Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Bloggy Break

As I posted yesterday, the girls and I are off on school camp from first thing tomorrow for the rest of the week. I have still lots of things to do...like packing....bread making...make notes for Dh & Mr Busy so they get to school with everything needed each day (like bathers!!)...finding out how to dump the camera contents onto a USB stick so I can clear the camera cartridge....read through the camp booklet & parent/teacher info so I'm well versed on what to do....figure out how to get to the 2 city destinations so I can navigate for the bus driver (my designated Wednesday job!) who is inclined to not find his way.... ya know...regular Mum stuff LOL.

I was taking a quick squiz at the camp booklet in the car this arvo and I just know for absolutely certain that God really meant for me to go on this camp. The devotions the kids will be doing and the Bible passages they will look at are lessons that I have learned and that have gone deep. I will be able to share with the girls in my group with utter confidence that the God who makes promises DOES keep them!!!

I will look forward to catching up with you when I get back. I'll miss checking in with the blogs that I love to read each day!

Monday, 28 April 2008

Monday's Menus

Funny how quickly time flies. I've spent the day wondering what to post about today...only to remember it's Monday. Duh. That's menu day. If you're looking to me for inspiration this week I'm afraid I won't be a whole lot of help! Our family is going in two directions this week and then we have birthday party plans, and so my menu plan reflects a distinct lack of home-cookedness (if that's a word...well it is now! LOL)

Monday: Moussaka and steamed vegies
Tuesday: Chicken & Dumplings
Wednesday: Girls away, boys: l/o frozen vegie lasagna & garlic bread
Thursday: Girls away, boys: fish & chips (special treat, since us girls are away)
Friday: Roast chook with roasted vegies, chocolate fondant for dessert
Saturday: Dinner at a nice spiffy restaurant
Sunday: I have no idea ~ I haven't planned as far as May yet!!!!!

My Mum & Miss Sunshine share a birthday on Friday, hence the special dessert and dinner out. This is a special birthday for Mum, so it will be a fantastic weekend....once us girls get home and recuperate from camp!

Sorry for the lack of inspiration! Still...we're all looking forward to an exciting week.

Do you have any idea how much organisation it takes to go away for two days and leave kids at home???!!!!! LOL

Sunday, 27 April 2008

'Sushi for One?' by Camy Tang

'Sushi For One?' introduces us to Lex Sakai. A highly driven woman who loves her volleyball. She is one of only four Christians in the midst of an Asian-American family, who meddle incessantly in each other's lives! Lex's Grandmother issues her an ultimatum: Find a boyfriend or she will drop her funding of Lex's girls volleyball team. In the midst of much upheaval, deep disappointment and dealing with the past, Lex must learn to trust others and let God take control.

Initially I was not drawn to the character of Lex. She is blunt to the point of rudeness and is the embodiment of everything I am not, and yet within just a few chapters I found this a difficult book to put down. I needed to see how Lex dealt with each issue that faced her. I was desperately wanting to know if she is able to deal with her past enough to move on. I have to say, the ending was particularly poignant and beautifully done. As I went off to sleep last night it was with a great sense of satisfaction!

Camy has written the second in this series and has plans for a further two after that. I'm looking forward to reading each of them.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Simple Saturday

Above is my current project. It's yet another thing that has been sitting about waiting on me to return to it. It's just a little thing but oh so simple and very relaxing to just sit and stitch. I can get frames for under $5 so the entire project is very inexpensive too, given that I have meters and meters of calico for some reason!

One of the things we enjoy is meandering through Op Shops. This morning we headed off down to Savers in Dandenong to pick up a few needed items ~ pyjamas for Mr Busy, shoes for Miss Mischief, but alas there were no black shoes her size. However, she came away with two pretty little zippered fleecy jackets. Mr Busy also added to his sparse collection of jumpers. I scored a denim skirt and a shirt that needs the hem line shortened. Miss Sunshine found a hat.

