29 Jan 2015

DIY REED DIFFUSER


We all like our homes to look fresh and clean. So much of our time is spent keeping up the appearance of our homes, that it is nice to sit back and enjoy our efforts.
But what about smell ? Do you spend as much time and money as I do, scouring the shops for my favourite scents in candles, sprays and oils ? I have a rather large collection of gorgeous candles, but I love when a scent lingers lightly and constantly. You can achieve this with a reed diffusers, which can also be a lot safer then candles if you have little ones at home, and there is no flame involved, but have you seen the price range of them ? They can be ridiculous in price and the scent does not always last.

Recently I made my own diffusers. It was simple, effective and most importantly inexpensive....

DIY REED DIFFUSER

You will need glass jars, bamboo sticks (you can use BBQ skewers, just cut off the sharp end) baby oil and your choice of essential oil.




Before you begin, make sure your jars are clean and dry, then proceed to decorate your glass jars. I added a strip of self adhesive diamantes around the rim, but you can decorate your jars however you wish. Once you have finished decorating, fill each bottle with baby oil till they are about 3/4 full.




Next top with your pick of essential then add your bamboo reeds. Leave the reeds in for about an hour to really soak up all that goodness, then turn the reeds around and place around your home.




I usually turn my reeds every two days to allow the scent to linger, and top up with the oils when they start getting low.

Enjoy your beautiful fragrant home.

beck xx




27 Jan 2015

A LITTLE BIT OF THIS & A LITTLE BIT OF THAT


Long weekends, don't ya just love em. Especially when it's the FINAL weekend before school starts back. One last hoorah to lazy summer days before routine sets in and all that blah stuff rears its ugly head.

We spent Saturday morning, and most of Sunday sprucing up the yards. Mowing, gardening, cleaning up after our horses dogs. They make so much mess.....
We managed to convince the kids to help (for a while) but they soon disappeared leaving us to continue on in the heat (fancy that)



The end reward, a dip in the pool without kids. But that was short lived.

Have you ever seen a woman walk on water ?
We had a SNAKE, in the pool. A SNAKE, and who was in the pool when it showed itself ?
ME !
Okay, so it ended up being a tree snake, but still a SNAKE.
It is still out there somewhere, probably watching me, laughing at me. Thinking stupid woman.

Monday, it was hot, way to hot to do very much for Australia Day, so we headed out for gelato. I now have a new favourite flavor.  Caramelised Fig, yum...



We spent the afternoon watching The Maze Runner wow that was good, cant wait for the next installment, and I did some baking for school lunches.
It was nice just to be...no plans, nowhere to be. Just relax and enjoy the final day of Summer freedom.

And what better way to end the Australia Day long weekend then with a giant Pavlova.



I hope everyone else had a fabulous weekend and your now refreshed and ready for a brand new school year.

Happily linking up for this weeks IBOT with the lovely Jess of Essnetially Jess

beck xx

26 Jan 2015

MONDAY MUNCHIES - Oven Baked Onion Rings


OVEN BAKED ONION RINGS

I've been finding my way back into the kitchen of late, and actually enjoying it.
This week I found myself with an abundance of large onions, nice and cheap, I went a little overboard and bought more than usual.


The other day while flipping through Pinterest, I came across a pin of homemade onion rings and that became all I thought about.
Food...always on my mind, and how to please a multitude of peeps.


INGREDIENTS

* Thickly sliced onions
* Bread crumbs
* All purpose seasoning (or whatever seasoning you prefer)
* Eggs lightly beat
* plain flour
* spray oil

Slice  the onions thickly so that they hold their shape.  Mix the bread crumbs and seasoning to taste (you can change the taste by using different spices every time you make the rings) gently beat the eggs and fill a small bowl with flour.
Dip the onion into flour then the egg, followed by generously coating in bread in crumbs. Place into an oven proof dish layered with baking paper. Once the onion is all coated and placed into dish, lightly spray with cooking oil and bake at 200 degrees until golden brown.




