Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nativity scene and other Christmas things

I have looked for a nativity scene I liked for a few years. I really loved the Willow Tree ones but did not love the price tag. I found one once I liked but didn’t have the money. When I did and decided I did want one, they were sold out. Then finally this Christmas I found one.

It is a very simple child like one, not a real looking one, but I really liked it. I got it today for half price and am extremely happy with it. I know it is not what everyone would like or have but I love it.

I still think about the one that got sold out though. It was a little scene with just Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus and it was sitting in a letter of a word such as joy, hope, peace. I liked the hope one and they were sitting in the ‘o’. If I ever see one like it again I will just buy it!

I must say I was quite disappointed in the “sales”. There were a few things on my list I wanted to get but many items were priced higher than they were presales, so I just refused to buy them. I will continue looking, but am not holding my breath.

One thing I wanted to do was change my decorations to blue and silver. I have been collecting blue and silver decorations for the last 2 years. My husband did not want blue and silver when we got married so we got the red and gold he wanted. We were given a gift voucher for The Warehouse (Clints/Chickenfeed/Go-Lo, you know one of the cheap shops) at Christmas one year so we could go buy a tree and decorations. (Just to clarify we asked for that shop, as we knew the voucher would be small and at least this way we’d get something!)

Anyway, so back then we got a small sparse tree for $7 (he did not want to spend more and get a better tree) and $15 worth of red and gold baubles and tinsel. I have hated our tree every year. To me it is ugly and cheap. I know its shouldn’t be that big a deal and figured when we had kids they would trash a lot of it. Well, they kind of did this year. Much to my joy.

I was hoping to get my tree for a good price but no such luck yet. I have my eye on one (ok, 2 but he won’t go for the big one I REALLY want, so I we are compromising) it is 7ft (I wanted the 9ft) plush tear drop style. I have 1 string of 180 lights but will need more. Where are they all this year, all I could find were ugly solar ones mostly!

If it gets reduced by another $50 I will get it, but I am looking online in the meantime. I am also looking in the sales for more blue and silver decorations but haven’t really found many I like. I did find one bell and my daughter found a key she liked, but that is all really.

Oh well. I have a whole year to look online and stuff. I will most likely order some things from the USA or something OR if my sister in law does get married over there next year buy up when I am there!

I am also planning a trip to a specific Christmas shop later in the year with my mother in law, so I can be patient if what I want is not around right now.

I am really happy with my nativity scene though.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Starting the vegetable garden

Yesterday when making my desk I came across these seeds. I got them from my mum a few years ago, but was unable to use them all.  I have some herbs already growing from the basil and mint she gave me, but I did not have the space for the carrots and beans and radishes (I LOVE radishes, but no one else in my family here does so I am very excited to grow my own).

So my plan today if I have time, otherwise tomorrow is to prep the area I plan on planting my vegies in and getting the garden ready then plant my seeds.

We have been meaning to do this since we moved but just haven't had time, we had so much else to do first.

We know where we want it, we have seeds, dirt, bricks to create a border, we just didn't have time.

I'll be moving a few things that are growing in pots to this new garden, such as lettuce, basil and rosemary. I'll be keeping the mint in its pot and the aloe vera.

I am hoping to grow a decent crop. My herbs did really well before, I let them go to seed and they grew more which was really exciting.

So stay tuned, I'll have pics of my 'new' vegie garden soon!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My new from old desk

We have had this old crate in the garage since we bought the house.
It's got 3 sections and I remember when my nan came up and saw it she was most excited. She said old apple crates like that sell really well where she is from. Someone would buy it in an instant.

My husband wanted to throw it out 5yrs ago when we got the house. Me I wanted to keep it. I had no use in mind and it was filthy, but I liked it. So this week I had an idea and I pulled it out.

When I cleaned it up I saw this

I looked it up. This company switched from wood to plastic like 65 years ago! So this crate is pretty old. I still really like it.

This week I decided it would be one side of my desk.

The other side would be this other crate that has sat in my garage for 3.5yrs. Yeah, I am a hoarder.

Anyway, this crate had nails sticking out of it and wooden bits I need to cut off.

The lid had heaps of nails sticking out of it like this

So I pulled them all out, sanded the pine crate and cleaned both of them.

I then put them in my room with a piece of chipboard I had laying around.
I still need to add the hinges to my 'cupboard' door, which are also in my garage from a project that got changed. I want to paint the chipboard and possibly put in another shelf in the cupboard but here it is.

It took me a couple of hours to do it all, but I like it.

There was only 1 thing that didn't go quite as planned. I knew that the old crate was 4cm higher than the new crate, but I was going to use the wood off cuts to balance them out. It didn't quite work. So instead I banged in the nails I pulled out to have 4cm sticking out the top to balance both sides.

It also gives a nice little home for paper work or my laptop.

Not bad for a free desk. It'll look better once I have finished it properly. I have already put books in the old crate. I didn't want to change that crate in any way because I think I might use it for something else in the future.

Considering I was going to pay $200 for a desk, I am really happpy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Kitchen renos

 This is what my kitchen currently looks like. Beautiful isn't it? The above picture is the view from the door near the front door and the view below is from the other end.
That hideous lino has been ripped up since I took this pic, but I wanted to give you an idea of what I am working with.

