Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Dinner with a three year old...

Lately, we've been having a bit of a battle at the dinner table. C has been taking anywhere up to two hours to eat her dinner, which was getting quite tedious.

So, last Wednesday night I made apricot chicken (her favourite), set the timer for 15 minutes, and told her that unless she ate her whole dinner without mucking around by the time the timer went off, she wasn't getting any dessert. She finished with eight minutes to spare and had a little ice-cream. After she'd finished we had a talk and decided to do up a reward chart, and if she had five orange stars in a week she could go for a bike ride to the shop and get a treat of her choice.

It's been working a treat. So, today I got a little creative and came up with a groovy printable chart that we can use. I put three rows under each day, so it can be used for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or for three weeks of one meal a day.

We've had a whole week of argument free dinners. It rocks! You're 100% free to print it and use it if it might help you out. Even if it only helps one other family out, it's worth it!

Love on ya's all

mama sof xxx

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Bottoms Up!

I'm back!

It's been a manic couple of months here, doll making and just doing everyday life stuff.

But, that means you've got a super variety of things to read through here!

First off are the dolls. I've had quite a few orders, so here's the ones that are finished and now living with their new owners.

Aren't they sweet?!
As always, let me know if you'd like to order one. 

Another big(gish?) thing that's happened is I've finally got my new header sorted out! A huge thank you to Kylie George (from Kylie George Designs - I'd post a link but I can't bloody find it?) for turning my sketch into the fabulousness you see at the top of the page. Wooo!

I've discovered how to make super easy apple pies. Just what you need for the coming winter!
Grab a sheet of puff pastry, cut it into quarters, whack a dollop of stewed apples (or canned pie apple) in the middle, and fold 'er up. Egg-wash and bake at a high-ish temp until golden. You can freeze them easily, make a whole heap and pop 'em into a container without cooking them (with baking paper between so they don't stick to each other) and they're ready to go.

Not the prettiest, but they're damn tasty!

I've done a whole lot of little things, like deciding to wash the kitchen window fly-screen. This of course turned into painting the windowsill and making a little curtain-y thing, but it makes a huge difference! I almost enjoy washing dishes now. Almost...

Yeah, I'm all about mixing up instagrammed and non-instagrammed pics. 
I never said I was consistent...

I've made some funky scarves from things that were hanging around...

...had my first decent sewing failure...

It was meant to be an oven glove...

...and today, I baked my most successful batch of cookies ever! 

Yeah, I know it's unbelievable considering how awesome I am, but I absolutely SUCK at baking. I have NEVER had a whole batch of cookies come out of the oven un-burned. But today - not even one who's 'lightly golden' was more 'eighty year old sun-worshiper'. This is cause for celebration! Bottoms up!

For some reason the picture's around the wrong way and it
 won't let me change it. But how cute are they?!

On that wonderfully positive note, I'm gonna sign off now. Hopefully I'll be back again quick-smart. Unless I find another good book, that is!

Hope y'all are doing smashingly!

Love on ya's,

mama sof xx

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Tight-arse Thursday: Three meals from one chook.

Hi there!

What a CRAZY couple of weeks it's been! Easter, sick kids, sick me, trip away, more sick kids... The joys!
The other day I went food shopping (excitement plus, right!?) and there were BBQ roast chickens on sale for $5.99. So, I thought "Hey, I wonder how many meals I can get out of a roast chook?"
I've decided that three is the magic number. If you know how to get more, let me know.

The Shopping List:
  • 1 BBQ chook - $5.99
  • 3 brown onions - $3.99 a bag (7 onions)
  • 6 cloves of garlic - $1.29 a bulb
  • 6 carrots - $0.99 a bag
  • 3 mushies - $1.00
  • green beans - $2.99 500g
  • 8 med potatoes - $1.99 for a 5kg bag.
  • 1/4 celery - $0.50
  • 1 broccoli - $1.50
  • 300ml cream - $1.49
  • 2 rashers of bacon - $0.50
  • 1 pkt noodles - $2.49
  • 1 egg - $3.49 doz
  • 1/2 cup flour - $2.99 kg
That's $31.20. Plus a few things you'd probably have in the cupboard:
  • Gravy mix
  • Nutmeg
  • Cornflour / cornstarch
  • Salt
  • 2 slices of bread
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
This lovely little list will make you the following meals to feed a fam of four:

Day 1: Roast chicken and veg
Day 2: Creamy chicken and bacon pasta
Day 3: Chicken soup with kartoffelkloesse (german potato dumplings)

Ok, the list won't actually make the meals for you (damnit!) but it will give you the bits to make those babies. To make them, you'll have to do this:

Day 1: Roast chicken and veg.
Whack a piece of baking paper into a roasting dish. Chop four potatoes in half, peel and cut an onion into quarters, and chop up four carrots however you like them. Pop into a bowl with a bit of olive oil, salt, and four cloves of garlic, skin still on. Mix it all around a bit. Dump into your roasting tray and level out a bit. Roast at around 180-200 deg for about half hour.
While this is roasting, steam your broccoli and beans.
Drain juices from your chicken and juices from the veg into a little saucepan and squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skins and into the juices. Add a bit of water. Simmer. Mix a bit of gravox or whatever you prefer to use with some cold water, add to the simmering garlicky juices and stir with a whisk until it's reached the right thickness.
Strip the breast, stuffing, drumsticks and wings off of your chook. Serve these bits with the veg and gravy. Nommy.