My favourite find was a lovely big cane basket for only $10. These are well over $50 brand new and the size I found is probably more likely to be $80-$100 so I think my $10 was very well spent. I'm up for some plastic bag free shopping now!

Friday, 25 April 2008

ANZAC Day Beyond My Picket Fence

It's ANZAC Day here in Australia. For us, this means we watch a bit of the Melbourne Anzac Day parade on the ABC. We make Anzac Biscuits and we stay home and enjoy a quiet day together.

Kate, at Our Red House has written a wonderful post replete with photos from the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance and Anzac biscuits. Her recipe is identical to ours and the picture is almost identical to what you would expect to see from me, so I'm going to send you over to her blog for a peek there if you're interested...rather than double up all over the place.

Dh's oldest brother and his wife popped in around lunch time, brining bread rolls, stras & cheese to share with us for lunch ~ we provided the Anzac Bikkies for afternoon tea! I had spent the morning on Miss Mischief's new nightie, and finished it after lunch. My sewing machine is right in the family room so I was in the middle of where everyone was whilst they were fiddling with computers. Below is the finished product.

It went together very easily. I managed to make an entire garment without ANY unpicking! Quite a milestone for me. Anna, at Pleasantview School House has inspired me to be more careful and diligent with my sewing and therefore ending up with a more pleasing result. I'm planning to embroider some little rosebuds or lavender or something around the seam line of the yolk just to pretty it up a little. But if it doesn't get done by Wednesday it really doesn't matter. I'm also thinking that at $5/m for the flannel fabric, I may just surprise Miss Mischief with a few different colours!

We're having meat pie for dinner tonight, so I had better get on with it, or my family will be eating me instead!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Problem Solved!

I have finally found patterns to thrill Miss Mischief's heart!!!! Spotlight had an Autumn and a Winter catalogue there for Simplicity and they had a buy 1 get 1 free deal, plus my 10% VIP discount. So I think that is a fabulous deal!!!! I bought material to make the pattern on the right and the nightie in the centre and have pre-washed both pieces. I will be making the nightie this weekend and will make the dress in pinwhale corduroy sometime next week (I hope!). She loved the print of the pinwhale and keeps stroking the white flannel for the nightie LOL. She was thrilled with the lace I got for the nightie too so she's very excited.

To those of you who commented and left links to pattern sites I wanted to say a huge thank you. I was able to browse through those with Miss Mischief and sort through what she like and what she didn't so that I could confidently go looking at my leisure (while the kids were at school this time). If I was in the States and didn't have to deal with the conversion issues as well I would've had no hassles ordering patterns from those companies. But I wanted to have one more very careful look before I decided I needed to order from overseas. They were all beautiful patterns.

Oh...and for those Aussie gals who are interested...in the costume section of the Simplicity book, you can get the Regency Era gown from Sense and Sensibility, without paying for currency conversion and postage :)

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Off the Record, by Elizabeth White

I've just finished reading 'Off the Record'.

Judge Laurel Kincade is running for the position of Chief Justice in Alabama. Her personal faith and Christian values propel her campaign, until an old acquaintance and reporter, Cole McGaughan arrives to cover the primaries. Laurel must face the embarrassment of youthful indiscretions and learn to forgive her 'adversary'.

This book reminded me that personal integrity is always important and that forgiveness is always worth pursuing, despite the suffering that the process might cause. God's blessing awaits those that seek His path in relationships.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Chicken Casserole

I had a request after yesterday's post, for the recipe to my CP chicken casserole ~ thanks for reminding me...I need to do that now!!!!

Chicken Casserole

Chicken pieces ~ enough for your family
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 rashers of bacon, diced
200g mushrooms, cut into quarters
a large handful of green beans, chopped
1 cup chicken stock

Brown the chicken and remove from pan.
Add the onion, carrots & bacon to the pan and saute til softened
Place the chicken in a casserole dish or the CP with the onion, carrot, bacon and stock and bake, covered, at 180C for 30 minutes. (cook in CP all day on low)
Add the mushrooms and beans and bake for another 30 minutes.

