Blogger Template by Blogcrowds

Cooking with Kids

Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Tuesday is always fun in our house. It's the day the girls and I get dirty in the kitchen, mixing up cakes, cookies and assorted other snacks for them and Daddy. Everything from chocolate cake to Pizza Scrolls are fair game on Tuesdays, altho emphasis is on things the kids can at least feel they're helping with. Athough at the ages of 2.5 and nearly 4, there's not much more than stirring they can do.

We have our favourite recipes of course, things that can be made from what we keep on hand. Cupcakes, chocolate cake, and muffins. But some of our other favourites that aren't quite as simple, well, they're sometimes the tastiest aren't they?

Sultana Apple Loaf
125g butter
3/4 cup raw or castor sugar
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted (I have used rice self-raising flour with excellent results)
2 eggs, beaten
1 lemon rind, finely grated
1 cup sultanas
1 cup apple juice
1 apple, gated

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease & line a loaf pan with baking paper.
2. Melt butter in a smal saucepan over meduim heat (or in the microwave) and transfer to a mixng bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix until well combined
3. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
4. Icing can be made by mixing 1 cup of icing sugar and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon in a microwave safe bowl. Add lemn juice and stir. Heat on high in microwave for 40-50 seconds or until runny. Pour over cake and spread to cover.

We have only once added icing to this cake, and all agree that it's not necessary. A loaf makes approximately 12 adult sized slices or 24 kid sized slices. It freezes well and is great for lunch boxes. With all that fruit in there you can almost kid yourself it's healthy. I know it's a sad commentry on me that this is one of the more complicated cakes we make on a regular basis, but I'm really not much of a cook, and simple is always better in my book. Hubby on the other hand.....

Cinnamon Scrolls
90g butter
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
2/3 cup of milk
60g butter at room temp
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of dried fruit

1. Rub butter into flour with fingertips until mixture resemles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre. Add most of the milk. Mix lightly with a flat-bladed knife, to forma soft dough (add more milk if required)
2. Turn onto a lightly-floured surface. Knead lightly. Roll out into a rectangle about 25 x 40cm, and 5mm thick.
3. Prepare filling. Cream butter, sugar and cinnamon until light and fluffy. Spread over dough. Sprinkle with currants. Roll up fromt he long side. slice into 3cm pieces using a sharp knife.
4. Place rounds close together on a greased baking tray. Bake at 220c for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool
5. Ice scrolls with 1 cup icing sugar combined with 1 tbsp boiling water.

Hubby loves taking these to work, and saves him from spending money at the bakeries and cake shops nearby. Of course I'm not much chop at pastries, so he makes his own.

**Disclaimer - all measurements are Australian metric. 1 cup = 250mL and 1 tbsp is 20mL

Menu Plan Monday

Monday, July 30, 2007

Well, this is my first foray into Menu Plan Monday. Things are still a little haywire this week, but I'll see how far I get :)
Monday - Apricot Chicken
Tuesday - Macaroni Cheese
Wednesday - Veal & veggies
Thursday - Spaghetti Bolognaise
Friday - Pizza & Garlic Bread
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Roast Chicken & roast veg
That looks good actually, and all I need to buy is some mince to get those on the table. Of course as it's been so long since I've done a decent grocery shop, there will be tons of top ups on things like flour, tomato sauce etc. But I guess that's what it's all about :)

Return to normality

Sunday, July 29, 2007
Well after six long weeks of trying to get into, stay in or just start a routine, it seems the time has come to put all my organisation into practice. My weekly plan I devised earlier will be put into action. Now I have finalised the daycare situation, the week will go like this:

Monday: Grocery Shopping & Library storytime
Tuesday: Baking/kitchen day
Wednesday: Playground/swimming for kids (cleaning for me)
Thursday: Spend the morning with Grandma (while I study)
Friday: Daycare for kids/study for me

This is similar enough to my previous plan that I feel it will work, while allowing me flexibility. I always shop on a Monday, and we go to storytime. Tuesday is good for baking because I've shopped on Monday and can make snacks for the rest of the week. Wednesday used to be daycare, so an effort will be required to get us out of the house to one of the many underutilised playgrounds in the area (although some are better than others), that will hopefully afford me a few moments to read before coming home for a major cleaning session (you know, floors etc)

I have a few more things I'd like to do before the semester gets too far underway, mostly things like a study program, more work on my Home Management Binder and a cleanout of my study. I will also need to to do some serious work to make sure the Tupperware keeps happening. It's been a few months since I've done anything really, so it's almost like starting again, although amazingly I booked 5 parties in 2 days this week.

