Wednesday, 31 October 2012

TIP: Cleaning Pen Marks from Walls

To clean your pen marks on walls, simply use a piece of cloth or sponge and some vinegar.

Monday, 29 October 2012

RECIPE: A Quick High Protein Breakfast Dish

Here is another valuable recipe that I have learnt from my smart and practical mum. I come from a large family and this dish was a saver for her. It is delicious, easy to make, healthy, filling, takes less than 10 minutes altogether, and is made using the ingredients that are around the house at all times in most cases. It  is definitely a winner in my family!
yogurtlu yumurta

  • Eggs (I use one egg per person. So, if you are cooking for two people, you put 2 eggs)
  • Natural yoghurt (you can be flexible with that but I generally add about a glassful of yoghurt per egg. The more yoghurt you put, the more savoury it will become and the larger the dish will be.)
  • Approximately a spoonful of flour (if you add more, it will become thicker. If you add less, it will be runnier)
  • A pinch of salt
  • Olive oil

Mix all ingredients except for oil in a bowl until all nice and smooth.
kahvalti tabagi hazirligi

Warm up oil in a saucepan/pan and add the mixture to it.
egg and yoghurt dish

Stir until boiling (it will only take a few minutes) and then turn the heat down and let it boil gently for 7-8 minutes while stirring it once in a few minutes.
cooking an egg dish

This dish goes really well with some bread.
heart shaped dish

yogurtlu yumurta ve chia
Served with chia

Saturday, 27 October 2012

DID YOU KNOW ...? (43)

Tug o war
Photo credit
Did you know that Tug of War was an Olympic sport between 1900 and 1920? (To read more about Tug of War, you can click here or here.)

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

GUEST POST: Taking Kids' Photos

Here is an entry on some tips on taking kids' photos from Janet of Mum the Photographer. Thank you Janet for your contribution.  
My sister-in-law and I started Mum the Photographer as a way of sharing our passion for photographing our own children. We’re not about taking perfect photos (in fact mine are often far from perfect!) but more about remembering to capture our children and their personalities in their everyday lives.

When I think about taking photos of my own children I realise that broadly they fall into three scenarios – posed, planned and impromptu.

1.      Posed Photos. To be honest, I don’t often take posed photos of my children. It can be quite tricky to get them looking natural. Tricky but not impossible. Firstly, I find a well-lit place in my house and free it from clutter – the general everyday things we have in our houses like a few letters, pens, newspapers, a stray toy or two. These things can be distracting in the background of a photo. Once I’ve got my spot ready, I then get my son over as there is no point having them wait around while I get prepared. I will face my son towards the window so that the light is captured in his eyes. But I don’t pick up my camera straight away. Even my sons who have been photographed thousands and thousands of times don’t have a natural smile at the ready as soon as my camera comes up. You need some easy interaction first. You will know your own child the best – in my case a bit of ribbing can work, or tickling, or having them pull their silliest face and showing them mine etc. Once they’ve relaxed my camera then comes out and I take about 10 – 20 photos while still interacting with them. If I’m taking a posed photo it is generally for a reason – in this case it was to capture his first missing front tooth. I chose to have his face almost entirely fill the frame. If I’d pulled back a bit, there wouldn’t have been as much focus drawn to his face.
Photography Tips

2.      Planned photos. This is often my approach to taking photos of my children because as “Mum the Photographer” my goal is to create a strong photographic record of my children as they grow up. I read Gretchin rubin’s book “The Happiness Project” and her quote “the days are long but the years are short” has really stuck with me. I want photos to help me remember exactly how my children were growing up. I don’t really get that from posed photos – sure, I can see what their face was like when they lost their first tooth, but sitting on a chair smiling isn’t really how they spend their time. So if it’s not an impromptu activity, I’ll often bring the activity they are doing to a place in my house with great light. Why not give yourself the best opportunity to capture a great photo. And apart from again clearing distracting clutter away from the background, that is all the planning I’ll do to get the photo. I won’t ask the boys to hold the toy in a certain way, or look this way, or arrange the blocks so that their colour pattern is pleasing. I want to get a photo of how they are playing … because all too soon, this phase of play will have passed and they’ll be onto something else. I want real memories in my albums and on my walls. Other planned photos I take will often be outside, late in the afternoon when the light is soft. Again, I won’t direct how they should play, but rather capture them as they are running off their late afternoon steam.
Photography tips

