29 March 2012

Week 13: Bon Jovi's music

Music was such a huge part of my life growing up. I remember listening to "Top 40 Australia" on my Dad's old, yellow, vintage radio, long before I started working and purchased my very first CD player & stereo. 

The stereo was my first love. Whenever I wasn't at school, I would spend time in my room listening to CD's, records or the radio.

As a teenager I grew to love hard rock music, in particular Bon Jovi, as well as Aerosmith, Warrant, Poison, Van Halen etc. I'm sure my Mum was grateful when this time eventually fazed out.

Today I listen to a broader range of music, don't get me wrong I still love Bon Jovi, but also like Jazz, Rock, Classical, Opera, and Top 40. But unfortunately I don't get to listen to it as much as I used to.

My first ever concert was at the ripe age of 14. I went with some friends to see Bon Jovi play at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Thinking back to it now, I can't believe how good my parents were at allowing me to go, and for paying for my ticket. I can't say that I would let "Popette" go to a concert at 14, unless I was there with her.

Amazingly to this day my favourite band is still Bon Jovi. I've loved them longer than half my life, for 26 years, that's even longer than I have loved my husband!

Isn't is strange how you can love a band/performer/musician that much, that they give you goosebumps when you see them perform live, or when you see the singer (I'm a huge Jon fan) being interviewed you can't stop smiling, or when you see them perform on TV it just brightens up your day.

I've seen them in concert many times, and their shows just keep getting better and better. I compare them to a good bottle of red, that gets better with age.

Whenever I see them in concert it lifts my heart and makes me truly happy. I can forget the day I've had or stuff I'm going through, and for a couple hours just enjoy the moment of being there and listening to their music, and watching them perform.

This is why I am grateful for Bon Jovi's music.

There music and lyrics has been there when I have needed it most, through the good times and the bad. As well as some amazing times I've shared.

Here is one of my favourite songs: (You Want To) Make a Memory

28 March 2012

Product review: Johnson's No More Tangles range

"Popette" is always getting lots of nasty knots and tangles in her hair, and like any 3 year old hates it when I have to brush them out!

Up until a few days ago we had still been washing her hair with Johnson's Baby Conditioning Shampoo, which just wasn't getting out her tangles and knots. So when I was asked to review the new Johnson's No More Tangles range I jumped at the chance.

Johnson's No More Tangles range is ideal for toddlers whose hair ends up in a bunch of tangles and knots at the end of a busy day of play, and consists of a Shampoo, Conditioner and Detangling Spray.

Over the past few days hubby & I have tested the No More Tangles products on "Popette's" hair.

On Saturday night and last night we gave "Popette's" hair a wash with the No More Tangles Shampoo and No More Tangles Conditioner.

We found the shampoo had a lovely fresh smell. The lotion, which features an extra conditioning formula was nice and thick, making it easy to lather up and rinse out.

The conditioning lotion on the other hand, was a lot thinner and harder to apply to "Popette's" hair. However, it left her hair feeling soft and silky making it easier to comb out any tangles. And added to her natural curl.

On Monday morning "Popette" had a few tangles from bed, so before going to daycare I sprayed the No More Tangles Detangling spray on her dry hair, which like the conditioner, can be used on wet or dry hair.

It was easy enough to brush "Popette's" hair, but by the end of the day her hair felt dried out, and in need of a good brush.

I'd definately use the products again, especially the shampoo and conditioner which made "Popette's" hair smoother and easier to manage when brushing.

With the detangling spray, I'd prefer using it on wet hair, and letting her hair dry naturally, rather than spray on to dry hair.

Note: no payment was received for this review.

26 March 2012

Week 12: Baking

About five years ago I discovered that I had a knack for making yummy, crumbly, shortbread biscuits (you can see my recipe here). What started as a "it might be nice to make some shortbread for Christmas" type of thing, became a little ritual I did a week or so before Christmas.

"Popette's" and my star biscuits
Last year was the first year I didn't get to bake my shortbread. Having a newborn and toddler to look after was still new to me, so I didn't find the time to make it. I was amazed of how much I missed being in the kitchen and spending that time baking those yummy buttery creations.

Watching shows like "MasterChef" and "My Kitchen Rules" has got me spending even more time in the kitchen baking cakes, biscuits, muffins, cupcakes and banana bread for catch-ups with Mums group, morning or afternoon tea with my parents or just for the 3 of us....but not every week otherwise I would be the size of a house!

I really enjoyed spending time with "Popette" in the kitchen last week making the "Shortbread Star Biscuits" and watching the enjoyment on her face in cutting out the biscuits, and later eating one of her creations.

I am grateful that baking allows me to make something out of a few cups of ingredients, which brings
delight to whoever is eating it (maybe not all the time...think of rock salt in Banana Bread...not good!)

What do you love to bake?

21 March 2012

Recipe: Shortbread Star Biscuits

Today Popette and I did a little baking and made some yummy shortbread star biscuits.

My little assistant helped place the ingredients in to the bowl, and cut out the shapes. She had a great time and can't wait to try one this afternoon.

The recipe is very simple and one I often use when making shortbread for Christmas. I use soft spread butter with Olive Oil, as it makes the biscuit dough nice & crumbly which once baked are really short.

