Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bakers Dozen

An excursion to the railway museum, with The Gentleman's class. This blacksmith had a few mums very excited. He had arms like tree trunks. His beard was unpleasant, although if my job entailed fireworks in my face I would grow a beard too.

Mr BC was very startled when he pulled a stingray out of the ocean, but he bought it home to feed his family anyway. Stingrays are hard to fillet and skin, and they do not taste wonderful. Note those traffic cones? Stingrays are dangerous!

One of the best things about attending a Bloggers Brainstorm session is the home baked treats that everyone brings. The brainstorming part of getting hands on help with your blog is fairly awesome, not to mention catching up with old friends and making new ones.

So cute. And delicious.

A wine from the rack! The cork was intact! The wine was almost off, but not quite..
A word of advise: If you want to cellar wine, get a proper cellar.

A sneaky daytime date with Mr BC, it's the only kid free time on offer. Don't you love a counter lunch at a pub overlooking the ocean? Divine.

Best set of family stickers I have seen so far. I still don't want any, but The Gentleman was super impressed.
He likes to think he is a Storm Trooper, but he is more of a C3P0.

A ladies night out! My favourite. 
Pizza + wine + trivia + overflowing restaurant + not being the designated driver = AWESOME.
And it was all for charity, so win win win win win headache.

A quick trip to the Sunshine Coast.
This is a dog beach, but all 3 boys where excited to run into the water.

Haircuts are serious business. You have to stay focused or the hair doctor might cut your ear off.

School holidays mean at least one trip to the movies.  
We all loved this movie, can't wait to see it again!

Going on a bush walk, well...a walking track in the bush. We borrowed a 'spot this animal' guide from the information hut but all we saw was.....ONE Magpie. It was a fun morning though, and good to get out in the fresh air.

This has been my best friend in the last two weeks. The warmer weather and a few rain showers have bought out a hungry batch of midges, and on the buffet of life, they seem to love my sweet sweet diabetic blood the best. Little bastards.
Do you have any advice for avoiding midges? Please tell.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Spring Cleaning! (Who am I?)

I don't normally go nuts for housework.

No, I know it's hard to believe, but it's true. I mean we don't live in squalor, but you certainly won't find me scheduling time in my diary to dust the skirting boards, for example. I don't know if August bought the winds of change, or if the endless sunny weather we have been enjoying coincided with Spring, but I have been channelling Bree from Desperate Housewives and cleaning like no ones business.

I was even motivated enough to join in The Organised Housewife's 20 days challenge.

It will be no surprise to anyone that I haven't completed all the tasks set, but I have surprised myself with what I have done. So far I have cleaned and decluttered;
  • the cutlery drawer
  • the tea towel drawer
  • the junk drawer
  • the whole microwave/filing cabinet nook
  • the Tupperware cupboard
  • the kitchen benchtops and windowsill

I have also
  • found better ways to organise the paperwork in the kitchen
  • found better storage alternatives for things like crab forks
  • made and started using homemade dishwasher powder
  • started making citrus vinegar to use as a cleaning agent
  • refined a housework routine
....and generally cleaned, dusted, vacuumed, steam mopped, decluttered and swept my little heart out.

If it wasn't for the wine, I would suspect I had become a Stepford Wife. But don't worry, it's not like  I've discovered the joys of ironing or anything.

As proof of my Spring Cleaning conversion, I offer the following photos of my 'tupperware' cupboard clean out. I say 'tupperware', but in reality own exactly zero pieces of actual Tupperware. It's mostly a motley collection of Ikea, Decor, and take away containers.

Look at all this crap! No wonder the door hasn't shut on this cupboard for 6 months!

Making sure everything had a lid.

No lid or no bottom? Then you are destined for the recycling bin!

Behold the neatness!

This week coming I plan on cleaning, decluttering and organising the top of the boy's wardrobes, my wardrobe, the downstairs closet, and the bathroom drawers. And maybe even the drawer that has all of the candles and incense in it.

See? Semi Stepford Spring Cleaning. It's a real thing now.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Homemade Dishwasher Powder

I love my dishwasher, and I cried tears of joy when it was finally installed in my kitchen. Then I cried tears of frustration at how expensive dishwashing tablets were, and also how much washing up I still needed to do (although that is another post maybe) . It was a bitter sweet moment.

I cruise lots of homemaker blogs that give you all sorts of recipes for all sorts of cleaning products, and this week when I ran out of dishwasher powder I thought it was high time to have a go at making some myself. Some blogs say to include Borax, which I didn't want to use on anything that will go in my mouth. This blog goes into some detail, and made the most sense to me.

