Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dude Food - Sardine & Broccoli Pasta with Chilli

Last night, the wife told me I'm going out for tea tonight for a girls night!

Music to my ears because I get to make dude food! Food for dudes, aka me!

Something that I'd eat but my wife turns her nose up at.  This is a Jamie Oliver recipe that I just added bacon to.  FYI - adding bacon to anything makes any dish fall into the dude food category.

Sardine & Broccoli Pasta with Chilli

3-4 Sardines (or anchovies)
Pasta of your choise
Colby cheese
100g bacon pieces
1 Chilli

1. Boil water in a large pot and add pasta and broccoli pieces once boiled.  Season with salt but don't throw away the broccoli stalk, we'll use that later.

2. Fry bacon pieces in frying pan with oil whilst you are chopping into fine pieces the chilli and sardines.  You can use a food processor, but it's much more fun cutting the shit out of things.  Finely cut the broccoli stalk as well and add that along with the chill & sardines to the frying bacon.

3. Add lime juice to the frying pan, approx a tablespoon.

4. Once bacon has browned, add a small handful of the Colby cheese to the frying pan.  You can use parmesan or any other cheese you like.

5. Drain pasta & broccoli once they're nice and soft and return to the large pot.

6. Combine the frying pan mixture to the large pot and mix together like crazy.

7. Serve with more colby cheese.

8. Fill your face!

  • I recommend just one large chilli, using the seeds and all.  This is enough heat, but it's up to you.
  • 3 Sardines is plenty for just a hint of fish taste, but another is fine for the sardine lovers out there.


- tork

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Book is in Progress!

Hey guys!

Something that I have been wanting to do for a long time is publish a book.  I've worked on lots of different things in the past.  Sci-fi comedy, Fantasy even sooky soppy romance stories.  They've all started and I have never got back to them.

Now it's for real.  I want it to be for real.

I want it published, even if no one likes it, reads it or buys it.  I just want to say "I am a published writer".

Sure, it might be a cop out and not a full length novel, or even a short story.  Still, it will hopefully be one thing I can cross off my bucket list.

What I need from you guys though is a massive favour.

I need you to PUSH me, to keep me at it. Don't let me slack off!

My motivation is my boy.  I want to make something he can one day read, but my personal time is so limited for me to get cracking.  After this post is finished, I'll be working on illustrations because I've set a deadline.

Middle of November.  I gotta get it done my the middle of Nov.

So if you catch me on Facebook, prod me to work harder!  I need that PUSH!

If you log into Twitter, tweet me to pull out my finger!

The next few weeks are sure going to be fun for me!


Who wants to know what it is going to be about?  Got any ideas what it's about?

Watch this space..

- tork

Friday, October 12, 2012

3 Ways To Be More Financially Fit

A Guest Post from Jake Saunders..

As a parent, it always seems like there is an endless list of things to pay for: groceries, bills, school fees, and kids toys all add up and before you know it, you can end up in a bit of a financial pickle. However, there are ways to juggle your finances and keep everyone in the family happy.

You don't need to learn the ins and outs of dividend yields, investment banking, and stock broking to be more financially fit- all it takes is a bit of planning and you too can be (almost) as money savvy as Warren Buffet  Take a look at these three ways to manage your money in a family-friendly way and before you know it, you'll be able to save up for that new car or boat that you've always wanted.

Grab a bargain

Bargains are everywhere - you just need to know where to look. If you're planning a family meal over the weekend, don't spend copious amounts of money to keep everybody's tummy happy. Instead, plan a restaurant that works for your budget. Many restaurants offer "kids eat for free" deals or package deals on certain days, and if you visit during lunch then meals are often cheaper. For fun activities over the weekend, choose a free venue like the park or the art gallery (many of these offer events for kids over the weekend as well), or take advantage of websites like Groupon to pick up a deal for your family. Don't forget to check your local council's listing for events - many states have festivals running monthly, such as Sydney's Aroma Festival or Canberra's Floriade Nightfest.

Make home loans work for you

One of the biggest money-drainers is your home. Regardless of whether you're renting or buying, living costs eat a significant chunk from your income every week. However, there are opportunities to be smart with your money when it comes to property as well. If you are looking to buy your first home, remember that Australia has the First Home Owner's Grant, where the government will give you a grant to help offset the effect of GST on home ownership. The amount given depends on which state, so make sure to do your research for the state where you want to buy property. When it comes to your actual mortgage, choose a home loan with mixed floating and fixed repayments - this way, you can take advantage of low-interest periods but you still have the security of a fixed rate as well.

Find alternative avenues of income

While a full-time job definitely pays the bills, it's always nice to have a little extra cash to spend on your family or to save for the next trip overseas. Alternative avenues of income are a great way to earn some more money so you can have some stashed away for a rainy day. If you have a particular skill set, then try freelancing or finding some private clients. You can also keep your eye out for any odd jobs on Seek or Gumtree - many of these pay well and only require a short term commitment, which is perfect for anyone with a family.

Jake Saunders is a writer who is currently saving for a new car. To help his savings grow, he's taken up a casual job as a fruitpicker - it helps save money on the grocery bills as well! In partnership with Clime

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

He's Not Heavy, He's my Son

Man... time sure does fly a wee bit.

My kid is closing in on the toddler age.  Freaky shit.  He's tall, he's talking, he's heavy!

