Friday, December 23, 2011

Barney and Salt - Bonded Bunnies

 Barney (a Chinchilla - the grey coloured bunny) is currently my oldest rabbit.  He is about 6 or 7 years old now.  We rescued him from someone my husband knew.  They bought Barney for their 6 year old daughter, but didn't know how to look after a bunny very well, and got mad when he urinated on their couch.  I highly doubt they put out a litter tray for him though, or spent the time needed to train him.  Bunnies are actually easier to train than cats, but that's for another post. To cut a long story short, rather than hear that this poor bunny was going to be put down, my husband suggested that perhaps this bunny should live with us.  I only had Charcoal at the time, and Barney, being definitely male, wouldn't be a problem.

So to our home came Barney. I could tell straight away that he had been through a tough time.  He was very skittish and not very trusting.  He still isn't very comfortable around people, but I am very patient with him, and he will tolerate pats on his nose and gentle cheek rubs.  He has never bitten me or the children, which is fantastic for a bunny who had trust issues.

He lived with Charcoal for a while, but those two didn't really bond.  Charcoal was too much of a people bunny, and Barney didn't know what to make of this funny lop eared rabbit who thought he was a person.

Two years ago we rescued/adopted Salt and his sister Pepper.  Salt (a Himalayan looking Havana) is such a funny character.  He is timid, but placid and loves his cheeks rubbed.  He will hop away, then realise he does actually want to be patted.  He and Barney bonded instantly.  They definitely call them 'snuggle bunnies' for a reason.  There is just something about bonded bunnies that is gorgeous.  They look after each other, they share, they are gentle with each other, they snuggle up to each other, they preen each other, and they really don't like being separated from each other - they pine.  Of course, they mate each other too.  *Gross!*  Barney is the dominant male in this pair.

Salt is very vocal.  He likes to chatter away to me in his little bunny whimpers to let me know he is happy, that he likes what he is eating, that he wants to be patted, that he is curious why I am patting Storm in the hutch below and not him, and that he needs some more water in his water bottle. 

He is a sook as far as bunnies go (pretty normal for male bunnies though!), but he is well behaved.  I had to bring him inside to treat him for a mild eye infection, and he decided to sit on his towel and not move for an hour.  Any other bunny would have been hopping all over the house.  He was curious, but he is a fast learner. A stamp or two of my feet when he started to wander, and he was back in his spot as quick as a flash.  He got flat leaf parsley as a reward :D
Barney is just starting to show signs of slowing down.  He is more lethargic and doesn't eat as much as he used to.  He is very happy though, and who knows how much longer he'll be around for.  He will continue to be loved just as all my other 'bunny children' are.

Both these bunnies were moved out of the wooden hutch they were in, and back into a metal hutch, as they're both chewers.  Two destructive boy bunnies who weren't content to chew through other things I provided for them (like fruit tree branches, cardboard boxes, cardboard rolls, telephone books etc). 

Barney managed to chew his way through into Storm's hutch, and somehow bit Storm's mouth, resulting in a visit to the Vet because it wasn't healing very well, and causing permanent damage.  Poor Storm has lost feeling on one side of his mouth now, but he seems to be okay.

*Sigh*...bunnies!  They're just like naughty children, aren't they!! ;D

Week 51 of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge

I can count, really I can, but this challenge is a 51 week challenge, so that you can have a week off post Christmas to recover ;D  So this is the last post for the 2011 Food Storage Challenge!

It has been quite a journey, but I hope as you have followed along, that you have learned what your family will eat, what you can store and how to better prepare your family in an emergency situation, should one arise.

$10 Plan
Use the remaining money and purchase as much spaghetti sauce as you can.

$20 Plan
Use the remaining money and purchase as much spaghetti sauce as you can.

All that pasta we stored needs something else to go with it.  You can store plain tomato sauce, or ones with veggies or herbs already included.  The choice is yours!

I will do one last post on this challenge, and that will be an overview of all the weeks in one document.

Don't forget to "Store what you eat, and eat what you store".

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just some Lego Holiday Fun

So what exactly do I spend my time doing in the school holidays?

Well, this...
 Fabuland from the early 1980's

 For injured Lego people...
(like the ones that get decapitated, or become legless, or armless...)

 A 1980's Italian Restaurant

 Star Wars - getting right into it.  Storm Troopers - v - Ewoks in full swing

 A very old doctor's surgery.  She doesn't even have a face anymore!

