Saturday, 31 August 2013

August comes to an end with Dad Down Under's 365 'challenge'

So here I am at the end of August in Dad Down Under's 365 'challenge'

The challenge for August was to read for 30 minutes a night and lights out at 9.30pm.

So armed with books I jumped in and took the family along for the ride as well.  
So how did we go..??

Well for me it meant I had to work more efficiently during the day to ensure that dinner was prepared and served in a timely fashion to allow for dishes to be washed and the kitchen restored to some form of normality each night.  I had to have lunches prepared, blouses ironed earlier to free up time.  And I had to better plan my weeks to avoid last minute chaos.

Well it was all fun for a week or so...setting myself a personal challenge to have everything under control with the pleasure of reading at the end of the day as the reward .....that was until I realised that this level of dedication and organisation was pretty much what was needed on a daily basis....for the REST OF MY LIFE.....!!!!

Despite this epiphany I soldiered on....most nights of the week making it into bed by 9.30 pm to start my half hour reading....and off to sleep around 10.00-10.15 improvement on my usual bed time of anywhere between 10.45-11.15 pm.  And in all honesty I did feel a lot better for it.  I challenged myself to be out of bed by 6.30 am improvement on my usual sluggish starts of around 7.00 am which then threw the household into chaos!!  This half hour earlier out of bed in the mornings has seen me showered, dressed and ready for the day before I wake the girls....some mornings I have even managed a load of washing too !!!

Weekends I relaxed the routine a bit...Friday and Saturday nights I spent with a bit of television and a bit of knitting.  I made sure Sunday nights I got back into the swing of things with an early night.

I read "Three Hours Late" by Nicole Trope which I found hard to keep to the half hour...just a little bit more..just a little bit more.....I love a bit of suspense and it was a great book...easy to read and with a twist at the end!

I also read 'The Happiest Refugee" by Anh do which was also an easy read, inspirational and had that bit of Anh humour to it which was great. I realised how little I knew about Anh' s personal life so I learnt a lot.

Hubby also read "The Happiest Refugee" which he really enjoyed too but he is more of a day time reader and still prefers to wind down of an evening with a bit of television.

The girls took to the challenge at the start....

Miss 15 was reading "Angel in the Rubble"  by Genelle Guzman-McMillan 

Miss 14 and Miss 12 were trying to make their way through The Hobbit
Miss 9 had a selection of library books from school and 
Miss 4 had a pile of picture books plus each week we borrowed a book from the book basket at preschool.

Whilst homework and assessments did get in the way for some of the girls to finish their books they have made a good start.  Miss 9 and Miss 4 have made their way through quite a few books each which is great.

So now we move into September with 30 minutes of 'rigorous' exercise 5 days a week....boy are the girls excited about this one...NOT !!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

1 week in.....

So we are 1 week in to Shannan's 8 week challenge.....

and I had a weight loss of 500 grams.....

I would strongly suggest that this small loss was due to my following the program in a somewhat less than perfect manner.....   :-0

My main problem so far has been with planning and preparation so this week I am aiming to improve these areas.....I need to look at my week, organise my meals around activities, events and meetings and have snacks organised in advance to reduce the temptation to be naughty!! 
I also need to have some meals prepared in advance and frozen where possible because no matter how much I plan ahead it can all go terribly pear shaped with five children added to the equation....!!!!

I also need to pick up the slack with my exercise.  Last week was so busy time was scarce.  I did walk to and from a few of the events that I had on so that's a start....but it is a long way from my 600 calorie burn per day.

So it seems I have some room for improvement....a lot of room.......and I may need to harden up a tad too !!!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

One thing led to another..and before I knew it...

Last Friday I waited with increasing anticipation for the arrival of my Woolworths online grocery order.

The reason that I was hugely excited was that I had ordered 1 kilo of green crystal bay prawns on sale....yay me!!  I was hoping that the groceries would arrive in time for these delicious prawns to be turned into our evening meal.

At 3.30pm I hear the delivery truck arrive and I have to hold myself back from racing to the front door and greeting the delivery guy with an exuberance that would possibly leave him scared for his life!

I greeted him calmly, took charge of my groceries and raced inside to find my delicious prawns.  Not in this bag, nor this one, not in these 10 bags either....perhaps in my haste I left a bag at the front door...I retraced my steps but no bags have been left anywhere.  Panic started to set in....real panic!!!!

I checked the invoice and I have been charged for the prawns so they must be here...again I retraced my steps, conducted a search of the house....still no prawns.... devastation !!!  

A call to Woolworths and the issue was sorted with a refund on the way.....but now I have no dinner.  After dreaming of prawns wrapped in bacon cooked on the barbeque how can I possibly settle for bangers and mash or meat pies???

Well hubby arrived home and it was not long before he asked the seemingly harmless question....'What's for dinner?'

Knowing his love of prawns I relayed the story of the prawns on sale that had somehow missed being included in our order which were to become prawns wrapped in bacon.  With the seed sown of such a delicious dinner he offered to head to the shops to see what he could find...victory!!

