Thursday, October 30, 2014

Angus is THREE!

Tomorrow our baby boy turns THREE!! THREE!! We just can't believe it. Time flies when you are having fun ( or have 4 kids under 4!!) Angus was a 'surprise' addition to our family but was absolutely meant to be. He slotted in , was super loved instantly and perfectly finished off our family of 6.
He was stubborn and determined with his delivery and is fiercely so now. He loves dinosaurs and cars and his favourite treat when out with Mum is a chocolate milkshake. 


Even though Angus misses the kids while they are at school immeasurably , he also laps up and loves the one on one time and attention. He comes to Mummy's 'Exercising Park' and has a ball while I puff and pant. He loves our trips to the shops and to take long siestas while the house is quiet.


This little boy melts hearts, makes people laugh and shows compassion. All fantastic qualities in life.
People often think I have triplets when we are out and about. Angus is a big , tall boy, and will soon overtake his 'big' brother Max.


But regardless of how big he is in person, I have to remind myself he is still a wee little boy. He gets puffed out and  when he naps , he is my baby again.


Dearest Angus, 
We love you dearly, appreciate every one of your kisses and cuddles and wish you a very VERY Happy 3rd Birthday ! 
Love, your family x

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Storing Lego Instruction Booklets


With having four kids, also comes four kids worth of Birthday and Christmas gifts. Our kids have all reached the 'LEGO stage' and after Christmas (where we received 13 boxes between them all as gifts) we had a fair few Instruction Booklets that need to be kept safe and stored until the time that we may need them again. 

Even though our kids are quite clever and responsible with their LEGO sets, accidents do happen (and so do little brothers!) so it was always going to be inevitable that the creations would break and they would eventually want to put the specific items back together. 

I wanted a way of preserving the instructions for the long term but still being able to flick through them like a book. After seeing something similar on Pinterest , I knew I wanted to give it a go. 

So out came the laminator and after a few nights in front of my favourite TV show and a pair of scissors, we had beautifully plastic wrapped sheets.


Holes were punched in the corner (either with a regular hole punch or a single craft style one) and a split ring threaded through the holes. I used to buy these from Scrap booking shops but they were around $5 for about 6-8 rings. And at one stage I needed around 20 of them for a bulk laminating and booklet session. Not so cost effective! 

Ebay came to the rescue and I found a supplier that sells them in a range of sizes and in bulk! Winning!
Check them out HERE if you are interested.




Laminating sheets aren't cheap, especially when you are using a couple of hundred in one session ( I tend to save up what I need to laminate and do it all in one go) but its a once off cost. You only have to laminate and do this process once and you have a perfect booklet for decades to come . Plus , it doesn't seem so bad if you add a pack of laminating sheets to your trolley each time you are in Kmart or the supermarket!


All our booklets are stored in a basket , although this one is quite full now. 


And the basket is in a easily accessible position, on an open shelf in our Toy Area. Its satisfying to see one of the kids get the basket down, rifle through the instructions and use them for creating. 
My job is done!


How do you store your LEGO instruction books?





Monday, October 27, 2014

Banana Granola Muffins


On our recent trip away, I got to thinking about how to make our travel time easier and more time efficient. Less time preparing on one end means more time enjoying on the other!
The main thing that I had thought of was our breakfasts when departing and while in the car.
More often than not, we leave for our trips at night and travel while the kids sleep, which means they are hungry for breakfast in the morning, or we leave around 4am, transfer the kids while asleep then need something to eat around 6:30am ish. 
Insert 'Breakfast Muffin'. Packed full of goodness, granola and fruit, it covers all bases and fills up the tum tum. Plus they are super easy to be able to hand out and clean up while travelling. So I had a play in the kitchen the other day and came up with these yummy Banana Granola Muffins, using the 'Goodie Goodie Granola' that I made recently. 



BANANA AND GRANOLA MUFFINS

Ingredients

2 cup Wholemeal SR Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup oats/bran/granola (whatever you choose, I used Granola) and a little extra for sprinkling
1/2 cup sultanas
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
2 ripe bananas, mashed
250g Greek Yoghurt
1 tbsp Rice Malt Syrup


Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl until combined.
Make a well in the centre and add the wet ingredients, stir thoroughly until combined
Pour into muffins cases/patty pans, and sprinkle the tops with some granola (or oats/muesli etc)
Bake for 15-20 mins or until slightly golden and firm to touch.



