Tuesday, May 24, 2011

{Cheap and Chemical Free Cleaners}

A few months ago, I had the experience where I went to the shops and forgot the main thing I went up there for. Anyone else do that (pleeeeease tell me I'm not the only one)!

I needed multi-purpose cleaner. The kitchen was a mess. BUT the idea of driving to the shops with two boys AGAIN right before dinner, for ONE spray was NOT going to happen!
Then it occurred to me, and I felt like a fool that it took me so long to figure it out. I refilled the water bottle and added a few mls of water soluble Ecalyptus Oil (normal works fine too) which I have used to mop my floors for years. Why I never thought to use it in a spray bottle for my benches before I don't know.
It is available in normal grocery stores, it's a wonderful natural scent from the humble Aussie Eucaplyptus tree and is a natural anti-bacterial (learn more here).

So, now when I see ad's on TV for spray and wipe with disinfectant inside, I quietly giggle to myself knowing that I am using natural products and paying a FRACTION of the cost! hehehe!

Monday, May 23, 2011

{The Lunch Box Life}

A discussion with a friend the other night had us thinking about lunch boxes. As both of us have an "L-Plates" on with this, it was nice to share ideas and as with everthing, I love learning from others.
I thought I would share the fillings that so far have been winners here. The way that the lunchbox is set out has 3 little sections in the lid and a bigger section underneath. So, I usually put 3 (small portions) of the morning tea choices in the top lid, 1 for after lunch, and a lunchtime choice with his water bottle.

Morning Tea Options so far:
- Air popped corn
- Berries (when in season)
- Carrot and celery sticks (often with a little pot of homemade hommous)
- Cheese and crackers
- Grapes
- Melons cut into pieces
- Mandarins (I peel and segment to make it easier)
- Mini homemade muffins
- Cherry tomatoes
- Yoghurt
- Fruit puree
- Sometimes homemade biscuits or slices that are somewhat healthy like these

Lunch Ideas So Far:
- Wraps (avocado spread with cheese, turkey and baby spinach)
- Sandwhiches (cheese sandwhiches have always been a plus. I don't use tomato as it goes soggy)
- Cold Pizza (wholemeal english muffin with tomato puree, slice of turkey, basil, couple of pineapple slices and a cheese slice/ grated cheese. Grill and cut into quarters)
- Healthy pasta salad in container
- Little thermos with chicken nuggets (heat it up with hot water and then dry. place warm chicken nuggets inside to keep warm. Help them practise using at home first).

When I asked what his favourite thing in his lunchbox and he said "when you write me letters mum" (awwwww). I would love to hear what you use and what are your favourites, comment below or even on facebook).

Lauren x

Thursday, May 19, 2011

{Listed on Made it.com.au}

Well, I had never planned to ever sell anything I make, but I had a lot of interest on a craft project I made for a friends wedding. So, I decided to make a few kits with the extra sheet music I had bought for the project and list them for sale on an online Australian handmade marketplace - Madeit.com.au (love this site).
So, if you are a bride-to-be or have a friend that is, have a look at the listing here!

Monday, May 16, 2011

{Cooking Faux Pa and The Fluro Icing}

A previous post discussed the idea of chasing perfection. In the spirit of that post, here is a major kitchen faux pa of recent times. I had a small birthday party with my hubby recently and I was busy icing the cupcakes about an hour or two before the party. I had so much to do and it was one of the things I left to the end which i never normally do. I tried to put all the accessories in a black and red theme and I had black patty pans with personalised toppers I had made (and my brothers beautiful friend cut out for my whilst I was bathing the boys). So, I aimed to make red icing. But by the time I got past pink to the red shades, I had added a whole container of red pillar icing colour which had even splashed on my arms and dies a bit of my fringe too! The icing wasn't even red per say, it was fluro red! Using my little bro as a guinea pig I gave him half a teaspoon and thought that I could still save it if his mouth wasn't red afterwards.
However, not only did it turn his tongue red, but his teeth and lips too! I couldn't do that to my guests and turn their mouths red, but time was ticking away! So my darling brother drove to the local store and picked up a tub of Betty Crocker chocolate icing and saved the day.
No-body is perfect and even though I LOVE entertaining, it can be a mad house here up until the moment the doorbell rings and you hear the calm and welcoming "HELLO" at the front door.

