Wednesday, February 29, 2012

{Rediscovering a Childhood Favourite : Honey Jumbles}

I used to love these at my grandma's house. When I stumbled across this recipe on taste, I just had to try them. These are now requested by my boys and they are a delicious time warp!


60g butter, chopped
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons milk


1 eggwhite
1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Pink food colouring


  1. Combine butter, honey and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until butter has melted. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Set aside for 10 minutes.

  2. Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, mixed spice and cloves over butter mixture. Add milk. Stir to combine. Cover. Set aside for 1 hour or until mixture has cooled and thickened.

  3. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly. Divide dough into quarters. Roll 1 portion into a 25cm-long log shape. Cut into 5cm-long pieces. Place on prepared trays, leaving room for spreading. Using a wooden spoon, flatten each piece of dough until 5mm-thick. Repeat with remaining dough portions. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden. Stand on tray for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  4. Make icing Using: a whisk, beat eggwhite in a bowl until foaming. Gradually beat in icing sugar until combined. Stir in lemon juice. Spoon half the mixture into another bowl. Tint pink with food colouring. Spread half of the biscuits with pink icing. Spread remaining biscuits with white icing. Set aside for 30 minutes or until set. Serve.

Monday, February 27, 2012

{....and then he asked where babies come out?!?!}

I have touched on this topic before {here} but I have to say I had another moment of "PMS" today. I kinda felt a bit like this picture after today:
I know the blogging life often depicts a 'shiny facade'. I do make the choice in my life to see the glass half full. HOWEVER, there are days as a mother that just run your tank DRY! Read on and TRY not to be jealous ;)

Hubby's 30th party is this weekend so I had a few errands to run today in preparation for that. I dropped my eldest at school (just made it on time) and whilst helping him get his lunch from his school bag my youngest (a very energetic runner/ climber) ran away in a busy school yard. Again, my beautiful school mum friends scattered to search for him where I found him in a toilet cubicle stripping off to go to the toilet, screaming at me to not open the door - "DANIEL DOOOO!!!"

Once I wranggled him up I headed to the three shops to run aforementioned errands. Well, he almost literally climbed up every wall, threw a massive tantrum in two of the three shops, spilled bikkies on a shop floor and had a wrestling match to get him in the car seat at the petrol station (of all the days for the light to come on - how rude)!
Eventually I got the things I needed and headed home where I freakishly managed to convince him to have a sleep if I layed with him. I am glad he did, cause I think that was the line between me surviving today and not!
Needless to say after being tired from my cheeky monkey waking me up at 5:30 with his dirty nappy....I needed sleep. SO. WE. SLEPT.

Off in dream land, I was catapulted out of my sleep with a nightmare that it was 4:00 and I was hours late for school pick-up. I run downstairs, naked toddler in hand to realise it is 2:20. I normally leave at 2:10 latest! I shoved undies on him and hit the road. I made good time and was only about 5 mins late, but my kindy boy had a panic attack that I'd forgotten him. GREAT! I managed to calm him down by hyping up the fact that we were going to the costume shop to try on his costume for hubby's 30th on Saturday. YAY! PEACE!

In the muggy heat, I lugged them down the main street to the shop to find they were open every day except....yup, you guessed it TUESDAY!!! Well, TOTAL MELTDOWN. I mean, write an acceptance speech, clean your tux, your winning an Oscar MELTDOWN!

JEALOUS YET?!?!?! ;)

Fastforward a few hours and all is finally peaceful. I am tired and fed up. Had a beautiful dinner planned {on my menu blackboard} but the reality was three plastic plates, baked beans and scrambled eggs (both done in the microwave) on toast. DONE! I was suddenly feeling that although I would be blogging this recipe as even instagram couldn't save this monstrosity, things were good.

Whilst talking about their days together my eldest asks how his pregnant teachers' baby will come out of her tummy. SERIOUSLY?!?!?! TODAY?!?!? So, I address it as tactfully as I could.... (a 5 year old boy isn't really after all the gory details) and explained that the doctors at the hospital help. He seemed happy with that. OKAY!

