Thursday, 29 November 2012

library days...

My little ones just love visiting the library.  It's especially exciting when enormous sliding doors open instantly and invite you in to discover...

a gigantic Christmas tree. 

There are also toys for you to play with...

...and new books to find.

There are quiet areas for sitting...


...spots for you to show off your new talents! 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

baby love...

Not so long ago I signed up to do a self paced e-course on photography.  It's the first time I've paid money to do an e-course, so even after all the research and the 'will I?', 'should I?' there's always that voice in your head...'I hope it's worth it'.  Well I am so glad I signed up and I hope that explains some random 'about the house' shots you may be see in my posts.  It's all to do with some photography basics... otherwise known as 'homework'. 

It's also been quite easy to justify to the other half.  'Oh I can use this for work,' 'thank you for my early Christmas present'... Welllll, he doesn't know it yet but he's actually bought me two things the other one is a secret that I will share with you when it arrives.   

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


Something sweet for Christmas…

Peppermint Bark  

Serves 8

50g mint-flavoured candy canes
200g dark chocolate melts, melted

1.       Break canes into pieces.  Place in a plastic bag.  Squeeze bag to expel air.  Wrap bag in a tea towel.  Place on a hard surface.  Pound with a hammer or rolling pin until canes are crushed into small pieces.
2.       Spread chocolate on a large lightly greased baking tray until about 2mm thick.  Sprinkle with crushed cane.  Set aside for 20 minutes or until set. 
3.       Break into pieces.  Serve. 

Tips and Notes…
Store bark in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 5 days. 
Place bark in the fridge to set if room temperature is too warm.


Tuesday's routine...

Monday, 26 November 2012


There are trillions of hand/home-made Christmas ideas out there, I know, I've been looking, collecting, reading, searching and dreaming but at some point I just have to start doing.  So in the lead up to Christmas I will be sharing...

Something sweet for Christmas…

My 'something sweet for Christmas' posts will be; simple, something the kids can do or be involved in, an experience for the senses, low cost and can be given as a gift. 

Mini Coconut Macaroons

Prep and cooking time: 1 hour
Makes 18

1 egg, separated
1 egg yolk
¼ cup (55g) caster (superfine) sugar
1⅔ cups (120g) shredded coconut

1.       Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F.  Grease oven trays.
2.       Beat both the egg yolks with the sugar in a small bowl until creamy; stir in coconut.
3.       Beat egg white in small bowl with electric mixer until firm peaks form; stir gently into the coconut mixture.
4.       Drop heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto oven trays.  Bake for 15 minutes.
5.       Reduce oven temperature to 120°/250°F.  Bake macaroons a further 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Loosen macaroons; cool on trays.


Thursday, 22 November 2012


It was a basket kind of day today... in and out of cars, in and out of homes, in and out of the local library; packing baskets, carrying baskets, decorating baskets, filling baskets.  Baskets are so handy when you are on the go and they are great for xmas hamper gift giving too.  

See you tomorrow.

Monday, 19 November 2012

morning/afternoon delights...

Mini Paris Brests
From: home beautiful'entertaining'
Recipe by Kerrie Worner

Makes 12
Choux pastry
50g butter
½ cup water
½ cup plain flour
3x50g eggs, lightly beaten
Pure icing sugar, for dusting

Coffee crème pâtissière - (Make ahead need to refrigerate for 3-4 hours/overnight)
2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp instant coffee granules

1.       Preheat oven to 200°C.  Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.  To make choux pastry, put butter and water in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to boil.  Add flour and stir for 2-3 minutes until mixture begins to form a ball and leaves the sides of the pan.
2.       Transfer mixture to small bowl of an electric mixer.  Spread up the sides of bowl to cool slightly.  Add eggs gradually while beating until mixture becomes glossy.  Spoon into a large piping bag fitted with 1cm plain tube.  Pipe 5cm-diameter rings onto trays about 4cm apart and bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 10-12 minutes until puffed and golden.  Allow to cool slightly.  Cut in half horizontally and return halves to oven tray, cut side down.  Bake for 5 minutes until slightly dry on the inside.  Cool completely. 
3.       To make crème, heat milk until simmering.  Whisk yolks and sugar until pale and creamy.  Whisk in flour and vanilla.  Add coffee to hot milk and stir until dissolved.  Gradually drizzle hot milk into yolk mixture and whisk until combined.  Return to a saucepan and stir over low-medium heat until thickened.  Give crème a whisk if it begins to show lumps.
4.       Transfer crème to a bowl, cover surface with plastic wrap and allow to cool.  Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight until thick enough to pipe.  Fit a piping bag with a 1cm plain pipe, fill bag with crème pâtissière and pipe onto bottom halves of choux pastries.  Replace tops and dust with icing sugar to serve.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

laying low...

