Friday, 28 February 2014

Easy Bacon and Cheese Muffins

Every Sunday night for the past few weeks I have been baking a something to go with my kids lunches. I have become a big fan of muffins because I can usually prepare them whilst I am cooking dinner and pop them in the oven with a potato dish or casserole to save on the gas. The biggest bonus is that the kids love them...and these went so fast I will make a double batch this weekend. They make a good substitute for sandwiches which my boys are not overly fond of.


  • 2 rashers rindless bacon, diced
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 50g butter, melted
  • Pinch black or cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chives or parsley, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup Tasty Cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese


  1. 1.Preheat oven to 190C.

  2. 2.Pan-fry bacon (dont let get crisp). 

  3. 3. Beat eggs in a bowl adding milk, butter, cayenne pepper and chives or parsley.
  4. 4. Into a separate bowl, sift flour, add bacon and cheese. Stir in egg mixture and mix until combined. Line a medium 12 muffin pan with muffin cases or use a non stick pan. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  5. 5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes until well risen and golden brown.

There you have it. An easy lunchbox idea thrown together on a Sunday night.

Do you bake muffins? I made banana and chocolate muffins a couple of weeks ago. Do you have any other easy suggestions?

Have a great weekend everyone!! :)

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Thankful Thursday - Jake Garrett Foundation

I am thankful this week that I still have my three children – at home, with me, and very much alive. My daughter is turning twenty this year and my twin boys are fifteen, so I have been with them through their entire childhood. Some parents are not so lucky.

Every day I read about a young child who has died through either illness or accident, which prompted an interesting discussion with my husband this week. I told him that I find it amazing and very inspiring how people cope with losing their child in an accident. I said that I could accept a terminal illness as something totally out of my control, but if my child was run over in the driveway or drowned in our dam, gosh how hard it must be to not only live with the grief of losing your child but also with the guilt and torment that you were perhaps responsible….’if only’s would plague you for many years.

Two years ago a Gympie family lost their 12 year old son when he crashed a modified ride on mower that he drove around their Amamoor property. He was getting the mail, a task he did every day, down their steep driveway, when something went wrong. He sustained intensive head injuries and died after 12 days in hospital.

What his mother did the following year is nothing short of awe-inspiring, and reminds me a little of the courage Daniel Morcombe’s parents have shown in the face of adversity. Helen Barrett established the Jake Barrett Foundation and tomorrow Friday the 28th February, which would have been Jake’s 14th Birthday, Gympie will celebrate Jake Garrett Foundation Day and raise money for this wonderful charity.

This excerpt from the Foundation’s Facebook page (please like and support) will make me forever thankful that people like Helen Garrett exist in this world:


To support families whose children have died, emotionally and financially by donating to the child's funeral, supplying grief literature and support for as long as the family needs.

My story is about hope; it is about the changing face of hope and giving hope to others. When I found Jake lying lifeless on the ground, my HOPE at that point in time was the hope I could get him breathing again. In the hospital my HOPE was Jakes survival. The hope he would open his eyes again. As the days went on my HOPE was for Jakes pain to go away. When you see your child sick and fighting for life you would do anything to protect them from this pain. I prayed like I have never prayed before, I read my bible more then I had ever read it before. One of my nieces come to me at the hospital and told me to read Psalm 136, ‘His mercy endureth for ever’ is repeated 26 times. This Psalm gave me the HOPE the God would show mercy to Jake and to us.
When Jake passed away, for weeks I had little HOPE. For the first time in my life, I knew what it felt like to be without HOPE. I didn’t look past today and tomorrow was too painful. God did show us mercy that day, Jake was in pain, in Gods mercy he look that pain away. Our prayers were not in vain, I believe Jake has found salvation. When Jesus comes my HOPE will be for filled, I will see him again. The HOPE of hugging someone so special, is what keeps me going.
I live in HOPE.
May my story give you HOPE.

Helen Garrett xo

‘Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

So, tomorrow I will wear blue in honour of Jake Garrett, collect donations from work for this wonderful charity, and be thankful my three children are still with me. I can’t think of anything more special than that.

I hope you have a wonderful day and find many things to be thankful. If you are on Facebook please pop over and like the Jake Garret Foundation to show them your support.

PS: I am also so thankful to be sharing my post on Rhianna’s beautiful website “A Parenting Life”.

Thankful Thursday with APL

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Michael, Charlotte and A Girl I Once Knew

 A Serious Story about a very Serious Topic

There was a girl I used to know, back in the late seventies, who absolutely dreaded going to school. The thought of turning up every day kept her awake at night, made her physically sick. She was terribly unhappy, even before her mother left her while she was at school one day, without even saying goodbye. This abandonment made the girl’s misery much more intense. Was it her fault? Didn’t she love her mother enough? Was she too naughty? or, God forbid, did her mother not love her? Why would she just leave? Why?