Day 2: Creamy chicken and bacon pasta.
Strip whatever meat you can easily get to off of your chicken.
Dice mushrooms, onion, bacon and finely chop the garlic.
Cook your noodles of choice as per packet directions.
Fry onions in a little olive oil until it starts to smell good. Add garlic, then mushrooms and bacon. Cook, stirring regularly, until bacon is a little crispy and mushroom is soft.
Drain your pasta.
Stir cream into the bacon/mushie mix, heat through and tip the lot over your noodles. Add the chicken, stir it all together. Serve with some parmesan if you want to. Baby spinach might be a nice addition too, to get some green into it.

Day 3: Chicken soup with kartoffelkloesse (this one's my favourite)
Whack your chicken carcass into a pot, add some water (cover the carcass well) and simmer for a couple of hours. Allow to cool. While that's happening, start off your dumplings. I use this recipe.
Strip the remaining chicken off of the bones, and return the meat to the broth. Make sure you've got all of the bones out. Chop an onion, the celery, and a couple of carrots, and add to your pot. Cook until veggies are soft. Finish your dumplings as per the recipe. Pop a couple of dumplings into a bowl, ladle over some soup, and serve. Mmmmmm.

So, there you have it! Three cheap, easy meals from one chook.
What would you do with your chicken?

Have an awesome weekend (Man, it's almost that time again!)

Love on ya's,

mama sof xxx

Monday, 2 April 2012

Just... Wow...

Today really should've been marked "STAY THE HELL IN BED" on my calendar. Luckily I still have the ability to laugh at myself. And now, I have this awesome blog thing, so you can laugh at me too. You lucky ducks!

So, here's a basic rundown of my day...

12:32am: On my way to bed. Went to kiss Charli goodnight - she's wet the bed. Change her, change the sheets. Put everything in the washing machine to soak with some vinegar. Wash hands and get into bed.

2:04am: Alex is awake and needs a feed. Apparently my nipples are great fun to poke. He spends about 45 minutes pointing at everything in the room, going "Ooooh!". The room is dark and he really shouldn't be able to see anything. Finally, he goes to sleep.

2:55am: Back to bed.

4:35am: Alex is awake again. Thankfully he only takes 12 minutes to go to sleep.

6:12am: Both kids are awake. Hello, sun!

I pay some bills on line, accidentally pay my Internet bill twice (awesome...) and make a doctors appointment for Alex. He swallowed a zinc-coated  nut off of Charli's new bike on Thursday. I haven't found it coming out the other end yet (I have however found various coins and buttons - really gotta watch what that kid puts in his mouth!) and he is lethargic, nauseous, wobbly and generally not great. The appointment is for 11am - plenty of time to get there, right?

10:55am: Run out the door, bundle kids into car. Forget to strap Charli in. Pull over, strap her in. Grab coffee and brekky from the Green Room (awesome place - go there. Do it.) and get to doctors at 11:08. See doctor who thinks Alex has a tummy bug and that it's all just a coincidence.

11:35am: Head to Spotlight to pick up a $20 quilt cover for Charli and nothing else. Realise that I have no change to get a trolley, and two children hanging off of me. Borrow a dollar from the lovely lady at the desk. Shop. Take Charli to the toilet twice.

1:30pm: Leave Spotlight with $20 quilt cover, $50 of fabric, a light globe for my sewing machine and two helium balloons.

1:45pm: Arrive at shopping centre. Think "I'll just stop into Big W to check out some shapewear". (Note: I love my curves that are curvy where I'm meant to be curvy. My butt, boobs and hips are pretty good for two kids later. I don't love the 'curve' that is my belly. I'm quite happy to smoosh that into oblivion.) Take various shapewear items, children and trolley into change room. Strip to knickers. Put shapewear on. Get stuck in shapewear. Perform some contortionist moves - nope, still stuck. Start to hyperventilate - what the fuck do I do. A starts crying. C is asking "mummy... Mummy... MUMMY! What ARE you doing?" Grunt and groan - I'm still stuck. Consider asking the 16year old assistant for help and scarring her for life. FINALLY manage to bend into a pretzel and remove shapewear. Get dressed. Give Alex boob. Walk out of change rooms with head held high, pretending that it really wasn't me who'd just been sounding like a moose on heat.  Trip over my own feet and headbutt the trolley handle.

2:10pm: Get a bucket of chips for the kids and I to share. End up wearing half of the sauce. Go to Foodland (the mighty South Aussies, yeah) to do food shopping. Mostly uneventful.

3:30pm: At the fruit and veg shop. Alex decides he wants a grape and pulls half of the grape display down. Help clean it up.

3:45pm: Pop in to the butchers. While I'm ordering, Charli and Alex pull the bananas out and chew on them all. Now have 14 bananas with bite marks.

