Saturday, October 31, 2009

Don't you just love surprises? Today, as I was rushing out the door my husband said "Hang on!" I turn around and he had this ring sitting in its box, open. I was so excited. I knew he was buying me one, but I had no idea when I would get it.

The photo doesn't do it justice. It is a Black Opal, set in white gold with diamonds. I love it. I have wanted a black opal ever since I saw a TV show when I was a kid "Genie from Downunder" is what I think it was called. There was a Genie dad and his son that lived in a black opal.

Anyway, it is so nice to be surprised. Do you want to know why he bought it? NOt for an anniversary, Christmas or my birthday, it is just because he loves me!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Personal Training, Health and my new favourite book

This is where I get to work out and who is watching. That’s right, kangaroos! My personal trainer – Jodi from Supreme Health and Fitness, takes me up a hill when I don’t have my kids with me. It is such a good spot. It’s clean, the air is fresh and best of all, the only ones watching are the wildlife.

By the time we have walked up the hill, we are warmed up, so get straight into a session. We do a full circuit up there and I am amazed at what you can use to exercise with. It’s things you’d never even think of.

Other times when we train, it’s at her house, because I have 2 dd’s how are usually with me, and they love her kids, so they all play well together.

I have been going 3 times a week, and whilst I have only list 1 kg in 2 weeks, My clothes are all hanging looser. We are toning at the same time as dropping the weight. My aim is not just to be slimmer, but healthy. I’d like a more defined body.

I have also been reading Healthy Skin Diet And am amazed. I love this book because it is not just a diet. It is all about healthy eating, but explains more about how the body breaks down food, what it uses and needs, what it converts to in the body etc... It has truly been an eye opener. It does have an actual diet plan in it for an 8 week programme, plus some brilliant recipes.

I was recommended it by a few friends and thought, Oh, no, not another diet book! But I got it and LOVE it! So this, combined with my exercise, I should be looking pretty good by Christmas!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Setting little reminders

I live in a 1 bedroom unit, which I can never seem to keep tidy. Part of that probably comes from my 2 dd’s destroying everything as I go, part of it is not having enough room and part of it is sheer laziness.

Last week I sat down and wrote the big things I think need to be done each week, the bathroom, the floors, the beds and have put a reminder in my phone for one job on a different day of the week. On the other days I will do the clothes. I do usually get to these things, but not always every week like I think it should be done.

It’s amazing how much easier house cleaning seems when it is broken into small portions and done on different days instead of 1 big job, 1 day a week. I used to do it this way and I think that might be why I never really felt like doing it, it was such a big task.

Those of you who have been following me know I have been de-cluttering, but there is only so much stuff I can get rid of with a family of 4. I have been looking at storage solutions and I think over the next week, everything should be done and I will feel more organized. I’ll post the pictures once I have implemented my ideas.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Grocery challenge update

So far I am doing well on my challenge. I have been quiet lucky with some things too. I got a tin of formula for my baby free this week, so I am now covered for the rest of the fortnight for formula. We got invited to dinner last night and Tuesday night was my sister in laws birthday, which was a BBQ at a park.

I have bought cereal, 1 tin of formula, some fruit and veg, milk and have $35 left of my $100.

We have run out of store bread now, so I am making a loaf, using a friends’ recipe that is healthier and much more filling. I’m also about to make a lasagne with the 500g mince we have, but I am going to make it go further with kidney beans and vegetables. I usually get 2 lasagnes when I do it this way and my husband actually likes it! I’ll post the recipe when I have done it. I tend to make it up as I go along, so it’s not a hard and fast recipe.

I am also going to make chicken and mushroom quiche, (I usually get 2 meals from it), beef slow cooker casserole, lemon chicken, Turkish bread pizza’s and vegetable fried rice. I have some easy meals such as baked beans on toast, chickpea curry, tomato soup, dhal, grilled cheese etc...

Actually, looking at what I have, I might even be able to extend this challenge! But I will see how I go.

A few things I have found especially useful, is portion sizes and drinking more water. When I drink the amount of water I should a day, I am not as hungry on those days. If I don’t drink enough I get peckish in the evening. I know our portion sizes are generally out of control. If you read up on how much of things you should eat, it is quite shocking to realise that we usually eat more than double what we should.