The girl was now even more alone than before. A fringe dweller I thought of her as, because she never really related to the rest of the kids. Her thoughts were too candid, too honest…and her words at times were unintentionally hurtful or grossly misunderstood. She didn’t think before she spoke, but those few that knew her well, understood that she was a really good person. It wasn’t enough to stop her punishing herself. She stopped eating and became painfully thin…anorexic possibly, but we didn’t know about that back then, not until Karen Carpenter died of it anyway.

The vultures, those smart-ass good-looking girls with the curvy figures and the large crowds of friends, were primed for attack. The girl was weak, someone they could attack and make cry, to feed their evil sensibilities. Snappy Legs they called her, which they shortened to ‘Snap’. It stuck, and soon everyone forgot her name and called her Snap.

Every morning they would wait at the school gates – despite the girl’s best efforts to sneak inside. They would taunt her, telling her how ugly she was, how she had no boobs, how no-one would love her, how all the boys hated her. They’d threaten to bash her, throw punches and food at her face…and if she dared tell her Nan who worked in the school office, then she was attacked even more – dobber, sissy, weakling…and worst of all…cry baby. This sensitive girl I once knew could not help the tears, and tears attract bullies like kids to a schoolyard brawl.

She couldn’t talk to her dad about it because he was distant, heartbroken at the loss of her Mum who left him for a travelling salesman. Her Nan was a no-go zone, her few friends knew what was happening but kept their distance because they didn’t want to take sides and get bashed too. There was no-one…so she bottled it inside, desperately wishing that she could just die and not have to deal with it anymore.

That was a way out, wasn’t it? She had thought of suicide so many times before, was obsessed about it, even though she knew it was wrong. If she wasn’t around they would have no-one to pick on. They would be blamed for what they had done to her, surely? They would grow up feeling bad about it for the rest of their lives. Her dad was too busy to miss her, her Mum didn’t care anyway, so what did she have to lose?
She spent hours trying to figure out a way. Just how would she do it? She didn’t like pain, maybe pills? What pills, where would she get them? What about car gassing, that wouldn’t work, dad would be home then if the car was here. Hanging? Oh gross, what if it didn’t work, that happens sometimes in the movies right?

Just then, the girl’s thoughts were interrupted by a younger girls tears. Her sister came bursting into the room, running in to jump on her lap, to be saved by her big brother’s bullying. Big Sis always saved her…always. The girl I used to know realized then how silly her thoughts were, that what she was contemplating would truly destroy the life of the little girl she had to look after. Her sister was only four and had no mother, she needed her big sister…and her big sister needed her.

The girl was lucky. She could so easily have made the wrong decision…and she came very close, just by even contemplating the issue for so long. But, she put it behind her and endured the years of bullying. Her family never knew, she still keeps it bottled inside, those evil dark thoughts well behind her… but a present reminder of unhappy times. You can tell it still affects her now, as she writes this piece in an attempt to explain how someone can get to that dark place. Yes, I was there…

…the girl I once knew was me.


This mini memoir was inspired by the retelling of the suicide of Michael Hutchence, and the recent suicide of Charlotte Dawson. We will always wonder why? But, it is not for us to judge what happened, instead perhaps to empathise, and try and understand that when you feel that you are totally alone in the world and that all hope is gone, opting out may seem like the only viable option. I was only twelve and had reached rock bottom as far as my world was concerned - not being around anymore was more favourable to me in that moment than facing up to the bullies every day of my life.

Luckily for me it wasn’t meant to be that way. I was saved.

My heart goes out to those who weren’t.


If you ever feel alone please reach out to those who can help.
Lifeline 131144


Sunday, 23 February 2014

Simple Living Sunday 18

I absolutely love my Sundays at home. Last week we had our first session of Army cadets which takes me away from home all day. I have filled in all the forms to become an Army cadets volunteer so I can help out while I am down there. Until it all goes through the government channels, I will plan some excursions as its too far to drive home and back. I have a visit planned to an organic market next Sunday which should be fun. I picked the first Lemonade this week (the large yellow fruit), a few ripe lemons and limes, the last of the kale...and of course my staple cherry tomatoes :)

I am pleased to say the sprouts were a success and not too much bother. Filling with water 2-3 times a day was easy as I had it on the bench where I could see it easily. For some reason, one of the trays did not sprout.

Snow pea sprouts on top did well, although I had to cover them as it was a hot week with many flies.

The second tray was the mixed seeds supplied with the kit and some sprouted better than others.

This was the same mixture and did not sprout at all.

The best result was the alfalfa sprouts. I bought the seed at the health food store but I would probably put a little less in next time.

Some of the seeds I planted last week are already growing. It has been hard to keep them moist with our extreme heat this week, so hopefully they will thrive now it is a little cooler.

I was so excited to wake up to a grey sky this morning...sadly it did not bring the much needed rain, but it did provide a wonderful climate to get stuck into the garden.

I removed the shade cloth covering my squash and decided to get stuck into preparing this bed for planting next week.

There, all done with the clearing. I will dig it over next week, add some compost and mulch and then decide what to plant here this time...rotation is the key, I understand.

