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.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas


I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope that you enjoy the time spent with family this holiday season. Tomorrow I'll be celebrating with my children, husband and a few of my extended family members which I'm looking forward to. I'm praying that GOD blesses us all tomorrow with cooler weather and that in the coming year he'll bless each and everyone of you.


I thought I'd share a few of our treasured Christmas memories from this year and I'll hopefully see you in 2014. This holiday season I'm looking forward to spending more time with these little people because they grow up so quickly. My eldest daughter is off to school next year and my other daughter is starting kindergarten. This means that after nine years of been a mummy I'm going to have my baby boy all to myself two days a week while everyone else is off learning. I'm going to have to get organised and plan some fun things because before you know it he'll be off to school and I'll before you know it I'll be all alone.\



Thank you for all your comments this year and all the support you have shown me I really appreciate it and I'm grateful for your continued support. I'm taking the time over Christmas to think what my family's needs are for next year and that might mean that my blog takes a backseat for a while. However, I will let you all know whats going on in the New Year.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Stay safe this holiday season.

Megan

Friday, 20 December 2013

A Crafty Christmas - Christmas Tree

I'm participating in a fun crafty challenge with Emily from Nap-Time Creations today. She's hosting different bloggers who are sharing things that they've crafted, sewn or cooked to help celebrate the meaning of Christmas. I signed up for Decorations from the recipe category. If you've visited here before you'll know I ENJOY cooking so I thought I'd challenge myself by making a decoration.


I can't believe it'll be Christmas soon and I've still got a heap of work to get done before the big day. This year I was planning on spending the day at home celebrating with the children instead of cooking up a family treat to drive for over an hour to meet up with our extended family. Now don't get me wrong I love that the kids get to see their grandparents and cousins but with the amount of traffic and the fact I don't get time to relax. So this year when I found out my parents were travelling to visit my sister and her family I knew that staying home would work perfectly for us, that was until this morning.

My youngest sister is moving out of home just before Christmas so I invited her over for lunch, easy right. I'd planned a simple menu of fruit, turkey, salad followed by Pavlova and maybe a drink especially if it was an extremely hot day. Well I'm now having to change my plans up a bit because my sister has told me that she's asked my brother and his girlfriend to come too. Now don't get my wrong, I'm not upset I have just realised that I'm going to have to be more organised as he's having to travel back home to his girlfriends place that afternoon for her families celebration. So I'm now thinking a light lunch with cold turkey and salad followed by a Shortbread Christmas Tree which will also be a table decoration. Thank you Pinterest.

To make the shortbread biscuits I used the same recipe from here but you could also use this recipe that I made last Christmas. Now to make it a little bit more special I added about a quarter cup of crushed candy canes which were leftover from the Candy Cane Bark earlier this month. So after making the shortbread dough I rolled it out and I shaped into star's. Now because I'm creating a tree I used three different sized cookie cutters to get the three star shapes.


Construction
There are few things that you can do with your shortbread biscuits to make them stick together but I wanted the bits of candy cane to be visible so I went with a minimal approach in order for the little bits of red to stand out. you could use a simple cake icing and spread it over each biscuit, place on top of each other and press down so they glue together. The method I used was to melt a small amount of white chocolate, place a small amount on your largest star, place another large star on top and press down gently so that it sticks. Keep building with the various sized stars.


When it's the way you want it place it somewhere safe so that the chocolate can harden completely. I made this while the kids were at home and I found it somewhat difficult because they stood on top of me so close that it was squashy. When I put the tree together, I had four sets of eyes watching closely this also caused a few issues when taking photographs but I finally bribed them with leftover shortbread and I got a few good pictures.


As you can see from the looks on their faces they really like the look of the table decoration so I'm sure that when I make these again on Christmas Eve the children will probably eat these first before they eat the food from their plates. My two year old loves shortbread so much that he asks for more every time I give them some for morning tea. Now that I'm having nine people for Christmas lunch I'm thinking I'll make two tree's and make them the centre pieces on Christmas Day. So do you use food to decorate your table or do you use a beautiful tablecloth and other traditional items to decorate your table?



Megan

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Thermomix

Let me started by saying that I'm not a Thermomix consultant, this isn't a sponsored post in any way shape or form,all opinions are mine and I haven't been compensated in any way. Last week I purchased a Thermomix and it arrived in my kitchen yesterday morning. My consultant ran through things with me, showed me how to make a stock and then she left me to play with my machine.

