a week of meals at our house

On the weekend over on facebook I mentioned that I was doing a quick meal plan and grocery list and a lovely reader Vanessa said she’d love to see the meal plan. So here you go. Usually I’d write it on the back of a used envelope (where the best things are written down of course) but the beauty of the blog is that I can share it with pictures and links to recipes.

Monday – Green pasta

We love our pasta here. This is gluten and dairy free but add some parmesan and regular pasta and you’re all good too

Tuesday – Cobb Salad

This is my favourite salad and the kids have some of the ingredients and love the chicken and bacon

Wednesday - zucchini and feta slice

Great with a side salad and some garlic bread or even buttered bread in a pinch.

Thursday – pasta fagiole in the thermomix

My kids love this recipe so much but hubby not so much. It uses basic ingredients like celery , tomato and chickpeas and we use a gluten free macaroni like san remo. Too easy.

Friday – quick quesadillas 

We do spinach and feta as well as ham and pineapple. No surprises which ones the kids gobble up….yep ham and pineapple. Nice and easy for a friday night.

Saturday – vegetarian nachos

easy and fun. Say no more.

Sunday – a family roast 

Who doesn’t love a roast on Sunday. I now need to do 2 chickens as we eat so much and then I get leftovers for the next day. Great to start the week with some delicious chicken and mayo sandwiches.

I hope that gives you a bit of dinner inspiration for the week. I usually add in a cookie and cake recipe too so that when I do the shopping I’m making sure I’ve got some snacks and baking covered. A few favourites are

one cup cookies

all that is left!

jam drops

lemon drizzle cake


Horizon and other new fabrics

I have a few deliveries of fabric still to come over the next few weeks and months and it’s always exciting! Especially since the kids get to play in the big boxes! On Friday we took delivery of some lovely new ones including Horizon by Kate Spain which I’m going to try to find the time to whip up into baby quilts for a few new boys that have been born.

You can see the new fabrics here and I look forward to sharing more with you when they arrive……………………

tuna nicoise

Warmer weather and a bit of pregnancy weight to lose means that my thoughts have already turned to salads for dinner. Not that the little ones enjoy salad for dinner but the adults of the house do. My trick is to put some of the salad ingredients into bread rolls or tortillas for the little ones – they especially love chicken, bacon and tomato in theirs with a bit of avocado.

Here is one of my all time favourite salads and in france when I was vegetarian I was known to ask for the salad minus the tuna! I love it that much…..that and it could sometimes be hard to find a salad without meat at some places.

Now when I made this earlier in the year I went a bit fancy but if I’m doing it at home it might just be chucked in one big salad bowl or I make up each plate with what that person likes.

and I love to make my own dressing with mustard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, bit of honey or maple syrup for something sweet and salt and pepper. It’s so much better for you and you can adjust it to your taste. If you’re making this recipe for someone who is gluten or dairy free or both be sure to read the mustard label before adding it.


tuna nicoise
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 6-8
What you'll need
  • iceberg lettuce
  • tomatoes (I love roma or truss)
  • 3 -4 eggs
  • 6 - 10 baby potatoes
  • ½ red onion
  • handful of green beans with edges trimmed
  • a few Tbs of pitted olives
  • 425g can Tuna in Oil
  • olive oil
  • mayonaise
  • honey or maple syrup
  • mustard (check label for gluten/dairy if making gluten/dairy free)
  • balsamic vinegar or your favourite
  • salt and pepper
  1. Boil eggs and potatoes in separate saucepans on the stove. You want your potatoes to be firm enough to slice so don't over boil them as if you were going to mash them.
  2. As for the eggs I'm pregnant so it's hard boiled all the way but you could have them partly hard boiled if runny eggs aren't a problem.
  3. Slice the lettuce and place on a large plate or at the bottom of your salad bowl.
  4. When the eggs and potatoes are done slice thickly or quarter and set aside on a plate.
  5. Drain tuna can and place on the lettuce.
  6. top with tomato, eggs, potatoes, olives and top with onion rings (or diced onion).
  7. Now to make the dressing mix together in a jar or glass 2 Tbsps of mayo, 2 Tbsps of olive oil, 1Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp mustard, salt and pepper to season and some vinegar. Shake or whisk well and season to taste.
  8. When you are ready to serve the salad then drizzle the dressing on top and enjoy.
  9. If you are making this salad ahead of time then make sure the eggs and potatoes are cold before adding them to the salad as it's not good for health and safety to add the hot ingredients to the cold and then leave or refrigerate. I assemble mine just before eating and love the hot eggs and potatoes on the cold salad.
  10. Enjoy.........we love this with crusty bread or in a pinch some garlic bread. It makes for a great family dinner and the kids eat what they like from it.


