Friday, October 15, 2010

Amazing Cinnamon Rolls

I found this recipe for Cinnamon Sticky Rolls on a blog called Dinner with Julie.

They are pretty easy to make - and I've never made anything like this before. One afterschool afternoon, the two little ones scrambled and played, while Yasmin and I threw this together. Twenty minutes later, our house smelled like a bakery. These were simply, AMAZING. Next time we have a brunch, I'll throw this in the oven. We enjoyed them for several days after, but nothing came close to eating them out of the oven.

Here's Julie's recipe.

Cinnamon Sticky Biscuits

2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. honey or corn syrup

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins and/or chopped pecans (optional)
Put the butter, brown sugar and honey into an 8”x8” pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, put it in the oven and turn it on to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add the milk and canola oil and stir by hand just until you have a soft dough. Do not overmix!

On a lightly floured surface, pat or roll the dough into a 9” x 14” rectangle. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins or nuts. Starting from a long side, roll tightly jelly-roll style into a log. Cut into 9 biscuits using dental floss or a serrated knife, and place cut side down in the pan.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Invert onto a platter while still warm.
Makes 9 sticky biscuits.

Here's our before and after shots.

They won't disappoint you! 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Welcome me

I've been AWOL for a couple of weeks, busy with girls in school holidays, away in Queensland and then back into the swing of things.

I saw this rocking chair idea on Design Mom and LOVED IT! And then immediately these sorts of projects photograph better than they look in real life?

Photo from Design Mom
I will have my own DIY project soon on a shadow box I bought for a steal on ebay which came from the States.

I'm planning to strip and paint it and use it in our holiday house (on track for being ready in December YAY!). I love the idea of shadow boxes - it gives a special home to display small objects or nick nacks which kids seem to love (but otherwise lose).

I'm hoping my AFTER picture looks a little like this....

And on the home front...these three little girls are growing up, getting bigger, wiser and older.

Love to your house too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's been a busy few weeks. Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, a couple of lingering viruses, and now, our Term 3 School Holidays. However, I am happy to report:

1. I am finally on the mend, thanks to resting and LOTS of vitamins and herbs.
2. The girls have been (mostly) lovely these holidays, playing well, enjoying being together and fighting far less.
3. My Urban Outfitters package arrived and my $40 jeans fit PERFECTLY!
4. Layla has FINALLY, FINALLY said goodbye to her dummies. It was far less traumatic than last time I anticipated and I spent a few days both immensely proud of her and shocked that she'd actually done it.

We celebrated with my first ever batch of meringues, as requested by Layla.

Finally, inspired by my lovely friend of 15 years from halfway across the world, we've been getting busy with FIMO making alien creatures. If you haven't used it before, FIMO is modelling clay that you bake in your oven to harden. So, after showing Yasmin Meri's blog featuring her own Alien Army, we set to work. It was fun for the girls and I. It's always great to find an activity that all three girls (2.5, 4.5 and nearly 7 years) can do.

Hope you've got a happy house too.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Australia: Meet Urban Outfitters

Have you ever seen a toy somewhere that you know your kid would LOVE, so much that purchasing it becomes a quest to secure their long term happiness? Well, you know what I mean.

And so it was with the vintage Fisher Price Record Player. For months I've been scouring Ebay to get one - and they were either crappy condition, or way too much to justify spending on something second hand.

Until I discovered that Fisher Price are re- releasing the Record Player.

And Urban Outfitters stock them online. For $40.

And they ship to Australia!

FOR FREE! (Ok, well you do need to spend over $150 to get free shipping, but still....)

And so, one little devilish two year old and four monther is about to get the most gorgeous little present that I JUST KNOW she will love.

And I just know I'll love this gorgeous Birdcage Duvet Cover too...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Etsy love part 53

I stumbled upon these gorgeous prints on Etsy, via Charlotte's Fancy. Even better, they're on sale! I think the Paris picture with the balloon might be gorgeous in a contemporary bathroom or girls bedroom.

