Sunday, July 31, 2011

Baby, Baby, Babah, ooooooo!

The pure joy of gardening semi-success has got me singing Justin Bieber. You see, back in February I planted some Baby Carrot seeds. I didn't really know what I was doing, and kinda just sprinkled them in a pot, covered with a light layer of potting mix, patted it down, watered and loved them most days. As they grew I realised, that though I thought I had 'sprinkled them'... I had in fact dumped a whole heap of seeds in one small spot. The result? Very crowded carrots. They are all fighting for their own space, and unable to get it - and are starting to contort somewhat.
Not really knowing how long they are supposed to take until these babies are fully grown...I decided it was time to pluck them from their roots. Seeing what they were doing from the top, I was starting to think that they may come out looking like the freaky baby mandrake that Pan kept in a bowl of milk under her mum's bed, in the movie Pan's Labyrinth
It turns out that they came out small, and odd shaped...but not too freaky.
I cleaned and rinsed them a few times in water, and promptly added a vegetable scrubbing brush to my list of things to buy. Fingers don't seem to do the job properly.
He he he. Some of them look like worms. Some are wonky. Some stumpy. Some have a gammy extra leg. They're all individuals. So what to serve for dinner, along with my baby carrots? 
I decided to make a mini lamb leg roast with a few other roast vegetables. It took 10 minutes to find my potato peeler in my disgraceful second drawer.
Then I put 'clean out the second drawer' on my list of things to do, donned an apron, sang (and danced) along to Laura Brannigan's 'What a feeling' and started cooking dinner.
I covered the lamb in mustard seed, popped a sprig of rosemary (from my garden) on top, a halved lemon in amongst the roast vegetables and whacked it in the Webber for an hour.
Whilst waiting for my timer to go off, I amused myself by loving Leo, and taking photo's of him while he slept.
He's so handsome... and silly.
And before we knew it, dinner was on the table. My plating-up was less than desirable (and definitely not Masterchef worthy) but the taste was deee-lish. I cooked the baby carrots in water on the stove, drained them and served them with drizzled honey.
Nick was even visiting at the time (he's a chef you know!) and said that I had cooked the lamb perfectly. That was a fluke, but yay me! I really haven't cooked much at all in the last year and a half. I need to pick up my game, clean out my cupboards and start cooking more. No doubt, you will hear (and see) all my endeavours.

Keep being awesome.

Sweet Dreams. See You Tomorrow.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Get Ready For Your World To Change!

Prepare for your minds to be blown and life to change as you know it.
I'm about to share with you, a secret passed on to me a few years ago by my friend Lorena. If you too have an ugly large pile of plastic bags under your sink, than do I have the solution for you! Sure the amount under mine has reduced since the evolution of the green bag, but I still get a bunch from time to time. I utilise them for garbage bin liners, taking my lunch to work and other bits and bobs. I went grocery shopping yesterday and after putting everything away I was left with this..
...which once upon a time, would have become this...
But what I will now teach you, through the magic of the internet, is to turn that unruly pile of bags, into this...
Step One: lay your bag flat on a table/breakfast bar or similar.
Step Two: fold down one handle.
Step Three: starting at the folded handle end, fold the bag in <2inch portions like so...
...over and over until you get to the other side. Like this:
Step Four: fold from the bottom in triangles. All the way to the top like so:
Step Five: wrap the handle around and tuck it in.

Your amazing space-saving triangle-folded plastic bag. Now go forth my students and pass your superior knowledge onto others.

Yep. I just wrote a whole blog post on how to fold plastic bags.

Sweet Dreams. See You Tomorrow.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Strawberries, Chocolate and Pistachios...Oh My!

