Thursday, March 29, 2012

Meals for new mums

It was really lovely to read a comment from Lisa at Sweet Georgia and the Crafty Squirrel recently saying that some of the recipes I have put on my blog have become family favourites-they are mostly my hubby's recipes as he is a far better cook than I am!  It's been a while since I shared a recipe on here but this one by NZ chef Ray McVinnie is one I've been meaning to share for ages as it's a real goodie.

Chicken Fricassée by Ray McVinnie

There are 5 reasons why I love cooking this meal for a friend who has just had a baby.

1.  It is all cooked in the one pot.
2.  A whole meal- meat, potatoes and veges- is in this dish so all a new mum or dad has to do is heat it up- there's no need to add anything.
3. Toddlers and children will eat this meal as well- well mine luckily do and my friends' 19 month old did as well!
4. If you break it up with a fork it's also a great meal for a baby- Jack loved it tonight (being on the tramp with his crazy sisters for nearly an hour might have helped him build up an appetite though!)
5. The chicken, bacon, baby potatoes and creamy sauce make it a really tasty dinner which is a nice treat for new parents.

This recipe comes from Ray McVinnie's cookbook 'Everyday Sunday' (his collected recipes from the Sunday Star Times 'Sunday' magazine).  
I have found it enough for 4 adults and 2 or 3 children +baby as well. There are a lot of ingredients but it is an easy meal to cook.

"Fricassée is a French term for a traditional dish of white meat like chicken or veal in a creamy sauce with vegetables."

3 tbls olive oil
3/4 tsp dried tarragon
3 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 stick celery, thinly sliced
1 leek, thinly sliced
5 rashers rindless bacon, chopped
300 g button mushrooms, halved
6 skinned and boned single chicken breasts, each cut into 3 across the grain of the meat
125ml dry white wine
12 baby waxy potatoes, well scrubbed
750ml chicken stock
3 tbls cornflour mixed with 3 tbls water
250ml fresh cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup coarsly chopped chervil (or parsley), plus exta for garnish

1. Heat the oil in a large, wide, deep pan over moderate heat. Add the tarragon, garlic, onion, carrot, celery, leek, bacon and mushrooms. Fry gently, without browning, for about 10 minutes until the onion is soft.
2. Add the chicken and mix well, letting the chicken colour all over. Add the wine and let it bubble then add the potatoes and chicken stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the potatoes are tender.
3.  Bring back to the boil and stir in the cornflour slurry to thicken the fricassee.  Stir in the cream and bring back to the boil again.
4. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add the chervil and mix well. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes so the chicken absorbs the sauce.
5. Serve sprinkled with extra chervil.

Other meals I can think of that are good to take around to new mums are lasagne, shepherds/cottage pie, meatloaf, chicken soup, chicken pie, sausage, bean and tomato stew- would love to hear of more ideas- (maybe you have a recipe on your blog and could put a link to it?)

Megan x

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dolls house books

I think I could spend my days just looking on book depository- I have a wishlist that goes for about 8 pages on there! I have been looking for some book ideas for Amelie for her 5th birthday and came across a few dolls house books so I thought I would share them with you for all you dolls house enthusiasts out there.
The Dolls' House Fairy
I got this one out from the library the other day- it's a sweet little story with beautiful illustrations. Makes me want to hide a little fairy in Amelie's dolls house to find!
The Enchanted Dolls' House
This one looks amazing - pop up dollhouses, secret letters, hidden pictures, a jewelry box to explore and more.
Doll's House Sticker Book
The Doll's House
And dolls house fan Monica put a link to all these dollshouse reno's on my Facebook page so I thought I would share it here too for those of you not on Facebook. Thanks again Monica!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A home and a cottage

