28 November 2008

Another year older...

Today I turned another year older... which means I must be wiser too!

I remember hanging out to get older when I was young... but then in my twenties I began to want to be younger again (hanging out with young people in youth ministry didn't help).

In many countries, age is something that is rejoiced over, grey hair is something to be proud of. Why is it then that many of us cringe when someone asks our age, or mourn at each passing year?

A couple of years ago, my perspective of age changed.

My eldest son was doing his homework, and needed to read some words to me from his book. There were many different words listed in the book, with their meanings.

As he read the words and their meanings out loud, he came to the word 'old person'. I was intrigued by the meaning listed... 'someone blessed with a long life'.

I have never forgotten that statement since. Every birthday I now celebrate another year of life, another step towards living a long life... I am so thankful that I am celebrating another birthday!

Yay for birthdays.

27 November 2008

Beaded bookmark

I have so many great memories of reading.

My grandparents owned a stationery shop when I was young, and once a week used to let me and my brother go out to the back of the shop and select as many of the older issue cartoon magazines as we wanted. My favourites were the "Whizzer and Chips" comics (anyone remember those?).

My parents also owned a toy store, so many of my afternoons were spent at the little library across the road from the shopping centre. I love libraries!

Since having children, I must confess that I haven't read as many books as would like to. Definately something I am wanting to change. I often think back to when I was young and would spend a whole Saturday in bed reading!

I just love the handmade bookmarks that Lala has been creating lately (click here) ... so I decided to have a go myself.

I must admit, mine aren't as flash as hers, but it definately is nice having something special to mark the page in my book, rather than the scrap of paper that was there previously.

When I asked Symon what he thought (about the one with the cross), he said it looked a bit too gothic for him... and then also added not to make him one for Christmas. Don't you just love honest people ;)

26 November 2008

Dandelion Clocks

Symon has been seriously neglecting the lawn lately... but the positive to that is all the dandelions we discovered yesterday afternoon.

Miss 1 had so much fun as she blew her first dandelion fluffy (proper name = "dandelion clock") and then all the kids decided to join in.

With young children, you learn to take notice of the little things. Life can be quite heavy at times, as weighty issues are discussed, big decisions are made and just the general stresses of life can occupy our thoughts. I love the fact that little children delight in the simple everyday things... and I am sure that is why God made them... for us to delight in.

When did you last stop and notice those little things... the sun setting, the beautiful flowers around us everyday, the sound of the birds, the tiny insects going about their day?

When did you last blow dandelion seeds?

25 November 2008

Caramel Date Fingers

Tried these little guys out today... different but still nice. Straight from the trusty "Edmonds" cook book.

1 cup dates, chopped
1 cup water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon butter
2 teaspoons cocoa
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence

125g butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspon baking powder

Put dates in a saucepan. Add water, sugar, butter and cocoa. Cook gently over a low heat until a paste-like consistency is obtained. Add vanilla and cool.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Sift flour and baking powder together. Mix into creamed mixture. Press out half the mixture to fit the base of a 20cm square tin. Spread with date mixture. On a piece of waxed paper pat or roll out remaining dough to a 20cm square. Place on top of date filling. Bake at 180 deg C for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cut into fingers. Other dried fruits such as prunes, apricots and raisins, alone or mixed, can preplace dates. Makes 15.

For more delicious recipes visit here.

23 November 2008

Sugar biscuits

I had a moment this afternoon and decided to make the girls some sugar biscuits for their play food. I think they look rather yummy.

Master 7 aka "Food man" had fun with them too, and has put his order in for a felt hotdog.

22 November 2008

Things I'm loving at the moment

These are a few of the things I am loving at the moment...

I know it's a bit early for Christmas music, but I couldn't help putting on "Jars of Clay Christmas Songs" - loving it!

Although some people freak out when they come to visit, I do love the giant eels living in our creek. They enjoy our meat scraps and bits of left overs. This little eel was a bit camera shy.

This cow and camo fabric I love.... hmmmmmmm, what to make?

I do love Symon's pet chicken 'Taloola'. She was meant to be a black Orpington... so we are not quite sure what happened there. She is definatley not black, and she is giant! She is already towering over the other hens and is still quite young. Maybe we should rename her 'Big Bird'.

I am loving the weather... the sun shining and the shade under the trees. Great for picnics with the kids.

I could do a post about things I am not loving (like the 18 smelly yet very cute baby mice living in a cage in our bedroom) but I won't...