****5 minute break to attend to tears from one of the monkeys falling over****

So it is 5:45, hubby is almost home, and I am glad that he understands these days that occur occasionally in my world. And is not fazed by the idea of eggs on toast for dinner, rice crackers spilled on the floor near the tv and the grace to give me time to blob before I get ready for the next day and help me to do so.

Anyone relate??? I hope it's not just me ;)

Lauren x

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

{Back in My Craft Room Today : Dust Cover for My Machine}}

Well, my poor study has been neglected a bit of late. Especially my sewing machine. I have been craving done 'quality time' with her badly! However, With all the madness of starting school, pre-school, planning hubby's 30th party and some sickness in there for all of us at different times since Chrissy too, it's been crazy!
Today I decided to dust off my machine (irony on its way) and whip up a quick project for her. Here is the dust cover that I made today. I kind of made it up as I went and was mostly happy with it. I absolutely live this fabric with bright colors that throw me back to a time when my parents grew up, but presented in a modern style. (yes, I have used it before)
I am not sure if the colour palette matches my craft room though, which is full of much softer neutrals. Her new 'outfit' certainly brightens up the room, that's for sure!
If I get inspired, I might line it with another fabric and then make it reversible too! We'll see.

Lauren x
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 20, 2012

{February Photo a Day: Week 3}

Week 3:

My phone at the moment depicts the three important men in my life. They each represent some of the best decisions I have made in my life!

My baby boy sleeping in the day - very rare! (I found out the next day we were sick and it made sense why he slept).

Today we had time in the doctors surgery, hospital and then (as shown) finally at home. I had no idea what actuall time the clock said at any point on this day (and the few surrounding it) as it was a blur of tiredness and sickness!

Tonight I (along with my mother in law and 2 of my sister in laws) celebrated my little sister's 18th. Okay she is my sister in law technically, but when I have known her since she was 4, she has become the sister I have watched grow - and since I don't have a sister from birth, I am glad I married into a family that gave me sisters!

Something I hate to do? Miss church! Thanks to being in quarantine for this little man, we had to stay at home :(

Handwriting from how what and where he writes tells me a lot about his personality!

One of my favourite photos of myself! Taken after church one day on a spontaneous road trip down to stanwell tops.....enjoying the 'scenic life' with these people I cherish more than words!

{click here for Week 1}

{click here for Week 2}

{Click here for details on how to do the march challenge}

Lauren x

{February Photo a Day : Week 2}

Week Two:
Our sun (and all weather for that matter) has been wildly unpredictable this month in Sydney. Would hate to be a weather man at the moment!

Today Daniel wanted to chill out on the front porch waiting for his big bro to get home from school. We watched the rain, played quietly and were comforted by the roasted pumpkin soup simmering on the stove.

Today was my second child-free day (preschool for little man). So I powered through the housework for the morning like a maniac....then dressed up, took myself out for lunch in one of my new favourite dresses (another Coles Max bargain!)

A quiet coffee date with my journal doing my E100, a good coffee & yummy lunch at the baron and some time to think, dream and just sit. Definitely makes me happy!

Hard to see here I guess, but my closet (wardrobe) has always been colour coded. I find if I keep my clothes neatly "filed" I save so much time getting ready. Whether I want jeans, a black top, workout gear, a red dress or white socks....I know exactly where they would be!

The blue sky above St.Mary's cathedral was SO divine today. Such a nice view to top off a beautiful trip to the city with some family to have high tea (and maybe visit Haigh's)!

Valentines Day - We look forward to LOVE DAY in our house. This was afternoon tea for my little valentines after school. This just topped off a day of hearts with heart sandwiches for lunch, pink love day smoothies for breakfast and Chicken noodle soup with heart pasta for my sick hubby. Sickness couldn't tame the love here - EVEN "man flu"! ;)

I am loving the inspiration and snippet of each day to be creative...there is going to be a march challenge too. Check it out!

Missed week 1? Check it out here!

Lauren x

Friday, February 17, 2012

{Free Form Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagna}

I was HANGING to make this recipe like you have no idea! Not because I just saw a recipe for it like often inspires me. But because every now and then when I cook, I have my mojo ON and I don't have a recipe, I actually have no idea what the final outcome will be or look like when I start, but it just works. This was one of those times. I made it up as went and it was tastier than I thought it was going to be! The best thing was that this ended up like a restaurant dish and I bough everything from Aldi or had it in my pantry.

