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Posts Tagged ‘Family’

You can feed a family of four a satisfying meal for $5 in less than 15 minutes. It’s not sexy, it’s not fancy and you may not want to serve it at a dinner party…but it is:

1. Healthy

2. Cheap

3. Filling

4. Quick to prepare.

5. Easy to conceal vegies.

5. Passes the trifecta baby/toddler/adult tastebud test.

Tuna Pasta is our ‘go-to’ meal. The quickest, easiest, mid-week meal in my cooking repertoire. It’s the meal I go to if I’m considering ordering take-away, as the ingredients are always in my pantry. Works just as well with any vegies!

Tuna Pasta

Ingredients

1 x 700g jar homebrand pasta sauce

1 x 400g tin homebrand diced tomatoes

1 x 185g tin homebrand tuna, drained

1 packet of homebrand thin spaghetti

1 brown onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small zucchini, grated or blitzed in food processor

1 small carrot, grated or blitzed in food processor

Cheese to serve

Instructions

1. Cook 3/4 packet of pasta in a large pot of boiling water.

2. Brown onion and garlic in a large saucepan.

3. Add sauce, diced tomatoes, vegies and tuna. Simmer while pasta cooks.

4. Serve with cheese.

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On the weekend we went bush walking…our first bush walk together as a family. The Wolli Creek Regional Park is one of the inner west’s best kept secrets. A little pocket of native vegetation in the middle of suburbia. It’s a special place to us, because it’s where we got married several years ago (in the time I recall fondly as “the before”). It was strange being back with two small children in tow…the incessant chatter and rumble of little toddler feet sending nervous Eastern Water Skinks scurrying for cover. We were amazed at how excited the children were to be in the bush. It’s nature’s playground…with so much to see, hear, smell and touch. Whisper thin dragon flies floating in the air, cockatoos squawking over head, interesting rocks and tree branches to navigate and scented wild flowers fragrancing the air. It was a great afternoon…and much more fun without a white frock on.

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The older my babies get, the harder it is to photograph them together. I mean…really hard. They never sit still. This was my effort to take a nice photograph for Fathers Day. We ended up with a handmade card and a box of chocolates.

Any advice, tips or sneaky tricks would be gratefully appreciated.

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It’s been a busy month in our neck of the woods.

Almost impossible to believe but my two babies turned 1 and 3. As their birthdays are so close together, we had a combined party at the park. In a month of brilliant Sydney sunshine, the party landed squarely on a weekend of rain and record gale-force winds. As children are blissfully immune to bad weather, we grown-ups proceeded bravely outdoors.

At the party we had…

Rugged up children bearing bikes, trikes and scooters and rugged up relatives bearing fruit platters and presents.

A cake-off. The 3-year old’s Nigella Lawson Chocolate Cake versus the 1-year old’s Donna Hay Carrot Cake. In my humble opinion, the hands down winner was Ms Hay. Her carrot cake is so fabulous, it will be the subject of my next blog entry.

Loads of fabric bunting that was double gaffer-taped to poles and flapping madly in the wind (though I managed to get a miraculous ‘still’ shot between gusts).

Little handmade touches that included Where the Wild Things Are invitations:

Duck-food for a bike/scooter trip to the pond:

And take home goodie-bags made with scrapbooking paper and this handy little sticker making machine I found on my op-shop travels:

Oh and what do you do if it’s a Saturday morning and there’s only one table at Sydney’s most popular inner west park? You get an early morning covert operation underway to mind the table, is what you do…(thanks uncle).Until next year kiddos.

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At the risk of sounding like a crazy Lego lady, here is another Lego-related post which will appeal to those people that love to organise.

Since the Lego revolution took off at our place we’ve been keeping all our Lego in one big ol’ plastic tub. This was causing my husband and son no end of frustration as it would take them forever to find an elusive piece lurking in the nook of another piece. I googled Lego storage and was amazed by the number of people who were obsessed with finding the perfect sorting and storage system. I was most inspired by Jen over at I Heart Organising. She uses the Ikea Trofast system for sorting and storing their Lego pieces. I decided to use the Trofast storage system, but with different labels aimed at a younger child. I wanted visual, easily-identifiable labels so that my 3-yeard old could be responsible for sorting and packing away his own Lego.

