Author Archives: therewasacrookedhouse

About therewasacrookedhouse

A Wife, Mum and Teacher who is determined to turn her life and home from crooked to spectacular.

Homemade Ice Cream: No Churn, With and Without the Thermomix

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Since the Thermomix has joined the Crooked Household, we make nearly everything we eat using  just the basic fridge and pantry ingredients. However, after nearly 2 years of Thermomix ownership, I had not attempted to make traditional ice cream. We had made sorbet and cheat’s ice cream using frozen yoghurt or milk and fruit, but not that delicious creamy stuff.

We very rarely buy ice cream, there are just too many nasties in the store-bought stuff, so being able ‘healthify’ a treat was a great option.

The recipe I used was for traditional ice cream from the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook. It is so simple, quick and super delicious!

Homemade Ice Cream - Thermomix

To suit everyone in the household I removed the sugar and instead added a little Natvia (stevia) to sweeten. Next time I might try maple syrup.

To store this delicious concoction in, I purchased these Retro Kitchen containers. A 1 litre container and a set of 4 mini ice cream tubs. So cute!Homemade Ice Cream

Since this little adventure I have been looking into other ice cream recipes, in particular the no churn ones. It seems that the secret ingredient is condensed milk, which I have been wanting to make from scratch in the Thermomix (see recipe here). I am going to one or two of the following recipes a try over the Easter season. You don’t need to have a Thermomix for these recipes, just a hand beater or food processor.

No churn Vanilla Ice Cream 

Caramelised White Chocolate No Churn Ice Cream

Nigella’s Coffee No Churn Ice Cream

Here are my two monkeys enjoying their first taste of homemade ice cream. It got the thumbs up from them. Homemade Ice Cream

Do you make your own ice cream? I’d love to try your recipe.

Easter Themed Kids’ Activity Bags

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Now that I have been on a bit of a roll creating the Activity Bags for the kids, I had to make some Easter themed ones. You can see some of my other activity Bag posts here and here.

There is an abundance of Easter themed crafting items about at the moment so it was really easy to create these activities. Take a look….

Easter Egg Word Creation. A 3 letter word and picture clue.

Easter Themed Kid's Activity Bags

Easter Egg Colour Match. Match the top and bottom part of the egg to the picture.

Easter Themed Kid's Activity Bags

Easter Egg Number Match. Place the correct number and colour of  pom poms into the numbered egg.

Easter Themed Kid's Activity Bags

Easter Egg Colour Match. Place the correct coloured egg yolk into the egg.

Easter Themed Kid's Activity Bags

Easter Symbol Sequencing. Match the sequence on the cards using the correct symbols.Easter Themed Kid's Activity Bags

These fun activities live in an Easter gift bag by the garage so we can grab it when we are heading out.

Easter Themed Kid's Activity Bags

With Easter holidays starting at the end of this week, I can see these will get a good workout before Easter arrives.

Have a great day.

Little Boys’ Bedroom Redecoration

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Here is a little bedroom redecoration teaser…..I am waiting for the room to be repainted before I can really get my hands on the room but take a look at what I have already purchased for the redo…..

Just before Christmas we decided to move our two boys into a room together. We weren’t sure how it would all go, but we could not be happier.

The room was previously decorated in a dinosaur theme…… Dinosaur themed boys bedroom

And this worked for both of them while I could buy matching dinosaur linen for our youngest’s cot. However, once Master C moved to a big bed, I could no longer source a comforter to match his brother’s.  Apparently that is a big deal to a 2 year old.

So I was forced to visit my favourite Children’s linen store, Adair’s Kids ;) . Here we chose a travel/plane themed ‘Toby’ comforter and the matching cushions.

Decorating a Boy's Room

Decorating a Boy's Room

Decorating a Boy's Room

Isn’t the suitcase cushion the cutest!? That is what really sold me on the whole set.

I didn’t love the matching artwork that they sold in Adairs, so it took some hunting to come up with something to go on the walls.  Finally I found two very amazing Etsy stores with the most amazing prints.

Firstly, I picked up this set from the lovely Trish at Strawberry Jam Studio.

Redecorating Little Boys' Room

 

And here it is framed waiting to be hung in a freshly painted room. (Sorry for the poor picture, the weather here is still miserable!)

Decorating Little Boys' Room

I cannot rave enough about how amazing Trish’s customer service was. Thank you, Trish!

The colours perfectly suit the linen. The boys love the dog and giraffe flying the planes and I love the typography and quote.

