Monday, July 18, 2016

Westbury Maze

Tom works a nine day fortnight, meaning every second Friday he has off, these Friday's are usually used for catching up around the house and going to appointments such as giving blood, doctors and the bank. 

As his last Friday off was in the school holidays we thought it was a great opportunity to head out for a little adventure with the girls (Rory was spending the day with his Gran, as he had missed out when he was sick last week).

After a few different ideas, we had seen that the Westbury maze (about 30 minutes from home), has a special on where adults are at children's prices ($7) for the month of July, so thought we would head out there for the day.

We hadn't taken the children before and the girls were so excited, when we arrived, the lovely lady told us that they had hidden 13 different objects in the maze and if the girls could find them all they would get a little prize at the end.

So with paper and pen in hand we headed off to find the middle of the maze, and the 13 objects in between.

You would think having objects through out the maze would make it a little easier to find our way, it didn't, I'm sure we walked past this dam dinosaur fifty times. 

Finally we found the middle!

It was great to see the maze from above and work out where we had been, and how to get back out again!

The ladies gave the girls a lolly pop at the end for finding all the objects, (Alexis looks stoked with hers*)

We then drove around the quaint town of Westbury and stopped at Andy's bakery and gelato for some lunch and of course some gelato!

*The sun was in her eyes, she was really excited with her lolly pop, (I promise!!)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Trevallyn Reserve

 We have been making the most of any sun we get lately, in between the rainy muddy days, we've had some mornings here and there, that have been perfect crisp Winters morning, the kind that make you want to get out and enjoy them.

So on Sunday when the sun was shining, we headed to a local reserve to collect some sticks for the fire and get some fresh air and exercise at the same time.

We left early enough in the morning so that we could still catch a few Kangaroo's hoping about and the bush was very still, the children soon found a huge fallen tree to climb on and plenty of bits and pieces to put in their own little collection bags, while I gathered some sticks.

The reserve is home to the Trevallyn Dam and with all the rain we've had about lately, it was great to see all the water pouring over.

We then found the children's favorite tree, it's really bushy on the outside but perfect for climbing when you get underneath, they spent about an hour up in the tree chatting and playing.

We then sat on one of the many tables and had a picnic lunch, there are plenty of electric bbq's in the area which I often forget about, but we will have to remember and use more often.

It was a great way to spend the morning, and to make the most of the day before the rain started again.

What are you up to these school holidays?


Monday, July 4, 2016

Pea and Ham Soup

I'm not a fan of the old pea and ham soup myself, but Tom loves it and as I have never made it before, I thought I would give it a go. It would be a good winter warmer that he could take to work on these cold, miserable days. It even turned out well, according to Tom, and my Nanna who also loves Pea and Ham soup. Here is the recipe I used...

What you'll need:
500g packet dried green split peas
4 cups (1ltr) Chicken stock
1kg ham hock
1 onion, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
Salt and cracked black pepper
Crusty bread, to serve

What to do:
Place split peas in a sieve and run under cold water for a minute or until water turns clear. Set aside. Place stock, 2 litres of water, ham hock, vegetables and split peas in a large saucepan. Cook soup over medium high heat for 1 1/2 hours, skimming the surface occasionally to remove any foam. Remove from heat. Remove ham hock from the soup and set aside for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile blend the soup with a hand-held blender until pureed. Remove fat from ham hock, shred meat roughly and return to the soup. Serve with crusty bread.

Enjoy. xx

Friday, July 1, 2016

Op shopping

Yesterday, it was a rainy old day and the first day of the twins school holidays, we we're all going a little crazy inside so we headed to one of the local op shops for a sticky beak. There is huge mission shop not too far from our home, and it always has a great selection of toys.

We had a wander around, trying on funny bags and hats before finding ourselves in the huge toy sections for probably a little too long, the twins loved playing around, looking at all the different toys and picking a few to take home.

Rory loves car tracks, and we found a great hot wheels track that will connect with some tracks he already has. It was a bargain at just $3.

Alexis had her eye on this Barbie guitar from the moment she spotted it, it was in perfect working order, and a steal at $2.

She also got this Polly Pocket race car set, that came complete with instructions and figurines, again $3.

