Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Dream Home

The List of Wants is forever changing.

And they are wants, not needs.

I am not so self-absorbed that I don't know the difference.

Here's what on it at the moment:

* Huge linen closet. To the point that I can label the shelves so that anyone else who opens the cupboard (yeah, right) will know that this pile is the kids' bed linen, queen sheets, hand towels, bathmats, etc. We had a small linen cupboard at our own house, the rental we are in now has a good sized one, but I want bigger.

* The kid's wardrobes need to be double door ones. It just means things can be put away.

* The kitchen window must overlook the backyard, not the side of the house. It is my favourite room of the house & I would like to be looking at our own space rather than my neighbour's window or wall. Or kids.

 * A covered deck or veranda at the back of the house. A servery from the kitchen would be handy too. Have to have the option of sitting outside to enjoy the view. A place the kids can paint & be messy & we can just hose it down. And hose the kids down too.

* Speaking of views, a really good one would be nice. Like open spaces, or mountains, or horses. There are some beautiful views here, giving a real appreciation of nature's work.

* A bathroom I could swing a cat in. Not that I would, but if you're an Aussie you will know what I mean. And it needs two towel rails. Seriously folks, if you build a 5 bedroom house (with bathroom + ensuite), you have more than 2 kids. Only 2 towels fit on a standard towel rail. Wake up to yourselves.

* The ensuite needs to be big enough for both of us to stand in there at the same time.

* Skylights. I love natural light. I hate having to turn lights on during the day. The house we are renting has a dark bathroom & it shits annoys me. One of my favourite things in the world is to open the curtains & windows on a warm spring or summer day.

* High ceilings. I have been spoilt in our rental. The high ceilings really give a sense of spaciousness.

One thing I can't decide is if I want an old style house or sleek, modern one. However it is not just up to me. We are a whole family here. And I'm sure others (hubby) would like a say in it!

One thing I do know - my list will change again tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next. But that's life. And I haven't even started on the kitchen, loungeroom or bedrooms yet.

What's on the list for your dream home?

Karen xx

images from weheartit.com

Monday, August 27, 2012

How Much Are We Really Saving?

I did some grocery shopping the other day. Nothing out of the ordinary for me, most days I have some groceries to buy.

My supermarket loyalty card offered me 10% off my shopping total, so I went there instead of the opposition who I prefer since we moved because they are closer & not too badly priced.

Here's a snippet from my docket:

My first thought was "Fabulous! I've ripped them off saved nearly 25 bucks on that shop".

But something was lurking in my mind & it wouldn't go away.

How much are the prices jacked up in the first place, that they can offer discounts on their instore orange tickets, or email 10% discounts to me & goodness knows how many other people?

I have a sneaking suspicion they are ripping me off!

(I can write posts like this now without putting my job in jeopardy, because I no longer work for them).

Do you think loyalty cards save you money? What's your opinion on supermarket pricing?

Karen xx

Saturday, August 25, 2012

More exploring

Oma came for a visit last weekend. That would be my mother in law. I am one of the lucky ones who has a great mother in law. So Oma you are welcome to come for sleepovers again.

We did some more touristy stuff, which was in our plans anyway.

Zac had a Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Service to participate in as an army cadet. His picture ended up in the local paper, but here's some Oma took:

taken at Quirindi

that's him on the left, with the gun

We went here:

And saw this:

And this:

And of course, will younger kids in tow, park stops were aplenty over the weekend. This one particular is a great park in Musswellbrook, which is about half an hour away. In a huge enclosure there are 3 or 4 lots of climbing equipment, the ropes, swings, a bike & scooter track for the kids to ride plus picnic tables & an electric bbq. And. clean. toilets. Fabulous for birthday parties or a family day out.

never too old. that's not a road in the background, it's the bike & scooter track

Oma,looking like she's freezing

tiring stuff!