Hubby returned with a kilo of crystal bay prawns and the wrapping of prawns began!!  At this point it came to my realisation that it has been quite some time since we had made this recipe and the recipe book was not where it was meant to be.  With hunger levels increasing we just decided to throw it together from memory....some tomato sauce, a bit of Worcestershire sauce and a dash of Tabasco...sounds about right...wrap them in bacon....

A quick marinade and off to the barbeque.  We whipped up a side of rice and some vegies and sat back to enjoy the prawns.  The proportions of our sauce may have been slightly off from the original recipe but they tasted superb anyway!!

Following that meal the eldest three girls started the 40 hour famine.  This just left Miss 9 and Miss 4 to feed for the majority of the weekend.

Saturday night rolled around and the topic of dinner once again reared its head.  Hubby reminded me that we had enough left over prawns for the two of us to enjoy.  

I remembered a bargain purchase of 2 pieces of scotch fillet steak for 50% off a few weeks before.  And so with a quick cheese sauce a version of surf and turn was created.  

Divine!!!!  We did eat it out of sight of the girls on the famine and Miss 9 and Miss 4 were more happy with chicken nuggets....really they were!

Sunday turned into a busy day and once again pre-planning dinner was neglected.  Now we'd have all the girls back on deck with the famine competed.  A check of the fridge revealed some left over cheese sauce from the night before and some left over bacon from breakfast.  A search of the freezer revealed puff pastry and some chicken breast.  A quick grill of the chicken and re-heat of the sauce.  Shape the puff pastry into muffin tins add the cheese sauce, chicken and bacon (it was my intention to add celery, carrot and leek but miss 15 announced that she had youth group in half an hour!!)  and since I didn't have time to fashion tops for the pies I quickly pinched the puff pastry closed gave them a quick egg wash and popped the 'pies' in the oven.

One thing led to another and before I knew it.... we had a weekend of delicious meals which all flowed on from that initial desire for prawns wrapped in bacon....yum!

Monday, 19 August 2013

The New Me....

A little bit about me.....

Well I could do with losing say 6-8 kilos.  It really can't be blamed on pregnancies when your youngest child is turning 5 in a few months can it??

I have an aversion to exercise...unless walking to the fridge for chocolate counts...which it really
should...sometimes I do walk quickly!  

I did join the gym years ago when the girls were younger....more so to utilise their crèche facilities than their exercise equipment....

I may have run for the bus in my teenage years....perhaps once.....

I love love love chocolate.  I don't love love love vegetables.

So it's time....well beyond time....that I join Shannan Ponton's 8 week Fast Track Challenge and get my butt into gear...lose a few kilos, increase my exercise and improve my diet...and subsequently the diet of my family.

I have so far survived today...Day 1...!!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013


Sometimes I wish we could quarantine our youngest children.....

No she is not carrying any type of infectious disease such as the plague or malaria.... the quarantine is more designed to keep things (read that as 'her 4 other siblings')  away from her rather than the other way around.

No they don't have infectious diseases either....they are just growing up and in the process taking little bits of Miss 4's childhood innocence away !!!

Example # 1 
Dumb ways to Die....
Miss 4 has just learnt all the words to 'dumb ways to die' after one of her siblings downloaded it onto one of their devices.....and she has just listened to it like 27 times in a row .....sadly in the process I think I now know all the words too....

Should make for a great session at preschool next week when they ask if anybody has a song that they would like to sing   :-0

Example # 2
Your mum.....
Okay so this has been the response to many requests made to Miss 4 over the past few days.  Apparently she learnt this one when one of the girls was showing the others a YouTube video they follow.....I believe we have Jamie to thank for this one (but I do love Jamie !!)

Kinda funny, even little bit cute the first 20 not so!

Oh to have a world where Miss 4 didn't know the names of all the members of One Direction, where she didn't know how to tell the size of clothes in the department stores,  where she didn't know how to write her name on everything.....

Friday, 2 August 2013

Christmas In July 2013

Well we were cutting it a bit fine but we managed to find a night where everyone was home and on Saturday 27th July we fit in our family 'Christmas in July' celebrations.

It is not something we have always done but a few years ago when finances were even more tight than usual I looked for ways to celebrate various events and occasions without a high cost but with a lot of fun.

So our Christmas in July was born.  

Each year we decorate the table with Christmassy stuff....this year Miss 4 was responsible for this area.....and I resisted to urge to rearrange things!!

The afternoon was spent roasting turkey and vegies (in between dropping children to birthday parties and picking them up again !!) and finally dinner was served.....

and no Christmas dinner would be complete without dessert now would it...!!   And in keeping with the hot food theme I found a fantastic recipe for self saucing chocolate pudding over at Exclusively can check them out here... .

Hubby and the girls had no idea what wonderful surprise this little treat had in store for them and they were more than suitably impressed when they dug their spoons in and pulled out  a light and fluffy pudding with wicked chocolate sauce on the bottom.  We added whipped cream on top we needed more calories !!

