Mumma Plus Three is Moving!

I love Blogging!  I have learnt a lot in the last few months.  I can say honestly that I didn’t even know the difference between a blog and a website before I joined the Blogging world.  Now I not only know the difference but I could tell you what a widget, a plugin, a favicon…and so many other things are!  I am a bit proud of myself, I now have my very own website!  That I made!  Big smile!

So I am writing this post to tell you that this will be the last post on because I have upgraded and now have my own self hosted website (I know what that means to!)

You will find me over at

Check it out!

I would also love it if you had the time to look around and click through a few links.  I think I have double checked that everything is running smoothly but there are bound to be a few hiccups, I would really appreciate it if you could let me know if you find any bloopers.

Also a big thankyou to you all for supporting me, you are fabulous!

Gretta Xx


Great Gravy Quickly from Scratch


Great Gravy Quicky from Scratch

 Making your own gravy from scratch doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming.  This is how I make gravy, don’t ask me how to use pan brownings and juices.  I almost always cook a roast in an oven bag, if I don’t for whatever reason, then we don’t have gravy.

It’s easy…this is how.

Mix 2 Tbs of cornflour and about 1/4 tps of Parisian Browning Essence with 1-2 Tbs of water until you have a smooth paste.  This is the key to smooth gravy, make sure you don’t have any lumps of cornflour.  You can use as much or as little Parisian Browning Essence as you like, you wont taste it, it just gives the colour.  I never measure it 😉

IMG_0004  IMG_0005

Now you need the juices from any roast that you have cooked in an oven bag.  Carefully remove the meat with tongs, don’t tear or pierce the bag!

Pick up the bag and hold it so the juices are in one corner.  Hold it still for a minute and you will see that the fat settles on the top.

Now using a skewer or small sharp knife, pierce a small hole in the bag.

Let the juices run into the cornflour mix, watching the layer of fat carefully.  Before the fat starts to come out, use the skewer to pick up the bottom of the bag and quickly move it another bowl, scraps bucket or rubbish bin so that the fat can drain into there.  A little bit of fat wont matter but too much will make your gravy feel greasy and taste yuk!

Now stir so that all the cornflour mix is combined with the meat juices and microwave it for about 2 minutes, stirring once or twice.  You could do it in a saucepan on the stove top, you would need to stir it constantly with a whisk.

And hey presto…Gravy!  Easy.  Quick.  Just season to taste and you’re done.

You can add extra water or water from steaming veggies if you need, but the more meat juices the better the flavour will be.

Gravy can be frozen.  I like to freeze any leftovers it in ice cube trays.

6 of my Favourite Free Crochet Patterns

6 of my Favourite Free Crochet Patterns

Winter is fast upon us here in Tassie.  I must say I don’t really mind.  I used to love summer, but now with children it can just be rather inconvenient.  Also, cooler weather means I can get my crochet on!

I love free patterns, who doesn’t?  Here are some of my favourite.

This blanket is delightful and once you’ve done a few circles you won’t even need to look at the pattern.  I made 2 of these last winter for my sisters twins, she tells me that they get a lot of comments, mostly ‘Oh did a great Aunty Crochet those for you?’ Haha.

Deb's Crafts: Bouncy Ball Baby Blanket Free Crochet Pattern

These booties are cute, quick and easy, maybe not 10 minutes quick as the URL suggests but all done in one evening kinda quick.  😀 This pattern makes a newborn size but I have adjusted the size just by making the sole longer and adjusting the rest of the stitch counts to suit.

free crochet patterns baby booties

I love this pattern.  In a single colour it is beautiful.  I am not to good on using different ply to change the sizing but I used some 8ply with a 4.5 (I think) hook and it made a perfect 6-12month size.

Ravelry: free baby vest pattern by Annelies Baes (Vicarno)

Now I must admit I am not really into the whole pumpkin theme 😂 but…this pattern is great!  Minus the stem and leaf!  This pattern makes quite a small beanie but if you measure from the centre top of the head down to about the ears, that is how wide you want to make the body of the beanie.  Does that make sense?  This beanie you make as one rectangular piece, seam that together into a cylinder and then join in together the top.

