Category Archives: House

Pottering around

I’d love to say I’m a gardener and have a green thumb, but unfortunately I don’t. That doesn’t stop me trying though. The kids and I have spent lots of time outside lately when I’m not working, just pottering around the garden. Weeding the garlic garden bed (the only thing I have tried planting in my veggie patches this year), pruning my roses, planting spring bulbs and just hanging out in the garden, having tea parties and just enjoying the fresh air, soaking up the beautiful light and the smell of autumn setting in. As it has started getting colder in the mornings we simply put on more layers and change what we’re doing so we’re not sitting on the wet dewy grass.
I have chosen to focus on just one veggie for a few months and shower them with tender love and care, rather than try and plant lots and lose track of them all. I chose garlic – and I’m a little bit excited as they’re all thriving and seem to be loving the weather, I know they’re a long developing little plant, but I think it will be worth it!

Grateful for Organising Tasks

No, this is not my house but things like this make my heart sing, sad really! source

I am the kind of person that when things start to get very busy and out of control my head races, I can’t switch off and everything just starts to snowball and I feel very unsettled and I don’t like it one little bit. This has been my life lately – unfortunately.

What I have found over the years though is that if I take a some time out, even just a few minutes, to reorganise something in the house then I am instantly a little calmer.

Sometimes it’s going the whole hog and rearranging bedrooms, sometimes it’s reorganising the filing system. For me today it was cleaning out the spice cupboard, you know the one that has countless amounts of herbs and spices, often multiple jars of the same one, mostly out of date because you just bought them for that one recipe you had to try and haven’t been back to use ever since.

My spice cupboard is a big one, it also has all the food colours and gels, the stocks and the salt and pepper shakers in abundance, so it was not a small task, but it was a calming one. Getting rid of the excess, even alphabetising the herbs and spices to make them easier to find, all served to give me a small semblance of calm heading into the weekend and for that I am grateful.

Linking up for 52 Weeks of Grateful, hosted over at Village Voices by the lovely Bron. Such a fantastic place to visit.

A Bonus Day


Yesterday was supposed to be a big day, I had to take 3 kids to our nearest big town so my Muddy Organiser could have a follow up appointment with the ENT. It was going to be a long day, it was going to be traumatic, as my Muddy Organiser was going to have a nasendoscope examination and I knew she would not like it one little bit and I had been mentally preparing for how I was going to get her through it for a few days.

Much to my joy the appointment was cancelled, and rather than doing the 200km round trip I got a bonus day at home. 3 loads of washing, a sparkling clean car inside and out, some gardening, some farm stuff, some cooking and some time just at home with my 2 youngest Muddy Kids was just what I felt like.

I love a bonus day, I find that mentally because I think it’s an extra day I am so much more productive, I keep on the move and power through my jobs, feeling really good because I’m crossing things off my list. I don’t know why, as really I know it’s the same as it would have been on my non-work day, but the power of the mind is a curious thing. Now if I could just find a way for it to trick me into exercising more than I am I think I’d be on a winner.

Do you have the same thing going on when you get a ‘bonus’ day or is it just me?

Scattered Thoughts

Chaos reigns supreme at the moment, there are swimming bags and towels and swimmers everywhere. There are half folded piles of washing spread around the house. The kitchen is overflowing with Christmas cooking, a variety of delightful things made for parties, catch ups and just because it’s Christmas. Containers of leftovers and ‘don’t touch until Christmas’ goodies.

No matter how hard I try my house looks like a tornado has gone through it. I am learning to let things slide a ‘little bit’ but do not function very well if they’re let slide for too long. Tonight I employed flat out bribery to get the toy room and lounge room tidy for the first time in a few weeks. The 3 Muddy Girls were rewarded with a square of Cadbury Mint Bubbly Chocolate for doing a superb job of tidying up!

I am feeling a little bit calmer. I know that the tidiness of my house should not affect my mood so much, but it does. I find it unsettling, the messier my house gets the more out of control I feel. I don’t mind so much the dust and the cleaning, as I do the best that time allows, as long as things are tidy I can find a balance. With school holidays starting in a couple of days and people coming in to look after my kids I have a pressing need for things to be in order!

