Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thriving on Thursdays - Linky Party # 21


Another week bites the dust and here we are again at Thriving on Thursdays, my favourite time of my blogging week. An opportunity to see what my lovely followers have been up to all week, creating such lovely recipes, crafts, sewing projects and always coming up with new and innovative ways to save a few dollars. So without further adieu, here's the most hit, not food related linked up posts from last week's party.

spring time flowers bird coloured pencil drawing

Peli from A Lovely Mess drew this beautiful picture of Spring with coloured pencil. Just goes to show what a fabulous medium the coloured pencil is. I love a sharp coloured pencil anytime. I might just be inspired to start doodling with them. Thanks Peli for linking up!

Tessa, the Domestic Diva shares her kitchen organisation tips with us. I'm loving Tessa's recipes more and more. If you're looking for allergy free recipes, gluten free or for healthy substitutes to most recipes, you'll find it on Tessa's blog. Thanks so much for sharing Tessa. I've got a lot to learn from this.
baby gift sheet singlet ribbon BigW
My fellow Aussie blogging buddy, Tonya from The Crafty Mummy shared with us this quick and easy tutorial for putting together an individual baby shower/new baby gift of individualised baby sheets and a matching baby singlet. How adorable is that ribbon Tonya used? I love this Tonya. Thanks so much for sharing your idea.
The Happy Housewifey showed us how it's done, toy organisation that is. Wait until you check this out. If only. I think I'd have the biggest party if I could ever get my toys organised this well. Thanks so much for linking up last week Hayley. I bet we'll all be busy this week trying to copy this.
Stacey-Lee from Get On With It Already has a great idea for displaying your children's artwork and storage of their achievement awards. Don't be like me and try to sneak it out with the recycled paper only to be sprung by the artist himself. Boy, was I in the bad books that week. I've now put that particular piece of artwork in my treasure box because it will always remind me to (1) empty the recycle waste myself and (2) hold on to their artwork for just a little while. Thanks so much Stacey-Lee. It was great to have you link up this week.


 Feel free to grab a 'featured' button for your blog. There were so many great link ups last week, I was beside myself trying to get around to them all. My to do list is growing larger and larger by the week. And if you're after recipe inspiration, don't forget to check out the Recipe Roundup where I feature all the recipes linked up from each Thriving on Thursday party. This usually gets posted late Sunday evening. Now to this week's party. I'll be looking forward to seeing what you've been up to.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Say NO to cleaning schedules

And get your kids to do the housework. Yeah right! (Although I have introduced more daily and weekly chores to my kid's chores list). I'm going to tell you how I clean house. Even though it may not be spotlessly clean or tidy, 100% of the time.  I've learnt over the last 6 months that this is what works for me and our house.

[photo source]

Prior to me stopping work and having children, I ran my housework schedule like clockwork. I would even purposely take rostered days off every four months to wash all my curtains and clean windows before putting them back up, along with having the carpets regularly cleaned etc. Now, I'm lucky to have the floor swept once a week.

The way I've learnt to manage is by saying 'no' to cleaning schedules. I tried this last year. I thought, because my children were a bit older and my son was at Kindergarten three days a week, I could slot my housework cleaning day into Monday. All it took was a long weekend or one of the children to get sick and stay home from school/kindergarten and there goes the schedule. It took me all week to try and get that time back or leave it until the following Monday and have double to do. I'm still very anal when it comes to schedules and timetables and if I can't get it done when I'm 'scheduled' to, I start to twitch and have a minor breakdown.

What works with me is having, what I call, 'micro routines' in my every day life that I can manage. This has been hard to remember to do because my mind is racing onto the next thing I need to do, but once practised a couple of times, it comes easy.

Bathroom & Toilet

I usually save cleaning the shower for the weekend. Morning showers at my place are about 2 minutes flat. At least on the weekend, I can enjoy a decent length of time in the shower and while I have the conditioner in my hair, I give the walls and floor of the shower a good clean.  Every morning or night when I've brushed my teeth, I give the hand basin and vanity top a quick swish and wipe. Once the kids have finished their bath, I remove the ring from around the bath (plus half a bucket of sand and dirt that remains) with the face washer while letting the water out. For the toilet, I use a disinfectant wipe to give it a complete once over daily (I go to the toilet a couple times a day so there is ample opportunity to do this) as well as a good scrub with the brush. Floor washing is left for a day I have free during the week.

[photo source]


Unless I've done a lot of cooking or baking during the day, I leave the dishes I've used for the day until the afternoon when I'm cooking the evening meal. This is when I wash up. All that's left to do is our dinner plates plus maybe a saucepan or two after the meal. Bench tops and the dinner table are wiped down after every meal. Once the evening meal routine is over, I sweep the floor. We have bare timber floors in the kitchen/living area and it's driving me crazy so it needs doing all the time. It just never looks clean. I'm going to be getting the floors polished one of these days. When I'm wiping the bench and stove down, I normally give high traffic areas a quick once over too, like kitchen handles, cupboard door knobs, kitchen spout etc. Floor is washed once a week (if I'm lucky, when the bathroom/toilet floor is washed).

[photo source]
Living Room

This is one I have struggled with but am getting back to making places for everything again. My desk, kitchen table and coffee table can soon become dumping grounds for every bit of paper that enters this house. I try to action the paperwork as soon as it enters the house, eg kid's school information put on noticeboard or filed, bills go on clip on the fridge to be paid, personal mail which has been actioned put in the shredder or filed and anything else put into the recycle paper bin. The kids now have a weekly chore of vacuuming the rug in the living room with a small $20 stick vacuum I bought. It's more manageable for them instead of bringing out the bigger vacuum. I give the rug a good vacuum once a fortnight (but it's in really bad need of a shampoo).

