30 July 2009

Granny square blankey update


So this is the progress so far with my 'fruit salad' granny square blanket.

Just a few more rows I think... just a few.

29 July 2009

Pyjama Dance Party


Early this morning (like around 6am) I heard the courier van dropping off a parcel... and I just knew it was my long awaited Switchfoot "The Best Yet" CD/DVD.

Tonight we decided as a family (while eating dinner) to check out the videos on the disc, and I think the inspiration was thanks to Awakening... but the kids decided to have a dance party, pyjama's and all.

Heaps of fun... and a few video clips were made that I will have to store away for future 21st birthdays - the air guitar's and drumming were classic!

I would highly recommend this album... very very cool.

28 July 2009

Overnight Porridge




Further proof that I'm such a Nana... I'm blogging about the joys of Overnight Porridge!

I decided to swallow my pride, as I am sure there are some of you out there that may find this post helpful... or at least get a good snigger.

See if you can picture me in the mornings (I am a night person and don't actually start to function properly until around 1pm each day) trying to pack 3 lunch boxes (sometimes 4), encouraging the kids to get dressed, make their beds, set the table, stop play fighting etc. while hubby is out feeding chickens, toileting dog and pouring hot water over the frozen windscreen on the car.

Sometimes things go smoothly, and sometimes they don't.

Now I love porridge, and I know it is super healthy and cheap... but we only have porridge if the morning has gone smoothly and I have time to make it. And lately, we've been resorting to toast a lot!

That was until I discovered that you can make porridge in a crockpot (slow cooker)!

I am loving setting the porridge up to cook before bed and then waking to warm porridge ready to serve in the morning. There is just enough for our family of 6 when you double the recipe below (we have two tiny eaters though). Sprinkle on some brown sugar and a dash of milk and mmmmmmm.

Overnight Porridge, Plain or Fancy
For 2 servings

½ cup coarse rolled oats
2 cups cold water
18 tsp salt
2 Tbsp nutritious additions (see below)

Find a heatproof bowl that will fit inside your slow cooker bowl and a lid or plate to sand on top of it. Turn your slow cooker onto LOW.

Measure the cereal, water and salt into your selected bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons, total, or any of the following: wheat germ, wheat bran, oat bran, ground linseed, chopped dried apples or apricots, sultanas etc. (These absorb water - if you don't want to use any of them, add extra whole grain oats.)

If you like other additions to your porridge, add small amounts of chopped nuts, or sunflower, pumpkin or toasted sesame seeds etc.

Pour about 2 cups of cold water into the slow cooker, put the bowl of cereal into the water in the slow cooker, then cover the bowl of cereal with the plate or lid. Put the lid on the cooker and cook on LOW for about 8-10 hours or overnight.

Serve sprinkled with a little sugar, brown sugar, or cinnamon sugar, or drizzled with honey. Add milk, your favourite yogurt, or a little cream.

Enjoy!!

 Recipe thanks to Simon & Alison Holst, "100 great ways to use slow cookers and crockpots"


For more delicious recipes visit here.

27 July 2009

Shop Update


New "Ugly Bunnies" in the shop here.

25 July 2009

Cheap fun


Hubby and Master 10 were out for the day today. This meant the car was gone, and there were 3 little kiddies needing to go on an adventure. We decided on a walk up the road.

I am still amazed at how a simple stroll up the road could lead to excited kids waving at truck drivers (who actually waved and honked back), questions about the tiny animal bones in a nearby creek, tree climbing, investigations into the noise coming from a power box, climbing onto things, the fascination at watching a car in the car wash... and the list could go on and on.
The kids raved for ages afterwards at how much fun it was walking together.

Cheap fun I say. Must do it again sometime.

24 July 2009

Flashback Friday

A few photos taken over 4 years ago... I can't believe how fast time flies!

23 July 2009

The Sweet Things Children Say


Don't kids say the sweetest things. They are brutally honest and frank, and sometimes totally unaware of effects of their honesty!