If using the CP, add the mushrooms and beans mid afternoon if you can.

I like to thicken the liquid with some cornflour and serve with pasta, rice or scallop potatoes. Tonight, for us, it will be rice that I had cooked last night.

came back to edit. I had a panic attack and had 8 minutes to get this into the CP this morning. With help from my girls we did it!

Monday, 21 April 2008

Monday's Marvelous Menus

Our menu is planned and all set to go and I've started working on my shopping list for this week.

Monday: Chicken Curry with Brown Rice (Nourishing Traditions recipes)
Tuesday: Crockpot Chicken Casserole with pasta (or I'll do enough rice for two meals)
Wednesday: Beef Pot Roast
Thursday: h/m fish & chips
Friday: h/m Meat pie with vegies (ANZAC Day)
Saturday: Chicken & Dumpling Soup
Sunday: Quiche & salad

Have you planned your menu yet?

If you feel a little bit challenged in this department but think you might benefit, why don't you start small and plan for two days at a time. That way you'll be able to use the crockpot if you have one and know that you'll have everything you need to make the meal you want to.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Feeling a Little Frustrated

I can completely relate to Tina when she posted recently about not being able to find wool.

My frustration this week has been in looking for dressmaking patterns for Miss Mischief. She was frustrated too! She loves to wear skirts, but we seem to have issues with the height (or rather the lack of it!) at which she feels comfortable wearing them! So she asked if she could have some dresses to eliminate this problem. Great, no problem. I will happily sew her a couple of dresses. In fact I rather the relish the opportunity. It's been quite a long while since I've had time to sew clothes. Do you think I can find patterns in her size to suit her likes? NOOOoooo! Not in a million years. In her size range there is nothing but mini little chickie babe very trendy stuff. She wants something tastefully feminine, perhaps a modernised version of something that might've been worn on 'Little House on the Prairie'. She loves frills and gathering, and a little bit of lace. But the only patterns like that are for 3yo's!

We found one pattern for a nightgown. She wants white flannel. I want a matching one!! I will be organising the fabric and pattern for that this week so that she can take the nightie away on school camp if she wants to.

Has anyone ever noticed that the winter pattern books have an awful lot of sleeveless summer garments in them?

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Feeding the Family Frugally

There seems to be a lot of talk around right now about how much families are struggling. Prices are going up. Interest rates, and therefore mortgages, are going up. Everything is more expensive. Add that to a family that is growing and somehow your money seems to run out the door before you know it!

One of the biggest ways we can make a difference is with our grocery bills. It has immediate and obvious results and therefore inspires further success. And despite popular opinion, a family can eat well and enjoy healthy food on a tight grocery budget. But it does take work. I am often asked how on earth I make my budget work. The answer is simple. I cook. I don't buy anything ready-made if I can possibly make it myself...within reason (I don't make puff pastry!).

I also plan. Carefully. When I do my menu plan I make sure I include some vegetarian meals and some meals with chicken, as those things are generally around $4-5 per kilo for the protein part of the meal. If I want beef or lamb I ensure that I am using minced meats where I can because those are far cheaper than the $12-15 per kilo for steak or chops...a luxury we can't afford every day!

Once I have my plan I prepare a shopping list that is specific to our week's menu. I write my menu on the right hand top corner of my list so that I have it with me...just in case I have forgotten to write a needed item down ~ I cross reference with my menu as I shop. My list is organised...next to the menu on the left is where I write my grocery items. Right under the menu is fruit and vegies. In the centre on the left is the bathroom items we need. Down the bottom on the left is the fridge/dairy stuff and on the left is the meat.

Now for the shopping. I shop in three difference places! We live in a semi rural area, so great shopping is something planned for and done on our way to or from somewhere else. We do a number of trips down to the suburbs each week, so I make good use of the time and petrol I use. This way I am able to shop at Aldi as well as my local Safeway (which is next to hopeless, and more expensive than other Safeway stores). Until this week I have been buying meat, vegies & fruit on my way home from Bible Study. The meat prices there are worth a once a month trip down the hill to get what I need. And since I plan for the month, I can do that easily.

