Christmas Cards

My favourite time of year has arrived, Christmas.

I love getting to see all the Christmas lights and listening to carols. I love Baking Christmas goodies for family and friends and watching  Christmas movies curled up on the couch with the fan going full ball. I love decorating the tree and wearing a different Christmas hat/accessory each day. I just love it.

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I’ve even set up some lights and a little tree at my desk at work.

I’m looking forward to getting started on my Christmas baking as soon as I have a free evening. I’m planning on making rum balls, peppermint log and possibly gingerbread spiced marshmallows.  I may make some other things as well but it all depends on how much time I have.

In other news I’m having fun doing a little bit of glam planning. I don’t remember how but one day  I stumbled upon the glam planning world on YouTube and got hooked on watching all the cool creative videos. Being the craft lover that I am I had to give it a bit of a go. It’s a fun creative outlet and I get to sort of journal a little as well which is something I’ve always wanted to do but been terrible at keeping up with it. It probbaly also helps that I’ve always loved stickers. And all manner of craft supplies for that matter.

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Speaking of craft, on to todays project.

Christmas Cards

I like getting to make my own Christmas cards. There just a little more personal.

I have two card ideas for you to try. Both are very easy to put together.

The Christmas tree card

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I got the idea for this one of Pinterest and adjusted it to work with what I had/could get.

Materials:

A5 Card

Paint colour sampler card/s

Star stickers

Washi Tape or textas

Shinny pipe cleaners

Double sided tape

Hot glue and gun

How To:

So depending on what paint colour cards you can get you hands on (I just wen to Bunnings and picked up a few) You may have to cut them slightly differently but the main theme is triangles. For single colour cards I got 3 different shades the cut them in quarters to make triangles then layered them on top of each other. For 3 (or more) shades on one card I just cut one big triangle by measuring the middle point of the card and drawing lines on the back from the middle at tone end to the edges at the other end. This will give you two trees from each card (one full triangle and two halves that can be stuck together).

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I then used double sided tape to stick the paint car to the middle of my A5 Card. You need to have a little space at the top and bottom for the tree trunk and the star on top.

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I have used a small piece Washi tape for the tree trunk in this example but on some of my other cards I just drew a brown box with texta. You could also use some other coloured paint cards cut into small rectangles and taped down.

I then placed my star sticker at the top of the tree and overhanging onto the card.

To create the ‘tinsel’ I take a shiny pipe cleaner and zig zag it along my tree to make it look like its wrapped around then I’ve used a small drop of hot glue to fasten each end to the card. I have had some limited success with double sided tape but the hot glue is definitely more secure.

You can write Merry Christmas on the front in the white space or leave it as is.

The second Idea came mostly just from what I had on hand.

Christmas Tape Card

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I have a lot of decorative tape and have recently acquired a bit of Christmas themed tape so I decided I could use it to make a cute card. You could get the same effect using strips of wrapping paper and double sided tape.

Materials:

A5 Card

Various decorative tape

Scissors

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How to:

I’ve done mine as a landscape card but you can do it portrait if you prefer.

Starting from the bottom lay down strips of tape lining the bottom to the top of the last strip (or the bottom of the card for the first strip)

Trim any excess tape from the edges of the card.

You could layer the tape in other designs I just wen for the simplest layout.

So there are two of my Christmas card ideas. If you want more you should definitely head over to Pinterest and check out the abundance of ideas there. If you have any great home made cards send me a picture or let me know how you made them.

Lil

Friday Fast Five – Christmas Treats

This week it’s

My favourite Christmas treats

 

I love Christmas and I especially love the excuse to over eat. Here are some of my favourites I’ll be snacking on over the Christmas season.

Rum Balls

You just can’t go past rum balls at Christmas though they don’t have to be rum flavoured. Last year I made a number of different flavours by substituting different liqueurs or essences for a non alcoholic version.

Peppermint Log

A fond memory from Christmas parties as a kid. I finally looked up a recipe and made my own last year and they did not disappoint. Crushing up the peppermints is hard but sooo worth it in the end.

Candy Canes

I especially enjoy malting them into my hot chocolate. My favourites are of course the classic peppermint but the other flavours are nice for an afternoon sugar hit.

White Christmas

I never get around to making some myself (though once again its on my list to do this year) but I love having it at other peoples houses. It helps that I’m a fan of white chocolate.