I decided to make a Super Sunday Smoothie for lunch today. I started with Baby beets, Brahmi, Lemon, Kale, Carrot, Nectarine, Ginger and Apples.

I put them all through the juicer and ended up with this beautiful frothy juice.

I then added some of my fresh juice to the blender with a banana, cinnamon, prune juice, whey and my homemade yoghurt...and a little more kale.

Voila...Super Sunday Smoothie. Rich with fruit and vegetable nutrition...and the brain food - Brahmi :)

The pumpkin vine took a battering with the heat last week but the pumpkins still seem to be growing bigger.

While I was making dinner tonight I baked these bacon and cheese muffins for lunchboxes. The third week I have stuck to my goal to bake something for lunchboxes...yay!

So, how was your weekend? Did you bake, make or create anything new?

Have a great week!! :)

Friday, 21 February 2014

Flood-Proof Friday - Get Ready Update

It's been a while since I did a Flood-Proof Friday post. It's a segment of my blog that will always be here but I don't need to write about flooding every Friday - unless I have something important I want to say or express. Back in November I wrote about signing up for the Get Ready Queensland initiative which basically prepares you and your home over a period of fifty two weeks, for any natural disaster event. I thought I would recap what the weekly suggestions are so far:

1. 'Like' the SES Queensland Facebook page

2. Get a first aid kit or make sure the one you have is up to date

3. Make sure you have a battery operated radio and spare batteries

4. Save 000 in your phone for emergencies

You used to have to ring a different number from your mobile but 000 now works. We had to ring an ambulance for Paul's dad last year and 000 got me straight through. Quicker to dial it than store it though I think?

5. Make sure you have enough water for 3 days

This is always an issue for us. We put pots and pans out to catch rainwater and use the floodwater to flush our toilets, as well as relying on our bottled supply.

6. Get a gas cooker so you can still boil water and cook if the power goes out

Our gas stove has been the best thing for floods. Imagine a fridge full of food that has to be cooked before it goes off? Paul did rely on a small gas burner one year, and boiled eggs as the chooks laid them.

7. Check electrical items for damage before use (ie. Christmas lights)

An odd thing to put on the list at this stage although I suppose it was emailed at Christmas time.

8. Where would you stay if you had to evacuate your home - have a plan

We have great neighbours who own a camping ground and the helicopter shot in my cover photo was taken from there. We have stayed at their place several times when we had to get out.

9. Save 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) in your phone for non-emergency health advice

A great suggestion. I did not even know about this information line. Have you used it for advice before?

10. Ensure you have a working torch and spare batteries

11. Get to know your neighbours, maybe even swap phone numbers

We had thought of getting everyone together but it has not eventuated. It is on my to-do list. When Cathryn from Cobb and Co was arranging for the lady next door to get airlifted from her roof, we discovered the value of knowing who your neighbours are.

12. Make a list of your valuable items and take photos for insurance purposes

13. On hot days check on elderly relatives and neighbours to make sure they are okay.

A great point, but not sure of it's relevance (for this list) anyway. Living out here we don't have close elderly neighbours.

14. Find out where your nearest hospital emergency department is


There you have it! With fourteen weeks into the fifty-two we have certainly covered a few essentials. I question the order of priorities with a few of them, as there are several things I would have included by now if I were designing the list. For example, a stockpile of food would be more important than making a list of my valuable me anyway :)

What are your thoughts? With bushfires and floods now affecting people where they haven't before, do you have some sort of plan?

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Cherry Tomato and Chilli Jam

A couple of weeks ago I decided to make a cherry tomato jam instead of my usual relish. My sister gave us a jar of chilli jam for Christmas which we polished off within a few weeks (it goes great with eggs in the morning!) so it inspired me to investigate making my the fact that I have chillies growing. I found a few recipes and adapted my own from the ingredients in my cupboard (and with far less sugar).


750g cherry tomatoes
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 onions finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Red Chillies, chopped (3-4, depending how hot you like it)
5cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
250ml white wine vinegar
150g brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp pectin

Halve the cherry tomatoes.

Place all ingredients, except the soy sauce, into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then simmer until reduced to a jam like consistency. This takes about 45 minutes. 

Add the fish sauce and cook for two more minutes before spooning into sterilised jars. I used pectin so that the jam would set without having to use too much sugar.

There you have it, two salsa jars full of cherry tomato and chilli jam. It is spicy and sweet and goes well with all meat. We put it on platters when we serve cheese and dip, and add it to the top of our Sunday Eggs Benny...yummo.

Have you every tried chilli or tomato jam?

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Sydney Maritime Museum

Another Sydney-themed photographic post. As soon as my husband saw these ships and found out you could go inside them, there was no way we were going anywhere else. Beautiful darling Harbour has many attractions and we thoroughly enjoyed out time at the Sydney Maritime Museum. These are shots taken of three ships, the HMAS Vampire (a warship), the HMAS Onslow (submarine) and a replica of Captain Cook's Endeavour.

My Little Drummer Boys
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