4:00pm: Shopping and kids into the car. Head towards home. Stop into servo to pick up some ginger beer. Drop a bottle of it on my toe - must've hit an artery because there's blood EVERYWHERE. Turns out I was the start of the rush. Apparently my whole home town must bear witness to my unco-ordination. Clean up blood and ginger beer. Knock a heap of teabag boxes off the shelves. Lose my wallet, keys and phone in the process. After ten minutes of looking for it, think to call my phone. Find my gear. Drive home. Sit in the driveway for a while and take some deep breaths.

4:30pm: Unload shopping. Realise that I must've left half of the fabric at Spotlight because it isn't in the car. Bath kids. Feed kids. Chill out with kids. Praise Thor that the children go to bed with no fuss. Ignore the dishes, sit on the computer and start writing.

Really, I should be known as "Co-ordinated Sof, who has her head screwed on."

Yeah. X

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Tight-Arse Thursday and Charli's Birthday

Yeah, it's Friday... I couldn't get the photos to upload yesterday. So here it is, better late than never!

Happy birthday to my beautiful girl!

I know, I know, it's totally cliche... But I honestly cannot believe how fast the time has gone! It blows me away to think that this...

... was three whole years ago!

And now...

 Sheesh, it really does blow me away.

Lets move on to the Tight-Arse Thursday bit...

I was trying to think of something creative to do in Charli's room for her birthday. She LOVES butterflies and rainbows at the moment, so I thought... why not rainbow bitterflies?!
I went to the local Mitre 10 and grabbed a heap of colour cards...

... then folded them in half lengthwise and cut out half butterfly shapes. Open them up, and voila! Butterflies!!


(Apologies for the bad pics, but you get the gist!)

I wanted to stick them up on the wall and over the ceiling, but quickly discovered that blu-tak pulls ceiling white off really easily.

One of the other things I made is this dolly. Charli's named her "Tedlan"... I don't know why!

The gorgeous pattern is a slightly modified version of the "Easy Doll Pattern" from Dolls and Daydreams. https://www.facebook.com/dollsanddaydreams
Sarah has a whole heap of gorgeous patterns that are so simple to make!

Tedlan only took me 1 1/2 hours to make - super easy!

I've had a few requests for similar dolls, and I'm totally happy to make them. Just let me know what colour hair / clothes you'd like, and if you'd like a boy or a girl.

On that note, I'm off for the day. Washing to fold, lawn to mow. It's a gorgeous 31 degrees here today, so I reckon we'll be outside for the day.

Love on ya's all,

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Tight-Arse Thursday: Make your own stock.

Welcome to Tight-Arse Thursday!

Frugal Friday sounds good too, but it doesn't quite have the same ring to it, now, does it?

Throughout my forays into the depths of the Internet (or, the un-depths of facebook might me more like it) I have discovered various money saving, tight-arse, DIY tips. I've decided to do a regular post with a tight-arse tip.

This week we have: Making your own stock! (How exciting!) This one's from the lovely Ange Smith.

Keep a giant snap-lock bag in your freezer. Whenever you use carrots, celery or onions, put all the bits that you'd normally throw out (or compost or give to the worms if you're a good girl/guy) into the snap-lock bag. That includes the skins and all the fuzzy bits - just nothing mouldy. Aim for around 1/3 carrots, 1/3 celery, 1/3 onions. If you'd like chicken stock, pop the carcass of your roast chook into the freezer once you're finished eating all the yummy bits.

 Once the bag is full, whack the lot into your pressure cooker, slow cooker or pot. But make sure you take the scraps out of the bag - it probably wouldn't be to tasty if you put the bag in too. One bag of scraps makes around six litres. Add some salt and pepper, some parsley, thyme and a cinnamon stick if you feel like it. Add your chicken carcass here too. Fill 'er up with water and cook it for a long time - 12ish hours on low in a slow cooker, 6 ish in a pot, 2ish in a pressure cooker.

When your stock is smelling good and everything in it is hugely mushy, strain it through a sieve and into freezer-proof containers (or more snap-lock bags). I do a few litre lots, a few 500ml lots and a few 200ml lots so I don't have to defrost a whole heap that I not going to use all at once. Give the chunky bits to your chooks, or compost, or whatnot, write the date on your containers and pop them into the freezer.

Voila! Your own, home made, yummy stock, and it was almost free.


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Food pictures are awesome!

In an attempt to give myself some sort of regular creative outlet, I've started making the kid's lunches into funky shapes/pictures. I should've taken more pics than I have, but here's a couple:

A really simple "Mama", as per Charli's request:

And, since the Goddesses are going camping this weekend without me, campsites:
I guess at least I can go camping vicariously through food... or something.

I was talking about this with a friend, and through her have discovered the awesomeness of "Bento Boxes". Charli's going to be getting some bits and pieces for her birthday. My favourite things are the egg molds, they're so cute!

You can check out Bento boxes, egg molds and other cool kids food thinggoes at http://www.neat2eat.com.au/ - She's an SA Mama, and has a blog with all sorts of cool food ideas.