Saturday, January 21, 2012

The garden in bloom

I love flowers in my garden.  They're so cheerful!



 Male pumpkin flower.  No females yet.

 Keeping my strawberry plants away from sparrows, bunnies and blue tongue lizards

Basil flowers. This basil is self seeding, much to my husband's delight.  He always seems to want it right in the middle of winter.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Would you believe cleaning one room could take all day?

Well, it did.  My daughter's room definitely needed a thorough clean, and one I was procrastinating because I knew how big a job it would be.  She keeps absolutely everything!  I go through her stuff every holiday and I suspect she rescues things out of the bin.  She also is a typical little girl and likes to cut up little bits of paper everywhere, put stickers on everything and 'decorate' everything.

 I found all the paraphernalia on the floor stuffed in her cupboard.  I didn't get to take a photo of all the dirty clothes she had stuffed in there too.  We didn't want any underwear photos ;D

 This was after we removed most of the stuff from off her bed.  But there was more hiding underneath!

 So now there is one box for odd toys

 and one box for her school 'stuff' that she wants to keep, as well as paper and pencils for her art and craft.

 We went through every shelf in her cupboards.  She certainly helped too - this was not a job I was doing on my own :D

 We cleared off the bookshelf, put aside books she will never read, cleaned it up and put the books back on in order

 She even made her bed!  Hooray!!

 I mended my Nana's desk that Jacki managed to knock over somehow.  Not entirely her fault - she did make it a bit top heavy though and was very apologetic when it came crashing down. I'm just glad it didn't end up on top of her!


 Tidy - we even vacuumed all the slats on the doors.  I still have to fix up those cupboard door handles...but I'm hoping to replace those built in wardrobes with new ones at some point this year anyway.  So I can procrastinate that a bit longer.

A 'Princess' bed, and a tidy bookshelf.

I'm not expecting a spotless room, but things needs to be able to have a place to live - instead of 'hiding' under the bed'.  After all, her toys are upstairs. I have no idea how her bedroom manages to get so messy! Must be the paper fairies...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

More cleaning and garden adventures

Somehow my upstairs kitchen ended up a dumping ground for all sorts of things, and I needed to grab some time to sort it out, cull and organise.  Wow, it really does look messy, doesn't it!

 My messy upstairs kitchen

 Some of the 'junk'

 And now there's bench space

 But I still have to leave my food storage on that bench

 I sorted through three boxes full of stuff and filled up the recycle bin :D

 Some whimpy looking carrots I pulled from the garden, but they're still carrots!  It's the first time I have actually been able to grow them, due to Storm not liking them :D  There were about ten of them.

Purple Climbing Beans (and one green one from a different plant) that I picked this morning.  I have also put aside some big ones I left on the vine so I can plant more seeds.

Next on the agenda is to clear off my sewing table!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thermomix Churros

I woke up this morning with a craving for Churros.  I had them at Dreamworld on our family holiday and I enjoyed the one I had, although I thought it was tad dry.

After a Google search, I found a recipe I could adapt from

I have varied and adapted it though, and it goes something like this...

You need:
- 1 cup water
- 2 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

- Oil in a deep fryer ready to be switched on.

- Plate with absorbent paper read to go.

- 1/2 cup white sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon mixed together on a plate ready to go.

- Piping bag or plastic tubey thing that I have in my pictures below.


  1. Into the Thermomix goes your water, sugar, salt and vegetable oil.
  2. 100 degrees C for 5 mins on gentle mix speed.
  3. Let it cool to 80 degrees (whilst waiting, turn your deep fryer on and set the temperature so the oil will reach 190 degrees by the time you're ready to pipe). Add your plain flour and baking powder to the liquid in the Thermomix.
  4. Mix on gentle mix for 1 min, then turn up to speed 4 for 20 seconds.
  5. Mixture can now be piped into a piping bag, then pipe the mixture carefully into the hot oil in the deep fryer.
  6. Fry until golden brown.
  7. Take out and place on absorbent paper, then roll whilst still hot in sugar and cinnamon.
Serves 4 (or two very hungry children).