Please tell me I am not alone in feeling like this! Do you need things tidy or a you a sparkling clean and tidy person? Any advice on how to let things slide a bit more???

I ate them and I liked it….

After all the trouble the pigs gave us I was a little sad to say goodbye to them. The morning we had to send them to the abattoir I was dressed and ready for work when Muddy Hubby said he needed a hand, so like any good wife I whacked on my farm boots and headed down to the yards. After almost an hour of trying to hunt them up the race and failing we had resorted to running them into the drenching race and Muddy Hubby lifting each one individually onto the crate on the back of the ute.
In my head this was a good idea, in reality it was a nightmare. I will never ever forget the blood-curdling squeal these pigs gave off as Muddy Hubby caught each one and slowly inch by inch lifted them up (we had been feeding them up well, so they were no light weights). I was useless (happy to admit it), I tried to get Leopard’s foot unstuck when it got stuck but each time he turned his head to me I’d squeal and pull my hand away, terrified of having him bite my hand off (you’ll remember I had nightmares about these pigs so that didn’t help the situation). Eventually they were safely ensconced on the back of the ute and the Muddy Kids came and said their goodbyes.
This week they’ve been returned to us……packaged in boxes! Well, the pork has been, the ham and bacon should be arriving by the end of the week. So what to do with this much pork landing in your kitchen……Roast Pork of course, followed with a serve of Sweet and Sour Pork Stir Fry (Recipe Below). I am cracking out the recipe books to diversify my pork cooking – any suggestions welcome!

500g Pork fillet chopped into bite-size pieces
3 teaspoons soy sauce
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1/3 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon cornflour
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped (I used tinned)
1 red capsicum, chopped (I used green because that’s what was in the fridge)
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped

Place the pork in a non-metallic bowl, add soy sauce and toss through so all the pork pieces are coated, set aside.

In a medium saucepan over low to medium heat, whisk together the sugar, tomato sauce, vinegar and cornflour and allow to simmer.

Meanwhile bring a Wok or large non-stick frying pan to a high heat, then add 2 teaspoons of oil. Swirl the oil around so the bottom is coated. Toss the pineapple, capsicum and onion and stir-fry for about 4 mins until they begin to caramelise. Add the warm sauce and remove from the wok and set aside.

Add another teaspoon of oil to the wok and then the pork and cook until the pork is browned and just cooked through (about 8 mins).

Add the sauce and vegetables, allow to come to a simmer then remove from the heat and serve immediately with rice.

This is a recipe from Kidspot, and they know their stuff as this was a huge hit with the Muddy Kids, barely a spoonful left in their bowls.

Wordless Wednesday – A Little Light Show

A couple of years ago my Muddy Sister-in-law gave these delightful cupcake lights to my Muddy Girls to decorate their room. Initially they were great, then we moved rooms, didn’t set them up, then there was a loose globe. Now finally Muddy Hubby has them going again and each night is like our own personal light show (we take what we can get out here!). Then for his Baptism Muddy Bubby was gifted with some lovely star lights, so we now have a light show going in 2 bedrooms each night! It puts a smile on everyone’s face each time they get switched on.

Linking up with Trish at My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday and showing a bit of pink in support of her breast cancer fight, sending love and hugs to Trish and her family.

A Bathroom a Clean Up and Some Dressing Gowns

For the last few months I’ve had my rental house consuming each spare moment of my thoughts, firstly with the Insurance Company Battle then with trying to make a decision about a repair or a major renovation and then trying to find ‘the perfect builder’ and watching the whole process of bathroom being demolished and rebuilt. Then finally at the end of last week came the BIG Clean Up! When I say big, I mean big, the dust from the building work had permeated every inch of the house. There was some painting to be done and some gardening touch up work, all before the first open house on Saturday. For Thursday and Friday last week I was missing in action for my family, trying to make the house clean and enticing for potential tenants. Finally it is all done, bathroom finished, house sparkly and clean and open house over. Now the wait for potential tenants and fingers crossed it happens soon as my bank account is looking very sad.

I finally fell into bed exhausted on Friday night, again missing bedtime and that special time each afternoon where the Muddy Kids each tell me about their day (even if they spent the day with me it gets recounted). So I was excited to rug my Muddy Kids up on Saturday morning in their dressing gowns and have some catch up time.

