Friday, August 31, 2012

Little Red Riding Hood cape

Recently I was delivering the children's address at church, and I needed to recount the story of Little Red Riding Hood to help to illustrate the verse.  I made up this cape to help to illustrate the story.

It was extremely easy.  I used this free pattern and whipped it up in an hour or so.

Now we have a Little Red Riding Hood dress-up.  Very satisfying to run up when I haven't felt motivated to sew anything for a while.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

my laundry system

People often ask me how I 'do it' with four children.  Funnily enough, I have also asked this question of other mums, usually when I see them doing things well that I struggle with.  I am generally a fairly organised person [one has to be with a larger family] but it doesn't always come naturally.  I think it is learned, or perhaps something I have chosen to do to cope better.

One of the things I have always struggled with is washing.  Not the turning on of the washing machine, that's easy.  But actually washing clothes, getting them dry, folding them and putting them away every time I wash.  I don't know what it is, but I just struggle to get every part of the process complete.  I always seem to have clean unfolded clothes in a basket [or three] hiding somewhere, dry washing hanging on a line inside or out for days on end, ironing in a basket not ironed etc. etc.

I have been working on trying to improve this reality for many years.  While my current system is not perfect, IF I actually follow it I am able to keep more on top of the ridiculous volume of washing that a family of 6 seems to produce.

Basically my system is made up of two parts:
1) I do at least one load of washing every day no matter what [sometimes I have Sundays off]
2) I wash only one or two people's clothes in a wash [makes it easier to sort and fold]

I usually end up needing to do two loads a day, more if I miss a day.  I also tend to put two people of very different sized clothes in together, so it is very easy to work out whose socks/singlets are whose.

I also try to fold straight off the washing line, because otherwise I never seem to get back to the folding!!

Do you have a laundry system that works for you?  I'd be interested to know how you tackle this issue.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Doing it all

Sometimes people ask me how I do everything I do, or make comments like "I couldn't do what you do".  I have always been uncomfortable with these conversations, but never sure why.  Then I stumbled upon this blog post  about the great myth of having everything together and being able to "do it all".  People who comment about what I do must think I have my entire life "together".  Reality is so different.  The fact is that no one can do everything [even though sometimes I wish I could].

I thought it would be fun to list some of the many things that I don't do:
- I don't knit, I've always wanted to, but I don't have the time or patience to bother trying
- I don't play with my children nearly enough
- I don't exercise
- I don't get enough sleep
- I don't use my time as wisely as I could [I'm always choosing to watch tv or browse the internet over other things]
- I don't read enough [my growing tower of books I want to read on my bedside table is proof]
- I don't read to my girls enough
- I don't keep on top of my housework ... ever [my house is really dirty]
- I don't keep in touch of my friends/family the way I'd like to
- I don't remember birthdays
- I don't dust. Ever.
- I don't eat fruit [unless my kids are watching and then I have to]
- I don't keep on top of my photo albums [Miss 3 and Miss 5 don't have baby albums at all yet!!]
- I don't put the washing away until I run out of baskets [and I own heaps]
- I don't positively parent my kids the way I'd like

So while I have four children, keep busy running my home, helping in the classroom, leading bible studies, helping out at church, bake and cook from scratch, and sew and garden when I get the chance, I am far from  doing it ALL.  But that's okay.  I have a Lord & Saviour who makes up the difference for me in all the areas of my life where I don't measure up.  I am so thankful for Him.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gluten free orange cupcakes - thermomix

These are SO yummy, and despite using the skin and pith are not bitter at all.  I am really enjoying making these cakes at the moment.  If you don't have a thermomix you could try it with a food processor, but it may take a little longer to blitz/process.

Whole Orange cupcakes

1 whole orange cut into quarters (skin and all)
225g butter
3 eggs
1 cup [200g] sugar
2 cups [300g] gluten free flour blended with 2 tsp xanthan gum

2 teaspoons GF baking powder

Put the orange and butter into thermomix bowl. Blitz for 7 seconds [speed 8]. Scrape bowl and repeat.

Add eggs, sugar and flour. Mix for 20-30 seconds [speed 4].

Spoon into cupcake papers, bake at 170 C for 15-20 mins or until cooked. 

Dust with icing sugar or [my favourite] top with chocolate ganache.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

menu planning

I have been menu planning for years.  It is one of the many ways I cope with my crazy schedule.  I like to plan at least a week at a time, but I prefer a fortnight, or even a month.  That way I can make my grocery list and I'll have everything I need in the house for each meal I've planned.  When I'm busy I just recycle my grocery list and menu plan from fortnight to fortnight or month to month.

Recently I was finding that having to refer to a handwritten list, or a note on the computer, was becoming a problem.  I kept forgetting to check it early enough in the day to defrost meat etc. so now I am using Google calendar for my menu plan.

Now I have added an additional calendar that is purely for menus.  So each morning when I look at my calendar I can simultaneously look at what is planned for dinner.  I am loving this.

Do you menu plan?  What tools do you use to help you?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Playing with my thermomix

I've finally had a chance to 'play' with some of the basic things the thermomix can do.  It has been great fun.  These are things that they recommend trying in the first month or two that you own a thermomix.  I've had mine for 6 months and haven't stopped using it, but just skipped over the basics [I'm not so good at following instructions... oops].  I have to say that I wish I'd tried these things earlier as we could have been eating them for 6 months!!

I've made my own butter:

 Made yoghurt [from scratch - SO easy]:

 And boiled eggs in this amazing little machine.
I have to say I am extremely excited. It will be fun to make flavoured butters and yoghurts from this point.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


My sister told me about an amazing health ice cream that is not ice cream.  You take a couple of frozen bananas and whip them in a food processor or blender with a tablespoon of cocoa until it's soft and creamy.  That's it.

I tried it and she was right - it works and it is amazing.  I added some chocolate chips after I took this photo. 

This is well worth a try if you have a couple of gross overripe bananas lying around.  Stick them in the freezer overnight and then make yourself this yummy dessert!!