The other day while having coffee with a good friend, she mentioned a funny thing her son had said to her the other day. She was all dressed up ready to go out and happened to mention to her husband, "How do I look?". Her darling little boy piped up with, "You look lovely mum, but you'd look heaps better if you lost a bit of weight".

Oh dear.

I've had a few of those frank comments directed my way over the years from my little darlings... questions about the spots on my face, that my teeth were yellow, honest comments about how yukky meals taste... and haven't we all had those moments in public where we see them staring at someone and can just imagine the comment they are about to speak out loudly!!! (I had one involving a man with a large stomach and the words 'baby in tummy'!)

Then there are those very special little things they say... like recently when Miss 5 was praying in earnest at the dinner table that "God would help Nana have a fun day in heaven today".

I also remember the scared look on one of my little boy's faces when I told them that Daddy was going to be marrying a certain couple that day at the wedding... he thought Dad was going to be leaving me and marrying someone else (when in fact he was the marriage celebrant)!

This is one of my favourite ones that I read once: "An acquaintance of mine who is a physician told this story about her then four-year-old daughter. On the way to preschool, the doctor had left her stethoscope on the car seat, and her little girl picked it up and began playing with it. Be still, my heart, thought my friend, my daughter wants to follow in my footsteps! Then the child spoke into the instrument: "Welcome to McDonald's. May I take your order?""

These things need to be written down and kept.

Do you have any 'sweet kiddie comments' to share?

21 July 2009

Things I'm Loving at the Moment

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

I am LOOOOOVING home made fudge. The bought stuff just isn't the same as homemade (unless you buy fudge from The Fudge Farm!). I had a special little helper to 'help' cut the fudge and 'help' taste it too. Would you believe the whole tray went in one afternoon!


I am loving our beautiful new chicken Helga. She is a Rhode Island Red and has the most delicious eggs and beautiful coloured feathers. Helga was given to us by our lovely friend Lisa. Thank you Lisa!!!


I am loving this canvas hubby secretly made for my craft shelf... isn't he sweet.


I am loving the fact that 4 more softies are nearly finished and ready to go here!


And last but not least, I am absolutely LOVING my Christ the Lord books by Anne Rice. She is an amazing writer and this Trilogy has kept me reading very late into the night. I must say that the cover images in my opinion make the books looks very dull (and religious) - but they are some of the best books I have read in a long while. I actually have only one chapter to go (in book 2 of the trilogy) and have been putting off reading it for 2 whole days - I just don't want the book to end (especially since book 3 doesn't come out for a while)!

Review of Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana coming soon on Flannelgraph.


What things are you loving at the moment?

17 July 2009

Chocolate Truffles


These would have to be one of my most favourite 'quick' things to make (sorry to all my friends who always get me bringing these when I visit!). I really do have a sweet tooth.

An extra bonus is that these truffles are also gluten free, which is great for those gluten free visitors that you sometimes have (well, I do anyway).

Chocolate Truffles

1 cup coconut
1 cup icing sugar
vanilla essence
3 ounces butter
2 tablespoons cocoa

Mix dry ingredients together.
Melt butter and mix all together with the essence.
Roll into balls and cover in extra coconut or melted chocolate.
Set in fridge.

And there you go... sweet and simple.

See here for my other truffle posts.


For more delicious recipes visit here.

16 July 2009

Proof that I'm a Nana...


When I was young, I just couldn't wait to get up super early on Saturday mornings and watch the cartoons... now I think it's a real treat if I catch the 6 o'clock news while I drink a cup of tea.

Tonight I decided to curl up on the couch, crochet my granny square blanket while sipping tea and watching a documentary. I felt really spoilt... I'm starting to get worried.

I still enjoy a good Tintin or Asterix comic now and then, but I must say, the cartoons don't get me up early in the morning anymore.

