Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WCW Pinterest Recipes May

Time for this month's recap of recipes I have made that were pinned on my boards to try.

First up was Easy 5 Ingredient Coconut Curry Cod. With the title longer than the list of ingredients, I thought I was on to a winner. I really enjoyed it, as did my husband, but my boys found the flavours too strong even though they will usually eat curries and fish. I will try this one again, toning down the spices a little. Verdict: Keep with modification.

A little lunchbox fun for my 5 year old was the PB Cracker Sandwiches Lunch. This was a great alternative to the usual sandwich, and my son came home with an empty lunchbox and has requested this again, so the verdict is KEEP!

For the baking, I tried the Chocolate Raspberry Crumb Bars that I was drooling over.

Mine are definitely not as pretty as the original pin, but still quite yummy and sticky. Verdict: KEEP.

Getting back to basics, I cooked this recipe for Honey Garlic Balsamic Chicken for a quick weeknight meal.

Served with a pumpkin risotto, this was enjoyed by everyone and my 2 year old even had seconds and thirds! Verdict: KEEP.

We also tried out the One Pot Chicken Alfredo as an easy meal before a busy evening. Unfortunately it was quite watery and lacking in flavour. I tried adding more cream and cheese, but although the texture was good the final dish lacked something. Verdict: DELETE.

Next month I am hoping to try some yummy breakfast recipes, as well as some Mexican inspired tastes. Have you come across any recipes on Pinterest that you want to try? I would love to see them!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Personalised Coffee Travel Mugs

Some of you may know that scrapbooking is my business, and over the weekend I helped to run a retreat with some of my lovely team members.

We usually make small name tags for the table, but this year we decided to provide everyone with their own personalised coffee mug as we have tea and coffee available at the retreat, but the cups provided are pretty small and there is always a risk of spillage, so these were a great option.

Using the Cricut and some sparkly silver vinyl, one of my fellow consultants cut names and stuck all of them onto the coffee mugs.

The sparkly silver vinyl was bright enough to stand out, and the large font from the Cricut Artbooking cartridge was perfect for the names.

At the retreat, each person received their coffee mug as well as a goodie bag.

The lovely Sheryl even made me my own coffee mug with sparkly white writing!

Everybody loved having their own mug and it made coffee breaks quick and easy during the weekend.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Poppins Book Nook- Caldecott Medal Books

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

This month's theme is Caldecott Medal Books!

The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

I had never heard of Caldecott Medal books before since we are in New Zealand, but we had a great time hunting down some new favourites in our local library.

We were quite excited to see a book called The Noisy Paint Box- as one of our relatives lives in a street named after Vasya Kandinsky. This book has the most beautiful illustrations, and talks about Vasya's childhood and how he became inspired to paint works of art by listening to the sounds around him.

We decided to listen to the Bridal Chorus (Here Comes The Bride) from one of the operas that inspired Kandinsky, and create a painting based on this. Here is what we came up with.

We had a great time learning about classical music and painting our own masterpieces, Click below to see how other members of Poppins Book Nook were inspired!

 Clip art by MelonHeadz.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Music that will make your Housework fun!

I am in the mindset that if my house is clean, I feel more prepared. I have frequent visitors and most of my friends and family know that my cleaning routine is a work in progress, but I try to keep the house in a tidy state. This can be hard with two boys, and I don't put too much stress upon myself as usually five minutes after cleaning there will be handprints on the windows and the couch cushions will have been transformed into a spaceship.

image via The Berry
One of the things that does motivate me to do housework is using music. My 2 year old loves to dance around the house with me as I clean, and he knows my favourite songs. I thought I would share my current list of faves to make housework a lot more fun.

Happy by Pharrell Williams- how can you not clap along to this one? Great for folding clothes as the beat keeps my folding tempo perfectly.

Shake It Off by Taylor Swift- the adorableness of my son dancing to this song always gets me, and so he will bop along beside me and make the yucky jobs a bit sweeter. This song works very well for shaking the tablecloth outside.

On The Floor by Jennifer Lopez- If only I could use this song to encourage the boys to pick things up from OFF the floor! I find myself singing this with my own variations- "who spilt a whole tub of yoghurt on the floor" and " tonight I'm gonna have a clean floor"! Don't ask me to rap the middle bit though.

Cleaning Windows by Van Morrison- Even the title is motivating!

Dust Mite by Caspar Babypants- this is actually a kid's song by a fantastically talented artist, but it is so much fun to sing! My boys enjoy dancing along to this while I dust of course, and we try to find some dust mites floating when I finally get round to reaching the back of the cabinet.

Don't You Want Me by The Human League- some days I really do feel like a waitress, so at least I can lip-sync along to this song while listening to dinner demands. The Glee Cast version is also excellent.

Walking on Broken Glass by Annie Lennox- I hope I never actually have to walk on broken glass, but this is a favourite sing-a-long of mine, best done with a broom handle or other cleaning apparatus as a makeshift microphone.