spring is here

I love spring with the warmer weather and the gorgeous flowers in our garden. I’ve probably admitted on the blog before that I don’t get a lot of time for gardening but am loving how many different types of beautiful flowers there are at our house at the moment.

and the biggest surprise was a blossoming tree outside my craft room which I hadn’t even noticed…….because there isn’t much craft time!

and out the front there have been flowers everywhere

And spring time means it’s almost my favourite time of year…..hydrangea time! My all time favourite flower. It’s actually the one flower we don’t have any of at our new house but I’ve had at the last few houses and here are some from our last house. I’ve been promised some will be planted in our garden by the gardener (my husband) and I’m itching to put in a range of colours.

Airwick Freshmatic Automatic Spray and other tongue twisters

Brought to you by Airwick

‘The flowers are blooming, the birds are singing’…………..when you hear those words on TV tomorrow then you know it’s time for my first (and could be last, who knows) infomercial.

And you know when you are watching a scary movie or something on TV and you have your hands up over your eyes and are peeking through to watch but you don’t really want to but you kind of do. Yep, that might just be me tomorrow when I watch my grand debut to morning TV. I kept telling myself (after having no more than one hours sleep) that all the good things happen outside my comfort zone. And going on TV is definitely outside my comfort zone. Especially a month after having a baby. But thankfully hair and makeup works wonders on a new mum and I fed my little guy while getting made up and then he slept on his daddy in the green room while I went on camera.

I’m on TV to talk about spring cleaning and the current Homewise spring cleaning section which you’ll find at your nearest Woolworths store at the moment. I had been sent a big box of the latest products from Pine O Cleen and Airwick so I could get a bit of practise in. And I’ve been a long time fan of those disinfecting wipes which are great for a quick wipe over of your kitchen benches. They work miracles.

In the car on the way in I tried to say Airwick Freshmatic Automatic Spray a few times so that it just rolled off the tongue. I had tried really hard  to memorise what we were going to say and then they told me I could use autocue.  Ohhh that sounded good. So I had to look past the host and read the autocue and make it look natural.  That didn’t work for me. There is an art to that and I don’t have it so after 4 or so takes we got a good one and it was all done. Relief!!!!!

So check it out tomorrow on The Morning Show on Channel 7 and we can all have a little laugh together on my first  infomercial. I’m so nervous but plan to have the kids with me watching since they are my biggest fans….and it’s going to be funny! I just know it.

Every time I walk this little corner of my house I’ll remember that one time I went on TV and could say Airwick Freshmatic Automatic Spray perfectly…………..

Quirky Cooking’s Cinnamon Blueberry Scrolls

I love to bake but time has been in short supply. So with a snoozing baby (modelling his hug me tight made by my nana)…………..

and all of the right ingredients and the big kids home on school holidays we set about making Quirky Cooking’s Cinnamon & Blueberry Scrolls.

We did need a few new ingredients to make these including coconut sugar, coconut cream and spelt flour. The coconut sugar and pecans were a bargain buy from Costco and the spelt flour came from Woolies. We had trouble finding it at our local store but managed to get some online. The spelt flour isn’t gluten free but you could easily substitute with a cup for cup substitute like white wings gluten free flour and then the recipe would be gluten free and dairy free.

The dough was super easy to make in the thermomix and proving time let me keep an eye on everyone and feed the baby.

I have to admit that spreading coconut cream over the dough instead of lashings of butter (if you make PW’s cinnamon rolls then you know what I’m talking about) was something new for me but the taste was delicious.

And these are nice and filling……mind  you I ate 2 1/2 hot out of the oven as they were so good and the blueberries are just the perfect addition. Don’t worry that they are cut in half before the oven as they turn out fine once you’ve baked the scrolls.

