28 February 2011

Blogging Buddies

I had such an awesome morning today catching up with a few of these blogging buddies at a local park.  We all get on so well and time just flew by! 

I love hanging with these girls - we always have tonnes to talk about, heaps of laughs, no shame at taking out our cameras and this time there was even a bit of public crochet!!! 

 Jackie - you have the best laugh ever!!

I can't wait to hang out with these lovely ladies again (and the others who weren't there).

Tracy's take on our day here, Renette's here and Leonie's here.
For more blogging meet ups, go here

Please don't forget to keep New Zeland in your thoughts and prayers... there are so many ways that you can help out (see the links at the top of my sidebar) as well as more info about donating here.

27 February 2011

Neapolitan Cake

This weekend we decided to have a little celebration for no reason at all.  The last week has been rather glum and I think we have all realised that life in itself should be celebrated for no reason, especially after what is currently happening here in New Zealand.

Since overcoming my fear of layer cakes recently with The Rainbow Cake (probably not the best cake to try first if you have layer-cake-phobia), I have been imagining tonnes of glorious colour and flavour combinations that could be made with layer cakes.

Presenting, the Neapolitan Cake!  Layers of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cake, sandwiched together with strawberry jam and iced with shocking pink icing and chocolate sprinkles (the icing sadly split a bit but thankfully no one really cared!).

I used Meredy's cake recipe here and adapted it for the various colours and flavours.

Did everyone love it - yes!  Was it super sickly - yes! 

I think we may just have to start celebrating 'just because' with cake a bit more often.

For more delicious recipes, visit here
Linking up with Life Made Lovely Monday.

25 February 2011

Things I'm Loving...

I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something that you can be thankful for... no matter how simple it is.  

Currently, our Nation of New Zealand is facing it's biggest natural disaster ever.  Yet, in the midst of such devastation and sorrow, there are still things to be thankful for.

Our amazing emergency departments - the Police, Ambulance services, The Army, Navy, Civil defence teams, Search and Rescue teams and all others... these guys are so amazing.

Our Government and local leaders - we often grizzle and complain about them, yet in times like this when the weight and burden of such a tragedy must weight heavily on their shoulders as they try to hold our country together, I can't praise them enough.

The Nations of the world that have sent their own people over to us and helped us financially in our time of need.  Their concern and love has not gone unnoticed.

The businesses and organisations that have stepped in and helped, the amazing organisations out there like The Salvation Army, Red Cross, local churches and groups - I am so thankful for you!

The neighbours, friends and families and even complete strangers that look out for each other in times of need - and especially everyday people like you who give financially where you can (this is the best way to help). It proves that there really are good hearts out there willing to lend a helping hand.

Finally, I am so thankful for my family, life, faith, health and the simple things like clean water, flushing toilets and food.

Our hearts ache for you Christchurch and we continue to hope and pray.

Join with me even if it's one sentence or a photo.

Here's how you can join in....
Link up below with your blog post telling us what thing/s you are loving, and don't forget to link back to here in your post (or use this button below). Linky open until Sunday!!


24 February 2011

Granny Square Therapy

This week started out with my youngest son breaking his thumb, then Symon coming down with strep throat.  Life was rather busy and chaotic, but then suddenly our 'dramas' paled in comparison with the horrific circumstances that many are experiencing in Christchurch after the latest earthquake.

I think most of us in New Zealand (and many overseas) have been in a state of shock as we sit and watch the news.  Strangely, (and despite having many more urgent things to do) I have found myself often sitting on the couch, staring blankly at the live coverage of the quake on the news and crocheting (in between tending to my dear man-sick males of course).

Seriously, crocheting is soooo therapeutic.

We have cried as sad news has been reported, clapped with joy at the footage of live people being pulled from the rubble, and prayed earnestly for these precious people in Christchurch.

Thankfully there are many ways that we can help (see here and Gail is doing something awesome here) - it's the least we can do.

Tomorrow, I am looking forward to my Things I'm Loving post, because seriously... despite the devastation and sorrow, there are many things that I am thankful for.  Hoping you will join in too.

Regular news updates here.

Keep praying.


For more crafty makings go here.
Joining in here with my Creative Space.

23 February 2011

Softies for the Children of Christchurch

Many of you would have heard about the devestating earthquake that struck Christchurch yesterday.  Our Nation is in shock as bodies are being recovered from collapsed buildings, homes have been destroyed and loved ones are awaiting to hear from their family members.  Aftershocks continue and I can't help but think of the children and how this must affect them all as well.

There are many ways to help (apart from praying) and I will list some of them at the end of this post.

Leonie from Kiwi At Heart has come up with a wonderful and practical way that any of you Softie makers out there can get involved in... "Softies for the Children of Christchurch".  If you are a creative person, this is a wonderful way to help out, whether you live in New Zealand or in other countries, we would love you to get involved.  Please spread the word on your blogs too, using the button above in a post or putting it on your sidebar with a link to here.

For more information on how to get involved, please go here.

Thankfully, I have finally heard that all of my family in Christchurch are safe and well.  My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones, or who are still awaiting to hear from family and friends.

Thank you all for your messages of love to us in NZ - I have received messages from concerned friends as far away as Mexico and Japan.  It is lovely to see the support coming to Christchurch from all over the world.

For other ways to help the people of Christchurch see below. 