Crochet Baby Beanie-Free Pattern

How beautiful is this basket!  This pattern works really well and is super easy to adjust the sizing as you are making the base.

Free Crochet Basket Pattern

This chevron blanket pattern is easy to follow and I learnt a lot while making it.  I thought that crocheting a ripple would be difficult but it was suprisingly straight forward.  Once I had completed a few rows I did not have to follow the pattern, I could see where I need to increase and decrease for the highs and lows of the ripple.  You do need to register with Lion Brand Yarn to access the pattern but it’s all free and worth your while 😀

Love this color combo too!  Lion brand free crochet pattern. Thick and quick #wool

What’s on your crochet to do list this winter?

Developmental Hip Dysplasia, Information for Parents

The information in the following post is based on my own research and experiences as a Mumma.  If you have any concerns about your child I urge you to get it checked out.        Diagnosis the younger the better!  🙂

2 of our 3 daughters have Developmental Dysplasia of the Hips, DDH.  I had it too, so luckily we were on the look out and in both cases caught it early when it is easy to treat.  Read more about our youngest daughters Hip Journey here.

The more research I do however, it seams that far too many cases are missed and not diagnosed until the child is a few years old.  Treatment of DDH can be relaitively straight forward and the younger the baby the more effective, fast working and non-invasive the treatment is.  When left undiagnosed though this is unfortunately not the case.  Late diagnoses can mean longer treatment times, surgery and a large plaster cast.  it also means restricting a child who is used to being on the move as apposed to a small baby who does not know any different.

DDH basically means that the hip socket has not developed as it should have, sometimes causing the Femoral Head to sit in the wrong position in the socket, be dislocated or ‘click’ when moved.  There are varrying degrees and it is called Developmetal Dysplasia of the Hips because cases can get better or worsen with age.

These images from the International Hip Institute show the range of severity that can occur.

human hip joint as it should appear

Subluxation when the ball is not aligned properly with the socket. A mild form of hip dysplasia    Low Dislocation when the ball is just outside of the socket. A more serious form of hip dysplasia.    High dislocation - the ball is completely removed from the hip socket. A severe form of hip dysplasia.

Here are the main risk factors for DDH.

  • family history
  • female
  • first born
  • breach position
  • 4kg + birth weight

It seams crazy to me that parents are not made more aware of DDH.  Many of the warning signs are easy to pick up on if you know what you are looking for and early detection and treatment is always best.

Here are some of the main signs of DDH

  • uneven creases in the thighs or buttock (suggesting that the Femoral Head is sitting in the wrong position)
  • a stiffness in one or both legs as you rotate the legs outwards (as when nappy changing)
  • one leg appears shorter than the other  (suggesting that the Femoral Head is sitting in the wrong position)
  • crawling with one leg dragging
  • walking with a limp (if one hip affected) or waddling type movement (if both hips are affected)

The signs above are more noticeable if one hip is affected more than the other causing asymmetry.  Bi-Lateral (on both sides) Hip Dysplasia can be more difficult to detect.

While there is nothing that a parent can do that will cause DDH there are some things that can be done to reduce the risk/severity if a child has a predisposition or mild DDH.  Basically a safe position for the hips is in abduction, that is, the knees are spread apart rather than being held together.

“The bones of an infants hip joint are much softer than an adult hip joint It is easier for an infant’s hip to become misaligned (subluxate) or dislocate than an adult hip. This is because an infant hip socket is mostly soft, pliable, cartilage. Whereas an adult’s hip socket is hard bone.”

Source – The International Hip Dysplasia Institute

I hope you have found this post informative and that you can help me spread awareness of DDH.

The following websites have useful information.