So here goes:

You will need

2 x white Ikea Trofast frames + 12 small Trofast storage drawers with lids.

Cutting board, ruler and stanley knife/scissors.

Small roll of contact paper.

Assorted paint chips from a hardware store in the colour of your Lego pieces.

A colour print-out with 2 x Lego logos and imagery of lego accessories (my printable here).

A small white label with the word Instructions printed on it.

Instructions

1. Assemble Trofast frames and wipe clean the exterior surface of storage drawers with a damp cloth and dry (this will assist with contact paper adhering to the surface.

2. Decide how you would like to categorise your Lego collection. We sorted into Baseplates, Instructions, Minifigures + Accessories, Wheels + Vehicle Windows, Yellow, Green, Red, Blue, White, Grey, Black and Orange / Beige / Maroon / Brown pieces.

3. Source Lego logo + label imagery and insert onto an A4 sheet for colour printing (or use Lego Organisation Labels). I sized and cropped my Lego logos to approx 9 x 5cms and the drawer panels to approx 10 x 6cms. You will also need a separate written label for the Instructions drawer.

4. Using a cutting board and ruler, cut the logos, colour paint chips and imagery to size.

5. For the drawer with the Orange / Beige / Maroon / Brown pieces I cut colour paint chips to size and then divided them into four and stuck a piece from each colour together with tape before placing onto contact paper.

6. Cut pieces of contact paper into rectangular panels slighter larger in size to the colour panel. My contact panels were approximately half a centimetre larger than the colour panel around the diameter.

7. Peel off contact backing and carefully place paper labels onto sticky side, then adhere labels onto the drawers.

8. Sit back and enjoy your handiwork!
Oh and it also creates a handy little display for all those wonderful Lego creations.

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Someone today asked if my daughter and her cousin were twins. A little similar in looks, they mostly share a lovely similar temperament. My sister and I agree that ‘these two play well together’.

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Last week I ordered my little girl her first pair of shoes. These shoes are made by a company called Baby Paws, which is located in Australia. The shoes are handmade upon individual request. It’s nice to have something this special that is locally made.

I used the same brand for my little boy’s first pair of shoes. They are pictured here, thoroughly worn in with the indents of his little toes. I love the story these shoes tell. He was so active, it almost wiped me out. Running around like he was built for speed. Too worn and threadbare to give charity, I will keep them forever.

I can’t wait to see the story my daughter’s first shoes tell.


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My boy loves wheels.

He is fairly indiscriminate in this regard.

Trains, cars, trucks, utes, buses, street sweepers, golf buggies, vans, trailers, trikes, bikes, carts and jeeps.

And Lego versions of all of the above please.

My husband thinks it’s glorious and for the past 18 months has been reliving his childhood.

So for me, there is something quite satisfying about an afternoon playing house.

Yesterday afternoon my son set the table and prepared me an extravagant meal.

That was repeatedly zapped in a pink microwave.

All the while settling his ‘baby’ to sleep.

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This past week we have been visiting my family interstate. My mum lives on the outskirts of the Barossa Valley in South Australia, in a little place I like to think of as the land the Internet forgot.

As a parent, I’m starting to approach these trips with a mixture of excitement and dread. I love seeing my family but it’s the ‘getting there’ that’s the hard part.

Imagine a slippery little fish flip-flopping around on the jetty…then try and put a seatbelt on it. This is our boy, pumped with excitement, on a flight. Ten minutes in and he’d quickly vetoed his carefully selected activity books and become disinterested in the in-flight entertainment. He squirmed and wriggled and protested relentlessly about the unjustness of his seatbelt. The only things that gave us any time-out were snippets of movies on the iPad, in-flight refreshments and a little excursion to investigate the bathroom facilities. Thoroughly.

The baby was a lot easier. The flights had been timed to coincide with her naps and she complied beautifully. (This may be due in no small part to the return of our old nemesis, the dummy.)

Highlights of the trip:

Celebrating the first birthday of a little miracle boy.

The crazy chaos when the whole family got together for a photo shoot.

Marvelling at the changes in all my nieces and nephews.

Watching my brother-in-law’s stand up comedy act.

Finding a babysitter in the most unsuspecting of places.

Lots of cups of tea with my mum and my sisters.

Listening to my little brother sing Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah at the kitchen table after dinner. That song was in my head for days.

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