So what do we actually eat, you might ask. All the theory for eating and shopping and getting the best prices is one thing....but what do we eat that makes our grocery bill so much cheaper? Well...if you wander back through my blog you can see our evening menu plans ...posted each Monday, or thereabouts.

Our breakfasts consist of cereal or toast. All bought from Aldi. The 'boys' have warm weet-bix, Miss Mishief has rice bubbles and Miss Sunshine often has corn flakes. I also make our bread in the bread machine so there is toast available too, if anyone wanted it.

Lunches are generally sandwiches with either ham, cheese & mayo, or Mr Busy prefers jam. The kids all take a piece of fresh fruit and some rice crackers, buttered salada's or something that we have baked at home ~ bikkies or a muffin...something like that.

Finally, the all important snacks! You can see what the kids take to school for lunch. After school we might make popcorn (it's only 99c a packet and you get LOTS of serves!), or they have more crackers or a baked goodie. Fresh fruit is always there. I might add I have a $5/kg limit with fruit. If it costs more than that I won't buy it. I prefer around the $3/kg mark.

We only have milk and water to drink. Dh & I drink tea, although if we were into coffee he has his own coffee business so it wouldn't cost us anything to grab a bag of beans from work...but we enjoy tea. And it's much cheaper anyway!

If you have children and don't seem to feel like you have lots of time to make meals or bake, then get your kids involved. They can use a vegie peeler quite safely around 5yo (maybe earlier, but I'm not ready for that LOL). My girls are 10 & 11yo and quite able to carry out instructions and use a smaller sharp knife to chop smaller vegies. If I'm making gnocchi the kids help roll it for me, into little balls. This is Mr Busy's favourite job. I find it hard to have the kids in the kitchen. But they are willing and capable and so now when they ask I give them a job. However small it is, whatever they do for me will save me some time and get dinner on the table quicker! My girls can also bake almost on their own. So if I need a cake, Miss Sunshine is my girl. If I want a batch of choc chip bikkies, the Miss Mischief is eager to please. Since I don't enjoy baking, this is great for me! And you know what? They NEED to learn these things so they can take care of themselves when they leave home. So what may start off as a means to save money, actually has a two-fold purpose!

Friday, 18 April 2008

Decision Update

Someone asked, in my comments section, about an update on some decisions I was trying to work through...maybe about a month ago.

The update is that I decided to take on the extra two hours at school. That began this week and has made for a very full couple of days. The extra time is in Mr Busy's class, although the children are off at a specialist class for half that time. His teacher has me doing all sorts of different things that are basically just time consuming. Like taking artwork off the walls in preparation for a new general studies unit, photocopying, laminating etc.

Following the decision to do this, I had a major panic moment though. Just as school was about to start back I woke early one morning and suddenly though "I can't do it all". I am training and then facilitating a parenting program late in May....I really would never keep up with it all. So after much thought and prayer and really seeking God's direction I have decided to drop BSF ~ the bible study class I was attending. I had my last class this week.

As for the Sunday School issue. Dh is of the opinion that it would be very disruptive for our children to be coming in late and would segregate them from their friendships and so feels we should let that trial run its course. However....the youth pastor has just resigned and will finish up around the same time as the trial does. So we'll see. I hope to catch up with him at some point to express my concerns further ~ he already knows I have plenty.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008


Picture by Lisa Audit, from art.com

Everyone single person around me yesterday made my birthday very very special. I feel particularly blessed!

My children began the day with giving me simple, but practical gifts ~ a colander, a pair of kitchen scissors and a very pretty pink & white mug. My husband gave me a beautiful bunch of flowers and took me shopping to my favourite Christian bookstore to buy myself a book & a DVD set of the 'Love Comes Softly' series.

