Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thriving on Thursdays - Linky Party # 34

Hello again my lovely THRiVERs! Welcome to another week of Thriving on Thursdays. It's officially Spring here in a couple day's time and it couldn't come soon enough.

Winter was long, cold, full of ill health and miserable. Nothing feeds my soul more than the onset of Spring and Summer, the birds singing, the flowers blooming, the warm breezes blowing and my cherubs November birthdays and Christmas. This is my favourite time of year. (Can you tell?) So as the southern hemisphere heads into Spring, our northern friends will be heading into fall and you'll see a dramatic change in recipes and crafts being submitted. No problem. All is welcome. Head back to previous Thriving on Thursdays for heaps of great winter and summer recipes and crafts. Now, the most hit links from last week.



Thanks so much everyone for linking up. I loved each and every one one of your projects. If you were featured, please feel free to grab a 'featured' button from the menu above. On to this week. I'd love to see what you've all been up to.



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vintage Brooch Display

I inherited quite a few of my Nanna's old vintage brooches when she passed away and I had a couple brooches of my own I like wearing from time to time as well. I used to just keep them in a container tucked away in a drawer until I saw something on Pinterest that prompted me to put them out on display.


Through recent decluttering efforts I came across a glass bowl that a dear family friend gave me a long time ago. It's been used for many things over the years but I thought it would be perfect to hold a 'posie' of vintage brooches as above.

What you'll need is a suitable dish, fibre filling (or even fabric stuffed into a ball), scrap fabric and a doilly to wrap it all in.

It's just a matter of wrapping fabric around the stuffing and then the doilly around that and stuffing in a bowl. The doilly works well to clip the brooches on and off.

Add your brooches and you're done. I think the more the better.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Entertainment on a budget

How do you define 'entertainment'? Is it seeing a stage show, a live band, seeing the latest movie at the cinema? However you like to entertain yourself it can be quite costly these days.

Prior to kids, I never missed the latest superstar touring the country or the latest theatre production. I even liked going to the ballet and would never miss some of the big productions. When our income was cut in half when I stopped work to have children, all of these kinds of entertainment came to a grinding halt. As much as seeing some of the big name music acts was completely unaffordable for us, I didn't want to give up on this kind of entertainment completely and would treat myself to an annual theatre production. I'll never forget leaving my newborn daughter with her father while I went off to see "Phantom of the Opera" and had the mobile phone in my hand and I was phoning him during every break to check if things were okay.

Here's a few ways to save a few dollars on different entertainment options.

  • Here in Australia, some cinemas offer half price or cheaper movie tickets on specific nights of the week .
  • Some children's movies offer adult tickets at cheap prices.
  • The cinemas may also offer a special deal on the 'movie of the week' or the matinee session.
  • Take your treats from home. I can remember a time where they'd check your bag for food brought from home. I wouldn't be taking in a meal of Chinese food from your local takeaway but a few lollies and a juice box from home for the kids will save you a bucket load.
  • You might be lucky to have a drive-in near you. Some still do exist. I know one near me has 'free' movie nights with the condition that you purchase an item from the kiosk. I used to go with the family to the drive-in when I was young and it was a great family night out. We used to wear our pyjamas. (Thanks Clare Maree for the hint.)
  • Wait until it comes on DVD and hire it, watching it in the comfort of your own home with your own homemade treats.
  • Swap or borrow latest DVD movie releases with friends.
Theatre, Opera and Ballet
  • By subscribing to your State theatre, opera or ballet company you will receive significant discounts on productions throughout the year. You'll enjoy 'behind the scenes' evenings as well as assisting the company with funding.
  • For example, Queensland Ballet offer a full season subscription for $350 per adult which includes productions such as "Don Quixote", "Sleeping Beauty" and many more. You'll have access to good seating, discounted tickets to extra events during the year, complimentary drink vouchers and an invite to the Christmas Cocktail party.

