Toy organisation

When our first daughter was around 18 months old, I realised that we were drowning in toys.  We needed some serious toy organisation. I solved this by moving house… a place with more cupboards! I’m not joking.

We did move to a bigger house, with more storage and more space for kids to play.  One week after moving into that bigger house, my second daughter was born, and more toys arrived! We had a designated space in the lounge for all the toys and stored them in plastic tubs.  So we had the lego tub, the Barbie tub, the musical instrument tub, you get the idea.  While the girls were little and playing with these toys at home every day, we had all the tubs stacked up (not too high of course) ready to drag out.  This form of toy organisation is so simple, yet so effective.

Toy cupboard

The beauty of organising the toys in this way was that every toy had a place to go at “pack up time”. It was easy for the children to pack up their toys on their own and it stopped the toys being strewn all over the house.  When we were finished with the train set stuff, we simply packed it up before we got out the baby dolls. Often we had multiple tubs out at once, and there was a cross over in the play. Games like the little people from the dolls house wanted to drive around in the Matchbox cars, so we had to get out both of those tubs, but it was still very easy to pack up at the end.

There is a balance between not stifling their play with too many restrictions, yet not turning the house into a junk pile (how painful it is when you step on small toys like lego and cars!).Toy organisation

Hot Tip:

With this genius tub form of toy organisation, there is a bonus advantage: you and your children will discover that it’s much easier to find things. Actually, it is likely to dramatically cut down the whole “Mum, where’s my…” situation. Bring it on!

Now that our girls are not playing with the toys anymore, we did send quite a bit to the Opportunity Shop. However, we do still have friends with younger children and it’s nice to be able to offer a selection of toys for them to play with when they come to visit, so I’ve kept quite a lot! I’ve stacked up the tubs in an upstairs cupboard and when we know that we are having young children coming over, we choose a few tubs based on their age and interests and bring them downstairs ready for play.  It’s good to be able to provide a bit of variety for visiting kids and still be able to pack it away easily at the end.

What are your toy storage tips?

Trina xx

Pear butter cake

After lunch today I looked in the fruit bowl and instantly knew what I should be doing next – making my pear butter cake! These two suspicious looking pears were big ones and I knew nobody would want them in their lunch box for tomorrow, being so bruised and a little bit soft.

Bruised pears!

This butter cake recipe is such a good one because it is very moist and cuts well, so it’s perfect to make for morning tea at church or to take on a picnic. It is quite a dense cake and everyone in our house loves it.

So, I thought I would share this recipe with you despite having to drag out the mixer for it – it’s worth the effort!  Because really, once you have the mixer on the bench, the rest is so quick and easy. The melting the butter with the milk method is just gold.

Pear butter cake

Pear butter cake


  • 250g butter
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 cups SR flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 or 3 large ripe pears, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  1. Place butter and milk in a microwave safe bowl or jug. Heat in microwave until butter melts. Allow to cool slightly.
  2. Add vanilla.
  3. In a mixing bowl, place eggs, caster sugar and sifted flour.
  4. Add milk and butter mixture.
  5. Beat with mixer on low speed until ingredients are combined.
  6. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes until mixture is smooth.
  7. Pour mixture into a baking-paper lined swiss roll tin.
  8. Top with sliced pears and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  9. Bake at 180°C for around 50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean and cake springs back when lightly touched.
  10. Leave in tin for 5 min before turning out onto a cooling rack.

This pear butter cake recipe can be varied, of course. You can make it plain and leave out the pears and cinnamon (the plain version is really good).  You can add cocoa and make it a chocolate cake.  You can substitute apples or tinned peaches or apricots if you like.

Once you have mastered this recipe, you will be unstoppable!

Give it a try.  Pack it in the kids’ school lunch boxes, take it to that family who have just had a new baby, make it for your friends when they come over for morning tea.  It’s even good to make for work if you have to bring a cake for your birthday! This one is quite a big cake (you could halve the recipe if you want a smaller cake). This recipe would feed up to 20 people (if they can stop at just one slice!).

Let me know if you make this pear butter cake.  I’m also interested in hearing about your own variations.

Trina xx


“Flesh Wounds” by Richard Glover – book review

I just finished reading “Flesh Wounds” by Richard Glover.  This was a really good book!

Richard Glover is an Australian author, columnist and radio broadcaster. He really knows how to tell a story in a very funny and very Aussie way! This is his memoir, but its main focus is his relationship with his parents.  Richard grew up in a very dysfunctional family. He was essentially fed a string of lies by his mother in regard to her life and who she really is. Richard always knew she was peculiar, but only found out later in life that there was much more to her history than she ever let on. He has quite a task ahead of him as he delves into her past.

Richard Glover Flesh Wounds

Richard’s father gives him grief too, but in a different way. His father’s lifestyle is very trying for both Richard and the women in his father’s life.

I don’t want to give too much away in this post because it’s good to read this book without knowing it all. If you read this book, you will encounter grief, frustration, love, humilation, embarassment and lots and lots of laughs.

Everyone has interesting characters in their family and Richard turns this into a dinner party game he calls “Who has the weirdest parents?”.  This is really funny but there is also an underlying sadness in it.Flesh Wounds

I didn’t know that Richard Glover is married to playwright and screenwriter, Debra Oswald (the popular Australian TV show “Offspring”).  Their marriage is a wonderful example of forever love, best friends, patience, respect and shared humour. I really enjoyed their banter and the love and support they gave one another throughout this book. It was so good to know that Richard was married to such a special woman after having such an unstable and unhealthy upbringing.