Hey there,
It's been a while! It's well over a week since my last blog, and boy have I been missing it. 
It's not just my blog that has been temporarily abandoned... My garden has been neglected +++, and is in desperate need of a good weeding. Some of the nasty weeds are standing taller than the small trees. Lady Mausey would be disappointed in my weeding efforts, but most of the actual plants seem to be doing well. They are loved and watered. I've just been lazy on the weeding front. Whilst I am yet to have myself a fully-formed strawberry - the plants just keep growing more flowers and more buds. Every leaf I lift up, is hiding more little strawberry babies underneath.
Strawberries must be in season at the moment. Obviously mine are growing, but at the shops they are big, juicy, delicious and cheap. So Adam bought three punnets. Perhaps my bulk buying addiction has been passed on to him? I will have to keep an eye on him.... I have been slowly working my way through the strawberry supply. I love a couple cut up on my rice bubbles in the morning. Still, three punnets worth of strawberries is a lot, and I put in a good effort, but with one punnet left, I decided it was time to utilise them in another way. Yesterday, whilst exploring the realms of Pinterest I found and pinned a super simple and scrumptious looking strawberry dessert... Only 3 ingredients required. Strawberries, Chocolate and Pistachios...Oh My!
I have never melted chocolate before. So I decided to make sure I was really organised before I started my first attempt. I prepared all my ingredients. Washed and dried my strawberries, shelled and chopped my pistachios.
Armed with only the knowledge of someone who watches Masterchef, I heated some water in a small saucepan on the stove.
I put the bowl inside the saucepan, and popped a few rows of Cadbury cooking chocolate and lo and behold... it melted!!
It's melting, it's melting!!!
I'm obsessed with Dark Chocolate at the moment, so I don't know why I picked the milk chocolate... but it was just what I was drawn to at the time. I will have to try it again some time as I think the salty-ness of the pistachios will go well with dark chocolate. I deduced this from the simple fact, that Lindt Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt is my most favourite chocolate of all time. Chloe put me on to it, and I have been obsessed with it ever since. 
I dipped the strawberries in the melted milk chocolate and rolled them in the chopped pistachios and popped them on baking paper (so they don't stick to the plate).
Then I put them in the fridge to set. They are not as pretty as the ones I saw here on Pinterest. Though, not bad for a first try. Surely second time around I will cover them with more finesse.
I served them out after dinner as a light dessert.... and they were super delish. So easy, and yummy to boot. I highly recommend them.
Nick and Adam were busy researching and creating their Warhammer army, but broke away to try my little creations. It wasn't just me, they loved them too!

Awesome Strawberry Success!

I look forward to making them again...when the baby strawberries in the garden are all grown up :)

Sweet Dreams. See You Tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

So Kristy, what did you do on your days off?

When I began my Nursing degree I never really contemplated the fact that Nursing = shift work... and the impact that it can have on your lifestyle. Now that we are a married pair of shift-workers, it makes it doubly difficult to organise days off together, let-alone catch up as a couple with our friends. So whilst, Adam and I missed out on going out on-the-town Saturday night, or having dinner with friends on Sunday - because we worked the weekend through - the upside is that we have had Monday and Tuesday off together! So what did we do on our days off?
Well, I have a never-ending, always evolving list of things to do. There is just sooooo much that I need to do, and even more that I want to do. The battle for me, is to stop myself from turning the things that I want to do, into a chore. I think I am very slowly getting better at this.
If you want to get technical, Monday wasn't actually Adam's day off - he finished work Monday morning (Damn night duties!!!), but Bestman Buck was up and hence so was Adam. He chose not to sleep after his shift and instead stayed awake to spend quality time with Bucky before he made his way back to Canberra. Which of course means a whole lot of Marvel vs Capcom, mingled with episodes of Seinfeld.
Whilst the boys did their thing, I did mine. Among other things, I made appointments, had a blood test, filed a years worth of bills and paperwork, and started this year's tax. Here is Leo helping me sort through a years worth of receipts -
At Adam's request (and because I am such an awesome wife), I baked a chocolate mud cake. Sounds impressive, but truth is - it was a packet mix I had in the cupboard.
I had originally bought two of these packet-mixes back in April, to bake Adam a cake for his birthday, but I decided to give him a cheesecake instead...
Yep. That's over 10kg of Jarlsberg - Adam's favourite. Two and half months later, and we are just over half-way through it. Hence, the Betty Crocker chocolate mud-cakes have been in the cupboard ever since.
Being that Monday was a day off, it would have been nice to bake a real cake from scratch, but as I said earlier - I was busy blitzing through my to-do list and wanted to get it done quick and make more space in my kitchen cupboard. 10 minutes at best, was all it took to prepare and mix and get it in the oven.
I really didn't need to use my MixMaster. It was total overkill. But its so pretty and any excuse to use it, is a good one if you ask me. So I poured the mix into the pan and popped it into my dodgy oven and jammed the door shut with a tea-towel.
Set my super cute timer...
...and put the beaters on a plate for the boys to enjoy between battles.
An hour later I pulled the cake out of the oven. Did the skewer test and success! Maybe I am finally getting to know my oven. I let it cool for 10 minutes and come back and it looks really sunken. Please, don't let me have stuffed up such a basic cake.
But I ice it with the pre-made packaged icing in the silver packet. And you know's not bad. Super easy and tasty to boot.
I picked up those flowers from a little fruit and veg store after my blood test. I can't remember what the flowers were called... but they were cute and only $5.50 so they came home with me. They have quite a pungent odor, to the point where I have to move them off the table to eat.
I only have a few vases and none of them were the right size for these flowers. I felt like Goldilocks. This vase is too small, this vase is too big...but unlike Ms Locks, there wasn't one that was just right. So I made do, by tying a ribbon around them to stop them from separating and looking...well...dumb.