A proper breakfast is a must too. I am trying to be really conscience of what I eat and now that I eat a proper breakfast, I have more energy and don’t crave sugary or junky food. This challenge has been really great for our family so far.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Growing from seeds

I am so excited. Nothing I have ever grown from a seed has ever taken off, until now! I have coriander, sage, basil, chives and lettuce all taking off. I have rosemary, spinach, mint and more lettuce growing from seedlings and doing extremely well. Plus in another pot, struggling a bit is some oregano.

It is so awesome to be able to step out the door and grab a few lettuce leaves and some herbs to go with dinner. I can’t wait until they are all bigger and doing better. I love the cut and come again lettuce. And the things I am growing have so much more flavour than the store bought stuff.

I’d love to grow more, but have limited space, so I can only dream. One day I will have a huge garden and fruit trees and vegetables galore...

Monday, October 19, 2009

$100 for groceries this fortnight - no excuses

This fortnight is going to be a challenge. You see, I want to keep the groceries under $100, including nappies and formula. Considering formula is $36 a fortnight and disposables $17 a packet, that doesn’t leave me with a lot of money. And no, I do not have a lot of meat, or food storage I am going to be using.

You see, I am also trying to get us to eat healthier and more vegetarian meals. I have enough meat for probably 7 meals, chicken, 1 tin of tuna and 500g steak. I have some frozen veg, and tinned veg, lots of dried lentils, barley, chickpeas and mung beans etc...

I would like to use up things we have and replace it with healthier options. We have white flour, white pasta, white rice etc... Whereas I would like wholemeal flour and pasta and either basmati or brown rice.

I figure, I have some disposables, probably enough for each daughter, 1 per day. My 2 year old is day time toilet trained, so only uses a nappy at night and I have MCN’s for my other daughter, which I can use, although it means my husband will not change her nappies. This means I will be able to go the fortnight without buying nappies.

I am really determined to do this, because we have been slack in our savings lately and have something we have to pay off, which for us is rare and I LOATHE being in debt. Looking at our cupboards, fridge and freezer, I am hopeful I will be able to do it, but not 100% sure. Too bad though, because I am going to take out the cash only and have allocated all the rest of the money, which will be gone, so no options!

Friday, October 16, 2009

I was cooking dinner tonight, it’s spaghetti, which my husband loves. As I was cooking it, I noticed the copious amounts of fat coming off it. Now I drain the fat off and rinse it etc... But as I was cooking it I realised I don’t like this dish enough to want to consume that fat. Lok at it! It's gross! (yeah, I couldn't be bothered draining it tonight and I don't buy extra lean usually coz, I have found there is no difference.)

I have been trying to lose weight, and have been going well in the last few weeks, but I know if I cut out things like this, I would be so much better off.
So instead of spaghetti I made myself a salad. At first I had no idea what to put it in, but as I looked around, I realised there was plenty.

I had lettuce, carrot, corn, spinach, snow peas, almonds, walnuts, onion and celery. I had a little bit of each, yet feel fuller and better than if I ate spaghetti. I seem to find that heavy mince, pasta or meat meals sit like a ball in my stomach and I feel more tired after eating them.

It’s not that I want to give up meat completely, but I would like to cut back. I prefer a kidney bean bolognaise I do to normal bolognaise. I prefer different salads and wraps, I like lentils and chickpeas. There’s so much food out there, I don’t know why I limit myself to what I know.

My sister in law is doing something with her family. Every week they try a new fruit or vegetable; they talk about it and try it in different dishes. I think it’s a great idea and will be implementing it in my family.

I have got a personal trainer now too, who I have been friends with for some time. We have often discussed various things about nutrition and fitness, and she has given me advice, but now we are serious. I want my pre marriage body back.

I want to know more about food and exercise. I know we are what we eat, but it’s so much more than that. How do different foods affect us and why?

I know my husbands family suffer from gout. We had him tested for it once and were horrified to see how close he was to it. The doctor said with some diet changes, he should be able to get his levels back within normal range. Funny thing is, the big triggers from it, such as alcohol and shellfish, he doesn’t have. We don’t drink and he is allergic to prawns etc... It was red meat, tomatoes and too much junk food. We cut back and watch what we ate more and both felt better.