Today we had just 3 scrolls left in the tin and I’m not expecting them to last long. Now this is definitely something that will take you a couple of hours but is so worth the effort and the kids can play with the offcuts of dough and make their own scrolls.

A big thumbs up here from everyone……………recipe in Jo’s new book or her website here and just add a punnet of fresh blueberries to the online recipe.

7 charm square pack giveaway

School holidays are here and that means sleep ins, lazy mornings, play time at home and a few weeks to relax. It also means getting my house in order and getting rid of the last of the boxes since we moved in.  So while I’m busy with my little people (and my house) I thought I’d do a little giveaway for you. 7, yes 7 different charm square packs which even the beginner sewer or quilter could join together to make one big huge quilt. Or just use them for lots of smaller quilts. Charm squares are just 5 inch squares of fabric and I think this would be such a great project to join them all together for a big patchwork quilt.

Anyone in the world can enter, just leave a comment telling me what you’d make with 7 charm square packs. Entries close this Sunday 28th September. Good luck…………………………….and if you’re on school holidays too then happy holidays.

gluten free choc chip cookies

I still haven’t found my cookbook that came with my Thermomix but I do love the cookie recipe that you can find in there. I’ve made it gluten free and with raw sugar and it tastes just as good. Read the label to make sure your choc chips are gluten free if you’re making them gluten free. If you have regular plain flour at home then just use that. You won’t be disappointed.

mmmmmm choc chips! Anything with choc chips is a winner in this house! And if you’re a bit of a cookie fan I have a couple of other great recipes like choc chip, coconut and raisin or chocolate pretzel cookies or a real favourite are some cinnamon choc chip cookies. Enjoy………………………………..

gluten free choc chip cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 40+
What you'll need
  • 250g butter
  • 180g raw sugar
  • 1 Tbs vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 350g gluten free plain flour (I use White Wings)
  • 40g gluten free self raising flour (yep, White Wings again)
  • 200g choc chips (if you are making these gluten free read the label for gluten free)
  1. Place raw sugar into Thermomix bowl and process 10 seconds on speed 9. Add in butter (room temperature) and vanilla and process for 20 seconds on speed 4.
  2. Add in eggs and process 20 seconds speed 4.
  3. Add in flours and process 40 seconds speed 4.
  4. Now add in choc chips and process 1 minute, closed lid setting and the knead (wheat/bread) function which will mix in those choc chips. Or you can empty out the mixture and mix in the choc chips with a spatula. Whatever you like. Your thermomix will make some funny noises but it's all good.
  5. If you don't have a thermomix then use caster sugar and cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together. Add in the eggs and mix well. Add in the flour and stir/mix until combined then tip in the choc chips and mix so that they are throughout your cookie mixture.
  6. Roll into small balls and bake in a 180 degrees oven (190C if not fan forced) for about 10-15 minutes or so.
  7. You want them to be slightly golden but not overcooked. They are a little soft when they come out of the oven and I just leave them to cool on the paper on a cooling rack.
  8. You'll get a few trays of cookies out of this one recipe and the cookies never last more than 1 day. As in everyone eats them.


how to survive those first weeks with a newborn

On Monday our littlest member of the family will be 6 weeks old. Now usually that is when I start to feel a bit more normal and settled. And I kind of do feel that way. And in other ways I am still on the couch feeding for a lot of hours and adjusting to a slower routine. And today I realised that usually at the 6 week mark (with the exception of our last little guy) the baby would have been baptised. I still have the forms here just like the envelope from the hospital to register his birth and all of those fun jobs that I just haven’t gotten around to.

But since this is the 6th newborn that we’ve had I thought I’d put a few tips up that help me get through the crazy days (and nights, oh the nights) of life at home with a newborn.

1. Lower those standards

Babies are all consuming and need you unless they are sleeping. So get ready for the house to stop looking like a show home……mind you if this isn’t your first baby then you stopped that show home stuff long ago. You’re going to spend a lot of time feeding and holding a baby so I’ve been spreading out the jobs that I would usually do in 1 day over a few days. The stairs in our house hadn’t been vacuumed since I got home from the hospital until this week which is unusual for me but just not a priority. So chose your priorities (hot shower when you can get one) and let the housework slide a little.