The International Hip Dysplasia Institute

Better Health Channel

Kids Health, The Childrens Hosptial at Westmead

Josie’s Journey with Hip Dysplasia

I knew from before Josie was 2 weeks old that she was going to be our second Hippy Babe.  Esther also inherited my Dickie Hips so I knew what to look out for.  I can not pin point the first time I noticed, but Josie’s thigh creases were not even.  I knew what this meant and I was fairly prepared when the health nurse confirmed at her 2 week check that her left hip felt stiff (just as her big sisters had 18 months earlier, only that time I was not prepared, not at all).

Developmental Dysplasic Hips, DDH, is the medical term.  I tend to say Dicky Hips or Clicky Hips when explaining it to people.  I don’t at all mind talking about it but it’s just one of those terms that many people have never heard and will need an explanation of anyway.  It basically means that the hips socket has not developed as it should have, sometimes causing the Femur to sit in the wrong position in the socket, be dislocated or ‘click’ when moved.  There are varrying degrees and luckily my girls have both had relatively mild cases with shallow hip sockets but stable joints, that is, the Femur does not dislocate from the socket.

These images from the International Hip Institute show the range of severity that can occur.

human hip joint as it should appear  Subluxation when the ball is not aligned properly with the socket. A mild form of hip dysplasia    Low Dislocation when the ball is just outside of the socket. A more serious form of hip dysplasia.    High dislocation - the ball is completely removed from the hip socket. A severe form of hip dysplasia.

Standard procedure here is to do an ultrasound scan at 6 weeks old if a baby has a high risk or is suspected of having DDH.  We were booked in for this scan from birth as a precaution but I was not willing to wait all that time doing nothing when I knew that a  Pavlik Harness  would be very effective at such a young age when babies are growing so rapidly.

I got an appointment to see the Orthopeidic Surgeon when Josie would be 4 weeks old.  Try as I did, Radiography would not budge, 6 weeks for the ultrasound it was.

In the mean time I used double cloth nappies on Josie day and night to hold her legs out in a position similar to the Pavlik Harness.  This is no longer used as an official form of treatment but I could not wait around and do nothing.  Who knows if it helped but it made me feel better.

All of a sudden Josie was 4 weeks old and the Orthopeadic Surgeon confirmed she had DDH.  I explained my fight with Radiography to get an ultrasound scan done earlier, he agreed with me, lead us up to Radiography and explained that Joise would be having an Ultrasound…NOW!  I was quietly chuffed that a Surgeon was agreeing with me and fighting me case.  The ultrasound confirmed what we already knew and by the end of that outing Josie was fitted with a Pavlik Harness for 23 hours a day for the next 8 weeks.

As I write this now, 6months from the harness first being fitted I don’t remember it being too much of an issue.  Sleeping wasn’t fantastic but she was generally happy.  I found the worst part for me was that she wasn’t all nice a squishy anymore.  All those straps made her feel big, bulky and stiff.

The weeks passed quickly but by the end I was well and truly sick of the harness and looking forward to it coming off.  The ultrasound date came and I was delighted by a following appointment with the Orthopedic Surgeon where we were told her hips now looked normal. Harness off.  Squishy baby back.  Delight!

‘Yes her hips are fine now’ I would explain to people when they asked.  This is what we believed to be true.

At some stage between between 4 and 6 months I noticed her thigh creases were not even again.  I am kicking myself now but I didn’t think anything of it.  The Doctor had never mentioned that she may need further treatment or that the issue could come back.  Her hips are not going to ‘un-grow’ I thought!  I flippantly mentioned the creases to the Health Nurse at her 6 month check, still not thinking much of it.  And then she checked Josie’s hips.  ‘Yep, this one’ pointing to the left hip, ‘You need to get this one looked at, I can feel a click’.  I burst into tears. How could this happen?  What do you mean?  Why was I never told this could happen?  This must be bad.  I had a million thoughts going through my head.  I called our Orthopedic surgeon as soon as we got home and demanded an appointment as soon as possible.  The next day, thank goodness we didn’t have to wait.