Super yummy, no added sugar, butter or oil and perfect as a breakfast muffin or afternoon snack!
(and even better served while warm with a little butter, ummmm maaarr!)


Friday, October 24, 2014

Guest Feature with Gemma - The Bathroom


I am super excited to share with you a new Feature on the blog , called 'Gemma does Housework'. I have been friends with Gemma going on a few years now and we hit it off immediately. We share a common interest of organising, cleaning and decorating even though our tastes are quite different. I LOVE Gemma's home, even though I am not brave enough to decorate that way myself, I can still appreciate it for all its worth.

Gemma has this infectious, chatty , crazy personality and she makes you smile and talk non stop, whenever you are with her and I think that shows throughout her home. 
She is a beautiful Mum to 4 little strawberry kiddos, aged 6, 4, 2 and 7 months  and you could nearly say she has a case of OCD. I miss our catch ups, the flowing coffee, conversations and sharing shopping wish lists!



In the world of Instagram (because it does feel like a world of its own these days! ) she is insanely popular, and once she started sharing a few cleaning pictures, the requests started rolling in. 
"how do you clean ....?"
"How do you store ...?"
You get the picture! To make it easier for all, her posts were given their own hashtag ie: #gemmadoeshousework or #gemmadoeslinen (because her linen collection is super gorgeous!)
If you are in the world of Instagram, be sure to follow - Gemmahealymaver but for now, I am excited to share some tips and tricks from Gemma. These posts will be every Friday, and will cover different areas of her home and life, enjoy 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Hi all! I'm excited to be contributing to Liz's blog and sharing some of my posts from the insta world. 
Life is a little crazy in our home, with 4 young kids but I have a love for decorating, chucking stuff out and a serious shopping addiction! 

But for now, lets talk bathrooms!

TOWELS||
 I absolutely love IKEA towels for the kids. They have one particular pattern each and there is no swapping. They have two sets each, best!
I also use matching IKEA bathmats and hand towels which are washed more often due to amatuer hand washing skills.

By giving each child a different pattern, they know who's is who, and as they get older , I know who has left their towel on the floor! ha


I use these IKEA GRUNDTAL hooks on my towel rail. They are perfect for hanging multiple towels and the hand towel at one end ( because I can't stand the thought of the kids drying their hands on bath towels). And the best thing about them? The kids can hang their own towels easily and neatly. The IKEA towels have a loop tag in the perfect spot. I also have over the door hangers on just about every door in the house, this is wear our youngest, Hattie, gets her towel hung.


SHOWER|| 
I clean my shower WHILE I shower each Saturday. I have tried just about every product over the years, bleach, shower wipes, enjo and I am back to the good old Bleach.  I use a bleach gel and an IKEA long handle brush. Doing it while you are in the shower is seriously the best, so convenient. Scrub , scrub , scrub all over, leave while you shower then rinse ( I love my hose shower head for this . I then put the bleach all over the drain and around the inside of the drain and leave until my next shower. Super easy!
The worst part is around the shower doors, around the hinges etc. Why so many grooves? I just use the scrubbing brush and wipe with a chux. My shower screens aren't sparkling but they are always clean as. I then bleach and scrub the outside floor tiles and bottom section of the screen. Then rinse off with a chux. The shower is the one thing that needs to be done weekly, maintaining is really easy but cleaning a filthy shower is hell! 


So these are the four products that my bathroom would die without. Bleach, wipes, brush and chux. I literally wipe down the vanities a couple of times a day, whenever in or passing them. I am totally wasteful and use a tissue to spot clean, I wipe the bench top and sink with one dampened tissue. 
The kids are constantly educated about washing down their toothpaste and soap etc and I am always on my poor husbands case, but hey? It has to be done!
On a Saturday, after I do the shower , I bleach the sink and wipe down the bench top with the chux. EASY. 
I use a Viva towel and windex on my mirrors. I end up doing them multiple times a week. All of these jobs are quicker to complete than a cup of coffee, no joke, so easy! I love these IKEA baskets for all of the products that get used daily, and these over - the - cupboard door hooks for the hand towels. I store these cleaning products in each bathroom and every bathroom should have tissues and a bin (mine is in the end cupboard). Just like every kitchen sink must must must have antibacterial soap. Just sayin'  ;)