This is what I used;

3 parts bicarb soda - too easy.
1 part rock salt - the recipe said coarse sea salt but I didn't want to waste my Maldon.
1 part tartaric acid - the recipe said citric acid but I had none, this is extremely similar.

I mixed up a one serve batch and tried it, and by golly it worked!

I read a bit further, and it said instead of pouring that liquid into the dishwasher that makes your glassware sparkle, to use vinegar instead, and also that vinegar was good for descaling your dishwasher. So I tried it, and by golly it worked again!

I've mixed up a small batch to last about a week. I use about 1 tablespoon each time, and just spoon it in. It costs (literally) cents, and took a few minutes to do. It was so easy, so cheap, and gives great results!

And best of all, now I have more money to spend on shoes!

Do you have any recipes for home made cleaning products? Do share!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Beetroot Hummus

Last Sunday at the farmers markets I spied the most divine looking bunch of beetroots. They where the freshest, healthiest, most gorgeous looking beetroots I had ever seen. I think if you googled for images of the best specimen of beetroots in the universe, these would have shown up. Really, they where beetrooting for Australia. I had to have them.

I came home and roasted them, cut them up, and the tossed them with a light dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and fresh water cress. Then I put them lovingly on the table while the beetroot angels sang. It was a special moment. I was beaming, as if I had grown them myself.

And my family.....largely ignored them. Not so taken with the heavenly beetroots. They where very polite about the small portion they tasted, but 'no thanks; I won't have any more.'

Today's lunch was bought to you by..Leftovers!

So then I was stuck with a large bowl of beautiful beetroots, that where too beautiful to waste. I turned them into beetroot hummus. This was the general consensus;

'Yum! What is this? I love it!'

'Oh cool! Purple hummus!

'Mmmmmm, taste that garlic!'

'Is there any more of that hummus left?'

Honestly, you'd think I had of invented it or something. I didn't even put any illicit substances in it. Would you like to know how I made my family love beetroot without even knowing it? It's too easy.

Using a stab blender, stab blend the bejeebus out of the following;

Beetroot Hummus
  • 1 bowl of roasted, chopped heavenly beetroot. Or use tinned, whatever.
  • 1 tin of drained chickpeas.
  • The juice of 2 lemons.
  • A large glug of olive oil.
  • A large pinch of sea salt.
  • A few cloves of garlic.
Taste it and adjust to your liking. Sometimes a lemon won't be sour enough, so you might need another one. The important thing is to eat some yourself before your beetroot converted family hoover it up. Serve with crackers, carrot sticks, chunks of cucumber, Turkish bread toast..

Have you cooked anything differently to turn your family around?

Did you tell them what they where eating?

What is your favourite thing to cook, featuring leftovers?


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Moon Tan

Caspar's cousin. Milk Bottle Skin. Moon Tan.
That's me. Not albino, just enough Irish ancestry to burn after a few minutes in the sun.
Or slather on SPF30+ then sit in the shade for 4 hours, to get sunburned. (true story)
In the September issue of Australian Instyle Magazine, Kath and Kim judge white leather in Style by Jury. Kim says 'Someone like Madonna shouldn't go near white as it is too matchy matchy with her own skin". Say what you will about Madonna looking like Iggy Pop, she sure does own her pale skin.

Growing up in a beach side suburb, circa Puberty Blues era, having pale skin wasn't something to be proud of. Proper sunscreen wasn't invented, and even if it was, I wasn't going to wear white zinc! I spent all my pocket money on a coveted tin of Reef Oil, and burnt myself to a blistery crisp. When the Reef Oil ran out, I used to slather my legs with baby oil and tan during school lunch times, just like the other girls.

Dita Von Teese is another gorgeous cousin of Casper, as is her ex. Not much of a resemblance, although according to photos, I do have my mouth open a lot.

Again, I don't wear a hat much.(although clearly, I should) 
The resemblance is closer, figuratively speaking...

  There has been a significant shift in sun awareness in the last few decades, yet a tan (either acquired under the sun, a sun lamp, or sprayed on) is still the preferred look. No one seems to have embraced the moon tan. Which is a shame, because for once, I might be in fashion.

Andy Warhol rocked his white skin, and he was always in fashion. The expression is similar, although I do colour the grey out of my hair and I never let my frau brows get this bad.