What did you get up to recently?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Annoying Little Episodes

My quest for a new quilt cover set from Aldi cost me a little more than expected, thanks to a chipped windscreen on the way to their store. Yep, it only took 6 weeks of country living to have a stone flick up and almost greet my nose in person. Thank goodness windscreens are made from tough stuff. If it had shattered, I would have panicked because my mobile service is non existent once I am out of my home town. I spend many hours driving these country roads with no phone reception.(I hope the kangaroos, foxes, wombats, porcupines and all the other roadkill I've seen realise that, and choose not to collide with my car).

Fortunately, before I had time to say "Oh, Oh, Oh", I rounded the corner & there was a windscreen repair place right there. 50 metres from where it happened. And yes, it was an O'Brien's. Half an hour, a crappy coffee (Hungry Jacks), a choc-muffin-&-juiced up little girl, and $150 later, I was on the road again. Home. Not tempting fate thanks very much.

So I tried again a couple of days later & of course the quilt cover set I wanted was gone. They had plenty of purple cushions left to match it, but not the quilt cover. Oh well!

My week also saw me take on my mobile phone service provider. They have very limited service in this area and like I said, it works in my home town, but as soon as I leave here, I get nothing. Nada. Zilch. And I only renewed my 24 month plan in April. Before we knew we were moving. They've told me they don't have to release me from my contract because it was my choice to move & their contract doesn't obligate them to provide service in my new area. They told my friend (who lives 2 towns away & has no reception) a couple of months ago that the big upgrade is coming in August & she'll have no problems. They told me that they can see until the end of the year & this area is not in any upgrades before then. They can't tell me about next year. So they've offered a reduction in my monthly payment. And they told me they knew it was of no help to me whatsoever. 

So, if I want a mobile phone service that actually works, I need to start one up with Telstra or Optus as well as keep paying my Vodafone one. I find it amusing that the Big W store up here sells Vodafone deals for phone & internet when they are in a town that has no reception. Misleading or what.

So I've taken it to the Ombudsman & they think I have grounds for complaint, even though the contract in April was signed in good faith. Now I wait for Vodafone's response. 

Oh yeah, and the dude on the phone laughed when I told him I need a phone that works because I could hit a kangaroo when I'm driving. Yeah mate, it may not happen in whatever country you are in, but it happens here. And it's a long way to walk for help.

What annoyed you lately?

Karen xx

Monday, August 13, 2012

Even I can bake this.....I think!

This is what landed on my doorstep a while back.

Except the butter & eggs (I bought those).

I didn't have time to bake before we moved, we were packing up a house after all, and living in a motel the last couple of days.

So I got busy in the kitchen of our temporary accommodation when we first arrived. Got to love a fancy Donna Hay Flourless Chocolate Truffle Cake - a bit of comfort food when you have just arrived in a new town. It added to that "fantasy week" we spend in the beautiful farmhouse. (to my knowledge, another family is in it now - major pout!)

Anyway, to get to the point.

Donna Hay's home-bake mixes are so good, even I can not follow the directions correctly bake them with ease.

Yeah, I may have put the alfoil "hood" on it after I took it out of the oven, instead of baking it with the hood on. Donna Hay caters for the human-ness in all of us, because it still tasted really, really yummy.

We didn't have any cream, so Neapolitan ice cream it was!

You can buy the Donna Hay range in Woolworths & Independent supermarkets for $7.99 RRP.

* Donna Hay Molten Chocolate Chunk Brownie
* Donna Hay Vanilla Cupcakes
* Donna Hay Chocolate Cupcakes
* Donna Hay Almond Macaron with Chocolate Filling

All are free from artificial colours and flavours, and contain no preservatives. Simply add the fresh ingredients and follow the directions you'll be whipping up a treat just like I did!

Cake season is hitting our household (kids birthdays next 3 months) - I wonder if they will ask for a Donna Hay creation?

Karen xx

Sugar Free Winners

Congratulations to the following readers who have each won a packet of  WOW Wonderland of Wellbeing's Lemon and Lime flavoured Sugar Free Drops.

* MichVee

* Bek Williams

* Marybelle

* Merryl


All winners have been contacted & are thrilled to be winners! You will all be receiving your prize shortly.

Congratulations ladies, and thanks again for being regular readers.



Friday, August 10, 2012

The Scammers just keep trying.....