Gingerbread

I love gingerbread. Houses, cookies, dough, It’s all good. I also really like Pfeffernüsse which are German spice cookies (that taste very much like gingerbread) coated in icing.

So these are some of my favourites, what are yours?

Does any of your family have specialties?

Lil

Fish in Foil

Its been a very active 2 weeks for me.

I’ve done at approx.. 185500 steps which is around 126km.

2 Supanovas and a little bit of work. Suffice to say I’m tired but both weekends were great.

I fortunately had a great team helping me out.

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Unfortunately I managed to kill my phone yesterday though. Apparently iPhones and water are not a good combo.  Fortunately I have an old android phone I can use until I sort it out but I’m still upset about it.

You may have seen on my Instagram that I’ve gotten a new planner for next year and also some new craft supplies to use in it. I’ve been a little hooked lately on glam planning videos on YouTube . It just looks like a fun creative outlet. Some more stickers arrived today which cheered me up  little.

I was supposed to put up my Christmas tree today but the day sort of got away from me. I got a few errands done and I dropped some friends at the airport then I started working on designing some inserts for my above mentioned planner so I just didn’t get around to the tree. I will hopefully get to do it tomorrow night since it is December first.  Expect a picture of it on Instagram on Wednesday.

In other news B is back! He got back on Wednesday night but then was in Canberra for the weekend. Its nice to have him back in the house even if the majority of the time I’ve seen him he’s been asleep.

Todays recipe is one I got to have a few times when B was away. He doesn’t eat fish so I normally don’t cook with it but it was nice to use it for a change.  This is just one of the flavour combos I used but you could flavour the fish however you like and even cook other veg in the pouch with the fish. This is a super easy recipe perfect for a busy or lazy day.

Fish In Foil

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Ingredients:

1 white  fish fillet (I used Basa)

2 Tomatoes

A handful of fresh or dried basil

Salt and pepper

Aluminium foil

Oven:

200 C

How To:

You’ll need a piece of foil that will wrap all the way around your piece of fish with a bit of space around the edges.

Slice both the tomatoes and lay half the slices in the middle of the foil slightly overlapping so you can lay the fish on top.

Season the slices with salt and pepper and scatter half the basil over the top. Lay the piece of fish on to then scatter the remaining basil over the fish.

Lay the rest of the tomato slices on top of the fish and  season again.

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Bring together two edges of the foil and fold several times to seal. Fold up the ends to seal the parcel.

Place on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 mins (or 25-30mins  if the fillet was frozen).

Voila! Delicious and easy fish.

You can serve it with some  steamed veg (which you can cook in a foil pouch like the fish) and couscous or rice or with chips and a salad.

Let me know if you give it a go and especially if you try a different flavouring.

Lil

Me – On my Cystic Fibrosis (CF)

Disclaimer: this is just my own thoughts and understanding of my illness. Each person has different experiences and I may not be right about some of the medical information as it is just my understanding of it all.


I have often been asked what it is like having Cystic Fibrosis (CF). The main problem with this question is I don’t know what life is like without it.

Today though I’m going to try and answer this question as best I can.

For starters I’m probably not the best example of a ‘typical’ CF patient. I’m actually (Luckily) reasonably healthy.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t effect my life.

CF is kind of like having a chest cold.

All the time.

Sometimes I wake up feeling like someone poured cement into the bottom of  my lungs overnight. My lungs feel heavy like a weight I’m carrying around.  While like most people I don’t have to think about breathing it’s definitely something I notice.

Real colds roll into chest infections and chest infections lead to more cement feeling, more coughing, more fatigue and more of a likelihood of ending up in hospital.

Fortunately I seem to get away with around one hospitalisation a year these days but that wasn’t always the case. The combination of teenage hormones and school stress meant I spent almost  quarter of my last two years of school in hospital.

I’ve meet many people in life who haven’t been to hospital since birth or at worse have only gone for broken bones but to me hospital is almost like a second home. While this is mostly attributed to the numerous hospitalisations over the years it also stems from the many outpatient appointments I also attend. Regular check up clinics, vitamin B injections, many different blood tests, chest X-rays, bone mineral density scans, physio appointments and so on.

But It’s not all about my lungs.  I can’t digest nutrients properly either. CF’s have a ‘high fat, high salt, high sugar’ diet and while this can be viewed as  an up side you have to understand the reasoning behind it to understand what we go through. Firstly high salt. The overall problem of CF is a salt issue. As part of that CF’s lose a lot more of their salts then most people do. If you were to lick my arm on a salty day it would taste like you were liking up salt. So the high salt is to help keep our electrolytes in order.

