Saturday, August 26, 2017

Busy Busy and Almond and Vanilla Cake

Seems I am busy...well....lots to do...and to make matters worse, everyone has been incredibly sick. We know at least the kids have had influenza A. It has been a snot and cough fest here, filled with bouts of nausea. Oh joy.

So, my one post for this week will have a bit of everything in it.

Here we go.

Recipe for this week was absolutely delicious.
It is an almond and vanilla cake...sooo good.

I made double recipe and tweaked it a little

I use
3.5 cups almond meal
1.75 cups dessicated  coconut
2 cups organic raw sugar 
Pinch salt

I melted 1.5 bars of butter(about 400 grams or just under) cooled
6 very large eggs
A huge gloop of a teaspoon of vanilla paste

Mixed the wet together.
Mixed the dry together
Mixed them together and placed it into a lined tray.
Sprinkle as much slivered almonds on top as you need to.

The oven was preheated to 180(fan forced)
I cooked it for just under 50 minutes.

I had a piece hot with sprinkled icing sugar. 

Original recipe is here

Also this week, I got. Ahead start on the next prompt word for the 52 Week Illustration challenge was "bucket list" . My immediate thought was to do a picture of me getting ready to travel. My first journey coming up soon, heading to Bali for my nieces wedding. My irrational fear of flying will have to be placed aside and I am actually heading off in a plane. 😱

I am also a firm believer of marriage equality. So a little #watercolour was done ...

I have nothing on the homeschool front...the twins have been so incredibly sick...

That's about it for the week. If you are visiting from ppf, I appreciate your lovely keep me inspired to paint and draw. Thank you.
And to anyone else who visits...thank you too....would love to hear from

Until next time
Lots of it

Thursday, August 17, 2017


Well....still no crafting. How I long to get a crochet hook out or some knitting needles, or even get the material and sewing machine out. But, at least I have been able to paint a little bit. I am really into illustrations at the moment.

I have a few to share with you.

The prompt word for this week on my 52 week Illustration challenge is "deep" . 

The first thing that came to my mind was me, in a very deep hole, looking up and hoping someone would come and rescue me.

But.....that would have been boring, so, I then decided that deep also meant to me, way below in the ocean. So, I thought, know I am very partial to my favourite painting I ever breast feeding mermaid with the little baby with its long hair.

So, here we have it.
It is painted in watercolour, then zentangled over the top with white posca pen. Then I drew and painted the rest, and collages them onto the background. I am quite happy with the result.

When You Wish Upon a Star

I then thought I would like to try something different, so, I got out my water colours and splashed on some bluey greens colours. They looked all lovely and oceany. They were left to dry overnight....

I then searched images of whales....these two are kind and baby ones, cross between a whole lot of whales, but I am thinking blue and sperm.

Such a fun process, and I am pretty happy with how these both turned out.

Feel like I have plans for some more....thinking killer whale and a sweet dolphin.

If you are visiting, thank you so much....would love for you to say hi. If you are from ppf, I am looking forward to visiting and checking out your work.

That's it for today....just so busy lately...need to spend time working with the kids...a little to catch up on...

Until next time
Lots of it

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Update on my $50 challenge.

I almost made it to two weeks only spending $50 dollars each week. But, I spent $170 on Monday. I had too. We needed some meat, and some snacks for the workers, and some vegetarian patties and some cheese, and, well, you know, these things add up.

It was a challenge, but I am sure I could do it again in a month. Two weeks with only $100 to spend.

It did save me lots of money, so I think it was definitely worth it. We still have sooooo much in the cupboards it's not funny.

I have 00 flour, so I can make some fresh pasta.

I have tins of chick peas and bags of lentils, so there are still plenty of vegetarian meals to be made in that lot.

Now, onto the next money saving item.

I am planting potatoes in the garden soon.

Potatoes are no good when you partake in the paleo way of eating, however, it's only me doing that, so planting them will be very useful in this house, and you can cook and enjoy them so many different ways.

I will be using some wire in a circle to hold the soil in, then add soil to it as the plant grow.
I will also try them in the ground and see how they go. I have one packet of seed potatoes. Hopefully that grows into many.

We have been lucky this season to have loads of mandarins, oranges and lemons. They are still on the tree, and this has been such a saving to us as we don't need to buy citrus at the supermarket. It's so good and easy. Potential savings there for sure.

I mentioned above that I spent $170 
I spent a little of that on snacks, and I am not too happy that I bought them. They cost a little bit but also, they are processed. I haven't bought processed foods like that for a while ....I am crazy not o make them myself, sorom now on I will be.

I am thinking muffins, popcorn, maybe a healthy paleo slice, which I always have ingredients for.

