Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fortnightly Menu Planning

After a weekend away at my parent's for my brother's birthday I was feeling very uninspired when it came to planning our dinners for the coming fortnight. After a status update on Facebook and some trawling through websites and recipe books I finally came up with a varied and hopefully balanced plan.

So it looks like this:

Monday - sweet potato, lentil and silverbeet curry (from freezer) with brown rice and steamed veg
Tuesday - Matt's specialty savoury mince with steamed veg
Wednesday - Roast beef (slow cooker) with roasted potato and pumpkin, steamed veg
Thursday - Silverbeet and ricotta frittata
Friday - Italian lentils (slow cooker) with cous cous and steamed veg
Saturday - BBQ (Matt)
Sunday - Jamie Oliver's meatloaf with mashed potato and steamed veg (Ministry of Food p161)
Monday - Chicken and pesto pasta
Tuesday - Pumpkin soup with homemade bread rolls
Wednesday - Chilli con carne (Matt) once boys are asleep!
Thursday - Homemade fish and chips
Friday - Wonton soup

Monday, August 30, 2010

An Old Friend Returns!

I logged on to Blogger the other night to find a favourite blog of mine that had finished, had a new post! Yay!

My dear friend Helen had a blog A Little Life in Pictures where she posted a photo a day for a year. When the year was up she decided to not continue the blog and that the project was over. Now, after a couple of months break she's back, albeit in a bit of a different form! Yay Yay YIPPEE!!!

Her new blog A Little Life in Stills is going to be a photographic blog, but without the pressure of posting once a day! Helen is an incredibly talented photographer (in her spare time) and her photos are funny, quirky, irreverent and thought provoking. She has an amazing, quick wit and her ability to play on words is second to none. In fact, I'm still waiting for her suggestions for a name for the new house (hint hint).

Anyway, I just thought I'd share this wonderful new blog that I'll be visiting and also let it's owner know how excited I am that she's back!!!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Breaking Ground

Now that we are in our own place we can start getting serious about our food production. The rental we were in was good because it had a big weed-infested garden bed that we turned into our veg patch but now that we've got 2.5 acres of our own space the feeling is completely different. Overwhelming, exciting and daunting all at the same time. We want to plan things properly, taking our time and really thinking about where the chickens will go, what is the best site for the compost etc etc. Luckily for us the site for the orchard was pretty obvious.

The previous owners told us that they had great plans for the gardens and yard but simply did not have the time to devote to it (they are running their own small business). Luckily for us they spent some time (and money) on some pretty good garden infrastructure. There is a bore (that pumps up ground water) connected with underground pipes to many sprinklers (think big farm sprinklers) all over the grounds. This means that we'll be able to water gardens without using our precious rain water (We aren't connected to mains/town water) Two of these sprinklers are behind the house towards the back fenceline. Confusing I know. Sorry. Anyway, we're planning the orchard to be along the back fenceline, two rows 7 metres apart with the trees in each row 3 metres apart, then another row in between with trees 3 metres apart staggered to the outside rows. Even more confusing? It makes sense in my head!

There was one citrus tree already there so we're taking our spacings off that one. Saturday we planted a new mandarin (Emperor variety) and Sunday we planted a very sick Eureka lemon that we've had in a pot. My parents gave it to us for Christmas last year and unfortunately it hasn't been the same since it got decimated by grasshoppers a while ago. Hopefully now it's in the ground it will recover!

I've decided that I'm going to try and stretch my grocery/market/housekeeping money a little further and buy one fruit tree every fortnight, maybe two if they're a good price or need a friend for cross-pollination. After looking around the markets and a few smaller nurseries in town I found that the only place I could get a mandarin tree (it was Elliot's request) was Bunnings. Good for the budget because it was only $20, not so good for the ethics of supporting local businesses.

Oh well, you can't win them all.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Guest Post

Today I've written a guest post for Meagan at Ecomilf as she spends some quiet time with the newest addition to their little family. Wishing you much peace and love at this exciting time Meagan!

I invite you to head over to her place and check it out and also check out her inspirational and informative posts. Happy reading!

Monday, August 23, 2010

We've Added to the Family!

We had a lovely weekend this weekend. Voting, cooking, gardening, spending lazy time on the verandah while the boys were in the sandpit. Is anyone sensing a theme developing?

Oh, and we got a new puppy!

Her name is Millie and she's an 11 week old Blue Cattle X. We're thinking maybe crossed with a bit of Border Collie because she's all black with one white paw and a white patch on her chest. We got her from the local animal shelter. The chances of getting a puppy from there are so remote, we just couldn't leave her there! While we were there her brother and sister were also adopted! We were going just to look, but Matt fell in love. He is such a big softy when it comes to dogs, luckily local council regulations say you're only allowed to have two dogs otherwise I'm sure we'd end up with a pack! The boys have also fallen in love with her and Elliot spent most of yesterday organising a party for Millie on the verandah because he thought it was her birthday!

Unfortunately, as with energetic toddlers, new puppies are difficult to take good photos of, so this is the best I could get!

Friday, August 20, 2010

5 Things I'm Grateful For Today

A verandah that is spatious enough for us to cook, eat, play, create, laugh and share on.

A skylight over my lovely kitchen that brightens my day.

