Archive | September, 2010

The Melbourne Show

22 Sep

This is not a post about the show, but a post about how to survive the show without going into a lifetime of credit card debt!  It’s an expensive day out, but it is also a great day with the kids…so, for us, it’s worth a saving for and making an effort for.  You can do a far bit before you go to make the most out of your day.

Being prepared is key to a long and happy day out.

Tip 1 – Take Lunch, snacks and buy dinner.
You don’t have to buy takeaway at the show, but it is part of the fun.  We found we saved a fortune by taking all our snack food, lunch and buying dinner.  It also gives you a chance to scope all the food places before you buy.  Make use of the tasting stalls in the Grand Pavillion when you are feeling peckish.  Take all your food in disposable containers…this will lighten your load through out the day and make more room for showbags

Tip 2 – Take a stroller
If you are lucky enough to have a stroller, take it.  Even if your youngest hasn’t needed it for a few months.  It’s a lot of walking for little legs…and it’s great for carrying all your stuff.  If you don’t have one, take one of those shopping bags on wheels…I’m not sure what they are called – we call them Nana trolleys – you can also hire them, and they are a good thing to have to carry your food, jackets etc in.

Tip 3 – Be Weather Wise
Raincoats are a must.  With Melbourne weather you can never be sure what sort of weather you are going to get, it may be sunny when you leave home and pouring down with rain by lunch time.  Although there is a fair bit of shelter, you don’t want to get stuck in one pavilion for too long.  Beanies are good too, they keep you warm and they take up very little room when you are not wearing them.

Tip 4 – Label your Children.
If they go missing it would be nice to have them returned.  Make a bracelet with your details on such as your mobile number, but not your child’s name.  The Lost and Found centre inside the Car Park entrance has these free of charge.

Tip 6 – Make a Showbag Rule.
Remember, all showbags are advertising.  You will most likely end up with a bunch of junk you don’t need.  Allow your kids to choose 1 lolly bag and 1 toy bag, this will stop you from spending a fortune on the bags, it’s easy to get sucked in to all the bright/happy images they have all over them, so make your rules before you get there and stick to them.   This is our limit, however Oma gives the girls some money and  they are allowed to spend that how they choose, and they also can use their own pocket-money if they want too.

Tip 7 – Pre-Sale tickets.
You can save money by getting your tickets before the show.  Check out the website for where to get your tickets from and what kind of discount you can get.  This also save lining up when you get there.

In the past we have tried to plan our day, but we find this puts too much pressure on us and the kids.  We now travel at the children pace and take out time.  This make them happier and in turn we are happier.

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Savoury Mince – Eating what’s left…

14 Sep

This is my favourite ‘use up the veggies’ meal.  We generally have it every Monday night, the night before our next box of fresh organic Fruit and Vegies arrive.
The principle is the same every week….

You will need…

1 packet Mince – any kind, chicken, beef, veal & pork.
Beef Stock (I use OXO because it’s my favourite)
Tablespoon of Vinegar
Splash of Soy Sauce

Any Veggies you need eaten.  (If the kids don’t like it chop it super finely or grate it)

What you do…

Finely chop your onion and add to a pan, with about a tablespoon of oil.  Now, depending on how organised you are you can either brown the onions and then add your prepared veggies….or, if you have had a busy day, put the onions on a low heat while you prep the other ingredients (Just remember to stir them)

Add the other Veggies in any order you like.  If you like your Silverbeet, for example, wilted down so the kids don’t notice them enter them now.  If you like them still a little raw and crunchy, then add them at the very end.

Add your stock now, and also add your mince.  Use your spoon to break up the mince to avoid lumps.

All you need to do now is cook it for as long as you like. Do cook it for at least 30 minutes to let all the favours blend.  I would usually cook for an hour or longer, just be sure to keep your eye on the stock as you don’t want it drying out.  Add more water or stock if you need to.

Serve on toast or mashed potatoes.

The absolute beauty of this dish is that it is so forgiving.  You can add whatever you like, and can cook it for as long as you like.  It freezes and it tastes great re-heated.

This photo shows the mince before the veggies have been cooked down.  It seem that the longer I cook them the more veggies I can get away with.

Anzac Biscuits – Sort of…

7 Sep

Yesterday Littlest Miss and I tried to make Anzac Biscuits yesterday, but they wouldn’t come together.  We used the usually recipe, but just couldn’t form balls needed.  So instead, we made “Porridge and Golden Syrup Snack Bars”

Ingredients
1 cup Flour
1 cup Rolled Oats
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Desiccated Coconut
2 tbsp Golden Syrup
125g Butter
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tbsp Hot Water

Pre-heat your oven to 160.