I spent about ten minutes looking through the cookbook that comes with your machine and there were a few things that caught my eye. One thing I loved straight away was the number of Gluten Free recipes that were included in the cookbook, so menu planning should now be somewhat easier. When my machine arrived I hadn't planned on making anything in it for are few days as I was a little scared that I'd make a huge mistake and the recipe would be ruined. However, I lasted about five hours before I cracked and I make the kids something for afternoon tea. I had a bit of leftover berry sorbet from my demonstration and I wanted to give it to the kids before it got freezer burn so I refreshed it a bit and added two apples to make it like a Slushie. This was a hit with all the kids which was a good start.

As many of you know I'm presently doing Weight Watchers so I've been getting all our meals from various cookbooks so that I can plan and track my points for the entire week. I planned on having '5 Spice Chicken with Noodles' for dinner last night. I'd had a couple of glasses of cordial during the day because my blood sugar level had dropped so our planned meal was going to need adjusting because the meal was 10 points per serve. After a quick look through the Thermomix cookbook I choose Apricot Chicken Risotto as it had a few vegetables in it that I could hide from the children and they were more likely to eat it. Twenty minutes after turning the Thermomix on I was serving dinner to the children and I'd even included five vegetables that they couldn't see and they ate it up without too many hassles. In our house that's a win because I usually always have ONE child who refuses to eat what I've made.

Now because they had eaten all their dinner without complaining I made decided to make them Chocolate Custard while they had their bath. This also allowed me to surprise them and instead of having to drink their nighttime milk in a cup I was able to give them the custard and a spoon so that they could still get their daily serve of calcium. So far I've used my machine three times today and I know that is unusual but so far I'm happy with the way things have gone. I was able to make dinner and dessert within thirty minutes and everyone ate it.


So when it comes to planning next weeks menu I know I'll be consulting my new cookbook and Pinterest to see what other great Thermomix recipes I can find on the Internet. I thought I'd share a few pictures I took of our dinner, now keep in mind that these photo's were taken quickly and moments before the children got their hands on their bowls. So I apologise for the bad photographs but like I said I had to hurry to get them taken so staging wasn't an option.

I'm going to continue to have a play around the the Thermomix for a few more months before I review it and I'll give you the pro's and con's as I see it. So do you have a favourite appliance so do you enjoy chopping and dicing things yourself.

Megan

Monday, 2 December 2013

Candy Cane Bark

Christmas is twenty three days away and I've been a busy bee making Christmas ornaments, helping the children write out their Christmas cards and organising the last pieces of the teacher's gifts. Mackenna's kindy teacher loves chocolate, all the mother's know this so you can imagine how many chocolate bars she's going to receive in the next two weeks. Mackenna and I spoke about what chocolate to give Karen, however many of her suggestions were expensive therefore out of the question.

I'd recently visited one of my fellow Aussie bloggers and on this particular day Corrie talked about her love of Peppermint Bark thanks to Pinterest. It got me to thinking that this might be the be the ideal present for a lover of chocolate. So I followed Corrie's directions as I loved the look of hers but I did something different. Wait for it, I added CANDY CANES. The kid's had picked up at least fifteen of them at a recent event and I just didn't want them eating all that sugar in the lead up to Christmas so they were ideal to use for Karen's Christmas gift.
Now I was really happy with the way my Candy Canes turned out, especially after I'd spent an hour trying to crush the candy inside a plastic bag. My plastic bag and rolling pin method failed because the candy was soft and it just stuck together. I was fortunate enough to be having a Thermomix demonstration and she was able to produce the slivers that I wanted. To stop them from sticking together I just refrigerated them overnight and then banged them with the rolling pin before I sprinkled them over the top of the chocolate.

I'm really happy with the way my Candy Cane Bark turned out and I have to say that it was extremely easy. I will definitely be making this again as the children get a heap of lollies at Christmas. When Mackenna gave her present to Karen she was surprised to learn that I'd made the Candy Cane Bark for her. I'm really happy with how the gift looked and I know that Mackenna was smiling from ear to ear when she walked into kindy with her gift. For my first attempt at Chocolate Bark I'm really happy with what I created, so much so I've hidden some in the refrigerator. Shh don't tell anyone.

Megan

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Christmas Ornament Exchange

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in two Christmas Ornament Exchanges and boy did I have fun organising my ornaments. The first exchange was been ran by Kelly, Kristi and Claire and I was really excited to get started on my ornament.
I spent a bit of time thinking about what I could do especially as I had a $5 budget and I wanted something that would last a while and that wouldn't break while been mailed especially as it was going all the way to Canada. I knew a little bit about my exchange partner Elizabeth especially as we'd emailed each other a few times prior to getting started.
I hope Elizabeth likes what I've done for her and that it goes well with her other decorations. Thanks you to the hosts for organising this exchange.
Now for the second exchange I signed up through Amy at One Artsy Mama to participate again with her ornament exchange. I did Amy's exchange last year and although I had a few issues with the posting due to our posties taking holiday's over the Christmas holiday period my ornaments arrived in early January. This year I'm hoping that Geri from Mount Vernon likes what I did for her.