Secondly, high fat. CF’s with a pancreatic deficiently (like myself) don’t naturally produce the enzymes needed to absorb a lot of important nutrients like fats and vitamins. While we do have medications that help with this we still absorb a lot less then a regular person would . Its important for CF’s to keep up their fat stores so they have the extra fuel necessary to help with fighting off infections. So as we cant absorb as much from the same amount of fats we have to eat more to make up the difference. Unlike most western women I’ve grown up being told that I need to Put/keep weight on not lose it.

Thirdly, high sugar. We have to eat extra fats to build up our stores so its counter productive to then use up those stores for the everyday running of our bodies systems. This is where the sugar comes in. With a higher/more constant sugar intake it means our bodies are using the sugar energy (which is the bodies preferred energy source as its easier to use) rather than constantly breaking up our hard earned fat stores.

So while yes I can (and do) eat whatever I want and not feel guilty about it there are consequences for me if I don’t keep it up.

Of course there are also consequences to eating so much junk food as well but as a doctor apparently once said in a question about these consequences ‘at least they’ll live long enough to be effected by it’.

I’m sure there is much more I could say about it but that’s all I’m going to write about it for now.  If you have any specific questions I’m happy to answer them and I may even do another post expanding on this another day.

For now thanks for reading a little more about me.

Friday Fast Five – Black Tea Blends

This weeks topic?

Black Tea Blends

I’m a big tea drinker. It’s my go to drink of choice when I’m home. As such I’ve tried lots of flavours and blends. I like black and green tea but today I’ve just narrowed it down to black tea blends.

So here are five I think you should try if you haven’t already.

Brisbane Breakfast

Black tea blend with a mango flavour. This is lovely to drink hot or cold any time of year. I love mangos so I think this tea is wonderful. You can get it from T2.

Monk’s Blend

A lot of companies make their own blend of this tea but generally the flavours are vanilla and pear. I’ve tried a couple of companies blends and so far I’ve liked them all. Its definitely one that if I see it on a menu I order it.

Stockholm Blend

A blend of black tea, orange peel, safflowers, calendula blossoms, rose petals, vanilla and apricot. This tea has a lovely sent and flavour. With all the lovely flavours Its probably a little busy for a morning palate but is lovely for the afternoon or evening. You can get it from The Tea Centre.

Chocolate Tea

 My favourite beverage when I’m out is hot chocolate so the idea of chocolate tea appealed to me. I was not disappointed. The flavours go nicely together. I enjoyed it so much I’m even onto a second bag of leaves. The one I tried is from The Tea Centre but I believe other companies (including T2) do their own blends.

Amaretto

This tea has a delicious marzipan flavour. Its definitely a family favourite. While these days  I usually drink tea black I like this one served with milk. We got ours from The Tea Centre.

So that’s my 5 tea blends you should try. Do you have any favourites you could recommend to me? I’m always up for new flavours.

Friday Fast Five – Top 5 Played Songs

This week its:

My top 5 most played songs

In iTunes

I mostly listen to my music in the car. I have a few playlists but I usually just stick my music on shuffle and skip songs I’m not in the mood for.

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Lets Go – Calvin Harris

A fantastic upbeat song. It’s a great song wether your in a good moog or if you need to be lifted out of a bad one. Its also good for working out to.

An Awful Lot of Running – Chameleon Circuit

A song about The Doctor from a band who right songs all about Doctor Who . I like a lot of their songs but this one is definitely my favourite.

I Will Follow You Into The Dark – Death Cab For Cutie

My favourite song from this band. I like the music and the lyrics are beautiful. It’s just a lovely song.

Boats and Birds – Gregory and the Hawk

Another lovely song. This one is on all my relaxing/sleep type playlists because it’s a nice soft sounding song.

Strange Charm – Hank Green

A song about Quarks. I love the rhythm and music of this song and bonus it’s educational. This song never fails to make me smile when it comes on.

I’ve linked each song on youtube so you can check them out if you haven’t heard them before.

What are your most listened to songs?  Do you stick to playlists or do you just shuffle your library?

Crocheted Soap Pouch

I had a great day on Saturday catching up with some friends and getting ready for Supanova in a few weeks.