 City Cleaning Business.  So big it doesn't even fit on the Lego board streets!

 The brand new Airport.  The plane is MASSIVE, I tell you!  It needs about 4 Lego boards just to fit it on.  I'm going to have to track down some plain grey boards, if they still make them.

 A close-up of the airport.  My son's favourite (thanks Pok!)

My daughter's favourite Lego.  Part of the Belleville range complete with Mama dog, and Puppy dog.  Spongebob's house in the background. 

 And this is what happens when my husband is set loose on Lego City.  He created a plane crash complete with very injured people.  He called in ambulances, the Police and fire trucks and...council work crews?  Nice one Phil!

I can't even fit it all into the picture.  Did you have any of these when you were growing up?  Feel free to share your Lego experience!

I have to add that these Lego creations were a combination of ones that my husband and his family had when they were growing up, and ones my Dad just  brought up so that we could 'look after' them.  Also ones that my children (and I) have been given as presents.  I'm sure that Santa is bringing more on Christmas Day.  I know I for one have a Hillside House sitting all wrapped up under the Christmas Tree *grins*

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Looking for the Rainbows wherever you go...

 On Monday night this week, my daughter excitedly pointed out a gorgeous double rainbow forming in the sky.  It was absolutely beautiful.  We all rushed outside in the rain to see the rainbow before it disappeared.  They don't last long.

This picture isn't the double rainbow we saw, it was one that I had taken earlier in the year.  They are lovely, aren't they!

 We have a gingerbread decorating tradition in our family.  On the first Monday night of December, we invite friends around to have a Christmas dinner with us, and decorate Gingerbread Men.  This was taken about this time last year when my Brother-in Law and Sister-in-Law visited from Japan.  We all had a great time 'taste testing' the lollies, and decorating the gingerbread men.


 Did you know no matter what colour a bunny's fur is, they always have green feet?  Even my two day old bunnies seemed to have green feet.  It's a funny kind of odd.  Such big feet too! :D  I just adore my cuddly Storm.

Hello neighbours!

Savings, Silk Moths and Miniature Gingerbread Houses

I mentioned a while back that I was putting aside all the 20 cent pieces that came across my way.  I filled up a tin with all those 20 cent pieces, and it came to $50.  To impress my children, I stacked them in dollar piles so they could see just how much it looks like.  Pretty awesome!

At the beginning of December we had silk moths hatching.  They're so pretty after they have dried out.  This is a male moth.  They're slimmer than the females (who can hardly move because they're so full of eggs).  Silk moths don't have mouths, and therefore don't eat anything.  They have one thing on their mind, and that's to create more fertile eggs.  They have also been so inbred that there are no silk moths in the world that can actually fly.  They just flap their wings around a little and make lots of noise.

This was a week later.  More silk moths had hatched.  You can see the big female ones on the bottom of the container, and the male moths clinging more to the sides.  The little yellow 'dots' are the eggs when they are first laid.  If they are fertile, they turn black as the little silk worms start to grow inside them. 

It has been a very mild summer, so the eggs are now overdue to hatch.  I wanted to let this lot cycle through one more time, then when they started laying, I'll put the eggs in a snap lock bag and into the door of my freezer.  It freezes over in Japan (where they originate from), and so it seems like home to the silk worms.  I bring them out as soon as the buds appear on my mulberry tree.  *Fingers crossed* that this lot of eggs will actually hatch!

And how more random can you get in this post, but to include a miniature Gingerbread House :D  It's not exactly a masterpiece, but I think it's cute enough.  This was one the family got to demolish.  I have a sweet gingerbread men recipe that I use, and one year I printed out the instructions to a gingerbread house, decided not to enlarge it but create it as is by tracing out the layout onto baking paper.  It works well enough for me.

We also made one for my son's teacher.  They do make very cute gifts, placed on a silver board and wrapped in cellophane.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Week 50 of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge

$10 Plan
Store 4 cans corn and/or peas

$20 Plan
Store 8 cans corn and/or peas

You could store just corn, or just peas, or I think you can get a combination of the two.  I mostly store corn (due to my dislike of the gross little green things), but I will store some for the rest of my family who do actually eat them.

You can add them to savoury mince, heat and serve with carrots, cook them in fritters, use them up in chicken and corn soup or ham and pea soup.  There are endless possibilities.