Geri told me that she had eleven trees so I felt pretty safe when getting her an ornament however the one thing I wanted to do was give her something Australian for her International Tree but unfortunately we don't have Christmasy (is that even a word)  Australia Ornaments. So here is what I created for Geri.

Geri told me that she loved PINK and as soon as I saw these I knew what I had to do. This is the same pink spray paint that I painted my pantry storage containers last month. I also sprayed a bit of the paint onto the string so that if the reindeer hung down from the tree a bit you'd also get to see the pint.

So what do you think? I'm really happy with both my ornaments and I hope my exchange partners like what I've done for them. Now here's hoping that they both arrive in time to make it on the Christmas Tree this year especially as I know the postal service is working overtime at this time of the year.

Megan

Monday, 25 November 2013

Christmas Tree: Ribbon Wrapped Tree

I've had a few polyfoam cones lying around the house since last Christmas season and I got to thinking that I probably should get around to using them otherwise they'll still be sad looking Christmas Trees next year. After searching Pinterest I found a few different trees that I liked the look of and with these images pinned to my Christmas board I got to thinking about what I wanted to achieve.

Last year I attempted a ribbon tree and it just didn't work out very well as the ribbon I'd used had an elastic band made it difficult to attach to the polyfoam cone. My mother loved it so I gifted it to her and she ended up using it on her Christmas mantel. So this year I was looking for something similar when I stumbled across some fabric wrapped trees at Landee See Landee Do. Her simple instructions are easy and that was what I was looking for.

Supplies Needed:
polyfoam cone
ribbon
sewing pins
1. Take two pieces of ribbon and pin them over the point the of the cone so that it creates a cross. Push the pins down on a 45 degree angle so they don't stick out the sides.
2. Tuck the start of the ribbon under one of the pieces of ribbon that formed the cross. If it's too lose undo one of the pins and place the ribbon under the cross and secure it with the pin again.
3. Begin wrapping ribbon around the cone as you make your way down the cone. Pin every once in while to secure it. Just a tip, place the pin near the bottom of the ribbon so the next layer covers the pin.
4. As you get to the bottom, try pinning the ribbon under the the cone. If your ribbon isn't wide enough work your down the bottom of the cone and then fold it on a 45 degree angle, securing the ribbon under the bottom of the cone.
5. I also placed a pin inside the fold so that the ribbon didn't  become unfolded. Now if you are worried that the pin might damage the surface its going to sit on you could try gluing a piece of felt on the bottom of the cone.

I've got a few more polyfoam cones in different sizes plus some silver ribbon so I'm going to wrap a few with silver ribbon to create a small little Ribbon Wrapped Christmas Tree community. I'll just have to find a safe place to put them so that four sets of little fingers don't get them before the big day.

So what do you think? The possibilities for these trees are endless, you could use fabric, burlap, a jumper, sequins. See I told you, endless possibilities.

Megan

Friday, 22 November 2013

Edible Christmas Gifts

Over the weekend I was invited to a birthday party and I wasn't sure what to get the birthday girl so I opted for a Edible Gift. Now with it been so close to Christmas you could also use these as gifts for unexpected guests, neighbours or even as a Secret Santa gift. Now this little project only took a couple of hours to do because I had to wait for my cookies to cool down but you could make them the night before and decorate them the following morning if you wanted to.
 
The best thing about this gift is you can make your their favourite cookie because you know they'll end up eating them. I went with a Shortbread biscuit because it was simple and I always have success with Shortbread. I also used a cookie cutter to get a star shape but you can simply save yourself time by forming cookies out of your dough. This is the recipe I used for my Shortbread.
 
 
Shortbread
Ingredients:
250g butter, softened
1 cup Castor sugar
1 cup cornflour
2 cups plain flour
 
Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 150°C and grease a baking tray.
2. Cream butter and sugar until its light, fluffy and it looks white.
3. Sift cornflour and flour together. Mix on a slow speed until your mixture forms a ball.
4. On a lightly floured surface knead well and roll out to a thickness of about 0.5cm.
5. Using your cookie cutter, cut out your shapes or just cut into pieces.
6. Place on your greased tray and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Leave on the baking tray to harden slightly once they have come out of the oven, then place on a wire cooling rack.
 
Now with this simple recipe I was able to present three in three different ways, thus making them ideal for gift giving. I could use the as Christmas Presents, Birthday Presents or as a House warming present. You are only limited by your imagination. So with this in mind here is what I came up with.
 