I caught the train into South Bank to meet them and it was nice to get out and about, especially somewhere I hadn’t been in a while. I did a bit of walking which was nice even though it did tire me out a lot.

This week I bottled my very first home brew! Last week I showed you the brew in its fermenting stage and now it’s all bottled up though not yet ready to drink. I’ll have to wait a couple of week for that but I’m definitely looking forward to it. I even put on a second batch all by myself this time (ok Dad supervised).

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With B overseas for another couple of weeks I have filled my bed with a few of my teddy bears so it doesn’t feel so empty. I’m especially grateful for the Lavender heat pack bear B got me when he was in Tasmania earlier this year as the lavender scent has been keeping me calm when the thunder rolls in. I really don’t like storms and I especially don’t like being alone when they are happening around me.

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After three attempts I finally got a gauge and pattern that worked for me to finish of my sisters scarf. I’ve started work on the one for her boyfriend and hopefully I’ll be able to send them off to Canada by the end of the week as it should have started snowing in Whistler by then.  Hopefully I can magically get some of the Queensland heat to stick to them to keep them warm through the snow season.

I have been doing a few bits of crocheting in the last week working on some things for Christmas decorations and possibly some presents too. Today I’m going to give you one of the patterns I’ve been working on. It’s a crocheted pouch for your soap that doubles as a wash cloth. Its super easy and really quick to make. It only took me 30 mins to make and it would be really cute to give with some crotched wash cloths and some other home made bath products (I’m thinking bath salts and a foot scrub).

Crocheted Soap pouch

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Materials:

1 bar soap

Yarn (wool or acrylic)

5.5mm Crochet Hook

Scissors

Stitches (US terms):

Ch= Chain

Sl st = Slip Stich

Sc = Single Crochet

Dc= Double Crochet

If you need to brush up on any of the stitches I find that YouTube is a great resource for tutorial videos. I re-taught myself to crochet from you tube videos years ago.

Note this pattern is in US terms as that is what I learnt with.

Pattern:

Body:

Starting Chain : Ch10

Row 1: Ch3, dc into 3rd Chain from hook, dc into remaining stiches (11)

Rows 2-6: Ch3 (turning chain) dc into next 11 st.

After 6 rows your work should measure around 9cm long.

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Rows 7-9:  Ch 1 (turning chain), dc into next 11 st.

Rows 10-15 :  Ch3 (turning chain) dc into next 11 st.

Rows 16-18: Ch 1 (turning chain), dc into next 11 st.

Your work should now be approx.. 21 cm long.  Fold in half (short edges together) and sl st into each stich through both ends to join the two ends together.

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Border/join:

Starting at the corner and working along the long edge sc into the space between the rows making  sure to pick up both sides so it joins them. Continue along the edge until you have reached the next corner. Check that this has joined the two edges together.

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To go round the corner ch 2 the sc into the same space but turn your work so you will be working along the closed short edge.

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sc in each st along the short edge working into the middle sc row you created earlier.

At the corner again ch 2 and turn your work to work along the other long edge.

Sc as before about 1/3 of the way down the long edge (again picking up both sides to join them)

Insert your bar of soap the continue to sc along the long side to finish joining the sides.

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At the corner ch2 and turn your work then sc into each st along the final edge (where you have previously sl st to join).

At the last corner ch2 the use a sl st to join the to the start of the border.

Weave in the ends then you done.

Friday Fast 5 – Sauces

It’s Friday Fast Five Time

This weeks topic?

Sauce

Sauces are great for flavouring up your stir frys or or just adding an extra kick to any dish.

Sriracha/Hot sauce

If you like spicy you need Sriracha in your life. It has a great flavour and adds a nice heat to dishes. I use it to add heat to broths, stir frys, toasted sandwiches, anything really. I don’t like things too hot but B puts extra on everything as he likes the spice.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is very handy. It’s great in marinades, salad dressings,  broths, and stir frys or even as just a nice seasoning over rice. There are lots of different types and they all give a slightly different flavour. In my cupboard I have regular, Kecap Manis (sweet) and Thai (also knows as seasoning sauce).

Oyster Sauce

Oyster Sauce is the ultimate stir fry base but its also great in marinades. I also sometimes use it to flavour broths. The advantage of oyster sauce is it is a thick sauce so its great for things where you don’t want too much liquid in you cooking.

