Friday, 29 June 2012

Paper fun!

I have a thing for paper. Paper, cardboard etc. It's cheap. Or free. I pull it out of the recycling to use! And we all know I am cheap haha.

Anyways, today we had fun with an old newspaper. I got the idea off Pinterest, from a blog called Inner Child Fun. They did it better than me - they rolled the paper rods, then used a hole punch and pipecleaners to secure, making them reusable. Unfortunately this was a last minute "what shall we do for the next hour?" decision to play with paper rods, and I didn't have any pipecleaners in the house. It is however on my shopping list, I do intend to do this activity again, and the pipecleaners would just make it that much cooler. Instead, we just sellotaped the rods together (don't even have a stapler haha!). It worked fine, just means the rods arent reusable.

Anyways, this activity was a bit above the 1 and 2yo's level, don't have any 3yo's in my house at the moment, but the 4yo thought this was the coolest thing ever. He absolutely loved it and kept gushing about how awesome this was lol. And if Mr7 was home I would dare say he would have enjoyed it too - I might have to do it again over the school holidays.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

I bought me a plant

So on my 101 Challenges, one of them was to buy a new potplant, and keep it alive. You see, I kill all my plants. Mostly from nelgect. So I bought a plant that I find beautiful, that I really do not want to die.

Pretty isn't it?

It sits in my kitchen, in a nice sunny spot. Apparently I have to turn it a quarter turn every day so they grow straight, and not towards the light. Yeah, good luck with me remembering but I shall try! They bring me joy when I walk into my kitchen, and let's face it, I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. They sit in the spot that I tend to reserve for vases of flowers from hubby. But as the years go on, I am starting to realise that that spot is empty for longer and longer. Hehe. Not to worry, my tulips are there to bring me smiles!

And that's another off the list. I should look into getting some of the really easy ones checked off soon! Though it's time that I'm lacking at the moment, and most take time. Or thinking power, and I'm not sure my tired brain is up for much of that at the moment!

And for a few linkies, tonight for dinner we had Crustless Quiche along with my "a-typical roast". Yummy. Yesterday I made Spaghetti Pinwheel Scones for the kids lunchboxes.

Oh, and don't forget to "like" my facebook page, be one of the first to be alerted of new blog posts, along with being able to make requests, ask questions (because I'm oooooh so knowledgable *snort*) or whatever... just like it!

Monday, 25 June 2012

A Quick Nom

Discovered this recipe is NOT light on the ol' calories (well, cut as large as I cut them, into 16 squares), they are nearly 300 calories each! holy moly, I scoffed 2 down this morning before I worked out their calorie content, best lay off them the rest of today! The are SO more-ish though. SO good.

This is actually the same recipe as the base of the peanut butter truffle brownies - it is best made with real butter, as with margarine it doesn't get quite the right ooey gooey texture but I tell ya, it does come close. The brownie in the picture was made with dairy free spread, and dairy free chocolate drops. It is still damned delicious. However the times I have made it with real butter, it's just that much more delicious.

Chocolate Brownies

200g butter (or a dairy free spread)
1/2 c cocoa
2 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 c flour
2 eggs
optional ¾ c choc melts added after eggs (I used Pams Dark Chocolate Compound Drops - they are dairy free)

Preheat oven to 180c. Melt butter and cocoa in a large saucepan. Add sugar and vanilla, then remove from the heat. Add flour, then the eggs. Finally add the chocolate melts (optional). Mix all together then put into a greased/lined 13" by 9" slice pan (I put mine into a square silicone cake pan). Bake for roughly 20 mins. I find less cooking time is best for the goo factor! It does harden more upon cooling.

And now it's time for me to stop procrastinating and get on with the housework before I go pick up the kids!

Sunday, 24 June 2012


So I have been missing in action a bit. Life has gotten busy, but I like it busy. Means my blog gets a lil neglected though. However, having a lazy day at home today after a big night here last night, so thought I would touch down on my 101 Challenge and how I am going with that. I haven't forgotten it, and have been slowly chipping away at my list in the background. The ones that cost money are being delayed due to working hard to save save save at the moment, but they will get done sooner or later... probably later haha.

Lets have a look...