 
Now because I wanted to give these as a birthday gift I decided to dress them up a little to make them prettier. If I was giving these as Christmas gifts I would have crushed a few candy cane and sprinkled them over the top of the chocolate just to add a bit of colour. Once decorated I placed each biscuit into a small clear cake bag however, next time I would put them on a pretty plate to give out. The plate would also be included in the gift.
 
 
On the day of the birthday party my father was there so I also gave him some Shortbread as a house warming present. This way he would have something sweet and nice to eat while having a cup of tea after spending hours unpacking boxes. Next time I have to find a house warming gift I'm going to package up some yummy cookies, tea and coffee so that the new home owners will have a nice treat at the end of a long day unpacking.
 
 
So what do you think are edible gifts a good idea or do you like to give personal gifts? I'm happy with these as I know that both the birthday girl and my father will enjoy eating the cookies and I've saved them from having to find a place for their gifts.
 
Megan

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Mushrooms with Spinach, Ham and Cottage Cheese on Toast.

For the last two years I have been eating the same thing for breakfast day in and day out. Sometimes I add something extra like yoghurt or almonds but generally I'll have thirty-five grams of muesli and a splash of skim milk. The other day I decided that I wanted something different, something that the children wouldn't want to steal but also something that was low in Propoints. I purchased a Weight Watchers cookbook some months ago and I'm afraid to say that I looked through the book and then I hid it away on the shelf in the kitchen.
 
Most mornings I don't have much time to eat my breakfast BUT today I was going to take the time to not only eat my breakfast but enjoy it. I opened up the book to the breakfast section, found the Mushrooms with Spinach, Ham and Cottage Cheese recipe that went with a slice of toast. While I was getting organised, my eight year old asked if he could have it too because he also wanted something different. As he eats a Toasted English Muffin with nothing on it every morning I jumped at the chance to have him eat something tastier and more nutritional. I have to say that the most difficult part was getting a good photograph because it was raining outside and we both wanted to taste our breakfast BUT I made him wait and it was well worth it.
 
 
Mushrooms with Spinach, Ham and Cottage Cheese on Toast.
Serves 2
Ingredients:200g Swiss brown mushrooms, quartered
80g fat-free ham, chopped
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 40g slices of soy and linseed bread, toasted
1/4 cup Weight Watchers Cottage Cheese
Method:
1. Lightly spray a large non-stick frying pan with oil and heat over a medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Add ham and spinach and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until the spinach has just wilted. Add vinegar and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, toast your bread and spread with cottage cheese. Top toast with the mushroom mixture and enjoy with a glass of juice or a hot drink.
 
Now if you're not a fan of cottage cheese you can swap the cottage cheese for the same amount of ricotta cheese. If you follow this recipe you'll only be using 4 Propoints for this tasty breakfast. I'm pleased to say that I'm going to be adding this to my breakfast menu and when the rest of the family is enjoying a breakfast of bacon and eggs I'll be having a healthier alternative.
 
So are you like me and have the same thing every morning or do you change your breakfast depending on the mood you're in?
 
Megan

Monday, 18 November 2013

Weight Watchers Mushroom Quiche

Over the weekend I cooked up a storm so I thought I'd share with you this week a few of the recipes that I tried. In January of this year I joined Weight Watchers to lose some of the baby weight that I've been charging around for the last few years. Now during the last eleven months I've struggled to lose 4 kilograms so after this weeks meeting I decided it was time to put more effort into my weight lose journey.
 
When I arrived home I grabbed one of my Weight Watchers cookbooks, after enjoying a quick coffee at our local shopping centre my weekly menu was completed. Now I alternate between meat and vegetable based meals each week, this allows me to keep the grocery bill down and have the children eat vegetable especially when they're fussy eaters. I decided to start the week off with a vegetable based meal and to make it more special for the children I made individual quiches for them. When it came time to make dinner I realised I had a piece of roast pork leftover from a previous meal so I cheated and I added it to the quiche. The beauty of this recipe is that it allows you to simply add other ingredients that you may have and then you've created a quiche that's unique and personalised to your family's likes and dislikes.
 
Mushroom Quiche
Ingredients:
2 sheet of puff pastry
200g button mushrooms, halved
200g Swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 eggs
3/4 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup Weight Watchers cottage cheese
 
Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C or 180°C for a fan forced. Lightly spray a 20cm round container.
2. Defrost your puff pastry and when it's soft cut out a circle to fit the base of your baking container. With the remaining pastry cut it into stripes and use these to form the sides of your quiche. Place tin onto a baking tray.
3. Spray frying pan with cooking spray and turn it up to medium heat. Add mushrooms, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Cool slightly.
4. Whisk eggs, milk, chives and Parmesan in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon cooled mushroom mixture into the pastry case. Pour egg mixture over filling and dollop with tablespoons of cottage cheese.
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until pastry is golden and filing is set. Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges. Serve with a garden salad.
 