What are your go to recipes for snacks? Would love to hear about them, or show me a link to a recipe.

What are some of your favourite ways to save money?

Until next time
Lots of it

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Math Resources

I am forever on the look out for great resources.
Here are some that we use, and have used at home, and I have began tutoring so I will be using these resources for those children as well.

MAB blocks


3D shapes and volume

Versa tiles have a variety of booklets for most subjects and many hades.

Unifix cubes

Place value discs. not underestimate what you can do with these little gems

I am a firm believer that you also don't have to spend a whole lot of money on worksheets, in fact, many can be found free or really cheaply.

Here is the link to my MATHS HOMESCHOOL Pinterest page.  

Hope you find some useful links there.

We have also used many text book style books for maths as well.

These series of books have been one of the best.

The Understanding  Year __  Maths

If you have any questions about how we approach maths in our home schooling, how I have taught the children a particular concept, or any other maths related, program related question, I am happy for you to comment below.

Don't, forget, if you wish to follow me via email, just check the top right on my sidebar, and you won't miss a post.

Until next time
Lots of it

Monday, August 14, 2017

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

This is the best recipe. No matter what I put into it, it always turn out delicious.

Last night, I was very lucky, and Miss Maddie cooked it.

It's the meal that really costs not a whole lot. We usually pop one whole chicken in.
It's always best when it is a free range, or free range organic. But it's up to you what you use.

It is the BEST way of cleaning out your fridge.
So the cost is more or less the chicken you buy.

You can use a whole chicken, like we do, or a couple of chicken breasts, although the bones tend to give it more flavour.

And here is the important part. You can throw in whatever vegies you have in the fridge and in the garden.

Last night Maddie used,

A soup pack which had a turnip and a swede
Celery, carrots, a potato and an onion
She added
Carrots, zucchini, a quarter of a cabbage,
And from the garden, some bok choy leaves

Some salt, and pepper, and a pinch of good quality curry powder, and a sprinkle of either vegetable or chicken stock powder.

Fill the large pot up with water until it covers the vegies and the chicken. Boil for a bout 1.5 hours
Before you serve, take the chicken out and take the meat off and pop it back into the soup.

To serve, a dash of soy sauce and a turn of cracked black pepper.

This made about 20 serves of the soup.

Until next time
Lots of it

Friday, August 11, 2017

52 Week Illustration Challenge

I will be linking this to Paint Party Friday...the Link is to the right sidebar on the image.

I am totally loving this 52 Wekk Illustration Challenge Facebook Page. The place is inspiring to say the least. I am pretty sure I have always been drawn to children's illustrations. They make my heart sing, and Picture books are just about one of my much can be said in a picture.

So, here are two that I have been working on for the Challenge.

The first one the prompt word was "secret".

This is watercolour and pigment ink pen. 

The next one is for the following weeks, and it has the prompt word "sadness".
I actually have wrecked it I think by adding the sky. 😥
Oh well, you live and learn.

I will be adding the "secret" painting to my etsy shop.
This was made specifically to fit into a small ribba ikea square frame.

You can find my etsy sales on the right hand sidebar link.

Thank you once again for joining me and popping by and saying hi, and every comment is greatly appreciated.

Until next time
Lots of it

Thursday, August 10, 2017


We have an incredible amount of books in our house.

Being a home schooler, and a mum to 6, I have always been a firm believer in having books on hand, for any moment, whether it be for a fun read, or to have access to instant information, or to spark an interest.

We have many boxes of books in the garage, and, we have a book shelf in our entry full of all our fiction books, and my beloved Harry Potter collection.

We also have 2 large bookshelves in our dining area. They are low book shelves so not so intrusive, and the large one has door s on it so it covers up the mess. These are mostly non fiction books I have
bought specifically for the kids home schooling.

I also have another large billy bookcase full of text books. I have purchased many, and I am currently selling off many of them because the kids are in year 10 this year, and we will no longer be needing them. (I will be adding them to my ebay sales so if you are after a bargain, look to the top left of my blog and you can go directly to my  ebay listings).

I have another's large billy bookcase that has a row of books. The billy bookcases are in our back room area, and I have one more bookshelf that has curriculum n it, which we are still using.

Miss Maddie has a bookshelf full of books.

I also have a bookshelf in our front room, well, I have 2, but one is filled with DVDs.

The boys once had a bookshelf full of books but they weren't and of having younger reader books and picture books in their bedroom so they are also i boxes in the garage.

You see, I have big plans to build a magical library one day.

I am going to paint a wall that looks like Gyffindor common room, and there will be original artworks by me up around the walls, with characters from favourite books.

That is why I am keeping many books. It's going to have some big comfy chairs in it, as one day I hope to have grandkids and sit in these comfy chairs and read to them.

