With washing waiting to be folded and cereal in our hair we share our roller coaster lives to inspire, relate and communicate with Mums just like us.

All things family related food, recipes, reviews, gardening, crafts, educational play, home things, outings and more.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My First Semi-Dried Tomatoes!

My first jar of Semi-dried Tomatoes with Basil and Tarragon.
Really good even if i do say so myself!

Recipe Can be found HERE :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Food for thought for my Local Retailers

Are you ruthless with food retailers?    I am. 
Disappoint me with price, service or food quality and you're lucky if i come back.   
I very very rarely complain or make a fuss  - I just don't come back.
I will drive for a good experience and currently i don't think any local small business can afford to be losing customers.  I will be loyal to you and give you my hard earnt money if you look after me.
I will give you a fair chance. 
If i get something not so great i may blame the weather, storage, shipping conditions etc
A bad apple i may think oh well you werent to know that.
but do it more than a couple of times and Mr Fresher up the road has just got my business.
If your staff are rude or unkowledgeable on their products or if i feel i am a hassle to someones day i will not be back.  
I worked too many years in retail and hospitality to know its not that bloody hard to fake it.
If you supply me with the wrong product.  I order raw shelled green prawns and get home to find cooked imported prawns in my package.  I will not be back.  Sorry instant fail.
If I ask for thin slice i want thin, I want shaved i will ask shaved - If you are unsure ASK me better to ask than to give me the wrong thing.
If you quite clearly don't check your stock or rotate your stock or display your stock correctly. I will not buy that product.  I am not buying your out of date stock and sorry i will now never buy that product from you because my time is more valuable than to go searching through for current stock.
Word of mouth can be your best friend or your worst enemy. 
Mums talk ... we do.  We all want whats best for our family.
Best price (not necessarily the cheapest), Best quality, Best range, Best staff, Best everything.  
You chose to open a food retail business  - why would you not want to be the best?
I WILL tell my friends and family on my experiences especially if i have a bad one.
Think about it - Two schools, swim club, rugby club - two groups, social groups, playgroup, mothers group, neighbours, family, work colleagues not to mention three facebook accounts, one twitter and one Blog ..... I talk to alot of different people in one week. 
Train your staff.  I know it takes time, costs money, they don't stay long yada yada yada. Use your computer type, print and laminate your expectations of your staff and leave it somewhere for them to constantly see and remind themselves of.   Can you afford to be paying staff to stand around doing nothing, chatting to each other or looking lost when there is ALWAYS something that can be done. 
Laminate a cleaning checklist for staff to constantly do. Check the floors for debris, clean counters, glass doors, fridge seals, wipe shelves etc. 
Mums like cleanliness.  I like clean shops. I like the appearance of organisation. 
Train your staff.  Its easy. You get a new cheese in you'd like your staff to sell it.  Put a postcard size note up on your side of the counter with points on that product (google it if you don't know! ask the sales rep for information)
They can't sell something they know nothing about.  Its from where? would go with what? tastes like?  If you are promoting something i am nearly always willing to give a go but if i ask a question about it and the staff don't know i lose my faith in your ability to sell me something worth trying.
Whilst you are working ON your business (and i hope you are) they are working IN your business.  The customer sees which one?  You're paying them -  use them. 
In light of my rant I am going to start telling you all about the stores and products i find and like. I will aim not to mention the bad ones  but i don't promise that.
Please feel free to post on my facebook page or Blog your likes in food retail in your area. I'm more than happy to add them to the list. 
Please note: Most of my shopping is done in Hills District Sydney though i do get all over Sydney as i mentioned i will drive for a good experience.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Review- ABC Music "The Ultimate Kids Collection"

