Friday, October 21, 2016


My sweet, sweet girl turned 11 this week.

I won't say that the time has flown or anything because really, some weeks feel like they've taken 11 years to get through to be honest.

So not only have I been making more tomato relish this week, I've also been baking cakes.

Yes that is cakes plural as we had to have one for home...

...and one for school.

There were croissants for breakfast which are always a favourite.

After school some family members and neighbours kids came to visit.  Little Miss R got an extra special gift from my Mum which you can see in the next photo.  No that's NOT a chicken nugget in her mouth.

It's actually a crumbed lamb's brain which Little Miss R absolutely loves.  Nana cooked some up especially for her only granddaughter for a birthday treat.  She's welcome to enjoy them all herself!!

Then it was time to light the candles and make a birthday wish.

Happy Birthday beautiful girl.

xx Mum

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Busy pottering

It was a bit of a mish-mash of a week (and previous weekend) which truthfully has been quite fine with me.  

Last week was quite busy-ish week so when Saturday rolled around I decided that it would be a nice At Home day for the kidlettes and myself.  Daddy was away at work so it was just the three of us and we were happy to potter around.

I admit that I encouraged x-box playing a bit so that I could play in my happy place without too many interruptions.  As we have the one x-box and kids who argue a bit when they play together, we set the timer for each child.  We give them a fairly decent go on it and once the timer goes off, it's time two swap over.

There was plenty of outside play when it wasn't their turn on the machine (especially for Little Miss R).  Master M headed to his room and played with his lego and later on in the day there was plenty of outside play with the neighbourhood kids.  All extremely noisy but fun.

I took the time to go through my stash.

There's not much to my stash these days as I got so sick of the clutter and odds and ends that I had a very good cull of some of my crafty stuff a couple of months ago.  There's still plenty of other things to cull but my yarn stash has been depleted.

I've been eyeing off some projects that I want to sink my teeth into.  I'm having to contain myself a little because I will confess I do have some more yarn on order from the UK.  I have definite plans for that yarn and have been really trying very hard to be patient while waiting for the delivery but it is getting a bit difficult.

The waiting got to me and in the end I couldn't help myself.  I found some yarn in my stash and decided to make the above shawl with it.  

It felt so good making those first few rows.  You won't believe how good, especially as I hadn't picked up a crochet hook in over 6 months!!

Yes, I had truly lost my mojo for nearly everything but it all seems to be bouncing back now and I've got plenty of projects running through my brain.  I'll let you know more about them when my package arrives.  It's all very exciting!

I also made a batch of tomato relish.  It's not my Sweet Tomato Relish which I usually make up a big batch of.  I've pretty well got that recipe down pat and will probably make a batch of that soon.

This recipe uses only 500 grams of tomatoes, enough to make one decent bottle full.

I've been playing around with the recipe for awhile and keep making adjustments to the amounts until I get it just how I want it.  Unfortunately I only make this one every six months or so and can never remember which variation I like best.

Then I was give this wonderful bounty by my lovely mum.

So over the first few days of this week I've made up a couple more batches and adjusted the amounts in each batch or the kinds of vinegar I've used. The difference in the flavour is quite astonishing really when sometimes only a small change is made.  I've given some of each to my mum and dad so that they can taste test for me and we can work out which recipe we like best.

In between doing all that I even took the kidlettes to the movies to see Storks.  (That was on Sunday.  I can't believe we're already halfway through the next week!)

We all really enjoyed it and my brother and his boys came along too so the kids all got to spend some time together.

I also tried out a recipe for some Onion Jam which is really yummy.

I've given some of that to my dad too and will get the verdict later this week.  I think it's bloody good though.

The next few days will be busy too.  We have a birthday for Little Miss R coming up so there'll be cakes made for home and school.

The neighbours have given me some tomatoes and I've still got a container full from the earlier bounty even after all the relish I've made.  This time I'll make my big batch of Sweet Tomato Relish which uses about 2kg of tomatoes and I'll make sure I preserve it properly for Christmas gifts or just for future use as we do go through a bit of it.

Hope you are all having a lovely week and I'll show you how my shawl is going when I get the chance to photograph it.  

xx Susan

Friday, October 14, 2016

Three Minute Chocolate Slice

A few years ago one of my neighbours told me about a microwave chocolate slice she makes which only takes 3 minutes to cook.  I can't remember if she gave me her recipe or if  I googled it but this is the one I've been using for years. 
It's rich, sort of fudgy and a hit with Master M and the neighbours kids. 
I'll write the recipe out at the end but basically you put some self-raising flour, desiccated coconut, sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl.
Then you add in some golden syrup and melted butter.

