Christmas gifts: magnets  project 

I like personal homemade gifts but don’t have alot of free time. This project seemed simple, was practical and not useless or bulky for those already trying to declutter. You can use any art piece or even patterned scrapbook type paper.  If the glass is clear maybe a photo. Although I suspect it may distort with the curve. 

It’s a great way to capture art memories forever. Awesome for grandparents.

What you’ll need:

Giant wishing stones

Paper (I used watercolour washed art made by Miss Bee)

Backing paper

Strong magnets (weaker ones may not hold the weight of the stone)

Glue rated as suitable for glass 

Lather glue on and position the stone. Wait until it’s drying off before cutting out.  I was impatient so did it as soon as it was vaugely stuck.

I had dodgy reverse side to the art so had to use stick glue to attach a backing.  If you use a thicker weight paper or card then skip a backing paper. 

Glue on the magnets. 

After it’s dry admire your talented efforts.  

Pretty simple project wasn’t it?  But it looks cool. 

Protein lovers salad

Who said healthy food can’t taste yummy?

I love protein rich foods as they really fill me up for a long time.  I love serving them with a fresh salad bursting with small treats. This is exactly my kind of meal.  I made the recipe up on the fly. 

Grab a large pasta type bowl. Fill your bowl 3/4 full with mixed salad leaves.


1/2 chopped tomato 

1/4 sliced red capsicum

Grated carrot to taste

Add morsels of antipasto (I had 4 black olives, 2 slivers of sundried tomato and about 4-5 tiny squares of marinated feta)  these are in it as treats not as the stars of the salad

Now put shredded chicken breast on top (I used about 200g) 

2 boiled eggs cut in half length wise

1/3 of a ripe avocado diced 

Now pile a generous amount of the yummiest dressing onto the top. 

The dressing is made with mostly Greek yogurt so it’s an excellent protein source and will fill you up. 

My yummy scummy dressing recipe:

1/4 cup sweetened breakfast Greek yogurt (unsweetened would work but is more tart- an alternative would be to mix  a little low fat mayonnaise in but that’s sweetened anyway).  Or just taste the unsweetened dressing and add a little sugar to your taste.

2 teaspoons of gherkin relish 

Mix together.  Now that wasn’t hard was it?  

This stuff tastes amazing in potato salad if you like that. 

There you go.  Salad with copious protein and vegetables.

Vietnamese Chicken Nom Nom salad

Let me start by saying I needed a fast dinner and luckily the chicken was already pan fried and sliced ready to go.

I started craving the sweet, spicy aromatics of a Vietnamese dressing.  I goggled a few recipes and being me tweaked them to get what I wanted.  First recipe I looked at didn’t have the salad variety I’d hoped for so after looking at a few those is the combo I decided on.  Snow peas were on my list but the bowl looked full enough.

Here’s what I came up with quantity is per person.

Into a bowl put:

1/2 cup of finely chopped wombok 

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) 

1/4 very finely sliced red capsicum 

1/2 finely julienne carrot

1 finely diagonally sliced shallot 

1/2 sliced cooked cold chicken breast 

: blitz in a food processor (I used a stick blender) 

3 Tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons lime juice (I used bottled) 

1/2 red chilli 

2 tablespoons fresh mint

1 tablespoon brown sugar
Pour the dressing over the salad.  Toss to distribute dressing.  Serve immediately. 

Christmas Miracle

Every now and then a true Christmas miracle blesses us.

I have taken our darling much longed for Miss Bee to Santa several times. But she’s 2, and to her Santa is some strange guy in a red suit. Last year she thought Santa was actually a dyslexic version Satan based on her extreme caution and tears.

This year the first time she saw Santa she clung tightly to me head buried into my protective chest. She’s usually so confident and bold this is not a side I’m used to. We’d tried to prepare her a little to warm her up to the idea by showing her photos of happy toddlers in Santa photos.  It didn’t appear to work, she refused to even glance at Santa.

I’m not one to give up. I tried a different Santa. Once again she clung on terrified. The best we got was a tentative high 5 with mummy helping her hand.

But today was my Christmas miracle.

She’d been to a Christmas party and she was dressed in her new Christmas dress.  I rolled my eyes as I almost jokingly suggested to her dad that we try visiting Santa. Surely there’d be another encore of the clinging ivy Santa performance.

But today an angel was sent to Earth to be Santa for my 2 year old.  He noticed her look at the teddies.  Then climbed down off the huge imposing red chair and sat on the carpet leaning against the chair. He grabbed a teddy and played the good old icebreaker of peekaboo with her and the Teddies. She tentatively smiled then giggled then went over to Santa by choice.  No clinging on at all.  The photographer appeared with bubbles.  One of her favourite things.  I blew bubbles as Santa gently lifted her and Teddy onto his knee still playfully engaging her in a very grandfatherly fashion.  Then the magic moment when she was giggling and smiling while cuddling Teddy and Santa.

“I’ve got a really cute one” whispered the photographer as I quickly jumped up to see the screen.  Then I promptly burst into tears of happiness.  She looked perfect.  Not just because she was smiling but because the smile was genuine and Santa’s smile was warm and the bubbles floated over them adding to the moment of magic. Sure they’re on the floor but I know this year,  this Santa photo will always be my favourite.

It was one of those times where life seems perfect.  Serendipitously not a soul was waiting in the queue and Miss Bee got to see Santa at leisure. He was the perfect Santa.  At last she saw Santa the way countless children see him: as the jolly bearer of Christmas joy.

Of course I bought the biggest photo pack I could carry.


Ocean Whimsy

Ahhh… My favourite colour scheme so far.  Delicate whispering aqua,  clear aqua,  deep turquoise, mid blue and baby blue.  I’m in love with these colours.  I’m picturing a blanket dedicated to calm ocean colours with a soft grey to join them.  

Absolute favourite one is bottom left with the clear aqua outer row. 

Which of the  colour schemes appeal to you? 

Experimental cooking with children

I like cooking. I can cook. For me it is natural to hand Miss Bee a knife and guide her to cut up a vegetable while explaining what size it needs to be for a particular dish. It is intuitive to ask her to grab the milk out of the fridge while we bake. She knows how to tip ingredients in already.

When it comes to main meal dishes I am not one who needs a recipe. A friend of mine told me she’d described my cooking to another friend as: “she could open the cupboard, see a handful of food items left in it and produce a 3 course meal”. That made me laugh. I was kind of proud of that prowess too. I am pleased to say the older kids happily experiment with meals.

Miss Bee already likes to cook and bake. I find it both joyful and annoying. Mainly it’s annoying when time is short and I am trying to get a meal on the table without her hanging off me trying to help. See Toddler Tip #3. But when she sees the product baked or sees the meal the helped prepare on the table she tends to eat it. Nothing beats picking, preparing then eating fresh vegetables. Sometimes we skip prepare and eat them raw.

I have taught my children the fine art of adjusting a recipe based on preference, available ingredients and sense of adventure. Imagine my delight in seeing an article aimed at teaching children to experiment with cooking and invent recipes. The best tip was to write the recipe down- that way if it works then you can make it again. This also serves to validate their ideas. As a literacy task it also demonstrates procedural text in a real context.

I am going to start small with Miss Bee and invent something within a base- such as muffins. I can make those with my eyes closed so am pretty confident I can tweak it to the right consistency. If it fails I bet the dogs will oblige us and eat the result.





Retro redo

I couldn’t leave it not done.  Here’s the way it was meant to be.  The other set is now called Retro Offset as the two colours are offset.  Later all those other combos will reappear with the offset option.