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!
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