Now when I added the pork to our quiche I cooked it with the mushrooms. If you're going to add any additional vegetables or meats I'd fry them off with the mushrooms and garlic. This will allow you time to cool the vegetables/meats so that they're ready for the egg mixture.
 
The above recipe is only 4 points on the Weight Watchers program here in Australia however with the few additional changes I made it worked out to be 6 points. So what's you're favourite quiche I'd love to here what you and your family enjoy eating.
 
I have a little bit of housekeeping for you, remember to entry the Santa Giveaway for your chance to win a $150 dollar Amazon gift card as entries close very soon. Click the on image below to be taken to the competition page and good luck.
http://oneplusoneequalssix-q.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/dear-santa-giveaway.html
 
Megan

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Ombre Christmas Ornament

Christmas is getting closer and I've been madly pinning things to my Pinterest board in the hope of actually getting some Christmas ornaments made this year. Last week I showed you my Bell Wreath Christmas Ornament which you can find here and that little baby is going off to my daughter's Kindy teacher. Now giving gift to teacher's is great but our tree really needs some ornaments too, especially this year as I've decided to go with a colour theme. I've decided to use purple and silver as I really love those two colours together and it's somewhat regal.
 
My daughter's are super excited as purple is their FIRST favourite colour closely followed by every other colour of the rainbow. So when I found this DIY Ombre Ornament I just knew I had to make it straight away. I quickly glanced at the materials needed and off to the shops I went. That was my first mistake as I hadn't read the instructions properly and I hadn't looked at the pictures correctly either. I purchased a bag of polystyrene balls instead of using the plastic baubles that Heather used. My second mistake was I didn't grab enough paint samples from the hardware store so I had to punch my 1 inch circles out and I have the name of the paint showing.
Source
Now the rule generally is that you'll usually make three mistakes before your 'bad luck' has finished and this is true to form for me. So I had one more mistake to make. In my defence I've been on my own with the children for the last three days as my husband is away on business so I'm extremely tired because the children haven't been sleeping like they usually do. I knew I was tired and impatient as I really wanted to get one of these baubles finished so I could show it off to the girls.
 
Now Heather has great instructions and she also took part in a craft video that'll show you each step and how it should look. I didn't watch the video and I just skimmed the instructions because I thought how hard can it be? It was hard, the first step of sticking down the one inch circle on the bottom of the bauble was by far the easiest.
 

 
As you can see I have no structure to my ornament. I think that my bauble was smaller than Heather's and my one inch circle punch is too big. I did achieve the Ombre effect but it's not your prettiest ornament and I now if these were hanging in the shop this Christmas season I would walk right past them as they don't appeal to me.
 
I'm going to keep this ornament and hang it on the Christmas Tree but I'm now on the look out for something else I can do with the other eleven silver baubles as we have too much silver for our tree and not enough purple ornaments. I'd love to hear about any problems you've had and what did you do with the ornament? Tell me I'm not the only DIYer on the planet who's ever had a fail.
 
Megan

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Dear Santa Giveaway

 
Today's a very special day for me because my little blog is participating in its first ever giveaway, its just time for Christmas which makes it even more special. In June I meet a lovely bunch of bloggers and while doing this course I got to experience thing I never dreamt I would. One of the highlights for me about been part of this group means that I get to let you know about this great giveaway that I'm part of. One of the other good things is that it's opened to everyone which is always a bonus. I'd like to thank Kara for the invitation to join and for also doing all the behind the scenes work.

Santa's getting ahead of himself and has dropped off a little cash for one lucky person. Who doesn't need a little extra money over the Christmas period?


 


So good luck and get entering! Next week I'll be sharing some more Christmas Ornaments.

Megan

Monday, 11 November 2013

Something exciting is coming....

I mentioned last week that Christmas was only a matter of weeks away. For me these few weeks will be filled organising, planning, shopping and making sure I've got everything I need. I have something very exciting happening in the next few days so I hope that you come back to see how I might be able to help you create a great Christmas for you and your family.
 
I won't be posting much this week as Mr Opoes is away on a business trip and I'll be manning the home front all on my lonesome. I've got plans to make a few Christmas Ornaments while my husband is away but this will all depend on how the kids and I go. I got all my supplies over the weekend however I've had a few issues with a circle punch I purchased so I'll have to go and get another one. Fingers crossed this on works.
 
If you want to know more about what my exciting news you might be come visit me on Facebook link is at the top right corner of my blog to see more. You might even be lucky to see my new and improved hole punch. Can't wait to share my exciting news with you.
 