1. Do this challenge first - Buy yourself a notebook. Use this as your journal to document your challenges. Take pictures of completed challenges where possible and add them to it. Use this notebook to collect all the things you need to write down. Use the notebook for all the lists you have to create during challenges. 10-2-12

2. Buy a pretty apron to wear whilst in the kitchen - and wear it - Well, the sort I have my eye on, are not cheap. So this must wait for now. Maybe I will get one for my birthday :)

3. Join the gym - and go at LEAST 2x a week - joined 14-2-12 - and have been going 4 days most weeks! Quite proud of my efforts there!

4. Finish putting together our wedding album - yeah.... I will get there. One day soon, it's been on my mind lately, so I will get to it in some spare time I find.

5. Do parent help at kindy - something I really need to get a move on with, my kindy boy starts school in a few weeks! Will have to give up one of my kid free days to do so which is something I loathe to do haha, Im a wee bit selfish about my time out!

6. Go for a family walk on the beach at sunset - That can wait till the weather warms up a bit!

7. Go out of your way to do something kind for a stranger - Just waiting for an opportunity really

8. Buy a blank canvas. Get 3 favourite colours and with the kids help, create a master piece together. - maybe these school holidays

9. Write a letter to myself to read in ten years time. - haven't really though about this one yet

10. Buy an utterly frivolous piece of lingerie. 6-03-12 Something for our wedding anniversary later this month hehe!

11. Collect all my family and friends birthdays, put them into my calendar and send them all birthday cards by post - collected 10-2-12, yet to send any.....    And, yeah, I sent like one card. Then the next birthday I had the card all ready, then it was in a bag with a carton of eggs. I dropped the bag accidentally, and the card got biffed along with the eggs and it was all downhill from there! I really must get back into it, it felt good the whole idea of it.

12. Go to the home of a friend who has just recently been sick, take a homemade casserole or soup and help out in any way needed during this time. - This one is a hard one to do, somebody has to coincide getting sick with my free days haha, so far I haven't had the chance, but hey, it's winter, I'm sure the chance will arise!

13. Cut flowers, weeds, tree branches whatever is there and arrange them in a vase creatively. 26-02-12

14. Blow up balloons for the kids birthdays and leave them on the floor for them to wake up to. - The next kid's birthday is in August, watch this space

15. Have an old fashioned picnic - we picnic a lot, but I really want to do the whole old fashioned way, like with lots of home made finger foods, instead of bread rolls and ham and stuff from the supermarket. This will have to wait till Summer too

16. Make homemade jam for the first time 10-4-12 - maybe that should have been "SUCCESSFULLY make homemade jam for the first time" - because I haven't yet done that hahahah!

17. Jump in the bath with the kids. - 23-02-12, and I had fun! Granted it was only the littlest kid, we only have a shub so no chance 4 of us can fit in there, 2 is a tight squeeze lol.

18. Make a time capsule. - maybe these holidays? Watch this space

19. Go to a market/fair and look at all the colours, people, stalls etc Look Listen & Smell. - so far haven't wanted to give up my sleep in to do this haha, really must organise to go with a friend, then I cannot back out!

20. Finish my bag shelves space - 6-03-12 YAY

21. Do something to help others in the community. 28-05-12 Gave Blood, that's gotta count

22. Spend a day with the kids letting them dictate every single thing we do from what we eat to where we go and what we do (within reason) - Possibly these holidays

23. Book a great restaurant and take yourself and husband out for a dessert-only dinner. You must only eat from the dessert menu. - Maybe next time we manage to organise a babysitter we will do this. As on our anniversary, we went out for dinner but didn't order dessert (both our fave part of the meal!) as we were just far too full after a day of eating eating eating haha. That was the last time we had a babysitter (back in March! Must get on to that. Actually it was early April by the time we could get a babysitter overnight lol).

24. Clean out your closet and donate everything to your local charity shop rather than sell it on Trade Me. - 20-02-12

25. Plant some vegies - I have a black thumb so the results will be interesting! - Waiting for spring, might have better luck then

26. Find out what a friend’s favourite cake is and make it especially for them for no particular reason at all - this one is right up my alley. Just gotta decide which friend is gunna be the recipient!

27. Go for a walk along the beach at night – almost dark. Take your shoes off and walk in the water. - again, Summer! Bit chilly for that at the moment!

28. . Spend one day taking pictures of everything you find beautiful. - Well, this will have to wait. My camera is broken!!

