• Thermochef Thermomix
    Food,  Home

    ThermoLovin’

    So you’ve all seen them by now, haven’t you?  The Thermomix?  They seem to be all over the interwebs at the moment.  Man, I wanted one!  A super duper machine for the kitchen that cooks, blends, chops, mills, grinds etc etc etc.  Super fast cooking, transformative cooking!  All that jazz.  One problem – the just under $2,000 price tag.  Yup, you read that right.  So I read loads of information.  Blogs, forums, all kinds of sites.  I discovered lots of love for the TM and several cheaper alternatives.  Many that did not get good reviews.  So I arranged a demonstration – to purchase a TM in Australia, you have to host/attend a demonstration.  No probs, they cook about six dishes over the couple of hours to show the cool things it can do.  Now I was a bit hesitant to arrange one, because I knew there was no way I was going to be able to purchase any time soon, but they were lovely people who seem to completely understand that its a big purchase and not many people attend a demo and buy straight away.

    Thermochef Thermomix
    Thermochef vs Thermomix

    So the demonstration did not make me want one less!  And The Mister was impressed, however he just could not see how the TM was so much more expensive than the nearest rival, the ThermoChef that is around $700-800 retail.   Both have a two year warranty.  I was convinced though, and kept calculating and re-calculating how long it would take to save the money.  I even considered becoming a consultant!  TM offers an opportunity for people to earn their machine through becoming a consultant and selling a certain amount of machines in a time period.  I’m really not the party plan type!  I get far to anxious/embarrassed.  However in the end I decided against it mainly because I thought I would really need to have used the machine for a while before I would feel comfortable trying to sell it.

    The machine appeals to me because it makes things easier.  And quicker.  And I am slowly attempting to introduce our little family to a healthier diet, richer in whole foods, less preservatives and less sugar.

    So I did some more research – there are A LOT of blogs and websites out there dedicated to the TM – and some have really good comparisons between the different thermo machines out there.  In the end, I decided to purchase the somewhat cheaper ThermoChef.  I found a good deal and purchased just before Christmas last year.  I was very excited.  It arrived promptly, especially considering it was Christmas time.  However, irritation was to follow!  It didn’t work.  Straight out of the box, it didn’t work.  Newwave, the company that distributes the TC, provided excellent customer service.  They responded promptly – on Boxing Day and arranged for a courier to collect it once the factory had returned to work after the break.  Despite the excellent customer service, what followed was approximately five weeks of frustration, irritation and concern that I had made the wrong choice.  A lot of this was, to be fair to Newwave, caused by the courier companies – they didn’t turn up, twice, then they came a week after being cancelled and then they lost my item when it was being returned!  Also Newwave sent my repaired unit to someone else in the midst of all this.  After I made it clear I was over the whole situation and ready to request a refund, Newwave arranged for my brand new unit, plus extra cook books to be hand delivered by one of their team.  Phew!

    ThermoChef, Thermomix
    ThermoChef

    Since it has been here, it has been great.  No concerns, and I’ve used it on average three times a day nearly every day.  I think in the short time we’ve had it, our meals have become less boring (I’m cooking outside the square!) and less stressful.  Well, dinner preparation with two toddlers under three is always going to have some stress!!!!!

    Thermochef, Thermomix
    Vegetable Stock Concentrate. Quick and easy in the Thermochef.

    I would love to hear your ThermoLovin’ stories!  Anyone purchased a ThermoChef?  A Thermomix?  What’s the biggest change your ‘thermo’ has made in your kitchen?

    Thermochef cashew coconut chia porridge. Thermomix suitable.
    Cashew, coconut and chia porridge, whipped up easily. Yum!

     

     

  • Nemo party hats DIY
    DIY,  Family,  Kid Friendly,  Parenting

    Nemo & a 2nd birthday party.

    Turning two way before I am ready
    Our Little Miss as a bubba

    Our Little Ms turned 2 recently.  How the hell did that happen so quickly?!  Not that long ago she was our little bub, with no hair and no teeth (for a loooooong time!).  Now she is running around having conversations with everyone and being way too smart for us.

    We decided to have a little party for her – family and some little friends.  And me, being me, kept thinking I had at least a month to sort it out.  Then we realised we had a week and two days.  Gah.  Amazing how time slips away when there is a new little one in the house.