Worcestershire Sauce

Admittedly a sauce I under utilise but definitely a good one to have on hand. Its great on meat. Whether you marinate the meat in it or just finish the dish with it this sauce has a really great flavour. It’s also my Dad’s secret ingredient for delicious fried rice. 

BBQ Sauce

My favourite Sauce. I find most people are either Tomato or BBQ people and I’m definitely a BBQ person. Apart from being a great accompaniment to meals It also goes great in marinades or in a pulled pork sauce.

So these are my favourite sauces to keep on hand. What are yours? Do you have any cool tricks for spicing up your meals?

Some Adapted Veggie Recipes

Had a busy second half of the week this week.

Friends over for dinner on Wednesday night (and through to Thursday morning).

Friday was another late night as we went to see a Revue then I stayed up with B while he finished packing.

Too early on Saturday morning  it was time to drop B off at the airport for his big trip OS. Fortunately I got to go back to bed after that.

Once I’d caught up on some sleep I headed to Mum and Dads new place for the rest of the weekend.

On Saturday we went to Bunnings and collected more plants for their garden. I had another nap in the afternoon and by the time I woke up the new plants were all planted.

Some of the existing plants are going great guns. Their basil leaves are huge and the Fig and mango trees have plenty of fruit starting to grow.

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On Sunday I put on my first ever home brew with some help from Dad. It’s an apple cider and I’m looking forward to getting to try some when it’s ready (hopefully in 5 weeks).

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A few of weeks ago I told you B and I had decided not to eat meat on weeknights so this week I thought I’d tell you about some of the recipes we’ve adapted to be meat free.

Moroccan Tofu and Greens

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A while ago I posted one of our favourite dinner recipes Moroccan Chicken and Beans.  Two weeks ago I put up a photo of my veggie boosted tofu version and today I’m going to give you the recipe.

250g of beans

75g  Snow peas

1/2 bunch Broccolini

250g  Tofu

3tbs Moroccan Seasoning

2tsp Corn Flour or Arrowroot

The recipe is reasonably the same. I cut up the veg into approx. 2cm pieces and microwaved them to start the cooking process. I tossed the cubed tofu in the corn flour and 1 tbs of Moroccan seasoning the stir fried it. Once sightly browned I added the veg and the rest of the seasoning and continued to stir fry for another 2-3 mins.  I served it with couscous as usual.

Tofu and Sweet Corn Soup

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Another of our favourite recipes I made a change to was my Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup. This one proved particularly popular and I’ve made it twice now.

1/2 an onion

2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp minced ginger

1 rasher bacon

250g Tofu (pressed and chopped into pieces)

2 cans Cream Corn

Green onions

2 eggs

I browned the onion, garlic, ginger and bacon in a pot the added the Tofu and lightly browned.

I added the creamed corn and two tins worth of water then stirred in 2-3 chopped green onions.

I let it simmer for 15-20  then just before serving while still simmering I added the two eggs and stirred well to break them up and create threads of egg throughout the soup.

I served it with a bread roll.

So there are two of my adapted recipes. Let me know if you have any good veggie and or tofu recipes I should try.

Friday Fast Five – Domestic Plane Carry on Items

This weeks topic:

Domestic Plane Carry on Items

I do a fair bit of domestic travel each year to visit family and attend Supanova.

There are five Items I prefer not to get on  plane without:

Headphones & Headphone converter jack

I know that sort of two Items but I bought them as a pack so I’m counting them as one.

I always prefer to use my own headphones when flying as they have a better sound quality and they are kind of useless on a plane without a jack converter. If you don’t have one you can usually pick one up at travel shops or at the airport.

Book

I rarely go anywhere for longer than a day without a book to keep me company. I don’t always end up reading on a flight but I like having the option open to me if the other entertainment options are not to my liking.

Phone/mp3 player/ tablet etc

 Some form of electronic device with my own music on it. I don’t mind listening to the airlines radios most of the time but sometimes I just want my own playlists. Also the sound quality is much better on my devices then the planes entertainment system.

Jacket/jumper

Planes get cold and weather conditions can change. Better to be prepared with a jumper even if your traveling somewhere that is supposed to be hot. Most seats have a small hook in the side that you can hang your jumper/jacket off if you don’t need to use it.

Gum

I always buy some at the airport news agents. If nothing else it gives me something sweet to chew on as we ascend into the clouds. It also usually helps with popping the ‘bubbles’ you get in your ears from the change in pressure.

So that’s my five. Do you have other must have Items? What other tips do you have for domestic flights?