Even though these onion rings are not deep fried, they are still crunchy and delicious and much healthier. They were actually devoured very quickly here, I have had another win in the kitchen.



Enjoy
beck xx

23 Jan 2015

EVERYDAY SMALL THINGS I AM THANKFUL FOR RIGHT NOW !


There has been so much devastation happening in the world around us lately, that we sometimes forget to stop and appreciate the simple things in life, the small, sometimes silly things that make us smile and be thankful.

Recently I was thinking about posts that focus on being thankful. For me these posts are always thought provoking, they make me stop and think about all I take for granted, both big and small. I'm sure I am not the only one that loses myself in the daily grind, the day to day events that keep us from appreciating what is right in front of us.

I've written posts about this very topic before. Posts about how thankful I am for life and those that share life's journey beside me. Beautiful sentiments that are cliche and traditional.
This time however, I've written a list that is much less intense and more appreciative of the everyday things that we don't usually include on thankful lists, things that are usually overlooked that brighten my every day life....




. That my kids are finally at an age where we can watch TV shows that interest us both instead of         watching Nickelodeon ALL the time

. I am thankful for shape ware

. For the small change that I find in the bottom of the washing machine, my very own pay day !

. Toilet paper, where would we be without it ?

. I am thankful for photo apps that can wash away 40 years of lines

. That my Insta pep talk app sends me hourly notifications

. Ice cream, need I say more :)

. Clean sheet day

. Pillows

. Running water and electricity, something I know we take for granted


The more we look around us and take notice, the more we find to be thankful for. Not everything has to be big and obvious, the small, mundane, common and unconventional things matter too. Not all lists need to have deep meaning, as sometimes it is the small wonders of life, the things that we usually take for granted and don't take to much notice of that make our lives a thankful one.


Linking up my not so conventional list with the gorgeous Grace for FYBF



22 Jan 2015

IT'S ALMOST TIME


So this time next week I will be cursing that we didn't  get back into "school routine" sooner.
As usual, late nights and lazy mornings become a ritual around here during the holidays and that does not bode well for an easy transition..

When the boys were younger, we stuck to a strict routine, ALWAYS. Now, we throw caution to the wind and live on a whim.
Well during the holidays anyway.
But, as the return to school rares it's ugly head, so do the early mornings, the lunchbox prep and the homework fights.......



Sigh, I am so NOT ready

Yesterday we did the "back to school" shopping, the first of many dreaded days of a new year.
It was mayhem....
Kids screaming, mums shoving, and dads, well as per most years were hardly in sight. They are a breed in distinction when it comes to school prep.

First stop, the dreaded shoe shop. They say girls are undecided when faced with a choice. HOLY COW boys..... Just pick a pair of darn shoes.

Our uniforms have changed this year, not only do the students have an everyday uniform, but a formal one as well, which is going to bring about a whole new struggle. My boys don't take to change easily, and the formal shirts, I just wont go there !




Over the years, I have always "followed" the book lists to the letter, always getting everything required, only to have unused items sent home EVERY year. Are you kidding me ?
Finally last year, I started to buy just the basics, if and when the teachers said an item was needed, I purchased said item then. I don't like waste in any form.

Rulers, it took us three different shops before we were able to find the regulation wood or plastic rules, what's going on there ? Is there a shortage this year ?

And finely haircuts, although I could only convince one of my teens that a haircut was necessary.


So as another school year beckons, I am asking....

Why did the holidays go by so fast ?

beck xx






19 Jan 2015

MONDAY MUNCHIES - Summer Fruit Crumble



SUMMER FRUIT CRUMBLE



There is nothing like summer fruits, mangoes, nectarines, peaches.  I wish they were available all year round but sadly we are confined to enjoy them only a few months of the year and that means we must make the most of their juicy goodness.



We have been enjoying the fruits of summer almost every day here, fresh from the fridge and also in a few desserts we have been rather naughty there !

