The Ultimate Treen Clean Routine

Okay, here it is: The Ultimate Treen Clean Routine!!

This is what I do to stay on top of things at home. I don’t have a day that I set aside to clean my whole house because I would come to dread that day within two weeks of starting it.  Instead, I spread out my chores throughout the week so that it doesn’t take up too much time out of my days but I still get it all done.

Since going back to work four days a week, the logical thing would have been to clean my whole house on Monday, my day off, so that it’s all done.  No way!!  I do my groceries on that day and also slot in any other shopping and errands that are required (eg, birthday presents, chemist, library, dentist, doctor, etc), but no cleaning! Also since going back to work, I have enlisted the help of Dr TMH.  He has always done his own washing and ironing, but now helps me by cleaning the downstairs floors on a Sunday. This is a huge help to me.

Treen clean routine

The chores I do on the other days in the week, I either fit in before work in the morning, or after work in the afternoon.  I prefer to do it in the morning because in the afternoon I am busy washing the lunch boxes and making the next day’s lunch, taking kids to after school activities and then cooking dinner. So I get up at 6am (well… 6.10am), have my shower and get things done.

I don’t do any cleaning after dinner. I load the dishwasher, hand-wash whatever can’t go in the dishwasher and wipe down the kitchen benches and dining table. Then I run upstairs and put my pyjamas on and settle myself on the couch with a cup of tea and a few pieces of chocolate – I know!  It’s the best! I get to cuddle my girls and relax.

The Routine

In my cleaning routine, I have included the laundry because keeping up to date with the washing is important for feeling organised (I think!). When I get up in the morning, I don’t make myself breakfast until I have started the washing machine. Sometimes I set the washing machine the night before to wash the first load of the day early in the morning so that when I come downstairs it has just finished.  Sometimes I do a load of washing at night (foregoing some precious couch time while I hang it on clothes horses) but I try to avoid this.

The Washing Rule:

As for folding the washing, I do this as I take it off the clothes line outside or the clothes horse inside (once it’s dry of course).  I do this every day. Then I take it all to be put away immediately, before the next load of washing gets pegged up.  This little rule prevents piles of clean washing waiting to be sorted sitting in piles all over the living room.

Anyway, here is the cleaning routine that works for me:

The Ultimate Treen Clean Routine

This might not work for your and your family, but maybe it will inspire you to work out how you can fit your household chores into your week.

You might notice that I don’t set aside a time to dust.  This is something I just do incidentally. If I am on the phone for a while, I might grab a cloth and go around dusting as I chat.  During these times I also scrub marks off the walls or wipe window sills. It gets done, just not as regularly as everything else.  The things in my weekly routine are a priority.

Do you have a routine like this?  What works for you?

Trina xx

Craft Camp

In my opinion, we all need a Craft Camp.

Once every August, a handful of my friends and I pack up cars (sometimes add trailers and leave behind nervous husbands!) full of craft stuff, our comfiest clothes and the odd bottle of wine.  We head off to Anglesea for the weekend, which is near the beach – always a windy beach. Once we get to Anglesea, we head to a place called Araluen, which is a Lutheran camp.  We share dorm rooms with bunk beds and ensuites.  The  main hall comes complete with a fireplace and old, worn, easy to sit in couches….and lots of tables.  We set up the trestle tables in a big “U” shape so that we can all see each other (there is usually around 20 of us). Then we get out our craft stuff and get busy doing anything we like. People come along to read their favourite book by the fire, or knit or do quilting, scrapbooking, cross-stitch or make cards (I make cards).

Craft Camp

But I haven’t got to the best part yet: the food.  Actually, it’s that we don’t have to cook the food! There is a gorgeous lady who comes and cooks us breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.  I KNOW!! We absolutely love the food and appreciate just turning up for meals and enjoying what she has cooked us. Then whoever is on duty will put the dishes in the dishwasher and we get back to crafting, talking, snacking, laughing, and enjoying.

My craft spot

On Saturday morning we get some exercise and walk to the local shops to check out the Op Shop bargains there (and stock up on snacks at the Supermarket 🙂 ). Some people do actually go for a walk along the beach, but keep in mind that it’s August and very cold and windy….so I don’t!

This weekend sounds amazing doesn’t it??  Because it really is!

We go home at the end of our weekend feeling tired (because we stayed up too late talking and laughing), but very happy and even have a few crafty things to show for it (and been inspired by what the others were doing).

You might not like craft, but I’m sure you like your friends, and you like food and you like to go away on holidays don’t you? Well, you need to create your own version of my Craft Camp!

Everyone needs this!

Tell us in the comments if you have your own version of my Craft Camp already…..or if you are now inspired to gather your friends together and start up a new tradition.

Trina xx


Trina’s Baked Tomato Risotto Recipe

This is my recipe for a baked tomato risotto. I really love eating risotto but the thought of standing at the stove painstakingly ladling in the stock over a period of half an hour or so really doesn’t get me excited. I have adapted recipes over time and experimented to take the pain out of it to come up with this little ripper.

