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, 30 May 2012

What the HELL happened!!!!!!

So much has been happening during the last three weeks, particularly during these last two weeks. We have been doing so much to get this house ready for handover and we are soooo very close. The final payment from the bank has been arranged, the council had come by to do their final inspection, we've had a final valuation inspection so that the bank will release their funds, the tiler, concreter and carpet people are all begging for start dates. Official Thursday 31st May is handover day, but we know that the bank won't get the funds to Coral until late Friday afternoon (1st June).

Imagine my shock and surprise when I pick Mr Opoes up the first words out of his mouth are 'ALL HELL HAS BROKEN OUT'. The bank rang Coral Homes to get the final council approval faxed over so that they could the funds transferred and apparently she got abused. Mr Opoes rang Coral's office down at Robina and he to got abused because he'd rang the wrong person.

This is all happening because Moreton Bay Council has said that we need a retaining wall at the back of the block. Instead of calling us directly Coral has kept the details to themselves and now our bank and the builders are having words. So instead of organising the last of our tradies we are uncertain of what's going on.

Here's hoping that things sort themselves out by Monday, that we get a handover date, the bank pays out the final balance and I can co-ordinate the tiler, concreter and carpet installers so that we are in the house within the next 3 weeks. I want to be getting ready to move in by Monday 25th June. So it'll be more like a 5 month build instead of the 14 weeks we were told in the beginning.


Friday, 25 May 2012

Cornflake Choc Chip Cookies

There has been a heap of talk lately about the amount of sugar in processed foods and the effects it's having on children and their behaviour. I use to only buy pack biscuits when it was convenient, when I needed something that was quick, easy and gluten free (rice crackers) or when I needed to take something to the park for a play date. But since moving into the granny flat I've purchased numerous packets of sugary biscuits every week. The kids love it. I've still made muffins or cupcakes but its been ages since I've made cookies.

The kids seem to be getting a hit of sugar every afternoon between 4 and 4.30pm. This isn't ideal because it's Quinlan's feeding time, it's dinner preparation time and it's the beginning of quiet time. So with this in mind I decided to make my own cookies, they needed to be tasty, easy to eat and something that the kids would love eating. So I combined two of the children's favourite biscuits to create these lovely Cornflake Choc Chip cookies.

Cornflake Choc Chip Cookies
Makes about 24 depending on size

125grams butter, chopped and at room temperature
2/3 cup of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of Maple Syrup
1 1/4 cup self-raising flour
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 cups cornflakes
1/2 cup milk chocolate bits
1/2 cup white chocolate bits

1. Preheat your oven to 180 °C. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
2. Using an electric mixer cream the butter, sugar and maple syrup in a bowl until its pale and creamy. Add the flour and mix on a low speed until its just combined. Add milk and mix until the dough comes together.
3. Using a wooden spoon, stir in chocolate bits and cornflakes.
4. Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and place them on your baking paper. Using a fork flatten the balls slightly.
5. Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until they are golden. Stand for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining mixture.
6. When completely cool these cookies can be stored in an airtight container or they can be frozen in a plastic bag or another storage container.

These have gone down a treat. I've frozen mine and I give one to Caelan in his lunchbox and by morning tea it's defrosted and ready to eat. I spread a few of my biscuits a little thin and because of this when I've put them in the freezer they have broken and become crumbs. The solution here would be to collect the crumbs and use them to make a cheesecake base down the line.

I took the opportunity today to sit down with a cup of tea, a few cookies and a book. It was good to have a few cookies on hand especially when Mr Opoes comes home and eats three with a few bites before he rushes off to spend some time with the kids before it's dinner time.


Thursday, 24 May 2012

Mini Bacon and Egg Tarts

So after years of trying to find meals that all the kid's will eat, I accidentally thought of having making these little tarts for dinner. I'd purchased a kilogram of bacon for $5.00 and I was looking to use it in something other than my ever popular Zucchini Slice. My mother use to make a Bacon and Egg Pie on a larger scale when I was younger and we'd take it for picnic's. I loved how her pastry was flaky, she'd cut it into strips and it still tasted good when served cold. This was a last minute meal so I wanted something small, that the kid's could eat without making a huge mess and that they might all enjoy.