I think that's all for today. I have quite a few bits planned for today, and I'd like to get stuck into the main bedroom. At this stage it's really the only room that needs more than a "quick 5 minute tidy" which is driving me up the wall. Although it's been hard at the moment with two dogs following me everywhere.

Finding money

Friday, July 27, 2007
Sometimes when a crisis hits, money can be hard to find. Several people espouse the "Emergency Fund" theory (minimum $1000) and while that's great if you've got that organised (see my total in the $250 savings challenge to the right) if you don't have that it can be quite disheartening.

This week I had cause to find $800 in a hurry to pay two bills that have somehow become overdue, textbooks for uni, food and petrol for a week. It was tough, but I think I've managed it.

1. I assessed all the money we had access to: $300 on the home loan, $160 in assorted accounts and $15.45 in cash.
2. I did a menu plan, then a shopping list. Shopping list total $11.20. I'll pay for that with cash.
3. I used the $300 to pay towards the biggest (and most overdue) bill, and the $160 for text books.
This left me with $260 in bills and petrol to find money for.
4. I found $140 worth of medicare claims that have now being cashed, and will go off the rest of the bills.
5. I sent out emails listing my excess Tupperware stock for 20% off RRP. Have since sold $160 worth. As I've paid for this stock months ago, this is all profit.
6. Contacted other Tupperware demonstrators to ask if they had any clients they couldn't service. Got two names and a $500 order - min $100 in commission.
7. Contacted the daycare centre and arranged for a fundraising Tupperware party next week. Hopefully that will bring in a bit too.

So all up I have found (so far) $860 without leaving the house, and doing hardly any work. As well these measures I've put in motion should continue to bring in some money for a while yet.

So what do you do when you have to find money quickly?

A busy week

Thursday, July 26, 2007
And I'm still exhausted. This pregnancy is taking a lot out of me.

Ok, so we left here Thursday after lunch, and drove for 5 hours before stopping for the night. I shared a queen bed with the girls, and, let's just say, never again. I've got bruises on my lower back. Friday we took our time and drove the rest of the way, stopping for lunch with cousins and aunts and uncles on the way.Quiet dinner and early to bed.

Saturday dawned early and we were off for the school reunion. I was quite nervous really, but most of the people there were in fact friends, and we had a good catch up, culminating in lunch at McDonalds (not much changes ;)). I headed back to my parents stopping for a spot of shopping and to pick up the new Harry Potter book. Yes I'm shameless.

Sunday consisted of lunch at a friends, a cake with my parents and presents (DVD's and books). Still no time to read Harry Potter.

Monday Dad had to work, so we met for lunch at the shops, and I spent pretty much the rest of the day reading Harry Potter. Damn it was good. No spoilers here yet. I might discuss it in a month or so. Tuesday we left at 6am, and despite a 1hr delay behind a huge load (I'm talking 5 truck engines, 3 pulling and 2 pushing, 3 police escorts and 2 escort vehicles) we were home by 8pm. A long day but worth it.

Dad flew home yesterday, leaving me with unpacking, washing and cleaning to do (although hubby had made a remarkable effort while I was away). My focus at the moment is unfortunately finding the money for textbooks as uni goes back on Monday. I need to find $160. Funds are a little short this week, and while I have enough for text books, and we have enough food, there is the slight matter of two outstanding bills (one that's 5 weeks overdue) that are causing me some concern.

A bonus this week also was the phone call I'd been waiting for from the daycare centre. "Yes, we have a place for both girls on Fridays. When would you like them to start?" I'm sure you can guess the answer.

So my aim is to organise myself a bit more over the next few weeks, and you're all welcome on my journey. Come on. It'll be fun

Holidays and School Reuinions

Friday, July 20, 2007
Well here I am, having driven for two days with both girls and my father, we've made it to his house in one piece. Wednesday and Thursday were spent madly trying to organise everyone, including hubby who needed food while we're away as he won't have a car, and then we left at lunch time yesterday.

We are all exhasuted but survived remarkably well. Although I think I managed about 3 hours sleep last night. I guess that means I'll sleep better tonight.

Tomorrow is my 10 year high school reunion. I will admit to being a little nervous about seeing everyone again, especially those I lived with in the boarding house, but it will be nice to see where everyone's up to.

Sunday I'm having lunch with my bestest uni buds and families. My birthday is Monday and Tuesday we're driving home again. Gosh I'm even more tired just reading it.