We ripped out all the cupboards, sink, everything and got rid of it all. The oven is the only thing we are keeping.

Now we need to prep all the walls, fix the hole in the ceiling, sand and repaint, then we can get started in what the kitchen will actually look like.

We are thinking white cabinets, light stone coloured benchtop probably granite with the floorboards polished up nicely.

For now my kitchen consists of an oven and a bucket for a sink. I use the dining room table in the rumpus room to prepare everything. My fridge and freezer are out there as well. Then I cook it all in the kitchen. It is a bit of back and forth, but its what we have to do right now.

We had to rip out the kitchen. It was completely disgsting and unsable. Every hinge was a cockroach nest. Disgusitng.

It'll take a while, but we'll get a new kitchen.

Monday, December 13, 2010

We have been busy working away at the garden. We've maed some great headway and found some surprise plants.
The first one was the big one in the first pic.
We want a tropical look so were extremely happy to find this one.

Not only did we find it, but it has 2 babies!!

They are little and hidden under another bush but we'll be digging them out and replanting them soon.

We also found this little rose bush

Also we have found and replanted 2 palms, mondo grass and some succulents.
We are hoping to be able to do it all for next to nothing and at the rate we are going finding plants it should work out pretty well.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why I will never use plug in freshners again

Lately I have been quite sick. I have been getting dizzy spells. I would get really weak and faint, I could walk, then my vision would go and I couldn’t see. I could hear, but not respond to those talking to me which was making it hard to do much. An ‘episode’ would completely exhaust me and I would often sleep afterwards, sometimes for hours. I was tired all the time.

I went to my doctors about it and had to go for a ct scan, which came back clear. I was then booked in to get more tests with a neurologist which will be happening in about a fortnight.

In the meantime I was discussing it with my mum and we both thought possible chronic fatigue so I did some Googling. Gotta love Google.

Anyway, I came across some articles talking about the link between CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and those plug in air freshners and it dawned on me. I have only had these symptoms since plugging them in. We put one in the car because my kids spilt some drinks and we cleaned it but it still had a ‘scent’. A few weeks later we got one for home because my mother in law had one and we liked the smell. When we moved house we got 2 because the house was much bigger.

Looking at the timeline of my symptoms and how they gradually got worse I realised it is probably those things, so I unplugged.

The next day I was still not 100% nor did I expect o be but I did feel better. It was the first day in quite some time I had not needed a nap during the day. I was able to do things and whilst I was still tired it was not to the point of being unable to do anything, which was such a relief.

It has been almost 2 weeks since I unplugged and my symptoms are pretty much gone. I still do not feel completely back to normal, but it looks like that can take up to a few months anyway but I do feel A LOT better.

I will still go to the neurologist because I don’t want to misdiagnose myself, but I am pretty confident I have sorted the problem!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Weight loss progress

I have not done a weight update for a little while. I know, sorry. Up until today I had not actually lost any weight on the scales, but I have been changing shape. My clothes are looser and even my husband mentioned I have lost weight. This morning the scales said 2kg this week!

I can see in pictures I am slimmer than I was not long ago. Not hugely slimmer, but I do like my new shape.

It is getting a little difficult to find clothing that fits now. Most size 14 are too big and some size 12 too tight. I can get some on, but it looks and feels bad.

Only a few weeks ago I got some new jeans and despite my scales saying no change, I can now almost pull them straight off. Yay!

I think the hot weather has helped. It has been hot, then raining here which makes it humid. It also makes me more thirsty and less hungry.

I have been making a conscious effort to eat breakfast. It is extremely hard for me. I don’t know why, I am just not a morning food person. I have found a cereal I like which I have with milk or yoghurt. It is quite possibly the most expensive cereal I have bought in my life but it is worth it to know there is something I want to eat every morning.

I have found things like boiled eggs, carrot sticks and hummus have been good snacks. Easy to prepare and filling. I have also been eating chicken and leek soup on cooler evenings which is very filling to me, but very low fat.

I have been cutting back sugar for all of us. In fact, sugar used to get bought a lot to put on cereal here. So far I have managed to not put it on my kids cereal at all and we have hardly used any.

I have been doing a bit of reading about the effects of sugar and there are a couple of books I want to read more on it. It’s really something I would like to pretty much eliminate from our diet. I mean, my kids are happy to eat a fruit, cheese, eggs, some vegetables etc for snacks so why give them junk instead?

One of the books I want to read is Sweet Poison. I saw it the other day and it looks interesting. I didn't see who it was by, but am going to see if my library has it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gluten Free Expo

On Saturday I went to the Gluten Free Expo at the old Fox Studios and it was awesome.

There was so much stuff we got to taste test and so many specials. My sister and I split some Of the specials like chocolate and cake mixes where we didn’t want a lot but you got a bigger discount when you bought more.

I LOVED that I was able to get my museli for $4 a box, that is almost ½ price, so I got a few boxes.

I borrowed my mother in laws trolley bag, you know those bags on wheels more mature people take shopping with them? We managed to fit a fair amount in it, making it a whole lot easier to get around and carry everything.

There was an awesome cook book I bought called Cut out the crap which is full of gluten free, preservative free, dairy free recipes. I haven’t tried any yet but they are easy to follow recipes and it is a full colour cook book with a photo for every recipe.

