Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Best Friends

Emily and Benjii the Dog

Linking up for Wordless Wednesday with
My Little Drummer Boys

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cheesy Bolognaise Pasta Bake

This is one of Hubby's favourite meals. I was getting bored with cooking the same old spaghetti bolognaise, and was looking for something just a little different to do with it. I came across a recipe and adapted it to suit us. It's quick and easy to prepare, and I'm going to share it with you!

What I used:

500g beef mince
1 onion, diced
1 cup frozen beans
2 small carrots, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tin diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons oil
1 jar pasta sauce
250g pasta (I used penne because that's all I had. Spirals work well too)

For the sauce: (ingredients not pictured)

100g butter, chopped
1/2 cup plain four
2 1/4 cup milk, warmed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup grated tasty cheese

What I did:

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 5 cm deep, 26cm x 17cm 8 cup capacity baking dish.

2. Heat oil in a frypan over a medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes. Add mince and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown. Add tomatoes, carrots and beans. Stir in pasta sauce and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Cook pasta according to packet directions, or if you have a super cool sensor function on your microwave like me, do that! I never cook pasta on the stove any more, I just use my 2 litre Pyrex jug (just beware of it boiling over.) Drain. Combine pasta with mince mixture and pour/spoon into your baking dish.

4. Making the cheese sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Remove pan from the heat and stir in warmed milk. Return to heat. Cook while stirring for 8 minutes or until sauce thickens. Cool for 5 minutes, then stir in egg and cheese. Pour over mince mixture.

5. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden. Serve on it's own or with salad.

Emily loves this dish too. There's rarely any leftover the next day!
In the words of our favourite Backpack, "Yum yum yum yum yum, ¡delicioso!"

Linking up for Menu Monday for the very first time

Thursday, September 22, 2011

WIN! The Fox and The Hound 1 & 2 DVD review & giveaway

The Fox and The Hound is releasing as a special 30th Anniversary edition for the first time ever in high-definition in a digitally restored version of the 1981 original. Both titles feature and all-star voice cast including Patrick Swayze and Kurt Russell and are being released to Disney DVD on 5 October, 2011.

The Fox and The Hound:

Defying the natural order and all rules of the farm hierarchy are two surprising friends – a puppy being groomed to hunt, and an orphaned fox cub destined to be hunted. When baby fox Tod meets puppy Copper the two make a pledge to be lifelong friends without realising that their basic genetic differences make them sworn enemies. As Copper gets older and is trained to hunt foxes, it seems this unlikely friendship doesn’t stand a chance. And when the war between dogs and foxes grows even hotter, it will take only the strongest and truest of friends to overcome their differences and unite to face an even bigger enemy.

The Fox and The Hound 2:

Join your favourite farmyard pals as they reunite for a country music journey like no other and leave home for the first time! With Tod in the limelight as the newest member of The Singin’ Strays, a group of harmonizing dogs, Copper must put on a brave face as his best pal forges new friendships and he is begrudgingly sidelined as the group’s ‘roadie.’ But the price of fame and fortune is costly and the fox and the hound’s relationship is put to the ultimate test when Tod has to choose between his exciting new life and the best friend he’s ever known.

These movies weren't that popular with Emily, she wanted to turn the first one off about half way through. The second one held her interest a little longer due to the catchy songs, but I think she's still a bit little for them. I on the other hand quite enjoyed them!

To celebrate the release of the beloved Disney Classic ‘tails’ of friendship and adventure, The Fox and The Hound and The Fox and The Hound 2, Land of Little Princesses has a copy of each title to giveaway to one lucky follower!

To enter, you need to:

*Be a follower of my blog through Google Friend Connect, AND leave a comment below telling me of an unlikely friendship you  have formed with someone.

*For an extra entry, 'Like' my Facebook page, Land of Little Princesses and leave a separate comment here.

*For another entry, subscribe to my blog by email, and leave a separate comment here.

Good luck!

Conditions of entry: 
  • Open to Australian residents only.  
  • Be a public follower of my blog through Google Friend Connect. 
  • This giveaway will end on Saturday, 8th October 2011 at midnight AEST. Winner will be chosen using the widget on this blog and announced in a new post. Winner has one week after announcement to make contact or prize will be redrawn.
Disclosure: I received complimentary DVD review copies courtesy of Porter Novelli and Disney. No financial payment was offered nor accepted for this post. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

Aussie Giveaway Linky
Hosted by Three Lil Princesses

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Sewjo

My little sewing hobby, these are some bibs I've done so far.
Apologies for the crappy photo - it was 2am and I could barely keep my eyes open.