Are you going away these school holidays ? 
Going for a long drive with the kids ?  
Looking for wide range of kids music? 
How about a kids stocking stuffer?
How about a kids music CD that doesn't make the adults start twitching? 
ABC music have released  "The Ultimate Kids Collection"
I loved this.  Three CD's in this collection with music that ranges in generations and styles so there is something to keep everyone entertained.  We do alot of driving and there is a CD that each of my kids are right into so put the three on random and there is hours and hours of fun for everyone without making mummy go crazy listening to the same band over and over.
CD 1: "Favourite Nursery Rhymes"  Fifty of your classic nursery rhymes. Take a walk down memory lane and see if you remember all the words to the rhymes.  I liked this one for my baby no doubt we'll be singing these ones over and over for years to come.
CD 2: "Favourite Activity Songs"  Thirty songs to move to from "Chicken Dance" to "Where is Thumbkin"  Master 4yrs likes this CD the most and I'm sure we provide lots of entertainment for cars next to us at traffic lights when "Macarena" comes on.  This CD would be great to have for a kids party it has "Pass the parcel" and "Simon Says" amongst others.
CD 3: "Favourite Kids Songs"  This is a good one for the whole family. We all liked this one and this was Master 9yrs favourite.  Think the top songs from Disney's movies like "Life is a Highway", "Hakuna Matata" and "Under the Sea" recorded differently (Obviously by ABC people not the Disney productions)  and yet its still entertaining and just like the movie.  Every morning on the way to school my four year old asks for "Tatuna Matarter" and we all seem to bop along.   
I love this one because it has songs from all generations on it. "Over the Rainbow" which has been done well (so often it is not), "Agadoo"  yep that's the one, try not to push pineapples and shake a tree at the kids. "Mah na Mah na" - classic!, "Yellow Submarine", "Limbo Rock", "Hot, Hot Hot"  They're all there!
Heck theres even "Boot Scootin Boogie" and "Thank God I'm a Country Boy"
Its really good value for how many songs you get (over 100). Its suitable for a wide range of ages and there is bound to be more songs they all know than not.  It would be great for long car rides and birthday parties or just something to jump around to on a rainy day indoors.  
ABC Shop have it currently available :
I'm sure it would be available through other retailers.
Looking for something new to listen to its worth a go
and pretty reasonable for Santa to pick up too.
This review has been done in my own words. I was not paid for this review.
I did receive a copy of the CD collection to complete my review. thanks.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Costco - The excursion with a difference

I don't think the kids would like it more than Luna Park but i certainly found it very entertaining. So much so I'm writing a blog post on it.

Costco what an experience.  I've wanted to go check it out since it opened July last year but you have to be a member etc etc and just haven't got around to it. I had the opportunity to go today and loved it but perhaps i loved it because it was just so unbelievably odd, quirky, stereotypical, interesting, eye opening ........  ridiculous and random.
let me set the scene :

So you park your car in an over sized car park (the car spaces are quite large which was nice), walk over to the entrance ramp and get your trolley. Which you have the option of a mean ass large carton holding thing or the smaller version which is a super sized woolies trolley that holds two babies and double a full normal grocery shop.  The height of these is also a bit crazy there was a woman walking towards my fairly new car and the handle of the trolley came up to her chest.   The trolleys were my first amusement.

The second thing i found funny in a ridiculous kinda way was all these people pushing these super sized trolley's up a ramp - as fast as they could.  I would like to warn you that these people with trolleys are scary, the trip to Costco can be life threatening and you are to leave your manners in the car park.
At the entrance you are herded together like cattle and slowly you move forward by being nudged in the heels by somebody's trolley behind you it is also customary to try and gently push the trolley next to you out of your way. Please note that nobody but you and your shopping companion will find your "mooo" ing funny. certainly not the large middle aged European man that is already not impressed you are delaying his entry with a stroller.


Once you enter the store this herding scenario disappears and becomes a Wonka land of pure imagination for super sized and random crap for purchase all in one big shed.  
Your first stop is electrical goods TV's, WII's etc then you walk past the "Hearing Aid Centre" and on to the start of aisles of pallet shelving that have kitchenware, sewing machines, umbrellas and craft. 
The middle of the store has tables of clothes, books, 6ft tall Nutcrackers, child dress-ups, sheet sets, a Halloween themed tealight holder and of course right next to socks you'll find a peddle boat for only $939.00 - bargain!

Over on the far side and back walls is the highlight and the reason i went - food .
Where else in Australia can you buy 1.36kg of Reese's Pieces!!