[photo source]
Blankets and throw rugs are folded and put away in a basket at night. There's a shoe rack under the children's bag hooks (for their school bags and Council library book bag) for shoes that get kicked off at the door. As far as dusting goes, that's a fortnightly job that's done just before the rug is vacuumed.

[photo source]
Besides that, there's not much else to it (other than that 4 monthly wash of the curtains and the cleaning of the windows). I just don't panic about things like that anymore and if it's a nice sunny day, I'll do it but need to get in a habit of doing it. I'm envisaging doing it on the first day of each season or thereabouts. I think that's the secret with this plan. You need triggers to remind you to do these things until they become a habit. Bit like teaching the children to brush their teeth at night or make their beds in the morning

I have a couple of homemade cleaners that I use plus a bleach cleanser for hard to remove stains and giving the toilet a good scrub.

[photo source]
Now that the children are getting older, they are responsible for tidying, dusting and vacuuming their rooms. They tidy it every night and dust and vacuum it once a week, usually mid week. Things pop up or they get sick so it's not set in stone. I've learnt to be flexible, very flexible, since having children. I've become permanently blind in one eye I think from 'turning a blind eye' many times!

I hope this dispels the myth known as the "housework schedule".  Sure, it may work for many people and I know that my Nanna used to have certain days to do things. Monday was washing day etc. I guess things were slightly different in those days, for example, no internet distractions to stop you from doing the chores!

This post is part of Domesblissity's THRiVING - Thrifty Living feature.

Do you have a housework schedule that works?
What happens if you or the children get sick on a scheduled cleaning day?
How do you cope?


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sweet & Spicy Pork with Wombok Slaw

It's hardly salad weather here but when you get a wombok (Chinese cabbage) in your weekly fruit and vegetable box, it needs using up. It was lovely and fresh so the best way to eat it is raw or quickly stir fried. I had some pork strips which I made a little sweet and spicy which complimented the salad nicely.

Sweet & Spicy Pork with Wombok Slaw

  • 500gm pork fillet, cut into strips
  • spray of oil for frying
  • 2 tbs tomato sauce (ketchup)
  • 2 tbs bbq sauce
  • 1 tsp sweet chilli sauce (to taste)
  • salt & pepper
  1. Saute pork strips until cooked. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add sauces and cook down until they become sticky.
Wombok Salad:
  • 1/2 wombok (Chinese cabbage), shredded
  • 1 carrot, grated,
  • 1/2 capsicum (bell pepper), thinly sliced
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, chopped finely

  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  1. Combine salad ingredients.
  2. Place all of salad ingredients in a bowl and whisk (or alternatively, place in a jar with a lid and shake).
  3. Pour over salad and serve with pork strips.


Monday, May 28, 2012

I'm on to the 2nd round of the Blog Off / Cook Off

In the craziness of last week, I forgot to mention I was lucky enough to be judged a winner in the first round of the Gourmet Garden Blog Off / Cook Off cooking competition I entered. What a surprise that was. I was up against some stiff competition so very lucky to have been selected.  You could cook one dish or as many as you liked during the week of May 14 to May 20. These are the recipes I cooked.

Eighteen winners have been selected and six will cook off at each of the Good Food & Wine Shows which are to be held over the next few months, the first one being held in Melbourne in June.  I won't have to cook off until November, the time of the Brisbane Good Food & Wine Show so I've got a bit of time up my sleeves to think of something. It has to be something cooked within 30 minutes so I'll have my work cut out for me.  No more arm chair commentating on all the cooking shows from me anymore now that I'll be under the bright lights myself! I'm looking forward to it though and know I'll be up against some stiff competition but it will be a bit of fun and more than I could've ever wished for.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thriving on Thursdays Recipe Roundup # 8

Wow-ee! Did you see the recipes linked up at this week's Thriving on Thursday? Well, fear not.  Here they all are in one spot, sorted into Appetisers, Salads & Snacks, Mains, Sweet Treats, Breakfast and Miscellaneous. Hope you all have a great week and pick up some inspiration from this lovely lot.

Appetisers, Salads & Snacks


Sweet Treats

hand held cherry pie





Bringing back dessert - Fruit Crumble/Crisp

In my attempt to bring back the age old tradition of dessert after a meal, I have decided to have a fruit crumble tonight. I believe they call something similar a 'crisp' in the US but whatever you call it, it's a great way to use up fruit starting to turn bad in the fridge or make up a quick dessert with tinned fruit.

These kind of desserts aren't enjoyed that much in the warmer months here where I live in Queensland, Australia but are just perfect in our cooler months. It's been a cool day today and will be cool tonight so I'll be looking forward to this. It's pretty low in calories too with only a little bit of butter used to bring all the crumble together and crisp it up. If I have them, I like to add nuts to the crumble mixture for a bit of extra crunch. Served with plain vanilla ice cream and I'm in heaven.

Basic Crumble

  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup nuts of choice, chopped finely
  • quantity of softened fruit (if using a hard fruit, eg apple, boil for about 5 mins until slightly softened)
  1. Combine flour and butter and rub butter into flour until it resembles fine crumbs.
  2. Add other ingredients and 'crumble' over the top of fruit.
  3. Bake in a 180 deg C oven for approx 20 mins or until golden.

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