Thursday, January 19, 2017

A book from my childhood

The second book in my 2017 reading list is one from my childhood, and one that I think a lot of you will be familiar with.

Enid Blyton books were a huge part of my childhood, and I would spend many hours poring over the short stories, Faraway Tree series and The Famous Five. Since I wasn't an active kid due to health problems, these books were my chance to take part in something magical, and I especially loved Joe, Beth and Fanny in the Faraway Tree books.

The one thing I will say straight away is that I am disappointed in the censorship of the new Enid Blyton publications. Fanny has been changed to Frannie, their cousin Dick is now Rick, and even Dame Slap was changed to Dame Snap, who snaps at the children instead of hitting them. One paragraph I found particularly humorous was this one- check out the warnings for waving the hot kettle around!

Other than the changes due to the PC brigade, I still absolutely love this story and my boys have been enjoying reading a few chapters each day during the school holidays.

Do you have a favourite Enid Blyton book? I would love suggestions on which ones to read to my boys next!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Getting a good night's rest

Getting a good night of sleep is extremely important to me as a mum, but this can often fall by the wayside as I juggle work, my family, household chores and all of the responsibilities that come with life.

Quite often, I find myself lying awake at night with a mind full of thoughts, and each morning I wake up with eye bags and a strong need for coffee.

To combat my sleeplessness, I have found a few things that have worked for me to make my bed a sanctuary, not a place to stress!

The single most important thing I have found that helps is to write a to-do list before I go to bed. This helps to clear my thoughts and so I am not lying in bed thinking about all of the things I have to do tomorrow. My mind tends to jump from thought to thought, and so having it written down and out of my head means that I am less likely to lie awake thinking about my plan for the next day.

On top of this, keeping a detailed diary of my family's plans helps me to combat the night time stress, as I know exactly what I have planned for the day ahead and I can make sure that I have the correct clothes, food and any other necessary items ready to go.

My mind also tends to have trouble shutting off if I have been watching TV, and so I make it a rule not to watch any videos or TV shows for the half an hour before bedtime. My bedtime is usually set at 10:30 as I find having a routine also helps, so no screens after ten is a good rule for me to adhere to.

Once my mind is clear, it is time to tell my body to go to sleep and the best way to do this is for me to have set bedtime routine. I always brush my teeth, remove my makeup and wash my face, and then spend 15-20 minutes reading a book. While I am reading, I like to lie flat and try to relax each part of my body, focusing on my breathing. This helps me to drift off to sleep, and makes me feel less stressed about the day ahead.

I love these tips from Leesa on how to become a morning person- definitely the right mattress and pillows can help get a better night's sleep too! Check out this review from The Sweet Home if you are a stomach sleeper like me and you are looking for a supportive mattress.

Do you have any tips for a successful sleep? Share your comments below!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

WCW- Salami Spaghetti Casserole

I don't know what has happened to the weather here, but is suddenly all stormy and when it is cold I always crave cheesy pasta!

This Salami Spaghetti Casserole ticks all the boxes for me- comfort food, adaptable to gluten free and delicious!

The cooked spaghetti is mixed with oregano, garlic, eggs and milk to create the base of the dish.

Layers of cheese, pasta sauce and salami are layered on top of the spaghetti and then the casserole is baked in the oven to get the gooey melted cheese stage.

We love this casserole served with simple steamed vegetables and garlic bread!

Salami Spaghetti Casserole

  • 1 packet spaghetti noodles (can be gluten free)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 can Watties Roast garlic and onion tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato based pasta sauce
  • 3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 300g salami slices

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Cook the spaghetti noodles according to the package directions then drain.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, oregano, garlic and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella and toss through the spaghetti noodles. Press the mixture into the bottom of a casserole dish,
Pour the spaghetti sauce and the canned tomatoes on top of noodles then layer half of the salami on top.
Add the remaining cheese on top of the first layer of salami, and then add the extra salami on top of the casserole.
Bake for 25 minutes and then leave to sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

26 Books in 2017

As a total bookworm, I read at least two books a week and find it the best way to relax at the end of the day. Even as a child I always had my nose in a book, and I am glad that I have passed on my love of reading to my children,

When I saw the Goodwill Librarian reading challenge, I was very eager to get on board as I have gotten to the stage where my bookshelf has been read over and over.