     Frying away happily. They smell good!  I piped two at a time.  I thought they would stick together if I piped more than that in.

     The mixture is really sticky.  I had already taken 3/4 of it out by this point.  It's a good thing Thermomixes can self clean (well, mostly...)

     My piping 'Thing'  I didn't put a nozzle on it, I was too lazy but I think I will the next time.

     Cinnamon sugar

The only thing I would change is to pipe them a little smaller (with a nozzle on my piping 'thing').  The inside was probably a little too moist but still nice.  The outside was really crunchy and delicious.  It was a big hit with the kids who informed my they looked like "doughnut sausages" then promptly devoured them.

I'm going to have to make another batch on the weekend so Phil can enjoy some too!

Oh and no, this didn't end up being breakfast ;D  It was an afternoon snack.

Food Storage in a Jar

I made sand art Brownies in a jar many years ago as gifts, but the thought didn't occur to me then that you can store other things like that as actual 'food storage'.  The majority of your ingredients are all in that jar, so it makes life really easy if you are living off your food storage, or makes life fun if you are cooking with the kids and all you have to do is simply tip the jar upside down and give it a good whack (or two...depending on how tightly packed the ingredients are).

I stumbled across this site, which has loads of helpful and varied recipes from soup mixes to sweet baking (like biscuits and brownie recipes):-

They make a great gift as well:-

Don't forget to include the instructions on your jars.  They're kind of helpful! ;D

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2011 Food Storage Challenge Complete List

Just a summary of the 2011 Food Storage Challenge I did.

The idea is that you keep a jar called a 'kitty' to put aside the $10 or $20 each week for your food storage.  If you find some specials and you have a little extra money left over in your kitty, purchase those.  There are two weeks set aside to replenish your kitty when we have more expensive items coming up to purchase - like vitamins.

If you don't like the food listed in this challenge, substitute.  Store what you would use, and what your family would eat.  It is no good, for example, to store wheat if you have no way of grinding or using it. 

The $10 plan should provide a couple with a 3 months supply of food.  The $20 plan should provide a family of 4 a 3 months supply of food.

Here's the complete list of the Food Storage Challenge we did last year:-

Week 1
$10 Plan - Store 2 large cans tuna and 1 box salt
$20 Plan - Store 4 large cans tuna and 2 boxes salt

Week 2
$10 Plan - Store 3 kgs sugar and 1 box salt
$20 Plan - Store 5 kgs sugar adn 1 box salt

Week 3
$10 Plan - Store 3 cans soup
$20 Plan - Store 3 cans soup, 1 kg peanut butter

Week 4
$10 Plan - Store 1 bag of 10 pack noodles
$20 Plan - Store 2 bags of 10 pack noodles

Week 5
$10 Plan - Store 2 cans soup, 2 kgs powdered milk
$20 Plan - Store 4 cans soup, 4 kgs powdered milk

Week 6
$10 Plan - Store 5 kgs rice
$20 Plan - Store 10 kgs rice

Week 7
$10 Plan - Store 3 large cans baked beans/spaghetti
$20 Plan - Store 3 large cans baked beans, 2 large cans spaghetti

Week 8
$10 Plan - Store 2 kgs powdered milk
$20 Plan - Store 4 kgs powdered milk (or 3 kgs powdered milk, 1 kg custard powder)

Week 9
$10 Plan - Store 1 kg honey (unless you have a child under two years old - see 'Botulism')
$20 Plan - Store 2 kgs honey (see above)

Week 10
$10 Plan - Store 1 large can tuna and 1 box macaroni cheese
$20 Plan - Store 2 large cans tuna and 2 boxes maraconi cheese

Week 11
$10 Plan - Store 2 boxes macaroni cheese, 2 cans soup
$20 Plan - Store 5 boxes macaroni cheese, 4 cans soup

Week 12
$10 Plan - Store 3 cans soup
$20 Plan - Store 6 cans soup

Week 13
$10 Plan - Store 2 bottle vitamins (100 tablets each bottle)
$20 Plan - Store 4 bottles vitamins (100 tablets each bottle)