2. Keep the fridge and pantry well stocked

I am so hungry. Sooooo hungry. I’ve been putting healthy snacks in this week so I can stay away from the tim tams and also because as soon as I’ve finished feeding I am just hanging out for something to eat. I love nut butter on corn thins or rice cakes, almonds, trail mix, fruit, a bit of yoghurt, homemade biccies and whatever I can find. OK today i had pretzels and m&m’s in a bowl together! And if a friend or someone in the family is coming to visit and they say can I do anything for you ask for milk, bread or something to eat as it saves having to go to the shops for one or two things.

3. Get the big kids working

One does the sweeping, one does the dustpan and broom. No tv until the playroom is cleaned. Helping with the dishwasher and so on. You’d be surprised what even your littlest ones can help with even if it’s just packing up a toy box so instead of doing everything yourself make this the time that everyone pitches in to help out.

 4. Get out of the house

yesterday I ducked out to a lunch for a few hours with other mums and it was fabulous. Just to get out of the house and off my couch and have a change of scenery with my little man. Do it. Whether it’s joining a mothers group, playgroup, walk somewhere or a trip to the local shopping centre for a walk around and a coffee just get out and do it. My trick is feed the baby, change the outfit and nappy and go go go. Don’t waste any time just get on the road and go.

5. Always have the nappy bag well stocked and by the front door 

A little something I learnt with the twins was always having a well stocked nappy bag and when I get home I’ll top it up with nappies and wipes, check I’ve got an outfit. It can be a drama herding everyone out of the house let alone just a new baby so having the bag ready to go at the door is one less thing you need to worry about. And it means you won’t be caught out while you’re out without enough nappies or a change of outfit. And boy have I been out and had the mother of all nappies that needs to be changed. This nappy bag is 4 years old and still going strong.

6. Muslin wraps are good for everything

Use it as a burp cloth, cover up if you want to while feeding, drape it over the pram to keep the sun off, change a baby on it, sit on it, lay baby on it as a playmat and just a few weeks ago when baby decides to do a big poo that goes up his back just before you need to go up to communion at mass well just wrap up baby to hide the poo up the back of the jumpsuit and deal with the situation shortly afterwards. So many uses and the bigger the better. The muslin that is.

7. Do a load of washing a day

This is something I already do it but it can get out of the control quickly and we had a bit of a singlet situation recently as I was changing so many outfits and the new nappies I was trying were leaking a little and we had so much rain. Most baby clothes are light coloured so aim for a load a day. Who knows when you’ll get to fold it and put it away but at least baby has lots of fresh outfits and you’re up to date with the baby stuff. I still remember when my aunty and nana came over when I had newborn twins and folded some laundry for me. Oh was there a lot of laundry in those days.

baby clothes out to dry

8. Keep a sense of humour

You’ll need this later on as your kids grow up but definitely keeping a sense of humour even when you’ve had no sleep is really important. On those days when every time I put the baby down and then he starts crying I’ll  think about the funny side of putting a baby down sleeping then he wakes and doing it again and again and again like this mum and it’s kind of funny! It’s so easy to snap at everyone in the house when you’re so tired and feel like you haven’t done a thing all day but trying to keep it light and happy works for me.

9. Keep the vacuum, dishwasher and washing machine going when baby naps

None of our babies have liked peace and quiet so keep the background noise going and let baby sleep to it. I think you can even get white noise on a cd to help babies sleep so there is definitely something in that.

10. Use your sling 

Often the only way I can get anything done is by using the sling. I use either a soft sling like the hug a bub or my ergo around the house and can hang out some washing or bake a cake. If you’ve got a cranky baby on your hands then try the sling at home. And take it everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11. Get some sunshine

Take that morning or afternoon tea break outside in the sun. I just feel so much better when I can grab 10 minutes in the sun. Here we have the birds singing all day and usually the only time I read the local newspaper cover to cover is when I have a baby in the house. So get a bit of sunshine and it gives you a change of scenery and some fresh air without being too far from baby and what needs to be done.

12. Find clothes that fit

I love to get out of my maternity jeans as soon as I can. I have a lot of clothes in my wardrobe that suit the inbetween stage – things like smock tops, loose dresses, elastic skirts, big cardigans – and I just feel better when I’m out of maternity clothes. You can pick up some great stuff on ebay if you don’t want to pay full price or buy jeans in a size or two bigger than your usual size. I’ve bought a pair of jeans and some great loose pants since having my baby and I feel much happier in them than if I was in my maternity jeans. They are 2 sizes bigger than I’d usually wear but I didn’t pay too much for them and they will be great while I get back into shape.