On Tuesday's I work in my daughter's classrooms. I spent the entire time in Miss Mischief's class this week. She told her teacher the 'secret'(!) and so the class sang happy birthday. Ten minutes before lunch time Miss Sunshine's teacher brought all of his kids through....singing happy birthday and presented me with a cake with a candle on top! So we all got to have a tiny sliver of cake each (he bought two to go around us all) to celebrate together. The kids were so excited to have been able to surprise me!

In the afternoon I got a couple of phone calls from different family members. Dh's oldest brother & his family joined us for dinner. I made baked salmon with a parmesan & basil breadcrumb crust, hassleback potatoes and steamed vegies...and the chocolate fondant puddings were oooohhhhh sooooooo good! Smooth and silky, rich without being overbearing. A pure indulgence! They bought cheeses for afterwards.

Now despite popular opinion I don't mind cooking on my birthday. Apparently it just 'shouldn't be done'. But I had the dinner I just love the very most and I got to share it with people I love without any extra effort at all.

A perfect day!

Monday, 14 April 2008

Monday Menu's...here it is folks!

Picture by Lisa Audit, from art.com

Here we are again! It seems to me that Monday rolls around faster than I can blink. I'm so glad that I have planned my entire month's dinners ~ this will be a busy term for me (we just started term 2 here) so until the end of April, I don't need to worry about this...well, apart from the odd gap here or there!

Monday: Beef & oyster sauce, stir fried vegies, brown rice
Tuesday: Baked Salmon, vegies, Baked chocolate pudding for dessert (It's my birthday ~ I've been planning to have a small indulgence to celebrate)
Wednesday: Vegetable Patties....not sure what to put with it yet.
Thursday: Zucchini Quiche & vegies
Friday: Honey mustard chicken, baked spuds, vegies
Saturday: Roast ~ lamb or chicken with roasted vegies, carrots & broccoli
Sunday: Pasta Bolognaise

Diet Update ~ I have lost 2kg so far. I have been keeping careful records so that I can see what is working etc. I'm VERY happy with that, and I can feel the improvement in how my clothes fit already....5kg to go.

Sunday, 13 April 2008


picture from art.com

"Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin,
and the the priests and Levites ~ everyone whose
heart God had moved ~ prepared to go up and
build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem"

Ezra 1:5

When God moves in your heart, do you prepare to do His will immediately, without excuses?

Saturday, 12 April 2008

All in a Day's Work

What does one do, on a lazy sunny Saturday? Why you go Op Shopping of course! And whilst there, you might find a fabulous piece of fabric. Well...you just have to go home and make something with it don't you?! And, there's no way you could do that without popping in to the local quilt shop for some coordinated fabric...what a shame.

I had been meandering through the shopping tote tutorial links on Rhonda's blog, which were posted early in March. I was terribly inspired, and was very excited to have the chance to make one for myself. I used Anna's tutorial. Anna is an incredible sewer and so very inspiring. I was determined to half a good a job on this bag as she does on her projects!

Pretty cute huh!

Friday, 11 April 2008

Just a very quick post. I was looking through the box of books for sale in the staffroom at school and found this absolute gem. It will cost me less than half price, so I'm ordering it.

What was sooo appealing that I just had to have yet another cookbook? This isn't just yet another cookbook. It is full of memories and background stories to each recipe. The pictures that go with it are just beautiful. It has a vintage feel in a brand new book. I love that I get to wander through the writers childhood and her life. I am also hoping that I will be inspired as I begin a recipe journal type of book for each of my girls for when they leave home.

Oh it was just beautiful. I can't wait to have it at home!

Quilt Project Completed

I finally finished one of the two wall hanging quilts I was working on in my sewing circle time last term. I just love how it's turned out and it is now hanging in my entry hallway, on a wire coat-hanger with pegs. Why such a crude and rustic hanger which does absolutely no justice to the quilt? Because I couldn't wait long enough to get a nice looking hanging thingo before putting this on the wall...that's why!