Linking up for Wordless Wednesday with
My Little Drummer Boys

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Daycare Issues

For the last couple of weeks when I go to pick Emily up from daycare, she's been crying. When I drop her off in the morning, she cries. This wouldn't be so upsetting or confusing if this was how she behaved since she started in August. But it's not. From the first day she started, she loved it. She'd barely stop to say goodbye, and on pick up wouldn't want to leave. She goes 9am - 5pm Mondays and Thursdays.

Last Monday something changed. When I got there at 5pm to pick her up she was sitting alone beside a bookshelf sobbing. When she saw me, she ran over and bawled. The carer told me she started crying at 3pm wanting to go home. Emily couldn't tell me why she was crying, no matter how many different ways I tried, I couldn't get anything out of her.

Tuesday night she wet the bed (she hasn't done this since being toilet trained) and Wednesday night she had nightmares and kept crying in her sleep.

Thursday morning she was fine, keen to go to "school" as she calls it. We got there about 9:30am, morning tea time, and she was very clingy. I had to fill out some forms and give them back to the carer and when I went back to the tearoom, Emily was pouty and upset. She ran to me and cried "I need you Mummy." We got her to sit back down to have some fruit, and I left. Feeling terrible. I called the centre at midday to see how she was and the carer said she was fine, happy and playing. I decided to pick her up a bit earlier, so at 3:30pm, we went to get her. I had a chat with one of the carers and he told me that a few of the girls were playing in the cubby house and one pushed Emily.

So, now I'm wondering if this isn't the first time Emily has been picked on, and if this could explain the crying.

On Monday, I told the carer about Thursday and asked her to keep an eye out to see what was going on. When I picked Emily up at 4:30pm, the carer told me that Emily stuck close by her and pretty much played by herself. At pack up time, Emily started crying. She then asked me what we want to do about the crying. Hell, I'm just so confused as to what is going on. I've never done this before, you're the childcare teacher!

So, my lovely readers, do you have any words of wisdom or similar experiences you could share with me?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Where I am today......

In my mind anyway :)

Tropical Island, Maldives

A girl can dream, can't she?
Happy WW!

Linking up for Wordless Wednesday with
My Little Drummer Boys

Monday, September 12, 2011

{WINNER} My Memories Suite (redraw)

Since I didn't hear from Lauren, I've had to redraw! The new winner is.......


Congratuations Kym! Shoot me an email and we'll organise your prize!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rock my Baby

This post is part of Product Talk by Nuffnang. 

I received a Rock N Play Soother courtesy of Fisher Price and Nuffnang. All opinions expressed are my own.

I received the Fisher Price Rock N Play Soother to try with Jessica. It was so easy to assemble, the instructions said that two people may be needed, but I managed on my own. I'm usually a pink buying mamma for my girls, but the yellows and greens are very sweet, and it comes with a cute little bunny toy too!

Naaww, cute little bunny!

From birth Jessica had reflux, it's not so bad now, but I'm wondering if it's still enough to be disturbing her sleep at night. I have not a full nights sleep since she was born. She's waking two to five times a night and it's really starting to take it's toll on my health and sanity! So when I received the Fisher Price Rock N Play Soother, I decided to give it a try at night. It couldn't make my night any worse, could it!

I thought we should gradually work our way up to nights though, so for the first few days we put her in it awake for some quiet rocking and chatting.

Emily rocking and singing Rockabye Baby.

During the day, she's usually more than happy to go down for a nap, but last Thursday she wasn't in it. I had to go drop Emily to daycare, and I left Jessica with Hubby. She pretty much cried the whole time I was away, and after a feed and cuddles on my return, still refused to go to bed. So, out to the lounge room and into the Rock N Play. Magic! A few rocks later, voila! Sleeping baby.

Jessica and Honey, her FlatOut Bear.

For a RRP of $139.99, I felt the rocker was lacking a little in features. I would've liked some sort of auto rock feature. On a carpeted surface it's impossible to maintain a rock without constantly doing it yourself, whereas on a hard floor, you get a couple of rocks before having to do it again. A little music would be a nice touch too.

Some of my favourite features of the Rock N Play Soother are:

Light weight and easy to move around the house - I am able to pick up the rocker in one hand while holding Jessica in the other.

Easy clean cover - Jessica loves holding her own bottle, and I love that I can do stuff in the kitchen as well as watch her while she has a feed. If she dribbles or spits up, the cover easily unclips to be washed and dries quickly.

3 point safety harness - A must! Although I did find it difficult (not impossible) to use it at nap time because Jessica sleeps in a sleeping bag, so I ended up using a travel one. Problem solved. I also noticed that the harness sat a lot lower on her when she was wearing a cloth nappy.

Easily folds for storage - we have a small house so it's great to be able to just fold it and pop it behind or beside the lounge.