Success they loved them so much that everyone wanted seconds and any leftovers for school the following day. Only problem I had was I'd made 16 tarts and this wasn't enough for leftovers let alone seconds. So next time I'll have to make more. I also came to the realisation that this recipe would work wonderfully for any get together requiring finger food especially as they are compact and easy to put together.

Mini Bacon and Egg Tarts
4 sheets frozen ready-rolled puff pastry, thawed
500 grams bacon, finely sliced
1 1/2 cups light sour cream
8 eggs
1/2 cup skim milk
small bunch parsley, finely chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or a little butter rubbed into each muffin house.
2. Cut your pastry sheets into quarters and then gently ease it into the muffin tin. Fold the points into the muffin tin, this will stop them from burning during cooking and will make the tart look nicer.
3. Cook bacon on a medium heat for 3 minutes in a small frying pan. Once it's browned, drain it on paper towels for 5 minutes and allow it to cool.
4. In a separate bowl mix the eggs, sour cream and milk together until its well combined. Mix the parsley in well (only if it's been added). Set aside.
5. Place enough bacon to fill three-quarters three-quarters of each muffin tin. Gently pour egg mixture on top of the bacon, filling it up to the three-quarter mark.
6. Top with some of the remaining bacon.
7. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the filling has set and the pastry has turned golden. Remove from the oven, set aside for 5 minutes before serving.
8. Season and serve hot with a garden salad. Alternatively, have them cool on the bench for an hour and then place in an air-tight container.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Funniest Home Video's verses reality

So I haven't posted anything lately due to the children been sick with the flu and having all four wanting to do different things while also wanting to have my full attention. Having this time off school has meant that Caelan has had the opportunity to work on his Book Report which is turning into a mammoth project. I'm also suffering from a cold as the children all love to share their germs with me. So without further ado here is some stuff that's been happening.

So other weekend the kids and I watched Australia's Funniest Home Video's and they showed a montage of various ways children could remove loose teeth from their mouths. We all got a good laugh from the various ways to remove the tooth but Caelan was hatching a plan. He waited five days before asking me to try a few of the ways that the kids used.

Caelan has had a loose tooth for the past three months and its getting in the way of his day to day activities. I'm constantly been told that it hurts when he eats, been asked if he'll swallow it and that it keeps going behind the tooth beside it. I could see in his eyes that he was eager to remove the tooth BUT he was also very worried about how much it would hurt. I decided to take a few pictures to document how the tooth came out because I knew that he'd soon forget how it happened and then he'd want me to remind him and that could be a difficult task especially with my memory been what it is.

So here are the lovely pictures that I captured and then I'll tell you which one worked.

We used dental floss around his tooth and a shoe.

You can see how scared he is.......

This time we used purple sewing cotton attached to the 
blue shoe and dropped down the stairs.

Attempt number three using the trusted door slam method.

Caelan didn't end up going through with this attempt.
 So this is how his tooth finally feel out. He was walking back to the house after helping Mr Opoes put something in the car, the tooth needed repositioning (it had been hiding behind the other front tooth) so gently he used his tongue to move the tooth into position. It just landed on his tongue with the first touch. Now he can't stop smiling

I will be taking a few days off over the coming month as the build is coming to an end and I'll have to spend a heap of time packing up the granny flat, unpacking at the new house and organising the kid's, the house and what our new routine will involve. Thanks for reading.


Monday, 14 May 2012

A Lego Ninjago love affair.....

Caelan has had a love affair for the last six months with Lego Ninjago. For his birthday he received a story book and his interest was renewed. We've discouraged him from collecting any of the Ninjago range because I don't  feel that it promotes the values that I'm trying to install in my son. As a seven year old he is highly impressionable, all his friends are into Lego Ninjago so he thinks that we should get him some pieces so that he can keep up with his friends. I've been arguing regularly with Caelan about when I'll buy him some Lego or why I'm being so mean and not buying it for him.