I have to say, I'm rather pleased with the mitered corners on the binding. I got out my '501 Quilt Blocks' book and followed the instructions very carefully and VOILA! Perfect corners. I also learned from Mrs Martin that you don't stitch down the fold of the corners on the front side. See...I knew my sewing circle time would be filled with more than just stitching for my own joy ~ I learn something new almost every week!

Thursday, 10 April 2008

The Maker's Diet...yet again

Picture from art.com

It's time. I made the drastic decision to go back and do the Maker's Diet (book by Jordan Rubin) again. Such a restrictive program is not something I ordinarily endorse or embrace, but my struggles are somewhat unique and without medical reasoning to help me I need to do what I know will work.

Being healthy and enjoying life is important to me. As a mother I am very careful about what my children eat and drink and that they enjoy a healthy well balanced diet so that their bodies are as healthy as possible. It's time to be as diligent with myself.

For me, this is also about being a good steward of the life & body that God has given me. I've not done such a wonderful job of it at times, and I'm reaping the consequences now.

In just over a month I will begin facilitating a parenting program. I want to be able to stand before that group of parents looking like I am capable of a diligent and self-controlled life ~ an outward sign of the fruit of the Spirit within.

Six weeks should just about do it~ I hope!

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Pork Meatloaf & Other Musings

Picture by Martha Denise from art.com

Autumn seems to be bringing out the desire for warming comfort foods. The crisp cool air in the mornings and the evenings inspires use of the oven to warm the home...and the heart! A little extra warmth will help Mr Busy's chest too ~ his body struggles with the cooler air.

I meant to get a photo, but my family devoured dinner and the leftovers before I had a chance. The fact that dinner was a little late didn't help I think! However, someone (was it Tracy?) asked for the recipe, so here it is:

Glazed Pork & Veal Meatloaf

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small brown onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 timmed celery stalk, chopped finely
1 medium green apple, peeled & grated coarsely
250g each pork & veal mince (I use 500g pork)
1 cup stale breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh sage (I omit this)
1 egg
1 bacon rasher, diced
1 green apple, cored, sliced thinly, extra
2 tablespoons apple jelly or applesauce

  1. Heat oil in large frying pan, add onion, garlic and celery; cook, stirring, until onion is soft. Add apple; cook, stirring, until all the liquid has evaporated, cool.
  2. Preheat oven to moderate (180C).
  3. Using hand, combined onion mixture with mince, breadcrumbs, sage and egg in large bowl.
  4. Transfer mince mixture to a large sheet of plastic wrap; use wrap to roll into 8cm x 24cm log discard plastic.
  5. Place on a baking tray that has been lined with baking paper.
  6. Spread the log with the applesauce (or jelly), then stop with apple slices and bacon.
  7. Roast for 45-60 minutes.
I think of all the different types of meat I've used in meat loaf (beef & lamb), this is about my favourite.

In other musings from my side of the picket fence...I've been praying about whether and when to give up going to BSF. I had a 'moment' in the early hours of Friday morning when I realised that "I can't do it all"...everything I have coming up this term.

This afternoon I was reading Ezra and had asked God to clearly show me His direction for me ~ but it then took a conversation with my Mum to clarify things and make them crystal clear. I love my Mum ~ she often helps me with things like this. She doesn't think she's doing anything special but she helps me immensely! Back to Ezra. Chapter 1:5 says "The the family heads of Judah and Bejamin, and the priests and Levites - everyone whose heart God had moved - prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem"

Mum asked if I'd had 3 different confirmations for the changes I wanted to make. Hmmm...I dunno!?! She said desire is often one, and I have had a very strong belief within that I need to drop something, probably BSF. Then I mentioned that I'd been reading Ezra til I phoned her.

I said to Mum this is what stood out...God moved the people's hearts and it was those that prepared themselves to move away and go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. She picked up that they were going to build God's House and confirmed that I need to come home and 'build the house' too. To be involved in my own home, rather than too busy to focus on my first priority.

OK, confirmation 2.

Thirdly I found out today that there are TWO other women prepared to play the piano in an emergency. I didn't know that.

