Saturday, 19 July 2014

Weekend project- a treehouse!

There has been much discussion about the perfect treehouse location at our new house- finally one was decided upon. So we had a fantastic weekend project to get into action.

Here is a pictorial timeline of the treehouse progress:

Site supervisor with his apprentice.

Of course I can use a drill!!! Few tips from the hubby and I am a pro ;)

Coming together.

A rug for the floor of course. Recycled plastic and great for outdoor use. You can get your own here.

Hmmm downstairs potential- he is considering his options...

Outdoor solar lights and an upcycled light fitting. Views over the veggie patch- who could ask for more?

This garden was completely over-grown when we moved in. Eric has worked hard and discovered beautiful winding paths and the perfect tree!

An old pulley system has been rigged up for important deliveries- supplies, letters, secret codes, cake...

The downstairs area is in the process of being fitted out for a shop.... although still a very practical 'jail' when necessary 

With off street parking options this property is going to attract lots of interest on completion. 

This was the best fun! There is still so much more scope for the imagination- who knows what it will become next weekend. 

Saturday, 24 May 2014

My Junior Master Chef- Round 2:part 1

I don't want to leave you all in suspense- no doubt you want to see what team 2 came up with tonight. 
Well I don't know about you but I have a feeling that Drew & I may have taken things a little bit too seriously last night ;) 

Here is our menu & theme tonight. Beautifully made menu & we are all excited to find out what 'Dog Park' might entail. 

Our entree:: Chicken & Vegetable Dippers.....with very interesting presentation. 
Delicious! This dish earned two thumbs up from the judge (are you noticing that he has a very consistent approach to scoring).

MAIN:: Hotdogs

Sausages cooked to perfection & a choice of sauces impressed all. In fact we were also offered BOTH sauce options at once- woohoo! Sparing no expense here. 

DESSERT:: Dog Park!!!! ????

The judge's first question was 'what did this represent?' Thank goodness he asked! Our junior master chef explained that the choc mint ice- cream represents the grass at the dog park & the chocolate mousse........ Well!!! As I said Drew & I were way too serious in our approach. 

This was a fabulously hilarious dinner enjoyed by all. How could we possibly compare the two meals?

 The judge is very wise & declared it a tie!! 

Friday, 23 May 2014

My Junior Master Chef Rules- Round 2

A few months ago we set a family cooking challenge- I wrote about it here.  Since then we have moved house and we have finally settled in which meant that the boys have been demanding another cook-off.
We switched up the teams this time and set to planning.

First up is team 1- Mum and Drew.

Again, we tried to plan our meal around the things that are most likely to impress our judge. We also had to decide on a theme. After much deliberation we came up with 'European Holiday' as our theme and we planned to travel around Europe with each course.

Join us on our journey:

Passport menus- created at the very last minute in between prepping food. We weren't as organised this round and it was a bit trickier cooking on a Friday night because we didn't have the whole day to plan and prepare.

ENTREE:: Ravioli
Our entree started in Italy with chicken, basil and ricotta ravioli. This was Drew's first attempt at making pasta and he did a great job. We rolled the pasta beautifully thin and Drew was in charge of making the filling and assembling the ravioli. While we fussed about with the menu our tomato sauce thickened up a bit too much, so we decided to quickly create a butter and basil sauce instead. It was delicious!!!

MAIN:: Schnitzel
We travelled to Germany for our main and for Andrew's favourite food- Schnitzel!!! He breaded it all himself and added a lovely little secret ingredient to the crumbs... grated parmesan. Nice addition! The tomato sauce we made for the entree was perfect dolloped onto the plate to have with the schnitzel- great save. We added some crispy potatoes and fresh asparagus and our main was served.

DESSERT:: Profiteroles
Over to France for dessert, although our full bellies needed a short stop over before we could manage our dessert. I was in charge of dessert, but it was all Drew's idea ;) I used this easy recipe. We got the choux pastry going before our entree and they were baked and ready to go after the entree was served. I managed to whip up the creme patissiere (with real vanilla beans too) in between courses and we just dunked them straight into the melted chocolate once they were filled. There were grand plans for some gorgeous drizzling effects, but by that stage we were a bit over it and happy to just eat them! 

