31 May 2012

MNM's Bake: Butter Chicken

You don't have to go out to your local Indian for a yummy, authentic butter chicken, you can make it in the comfort of your own home!

1 kg chicken thighs (fillet or boned)
25g butter (can use up to 60g but we were going for a lower-fat option)
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp sweet/smoked paprika
2 tsp ground coriancer
1 Tbsp fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick (or 1-2 tsp cinnamon)
350g tomato puree
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) cream (light or full-fat)
1/4 cup (60g) plain yoghurt (optional)
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Wrap the chicken in tin foil, season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for an hour and half on 150 degrees. When the chicken has about 15 minutes to go, go onto the next step.

Add butter to the wok/saucepan and melt.

Add the spices and stir-fry in the butter for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the tomato and sugar and simmer, stirring for 15 minutes until the sauce is thick. Whilst this is simmering, take the chicken out of the oven and remove meat from the bone (if boned) and cut into pieces and add to the mixture. After 15 minutes, add the yoghurt, cream and juice and simmer for another 5 minutes until sauce has thickened slightly.

Lovely served with rice, your choice of veges and poppadoms.

We love making meals that taste just like the real deal, and this one is no exception!

For other yummy recipes, go here.

30 May 2012

Lessons from The Shack: Love and Limitation

I have recently re-read The Shack. People tend to either love it or hate it. Me - I love it. To me it shows our God as so much bigger and better than anything our limited human expectations, knowledge or even experience could hope to dream up when we think of Him. We tend to try and put him in a box with a label God and we think we know what's inside it, but The Shack blows away any box or limitation we might try to put on Him. So let me share with you a few truths that have spoken deeply into my being in my journey to The Shack:

Lesson Three - Love and Limitation

Most birds were created to fly. Being grounded for them is a limitation within their ability to fly, not the other way around. 

We were created to be loved. So for us to go through life living as if we are unloved is a limitation, not the other way around.

Living unloved is like clipping a bird's wings and removing its ability to fly. That's not what it was made for. 

Pain has a way of clipping our wings and keeping us from being able to fly. And if left unresolved for a very long time, we can almost forget we were ever created to fly in the first place.

We were all created to be loved. By the One who made us. And he does. Wholeheartedly, and without reservation.

But time, circumstances and pain can dull our ability to receive this love.

We might start out with a simple childlike faith as a child believing in Him but as we've grown the external influences around us weaken our ability to continue believing in that which we cannot see.

We might have grown up in a family with no faith and never had an opportunity to ever truly know or experience His love.

We may have had a faith but it has been rocked by painful circumstances that has shaken our ability to believe in His goodness.

Whichever reason it might be, we have forgotten we were ever created to fly.

 But we are created to fly. To be loved.

And that emptiness you sometimes feel in your heart? That longing for something more?

It's empty for a reason. It was created be filled with His love.

29 May 2012

MNM's Make: A Glow in the Dark Bath = Mega Fun!

If I'd known how much fun this was going to be, I'd have done it YEARS ago. Although as Pinterest wasn't invented until recently, to be fair I'd never have seen it until now. Anywho I digress. This was quite simply the best $1.75 I have spent in my life. Seriously.

Take one pack of glow sticks, and a hot bath. Crack all but 2 of the glowsticks (depending on how many kids you have, as you might like to give them one each to crack) and put the rest in the bath. Take a few before videos and pics and try to contain your excitement.

Turn off the light in the bathroom, close the bathroom door and then run shrieking into the lounge like a madwoman "Oh my goodness, you have to come and see this, it's like the coolest thing ever. I'm so excited about bathtime. EEEEEEEEEEEK. Quick come on, clothes off. Let's go, let's go"

Meanwhile, your children are wondering if you have lost your mind but follow obediently behind asking "what mummy?" "What's happening?". You know you lost your mind a long time ago and they are probably used to their crazy mama by now!

And once all clothes are off, we enter.

To a room filled with purple, glowing light. And though I can't see the wonder on their faces, I can hear it in their voices. And I know that this was one of the coolest and easiest way to jazz up bathtime yet.

In what turned into a much longer than usual bath time, our glowsticks became:
  • rainbow fans for waving furiously to capture the moving light
  • light sabers (of course!)
  • submarines that dived down into the deep
  • rocket ships that zoomed out of the water
  • candles 
  • walrus teeth (although I did discourage them being put in mouths....just in case)
Oh so worth the fun, and we will be doing this again!

Go on - give it a go, and tell me it's not MEGA FUN!

28 May 2012

The Weekend in Instagram

Just for a little something different, here's some snippets of our weekend, mostly via the Instagram app for iPhone.....

Pak n Save goes Cow Crazy
Our local supermarket has gone a bit cow crazy with cow spots painted on the outside of the store, its trolleys have turned into cows and there was even a moo-ing cow standing by all the meat which totally intrigued the boys.