A few favourites have been Peach Cake Dessert and Summer Fruit Crumble yum.  We are typically not huge dessert eaters, but with the abundance of fruit available right now, its inevitable that desserts will be enjoyed.


Ingredients 

* Sliced neectarines, peaches, mangoes & blacknerries
* 1 1/2 cups plain flour
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
*115g butter



Chop the fruit into large slices and place onto bottom of an oven proof dish. In a bowl combine the flour, sugar and butter, and using your hands mix through until the mixture resembles a crumb like mixture. Bake in the oven for a half hour or until the crumble topping is golden brown.
Serve warm with a dollop of cream, custard or ice cream.




Simple and easy !

Enjoy......


beck xx

17 Jan 2015

WHAT WATER SAFETY SKILLS ARE TAUGHT DURING SWIM LESSONS ?



A GUEST POST BY KAITLIN GARDNER OF AN APPLE A DAY

Just before Christmas, I was approached by the lovely Kaitlin Gardner of An Apple a Day about guest posting on Craftypjmum. While I have never ventured into this realm before, I was more than happy to welcome Kaitlin to Craftypjmum.

Please pop over and take a look at Kaitlin's blog An Apple a Day .

Kaitlin has written a very informative post about the safety aspects of teaching our children to swim. It is an important message, and one that every parent needs to address......



What Safety Skills Are Taught During Swim Lessons? 

When my sons were nearing the age for swim lessons, I wasn’t sure what would be taught about safety in those classes. When in doubt – ask. I checked with a couple of supervisors for swim schools, and found out the basic safety elements that should be covered in swim lessons. Here’s what I learned.

The importance of safety. It’s just a fact that the water can be dangerous, and especially for small children. The highest rate of unintentional drowning is among children ages 1 to 4. It has also been reported that formal swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by as much as 88 percent. The first line of safety from swim lessons is to make sure they know how to swim. If a child knows basic swim strokes, they are much better prepared to stay safe in the water. In addition to the basic swim strokes, other safety skills are taught. Learning how to tread water can help a person stay safe in the water until help arrives. Safely using a diving board is an important aspect of the lessons as well. Once basic swim strokes are taught, later lessons can build on that foundation by refining the swim strokes and teaching additional swim methods like side stroke, breast stroke and back stroke.

Here are resources with more information.

Swimming Pool Safety: Layers of Protection

Why Is It Important to Know How To Swim?

Swimming and Water Safety

Safety rules. 

The next item for children to learn is that there are rules around the water. A good orientation will not only state the rule, but the logic behind it, so children will see why it is so important. These are some of the major rules covered:

Don’t run at the pool. Running on a wet surface is just asking for a slip and an accident.

Never swim alone. If something happens, there will be no one around to help.

Use the buddy system. A person is safer if someone else is watching out for them.

● Don’t use the diving board unless an adult is supervising. If an accident occurs on the diving board, it’s important to have an adult nearby.

● No rough play. A roughhousing session can lead to an accident.

● Always obey the lifeguard. The lifeguard is trying to keep you safe in the water.

Regular reinforcement. Just like in school, lessons aren’t a one time exposure to a swimming skill.
Later lessons build on what is learned in beginning lessons, requiring a child to show proficiency at skills before advancing to the next level. Increasing proficiency will be a part of the progression through swim classes. In the area of safety, regular discussion of safety rules, along with checks on comprehension, will assure that children understand the need for and importance of being safe around the water. When a child is given not only beginner lessons, but moves through to intermediate and advanced lessons, it gives them a more solid foundation in water safety. That translates to greater comfort and confidence around the water, which might help a child stay calm when most needed.

Lakes and oceans. There are special considerations when swimming in larger bodies of water, in addition to the rules which apply to a swimming pool. For instance, in the lake, don’t dive when you’re not sure how deep the water is. In the ocean, be aware of the effects of currents in the area where you are swimming. Swim class will have a discussion of these considerations.