The results are in...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007
and I passed. Ok, I more than passed. I got a distinciton - 77%. I'm stoked. I'm over the moon. I found out at midnight last night and then I couldn't sleep. Which was.... fun. But I know I wouldn't have been able to sleep knowing I could have known my score and not known at the time.

So, as I said to a friend online last night, I now feel actually capable of doing this thing. I mean obviously I knew I was doing ok, but this is great reinforcement. So of course I'm more motivated than ever to get back to uni. I'll be ordering my 4 textbooks this week, and am down to a week and a half before we start up again.

Of course I still have absolutely no sign of reliable daycare on the horizon. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Weekly Plan

Sunday, July 15, 2007
Ok, so after yesterday's post, I sat down and worked out my weekly plan. It will be of course subject to change depending on the day I get the girls in for daycare (at this stage it will be either Tuesday or Friday):

Monday: Grocery Shopping and Library Storytime
Tuesday: either daycare or baking day
Wednesday: Playground/swimming (cleaning for me)
Thursday: Spend the morning with Grandma
Friday: either daycare or baking day

That looks much more achievable. I have time for cleaning, 11-12 hours automatically set aside for study, and plenty of things to keep the kiddies amused. Monday morning is a big one for the kids, we're on the go from 8:30 to 12pm, so they both will sleep/have quiet time in the afternoon.

And now that I've done that, I can stop and relax for the rest of the weekend. Ok, well, maybe after I get a pile of ironing done. And the shopping list for tomorrow. And clean up the kitchen. And the bathroom. yeah ok. I'm going.

Scheduling Study

Saturday, July 14, 2007
In my last post on the subject, I discussed the amount of work I'm supposed to be doing each week to keep on top of my uni work. With the return to study a mere 2 weeks away I'm now at the point of tryng to schedule study into my weekly routine. Of course, I'm sure it would help if I had a weekly routine. Just at the moment it seems something like this:

Sunday: menu plan & grocery shop
Monday: washing and cleaning
Tuesday: get out of the house before I go mad
Wednesday: washing and cleaning
Thursday: get out of the house before I go mad
Friday: washing and cleaning
Saturday: ironing and cleaning.

Do we see a pattern here? Yeah, probably not good. The problem is that since we've got back from the UK at the end of May, I haven't been able to get regular daycare for the girls, so am often running around doing things I used to do on my days off with kids in tow taking me twice as long. Of course with the kids growing up it's harder to contain them in places like the supermarket.

Before I went away my weekly plan looked like this:
Monday: Grocery Shopping, Library storytime, clean out the fridge, empty the bins.
Tuesday: Baking day, Rubbish bin out, kids to playground/visit Grandma or friends
Wednesday: girls in daycare, clean bathrooms, tidy kitchen etc in the morning, to the library to study in the afternoon
Thursday: Rest day, swimming lessons/visit to the lagoon (it was summer then)
Friday:girls in daycare, repeat Wednesday

Yeah, so obvioulsy a bit more structured than now. I'd like to get back to that structure, but it's not going to happen anytime soon while I have the kids home on a regular baisis. Or more the point, having them not-home on a non-regular basis.

Of the 16 hours I'm supposed to find each week I used to find half of them on the days the kids were at daycare. 8 hours spread over 7 days is much easier to find than over 2 hours a day.

What I did learn last semester doing a take home exam with two sick kids and dealing with morning sickness, was that I CAN study when the children are home, I just need to be creative. If I can set myself up in the dining room, I can read and be there for the kids, they can "help", and do their own thing, while I do mine. Of course there are night times, but hubby tries to dib at least some of that time for himself.

And then there are weekends. Obviously catch up time wherever necessary. Which is always. So I guess what I'm saying is, a study routine is going to be really hard to implement until I have some sort of weekly plan happening with the kids. Might work on that today I think.

Much Ado About Nothing

Friday, July 13, 2007
So, I've got nothing today. No great insight, no good links to share, no stress. So here's what will sure to become a regular style of post: much ado about nothing! Enjoy

  • It's now 4 days until my uni results come out. It's so very frustrating that everyone else has theirs and I don't have mine yet! You can expect more stressing about that over the next few days. D-day is Tuesday.
  • My washing is slowly getting caught up. I guess I should do some more today (can you feel my enthusiasm?)
  • The $250 savings challenge has stalled because we just have no money. Wait, I just raided DH's stash found $1.30 so that can go in as well.
  • The house is a mess. I plan to clean today. Honest.
  • My pregnancy belly is about to pop. Honestly, it's all baby, baby.
  • Miss Nearly 4 had a fantastic day at daycare yesterday, and is all psyched up to help me clean out the car with our new dust buster. Seriously.
  • Miss 2.5 spent the night with us. I have bruises on both my stomach and back. We need a king sized bed.
  • I am going away next weekend for my 10 year high school reunion. I'm terrified but excited at the same time. Did I mention I'm 20kg heavier now than I was back then? Most of the people going haven't seen me in that long.
  • To attend aforementioned high school reunion, I, my father and my two delightful children are driving 1300km. Won't that be fun?

