Wednesday, May 6, 2015

WCW Cinco de Mayo Family Dinner

We celebrated last night's Cinco de Mayo with a low key Mexican family fiesta. Even though we are not a Mexican family, we love the food and it was a great opportunity to practice some of our Spanish. I am bilingual in Spanish and English and am bringing my boys up to be bilingual also, and so immersing them in events such as this helps them to understand the different culture and increase their vocabulary.

I cooked a meal that was enjoyed by everyone in the family as it is easily customised to different tastes.

Taco Salad
500g chicken mince
1 large jar salsa (mild, medium or hot depending on your tastes)

for the table:
4 cups lettuce or other greens
1 1/2 cups corn chips
1 can refried beans, heated
1 cup grated cheese
cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
1 avocado, pitted and sliced into chunks
1 cup sliced black olives

Heat a frying pan on medium high heat and spray with oil. Saute the chicken mince until white, and then stir through the salsa until heated.

Serve on the table with accompaniments and let each person choose their own toppings.

I had some of everything! The boys always go for lots of cheese and beans, and my husband is not a fan of olives. This way we all get what we want to eat, and it is a fun and interactive way to have dinner as a family.

Do you have any serve at the table meals that your family enjoys? I would love to hear about them!

Monday, May 4, 2015

How to make your day smell amazing!

My sister in law is one of the first in New Zealand to be a Scentsy Consultant. Scentsy is a range of scented products that can make your whole day smell wonderful!

I get up in the morning and put on my warmer- which scent will I choose today? The warming aroma of Mochadoodle is enough to get my caffeine fix, but I also really enjoy BannnaBerry, Welcome Home and Camu Camu depending on what mood I am in. With 80 scents to choose from, every day can be different. Here I am getting my BananaBerry ready to go.

As you can see, I already have a few scents to try out.

Each bar has blocks of wax to break off and place in the warmer, where they slowly release a delicious fragrance. The thing I like best about these is that they only warm to about 38 degrees C, so prying toddler fingers are safe even if they do touch the wax. Because it is such a low temperature, only the fragrance is released and no nasty chemicals or pollutants.

I love this warmer as it goes very well with my kitchen, and there is a wide range of design options for every taste.

The washing also smells amazing when I use my White Tea and Cactus dryer disks in with the towels.

My boys now always want to wash their hands with their Sugar Cookie Hand Soap, and I have the White Tea and Cactus version in my kitchen.

There are also a wide range of other options such as Scent Circles for your car or small areas, hand creams, and even fragrance soft toys!

This month, there is also a special offer, which you can order here.

Have you heard of Scentsy before? Let me know your favourite fragrance in the comments, or let me know which scent you would like to try after looking at the list here!

NB: I am not compensated for this post- I just wanted to share these wonderful products.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Pinterest Resolutions May-August 2015

Yesterday I shared with you some more of my Pinterest pins that I had tried these last three months, Now it is time to set some new goals and re-assess some of the pins I will need to complete in the upcoming months.

My husband's birthday is a few months away, but I want to get him something amazing. This chocolate guitar would be perfect as he enjoys playing music and is partial to chocolate bars!

photo via EdibleCrafts

My son's birthday is also nearly here, and his mind changes everyday as to what cake he wants so I have not been able to marrow down a specific themed pin to do. However, I am going to use this technique on a cake as it will likely be a Minion, Peppa Pig or Paw Patrol themed birthday.

photo via Bird on a Cake

I really miss creating things other than papercrafts, and I need to get back into simple DIY ideas that still please my crafty side. I can't wait to make these t-shirts- I am thinking I may have to make them digger and tractor tees though.

image via Vixen Made

Toys are out of control in my garage, and so this idea to organise and label all of the outdoor toys is simple, yet it will make a huge difference in how tidy my garage can be.

image via Domestic Charm

I have been doing a little too much online shopping recently thanks to bronchitis and horrendous weather, and I really need to get on top of my finances. This seems like a practical way to take control of where my money is going, and I like that each segment is broken down into smaller tasks.