CR t-shirt for $22

13. Ask for help

Whether you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, sad, depressed, struggling or have a lot of emotions or perhaps just need an extra pair of hands tell someone. Whether it’s your hubby, a friend, a mum from school, the class parent, your parents or your child health nurse or doctor. When you have a new baby there are so many changes and you spend so much time along with this new little person. It’s easy for emotions to be all over the place or to feel like you’re a different person or just that you would love a bit of help. So definitely speak to someone even if it’s just to get something off your chest.

14. bath, feed and bed

just like we love a nice hot bath and bed so do little babies. I love to bath baby at 8.30 or 9 and give him a big feed then wrap him up and put him down. you can get a few hours if you’re lucky ( I repeat if you’re lucky because it doesn’t always work) but after a long day and if bub has been up a lot then it can work wonders.

and 15. treat yourself……….

chocolate, your favourite magazine, online shopping, a pedicure (I have been known to take a baby or toddler on my lap if necessary), a wash or blow dry (goodness knows my hair has seen better days), new lipgloss…whatever makes you happy keep it up. We all feel a bit better when we look after ourselves and it’s so important to do when we’re looking after a new little baby.

new birkenstocks for summer

What’s your top tip when you have a newborn?????????

gluten free lemon tart

I almost wanted to call this tart – ‘you won’t believe it’s gluten free lemon tart’. It is so good. So good that I’ve had 3 slices in one afternoon and had to hide it in the fridge so I don’t eat any more. The original recipe comes from the current issue of Home Beautiful which I’ve made gluten free and adapted to the thermomix.

and I was drawn to the recipe because we have loads of lemons and other citrus fruits in our yard. Plus I’m eating anything and everything and was just hanging out for something homemade out of my oven.

If you’re not into gluten free or have regular flour at home just use good old plain flour in the recipe. If you make it gluten free then you’ll want to use a good gluten free flour like White Wings (my favourite) plain flour which is a perfect substitute cup for cup in your favourite recipes. Not sponsored but when we started making gluten free food in our house that was the top tip from my readers and they were right.

I made this all in the thermomix but you can use your food processor, kitchen aid or go old school. Whatever you have. The ingredients are simple but the taste is gorgeous and worth the effort of making your own pastry and the steps involved. The trickiest thing about this tart really is the cooling down and refrigerating. Good luck with that. I didn’t last. I took these pictures after an hour in the fridge.

And this recipe was great to make with a new baby because of all the waiting time – pop the pastry into the freezer, feed the baby, pop the tart into the oven, feed the baby and so on. That and the baby swing which was rocking my little guy in the dining room.


5.0 from 1 reviews
gluten free lemon tart
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Baking
Serves: 8
What you'll need
  • 150g (1 cup) gluten free plain flour
  • 2 Tbsp icing sugar
  • 150g butter (cold and cubed)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp ice cold water
  • 4 eggs
  • 140g raw sugar
  • 300ml cream
  • 125g (1/2 cup) lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
  1. Place flour, icing sugar and butter into thermomix bowl. Process on speed 3 or 4 for about 40 seconds.
  2. Add in egg yolk and ice cold water (I place some water in a glass in the freezer for about 10-20 minutes) and process speed 4 for 1 minute until the mixture comes together into a ball.
  3. Tip out of bowl onto some glad wrap, roll into a ball then flatten into a disc and refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes.
  4. You can make your pastry using other equipment by rubbing the butter into the flour and icing sugar until you have breadcrumbs and then add the egg yolk and water until your dough comes together.
  5. Roll out pastry onto a floured surface and flour your rolling pin too. You want to roll it out bigger than your pie dish/tart tin. Roll the dough onto your rolling pin and carefully lay over your greased pie dish/tart tin and gently press into the dish/tin.
  6. I like to crimp my edges and remember your pastry will shrink so try to have the edges finish right at the top of the dish/tin.
  7. Pop into the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.
  8. Using some baking paper and rice or beans blind bake your tart shell in a 190 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. Remove paper and beans and bake for another 10-15 minutes in a 180 degree oven. Leave to cool
  9. Make the filling by processing the raw sugar for 10 seconds on speed 9 (this turns the sugar into caster sugar). Add in the eggs, cream and strained lemon juice and process for about 30 seconds on speed 4.
  10. Alternatively if you don't have a thermomix then use caster sugar and whisk all ingredients together.
  11. Carefully pour your lemon filling into your tart shell and bake for 30-40 minutes in a 180 degree oven. If your pastry starts to overcook then drop temperature to 170.
  12. Your tart is done when the filling is almost set, you want a bit of wobble and it will be the centre of the tart.
  13. Remove and cool on a cooling rack leaving the tart in the dish/tin. once cooled slice and eat or refrigerate for at least an hour or two.
  14. If you're going to make this ahead of time then you'll want to leave it out for a little while before you slice it as the bottom of the pastry can stick to the dish/tin once it's really cold. A little tip would be to remove and place the tart on baking paper once its cooled or bake the tart on baking paper.
  15. I used a pie dish because I just love using them compared to a tart tin but you want to use a dish/tin about 23cms in diameter.
  16. Dust with some extra sugar when you serve and cut with a clean sharp knife for each slice.
  17. Enjoy.