    Somehow I was stumped as to what theme to have for her decorations.  Just a colour? Music? Hmmmm.  Then, when she was watching ‘Finding Nemo’ for the one hundred and eleventh time, it hit me!  Finally.   So ‘Finding Nemo’ it was.  Thank goodness for Pinterest.  So many great ideas – check out my boards to see what I mean!

    So the goal was not to spend too much and not to get too stressed out.  Hmmmm!  Via Pinterest I found a great site that had invitation templates, decoration templates and ideas, name tags etc.  It also has ideas for games, face painting etc and covers all sorts of themes.  We used their invitation template and printed off some of the decoration prints and stuck them to our party bags.  I found blue and orange party bags going super cheap at Spotlight.  Speaking of the party bags, I added these free activity sheets to some balloons and treats.  

    DIY Nemo Party Bags

    We decorated the house with crepe paper and some Nemos that our Little Miss’ super clever Godmother whipped up for us, using this tutorial.  Yup, she is much more crafty (and patient) than me!

    Nemo party decoration DIY

    This link had some easy, printable Nemo party hats – easy to cut out, and staple together.Nemo party hats DIY

     So these were some easy, DIY and cheap decorations and ideas I found via Pinterest.  And best of all, Ms 2 had a great time!  She loved the decorations, and hats and party food – I put a drop or two of blue food dye in a jug of lemonade and bam! Ocean blue drink.  Mostly though, she had a ball running around with her little cousins and friends all afternoon.  Best part of the day.

    What successes have you had with birthday parties?  Do you go all out, or pared back?

     

  • DIY library book shelves
    DIY,  Home

    DIY Reading Corner for Ms 2.

    DIY library book shelves So we all love Pinterest, right?  Well, here is a little DIY project we recently completed, inspired by Pinterest.  And when I say we completed, I mean I had the idea, I pinned some inspiration and sourced the products and the Mister actually did the DIY part.  With the help of Ms 2.

    I’ve been wanting to set up a reading corner for her for some time.  With her resisting the big bed though, her room has been rather crowded with the cot in there as well.  However, we’ve had a win in that department and the cot is gone – hurrah!  So now we had space to do a bit more.  When she was born, we were gifted with a beautiful vintage, child size armchair.  It was given to us by my mother’s cousin, and it was her chair when she was a small child.  It is gorgeous and perfect for a reading nook.  So I knew I wanted that in the corner and then saw some super simple book shelf ideas on Pinterest.  Ikea spice racks.  Awesome.  Simple.  And cheap!  $2.99 each, and are solid untreated wood.  So you can go ahead and paint/stain them any colour you want!

    DIY toddler reading corner

    We used a good old spray paint – a lovely bright yellow.  The Mister applied two coats and attached them to the wall.  Apparently, we need to use some different wall mounts, in case too much weight is placed on them (ie our 8 month old pulling the) so we are going to change those asap, but otherwise, it turned out just as I had wanted!

     

    DIY Library book shelves toddler vintage chair

     

    The first night, Ms 2 spent quite some time rearranging the books on the shelves and also decided that it meant we were going to read ALL of the books on the shelves at bedtime.  Ahhh, no.

    I have also spied her sitting on the chair and reading a book to her dolly – melt!  So there you go, a simple, quick and cheap little DIY project that actually worked.  Love Pinterest!  Are you on Pinterest?  Have you completed any projects or recipes that you have pinned?  Or do you just love to pin and dream?!  Leave your pinterest profile in the comments, and I’ll follow you!

  • Kids and online safety
    Blogging,  Family,  Parenting

    To Name or not to Name?

    Kids safety on the internet.  Something I have been thinking about, pretty much since I started the blog, is whether or not to post photos of the kids, and to use their names.  So far I have chosen not to.  On my personal FB and Instagram pages I do, but here on the blog I have generally used photos that don’t show their faces, and referred to them as the Little Miss and the Little Mister.  But is this thinking sensible caution or just a touch paranoid?  Most of my favourite bloggers identify their kids either with their names or photos or both.  And these are successful bloggers, with loads of people clearly knowing who they are.

    I come from a professional background that no doubt contributes to my caution (ten plus years in child protection and working with vulnerable/at risk families).  I’ve done a bit of reading around the web, and of course, found conflicting ideas on the subject.  Some people feel that the children should be old enough to agree/disagree with their photos being posted.  Some feel that there is a risk of predators accessing and misusing the images.  Some have even suggested that in the future, other kids could use the images in cyber-bullying – particularly if they are embarrassing photos.  I found this article and this one to be interesting reads on the topic.