Image via A Bowl Full of Lemons

With the cooler weather upon us, I am really looking forward to my slow cooker meals. I want to prepare these in advance and so I can dump and dine each Thursday with minimal effort on my part!

image via Over The Big Moon

This blog inspiration is such a wonderful idea- but I would like to take it one step further and actually create a scrapbook album using these prompts. I love watching my boys flick through photos and my scrapbook albums, and telling the story of our family is something I cherish.

image via Not In Jersey

Lastly, I have a lot of gelatin left over from my Christmas jelly desserts, and so I want to try these homemade gummy snacks out on the boys and see if they work.

image via Thank Your Body

I look forward to sharing how I got on with these ideas at the end of August!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pinterest Resolutions Update IV

It is hard to believe I have finished up some more of my Pinterest Resolutions- this year seems to be flying by!

Here is the full blog post in case you missed it- I vowed to decrease my number of pins and actually try some of the things I pinned.

First off, I planned a year of blog posts- some weeks are bigger than others but it is great having a list so that I know what to work on!

I also planned a capsule wardrobe for my summer holiday, which ended up being a lot of fun and super easy to do.

I made a Valentines Day coupon book for my boys, with the pizza night and Date with Daddy being used almost immediately! The 10 minutes of extra cuddles at bedtime was actually a nice reminder for me, to know that my boys enjoy just spending time with me and an extra few minutes of cuddles at night can calm us all down.

My plan to do a 12 card workshop went exactly as planned, and I also used up some of my paper scraps as well as some papers that I wasn't too keen on for my scrapbook layouts.

Our version of peanut butter and banana frozen yoghurt was enjoyed as a family fun night dessert, and they boys enjoyed helping to make it. It was very tasty and I now plan to experiment with other flavours.

Lastly, we did a fun active Easter Egg Hunt on Easter morning, with the boys working for their chocolate! It prompted some giggles and even I had to join in too, but it was a different way to start the morning and the boys didn't mind jumping around and encouraging each other.

Come back tomorrow when I will be sharing my next list of Pinterest Resolutions! I also posted yesterday about some Pinterest recipes I have tried lately in case you need some meal inspiration.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

WCW Pinterest Week April

Recently I decided to try some of the delicious recipes I had pinned on Pinterest, as there is no point in me pinning them if I don't make them! I did manage to photograph some of them, but with the light fading by 5pm every night thanks to Autumn, it was a bit tricky to get a dinnertime photo.

My menu plan for Pinterest Week was as follows:

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup
Easy Baked Fish
Chicken Tortilla Bake
Pizza Steak Sandwiches in the Slow Cooker
Spicy Sausage Pasta
Cordon Bleu Lasagne
One Skillet Chicken Pot Pie
Lemon White Chocolate Blondies

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup
The soup was delicious- the boys really like tomato soup and their "pasta parcels" so this was a quick and easy dish to make when I was feeling less than inspired. Verdict: KEEP!

Easy Baked Fish
This was pretty good, but didn't crisp up as much as I would have liked, I think next time I make this I will use more breadcrumbs and less mayonnaise. Verdict: KEEP!

Chicken Tortilla Bake
This was such an easy casserole to put together, and the boys especially enjoyed it. This was a great warming meal for all of us, and the husband was happy to have leftovers for the next couple of days! Verdict: KEEP!

Pizza Steak Sandwiches in the Slow Cooker
After three wonderful meals, this one didn't quite hit the mark. The meat was still quite chewy, and the boys only ate the pepperoni, cheese and bread. Verdict: DELETE.

Spicy Sausage Pasta
Now this meal was popular! The boys inhaled it, and the leftovers the next day were even better. Verdict: KEEP!

Cordon Bleu Lasagne

I wanted to like this, I really did. My husband enjoyed it, but I just found the seasonings and mixes of cheese weird. The boys weren't big fans either- they picked the chicken out but didn't eat the pasta. Verdict: DELETE.