My lack of vase options lead me to thinking about some ideas I came across whilst pawing through the realms of Pinterest.
You see, alot of people on Pinterest have an obsession with DIY and I definitely have that in common with them. The result - Tuesday we went thrift shopping! That's American for op-shopping.
We had a bunch of fun and came out with some great little purchases.
Adam instantly fell in love with the retro esky for $15. I remember Rossco having one the same make and colour. The table is retro and more attractive in real life than the picture depicts. It needs a little bit of a clean up - but was a bargain at $12. The table was bought to go with the old TV ($8), which we bought to be able to set-up our Sega Master System and MegaDrive. California Games, here I come.
The rest of our thrifty finds are a bunch of vases in various colours, shapes and sizes; a serving tray and one of the Chronicles of Narnia... All of which I plan to use for DIY purposes. Hopefully, it will all work out awesome and I will be able to show you my success on here!

Adam's just finished cooking dinner. Time to dine. 

Sweet Dreams. See You Tomorrow.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink...

The Wedding Singer is one of my most favourite movies of all time. Adam Sandler. Drew Barrymore. The music. The hair. The humour. The meatballs. It's all my cup of tea.
This scene in particular, brings a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. Without fail. Every single time. 
I always wanted a love like this.

And guess what?
I got it!

We recently received a beautiful little parcel from the lovely and super talented Ms Lara Pape. Lara was the photographer at our wedding, and hence - the package contained discs with all the high res versions of our wedding photo's!!! It's so difficult to choose which ones to put on here, or on our whitebrickwall for that matter... I love them all so very much. I figure that, rather than dumping a whole bunch of them in one post, I should instead just spatter them in different blog posts from time to time.

As corny as it sounds, Adam and I both agree whole-heartedly - our wedding day was the best day of our lives. And not only did we get some absolutely stunning posed photo's, but the one's that really move me - are the one's where Lara caught us in the moment.
The overwhelming feeling of love for and from my husband on that day definitely topped any guitar-slinging, wedding-singing fantasy I had.
I sit now, in the lounge beside my husband and as he pats and loves my substitute child the cat that I am obsessed with, he tells me not to worry about the dishes - he'll do them tomorrow. 
How lucky am I?

I have this wonderful man to grow old with.

Sweet Dreams. See you tomorrow.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm a Lean Mean Sewing Machine!