  • Most of the big name ticketing agencies (here in Australia at least) don't offer discounted tickets. You get to hear about upcoming acts through joining online newsletters and that's about it. This might be a good way to get yourself saving for an act that you really, really want to see.
  • By following a few basic budgeting tips, cutting back on takeaway, giving up that daily coffee bought at the shop or just eating for the week from what you've already got in the pantry, will save you a few dollars each week to put towards a concert ticket.
  • In most cases you'll need at least 2 tickets so it could prove quite costly but if you just can't miss it, you'll find a way to go.
  • Also, a lot of these ticketing agencies and performing art complexes offer gift certificates. Maybe you could ask friends and relatives to give you vouchers or certificates for birthdays and Christmas to give your entertainment budget a boost.
I like to have an 'entertainment' budget. It could be something as low as $5 per week put into a jar or bank account. Over the course of 52 weeks that's $260, more than enough for a good seat to something like Elton John (if that's your thing) or the live production of "Jersey Boys" (the one I'm hoping to get to). Look out for a 'group buyer' of tickets to theatre and concert tickets. They often buy bulk tickets and can pass on small savings. Every little bit helps.

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


Monday, August 27, 2012

3 Minute Microwave Chocolate Slice

I can remember my good friend Claire telling me about a microwave slice recipe and I was positive I kept a copy of it but couldn't find it anywhere especially when I had company coming for afternoon tea and I needed something to feed the kids. I did a quick Google search and found this one on Best Recipes.

I can see this recipe being one of my favourites. Mix it all up in a dish suitable for the microwave, press down, cook for 3 minutes, allow to cool, ice and serve. I'll add some nuts, use different flavoured icings and sprinkles, omit the cocoa, add sultanas, choc chips, dried fruit, you name it.

This is the perfect recipe for the busy Mum or for the kids to make up. (Just be careful when it comes out of the microwave as its very hot.)

3 Minute Microwave Chocolate Slice

  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 tbs golden syrup
  • 150g butter, melted

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a microwave dish that will double as the slice dish. No need to grease the dish.
  2. Cook on medium high for 3 minutes. (I had an 1100w microwave and cooked mine for 2 minutes 30 seconds and checked then I cooked for a further 30 seconds.)
  3. Allow to cool slightly and ice with a simple icing of icing sugar, cocoa and milk. Top with sprinkles if desired.
  • Omit cocoa
  • Add sultanas, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips
  • Serve uniced or with a drizzle of melted chocolate


Sunday, August 26, 2012

A smart phone for a not-so-smart user

So my mobile phone (cell phone) came out of its contract a couple weeks ago and I thought I'd jump on the smart phone bandwagon and get myself one. I mean, how hard can it be? I've seen people using them for a few years now. Arms fully extended, taking 'selfies' of themselves in front of all sorts of back drops. Taking pictures of their feet, cups of coffee, kids doing goofy things (oh, hang on - that's been done by people with all sorts of phones and cameras for decades), their handbags, their plates of food, their evening drinks etc etc. They've been 'pinching' the screen on these phones doing who knows what. Really, how hard can it be?

So, after a bit of asking around in a couple different stores, getting the low down on the different phones, explanations on the differences between iphones, androids, gingerbread, ice cream, blah blah blah, I took this phone home to get started.
Much to my horror there was no user manual in the box. That's okay. This should be easy enough to work out. Yeah right! I followed the start up guide to get it charged and turned on but that was it. I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I was flabberghasted and went and had a little cry in my room. After an hour or so, I returned to give it another go and then couldn't find the damn phone. I tipped the whole room upside down to find this thing. I even asked the kids if they had taken it but no. No one had seen it. I was beside myself. After a couple hours, I remembered I had put it out of arm's reach, away from the kids.