One Skillet Chicken Pot Pie
As we sat down to eat this, my 5 year old looked at me, looked at his food and said "you are the best mum ever!" This dish is worth keeping just because of that reaction! The dumplings were so amazingly light and fluffy, and the dinner table was silent as we all were too busy eating this delicious meal. Verdict: KEEP!

Lemon White Chocolate Blondies
I had some guests over for a few coffee groups this week, and these blondies received high praise from some of the ladies who had never head of a blondie before. Next time I might tone down the icing- which was my fault as I deviated from the recipe, but as written this blondie is delicious!
Verdict: KEEP!

I have decided to make this a monthly series, with the last Wednesday of each month dedicated to seven recipes plus a dessert or baking dish I have tried from Pinterest each month. If you have any suggestions of recipes I can try, or if you would like me to try out one of your recipes, please let me know as I am always on the lookout for yummy things!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Poppins Book Nook- Farms

Welcome back to the second installment of the Poppins Book Nook for 2015-2016.

This month's theme is Farms!

We have lots of books about farms at home- a good mix of fiction and non-fiction. Here are some of the books we have been reading this month.

Snack time on farm themed day was tractor tyres- Oreo biscuits with an M&M attached using a little bit of melted chocolate.

As we snuggled up for some TV time with our snack, there was even a Bubble Guppies episode about farms!

We also watched this video about Tractors on the farm.

The boys love tractors, so I put some brown food colouring in a shallow dish and then told them to add some dirt (shaving foam) and mix it together. They then had fun driving their tractors across a messy field.

We also created some green playdough using this recipe:
3 cups flour
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup salt
few drops green food colouring
water to mix

Put all ingredients in a bowl; slowly add water until the mixture becomes a firm dough.

We used this green playdough as our field, and the boys planted some foam flowers in the field. We also put a fence around the field with popsicle sticks.

We used a counting mat from Mommy School and created some chickens out of modeling clay to put on our mats.

We had a great time reading about farms, re-visiting classic songs and having fun with tractors and messy play. Click below to see how other members of Poppins Book Nook were inspired!

 Clip art by MelonHeadz.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Local Gem Re-Opens

One of the places I have fond memories of is Isaac Theatre Royal, where I have performed and been entertained throughout my childhood. It stands in the middle of our city, and is recognised by any Christchurch local as a fantastic venue for performing arts.

The earthquakes our city experienced ravaged older buildings, among them the Isaac Theatre Royal. This building sustained significant damage and the process of saving this beautiful building has been long and arduous. The facade was braced with shipping containers, and the rest of the theatre was demolished then rebuilt.

This building is finally once again open to the public as it aims to raise funds for the rebuild and bring the building back to its former glory. The painted domes have been restored, and pieces within the theatre such as the marble staircase and the leadlight windows have been retained and restored. The building is now up to current earthquake codes, and there have been some improvements in accessibility and extra seating.

For further information, you can watch the video below about the open day- well worth the insight into how this building has come to life again!

One thing that will bring crowds back is The Phantom of the Opera- the first performance tanking place at the Isaac Theatre Royal. I was lucky enough to get amazing seats to this show on Thursday night, and marvel firsthand at the restoration job. It is amazing walking back into the theatre, and definitely brings back so many memories.

The show itself was incredible, if a little loud at times as I was quite near to the speakers! The acts seamlessly blended into each other, and there were plenty of laughs from the audience. The fast-paced vibe of this show was not unwelcome, as the songs are such a memorable part of this musical and I was waiting to hear my favourites. One welcome surprise was seeing that my old vocal tutor from high school was in one of the principal roles as Monsieur Andre! I really could not fault the cast, and as well as the two lead roles the young Jane Leonard, playing Meg Giry, stood out for me as a strong performer.

This season of the Phantom finishes tomorrow, and has received nothing but praise from those who have been to see it. Such a wonderful event to go to, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

If you are on the hunt for an other upcoming events, please be sure to stop by Eventbrite! If you are thinking of planning an event and selling tickets, Eventbrite can also help you by providing tools to make things run smoothly.
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