Monday, September 15, 2014

Brave

The picture on my personal Facebook page was over 3 years old. Each time I logged in I would tell myself to update it, but I never did until yesterday. I searched and searched for a photo of myself, which was really hard. Why don't I take photos of myself or allow people to take photos of me? Once upon a time I loved photos and I wanted to be a photographer. Then I chose a different path and insecurities snuck in and I allowed them to stay.

I have often struggled with how I look. For those who know me, you may think this strange because I am quite confident and I laugh most things off, and rarely hold grudges or at least not forever! I am a professional concealer! I don't like to show my feelings too much because in reality I am very emotional and I cry a lot over little things. This I know is not a bad thing, but it makes others uncomfortable and the thing I aim for in life is to make sure I don't upset or offend others - well as little as possible. The point I am making here, is that I put others before myself almost always. I don't often think of me, and when I do, I conceal. I have named this post Brave, because this is a big step for me. I am opening up about who I am and some of my insecurities are and by golly that's hard! One of the biggest insecurities I have is my outward appearance. Growing up I didn't feel I was pretty, and the times when I felt really pretty, I would see photos after the occasion and be disappointed that the photos didn't look pretty to me. I think part of this can be attributed to being an awkward teenager. I was a little on the chubby side, I had acne, I had glasses and braces all the ingredients that turn teenage boys on!! Though in some ways I am glad in hind sight (only) that I didn't have the worries of too much male attention, at least until I was 17. It gave me a chance to enjoy my teenage years in other ways and take my studies seriously, though in saying that, I was still distracted as I had terrible crushes on lots of men....not boys or teenage boys, I was always partial to the older man because they were all so mature!! Oh I can only just laugh now and shake my head!!!  While that is embarrassing in some ways, I have to admit there was a pattern. My first boyfriend was 2 years older than me. My second boyfriend was 5 years older than me. I've never really had a boyfriend the same age as me or younger. My husband is 2 years older than me too! Anyway, I have no idea why I bought this up?

Sometimes I write posts with one intent in mind and then my mind wonders and I get off topic....very much like my conversations, I have to work on this!! Now back to being brave. I feel I am brave because I am posting a picture of me. I took some time this morning to take a selfie or two. Something my kids do more often than I do the laundry - not a good comparison! I don't often like having pictures of me taken, let alone take a picture of me for a purpose. I want to change that. I am not going to be a Kim K or anything, I just want to be proud of me and what I am today, however I look. As we all know there is so much crap in our media about body image and the like. I think the problem with some mums are that we remember that once upon a time we were much slimmer and more active and we can't work out what went wrong? Well, I have had 4 kids and three of the kiddies were born via c-section (that weren't planned). C-sections don't do wonders for the body, let me tell you neither internally or externally! I got back in shape after the first two kiddies and the first C-section, and even after the third I wasn't as overweight as I currently am. I think life gets in the way and I've much prefered to sleep then wake up 1 to 2 hours earlier in the morning to fit exercise in. Anyway, I am working on that but I don't want Michelle Bridges or Weight Watchers to help me with that, I want to be able to do it on my own......I think!:)

The other reason why I am trying to be brave today, is so my daughter will see that her mum is happy with who she is. I want her to see that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, personalities, and abilities. We are all beautiful. Before I go I want to share with you something I shared on my FB feed from, Begin with Yes, the other day which I think has to be shared

and here is the picture I am willing to share....eeek!! This is not my FB profile picture.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The New Thermomix TM5 v HMP Gastro

I have to admit, I have been out of the loop so to speak about all of this drama over the brand new Thermomix model that has recently hit the party plan circle. It has taken a day of lying in bed sick to catch up on all the drama. Yes, I have to say drama and I do apologise for the overuse of this word, the teacher in me is going crazy, because with Thermomix there is never anything but drama. You are either being abused for saying anything against their blessed Thermi or criticised for saying anything else is comparably better....believe me I know!  Now they have presented Australia with the new model TM5 but they have gone about it all the wrong way - wow no surprises for me!! Now I had heard rumours since I started blogging about my HMP, that a new model was going to be released within a year that would be better than the HMP - and I thought they weren't bothered by competition! I do hope all the people who have been mislead about the release of the new model are being looked after. I don't see how something like this can be considered good business ethics, regardless of whether it is legal or not.

From what I can tell, all the new functions of the TM5 are interestingly similar to what the HMP Gastro has and yes, I do find this rather ironic. All the back lash and comments I have received over the years from blinded lemming followers of the Thermomix Cult attacked me about how the TMX 31 was set to the best healthy cooking temperature. Anything higher would destroy the food molecules and I would be feeding my kids dead food - yes again, rather ironic! How then, are you going to explain why Vorwerk decided that the TM5 needed an increased temp range to 120C? Is there new scientific proof that 10C more is now better for our food molecules? Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think everyone thinks like this, but this is for the people who don't think for themselves and believe everything they hear.  Other than the cookbook chip, the slightly higher temp, and the slightly faster motor - which again the HMP was criticised for and now they are competing with - again, the irony over floweth! There is also a larger Varoma, but can we really tell how much larger it is? At the end of the day, if I was going to consider this new machine the only thing that would make me think for 10 seconds longer would be a larger bowl. This is the one thing that most woman want, and yet they still can't deliver. Who cares about a new design measuring cup and butterfly - whoopy whoo!  However, the biggest thing on most people's lips is " tell us the price son"!  They currently have an introductory price of $1939, but what will it be when this is over? Who knows? I wish I did because if its the same price as the HMP I will laugh until I pass out.