The Red Balloon, by Irene Suchocki
Looking for Love, by Irene Suchocki
You can find more here at Irene's Etsy shop.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Shana Tova and a little craft for a gorgeous Wednesday

We have a few days off school in honour of Rosh Hashanah. The table is set, the apples and honey are ready, and we're (mostly, mostly I say) taking it easy. I took the girls on a long walk and play in the park today, to celebrate a gorgeous spring day. The older two were on their scooter and the little one in our Radio Flyer wagon - all this resulted in two long naps and one long rest for three girls. Check!

I'm going to try this crafty little project - looks perfect for 2, 4, and 6 year olds. Check out Sunset Skyline Art Project.

Here's a snap of our festive table. The placemats are actually scrapbook sheets I got from my local art shop for 25c, and the placecards are handmade by me.

Warm greetings to you all.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

As I've mentioned before, I'm an avid reader of the Nie Nie Dialogues. And I've oohed and aahed at their gorgeous, vibrant and love filled family shots by an American photographer husband and wife duo called Blue Lily. So, when I read on Nie Nie's blog that Blue Lily are coming down unda! Wowza, I went straight to their link and booked in....for next April. I already can't wait.

Here's their photos of the Nielson family. Beautiful I'm sure you'll agree. You can also see some more of their shots on Design Mom's blog.

PS. If you are looking for someone local in Melbourne, we used Tea and Jam Photography and loved their shots too. Highly recommended and fun to work with.

Hope you've had a lovely weekend. We've been passing bugs round between us so it's night night for me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Our inaugural visit to holiday house

Our lovely abode in the mountains is now official, and we took the girls on Sunday for an adventure to look at the house again.

I quickly made some banana bread in the morning as well as some hot chocolate because it is COLD up there!

Our first stop - Bunnings. This is a loved Aussie tradition, complete with the morning sausage sizzle outside the store. By 10.30, we were in Bunnings, eating our sausages, white bread and ketchup. Yum. We bought our gumboots in anticipation of some serious mud, and a little while later the girls were gleefully jumping in the muddiest puddle they had ever come close to. They loved it.

We were joined by a kookaburra landing right next to us, some ducks grazing on grass, some rozellas, peered at some funny looking alpacas (belonging to the neighbours), and watched the cockatoos soaring in the sky. I do love it up there.

The girls were SUPER excited in the house. It's spacious, well laid out but needs a little facelift. They literally played for about 30 minutes tackling, wrestling, laughing and rolling on the floor. I couldn't believe they could entertain themselves for so long in an empty house while we discussed ideas, layouts and such, but as my insightful husband commented, 'they have nothing to fight over.'

It's been busy organising all the things needed to renovate a house - tiles, cabinet makers, carpets, furniture etc, but what an exciting project. I can't wait for it to be ready. Here are some gorgeous bits I found (from Simply Seleta) that have inspired me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Strawberry Jam Slice

I've been looking for a recipe to make lately as a good standby for lunchboxes, snacks and the 8.14am-just- -buckled-all-three-girls-in-the-car-reversing-out-the-driveway-chorus: "I'm hungry."

And, after a big shop on the weekend, I challenged myself to make all our meals from scratch this week using whatever is in our pantry, fridge and freezer. So...back to Pioneer Woman I went, and found this recipe which I tweaked by swapping apricot jam with strawberry jam (because that's what was in our pantry).

I made it with Layla which was great. It's essentially an oat crumble with jam in the middle. I took the butter out a little earlier so she could cut it which she loved doing. Then she smooshed and squished the butter, oats, flour and sugar to her hearts content. She pressed half the mixture into a baking tin with a small spatula, poured and then gently spread the strawberry jam around, followed by the remaining mixture. Delicious! It's quite rich from the butter so for us, this is more for kids. Once cooled, I cut it into kids servings and put into the freezer. Easy and yummy.

I'm pleased to say things have been far more settled and relaxed on our end - no more wailing about tummy aches upon waking, less fighting and more calm, settled people in our house. Phew!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Happiness Project

If you are looking for a book to give you some direction, get you a little spiritually energised and thinking about your life, The Happiness Project could be the one for you. A New York Times bestseller, this book is interesting, accessible and engaging.

One day the author has a sudden jolt of realisation - the time to be happy in life is NOW. Not in two months, not on vacation or in 12 months time. THIS. IS. IT.