Oh and for a nice bit of eye candy, I looked up and Conrad Smith (who plays for our national rugby team, the All Blacks) was just across the apples from me. I was too shy to grab a pic though, so you'll just have to make do with an official one!

Conrad Smith Conrad Smith of the All Blacks poses during a New Zealand All Blacks IRB Rugby World Cup 2011 headshot session at the Heritage Hotel on September 2, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Homemade Fish n Chips
Then it was home for homemade fish n chips. And mum and dad enjoyed some naughty Lindt Sea Salt Chocolate later while watching Game of Thrones.

Dad and Noah were out at footy Saturday morning, and Noah came home chuffed to have the Golden Boot Player of the Day for his team. Meanwhile Mylo and I enjoyed some mum and son time at home.

Fruit fanatic
You gotta love a kid who can scoff 3 feijoas and 2 kiwifruit in about five minutes without battering an eyelid. Well, I love it anyway!

Twister Time
We took turns playing a bit of Twister. And from what happened next I think we'd have been better off sticking with Twister.

I got Nerfed
We'd just literally bought a pack of 36 foam darts for the Nerf gun as we'd lost most of the ones that came with the gun originally. I stupidly (WHAT WAS I THINKING - actually I know what I was thinking, I was thinking about a shot for Instagram) told Mylo to aim for the camera but he missed and got me square in the eye ball. I ran out of the room screaming and crying (it freaking hurt) and dissolved in a puddle on the floor for about five minutes before I could compose myself. Poor Mylo didn't know what to think and stood stock still in silence watching me looking bashful.

I have to say the new darts we bought are lethal, they fly super far and make a whistling noise if you can get them to go far enough. I shall be steering well clear from now on!!!!

Focaccia bread
I made a slightly less successful than usual version of our focaccia bread (Mark really is better at it than me). It tasted OK but was kinda crumbly and didn't crisp up on the bottom like it should have. Oh well.

Happy helper
Whilst Mylo had a mammoth 3 hour sleep on Saturday, Noah helped me clean a whole bunch of windows inside and out which earned him 10 stickers for his sticker chart (which holds 100), as well as the mirrors in the bathrooms while I cleaned the rest of the bathrooms too.

DJ Heroes
Mark got an absolute steal on DJ Hero on Mighty Ape the other day, or so he says *wink*. But regardless, DJ Hero turned up in the mail the other day. Daddy and Noah had fun learning the ropes on Saturday afternoon as the day turned ever greyer and cooler outside.

Saturday avo smoothies
Smoothies for one, smoothies for all. A great mid-afternoon energy boost. And boost they did. We then had two crazy little people running around for the rest of the afternoon - at least it was a good sugar high!

Kicking it with the kaka
Without any warning, 14 kaka flew into our garden on Saturday afternoon. Although you can often see and hear 3-4  flying around the neighbourhood (we live very close to the bird sanctuary Zealandia) I have never seen so many in one place outside of the sanctuary. They landed on our fence, our trees, our telephone wire and a couple even climbed on our roof. We could have almost reached out our bedroom windows and touched them! So amazing.

After build-your-own yummy wraps for dinner on Saturday night, Mark and I then spent a rare couple of hours in town at a friends 40th. Then Sunday morning was spent relaxing until church, then straight to Noah's swimming lessons where we then took one of Noah's best friends off with us for an afternoon playdate.

It was the perfect afternoon (cold, wet and windy) to head off to the new Junglerama (kids indoor adventure land) for a couple of hours, This particular location only opened about a year ago and it really is top entertainment for kids despite the hordes. The best bit is these foam ball cannons on several levels that you can shoot across at people on the other side. Fun for young and old! After about an hour and a half of mad dashing, climbing, jumping, sliding, firing three tired, sweaty and hungry boys begged (actually really) to stop for some food which was a good cue to leave. I'd have taken more pics but my phone kept falling out of my pocket everytime I found myself crawling through some tight space after Mylo so I gave up and put it safely away in the bag in the end.

There was just enough time for a few games of Mario Kart at home before we headed back across town to drop Noah's buddy home, then it was home for corned beef and potato mash for dinner.

Pretty much the usual combination of busyness and fun for a weekend in the MNM's household!

25 May 2012

Things I'm Loving 25.5.12

I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful for..no matter how simple it is.

And so begins...Saturday morning sport
Loving a little footballer in his gear who enthusiastically jumps out of bed and into his gear early every Saturday to play with his Sonic Sixers team the Bisons. This year Soccer NZ have changed the program so instead of one full game of football, the kids do four different stations of ball skills in the hour to increase their time on the ball which I think is a great way to encourage young kids to get more game time.

Star Wars Fastest and Funniest Lego
Loving this 4-minute take on the whole 6 episodes of Star Wars. Kinda makes me wonder why you'd need to sit through 10+ hours after watching this.....just kidding!

