Monday, February 26, 2007

Monday: Apricot Chicken, rice, carrots and beans

Tuesday: Tuna Spinach Mornay Pie, carrots and broccoli.

Wednesday: Spaghetti Bolognaise.

Thursday: Takeaway (choir rehearsal night)

Friday: Lamb and Burghal Burgers, home made potato wedges

Saturday: Beef and Onion Casserole, mashed potato and pumpkin, peas.

Sunday: Roast beef, Yorkshire Pudding, Brussels sprouts, potato, pumpkin and gravy.

Whatever you do, do not, I repeat, do NOT forget to check out Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie!!! Your life will never be the same again ;)

Thanks to the inlaws for a really enjoyable Saturday!

We all met in the city, had lunch and took the children down to the Botanical Gardens for a play. It was a photo opportunity that could not be missed. The first photo of Grandma and Pop with all seven grand children. Of course, it will be obsolete when Grandchild #8 is born in a few months time, but that's a challenge we will face then.

For now it was enough effort getting seven children in a photo! One was hungry and out of her routine, one was sick, one was slightly overwhelmed at the cacophony of cousins, one was shy and three were exhuberant to see each other. Suffice to say, getting them all wrangled into one spot was a challenge, and after about ten shots, this is the best I came up with. Maybe one of the other two cameras yielded better, but I am happy. I laughed to see how every single photo had something going on - face pulling, squirming, yawning and blinking all over the place!

It was such a pleasure to see everyone, though, and I hope that we'll get to do it again soon!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Our cat really is not that hard done by. Sure, we laugh at her when she hides from the kettle. Ok, we also laugh at her when she hides under the rug and waits for an unsuspecting dog or cat to walk past. None of them ever seem to notice the moving lump under the carpet.

But really, Cleo is a very contented kitten, with so much to do in her busy kitty days. Like sitting on the bird cage, and befriending Min. She's just discovered that she can climb up there, and has been sitting for hours watching the lovebirds. At first they ignored her, but now Min is scaling the cage to poke his beak out to nip at Cleo's toes. They are both having enormous fun.

It is better than her alternative recreation, unravelling the toilet paper roll. I blamed the kids for that, until I noticed telltale claw marks in the paper.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Join me for a cup of tea.

I have been all caught up in life lately, and I need a nice sit down, and a soothing brew to help me gather my thoughts. This is a picture of my gorgeous new kettle. The old one was leaking water all over the kitchen bench, and I was getting a bit scared it would electrocute my one day, so it has been replaced with this timeless little number. A whistling, stovetop kettle.

It is so much fun to pop it on the stove, and wander off, to be called back by the charming whistle when it is tea time. I am enjoying the ritual of it all. Putting the kettle on is slightly more than simply flicking a switch.

The kitten is not so impressed, however. The first time she heard it she ducked and scurried off into a corner until she was certain the threat had moved on. Yes, we all laughed at her, adding insult to injury.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A new friend, A Juggling Mum, has been starting up a Frugal Friday Mr Linky thing, so if you're interested in sharing your $$ saving ideas, please do join in!

My idea for this week was to save money on covering children's school exercise books. This year, instead of buying ludicrous amounts of the patterned rolls of contact (one child had 7 large scrap books and 5 small, the other had about 15 books), I bought the much cheaper clear stuff, and we decorated the books with pictures cut from gardening and hoome decorating magazines. The children really enjoyed personalising their books, and I loved paying less than $10AU for the whole lot.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Oh, joy! Yarnstorm is writing a book! Now my list totals 101.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I believe that life is what we make it. If we believe that it's going to be a good day, it will be. When we expect the worst, quite often it happens.
Last year I had a bad year. Actually, my whole family had a bad year. We lost Dad in January, and I know I was too broken about that, and hurt about other things going on in my life, to think about having an optimistic outlook. After all, January is usually a month of promise for me. A lovely clean New Year, and my birthday normally leave me feeling the world is my oyster in January. But last year my mantra became "2006 stinks". And it did.
This year I am starting fresh again. Instead of starting with sorrow, we have started the year with joy, two beautiful new little girls to cherish. I am feeling more relaxed, and calm than I have felt in a long time, and it shows in our children, our food, our days. 2007 is a good year, it's already going well, and I believe it will only get better.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Sweet potato and lentil patties, potato bake, broccoli and cauliflower

Tuesday: Beef casserole with couscous

Wednesday: Stirfried lamb and vegies on rice

Thursday: Spaghetti Bolognaise

Friday: Impossible pie (bacon and egg), salad

Saturday: Marinated chicken, mashed potato and pumpkin, beans

A dessert treat one day: Butterscotch pudding.

Also baking: Anzac biscuits, scones for Thursday morning tea.

Laura at Organising Junkie is hosting the highly successful Menu Plan Monday, and I know you'll love the fabulous ideas you will find there!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Pasta Master

A lazy weekend calls for slow food. The kind of food that takes hours to prepare. Food with a meditative rhythm in its preparation. Food that soothes the soul and comforts the heart. I love making pasta. It takes time, and as a consequence I don't do it as often as we'd all wish. It also takes six eggs, so I have to think ahead to have the supplies to do it. My Honey gave me this wonderful pasta machine for our wedding anniversary last year. It's not a traditional gift, but as a toy I have coveted for years, it was ideal for me.

Jamie Oliver is my guide in pasta making. He recommends an egg for every 100g of flour. And that's basically it. I have made it in the past with regular plain flour, but this time I found the 00 fine grade flour. It is worth the effort of locating the special flour. My previous pasta doughs have been ok, but this time it was perfect, elastic and silken. You crack the eggs into a well in the flour, and beat them with a fork. Gradually the flour mixes in as well, and when the mix starts to look like a dough you flour up your hands and get messy. Knead the dough until it is elastic. Cover with cling wrap and allow it to rest for half an hour.

Starting on the 1 setting, roll half the dough through the pasta machine. I fold the dough in half and roll it through again, and repeat it a couple of times. Then you change the setting to 2 and roll it through again. This is the part I love most, slowly winding the dough through the machine, and watching the wonderful silken pasta coming out the other side. Once it's at the desired thickness, I feed it through the shaping rollers. Today it's fettucine.

I hang the pasta over a clean curtain rod (which I keep specifically for the purpose). By hanging it you ensure that it doesn't clump together. Fresh pasta cooks very quickly, just three or four minutes at a rolling boil. And this is what we had for dinner tonight:

Thursday, February 01, 2007

More on our country adventures: In return for some help with his computer from my brother in law, this generous gentleman saddled up the pony (do I sound knowledgable yet?) and gave all the children rides. He had the temerity to call us city slickers, but I only saw one person conversing on a mobile phone during the pony riding ;)
All the children really enjoyed the rides, and when combined with the effects of over an hour in the swimming pool at our motel, we had some very tired children on our hands.
So tired, in fact, that they ALL slept through until 7 am, when our breakfast was delivered to our door. This is an amazing occurance, never having happened before. My kids are the one who have the job of waking the birds up, I think.