After getting somewhat distracted with a change of room colour scheme and an Ikea binge, I finally made the time last Saturday to complete my little project promise. Whilst the timing of completion was a little later than intended, the bonus was that I got to spend some quality time with my wonderful mother. It turned out that she too required a cover for her new sewing machine!
I was going to use the tutorials that I mentioned here, however we threw caution to the wind and decided in true DIY fashion - to actually do it all ourselves. We bought some pre-quilted wadding to line our covers with, providing some structure, bulky-softness and oomph! We really didn't get too technical in the pattern making stakes. It pretty much involved flopping our material over our machine of choice and measuring it with our tape measure. We cut the fabric out according to our measurements and kinda made it up from there.
Have I told you how awesome my Mum's sewing skills are? They're pretty spectacular.
We cut all the pieces out and overlocked the wadding onto the fabric. I got a little anal and decided to iron mine.
Yuh-huh. That is a tiny table ironing board ($9.99. Thanks Ikea!). I actually bought it for Adam to use at the Academy, but it turns out, they have plenty of ironing boards up there.
After that we started sewing the pieces together. Mum was considerably faster at it than me, but then she's had a lot more experience. There is only so much I could learn watching from my bouncer as a bub.
While Mum and I were having quality mother-daughter time, Adam was downstairs tinkering with his mame cabinet.
Ever since we started dating, Adam has had moments when he likes to make it hard for me to take a photo of him. This was the best I could get, and even though it still shows slight disdain - he still looks so handsome. You might be impressed by how tech-savvy he looks in this photo...With laptops, monitors, extra keyboards, joysticks and a clean organised work bench - but what I managed to cut out of the photo was this:
Yeah, there is a lot more to building a meme cabinet than playing with computers. He's got a lot of things going on at once - old tupperware containers, joysticks, random wires, a doorstop... But that's enough of him, now back to me!
I am in love with Mum's choice of fabric. Being that Mum was making a cover for her sewing machine, she needed a hole in the top of her cover to be able to use the handle to carry it. She had a little bit of a disaster here. First she lined the hole with a purple spot fabric, which was great in theory but it kept puckering and just looked dumb, so she cut that out and decided to use a fancy stitch around the edging to try to make it look better. That also looked like crap terrible, and as a result of all this change in technique, the hole just kept getting bigger and bigger. I tried to take a picture of it, but she kept covering it with her hands. I now know where I get my obsession with perfection from now.
This picture is WAY too flattering of the ugly big hole. All this talk of big holes resulted in our reminiscing and quoting Jo when he was little. You know the classic line from the little boy in Kindergarten Cop -
Well one day Jonathan announced "Boys have penises and girls have big holes" which still cracks me up to this day. That...and the vision of him walking out of the bathroom, dressed only in a nappy, chewing on a tampon. It was a clean one, thank god. Ah the memories.
So we were both feeling distraught and defeated in regards to the big hole. What to do? What to do? Mum was so displeased that she was considering starting all over again... when, like an angel sent from above Lady Mausey came knocking on our door!!
She immediately made a suggestion, that we had not thought of.
And with the precise skills of a plastic surgeon, Mum whipped up some very attractive flaps for her big hole. With the flaps in place, Mum's sewing machine cover was complete!
Isn't she purrty?
With Adam, Mum and Nan present in the house, I decided to try a pregnancy test. You see on this day my periods were 4-5 days late.  The test was negative, which accounts for how sad I look in the next photo. I got my periods very late in the next evening. It turns out my body was just being a jerk...who has a 39 day cycle?? I said this to Mum and her reply was that maybe my body was trying really hard, but just couldn't make it this time. That's a much nicer way to look at it. Oh well, back to the baby-making drawing board!
Here I am sewing the bottom binding onto my cover! See that thing on my wrist? That's a velvet-look, smiley-flower-shaped, slap-band pin-cushion. Yeah, if only you could be so cool. It was a Christmas present off Adam. He knows me too well.
Here's my cover. Complete and in action. Next time I would work it so that the sides are wider, but still... she fits and is going to look beautiful against the wall when it finally turns green. I am loving me the citrus. Ok. That doesn't make much sense....but you know what I mean.
So not only have I said goodbye to my dead-ugly purple shopping bag masquerading as an overlocker cover... but I have also said au revoir to my clean and tidy spare bedroom. You see, Adam has been a busy little handyman and we are in the middle of changing our entire main bedroom. And so... yet again - the spare bedroom has become a temporary dumping ground.
I look forward to showing you the progress we have made, some day in the not-too-distant future.

Sweet Dreams. See You Tomorrow.