Condensation Snowmen
Loving seeing the morning sun streaming in through finger-painted condensation men early in the morning.

Crazy quick neon fish
Love the crazy, cool colours of these fast-swimming neon fish we spotted at the Animates pet shop the other day.

A boy, a bunny, and a bike
Loving how attached this boy is to his bunny. As you can see he even has a special spot, riding pride of place on the handlebars of his bike.

Train tastic
Love rediscovering our love for Thomas and creating different and unique tracks every time we get the train set out. I don't love how many batteries we go through or how every train seems to take completely different batteries and they're never the ones you have in the house, OR how one time some battery acid leaked on the carpet and has never ever come out, but I do still love the fun we have with it!

A glimpse into the future
Although I'm in no hurry for my boys to grow up, I love how in a certain light you'll get the odd glimpse in a photo of what they might look like in a few year's time. So precious. Maybe minus the food-rimmed mouth though...I'm still wondering when we might grow out of that one!

Here's how you can join in:

Link up below with your blog post telling us what you're loving, and grab the Things I'm Loving button below for your post too. Don't forget to share the love by visiting all the other lovelies who have joined in - the linky is open till same time next week!

24 May 2012

Lessons from The Shack: What is Freedom?

I have recently re-read The Shack. People tend to either love it or hate it. Me - I love it. To me it shows our God as so much bigger and better than anything our limited human expectations, knowledge or even experience could hope to dream up when we think of Him. We tend to try and put him in a box with a label God and we think we know what's inside it, but The Shack blows away any box or limitation we might try to put on Him. So let me share with you a few truths that have spoken deeply into my being in my journey to The Shack:

Lesson Two: What is Freedom?

Let's talk some about the nature of freedom.

Does freedom mean being allowed to do whatever you want to?

OK, so what about all the limiting influences in your life that actively work against your freedom?

Your family. Your genetic heritage. Your specific DNA. Your metabolic uniqueness.

How about the intrusion of your soul's sickness that inhibits and blinds you?

What about the social influences around you?

Or the habits that have formed pathways in your brain?

And then there's advertising, propaganda and paradigms.

Inside that array of multi-faceted inhibitors what is freedom really?

We live our lives as if we are free, we ignore the call of the Spirit deep within, we try to reclaim our independence by stating we are in control of our destiny, but really we are fooling ourselves.

We are no more free than a dog on a long leash who keeps walking because he forgets he's attached until SNAP! he reaches the end and is yanked back into line.

We all have different things (or people) at the end of our chains, pulling us into submission, but we kid ourselves when we say we are free.

The Truth shall set you free and Truth has a name: Jesus. Everything is about Him, and freedom is a process of the soul that can only happen inside a relationship with Him.

23 May 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Would you stop?

If you were driving down the road and you saw the potential for a shot or two, 

would it make you stop?

What if you had already been out of the house all afternoon doing your first official family photoshoot 
and you'd already taken hundreds of photos,

 would you be bothered to stop?

What if you were already feeling a bit guilty for being away from your family for so long that day 
and you knew that dinner would almost be on the table by the time you got back, 

would you think twice and stop?

What if you knew it was biting cold outside and the strong southerly wind would almost blow you over 
the minute you got out of the car,

would you harden up and stop?

What if you were still fighting off a nasty cold and that yucky reflux that had you laid up in bed 
for the better part of the week, 

would you even be crazy enough to stop?

What if you were thinking - it's just another sunset, you've seen one, you've seen em all,

why should I care enough about this one to stop?

What if the waves were so fierce and the sea spray blowing so fast you knew it would get on your camera lens, 

would you still stop?

What if......?

 So many what ifs.....

What if I'd let any one of those myriad excuses running through my head stop me?

I'd have missed all this, that's what.

It's ALWAYS worth stopping to capture the moment. 


22 May 2012

MNM's Make: Marble and Bubble Painting

Take one poorly mama recovering from one hell of a week. Looking for some easy, creative fun for her and her boys one afternoon.

Enter two easy but fun painting crafts that can be done in no time at all.

Bubble Painting

In separate dishes, put some water, dishwashing liquid and food colouring.

With straws, blow bubbles high enough to come over the top of the bowl.

Lay a piece of paper or card onto the bubbles. Repeat as many times as you want to get the desired effect.

And if your kids are eggs like mine and accidentally sucked up the mixture a couple of times, you may want to put a pin hole at the top of the straw to stop that from happening.

Marble Painting

Dob a few different colours of paint onto some paper or card inside a large enough container for a marble or ten if you get eager like we did to roll around in.

We started with one marble, then two, then a few and in the end had about 10 rolling around happily creating merry pattern heaven.

Even I took a turn with some pastel colours on black card

And there wasn't too much mess to clean up either...all important when you've got zero energy and one hand all you can think about is how you'd rather be in bed but on the other hand you know you'd have just missed all that fun you've just had :-)


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