Monday, July 18, 2011

Day One of Many

84 days actually; day one of 84...12 weeks, loooong weeks I suspect

For the next 12 weeks, starting today, I am deliberately working on the weight loss thing. The Homeschool Lounge has started a summer weight loss challenge so I thought I'd give it a go, even though we're in the middle of a cold wet winter.

I was going to start with everyone else on Friday but life was so hectic that I couldn't start as I wanted to, though some changes have begun... so today, Monday, is my day 1.

My starting point: I have lost 21.5kg since Charlotte was born, a total of 23.5 since I got pregnant. I ended pregnancy 2kg lighter than I began it and then all the rest has just dropped off. My understanding from what I've experienced is that I actually lost the whole lot while pregnant but all the fluid I was retaining was making up for it. So basically, while I was eating well during pregnancy I lost loads. My version of eating well is not what we have been fooled into thinking eating well, looks like though. My diet while pregnant was high in protein, animal fats like lard and butter, some coconut oil, plenty of raw milk, yummy cheese and of course a good supply of fruit & vegetables.
Since Charlotte was born - 11 weeks ago - bad habits have taken over and sugars have jumped back into my diet. Not not NOT good. They make me cranky, retain fluid AND prevent weightloss.

So... my food intake now includes home baking, smoked salmon, cream cheese, other cheeses (my mum regularly brings cheese back from her visits to King Island LOL), Coconut oil, yoghurt, eggs, lots of vegies, some fruit, plenty of meat and beans, soaked where I can.
In general I'm keeping carbs lower than the average Aussie, though not as low as the very low carb diets out there. Dinners will only have potato, rice, pasta a couple of times a week and the main focus of all meals will be the meat and low carb vegies. Carbs will be earlier in the day. Protein will be at all meals... things like eggs, sausages, smoked salmon, cheese etc. Coconut oil will be added in as a snack a couple of times a day.

My 12 week goal is to lose 15+kg and along with cutting out a lot of sugars and processed foods, I'm going to be exercising... daily? and blogging it, to help keep me focused :)


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sausage Stew - A Family Favourite

This recipe is based on one I grew up with... any time we went on a camp with Youth Group, Dad would make up a pot of 'sausage stew' to take and share. Back then we were grossed out by it and it was an 'oh no, not Dad's stew again... so much so that when I mentioned to my sister that I was trying to re-create it, she was horrified LOL  I am thinking, as I think back, that we were grossed out because Dad left the skins on the sausages... which then softened and came off in the stew... which yeah, is pretty gross LOL

So here goes... random measurements okay - you pick depending on what you're cooking it in!

1 Kilo good sausages - boiled, slit the skins after a few minutes in the boiling water which will help you to remove the skins. Once the skins are off, allow the sausages to cool before chopping into 1 inch pieces and leave to the side/in the fridge till potatoes are cooked

Potatoes - I have a 6L crock pot and use enough large chunks of peeled potatoes to cover the bottom of the crock pot, maybe 1.5kg?

Carrots - Peel and chop carrots into chunks... I use about 700-800g (I think LOL)

Onions - 2 large onions sliced

Put all the vegies into the crock pot and pour over a couple of jars of tomato passata, throw in a couple of Massel chicken stock cubes and about 1 tsp of Celtic Sea Salt.

Cook on high for a few hours till the potatoes are soft but firm (not falling apart!!)

Add in the chopped sausages and about 3 cups of frozen chopped beans

Continue cooking till the beans are nicely soft. If it needs thickening, do so with a thick tomato paste - I like Aldi's tomato paste, lovely and thick.

This will serve our family of 5 for 2 meals... I see a day a few years from now when it will just be the one meal!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Meal Planning for the week

Working this out as I go... so a fairly 'live' blog post for you

Tonight: Baked beans on toast (This one was decided a couple of hours ago!)
Why: Simple, easy and nutritious as we find order in the house after 5 days with my nephews here. There is much to catch up on so I don't want to spend too much time on dinner when that time is needed elsewhere

Sunday Breakfast: Porridge
Why: Cheap and nutritious. Don't want to take the time for pancakes or eggs.

Sunday Lunch: Hot dogs in bread
Why: it's fast! The ones who need to have an afternoon sleep tomorrow can get there faster as we'll be eating within 10 minutes of walking in the door from church

Sunday Dinner: Leftovers (soup, lasagne, spag bol) and cheesy muffins if needed
Why: To clear out the fridge ready for the new week without wasting food. Cheesy muffins are easy to make if extra food is needed

Monday Breakfast: Porridge
Why: Cheap and nutritious. Don't want to take the time for pancakes or eggs.