S.O.S. to other Nana's out there... please tell me I'm not the only one???

p.s. What was your favourite cartoon show growing up? Mine were Adam Ant, Snorks, Scooby Doo, Smurfs, Danger Mouse and Fraggle Rock.

Oh, the memories!

14 July 2009

Us


So this is all of us... my family. It's not very often that we get a photo with all of us in it either.

If you look closely, you can see Narnia the pup in her pink cardigan on hubby's lap, and Barney our giant cat falling down the back of the couch (I decided not to include the mice and chickens in our family shot).

Of course, it's almost impossible to get all 6 of us looking nicely at the camera in one shot, so out of the ones taken, I decided this was the most perfect representation of our family at the moment... Miss 2 is usually grizzling, hubby is usually fussing over the dog, Master 10 is usually hanging around his Dad, and Master 7 and Miss 5 are often found being silly together... and I'm smiling politely.

I do love them all (well, maybe not Narnia at times).

13 July 2009

Meet Irina


I haven't made softies for ages... this whole crochet addiction may have something to do with it, and my mending pile that puts me off making anything (because I know I should do the mending first!).

But today I actually FORCED myself to finish one I had started ages ago... and it actually felt really good to finish one of the many half-finished projects piling up on my sewing desk.

Mending is something that I have never done in the past (I always gave it to my mum), but now that I have a sewing machine I have started to do my own (like a good mother should). I must say - I can't believe how often the boys rip their boxer shorts, pyjamas and jeans!

Anyway, back to Irina... if you like here, she is awaiting adoption here or here.

And hopefully I will have some more softies finished soon (but that does depend on how many more ripped undies I am going to have to mend in the next week).

12 July 2009

Whippet Zoomies

Narnia our 5 month old Whippet pup got the zoomies today!

It's been raining for days, and Narnia is so sick of being couped up in the house. Whippets need a good run at least once or twice a day, but they also HATE the rain. Solution: the house becomes a race track.

This is what Whippet owners call 'the zoomies'!

11 July 2009

Sweet Seventy


Today my lovely parents-in-law celebrated their combined 70th birthday's with their family and special friends.

So many beautiful things were said about them, from their amazing parenting (they had 3 children under 2½ at one stage!) to their passion for life and strong faith in God.

I loved listening to the funny stories shared, seeing the old slides and photo board... great times!

The best part of all was hubby's brother and family surprising everyone by secretly flying over from Australia for the party! Not at all expected, but oh so special.

So Happy Birthday Mum and Dad... you are such a precious couple, an example to us all of love and life lived to the full.

(I am sure after yesterday's post that I can spot the Italian blood in some of the family!)

10 July 2009

Flashback Friday


You probably would never know it... but amongst the English and Scottish heritage in our family, my children have Italian blood in their veins. Their Great great Grandmother was an Italian lady (on the left in the picture), and that cute little baby in the middle is their Grandad (my husbands father).

I wonder what delicious treats were cooked up in their household?

My kids are very proud of their claim to Italian blood... mainly because of their obsession with Mario and Luigi (Nintendo icons).

Typical!

08 July 2009

Things to do in the holidays...

The term break holidays have only just begun... and my action plan this time around is to keep everyone busy busy busy (since last holiday's plan of lazing around and having unplanned days turned to custard!).

Here's a snippet of some of the things we've been up to lately...

The girls have played secretaries


We've visited high places and enjoyed the NZ bush


Dressed up the doggy


Mummy has had time to package up felt cookies for the shop


Eaten yummy home baked things


Explored local pet shops


Had special time with mummy (which included hot chocolate's and fluffy's)


Phew... I'm worn out already!

06 July 2009

Berry & Apple Crumble


I absolutely loooove berries.

Lately I have taken a liking to the little packs of frozen berries you can buy at the supermarket. Berry milkshakes, Berry and white chocolate muffins, and my most favourite... Berry Crumble.