Week 14
$10 Plan - Store 5 kgs wheat (or flour if you don't have a grinder)
$20 Plan - Store 10 kgs wheat (or flour if you don't have a grinder)

Week 15
$10 Plan - Store 6 packets spaghetti
$20 Plan - Store 12 packets spaghetti

Week 16
$10 Plan - Store sandwich spreads (ie vegemite, cream cheese spread, jam, nutella etc)
$20 Plan - See above

Week 17
$10 Plan - Store 2 large cans tuna and 1 can soup
$20 Plan - Store 4 large cans tuna and 2 cans soup

Week 18
$10 Plan - Store 4 large cans fruit
$20 Plan - Store 8 large cans fruit

Week 19
$10 Plan - Store 5 kgs wheat
$20 Plan - Store 10 kgs wheat

Week 20
$10 Plan - Store 2 kgs sugar, 1 packet instant potatoes
$20 Plan - Store 4 kgs sugar, 2 packets instant potatoes

Week 21
$10 Plan - Store 2 kgs sugar, stock cubes/powder
$20 Plan - Store 4 kgs sugar, stock cubes/powder

Week 22
$10 Plan - Store 5 packets French Onion Soup Mix
$20 Plan - Store 10 packets French Onion Soup Mix

Week 23
$10 Plan - Store 5 kgs rice
$20 Plan - Store 10 kgs rice

Week 24
$10 Plan - Store $10 worth of Jelly crystals
$20 Plan - Store $20 worth of Jelly crystals

Week 25
$10 Plan - Store pepper, mixed herbs and soy sauce
$20 Plan - Store pepper, mixed herbs, soy sauce and mustard

Week 26
$10 Plan - Store 5 kgs lentils
$20 Plan - Store 5 kgs lentiles, 5 kgs split peas

Week 27
$10 Plan - Store 1 large can tuna and 1 large tin fruit
$20 Plan - Store 2 large cans tuna and 2 large tins fruit

Week 28
$10 Plan - Store 1 kg honey (unless you have a child 2 yrs or younger - see 'Botulism')
$20 Plan - Store 2 kgs honey (see above)

Week 29
$10 Plan - Store 2 kgs milk powder
$20 Plan - Store 4 kgs milk powder, 5 kgs lentils

Week 30
$10 Plan - Store 2 large cans tuna
$20 Plan - Store 4 large cans tuna

Week 31
$10 Plan - Store 4 cans corn
$20 Plan - Store 4 cans corn and 2 cans peas

Week 32
$10 Plan - Store 3 tins corn and 2 tins peas
$20 Plan - Store4 tins corn and 3 tins peas

Week 33
$10 Plan - Store 4 cans peas and 1 pack instant mashed potato
$20 Plan - Store 4 cans peas, 1 pack instant mashed potato and 4 cans fruit

Week 34
$10 Plan - Store 2 large cans fruit
$20 Plan - Store 4 large cans fruit

Week 35
$10 Plan - Store 5 kgs rice
$20 Plan - Store 10 kgs rice

Week 36
$10 Plan - Store 3 packets spaghetti/pasta
$20 Plan - Store 6 packets spaghetti/pasta

Week 37
$10 Plan - Store 4 cans soup, 1 bottle vinegar
$20 Plan - Store 4 cans soup, 2 bottles vinegar and stock cubes/powder

Week 38
$10 Plan - Replenish kitty tin (or put the money aside for purchases coming up)
$20 Plan - Replenish kitty tin

Week 39
$10 Plan - Store 5 kgs wheat/flour
$20 Plan - Store 10 kgs wheat/flour

Week 40
$10 Plan - Store  2 kgs powdered milk
$20 Plan - Store 4 kgs powdered milk

Week 41
$10 Plan - Store 2 cans Four Bean Mix
$20 Plan - Store 4 cans Four Bean Mix

Week 42
$10 Plan - Store 2 cans Four Bean Mix
$20 Plan - Store 4 cans Four Bean Mix