You just have to laugh sometimes!

Lauren x

Saturday, May 14, 2011

{Mothers Day = Pecan Brownies + DIY Soy Candles}

Well, last weekend for mothers day we had some of my husbands side over for a family dinner and we ate very well as we often do! We had a long roasted beef and pork with tonnes of veggie sides inclding homemade apple sauce. Then dessert was individual homemade brownies with a twist of adding pecans (in hommage to my mother law who loves pecan pie) served soft inside with a raspberry reduction and cream. SO GOOD!!!

Then a few weeks ago I had some glass jars laying around and wanted to re-use them somehow as they were too pretty to throw away. So, I decided to attempt candle making and have loved my candle making morning - it was A LOT of fun.
I am not one to just post this and keep the source to myself, I love supporting local ingredients/ buisnesses
so check this out. This online store will support you in starting your own candle (or soap) making journey.
With plenty of wonderful supplies and tutorials in text and video, its a one stop shop, and so much cheaper than anything I could find in retail stores. Make sure you give it a go - its fun and a great way to make some homemade gifts for someone special or to fill your own house.
And they turned out great I thought. If you have a go, let me know how it went.

Lauren x

Friday, May 6, 2011

{Build-a-Cubby Kit} A great gift idea for "mini men"

I love giving my children toys and experiences that teach them but also develop their imagination. In my humble opinion, too many toys these days hand the experience to them on a 'silver platter' and don't allow them to imagine, create, change and experiment. Thats's why I love things like blocks and lego.

So when Mr. 4 was invited to a birthday party for a friend at prep I thought a bit outside the box. I remeber seeing something simailar ages ago online somewhere (that sparked the initial idea) but it was so long ago and I have no idea where I found it. When I track it down, I will definitley give credit ;)

I put together a very basic draw string bag in a blue fabric from my stash to put it all in and attached this tag:

Here are some pictures of what I used to create the kit:

Lauren x

Sunday, May 1, 2011

{Cinamon Scrolls : A naughty but delicious treat!}

I made these for an afternoon tea meeting yesterday and have to say, that they went down a treat. I am definitley a healthy eater, as are my family. So, when we make these kinds of foods they are for a treat or to share with people. It was a rainy and miserable day weather wise - so hot cinnamon scrolls seemed just the thing! This isn't exactly a quick recipe, but definitley easy!

Dough Ingredients
1 sachet of Tandaco yeast (7g)
3 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 cup warm milk
2 tsp melted butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp milk to brush

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter/ margarine
1 tsp vanilla

optional : 1/3 cup of walnuts, pecans or other nuts of choice (can add less or more to taste).

1. Sift flours into a bowl and add all dry ingredients.
2. Add milk butter and egg and mix to form a smooth dough. Knead for about 10 minutes untill smooth and elastic.
3. Place in a greased bowl (spray inside with a spray oil), cover with towel and set in a warm place for an hour untill it doubles in size.
4. Knock down dough (punch with fist in centre) then knead for a minute.
5. Roll out into a rectangle shape, this may take some time but try to get it out to a decent size rectangle about 1-2 cm or so thick.
6. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together to form the filling. Spread on the rectangle of dough and sprinkle nuts on top (if using).
7. Roll the dough length ways so you end up with a long 'sausage-like' log. You can stretch out the log slightly and gently to make it longer at this stage. Cut in half with a sharp knife so not to squish the log flat. Continue cutting each half in half so all sections stay even.
8. Pre-heat oven to 200'C
9. Grease a pan and place the scrolls closley side by side (like you would with scones) so they support each other as they cook. Set aside in warm place for about 30 minutes to rise again.
10. Brush with a little milk and bake for 20-25 mins. Cool slightly and then serve whilst warm, DEEELISH!!!

Some recipes call for icing which you could add once cooled, but I think this is sweet enough on its own and the filling melts to create a sort of a glaze-sauce anyway.


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