29. Write a letter to yourself at seventy from yourself right now. What do you need to tell yourself? - Gotta think about this one

30. Lay on a blanket with your kids and watch the clouds. - No excuses as to why I haven't done this, really should make myself a list of things to do with the kids that I can check on regularly for ideas

31. Talk to a mortgage broker and set proper plans in place towards saving for our first home -

32. Do a triathlon/duathlon/part marathon - Well, it's not quite one of these 3 but in 2 weeks time I am doing the Tough Guy and Gal Challenge (a 6km mud run) - should be fun!

33. Be a good neighbour/friend and take over a batch of homemade cookies or a cake. - Next door has recently sold, however they haven't moved out yet. But when the new owners move in, I am planning on taking over some baking and introducing myself.

34. Buy a hard-working friend a take away coffee and drop it off to them. - 6-03-12 A friend who runs a business, has 3 kids including 2yo twins was having a rough start to the week, so I turned up with a couple of coffees for us and a couple of fluffies for the kids, and had a lovely chat :)

35. Put a love note in hubby's car - should do this!

36. Pay for someone’s coffee that you do not know. - Keep forgetting about this while I'm out.

37. Sort out my old file and start using it again - *groans* one day

38. Look for a funny childhood picture of a friend or family member. Frame it and give it to them for no reason other than to celebrate family. - Will get there

39. Go on an op-shopping adventure with a friend - Need to organise this... only issue was the best op shop up here recently burnt down. It's reopened now, but it will take a while before it's as awesome as it used to be

40. Light a candle and put on great music - need to do this

41. Sit at the table with the kids and draw lots of pictures together - maybe these holidays?

42. Have a day with the kids, painting using only our bodies as canvases - this should be fun, will have to wait till the weather is warmer!

43. Get wedding photos printed for the wall - Hung them up 23-02-12

44. Do at least one craft project a month - #1 13-02-12
#2 6-03-12
#3 20-03-12
#4 18-05-12
ooooh crap, need to get on to this, June is nearly over haha! I am actually busy trying to find something I feel like doing but just not managing to get inspired at the moment.

45. Get a massage - $$ is delaying me

46. Write a list of things you would like to do or achieve before you die – ‘Bucket List’. - Before I die, I will do this. haha!

47. Save all my spending money for 2 weeks - then frivolously blow the lot in one go! - This is hard for me. I am a saver not a spender, so the idea of spending it all and not having anything in my spendings account worries me haha.

48. Send a handwritten note/letter to 3 friends letting them know how much their friendship means to you, include a gift. For no reason other than friendship - I shall get there

49. Learn to crochet - Yes, really need to do this, then I will have so many craft things to do! Maybe I will have to teach myself with the help of youtube

50. Finish making my recipe binder and keep it up to date with new favourite recipes - Really have no excuse not to!

51. Find something ugly at an op-shop, and make it look prettier - good things take time

52. Take the kids for a coffee date straight after school - Something I have been meaning to do for a while, will get there. Last week of term this week, so maybe I will do it one day this week

53. Clean the inside of my car - show it some love! - 14-03-12

54. Organise a babysitter once a month and go on a date with hubby - March '12... Set up a babysitting swap group with a few friends, first date night is for our wedding anniversary, then already have a date night booked in with a friend babysitting in April too :)... Update: and then we all just got too busy and poor that it all ended up falling through again haha!

55. Plant spring bulbs - another garden one, good luck to me! - spring

56. Start meal planning again - I'm struggling with this one, but no real excuse not to, other than I often don't buy my meat before my big grocery shop (fortnightly) so yeah, it all depends on what meat I get!

57. Make something for your children. Wrap it up and put it where they sit at breakfast time. - but what?

58. Write down 7 separate places in your life that you hope to take your children to see. - There are so many easy ones like this, I really should just do them!

59. No takeaways for dinner for a month - May 2012

60. find a roadside fruit or vegetable seller & make a purchase - my lack of carrying cash always stops me here haha. Maybe I should just get a fiver and leave it in my car in case I spot something I want to get

61. Buy a christmas present to put under the Kmart Christmas tree - obviously, gotta wait for Christmas

62. Write something inspirational or copy something inspirational on lovely paper. Put it in an envelope and put it under someone’s wiper in a car park. - so easy, I should do it.

63. Send a surprise I-think-you’re-fabulous handwritten note to someone - also easy!

64. Choose a photo of you and a friend. Write something on the back and send it to them telling them why you like the picture - easy again!