one month

It’s hard to believe our little guy is a month old already. He’s still keeping me up all hours and my TV watching is off the chart. I often fall asleep feeding then wake up to an informercial or Good Morning America at some crazy hour. Sometimes it will be 5am and I think oh well better have a coffee and start the day. And just when I think I am so tired he gives me a big smile which makes everything perfect.  I’m adjusting to the new amount of washing and we’ve  had sausages in bread for dinner a few more times than usual  but no one is complaining about that and pasta in the thermomix makes life really easy for me too.

And it’s funny taking him out as a lot of people ask if he is a good baby.  Of course he’s good! All babies are good. Imagine if I said ohhh he’s bad! But he is very good. We’ve braved mass all together as a family and swimming lessons and I’m back doing the school and preschool run again and everything is just starting to fall into place…………..no craft time, mind you but I’ve picked my next pattern and itching to cast on.

And a big thumbs up for the latest release from Bendigo….Athena. It’s lovely and soft with gorgeous colours too.

And that’s about it. I’ve slowly typed this with my left hand while feeding my little guy and am becoming quite the expert at doing anything and everything with one hand while feeding a baby…………..

Lullaby Knits

Some of you have probably worked out that I have a bit of a thing about knitting for babies. And I can never have enough pattern books. And with a new baby in the house there is no better excuse than to have another book to add to the collection.

Lullaby Knits by Vibe Ulrik Sondergaard is probably one of the prettiest knitting books that I’ve purchased. And truth be told, I’ve purchased a few in my time.

The patterns are sized for newborns up to aged 2 and are a mix of 5 ply, 8 ply and aran. I love this. I’m not one for knitting in 4 ply (because it takes too long) so I love the variety and if you love Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino then you will love that it’s the designer’s choice for 5 ply.

These patterns start off with a very simple large cable jumper (you might call it a sweater)

and then move on to fancier cables and lace patterns. This book is perfect for those who want to move on from straight garter or stocking stitch and there are some advanced patterns in the book but I think there is a nice mix for everyone. Probably not for the absolute beginner but once you’re feeling confident then I think this book is for you.

All up this is just a gorgeous book, published last year and a really beautiful knitting book to add to your library at home. I picked up my copy at amazon.

my first trip to Costco

I think I’ve been saying for quite a while (like since the first store opened) that I wanted to visit Costco. I didn’t envisage taking my littlest 3 on my own there but I did. We survived and I’ll be back. Did I take any photos. Oh well the phone was in my ergo to take photos but juggling the big trolley, an almost 4 year old who didn’t want to sit in the trolley or hold my hand or the trolley meant that I took 2 photos.

image source SMH

Before I headed off I asked on my facebook page for a few tips. My readers know everything and are the best people to ask (am I right or am I right?). They said – make a list, know your prices, go on a weekday, take someone with you or leave the kids at home (I failed that one but in my defence my helper had to cancel that morning so I had planned to take an extra pair of hands).