At the end of the day, the TM5 is an attractive machine and the cookbook chip is clever. But is it still the absolute best machine on the market that is deserving of what I can only guess will be a price tag above $2000? I recommend you take a look at my previous posts of the HMP. See what is on offer, compare the two and see what the HMP offers for their price tag and compare to what the TM 5 is offering. Personally, and yes of course there is bias in this, as there is bias in every Thermomix owner's mind too, I highly recommend you try the HMP Gastro. The HMP Easy comes at a lower price tag, but for a little more, the Gastro offers a faster motor and higher temp range. I use my HMP Gastro almost every day. It does all the things a TM 5 or TM 31 can do, though it doesn't come with a Varoma, but a steaming function can still be achieved. Do the homework people, don't always settle for what you know or what your friends have. Thermomixers are a lot like Dyson vacuums. Its the in thing to purchase, and you aren't a good vacuumer unless you are using the "Dyson" - give me a brake!  Thermomix shermomix and Dyson shmyson! Buy what you like and what works for you, even if you don't purchase an HMP, please oh please do the research on all the available thermal cooking machines that are currently on the market. Buy what suits your circumstances and especially your budget.

Okay Thermomix lovers bring it on, I'm ready!!

** apparently the bowl is a little larger, 2.2L to be precise - not a deal breaker for me personally and the introductory price is $1989 not the above mentioned price of $1939 - sorry to get you excited over saving $50. ;-p*****


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Almond Butter in the HotMix Pro

My mother is Canadian and I swear I have more Canadian in me than Australian sometimes, well at least in my taste buds!  I love peanut butter and maple syrup in and on almost anything!! I love bacon, but not any kind of bacon. I prefer Aussie to American and interestingly enough Canadian bacon is better than American - in my humble opinion, but I'm still happy to crunch on American bacon when its on offer. I could go on about how much the North American cuisine attracts me more than my homeland sometimes, but I need to stay on track. My fav website, Pinterest has tempted me once again to make the overly popular almond butter and since I love peanut butter so much, I had to give it a go. Since I have my HotMix Pro handy, I knew this would be a breeze to make. This was my first attempt and I am happy with my results.

Almond Butter
400g roasted almonds - I took raw almonds and dry roasted them in my oven

In HMP on speed 9 for 1-1.5mins. Scraping down the sides helps at intervals with blades off. I found that the consistency was not coming together so the only oil I had on hand was sunflower oil. I splashed a small amount in and the butter came together quite nicely. I also added a small amount of brown sugar - about a table spoon.

 Maybe next time, I'll use raw almonds and see what kind of flavour I prefer and maybe add some other nuts too.




Great list of Interactive WhiteBoard Activities


As a teacher, I am always searching for educational activities that are fun for my students. I also predominately work as a casual, so having a pool of resources that I don't have to bring with me everywhere is always a bonus. The Interactive WhiteBoard or IWB, also known as the SMART board, is an amazing invention. I use it all the time both in special and mainstream education. This is a list I have compiled of sites I have discovered and used myself to determine their usefulness. There have been many that I have not included because they weren't user friendly, or their graphics weren't the best. I hope you can find something useful. Also you can enjoy many of these sites at home on your own computer.  Would love to hear your feedback on any of these links or if you know of something great to share, please do so in the comments.

Stop the Clock - time is written in words. You have to stop the clock to show the time written in words. Lots of fun!! years 2-6

 http://www.oswego.org/ocsd-web/games/BangOnTime/clockwordres.html

Shot Clock - choose plus,minus,addition, multiplication, and division. Shoot the ball into the correct basketball - great for revision of math skills years 3-6

 http://www.roomrecess.com/pages/ShotClock.html

Interlocked 3D Puzzles - addictive!! This is a great game to challenge students. Could be used in between lessons or used on a rainy day. Years 3-6

 http://smartboard.someschoolgames.com/kids-logic-games/interlocked/


Spin and Spell - spelling game of everyday items, actions, and animals. Years 2-6

 http://www.spinandspell.com

Sheppard's Software Verbs in Space - A really good game that explores and assists with all sorts of grammar skills in an interactive way. Students have to think quick, but great for revision. Recommend from years 3-6

 http://www.spinandspell.com

Super Why Games, Alpha Bricks - interactive way to revise letter recognition. K-1 and SSP

 http://pbskids.org/superwhy/#game/alphabricks

Word Finder - interactive find-a-word. years 3-6

 http://www.wordgametime.com/games/word-finder

The Blobz guide to Electric Circuits - great for science lesson years 5-6

 http://www.andythelwell.com/blobz/guide.html

I spy games online - interactive puzzles and bingo games. Years 2-6 and SSP

 http://www.scholastic.com/kids/ispy/games/puzzler.htm


Math-Play soccer game - fun way to test dividing fractions - years 5-6.

