Woohoo, the first day of 31 Tip Challenge Month! Thank goodness it’s not No Screens Month or our house would be off to a poor start. The boys and I are all sick with rotten colds and the lounge has been turned into a sick bay. Ali is watching Hanna Montana, Liam is playing Nintendo and I’m checking out the Vault and Forum for new tips to try!
Actually I confess to trying a few out already, mainly in the culinary department so far. Last week I finally got round to trying out something yummy which had been jumping out at me from the Forum for ages. I LOVE tinned spaghetti! Unfortunately it doesn’t love me. It gives me such horrendous heartburn I gave up eating it years ago, so I was intrigued and excited to see a recipe for home made ‘tinned’ spaghetti! I have to say it was one of the BEST things I have ever tasted. I made a huge batch and I just couldn’t stop eating it; it kept calling to me from the fridge! Best of all, no heartburn! Needless to say I am never buying spaghetti from a can again. Try it and you’ll be an instant convert!
The same day I also tried out a new recipe for Liam. The weather here has been unbearably hot and humid lately and this has played havoc with my baking, with cakes and muffins going mouldy far sooner than they normally would. I tried keeping them in the fridge but this also rendered them inedible for lunchboxes as they turned hard as rocks! So we decided that we would only make slices for lunchboxes until the weather turned cooler as they could be kept in the fridge with no problems.
Noel and Ali were easy to cater for as they live on the muesli bar recipe from The $21 Challenge book, which you can also find in this month’s newsletter. Finding slice recipes for Liam which don’t cost a fortune however is a different matter. Until I came across the Mars Bar Surprise slice and realised I could adapt it to use up the gluten free rice bubbles he didn’t like. Those of you who have The $21 Challenge book will be familiar with the Mars Bar Surprise slice – the surprise being that there are no Mars Bars! Liam took one bite and – “YUM!!!” was the verdict. It’s great to have a gluten free lunchbox filler that he really loves at last!
Now our house is for sale we never know who’s going to pop in, so I’m endeavouring to keep it clean and welcoming at all times. As well as looking nice I want our home to smell nice too, not of spaniels and cricket gear! I’ve heard all the stories about cooking bacon to create a cosy, homely atmosphere but it’s not always convenient or practical – and what if our prospective house buyer is vegetarian? It might put them off! I’ve been looking around for nice air fresheners to create a feeling of ambience but they were all so expensive and overpowering. So I consulted Wendyl Nissen’s ‘Domestic Goddess on a Budget’ book and found a lovely recipe for a home made room spray. I filled a clean, empty pump bottle with half a cup of water and half a cup of gin (pinched from Noel, haven’t owned up to that yet!) You can also use vodka. To this I added essential oils which I already had – 10 drops of lavender, five drops of tea tree and a couple of drops of rosemary. You can adapt it to use whichever oils you have but I was really happy with this blend, it smells gorgeous! I just spray it around before people arrive and as well as smelling nice, it seems to bring on a feeling of instant calm. I won’t be using anything else from now on!
Lavender oil is something I have plenty of and I plan to use it today to keep the flies away! The flies have been driving us all to distraction lately. We have two of those little gadgets that you hang on the wall and puff out bursts of pyrethrum but they haven’t made a difference this summer. Ali has a battery powered ‘tennis racket’ that zaps flies with an electric current but there are just too many to keep on top of. I have even resorted to using a can of fly spray but I hate the stuff and it only provides a temporary respite. So I searched the Vault and Forum and it seems to me that lavender oil could save the day. I’ve been meaning to clean the windows for days and now I have even more good reason to do it, so I can try out my fly repelling window cleaning solution! As well as that, I also found a tip in a