It was a bit of a drive from our house (especially when the directions had me end up on the wrong street and have to find my way back to the store) but easy enough to do on a school day. Parking was easy, I got there at about 10.30 and parked 3 rows back from the lift, a man was finishing with his trolley so I was able to load in the kids and head off to the store. I did my membership at home ($60) and took in my print out which did save a little time but there was still a queue and no one serving us when we first got there. The husband of the lady behind me (who I had started chatting to) got to the desk and told them they needed someone on memberships and that hurried things along. So I probably spent 10 minutes in the queue and getting my card. And then we went in.

First up were cute outfits for toddlers/preschoolers at about $13 each so we got 2 of them for preschool. Some cute busy books like Monsters University, Palace Pets that have toys inside them and are great for our speech therapy and helping at home with speech. $10 each and are very handy for church so we got a few of them.

Then I had no idea where to go, at this point emerson threw all his duplo out of the trolley and a kind staff member came and helped me pick it all up and then I managed to drop it again everywhere. He was very kind and helped me and off we went. Picked up some lollies, some snacks for school and then a few of the food aisles and nappies and wipes. At this point I met up with the lady I’d been chatting to at the membership desk and she came to see how I was going and gave me some tips and products she likes.

Now after a while I couldn’t find the bakery section and my little miss wasn’t keen on walking close by me so we picked up some summer pjs and tshirts and headed to the checkout. The queues had died down so there was only one person in front of me, I had no idea which side to stand on as your trolley goes one side and you go the other but the staff were all very helpful and nice and I said it was my first time! I paid and then we were out of there. Those trolleys are big and take up some room so it did take a bit of time to get out there but we did. Now I didn’t buy a lot of food – missing from this photo were a big bag of ruffles chips, a 1.2kg bag of snakes and a big bag of violet crumbles. You all know where they have gone, except for the snakes which are in the pantry and will last us a long time.

That coconut flour was only $5.99 a bag which was probably best buy of the day and the choc chips were another best buy at $11.89 which will keep us going a while.

We had a hot dog and a lemonade, another kind man walked over and got me some straws, easy to find a table to sit down and then we were in the car and I sat in the front and fed the baby before our long drive home.

Prices – you were right that not everything was cheaper, I almost bought a big box of cherry ripes for someone who loves cherry ripes until I saw that they were $40 for the box. I also saw a huge banana bread but at $19 for the loaf I could easily make a nice fresh one at home for much less. So do pay attention to prices before you chuck it in the trolley. All up I spent $304 but that included 4 t-shirts and 6 sets of clothes/ pjs for the kids that I have put away for Christmas and I thought the Osh Kosh summer pjs were great quality. These sequinned tees were $9.99 each.

And my favourite camera was there too………

So the verdict? I loved it. I think my first trip was more just to check it out, work out what I could buy in the future, confirm that I probably don’t want to take my littlest 3 with me again (surprise surprise) and I also got the idea that it would be great to go before little lawson’s baptism and the next birthday parties. I wouldn’t go for my regular shop but I think for a few big stock ups and for parties then it will be worth my while. I also like the jumbo bags and boxes of products which when you have a big family will be great.

Tips for next time. I’ll take 1 little person with me and try to leave the rest at home. I will make my list and work out where everything is. I kind of walked in and just went left and did about a third of the store so next time I’ll try to see more. I’ll take a few more photos. I’ll make a list. I’ll mentally add up the tally as I go and I’ll empty out my pantry, fridge and freezer before I go so I can stock up.

And that was that. I hope to get back in about a months time and will follow my tips. I also love Costco Mum on Facebook where you can see people’s purchases and what’s in store.

What are your tips? Have you been? Do you go regularly? Do you have a Costco near you? 

We love My Little Pony POP + a giveaway

Brought to you by My Little Pony

After 2 weeks of solid rain I have been pulling out all the stops in the toy and craft department. Different toy tubs, colouring and I’ve even made play dough from scratch. Something I haven’t done since my twins were little. Anything to keep little people entertained while I look after our new little bub. So I was pretty glad to have a present for my girls stashed away in my craft room for yet another rainy day. Well except that the sun came out so we got to play outside for a change.

My Little Pony POP is new and so much fun as you just don’t open the box and play with your pony. Instead you create and decorate your own My Little Pony by popping it out, putting it together and decorating.