The library is a five minute walk to my house but I am usually there for the boys' books choices, so I have decided to visit the library by myself every fortnight. 

I am going to do this list in order, and so would love any suggestions you may have for upcoming books!

The first book I am going to focus on is a book I read in school- I loved English class in high school and remember reading ahead as I couldn't wait to finish most of the stories. I also did English Literature classes at university, where I fell in love with the Maus Books by Art Spiegelman. 

I studied the first book in one of my English Literature classes, and I had to know what happened so I brought the second book too. These books tell the story of the Holocaust through the eyes of the author's father who was an Auschwitz survivor.

You may think this is a pretty heavy reading- but the story is made even more interesting by the fact that this is a graphic novel style book. It portrays the Jews as mice, the Germans as cats and the Americans as dogs, with other nationalities represented by different animals throughout the book also. 

I am going to read both Book 1 and 2 in the next fortnight as I go through a lot more than 26 books a year, but these ones are going to bring back fond memories of my time at university! 

Each fortnight I will share the book I have chosen, as well as my thoughts on the previous week's book. I hope you will come back and check in on my reading journey this year!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Elf on The Shelf Week Four

The last week of Ralph hi-jinks has been and gone- here is what he got up to in week four!

On Monday morning we found Ralph chilling in the fridge, although he did have a blanket on too.

Ralph sent a subtle reminder to the boys to brush their teeth after all the Christmas lollies.

The boys put the tree up with minimal help this year, and so Ralph did some adjusting on Wednesday with the help of a toy fire engine.

Thursday found Ralph helping me with domestic duties!

On Friday, Ralph brought some DIY ornaments for the boys to do as part of their Christmas Craft Day.

Ralph said goodbye on Christmas Eve, and left us with a Santa key and a book to read.

The boys have had so much fun waking up every morning to find Ralph, and even my husband got into the spirit of things and helped out. I know that people are very divided in their opinions of the Elf on the Shelf, but for our family it was a great chance to connect and have fun.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Elf on The Shelf Week Three

I am a bit late catching up on Ralph's antics this week as I have been busy teaching cupcake classes and dealing with the first week of school holidays!

Ralph has been busy too, and it seems like he needed a caffeine fix on Monday morning.

Tuesday was our Polar Express themed day, so Ralph decided to create a train track to ride on.

The boys were delighted to wake up on Wednesday morning and find Ralph reading in their bedroom.

On Thursday, Ralph brought a new book with him to prepare for an upcoming celebration!

Friday was our family movie night, and Ralph provided the popcorn!

The boys took a while to find Ralph on Saturday morning- they had been playing with the Duplo and so Ralph borrowed the Batmobile and dressed up as Batman.

Sunday was a very special day in our household, as Lucas turned 7. Ralph decorated a special birthday chair for Lucas to sit on, and even had a cupcake outfit on to join in with the celebrations.

The next week will be the last week of Ralph's antics as he will return to the North Pole on Christmas Eve, but he still has some great tricks up his sleeve!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Elf on The Shelf Week Two

Ralph the Elf has been up to more shenanigans this week, and the boys have been laughing every morning when they see what Ralph is up to.

On Monday, Ralph was photocopying himself- maybe he wants to be a twin?

Tuesday was our gingerbread themed day, and so Ralph helped out by providing a gingerbread house kit for the boys to make.

We caught Ralph having a hot chocolate bath on Wednesday!

Thanks to some free printables from the Elf on the Shelf official website, the boys found Ralph colouring in a picture of himself when they got up on Thursday morning.

Friday is my personal favourite, which my husband set up- didn't he do well? Hulk against Ralph at Connect Four.

On Saturday we went shopping for Christmas ornaments for the tree. This is an annual tradition for our family and so our tree is a real mish-mash of items! Ralph was glad to help out financially for the boys to purchase an ornament each.

Sunday was another Elf antic care of my husband- climbing our lamp for a better view of what the boys were up to for his report back to Santa.

I can't wait to show you what Ralph has planned for next week, as there are definitely going to be some props and more goodies courtesy of Ralph.
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