Week 43
$10 Plan - Store 1 packet mixed dried fruit, 1 packet dates or prunes
$20 Plan - Store 2 packets mixed dried fruit, 2 packets dates or prunes

Week 44
$10 Plan - Store 2 cans fruit and 2 packets jelly
$20 Plan - Store 4 cans fruit and 4 packets jelly

Week 45
$10 Plan - Replenish Kitty Tin
$20 Plan - Replenish Kitty Tin

Week 46
$10 Plan - Store 2 bottles vitamins (100 tablets each)
$20 Plan - Store 4 bottles vitamins (100 tablets each)

Week 47
$10 Plan - Store 2 kgs powdered milk
$20 Plan - Store 4 kgs powdered milk

Week 48
$10 Plan - Store 4 cans soup, 1 can spaghetti
$20 Plan - Store 8 cans soup, 2 cans spaghetti

Week 49
$10 Plan - Store 2 large cans baked beans
$20 Plan - Store 4 large cans baked beans

Week 50
$10 Plan - Store 4 tins corn and/or peas
$20 Plan - Store 8 tins corn and/or peas

Week 51
$10 Plan - Use all your remaining money and purchase as much spaghetti/pasta sauce as possible
$20 Plan - See above.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monitoring Bunny Behaviour

It's a full time job monitoring bunnies.  They can be just as adventurous as  toddlers!  I have to teach Storm where he can and can't dig (they have to be able to dig somewhere...just like toddlers!).

I have to make sure he is not eating things he shouldn't.  I worked out that if I had the end of the hose in a plant pot pointing in his direction, then I walked over to the tap and turned it on, I didn't get blamed for actually hosing Storm, and he would run over and take refuge from the hose at my feet.  Love it!

I had to also check that he didn't have anyway of escaping from the yard.  I'm sure Charcoal would have found a way out, but Storm has a completely different mind and temperament.  He is a little stubborn when he wants to be.

 A good place to dig.

 So he dug.  Clever boy, he worked out that if you dig the dirt into the garden, Mummy Bunny won't have to sweep it all up again from the concrete!

 When Storm is stretched out like this, he is approachable.  I love how they flop out like this.  They do it so quickly, but it means they're at ease around you.  He is still a little wary as he has his front paws under him, but this is still quite relaxed for Storm. 

A very contented bunny.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bunny Training a One Year Old

Well...Storm is much older than that in bunny years, but he still has hormones raging like crazy. Even though he was very carefully treated when he was a baby bunny, he was timid and not very trusting.  I think the hardest thing for him was to be separated from his mother.  He really didn't like that, but the end of the following week he could have impregnated his mother and sisters, and I couldn't let that happen!

Just over a year later, with lots of training and patience he has finally decided that we are his 'family', and we will not pick him up unless we absolutely have to.

I have had to watch him and learn his behaviour as well, because it is so different from the way Charcoal was.

For instance:
From the start Charcoal was a very friendly natured bunny and absolutely adored being patted.
He had a very relaxed nature, and was extremely easy to train.  A liking for chocolate was an added bonus.  It made it easy to reward him for good behaviour.

Storm is a very wary bunny. He is still friendly, but very timid.
He doesn't like chocolate (probably a good thing!), or carrots, or anything sweet.  He does like some lettuce but mainly loves his bunny food...and that's it.  Being out in the garden is actually beneficial to him.  He has been munching on other things he wouldn't normally have, and has decided he likes some things that are growing out there that he is allowed to eat.  Hooray!

Anyway, I have been letting him out in the back garden every day this week without a leash so I can monitor him, and watch and get to know his bunny behaviour, and this is what I have learned:-

 When Storm lies down like this, he is really asking for a pat.  A LONG pat!

 So to teach him that humans are friends and not predators, I sat down with him and patted him.  And patted him.  And patted him.

 How much does that bunny love his head scratched!

 So much he was dribbling.  LOL!

 LOTS of dribble!

 And then it gets funny.  He gets up to clean my 'hand oil' off his fur, kind of the same way after I have cuddled him I get rid of his bunny fur off me.

More pats please!
How could you not love this face :D