Mix it all together and press into a microwave safe container.  (I use a loaf size plastic container but a glass Pyrex square one would work or whatever you have).

You cook it in the microwave on high for 3 minutes.  When it comes out it will still look quite wet and maybe not quite cooked.  This is just the illusion of microwave cooking.

This is what it looks like once it's cooled down.

The original recipe I had says to ice the slice when it's still warm but I often do it when it's cool (only because I'm doing other things and forget about it).  It still works out fine.
The icing is made up of some icing sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and some milk.  I don't bother about putting any butter in it.  No one notices the difference and it works out quite fine without it.

Master M really loves to help out, especially when it comes to mixing things.  I think it's more the incentive of getting to lick the bowl afterwards.  Since Little Miss R detests chocolate, this bowl is always his!

Spread the icing evenly over the top, shower it with some sprinkles or 100's and 1000's or whatever you prefer then wait for the icing to set before cutting it up.

Then you enjoy!

Recipe for 3 minute microwave chocolate slice
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I use caster)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 150g melted butter (I use unsalted)
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • enough milk to make a nice spreadable icing.  I usually start off with around 1-2 tablespoons then add more if needed.
My microwave is 1100W and I cook it on high for 3 minutes. 
I developed another non-chocolate one for Little Miss R made with wheat bix and topped with a lemon icing.  I'll try to remember to share that with you another day as it takes only 3 minutes in the microwave as well.
xx Susan

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Aqua Park

A few weeks ago on the school holidays, my sister and her husband treated their niece and nephews for a morning out.  It was a birthday present for 3 of them as their birthdays all fall within about 3 weeks (Master M is the odd one out as he was born in January).

The plan was to head to one of the Aqua Parks on the Sunshine Coast.  We were originally going to the one in Coolum but a freak storm a couple of nights before had caused some damage which they were still repairing.

 We went to the one at Bli Bli instead which is a little smaller than the one at Coolum but there are other activities at the facility as well.
Each session goes for 50 minutes and everyone that uses the park (children as well as adults) are given a life jacket to wear.

 Once the horn goes they swarm off the beach and onto all the fun things out on the water.  There are trampolines and walkways, slides and other odd things I don't know the name of.

 Thanks so much to Uncle J who went out there with the kids.  They really, really, really LOVED it and I have a feeling Uncle J did too. 
They were all pretty knackered afterward because it's a full on 50 minutes of swimming, running, jumping, climbing, sliding, bouncing and more swimming.

 I haven't cropped the above and below photos (still working out how to do that on this computer), but Uncle J is jumping onto a big blow up pillow thing and Nephew R is sitting on the edge of it. 
The bottom photo has Nephew R flying through the air before he landed with a big splash!

 The Bli Bli Aqua Park is part of the cable skiing facility too so it was a pretty busy place the morning we were there. 

 We had a fantastic morning and Master M has already requested that we go there for his birthday.  I may have to buy a pair of togs (swimmers) and think about joining in the fun.
Thank you so much to Aunty S and Uncle J for a wonderful present for the kids and what was a really fun and lovely morning.
xx Susan

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hello people.....

It seems that I have been away.  Not from my house or anywhere spectacular.  Just from my blog for awhile and it was all completely unintentional.  One day I just stopped taking photos and thinking of things to write and it sort of continued for a little.
Anyway, we're all good here.  The kidlettes keep growing and growing and lovely hubby and I are still plodding along.

The September school holidays finished recently and hubby took a little time off so we could go camping with the kids.  We had to dust the camper trailer off because it had been awhile since we had used it. 
In fact, the last time was when we went up to Double Island point about 18 months ago!
This time we decided that we would go out to Somerset Dam camping which is near the township of Kilcoy and only about a 45 minute drive from home.  In the end we didn't go there as we knew that it would be WAY too crowded and it's also quite expensive for a family on the school holidays. 
I'm not that interested in paying over $50 per night to camp.

Hubby came up with a great idea and contacted some friends who have a farm near the Pumistone Passage which is only a 20 minute drive from our place.
Down by the creek they have a couple of huts with plenty of room to camp.  In fact there's a fishing club which camps there one weekend a month and other friends of theirs camp on other weekends and on the holidays.
We were really lucky that we ended up having the whole place to ourselves for the 5 days we were there which was beyond fantastic.
Little Miss R loved to sit on the jetty and watch the water.  She would do it for ages then jump on her bike and go talk to the cows in one of the nearby paddocks.
There's also a shed which has some tables and a couple of barbeques in it.  You have to bring your own gas bottle and the rules of camping here are to make sure the barbeque is clean and the shed swept out when you leave.  That's it!

