Friday, December 27, 2013

Beer Crate Creation #3

Not much posting on my behalf due to being on HOLIDAY!! 
Hope you all have had a great Christmas this year!
Anyway just a quick post to show you my latest Beer Crate creation.
(see my other creations here and here)
Pretty stoked to find this one on the neighbour's bonfire which I quickly rescued from burning! The shop where I got my other crates wouldn't sell me any more the last time I checked :-( boo!
Here it is .. to be used for the kid's colouring in and activity books (finally!).

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sima J

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Mail!

Ooo look what I got today .. some happy mail!!
Thanks to the lovely Simone from Greatfun4kids I won all these goodies!!
So super stoked to be the lucky recipient of a copy of
 this amazing book that she wrote!!
What a talented lady she is (go check out her blog if you haven't already - she does AMAZING things - her birthday parties are FANTASTIC to say the least!!)
If you would like to get a very own copy of her wonderful book then go here:

A great idea for Christmas presents!!

Lucky me, I also got a cd, lovely card, and some SUPER cool Christmas ornaments! 
(My fav is the snowflake!)

Here's the haul! 
(and a pic of the ornaments on my HUGE (not) Christmas Tree)
Ooo and did I mention the book was even signed!

Sima J

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Bach Beauty Therapy!

(apologies about the mental coloured writing on this - Blogger seems to be misbehaving .. or more likely I don't know how to work it properly!)

This year I think .. no wait .. I KNOW I have won more stuff than any other year in my life. I have taken on the 'you've gotta be in it to win it' mentality and it seems to have paid off. I guess when I think of how many things I have entered it's not surprising to have won SOMETHING but I think I have been extra blessed this year (and able to bless others by it which is awesome). 

One of the very best things I have won though is a voucher for The Bach Beauty Therapy. I was SO stoked it was SUPER generous of the lovely Olivia (The Bach owner) and Jackie over at Jacksta B who ran the competition.

I redeemed part of my voucher today and got a full body massage. OH.MY.HEAVENLY!! I so super recommend this place!! It was super relaxing and it doesn't just stop there. 
She does waxing, manicures, pedicures, facials and more!! 
She's got her own special little room with an off-street park and it has been done up BEAUTIFULLY!  Here is the price list
 (hopefully you can click on it to zoom in?)

So if you're stuck for Christmas presents this year she's even got a special offer on for December: 
Give and you shall receive! For every $50 spent on a Gift voucher from now until Christmas, you will receive $10 credit for yourself.
Remember to spread the word!
Recommend someone to The Bach, and get pampered with a complimentary hand or foot treatment!

What a deal! So book your place in now and get all waxed and ready for the beach and grab a massage while you're there - they really are divine! 
Here are the contact details:

The Bach Beauty Therapy - FB link HERE
2 Edward Road, Whangarei Heads 
(09) 945 4899, txt 0226081253

Sima J

*This is in no way sponsored by The Bach Beauty Therapy and is completely my own opinion*

Friday, November 22, 2013

Finished Heart Quilt

So I just realised that whilst I did post pics on FB, I forgot to blog about the quilt I finished! (I'm pretty good at not blogging about things .. oops!)

Anyway here is the end result. I am pretty stoked with it (and tempted to keep it hehe .. don't worry, I won't!) 
I think actually the reason why I am so happy is because my Mum said the quilting was 'Beautiful' and that she has been trying for years to be able to quilt like this :-) Well she can sure take most the credit since pretty much everything about quilting I learned from her! (and the internet hehe)

Sima J

Friday, November 15, 2013

Chocolate and Apricot Mud Cake

It's been a while! So to take my mind off the fact that I'm melting in a heap with hayfever today I thought I'd do a quick blurb about this cake I made yesterday!

There wasn't any birthday to have the excuse to make a cake and I really felt like eating chocolate cake so I made one 'just because'.
It turned out DELICIOUS! :-) Yusss (waaaay better than the disgusting peanut butter slice/cake thing I made the other day, half of which is still sitting in the pantry and really needs to go in the compost now!)