Megan

Friday, 8 November 2013

Bell Wreath Christmas Ornament

With Christmas only 47 days away so I've decided to get started on a few DIY Christmas ornaments that we'll be giving to the teacher's this year. Mackenna loves her Kindy teacher. This can mean we'll spend ages at the shops looking for the 'perfect gift' and this busy end of year school mum ain't no body got time for that. So with this mindset I knew we had to start putting our thinking caps on now or else I'd be running around like a headless chook trying to find a gift that none of the other mother's would have gotten. 
 
I search Pinterest for some inspiration and I was able to find a few things that I thought Mackenna would like to give Karen as a gift. One of the ornaments that she really liked was Martha Stewart's button wreath ornament and it seemed really easy to make, so we took a trip to the local $2 dollar store to see what we could find. Now Martha's version requires 72 buttons, there was only one packet that contained 24 buttons so this meant I'd have to purchase three packets but as the store only had one packet left I needed more buttons. When I added up the costs involved for all the materials as I only had scissors it just didn't seem like a quick and inexpensive present. So while we were searching for additional buttons I found a packet of gold Sleigh Bells. So I grabbed this packet with Mackenna's blessing and we then popped over to Lincraft to get some ribbon.
I've written up a tutorial on how I made the Bell Wreath but I did get Mackenna to help a few times were it was possible.
 
Materials Needed
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Scissors
  • Satin ribbon
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Steps
1. Using pliers, make a small loop at one end of the pipe cleaner. I trimmed some of the fibres off both ends just so that I could see what I was working with.
2. Thread the bells onto the pipe cleaner until you have enough to form the size of the wreath you want. My packet of sleigh bells came in three different sizes so I just threaded a small, medium and large bell on repeating this pattern until it would make a wreath.
 
3. Using the pliers, bend the plain end of the pipe cleaners around the looped end. This will form the wreath. If you have too much of the pipe cleaner left cut off any excess.
4. Cut a piece of ribbon to make a loop for hanging the wreath, tie the ribbon in a knot about three inches above the wreath. My piece of ribbon was nine inches long.
5. Tie a bow that you're happy with and glue it to the bottom of your loop just above the bells.
 
I had Mackenna help thread the bells onto the pipe cleaner and I made sure I asked her if she was happy with the way it looked while I moved through the steps. I'm really happy with the way the wreath turned out and this little Christmas ornament ended up costing me $1.00 which means we can now purchase a few small chocolates to accompany the Christmas ornament.
 
Giving Karen her gift at the end of November will allow her to add it to her Christmas tree this year and she can eat the chocolates during lunch time while at kindy. I have a few additional tasks for Mackenna as I want her to have more of a connection to the gift she is giving Karen. I'm going to get Mackenna to choose a few mini chocolate bars for Karen, I'm going to get her to wrap the present and Mackenna will practise her writing skills by writing a special note of thanks to Karen.
 
I'm really happy with my attempt at this bell wreath and I'm glad I tried something that I could find a tutorial for. So tell me will you be making your own ornaments this year, using the ornaments you already have, will you be purchasing new ones or will you be doing a combination of some of these options? I'm doing a combination of making some ornaments and using what we already have.
 
Megan
 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Simple way to add COLOUR

When we built our house last year we purposely kept the colour palette simple, this would allow us to insert our own personality into the house. I've spent hours looking on Pinterest, looking through decorating magazines and talking it over with Mr Opoes we decided that COLOUR was a great way to add style, fun and our personality into our home. We're happy we stuck with a simple palette, it will allow us to change the décor easily and inexpensively with a few additional items.

 
One feature that we've made permanent in the kitchen was the three orange pendant lights which I've talked about here and here. I knew at the beginning of the building process that I wanted pendant lights but I wanted something different from what all the shops were selling on mass. With each shop I visited the sales assistant would try to sell me a red pendant light and none of them were what I wanted. I'm glad I stuck to my guns as it would have made it very difficult to choose another colour to pair up with red. The other week I shared with you the pantry storage containers that I transformed to hold all my Tupperware. Each basket has a section of it sprayed hot pink and this is the colour that we've chose to use in our living room and kitchen.
 
So the other weekend I decided that I would add a small amount of colour to the kitchen area using the same pink colour that I'd used on the baskets. Sitting off to the side of my gas oven I have a small bamboo utensil holder and it looks pretty sad sitting there. So I used some painters tape and I taped off the area I wanted to colour block.  I gave it a spray of primer just in case the spray paint didn't cover the bamboo fully. When the undercoat was dry I then gave it a light spray of pink before following it up with another coat of the pink. I allowed these two coats to dry before deciding whether or not I needed to do another coat. I was happy with the two coats so I removed the painters tape and I added three felt feet to the bottom of the container as a little bit of paint had stuck to the bottom and I didn't want to have hot pink paint all over my Ceasarstone bench top.
 