I will be taking more money with me the next time I go to one. Gluten free ‘normal’ foods tend to be 2 – 3 times the price of normal foods. At the expo a lot of things were 50%off. If I stocked up I would save a lot.

I don’t think there is another one in Sydney for a while now, but I will be on the lookout for when it is!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

365 Days to a Wicked Great Mom

Recently I have been feeling like I have not been spending enough quality time with my kids. Between renovating, my husbands work, cleaning, arranging quotes, studying, trying to work on my blogs and another big project I have they seem to have slipped through the cracks.

I do spend time with them. They come with me to the shops, get dragged around everywhere and they are always around here at home, but I have not been connecting with them and focussing on them like I used to.

I do still read books and sing songs, but most of the day is taken up by everything else and they only get that small amount of time at the end of the day, just before bed we read some books and sing some songs.

A few days ago I came across I am wicked cheap’s> post about 365 Days to a Wicked Great Mom (Mum is you’re Aussie like me, lol) and how she felt the same.

She pledged to spend some quality time with at least one of her kids every day and I have decided to join her. I only have 2 kids and it really shouldn’t be that hard to make them feel special every day.

It doesn’t have to be huge things either. Reading and singing is a good start, watching a movie together, baking biscuits/cookies or cakes together, gardening, letting them help with dinner, a picnic dinner in the backyard instead of inside, playing dolls or whatever with them instead of brushing them off.

I have only just started and I forgot to take pictures, but the house is already calmer. Taking the time for them has made them more attentive to me when I need them to do something. There are less tantrums and the atmosphere in general is calmer.

I don’t intend to post about what we are doing or put all the photos on here. I might from time t time update you, but it is more something just for us as a family. I do encourage everyone to join though and spend more time with your kids

Monday, November 15, 2010

Response from Berri Juice about palm oil

Surprisingly I got a prompt response from Berri, though I will wait and see if they do change like they say.

Here's the letter

"Thank you for your recent email regarding Berri products and the use of Palm Oil.

Palm oil is used in some of our juice products as it is considered to be a good source of Vitamin E. We wish to confirm that its use is limited to only a few products across our entire juice range.

However, your concerns regarding the manufacture of palm oil and its effects on the environment have been reported through to our Marketing and Technology and Innovation departments for their review and consideration.

In addition, I wish to advise that we are currently in the process of implementing a Green Purchasing policy within the Company, to ensure that in the future we understand the indirect impacts of our product manufacture. We recognise that the environmental impacts of the raw ingredients we use are significant to our business and consumers.

Essentially, this policy will require us to request information on environmental impacts of products and services prior to purchase. We will also require suppliers of ingredients to provide evidence of their own commitment to the environment.

With the implementation of this policy, our supplier of the palm oil ingredient used in our juice products, along with all other suppliers of ingredients to manufacture our products, will be reviewed to determine if they fulfil our requirements.

Once again, thank you for your feedback and our sincere apologies that we did not meet your expectations in this instance.


Glenn Hare

Consumer Enquiries Representative "

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Before and almost afters

I thought I would give you can update on how the house is coming along.

I only just realised there is no before photo of this room, but it was green. This wall used to be open but was filled up  years ago. It was supposed to be painted, but instead was left green and putty colour. Very attractive. The people who were supposed to do it didn't finish the job. Excuse the mess in this pic, the room is not set up yet.
It has been painted white and the light has been replaced. The light needs the ceiling paint touched up around it, so I will show you that later.

Next this is the main bedroom. Remember the mould in all the cornices?

We bleached everywhere then repainted the ceiling and cornices. Now I am just waiting on my husband to fix one of the holes in the wall so we can paint this room.

We've also removed most of the mould from the bathroom, all the mould in the other areas, started to remove the kitchen, fixed some of the garden and gotten rid of some of their rubbish. The rest is being removed in 2 weeks.

It has been a lot of cleaning, filling holes, sanding and prep work to be able to paint, but we are getting there. In the meantime we have also priced everything else and know exactly what we are buying, which makes things much easier when it comes time to get things.

We are hoping to have most of it done in the next month. Wish us luck!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Palm oil in my juice!

This week I bought some juice for my daughter because she was sick. She has a temperature and it was hard to get fluids in. I don’t normally buy juice.

So I bought Berri Multi-V juice because it was on special and I knew she would drink it. She’d had a couple of boxes when I happened to notice one of the ingredients out of the corner of my eye. PALM OIL.

Seriously, in juice boxes. It’s meant to be juice. Why add oil? Apparently for vitamin A.

I hate how palm oil seems to be in pretty much everything we buy. Why do I not like palm oil? Well, there are numerous reasons.

1.) It has contributed majorly to the deforestation in Indonesia and its surrounds. (Yes it provides jobs for them, but at what expense to everything else?) The deforestation is causing mass amounts of greenhouse gases to be emitted because not only are they chopping down trees faster than anyone can plant new ones they are burning where they cut down. One of these fires only a few years ago killed 8,000 orangutans. Which brings me to my next reasons
2.) It is causing organgutans to become extinct. It is highly likely that in the next few decades this amazing monkey will be completely gone. I am horrified at the amount of animals our “advanced” civilisation has managed to wipe out.
3.) It is one of the most unhealthy oils you can consume. It contains 50% saturate fat. Our own Heart Foundation does NOT recommend consuming it! Most health authorities agree it causes heart problems, yet it is in so many of the products we consume!
I try and make it a point of avoiding products which I know contain palm oil, so when Cadbury added it to their recipe I emailed them and informed them of what I thought, as did many others and they removed it! Nice to have a company listen to its consumers.