(for those that don't know they're m&m's filled with peanut butter instead of chocolate)
Really i don't think its any cheaper at all. Maybe if you were to buy in bulk and i mean bulk like 1000 toilet rolls. Other than that the "bulk" sized foods weren't cheap for instance tasty cheese you can buy in like 5kg blocks but it still works out about $12 a kilo. You can buy multi pack deodorants and toothpaste etc which aren't cheap they're the same or slightly more expensive than Woolies or BigW on special.   Nappies weren't cheaper either.
The whole reason to go is for the novelty of the food stuffs.  I bought a plastic 1kg tub of Vegemite and a massive 500ml bottle of Tabasco not because i like to soak my food in Tabasco but i just thought it was cool.   5kg tubs of yoghurt are slightly bigger than the 500ml ones i normally buy but seriously it wouldn't fit in my fridge anywhere.  You can get 5kg buckets of cake mix and you'll need the 12kg of chocolate ganache to go with it.

BIG is the motto here whether you are buying big quantities of things, buying big sized things or your intention for you and your family is to become really BIG.  Seriously inappropriate pizza's that would need to be cut in half to fit in a 90cm oven  and totally offensive glazed doughnuts that honestly nobody needs.  Massive tubs of Nutella, gigantic packs of chocolates and silly sized frozen cookies and ice-creams.  
You can also get your milk, bread, fruit&veg and meat here which aren't cheap. Sorry lovers of Costco but think about it why would they discount the regular stuff that you are going to buy anyway. They're counting on you to pick up a couple of loaves of bread and apples whilst you're there buying high pressure water cleaners. 
I did buy a few things - just cos i could.  The Vegemite, Tabasco and Reese's Pieces as previously mentioned a tshirt for my son, a ream of multi coloured paper and my friend and i went halves in a box of Swiss Miss hot chocolate sachets (30each) 
Would i go again? definitely.   For $70 a membership for the privildege of shopping there  I'd pass if you're looking for bargain shopping or cheaper prices.  Still cheaper elsewhere on special.  If you are looking for something different or something in bulk then yeah its kinda cool.
Also if you know them.....  you can get Churros from the kiosk (i resisted this time)
p.s.  Don't impulse purchase on large quantities of chocolates, chips, doughnuts, cakes, crumbed mozzarella sticks ........  you probably don't need it

Monday, September 3, 2012

Do you suffer from the serious " I just gotta" ?

I have it.   Its serious and I'm not sure how or when i got it.

"I just gotta"  seems to be something i say and do on a more regular basis than i thought.

It became aware to me when the kids started repeating it back to me.
me :  Come and get in the bath please
child: I am I just got to play with this car
me: No come and get in the bath now before you get cold
child: I am i just got to play with this car and then put my washing away and my shoes and THEN i just got to come to the bath.

I do it in alot of circumstances:

I go to make a cup of coffee and i never get to it because as i walk into the kitchen "I just gotta" put the dishes away or the toaster or decide to clean the benches or take out the rubbish.

I load my arms to take downstairs to the car in the morning. "I just gotta" take the rubbish with me, the parcels to be posted, the washing, rubbish, baby bag, bottle bag, handbag, car keys, somebody's book bag or hat.  One day I'll have so much "I just gotta" take this that i will forget the baby.

When there is a show i want to watch and it starts at 8.30 I always record it anyhow because i know I'm not going to be sitting waiting by 8.29.  I always "I just gotta"  tidy up, find some washing to fold when watching, make a cup of coffee, put some washing on, check the school bags, wipe over the bathroom - something!

Master R is loving games (bingo, snap, connect 4, etc) at the moment so we play one before bed and i find myself saying "yep you set up I just gotta" and do what ever it is plus three other things and he sits there waiting waiting waiting.  I must be so frustrating when you've waited all afternoon to play.

The worst is when i need to do actual work on the computer and i sit down and "I just gotta" and never get to what i was supposed to be doing and hours have gone by. 

Do you suffer from "I just gotta?" 

Is it curable?