If you don't like storing these veggies, store something else that you could eat.  If you are worried about using canned products, hunt around and see if you can get product in glass jars.

Monday, December 12, 2011

December Monthly Challenge

Have you got spare buttons, thread and enough cloth to make some simple cloths if necessary?  Teach your children how to sew on a button.

And just on the funny side of buttons - my Grandfather calls a button a "buttoff" if it has fallen off, and needs to be resewn.  Oh he is hilarious!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Week 49 of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge

Hmmm so my Blog seems to have a mind of its own.  When I set posts to be published at a certain time, it likes to be precious.  Dear Blog...just behave, will you! *winks*

Anyways, here's the details for Week 49:-

$10 Challenge
Store 2 large cans baked beans

$20 Challenge
Store 4 large cans baked beans

The bigger the can, the better for these challenges.  You can use the opened and rinsed out can as a camp cooker.  They're quite handy!

Of course if you don't like baked beans (I'm a disliker ;D), you can always store something else.

I'd prefer spaghetti, so I store that, but I have a husband and son who will quite happily eat baked beans.  Typical.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Garden goings on

What kind of things are you growing in your garden?  I'm not a brilliant gardener, but I'm learning on the job ;D.

 This is a zucchini I picked last week.  I had to self pollinate, which involved picking the petals off a male flower "He loves me, he loves me not..." (hehehe), and using the stamen as a paintbrush on a female flower.  So much easier than having to use a cotton bud.  This zucchini only took a week to grow.  It was used in a zucchini slice we devoured.

 Mushrooms on special at Aldi for 99 cents a tub.  My children love mushroom chips.  I spray the mushrooms slices with oil, then do a very light sprinkling of salt.  Dry until they are crispy.  You don't have to add the salt, but it tastes great and is a healthier alternative to deep fried potato chips.  I did 6 trays of dried mushrooms and used up two tubs.

 Purple climbing beans thriving.  These are amazing beans that turn green when you cook them.  I picked a dozen of them to use in Shepherd's Pie last night.  Yum!  My tomato plant is a giant one with cherry tomatoes all over it.  I was silly and put straw on the dirt to slow down the slugs, but I don't think the tomato plant appreciated the gesture.  It is still hanging in there though.

Some shallots I pulled up this morning.  They're now in the sun drying out until the roots go crunchy.  I'm planning on using them soon rather than storing them for a length of time, so they don't have to dry out very much.  If I wanted to be all fancy I could braid them all together and hang them up to dry, but this is the first time I have successfully grown them to this point :D

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Week 48 of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge

$10 Challenge
Store 4 cans soup and 1 can spaghetti

$20 Challenge
Store 8 cans soup and 2 cans spaghetti


I know a lot of you are clever enough to make your own soup, and I personally love the taste of my home-made chicken soup, but when you don't have the resources (financially or food-wise) to be able to make your own soup, the canned variety is great! 

Spend your extra energy making bread (or better yet, put the kids to work on that;D )

Not to deter anyone from this challenge, but there also needs to be moderation in all things.  I came across this article today on elevated BPA levels in a study of some people who ate canned soup for 5 days straight:

I just have to add though that I have my food storage there as an emergency.  I don't eat from cans every day but when I have had to rely on my food storage, boy have I needed it!  Not even all of that was canned either.  Rotate with pasta and sauce (bottled sauce, not canned) and frozen foods if you can.


Canned spaghetti on toast is cheap and easy.  It can be eaten cold straight out of the tin if it's a desperate situation.

You can add extra things to it to make it more of a meal, like frozen peas and corn, bacon and tomato, even fresh herbs.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Countdown with stories

I recently pulled out 24 Christmas Stories I printed out many years ago.  I love to read these to my children in the lead up to Christmas, and will do so again this year.  The stories are gorgeous, and include 'The Little Match GIrl', 'Angel on a Doorstep' and 'The Cobbler and his Guest'.  Tissues may be required for some ;D

They can be found here:

I do a lolly countdown too in an Advent Calendar my Mother-in-Law made, but the stories help to remind my children what Christmas is really about.

What do you do with your family at Christmas time?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Week 47 of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge

$10 Challenge
Store 2 kgs powdered milk

$20 Challenge
Store 4 kgs powdered milk

I'm not keen on powdered milk, but that may be because I'm not fond of milk in general.  I used to be highly allergic to cows milk and any soy product.  I remember wandering up the street with my brother with some glass milk bottles to ask an older gentleman if he could supply us with goats milk, which he would happily do.