So I thought I'd compromise, I decided that I'd make a Ninjago mask for him and Mackenna. I wanted to make something that would look similar to one of the Lego figures while also being a little different. Caelan had drawn something up in Art class while at school. What he'd done wouldn't hold up to been played with because he'd used a sheet of A4 paper to construct his mask. Mackenna also wanted to play with Caelan's paper mask so I decided that I would make her one as well. Having Caelan's paper mask meant that I had a template that was the correct size and shape for what Caelan wanted.

I didn't take any photographs of the process but it's rather easy and the good thing about these masks is that you can create any shape you want as long as you decorate the mask to resemble a cloth wrapped around the head. So I got some cardboard from one of the many moving boxes that we had floating around the place to achieve a more user friendly mask. I Googled the Lego Ninjago to get an idea about the various colours used, the different shapes and how much of the face was covered up. Mackenna's favourite colours are purple and pink and none of the Lego Ninjago figures are pink or purple so I had to create my own special Ninja just for her.


What you will need
cardboard (any kind will do but the more heavy duty the better)
black felt tip pen (whiteboard marker)
coloured paint
paint brush
hole punch

1. Using a pencil draw the shape you want to create onto your cardboard, making sure that you draw on the side you'll be painting on.
2. Cut out your mask and round of any edges that might be sharp.
3. Hold your mask up to your child's face and mark the idea location for their eyes. If the mask is going to be a surprise estimate were the eyes will be located. Using the point of your scissors (or any other sharp pointed object) push the tip into the area that needs removing. Carefully cut out the area so that your child will be able to see out of once they are wearing their mask.
4. Using your felt pen draw the outline of how the folds would be if your face had been wrapped with fabric. Remember to outline the eye area and the outside of your mask.
5. Now paint the various sections different shades of the selected colour or just paint the entire mask the same colour.

Caelan's Blue Ninjago Mask

Mackenna's Girly Ninjago Mask
6. Using your hole punch create a hole either side of the mask, try to make sure these are level.
7. Take your string and cut two equal lengths, this will allow you to loosen or tighten your mask when needed. Attach each piece of string to the mask.
8. Present the mask to your child and tie the mask up for them. If your little girl wears her hair in a ponytail secure the mask to her face by using the ponytail to help hold the mask in place.

Let the kids outside and watch them have hours of fun running around playing Ninjas. As you can see I never got to add the string and this is because Caelan decided that he now likes Star Wars Lego so I'm hoping he doesn't want me to make him a storm trooper mask.


NOTE: This is not a sponsored post all the thoughts are my own.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Mother's Day Cupcakes

 God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.
I have been invited to attend a special Mother's Day morning tea today at Mackenna's kindy. Each mother who is coming had to nominate what it was we'd bring. I decided to make cupcakes because they are relatively easy to make and I had a simple way to decorate them. I'd purchased some sour peach hearts that I was going to stick into the baby pink frosting.

So I won't give you the recipe that I used because I'm sure you all have your favourite chocolate cake recipe. I was going to use a vanilla cake recipe but I decided at the last minute to change my mind. I thought I'd just show you a few pictures of what I'll be taking to kindy this morning. I've kept two of them back so that Mr Opoes doesn't miss out, if there are any left over over I know that Caelan, Mackenna and Viveca will fight over who gets to eat one of these lovely little cakes. I hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day on Sunday.


Thursday, 10 May 2012

It's almost ours....

I visited the block today so that I could drop my pendant lights and all the light globes off. Mr Opoes and I didn't leave the pendants last night because I was a little worried that something might happen to them. Now I'm worried that one of the many tradies might damage the pendant light in our front entry or that it might attract unwanted attention for bored individuals. Last night three houses and two cars were burnt to the ground so I'm praying that everything is OK because I don't want to go and start looking for more lights.

In other news Coral Homes won't allow us to use the instant hot water system so we now have a 330 litre hot water system so that'll work until we can afford to change things over - that'll be in 10 years time easy. After picking Caelan up from school we all called into the house to have a look at the progress since this morning. From what Mr Opoes and I saw we should be able to move into our new and finished house by about 11th June 2012. I can't wait because I'm looking to de-clutter so that I don't move too much stuff into the house that we really don't need.