Ok, that's all I've got for today. Have a great weekend, and I'll hopefully be more inspired tomorrow.

Entertaining only one child

Thursday, July 12, 2007
Having my first two children 14 months apart means that ever since the eldest could walk, she's had someone to play with. Today I am facing the unevniable challenge of entertaining a 2.5 year old solo. So far I've come up with the following options.
  1. DVD's - yeah ok, that's boring
  2. Playground - oh my god, this girl needs to be pushed on the swing for hours. Next!
  3. Coffee and cake at the doughnut shop - she doesn't seem interested
  4. Library - she's begging to go, but we were only there 2 days ago, and she just runs around screaming anyway.
  5. Shopping - she's 2, she doesn't get the timewasting aspect of it yet.

I might take her to lunch at McDonalds, and then see what the afternoon brings. If all else fails i can always pick up Miss Nearly Four from daycare early and let her have a play there.

Washing, again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Yeah ok, I wish that was all the washing I had to do. I have approximately 7 loads of washing sorted and waiting, and probably another one or two floating around the house. Oh and did I mention the ironing? No? Well, it's buried under a pile of clean clothes.

Priority for today: Get all clean washing sorted, and as much as possible, put away. Get as many loads washed and put away as possible. Consolidate ironing and make a start.

How is it possible that this much washing accumulates for only 4 people? And why is it I'm the only person capable of doing any washing or putting anything away? Yes, those are rhetorical questions. I realise there's no answers. Better hop to I guess.

Activity site

Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Whily doing my regular morning blog catchup, I came across this post on Strollerderby. There is a link to a Canadian site with great ideas for summer activities for kids. Since I live in possibly the best climate in the world, I figure most of these are great for all year round activities too.

There are some great ideas, lots of "getting out of the house" activities, and things you can do around the house as well. I feel all inspired to actually, well, spend time with my children now.

Tight budgets

Monday, July 9, 2007
Despite my enthusiastic new financial year post, the cash aint flowing here just yet. In fact, there are so many bills leftover that we are still on the "week to week" budget program. Here's how it works:
  1. Work out how much money is due in this week.
  2. Pay the mortgage.
  3. Put aside money for food & fuel
  4. Pay off the highest priority bills until all the money is spent.
  5. If there is money left over, put it in the bills account for the bills next week, and start planning a real budget.

Guess what! No money left this week. Probably not next week either. Of course the week the tax returns come through it's a different story. but until then...

I did quite well this week on the grocery shopping, only spent $80. We're also staying home a lot so petrol use is quite down. Maybe I will get these bills paid of next week after all....

Comment moderation

Until further notice, due to abuse of the feature, comments will be moderated. Apologies for the inconvenience.

If you haven't left a comment yet, don't be shy! I love getting comments. Well, don't we all like to feel important?

Have a wonderful start to the week!

Priorities week

Sunday, July 8, 2007
Looking around my house, I need to make some priorities this week:

1. Do my morning routine. The house flows better and stays reasonably up to date if I can get this done.
2. Get on top of the washing. Enuf said.
3. Clean out toy room and girls room. Hopefully I'll get enough done that I can move the girls into their new bedroom next weekend.
4. Cook some good, iron rich meals to avoid an iron suplement in a few weeks. To this end I need to menu plan and shop this afternoon.
5. Try not to think about my uni results too much. They're due out on the 19th. I just need to be patient.
6. Take the kids to the park, at least twice.
7. Try and book the kids into daycare so I can get some work done when uni goes back.
8. Start planning for trip week after next.

That should do it for this week. Of course, stay tuned for updates throughout the week, and undoubtably some excellent justifications as to why I didn't do them.

