31 May 2011

Mocha Cupcakes

Inspired by all the delicious chocolate and coffee creations in blogland lately, I got a hankering the other day to make some Mocha Cupcakes of my own.

I decided to use Meredy's super easy cake recipe that she uses for cakes, cupcakes, bar cakes etc. It's one of those throw together and mix recipes that I have started using all the time as a base for different tasty creations. 

So here is my version of quick and simple Mocha Cupcakes, delicious iced with coffee or chocolate icing.

1 and a half cups of Self Raising Flour
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon of instant coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons of boiling water (or a double shot of espresso)
1/2 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of cocoa
2 eggs
125g (4 oz) butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract.

Preheat oven to 175°C and grease or line your cupcake tray.

Put all ingredients in a bowl and beat on medium speed for five minutes. That's it.

Spoon batter into prepared cupcake tray, filling them three-quarters full.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, then transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

Ice with chocolate, coffee or mocha icing and enjoy.

For more delicious recipes, go here.
Joining in with {Life Made Lovely Monday}

30 May 2011

Silence is Golden

They say silence is golden, and I must agree, it sure is.

This last weekend our amazing boy decided that he would like to take part in this years 40hr Famine, but instead of fasting from food, he was going to go on a talking fast.

Now, for those of you who don't know our boy, he has pretty much been talking since birth. Instead of the normal 'dad' or 'mum' for a first word, his was 'hi'... and he really hasn't stopped since.

So I was slightly worried at his goal to not talk for 40 hours, but I was also seriously excited at the prospect of a slightly quieter weekend than normal.  Alas, it's finally over and with only one slip up (a polite "pardon" to his brother in the early hours of Sunday morning) I think he did a mighty fine job.

I also realised that it's way nicer having his voice around, even if it is slightly loud and rather constant, it's better than pages of notebook scribbles and charades in my face. 

With $310 raised, his silence has truly been golden... golden coins and crispy notes collected to be given to some people who are in serious need, going to such a worthy cause.

Love you buddy - and thanks to all our amazing friends and family who supported him in his crazy dream!

Blessed are those who are generous,
because they feed the poor.  Proverbs 22:9

27 May 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 I am loving at the moment...

My mini rock star...

Making stuff....

Boo's new and very spunky "Bomber jacket"...

New mugs (my great weakness)...  

Link love: My latest Granny Stripe Blanket arrived at it's new home and is loved!  The fact that the villan named 'Symon' in Mike Dellosso's latest book is actually based on my husband (well, his looks and name... not the villan part)!  This cute as Princess Hairdo Hat.  

Chalk drawings... 

And remembering that...

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) and visit the others who have joined in too. Linky open until Sunday!!


26 May 2011

Crochet Wrist Warmers

It's getting rather chilly here in New Zealand as winter approaches.  I decided it was about time I made some wrist warmers!

I've always wanted to try making crochet wrist warmers, and found a super simple pattern here recently which I decided to give a go.  These are really easy make and stitch up - I love them!  Next time I might make them longer and in a different colour too...

As I was trying to photograph the finished product using the automatic timer on my camera, a little wee someone decided she'd like to have her own photo shoot too (please excuse her slightly scary faces - I think she's been watching too much Nacho Libre)...

Joining in with Our Creative Spaces
For more crafty makings, go here.

25 May 2011

Chocolate Maple Crunch

I can't remember where, but somewhere in a magazine I spotted the most delicious looking, chocolate covered, maple syrup flavoured hokey pokey!  Do you think I could find the recipe again when I wanted it? No way.  So here is my own version of this delicious treat, slightly tweaking the Edmond's Cook Book, Hokey Pokey recipe.

Super easy to make and really fun if you get the kids involved when it comes to mixing in the baking soda - a great science lesson! 

10 Tbsp white sugar
4 Tbsp maple syrup (golden syrup would work fine too)
2 tsp baking soda
100-200g chocolate (I used chocolate buttons)

Put sugar and maple syrup into a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Boil for two minutes. Stir occasionally, if necessary, to prevent burning. Remove from heat. Add baking soda. Stir quickly until mixture froths up. Pour into a buttered tin immediately. Leave until cold and hard.

For the chocolate topping, melt chocolate, then spread evenly over the hard and cooled maple crunch mixture. Put in fridge to set.  Once set, break into pieces and store in the fridge in an air-tight container.

Serve straight from fridge. Enjoy!!

For more delicious recipes, go here

22 May 2011

How to Crochet...

Many of you have mentioned to me lately that you would love to learn to crochet - so here's what you wanted... some tips on how to crochet!

