Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cooking Class with Ana Schwarz

Ashleigh was excited to go to Ana's parent and child cooking class again these school holidays after having so much fun and making a yummy meal last time.

This time we made Three Cheese Ravioli with Poached Prawns and Brown Butter Sauce for main and Mini Trifles for dessert. As she demonstrated how to make them our mouths were watering, both looked so good.

Then it was our turn. We cooked on islands in groups of four so the other mum and daughter on our island made the Mini Trifles and Ashleigh and I made the Ravioli dish. I just advised and supervised while Ashleigh did most of the preparing and cooking herself. She finely chopped the shallots, mixed the filling, poached the prawns, put half the ravioli together and cooked them. I helped with putting the other half of the ravioli together and making the brown butter sauce.

Once again Ana was impressed with the skill of the kids doing the cooking and she commented on how good Ashleigh's cooked ravioli looked.

After all the hard work in the kitchen we got to sit and enjoy the fruits of our labour and it was so delicious. The ravioli just melted in our mouths. We had three each and Ashleigh surprised my by eating everything on her plate, she must have loved them as much as I did.

And the mini trifles were amazing with the different layers of fruit, biscuits, jelly, chocolate drops and cream. All with special little touches and it came together beautifully. We both loved the trifle but it was quite sweet and filling so none of us managed to eat it all.

Ana did a great job of making it all look so easy and we enjoyed ourselves again so much that we will be signing up for the next one.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Menu Planning Monday

I have been a regular menu planner for many years, with occasional lapses when life gets busy, but I find it really does help with keeping the weekly grocery bill down.

I plan each week from Friday to Thursday as most weeks I do the grocery shopping on Friday. Here is this weeks menu:

Friday: Pizza and Movie Night for the last day of school. Normally it would be home made pizzas but as I hadn't made any bases we had Pizza Box.
Saturday: Sausages and Kumara Salad (this recipe is from Mum and it is delicious)
Sunday: Salmon Cakes with Lemon-Caper Yoghurt Sauce and Salad
Monday: Roast Chicken and veges
Tuesday: Ashleigh has a sleepover and I am travelling so Scott will probably have our go to Calamari Chip Wraps (see photo)
Wednesday: Prawn, Lemon and Leek Risotto from Donna Hay Fast, Fresh, Simple
Thursday: Lime and Lemongrass Chicken also from Donna Hay Fast, Fresh, Simple - love, love, love this cookbook, so easy and simple.

Also, most weekends I do some baking for Ashleigh's school lunches. Last weekend I made mini banana and chocolate chip muffins and mini apple pies. The apple pies are what Ashleigh will have for lunch as she will not eat sandwiches for school lunches, which makes packing her lunchbox most days very challenging. This week is the beginning of the school holidays so no baking this weekend.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Photo Organising

It has been a busy two weeks but I have been able to get little snippets of time here and there to work on some pages and do some photo organising.

I finished another holiday page. This one was a little summary of our time at Santa Monica Pier, which Ashleigh loved. Especially the ferris wheel ride at night. The panorama shot is from Ashleigh new camera she got for her birthday, it is a great feature we used many times on our adventures.

I have also started on two new pages using some great silhouette cuts. I should have at least one of these to share next weekend.

This weekend I spent Saturday afternoon backing up all my 2011/12 photos and getting my master photo database up-to-date. Then, because I have only been working on Project Life this year I went through the last three years of photos and updated my master list of scrapbook pages to make. I was surprised how many pages I had made last year so the to-do list wasn't that long.

Going through the to-do list it was interesting to note that all the big celebrations like Christmas and birthdays are still to do as well as the pages for Ashleigh's School of Life album. These are the pages I find most difficult, I think it is because we have so many photos from these events and it is hard to narrow down to a few to scrapbook.

But I have my love of creating and scrapbooking back and I am excited to record our stories and memories.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

First Layout of 2012

So, along with many others I joined the Project Life bandwagon at the beginning of this year and I have loved every minute of recording our everyday life week by week but with the limited amount of time I have for scrapbooking this has been all I have had time for this year. And I am still behind several months.

And now after our three week vacation to the States and over 3,000 photos taken I want to scrapbook all of these memories as well. So, I have decided to change up my Project Life album to record our everyday on a monthly basis rather than weekly.

Last weekend while Ashleigh was catching up on school and Brownie projects I decided to start on my vacation pages. But after so long not scrapbooking layouts I didn't know where to start so I printed one of my favourite photos from our visit to Universal Studios and found a Susan Weinroth layout with an enlarged photo I liked and started there.

This is the end result and it is my new favourite layout.

This weekend I have finished another layout from Santa Monica but wasn't able to photograph it before the light went so, I will have to share next weekend.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day 20 | September 1st

Today was Cam, Katharine and Paddy's last day in Hawaii so we spent most of the day with them by the pool.