 
I am really happy with how it turned out and I'm really happy that I took the time to do this little project as it's added a little bit of colour to the stove area without overpowering it. I've also added a small hand crafted wooden bowl in the same space to hold the keys and even though the woods are different they just seem to work well together. Now I have a few other ideas of how to add a bit more pink into the  space but I'll have to save for a while before I'm able to add anymore things to the space.
 
Megan

Monday, 4 November 2013

Mini German Pancakes

Usually when I share a recipe with you, I label it 'Try Something New Tuesday',  I have great things to say about the recipe and I take some pretty average pictures. Unfortunately, today I have a few great pictures and a bad recipe. I first saw this recipe last week on Facebook when my sister shared it and immediately I fell in love with them, I wanted to make them for breakfast on the weekend. The picture is what sold them plus three super excited children who also wanted to try the Mini German Pancakes.

Source
Weekend sleep in's in our house are non existent. Viveca woke me at 5.30am, to inform me we hadn't given her medicine last night and she really needed it. As I was somewhat awake I thought it would be a good time to try out the Mini German Pancakes for Sunday breakfast. Viveca was also excited because it meant she could sit beside me and watch without having to compete with three other children all vying for a look see. Now, these mini pancakes looked very technical. I made sure I read the instructions a few times just to get an understanding of what I needed to do. I think the biggest mistake I made was, not reading the comment section from the original source Real Mom Kitchen.
 
At last count there were 177 comments left on her blog relating to this recipe. The majority of people who left comments weren't happy with the outcome, the number of eggs used and the taste. If I was to leave a comment I would have to agree with the people who stated that their Mini German Pancakes looked more like muffins than a pancake with a creator in it (wish I'd read this before I started, would have saved six eggs).


Mini German Pancakes
Ingredients
1 cup milk
6 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted.
icing sugar
 
Method:
1. Preheat oven to 400° F. (200°C oven or 180°C fan forced oven)
2. blend the first six ingredients (from milk to orange zest) in a blender. Be careful to blend any flour clumps that may form as you don't want floury pancakes.
3. Blend in the butter a little at a time in order to temper the eggs.
4. Grease your muffin tins well and distribute the batter evenly between the tins, try to have each time half or three quarters full. (use a measuring cup to fill the muffin tin may assist)
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until puffy and golden on top.
6. Once out of the oven a creator should appear, dust with icing sugar and fill with the your favourite fruit or topping.


Even though I won't make these again the children didn't seem to mind them. Viveca enjoyed the fruit more so it wasn't a total waste of time but I would call it a FAIL. I could have made the pancakes and the children could have eaten all their breakfast in the time it took me to make these fancier pancakes. I thought I'd share a picture of the finished product with you so you can see what mine looked like. Overall, the children liked these more because of the icing sugar and the fruit than they did the overall taste. I had a little taste and I found them to be tasteless which was very disappointing. I won't be making these again. So tell me, have you made something only to find it was a complete FAILURE?

Megan


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Pet Rocks

A few weeks ago I was on Facebook when someone posted a picture of a family of Pet Rocks and I thought that it would be fun to have the kids make their own. I was lucky enough to already have all the supplies so it was as simple as sitting down and watching what the kids created. As you will know Quinlan is only two so he needed a lot of help but he did enjoy putting the glitter on his rock and he helped pass the googly eyes to me so that I could glue them on.
 
I'm sure that you all know what's needed to make a pet rock however, the kids used the following items to create their pet rock's:
  • good size rocks (not too big and not too small)
  • PVA glue
  • glitter
  • googly eyes
  • felt pens

As you can see you really don't need much in order to create these cute little pet's. However, there is one additional item I would use and that's hair spray or spray adhesive just so the glitter is protected. Once the PVA glue has dried (I'd leave it a few days) use the hair spray or spray adhesive and spray the entire rock lightly (I'd also leave the rocks to dry again so that they aren't tacky to touch). It was good to see the kids doing this mini craft project and it was a good way to fill in thirty minutes on a Saturday afternoon.
 
 
The children were going to name their rocks but they decided not too because they started fighting over who had the better name. I've come up this a neat idea of how we can preserve their pet rocks for years to come. This will also allow me to display them without been worried about the googly eyes or glitter been ruined by little people touching them, moving them and playing with them.
 
I'll share with you the project I create with the children's pet rocks in the coming weeks. Our calendar is really busy for the next few weeks what with Christmas approaching and school coming to an end for the year so I hope it doesn't take me too long to organise. So have you or your kids ever made pet rocks? We might just have to make a few more of these for our garden as it needs a little bit of happiness out there.
 
I have a heap of pictures to share with you in the coming day's and a post about what I got up to last weekend. First though I might catch up on some sleep first.
 