I find the toys at op shops are more suited to little children (0-4), so I wasn't hopeful on finding something for Poppy (7), but was happy when I found these loom bands, as she has been making a 'loom skipping rope' for awhile now, but had run out of bands, and since the 'craze' has sort of fizzled out, we hadn't been able to find any in stores around town. At .20c a bag it was an easy pick.

We also got this cute Hawaiian grass skirt for .50c which will go in the fancy dress box for parties or 'book week' ideas at school and these ninja turtle glasses (.50c) will do Rory perfectly for 'sunglasses day' at school next year, I'll pop them in the fancy dress box also.

Our haul should keep them busy for a few weeks, then I will pop the tracks back in the great little zip-up bags they came in, in the shed for another rainy day.

Not bad for a total of $10.00

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sharing boards

If you follow me on Instagram (@hollirob) you would have noticed that 'Sharing boards' are my new favorite tummy filler.
Between the five of us, we all like different things, so I'm finding these fun sharing boards a great way to please everybody, and to use up left overs in the fridge from the week before.

The last few weekends, I have whipped one up late afternoon when everyone is "staaaaarving" and then later at night when everyone gets the nibbles again, I pop something easy in the oven, like some chicken wings, spinach and cheese toasties, or I use up some left over veggies in this recipe.

I have noticed the children trying different things they may not have tried before, or not for a long time, In the busy day to day, I sometimes forget to add new things to their plates to try, instead just going with what I already know they like.

I also love whipping one up in the afternoon for an after school feed. I can put one together before I head out on school pickup and it's ready to go when I get home with three tired, hungry children.
With school holidays just two days away, I'm sure I will be making a few to get us through some of these cold wet and windy days.

Yum! xx

Friday, June 17, 2016

Melanoma spot

When I have talked to people about the Melanoma I had removed back in December, the question that keeps popping up is, What did the mole look like? 

I don't know why I did it, but when I was sitting in the doctors office waiting to have my small spot removed, I took a photo of it, perhaps I knew it was going to be something more than a simple spot being removed. I must have thought it was something odd, because I had persisted in having three different doctors look at it (thank god!)

So here is my Melanoma, 

a tiny little odd shaped spot that had been there for ever, but had started changing within about an eight month period, tiny from the outside but a huge tumor on the inside.

The first sign on a Melanoma is usually the appearance of a new spot, or a change in an existing freckle or mole. The change may be in size, shape or colour and is normally noticed over several weeks or months.

Which is why it is important to not only, notice yourself what is going on with the spots on your body, but to have a regular skin check up for anything you may have missed.

I'm not brave enough to show you my arm after the surgery yet, I'm sure the day will come and it will be just another part of me I'm use to, but for now, it still shocks me when I walk past a mirror or go to scratch my arm.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


I love rugging up on a Winters day and heading out to the bush for a bonfire and a play.

Yesterday was especially cold, as we were under some snow covered mountains and the wind was very chilling. With beanies, gloves, jackets and boots, the children didn't seem to mind and were happy to warm their little hands by the fire, keep busy on the motorbikes and doing some more work on their bush cubby.

After we lit the huge bonfire, we got a smaller fire pot going ready to cook some lunch on, we cooked some sausages and kebabs and in the morning Poppy asked if we could bring some marshmallows to cook, so the children had a great time cooking (Ok mostly burning) those also.

The children have been working on their bush cubby for about a year now, adding little touches every time we come out for the day. They loved showing their friends and Alexis and Poppy had put Pop to work, gathering more wood to make it even bigger. We were all amazed at how it had stayed in place after all the crazy winds and storms we have had since she started making it.

We love finding different things laying about on that farm, Alexis was very interested in this old animal bone and Rory loved looking at all the mushrooms that had popped up over the last few days.

Rory also was dying to try out the new four wheeler Pop had bought for the children to ride, so even though he still had his arm in plaster, he gave it gave it a go, as it wasn't the hand he needed for the throttle, he also promised me he would go nice and steady (which of course went out the window with in a few seconds of riding.)

It was the perfect way to spend the extra day off, getting some fresh air and exercise with family and friends.