An enormous sandpit that the boys adore and have already shared with visiting friends.

A scrummy dinner cooked for us last night by a wonderful friend.

Waking up to this stunning view every morning and realising that this is not a holiday!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm In Love.

Utterly and absolutely in love with our new house and land! We have been here for just over a week and it is already feeling so much like home. It is so quiet and peaceful. At the moment I'm sitting on the verandah with a cuppa listening to the birds. Life doesn't get much better than this!

Elliot, who doesn't always take change well, has been having the time of his life. His favourite thing is showing visitors around and giving them the guided tour. He runs through the house "This is the bathroom ... this is Archie's room ...(and my favourite) this is a toilet for Mummy and Daddy when they're busting in the night time". Ah, three year olds! Elliot's room looks down the front towards the dam next door and out the back to the neighbouring horse paddock, so he can see the horses from his bed which he loves.

Archie, who has never been a good sleeper, has only been waking once or twice for a quick feed and then straight back to sleep.  His talking has also exploded in the past week or so and one of his favourite words at the moment is "duck" which he says (in that 17 month old way) over and over and over again at full volume on the verandah, calling our new duck that lives on the dam next door. His other favourite new word is "Pop" which he also repeated endlessly while following Pop around the house wanting cuddles.

Both boys are spending so much time outside, digging in the enormous sandpit, exploring in the jungle/forest/secret garden, running up the hill, rolling and tumbling back down again. I can only assume that they both love the house and are feeling very comfortable and happy here.

Matt and I have been unpacking and organising but thanks to the help of my wonderful parents we're pretty much done. They worked like Trojans and I'm sure were very much relieved to get home and away from boxes and heavy lifting! Now I'm just spending time enjoying the house and yard and fitting in organising around that. All the important stuff is done (ie the kitchen ;) ) everything else is just figuring out where to store things. I just got new curtains for all the bedrooms on Monday when a homewares shop had 20% off everything so I'm spending the next few days hanging curtains and installing a couple of rods that were missing.

The planning work in the garden has begun. We now have 2.5 acres! Yay for space! Yay for room for the boys to run and yell and yahoo and not wake the neighbours up at 6am! Yay for room to grow more of our own food! Yay for Matt mowing the 2.5 acres of grass that is here at the moment! Ha! Actually the ride on is a lot of fun to drive, the boys are loving going for rides too! There are three very young fruit trees already here a mango, an avocado and a citrus of unknown variety. We've got ideas for an orchard, veg garden, chook house and compost placement but just need the time, money and hard work to get it all done! But now we're here, we're not planning on going anywhere soon so we've got time. Well, Matt has until my birthday in October to get me chickens, but apart from that deadline, we've got all the time in the world!

A friend came around last week to check out the new place and as we were sitting in the sandpit with the kids she said "I bet you feel like you can just exhale". And it is so true. I can feel that all of us have 'exhaled'. We're home.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

I've Fallen Off The Wagon!

Big Time!!!

With the move looming (settlement is this Friday, movers are coming the following Monday) our usual routine has completely gone out the window.

Instead of cooking from scratch, baking, menu-planning and thoughtful shopping we've been buying more ready made food (pasta, bread, etc), eating up what's in the freezer and open in the pantry. Our 20kg bag of wholemeal flour has just run out, but I'm not going to order another until we get into the new house. I've not made bread for about a week and Matt has had to do several trips to the bakery to get more.

The boys and I haven't been doing many fun activities lately. We've all had a bit of a flu and have just been trying to survive the day and get things packed! Craft activities seem like a thing of the past! Poor El keeps asking and I keep saying "When we get to the new house!"

After a few days of rain the washing basket was "turning into a mountain" according to Elliot. I kept putting it off thinking that the sun would come out tomorrow but by this stage we had no clean clothes so I thought I'd better get some washing on. Our clothes airer can hold one load of washing so not very convenient, and while I was hanging said washing, Archie pulled on the airer and broke it! So I had to resort to the drier! Luckily the sun came out the next day and I did 3 loads one day and 2 loads the next. We're finally up to date in that the washing is clean, but our three-seater lounge is now the 'folding up zone' and the boys have been given fair warning that if they touch that lounge there'll be trouble!!!

We've been using more disposable nappies due to the above washing situation and that I don't want to be doing any more washing than I absolutely have to. Sigh, a poor excuse I know, but I just can't do it at the moment.

It's our bin day today and the entire bin was full! Moving is a great excuse for a clean out, but it also fills the bin! We've got a bootload of stuff to donate to charity, plus another pile of things that I'm going to sell to get a bit of extra cash.

I completely forgot about my monthly bookclub meeting last week! I hadn't read the book, so even if I had remembered I wouldn't have added much to the conversation, but it wasn't until I saw the organising librarian a few days later that I remembered! Oops!

So that is where we are at this week. Trying to keep our heads above water while balancing a lingering flu, Matt working a ridiculous amount, packing, keeping the boys sane (and me too I suppose!).

Luckily Matt is bringing Mum back up with him after his day trip to Brisbane tomorrow so I'll have company as I slowly go insane ... HA! Seriously though, I just can't wait to get into the new house, get back into the kitchen, get started in the garden and get back on track!

I'll post again once we're in!

Vic xx