Here's the nice cake anyway ...

I had a recipe for a mud cake from my Mum's friend which you can either cook as one cake, or 2, and then put filling in the middle. I wasn't sure what to put in the middle but thought some jam would be nice. Unfortunately we didn't have enough jam so I concocted my own jam/conserve/jellyish stuff and it turned out really nice! All I did was put 1 can of apricots (including the juice) and one cup of white sugar in a pot. I brought this to a boil and then turned it down to simmer (whilst stirring occasionally). Near the end it does need to be stirred pretty much constantly so it doesn't catch on the bottom and burn. You know when it's done when you drop a drip onto a plate and when you tip the plate, it doesn't dribble down the plate.
Anyway, here is the mud cake recipe and you can choose to do whatever filling you like! (I'm assuming it would probably work with peaches or other fruit too??)

Chocolate Mud Cake Recipe:

2c sugar
1 3/4c flour
3/4c cocoa
1 1/2tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp salt

MIX (separately):
2 eggs
1/2c oil (I used coconut, but you can use any)
3tsp vanilla essence
1c milk

COMBINE the 2 mixtures together with 1c boiling water.

Cook : 2 tins for 35min@ 160 Celsius 
or: 1 tin for 1hr@ 160 Celsius

I made simple butter icing for the top. (softened butter/icing sugar/drops of water to mix)


Sima J

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Dinosaur Suit including Tutorial!

Today I managed to make a dinosaur suit for my nephew for Christmas. I'm trying to get on top of the Christmas presents now so we don't end up with a huge bill and manic Christmas Shopping at the end of the year! So now I've managed to pin down 3 Christmas Presents :-)

I'll show you here the finished product and if you want to know how to make it then keep reading (I hope I make sense in this tutorial! I really was just flying by the seat of my pants so feel free to adjust anything to make yours even better!)


You will need:
1 meter of sparkly fabric (if you buy stuff that isn't see-through you probably won't need the lining)
1 meter of lining (I just used an old sheet)
1 button
small amount of fabric for binding and neck attachment bit (this is not mandatory either)
1x 30cm square of felt (I got mine from Arthurs for $1.50) which you cut into triangles.

1. Cut 2x wings - one left one, one right one in the shape as you see below .. just make up how big you want it depending on the child .. I was just copying off a suit I already had, but making it larger.
2. pin down the outside of the wing (right sides together) and sew

3. pin what you've sewn open and top stitch it flat. Now you should have 2 wings like the picture below

4. Now you need to cut the hood pieces .. mine could have done with being a little big larger (hence why I added binding to the front .. to make it a little bit bigger) .. cut 2x liner pieces, and I actually cut 4x sparkly hood bits to make the hood a little bit more sparkly.
5. fold the straight edge of the hood in half and about halfway up put a pin in so you can sew a tuck. This should help the hood curve around the head better.

6. Pin all the layers of the hood in the correct order, right sides together and sew. Now your hood should look like the pic below. At this stage I would try it on the child (or in my case, a similar sized child) and adjust if it needs it. Now you are ready to put the spikes on.

NOTE: You could add the spikes by pinning them inside the layers at the start of number 6. I would do that next time around, but it does hold it well if you just unpick spaces for the spikes afterwards

7. Fold a little tuck on a spike (it stays pretty well with felt). Sit the spike on the hood to see how much you have to unpick (if you haven't put them in already) and then unpick enough for it to fit in between the layers, pin, and sew.
Do this for all the hood spikes .. mine fitted 4 on.

8. Now add some elastic on the tips of the wings to go around the child's wrist. Double fold the top of the wing, encapsulating the elastic and sew right along the top of the wing. 
9. Go over the elastic a few times to hold it in place.

10. Make some binding for the front of the hood. This just means cutting a strip of fabric and ironing it in half.
11. Pin binding to the front of the hood, and sew.
12. Fold and pin flat and top stitch.
13. See pic for inside view of what it should look like.

