Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday #21

I know I have already shared my delicous Lemon and Blueberry Muffins, but I can never get enough of muffins! They can be a wholesome snack, breakfast or part of a lunchbox, and they freeze well.

My Simply Heaven Chocolate recipe book is coming back to feature this week, with the combination of blueberry and white chocolate coming together to provide a moist and tasty muffin.

Blueberry, White Chocolate and Coconut Muffins
adapted from Simply Heaven Chocolate

1 cup self raising flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup castor sugar
1/3 cup dessicated coconut
125g white cooking chocolate, chopped
125g blueberries
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl.

Whisk together the milk, oil and eggs, and fold into the dry ingredients until just combined.

Spoon the mixture into greased muffin tins and bake at 190 degrees C for 15-18 minutes until golden and set. Stand for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool then serve.

These can be frozen for up to three months, or will last 3-4 days in an airtight container.



The verdict: I got so many compliments on how good these muffins were, that I will be making another batch this week already! The coconut stops the muffins from being too sweet, and the white chocolate gives a gooey, caramel taste to the muffin.

Monday, August 25, 2014

When I Grow Up....

Children always have great ideas of what they want to be when they grow up. My four year old, Lucas, has two occupations that he mentions over and over. He informs me that he is either going to be a clown or a policeman when he grows up!



This month, the theme over at Poppins Book Nook is What Will I Be When I Grow Up?


We decided to focus more on a job as a policeman, since Lucas has been dressing up as a Police Officer a lot this month and seems to have a big interest in community helpers.



The books I used for this topic were Let's Meet A Police Officer and A Visit to the Police Station. Both of these books are focused on learning about the job of a Police Officer, but are aimed at 4-8 year olds and both have great illustrations as well as a huge list of other resources at the back of the book. I decided to take advantage of the resources suggested, and they did not disappoint.


The first thing we did was create Lucas' very own police badge for him to use, using the Official Badge Generator website.



The Police colouring pages we used were a big hit, as was the CSI Cool School Investigators Activity Book. These both had free printable activities, as well as safety information and ideas on how to help out in the community. Lucas even got to take a virtual tour of a Police Helicopter and a Police Car.

We had so much fun reading and learning about Policemen this month. Please feel free to link up below with your What Will I Be When I Grow Up? inspired activities.

 Clip art by MelonHeadz.


Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God's Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy's Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy's Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A "Peace" of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama





34/52

A portrait of my children, once a week, in 2014.

Sorry this is a day late, I thought I had set this to publish but obviously not!

Lucas with his "trophy tower" at a Lego event at our local toy store. He was so proud as he won a prize!



Adam all set up with his New World Little Shop- these collectibles are so awesome for open ended play and I love seeing how the boys play shop together.



Joining in here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday #20

Time for another chocolate-based item, as who doesn't like chocolate?

I turned to my trusty Simply Heaven Chocolate recipe book and decided to try out a kitchen gadget I got for Christmas- a macaron mat and kit. These are delicious little mouthfuls of happiness and I was a bit nervous to make them myself, but I figured the kit would be able to help me.

Milk and White Chocolate Macarons
(adapted from Simply Heaven Chocolate)
Macarons:
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1/4 cup cocoa
3 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup caster sugar

Filling:
80g white chocolate melts
30g unsalted butter
100g cream cheese
1/3 cup icing sugar, sifted

Combine the icing sugar, almonds and cocoa in a food processor and process until super fine. Sift and remove any coarse pieces of almond.

Beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Continue beating, gradually adding the sugar until dissolved.

Fold the almond mixture into the egg whites until just combined. Pipe onto tray then stand at room temperature for 30 minutes until the macarons form a light crust.

Bake at 150 degrees C for 22-28 minutes or until firm to the touch. Allow to cool on the trays.

To make the filling, combine the chocolate and butter and melt in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Beat together the cream cheese and extra icing sugar then beat into the chocolate mixture. Chill until firm enough to spread.

To assemble, spread chocolate filling on to half of the macarons and top with the remaining halves, pressing together gently.

The kit came with a piping squeeze container and a silicone baking sheet that had circles for guides on it. I was not sure which guide to use as there were two circles, so I did some to the larger circle and some only filling the smaller circle.



When they had cooked, I discovered that I needed to pipe to the outer circle- Now that I know that, my next batch will be more even. I was very pleased with the biscuits themselves though.



I sandwiched them together with filling and they were the perfect size to accompany a cup of coffee.



The verdict- Time consuming but delicious! I am happy to make these again as a lot of time was waiting for them to form a skin, then waiting for them to cool.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

33/52

A portrait of my children, once a week, in 2014.

Lucas- a police sketch artist in training? He loves to dress up.



Sharing a frozen yoghurt with Adam- it was delicious!



Joining in here.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Fitness Finds

I am still trying to get back into my running after being off my foot for two weeks. Horrible weather, running buddies with injuries and work have all meant that my runs have been pushed to the side and I keep finding excuses. I am determined to go for a run tomorrow!

I have been trying to find some great transitional items I will need for the next few months as I have somehow agreed to train for a 50 kilometre run- all I can say is that I hadn't had much coffee that day and it seemed like a good idea in my tired state! I have put together some items that I hope to acquire soon to keep me on track and feel good while I am training.


First up- these awesome leggings from FitForever. I could probably hypnotise people with my backside as I run! They look really comfy with their wide waistband, and they come in other funky prints such as leopard print, skull print and watercolour.

As the weather gets hotter, I am really looking forward to getting myself one of these skirts.


These running skirts from The Running Skirts Shop come with compression shorts underneath, but there are also options with briefs or capri pants underneath. With their flat seams, pockets and sweatwicking fabric, these are stylish and comfortable. They also have heaps of colourful designs, and even do maternity skirts. 