Toy Sale Spending Splurge & Analysis

Saturday, July 7, 2007
Goodness, adding up the dockets took my breath away momentarily. Just a moment. There, I'm back. Drumroll please... The grand total of toys I have on layby is.... $475. Ouch! So, here comes the part where I justify the expenses:

Soon to be 4 year old's birthday gifts:
Dora Pj's $18
Dora computer game $10
Dora Hopper $10
Dora House $30

Soon to be 3 year old's birthday gifts:
Dora Pj's $18
Dora Hopper $10
Tricycle $30

Christmas Gifts
For nephew (6 years) Magnetix set $15
For neice (4 years) Disney Princess $5
For friends daughter (9 years) Jenga $15
For friends son (1 year) Fire Engine $20 (thought the tag said $10 - I'll quiery that)
For other neice (4 years) Disney Princes $5
For daughters friend (4 years) Disney Princess $5
For nephew (2 weeks at xmas) Giggle Duck $15

For two kids (combined gifts):
Cranium Superfort (from us) $70
Wiggles toy organiser (from Santa) $60
Encyclopedia of Animals $18
Cash register $15
Mr Potato Head $20
Wiggles Guitar (x2 - one each) $30 (for both)
TOTAL $213

In the past my budgets have been $10 for other kids, $50 for birthdays, and $100 for xmas, due to the larger gift size, and buying some from Santa, some from us (ie the wiggles guitars will probably also be from Santa). I don't think that's too bad. You may notice that doesn't quite add up to $475. I've found a couple of discrepencies I'll go back in and quiery this week. As the time gets closer I will also put aside some new summer clothes for the girls to give to them for Christmas, and I try and buy them each one nice dress a year to be the "party dress" for the year.

Apart from that, the bulk of my Christmas shopping is now completed. Stockings here are generally filled with some useful items like pencils, hair ties, toothbrushes etc (with the odd treat thrown in). I'll start collecting for those once Miss Nearly 4's birthday is over and done with. Rumour has it she wants a mermaid party this year *sigh*. And here I was hoping she'd go for a pirate party so I could justify spending money on Pirates of the Carribean merchandise. Maybe next year....

Post-Party Round Up

Well, this isn't quite what our kitchen looks like this morning, but it's what it looked like when everyone left last night. Hubby had a lovely time, was very surprised and thoroughly enjoyed himself. Here's a little breakdown for you:
11am - I took his "work cake" in for morning tea, and had sneaky discussions with his boss about organising drinks after work to keep him there for as long as possible.
6pm - I called hubby who said he was on his way home.
6:15pm Hubby walked in the front door and was immediately sent on a shop run.
6:30pm Hubby was put in charge of kids baths, and cleaning the bathroom "for tomorrow night"

7:00pm Hubby was sent on another shop run
7:20pm Hubby read the kids a story, tucked them in and sat down for a rest. Just as he did that his parents arrived to wish him a happy birthday....
8:20pm Some friends arrived bearing gifts, beer and food (we had so much food, we barely ate half of it)
8:30pm More friends arrived, and the food and games started. It was at this point he'd realised what was going on, and the food I was cooking wasn't just for the two of us. The look on his face was priceless.
Anyway, we had a great time, our friends left at about midnight (some poor people had to work today), and we managed to get the kitchen almost spotless before crashing into bed at 12:30. I'm quite exhausted with a pounding headache, and struggling to do anything. The last two days seem to have worn me out.

Hubby's surprise Birthday Dinner

Friday, July 6, 2007
Well, finally. I only have 10.5 hours more of lying to my hubby. He knows something's up of course, found my menu list (silly me, not hiding it) then asked when our friends were coming over, I said Saturday. But I asked him to tidy the lounge last night.

So, the plan is to hopefully get the kids in bed by 7:15, and everyone else will arrive at 8pm. Of course hubby will be home from 5:30 roughly, so he'll see me making all the foods I said were for tomorrow night. Ah I might have to distract him with a shiny new DVD.

So the menu for tonight is:
Mini Hot Dogs
Nacho Bites
Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Sauce
Lizzie's Cottage Rolls
Spring Rolls
And chicken nuggest if people are still hungry

I am also making Lightening's Grandmother's Lemon Slice and Hubby's mother is bringing some other slices.

For a cake I am doing a white chocolate mud cake, which will hopefully work out.

Of course this means I have a massively busy day, which means I shouldn't be still in bed at 9:30. Right, time to get moving!

Toy Sales

Thursday, July 5, 2007
Ah, the annual parents tradition. Frantically scour the catalogues as the arrive, circle, list, plan, debate. Check opening times, organise babysitters, get up at a rediculous time of night. The things we do for our children.