On Sunday we moved Jessica's cot into her room, finally! I usually bring her into bed with me around 4am so I tried to use the Rock N Play in our room on Monday night to see how she went. Unfortunately she didn't want a bar of it as she was having a rough night (she's been sick and clingy lately).

So it looks like nights are out, but she's more than happy to go in it during the day for a nap or a bottle. I really love this rocker! I just wish I'd know about it and had one when Jessica was a newborn!

Wordless Wednesday - Eight months today!

My baby is growing so fast!

Linking up for Wordless Wednesday with
My Little Drummer Boys

Monday, September 5, 2011

Daycare Days.

I have a list of things to do around the house, it's as long as my arm.

 I plan to do lots of it on the days when Emily goes to daycare (two days a week) and when Jessica is sleeping. I never get it done! The day seems to fly by and the dishes are still in the sink, toys all over the floor, washing still piled up in the laundry or still on the line.

I feel overwhelmed on those days, I would just love to go have a sleep when Jessica does. Or sit on my bum watching tv while blogging and facebooking! Does that make me a bad house wife? I complain to Hubby about not getting a break, yet I fill up the days when it's possible with housework.

Should I do the bare minimum on those days and have my down time? Or go like the clappers to get the house spick and span? How can I manage my time better?

I'd love to hear your suggestions on time management and organisation around the house.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Happy Fathers Day!

Hubby is on night shift this weekend, and I've been a little behind the eight ball as far as a gift goes. I did make sure I had a card waiting for him this morning when he got home from work. I have Emily sitting here at the moment colouring a #1 Dad picture. Slack, I know! But it's more than what I got for Mother's Day! I even had to ask Emily to say Happy Mother's Day to me, which she did, and also everyday for the next week haha. But that's not why I didn't get him anything.

To be honest, with him working so much, I don't go anywhere. Maybe on his days off, when we actually all get time to spend together, we'll pick him up something that he likes. It's not the fancy gifts that matter. It's being able to spend time with family and cherishing the ones you love.

Happy Fathers Day to my wonderful Dad too! I wouldn't be here without you! haha

Saturday, September 3, 2011

{WINNER} My Memories Suite

The winner of the My Memories Suite software (valued at $39.95US) is........


Congratulations Lauren!

Lauren has 7 days to make contact or I will redraw.

Don't forget that you can purchase My Memories Suite and get $10 off PLUS a $10 coupon to spend on downloads!

Just enter promo code STMMMS35516 during checkout!

I've got some great reviews and giveaways coming up, so come back soon! Don't forget to share me with your friends :)

Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Little Kitchen Hands

Emily loves to help me in the kitchen, mostly with cooking. Hopefully, one day she'll be as keen to help with the cleaning! But until then, I have some help from Dettol! As a part of the Dettol - Misson for Health campaign I received a pack of great products to try out.

My favourites so far are the Healthy Touch No-Touch Hand Wash System and the new Moisturising Hand Sanitiser. I just love the aloe scent, and they don't leave my hands feeling dry. They have actually helped improve the problem I'm having with my hands being dry and splitting.

Emily and I tried our hand at one of the pizza recipes in the Healthy Habits recipe cards. I've never made my own pizza dough before, and it was so easy I don't know why we haven't done it before!

I decided that ham, cheese and pineapple pizzas would be perfect for lunch. I prepared the dough while Emily was off playing, as it takes a couple of hours before the fun part :) When it was ready for rolling out, I surprised Emily with a cute little chef's dress up set I'd picked up a few days earlier for a bargain!

Chef Emily ready to roll.
At some stage during rolling and topping, I found myself singing like Big Chris from Roary The Racing Car, " A pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza!"

I could only find it in French, but you get the idea hahaha

Emily keenly demonstrated her method for topping pizza, I'll call it the 'clump and dump'!

All ready to go in the oven!
Not exactly perfectly round, I probably wouldn't get a job in a pizzeria, but they were perfect for us!

Then it was time to clean up. Dettol Surface Cleanser wipes made it really easy. If only Dettol could do the washing up for me too. It's my least favourite chore!

"Are the pizzas ready yet Mum?"
Mmmm fresh out of the oven! The best pizza I've ever tasted.

My little upside down pizza eater!

A much healthier alternative to the pizza we usually buy, and we have the added satisfaction of having made them ourselves! Hubby loved them so much that he requested some meatlovers pizzas a few days later. I now have a nice little stash of bases safely tucked away in the freezer for a speedy pizza fix.

Bon App├ętit!

The Dettol Mission for Health website is full of useful ideas. 
From top tips to healthy homes, even educational booklets for new mums.

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary pack of the Dettol products, all comments and opinions are my own.