Hubby spent a lot of time with the fishing rods in the water.

The kidlettes loved having a fish, especially Little Miss R who was determined to cast her own line.  I untangled a few but she did a good job.
Master M and dad bonded for awhile....until Master M got bored.  (This doesn't take long to do).

We took the kayaks so everyone could have a paddle if they wanted.  Master M stuck close to home and evened braved up and paddled to the opposite side of the creek and back a few times.

Little Miss R was happy to explore further and one afternoon went for a pretty big paddle with her father.  She slept well that night!

There was plenty of room to kick a ball and play some tennis which we did with the kids each day.
Patch was also able to come on holidays with us this time too and he really loved exploring.  Unfortunately he also loved laying in the mud at the edge of the creek at low tide so we had a half white, half black mud dog.

Of course you can't go camping without a campfire and we certainly had one of those going all the time.

We came home pretty relaxed and the kids loved it so much they want to go back there all the time.

Hope you are all well and I'll try not to leave it so long until the next post.

xx Susan

Sunday, September 27, 2015


We're halfway through the September school holidays here.

I feel like we haven't done much at all in the way of outings etc. 

The kidlettes have been playing way too much xbox and I'm quite happy with that on some days. 

I feel guilty that we're not doing much but I'm a homebody and sometimes I need to be FORCED to leave the house to do anything at all, that includes going down to get the milk. (I'm sure we have poddy calves in the house right now as the milk seems to be disappearing at rather a rapid rate.)

We have been baking.  Lots of yummy deliciousness in the form of ginger nuts (Master M's favourites), chocolate slice and lemon slice.  Jam drops may be next as I have a few jars I need to use up the dregs of and perhaps some cupcakes may be in order too.  Actually I think cupcakes will be a must in the second week of the school holidays as I haven't made them in my new oven yet. 

We've had Cousin R over for a sleepover which was very noisy.  Fun but noisy!

There's also been a visit to Australia Zoo.  I can't believe it's been about 5 years since we last went considering it's only 3 kilometres from our place. 

My sister and I used to meet at the zoo for a coffee once a week back then instead of going to a cafe.  It's a lovely place to go as there are so many gardens and trees and the kids loved seeing all the animals.

My sister was taking my nephews last Friday and catching up with some other friends at the zoo so the kidlettes and I decided that we would go too.  We've bought our annual passes again so we can head up after school sometimes or just anytime we get bored on the holidays or a weekend.

The Africa section is open now so we finally got to check the giraffes out (I've been harassed for years now for us to go see the giraffes).

Master M wasn't impressed with anything other than the crocodiles.  This is not surprising as he's been obsessed with crocodiles and getting a top jaw rope on his stuffed crocodile since he could walk. 

We didn't stay all day as children (and Mum) were getting a bit tired and grumpy.  From now on when we go we'll stick to what I used to do years ago.  We pick one or two things we want to see and head up there for just a couple of hours then the next time we pick something else.  It saves everyone getting tired and grumpy that way.

Somehow I think Master M is going to pick the crocodiles everytime we go so it might be up to me to add the variety each time.

We'll see what the second week of he holidays brings but at this stage there'll be more sleepovers and I'm sure another couple of trips to the zoo.

x Susan

Click here for one of our Zoo visits years ago.

Friday, September 18, 2015

All things snakey.....

My walks this week have taken on a new level of vigilance.

On Monday I nearly stepped on this little fella below.

It was only about 20cm long but even baby snakes can pump out lethal venom so I made sure the dog and I got well away pretty quickly.

Then on Wednesday we were wandering along happily again when I spied a glistening stick in the grass and quickly called Patch back to my side.  Thank goodness he obeyed me as I really didn't want to have to rush to the vets if he got bitten. 

Can you see the snakes in the picture below (there are two).

I'll zoom in a bit for you.  There's one crossing the track and one in the grass about to follow the bigger one.

The first snake was about 3 foot and the second was skinnier and smaller so they really weren't very big.

I'm not 100% sure what they are but I'm thinking Eastern Brown snakes as they're fairly common around here. 

Considering they're the world's 2nd most deadliest snake I was amazed at how calm I was. 

We waited for about 5 minutes until they had crossed the track and gone into the bush before we continued on our walk.

After that I kept an extra sharp lookout and was relieved when we got back to the car.  You would not believe how many sticks lay on the edge of the track!!

xx Susan