3.      Impromptu photos. These are those photos you take where there is absolutely no planning or posing at all. They are completely natural, and I think sometimes the absolute best photos in your album. They might not be the clearest photos because perhaps your light wasn’t great but there is no point asking your child at this stage to stop what they are doing and relocate to near the nice big window. It’s also in these times that you grab whatever camera you have nearby and mostly for me, these are the photos I’ll snap on my iPhone. I make a point of seldom using my flash when I take photos but impromptu photos are when I may well use a flash and an auto setting just so that I can capture the funny or precious moment. I recently had one of these moments on a plane … Will giggled uncontrollably for about 5 minutes over a joke. He was so infectious that the people around us started laughing too. This blurry photo is one of my favourites from over our school holidays.
Photography tips

If you’d like more information on how to best optimise your light for taking posed or planned photos, then “take a peek” at our lighting module from our home page. (

We’d love for you to join our “Mum the Photographer” community … check out our bog and facebook page for weekly tips on improving your photos and interesting ways in which to create a photographic record of your child as they grow up. If there is something that you think would help you out when taking photos of your own children please get in touch with us on facebook or email

All the best

Monday, 22 October 2012


The video above shows how to make a water filter at home. In my opinion, it doesn't seem to be much complicated and it would be good to know how to make your own water filter in case of an emergency.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

DID YOU KNOW ...? (42)

Biodynamic eggs
Photo credit
Shell colour and egg size vary with the age of the hen. When the hen starts to lay, the shell of the egg will be brown and the eggs will be small. As the hen gets older, the eggs get larger and the shell colour fades. Yolk colour alters with the seasons. An abundance of green feed gives a golden glow to the yolk; however, in the middle of summer when the pastures are dry the yolk will be paler without affecting the quality of the egg.

Information source: Katham Springs (Kangaroo Island) biodynamic free range eggs. 

Thursday, 18 October 2012


Whole broccoli
Photo source
Broccoli is classified as a super food and is one of the healthiest vegetables that is easy to access to for most people especially in most parts of the globe.  It is a cruciferous vegetable and belongs to the cabbage family (similar to cauliflower, bok choy, kale, turnips, radishes, watercress and brussel sprouts). Cruciferous vegetables in general and broccoli in particular has some chemicals that may reduce the risk of colorectal and other cancers, and may also act as anti-oxidants and may boost detoxifying enzymes in the body. Even though there is need for more research in the area, it is claimed that diets high in cruciferous vegetables are linked with a lower risk of certain types of cancer.

Nutrients and health benefits:
  • very high in vitamin C
  • rich in vitamin A
  • has high levels of carotenoids (vitamin A like substances)
  • high in fiber (consumption of large amounts of fibre-rich foods may cause gas and should be reduced or avoided in people with diarrrhea and some other colon related problems)
  • has generous amounts of calcium
  • rich in folate (which may be helpful in prevention of some birth defects and to avoid heart disease and strokes)
  • a source of phytochemicals, or plant chemicals, that may have anticancer properties
  • loaded with antioxidants
  • very low in fat and calories

How to Choose, Store and Consume:

The broccoli heads should be firm and compact. Broccoli should be dark or bright green to purplish in colour and has closed flower buds. Stalks should be cleanly cut and firm too.

Broccoli is not suitable for dry storage. It should ideally be stored at 32F with the humidity of 95%.

Photo source
If you have some unprocessed broccoli, then store it loosely covered to allow respiration. Do not wash it unless you are going to use it soon after washing it. Do not store broccoli close to ethylene (ripening element) producing fruit and vegetables such as pears, cantaloupes, avocados and onions. Do not store broccoli in the fridge when wet. Use cut florets within 2 days.

If you are going to freeze your broccoli, then cut it into florets, blanch it for two minutes and cool down to 41F before packaging and placing in the freezer which can stay there for up to 3 months.

Broccoli can be consumed raw or cooked. It can be purchased fresh or frozen. It can be cooked whole or broken into florets. It has the most nutrients when eaten raw. If cooking with the stems, cut through thick stems to allow even cooking. You can steam, boil, or pan-fry broccoli. Some people even microwave it. Do not overcook broccoli and make sure it still retains the bright green colour even when cooked.

