amuze*ing #5 // EARLY MORNING BLOGGING

It’s early (well – school holiday early!), and the house is at peace. Noice.

I am blogging from my outside desk, with a side of breakfast!

Apparently school starts next week.  At this rate, Madison will be the first Year 7 student to start at a Christian school in the nude! (note to self – do not forget uniform purchasing appointment today).
The holidays have been full of a whole lot of nothing, and everything.  All. At. Once.
How DOES that happen.
We seem to be so busy, but I cannot actually temember doing anything!
A couple of days ago, we celebrated the Early Man’s birthday (*cough cough somewhere in the realsm of nearing mid-40s* I believe).
As is the norm, we headed to the Zoo, and enjoyed sweltered in the heat. (another note to self – read weather report BEFORE deciding on big day out!).
Much fun was had, although the heat did prevent us from seeing much of the zoo – we were walking so incredibly slowly, as our children dropped like little flies!
As usual, the seal display was the highlight (did I mention it was nice and cool in the underground display!), as was the wombat tunnel (for a similar reason).

We headed to the Queen Victoria Night Markets after the zoo, ((just to make the long hot day even longer).  Oh WOW!  What a feast for the senses! The food was incredible.  The hardest decision was what to eat!

We also spent a day Junior Ranger-ing at Point Nepean National Park.  Avid followers of this blog will know that this is something we do most holidays, as Parks Victoria run a fabulous Junior Ranger Program, with a great range of free activities.  Get on it!
Ribbon sticks have been a great acquisition – they can be a deadly weapon though – so look out! (excuse the blurry action shots – but I feel that they captured the movement and fun!)
We spent another day meandering in Portsea – enjoying the Portsea-atmosphere and having a knickersplash..

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I have rediscovered swimming, and have spent a couple of happy sessions open water swimming with a bunch of lovely people.  I even joined in on a pool sessionj (2.5km later – I was feeling pretty good!).  Up until the beginning of this week, I was managing one-two sessions a day of something fitness related.  Perfect.  That has dropped off this week – my ITB (ilio-tibial-band) is playing up (READ – excruciating) and my shoulder is also giving me grief.  My love of CrossFit is getting a battering right now – it’s hard to have to modify EVERY WOD.  Ugh. When the girls go back to school, it’ll br time for an MRI and ultrasound to see exactly what is wrong with it! In the meantime – bike riding is awesome, and it seems that swimming is fine for my shoulder too…..
So – now that the tribe are awake, and they are gallivanting around me, it seems that my peace is over.  Time to get the day going and relish the last days of summer holidays!
HOW ARE YOU SPENDING THE LAST FEW DAYS OF HOLIDAYS?

DEAR SELF // #9

dear self,

Why yes.  Of course you can run a marathon this year.

Sure, you can run a half marathon in under 2 hours.

Sure – you can also do a couple of triathlons.

Yes – you will manage to pull off a muscle up this year.

No sweat.

love,

Self.

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WHAT WILL YOU DO THIS YEAR?

cook // the perfect pav

A few years ago, Wilbur announced “let’s bring back the pav!’

It was on.

He was lamenting the fact that the pav used to be a constant.  He would go somewhere with his family, and the pav was always there. Sticky and gooey on the inside, with lashings of sugary whipped cream, fresh fruit, and the must have, peppermint crisp adorning the top.

Little did I know the “let’s bring back the pav” actually meant – “I’ll cook the first one (with your help Kyles) and then you do the rest……”.  I have been steadily making pavs for EVERY festive function since!

It’s Australia Day coming up – and let’s face it – who doesn’t want a pav topped with goodness (note to self – ‘stock up on pepppermint crisps’).

The secret to the perfect pav is patience, and a whole lot of LOVE!

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(ummmm – for those paleo-lovers out there – close your eyes!)

the perfect pav
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: lots!
 
Ingredients
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup superfine caster sugar
  • 3 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • Lashings of whipped sugary cream
  • Fruit of your choice (mango, strawberry and blueberry is out favourite)
  • Peppermint Crisp - smashed in packet for easy sprinkling!
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 150'C
  2. Beat egg whites until peaks form
  3. Gradually add sugar, and continue beating until the mixture is glossy (and you cannot feel any sugar granules when you rub mixture between your fingers)
  4. Sprinkle cornflour over mixture, and fold through along with vinegar (use a spatula)
  5. Prepare your baking tray with a sheet of baking paper (stick the corners down with a dab of mixture)
  6. Pile the meringue mix onto the tray, in a circular shape (use the spatula to mould)
  7. Place in oven, and TURN DOWN THE HEAT to 100'C
  8. Cook for one hour
  9. Turn off heat, and allow meringue to cool in oven - usually a few hours (I leave the oven door open a little)
  10. Once cool, top with cream, fruit and peppermint crisp
  11. Enjoy!

 

How do you cook your pav, and whats YOUR favourite topping?!

girls weekend in Warburton

Up until Saturday – I had never gone away on a ‘girls’ weekend’.  Just the mere term conjures up an image of pillow-fights, sophisticated G&Ts, giggling, champagne, chocolate and I don’t know….. ‘girl’ stuff.