I’m hoping things return to a normal level of busy soon!

A Muddy Weekend in Instagram

Do you ever feel like you’re just treading water, like you are busy, busy, but when someone asks you, you have trouble remembering what’s been keeping you so busy. I get very forgetful when I’m in this state, forgetting appointments, jobs to do and worst of all groceries when I’m shopping and left the list at home. I hate this state, it makes me feel like I’m not accomplishing much and worse still my house is in a total state of disarray.
This weekend was one of those weekend, a not much, but lots happening kind of weekend. We did lots of baking, for gifts and to take to a party. We made a cool cubby house using the sheets and chairs, which was fun til Muddy Bubby came and pulled it all down. We did have fun rebuilding it though!
We checked on the bathroom renovations at ‘Mummy’s old house’ as the Muddy Girls call it, and I’m feeling a little better as it’s almost done (thank goodness). While Muddy Hubby painted I started the big clean up and some of the ‘to do’s’ to be done before new tenants can move in.
Then we finished up with a big birthday party for a very cute 2 year old. My Muddy Tribe had a ball, playing in the big shed and getting dirty, making new friends and reacquainting themselves with cousins. It was so nice though to drive home watching a beautiful sunset, snuggle up on the couch to watch ‘The Block’ and then have an early night. It’s the simple things I love the most.

Having newly discovered Instagram and LOVING IT, I’m keeping track of what we’ve been doing and reminding myself of why I feel so tired and want to be in bed early!

How was your weekend? Do you tread water like me, feeling like you’re going nowhere?

Smoked Paprika Chicken and Lemon Bake

I struggle in the kitchen, I tend to get into a rut and stick to what I know Muddy Hubby and the kids will eat. Every so often though I am handed a recipe that I think ‘that will work in our house’ and I give it a go. Mostly it’s my lovely neighbour over the back paddock handing me a recipe she’s already test drove with her two cherubs, and occasionally it’s a find on blogs or the net.

This particular one was handed over the back paddock (Thank You Neighbour). It is super easy and there’s never much left on the plate.

1.5kg chicken pieces
1 lemon sliced
1 cup black olives*
2 chorizo sausages sliced
4 cloves garlic
1 cup chicken stock
50g unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika**
sea salt and cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Place the chicken, lemon, olives, chorizo, garlic, stock and butter in a baking dish and sprinkle with the paprika, salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Only photo I have before it went into the oven. By the time it comes out it’s a rush to the table to keep everyone happy!

I serve it up with rice and steamed greens, my neighbour serves it up with cous cous and steamed greens, whatever takes your fancy!

*I am the only one in my family who eats olives so I left them out rather than have to pick them out of everyone’s meals
**I couldn’t get smoked paprika in town, so substituted paprika, still very tasty

Sharpest Pencil in the Ice Bucket

For AGES and AGES I have been struggling with the girls craft and drawing, struggling with it being spread from one end of the house to the other, struggling with their individual craft boxes they were given as presents by a well meaning family member. These boxes, while much loved, have finally given up the ghost, with sides ripped and lids lost. Their loss has given me the perfect opportunity to bring some order back into at least the colouring in stuff.

On my last trip into the largest town nearby I popped into the Bag a Bargain $2 shop (you know the ones I mean where you can find anything from feminine hygiene products in brands you’ve never heard of, to really tacky ashtrays with the Australian Flag plastered all over them) to see what I could find. The pencil tins and pots I had been thinking of were all gaudy with decorations that would quickly fall off and annoy me no end. I then happened upon these lovely ‘mini champagne buckets’ as they were labelled. They were just what I was looking for and the Muddy Kids love them. So much so, that next time I’m in town I plan on picking up a couple more to further organise the craft area.

The added benefit has been it has kept the Muddy Girls entertained for hours (literally hours) sharpening pencils and sorting crayons, deciding which ice bucket to put them in, and ‘Is it sharp enough’ as they sharpen them to within an inch of their life. They’ve been re-inspired to get back into the colouring in, and it has been a daily activity ( several times throughout the day). I’m now looking for new storage ideas for the rest of the craft paraphernalia and am looking for any suggestions as to how you keep order in the chaos of craft.