Let me just start by saying that crochet is such an awesome hobby!  Not only can you take it with you wherever you go (unlike a sewing machine), but it's easy to learn and there is such a variety of things you can make for yourself or that you can give to others.  Crochet is also rather fashionable again, so hopefully you won't get too many people snickering at you, if you are caught doing it in public!

I had grand ideas of taking my own photos and videos of how to do different stitches etc, but then I realised something... I'm left handed!  Being left-handed makes it rather awkward to teach the majority of you right handed people the craft (believe me - I tried to force my daughter to learn left handed and it didn't go down too well).

So instead, I thought I'd share a couple of tips and point you to the very best places (in my opinion) on the internet for learning to crochet.

Tip Number 1
Start out by buying yourself a pack of crochet hooks and some inspiring coloured yarn or wool and commit to learn!

Tip Number 2
If you have a grandmother, aunt, parent or friend who knows how to crochet, ask them if they would be willing to show you the basics.  Learning from someone else is sometimes the best and easiest way to start out.  I remember my grandmother teaching me how to crochet a granny square as a child.  I only ever made a few, but what I had learned from her all came flooding back many years later when I decided to start re-learning crochet.

Tip Number 3
The internet is your friend.  With youtube and google around these days, I don't know why people even bother to ask questions sometimes... just google it or look it up on youtube!  There have been many times, even as a left-hander, where I get stuck with not knowing how to do something and after looking it up on youtube, all my troubles are solved!  There are many great clips of how to do certain stitches that you can pause and re-watch until you master it.

Tip Number 4
Get inspired!  Find some inspiring crochet creations  to encourage you to learn.  Check out your local library for modern crochet books and browse the internet too. Here are some of my favourite places to get inspired to crochet...

If you don't have someone who is able to help get you started, here are the best places to get learning...

Learn to Crochet (Pip from Meet Me At Mikes) has done a very simple series teaching you all the basics.

How to Crochet (Tip Junkie is going through a series teaching you how to crochet - perfect timing!)

Learn to Crochet with Lion Brand Yarn

There you have it - you can learn to crochet!!!

I totally encourage you to give it a go, and persevere when you get stuck!

Happy crafting!  

20 May 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 I am loving at the moment...

My brand spanking new Buffalo Journal!  Let's hope it's not made from real Buffalo though...

Cool as sewing kits for cute little girls (who dreams of one day going into business with her mummy selling crafty stuff - hehe)...

This crazy pic of the moon I took during the day!  You can even see the craters on it if you squint really hard (God is so amazing).

A bit of a new hair doo (it probably doesn't look much different than normal but believe me, the split ends were just about reaching to China). A very special Mother's day gift from my guy (xoxo).

This awesome Tea Mug Cozy (made by Knitstorm).  I really want to make one of these!!

Delicous fudge from Get Fudged.  This shop is so pretty and their fudge is so mmmmmm!

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) and visit the others who have joined in too. Linky open until Sunday!!


18 May 2011

Fluffy Cloud Mobile

A while ago I mentioned (here) that I'd love to try making a cloud mobile... and I have!  Although a few people urged me to keep the peg version (their comments are all missing btw thanks to the massive blogger drama last week!)... I decided to keep it as it was meant to be.

I love this... very dreamy and cute and rather appropriate to be making as the sound of rain can be heard outside my window.

Perfect I suppose for a little baby's room... I'd love to keep it myself but can't quite convince hubby yet that it would go anywhere in our house... maybe in the car?

Joining in with Our Creative Spaces.
For more crafty makings, go here.

17 May 2011

Ginger Coconut Slice

I love anything with ginger in it (especially things like Ginger Crunch) and coconut.  This slice has all the right combinations and is super easy to make.

60g (2 oz) butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 cup self-raising flour
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ cup sugar
½ cup coconut
1 egg

Lemon Icing
1 cup icing sugar
30g (1 oz) butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon hot water

Melt butter and syrup over low heat.  Sift flour and ginger, combine with sugar, coconut and lightly beaten egg. Pour in melted butter and golden syrup.  When well combined press into well-greased 28cm x 18cm (11in x 7in) lamington tin.  Bake in moderate oven 25-30 minutes.  When slice is cool, spread with Lemon Icing and cut into squares.

Lemon Icing: Sift icing sugar into bowl.  Combine soft butter, lemon juice, grated lemon rind and hot water, stir until butter melts.  Mix into icing sugar, beat until smooth.

From "The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits" (Australian Women's Weekly).

For more delicious recipes, visit here

16 May 2011

Utter randomness...

Some utter randomness for your week...