I think my two mates and I didn’t read the memo.

Our weekend consisted of boobs, (sore) bums, bubbles (soda water) and bikes.  It was actually pretty much perfect.

Meri, Fran and I first met in our youth.  We were all attending university at RMIT in Melbourne.  Fran was the PR chick.  Meri – the engineer. Kylie – the scientist. We bonded via the RMIT Softball Club (of which I was the founding member!).  We gathered a team and went away for an eye-opening week to the Brisbane University Games.  Pretty much a week that consisted of beer, fun and a little bit of softball thrown in.  I had a ball. :) I made some very dear friends and Meri, Fran and I consequently spent a summer camping together in Sorrento, and pretty much just enjoyed Uni life together!  We went our separate ways, but still kept in contact.  Enter last weekend when Fran and her family were staying near us over the festive season. We caught up and had a few laughs, and off home she went.  A couple of days later – I received a text asking if I wanted to get away fro the weekend.  I took little convincing!

Somehow we mangled together the idea of staying in Warburton for Saturday night, and cycling part of the Warburton Rail Trail. I am not sure that 40km of cycling was on any of our agendas, but 40km we did on Saturday.  We then backed it up with another 23km along the Warburton Aqueduct on Sunday.  Am expecting much bum pain tomorrow. (haven’t ridden a bike in 22-odd years – nothing like jumping right in!).

There was much laughter, and just general mate-ship-ness.  It’s lovely being with a couple of girls where you don’t need to turn on your filter. Just blurt out anything – and it was met with  laughter, agreement or whatever was needed.  We had a quick whinge about our husbands in the first ten minutes, then made the promise not to mention them again.  Perfect. :)

So – Warburton.

I haven’t been there often.  My mother went through alcohol-rehab there, and also lived in the township for a brief time.  I can’t say I had fabulous memories.

I was certainly open to squashing those, and creating new ones!

Warburton is a beautiful town in the Yarra Valley, on the Warburton Highway.  Not too far out from Melbourne (a leisurely 72km east), past Lilydale, and on the road to Mount Donna Buang, adjacent to the Yarra River.  The township is filled with quaint shops, cafes and parkland.  Many of the buildings date back to the early 1900s, and are wonderful to saunter past on the way to breakfast at Little Joe (the nut granola is spectacular!).

The Warburton rail trail runs from Warburton to Lilydale (40km). We opted to NOT cycle 80km!  As it was, 40km was probably 10km too far – but apparently I insisted on ‘rounding-up’! The trail is fairly flat, with a few undulating hills thrown in, just to keep us on our toes. It was rather overcast on Saturday, and slightly muggy. Excellent riding conditions. We stopped a few times along the way for Garmin checks (my GPS wasn’t tracking very well, and according to it, I had only travelled half the distance!), and emergency chocolate.  You will not the bleak looking weather.  Our enthusiasm was not dampened in the least!

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The stags were happy for us to stare at them!

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This particular bridge certainly let me know where the jiggly parts were on my body!

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Once we arrived back at our Lodge (the Warburton Lodge – simple accommodation, but cheap and friendly!), we showered and avoided sitting down – not only because it hurt, but we were afraid that we may never get up again!

We walked to Wild Thyme for dinner.  They had a reggae band playing – FATS WAH WAH.  Every time I said the name – I dissolved into giggles!  The food wasn’t too bad, if you like your entree served during your main, your spicy cajun salad to be more lettuce than ‘salad’, or your lamb rack to be served instead as a lamb WRAP!  It was food.  We were happy.

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We moseyed back to our ‘home’ for the night past an interesting place – I have since found out its a temple of sorts – Boinga Bob’s place.There’s a Facebook page dedicated to saving it.

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My bed greeted my like a soft cloud, and I slept, dreaming of bikes and reggae!

Sunday morning was glorious, and after zero deliberation, we decided to give the Warburton Aqueduct a try after breakfast.  Unfortunately, we were blissfully unaware of the uphill climb that awaited us (240m elevation!).  Another beautiful trail, through lush green forest.  I must admit I wasn’t looking around too much, I was more concerned with staying ON my bike (the downhill parts scared me somewhat  – I did hop off and walk the steep parts!)

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Pre-breakfast walk…..

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Boingo Bob’s…

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The start of the Aqueduct, after the 240m climb to get there!

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Such a beautiful valley…

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Ummm – apparently this was partly my fault.  I stopped.  Meri didn’t get her feet uncleared in time, and came to her own timely, yet graceful, halt. Then we had some ‘issues’ when mounting her bike atop her car!

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A late lunch was needed, and we stopped in at Three Sugars Cafe.  Oh my.  The grilled lamb salad was perfect. The Belgian chocolate mousse cake wasn’t too bad either!

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Thanks for having us Warburton – we will definitely be back soon.  The trails are both excellent for bushwalking with small children……….

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Here’s to sporty girls weekends!  My new favourite thing to do!

What’s your favourite girls weekend activity?!

this is what a 12th birthday looks like!

FullSizeRender-1Another birthday in the house yesterday!  Not quite as awesome as celebrating turning FIVE (oops – must add that to a blog post!), but very awesome none the less!