With the proper grounding in safety, my boys will be able to confidently enjoy all the pleasures the water has to offer. As a parent, that makes me smile.




Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.

13 Jan 2015

15...



"Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."
_C.S Lewis


Every time I look at the very first photo taken of you, it takes me back to the very first time I held you in my arms. All that squishy baby goodness. Total perfection.




You are our fourth son, adored by your three big brothers. When you came into the world, you made our family complete, my dream of four healthy babes had been realised.




You are growing up into an amazing young man. I couldn't be prouder. You are funny, bright and your smile lights up a room, your laugh contagious.




You were an adventurous kid, exploring, climbing trees, always finding mischief to get into. These days you are more cautious. You are growing up, the years are flying by, fast.




Today you turn 15....
How did that happen ? it seems only yesterday that you were a babe in arms. You are very independent, always have been, but it is now more evident than ever. Sometimes I catch myself looking at you with tears in my eyes wondering what is next for my baby, yes, you will forever be my baby. My little man.




You have a bright future ahead of you my boy. Heading into grade 10 this year, work hard and the world is yours.
Be cautious, but always remember to have fun, life is too short not to.

Happy birthday Benjamin James, may all your dreams come true and you never ever let go of your childhood fairy tales.

mum xx

Linking up with Jess for another week of IBOT :)



12 Jan 2015

MONDAY MUNCHIES - Warm Apple Cake

WARM APPLE CAKE

We had a birthday in the house yesterday, and we have another one tomorrow.
Having a large family means birthdays happen often and we celebrate each one with fun, food and cake.

CAKE who doesn't love cake ? there is always room for cake....



 Last nights birthday was celebrated with a delicious apple warm apple cake with ice cream. YUM !




INGREDIENTS

*Large tin of pie apples
*1/4 cup of sugar
*2 eggs at room temp
*1 tsp vanilla essence
*1/2 cup of self-raising flour
*Ice cream, cream or custard to serve

Spread pie apples over the base of a cake tin or oven proof dish

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add sugar a table spoon at a time, beating until thick and creamy. Add vanilla.

Sift flour on top of batter and gently fold through.

Spread batter on top of the apple and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and firm.

Top with ice cream, cream or custard and serve while cake is still warm.



Enjoy

beck xx


6 Jan 2015

TAKE ME AWAY

IMAGINE :
to form a mental image of
 (something not actually present to the senses).

.to think, believe, or fancy :



We have a duty to ourselves to never let our imaginations run dry. To be true to oneself, and to dream a lifetime of possibilities.




For me, submerging myself into the pages of a book is how I keep my imagination alive. With every page turn, I fall deeper under the spell of the Author, 
Books are my escape from the every day, a place I can go to experience things that I may not otherwise experience. 

I am rarely without a book. I leap from one journey to another. 
Laughing, crying, scaring myself silly, always looking for something new and exciting to discover. 
I cant imagine a life without books, and I hold Authors in the highest regard.

2015 started off the exact same way for me. A new book, a new adventure to begin a new year.

Before Christmas, I was lucky enough to win a copy of  'The New Mrs D'  written by author Heather Hill  check out her blog here 
It was fabulous, and a great read to kick start my year. 




'The New Mrs D' is the journey of a forty something year old woman, rediscovering her 'real' self after being let down by the man she has just married. 
It has sad moments, happy moments and real laugh out loud moments. You know, the kind that has everyone intrigued at what you are reading. 


Tonight, when the house is sleeping, my next adventure will begin. My next choice, 'Mothers and Daughters' by the lovely author Kylie Ladd  read about Kylie here




I have a long list of books that I hope to read this year. Some new, some old but each one will take me on a journey that will stay with me forever.


What is the latest book you have read ? 
What would you recommend to this book worm ?

Linking up with Jess for the first IBOT of 2015 

beck xx




5 Jan 2015

MONDAY MUNCHIES - Saucy Beef Noodles

SAUCY BEEF NOODLES

It can be hard to keep every one's taste buds happy all the time. There is always someone unhappy with what lay before them on the dinner table...
But when noodles or pasta are on the menu, I can be certain that I am onto a winner.

