Friday, 15 March 2013

Easter Decorating 2013

I've had fun decorating for Easter this year and have tried not to buy too many new things except Woolworths this year is making that really really hard!!

 Here's a little Easter eye candy ...

Don't these Easter egg plates make a boring lunch look a little more exciting!

And I can't wait to see how cute the girls look in their new Easter tops from OllieRose.

I love the colours of Easter!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Review: My Mocka Soho High Chair

My children have both been fairly independent little souls who like to do absolutely everything for themselves so it was no surprise to me that not long ago Jasmin flat out refused to hop into her highchair anymore. It was one of the Ikea antilop ones which we have loved for quite some time as it was easy to clean and we could take off the legs so it could be packed easily in the car for camping. 

Now when Molly moved out of the highchair (she was older than Jasmin is now) she went straight to sitting at the table which really was not ideal as she couldn't reach without kneeling up. Molly still isn't really tall enough to sit at the table by herself but we've just put it up with for now. But now Jasmin is at that stage and even younger we knew we really had to come up with a better solution for sitting at the dining room table. 

So if you are a follower of the Living on a Latte facebook page you would know that I was tossing up between the Ikea Ingolf junior chair and the Mocka Soho high chair. The lovely Shelley from Lime Tree Kids offered to send me a Mocka Soho highchair to review. 

Here's Jasmin testing out in the morning when she got up (complete with bed hair!)

 I think this photo says everything about what she thought of the new chair.

Here you can see how it fits perfectly at Dining room table.

I'm so glad she did because we love it! We love it not just for meal times but also for art'n'crafting at the big table. In fact we love it so much we're about to order another one. This will be happening in the very near future because Molly is trying to 'claim' the current one for herself. Yes they are fighting over a chair!


 But why do we love it so much and why do our kids? 
  • It means Jasmin is sitting at the perfect height for eating and crafting. You can see in the photo below that Jasmin is at the perfect height and Molly who is sitting on a normal chair is struggling to be high enough. 
  • It's a highchair that converts to a chair that can hold up to 60kg in weight so it will last for years to come.
  • It has adjustable heights (five seat heights and nine footrest heights) that I can change as Jasmin gets older. Also when we get another one for Molly they will have the exact same chair that suits their different heights. I do like matchy matchy! 
  • It's very stable with it's wide base. This was one of the things that concerned me about other junior chairs I had seen as Jasmin is very much a 'daredevil - no fear' child at times. It's also very stable when she's climbing up to her seat. I'm not 'allowed' to put her on the chair as she has to as she screams says 'do it myself!'
  • It was super easy to put together! I did it myself while watching an episode of The Block one night. 
  • It's also been just as easy to clean as the old Ikea highchair we had. Although dried weetbix will always be a problem on any surface! You've got to get onto that gross stuff really fast.

I really am so happy with this chair and I can't wait to get another one. I can see them both getting so much use for years to come especially when writing and homework time starts in this house in a couple of years or maybe sooner. If you are in the market for a highchair or junior chair I highly recommend the Mocka Soho Highchair. It retails for $89.95 at Lime Tree Kids. They came in black, white or natural and you can find them here. A worthwhile investment in my opinion.

Disclosure: Lime Tree Kids supplied me with the Mocka Soho Highchair but I was not paid for this review. All opinions are mine. 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

My Recipe Folders

Yay! I've finally gotten down to writing about my new recipe folders! 
The one really good thing about it taking me a while is that I've really been able to test how these folders work for me on an every day basis. Here they are ...

Last year I had one recipe file that housed all my baking recipes and a small recipe book my mother-in-law gave me that had all my favourite main meal recipes in it. These were working well along side my favourite Jamie Oliver cookbook that we use quite a bit. I was meal planning for five nights a week, anymore in one week is a waste in our house as our plans change all the time.

So what changed? Well Amelia arrived. Amelia is my Thermomix. Yes I named mine. Why Amelia? Well one of my favourite series of books when I was little was Amelia Bedelia who was a maid and she worked for the Rogers family. If you read them as I child you would probably think 'what the' as she wasn't exactly very helpful at all. But anyhow that's how the name came about. 

Back to the point ... I had a whole different set of recipes that came from a number of different thermomix recipe books, blogs, facebook pages and the Thermomix forum itself. I stopped meal planning as I was still learning and experimenting non stop with the Thermomix. It was also the Christmas and Summer period where we are at our most social and go camping a lot (although not as much this year as we had hoped). I found myself sifting through recipe books for far too long looking for what to make for tea. So in order to get back into meal planning I decided to get organised first. 

I decided on 3 categories (Mains, Sides and Baking). I went to Officeworks and bought two 2 ring white files for just $2 each, a pack of 100 plastic sleeves and some file dividers. I only bought 2 files as I had one spare in the office and I'm going to convert my old recipe file into a special occasions folder with recipes for Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, ANZAC Day etc.

I chose extra wide file dividers as these stick out and and can be easily seen and grasped between plastic sleeves. I made up the file labels in photoshop using my favourite digital paper as a background. I used the same paper to make the spine labels for the files.

The categories I choose were all based on what I knew what work for me and what I would most likely be searching for.

Mains: Beef, Chicken, Mince, Lamb, Pasta, Pies, Pizza.

Sides: Soups, Salads, Side Dishes, Sauces/Dips, Breakfast, Lunch, Pastries, Desserts, Drinks, Misc.
(Breakfast has CADA, omelets, eggs and bacon pies etc while lunch has mini-quiches, zucchini slice etc)

Baking: Biscuits, Muffins,Slices, Bread, Cake, Scrolls, Pancakes, Scrolls, Party.

Some recipes may fall into more than one category, some I've just put it in one category and some in both. I'm the kind of meal planner and baker that will be 'I want to make a bread today or I need something different for the kids to have for lunch so that's why I choose these categories. It may not suit everyone but I suits me and the sometimes nutty way I think.

My recipes are all kept in individual plastic sleeves (back-to-back) so that they are kept clean. I'm always accidentally splattering recipes and recipe books. I also have left a few blank plastic sleeves in each category to easily add more recipes I find. 

Some of my recipes are either printed straight from the Internet like this yummy chocolate and coconut slice from A little delightful, from the Thermomix forum. I lot of my recipes have been retyped (cut & pasting from websites is super easy and quick) and printed out just the way I like them. I always try to remember to reference the original source down the bottom of the recipe too.

As for new recipes I used to have a special pocket in my file for new untested recipes but I confess I never went through them. My strategy this time around is to choose recipes that are recommended or have great feedback. I simply pop them in and if we don't like them or they fail miserably I just toss them out.

I'm still to tackle changing my menu planning method but that will come all in good time now that I have all my recipes organised in one place. I'm also waiting on hubby to remove all sorts of random things including fish carcases out of my deep freezer so I can do a bulk meat shop to go with my menu plan.

I have made my recipe divider labels free to download. 
You can find the divider labels here and I added some extra categories that I though others might use (such as seafood, vegetarian and more) as well as a couple of blank ones.  
The file labels are here. I simply printed them both onto car stock and trimmed them to size using my paper cutter and scissors.

Cheers to easy recipe searching!!
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