And then as has become tradition for our Christmas in July celebrations we break out the game of Jenga.....this is the only time all year that we play Jenga (that was some strange rule thought up by hubby !!)

It is cause for great laughs and it is great as even Miss 4 can join in the game with everyone. Three rounds of Jenga were had, stomachs ached from so much laughter....and possibly from so much food!!

Jenga was packed away again til next Christmas in July and we retreated to the loungeroom for an episode of Midsomer Murders and a chance to digest our feast.

A great night of family fun......until next July ........

Thursday, 1 August 2013

August with Dad Down Under's 365 'challenge'

Recently Dad Down Under shared the monthly challenges that he is setting for himself over the next year and invited anyone to come along for the ride.  You can check out his challenge here...

In need of some motivation to make some changes to my life I have decided to jump on board, possibly tweak the challenge here and there and drag the family along for the adventure!

The challenge for August is to read for 30 minutes a night and lights out at 9.30pm

This one may sound relatively easy.....but having homework to supervise, after school activities to get to, meals to prepare, dinner dishes to wash, uniforms and lunches to prepare for the next day, P&F meetings etc... I can't just pull up stumps at 9pm and go to bed to I tweaking this one and am going to aim for reading at 9.30pm and lights out at 10.00pm.....eeeek !!

I am really going to have to take a look at my daily organisation....or more so my lack there see how I can better organise my days to free up some of my night.

I am going to try to prepare school lunches and hubby's lunches earlier in the day.
I am going to stick to a meal plan in order to ensure that dinners are prepared, cooked and served in a timely fashion...and I am going to attempt to keep the kitchen under control during the preparing and cooking of said dinners to eliminate some of the time spent washing pots and pans after dinner.
I am going to review the week ahead each Sunday to ensure that I am on top of the weeks events to save any nasty little surprises or sudden late night trips to the shops for presents, supplies etc..

So here we are at Day 1....Thursdays are by far my worst night of the week as I run children to a multitude of activities starting from 3.40pm eventually picking up the last child at 9.10pm....returning home around 9.20pm.

I'm hoping that a calmer night will evolve over August as my evening organisation becomes better, I am hoping that the extra sleep will see me leap out of bed a bit more enthusiastically than my current efforts and I am hoping that I might even find some extra time in my day (which I will need when September rolls around and the exercise begins !!)

So our books are at the ready....

I have purchased "Three Hours Late" by Nicole Trope which I fear may be too good a read and I think I will struggle to put it down.
I am easing hubby back into reading with "The Happiest Refugee" by Anh Do
Miss 15 is reading "Angel in the Rubble"  by Genelle Guzman-McMillan (this was the book I purchased in eagerness for the August challenge...and I swear I was just going to read the first page....but it was quite compelling and was finished in two sessions reading!)
Miss 14 and Miss 12 are each trying to make their way through The Hobbit
Miss 9 has a selection of library books from school and 
Miss 4 has a pile of picture books 

So we are all set......let the challenge begin !!!!

Web-free Wednesdays.......#2

So yesterday web-free Wednesday #2 rolled around.

Wednesday afternoons Miss 15's maths tutor comes so it is no coincidence that I am always in a cleaning frenzy on Wednesdays.

And yesterday was no different.  It seems that I have done a very good job raising my girls.  A very good job in raising them to not be able to see things on the floor that heaven forbid they might think to pick up rather than stepp on.  A very good job in raising them to be unable to put their clothes into their wardrobes and drawers.  A very good job in raising them to leave copious piles of mess and debris wherever they go.   A very good job in raising them to be unable to make a bed.  A very good job in raising them to be oblivious to all of the mess and disaster around them.

I can clean the house.  BUT somehow the maintaining the clean house alludes me.  It all starts off okay and then the week starts, the rushed school mornings, the even crazier school afternoons,  the after school activities  the seemingly endless afternoon teas, snacks, all gets in the way of household maintenance so each week we end up right back in the same disaster again and again and again.

Hence the reason for adopting web-free Wednesdays......the web can be so alluring.....especially when the alternative involves scrubbing toilets.  But in an attempt to create some order out of our households chaos I know that the web needs to take a back seat.

I can achieve so much more in a day when I come straight home from school drop-offs, feed Miss 4 and start the cleaning onslaught.  Yesterday was overcast so I ruled out washing but instead tidied the bathroom, washed the dishes, tidied our entrance way which so often becomes a dumping ground for everything from school bags to shoes to soccer balls etc....  Then there was  vacuuming the lounge room, cleaning kitchen benches and sweeping the floorboards.

Needless to say that school pick-ups can't come quickly enough on a Wednesday as they provide a chance to sit down while I drive to school!!

So whilst web-free Wednesdays are at this stage helping to achieve a somewhat presentable house for the tutors visit  I would love to get to the stage where it is maintained so that I can progress to sorting other rooms, clearing out piled up cupboards etc... rather than chasing my tail every week doing the same old same old.

Dare I say it....maybe I need Technology -free Tuesdays and Facebook-free Fridays too......nooooooooo !!!!!!!!