BATH TOYS||
Ever wondered what a whole roll of toilet paper plus a bath full of water and 3 kids equals? THIS!! ARGH and you can just imagine the state of the kids. Oh dear!
Anyhoo I was asked about bath toys, so here it goes!
We have had many different bath toys over the years. The Tupperware buckets and boats have been loved and stashed (buckets in the bath spell bathroom flooding). BOON bath toys would have to be my favourite. But at the moment we have 2 things, Schilech animals and Barbie dolls. They seem to work perfectly together.  Any toys that fill with water like rubber ducks or squirting toys with small holes, they spell mould. I love the look and function of this VARIERA waste basket from IKEA. Oh so cheap to replace!
CLEANING BATH TOYS||
I like to fill the bath with hot water and Pinocleen and leave the toys and basket to soak overnight. Obviously keeping the door closed and empty first thing in the morning for safety purposes.
And toilet paper? Yeah I suggest you keep that well away too! haha


HAIR STYLING||

I stash one brush (a wet brush, if you don't have one, google and order NOW!) and a wide tooth comb, a water spray bottle and some dry shampoo spray in this handy IKEA basket, hung with the Grundal hooks. 



HAIR ACCESSORIES||
So as you can see, we aren't too big on hair accessories. My girls hate clips, traditional headbands hurt their heads etc. This is the top drawer of the vanity, using the IKEA SKUBB storage boxes to organise.  One box per item and one box of toothbrushes. These are the Target ones, use for a little bit and chuck. All the kids have their own colour.



So thats about all there is in the way of Bathrooms in my house. I could babble on for ages , and not achieve much more but this is the way I do things here.
Stay tuned for next week for my Linen storage.  Thanks for having me!
Gem x
       <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Wow, how cool is Gemma's bathrooms?! Loved this post and I am certainly inspired to give my bathrooms a good once over. I hope you have liked the first Gemma Does House Work feature, its nice to be able to bring you a little something different. Everyone does things in their own way, its a matter of finding what works for you. And this certainly works for Gemma !! Its gorgeous, and SPOTLESS!!
L x



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Goodie Goodie Granola




After sharing a piccie on my Facebook page yesterday of a tray of freshly toasted Granola that I had made, I had quite a few requests for the recipe. So here we are ...

I have never been much of a breakfast eater. In fact I haven't eaten the meal for years. 
I know , I know, its the most important meal of the day. I really should eat it and I am trying to make the change to my diet and carve some time to prepare and enjoy this crucial meal of the day.
I am not a fan of milk, so cereal is out. I am trying to lay off the bread, so toast it out. I leave home at 7:40am after getting 4 kids ready, so it has to be fast, filling and of course, tasty.
Enter my new found obsession..... Granola. 

Full of yummy goodie goodie goodness, nuts, seeds, oats and topped with more yummy stuff , whats not to love?

And seeing as though I have passed my new obsession down to the kids, and it can get quite pricey to buy Granola from the supermarket (small box for big $$) I decided to make my own. 
This is only my second time at making Granola,  but I now know what flavours I like etc so I think I am on to a winner!
The base of this recipe is from Sarah Wilsons I Quit Sugar Coco- Nutty Granola  which I then changed and added to as I pleased, based on a little research on some Granola boxes in the supermarket. 

So here is my Granola,  because its full of lots of goodness, and tastes like a goodie too!

GOODIE GOODIE GRANOLA



    INGREDIENTS

    - 5 cups oats
    - 2 cups of nuts, roughly chopped ( I used a combination of Pecans and Almonds)
    - 3 tbsp chia seeds
    - 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
    - 1/2 cup pepitas ( I used a seed comination mix of sunflower and pepitas so 1 1/4 c)
    - 1/2 cup sesame seeds
    - 100g coconut oil (can also use vegetable or sunflower oil)
    - 100ml rice malt syrup, plus extra to drizzle during toasting (You can substitute for Golden syrup)
    - 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
    - 1 cup coconut (I used desiccated)
    - 1 cup of dried fruit - e.g.  apricots/cranberries/sultanas
   



Combine all ingredients in a LARGE mixing bowl (this makes quite a bit of mixture) and spread it out on a baking tray. You may need to do a few batches, I used 3 trays. 