I'm not sure if my mother paid him money or with veggies from the garden, but he was a lovely elderly man.  That was the only milk I could have.  Sometimes we would have it warm.  I shudder to think what that was like...

I digress.  I still like to use milk and milk products in my cooking, and powdered milk is definitely necessary in the bread I make.

Here is some information on powdered milk on a previous post of mine:

And this one, with some useful 'uses' for powdered milk:

The biggest hint is to check the use-by date on your powered milk.  You don't want off milk.  It's nasty!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week 46 of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge

$10 Challenge
Store 2 bottles Vitamins (100 tablets each)

$20 Challenge
Store 4 bottles vitamins (100 tablets each)

I guess the main reason for this challenge is that if you have to life off your food storage, and you have very limited access to fresh fruit and veggies, you may need some extra vitamins in your diet to keep you healthy.

I have heard some vitamin tablets are better than others.  Some will go straight through your system and not be absorbed - kind of defeats the purpose.  There are so many different brands and varieties.  Store them if you will use them.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November 2011 Monthly Challenge

This month's challenge is to purchase bleach, disinfectant and vinegar.

For hard core cleaning.  Here are some ideas, found on the Reader's Digest website:

I have heard that it definitely comes in handy in extremely humid weather, or to assist in cleaning up after a flood.  It kills lots of nasties.

There are a few different types of disinfectant, so store the type that you would use.  There are the cream types for First Aid for topical use, or there are the bottles of disinfectant concentrate you would use e.g. to clean your toilet with, or your kitchen benches.  So depending on your need, is what you would store.

This one is an interesting one.  It also can be used as a cleaner.  I listed some uses, and some links in a previous post:  

Week 45 of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge

$10 Challenge
Replenish the Kitty Tin

$20 Challenge
Replenish the Kitty Tin

If you have been using a jar or tin to put your leftover money in, you get to top it up this week, as we have another vitamin week coming up.  Vitamins are rather expensive.

If you don't want to store those, think of something else useful you would like to store instead.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Week 44 of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge

$10 Challenge
Store 2 cans fruit and 2 packets of jelly.

$20 Challenge
Store 4 cans fruit and 4 packets of jelly

 A great Summer storage food, and easy to make dessert.  If you get the canned fruit in natural juice, you can drink it as well.

Make sure you store extra water if you store Jelly crystals in order to make it up.

The Slug Fight Continues...

This was the sight that greeted me this morning when I went out to check on the bunnies.  *Shudders*.  I have been trying to get rid of a family of mice living in this corner near my rabbit hutch, but I couldnt' catch the mice in the trap, because slugs kept trying to eat the choc bit I would place in it.  I decided to do something different...surround the mouse trap with slug pellets.  Well, I did catch a mouse.  And I killed off a whole heap of ping-pong ball sized slugs.  So that is what was getting to my lettuce.
 The mouse trap you see is about the size of my hand.  Can you imagine how big these slugs are?

Another camera shot after I had pulled out the mouse trap and discovered a deceased mouse.  I didn't want to gross you out too much though! (So the trap is not in the photo).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Week 43 of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge

$10 Challenge
Purchase 1 packet mixed dried fruit and 1 packet dates/prunes.

$20 Challenge
Purchase 2 packets mixed dried fruit and 2 packets dates/prunes

A bit of an odd challenge this one.  Depending on why you require your food storage, fruit may not be easy to get.  I mean...we're just starting to see bananas come down in price. 

Prunes are great for...keeping you regular.  I'm not going to go into that in any more detail!

There are many types of mixed dried fruit out there as well.  I like one that has dried halves.  It includes apple, pear, peach, prunes and apricots.  I'm not keen on sultanas for some reason.

You can dry your own fruit with a food dryer, as I sometimes do, if I get a great haul of fruit cheaply.