Phone 0900 33 200 to make an automatic $20 donation
FreeTXT 'QUAKE' to 555 to donate $5 or FreeTXT 'QUAKE' to 333 to donate $3 from any Vodafone mobile
Donate online at http://redcross.org.nz/
Donate in person at any branch of NZ Post, Kiwibank, ANZ, National Bank, ASB, TSB and BNZ across New Zealand.
Mail a cheque (made payable to New Zealand Red Cross) to: Canterbury Earthquake Appeal, Freepost 232690, PO Box 12-140, Thorndon, Wellington 6144.

22 February 2011

♥ Christchurch ♥

Image from here

Please keep the Nation of New Zealand in your prayers.  A devastating Earthquake has hit Christchurch, with 65 already confirmed dead and many injured.

We still have not been able to make contact with some of our family living down there, and like many are feeling helpless as we watch the devastation on the news (regular updates here).

Donations can be made here.
Phone 0900 33 200 to make an automatic $20 donation. 

Prayer is powerful (James 5:16b).  

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I have always wanted to make Red Velvet Cupcakes, and finally got around to it for Miss 4's birthday party last week.  I used Martha Stewart's recipe and they turned out great!  Seriously, anything with cream cheese icing gets a big tick from me!!

The great thing about cupcakes is they are wonderful to freeze (that's if you actually have excess!). When you are ready to use them, pull them out of the freezer and ice while frozen, then leave to defrost.  Fresh and delicious (I did this for Valentines day with my left over Red Velvet Cupcakes here).

Definately going to make these again!

Ingredients (Makes 24)

2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Cream Cheese Frosting
Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt. 

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla. 

Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers. 

To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature before serving. 

For more delicious recipes, go here

21 February 2011

♥ Weekend Bliss ♥

I love weekends!  Here's the recipe for a perfect weekend (in my opinion)...

A wee bit of making...

Board game playing...

A bit of dressing up (again)...

Catching up with family...

My Dad's got the classic 'black singlet' Kiwi look going on

Some under-the-table napping...

And best of all, some girl time with precious friends...

I hope your weekend was awesome too.

Joining in with Life Made Lovely Monday.

18 February 2011

Things I'm Loving...

I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something that you can be thankful for... no matter how simple it is.  

Here are a few of the things that I'm loving at the moment...

Crocheting tiny hearts (for this)... 

The beautiful scenery I see while walking Boo...

The funny set up the boys have for getting in the washing... one pulls the clothes off the line and drops the pegs on the ground for the other to pick up.  Crazy or ingenious?

The current 'Dominoes' phase going on in our house at the moment...

Eating prototype shark watermelon on the deck with three cheeky boys...

Last but not least, reminiscing the cool time that was had with these awesome girls, and looking forward to our next catchup...

Here's how you can join in....
Link up below with your blog post telling us what thing/s you are loving, and don't forget to link back to here in your post (or use this button below). Linky open until Sunday!!


17 February 2011

Watermelon Shark

It's watermelon season here in New Zealand at the moment - and check out this cool as watermelon shark my hubby made for Miss 4's recent birthday party!

He'd seen the idea somewhere on the Internet and mentioned that he'd love to try making one... so I commissioned him to do one for the party.

Being a perfectionist, he decided he needed to do a prototype a few days before the party.  The prototype looked great and afterwards we enjoyed hanging out on the deck with the boys eating watermelon.  Then somehow a Barbie ended up in the sharks mouth...

Which led to the crazy idea of seeing if the empty watermelon shark would fit on Boo's head! 

please note: no Boo's were harmed in the fitting of this watermelon shark helmet

Anyway, the watermelon shark was a hit at the party, and once again my guy proved that he indeed has some pretty cool skills in the kitchen!  

Check out some of the great party cakes he's made in the past: Incredible Hulk Cake, Littlest Pet Shop Cake and Indiana Jones Cake

Want to make your own Watermelon Shark, go here.
More cool watermelon carving ideas here
For more delicious recipes, go here.

16 February 2011

15 February 2011

Whangarei Bloggers Unite!!!

Take a group of eight bloggers who all live in the same city, but haven't all met each other before and what do you get?  You get the coolest morning ever!!! 

The awesome Jacksta-B decided it was about time some of us Whangarei bloggers actually met face to face, so organised a morning tea at the Town Basin.  It was great to get to know each other (as well as unashamedly take photos of each other... something only bloggers understand).

You girls are awesome and  I can't wait to do this again some time soon.

Our group consisted of Jackie from Jacksta-B,  Leonie from Kiwi At Heart, Tracy from Inside the Scrapheap, Neetz from Bassett blurbs and Banter, Liz from She exceeds Rubies, Simone from Sima-J, Renette from The South African Kiwi and me!

When you hang out with blogging buddies you...

Take photos (of course)...

Laugh and chat...

Ohhh and aaahhhh over brand new babies...

Your kids get on like a house on fire straight away (as kids do)...

Ask the nice waitress to take group photos for you (and pray she doesn't get fired for taking photos of crazy blogging ladies on her first day of work!!)!

You learn which of the bloggers are messy drinkers (not mentioning any names... but we all know who that was don't we girls!)...

Have random people coming up to you while your there saying, "Hey, you're PaisleyJade... I read your blog" - only to find out that you actually read their blog too!!  This person was Cassandra - Lisa's sister... and guess what!?!  Lisa (Everything by Twos) was on the phone, so a few of  us got to have a chat to her (I'm on the phone to her in the pic below while posing with her sis Cassandra!).

 What an awesome time - can't wait to do it again girls!! xoxox

Other's take on the day here: Jackie, Tracy, Neetz, Leonie, Renette

For more of my bloggy meet ups go here.

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