Having lived in a 4 bedroom rental and now in a granny flat I've realised that there are items we own that we just don't need so I'm looking forward to the challenge. I've also decided to create two pantries within the kitchen area instead of having a pantry and a linen cupboard. I've got so much storage space in the laundry that I think the linen cupboard will be very empty. If the laundry storage facility isn't big enough then I'll just split it in half and share the space between excess food items and excess laundry items.

So here are few pictures of the house. I have a few too many pictures of the lights BUT I just wanted to see how the lights looked, especially as I've had many of the lights for a couple of months now.



Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Final countdown

Mr Opoes, Quinlan and I went to the house tonight to deliver all the lights so that the electricians can install them in the morning. I'd dropped a few lights off this morning you can these lights herehere and here, I made a few more changes to the positioning of the television's power points e.g. moved the television up the wall to create that home theatre effect and I discussed changing the hot water tank over to an instant hot water system. Mr Opoes had read over the 'building specification' to discover that we were going to receive a 130 litre hot water system and this falls way short of our needs. You can imagine our surprise when we found that the supplier had supplied a 310 litre water system.

This water system is much bigger BUT I had just spent the entire morning hunting down an instant hot water system, ordering it and paying for it. We can't find anything in the mountains of paperwork that we have from Coral Homes so we are now very confused with what's going on. More work for me to do in the morning. We're only weeks away from finishing this house so I'm getting super excited. The next issue I need to get organised is trying to get rid of half the stuff we have so that there isn't too much stuff going back into this beautiful new house.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Public Holiday Fun

We had a lovely public holiday today to celebrate Labour Day. In the past when there's been a public holiday we have gone off to the shop's and wasted time walking around window shopping. As all the shopping centres were closed today we had two options when it came to trying to entertain the children. I'd thought about going on a picnic like last weekend especially as the children had so much fun or we could take a little trip to the local park and watch the children run around for a little while.

So off to Bribie Island it was for some playing, accidental learning and a bit of lunch. The photographs we took are very staged but that's how we like to do it in our family. Mr Opoes and I both try to take photographs of the kids when they aren't posing but unfortunately it never goes according to plan.

The kid's loved the look of this river because as Caelan said it looked like urine.


Saturday, 5 May 2012

Stencilled Beauties

I've started looking for various household items that we're going to need for the house. I've also started looking at home decor stores in the hope that I can either find decorating ideas, locate unique items to display in our home or I may find something that I could make myself. So today I went looking for some bath towels for the children's bathroom. I'm wanting bright coloured towels and so far I've been looking at getting purple towels and maybe some orange towels especially as they are opposite each other on the colour chart.

I went to the Sheridan Factory Outlet store as I was sure they'd have lovely bath towels at unbelievable prices. How wrong was I. Their colour selection was tired and so 2011, this was a little upsetting as I'd been looking forward to placing those pretty babies on lay-by. They had a heap of nice bedding but as it'll be another two months before we move in I didn't want to buy something that I wouldn't be able to return especially if it was the wrong colour.

I didn't walk out of there without  finding a few lovely nice things. So I purchased these three beautiful pillowcases which I'm going to turn into cushion covers to use in the family room as it backs onto the kitchen. I'm having orange pendant lights in my kitchen so I found some pillowcases that had a great stencilled pattern on them and as it's one of my favourite stencils at the moment I just had to buy them.

I really like everyone of these pillowcases but my favourite would have to be the orange one. These were marked down from $15.00 to $7.48 and then I got a further 20% off the price. I also joined the loyalty club so now I get to find out when they're having further discounts on sale items. I actually saved some money.


Friday, 4 May 2012

Easy Sausage Rolls

I'd pulled out some chicken sausages and some turkey mince from the freezer earlier today and I had no idea of what I'd be doing with either one of them. I did have nine hours to research the internet in the hope of finding something that everyone would eat but Quinlan didn't have his usual sleeps. I didn't get time to find a recipe, shop for the ingredients and then do the prep work prior to Mr Opoes coming home.

