To blog or not blog?

It’s been a far while since I wrote a personal post for my blog. I have had opportunities to do some reviews and it has been great to get back into my writing and the chance to work eith new people. In case you missed them Little Leaf Eco  Chicken Dinner with Countdown and review for Optically.co.nz

I wanted to write this post because my poor blog has been so neglected for almost a year! I never had any intention to take a break or leave it so long. Last year was crazy busy. I changed jobs, we went to England for a month for my brother’s wedding, we sold our first home and bought a new one. BUT before we could sell our previous home, we had to put in a new shower, hire a storage unit to declutter, paint, clean, as well as attend open homes, looking for our new home.

I really struggled with poor health last year too. I don’t know why as I have always been generally healthy, but I had tummy bugs, strep throat, plus a viral illness just before we went to England and then after we moved into our new home I got bronchitis. I was not a healthy Mumma. So far this year has been MUCH better.

I was asked by a reader why I had stopped writing? I explained about our busy year and my blog was one of the things that got put on hold. She then said to me that she hoped I would continue to write and she found me to be a sincere mummy blog. WOW reading that blown me away. And it has definitely given me the incentive to get back into writing again.

I enjoy reading other Mummy blogs, I have done for several years now, even before I thought about writing my own. But I do feel I have to ‘compete’ with them, yes silly I know. But the world of Mummy blogging seems to be very competitive and popular, it’s all about like and shares. If your post isn’t liked then no one else sees it, unless the page has an already established following.  

This is actually one of the reasons I stopped writing, I became really disheartened and I definitely questioned why I was even bothering. I have never been a competitive person, but the pressure got to me. I felt my life didn’t live up to what I was seeing in other blog posts. And I also felt because I don’t live in a big vity I was at a huge disadvantage.

Social media platforms changed the way posts are seen, and one thing I refuse to do it pay to ‘boost’ my post. If I did this for one post, would I then have to do the same for other posts?

Sure you could say I’m a tad miffed I don’t have a following but I honestly don’t mind, I write because I want to write. I am relatively new to blogging and who knows what the future will hold.

I needed to take ‘time out’ last year due to family, work and my health. I will still write when I want too. My life is busy enough without feeling like I have to write a blog post.

Thanks for reading,

Stacey

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Chicken dinner with Countdown

I was very excited to be asked if I wanted to make dinner to celebrate Countdown’s Price Lockdown. The challenge was to create a meal I hadn’t made before, or something I had always wanted to try, or my twist on a classic. I just had to make sure the recipe included chicken.

I was sent a voucher for Countdown to purchase my ingredients for my chicken dinner. Being a Mum to two young children I understand the challenges of feeding them something they will eat AND enjoy, plus doing it affordably. I purchased a number of items that had Countdown’s Price Lockdown logo for my chicken meal, meaning I got a great deal to feed the whole family.

As a child one meal I used to really enjoy was when my Mum cooked chicken with tomato soup, and with the weather getting colder it seemed a great opportunity to make it for my family and it was something I hadn’t made before.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 750g free range chicken breast (skinless, boneless)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 carrots, (peeled)
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1 broccoli
  • 1 teapoon Homebrand minced Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of Homebrand Olive oil
  • 1 can of Homebrand condensed Tomato soup
  • 1kg bag of Homebrand long grain rice
  • 1 loaf of Tiger bread (to serve)

Method

  • Preheat oven to 150-180, depending on your oven.
  • Prepare vegetables, I grated the carrot and chopped it quite small, I also cut the celery in half length ways and cut small. I find for my children they are more likely to eat them and it makes cooking them easier. Chop onion.
  • Put the Olive oil in a frying pan, add the garlic, onion, carrot and celery. Fry until the onion is beginning to brown.
  • Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and then add to the frying pan with the vegetables when the onion has started to brown.
  • Cook the chicken until all the pinkness has gone and you can just see white meat, remove from the heat and add everything from the frying pan into a dish which is oven safe and has a lid.
  • Open the can of condensed soup and add to the warm frying pan, keep the pan on a low heat. Using the can fill it with cold water and add this to the frying pan also. Stir to combine. Once the soup and water are combined, add the soup mix to the dish with the chicken and vegetable. Stir to combine, place the lid on the dish and put it in the oven for about 20-30 minutes. I checked on mine after 20 minutes, gave it a stir and cooked for a further 10 minutes.
  • Once all the soup is combined with the water add the liquid into the dish with the chicken and vegetables. Stir to combine, add the lid to the dish and put in the oven.
  • Whilst the chicken was in the oven, I prepared my broccoli and cauliflower to serve with the dinner. I heated some water in a pan and placed the vegetables in the steamer pan. I also cooked my rice in my rice cooker.
  • Whilst the vegetables and rice were cooking, I sliced the tiger loaf bread and buttered the slices, I thought the bread would be a good to mop up the left over sauce.
  • Once everything is ready, serve up and tuck in.