This recipe will make approximately 15 biscuits, if you want to make more just double the quantity, except vanilla essence. The biscuits keep well in an airtight container.

"Popette" cutting out some stars

Sprinkled with some pink coloured sugar

Our finished biscuits (don't look too closely at the burnt ones!)

Recipe: Shortbread star biscuits

150g plain flour
150g butter, softened
75g cornflour
75g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 170o C.

Place softened butter and dry ingredients into a bowl and mix until ingredients are combined together.

I firstly soften the butter in the microwave for a few seconds so it is easier to combine with the other ingredients.

I make my dough by hand as I don't have a food processor, so it does take a while to blend. If you have a food processor, place all the ingredients into the processor and blend until the mixture holds together.

If you are making the dough by hand, combine ingredients with a wooden spoon or with your hand until the dough is quite smooth and you no longer see any crumbs.

On a floured benchtop, roll out half of the dough to approximately 1cm thick. If you roll them out too thin they will burn. Using a star cookie cutter, cut dough into as many stars as possible.

Place biscuits 1/2 cm apart on a baking tray, then prick with a fork.

Finally, sprinkle with a little caster sugar, or a coloured sugar like the one we used, before placing in the oven.

Bake shortbread for approximately 20 minutes or until very pale. I have had to adjust the cooking time, as I usually make a larger batch, which take approximately 40-45 minutes, and we had a few that were a little burned.

Cooking time will vary on the thickness you have made the biscuits.

Lastly enjoy! :)

18 March 2012

I love Tarte Tatin

Last night my hubby cooked me a beautiful dinner for the two of us. It was so nice, and is something we should try and make time to do more often.

We managed to get "Popette" fed early and into bed (even though she was still making her usual sounds from her room) and "Cherub" was down for a little while until she made a guest appearance during dessert for her late bottle.

We had a french menu, inspired from watching Manu Feidel on "My Kitchen Rules" - hubby and I have been hooked on the show, we are loving the rivalry of the contestants, and cheered when a certain couple got eliminated. But most of all, we have loved some of the food that's been served up.

Hubby served up Scotch Fillet with Mustard Sauce and Potato Gratin with a great bottle of red wine, and later for dessert Tarte Tatin (translated in English - Upside-down Caramelised Apple Tart)....yum yum yum yum!!!!!

The three dishes were from Manu Feidel's cookbook, Manu's French Kitchen, which my hubby bought last year, and both love.

In the cookbook, the Mustard Sauce recipe is served with Pork Cutlets, but tastes just as great with Scotch Fillet.

I'd have to say though the pièce de résistance was the Tarte Tatin. It was lovely. We had it served with some freshly whipped cream, which cut through the tartness of the apples. I would have to say it was better today, as it had time for the caramel to soak into the pastry and apples.....yummm......now if only it would help me lose weight!

17 March 2012

Week 11: Weekends

This week I am grateful for weekends.

Source; Pinterest at Lucinda Lentz
When it's Friday afternoon and I've had a long week at home with the kids (this week Cherub and Popette have both been sick with a virus :( ) there's nothing I look forward to more than having Hubby home for the weekend.

We love spending time together as a little family. When the weather's nice, we love going on a picnic and for a play at the park, or catching up with family and friends.

Have a great weekend everybody :)

08 March 2012

Week 10: Memories

This week I am grateful for memories.

My earliest memory is of feeding chooks on a friend's farm at Berridale with my family. I was about 2 or 3 years old, and remember it being cold, very windy and I was wearing red shoes and a beanie.

Feeding the chooks

It was a great family holiday. We all loved being in the country. I remember having fun with my brothers playing on the billy cart...well them more then me, and feeding the lambs and cows.

Me and my brothers
As the youngest I don't have too many memories of fun things we did as a family, so for me memories like these are precious...I guess that's why I'm always taking photo's of my sweet girls...I don't want to forget anything.

Some days I worry when I can't remember things like conversations I've had with a friend, what I did on the weekend, or somewhere we went on holidays or the weekend. My husband is always telling me that if we could remember everything we did each day, our heads would explode. I'm worried that its something more sinister like alzhiemers or early dementia setting in, and that one day I will forgot all the wonderful memories my husband and I have made together; like the day when I met my husband, our wedding day, our overseas holidays and the days when our children were born.

I guess thats why I love to capture memories of special occasions, holidays, family get togethers etc on my camera. While it will never replace the moment of being there and enjoying whatever it might be, its lovely to look through the photos down the track, and recall the fun you had or enjoyment you saw in your children's eyes.

What is your earliest memory?

02 March 2012

Week 9: Chocolate

This week I am grateful for chocolate. That wonderful, creamy, velvety, smooth and irresistible confectionary that melts in your mouth, which satisfies you after having a long day with the kids, which makes a wonderful companion when watching a movie or gives you a little comfort when your feeling a bit upset.

I am not prejudice...I love it in all forms; a big block, biscuits, ice cream, cupcakes, cakes, milkshakes, hot chocolate...yuuummm.....I love it all.

I especially love dark and milk chocolate. White chocolate on the other hand..makes me feel a bit queasy after I have eaten it.

I really have found it calms me once I have eaten a piece or more...a shame it doesn't help you lose weight too!

[Image source: "Keep Calm and Eat Chocolate" by Pinterest user Kristi Pflug]