So why is palm oil used so much? It is the cheapest oil and since we are all about the bottom line, naturally things like health don’t matter.

Amazingly though, if palm oil was no longer used our air would be cleaner and easier to breather, heart problems, obesity, diabetes and numerous other health issues would reduced, thus reducing the load on health systems around the world and saving lots of tax dollars.

But big business will continue to do what is cheapest because it is in their best interests.

This palm oil in my daughters juice has me seething though. Oil and juice are not 2 things you would normally mix together. No oil has any business being in juice.

What am I going to do about it? Well, I am going to contact all the companies I know that are using palm oil and tell them my thoughts. I will also be posting all of it on here for everyone to see.

I will add apparently there is sustainable palm oil which some companies use, but realistically it is very hard to prove that the oil used in specific products is sustainable. Besides, its still unhealthy!

Joining in Soapbox Sunday. If you have an opinion about anything and want to let it out, feel free to join in too!

Christmas Wishlist

Christmas is almost here and my husband wants to know what I want. He doesn't want it to be something for the house/family/kitchen etc... He wants it to be just for me.

Usually he would not care and just buy whatever it was I said I wanted. We have had a rough year though so he wants to treat me. At first I was all "Oh, I don't know". He kept pushing, so I have come up with a list...

Firstly a GHD. Though, he already agreed to buy me one and that was just because I want one, not as a present, so maybe I should take it off my list? lol.

I would probably just get this one instead of a whole pack, though I do love the pattern on the one in this picture!

I have always used cheap straightners (I got them for $30, in a salon you would be charge $100 for the same one, but since I am a hairdresser, I get better prices). It's either the GHD or one that you can only get if you are a hairdresser with a particular qualification I have. They are a salon only one, which I got for my sister and she likes it.

I'd really like an iphone. I go through stages of do I? Don't I? Yes, I do. Or maybe a HTC Desire HD. Either way a smart phone.

As for pampering, I'd love a day spa gift voucher so I can look like this for a day

Kidding! (About the look, not the day spa.) I have always wanted to spend a full day/weekend at a beauty retreat. Mmmm, no kids, no responsibilities, food cooked for you, in an idyllic location, massages and more...

Actually a salon up the road from us has an awesome deal on at the moment with teeth whitening and other things I really want for 50% - 75% off. SO tempted.

Surfing lessons so I can do cool stuff like this

Yeah, I know. I am not the most co-ordinated person on the planet and when you are learning you are more likely to look like this...

I don't even know how he did that! Most wipe outs I see are not flying, they are face planting it into the surf.

There are other things I'd like, but these are my big ones.
I have pretty much all the presents I am giving ready to go, which I am really ahppy about.

What are you asking for this Christmas?
What are you giving this Christmas?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Big life changes

As you know I have recently moved house. That is not the only big change going on in my life. I can't say what it is right now, but it will be using a lot of my time and I am not 100% sure how much time I will have to blog on here, as much as I love it.

It is my more personal blog and I do want to continue it. I have lots I want to put up, but just don't seem to have the time to take pictures or do posts much right now.

I will be posting intermittenly, just not as regularly as I was.

Hope you stick around. Some of the big things I am doing are completely renovating my house, refashioning my wardrobe, working on a different website, studying and a few furniture make overs.

Yes, that is a lot, which is why I won't be on here much. Hope you understand.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

My house - trashed

On Saturday we moved back into our house. It needs a lot of work, to give you an idea here are some pics
This is in the lounge room, the first room of our house. All the cornices have mold on them like this, darker in some places.

I am just glad the lounge was not as bad as the bedroom, see...
Yeah, I know the light is a sexy as pendant, lol. That will be getting changed.

The kitchen is worse with the paint peeling, moldy and the oven looking like this

That took heaps of strong as chemicals to get it looking decent. It was near new when they moved in. I wont even show you INSIDE the oven!

Another delightful find in the kitchen was the "patched up" hole in the ceiling.

The rumpus room was not moldy but here is just some of the damage to the floors

The bathroom almost bought me to tears. It was BRAND NEW when they moved in. It had just been completed (not how I wanted it, but that's another story!) Here you can sort of see how bad it is, I know the lighting is not that fantastic, but believe me, it was horrendeous. It looks better in this pic than in reality.

The entire floor looks like this...

And the ceiling like this...

I seriously think they never opened a window or used the exhaust fan.

And next we have my backyard

What? There is a huge pile of crap in my backyard? Yes, there is, and 2 more on the driveway and MORE in the garage. Gee I am so lucky.

Did my tenants get their bond back?

Let me think about that...


On the upside we wanted to repaint and do a few things, so now, whilst it is more work, it is not entirely coming out of our pocket.

AND we got all the paint for less than 1/2 price. The floors are going to be 1/3 what we were quoted previously (a few years ago) and my husband is supremely motivated to finish it and sell it.


Originally he was thinkng we'd take 18 months to 2years. Now he is like asap!!