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This chicken dinner was a HUGE hit, we all really enjoyed it. After talking to my Mum about it she mentioned that she has also added mushrooms into it, but I know my children wouldn’t really appreciate that. Something to remember for the future though.

You could also have this meal with pasta or potatoes instead of rice if you wanted too. I chose to serve broccoli and cauliflower as my children both really like them.

If you go on to make this delicious chicken dinner, I would love to hear your thoughts,

Stacey.

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Review for Little Leaf Eco

Wow, its been a while since I did a review and even wrote a post. A few weeks ago I was fortunate to be approached by Maileen of Little Leaf Eco, to review a couple of her items amd I took her up on the opportunity.

I was sent a Stinky Bag for Little Miss and a Kid’s Backpack for Mr Happy. I am always on the look out for new and different things for my children and the chance to review both items has been well received in our household.

A Little About Little Leaf Eco

They are a New Zealand family owned company, with a focus on creating items to minimise waste, help the environment whilst maintaining a high standard.

The creater is a Mum of two boys and finding she was getting tired of lunchboxes breaking halfway through the school year, as well as trying to find the right shape and not always knowing what chemicals were used to create the lunchboxes, her first product the Lunch Tote was born.

Other products by Little Leaf Eco

On the website you can find the Lunch Tote, Stinky Bag, Kid’s Backpack’s and a selection of Wooden Toys.

 

On to the Stinky Bag

The Stinky Bag is designed to be used for sports, swimming gear, gym kits, toys, sleepover items and anything else you can think of. Little Miss is starting school in a matter of months and has weekly swimming lessons so I thought this bag would be perfect for her to try.

We were sent the pink ‘Princess in Training’ bag. When I first showed Little Miss her instantly had a huge smile on her face. She was keen to have a look at the different compartments and started discussing what she could use the bag for.

What interested me most about the Stinky Bag is the bottom zippered section that has been designed to store wet, dirty or used gear separately, ie the Stinky stuff! Plus, the bag has been made so you can put the wet/dirty clothes straight into the washing machine within having to touch them. Tip the opened part of the bag straight into the machine. And the bag is also washing machine friendly (note: I haven’t washed mine yet!).

We have used the bag for swimming lessons and it is perfect! No more having to take a plastic bag to put her wet togs, hat and towel in. The first time we used it, Little Miss had to put her wet things in the ‘wet’ section by herself!

Perfect size to fit everything

There a few pockets to the Stinky Bag also, an outside zip pocket and another one with a velcro seal. Inside the main compartment of the bag, there is a pocket to hold a few small items as well as a label for your child to name their bag.

Separate zip to get into the ‘stinky’ compartment, velcro pocket at the front


Plenty of room inside the bag, two small pockets and a label to name the bag

At the top there is the zip as well as a magnetic button, so you can fold over the top of the bag if you don’t need to fill the bag.

At $59.95 the Stinky Bag can be on the expensive side for bags, but for the size of bag it is worth it. I feel Little Miss will get a lot of use from this when she starts school and because of the design and style of it, I think it will be a favourite bag of hers for a few years to come.

The Stinky Bag comes in three different designs. The two other designs are Super Hero Stinky Bag and Hands Off Stinky Bag

 

Kid’s Backpack

The Kid’s Backpack’s are animal themed and perfect for toddlers and preschool children. They are made with 100% recycled cotton canvas, so lightweight for little people and they have adjustable shoulder straps and I would say they are washable.

There are five designs to choose from, I was given the Blue Dog backpack for Mr Happy. The other designs available are Green Cat, Orange Monkey, Pink Bunny and Red Dog.

Blue Dog Kid’s Backpack $49.95

What I love about it is that it is just his size, easy for him to put on and it can hold his lunchbox, and several changes of clothes for Preschool. It doesn’t have waterproof lining, but its easy for him to open and close.

It also has a handle on the top of the bag, good for hanging up and great for storing the bag at home. Inside of the bag has colourful lining, appealing to young children and has two pockets built inside, always handy to have extra compartments, Mr Happy just loves it. He turns three next month, but I would say that this bag would be ideal from age one upwards, as Little Leaf Eco suggests.

Colourful lining, two small pockets.

So there you have it, my review of two really great Mum-made and of course New Zealand and Eco-friendly products. Little Miss and Mr Happy are proud as punch with their new bags.