Living in a rather small country area, we are limited in our toy selection at the best of times, and with one major department store, and one "country" brand of another, toy sales represent the best time to have a decent variety of toys available.

So there I was, having conducted my pre-toy-sale activities (including making hubby take an hour off work to come with me and push the trolley), sitting outside the store at 10 minutes to opening time. With one other mother. Apparently, those of us living in the country move at the same pace regardless if the product is full price or 50% off. Admittedly the store was opening half an hour earlier than usual (they just chose not to advertise the fact), so by 8:30 the place was buzzing. But that first half hour - bliss. Just the two of us, scouring the store with our lists of birthdays between now and Christmas, and kids we're buying Christmas presents for (5 and 10 in case you were wondering). And about 30 staff. I kid you not. Each of us had a couple of young fellows following us around the store, finding things in odd places, taking rainchecks, getting extra stock from the back dock. It was like having my own personal shopper.

I did quite well with my list. Grabbed a couple of extra things for backup gifts. Still not got a good 6 year old boy present (transformer? I dunno) but apart from that, my toy related birthday and Christmas shopping until December? DONE! The no-deposit layby helps, and I separated it into birthday and christmas layby's so I can collect the birthday ones as needed, and leave the Christmas ones there until, well, Christmas, and save storing them at home.

There were a couple of things I wanted that haven't arrived yet, but they will be put aside for me when they do come in. I had layby'd and was gone by 8:35, had a quiet coffee with hubby and had him at work by 9am.

Now if only every shopping expidition were that simple.

Evening Routine

Wednesday, July 4, 2007
I just wanted to share with you my evening routine. While no particularly profound, and rarely completed in its entirety, any attempt makes me feel better in the morning. I try and start straight after dinner:

Load dishwasher
Wipe down Kitchen bench & dining table
Supervise kids (bath, pj's, clothes for tomorrow, supper, teeth, bed)
Clear a hotspot
Tidy loungeroom
Lay my clothes out
Plan meals and check calendar for tomorrow - make a list!
Clean face & moisturise
Brush teeth

Gosh, I always think my list is so long, but that's quite short really. There's no reason I can't do that every night. I have renewed enthusiasm now.

Put it in the Spaghetti Bolognaise!!

Monday, July 2, 2007
An ad tonight during Torchwood (Capt'n Jack - yum yum) raised my hackels a bit. The ad was for Metamucil, a fibre enrichment product. From memory, the gist of the ad seemed to be, if your kids won't eat veggies, simply add some Metamucil to the bolognaise, and they'll get all the fibre they need.

Am I the only mother in the world who gets veggies into her kids by grating them up in Spaghetti Bolognaise? Honestly, a couple of carrots, a zucchini, mushrooms, capsicum, celery. They won't know it's there, and even if they do, they'll eat it anyway, because it's spaghetti bolognaise! Grated veggies cook down to nothing, and while my kids occasionally complain of "crunchy" bits (celery) in the sauce, they eat it!

We've gone one better though, we buy "Wiggles" spaghetti (curly fettuchini) which means we can put whatever we want on top of it, and the kids will eat it because it's "Wiggles" spaghetti.

Honestly, if it's that hard to get the kids to eat veggies, yeah sneak it in that way, but damnit, try subterfuge with REAL veggies first.

Where do you hide veggies in your kids food?

Christmas and Birthdays

It's probably about time I started thinking about this really. After the in-laws birthdays last week, the birthday season begins in earnest. Hubby's this Friday, mine in three weeks, one kid in October and one in December. In between are countless friends and extended family (two nieces, one nephew, one grandfather, two aunts and one uncle).

In addition to all these birthdays coming up (not to mention Christmas), and the imminent toy sales at Target, Big W, K-Mart and Toys 'R' Us, I figure I should really start at least a list, followed by some ideas.

Christmas for the most part is easy, all adult family will be recieving chickens or goats from Oxfam There are (not including my own) 6 kids to buy for, ranging in age from 2 weeks (well, they will be born by Christmas) to nearly 9, and 4 friends. I will probably make shortbread wrapped in cellophane for people like day carers, and hubby's workmates.

In the meantime, a list of ideas for the kids (and budgets), and the birthdays between now and then should probably be done. I have absolutely no idea what to get my husband for his birthday ON FRIDAY. I have a couple of ideas, but can't say too much in case he decides to read.

And speaking of birthday's, my friend Lightening is celebrating her birthday today, and wants to get her ticker over 1000 visits. If you can help her out I'm sure she'd appreciate it. Happy Birthday!