I hardly got a minute of sleep that night and the next day the Ortho confirmed that he could feel a click but didn’t think it was much to worry about.  Wow, I thought.  He sent us up for X-rays to be sure.  The Radiographer didn’t think there was much to worry about either, I was feeling so relieved!  Then back to the Ortho to review the X-ray.  He explained that her hips were not perfect but that he would review when she turned one and treat then if necessary.  Umm.  Sorry.  No way!  I was not waiting until she was one and wanting to move around to put a damn brace on her.  I asked if she would benefit from wearing a brace even just part time.  We agreed she would wear a Rhino Brace for day time only and he would review in 6 (6!!!!) months.

So the Rhino Brace went on and she honestly wasn’t fussed by it at all.  Clever little lady!

I couldn’t help thinking that 6 months was just too long to wait and see.  If it hadn’t worked in that time then what?  Surgery?  And as relieved as I was that the brace wasn’t on at night, it just didn’t feel quite right.  Too good to be true I guess you could say.

I organised a second opinion.

We had that opointment on Wednesday.  This Doctor was brilliant.  Reassuring yet cautious and thorough.  He confirmed my suspicions that the brace should be on at night time and that 6 months was too long to wait before reviewing.  He is going to review in 2 months time, (when the brace has been on for 3 months) and was confident that the brace would work, he wasn’t sure on a time frame though.  He also wants to X-ray and review Esther, who had her brace off at 6 months at which time we were told there was no need to review.  Turns out there is every need to review for several years after treatment of DDH as the hips can sometimes not maintain their growth and development after treatment is ceased.  Esther will have an X-ray next week.  I feel sick thinking about the possibility that she may need further treatment.  We will keep our fingers crossed that she is fine and cross that bridge when we come to it.

Easy Freezer Biscuits

These are by far the most fabulous thing to have in the freezer.  With these on hand you can have freshly baked biscuits in 15 minutes from opening the freezer to transferring them onto a wire rack to cool.  Sounds tempting hey? Read on!

I imagine freezing biscuit dough in this way would work with most basic biscuit recipes, however this is my recipe, it works perfectly every time and taste great! 125g softened butter 1/3 cup sugar 1/3 cup brown sugar 1/2 tsp vanilla paste 1 egg 1 and a half cups SR flour (white, wholemeal or a combination) 2 x 1/4 cup of flavours to mix through (choc chips, sultanas, chopped nuts, cocoa, sprinkles, rice bubbles, jelly crystals, anything you like really)

  • Cream the butter and sugars.
  • Add egg and vanilla and mix until light and fluffy.
  • Add flour and mix until combined.
  • Bring the dough together and divide in half.
  • Mix in any flavours.
  • Roll each portion into a log and wrap in glad wrap or baking paper.  Seal in a ziplock bag and freeze.

These have cocoa, chocolate sprinkles (x2) ane choc chips.

When you are ready to cook

  • Preheat oven to 180*c.
  • Unwrap roll of dough and while still frozen cut into 1cm slices.
  • Place on a tray allowing room for spreading and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown (put them in the oven frozen, you DO NOT need to wait for them to defrost)
  • Cool on a wire rack.


Yum!  How easy was that 🙂


My First Sew Together Bag-the first of many

I recently stumbled upon the Sew Together Bag on Instagram , that was the end of me.  I had to make this thing!  There is just something about the multiple zips and pockets that speaks to my organised self, also it doesn’t help that I am a bag lady!! I can never have too many.


For those of you who are completely confused at this point, this is the Sew Together Bag, cool hey?


The pattern was designed by Michelle from Sew Demented (one clever lady right there!)  I bought the pattern on Craftsy for about $15, that was $15 well spent.  A lot of the time I get a bit ahead of myself and think that I can recreate something without a pattern…I would have failed dismally if I had tried that this time.  I do of course now have plans to use the general idea and style of the inner zip pockets to make a larger taller version of the bag, I might regret saying that!