Monday Lunch: Cream cheese and smoked salmon open sandwiches
Why: Nutritious - haven't had smoked salmon in the diet since Charlotte was born so we're missing some fish oils. I'll have been to the supermarket before this meal is needed (if all goes according to plan)

Monday Dinner: Beef Casserole and mashed potato with steamed vegies
Why: Easy to do as we focus on home ed for the day... and time for some good meat at dinner. Casserole is already cooked, mashed potato is already cooked and in the freezer as a potato bake so just needs to go into the oven.

Tuesday Breakfast: Eggs and Sausages; tinned fruit
Why: Overdue for a high protein/lower carb breakfast. I also need sausages cooked for a recipe to make tomorrow's breakfast easier

Tuesday lunch: Salad sandwiches
Why: Healthy, protein, vegies etc Easy as kids can help to make lunch as well

Tuesday Dinner: Mustard and mayo chicken with  roast vegies: potato, pumpkin and steamed vegies: beans & corn
Why: It's a good day/night in our house to cook a meal at the last minute as no one is going out. We need to be home in the couple of hours before dinner for a meal like this one

Wednesday Breakfast: Egg & Sausage Pie
Why: Easy breakfast for 'on the go' as I can cook it the day before. High protein/animal fat so keeping to what works health-wise.

Wednesday lunch: Macaroni cheese
Why: I'm at my sisters for the day and this is easy; the kids love it

Wednesday Dinner:Takeaway Pizza
Why: We get home from my sisters at about 6.30/6.45 and need to be out the door by 7.15 for bible study, plus feed Charlotte in that time. Picking up pizza on our way home is a nice fast way to deal with dinner.

That's enough thinking for now LOL
It sure is easier to plan when I think about what is happening in the week and what meals work best with different types of days. Most of these things we have in the house - there's just a couple of things I need to add for this next bunch of days and all will be good :)


Friday, July 8, 2011


The fun kind thankfully :)

A couple of weekends ago, Nj and Pete went on the annual Father/Son Pyromaniacs Camp with Boys Brigade. It was the 3rd attempt to do this. 2 years ago we didn't have the money. Last year we had paid but it was on the weekend after our move and Pete and I spent the WHOLE Friday night cleaning the house we were vacating, so driving on unknown roads and having a big weekend was not a wise idea for a dad on little sleep, so the plug was pulled.

This year it was all systems go though - and it looks like to me that they had great fun.

Building the huts

Just to burn them down!!

Thankfully they have the CFA on hand every year!

On My Mind

Melinda enjoying being a big sister - loves giving the top up bottle any time she can

Click to find out more about 'On My Mind' and see what others have shared


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My new non stick saucepan

Don't freak - there's no Teflon coating or anything like it that can add toxins to the food we eat.

Since doing some serious reading on the topic some time ago, I've been wanting to move away from our non stick pots and pans and have for the most part - I now use a big stainless steel stock pot, a cast iron casserole for stove and oven cooking, and a cast iron grill plate for frying.

I'd been holding onto the porridge pot though.

Stainless steel and porridge didn't thrill me. Or stainless steel and white sauce. Or anything else that gets stuck easily.

Finally I decided it had to be done. And it had to be a good pot, with a nice heavy base to avoid 'hot spots' on the bottom which cause a lot of the sticking.

And then the light bulb went off.

Saucepans use to be like this!!

But.... Cheap ones with thin bases became common and so then it was pots with non stick surfaces that 'saved us'.
Guess what? Using a high quality saucepan with a THICK base is no more or less 'non stick' than a pot with a non stick surface!

We don't need the non stick surfaced saucepans. We just need GOOD saucepans that will last us a lifetime. Look after them well, and any white sauce or porridge can be made without sticking!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Remember the cake my brother made recently? Well this is his latest. Yep. It's a cake for a baby shower. Maybe MS isn't the reason my cake decorating skills have vanished over recent years... maybe all skill just went to live at his house?

Monday, July 4, 2011

I googled and googled

and discovered that google actually doesn't have ALL the answers... or it may, just not all easy to find, if that's the case!

Once I discovered that the HUGE vine on the back fence was actually Kiwi Fruit, I wanted to know when they would be ripe and ready to harvest here in Victoria.

I. Could. Not. Find. The. Answer.

The closest answer I got was "April to June".

Well, just so you know.... where we live, they are ready in June. Let me spell that out so the search engines can find it... In Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Kiwi Fruit are ready for harvest in JUNE.

and if you're not sure about when they will be ripe in your area... it's pretty easy to tell that they are ripe

coz ALL THE LEAVES FALL OFF AND YOU CAN EASILY SEE THE FRUIT, it is NO LONGER HIDDEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I would have thought google could have told me that when I asked it 'how can I tell when Kiwi fruit are ripe?)     At this point, they are YUMMY and READY TO EAT.

