Friday, 4 September 2015

Your Inspiration at Home Salted Maple Brownies

Caitlin and I were chatting the other day about our baking disasters. While I can only count two, she has too many to remember. Baking has just been my thing for a long time. But I don't stray from the recipe. Which is key when baking, following recipes precisely.

So I was kind of surprised when my sister announced she had become a Your Inspiration at Home consultant. In our family, she's the least bakey person in the world, even less interested than my mum. But in a total cliche move, being married has seen her investing more time in the kitchen (or maybe being out of work at the same time, but it sounds better if I give her a dig), and she's been learning to bake and cook.

I've got a cupboard full of herbs and spices and chocolate powders and things to explore (if you're interested, it is totally worth hosting a party, even $250 worth of sales adds up to lots of host product!) which means stepping out of my comfort zone and actually modifying recipes. So far everything I've tried has been hugely successful, but biscuits and brownies are easy, the real test will come when I start adding herbs and spices to dishes.

The first product I tried was the Salted Maple chocolate powder. And these Turkish Delight brownies from Picklebums are tried and tested in our house, so I knew they would be easy to convert.

110g butter, melted
1/2 cup choc powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1tsp maple extract/vanilla extract*
3/4 cup self raising flour

- whisk butter and chocolate powder until smooth
- add sugar, eggs and extract, whisk until smooth
- add flour, mix gently until blended
- pour into greased pan. bake 180°C for 20min

* I found maple extract on eBay a couple of years ago, but vanilla works well.

linking up with Create Bake Make and Bake Play Smile for Fabulous Foodie Fridays.
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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Day in the Life | Chloe's Formal

Chloe is sharing her adventures getting ready for formal at the end of July

It’s official. The 31st of July is formal (prom for people in most other countries). I’m going to do a day in the life and share my formal experience with you. For just about everyone I know formal is a day where you dress up pretty and show off your dance moves (even though we all have two left feet). It’s a day where you can feel important and special and just show off really.
Officially at the hairdressers. Their first client on an exceptionally busy day. It was the only appointment that they had left two months ago and I’m learning that you really need to be in advance if you want to actually book appointments in a small town. Up until two days ago I had no idea how I was getting my hair done but after much deliberation I decided to go for an elegant French knot (my entire look has a very vintage vibe to it).
My hair is done and I don’t have anything to do until my makeup at 2:30 this afternoon. Of course grandma wants to show me off to a few of her friends and I see a plethora of my own friends who are doing their formals tonight as well. We’re all giddy with nerves and anticipation at how it’s going to look. I have a fair idea at the inside since I was there last night until 6:30 because I was setting up (look how dedicated I am!!) and the only thing was left to do was set up the centrepieces. There won’t be too much surprise for me this year since I’m both the committee leaders right-hand woman (and exceptionally close friend) and I’m also an employee for the decorator this year. 
I’ve eaten (just in case the food for formal sucks) and I’m waiting nervously until I leave to get my makeup done. I have a fair idea what I’m getting done but for an organisation queen I’ve pretty much left everything until the last moment. I didn’t order my corsage until Monday (because I’m going stag I’ve had to do those sorts of things myself), I didn’t decide how I was getting my nails done until ten minutes before the appointment and even now, 30 minutes before my makeup appointment, I haven’t decided how I’m getting it done. But I have a plan and it goes like this: My makeup will take around an hour, as soon as that is done it’s straight to getting my corsage, then at 3:30 I have to meet my best friend, her formal partner and both of our boyfriends for photos at the railway line. That plan takes me up to 5. After it’s getting ready to arrive at formal, in front of a lot of people. My town is so ridiculously small that any sort of events attract huge amounts of attention. Everyone’s parents, grandparents, friends, family, etc. want to be there and so I’ll be getting out of the car tonight and hoping I don’t trip straight over my dress as I walk down the carpet.
Formal is long since over. The night was a huge success and I could not be happier about it. After my makeup it was straight to grabbing my corsage and then to photos. They lasted a full two hours and after those I was about ready to go to sleep and yet I still had to arrive and finish off my night (and early morning). Nerves officially set in when I was getting photos done but everything went off with a hitch and my night was one of the best I’ve ever experienced.
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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Us right now

After the buzz of ProBlogger,and winter illnesses, September will be about new routines and finding our equilibrium again. For the first time in 3 years, everyone will be under the one roof each evening.
he got a phone call on Monday morning asking him to come in and chat about the management job

sure, he said, let's chat.

he got a phone call on Monday evening, telling him it started today, instead of next week.

oh, shit, he said, my shirts aren't clean!
she realised after years of him being away, he'll be in bed every night

snoring. There goes the good nights sleep for a while.

she's starting to plan the next camping trip

everyone needs a break
he has been busy working on a science fair project with his best mate

but there have been far too many poor behaviour choices

he's an awesome helper, until he's not

which is stressful for the whole family
she loves sharing a bedroom with Riley

and has finally cleaned it up, and kept it clean

she is excited about dad being home at night

so they can watch Home & Away together
he loves helping with chores

but takes ages to finish because he's always talking

he is counting down to his birthday, and first school excursion

and is looking forward to presents and cake
she can name every member of the family

and her newest word is "daw" (draw)

her new nickname is seagull

she walks around the house saying "more more more" when she's hungry

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Monday, 31 August 2015

Review | Easyread Time Teacher Clock

This product was gifted.
Easyread Time Teacher Clock $44.95
Our house is full of digital clocks, on microwaves, tv screens, iPads, and even clocks! And while they've been great to teach Riley number recognition, they haven't been that great for teaching time. Douglas got a watch for his birthday last year, and the difference we saw in his ability to tell time was amazing!

So we started hunting for a better clock for our kitchen. I love this Easyread Time Teacher Clock because it's so much bigger than the old clock we had - it's 35cm across, and the numbers are 3cm high. Because of the different colours on the clock face, we've been able to explain to Riley about "past" and "to" when telling time, while Natalie is working on estimates "it's about twenty to four" and Douglas is able to quickly glance at it and remind us that it's almost time for the next meal (I think he's starting to hit that teenage boy growth spurt!)

The Easyread Time Teacher is also available as a watch (and Riley's birthday present is sorted!), and there's a different colourway for the clock face if you want it to match bedroom decor. I kept the old M&Ms clock, but I don't think I'll be putting it back in the kitchen any time soon, the kids are having too much fun learning to tell time with this one.

To celebrate Riley's birthday, Sweet Elephants is giving readers 15% off clocks and watches, using the code purpletime15 until September 14th.
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Hello Monday

hello, newsletter. As well as my two newsletters, I write the letter for And Sew We Craft. I've been just as sporadic with it as I have been with my own. But I'm hoping to change that as the year draws to an end, and get all the newsletters out on time.

hello, spring. I hate spring. Sorry, I know lots of people love it because of the warmer weather, but I go through boxes and boxes of tissues in spring. The worst offender is the huge tree that grows outside our back door, but any flower can cause me problems. 

hello, new code. Over the years I've grown more confident tinkering with the HTML code of this blog. I've noticed recently that when I click through from posts on pinterest, the pinned image often isn't in the post, so I did a bit of investigating, and found the snippet of code you can add to hide an image. GAME CHANGER! For those who are interested, the code is 
<div style="display:none;">image code</div>
hello, BRAVE. I really need to revisit my word this month. It was so powerful for me as the year unfolded, but as the months have gone on, I've lost confidence in myself, and let opportunities pass me by.

hello, Monday, a new start every week.

linking up with Kirsty, Alicia and Eva.

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