Line a square cake tin, or Lamington tin with baking paper.

Melt your butter and golden syrup and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Combine all your dry ingredients in a large bowl, mix together and make a well in the centre.  Once your butter mix is ready dissolve the baking soda in the boiled water and then add to your butter/syrup mix.  Be sure to have the kids near by to see the reaction when the ingredients meet!

Pour your new mix into the dry ingredients and mix well.  This is where you would usually create your biscuits, instead press all of the mix into your slice tray and try to make sure it’s an even layer.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden.

Allow to cool and turn out.  Use a sharp knife and carefully cut into rectangles or squares.  Use any left over crumbs to sprinkle over a snack of yoghurt 🙂

The New Mum Adjustment

7 Sep

I was inspired to write this post this morning. I was thinking about how much my life has changed since I had my kids, and how it is still changing, and how long it can seem to be before you start to get things back into balance.  I found it a real struggle at first, but wanted to send out hope to new mums (and dads) that it does get easier to fit things into your life that are all about nurturing you.  Happy Wife, Happy Life right 🙂

We live in a good suburb, but don’t have a lot of spare cash, so things like House Cleaners, Nanny etc are out of our reach.  Even going to the gym post giving birth was near impossible for me as on top of fees, there was always a charge for child-minding services, which we could not afford.

I found a good gym for me in Contours.  My husband works late and odd hours so my only option had to be before he went to work. It is based on a standard 30 minute circuit work-out, so it’s easy to know when you will be back home and you don’t have to wake up super early to get there.  I have made some great friend to chat to, and I don’t think any of them have young children, so children are not Hot Topic in the mornings.  It’s nice to have an adult conversation in the morning!

Walking is good too, but with more than one child at home, it can be limiting.  This year with one at home I have been able to walk more.  I usually do I nice big walk to the Supermarket on a Monday morning (weather permitting of course).  This also has the benefit of being able to buy something fresh for dinner.

This year I have been able to add one Yoga class a week to my routine.  Next year I may be able to do one more! I love Yoga and have looked for about 3 years to find a class with a time, price and level that suited me. Your local community centre is a great place to look, as some may have classes and a child-minding service and they are usually a whole lot cheaper that privately owned businesses.

Aromatherapy has been a great one for me too.  Over the past year I have slowly been bringing it into our home for all kinds of things, it’s not all about the smells.  It’s been great creating my own medicinal fixes for my family and it has lead into other parts of my life being healthier.  I get my supplies via Amazing Scents which give me the added bonus of a night out shopping with no kids (or kids in bed) and I’m up for any excuse to get out the cheese and crackers!

One thing we over look it the humble bath.  But lets face it, with babies and toddlers having a bath all to yourself is nearly impossible.  I have made a major effort lately to incorporate a bath into my day.  I use the time that Hubby get home to run off and hide for a while while he settles in.  I mix up and oil mix and pull out some old magazine (still wrapped in their subscription packing from when the kids were babies and I never had a change to read them!).  It may take a bit of getting use to as we are always in gear, but it doesn’t take long to train yourself to lay there for 20 mins or so.  The magazines help the brain shift gear too.

So be patient, it will slowly happen and you will find yourself working things back into your life that help clear your mind and help you to feel a bit more like you.

Earthquake in Christchurch NZ

6 Sep

If you would like to help our neighbours inNew Zealand I have found a donation point within NZ.

New Zealand Red Cross

You can make a secure Credit Card donation from there…just follow the links.

Somerville Pub

1 Sep

Firstly, I have to say this place has the best steak!  Hubby said it last time, so this time I tried one too.  It was perfectly cooked and I recommend it.  There is also a play area for the kids, but be warned, it is full of lolly machines.

The kids menu was pretty good for a pub meal, we did have the option of Roast and Veggies.  Perfect.  We ordered this for our daughter (the other child stayed at home with her Nan).  We had a great laugh though when the meal came out with a single serve of tomatoe sauce…it was like they just couldn’t help but add a bit of junk to an otherwise healthy meal.  Vegetables and Salads are available as an alternative with the kid’s meal.  I just notices on a photo I took of the menu, that a soft drink is comes with the meal (we did not receive ours) It would be interesting to see if juice would be an option.  There is free water available at the bar.

For desert there was no Fruit Salad as an option, and when I asked if they could do one the answer was no.  I didn’t push it, as I said earlier, our sick child stayed home and there was birthday cake to be had.  Their deserts were pre-made in a fridge, you had a choice of Cake, Jelly and some cream like dish.  There is also a Ice-Cream freeze with IcyPoles etc.