The overall verdict???
The judge gave each course..... two thumbs up!! He obviously approved.
We are handing it over to team two now and we can't wait to what they come up with and especially what the judge has to say about their cooking. 

Friday, 9 May 2014

The Tree Change

I just checked to see when I last wrote- I knew it had been a while, but I hadn't realised how much time had slipped through my fingers. That's what happens when you move house.

We have done something quite exciting but not too drastic. We have moved to the outskirts onto a farm, but still only a short drive into the city (although somedays that drive doesn't feel very short).

We are surrounded by trees, fresh air and joy. We are all more relaxed, feeling more creative and enjoying the simple pleasures. There is still lots to explore and uncover in our new surrounds and we can't wait to see what we find. Autumn has been the perfect time to come back to nature- everything is so crisp- the air, the colours, the light.

We are all content and not missing suburbian life at all, or our old house, but it is all there waiting for us if we change our minds. Do you think we will?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


I have joined this challenge!!

Only because I thought it was a lovely, happy thing to do every day. I thought I might update the blog weekly with the pics I put on Instagram.

Here are days 1- 7:

Day 1:
A quiet moment for a coffee by the fig tree in the autumn sunshine.

Day 2: 
The joy that packaging up a party in a box brings. 

Day 3:
These confetti balloon have been going strong for weeks now!

Day 4:
A quiet day with my biggest boy included a little bit of pampering with our favourite hairdresser. 

Day 5:
A lazy morning with tea & magazines.

Day 6:
A beautiful bouquet from my beautiful baby boy. 

Day 7:
We now have two future rock stars in the family. 

What a lovely way to reflect on some lovely moments of joy amongst our frantic packing in readiness for a new house- I needed that!! 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

My Junior Masterchef Rules!

The kids in the house have devised a new challenge. A cook off!! Campbell is the judge & the two junior master chefs split up with a parent on each side & we battle it out in the kitchen.
There was some serious planning going on. Recipes selected, menus designed & created, tables laid out. 

*Team One- Melissa & Jonas
*Team Two- Eric & Andrew

Round one....
Jonas decided on a transport theme because he desperately wanted to create paper airplanes with the menus. He was very clever about considering what the judge would like the best so he decided on these key ingredients: Camembert (Campbell's favourite but also Joe's), chicken nuggets and Nutella! Yep...and all if that around a transport theme! 

So here is the menu Jonas typed up:

We won't pretend that we weren't aiming for extra points for the 'Campbellbert'. 

I was so proud of Joe's determination to do it all himself! I tried so hard to back off as he peeled and chopped the veggies- he did it all so well. He really didn't need any help from me.

He even set the table and had very clear ideas about how he wanted it all to look- in fact he sent me back up to the shops to get some flowers for the table. Luckily we already had the IKEA transport fabric.

And the entree is served. Joe coated the camembert himself and I just had to cook it for him


The main is served and the judge gave it two thumbs up. Joe even made his first ever homemade garlic aioli...he also told our customers that it contained RAW EGG!!

Hard at work adding the nutella to the crepes as soon as they came out of the pan. 

And then creating his little airplanes before delivering them to the table.
The judge was happy at the end of service, but we had to wait until our opponents could cook before we heard our scores.

Round 2:
Andrew made it all about Star Wars and used the cook book he got for Christmas to help him devise the menu. He did an awesome job of designing and creating the menu.

Our starter was Yoda Soda with ice-cream.

In between service on both nights we played 'Who Am I?' to fill time.
Our main arrived! Delicious Obi Won Tons in a tasty vegetable soup. It was good!

Who doesn't love a good old chocolate crackle?

So guess what the judge decided? 

Of course he couldn't pick favourites and decided it had to be a tie. He thoroughly loved being given such special treatment all weekend- he especially liked the fact that nobody else could eat until he had given his review of the dish.

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