She decides to research how she can get happy, and begins a 12 month project she calls, The Happiness Project. She reorders her life, values, behaviours and frame of mind to see if she can make herself happy. She exercises. She declutters her house. She stops nagging her husband. She is more patient and loving with her kids. She acts as if she has more energy to feel more energised. And so on. It's a great read. Here's Gretchen Rubin (the author)'s blog for more information.

Here's what I've taken away from it (so far):
1. Act how you feel.
2. Stop looking for gold stars.
3. Be yourself. Your true self.
4. Take up new challenges.
5. Recognise your kids' feelings instead of arguing or disputing them (ie. you can't be hungry! Come on, stop crying.)
6. Be lighter.
7. Do what ought to be done.
8. Kids - the days are long but the years are short (I love this one).

I'm not finished yet but I'm loving it.

And closer to home, here's what's making me happy...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A late note...

Things have been so hectic lately - parent teacher nights, a craft night, illnesses, followed by being soundly asleep at 9.20pm it's true my blogging has fallen behind. Anyhoo I'm back!

If you haven't read this blog already, Design Mom is an amazing resource. is a blog written a mum of 6 (!) who combines design and kidstuff. It's a great blog and keeps my fascination with mums of many kids and how they blog/shower/think/get dressed/function going.

We saw Mary Poppins the musical today and it was amazing! I took my 6.5 year old and we both LOVED it. If you live in Melbourne, I highly recommend it.

I'll leave you with some pics of two new purchases (because I can never resist a sale...). A Radio Flyer trike and wagon. They were officially broken in this weekend!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend wrap

A little of this....

a little of that....

and a little of this.

Mix together....lovely.

Tomorrow is a student free day at school so I am taking my two older girls to see this exhibition, Amazing Bodies at the Docklands. I think we saw this in London years ago pre kids and it was a little gross but so captivating. My kids are fascinated by blood, wounds and all that stuff so I'm sure they'll enjoy it.

Hope you had a gorgeous weekend too.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

I made something!

After attending a sewing workshop last week, my hands were ready to make something. I had bought some fat quarters from this gorgeous shop where I attended my workshop, Amitie. I bought a hoop from Spotlight, and finally, inspired by this post, made my very own fabric wreath.

Now I know it's not everyone's cup of tea (it's got that shabby chic look to it), but I love it. I chose some warm colours and patterns, and set to work. It's really very simple. It essentially involves cutting lots of strips of fabric (11inches long, 2.5 inches wide), deciding a pattern or order, and then tying them tightly around the hoop. I love how it looks. It's colourful but soft an I love the idea of it adding some texture on a wall of prints.

In fact, I think it will go beautifully next to these prints I ordered from an Etsy designer in my own hometown, Melbourne.

The Love Tree, from the Love Shop

Love print, from the Love Shop
You are Beautiful print, from the Love Shop

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weekend Wrap

What much better weekend we had! Might have something to do with me stealing some time for myself, a little winter sunshine, some company with other kids, a party, a ballet show (Yasmin saw Swan Lake) and some fresh air and outside play.

 Yesterday I went to a beginner's sewing workshop I found through Notebook magazine. It was a great way to get my sewing up and running again. And I even made a little skirt for Zahara. OK, the hem was a little crooked, my stitching a little slanted, but Zahara was delighted with it.

Alas, I will always remain what my husband has dubbed, a 'rough chopper.' I can't cut, draw or chop a straight line. I have to admit I find sewing very difficult, it doesn't come naturally at all but it's something I've always wanted to learn, so I can make little cute things for my girls.

I also finally got started on my fabric wreath which is also a little bit of trial and error. I started on a heart shaped frame and I'm not sure how this will look...

The girls played happily this morning for about an hour together, making up games and using lots of imaginative play. This continued in the evening too. Even little Zahara joined in a game of mums and sisters (because no girl ever wants to be the dad).

Zahara and I played at the park this morning, and even better, this tired her sufficiently to have a super nap later on. The older girls were at a bowling party, came home for lunch, and then went off with their daddy for a long bike ride and play at the park.