Crumbles are so versatile and easy to make... and you can practically stick any fruit in a crumble (well, maybe not grapefruit) and create so many variations for the topping... fresh, tinned or frozen fruit.

And the great thing about crumble is that it fills up hungry bellies, the most hungriest at the moment in our house being Master 10's (he actually eats more food than his Dad!).

So if you don't know how to make a fruit crumble, here's what to do (adapted from Edmond's Cookery Book):

Fruit Crumble

Heat your oven to 190°C

Please 2 cups of stewed fruit (i.e. apples, berries, feijoas, pears, apricots - you can get as creative as you want!) into the bottom of an oven proof dish. Sprinkle the fruit with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.

Sift ½ cup flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder into a bowl. Cut in 50g butter (sometimes I just melt the butter a bit and stir it in instead) until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in ¼ cups sugar and ½ cup of rolled oats. I often add about ½ cup shredded coconut and half a teaspoon of cinnamon too.

Spoon the mixture over fruit and bake for 30 minutes or until pale golden.

Serves 6.

Serve with ice cream, custard, yogurt, cream or milk.

Mmmmmmmmmmmm.


For more delicious recipes visit here.

05 July 2009

Green Eggs!


Move over Dr Seuss - we have our own green eggs to go with our ham!

Finally, after 8 long months of waiting (from the baby chicken hatching to laying it's own eggs) our Araucana chicken (she's the light grey chicken at the back in the photo) has laid her first green egg! It's so tiny that it can't even sit in the egg tray in the fridge... but it's a start.

We bought the fertilized eggs 8 months ago to place under our broody chicken (see here) and have been waiting ever since.

I actually started to wonder if Tiger-lily was actually a he (it has happened before folks!).

So now we have this lovely tiny egg. Any ideas of what to make with it???

04 July 2009

The curse of the bean bag


I don't know if it's just me... but bean bags and I don't have a very friendly relationship.

I have lost count of bean bag dramas we have had in our house... the times hubby and I have been filling them and one of us hasn't had the zipper opening big enough and whoops... all the beans fall all over the floor. I remember another time when we were trying to do it outside so as not to get balls spilt inside, and then a gust of wind came and blew tiny balls all over the neighbours property (snowing!!).

The next time Wilma did her wee wee on the bag, hubby resorted to pegging the whole bag (with balls still inside) to the clothes line and covering it with washing powder then spraying it down with the hose!

I think we eventually gave up and got rid of those nasty bags (someone probably was super happy to buy them at the local thrift store... if only they knew - hehe). Wilma also went missing soon ater that... maybe she went in search of her beanbags.

How in the world are you supposed to pick them all up again? Vacuuming doesn't always work too well, and shovel & brushes take time... and if the kids see the tiny little balls all over the floor, you can guess what they do... it's like a giant pile of leaves just waiting to be jumped on!

We once had a cat (called Wilma) that thought our bean bags were similar to kitty litter... so you can guess what she was caught doing on the bean bags a few times! And since bean bags aren't cheap... we would tip the polystyrene balls out, try to wash them, wash the covers and start from scratch again. And every time we did the refiling we seemed to have major spillages!

Last night was one of those busy nights where I was in a rush to get the kids fed, bathed and ready for bed before the babysitters arrived... and suddenly I realised that Miss 2 and puppy (Narnia) were missing!

I then realised they were hidden around the corner of the couch and had the bean bag unzipped! Miss 2 was 'experiencing' the joy of playing with the little polystyrene balls, and Narnia (pup) was happily chewing away on them!

Aaarrrrgggghhhhh!

Normal bean bags have two zippers, but this naughty one only had one.

Maybe we'll resort to giant cushions instead!

03 July 2009

Flashback Friday


A lovely family friend gave me a disc with some really really old scanned photos on... and they are oh so precious!

These pics were taken of my brother many years ago - and since his passing they seem to hold more value and so many wonderful memories.

I love Flashback Fridays!!

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