NOTE: If you didn't want to do the binding, just fold over the front of the hood double and sew - I only didn't do this because my hood was too small to do that (and it turned out quite nice anyway!)

NOTE#2: If you buy binding - or make binding so that you cut a strip, fold the edges together, then fold it in half - you could put this over the front of the hood and make it look tidy from both sides .. I only just thought of this now oops! haha

14. Sew the 'spine' of the wings together at the top just a little bit - about 3cm down
15. Pin the hood onto the wings and sew. See pic below as to what it should look like now.

16. Now sew the rest of the spikes (with a tuck folded in them) down the spine. I pinned all the spine including the spikes and did it in one go
17. use 2x equilateral triangles (triangles with 3 sides the same length) and put the either side of the tail and top stitch all around the edge to hold it on and togther. 

18. If you want you can add a strap for around the front of the neck (which is handy if the hood is off so it doesn't fall off). You could add ties or velcro but I used a button for mine - I made a strap out of binding material (please excuse bad button hold sewing!!).

19. Now you're done! Pat yourself on the back :-)
20. get recipient or willing model to wear it and post about it on your blog! 

I hope that was helpful .. feel free to ask questions and feel free to share this tutorial :-)

Sima J

Monday, October 7, 2013

Munch Awards .. please vote for me!

Hey there!
You may recall a while back I was nominated by someone for the Munch Best Kids Food Blog?
Well the time has come to cast your vote! (actually it's been open since the 4th of Oct - and results are known 1st Nov)
So .. if you feel like you'd like to vote for me that would be awesome! 

When I started out this blog I didn't intend it to be a food blog particularly, but it seems that food is a major part of my life .. and I guess since I'm cooking for my kids it's become a kid's food blog! I hope it has encouraged you, and given you some tips and tricks to help!

Voting is at this site under 'Best Kid's Food Blog' .. look for SimaJ :-)

Thanks heaps!!

Sima J

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My Mug Arrived .. and more! YIPEE!!

Some of you have been involved in a mug swap and I was STOKED to get mine in the post today!!
It was an AMAZING bundle of goodies!! They were all so thoughtful I LOVE IT!!!
Here was the opening process .. 

.. cute box .. 

... horse stickers and a cute pinwheel ..

.. ooooo so much goodness!!! ..

.. the mug is an infuser mug too!!

So you can see why I was totally stoked!! 
So in the goodie box was .. Horse stickers, Fair Trade choc (3x cute mini ones + one yummo bar!), cute purple pinwheel, HANDMADE mug cozy!! (so cute!), Fairtrade organic peppermint tea - YUM!, 2x little Moreish face cleansers, and some Neutrogena hand cream .. AND don't forget the awesome mug! It is JUST what I need because my tea infusing teaspoon pincer thingees (know what I mean??) have gone walk abouts ages ago and I have been meaning to get another so I can use my loose leaf tea again .. now I don't need to YIPEE!! 

So a MASSIVE THANK YOU to Katie from Mummy Adventures!!
You are a star!

Sima J 

Monday, September 16, 2013

to my mug swap partner :-)

I'm doing a little mug swap with other bloggers around NZ - FUN!

We put our name forward and get someone else's name to swap a mug with (as well as possible other goodies!)

SO .. for whomever has me I thought I'd better let you in on what I like to make it easier :-)
Firstly - THANK YOU for doing this swap I can't wait to get the parcel in the mail!

I like .. drinking all sorts of hot drinks! We have a coffee machine that we grind our own beans for once a day (in the morning) .. or twice on a bad day haha :-) I like herbal teas, normal tea, occasionally a hot chocolate .. I'm not too fussy really!

I like .. any colour really - probably blue or pink or purple the most I guess.

I like .. organic things (I just read about how teas can have been sprayed with chemicals and they don't wash the tea, and then we steep them in hot water and drink!  I never thought of that before!!)

I like .. horses. 

I like .. the ocean.