All 350+ of them.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Home Ed Support

It's so nice to gather with like minded home school families. That to encourage and be encouraged. To share the ups and downs with others that 'get it'.

Each Friday we get together with a few other families for a couple of hours play time for the children and a couple of hours chatter for us mums. It's lovely to see the children develop these friendships; good to be close by to help them develop in as healthy a way as possible.

Once a month I have the opportunity to meet of an evening with other home ed mums... we start by chatting curriculum and learning styles as they relate to us... and end up chatting about all other things... there has been a number of times when an innocent hubby has come into the room only to be soon blushing and on his way out again LOL

And from time to time we travel to Ballarat to visit with my lovely friend Marion and her children. There's much fun to be had with their family of 9, and I do miss our time there when there are some months between visits. We often stay overnight which is such a blessing - nothing quite like late night conversations with a girlfriend!!

There are other great links I have... a number of our 'family friends', such as our friends in Ballarat, home educate too and are just a part of normal family life now. It hasn't always been that way, it's a God-given answer to prayer

If you don't have support links like these in your life as you home educate, may I encourage you to keep looking, to reach out to others, to pray for the opportunity. To take hold of it when the opportunity arises.

Sometimes we don't need this support ourselves but we can forget that others need us as they journey the home education road themselves - don't deprive them of your encouragement and learned wisdom even if you think you have none to give. You could be just the answer to prayer that God wants to give them!


Friday, July 1, 2011

Much has been happening since Pete found himself without paid work... so much so that I'm still not getting on here as much as I would like. I'm reading blogs, commenting rarely and posting my own even less! I'd have thought not being gone to work 30 hours a week + transport of 10 hours a week would have shown up somewhere here at home but it seems not!

I must say though, I did manage to make pancakes for the first time in a couple of months, last week - Yum! the children had asked often as we usually have them once a week but breakfasts have been somewhat lacking these last couple of months.

Financially we are blessed - between the Australian governments 'baby bonus' payments, us being accustomed to living on little and the Newstart payments, financial life will change little here unless Pete still doesn't have work at the start of next year - How good is God's timing hey?!

It's been 4 weeks today since Pete finished work and probably one week of that (or the hours he would have been at work) has been taken up with job applications and interviews - he has a couple of promising leads at the moment but patience is required. We'll hear back by the end of next week - apparently.

The Kiwi fruit have ripened and so we've been harvesting them. We were able to send almost 200 to a food bank to bless the people requiring that service, through a mission organisation we support. There's still at least 50 on the vine after eating a few and having given at least 50 others away!! (Edited to add it's actually about 100 still on the vine)

I've attempted to get organised and back into bookwork with the children. It's almost working. Life revolving around Pete's job hunting as well as Charlotte's feeds makes it a tad more tricky to juggle than I'd like. And my expectations are low. Seriously low LOL. I must persist!!

We've spent a fortune these last few weeks too... maybe that's where the time has gone LOL We've needed a new second fridge for a while because of all the 'from scratch' cooking we do and so on. We planned to buy one brand new because they use so much less energy than older ones and we planned to wait till the end of the financial year to take advantage of the sales. Very happy to say we got a 240L, fridge only unit for 200 less than it's usual price of $600 and it has a 3 year warranty - bonus!! It even has glass shelves, something I love but was doubting I'd be able to insist on for this fridge, as price had to come first. Love it when God gives us the desires of our heart even for the mundane things :o) It's been serving us well for the last week... we just need to find time to unwrap all the shelves - looks rather odd inside, to be filled with food and milk but all the glass shelves covered in wrap and tape.

We bought Pete new glasses - he's been wearing an old pair from about 11-12 years ago even though he's had 2 other pairs in the mean time. One pair vanished while we were moving a few years ago and the other pair broke too many times. I don't know how he does that. Mine never come off my face long enough for either to happen to mine!

Also at long last, we got the lap top I'd been pleading for, for at least 12 months. The children need access to one, that is NOT MINE... so now Pete and the children share one and soon the desk top will go (when we figure out the best way to do this). I'll get that space for my sewing machine - can't wait!!! It was Pete needing to be able to use a computer away from us for job hunting, that finally convinced him that now was the time. And now it's been bought in time to take advantage of the education tax rebate. Love that.

I'm still spending about 50 hours a week with Charlotte, as a minimum... so time is still scarce. We've been buying bread since Charlotte was born but this week Melinda has asked me to teach her how to make bread so we don't have to 'buy the unhealthy shop bread anymore'... I'm keen to teach her while she's keen to learn, so that's something I'll have to add to my 'time for' wishlist.

Speaking of lists.... anyone else know/use Wunderlist? Check it out... I'm loving it. especially being able to 'share' any list I choose, with others.... like the 'honey do' list with Pete, as he can access it from any computer too :o)