It is a certain type of acid in the body that can cause gout. Normal levels are 20 – 40, 60+ is gout. My husbands level was 54 and we got it back to 40 within 2 months. This just proves how much diet affects our bodies.

And yet, my husband and I have become complacent. So, I feel, it is my responsibility, as the cook and grocery shopper to monitor our diet and make changes. The more I learn, the more I’ll share on here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It’s amazing how many skills from older generations have gone. We have let them slip through our fingers by not talking to our ancestors and learning from them. In some cases it couldn’t be helped, but essentially I think current generations and future ones need to look up to our grandparents and ask them to teach us what they know.

In my family there are quite a few things that have been lost forever. My mother died when I was 15, along with most of her recipes, her talent for craft, sewing, art, well anything she turned her hand to. I learnt a few things from her; she taught me basic sewing skills. I learn some of her recipes and we had some put in a book, but there is so much more I would have liked to learn from her.

My mother used to preserve everything, make jams, bake bread, all of that. I wish I knew how she did it. I am blundering my way through various recipes and trying to get it, but oh, how I wish I had learnt from my mum.

I do not know how to knit either. My Gran could, in fact I have a lovely throw rug she did. I remember as a child watching her knit it. I remember a jumper she knitted me and it was my absolute favourite in the whole world. Unfortunately, Gran passed away when I was in year 4, so I did not get to learn off her. My other Nan can crochet I think, but she lives in a different state to me. As such, I have decided that when my Oma (my step mothers mum) gets back from her holiday, I would like her to teach me.

Why not get a book or learn online? Because it would be so much more special to be taught by her. It would be time just the 2 of us have together and I am sure I can learn a lot her about other things as well, since she has lived a very interesting and hard life.

There are so many skills older generations could teach us and it doesn’t just have to be about cooking or sewing. My Oma lived in Austria as a child, and lived through hell thanks to the war. She has told me some stories, but I could learn so much more. My land lady migrated here years ago and I have learnt many things from her.

We take things for granted and often don’t realise until it’s too late. Take the hand of the older generation and walk with them. Let them teach you, or else, one day we will live in a world void of so many skills and so much knowledge.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Soy Candles

I really like soy candles. I discovered them 2 years ago and have loved them ever since. I used to burn essential oil, but it always needed the water topping up and when it got too low, it would spit everywhere which was not good.

The thing is though, soy candles can seem a bit expensive and some I bought were too strong, others too weak. (I'm fussy I know). Then I had a light bulb moment... Why not make my own?

So I got online and googled soy candle supplies. I compared a few companies, then bought wax, scents, wicks and tea light holders. It was under $50 all up, including postage, and I got 7 bottles of fragrance. I had a jug for the microwave already, so didn't feel the need to buy a kit.

All I did was melt some of the wax in the microwave for a few minutes on 50%, as I didn't want it to be too hot when I put in the fragrance. Once it was all melted, I added a few drops of the fragrance (I like pina colda best).

Whilst the wax was melting I had set up my tea light holders on the bench with wicks in them.

Once the wax was melted, I added a few drops of fragrance and poured the melted wax into the holders. Then I sat them aside to go hard.

And this is what they looked like finished.

I also did some in old pasta sauce jars. I layered the scents. I did 1/3 pina colada, let that go hard, did the next layer sex on the beach and the top layer forbidden fantasy (yeah, ok, these names sound bad, especially considering I do not drink and I was not trying to "get anyone in the mood", they just happened have the fruits and flowers I like!)

I let the candles go hard for a few days, as they seem to burn longer. I did burn a few tea lights that night, as the wax had set, but they didn't last as long as candles I let sit for a week in the cupboard.

I love my soy candles, and actually need to make some more. The one I did in the jar was an experiment. I lit it and wanted to see how long it would burn for. It lasted 4 days! I did not blow it out (Ok, so you are not supposed to go to sleep with lit candles, but it was contained well away from anything in a solid glass jar. Don't tell anyone!)

I used to get about 10 - 12 hours out of the ones I would buy for $20, and since I got 18 tea lights and 2 large jars, or over 250 hours for under $50, I would say this is definately the way to go!