I like .. any sweets! I have a sweet tooth ;-)

That should do it .. go nuts - I'm sure I'll love whatever comes my way!

And you reading this .. maybe I've got YOUR name .. ooooo I'm keeping mine a secret!!

Sima J

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Munch Awards

Hey lovely readers!
I've been nominated for the Munch Awards!

Pretty cool - voting begins October 4th here so I'll pop up the voting site again on a new post when it's all go :-)
Thanks for reading my blog to make this even a possibility!

Sima J

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The soup morning

Today has been a soup morning!

It all started when I bought half a pumpkin from the markets.
I thought I'd better make soup with it before it goes off. Then I remembered I had some potatoes that needed using and some leeks that I'd bought. Then I realised I also had a HUGE turnip that hubby had brought home from off our land.
So .. one pumpkin soup, one potato leek soup, one vege soup. 
Having a chest freezer helps too .. otherwise we'd be eating soup for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Here is some of the turnip, along with onion and garlic frying up in the pan (having never cooked with turnip I did a little googling and made up my own idea of what to do with it!)

 The turnip - you can see how big it is compared to the pen - and this is with the bottom of it, and part of the side of it chopped off!

My vege soup ready to boil up and simmer.

I don't usually buy stock in these little cubes but they were on sale .. I LOVE the cute little individually wrapped pieces!

Pumpkin soup in one crockpot (slowcooker)

Potato leek soup in the other crockpot (slowcooker)

 The giant 3/4 of a bucket load of compost to go in my compost bin, ready to break down to feed my vege patch in future :-)

Hopefully they all turn out nice! I personally do not like potato and leek soup so I'll leave that one for the others to demolish .. pumpkin is my fav out of these three - though kumara bacon soup is my all time fav! I love how there are tonnes of veges in these soups and they are healthy AND yummy :-)
p.s. a tip that I do is to buy french sticks when they're on sale (they usually always are 2 for $3 at Countdown!) - make up some garlic butter (garlic + butter - easy!). Chop your sticks in half and then partway through like the bought garlic breads. Wrap them in foil and freeze - then you have garlic bread (for having with things like soup!) on hand when you need it! (great for taking to BBQs etc. too!)

Sima J

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Some Winter Beauty

I actually took these a while back and am pretty sure I never shared them.
Just some beauty for your day :-)

Sima J

Monday, August 26, 2013

Another Wheatie bag...

So I didn't actually make the Wheatie Bag for this one, but I did make the cover.
My lovely MIL made my sons one wheatie bag each a while back which is awesome!
I was having a riffle through one of my fav 2nd hand shops (the SPCA ones in Whangarei for those who live here! They are so cheap and heaps of awesome finds!) and found the most awesome pillowcase with a retro plane print on it. Nevermind that one side had holes in it because it was so threadbare .. the other side was fine. At 50c I couldn't pass it up so I bought it and made a new cover for the wheatie for my master 4yr. 
I think I might love it more than he does haha ..

Sima J

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Last Review .. Slowcooker Chicken Tacos

You can find the recipe here.

The last Slowcooker review from the giant list!

This one was another winner, with one alteration.
It was SO easy and it's the kind of thing you can throw together quickly if you have the ingredients in your cupboard too (or use from freezer, obviously even easier!)

I made this one with tortilla wraps - It got me confused as the title says Tacos, and in the recipe it says use Tortillas. I guess you could use either though!
We put it with some lettuce, tomato, cheese, sourcream, and avocado.

You could use the same chicken on Tacos, or even as a nacho kind of mix really!

The only thing that I would alter is that one amount didn't go far enough for us. Luckily we had an extra guest over for dinner so I chucked both of the dinners in (since I had doubled all the recipes) because it didn't look like much with just one. It fed us well, we made about 11 wraps out of it, and there was plenty of meat in each, but we didn't have any left over. I guess you could be more stingy on the meat and make it stretch further, or you could chuck in a can of beans too (probably near the end because they'd quite likely go mushy I'd think if you put them in for as long as the chicken?)