 http://www.math-play.com/soccer-math-dividing-fractions-game/soccer-math-dividing-fractions-game.html

Scale of the Universe 2 - absolutely amazing! Use the bottom scale to drag in and out to see comparison of length/height etc of things in our universe. years 4-6+
**allow some time for the program to load, and click START**

How to cut oranges for Fruit Break / Crunch and Sip

Oh yes, don't be fooled. There is an art to cutting oranges so that your child can enjoy them at fruit break! It is my understanding that most primary schools in NSW,  run the crunch and sip program. I see this in practice both as a parent and a primary school teacher. I thoroughly believe in this program as a good way to encourage children to enjoy fruit, vegetables, and water on a daily basis. However, there are some fruits that are a bit hard to work out how best to prepare for your child to enjoy. I feel I have mastered the sometimes problematic and beloved orange. If you cut the orange in quarters, many children will suck the juice out and leave the pulp but also can be messy and leave sticky drips on clothing. If you cut the skin off, and have the orange in pieces, it can leave sticky juice in the container or bag it's contained in which can cause a bit of a mess.
I truly believe the technique I am prepared to share is the best I have come up with - if I do say so myself - well I do and I did! This incredible technique keeps juice intact and I am confident the child will eat the majority of the pulp. I do recommend a plastic container, however, if you have a child/ren like mine and the container takes forever to return home. Then a zip lock bag is just as good.

Firstly, cut the orange into discs.
Discard the ends, as most fussy kids won't touch these. Then cut the discs in half.
Finally bag those juicy babies in a zip loc or more environmentally friendly container and allow your kids to enjoy! I love eating oranges myself in this fashion. It's the best!!



If you are as amazingly talented as I and would like to share how you prepare your crunch and sip treats for your kiddies, kindly share in the comments. I welcome all links to appropriate blog posts.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Dinner with the Family @ Nandos Family Restuarant Blacktown


Recently we went to to WestPoint Blacktown to watch a movie. Luckily for my family, I got the times mixed up and we were there an hour early, yay for mum brain on a Friday night!! We walked around the Piazza trying to workout want we felt like eating. We noticed the new Nando's Restaurant and decided we would give it ago. The decor and spaciousness was a big draw card just to get us in and decide if we really wanted to eat, but the biggest bonus of the night was bottomless drinks!! We love bottomless drinks and I must say there just isn't enough family orientated restaurants offering this. How many of you cringe at the cost of paying for drinks for your family? If you aren't paying $4-$4.50 for a single drink, you are paying around $12 for a jug of soft drink which will half fill a family of 6's very short glasses. We actually stopped paying for soft drinks in the end. The kids are well trained now, and know its going to be waters all around when we go out. When we told the boys they could have soft drinks I think they almost fainted in shock! Once they recovered we told them it was all-you-drink and they thought we must have had a car accident on the way and were actually in heaven! Jokes aside, this is a great service and really more restaurants should take on this philosophy, especially for families.

We ordered two Supremo burgers, and two Classico burgers. My eldest son chose mild sauce, but this was too hot for him and it was taken back to the kitchen. His new burger had only BBQ sauce and this was devoured with two thumbs up.

My youngest, who is 5 eats like he is 10. I didn't expect him to finish his Classico burger, but polished it off with easy, almost before my husband. Hubby enjoyed his Supremo with Hot sauce, and said it wasn't too spicy, I would still proceed with caution. He can handle the heat. I went for something different. I had the Chicken Paella, which basically translates to Chicken with sauce, onions, tomatoes, and capsicums on a bed of rice.

There is no attempt here to be officially correct. It was yummy none the less. To go with our delicious main means, we decided to order the "Very Large serving" of chips.

In Australian standards, this is correct. On worldly standards, or at least North American standards, the serving size would be laughed upon. Why do we limit our serving sizes to smallish, smaller, and really small? When the rest of the world use, ridiculously big, a littler smaller than that, and at least 10 people could feed on this serving as the smallest size! We could argue the whole health thing, but really, Australian servings are skimpish. Why are we such tight wads with our servings?? Still we ate them and enjoyed them. On a cold Autumn evening hot chicken salted chips were completely appropriate regardless the serving size.

All in all, we enjoyed ourselves. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up. The service was impeccable. There was no questions when we asked for another burger to replace my son's too spicy one. All waiters smiled and chatted with confidence. We sat in a circular booth with high backs which provided privacy and a bit of a sound barrier which is good for our noisy family. It was a positive experience, and we will be returning for sure.

We ordered:
2 Supremo burgers
2 Classico burgers
1 Chicken Paella
1 Very large serving of chips
2 Refill drinks (yes, we are tight wads! Why buy 5 when we can get by with 2? Think smart and you will act  and save smart!!)

Total : $64.50

PS, we love the decor too!

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