You can use broccoli in many types of meals but our two favourite cooked broccoli dishes are broccoli salad and broccoli soup. Then comes vegetarian stir-fried noodles with some broccoli along with a few other types of vegies or stir-fried mustard seeds with broccoli.

We often eat the stem raw. We just peel off the tough skin around it and cut it into slices or finger length strips. It is crispy, juicy and has a fresh taste.

When Mr. Junior started eating solids and was safe to eat broccoli, I used raw broccoli stems or lightly boiled broccoli florets as a finger food or a snack for him. He has always enjoyed it and he much prefers raw or very lightly blanched broccoli to casseroles or omelettes with broccoli. When I am preparing broccoli to make a soup with for example, he always tries his tricks to get some uncooked pieces of broccoli off me before I use them.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


party food

Here is a quick and easy s'mores recipe, that my beautiful and multi-skilled 15 year old niece has taught me. As this recipe is one that everyone can customize for their own taste, it's sure to please.

-Two sheets of puff pastry (serves about 6 people)
-Milk Chocolate
-White Chocolate

Using some shape cutters, cut the pastry into shapes of your desire and place them onto a greased oven tray (or a tray with baking paper). Place tray into an already preheated oven of 200 degrees. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool. Then add your favorite toppings such as berries, marshmallows, milk chocolate and white chocolate (or anything of your choice and taste!).

easy finger food recipe

easy recipes

finger food recipes

Have a sweet day!!

Monday, 15 October 2012


If you have stainless steel kitchen products such as pots, then put some white vinegar in a bottle with a sprayer head spray it to the surface you need to clean. Use a piece of clean cloth to wipe it with.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

DID YOU KNOW... ? (41)

The best food for a newborn is called COLOSTRUM. It is the thick, yellowish liquid/milk that the mother produces in the very first few days of giving birth. It is extremely beneficial for babies!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Blast from the Past Competition Results

Before I happily announce the top 3 winners of the last giveaway, I would like to say that it was truly a pleasure to read through all those games that each entrant has listed. I hope our children and the generations after them can think of at least as many games when they dig into their childhood memories as well when they are adults. Thank you all for your time and effort.
The winners are as follows (respectively):

1. Shiitake
2. Katherine
3. Jess 

I will need Shiitake to choose her 3 prizes from the list in the next few days and let me know by Wednesday the 17th of October. Once I receive the e-mail/message and I know what she has chosen, I will contact Katherine and let her know what other prizes are available for her to choose from. She will be choosing 1 prize from the remaining. After she does it in a few days again, I will contact Jess to let her know of her prize. The sponsors will also be informed of who has taken what.

Just a reminder also that all Melbournian entrants will be eligible for a 20% discount from Organic Origins as mentioned in the giveaway post on the blog as well. To be able to claim it, please contact me by Wednesday the 31st of October, 2012 and I will be providing you with the relevant information for you to have a valid claim.

The prizes are proudly sponsored by:

 Printcraft Wall Decals
 MeeMee's Little Munchkins
 Emma Loves to Sew!
 Organic Origins

NOTE: Anyone (existing entrants and others) is most welcome to feel free to add to the list more games anytime you get a chance to just so that we can have a good collection of many-forgotten-games that we may be able to pass on to our children with some conscious effort. To do so, just click here, scroll down until you see the 'comments' option and add your list in the comments section. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

FROM MAMA TO BUBBA (1): A Handmade Dress

The pictures below are my proof that once you set your mind to something, you are very likely to achieve it! It was a day when I had so much time in hand that I didn't know what to do with and I am not a person who is extremely good at handling 'nothing-to-do' times. I had the urge to challenge myself with something and I took the plunge to destroy a never-worn shirt of my niece who has generously donated it to me for me to 'make something with'. 

I took out one of my daughter's much loved dresses and decided to make something similar to that. I had almost no idea how to make a dress but I had the courage to give it a go anyway. At the time, my daughter was possibly either not born yet, or a newborn as I remember the burgundy dress was never worn before.