This story about discovering family history, wading through lies, searching for acceptance and finding peace is a really great read.  I would recommend this book to anyone who has parents or grew up in a family (that would be you!)….especially if you are an only child.

Trina xx

The present cupboard

Do you have a present cupboard at your place? Over the years I have developed a whole present “system”! Today I’m going to share this with you.

Yes, I do have the present cupboard alive and well over here but it’s changing a bit as the kids get older.

First of all, though, your present cupboard doesn’t have to be a whole actual cupboard.  Mine is a cupboard but it’s also used to store other things, not just presents.  You could use a box or a shelf. I store (among other things like sewing gear and backpacks) the wrapping paper, ribbon, scissors, sticky tape, etc, in with the presents.  So it becomes a whole present station!

Present cupboard

When our girls were in Kinder and early Primary School, I would keep an eye out for toys and even clothes (eg, nice tops or skirts) on sale. I would buy a few things that I thought would make good presents and stash them away in the present cupboard. Whenever the girls were invited to a birthday party I would select some appropriate items from the present cupboard and set them out on the floor. Then my daughter would come in and go “shopping” for her friend. This worked so well because it allowed her the freedom to choose things for herself within the boundaries of suitability and budget!

Now that my girls are older, they don’t get invited to as many parties…usually just their closest friends.  It has become more difficult for me to buy gifts in advance because my girls have ideas of their own about what they would like to give each friend. So now it is more cost effective for me to just buy the presents as required and take my daughters shopping in the actual shops! We brainstorm gift ideas together and it turns into a fun afternoon out and about at the shopping centre for us.

If I find things on my travels, I do still buy gifts for family and put them in the present cupboard for birthdays and Christmas. So the present cupboard is still a happening thing. When I buy something for someone specific, I put it in the present cupboard and then write the item on “the present list”. This present list is the secret to keeping the present cupboard under control.

The present list

I keep a present list. This is simply a piece of white A4 paper. At the top of the page I write the year. Then I write the names in order for every birthday and anniversary present in the year (I just go through the calendar). I try to remember to add new occasions and babies each year. Upon buying a present for a specific person I write it on the list next to the relevant name and then put it in the present cupboard with a little label on it (so that I don’t accidentally give it to someone else! ). After the birthdays I have a section for Christmas where I list everyone I need to buy for so that I can fill in the presents as I buy them. This list has been very helpful in a number of ways.

Let me give you an example:

My niece’s birthday is coming up. I start to wonder what to get her…..maybe new pyjamas? But then I get the funny feeling that I might have given her pyjamas last year,or perhaps for Christmas. Well, I don’t need to wonder for long. I just go into the present cupboard and consult my list. I can look back at the present list from last year, even the year before to check what I gave her.

Another handy use for the present list:

Now that my girls are past the stage of playing with little kid toys, it is amazing how quickly I forget what they were into at what age. So my God-daughter is turning four. What should we get her for her birthday?  I consult my present list and go back to when my girls were four and look at what we gave them at that age. I know all kids are different and toys change over time, but it’s a good rough guide.

Present list

I find boys super hard to buy for (simply because I have girls!). The list is a great help for guiding me in buying for boys. I just look up what I bought for other friends or family boys at the relevant age.

The present list is also good inspiration for when I just can’t think of what to buy someone. To see what I have bought other people in the past is sometimes enough to give me a few ideas.

If you have a present cupboard at home I hope I have given you some new ways to stay on top of things and keep it organised. It’s easy for the present cupboard to get out of control. And if you don’t have one already, you really must have a present list to go with your present cupboard.

Trina xx

Orange Pound Cake

Orange Pound Cake sounds boring doesn’t it? It’s not!!

This afternoon I was cleaning up in the kitchen and peered into our fruit bowl.  In there I spotted two oranges that no longer looked overly appealing.  They weren’t mouldy or anything, just no longer had that youthful glow. I decided something must be done.  I must make a cake with these little suckers.

Of course I wanted a recipe that is quick and easy to make, yet tastes delicous.  And of course that’s what you want too right?  Thought so.

Well this is the recipe I made.  I adapted it from a recipe I found on Pinterest for “Starbuck’s Lemon Pound Cake with Icing”.

I changed the recipe and substituted oranges.  It took two manky oranges…just so you know.

Orange Pound Cake

This recipe is made in a loaf tin, but you could easily make it in a round or square tin, even cupcakes would be great.

Here it is:

Orange Pound Cake

Orange Pound Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups Plain Flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup white sugar (I only use 1/2 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Approx 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest


  1. Preheat oven to 185°C.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla and orange juice in a medium bowl.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
  5. Add oil and mix to combine.
  6. Pour batter into a greased and lined loaf pan.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer stuck into the middle of the cake comes out clean. I needed foil over the cake for the last 20 min or so.
  8. When cool, ice cake with orange icing:
  9. Melt butter and combine with milk, zest and enough icing sugar to make into icing consistency.

I like this recipe because you don’t need to haul out the mixer.  Just a couple of bowls and a spoon (and maybe a whisk) is all you need to whip up this yummy cake. The kids could make it!

Let me know if you like this one.  It’s not a boring cake.  It’s a yummy orange pound cake! The texture of this cake is nice and moist. I think you’ll like it as much as we do.

Orange Pound Cake Orange Pound Cake

Make it. Ice it. Cut it. Eat it. Enjoy it.

Put it in the kid’s lunch boxes.  Take to work to share around the office. Surprise a neighbour or a friend with this beautiful cake. They’ll think you are amazing…because you are!

Trina xx