 So I guess what I am saying is this; for the life of me, I can't figure out why a tan is still so fashionable. It doesn't convey health or vitality, even though it used to.
Like smoking used to be cool, but no one thinks so now.
What do you think?


Enquiring minds want to know!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Dogs Life

Kora the Labrador has a pretty good life. I think she likes living with us.
She is very clever, and easy to teach. She had a few bad habits when she arrived but it was no drama to convince her to stop jumping up and to stay off the furniture. Well, she still jumps a little bit but stops when you tell her to. She just wants to give you a cuddle.

She likes to make out that she is a posh Miss, but sometimes I find her being a little unlady like.

The second she hears me get my camera out she sits up straight with perfect lady like posture.
She likes having her photo taken, but only on her terms.

So she probably wouldn't like the next photo, taken while she was asleep.

She also talks in her sleep and snores, but don't tell her, she'd only be embarrassed.
Like many labradors, she loves to eat and has been known to steal the occasional slice of toast. She has treats sometimes, and a meaty bone now and then.

She is adored, and loves to be cuddled. She is very gentile.

She likes to check on everyone at night, to make sure they are safe and tucked up in their bed. We hear her paws pit patting around the house, her wagging tail clunking into things, before going back to sleep herself.

Surprisingly, she is not an enthusiastic swimmer, although she adores paddling around in the shallows and rolling in the sand.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Koalas in heat. NOT a sponsored post!

If you live in the greater Brisbane area and you are looking for a small scale family adventure, I would recommend Alma Park Zoo. It is less than an hour's drive north of the city's centre, and is very reasonably priced. It is not as large or as flash as Australia Zoo, and certainly not as grand as Sydney's Taronga Zoo; but it certainly is a pleasant way to spend a day. Our family pass cost just over $100.
The BC family loves zoos. When teenage Daughter was little we had annual passes to Taronga, and visited every few weeks. It never got boring. Well not for me. But it may have ruined Teenage Daughter for all other zoos because today she opted to stay in bed with her kindle, leaving the 4 of us to set off with our picnic basket.
(Did you just say that in Yogi Bear's Voice? I did!)

Alma Park Zoo feels like some one's great grandad had a bit of land and loved to garden, and then got a bit passionate about keeping pets. This is kind of true - it was a market garden until 1969 when it was turned into a native animal sanctuary. It was registered as a zoo in 1973 and was then able to keep exotic animals. Like Camels.

I might look cute, but I will happily wee on you if you are lucky enough to get a cuddle.
There are lots of native animals including koalas and an albino wallaby. There are also Tamarinds, Baboons, Spider Monkeys and Lemurs. There are a lot of hands on opportunities, which the boys loved - you buy feed as you enter the zoo.

For god's sake, keep your fingers straight!
The petting zoo area is very popular with families, and you get the feeling the animals are very happy to be there. They are very keen to be fed. VERY.


And what can I do YOU for, young man?

That fence isn't just there to keep you out. It's for your own protection.
They almost seem a bit...I don't know...jaded?

I mean, is that an eye roll from that sheep?

Bonding with wildlife. It's a spiritual thing.
The Gentleman loved this Kangaroo so much...
Come on, you will love our dog!
....he recruited his brother to help entice the roo back to our car. Luckily the roo was having none of it, he knows he's on a good thing at Alma Park Zoo.

Keep your distance, Emu!
Emus are generally inquisitive, curious and sometimes aggressive creatures. This one was fairly tame and didn't mind being patted, but I know from experience that emus have no qualms putting their head into your bag to steal an apple, or help yourself to a bag of hot chips you might have in your hand. I wouldn't like one as a pet.

For me, the best thing about a zoo is the gardens. This zoo has won numerous awards for their  bushland gardens. At one stage it became a palm nursery and transported many old palms from Brisbane. It has some paved pathways but many are unfinished tracks. It also has a few fountains and grassed areas for picnics and bbqs.

Monkey Boy, stalking a peacock who couldn't care less.
If I had a bushland garden, I would definitely have peacocks roaming around. But only a few, they sound hideous. Worse than koalas in heat. Click the link, I dare you.

One whopper of a craft project!
I always come home inspired with ideas to create my own restful lush tropical gardens. For example, this 4 metre tall pot would be awesome in my yard, and could double as a spa. 

Ignore those drink bottles, we want FIZZY DRINK!!
The other great thing about a quiet family adventure is enjoying some time with your family.

Or maybe it's lollies, whatever.
What is your favourite way to enjoy time with your family?

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