Using the dress that I had bought for Miss Junior possibly even before she was born and some scrap paper that I found around the house, I came up with an amateur pattern. Basically, I laid the dress on top of a large piece of paper and with the help of a pen, I drew around it after deciding what parts of the shirt I wanted to use for the dress. I allowed approximately 1/2cm-1cm for seam (and correction if needed). In other words, I cut my fabric about a centimeter away from where the actual dress's lines were. While cutting the dress, I made sure that I worked with the buttons and the buttonholes that the original shirt had rather than working against them. I used them as an advantage to me as I didn't really know how to make my own. I used the same strategy with the hems on the skirt of the dress and the sides whenever possible.

A recycled dress

I used some light blue binding tape that I happened to have a small amount of at home around the arm holes and just folded the neck line and sewed. I placed a soft velvety ribbon on top of the folded area on the neck for a better look and comfort.  I think it worked pretty well considering the only sewing I did was the binding on the armholes and the folded area around the neck.

A dress from a shirt

With this particular project, the success was through some good planning and the amount of love I put in it knowing (or rather hoping) that one day, my little princess would wear it!

A baby dress

I tried this dress on the latest addition of our family just a few days ago and was thrilled to see that it sat beautifully on her. Definitely looking forward to making some good use of it sometime soon!

A dress tutorial

Saturday, 6 October 2012

DID YOU KNOW ...? (40)

It is believed that in 1780, William Addis developed the first mass produced toothbrush. At the time, the handle was made using a cow bone and it had cow tail-hair bristles. Toothbrushes had a deluxe option which was the one with hog hair until 1938 when the use of nylon took over. 

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

GUEST BLOG ENTRY: Felt Owl Tutorial

Today's entry comes from Sedef Imer, who is about to have her second child any minute. After sending her many thanks for her great work and very valuable contribution, and wishing her the best of luck with the birth of her daughter and motherhood in general, I am leaving you with her post. Enjoy!

I am an ex-investment banker-management consultant-chartered accountant (basically high flying career girl lol) originally from London but had a complete lifestyle change when my husband and I moved to Adelaide in 2009 and then had our first baby. I am now a proud stay-at-home-mum and also pregnant again and due to have a little girl in October. I have discovered and fallen in love with crafts and sewing recently, a total lifestyle transformation.

I got into felt work about 6 months ago after a friend showed me the activity books she had made for her kids 20 years ago. I just had to make one for my boy, as you simply cannot purchase those at the shops! I am completely self taught, thank god for google and you tube tutorials... Currently half way through making a felt activity book for my toddler (who is now 19 months old). About 2 months ago I bought my first sewing machine and started learning how to use it, so I am diversifying from felt. So far, I have tried my hand at relatively easy stuff, mainly making decorations for the new baby's nursery - bunting, cushion cover, rag doll etc. Next, I have a simple quilt planned for my little girl.

This tutorial covers how to make an ornamental felt hanging to decorate your baby's nursery or a child's room. It also demonstrates basic principles of felt sewing which can easily be replicated for other animals or other types of decorations.

Step 1 - Find an image that you wish to turn into a decoration. If doing this for commercial purposes always check with the owner of the image if they give you permission to use it! This is a felt owl image I found on google, nice simple lines. It doesn't have to be the picture of a felt object, any simple vector or clipart would also work. You can also draw your own (sadly I am not talented enough in this department, so I resort to technology) ;)

Felt owl
Step 2 - Gather and prepare your materials and tools:
- Felt for the body, belly, and wings (whatever colours you want), white felt for eyes, orange felt for feet and beak (and black felt if you can't find a black button the right size for the eyes)
- Scissors
- Craft glue or hot glue gun
- Pins or stapler

- Embroidery thread in matching colours and sewing needle (embroidery needle if you have one, it has a larger eye than a regular sewing needle)
- Filling material (hobby fill or pillow filler, even cotton wool will do)
- Black button for the eye(s) and 3 buttons to decorate the back

Felt owl
Step 3 - Using whatever software you prefer enlarge the picture to the size you want your finished product to be. Mine is about 10cm tall. I use Adobe Illustrator for patterns. The page size i use is A4 so I know the exact size the owl will be when printed & templated. You can also use photoshop, even powerpoint. Or get it enlarged with a photocopier :) I put two owls on a page as i will need several of these for the patterns, so to save on paper.
felt owl