Dinner tonight was homemade pizza accompanied with rocket (from our garden), sliced pear and parmesan salad. The girls were a little confused to the presence of pear in the salad, but all three loved it. The balsamic vinegar, pear and cheese offset the 'spicy' taste of rocket. I found a quick and easy recipe to make pizza dough (no rising needed) which was a thinner and much better base for our pizza maker. Simply topped with pasta sauce and grated cheese - yum.

Hope you had a lovely weekend. 


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Good times?

Just when you think afternoons couldn't get worse...they got better! We had a lovely afternoon today...might have something to do with Layla chucking a sickie from kinder and having a lovely 2.5 hour sleep, therefore eliminating her post kinder slumping/wimpering/crashing on the couch and general hyper sensitivity, a huge bag of new library books, and a little encouragement from the universe that sometimes, things go OK.

The girls ate so well - salad, fish and quinoa and corn salad.

Tonight we tried some quinoa and fresh corn (steamed and buttered). For quinoa, I use a recipe from this book, The 10 Things You Need to Eat: And More Than 100 Easy and Delicious Ways to Prepare Them. Quinoa is a super healthy food, it's a grain actually packed full of protein. You use 1 cup quinoa to 1 1/4 cup of water, bring to simmer, then cover and cook on lowest setting for 20-25 minutes. It actually comes out fluffy and light. But I won't lie to you - it takes a little getting used to. The sweetness and familiarity of the buttered corn seemed to make it tastier.

I roasted some rockling fillets in the oven for 25 minutes at 200 degrees celsius, just simply drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper. It's a really mild fish that's not fishy. Layla actually gave me a thumbs up for the fish. Somehow ketchup becomes the final addition to the fish, but hey, it's organic and if they're eating fresh fish I don't care what they put with it.

This was finished with a natural icy pole which is a huge treat for them. Things got a little crazy when the girls started shoving their icy hands down my back. Suddenly the ice cubes were flying and man we laughed and screamed.

Here's wishing you a little miracle too. To happy afternoons!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Oy the kids are killing me

We temporarily lost our mojo this weekend. Probably a combination of cabin fever on a rainy wintery Sunday, too much red cordial at a kiddie party (Yasmin + overstimulated = disaster) and tired parents.

The weekdays are so very intense and non stop for both of us that come Saturday, when we start to slow down, we tend to fall into an exhausted heap with three kids running circles around us. Add some silly fighting, whingeing and whining, and well, I almost put the kids on Ebay.

And so it's very encouraging to read this mum of five, Shawni from 71 Toes, write about her family's grumpy moment too. I constantly think with our level of busyness and so many moments of chaos, how do mums with 4 or 5 kids do it? I have no idea. And I'm not sure I want to find out!

Yasmin sang with her school choir on Sunday night for a fundraising concert.
The excitement was palpable.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm in love

..with this new blog I found, Pioneer Woman. It's amazing, so funny, and full of great stuff. And the writer is a city girl turned homeschooling mum of four living on a ranch. There are some great recipes too, I'm making this Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce on Friday night for dinner. You will love it, I promise.

This week I'm also loving:
- Layla's questions about robbers, God, whether we are allowed to talk on mobile phones in the car and "Mummy, how do you write dot com dot au?"
- this real life Summer Table Settings, some gorgeous inspiration in the thick of our Australian winter
- this Printable Alphabet Bunting - beautiful colours. Just click, print and cut.
- watching all the differences emerge in these three girls

- our Sunday night garden bonfire with toasted marshmallows

Hope you've got some lovin this week

Friday, July 23, 2010

Etsy love

As I mentioned, I have a hankering for the country. You'd be shocked if you knew me to hear me say that. You see, I am an unabashed creature of comfort. My love for glossy magazines and a spot of shopping is well known. But now that I'm a little older, and a mother of three children, a part of me yearns for the simplicity of the country, the clean air and the lack of distractions here in the city.

I'm pleased to say we are getting closer to realising this little dream of ours. But in the mean time, I have started a little stock pile of sweet, gorgeous and things for this country patch of ours.

Where from? Etsy of course.

These little babies are on their way to me, as I type. Aren't they lovely? They make me want to snuggle in the couch with a cup of tea and a magazine. (A girl can dream can't she?)


Heart Pillow, from Olive

Colorful Afghan Blanket, from AtelierAfra

Coaster, from AtelierAfra