We relaxed in the morning and had a late breakfast and then we joined them at a couple of cabana's by the pool. Ashleigh and Paddy swam and swam and swam, playing throw with Paddy's little rugby ball. Ashleigh and me against Poppa and Paddy. Going down the slide again and again. Attacking each other and trying to give Paddy kisses. It was so lovely to see the two of them playing so well together.

And it was so hot and big gusts of wind kept coming through the complex as well but that was great to cool things down.

Late afternoon when Paddy was tired out from all the swimming he went back to the room for a rest before dinner and Ashleigh headed to the surf beach with Scott. They played in the surf for over an hour and Ashleigh had an absolute ball.

Ashleigh and I both got a little too much sun today but luckily the sun in Hawaii doesn't burn like it does in NZ.

We all meet for a very early dinner at 4.30pm at PF Chang's again so Paddy could eat before falling asleep at dinner. After dinner everyone came back to our Penthouse for a farewell drink before a reasonably early night.

Ashleigh has loved spending so much time with Paddy in Hawaii and they have both got to know each other so much better. And she has also done so much swimming with Grammy and Poppa including them taking her down the slide on many occasions and Grammy even took her into the sea. She has had such a lovely time with them all.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Day 19 | August 31st

Ashleigh was awake at 6am again today so I was up early as well. I had a shower and we went downstairs to find the complimentary coffee. We decided it would probably be a good idea to have breakfast while we were there so we had breakfast and took Scott back a coffee, bagel and bacon for his breakfast.

We all then meet the shuttle bus at 8.30am to take us out to the premium outlet stores beyond Pearl Harbour. We had a few hours there before getting the 12pm shuttle bus back to the hotel. So, we all split up and went shopping. Scott was instructed to find some new shoes/sneakers and he came back with two pairs one causal and one a little dressy. Ashleigh and I got a few clothes. We certainly didn't shop as well as Cam and Katharine.

When we got back I headed straight to the laundromat to finally get our laundry done and Ashleigh had a date with Katharine. Her birthday present was getting her nails done. They were amazing, her thumbs were decorated with the Hawaiian Hibiscus flower drawn free hand and the others were just a lovely bright coral colour. She also got a lovely bright Mac lipstick. She was very happy and had such a fun time.....a big treat.

We then all meet next door at Dukes for a late lunch, early dinner to celebrate Denis' 70th birthday. It was early because Paddy hasn't been having an afternoon nana nap and was getting very tired in the early evening.

We were all done by 5pm and went back to our room for a drink and to kill some time before Paddy was to go to bed at 6.30pm. When Grammy and Poppa took him back to their place to go to bed I suggested we take a walk along the beach to see the sunset.

We had a lovely walk, Ashleigh played in the shallows and the sunset was truly amazing. I took a photo of her with the sunset behind and a group of Asian woman asked her to pose for them as was very funny. While I took photos and enjoyed watching the sunset go down Ashleigh slowly got wetter and wetter, getting deeper and deeper in the surf.

After the sun went we started walking back along the beach and Ashleigh continued to play in the water. By the time we got back to the hotel she was almost totally soaked but just to make sure she squatted down as a wave came over her and got totally soaked. She was sooo happy, this was her favourite moment of her Hawaii holdiay.

She was then straight in the shower and it was an early night for all.

Day 18 | August 30th

Scott and Ashleigh were up extremely early this morning but tried to let me sleep for a little while. When I got up to make coffee I discovered our coffee supplies had not been replenished so Scott made the trip downstairs for the complimentary morning coffee.

We then went down the street to find a cheaper breakfast place before heading back to our room to collect our laundry to take to the laundromat. Soon after Colleen and Paddy arrived for a visit and Colleen said they were taking the bus to Ala Moana Shopping Center for a look before coming back to the hotel for a swim and rest before dinner.

So, instead of doing the boring laundry we decided to go to the shopping center for a look as well. Ashleigh and I did a little clothes shopping and Scott was very patient waiting for us, although he did get himself a rash shirt so he could take Ashleigh for a swim in the sea.

Early afternoon we headed back to the hotel and from our hotel room saw Grammy, Paddy and Cam down on the beach heading to the sea with a surf board for a swim and paddle. Ashleigh was jumping out of her skin to get down to the beach to join them so we all quickly changed into our bathers and met them on the loungers.

Scott and Ashleigh jumped straight in the sea and Ashleigh joined Paddy on the surf board. They both had so much fun bobbing up and down over the waves and falling off every now and then.

After another big day Grammy and Poppa took Ashleigh and Paddy to dinner at the hotel food court nice and early and we meet Cam and Katharine at a Steakhouse above Yard House for drinks and dinner. The restaurant had the most amazing steak and was a little expensive but so, so yummy. Scott and I shared a calamari appetizer and then for entree (main) I had a petite fillet steak with asparagus and Scott had shrimp. The steak was so good it just melted in your mouth....delicious!

After dinner Katharine and I headed back to the hotel as we were getting up the next day to get a shuttle bus to the premium outlet stores at 8.30am. Scott and Cam went to do some brother bonding with a few Red Bulls and Vodka's. They made it back to the room about 1.30am.