I was pleasantly surprised when I began sewing.  This was not going to be nearly as difficult or complicated as it looked, big relief right there!  I found a fabulous step by step tutorial , by The Quilt Barn which made it even easier again, I think most of us find it much easier to follow photos rather than try to decipher written instructions 🙂

The first zip worked first time, I was so pleased as I couldn’t find my zipper foot so I had to use a normal foot.  (It has been many years since I have sewn anything with a zip.)

3 zips done.  I think the interfacing I used was a little too thick, it does give the bag a very sturdy shape which I like but it did make sewing through all the layers in the next steps a bit difficult, I broke !5! needles, my machine was not a happy camper!



All ready to bind…by hand…my least favourite part.  I am still nursing a needle stick injury on my thumb from the binding.


The Sew Together Bag was originally designed to carry sewing bits and pieces but I am thinking this might be a makeup or jewellery case for me.







Childrens Party Food Ideas

It’s birthday season around here at the moment!  Miss E turned 2 at the end of Feb and we will have a Miss 4 come Monday.  And then it’s my turn soon after that 🙂

So my thoughts have turned to birthday party planning, that makes me sound like I’m organised for it doesn’t it?!  To be honest I have not got past the thinking stage, but hey, good start right?  So this is what I’m thinking for party food, I am a bit of a traditionalist yes.  Reminiscing perhaps.


3 ingredient chocolate crackles - no copha so I might actually like them


Fairy Bread


Honey Joys - I could eat these all day every day and never be tired of them. Must try them with peanuts sprinkled on top.


Sausage rolls



Cool Fruit Ideas

 RAINBOW STICKS: These look really effective, don't they? You could make and eat these in combination with learning the rainbow song, finding out about different colours (for younger children), or learning about the role of colours in food and health (for older children). Get children to assemble these themselves, following the colour order.

Fruit Cup Ideas | Allergy Free Party Food Ideas Recipes Kids Childrens


Great idea for the kids snacks! I think Ry and Laken will love this...trying it out this week!


The cutest little appetizer -- Banana Peanut Butter Bites! Great healthy snack for children who need to gain weight.

Check out Mumma Plus Three on Pinterest for more party food Ideas.

Tips and tricks for living on one income

I have been thinking about writing this post for quite some time now, my problem was that I couldn’t really pin down what it was that we do to make it possible to live as a family of 5 on one income.  The thing is that we don’t really do any one thing in particular, it’s more of a general way of life that gets us through.  We don’t budget, although I could tell you how much is in all three of our bank accounts, what we owe on our mortgage and how much we can redraw from our mortgage at any time.  I am not obsessive about it, I don’t record our spendings and keep receipts, I am just always aware.

I could sum it up by saying

  • Make the most of what you have, reuse and don’t waste a thing 
  • Don’t buy it if you don’t need it
  • Buy good quality and look after it
  • If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it
  • Don’t have a savings account (Whaaaattt??!!)

But if you are reading this it is probably because you would like some money saving tips yourself so I will tell you a little more 😉


Make the most of what you have, reuse and don’t waste a thing 

Think about the environment.  You will almost certainly reduce your waste, get more out of what you have and therefore not need to buy as much.  Only run a full dishwasher, have shorter showers and shallower baths, wear clothes again when you can (yes, I know, near impossible when you have little people wiping their snot and sticky fingers on you all day long), use cloth nappies (unless you have a babe in a hip brace, damn it!), wash out ziplock bags and take away containers (well, just don’t eat take away if you want to save money…).

Save Food.  If you are having a Roast Chicken pinch every last scrap of meat of that Chook and use it in another meal, use it in sandwiches for lunches for the next couple of days or freeze it for another time.  Then you can boil up the bones with an onion, garlic, a carrot and some peppercorns to make some stock and you can freeze leftover gravy in ice cube trays.  If you have some manky veggies in the back of the fridge, chuck them all in to make a soup.  Meal planning will help you plan to use up leftovers, reduce waste and avoid overbuying at the supermarket, take a list!