    I have to say I’m still undecided.  It’s cumbersome, referring to the kids as the Little Miss and the Little Mister.  And sometimes, I really want to share photos with you!  Like here.  Perhaps I’ll share the occasional photo and think on how to refer to them without too much identifying information.

    What do you do? What do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

  • Coconut
    Food

    Delicious Coconut. Or, Jumping on the Bandwagon! ;)

    Erm, who knew coconut could taste so good?!  Not me.  I thought I didn’t really like coconut.  I remember gnawing on hard pieces from the coconuts that my parents occasionally bought home, but I think the attraction was really in the process of breaking into it in the first place!  

    Coconut
    photo: Horia Varlan

    Any other experiences with coconut have mainly been the good old desiccated form, sprinkled on cakes and slices.  Although I do recall slices of banana rolled in desiccated coconut and served by my mum with her homemade curry.  Perhaps I’m making that up?!

    If you happen to follow Tully & Mishka on Instagram, you’ll have no doubt seen some posts that demonstrate my growing fondness for the humble little coconut.  I was seeing posts and photos all over the interweb, with people singing it’s praises.  And when I read Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar*, there was a lot of delicious sounding recipes and some information about it’s health benefits included.  So I decided to see what the fuss was all about.

    Loving Earth Coconut Butter Organic

    Now I have no qualifications when it comes to health/nutrition, and I know that some people feel that both coconut and quitting sugar is the latest fad that people are on.  So all I will say is do your own reading on both subjects and see what you think.  A lot of the information rang true for me, and I have decided to incorporate some of the priniciples into our family menu.

    And besides, coconut butter is delicious!  I use the Loving Earth variety, which you can buy here.* I’ve tried a few different recipes so far and really enjoyed them, and making my own adjustments to them.  I’ll post some of these soon.  

    But I’d like to know – do you use coconut?  Does it all seem just a fad to you?  Let me know what you think!

    * This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and purchase, I’ll receive a percentage of the sales.  

  • Blogging

    Bloglovin Love

    Google reader is ending soon!  To be honest, I’m not all that up to date with google reader, but a lot of people seem concerned about this and how they will follow the blogs they love.  Never fear, Bloglovin is picking up the slack!  You can follow Tully & Mishka through Bloglovin.  Just click on through via the image on the sidebar.  It’s easy!

    <a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/8673965/?claim=ph6zymqk5y4″>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

  • Five Months Old
    Family,  Parenting

    Cot to Big Girl Bed.

    Ahhhhhhh, the transition from the lovely secure cot (ie can’t get out until mum or dad let you out) to normal sized kids bed. Sure, I knew it would be tricky, but I also knew I didn’t want to move the Little Miss into a big bed until she was ready. You know, climbing out of her cot, happy to sleep on a bed at nanny’s, that kind of thing.  Then we had the Little Mister.  That was all good, all planned.  But – the Little Mister is bigger than the Little Miss was at his age. 

    Five Months Old
    The Little Ones at five months.

    In fact, he is our gorgeous little Buddha really. And that means he is not going to fit in the bassinet much longer (between you and me, he could probably be in a cot already).  Sob!  So that means it’s Big Bed time for the Little Miss.  I made a conscious effort to make her part of the process – she came with me and selected the sheets and doona cover, and she ‘helped’ her dad put the bed together.  She loves helping him construct things. 

    However, bizarrely, she is not cooperating with the transition.  I know right?  A two year old with her own mind.  Who would have thought.  I recently asked over on Facebook if anyone had any good ideas or suggestions for this transition.  So the suggestions confirmed what I had thought we would need to do.  Lead her back to bed when she gets out, keep things calm, tell her it’s her bed now.  And that this could go on for a week or so.

    Helping put big bed together

    But, best laid plans and all that.  The Little Mister chose this time to revert back to wanting two hourly feeds over night (no way Mister!) and I was not getting any quality sleep.  Trying to stay calm and encourage a two year old Little Miss back to bed for over an hour at a time was not something we were coping with on so little sleep and she just did not seem to be ‘getting’ it.

    So I’ve pulled the plug on the big bed for the time being and am working on getting the Little Mister to drop some feeds – luckily he has at least gotten over this two hourly thing!  If things become dire and we need to move the Little Mister out of the bassinet, my mum has a cot at her house we can borrow.  Luckily.

    I think the Little Miss is just not ready for the bed yet.  And you know what?  That’s fine.  She is only two and frankly, I’m not sure I’m ready for her to be in a big bed yet either.

     cot to big girl bed