Confirmation 3.

Mum said she would think that should settle it! I'm inclined to agree. So tomorrow I will phone the Teaching Leader and tell her that next week will be my last week. I spoke with her today and told her that I couldn't be there on the 30th anyway, and that I was praying about this. She asked me to commit to the full term...but I just couldn't do that. Come May, there is no way I would be able to do that!

I just love the way the Lord works and uses others to help me see what He wants me to see. Mum's right ~ having three different confirmations on something really does help a LOT!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Vegetable Lasagna

This is a fantastic recipe. It's pretty simple and super duper yummy. It also freezes and reheats absolutely beautifully, so you can easily make double and freeze half of it for another meal.

Vegetable Lasagna

250g packet frozen spinach, thawed
250g ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
810g tin crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 cups milk
lasagna sheets
100g grated cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a small pan and saute onion & garlic until onion is softened and transparent.
  3. Combine spinach, ricotta and nutmeg in a bowl.
  4. Combine tomatoes, tomato paste & herbs in another bowl. Divide the onion between the two and mix.
  5. Place the cornflour in a small saucepan and mix enough milk in to make a smooth paste, then add the rest of the milk. Stir constantly over a medium heat until thickened.
  6. Spread a little of the tomato mixture on the bottom of a glass baking dish and layer lasagna sheets over the top. Then layer as follows:
    Half the tomato mixture
    lasagna sheets
    ricotta mixture
    lasagna sheets
    remainder of tomato mixture
    lasagna sheets
    white sauce
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour.
I made my own pasta last night and it was so delicate ~ definitely something I will do again! I also used 500g of ricotta last night and as a result I have enough for 3-4 serves to freeze for another night. Perfect for a night when I just can't fathom cooking a meal ~ it happens...even for one who loves to cook!

Monday, 7 April 2008

Menu Planning Monday

Mom's Cookin' by Sharon Pedersen from art.com

It's Monday ... I'm home ... I've done my menu. Is that some kind of a record?! It seems like the last few weeks have been all upside down LOL.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Monday: Vegetable Lasagna, not sure what we'll have with it yet
Tuesday: Pork & Apple Meatloaf, baked potatoes, carrots, cauliflower & broccoli
Wednesday: Honey & Orange Crumbed Chicken, vegies as for Tuesday
Thursday: Herbed Ricotta Fritters, steamed vegie au gratin
Friday: Creamy Bacon & Mushroom Pasta
Saturday: Zucchini Quiche, scallop potatoes, steamed carrots, broccoli, cauliflower
Sunday: Soup & English Muffin Pizzas

I'm going to try and remember to take photos this week ~ I might actually get around to posting some recipes!!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Millaa Millaa Falls, Queensland (picture from art.com)

Just Let Me Say
by Geoff Bullock

Just let me say how much I love You,
Let me speak of Your mercy and grace.
Just let me live in the shadow of Your beauty,
Let me see You face to face.
And the earth will shake as Your Word goes forth,
And the heavens can tremble and fall.
Just let me say how much I love You,
O my Saviour, my Lord and Friend.

Just let me hear Your finest whispers
As you gently call my name.
And let me see your power and Your glory,
Let me feel Your Spirit's flame.
Let me find You in the desert
'Til this sand is Hold Ground;
And I am found completely surrendered
To You, my Lord and Friend.

So let me say how much I love You,
With all my heart I long for You,
For I am caught in this passion of knowing
This endless love I've found in You,
And the depth of grace,
The forgiveness found,
To be called a Child of God,
Just makes me say how much I love You
O my Saviour, my Lord and Friend.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Two Favourite Resources

I thought I'd share with you two of my favourite resource books. I'm not big into non-fiction, but I do have a couple that I wouldn't be without!