So stay tuned, I'll update you on the progress.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Just one change - Early to bed

So I have been a bit slack this last week due to moving, but I have another change in place for this week...

Got to bed before 10:30pm. I am hopeless and am often up til midnight, which leaves me feeling exhausted the next day. On nights I get to bed earlier and sleep earlier I feel so much better the next day.

My previous changes have been regular exercise e.g. a walk/run 3 times a week and a food diary.

Sorry I am a bit late on this one!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Finally moved

I have finally moved house. I moved in on Saturday. Whilst I am happy to finally be here, it was not the homecoming I expected.

The tenants left the house in a terrible state. There was mould, holes, rubbish, cockroaches, everything disgusting you can think of. In fact it was almost so bad we could have been on TV.

We had the next door neighbours march up to our house angry because the tenants had dumped an unregistered car in the street blocking their driveway.

I spent all day Sunday scrubbing the house. I could kiss whoever invented bleach! Lol. It has worked wonders in the house.

We roach bombed the house. On Sunday I made myself a sandwich left the room for a few seconds and came back to 3 roaches chowing down on it. I nearly puked on the spot. I killed them all and tossed it in the bin. The next day we opened the front door and saw SIX just chilling on the back of it. I freaked. We bombed the house and found a tonne of them when we came back. Dead or sill kicking a bit.

Cockroaches give me the creeps. Way more than spiders. I am hoping that problem has now been eliminated. We did not stay at the house while all this went down. We stayed at my mother in laws because we also had no electricity.

You see, according to the electrical company the power had been disconnected. After 4 phone calls to various companies and getting fairly irate I finally got that sorted and we got power on Monday. Fortunately our hot water is on gas and that was connected, so I was able to scrub away on Sunday.

Today we spent the day prepping and puttying the rooms to paint, pricing things at various shops and attacking the garden. There are bindis galore here. Also where the garden beds used to be is now knee high grass. Ok, well 6 hours ago it was, now I have ripped it all out and it is beginning to look normal again.

We won’t be staying in this house, so I won’t be getting chickens and things I would like just yet. I will be busy renovating and hopefully for very cheap.

I have worked out what I want and how much it all is. Now I am just trying to find it for free or cheaper than what I have priced it all at. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My first wardrobe refashion.

Here's one fo my first refashions. I got this dress for mothers day and whilst it was nice, the sleeves never sat right and always annoyed me.

 So I decided to remove the shirt part of the dress and leave the wool part to use as dress. I can wear a white shirt under it if I want, otherwise I can wear anything I like under it. It is getting a whole lot more wear this way than before. I don't have anything on me legs here, but usually I have my leggings and boots.

This next one looks no different in the pictures, so I have just posted one. I got this top a few years ago and only ever wore it as a top under things.

Under the arms was too wide/low, basically the whole was WAY too big. The top of the sleeves was a slit, like a cap sleeve cut up the middle. I hated that. And recently it was developing little holes around the neckline.

So I stitched up the holes, stitched up under the arms and the slit in the sleeve. And you know what? It is now one of my favourite tops. So much so that I want to get fabric to make another!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Just One Change - Weight Loss

Last week I joined in One Little Change at the Bristol Project to help me with my weight loss. I made more than one little change though. I started exercising more and put a piece of paper inside my pantry to be my food diary.

My weight has been yoyoing for sometime and I finally decided enough is enough. So I was really good this week.

And you know what?

I lost 3kg!!!! In 1 week. All I did was track what I was eating and push myself harder when exercising. I am now running some of my walk and have taken 15 minutes off my time. YAY! (It would've been more but I got an important phonecall so couldn't run whilst on the phone.)

This week I am going to be cutting out dairy. I don’t eat it a lot but I regularly will have milk, full fat no less. Almost every time I open the fridge I decide to have some. I also like cheese in my salad. I have been curbing these, but need to do it more.

I have yoghurt occasionally and whilst I get no fat yoghurt it has very high carbs.

So this week I will not drink any milk, eat any cheese or yoghurt. No dairy. There are other ways to get calcium!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Birthday Cake

This is the cake I made for my daughters 3rd birthday. Not very childlike I know, but she loved it.

It is Macro Foods Gluten Free Chocolate Mud Cake from Woolworths and it is divine. We love it. Not healthy, but oh so tasty.

Since my daughters are strawberry mad I thought I would cover it with what they love.

And they did love it.

Last year she got a butterfly, but this year was more low key so I went with simple.

I used silver inedible butterflies from my craft stash to pretty it up and they thought it was wonderful.

Simple is often so delightful.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A confession

I have a confession to make. I’ve put on weight. I’m not happy about it and it’s why I haven’t really posted about my weight. I’ve had a few things in Sept which were junk food laden and I was not strong.

I’ve been slack on my exercise and have been so focused on other things I have not really thought about what I have been putting in my mouth.

I do this a fair bit. I lose weight, I feel good, then I put it back on. I lose it again and repeat the cycle. I WANT TO BREAK THIS CYCLE!

I am feeling a bit loser in some of my clothing, so I am not feeling terrible about my weight gain, but I still don’t like it.

I looked at myself in the mirror earlier and I can see the difference in my face and my body. It is changing, just not as fast as it could be.

So I had decided I am now in Camp Biggest Loser. If they can do it and most of them keep most of it off, why can’t I do it? I am currently at home so I have the time to exercise. I have just not been focussed on it.