Thank you all so much for your kind comments from my post on Thursday- I just banged that post out really quickly and did not at all expect the beautiful comments people wrote- it made me feel so good about sharing my projects and all the other stuff I blog about - and to know that so many of you (and your children even-that was really cool to know!) enjoy reading and get a wee bit of pleasure in your day as you go about the same stuff I do!
I have been really looking forward to sharing this lovely home and cottage featured in the latest issue of Your Home and Garden magazine- especially for you overseas readers that don't get to read this fab magazine. I haven't shared a house from a magazine here before but this one was just so gorgeous I knew that a lot of you would enjoy it too.
The magazine features Deborah Tapper's home in Wellington and her cottage in Greytown. I could honestly move into either of them tomorrow and not change a thing!! She even has Orla Kiely cupboards in her kitchen like my dollshouse! And her cottage....french doors, pink roses, white painted is exactly my dream of a little cottage one day.
I emailed Deborah to see if she would mind if I shared her home on here and she was very happy to- she said most of her finds are op-shop finds- she must be one good op-shopper!!
Here are the pics (taken by YH&G photographer Nicola Edmonds).
Love the bright pink and emerald green accents
The clever lady herself (love the artworks in frames on the left too)
Deborah designed and made the cushions and also sometimes sells them- you can find them at Hope & Glory in Greytown and at Lisa Harmen's Workshop in Carterton
Her office nook in the alcove next to the fireplace-great idea don't you think!
♥ Orla Kiely wallpaper on kitchen cupboards 
Even  the interior of a shelf has a cute wallpaper- love this striped yellow and pink one
Retro fab in her son's bedroom- check out the yellow typewriter!
Master bedroom with beautiful fan as a wall hanging
Deborah's 'Birdy' cottage in Greytown
That couch is so inviting...
Cutest. kitchen. ever.
Stunning wallpaper in one of the bedrooms- and more cute paper in the little shelf of the bedside table
french doors, bunting and roses 
And guess what- when I googled Deborah's name her cottage came up on a website for accomodation in Greytown...yes you can stay there! Wouldn't that be a nice way to spend a weekend...wish Greytown was a bit closer!!
There are plenty more colourful homes in this months issue as well if you can get your hands on a copy!
Megan x

Thursday, March 22, 2012

being a blogger and a mum

I have come across lots of really thought- provoking and interesting posts about motherhood on blogs lately so I thought I would add my two cents worth!!  This is a post I have started to write so many times and I never publish it as I never started my blog to write about my day to day life and parenthood and all its highs, lows and challenges.  I started my blog to share ideas as that is what I am passionate about- ideas, crafting, design, cool stuff, tips etc.  I hate to think that people read my blog and feel they are less of a mum because they don't make all the stuff I do!

I never started a blog to make out I am this 'super mum' with a perfect house, perfect children and living this idyllic life. My life has the same challenges as any other mum of 3 young children. I just don't share all that on here because I don't really want to write about that- I love writing about crafty ideas, projects, inspiring blogs, all the stuff I love as a person, not just as a mother.   I'm not going to write about toilet training drama's or tantrum chucking children or a whingy baby on here as this blog really is my 'happy place' where I am me - excitable, creative, passionate and full of ideas.  Not the grumpy mum dealing with the usual tantrums, tears and challenges of life as a mum of 3.

My blog is not a reflection on my day to day life, it is purely a crafty, creative space. Sometimes I might mention something or other about what's happening in my life or write a post with photo's of a nice place we've been but not that much.  I don't want my blog to be a diary as such, I want it to be place where I am inspired and where I inspire others I hope!  Of course most of the things I make are for my children but that doesn't make me this amazing mother!  I'm just someone who really loves to make stuff and gets so much pleasure from the process of making- right from getting the idea, gathering the supplies, working out how to make it, and then seeing the joy on my kids faces when they get it/play with it.  Being creative and sharing ideas is such a part of me and I get so much pleasure from it.