 Megan

Friday, 25 October 2013

Teaching children to pack for a trip.

If you've been visiting for a while you'd know that I have four children, my eldest been an eight year old. At school this year part of the curriculum involves all year three students participating in an over night camp in order to prepare him for future camps in the coming years. Last week during school drop off I saw the year five students all standing around waiting for there bus to arrive. We attend a small school so there's about forty children going away on camp. However, if you'd driven pass you would have thought that each child was going away for an entire week.
 
Now I know what you're thinking 'how hard can it be to pack for an overnight trip'. For the majority of the children in my son's class it also appeared that many of them were going away for a week. As this is my son's first camp we worked with him to help him understand what he needed to pack while also getting his input about were to place his things in the suitcase.
 
1. Choose a suitcase, bag or backpack. We started by choosing the correct case to take, we all decided that an overnight case would work perfectly for him.
 
source
2. Collect all the items needed.  Find an clean area that will allow you to collect all the items you need. Once you have all the clothing, shoes, toiletries, towels and bedding start ticking them off your list.
 
3. Add small items into pockets. If your case has pockets make sure you take advantage of them, put your socks, swimmers, underpants and or toiletries in these pockets. This will free up the space inside the case allowing you to add more important things.
 
4. Roll, roll and roll some more. This is important especially if you have a few different things to pack. Once you have all your t-shirts together its important to roll them up and then placing them together inside the case. Continue working through all the clothing and place each group inside the case.
 
5. Place larger items inside the case. This is a good time to place your shoes and toiletries inside the case. If you're shoes are a bit dirty place them inside a plastic shopping bag and this will protect your clothes.
 
6. Use your zippers. If you have a zip on your case that allows you to expand the depth of the case take advantage of this option. I was able to fold my sons pillow in half, place it on top of the clothes and then close it just by using the expanding zipper.
 
 
The picture above is the bag that my son took on camp with him and he held everything he needs except his sleeping bag. He has an extra set of clothes which he decided he would need in case he got wet or dirty. As we didn't have a raincoat we left that out of the bag, Caelan wasn't happy about this but as the shops had closed there was nothing we could do about it.
 
I am please to say that we didn't have any issues packing the bag, Caelan was really good at picking the clothing he would need and the entire process took us about twenty minutes. If you have any good packing tips I'd love to hear them. I'll leave you with a picture of my happy little camper just moments before he walked out to the bus.
 
 
Megan

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Pantry Storage Containers

As many of you know I'm in desperate need of some sort of pantry storage containers that are going to help create the illusion that my Tupperware, plastics and lunchboxes are all organised. To be completely honest I need help organising the entire house, with a good dose of de-cluttering thrown in. So sometime this weekend I've decided that I'm going to tackle both pantries and if time permits I'm going to work on the rest of the kitchen. Two weeks ago I shared with you the woven baskets I'd purchased and sprayed pink. I decided that these baskets would make the perfect pantry storage containers.
 
 
After working on a to-do list I quickly realised that it would be a good idea to get some of the more decorative items finished before I tackled the pantry. I can't be the only person who does this? When I start cleaning and organising I come up with these great crafty ideas and then off I go to work on them. Days later, the area isn't clean, the crafty idea hasn't been started and I've got more mess than I started with. Not this time, I've made changes and fingers crossed it's going to work this time.

As these containers are going to be place up high in my pantry, at a glance I'm going to need to know what's inside. So I got to thinking about how I was going to label my baskets and that's when I remembered the tin of blackboard paint I purchased six months ago. I remembered a friend had earlier purchased some chalkboards and after contacting her I knew what I needed and where to get them from. So I made a quick trip to Bunnings to purchase some small MDF shapes from their craft section (thanks Mel from Mellywood's Mansion for that tip) which I then painted with the blackboard paint. I painted both sides just in case the MDF shape got damaged while I was using it. I was really happy with my first attempt using blackboard paint.
 
 
The last thing I did was to attach the MDF boards to the basket. Originally I was going to get a piece of string and tie each MDF board off from the top of the basket.  I then remembered I had some black bakers twine, so I searched around for that to use. However, the string would either move or come undone which wouldn't be too functional in the long run. So after a discussion with my very knowledgeable eight year old son we came up with the idea of tying them off on the inside. To achieve the finished look I had to use a darners needle and I worked with the wiring system within the basket.
 
 
I'm really happy with my little DIY Pantry Storage Containers so much so that I'm thinking of making a few more for the other pantry so that I can store light globes and any chemicals that I don't want the children to touch. Who knows I might just spray them bright orange. So do you think my baskets will add a pop of colour to the pantry? I know that they will hold a lot of my Tupperware and plastics but I may need to make up more especially with three children needing lunch boxes next year.
 
Megan