Sure, he ain't the biggest kid his age, but sticking him atop of my shoulders sure as hell weighs me down!

I can't remember when my old man used to put me on his shoulders, I'm sure there were times he did.  I remember photos..  but I always have noticed other dads putting their kid on their shoulders.  I've always been, "yep, definitely looking forward to doing that one day".

Now that I can, shit... I don't know how people do it!  I haven't had the boy on my shoulders for at least 5-6 hours now, but my shoulders and neck are friggin' killing me.  It's a tough gig!  Maybe it gets easier the older they get and the less wiggle that is enforced due to the absolute excitement that is gained from sitting upon dad's shoulders.

The tallest view that anyone can ever get!

They do say that you can never get higher than sitting on dad's shoulders.

Well.. no one that spent an evening with Bob Marley could probably say that, but you know what I mean.

I do like the fact though that his mum is the place to go for the best hugs, but she doesn't get the shrills of joy that sitting on top of dad's noggin gives, where heights will never be reached again once the little fella discovers what Macca's means.

..give it a few more months and he'll be fatter *sighs*

Think I might need to do some old school wrestler training as per the great Batista.

Cos I ain't letting anything stop me have that boy upon my shoulders, even if he is a fatty :-)

- tork

fyi - maybe Batista shoulder muscles could be taking it too far. Boob Neck Tork is not a nickname I would look forward too hehehe!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Marriage, Motherhood and College - How a Mum Juggled All Three and Made it Out On Top

A guest post from Patricia Garza..

These days, there's no denying just how busy we've all become. We've got places to go, people to see and seemingly not enough time to stay on top of all of it. My own personal world seems to be a whirlwind of meetings, soccer practice, anniversaries and everything else that comes with living a full life, which is why I half thought I was crazy and out of my mind when I started toying with the idea of going back to school to get another degree a few years back. But something in me just said to go for it.

An idea I had had in my mind for quite some time, going back for an environmental science degree kind of got put on the back burner with the birth of my children. I wanted to be able to give them my undivided attention as a mother during their most formative years and knew that I couldn't put that stress on my husband and me, so I let it lie. My husband and I discussed it at length. His main concern was that he didn't want me to feel unfulfilled and possibly even resentful by not going through with it. After much thought and many conversations (and LOTS of reassurance for him), I told him I'd wait 5 years or so and then revisit the notion. By then our youngest would be kindergarten bound and I would hopefully have this whole "motherhood" thing down—haha, little did I realize just how ongoing THAT process is, but that's a whole other story.

Anyway, the five-year mark came and sure enough, the itch was still there. So my husband and I reassessed every aspect of our lives—personal, financial, professional—to see how this would fit into the big picture. Aside from the fact that it might be a hectic of a schedule it seemed definitely doable, so I went for it. And, I can honestly say, the things listed below made it a much easier endeavour  So, if you're finding yourself in a similar situation to mine, read on, you never know what you might learn!

Searched for Scholarships

First and foremost before starting anything I searched for scholarships relevant to my situation. I remember from my days as an undergrad that they really have financial aid and support for people from all sorts of backgrounds and walks of life.

There's assistance specific to part-time students with full-time jobs, scholarships for the kid that's an avid volunteer in his community, even returning students had their own niche. And, luckily for me, I even found a couple for mothers.

So, while I wasn't qualified for all of them, I did my homework to find some that did. They might not have all given a fortune, but every little bit helps—especially when you are trying to raise a family at the same time. I will never turn down partially or completely free education.


Made a Schedule and Stuck to It

Once I took the plunge and enrolled, I knew I needed to be smart about how I spent my time. I didn't have the luxury I did years ago to procrastinate my days away and put off assignments. I had children I needed to raise, a husband I needed to see when I could and a multitude of other things that come with grown up responsibility. Sure, things would come up and I had to make changes and be flexible, but you making up my school work was always first priority to ensure I stayed on track and didn't have to resort to missing out on that all-too-important family time we never seem to get enough of.


I Relied on My Support System

As you can guess, it got sort of stressful trying to keep up with everything. To keep myself sane and focused on the task at hand I learned to rely heavily on my support system. I listened when my mother offered to watch the children so my husband and I could have a night alone. I vented to my husband about my assignments and how stupid of a decision I thought I had made, and he was always there to reassure me it would get better.

So, if you're considering going back to school, be warned that you will struggle. You will get overwhelmed. It's important that you first accept this, and then put aside your pride and realize it's OK to be weak and rely on those around you. After all, that's what loved ones are for, right? So grab a ladder and get over it, they just want to help.

These are my main suggestions for surviving an endeavour such as this. However, one final thought? Try to remember that things could always be worse. For instance, during my studies, I met students who had way more things on their plate—some were single mothers who had to work on top of everything. Being a freelancer with an employed husband, I had greater control and flexibility in my schedule which I am eternally grateful for. But, their situations were inspiring. Because, if they could do it, so could I. I had ZERO excuses compared to them.

Finally, just remember that this is something you WANT and with all things we desire we should fight for them. So push yourself and make it happen—I promise you'll survive it and you won't regret it one bit.

Patricia Garza is freelance writer and blogger for many sites, including Oedb.org. She contributes research and expertise on online college accreditation to Oedb.org, and she is passionate about helping students discover the right educational program for them. She also writes about trends in education and personal finance. Please leave comments for Patricia below.