Bake in a pre heated oven on 160 degrees for about 10-15 mins (depending on how much you like it toasted), then remove, stir and turn the granola, drizzling a little more Rice Malt Syrup and bake for another 10 mins or so. 

Remove and allow to cool before sealing in a container. 
(I like this container to store a large batch and I can use a scoop)




Serve as you wish.  I like to have my Granola with yoghurt and fresh fruit and 2 of our kids like it with just milk . Its filling, satisfies you for hours and tastes super yummy. Have a try at making it yourself, change it up to suit you and  your tastes/ allergies etc. 




Friday, October 17, 2014

New Cushions

After searching high and low, in bricks and mortar stores and all through the internet, for cushions for our living area that were both affordable and nice to look at , I finally gave up the hunt.
Instead I settled in, deliberated and procrastinated , over purchasing some fabric that would become our new cushions. I knew what I wanted, but I didn't at the same time, so this seemed the best option. Plus this is a high traffic area of our home , as we only have the one living area, and the kids dominate this space for most of the time , so spending a small fortune on a few pretty throw cushions was simply not an option. 

I ordered this yummy loot from Fabric .com , and with postage it all cost about $75, and I have PLENTY of fabric left over for other projects (I used one of them for the  lamp I recovered, see post HERE). I used an existing quilt that we have laying over the lounge as the inspiration for the colours and just chose a few to highlight in the throw cushions.



A bit of time on the sewing machine, lots of pretty, creative mess and a few curse words (always the way when I am driving a sewing machine) and our cushions were complete! I made them all with a simple envelope closure at the back , which makes them easy to take off and throw in the wash quite regularly. 




The end result? Pretty cushions, all a little different. All a little wonky, all needing new inserts ( I just popped the ones I had already in them and they aren't all the right sizes) but I love them all the same! 


I love the Pom pom trim detail, I love how they all pick up different colours and complement each other and I love the felt flower (that my sister made and I have already ) that pinned onto the green spotty one and adds some pretty detail.


I love the few pops of colour in the lounge area now. I am trying to be more daring and I am really enjoying the fresh pops of brightness here and there.





With the covered lamp (that ties in with the cushions) , our new throw cushions and a good decull and reorganise of the space, our lounge feels like a new room! 

All up I think the 6 cushions have cost about $30 to make, with so much fabric left over , so for $5 a cushion, I can't complain! It was nice to have a project in mind and be able to get a little crafty and whip something up on the sewing machine. I really think that even beginners to a sewing machine could make some cushions covers and its a really great, low cost way to snazz up any space! 
Easy to make, easy to clean and look cute. Perfect. 
And a bonus? When I get sick of these ones, I can whip up a whole new set and the look of the room will be different again! Love it! 


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Organising on a Budget - A Quick Bedside Drawer Tidy



My favourite kind of Organising projects would have to be the super quick yet super effective ones, and this is certainly one of those. 
My bedside drawers are always a bit of a shambles, especially the top drawer. It tends to be a dumping ground for anything on the drawer top that I don't want there, anything that my husband wants to put away that is mine and then the things I like to use before bed also. Crazy! 

I know the before shot really isn't that bad , but it was still a small problem area in our home , and I am working through them, one at a time!



Coles has been killing it in the "Dollar Dazzler" section , with lots of kitchenware items that I purchased for the Caravan for just a few dollars , and also these cute rolls of wrapping paper for $2 a pop. I loved the patterns and set them aside to do more with them than wrap a present, only to be chucked in the bin shortly afterwards. So what better way to use them, than a pretty drawer liner?



I simply measured the drawer, cut the paper to size and secured the corners with some double sided tape underneath. 
I added a few little tubs that I bought from Kmart for a couple of dollars , containerised the frequently used items ( heel balm, moisturiser, paw paw cream) and re homed the things that didn't belong here. 



Now its a pleasure to look at and is user friendly. Win win. And all for less than $10!