Sorry about the close up- but these are amazing! Obviously not a close up of them on me either!


These Intimo briefs are the only bottoms I have found that stick to my curves without clinging. They do not budge under my leggings, and I avoid "hungry bum" syndrome. I have these in three different colours and am looking to get more as they bring them out in limited edition colours as well- currently the featured colour is Sunset.

I am probably the only runner who doesn't have a FitBit yet, so I putting this on my birthday wishlist!


I love the blue colour, and the Flex seems to be the option that would best fit my lifestyle. I have entered a few giveaways to win one of these, but no luck yet! It tracks sleep, distance, calories burned and allows you to set goals. I can sync the information with my computer, and it just seems like it is a gadget that will help me to stay motivated.

The last thing on my radar is one of these waistpockets.


I always struggle with where to put my keys, phone and coins when I am running, and now that the weather is warming up I won't be wearing my zippered vest. The running skirt has a pocket as well, so this option from Fly Active seems like it would be handy for the days when I am wearing leggings or shorts.

I hope this has given you a few ideas of things for your exercise wishlist as well! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Liebster Blog Award

This morning I saw that the lovely Vanessa of Style and Shenanigans had nominated me for the Leibster Blog Award.

What is this award all about?

I think Vanessa said it best when she wrote that the Liebster is an award for bloggers awarded by other bloggers. It’s a kind of peer recognition and a really fab way to find new blogs, make new friends and generally have a lovely and encouraging virtual online hug in the blogosphere.

Sounds like fun, and I love making bloggy friends!

Here is how it works.
    1. Link back to recognise the blogger who nominated you 
    2. Answer ten questions given by the nominator;
    3. Nominate ten other bloggers for the award;
    4. Create ten questions for those nominees to answer;
    5. Tell your nominees the great news;
    6. Get yourself a Liebster Award button for your blog.
Here are the questions I was asked by Vanessa:

1. What/where was the best meal you have eaten?
I vividly remember the venison and duck dishes I shared with my husband at the Sofitel Queenstown- it was absolutely amazing! We had gone down there to celebrate his birthday and I had managed to get free accommodation at the Sofitel so we made the most of it by trying out their spa facilities and food, which didn't disappoint.

2. Carrie, Samantha, Miranda or Charlotte? Big or Aiden?
Can I confess that I have never seen an episode of Sex and the City? At least I knew who you were referencing though! And I would probably be like Carrie if I had her wardrobe.



3. Where did you go on your last holiday?
I actually just returned yesterday from a weekend in Hanmer Springs- I was helping to run a scrapbook retreat so I did have to do some work, but there was still time for socialising, wine and a massage.

 
4. If you could have a $500 shopping voucher for one store, which one would you pick and why?
I would love a Whitcoulls voucher- books are my happy place and I could get lots of reading under my belt with $500 worth of books!

5. What is your most sentimental treasure?
My scrapbooks- I have over 20 and my children love looking through each album. I would be devastated if anything happened to them as I have put so much time, effort and love into the pages.

6. New York, London or Paris?
I would have to say New York- only because I have an amazing "Moms Group" based in America and would love to do a big meet up with them as well as experience the Big Apple. I loved the character Stacey in The Babysitters Club and always wanted to visit New York as well because of her.


7. What was the last compliment you received?
My sister and friend told me that they liked my boots today! I always get cute little comments from my four year old son as well, such as "oh Mum. I like your earrings" or "Mum, your hair smells like candyfloss".

8. When you were a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I had huge dreams of becoming an author, so blogging is probably as close as I am going to get to that dream. I do have a couple of friends and also know a few bloggers who have published books though, so it could still be a possibility.

9. What is your favourite book and why?
Ooh, this is a tricky one! I read anything, and always have my nose in a book. One of my favourite authors is Philippa Gregory, and I can read her Wideacre Trilogy over and over. Her way with words is wonderful, and she really gets down to intricate details with each character. No-one in the book is introducted to the story-line without a reason, and I find her books have made me a lot more informed about the Tudor reign.

10. How long have you been blogging for and tell us a little about your blog?
My first post here was published on January 11th 2011. I described my blog as being a place to share my food, scrapbooking, craft and fitness ideas. I have expanded that to some clothing and preschooler related activities as well, but for the most part I think I have stayed true to what I set out to write about.

Thanks Vanessa for letting me share a little bit more about myself! To keep the fun going, I have now nominated ten bloggers to share a little bit about themselves.

Jill at Enchanted Homeschooling Mom
Iris from Love, Iris
Treena-Marie from Creative Mama
Vicki from Knocked Up And Abroad
Sherri from God Life Happy Wife
Carrie from Curly Crafty Mom
Jasmine from Fleurty and Fit
Karen from Made With My Two Hands
Val from Fab Chick Gets Fit
Rachel from Can't Google Everything

I looked on your blogs and tried to see if you ladies had been nominated- as far as I can see you haven't but please let me know if you have already done this! Here are the questions I have for you.

1. What is the most terrifying thing you have ever done?
2. How do you relax?
3. Are you a tea, coffee or hot chocolate drinker?
4. How many siblings do you have, and how well do you get on with them?
5. What is one of your favourite blog posts and why?
6. Have you ever been overseas, and if so, where to?
7. Do you sing in the shower?
8. What is your preferred road trip music?
9. How often do you see a movie in an actual cinema?
10. What colour are your nails right now?

I hope the nominees get a kick out of answering these questions- I look forward to reading them so please let me know when you have answered them! Be sure to check out all of these lovely ladies, they each have inspired me in some way.

I hope you enjoyed reading my answers too, did you learn anything new about me?
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