I'd Rather Be In Love by Michelle Branch- this is a great wind down song, as most people would rather be doing anything than cleaning, but at least by now your house should be relatively clean.

Finally, I shall leave you with this gem. Shoop Shoop, Diddy Wop by Monte Video.
This song was performed by me and two of my high school friends when I was 15, where at the start we pretended to be cleaners "shooping" our brooms and then we busted out into this New Zealand brilliance. I only recently discovered that this song has a quite different meaning to how we interpreted it at 15 but it still brings back fond memories of my performance, and so I sing along to it in the hope that my kids will associate it with cleaning!

What songs motivate you to get out the duster and vaccuum?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Jennian Homes Mother's Day Fun Run Recap

Last Sunday was Mother's Day, but I forfeited breakfast in bed so that I could do the Jennian Homes Mother's Day Fun Run/Walk.

Heart health is something I feel strongly about as I used to work in a cardiology department as a medical secretary and so even though I have no medical background, I saw so many families effected by heart disease. I want to look after my body and be a good active role model for my two boys, and so when Jennian Homes paired up with the Heart Foundation to organise this event I knew it would be a great run for me to participate in.

We arrived bright and early at the event, and went through a warm-up. It was a great morning to exercise, and the majority of faces I saw looked excited!

I was in the first running group, and set off hoping to get a good pace early on. The run felt fantastic and took us through the beautiful scenic paths of Hagley Park. I think we bewildered a few people out for a morning stroll, all of these women racing along in their red tops- but it definitely got the message out there and everyone I encountered, whether a fellow participant or not, was smiling and cheering me on.

I finished up in between groups and ended up running by myself for the last kilometre or so- I wasn't fast enough to catch up with all of the runners out in front but I still felt like my pace was good. I usually run with a buggy so having the extra mobility helped to keep my split paces ahead of average.

Not too sure how accurate this is but it makes my run look pretty good!

I finished the race in high spirits as I saw my boys waiting at the finish line- the look on my face says it all.

I got a bit distracted so I veered off course and didn't run through the cones art the end- whoops- but I still got a goodie bag with some yummy recipes and a few snacks, which my boys promptly ate.

Of course, I then had to do the obligatory post-run selfie.

Doing fun runs helps me to keep active but also enjoy it, and it also sets a good example for my family. I had a natural high for the rest of the day, and enjoyed the rest of my Mother's Day with my extended family.

Have you participated in any fun runs lately? I would love to hear about them!

Did you also know that Bankers Healthcare Group is supporting National Physical Fitness and Sports Month? I can totally relate to the reasons listed in this chart, as being outdoors and keeping active for my family are important to me. There are some great tips and tricks listed below, and I love how this reached out to active mums and fitness bloggers as well as experienced professionals.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

WCW Cameo Slice

One of my favourite treat biscuit is Cameo Cremes- a delicious chocolate biscuit with a creamy centre. I needed a quick slice a few weeks ago, and had a packet of these biscuits in the fridge, and so Cameo Slice was created!

Cameo Slice
1 packet Cameo Creme biscuits, coarsely crushed
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup butter
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins

for the icing:
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

In a saucepan or microwave jug, heat the butter, sweetened condensed milk and brown sugar until butter is melted and sugar has dissolved. Mix in the biscuits and raisins. Press into a slice form and refrigerate for two hours.

Mix together the icing ingredients and spread over the base. Let cool then cut into slices.

This is like having a Cameo Creme biscuit with added deliciousness! The raisins stop it from being too sweet, and the texture is firm but easy to eat. I have made this a few times and each time it has been easy, yummy and eaten far too quickly!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Enjoying Mother's Day

We celebrated Mother's Day yesterday here in New Zealand, and I had a lovely day.

On the Saturday I had been out with my mum and sister for breakfast, where I had a great smoked salmon, poached eggs and mushroom feed plus an extra large coffee. I love my coffee.

No breakfast in bed for me, as I was up at 7am to make myself an omelette and get ready for the Jennian Homes 5k Mother's Day Fun Run/Walk. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed running this course and will share an in-depth report of the run this week. My boys came to cheer me on and I was really glad to see them at the end!

Back home for lunch, which was a yummy tuna salad. I was able to enjoy my lunch and a coffee in peace, as my husband organised the boys.

After lunch I did a bit of housework as we had my husband's family over for afternoon tea. I looked over all of my Mother's Day gifts, including some adorable written notes from my five year old. I love how far he has come since starting school this year- he can now figure out how to spell most words or at least write something that I recognise!

Afternoon tea was a very casual affair, with my brownie, some muffins, and lots of biscuits for the kids. Some bribery with lollipops was needed to get a large family photo, and I also got some lovely shots of me with my boys.

I got to relax for the remainder of the afternoon, with another coffee of course, while my husband prepared dinner. One of his signature dishes is curried sausages, and so that was my Mother's Day dinner, and we watched Paddington as a family.

How was your Mother's Day?

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!

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