Happy Kids with their Stinky Bag and Backpack


Mr Happy ‘modelling’ without realising

Links for Little Leaf Eco

Instagram

Facebook

Pinterest

NB: I was sent the ‘Stinky bag’ and Kid’s Backpack to review and all views and photos are my own. Some information has been adapted from the Little Leaf Eco website.

Project Doll House: Part Three

Welcome to Part Three of Project Dollhouse.

Little Miss is now four years old, she had her birthday this week. Wow, its crazy how quickly time flies. My husbands parents, along with her aunt and uncle gave her some furniture for the dolls house as a birthday present and lets just say, she was one happy girl.

It was no secret to her that I was working on a dolls house for her birthday, she would often look at it with pride whilst I was working it and never once asked to have it before her actual birthday.

I wanted to share some photos of the finishing touches I did. There are still some things I would like to add to the house, but to me it is work in progress and it is great to see Little Miss enjoying her dolls house.

I mentioned in Project Dollhouse: Part Two that I was going to attempt to make some curtains, well lets just say they didn’t go according to plan. I thought it would be relatively easy to hand sew them, but I was wrong. Luckily, a friend offered to loan me her sewing machine and then she offered to sew them for me. I took her up on the offer, and the curtains look FAB!

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Awesome curtains. They are hanging on a bamboo skewer cut down to size and I used some 3M hooks to hang them up.

The paint featured in the room with the curtains is Sugar and Spice by Resene

I personally think the curtains look great and Little Miss is really pleased with them, I know just need to get something that I can use to pin back the curtains and something that is safe. Little Miss’s brother Mr Happy is 2 and he is also a fan of the house. Any ideas would be appreciated, I’m thinking Bakers Twine would be quite good, but then it could get lost and I’m not sure how Little Miss will get on having to tie them back all the time.

In my last blog post I shared photos of two completed rooms and I did day in this blog post I would share another couple of rooms, here they are:

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Sugar and Spice

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Perfume

I used the colour Perfume in two of the rooms as I thought it broke up the pinlk, plus I loved it!

As you can see on some of my photos, my painting is not the best and my lovely Father even commented that my finishing wasn’t the best. I will agree with him there. I know I’m not the best painter and I don’t pretent to be. At the end of the day I was painting the doll house for Little Miss and I’m sure she isn’t going to criticize my painting skills. So there were quite a few pait marks on the floor, but I didn’t mind as I knew I would be covering it.

At first I thought about putting scarpabook paper onto the floor, I had a few papers that could easiely pass for flooring. I tried them out and didn’t like it. I then thought of carpet, but decided against it as I thought it would be too bulky and I thought the dolls and the furniture wouldn’t sit nicely. Also, I knew Little Miss would get highly frustrated if her doll house accessories would fall over! so, I then thought about felt after someone suggested it.

I don’t have any felt at home so I had to hit the art and craft shops. I immediately thought of black, but when I looked at it I just knew it would be too dark. After looking at the other colours I decided on white. And I reckon it looks perfect. I bought half a metre as it was cheaper and I had enough for the four rooms plus the loft room and I had a little left over. I used superglue to stick it down, after it had dried the ends started to lift so I used double sided tape to stick it down. And now it looks perfect and even looks like real carpet.

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White felt as carpet, before I used double sided tape.

Can you see on the photo that there is also some black and white washi tape covering the edges?! More on that next time.

I think I will save a more on the doll house for a fourth and final post Project Dollhouse: Part Four.

I will leave you with a few photos of some of the interiors, I used some of the cute dollhouse decor from Luluncat

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Planter, Rug, Lego man and Wall hanging from Luluncat

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Table accessories from Luluncat

 

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Me and Mrs C

A little while ago I shared a blog called Dear Mrs C this post was about me using antidepressants to treat my Post Natal Depression (PND). Shortly after I wrote and shared the post, I made an appointment to see my GP to renew my prescription and to discuss reducing my current dose.

I had been thinking for a while about reducing the dose, I felt the time was right. I had been in a good place for several months and I know when I have my low moments that everything will be ok. I was also worried about any withdrawals I could possibly experience due to the decrease in dosage and I wanted to limit them as much as I could.

I still get overwhelmed at times, with parenting, work, being a wife but who doesn’t? I do however feel I am in a much better frame of mind these days, but I still have my ‘bad’ days. You can do it, Stacey I told myself.