Some ideas on what you can do with your dried fruit:-
  • Make muffins
  • Make your own muesli
  • Add to your breakfast cereal
  • Hydrate in syrup and serve with ice cream
  • Make coconut/condensed milk/dried fruit balls
  • Make fruit cakes
  • Make scones
  • Eat right out of the packet
  • Combine with seeds/nuts and something like Nutri-grain or puffed wheat to make a trail mix.
If you want to store glace fruit instead, go right ahead.  I love to keep glace cherries handy, and typing this, I realised I haven't replenished my store of them. *Gasp*.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Holiday Hideouts #2 Freshwater Point Resort

This place was just lovely!  It is the Freshwater Point Resort Holiday Apartments. I have stayed there before, but with my in-laws.  This time Hubby and I got to be 'grown ups' and stayed there on our own.  In a big bed.  Without having to move the two single beds together.  I loved it!!

 This is where the kids got to sleep.  Notice their sheets not touched?  They decided to sleep on top of the sheets again.  Strange children! (No idea where they get that from).

 The children's bathroom and the built-in laundry complete with washing machine, dryer, sink and cupboard.  Children's bathroom is equipped with toilet, shower and sink with cupboard underneath.  All tiled.  AND a door!

 One side of the room, with a view of the kitchen and dining area.  I don't think I got a picture of the other side of this room.  Shame, because the views of the giant floor to ceiling windows were amazing.

 A King Size big people's bed.  YAAAAAY!  Check out those amazing views!  We were on the 9th floor.  We could see right out to the mountains.  Was awesome with the clouds rolled in.  We had a fairly large wall-mounted tv in our room.

 The view of the bathroom and built-in wardrobes.  All with mirrored doors.  Note the lack of a door on the en suite.  Keep that in mind...

 A view of the shower and toilet in our en suite.

 Hello!  So I totally should have taken a photo of me pretending to sit on the toilet.  You can see the bed from the toilet via all the mirrors in the place.  Which means you can also see the toilet from the bed. Hmmm...not so attractive, but hey!  My husband has seen me give birth twice.  Nothing to hide here.  We did discover that the trick was to keep the end door of the mirrored cupboard open.  Problem generally solved.  There was the children's bathroom with the door if required.

A nice big, deep bath to relax in.  Which I did.  With the roller blind down thank you very much!  Hubby decided to have a bath in it with the blind open.  Not for my amusement, but to watch tv.  Of course!!

The well equipped and very functional kitchen.  Oh how I loved this kitchen.  It was modern, clean and looks a little cluttered with all my gear on it ready to head back to the car.  This was taken on the last day just before we left.  I wanted to remember this kitchen!

I love that this apartment made me feel like I was in a home away from home.  I usually get homesick being away from my home for any length of time, but I didn't here.  You have to keep it clean yourself - you get charged extra if you leave the place dirty so we left it cleaner than it was when we arrived.  So they'll have me back again!

Holiday Hideouts #1 Ballina Island Motor Inn

Recently returned from a trip to the Gold Coast, bringing the lovely sunshine down with us.  We stayed in Ballina on the way up at a lovely place called the Ballina Island Motor Inn.  Here are some of the pictures I took.  I was meaning to race in armed with my camera and take some photos before we brought in all our junk, but that didn't happen.  Apparently the kids wanted to go swimming first, so that took priority.

 We had a spa bath in the bathroom.  After being advised that there was a spa bath in the place we would be staying next in, I decided after everyone else had jumped in, that I would wait until our next destination.  Needless to say, there was NOT a spa bath at our next accommodation.  Note to self: Jump in at every opportunity!

 My 'serious' photo taking face!  This was of the mini bar.  Fridge below, bathroom sink and cupboards to the right and the front door, bathroom entry directly behind me and cupboard opposite the sink.  I thought it odd that they would have a sink outside the bathroom, but it worked.  It's not like we were having to cook there!

 The sink view.  They didn't hand out small bottles of shampoo or conditioner.  They had dispensable wall mounted containers.  I thought that was a great idea.

 One happy child with a bed to himself.  Next to a power point that didn't work.  Very handy when he wanted to plug in his DVD player at night ;D  Meant we all got some sleep instead!

Another child looking rather content.  My children are odd.  Neither of them wanted to actually get under the covers.  They continued this the entire holiday.  Wierd, I tell you!

 Another corner of the room.  Nice and cosy

Someone found another tv in our bedroom and was exhausted from all the driving.  I'll leave him be.  I especially loved the fact that in this Motel, the switch to turn the tv off was on my side of the bed (stage left). No getting up to have to turn everything off.  Always a bonus when you're drop dead tired.

Is this somewhere I would stay again?  Definitely!!!