I get a lot of people asking me how I manage to have 3 children under 5 and still have time to create, blog and have a tidy house. And the answer is I don't!! Some weeks I don't get a chance to do any crafting and most days my washing pile is on a couch instead of in drawers. I think there is more to life than having the washing put away every day though!!!  And my husband still cooks more than I do. I seemt o go through spates of cooking heaps than fading away again. This week I've been pretty good but who knows how long that will last! Having 3 children under 5 is so unbelievably full on - I think some people think that I make it look easy and therefore I have quite a cruisy life with lots of time for crafting and time on the computer!!! The reason it probably looks 'easy' when in fact it isn't is just that I have had more practice so I can cope with a baby okay compared to my first baby.  Jack is a really good day sleeper and sleeps for maybe 3- 3 a half hours a day. So in a typical week I have approx 6 hours a week in broken bits (and that doesn't count cleaning, tidying and all the other admin jobs that need doing to run a family) to do all that I do without children right in front of me (I have two days a week without the girls here.) And that's time just at home as obviously I've always got at least one child with me if I have to go anywhere during the week. The rest of the time I either have one, two or three children with me.
Some weeks I get a bit of time but most weeks it is just a matter of squeezing it into what precious moments I have, sometimes not till 8:30 at night. It is not easy having 3 young children, and having them quite close in age is even more exhausting in that I have really just had babies or been pregnant for the last 5 years.  I am feeling like possibly things are going to get a little easier soon with one child soon to start school and one child having another day at daycare. Of course Jack will be a toddler soon though and drop to one sleep so I'm not really sure if I will have much more time!!!

So please don't think I am this super mum with a perfect house because I'm not and I never set out to make other mums feel like that from reading my blog- I share things to inspire and encourage others to have a go at making things- not to go 'Wow look at me aren't I amazing'!  I just want other mums to get a little bit of pleasure and enjoyment from reading my blog and get inspired to make some things as well if they are that way inclined! I really really enjoy writing blog posts and wish I had more time for it as I could honestly write one most days.  I have so much in my head so I hope you continue to enjoy reading my blog and know that it is just one aspect of my life and one that is a really positive and happy part of my life.

And now I'll click publish!
Megan x

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I ♥ colouring

Lark is a gorgeous online and bricks and motar store in Daylesford Australia. I get their newsletter emailed to me and in their latest one there was a link that caught my eye - this book "Color" by Alexander Girard. 
Alexander Girard Color Book
When I googled the authors name this colouring book (available for pre-order) came up which gave me the idea to find some more colouring books with a design or art bent and some cute kids ones too. 

Alexander Girard Coloring Book
I did some colouring the other day with the girls on a rainy Sunday afternoon and it was soooo enjoyable just colouring and talking so I might have to treat myself to one of these and buy one for each of the girls for their birthdays coming up.  I hope you enjoy my picks :)
Yves Saint Laurent Colouring Book
The Fashion Coloring Book
Hundertwasser Colouring Book

Coloring Book Vincent Van Gogh
Leonardo Da Vinci Coloring Book
Coloring Book Andy Warhol

Indie Rock Coloring Book

A few for the kids...

The Gruffalo Colouring Book
My Own Very Hungry Caterpillar Colouring Book

Elmer and Friends First Colouring Activity Book

A couple of good ones with the Olympics coming up...
Colouring Book London

And this one looks really fun...

Holes!: A Coloring Book

Happy Colouring/Coloring depending on where you are from!

Friday, March 9, 2012

things I'm loving: a few days in Whangamata

We've just got back from a short break in Whangamata, a lovely little beachy town on the Coromandel Peninsula, so I thought I'd share a few pics of some of the things I loved about Whanga...
A morning walk along Whangamata's beautiful beach
♥ Loving these classic kiwi bach's
 Finding all these fab children's books at the local op-shop
♥ buying these cute hand knitted finger puppets from a cute shop in the main street
reading a few chapters of this book by Rachael Herron (from the blog Yarn-A-Go-Go) I found at the library - it was neat to bump into Kate at the library from one of my favourite blogs Greedy for Colour as well- you should have seen her massive bag of library books- it was very impressive!

And just had to share these pics- we came home to our little cul-de-sac suburban street to see 2 cows (well 'heifers' to be specific a neighbour thought??) on the side lawn of our neighbours house- they had somehow come up from a house down the bottom of our street! 
Very funny to see them in such an unlikely place and to see my hubby, some of the neighbours and a man from the council herding the cows back down the path they came up!

And finally a big hello and thank you to my new followers and Facebook likers that have come over from Apartment Therapy's post about my playhouse.  Apartment Therapy Family is the new name for their previous website 'Ohdeedoh'- you can check out their facebook page here.

To see what else people are loving visit Paisley Jade's here
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