65. Write down 100 things you are grateful for in your life. - Probably not so easy, but I should do this some time

66. Start the C25K challenge (running challenge) - Started 28-02-12, finished 15-04-12

67. Donate some food to a foodbank - just gotta remember to do this while out!

68. Donate to your favourite charity. Every little thing matters. - 28-02-12 Bought a couple of books to donate to Starship via somebody in the community doing a collection for them

69. Go outside in the rain and get really wet. - maybe when it's warmer!

70. Bounce on the tramp with the kids - no excuse here lol

71. Reinstate regular "feet treats" with a friend again (pedicures) - lack of $$ at the moment, but maybe in summer when people actually see my feet

72. Have a family meal by candlelight. - maybe the boys and I can surprise DH with this one night. Granted it's still light when we eat haha

73. Take care of a nagging life admin item (a trip to the post office, filing an insurance claim, making a doctor’s appointment). - 13-02-12 - updated insurance on my car

74. Surprise your children. Keep each of them (one at a time) off school one day and have a fun day with them. - #1 we went mini golfing - 29-05-12
#2 we went 10 pin bowling 12-06-12
#3 we get a lot of 1 on 1 time lol, so won't do him until he's a big kindy boy!

75. Organise a night away with your husband for no other reason than because you can. - We need this!

76. Learn a fancy way to fold serviettes and do it randomly for dinner one night. - This can coincide with the candle thing

77. Let the kids decide the dinner menu one night, help them to make it, set the table and decorate it with whatever they want.  - This also could coincide with the candle thing

78. Buy a song off iTunes. Play it loud and sing along. - Easy, I should do it

79. Have a media-free day. - Not so easy!

80. Get an indoor potplant - keep it alive! - Yes, I want to do this, and soon

81. Create another piece of wall art - 13-02-12 Toilet Paper Wall Art

82. Explore rockpools with the kids - Maybe when it's warmer

83. Hike to the lookout at Shakespear Park - 10-06-12 with my 2 eldest in tow :)

84. Wash the outside windows - haha this looks really lazy. I wash the ones I can reach regularly, but the ones on the other side of the house I don't, and those are the ones I need to do!

85. Invest in some new acrylic paints - $$

86. Study a flower and paint it - I used to enjoy painting, haven't picked up a paintbrush in YEARS, it will show! - Need the paint first

87. Another gardening one - replant the rest of my pots outside and keep them alive! - haha! I will blame lack of money here too haha

88. Do some macaroni art with the kids - This is on my things to do soon list!

89. Get some more photos of the kids on the wall - one day....

90. Get dressed up in a dress and heels, put on some music... and do the housework!! - Been thinking about this one lately! Maybe I should just do it hehe

91. Get/make a present for hubby and leave it under his pillow just randomly - Should do this soon

92. Go garage saleing one morning - hard to give up my sleep to do so!

93. Don't complain about anything for a week. - *snort* yeah...

94. Make up cookie dough to keep in the freezer ready to bake freeze biscuits when somebody drops by for a cuppa - 3-04-12

95. Read 20 new books - #1 6-03-12 Songs of the Humpback Whale, Jodi Picoult
#2 21-03-12 Rich Again, Anna Mexted
#3 30-03-12 Three Girls and Their Brother, Theresa Rebeck
#4 10-04-12 False Advertising, Dianne Blacklock
#5 22-04-12 The Truth About Ruby Valentine, Alison Bond
#6 13-05-12 A Spot Of Bother, Mark Haddon
#7 31-05-12 Seventh Heaven, Alice Hoffman
#8 11-06-12 Perfect Match - Jodi Picoult
#9 17-06-12 The Time of My Life - Cecelia Ahern

Currently reading 50 Shades of Grey lol. It's, um, interesting... I don't really see what the big fuss is to be honest, it's badly written! But it's entirely readable so on I read :)

96. Every day for a whole week, do not turn the computer on until all my morning housework is done - I really struggle with that!

97. Get photos printed and put into albums - Mr2's baby photos - The more time that passes, the harder it is to get around to this lol

98. Make 5 things off my Pinterest crafts board - #1 13-02-12 Toilet Paper Wall Art
#2 20-03-12 I ♥ U anniversary card
#3 18-05-12 No Sew Scarf Necklace

99. Redo my Christmas ball wreath that got knocked down and ruined last Christmas 29-03-12 - I really should blog about it actually.