The other piece I picked out for the room was this brightly coloured world map from Wallfry. Decorating Little Boys' Bedroom

Decorating Little Boys' RoomAgain, the colours are perfect and the Geography teacher in me loves a map.

So there is the start of the makeover. I am itching to sort out some better storage solutions in this room now that Master O has started school. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

Amazing Hot Cross Buns

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I LOVE Hot Cross Buns.  Unlike others who groan at their appearance in the supermarket on Boxing Day, I am excited.

In the past I have had a few attempts at making my own, but I have never been able to master the texture.  They have either been too dense or too dry.

Last week though I made the best Hot Cross Bun I have EVER eaten! They were light, soft and perfectly spiced. Full of fruit and delightful with some butter.

After hearing it’s amazing reviews, I used the recipe from the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook. Making them in the Thermomix made the task so simple – all the more reason to bake them all the time. If you don’t have a Thermomix there is no reason why you can’t make these in a stand mixer or with good ol’ elbow grease. You can find a version of this recipe here.

Homemade Hot Cross Buns

To make these little baked goods healthier for my family, I used spelt flour and stevia to sweeten.  Quirky Cooking also makes some healthy substitutions to this recipe which you can see here.

Seriously, if you like Hot Cross Buns, go make this recipe – NOW. You will not be disappointed!

Cheat’s Sour Dough

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A few weeks ago I tried to create my own sour dough starter.  Things seemed to be progressing well then something went wrong. My starter started to stink and failed to rise, although it bubbled nicely. I decided to toss it – a tough decision as I had invested a fair bit of time into it.

Sourdough Starter

After trying to research what went wrong, I realised that even the ‘experts’ give contradictory advice. So I have decided that for the moment, sourdough is a little too ‘high maintenance’ for me.

However, I have wanted to get into creating my own bread to enjoy on the weekends, in particular spelt loaves with little added yeast.

The first loaf I made was Alyce Alexandra’s Cheat’s Sour Dough. This loaf looks and tastes like a sour dough but instead uses just 1/4 teaspoon of yeast to do the rising.

It was really simple to make using the trusty Thermomix.  I followed Alyce’s instructional video which I found on You Tube.  If you don’t have a Thermomix you could certainly whip this loaf up in your food processor.

The dough proved overnight and although wet and sticky, took very little effort to shape. It needed to be baked for 30 minutes, perfect for breakfast.

Cheat's Sourdough

Cheat's Sourdough

And this is what my baby looked like…..

Cheat's Sourdough

Instead of using baker’s flour, I used spelt flour. This messed with the texture a little. Next time I will try of combination of both these flours. I also stuffed up the oven temperature but this was the Little Loaf that Could. The bread had a great crust and sour taste.  While it tasted lovely freshly baked, I enjoyed it most toasted.

I had my slices with smashed avocado and the sweetest heirloom tomatoes. My boys had it hot out of the oven with butter and honey. Delicious! So delicious I didn’t even have time to photograph a slice before the family devoured it all.

But don’t worry, I am going to make it again tonight, ready to bake first thing Saturday. I will stand guard with a camera and a wooden spoon(to rap thieving fingers) to ensure a picture of the first slice.

Have a great weekend.

 

DIY Fridge Mats

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I hate cleaning the fridge. Who doesn’t? With two little boys who like to poke around the refrigerator contents, spills and subsequent cleaning are frequent. Sick of the mammoth task of removing all the food, lugging and washing the massive glass shelves, I decided to have a go at creating my own fridge mats.

I found heaps of inspiration in cyberspace for DIY refrigerator liners. I settled on using thick  plastic placemats for mine.

I wanted a nice bright print and picked up these green chevron placemats and coasters at the Reject shop for $4 a set. DIY Fridge Mats

As my refrigerator shelves are so wide, I needed 3 packs of placemats to do the job. I carefully measured and cut the placemats to suit my first shelf and used these as a template to complete the fridge. It really wasn’t that big of a task. It was a little fiddly to get the initial measurements right, then it was smooth sailing.  DIY Fridge Mats

I just love how clean, bright and fun the inside of my refrigerator looks now! Unfortunately, the pictures do not do the project justice. We are having horrible weather here and there is no light to photograph in.

DIY Fridge Mats

DIY Fridge Mats

The placemats have nicely ‘clung’ to the glass shelves and do not move around when shifting items. Now when a spill occurs, instead of having it turn into a giant cleaning task, I just remove the placemats, give them a quick wipe down and return them to their place.