The first one is my copy of the 'The Complete Tightwad Gazette' by Amy Dacyczyn. Amy is very inspiring in the lengths that she has gone to, to achieve the lifestyle that her family desired. I have read it cover to cover and less constantly now, but I often delve into it for some gem of information or recipe that I require. You can't get this book in Australia so I had to carefully weigh up whether it was worth the hassle and expense of exchange rates and charges etc. It definitely was. If nothing else, I felt that it gave me permission to be my own person and not try and live to what society tells us we should desire. Of course, it is full of great ideas and interesting food for thought on all things frugal. Given what we then went through financially, this has been a very valuable resource to have on my shelf.

The second one is newer to me. Again, after much deliberation on the value of obtaining a book I couldn't thumb through to find out if I felt it was worth it, I had my BIL bring this one back with him when they came over for Christmas just over a year ago. I'm so glad I did, and that he was willing to bring it over with him. 'Nourishing Traditions' by Sally Fallon has completely turned my ideas of good nutrition on its head. I feel like I am far better informed on nutrition than I could have ever been without it! I never knew that low fat dairy was devoid of much of the good nutrition it should have, or that saturated animal fats are needed....or that the high use of vegetable fats and hydrogenated oils are more likely to be the cause of high cholesterol and heart disease than a bit of fat on your meat, or cream on your dessert (if you were so lucky to have dessert, that is!). This is one I would very highly recommend. I haven't read it cover to cover ~ but I do pick it up and read it while having breaky from time to time and glean a little more that improves our nutrition and health. It takes me a bit to 'digest' (ha ha) all that it has to offer. Plus I'm learned how to prepare foods so that we get the most out of them. There is just sooooo much in there!

Friday, 4 April 2008

My Exile Is Over

Those of you who read Kate's blog at Our Red House will know that Victoria has had major wind storms this week, and power outages that are fairly widespread. While we were at Mum's place we had bad dust storms. We were home all day that day and just watched it go past. We were nice and warm and cosy and had all our little projects at hand to keep us occupied.

We got home at midday yesterday to no electricity. It had gone out at 2pm the day before. Not surprising ~ we were fully expecting it, as power outages in our area are common when there's a big wind. Gum trees and power lines are not good mates.

We spent the evening huddled around the fireplace (the first time we've lit it in the 2.5 years we've been here) to keep warm. We had out all our little fat squatty candles, kept for just such occasions. I nicked up and bought enough ingredients just for dinner ~ Singapore Noodles, which is cooked entirely on the cooktop. Thankfully that is gas and was no trouble, except to remember that it won't self ignite when the power is out! Interestingly, our main street, just 800m away had power!

The power came back on around 1am-ish. I am soooooo relieved! I have a mountain of washing to do and a fridge to clean out and re-shop for. After 30 hours only the un-defrosted meat is salvagable...and yes, the meat stayed frozen.

How wonderful to get up this morning and turn on the heater and television....and computer! I find power outages to be rather tiresome and somewhat draining. I just don't seem to cope very well with them. The only thing I could do was knit whilst it was daylight and read with the aid of a rechargable lantern (that was charged, thankfully!).

Oh...and PS from my last post ~ yes I will post photos as my projects are completed. As you can imagine, my sewing machine couldn't be used either!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

The Creative SAHM

Picture by Renior from art.com

My time here with Mum has been quite productive. I brought some fabric with me, and a piece of interfacing that I had traced a skirt pattern onto. It's just 8 curved panels. I put that together yesterday and today and will take it home to put on the facings and zip.

I also bought a new knitting pattern and some yarn to start a new cardigan. Completely different the the one I just finished. Again, just basically a stocking stitch, but I love the style.

Meanwhile, Mum has been madly piecing a foundation paper quilt. She's gotten to the last twenty or so patches and needed more sets of 3 fabrics for each patch so we've been matching up fabric swatches together and sorting through her massive stash to find them!

The girls are back into their crocheting. Not without quite a bit of frustration on Miss Sunshine's part. Her stubbornness outweighed her frustration and she's finally got the hang of the double crochet stitch!

And I've been walking. In the mornings, just for 20 minutes...boy I seem to be feeling it. I didn't realise that I was that out of shape.