Step 4 - Print enough of the owls so you have a pattern piece for each 'element' of their body, and trace around the various body parts with a felt pen.
felt owl

Step 5 - Roughly cut the patterns out (not on the line, but slightly out)
felt owl
Step 6 - Pin or staple the patterns onto felt. I prefer staples (just an ordinary stapler) as they lay flat on the felt and produce a better more precise finish on the cut piece. But normal sewing pins will do too.
felt owl

Step 7 - Cut on the black line. Tip: For cutting out smaller pieces like feet and also pieces with curves like the eyes - i find it easier to use a pair of curved nail scissors for those

Felt owl

felt owl

felt owl

 All pieces are now cut and ready to stitch/assemble.

Step 8 - Get your matching embroidery thread. I used three colours - pink to match the body, strawberry to match the wings, and black for the eyes. All my thread is in an organiser box but the white skein is how they come
felt owl
Step 9 - Warning - only use 1 strand from the embroidery thread, not all 6! Some people prefer to use 2 strands to make the stitches stand out, you can even use a contrasting colour (lighter/darker) of thread to make them stand out more. I prefer mine to blend in as much as possible so I use one strand of matching colour. If you are making a larger ornament, you may want to use more strands.
Keceden baykus

Step 10 - We now need to prepare each 'side' of the owl before stitching them together. Starting with the front. I decided to use fabric for the belly so stitched it on to the felt using backstitch (google it if you dont know how to do backstitch, it's very easy). If you are using felt you can just glue the piece on, no stitching required. You can also glue fabric on if it is a darker colour fabric, but the glue may show under a lighter colour fabric.
Felt owl

Step 11 - Glue the eyes, beak and feet on. I also stitched a little fabric rose that i already had to make it extra girly ;) I just use craft glue, any liquid glue or hot glue gun will be fine.
Felt owl
Step 12 - Eyes. Sew on the black button. If you are making a winky eye, you can either draw it on with a felt tip pen, or for a more professional look embroider it on. I first drew on the winky eye using a water erasable pen (you can just use a pencil or pen even, as the stitches will cover the pen mark)
Step 13 - Embroider small backstitches following the pen line to make the winky eye. I used three strands of black thread for this as one strand would have been too thin. I then dabbed a bit of water on top to get rid of the blue from my pen. And voila the front is finished.
Step by step felt owl tutorial

Step 14 - The back. Staple or pin the wings where you want them. WARNING - make sure you staple them on to the correct side of the felt, as the pattern is unlikely to be symmetrical!

Felt owl

Step 15 - Blanket stitching the wings onto the body. Before you attempt this cut two small pieces of felt and learn to blanket stitch. This is a good tutorial. It is dead easy but you dont want to practice on the owl! Start blanket stitching the wings wherever you wish.
Felted owl

Step 16 - as you stitch around the wings, you will eventually get to the body. Just keep stitching it as if the body isn't there, putting the needle down through it and back up where you want it to come. The wings are now stitched on.

Felt owl

Felted owl

Step 17 - Sew 3 decorative buttons on to the back which i think is a nice touch. Both front and back now finished and ready to stitch together!
Step by step craft

Step 18 - Blanket stitching the front and back. When you get to the wings, make sure you dont sew through them as the stitches will show on the wings! Just push the wings back a bit with your hand and pretend they are not there.
Felted owl tutorial
Step 19 - Blanket stitched all the way around except a 3cm opening at the top (for the stuffing). I just left the thread and needle hanging to finish the stitching after filling.
How to make a felt owl

Step 20 - Get your filler material. This is the one i use, they come in $3 bags from spotlight. Excuse my toddler's toy car in the background! :)
How to make an owl
Step 21 - Stuff it in using a pencil and your finger, push into all the nooks and crevices. I found the ears were easier with my fingers.
Easy felted owl
Step 22 - Put a ribbon through the opening on top before finishing the blanket stitch.
Easy crafty tutorials
Voila! A cute little owl to decorate your kid's room :)

Felt owl

Felt owl

Note: Soon after Sedef wrote this post for us here and had her second child, her beautiful daughter, she launched her own business pageshop and blogGreat work Sedef! 

Monday, 1 October 2012