I am also in charge of what I cook and what we all eat so now the whole family is changing what we eat. I am fortunate that my kids are happy to chomp on fruit, some veg, actually my 3 year old is loving grated carrot, I don’t know why, lol. They also love nuts, mainly cashews, not peanuts so there is no reason to have any junk snacks.

I have put up a piece of paper inside my pantry and I have to write on it everything I eat and drink plus all exercise I do, just like a food diary. Difference is instead of being private, anyone who opens my pantry can read it. (I was going to put it on the front, but I chickened out.)

I am upping my exercise again. Yesterday I got woken up at 6:20. Usually I would roll over and go back to sleep. I contemplated it. I seriously did. Problem is, if I want to lose weight I need to exercise more. So I walked and ran the 4km walk I used to do. I discovered I am 20 minutes out of shape. That is it took me 20 minutes longer than my previous regular time. I am truly disgusted at myself for this.

But it is a new day, so here we go!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Meet me on Monday blog hop

This is a blog hop where each week you answer a set of questions about yourself.

1. What is your favorite all time movie? That's a tough one. There's a few movies I like, but I have a hard time saying just 1. I loved Remember the Titans and The Blind Side.
2. How often do you go over the speed limit? I try not to. Sometimes on the highway I do.
3. What really gives you the creeps? Night time petrol station attendants. They always seem creepy.
4. What is your favorite snack? At the moment I am liking carrots with hommus.
5. Would you rather be a dog named Killer or a cat named Fluffy? Killer. Definitely a dog named Killer. I am not a cat person at all. I have always wanted a dog though.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wardrobe refashion

As I mentioned in last nights post I did not buy any clothes for me. I would like some new clothes but have decided to do a wardrobe refashion for myself. Don’t know what I am on about? This site will explain it all.

Basically you transform what you have into things you wear. You are allowed to buy new undies and things. You can also op shop.

I have so many clothes I have meant to fix or adjust but instead they have just sat in my sewing pile and gone nowhere. Last night I finally sat down and did a few things. I also made notes of things I would like to do. I won’t just be making clothes for myself, I’ll be doing things for my daughters as well.

I have already turned a pair of jeans into a skirt for me. They were ripped at the knees. The bottom of the jeans will become the top of a skirt for each of my daughters.

I have so many clothing ideas now that I have begun to really look at my wardrobe. I am not sure how much I will get done before I move, but I’ll try.

It really is amazing when you look at things with a different perspective, what you can do with them.

How about you, do you refashion?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Op shop bargains

My daughters needed some new clothes this week. All theirs were so worn and beyond salvaging that I really needed to get them some things that they could leave the house in.

So off I went to the op shops. The first 2 I looked at didn’t have much. The third had only 2 things but the 4th and 5th were like PAY DAY!!!

As you can see from my photo I got a few items. In the 4th op shop I think someone in a size 5 must’ve just cleared the wardrobe (well, the mum did it). I got 5 long sleeved tops which look like they have only been worn once, and one was new with tags from Cotton On, $19.95. I got them for $3ea. Pumpkin Patch, Milkshake and Cotton On. Pretty happy with that!

I also got 2 pairs of pink shorts for my daughter for $1.75ea.

At the next op shop I got swimming tops, new with tags t shirt, Dora swim shoes (for the beach), a long sleeve top plus a jumper like new, plus a new with tags singlet top for my younger daughter, a barbie dress which my eldest loves to bits and a few other items all for $2.50ea! They were having a $2.50 kids clothes sale which was awesome.

I now have enough clothes to mix and match with their still fine clothes. Since it is spring here it is sometimes cool and sometimes warm so we need a variety of clothes. I am happy I have clothes they can layer now for warmth, but as we progress into summer I will have a few tee’s for them and the size 5’s are getting put away for next winter.

I was especially ecstatic about the swimming tops since we plan on going to QLD in Nov and it is going to be HOT. Plus being on the beach all day, they’ll need the protection.

As for my wardrobe, despite feeling I needed a lot more clothes, I didn’t buy anything. I’ll tell you why tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bridge Climb and All Blacks game

All Blacks doing the Haka

I had a huge weekend. It was stressful on the Saturday but totally worth it. I finally got to climb Sydney Harbour Bridge!

I almost missed my climb. I missed the turn and ended up going over the bridge. Sydney is shocking. I hate driving there. The traffic and streets are terrible. I rang the climb and said I was on the other side of the bridge but I won’t make it to be 15 minutes early for my climb like you’re supposed to be.

Lucky for me they were able to move my climb. So we went about 30 mins later than our original climb and it turned out to be the best thing. We went up one side and over the top. As we were coming down the other side the sun was setting and Luna Park and the rest of the city lit up. It was gorgeous and had we done our original climb, we would’ve missed all that.

After the climb we raced over to ANZ stadium to watch the All Blacks vs. Wallabies. The first hour of the game was terrible. (For me as an All Blacks supporter!) The All Blacks were making so many mistakes and I was wishing I hadn’t paid to see this game!

The with 20 minutes to go the All blacks finally kicked in to gear and came from behind to win by 1 point. The last few minutes of the game were intense for everyone. It was so fantastic.

Even better was it was a history making game. Why? Well, it was the 10th straight loss against the All Blacks for the Wallabies. The previous record was 9 straight losses.

