within my price range ($79.95 online verses $99.99 in store) and the orange would really stand out in my all white kitchen with its black splashback. Only problem being it would create a modern look instead of the classic, stylish look I'm going for.
The Lucci Décor Light

the Oslo light
And my last pick was this light also from Beacon Lighting. I was a little unsure about this one because it seemed so understated and I was a little affraid it could get lost in the surroundings. I think I liked the price more than the light.
So what light did I end up choosing? Come back tomorrow to see which light I choose for the kitchen and get a look at all the other lights Mr Opoes and I choose.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Don't run

As a mother I've always tried to let the kids know when they need to be careful in the hope that when they have an accident they'll learn from their mistakes. I also try to give them enough warning so to prevent the accident e.g walking into a wall and not to cause the accident. However, none of this happened when Mackenna fell over while running to the toilet at the shops. I had all four children with me so I was pushing a trolley, watching for other people who were coming my way. While trying to get Mackenna to walk with me so that we could get to the toilet's before she had an accident.

She'd stopped for a brief second and then run to catch up with me. Next thing I heard a loud noise and there lay Mackenna flat on her stomach crying her eyes out. I picked her up and sat her down on a bench to check out her knees. Not good, blood was running down her leg and she had bits of sand in the grazes. So I took her to the chemist as I didn't have any tissues to mop up the blood. The lovely lady cleaned up her legs, put on band-aids and then because she had been so brave they gave her a bouncy ball.

When we got home I took a few photo's of her legs. She also told daddy all about how brave she was and best of all she got to play with a ball. Only problem now is that Viveca wants a ball too.

Pretty blue Band-aids


Monday, 20 February 2012

Building verses Weather

On Friday, you may have seen my post about how the slab was being boxed up so that the slab could be poured. As Mr Opoes and I walked around I became a little worried that Quinlan's bedroom was too small, that the dinning area didn't look like it would fit our dinning table and that the car wouldn't fit into the garage. Mr Opoes didn't seem worried, he assured me that they wouldn't have made anything mistakes. I remember hearing from our real eastate agents last year that her girlfriend was building a 4 bedroom house which accidently became 3 bedrooms due to the builder not following the plan.

So over the weekend Mr Opoes, Caelan, Mackenna and Viveca visited the block to see if the slab had been poured. Guess what it had. It was extremely hot so I have to apologise for the hazey pictures.
This is the garage and the children are standing in what will be the alfresco area. Our concern now is how we'll park the car in the garage due to the step. We won't be adding the driveway until we have additional funds. It looks like we are going to have to get a few lengths of timber or a heap of gravel to fix that issue.

My little cuties hunging out in the Living Room.
The house now seems a little bigger but there are things that I can see which I don't understand. It won't be until they start laying bricks before I can figure out what it'll look like. I hate being a visual person, it takes soooo long to see what the end product will look like.

This is the view from the back of the house (this area will be Caelan and Mackenna's bedrooms) out towards the driveway. Mr Opoes said that they were only there for 5 minutes due to the heat and you can see how hot it is because Mackenna looks all fuzzy. So all the frame work is been delivered today and the guys should be on site tomorrow to start putting it together. This should take them about a week BUT we have either rain or high temperatures forecast for the rest of the week - fingers crossed it doesn't rain too much.