Since my last post we were all suddenly attacked by a violent vomiting bug.  So disgusting.  There is nothing worse than being sick yourself and having little people to look after.  Thankfully we have some good friends close by who came to lend a hand - my goodness where would I be without you.  Luckily they didn't catch this nasty bug.  We are now laying low and resting (as much as you can with two toddlers and a baby).

Bread Update.

My 'free form' loaves turned out great.  I need to get a wooden board when proofing as I think when I moved dough to oven trays I think some air/gas escaped.  They look much better than the last batch I made so I must be improving.  Now it's just a matter of convincing the rest of the family that home-made bread is much more healthier than the conventional store bought kind, less preservatives etc and that bread can come in all shapes and sizes.

Friday, 16 November 2012


It seems insane to have the oven running on a day like today but I was motivated this morning when I stumbled across an episode on the Lifestyle channel, 'River Cottage - Everyday'.  I am so glad I watched the episode because it brings to life the bread making techniques explained in my bread book, 'The River Cottage Bread Handbook' by Daniel Stevens (see sidebar on right).  Since there's no better time like the present, I am continuing to work on my bread making skills.  Today I have used organic wholemeal spelt flour that I had in my pantry.  I have two loaves proofing right now and I can't wait to see how they turn out.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

the bright side...

After car trouble on Monday and a dose of retail therapy yesterday, it's always nice to stop and smell the flowers...or in this case look on the bright side and admire these beauties I spotted here, in the valley. 

I hope you are having a lovely day.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

go with the flow...

Monday's run down...dropped kids at daycare...filled car with fuel...went grocery shopping...returned home and unpacked groceries...fed baby...decided to do some more xmas in car...drove down street, lights lost power...gracefully coasted towards gutter (well sort of)...stranded on side of road...looking frantically for emergency lights (yes, I know nothing about cars)...screaming baby in backseat (distressed baby crying is always lovely at a time like this)... lady from RACQ was so lovely... grateful screaming baby moved me up the list...didn't wait long too long...was rescued by nice RACQ man and husband arrived soon after ..managed to drive car to car until Friday. 

Today...recovery...retail therapy at the shops. 

See you back here tomorrow xo.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

bye little chickens

Adopting these little chickens for a while has been a good learning experience but it was time they made some more friends of their own.  They have been re-united with some chicks of the same age from their original egg hatching days.  We look forward to checking in on them with their new family.

Happy days little chicks. 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

morning or afternoon tea scone recipe

blueberry & lemon scone cake
Donna Hay
Source: ‘U on Sunday’, November 4, 2012
Recipe: Siobhan Boyle

Serves: 8
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
125g blueberries
cup (160ml) buttermilk
cup (160g) sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Milk, for brushing
Icing sugar, for dusting

1.       Preheat oven to 200°C.  Place the flour, sugar, lemon rind and blueberries in a bowl and mix to combine. 
2.       Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla.
3.       Use a butter knife to mix the buttermilk and cream into the flour until just combined.
4.       Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and gently bring the dough together.
5.       Roll out to a 16 cm round and, using a sharp knife, make 4 deep cuts (to make 8 triangles).
6.       Place the scone on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and brush with milk. 
7.       Bake for 24-26 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

My little one's loved helping to make this super size scone cake.  With all my little helpers in the kitchen, we made the form...super size scone cake.     

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

right now...

What do you do when there is so much to do?...
Sew of course!

It's a pink explosion and one that will hopefully use up this over supply.  I am keeping this one simple to showcase the lovely collection of prints in 2½" strips.

I hope you are having a lovely day too.

Monday, 5 November 2012

treasures from the weekend...

It was a busy weekend driving to the city and back but it was good to get away.  This mama escaped to an afternoon tea party with friends.  Only moments of good food and good conversation.  Just all round bliss really!  Oh that, and ignoring all the unpacking when we arrived home and deciding to keep working on my breadmaking skills by baking some little loaves of bread instead (recipe from the river cottage bread good).  

For my little flutterbugs, the weekend was finding delight in picking all the edible treasures from the backyard they could find; cherry tomatoes, chillies (I picked those) and strawberries.   

The strawberries naver made it in the bowl! 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Hello November

Hello November

My top 5 this month.  

This month I am...
...wishing my family and friends undergoing tests lots of love, hugs and good luck.
...wishing my little sister happy days and save travels on her journey overseas.
...hopefully going to make a decision around which school to send my eldest son to (for prep in 2014...yes I like to be organised).
...definitely going to finish some sewing projects.
...enjoy the lead up to Christmas with as little stress as possible.

What would you like to do this month?


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