So what I decided on making was a traditional sausage roll using the turkey mince, capsicum, broccoli, parsley and basil. For the children I made sausage rolls using the chicken sausages, egg wash and puff pastry. These sausage rolls would be great as finger food for a birthday party, they would be good to take on a picnic or you could even pack them in your children's lunchboxes. With Caelan and Mackenna going off to school and kindy today these sausage rolls are a great alternative to ham sandwiches.

I didn't have any time to take photographs but the instructions are really easy to follow so you should be able to get the idea of what I'm talking about when you see the end result.

Easy Sausage Rolls
9 chicken sausages
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons water

1. Pre-heat the oven to 210°C or 200°C if you have a fan forced oven.
2. Place a piece of baking paper on the baking tray and lightly grease.
3. Take the puff pastry out of the packet and sit it down on the bench to defrost a little.
4. Cut the sausages in half and set aside.
5. Take the puff pastry and cut it into 9 even sized squares.
6. Place your sausage on the pastry at a 45 degree angle.
7. Wet the edges of your pastry with a little bit of water.
8. Roll the pastry over the sausage and placed it onto the baking tray.
9. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes before serving with chips and sauce.

The best thing about dinner was that they all ate it, they asked for seconds and they all requested that I make these again. Thank you for the brilliant idea Lord, its been ages since I've had them all liking the same meal. The other good thing about this meal is that you can use any flavoured sausage and the children will probably eat them. My children don't like to eat pork, lamb or turkey so next time I'll be using pork or lamb inside the pastry. In summer I'll serve these with a lovely garden salad.


Thursday, 3 May 2012

organisation .. what happens when it all falls apart

So we're back at school and it's already week three of a ten week term. During first term we moved from our rental (which was less than 10 kilometres from the block and school) into Grandma and Grandpa's granny flat for a few months while the house is being built. We are so grateful that they have allowed Mr Opoes and our four noisy children to move in with them. The only problem is that we are now living closer to the CBD and further away from school and the block.

So we all adjusted really well. We worked on our time management each morning so much that we always arrived at school with 25 minutes to spare in the morning. It was great Caelan had time to play with his mates when they arrived or he got time to work on the computers before school. Things started going downhill just prior to the Easter holidays starting. During his last week of school Caelan was late every day. Something had happened, our morning routine was no longer working and I didn't know why it was happening.

So a whole month has passed and Caelan, Mr Opoes and Mackenna are all arriving late to school, work and kindy. I have tried rushing everyone out the door, I've made lunches the night before, I've allowed people to eat breakfast in the car and I've even skipped eating breakfast. Last week Caelan arrived at school 90 minutes late and it wasn't because of the traffic. So after reading Naomi's post from Seven Cherubs about how she's come to organises her weekly grocery shop and what she does to allow time to get everything organised I decided to turn over a new leaf.

So it's been two days and I'm proud to say that everyone is getting to where they need to be on time. Caelan is arriving 30 minutes before the school bell rings, Mr Opoes is getting to work a whole hour earlier and that's even after sitting in traffic for a while and my beautiful Mackenna is getting to kindy within the first 10 minutes of playtime. Today Mackenna even got to line up outside the gate while we waited for the teachers to let everyone in.

So I've improved on my time management skills in the area of travelling to and from BUT I've dropped the ball on looking after my blog. You'll have noticed that I haven't posted anything over the last three days. So I can improve in one area but I take away from another area. Story of my life I just need to balance everything out to make it work..

Now I have a very good reason for why I haven't written anything lately. I was working on a decorative item for the new house but unfortunately I tried playing around with it too much and it's failed. I was really disappointed especially as I'd spent hours rolling small pieces of paper around a piece of dowel. I've put my thinking cap on and I'm going to attempt something else and this time if it fails I'm going to post pictures just to prove that I haven't been slacking off.

So without further ado I'll get to it while my two youngest are asleep and hopefully I'll have something to show you soon.