But that is in the future.

I love books.

Do you?

How many bookshelves do you have around your home?

Until next time
Lots of it

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

$50 Challenge Meals

Brekky was weetbix or porridge or toast with Vegemite and/or home made marmalade
Day 1
Toasted cheese and Pan fried sandwich
Thai chicken curry with rice
Day  2
Toasted cheese sandwich

Had sandwiches with meat and salad
Day 3
Toast with leftover meat
Spaghetti Bol
Day 4d.
Toasted sandwiches
Whatever night which included bacon, eggs, vegies etc...
Day 5
Leftover spaghetti
Day 6
Toasted sandwiches
This was the day that took us over the edge. The kids are sick and I am still trying to shake This flu, so I succumbed to takeaway.
Well, not me as I have my paleo meals,
Day 7, which is Tuesday(and I am writing. This entry today in preparation for tomorrow)
Kids hav sandwich for lunch
Dinner is tom yum soup

Saturday my meals took a turn. I ordered paleo FOOBER.  meals  for 5 days out of the next 7. However, the rest of the family will continue to eat what I have left in the house.

My meals were already paid and it is a continual thing, but 7 others are still eating in the house.

I spent just over $50 all up at the grocery store.
I also splurged with the take away on Monday night spending $26.
So yep, it was o the $50.
I think I still have lots of bits, way too many bits, left in my cupboard. How oh how do I use all that stuff up?
Much of it is baking  stuff.

So, for this week I am going to repeat the Challenge.
I have a kilo of good mince
1 kilo of wings
A couple of tins of salmon
Tins and tinsof chick peas
A couple of rices
Vegies and herbs in the garden
5 pumpkins

Some meals I plan on making are

Marinated chicken wings with rice and vegies
I will use garlic, ginger and some soy sauce with olive oil for the marinnade

Spaghetti bol with spiralised zucchini
Some garlic, herbs onions and whatever vegies I have. Tin of tomatoes with a squirt of tomato paste an a passatta.

Lentil and spinach stew with brown rice
I will be trying THIS recipe

Pumpkin Soup with home made damper
I will just be adding a few spicy bits to make it tasty.
You can pop in whatever you like, usually onion, garlic and then to make it paleo a coconut milk, that is why it will taste better with a bit of spiciness to it.

Chickpea curry with rice and  pappadums
I will be using THIS

Salmon patties with chips and salad
For the parties I will be using THIS recipe

Hmmmm...I am sure can whip up another

I will make for snacks
- a paleo bounty slice using THIS recipe
- blueberry muffins paleo style using THIS recipe
- roasted flavoured chick peas using THIS recipe
- hommus dip using THIS  recipe
- and we have plenty of fruit.
Wow...that is some impressively list knowing I am only using what I have in the pantry fridge, and garden.

Is anyone else trying the challenge?
Would love to hear how you are going.

Until next time
Lots of it


Getting the kids writing can be a real challenge.

When Mr J was smaller he used to write his own novels. There was nothing stopping him from sitting down for hours working on his novels.

But then....that stopped.

Even getting the kids to write extended responses now is like getting blood from a stone.

So, I have been on the look out for great English resources that will get their creative juices flowing.

There are quite a few links I could show you, with lots of lovely words to use in sentences, different proforma for different genre and lots more. So instead of linking them here I will link my pintetest Board.

I also have been on a little spending splurge to help creative thinking flow. You can't have a writing session without being able to think the creative sentences up. There is over 140 links to check out.

 Here are some of my purchases lately. All to create imaginative thinking.


We are yet to use these in our home schooling, but the sentence builder will be used for grammar. The others will be used to inspire creative thinking and writing.

Hope this helps, and make sure you grab a cuppa before you go through my 
English Homeschool Pinterest 

Until next time
Lots of it

Monday, August 7, 2017

Blueberry Muffins Paleo Style Recipe

So, Monday means Recipe day.

I have recently started using Foober, which is a food delivery company that creates fairly decent meals for all diets, but I am having the paleo one. Ten meals for the week, and making food for the other nights.

So, being back on paleo again makes me feel good. I don't know why I digress from it, oh wait, I do actually, I miss cheese and bread and at the moment I am trying to lose weight, so paleo works the best for me.

Which brings me to a the recipe. It is nice to have what feels like a treat every now and then.

So, a quick Google and a search of what I had in my cupboard and I came up with this recipe.

2 cups of almond meal
2 pinches of bicarbonate soda
1 pinch salt
Two eggs
One cup of tinned coconut milk
3 tablespoons of coconut syrup (honey or maple syrup would work I think )
3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or powder
Half a cup of dried blueberries

Mix it all together and pop into 12 patty pans, or muffin pans.
I cooked for 25 minute snacks on 180 degree pre heated oven.
I also sprinkled slivered almonds onto the top before I cooked the,.