I just love completing a small project that I know will save me time and energy. The fact that it has also livened up my fridge is a happy bonus.

Have a great day.

 

 

Easter Decorating

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I am a sucker for a cute Easter decoration. I have picked up a few bits and pieces in the last week and I have my eye on a few more. Here is what I have bought so far. Where possible I have included a link to the store where you can buy them….

This cute Easter egg garland.Easter Decorating

A pair of hanging Easter eggs.

Easter Decorating

This set of Easter bunnies. They remind me a little of the “Guess How Much I love You” storybook.

There Was a Crooked House Easter Decorating

These crockery sets for the kids. I have been searching  for some Easter themed crockery for the kids for years.  It is virtually non-existent. If you are Australia and know of anywhere that is selling Easter crockery, I’d love to know too!

There Was a Crooked House Easter Decorating

There Was a Crooked House Easter DecoratingAnd finally, we now have a family of mossy bunnies.

Easter Decorating

We only have a week and a half of school left before we break for Easter holidays. I can’t wait! I love this time of the year.

 

 

Kids’ Activity Pack Storage

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In the last week I have shown you some of the activity packs I have made to keep my kids entertained and learning. You can see the latest posts on these, here and here.There Was a Crooked House Activity Packs

There Was a Crooked House - Kids' Activity PacksWhile these are really loved by the kids, I knew if I didn’t come up with an acceptable storage solution for them, I would soon sooner or later prefer to see them in the bin.

The solution came in some suspension files and a storage box.

Kids' Activity Pack Storage

Kids' Activity Pack Storage

The box has a special rim inside that holds the suspension files in place. All the packs fit in perfectly, all I have to do is add the name labels.Kids' Activity Pack Storage

Kids' Activity Pack Storage

The box now lives in the boy’s play room. It fits perfectly into one of the shelves in the cupboard. Kids' Activty Pack Storage

 

Beautifully neat – just the way I like it.

More Kids’ Activity Packs

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Yesterday I showed you some of the activity packs I created for my two boys (see here). Today, I promised to reveal some of the other ones….

Colour Spelling. Match the paddle pop colour word to the correct coloured sleeve.

There Was a Crooked House - Kids' Activity Packs

Threading. Using large coloured buttons, pipe cleaners and thread. A great activity to get the little fingers working and to practice colour recognition.

There Was a Crooked House - Kids' Activity Packs

And my boys’ favourite – Fly Swat. I teamed a frog-shaped fly swat with collections of fly covered sight words, numbers and animal pictures. We have come up with lots of ways to play this game. My youngest has used the animal cards and as I called out the animal sounds, he hit the corresponding animal picture.  Last night, my eldest had me call out a number and he tried to hit it as fast as he could. There Was a Crooked House - Kids' Activity PacksSo there are 6 activity pack ideas for you.  Believe it or not, I have created more Easter themed ones which I will blog about soon. Can you believe it is that time of year again!?

Have a great day.

Kids’ Activity Packs

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Previously I have shared some of the activity packs I have made for my littlies (see here and here). They have been a Godsend as not only are they educational, they keep my monkeys entertained at times when I need it the most.

Last week I was out with a friend who showed me some ideas for some new activity bags. They got me so excited that I went out the next day to buy some supplies.  Once I started to rat around my local variety store, I was amazed at the inspiration I found sitting on the shelves. I went a little crazy – so unlike me. Ha!

Here are a few of the packs I have made up so far…..

Pattern matching – something Master O is doing a bit of now that he is in Prep. I raided the craft and sewing box to create this one. It is just some coloured wooden stars and velcro. I created some patterns in a Word document for boys to copy and laminated them to make them hardier.There Was a Crooked House Activity Packs

Matchstick Colour Match. A great fine motor and colour match activity for my 2-year-old, made with coloured toothpick containers and craft matchsticks.

There Was a Crooked House Activity Packs

But this was the one the boys got most excited over, a set of coloured keys turned into a fishing game. With the addition of numbers on one side and words on the other, I have made 4 skill games in one set - motor skill, coloured recognition, numeral recognition and sight word recall. After fashioning two magnetic fishing rods, both my boys can play the game that suits their ability level.There Was a Crooked House Activity Packs

Last night the boys didn’t even touch a toy or ask to watch their favourite afternoon show, all they wanted to do is give these a test drive.  Well worth the effort putting them together!

I have a few more packs on the go at the moment. I will share another 3 easy to create activity packs with you tomorrow.