Just received an email from the ato. On a Saturday. Yeah, right.

This is how it reads:

Australian Government
Commissioner of Taxation

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund.

Click Here to See your refund status
Barbara DuFrene
Chairman, Australian Securities & Investments Commission

Australian Taxation Office

The reply email address is auto.gov.au@auto.gov.au

Do people seriously believe this crap?

Seen any good scams lately?

Karen xx

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lunchbox friendliness (a review)

Whose school is a nut free environment?

Our preschools and primary schools have been as long as my kids have been going to school.

Which is about 14 years now.

I know how hard it is to find a school friendly snack.

I know how hard it is to keep lunchboxes interesting.

I also know a good thing when I see it. And try it.

Now, I have reviewed Table of Plenty's foods before.

Here and here.

I am a fan.

I like that there is a family's story behind the company. It came about out of necessity for this family.

Table of Plenty strive to avoid problematic ingredients like wheat, soy, dairy, nuts & sulphites.

Makes them lunchbox friendly.

Muesli bars no longer have to be a "no no" at school.

We got to try both flavours - Berry Blast and Cocoa Crush.

Cocoa crush, being chocolate flavoured, is definitely my favourite. I am not a huge berry fan (unless you are talking in the form of fresh fruit), but these actually tasted quite good. They surprised me.

Low in fat, low in sugar and preservative free, yet high in flavour.

And made with totally natural wholegrains and less than 100 calories each bar, these are a winner in my book!

You can buy Table of Plenty's NoNo's only at Woolworths for $4.25 for a box of 6.

What do you look for in a lunchbox snack?


Disclaimer: I was sent Table of Plenty's NoNo's bars for the purpose of product review. I have not been paid for this post. Opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Winners are Grinners (DVD winners announced)

Thanks to all who entered my Universal Sony Pictures DVD Giveaway!

I gave the kids a list of the movies mentioned in the comments, and based on their favourites, these two ladies are my lucky winners:

MichVee - Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs

Erin - Toy Story 1

Congratulations to both of you! You've won DVDs of these 3 movies:

Keep your eyes open for an email from me, to get your postage details.


Karen xx

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sunny Sunday

It's a beautiful sunny day in the Upper Hunter today so I took Liam & Megan to the park.

Zac got to do the more adult activity of going to the dump with Ray. To dispose of the RIP washing machine and other bits & pieces because we've only been here a bit over a month I don't think Zac's really into parks any more.

We found the standard kind of playground:

This is where I was when I took that photo:


With all sorts of exercise equipment to work those abs, pecs, shoulders, lower back, calves, butt, etc.

And little signs in front of each station on the circuit telling you what to do & what muscles it works.

I think we've found our new favourite park! Did you notice all the kids were in the gympark, not the regular park?! I'm planning on heading to this one a few times a week for a workout.

Once we'd tried everything out & I'd kicked my kids off each time I wanted to use something, we headed further into the sports complex to another park.

And of course, no park visit is complete without this:

Rolling down the hill
What's filling your day today?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How to make an Australian Quilt

Hubby & I looked at our (made) bed the other day & agreed that having a proper quilt would finish it off nicely. Living in the country now & all.

So I bought myself a pack of quilting mags today. I am a magaholic. But I thought that might be a good place to start. I've never been into the creative stuff before, and it's quite daunting thinking that I am going to make a quilt. What if it doesn't work? What if I spend shitloads of money on material and I do a crap job at it? (For the record, I have never priced quilting material so I don't know what I'm talking about).

There is one particular blogger comes to mind when I think of quilting, and that would be the delightful Anorina from Samelia's Mum, whose handiwork can be seen in several quilting magazines. She even has tutorials on her blogsite. I know who I am going be asking if I get stuck! Just warning you Anorina! I hope you don't mind. I'll try not to be a pest. Really I will.

So I have until I have finished crocheting Liam's bed blanket (this is my only discovered "hand made" ability) to browse pic and materials and decide on what we I would like on our my quilt. Once I choose, I'll let you know. Because I know you will be sitting on the edge of your seat in anticipation.

What colours or theme would you choose?

Karen xx