So after my 7 year old daughter and 5 year old son gave me the run down on how to take pictures and movies, use Google and the other basic functions, I finally got the hang of it. Finding how to set things up and learning the new lingo will take a bit longer but I've worked out how to use Instagram when I'm out and not just on the home wifi and taking pictures then tweeting about it. The phone has only rung twice and each time I stumbled a little to get the call answered but I'll get there. I'll probably just begin to master it and the next new thing will be out. At least I'll have my kids to teach me!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ways to use paw paw / papaya

Growing up we enjoyed a constant supply of paw paws (or papayas as some people may know them as) from our own paw paw trees. Its a lovely tasting fruit. Sweet, soft and relatively easy to grow. Even up until the day she died, Mum nearly always enjoyed a slice of paw paw before breakfast. Besides tasting nice, paw paw has many dietary benefits. High in vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and antioxidants. It will be in season in September and if you can get your hands on a couple, give them a try. Here's a couple ways to use them I found on Pinterest.

Paw paw ice cream
Paw paw bread
Source: via Patricia on Pinterest
Paw paw punch
Paw paw salad
Paw paw creme brulee
Paw paw vitamin boost salad
Paw paw rice paper rolls
Cheesecake with Lime, Passionfruit & Paw Paw
Paw Paw in Chilli Lime Syrup
Paw paw chilli chutney
Paw Paw Ice Cream served on a Paw Paw Waffle
Paw Paw Jam
Paw Paw Cake with Bourbon Frosting and Pecans
Thai Salad with Paw Paw & Chicken
Scoop out seeds, fill with yoghurt & almonds
Spicy papaya salsa
Papaya-Lime Sorbet Recipe
Papaya Ginger Smoothie
Papaya Berry Yoghurt Parfaits
Source: via Evelyne on Pinterest
Chicken Papaya Rice Paper Rolls
Papaya skin brightening mask
Papaya Tangerine Ice Pops
Thai Green Papaya Salad
Cherry Papaya Pound Cake with Butterscotch Icing
Source: via Giselle on Pinterest
Dried Papaya


Friday, August 24, 2012

Queensland Bloggers meet Howards Storage World

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the 2013 catalogue launch of Howards Storage World. Brand Meets Blog organised the function at a quaint little inner city guest house in Brisbane called "Franklin Villa".

"Franklin Villa" is a beautifully restored historic mansion located 1 kilometre from the Brisbane CBD and a close walk to the entertainment strip of Southbank and restaurant scene of West End. It was the most glorious day in Brisbane yesterday and Spring is definitely here. The warm balmy breezes were blowing while we enjoyed high tea on the enclosed verandah of the guest house while Kathy, Jillian and Elvio from Howards Storage World shared some great organising tips and gave us insight into the new 2013 catalogue.
The table was set with floral napiery, vases of blooming jasmine, beautiful china filled with hot tea and three tiered trays of high tea goodness adorned the tables.
This was the first function of this kind that I have ever been too and I finally got to meet some of Queensland's blogging elite. It was great to meet Louisa and Heather from Brand Meets Blog and get to speak to these famous Queensland bloggers in person and hear about their organisation struggles that we all seem to have.
I went for a browse around the guest house and beautifully decorated rooms filled with quirky, vintage finds. A beautiful place to stay for that weekend city getaway.
We then drove onto the Howards Storage World store at Westfield Garden City and had a quick look through the store. I could've spent more time there but had to get back to pick the kids up from school. I'm planning on heading back to spend time with Jenny, the franchisee, to plan how I'm going to set up my new sewing/crafting room. Howards has a lot more than cupboard and drawer inserts. Complete storage solutions for all parts of the home and reasonably priced. Some of the things that caught my eye were:

Lego Storage

Medicine organisation
Pretty floral clear storage baskets
Georgeous range of bathroom accessories
Cute little matchbook size emery boards
Over door iron and ironing board holder
And to top it all off, we all received an insulated lunch bag (with ice brick) filled with cute little things like reusable lunch wraps, eco balls for washing clothes, boot hangers, packing cell travel bag, insulated cup and, my favourite, the Grid-It!
Grid it
Imagine having all your regular handbag essentials in this one spot? Then all you have to do when changing handbags is grab the Grid-it! It doubles as mouse pad on the reverse side with an extra pocket for storage. Thanks Brand Meets Blog and Howards Storage World for a fabulous day!
Howards Storage World
Brand Meets Blog

Franklin Villa

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