ALSO .. it did say 6hrs on high from frozen cook time - I had the 2 dinners in for that long from frozen and they were very well done. I'd say you could get away with 5hours but I guess it depends on your slowcooker and how hot it cooks.


Hopefully you've learnt from my mistakes and are inspired to make some freezer slowcooker meals too!

Sima J

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Stew Review

You can find the recipe here.

As per, no pic sorry! This was an okay dish. Not our favourite (in fact, the man thought some of the meat tasted weird and didn't like it because of that). It did taste a tad watery and not very flavour-full. 
I probably wouldn't make this particular recipe again - however I may make something similar with some kind of more flavour to it. 
So my verdict - okay, but not fantastic.

Sima J

Monday, August 5, 2013

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Review

You can find the recipe here.

Another winner (with a small alteration).
GAH I was SO going to take a photo this time .. before dinner I thought to myself 'don't forget to take a photo this time'. Unfortunately my hunger won over my memory.

The recipe calls for butter to be added 30 minutes before eating. I didn't add this and it was really nice. I don't think it needs the extra fat to be honest. 

We ate it on buns with salad ingredients - lettuce, tomato, cucumber, avocado - and some ranch dressing on one, Nando's lemon and herb sauce on the other. YUM :-)
I'm glad I've got another one in the freezer to make yet!

Sima J 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

2x partially finished quilt tops :-)

This is what I've been working on .. quilt tops.
This one for friends:

And this one for me:

Yay loving both of these - loving the white freshness of them both!

Sima J

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rainy Day Easy Toddler Colour Activities

So I had a few minutes to do some activities with Master 4yr this morning so pintrest searched on some easy ideas that weren't messy or hard to set up.

This is what we did:

The first idea didn't work quite as well as I had thought. I got 3 glasses of water out, and put blue colouring in one, and yellow in another. Then I got 2 paper towels, rolled them up and put one end in a colour, and one in a glass of uncoloured water. The idea is that the colour transfers through the paper towel into the uncoloured water and then the colours mix, making a third colour. 
I found that the colour just went halfway up the paper towel though, so I ended up just squeezing it out of the paper towels into the colour-free water. Not as exciting as predicted! (also, I didn't get a photo of this, but this is the one from where I got the idea - you can click on the pic for the link)


Second, I got out 3 bowls and some tongs and got the kids to put all the same colour lego in each bowl using the tongs. (I just picked out the yellow/green/blue lego and used that)

Then I got a bag and put all the 3 colours of lego into the bag. Then we'd take turns pulling out a piece and telling me it's colour. If it was right, we'd put it in one of the bowls from before with it's matching colour.
(I didn't get a pic of this one either)

Then we focused on ONE colour - we chose green - and did a drawing with all sorts of green things that we could think of. Also, to get ideas we looked through a magazine and pointed out all the green things.

Lastly, I made them these mess-free finger paint sheets.

You just get a ziploc bag - put in 2 (or however many!) blobs of paint and zip it up. Then I masking taped on a piece of white paper underneath and the bag on top and they squished the paint around to make a third colour (kept with the yellow/blue/green thing for Master 4)

All in all a good bit of fun for a rainy day - and colour learning for my 4yr old who seems to be having a bit of difficulty with the names of colours :-)

Sima J

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Slowcooker Teriyaki Chicken Review

You can find the recipe here.

This one was a semi-win.
Yes, yes, yes no photo again DOH!

This was nice, but there was WAAAAYYYYY too much pineapple!! It could do with either a TONNE more chicken, or else a HEAP less pineapple!  The recipe calls for two LARGE cans of pineapple - after doing the calculations to convert to NZ sizes, I found that meant a LOT of pineapple.  Well I followed the recipe even though I was thinking it sounded like way too much pineapple.  You can learn from my mistakes haha (as can I!)

SO .. I would adjust so you just use ONE small or medium size can of pineapple .. or use one large can, and double the amount of chicken.

Sima J