Madison had a stealer year last year at school – excelling in both music and sport and doing fabulous things with her school work.  We could not be any more proud!

We do not buy miscellaneous ‘stuff’ for our girls throughout the year.  they are lucky to get a pair of knickers.  Really.  There is not much the NEED or want.  Thankfully.

This year, Wilbur and I felt that Madison deserved something extra special for her birthday, we are now the ‘best parents in the world’!

We celebrated in a simple way. Gathering around the bench at 0545 to open gifts.  Handmade cards with love by siblings. A crossfit session. Playing with a mate. Slip n sliding.  Water bouncing on the tramp. Chicken Caesar salad burgers with another mate (who’s also made a birthday cake!), followed by an impromptu caravan sleepover (which promptly needed at midnight when “there are too many noises in the van” ensued – thus waking me from a peaceful slumber on the couch!).

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Surely everyone LOVES a bit of slip n slide action!

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Perfect.

review+cook // what’s for……… breakfast

(Note – this product talk post is brought to you by Nuffnang and Sunsol)

EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING. the girls want breakfast.  Truly.

Picture this. I am not out of bed yet, (note – it’s only 6:17am), and Mackenzie wonders in “Can I have breakfast now?”. Usually I tell her to go back to bed, read, wiggle under the covers, anything – just wait until at least 7am.

All of my girls are capable of whipping up their own breakfasts.  Even Milla (just 5 – she has been capable since she was at least 3.5 – it’s a dog eat dog world, being the youngest of four girls!).  The favourite breakfast (actually – I am not sure if it’s a favourite – but it IS the easiest), is wheat  biscuits.  Five of them for Mackenzie. Yes – we go through a LOT of wheat biscuits! Another firm favourite is rolled oats – the Murph loves them.  Milla tends to go with ‘daddy? Madison-made’ scrambled eggs – but only ever eats half!  Madison cooks eggs most mornings – we can easily go through 8 eggs before 8am!

I hear….. “Can we have something different for breakfast”, as we whip down the cereal aisle at lightning speed past the sugar-laden Frostyringthings and the like.  “Sure I say – how about you add fruit to your cereal”.  Then I hear a collective moan from them all!

I LOVE muesli.  It must not be that horrid sugar-laden toasted stuff.  In fact – I prefer to make my own up, with a mixture of oats, chia, quinoa flakes, seeds, nuts, berries, coconut flakes and a smidge of dried cranberries.  Then I dollop a spoonful of natural yoghurt (or even coconut cream) on top, grated apple and mango if in season.  Perfect.  But tiresome.

Enter Sunsol’s new range of  natural muesli.

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Everything I like, packaged up into a convenient resealable pack.  No mess. No fuss. It’s a win-win.

They have a fabulous range, perfect for the picky eater, chock full of natural ingredients in each blend.   I like the NUT LOVERS and the ANCIENT GRAINS.  Mackenzie is a fan of the APPLE AND BERRIES.  Wilbur (yes – even a bloke eats muesli) likes a combination of SUPERFRUITS and ALMOND.  Perfect nutrient-balanced start to the day – and excellent for filling seemingly ‘unfillable’ stomachs!  Makes a delicious afternoon snack when sprinkled over natural yoghurt and scooped up with apple sticks!

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There a six blends in the range, 3  Premium Plus (Ancient Grains & Superfoods, Fruit Lovers and Nut Lovers) – which you can purchase at Woolworths and independents. 3 Premium blends – Classic Fruit and Nut, Apple & Berries and Orchard Fruit and Almond (found in Coles)

Note – all of the blends DO contain nuts, which is delicious for the nut-lover, not so good for the nut-allergic!

Madison prefers her muesli as a bar.  I don’t like buying muesli bars. Problem.

Enter the home-made muesli bar – requires TWO ingredients.  Sunsol 10+ Natural Muesli and condensed milk. (yes yes – I know condensed milk is sugar laden….. blah blah blah – but in the minimal amount of sugar my family eats – I am OK with it!).  I used to make these bars by mixing up my own ‘muesli’ with anything in the cupboard.  Messy and time-consuming.  I must say – any short-cut is a good short-cut!

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I (or even the girls – its is a kid-friendly recipe!), whip these up – perfect for school lunches, pre / post-training snacks for my athlete, and even after school snack time when “I’m starving” is the catch-cry.

Sunsol home-made muesli bars
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2-3 cups Sunsol 10+ Natural Muesli blend
  • enough condensed ilk to make the mix 'sticky'!
  • (if you are feeling adventurous, throw in a handful of choc-chips!)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 150'C
  2. Add both Sunsol 10+ Natural Muesli and condensed milk to a large bowl
  3. Mix until sticky
  4. Press firmly into a lined slice tin
  5. Bang into oven, and bake until nicely brown!

 

Whilst all of this is nice and fancy – I have a give-away for a reader.

  • 4 x packets of Sunsol 10+ Natural Muesli  blend
  • a storage container and spoon

You need to be in it to win it – tell me your favourite  Sunsol 10+ Natural Muesli blend and why!

(Check here for T&Cs!)

 

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