When I saw my GP, I explained how I had been feeling and other things I was doing to maintain a healthy balance in my life. I told him how I like to go to work and feel like ‘Stacey’ and not just a ‘Mummy’. And I really enjoy my time with my children,  also I no longer have the overwhelming feelings of wanting to leave my husband and children. Anyone who has experienced this feeling or is feeling like this, it well and truly SUCKS! Feeling like a failure, and wanting to turn your back on your family you are a part of is very lonely, I never want to feel like that again. At the time I never realised how low I got, I think I hid it quite well at times.

My GP was really good and we both agreed that it was a good time to reduce my dose, by half a tablet. I now take 30mg, one and a half tablets once a day in the morning. My GP explained he would like me to continue on this reduced dose for six months before decreasing any further. I thought this was a really good plan, it would prevent any withdrawals and hopefully help me to remain in a good place.

I started writing this blog post at the end of March and now here I am almost at the end of May. I am due another trip to the doctors for a repeat prescription, it has almost been three months since I reduced my antidepressant and I can say it has been going really well. Phew!

It is so good to write about being in a good place, happy, calm (well relatively calm, my hubby tells me I worry too much!) and to feel like I enjoy my life. I love being a Mum and Wife and I hope I am a better friend and person to those people who know me.

I look back on last year and even the year before and I know now that I wasn’t always in the best frame of mind and I wasn’t really living, but existing.

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Me and Mr Happy April 2016

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Enjoying my children, something that had previously seemed so, so hard

 

It is so healing for me to look at these photos of myself with my children and know the smile is ‘real’ and not forced. Although like I said, there are some days when the smile is harder to achieve,but the good days are by far outweighing the bad days.

When I saw this ‘Winning’ tank avaliable through TheHood I just knew ut would be perfect for me. I love their collection of T Shirts and Sweaters which sum up Mum Life.

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Aus$ 34.99

'Winning'

‘Winning’

Thanks for reading and letting me share, take care xxx

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NB: I purchased the ‘Winning’ tank for myself and my opinion is all my own, I love it!

 

 

 

Project Dollhouse: Part Two

Project Dollhouse: Part Two

Following on from my first blog post Project Dollhouse: Part One I thought I would share how I have been ‘doing up’ the four rooms in the Dollhouse.

I started with Perfume in the top left room and I decided to paint two of the walls in these colour and leave a wall white to cover in scrapbook paper. I then painted another room in Wham and a third room in Sugar and Spice. Painting just two of the walls and leaving the third wall blank for some scrapbook paper. I was tempted to go back to Resene and get another test pot to paint the fourth room but I decided against it. The rooms were already looking pretty colourful and busy and I thought another colour would be too much. Yes, I know its already a bit much huh? But, it is for a soon to be four year old.

I settled on painting the fourth room Perfume. I felt it broke up the pink, plus I wasn’t overly happy with the green of Wham. (I have since decided I rather like the green and it gets Little Miss’s seal of approval). I did two coats of each colour which I think looks fine.

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Halfway through painting the rooms

I was lucky enough to be gifted some AWESOME items from Emma of Luluncat, she has made and put together cute packs for dollhouses. Litle Miss has seen the items already and she was as just as excited as I was about them. I love seeing what people can create.

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Playing around with the cute decor items.

I have been getting quite a bit of inspiration for my doll house from Pinterest, geez I love Pinterest, so many cool ideas……

I found some great ideas for things to include in the dolls house that I hadn’t thought about, including a pin “How to Hang Doll House Curtains”. I’m not a very good sewer and I don’t have a sewing machine so this seemed a perfect idea for me to add curtains into the house.

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seven thirty three ‘How to Hang Doll House Curtains’

I started my own Project: Doll House board on Pinterest if you wanted to check it out. It might give you some ideas if you are thinking of doing a similar project. I can waste lots of time checking out what other people have created.

 

I have purchased some cute Hello Kitty material that I know Little Miss will love. My plan is to make curtains for each of the rooms and then perhaps some cushions, I will see how I go with the curtains first! There was a lot of Hello Kitty material to chose from, but I settled for this one mainly due to it being on sale, haha and it was good to have something else that wasn’t pink! (I also found this letter ‘A’ amongst my stash of stuff and I have had some thoughts of incorperating this into the house). I think the material will look really good against the colours I have chosen to paint the walls.

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Cute material

After the two coats of paint I raided my scrapbook paper stash and started looking at what would compliment each room. I also tried to pick papers that I knew Little Miss would love, the brighter and more colourful the better I thought. I’m really pleased with how the house is looking, but still a little more to do.

Here’s a few photos of a couple of the rooms

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Wham

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Perfume

 

Hopefully next time I will be able to share how I got on with the curtains and I’ll share some photos of the rooms. Until next time…….

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