20 November 2008

Totes and more totes

More totes that I have just finished tonight for a few friends (if they like them). I have finally mastered my homemade pattern and am really happy with it! Yay - don't you love that feeling?

Which is your favourite?

19 November 2008

Science 101

Master 7, the "I want to be a chef and an inventor when I grow up" son and I had an awesome time doing a little science experiment recently, thanks to "101 Cool Science Experiments" with Glen Singleton. I think he loved the fact that it involved science and food!

It was a very simple yet quite cool experiment that you might like to try with your kids... or even just by yourself!

Invisible Ink

Basic instruction: Squeeze some lemon juice in a saucer, mix a couple of drops of water in well and then using a tooth pick or cotton bud dipped in the lemon mixture, write on a thick piece of paper.

Leave the 'secret message' to dry. The piece of paper will then look blank. To reveal the secret message, hold the side that was written on next to a light bulb or element (be very careful not to catch the paper on fire!!) until the message appears.

It actually works... very cool!

18 November 2008

Jesse found in heaven...

I love reading (when I can find the time!).

"Jesse, found in heaven" by Chris Pringle, was given to me by a friend after one of my two miscarriages (one at 10.5 weeks and another at 18 weeks)... and I am so thankful that she gave it to me. I was so touched by it that I have since leant it out (or bought copies to give) to many other women who have also suffered the loss of a child.

Chris Pringle shares openly about her life, faith, children and marriage, and about the loss of a precious baby...

"I was shocked and numb. There was a big empty hole in me and I didn't know how to respond to the sorrow. Like most women who lose a baby, I found it a strange, lonely time. Well-meaning comments like, "It's for the best", or "Perhaps there was soemthing wrong with the baby", or even "Maybe your body needed to be 'flushed' from the effect of drugs" were of no comfort. I felt guilty and confused. I had been thirteen weeks pregnant and now "it was all for the best"?... Then came the awkward moments when others, still thinking I was pregnant, would congratulate me and I would have to say quietly that I had miscarried, that I had lost the baby."

Moments I am sure many women can relate to... I definatley can!

But the best part of the book is when Chris shares about an event that happened which impacts her greatly... and everyone who reads about it.

I love this book! I would highly recommend it to anyone who has suffered a miscarriage, experienced an abortion or lost a child. Also a wonderful and very thoughtful gift to buy for someone you know who has been through any of the above.

"My frame was not hidden from you

when I was being formed in secret

intricately and curiously wrought as

if embroidered with many colours

in the depths of the earth..."

Psalm 139:15 (amp)

Click here to visit the book website.

17 November 2008

Mandrake sewing no more!

You may remember me doing a post about my husband attempting to sew a softie back in June (see here). Well, the poor guy gave up soon after that! I'm not sure if it was the pressure from his mates (will guys sewing ever be acceptable?), or just the plain frustration of the project.

I have been trying to persuade him for the last few months to persevere, but to no avail. So last night, I finished off the project. I must say, it was quite tricky to do. I'm not sure if it was the stretchy glove fabric, but what a mission!

So here it is... a combined effort from Symon and myself... meet "Kip". Miss 1 thinks he's pretty cute too.

15 November 2008

Miss Dr

Latest craze around here at the moment is "playing Doctors". Very nice to see the toys getting so much loving attention... and nice to see all the plasters getting used up!

I remember as a child playing little games like this for hours, pretending to be a teacher, secretary, dancer and doctor.

Great to know that if we have any emergencies around here... (and there have been a few lately with Nana stepping on a nail which went right into her foot and also tripping and landing on her face)... that we have such skilled helpers handy who know how to apply plasters correctly!

14 November 2008

Christmas Treasures

I received a cute surprise the other day... a little package all the way from Canada containing one of Abigail's beautiful Christmas tree decorations... a little silk tree with a cinnamon stick trunk. "Thank you Abigail".

I really don't know how Abigail finds the time to make all the amazing things she does... especially since everything is hand-sewn! Checkout her amazing blog filled with lots of great crafty inspiration here.

11 November 2008

Green eggs and ham

Daisy (our grey Australorp) is broody again. She kept sitting on the other chickens eggs (even moved one into a different nesting box) and was getting very stroppy whenever any wanted to lay.

So what do you think Symon decided to do? He decided we needed to take a trip out to the "egg lady" to buy some more fertilized eggs (as if we don't have enough pets already).

I am quite happy this time though as we have green eggs!

We bought 5 green eggs (Araucana), and 3 Silkie eggs. Hopefully we have an Araucana hen hatch so that we can have green eggs & ham... and I do hope that we don't have to go through another "Lucky" episode.