Little boys with Spiderman duvets will suddenly beg their mother for a plain duvet when they are nearing the age of 12 years old (along with a plain birthday cake and their own barbecue).  I am sure the barbecue thing is totally normal... I hope it is anyway.  At the same time, other little boys will be as happy as larry with their Bob the Builder sleeping bag as they are nearing 10.  Very interesting... I'm feeling the urge to 'disappear' a certain sleeping bag.

Loving this quote: "Worry gives a small thing a big shadow".

Sometimes Symon and I like to introduce our children to the alltime best songs on youtube... songs like Agadoo, Star Trekking, Innocent and Here it Goes Again.  I hope our strange choice in music vidoes has no long term affect on the sanity of our children (cause we are both totally normal right?).

I'm discovering that although we all hang out for the mountain top experiences in life, I am sure that the beautifying of our soul can only be done in the valley and desert places... and only with God's help and strength (but boy is it hard and painful sometimes) .

Although I hate promoting products on my blog just because I've been asked, there is only so many bottles of complimentary Johnson & Johnson baby wash/moisteriser (via FreshPR) being delivered by courier in the early hours of the morning that you can cope with before you cave in and mention them on your blog.  Thanks guys - we do love the stuff (and so do some of our friends). Makes me want to have another baby so that I can put them to good use... JUST KIDDING!

I love my husband... even though he has a slight addiction to short-lived hobbies.  Yes, that's right... he is constantly researching and taking on new hobbies and/or pets.  It sometimes drives me mad... but then I remind myself that things could be worse (like the time we had a cricket farm by our bed to supply food for his pet spider). 

Have a great week!!

Joining in with {Life Made Lovely Monday} 

14 May 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 I am loving at the moment...

Grown up Lolly Slice! Instead of Eskimo lollies, this one has chopped cherries, walnuts and marshmallows inside.  Delicious and really easy to make.

Boo and her granny blanket.  Yes, my precious giant granny square blanket has been coveted by Boo in this cold, rainy weather...

Having a little mummy & daughter date at our local Chipmunks.  She did tonnes of this...

While I did a lot of this (I did play with her too... I promise!)...

Being given a bag of freshly roasted Beanlab coffee beans.  These guys are awesome - and they roast fresh for each order!  Check out their site here... I highly recommend them!!  In fact, you can win some here!

These cute drawings by my little four year old...

The Royal Wedding.  Loving Pippa holding the wedding dress train and Prince William standing nearby.   The scribbles over the bride's face are Catherine's veil!  

The recent visit to the hospital with a lovely nurse.  Check out all those wheels on the bed!!

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) and visit the others who have joined in too. Linky open until Sunday!!


11 May 2011

My Creative Space

A little something I'm working on at the moment... but be assured that the finished product will not include the pegs!

To check out what other crafty people are making... go here.

Marbled Rainbow Cake

Our daughter took great pleasure in announcing to her friends (at her birthday party) that her mum had just made her a plain purple cake for her birthday this year.  She then laughed at the excited gasps that came from her friends as we cut a slice of cake... inside was a marbled rainbow cake!

After the great results with The Rainbow Cake, I decided to attempt a two layered marbled version (inspired by this).  For the cake mix I used Meredy's super easy recipe at the bottom of this post - I did a double batter mix and evened it out into six bowls to mix my gel colours in.  I also used her vanilla frosting and it turned out great!!

I love the way you plop the colours on top of each other in the pans and somehow they even themselves out into such a pretty design!

I would love to try this again with pink, purple and yellow - the colour combination ideas are endless.

I dare you to give it a go - even a cupcake version would be fun.  Gel or powdered colours are a must for the brightness, but normal colours would still look good... even a pastel version would be pretty.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions!! 

For more delicious recipes, go here

10 May 2011

Party Time!

Yesterday we celebrated our little Princess turning seven!

Our morning started as it always does in our house on birthdays... everyone piles into our bed (and yes, the pets are there too) and each person shares something that they love about the birthday person.  Sometimes such thoughtful things are said... and other times, well, lets just say we hurry them along when awkward moments are focussed on, like – “but I don’t like it when we fight all the time”.  After that, we all pray for them, and then it’s time to open the birthday presents!!

There were some very special friends invited home for a little birthday party after school, with lots of fun games played.  My favourite would have to be “Pin the tail on Boo”.  Big thanks to my awesome guy for his amazing drawing skills.

We ate birthday cake, cupcakes and lots of other delicious treats.  Yes, check out that very exciting birthday cake in the top photo... more on that tomorrow.

Before home time, the girls enjoyed some cupcake decorating fun (a couple of adults may have been tempted to get involved too).

Tonnes of fun was had, celebrating our very precious little girl, who is growing into a beautiful young lady.

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