The downside is I don't measure when I cook like this, but here is my attempt at documenting this delicious dish :)

Ingredients: (made 3 large portions)
1 packet fresh lasagna sheets (you'll only need 1/2 packet and if you normally buy dried, its worth splashing out for the fresh sheets)
1/2 butternut pumpkin
1 packet of baby spinach (buy 2 if you want some for a side salad/ garnish)
2 cloves garlic
about 40g butter
handful of pine-nuts
handful of walnuts
1 tub of ricotta
Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

1. cut your butternut pumkpin into thin slices (about 2mm *ish) and pop into water and microwave for a few mins until tender.
2. Place butter, spinach, nuts & garlic in a saucepan on a medium heat and saute till spinach wilts. Season with S&P and turn off heat.
3. Once the spinach mix and pumpkin is cooked you are ready to assemble.
4. Cut each lasagna sheet into thirds (Aldi's sheets are folded into thirds, so I just followed the folds). Here are my layers in order:
-Place one sheet as the base.
-Then lay a few pieces of the cooked pumpkin on top and season here
-another sheet of lasagna
-then spoon some ricotta on top
-sprinkle some parmesan on the ricotta
-then a spoonful of the spinach mix on top
-lasagna sheet
-spoonful of ricotta
-another layer of pumpkin
-final layer of lasagna sheet
-top with more ricotta, parmesan and s&P

You don't need much of each ingredient on each layer, it's the layering itself that will make each mouthful taste so good.

It sounds like a very long process, but even with doing 3 of these, it took me longer to write this than do it. It's worth it!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

{Carrot Cake}

I was craving carrot cake the other day and I have to say this was such a delicious recipe. I have doubled the spices here as I was after a 'spiced cake' type taste. I often like more ginger than recipes call for too.

1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil (or other tasteless oil i.e. not olive oil)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon ground
1 tsp ground ginger
2 1/2 cups grated carrot (I just grated 3 carrots)
1/2 chopped pecans (walnuts would also work - can be omitted for allergy purposes)
1/2 cup sultanas (I omitted these by choice)

1. Pre-heat oven to 180'C
2. Place sugar and oil in bowl of an electric mixer for a few minutes.
3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.
4. Sift the flours, powders and spices over the sugar mixture. Add the carrots and nuts and stir until just combined.
5. Pour your mixture into a greased cake tin. I used a silicon loaf 'tin'.
6. Bake for about 50 mins or until cooked when using the 'skewer test'.
7. Serve warm or cool completely before adding cream cheese icing.

I left the cake covered overnight and I had some for morning tea the next day. This was so moist, full of taste. It didn't need the cream cheese icing, it was delicious as a spiced loaf on its own.
SO good, just like my grandma used to make!

Lauren x

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

{Pasta Play : And Other Cheap Toddler Fun}

All this funny Sydney weather has left me many times with a very active toddler at home whilst it's raining outside. Here are SOME of the ways I have kept him amused lately. I have had to get creative as he is a smart kid, but needs to burn energy and get creative and change activities frequently!

1. Pasta Play:
I started simply by putting 5 pasta noodles on one plate, handing him another empty plate and some mini tongs. No instructions, just let him play and count.

2. Spaghetti Tower: Then I blu-taked a spaghetti strand to a plate and he started building them up counting as he went. He was enjoying this more than I thought.

Of course my son found a way to make a mess (he is an expert there) and do we turned cleaning into another game (I know I may have a shelf life for this lol)!

Then we got s break in the sun so we decided to try car painting. Combining cars and mess = BIG hit for my little one.

1. Find old or cheap cars you don't mind getting painted.
2. Let them paint the wheels and watch on some paper as the tyres make rainbow tracks.
3. Then put done warm soapy water in a bucket and have a "car wash" to clean up ;)

There are a few other things I will share soon that don't cost the earth. If you have any other ideas - feel free to share them here or on facebook or twitter :)

Lauren x

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 13, 2012

{Happy Love Day XO}

Happy LOVE Day! In our house we have been talking a lot about love this month, it all starts with our February verse :

We have talked lots about different types of love and how we express that, not just romantic love!
So my big kindy boy wanted to send a card to do some special girls in his world.
So, together we made these cards which he hand wrote messages inside for his valentines. I think it's very important that he does most of it - as it was his idea and it isn't about me giving a gift. Rather, helping him do this and then using it as an opportunity to talk about love and use it as a teachable moment....whilst he is not embarrassed about talking with mum about it lol!