Baked tomato risotto recipe

I make this one for Meatless Monday but I have also added a tin of tuna to it and even thrown in bacon…because we all know that everything is better with bacon!

I’m sure there are lots of variations that would work with this recipe. It’s the proportions of liquid to rice that needs to remain the same for it to work.

Of course you could do this on the stove if you like standing there stirring and ladling and if you really don’t have anything else to do!…didn’t think so.

I like to use my big cast iron casserole pot for this recipe.  You need to use something that can go from stove top to oven, so no plastic handles.

Trina’s Baked Tomato Risotto Recipe

Serving Size: 4

Trina’s Baked Tomato Risotto Recipe


  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (350g) arborio rice
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 2 cups (500ml) chicken or vegetable stock, heated
  • 1 tin (400g) diced tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • big handful of baby spinach, or silverbeet, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan


  1. Heat butter and oil on the stove in an ovenproof casserole dish over medium-high heat.
  2. Cook the onion for 3 minutes, stirring, until soft. Add garlic and cook for an extra minute.
  3. Add rice, stirring for 1 minute, then add wine and bubble until absorbed.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and stock.
  5. Once boiling, add the parsley and spinach.
  6. Once returned to the boil, put the lid on and place in a preheated oven at 180°C for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven. Stir in sour cream and parmesan.
  8. Serve with extra parmesan to taste.


Variations: can add a tin of tuna or chopped, cooked bacon. Fresh basil is also fantastic in this recipe.

You’ve got to try this recipe.  It’s really tasty and your family will love it. You will love it more than they do because it’s so quick to make.

So start thinking about what you will do with the time you will save when you make this for dinner.

Let me know how it goes and what your family thinks.  This is also good to make when friends come over.  Because you just put it in the oven and let it do its own thing, you are free to relax and enjoy your guests.

You could serve something on the side if you like.  A little side salad would be nice in the summer time, but it is perfectly delicious on its own.

Trina xx

“Unpolished Gem” by Alice Pung – book review

Another TrinaMichelleHouse Book Club book review.

This one, “Unpolished Gem”, by Alice Pung, is a memoir of her life growing up in Footscray, Melbourne. She was born into a Chinese-Cambodian family. Alice’s family came to Australia just before Alice was born and Alice tells the story so well, about how amazed her family was about this strange new country.  A country where the Supermarkets were so clean and they couldn’t believe that just anyone was allowed to go in!

"Unpolished gem" by Alice Pung

I really love the character of Alice’s grandmother, who loves Alice with a beautiful protective love.  The humour woven into this story makes it a good read. This family has everyday struggles that every family can relate to, especially new Australians. Her parents are both hard workers, determined to do well in this new land and want the best for their kids, their Aussie kids!

Alice goes on to tell the story of a teenage romance and how difficult the reality of having a boyfriend is when your family has such a different culture to his.  Is he interested in her or does he find her culture interesting?  She struggles to make things work with him and remain in her father’s good books.

Alice Pung

Alice’s struggles with her mental health is outlined in this book and I found this to be quite frustrating to read.  I wished for her to find a friend just like her with the same cultural differences as a support.  She really seemed quite alone and struggled for a long time. I found it difficult to read this section of the book.

If you are interested in knowing what it is like to live in Australia when you are from such a different place then it’s the book for you. Even as a born-and-bred Australian I enjoyed the humour in this book because it’s very accurate. I laughed out loud a few times!

Trina xx

Crispy Date and Choc Chip Slice recipe

I found an incredible spin on the old Chocolate Crackle slice, it’s this Crispy Date and Choc Chip Slice recipe!

Trish, from the Cadbury Kitchen in Australia, made this recipe on “Everyday Gourmet” with Justine Schofield on tv one day when I happened to be watching.  I raced into the study and turned on my computer so that I could look it up and print it out.

It can be found over here on the Cadbury website, or over here on the Everyday Gourmet website.

You can even watch Justine and Trish make it here on YouTube.

It took me a few weeks to get around to making this Crispy Date and Choc Chip Slice, but now it’s a family favourite.  I served it for morning tea when I had the ladies from church around here last week and was asked for the recipe, so here it is ladies!!

Crispy date and choc chip slice

I do find myself daydreaming about working in the Cadbury Kitchen alongside Trish McKenzie,  I must admit. What a job!!  The ultimate would be to then cook the recipes with Justine and hear her say “What I like to do…” in the flesh!!

Until then, I’ll just make the recipes at home and say “What I like to do…” as I cook to whoever is here.

This recipe is fast to make, good for the summer because it doesn’t require the oven, just the fridge. The dates taste really delicious and gooey in this slice and it doesn’t have a strong “date” taste. Those of you who like a good sticky date – this one’s for you!

Give this recipe a go and let me know what you think! I know your kids will love it and you must promise to make sure you melt the chocolate over the top.  You can’t skip that last step! It’s very important.

Trina xx