The next morning I got to see my sister in law to be whom I haven’t seen for ages. She’s been really sick and lives on the northern Beaches, so nowhere near me. Hopefully when we move back to Syd I will get to see her more. Oh, yeah, my brother was there too. Lol. And I finally got to meet her brother. It was nice to put a face to the name.

I am so glad I finally got to climb the bridge. It has been on my list for ages and this weekend was the last time in a long time I would’ve been able to do it. Thanks to my parents for having my kids for the weekend.

Pictures of me on the bridge will be up later. My computer is being very annoying and I can’t do everything I want with it right now. Hopefully soon though. It is an awesome picture that will go on my fridge because I look so fat in it; it is a great motivation to not eat mindlessly!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Make your own body scrub

This body scrub is something I have been meaning to make for a few years. How bad is that! Last night I felt the need for a body scrub so decided to finally make one.

It is so simple and there are so many ways you can vary the scent to suit you.

All you need is

1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
a few drops of the scented oil of your choice (vanilla, lavender, rose etc...) or you can leave it out.

Simply mix everything together and store in a jar. To use, scoop some out and scrub away.

I love that my skin feels moisturised after using this scrub. Often I would feel extremely dry after a body scrub, but this one leaves my skin feeling exfoliated and soft.

I'm going to make another to keep at my kitchen sink. Sometimes after cutting up raw meat or mixing things with my hands it is nice to use a scrub to clean everything well.

This would make a great gift.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Green things I can do in a few weeks

I am so psyched about moving. There are so many things I am setting in motion for when I move which will make me more environmentally friendly.

Some I could do here, but most I can’t. In case you don’t know I live in a 1 bedroom flat under someone else’s house. The street it’s on is favoured by those who love to speed, making it a little scary to do much outside, as my 3yr old and 1 yr old like to run off. I don’t have a backyard or anything.

So when I move house I will be able to use this

How sad. I am excited over a clothesline and mine isn’t even this good. Mine is slightly bent and doesn’t go up or down. BUT it does dry washing and is in a fenced off backyard, so my kids can’t run onto the road.

This will save me a few hundred a year in electricity and greenhouse gases. Plus sun drying gets more stains out and disinfects etc...

I will also be making one of these

What is that? It’s a solar cooker. You can get much fancier ones, but this is a basic DIY type one. It cooks food slowly using the sun. Since I love my slow cooker I will be able to make food we like in the same manner but with no electricity.

I’ll also be making its cousin, the sun dehydrator. I use my electric one, but to be able to do it naturally would be awesome!

I’ll be getting or making a compost bin/section of my garden. I haven’t decided which I am going with yet, but I’ll be researching it.

I’ll be getting chickens too. I’ll have my own free range eggs. Fresh eggs are so much healthier, tastier, and nutritious and filling compared to their supermarket version.

I’ll have also been reworking how I was going to set up our house. I have decided to put my daughters in a different bedroom. They like a nightlight, this only started a few months ago and we are trying to get them out of it. If we can’t change their habit by the time we move they will be going in the front bedroom. It has a street light outside, which would be great as a night light. I used to open the curtain a crack when I was breast feeding my eldest and it was fantastic.

Since it is already on, why not use that instead of having our own electricity on.

Another alternative is solar lights. Leave them out in the day and bring them in during the night. I only remembered this tip 2 days ago; otherwise I would’ve implemented it when my girls first wanted a light. So far we have had 2 light free nights, so fingers crossed we won’t need them.

And lastly I will be growing more fruit and vegetables. I have a few herbs in pots, but would love a proper vegetable garden and a few fruit trees. I know it will take quite a while before I reap the rewards, but the sooner I start the sooner I see the benefits.

There so much more I will be able to do and it is very exciting, but these are the changes I will be able to make in the first few weeks of moving.

If you want to see more green ideas check out this blog hop I am participating in

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Weight loss update

I have started doing exercise and the weight is really not coming off. I have been doing a dance class and whilst the scales have not been nice I can feel my body changing.

I only do 2 classes a week, one is quite intense, the other is more a refresher class. I am really enjoying it and dance is such an all over body work out. I feel so good and motivated after each class.

I am telling myself that the scales have not moved since I am now building more muscle. This better be the case.

It seems whenever I start to exercise heavily the scales actually work in reverse for me. I would love to be in the 60’s for my weight and I am still aiming for that but my current focus is more on health and toning. I am thinking more about getting fitter and how my clothes feel instead of weight.

Mind you, I am starting to wear out quite a few of my clothes as I have such a limited wardrobe. Focussing on losing weight means I do not like buying anything to wear when I don’t plan on wearing it for long!

I have a time frame though. In November I will have to be seen in public in my swimmers. That means I HAVE to be smaller than I am now. I have just under 12 weeks until I will be on holiday in Queensland.

12 WEEKS! If I am fortunate enough to lose 1 kilo a week (unlikely, but I am aiming high!) I would be in the 60’s, quite nicely actually.

I know what I need to do and where I need to put my foot down. It is just a matter of being super strict on myself and doing it.

One of my biggest downfalls is staying up late. I often have trouble sleeping so am up at all hours. This often results in snacking. Not always, but sometimes. I am not usually hungry, just bored and the knowledge that there are snacks to be had (healthy ones usually) is just too tempting.