1. Take a photo of your child against a backdrop that is quite plain. Show them how to make a fist and hold it up.

2. Then at home or at your local photo developer, print it off on paper or photographic paper.
Cut it out and attach it to some card to make it sturdy enough to hold the lollypop.

3. Using a craft knife, cut a slit in the card above and below their fist.

4. Slide lollypop in and write on the card. Viola, it turns a 2D card into a delicious 3D treat for someone special!!!

I have to say that the recipients were very happy to receive these and they were a BIG hit!!!

Have a great LOVE day wherever you are!

Lauren x

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

{The Simple Life Calls : A Full Circle Moment}

As a very young girl (about the same age as my kids now) I had the opportunity to spend some time living in a rural suburb in a house which sat at the back of a friends property.

The driveway of that house.

We had many family friends that lived within a few streets - but in rural terms, that is a little drive away ;)

This house is spectacular and I remember visiting my mum and dad's friends here and their pet turkey. Their house was amazing and a dream kitchen for any cook that loves to entertain (can I move in now?).

I have memories of turkeys, chickens, gumboots, long driveways, letterbox 'art', motor bikes and a white horse named "Clobbo". These are very treasured years of my childhood!

I pulled over to snap a pic of this horse that reminded me of Clobbo :)

Today I was early to pick up my eldest son from school and eager to get my youngest to sleep so, I put the address in my GPS and decided to have a drive (it's in the next suburb around).
As I am driving, a lot of memories flood back.
I also loved letting my heart dream today. My hubby and I have, for many many years now, felt the need to be on property. He is a very generous person and I love how happy he gets when he can openly bless someone, and never expects anything in return!
We don't know where or when this property will come to us, but its in our heart for now. We have intentionally talked about this together for probably close to 6 years now.

This is for 2 main reasons.

We long to be self sufficient and totally 'free range' and our two active boys would just be in heaven (especially my BIG boy who longs for a mega man cave)! The other part to our dream is to have a second building we could use for others. Whether its to offer as short term accommodation for those in a tough season or a weekend away for someone who could use a 'mini holiday'.

Many chances to 'go left' as my dad would say and get dirty!

As I sat on the street I lived on for a while, I realized that that was what our friends were able to do for my family. My parents both had the same longing to do this. But I felt strongly a sense that sometimes dreams are do big that hey can't be fulfilled in one generation. My parents raised me to care about others no matter what you have.
I believe that today was a full circle moment and reinforced the longing I have had to be on property.

Oh if this gate could talk. I love that it sat lonely yet confident in the grass. It begged to tell you of a rich history of years gone by and the changes it has seen in the local surroundings!

Lauren x

Monday, February 6, 2012

{February Photo Challenge : Week 1}

I have been an avid reader of the beautyfull Chantelle from "Fat Mum Slim" for some time now. I watched on and observed (on Instagram) as her January Photo a Day Challenge took off like wild fire. By Feb, I was very interested to take part. What tipped me over the edge? My little baby brother who lives in London at the moment started doing it. It makes me feel like its another way that modern technology makes the distance seem much less than opposite sides of the globe!

Here is the challenge:

Here Is Week One in Summary:
Day 1: My BIG boy starting Kindergarten at his BIG School today

Day 2: Lots of words both written and spoken as Hubby and I talked through pre-school for my youngest Son.

Day 3 : My BIG boy learning the time on these Teaching Hands.

Day 4 : "STRANGER" I didn't actually see any strangers today....just my family. Couldn't think of a creative way to interpret it either lol!

Day 5 : 10am view. My normal view (love my church) vs. my reality after a crazy nights sleep thanks to this "Cheeky Monkey". We missed church today which I don't like doing, but recovery day was in order!

Day 7 : These buttons all crossed my path by 9am.....never realised lol!

p.s. Here are SOME of the MANY people taking part ;)

Lauren x


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