Its school holiday time, and meals are eaten later than usual, which means I, like other mums, am after quick delicious meals to serve up to the family.

This dish is easy, tasty and has the seal of approval from my whole family. It took less than half an hour from pan to table, and that is my kind of dish : )



INGREDIENTS

*Olive oil
*Beef mince
*Large onion sliced
*Yellow & orange capsicum thinly sliced
*1 tsp salt
*Cracked pepper to taste
*1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
*4 cloves of garlic
*1/2 cup beef stock
*large can of diced tomatoes
*Pad Thai noodles



In a large pan, heat 1 tbls of olive oil and cook mince till brown then remove from the pan. Add the onion and capsicum to the mince dripping and allow to caramelize for about 5 minutes stirring occaisionaly to prevent burning.


Next add the salt, pepper & Italian seasoning and saute for a further 2 minutes before adding the garlic, stirring to combine. Add the beef stock and allow it to reduce before adding the tomatoes and returning the mince back to the pan. Bring to a simmer then add a tbls of olive oil to create a rich flavor. Turn the pan heat off while preparing the noodles according to package directions.
Once cooked, add to the pan of meat and sauce and stir through gently to combine.




Serve while hot and enjoy !

beck xx

4 Jan 2015

THIS AND THAT

A LATE NIGHT POST

We slept in this morning. 10 o'clock I was shocked and thought that our bedroom clock had stopped, but no 10 it was. We have had a lot of late nights recently. Staying up watching TV and spending time together. There may also have been a drink or two involved, but hey ! its the holidays and it wont be long until life is taken over by routine, work and school.

Speaking of school HOLY MOLY ! Can you believe that I will have another son in grade 12 this year. That makes me want to hide under the bed until this year is over. This is our third go at crawling through the drama and stress that takes over our young humans, and if my predictions are right this is the son that will test our patience and stress levels the most.....


We also have a son in grade 10. My baby, the youngest of our four sons in grade 10 ! Can you imagine ?

Please pass the wine !



Monday Munchies starts tomorrow. This will be a weekly post on the blog where I will share recipes that I whip up in my kitchen, a few favorites, old and new that I test run on my family....
Don't worry, my family are still alive and kicking and haven't suffered at all from being my Guinea pigs yet over the years : )

I look forward to sharing some of our family favorites with you.

Does your family have a favorite meal that is on high rotation ?

Hope you all have a fabulous week and fill the last few weeks of school holidays with fun, love and laughter.

beck xx





1 Jan 2015

LETS DO THIS

Well hello there :)

Are you as excited as me that we have embarked on a brand new year ?
I don't know about you, but I was well and truly ready to put 2014 to rest......

There is something refreshing about the year ending and a new one beginning. It's the chance to kiss goodbye to the past, to put unwanted memories to rest, and time to welcome the new adventures that lie in wait.

Its a new beginning, a fresh start.



Usually, with the start of each New Year, I make resolutions that rarely get kept for more than a few weeks at best......  
Weight loss, more exercise blah blah blah

Please tell me I am not the only one ?

This year there will be no major resolutions made, no promises to myself that I know will be broken.
Just the one goal of 'making it count and enjoying all that life has to offer'



Did you notice that Ccraftypjmum has had an awesome upgrade ? Brand spankin' new and ready for a rockin' year ahead.

Yes I actually am "blog prepared" for this year.
 Imagine that ; )

All the credit for the amazing new blog look goes to the AWESOME Jules of ZippyZappyLife This lady truly is a woman of many talents. I owe her big time, and have my fingers crossed that I can do it all justice, 2015 could be Crafty's year. Well maybe, it's nice to dream anyway.


Whatever your dreams and aspirations are for 2015, I hope that everything falls into place, that only calm and happiness will find you and that we may walk through the months hand in hand supporting each other.

Happy New Year friends

beck xx
























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