And for those of you who asked questions last time about how eggs were fertilized etc... a chicken lays eggs whether or not a rooster is around. These (unfertilized) eggs are the ones we normally eat. Fertilized eggs (eggs laid after a rooster and hen have had 'special cuddles') only start to develop a baby chicken when warmed at the right temperature, 37 to 38deg ("under a chicken" temperature)... otherwise they stay 'normal'. You can eat fertilized eggs though, because once in the refrigerator the chick embryo does not develop. I only learnt this from last time we hatched baby chickens!

10 November 2008

Mushroom Bunny Softies

Meet Monty, Mimi and Oscar. Three little mushroom bunny softies awaiting adoption in "Paisley Jade's Softie Shop".

My favourite is Oscar, and Mandrake's is Monty... what about you?

09 November 2008

Parachute Band - Technicolor

A few days ago another free CD/DVD arrived in our mailbox... I love free CD's!

This album is "Parachute Band - Technicolor". I heard these guys live at Sista's Conference this year and loved them!

I was impressed from the minute I put the CD on... catchy songs, impacting lyrics and impressive talent.

Most of all, the thing that touched me the most was when I put the DVD on and listened to Omega Levine share about his struggle with depression.

Omega developed in the womb as a baby with his thumb covering his nose, so as a result, was born with no nose and needed surgery while young. Because of this, he suffered heavily from depression, to the point that he was suicidal. He goes on to share about meeting God and hearing His voice, right at a point when he was most desperate. His life has never been the same since.

Great album! Highly recommend it.

08 November 2008

MP3 player pouches

The boys love their MP3 players but really wanted little pouches to keep them in (I think to stop the girls messing up the cords).

Master 9 is obsessed with Spiderman, and Master 7 is in love with anything food related, especially gingerbread men. I found this little gingerbread button which I thought was very cute.

So here are their pouches below...

07 November 2008

Pink Scrabble & Pink Cream Cake

I had an awesome last night with friends playing Pink Scrabble and eating yummy Pink Cream Cake. We ended up playing Take 2 with the Scrabble pieces (which is such a fun and addictive game) after our game of Scrabble. Guess who won both games??

The Pink Cream Cake is apparently a Jelly Mould Tupperware recipe that I heard about and sampled last week. Very tasty and very easy to make.

I am sure you could use any sort of mould if you don't have an actual Tupperware mould.


1 chocolate flake bar
500ml cream, whipped
1 tin boysenberries or blackberries (could be very creative here and try different things)
1 sponge cake


Crumble the flake bar around the bottom of the jelly mould.

Spoon a layer of whipped cream on top.

Break sponge cake into smaller pieces and place them on top of the whipped cream.

Spoon the drained berries onto the sponge (saving the drained juice for later).

Top up rest of mould with remaining whipped cream, and pour drained juice on top.

Place lid on top of mould and set in fridge overnight.

Once it is set, remove lid and turn upside down onto serving plate. Very tasty and easy to cut.

For more delicious recipes visit here.

05 November 2008

Mushroom inspiration

I like mushrooms. I have great memories of collecting mushrooms on big grassy hills when I was young (just like Maria on The Sound of Music... except she didn't pick mushrooms...).

Definately hope it inspires me, as I have been in a real rut lately (a rut called "no creativity due to busyness).

How about you - are you feeling too busy at the moment? Any tips?

04 November 2008

Chocolate Fudge Squares (no bake)

I love recipes that are easy and quick. This is definitely one of those recipes.  


4 oz (100g) butter
4 oz sugar
1 beaten egg
1 pkt crushed biscuits (malt nice)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup chopped walnuts/coconut

Melt butter, add sugar, bring to the boil.
Add everything, press into a tin and ice and cut when cold.

For more delicious recipes visit here.

03 November 2008

Western Spaghetti

This last week I have felt pretty stressed... not much time for family fun, crafty stuff (as you would have noticed from my recent posts!) or just the opportunity to relax.

In light of this lack of energy and inspiration, here is a random stop-motion clip I love - and it does include some elements of creativity too... relax, watch and enjoy.

02 November 2008

Butterfly Beauty

I remember being showed this amazing chart when I was in highschool. Each letter of the alphabet and number can be found on the wing of different species of butterfly. Amazing if I can say so myself!

Living in New Zealand, a lot of our native insects, butterflies and birds seem to be less bright and colourful than species from other parts of the world. I found this chart quite hard to believe.

God is awesome.

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