You don’t need any tools or glue to put the ponies together and there are very clear instructions that my big girl followed. And she liked being able to do it herself, nothing like getting a toy and having to wait for a grown up to put it all together. This is very child friendly with an age guide of 4-8 but trust me I can see the older girls wanting to make these cute little ponies too.

All of the girls thought this was lots of fun and even helped our littlest miss create her own too. And this really kept the girls busy………..so much so that we started outside with our morning tea and ended up having lunch outside still decorating and playing with the ponies and trying different hairstyles and tails.

And anything goes with hair going on as tails, different wings to add and loads of stickers. And who doesn’t like stickers.

If you love a bit if craft or you know a little person who does then you’ll love My Little Pony POP. I also think this will make a great present and with a small pack starting at $6.99 there is something for everyone. So keep your eyes out for it at the shops. And My Little Pony fans will be happy as all of their favourites can be found in the POP range – Pinkie Pie, Twilight Sparkle, Apple Jack, Rainbow Dash and Rarity.

And I have a set just like we received here to give to one lucky reader…..that’s a My Little Pony Multi Character Pack and a My Little Pony POP Sweet Shoppe playset (total value $65). And take it from me that you will be very popular with the little ones if you win this.

To enter simply tell me or share a photo of you or your little ones getting crafty and creative or perhaps it’s a photo of a special My Little Pony fan.

You can upload your photo into the comments or share it with the hashtag #mlppopretromummy (share it on Instagram or Facebook) or if you want to go old school you can email me (retromummy@hotmail.com) and we’ll share them here for you.

{I will choose my favourite entry when the competition closes on the 12th September. One entry per person, the giveaway is open to Australian residents only and full terms of my giveaways can be found here.}

just starting to feel normal again

Flicking through my instagram photos I can see that lots has been going on and life looks like it’s back to normal. And it is and it isn’t. We are trying to do all of our normal activities but my reality is lots of time on the couch feeding my little guy or having him fall asleep on me. And who wants to move when you have a snug little bub on you fast asleep. I don’t.

But today I got out of my maternity jeans and pants, put on a dress and some leggings and actually felt a bit more normal. So I’m thinking I might need to go through the wardrobe and see what other dresses I can get into and just make the break with the maternity jeans and stretchy pants to feel a bit more normal more of the time.

And two weeks of solid rain has not helped when everyone is cooped up inside so on Sunday the sun was out and so was the washing………..well not a lot of washing as our septic system was playing up  (as in it caused a blackout for a few hours on friday night!) so I did the essentials and had to let it all pile up until we got it fixed.

There was a teeny tiny amount of knitting on the weekend as I try to get this little cardy finished. It’s the raglan sleeved cardigan from debbie bliss baby knits for beginners and is a real favourite of mine. The wool is Bendigo’s Colonial and the blue is just fabulous. It’s going to be super cute whenever I get around to doing the buttonbands. Sometimes you can’t beat traditional patterns like this one. It’s knit in several pieces and there are ends to weave in but it just looks so smart and is always satisfying when it’s finished. Whenever that will be. And if you’re a Bendigo fan did you see that they’ve just released a new yarn called Athena yesterday. Looks lovely.

And there has even been some baking as the twins needed some cupcakes for school. I used my trusty thermomix recipe here and my cream cheese frosting and had wanted to do the tiny teddies in jelly rings which makes them look like they are in floaty rings for swimming but could we find any at the shops. No. So it was just plain tiny teddies on top and the recipe does 24 cupcakes so we had some delicious snacks at home for all of 1 day before they were all demolished.

And I have to share this super cute outfit that I picked up for my big girl recently from Target. She went through a stage of not wearing dresses which made it hard to dress for church in summer but I think we’ve turned a corner. She loves this dress and jacket and $55 for the two was a bit of a win. I have this crazy idea that I’ll make them some dresses and skirts for summer but we’ll see how we go. The fabric, patterns and machine are there ready and waiting for me. And if you think that’s crazy then wait till I tell you about the new yarn I ordered to make all my girls a little summer cardigan or bolero to wear with their dresses and skirts. Oh yes. I’m already thinking about what it will be like to get right back into my craft.

And that’s been a few things going on around here……..just 3 more weeks to the 6 week mark when I officially feel normal.