Thing is it doesn’t matter how healthy it is, if my body doesn’t need it and I am eating out of boredom it is a bad habit I need to break. It is unnecessary food my body will need to burn up.

I was looking at some of my old clothes the other day and I am so close to some of them it is unbelievable. Now, to just lose a bit more and be there!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My first car - a trip down memory lane

I thought I would take a trip down memory lane, back to my first car. You see, due to recent car troubles, I have been reviewing my car decisions. They have all been bad.

My first car was a beauty. It was similar to the photo. I don’t have any photos of mine though. It was a 1988 Mazda 323, turquoise. It was $1,100. All I had. I had the choice between buying it that day or waiting (like dad wanted me to) a few days til we could look at the Corolla. Nope. The Corolla was white and ugly in my young mind. My older mind now says IDIOT! You should have bought the Corolla!!

The thing that really won me over with the Mazda was the colour. I know, everyone else is probably gagging at the thought of a turquoise bomb! Why did I love the colour? It matched my hand bag. Yes, I was a blonde 18 year old Gen Y, who purchased a car because it matched my hand bag.

So I moved to Sydney in that car. I had it for 3 months and it died. I was driving "home" (to my parents house in Canberra) for my brothers baptism. Just outside of Goulburn it started making a funny noise. So I pulled over at the first exit and did what every young female driver would do in my situation. Rang dad.

“Hi dad, so why would my car be making this noise?” I hold the phone next to my engine.
“Get to a servo and wait for me. You car is almost dead. Call NRMA.”

So I drive it, or more correctly hobbled it barely at 5kms an hour to a service station. I call NRMA. Before they get there 2 more cars break down beside me. Yay, I am not a loner.

NRMA come and fix one, he’s gone. They look at mine. It’s dead. They’ll arrange to tow it back to my mechanics in Sydney. Great. I ring dad, him and mum are already on their way to get me. I am just over an hour from their house. I decide to wait in the servo. The other guy who has broken down next to me doesn’t look like someone I want to hang around.

I go inside. Ok, the attendant is freakier than the guy outside. I will take my chances sitting in my car with him in his car.

I go back to my car. Great, I am so intelligent that I locked my keys in my car. It’s ok though, my car lock is so awesome you can open it with any key, even a knife! Do I ask the guy near me or ask the weirdo in the servo. I ask the guy near me.

As it turns out, that guy is really nice and we get talking. He was on his way to see his daughter in Melbourne. She was in the Navy and he had not seen her in 6 months, but she had this weekend off before being deployed to Iraq.

He only needed one tiny tube part to get his car started. I offered for him to see if a part from my car would fit his. His response “I already checked when you were inside. It doesn’t, but thanks.” Awesome, I am sitting with a thief. His next comment “Want a joint?” Uh, no, no thanks.

And yes, he was still not weirder than the guy inside the servo!

So I hung out with him for an hour until my parents got there. He had food and drink and drugs. I had none of it, but he was entertaining.

When my parents arrived I could see my dad glaring at this other guy like his look could kill him through the windscreen. I got in the car. “Thanks for picking me up. I have a question.”

My parents love it when I say “I have a question”. I still do it now. It is my way of saying I am about to ask for something and I am not sure you will want to do it.

“I need a loan.”

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Medic Apron

This is a bad picture of an apron I made upon request. All they wanted was a plain white apron, with 2 large pockets and a red cross. They needed it for a re-enactment type thing.

I offered to make it, as there is nowhere you'd be able to buy something like it. I decided to make it a bit more than basic though. In the picture it looks crooked, but that's due to how I was standing. I really should learn to stand straight! lol.

Anyway, all I did was cut 2 rectangles for the main part, a red stripe for the bottom and 2 red stripes to make the cross, as well as 1 long white white strip for the ties.

I then cut 2 rectangles for pockets and used some scraps to make some internal pockets.

It didn't take long to stich all up and in the end we ended up with 6 pockets.

2 side pockets that go inside the apron.
2 big pockets on the front.
2 pockets in the red cross. 1 for pens and one for little things like band aids etc...

The recipient was so excited. I also made a little bag upon request to match. It just ties onto the side.

Overall I am pretty happy with it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Gluten Free Tast Testing

I have mentioned our gluten free tast testing a few times on here. We did it on Wednesday night and it was good. I forgot to take lots of pictures though. My camera is almost dead (glad I just order my Nikon d5000!).

Any hoo. Here's the 2 things I got pics of, first pizza...

Did you know Dominoes now do GF pizza's?

Ok, I realise the chicken in this next pic has a kind of pinky glow, but it was cooked through and our fav. Honey mustard chicken!

It was so yum. I loved it and it was so easy. Just 1/2 cup honey, 60g Nuttelex and 1 Tbsp mustard. Melt together and pour ove chicken in an oven proof dish. Bakc for 20 - 30 mins. Too easy!

We also had ...
Satay Sauce
Packet Chocolate Cake
From Scratch Banana Cake
Beetroot Hummus

I need to experiment more. So far I have decided I don't really like most of the recipes I used to make (e.g. biscuits, pancakes, crepes etc...) that are based around flour. I have lots of GF flour and things, but it's not the same. I guess it's healthier though, now I am not tempted by unhealthy sweets?