Let me tell you, they taste amazing.
I have frozen them. I will be giving my sister some as she is eating paleo style as well.

Let me know if you give them a try.
Oh, and yes, I am still using what I have at home. It's brilliant.

Until next time
Lots of it

Friday, August 4, 2017

Paint Party Friday and 52 Week Illustration Challenge

This week I have been very busy. I haven't had a whole lot of time to get onto anything crafty, but I did get to draw and paint.

I have been so sick and still not great...a tad over it...

Anyway...the prompt this week was "tools" and immediately I thought of a beautiful time when Jacob went up the ladder and Raymond helped him fix the fence. I still may draw that one, but I then immediately thought is a baby and the hammer squeaky toy, which I drew and painted, but not as overly happy with it as I wanted to be, so I did another. The favourite one I did was of two sisters and one was doing the others hair. Tools being the tools of the trade for hair dressing.

Growing up in a family with 4 sisters and mum, we were always doing each other's hair, and now, miss Jess is a hairdresser, so it was really an obvious choice.

I was happy to see that my last weeks painting, home, was selected to be on the page owners blog, however, she does state, these are not necessarily the best, lol, but, I know they are not great, but the goal is to get better, and to create pieces that mean something to me and hopefully pull on a heartstrings of others.

I promise I will have some craftiness to share along with my illustration.

Thank you to all those who visit from paint party Friday. Your visit and kind words are greatly appreciated. I always love to look at everyone elses work as well.

Until next time
Happy weekend

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Using Up What You Already Have Challenge

A day behind in posts....apologies...

Here it is. Personally, I think the most money spent by may of us is the money we spend at the grocery store. I spend a whole lot, it used to be much more, but now it's around a few hundred dollars a week...sometimes more, and not often less. I have an army to feed though. There are 8 of us, the youngest two being 16, so it's not hard to spend a few hundred per week.


See how long you can go making dinners, lunches and breakfasts with what you already have in your fridge, cupboards, freezer and pantry.

You will need to get creative.

And, in our house we always need bread and milk.

So, I am going to say you can have a float of $50.

I have such messy cupboards, and I have so many bits and pieces in the drawers, my pantry, for me, this will be helpful money wise as well as cleaning up the pantry.

I will post some recipes that I come up with, and I will keep you posted with how I go.

I would love to hear how YOU BIGGEST questions is, how many days will that $50 last with what we already have.

I would LOVE to hear how you all go.
I am predicting lots of savings coming...

until next time
lots of it

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Novel Studies

For English, we have tried many text book type approaches. These haven't been overly successful if I am being truthful. We tried an American curriculum, which I purchased at rather a big expense, and we haven't actually finished it, but we have done bits and pieces in , and this one has been.

 The most successful one. It is called Lightning Literacy. It studies great classics, such as A Christmas Carol, To Kill a Mockingbird, and also the Hobbot. It looks at short stories and poetry to, and in looking at novels, and wonderful language, it teaches the kids about grammar, and the conventions of language.

I got the grade 8 set for the kids a couple of years ago. It is still relevant to them even in grade 10. It covers the same thing asthey should be covering for stage 5, and the literature is quality, and perfect for their learning.

Here's is a link to Hewitt Homeschooling.

I am actually about to check out their senior school English curriculum....

The kids also select a novel they would like to read and do a bit of work on.

Maddie chose, "A Wrinkle In Time" . She is a huge fan of reading and at the moment has a list of 42 classic novels she has intentions of reading over the coming year. She will more than likely do it, being a fan of Dickens, Austen and the like really helps....

Jacob read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He is not so much a fan of reading, and up until last year my kids enjoyed read alouds. I think I may start up reading aloud again. You are never too old to listen to someone read to you.

When the kids do novel studies, a quick google search will always come up with a brilliant unit of work and generally some great independent work for the kids to do.

Here is a link to the two that the kids used recently

A Wrinkle In Time

Scholastic is amazing for great, easy to follow independent research.

And this one has a pretty big list of novel studies too.

This next one I think you will be truly thankful for...

This one is a list of all Jackie French historical kid s books, with a list of the links to the Australian Curriculum, and related activities. It's a beauty too.

A List Of great novels

Walker books teachers notes

Pan Macmillan teaching notes

 I really must stop.
Hope these are helpful. Let me know what you think, or maybe you have another great site you could share?
I will leave you with a photo of my favourite books...

Until next time
Lots of it

Challenge For This Weeks Food for the Family

It’s been a while I know. Life happens, keeps us busy, and you even forget you have a blog let alone write in it. So here it is...a CHAL...