100. Read over my notebook and feel fantastic about everything I have achieved.

101. Buy my next notebook, and start my next list.

PS If I haven't bored you off already, don't forget about my facebook page!/tastytidbitsandrandomrambles

Monday, 11 June 2012

Baking up a storm

Decided to whip up a quick batch of muffins yesterday so there was something to throw into the kids lunch boxes this week. I snuck one, and YUM.

It was just a quick adaptation from my choc chip muffins - instead of chocolate chips, I threw in a tin of drained tinned fruit salad. And then I sprinkled some dark cane sugar on top (simply because I have a bag of it here that I got free ages ago and never use it!). I really do love that recipe! Did I mention it was quick and easy? Haha. But seriously, the muffins are just so good. MMMmmmMMmMMM

Fruit Salad Muffins

2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
100g butter (or margarine), melted
3/4c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c milk (or milk alternative)
1 tin of fruit salad, thoroughly drained

Preheat oven to 220*c. Mix all ingredients together with a wooden spoon until just mixed.

Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake for 12-15mins.
And then today, just now, I decided to try a recipe I found in The Healthy Food Guide magazine that is lying about the house at the moment. Biscuits! As you might have noticed, I rarely make biscuits. I don't know why, but they annoy me haha. I find them fiddly and annoying. But these ones were quick to whip up, and were ready and waiting by the time the oven got to temperature. You could do them in 1 bowl too, the cheats way, but I followed the recipe as is simply because I didn't read through it before making it haha. (I often skip the mixing of the dry ingredients together, just skip to the 2nd bowl and do the wet ingredients, then dump all the dry on top and stir it all in, still works and less dishes haha).
Chocolate Chip and Spice Orange Cookies
1 cup oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
115g reduced-fat spread
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp mixed spice
1 orange, zest
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 190*c. Line baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Mix oats, flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl (or just skip this step if you like)
  3. In another bowl beat sugar, spread, egg, vanilla, spice and orange zest together.
  4. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture to just combine (or just measure the first lot of ingredients directly into the wet ingredients, then stir to combine).
  5. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon mixture on tray leaving space in between for spreading while cooking.
  6. Cook for 12-15minutes or until golden at the edges and firm to touch. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from tray. Cool completely then place in a sealed container to keep for up to 2 days.
If you make the above recipe into 14 biscuits, then each biscuit will be 125 calories. Not too bad.

And ooooooooooh my god they are divine! Wow. Just ate one after typing out the recipe. Still warm from the oven. YUM YUM YUM! Alright, this is going to be a semi regular feature in this house!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Cold and Rainy means fresh bread!

So I finally made my first (and 2nd) loaf of bread for the soup season. I have been rather slack lately. I usually always have at least one loaf on the go! Today has horrid weather, I have a child home sick today, so there wasn't much else to do.

If you remember this recipe here, I made both the recipes in the link today - the pumpkin soup and the bread. Yum Yum.

I took some better pics of the bread, want to see? I unfortunately undercooked it by about 5 mins today, as I was so eager to have some for my lunch haha. So it's a lil doughier than it should be (but you can't really see that in the pics).

mmmm yummy! And so easy, if you can bake a cake then you can bake this bread. Heck you could probably bake this bread even if you CAN'T bake a cake.

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Sunday, 3 June 2012

Quick and Easy, the way I like it!

These muffins I can whip up before the oven has even reached temperature. Then they only take about 12 minutes to bake. I can have the idea to bake, and these out of the oven within approx 20 mins. That is my sort of baking! I whip these up some evenings to bung into the kids lunchboxes the next day, and they freeze well too. I really need a chest freezer (one day!), would be so handy to make lots of double batches of some things, then I wouldn't have to worry about baking for kids lunches often, and I could actually think about baking the more fun random recipes I want to try but never get the chance to.

ANYWAYS, ramble ramble ha ha. Been a rather busy week or so. That, and a rather unmotivated week. Hence the quietness from me. Not a lot to say! Then I forgot all about these muffins that I baked last week hehe, so quickly whipped one out of the freezer to photograph so I could write it up instead of doing the housework that I managed to distract myself from.

Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
100g butter (or margarine), melted
3/4c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c (or more, hehe) choc chips
1 c milk (or milk alternative)

Preheat oven to 220*c. Mix all ingredients together with a wooden spoon until just mixed.
Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake for 12-15mins.

Easy aye?! Throw all in a bowl, quick mix, bake, voila.

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