DIY.  Get your craft on.  It can be fun and you can save a packet!!  When we renovated our kitchen I wanted something for this wall, I had kept a calendar we collected on our travels in Chile because I loved the pictures.  It was 3 years old and in Spanish but I loved the pictures.  I bought some cheap frames from a $2 shop and cut the pictures to fit. These get so many comments and they cost $6, winning!


Keep everything.  This leads into my next point perfectly, keep everything, you never know when it may come in handy.  I have been using the same face washers and waterproof bibs, sippy cups and baby spoons for 4 years now. These are not expensive items but why throw them out and buy them 2 times more than I had to?


Don’t buy it if you don’t need it

Ok, pretty self explanatory right? Basically don’t be too materialistic.  I like new shoes and clothes as much as the next Mumma and I do splash out sometimes, but the key is just don’t go overboard.  Instead of clothes shopping, have a wardrobe clean out (you might be surprised what you find!), host a clothes swap with some friends or check out local Opp Shops.  Think outside the box.  Same goes for kids clothes, toys, anything really. 


Buy good quality and look after it

Don’t get caught in the trap of buying cheap things thinking you are saving money.  You may save in the short term but more often than not a cheap version will need replacing a lot sooner than a good quality item so in the long term it may actually cost you more.  If you can, go without while you save for a better quality option.  I got caught with our curtains.  I got impatient and wanted new curtains now so I went and bought some ready made cheapies (knowing in the back of my mind they would not last the distance!).  That was 3 years ago, and you guessed it, now they are stuffed!  


If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it

Number one rule, don’t have a credit card.  If you have cash flow issues because you get paid monthly or irregularly, set up 2 bank accounts with an automatic transfer so you get ‘paid’ equal amounts each week or fortnight rather than one lump sum.  If you have a credit card to collect points for a reward system, set up an automatic transfer so that the card is paid off before you are charged any interest. 

Avoid buy now pay later schemes.  Yes it’s nice to have that stuff now, but if you can’t afford it now, how do you know you will be able to afford it in 12, 24, 36 months time?  And if you do end up paying interest on these plans for whatever reason you will get stung!  They are tempting I know, if you go ahead, read ALL the fine print, TWICE! 


Don’t have a savings account

WHAT??? You say! Why have money sitting in a bank account doing nothing?  Put it into your mortgage.  If you are lucky enough not to have a mortgage  find a high interest savings account, a term deposit or invest it.  We have a home loan with a redraw option.  We can redraw whenever we like for free, it is brilliant.  All our money is plowed into our homeloan, reducing the interest we pay and we still have access to the money when we need it.  Having said that, don’t get too excited and redraw whenever you feel like a shopping spree!  This also means that you can be ahead of your weekly repayments.  This  is a huge weight off our shoulders, knowing that if something happens we do not have to make a repayments for X amount of time is a great feeling!  Even if you can only afford $20 a week on top of the minimum repayment, it is worth doing!

What are your best money saving tips?


Boobie Balls

If you are breast feeding and wanting to increase your milk supply then this is the recipe for you 😊. There are many recipes for Boobie Biscuits out there but I wanted the benefits of increased milk supply without having to eat too many biscuits, leading to an increased body, if you get my drift.

These balls do actually work in increasing milk production, I know, I’ve tried them. It’s the brewers yeast that is the key ingredient in aiding milk production, do not substitute this for any other kind of yeast, the flaxseed meal is also important.

100g almond meal

100g dates finely chopped

10g coconut oil

30g oats

10g honey

3tsp brewers yeast

3tsp flaxseed meal

30g milk powder

1Tb boiling water

coconut and or extra almond meal to roll balls in

1.Mix all ingredients except water in a food processor until well combined.

2.Add water slowly while food processor is on.

3.Form into balls and coat in extra coconut, almond meal or leave plain.

You can adjust the amount of Brewers yeast in this recipe. The more you use the more your milk supply will be affected. It does have quite a strong taste though, think…Vegimite! In this recipe you can’t taste it and I don’t mind a little more, make one batch and see what you think before tampering 😜