Friday, June 29, 2012

A week almost over already.

It was a lovely sunny day today which meant we actually got the chance to head outside for a play.    Unfortunately my view of the backyard was obstructed by hubby's toys which didn't get put away before he headed back up to work the other day.

The view didn't stop me from a little al fresco hooking.

Master M scooted up, down and around the driveway.  Little Miss R was still feeling a bit under the weather so was laying on the lounge but perked up a bit later in the afternoon to come out for a play.

There was also some construction going on.  Our house is on stumps so the kids can go under and dig to their hearts content.  Master M definately takes after Daddy as you can see at the very, very top of the picture, way under the house is a digger and dump truck.  The truck was filled many times, then reversed out from under the house with the proper safety beeping noise, then dumped in a pile next to the driveway. 

I'll let hubby sort out the pile when he gets home.


I had to show you this next photo.  Last night I told the kids it was time to clean teeth.  I then continued with the washing up or whatever else I was doing.  After about 5 minutes I realised they weren't in the bathroom so went in search of them.....

I then realised that I did say that it was time to clean teeth and not to clean THEIR teeth.  They had a makeshift dentists chair set up and Bear was getting his teeth cleaned beautifully! 

(Little Miss R was using her brother's toothbrush too, she didn't want germs on hers!)

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

xx Susan

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I don't think I've shown you....

....my finished baby blanket.

The basic shell pattern in one colour is really pretty.  As I've said once before, sometimes the simplest patterns can be the prettiest.

I changed colour for the border and used white which has really set the blanket off.

The border did cause me a bit of a problem as I ended up trying out about 5 different designs.  I could never seem to settle on one of them because they didn't look right so I kept pulling them out and starting again.

 

Funnily enough, the border that looked the best was the same shell pattern.  I was originally only going to do two rows of the shell pattern but it didn't look right so I did another round and the 3 rows has finished it off perfectly.

Hope you enjoy!

xx Susan

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Baking, sleepovers, tennis....and more rain

I thought it had been a wet weekend but really it was cool and cloudy with some showers. The last couple of days have been WET with lots of soaking rain.   It's been lovely, snuggly weather and perfect for baking. 

There was chocolate slice (which I had 3 helpful little boys wanting to decorate!)


I had two of my nephews here yesterday afternoon, in the rain so everyone was stuck inside.  Little Miss R has been sick for the last couple of days so she wasn't her usual effervescent self either. 

The kitchen is the hub of my home, literally.  You have to go through it to get to nearly any room so when keeping an eye of 4 kids it's so much easier being in there and keeping busy.

I also made some cupcakes.

Then had to make some lemon slice as Little Miss R hates chocolate and since the boys were getting chocolate slice, she pleadingly asked if us girls could have some lemon slice.  How could I refuse?


My nephew J ended up staying the night and when we have someone here for a sleepover the kids always request pancakes for breaky.

They were delicious!

Of course it was raining again and since Hubby's home, he and the kids spent most of the day movie watching in the lounge.  They were all happy so I decided to have some happy time for myself as well. 

As Wimbledon is on I've been watching some of it until I'm ready for bed, then I tape the rest.

That means that I've spent a lot of this lovely, wet day watching the tennis and doing some crochet.  Don't you love this sparkly yarn! (Not that the picture shows it well cause it's so dark here).  It's lovely and soft too.  Oh the possibilities!

Time to think about feeding the family again so I'll catch you next time.

xx Susan

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happy 8 years honey!

8 years ago today we got married at my sister's house on the other side of this tree. A lot of our photos were taken on the stone bench seat you see under the tree.

It was a beautiful winter's day and a great time was had by all. 

For us it was a lovely, casual wedding which is what we wanted.  No sit down dinner, no long speeches (only a short one made by ME), just two families who had known each other forever, catching up, celebrating and having a lovely afternoon.

Happy anniversary to Shane.

Love you.

xx Susan

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The weekend as it was....sort of

Trust me....you are getting the happy moments.

Lots of fresh juice.  Yummmmmmmm.....

I squeezed about 40 oranges and mandarines in this tiny little juicer.  I'm now finding it difficult to move my right arm.

 

I also did a little more knitting while sitting at the computer looking up 'how to knit' websites.  I think I can now knit, purl, increase and decrease.  I have no idea what to do when stitches sort of fall off the top of the needle,  when I end up with 37 stitches when I should have 30 ???!*#%@!, or even how to follow a pattern.  I will soldier on when I can though and one day this will all seem a dream...... (I bloody well hope so anyway.)

I did get to enjoy a little time outdoors even though it was overcast, cold and rainy for most of the weekend.  Some of the garden is looking lovely, even if it is the neighbours and not mine.  Ah well, I can see this bit from my house and they can't so who really cares whose side of the fence it's on.

 

Some quick, easy and warm meals were on the menu.


With some rainy weather there has to be a little crochet too of course.

 

There have been some very, very good moments this weekend.....and some very, very not so good moments.  At least hubby is home tomorrow so it's not feeling so completely daunting right now.

I hope you all had a great weekend and the coming week will be good to you.

xx Susan


Friday, June 22, 2012

Another post about food

Yes I know this one is food again but that seems to be what our week is really focussed on.

This time it's bacon and eggs with a twist.

After a week of cooking for 3 extra people most nights, I all of a sudden had to cook for only 3.  My brother and his kids weren't here and lovely hubby was back at work so there was only the kids and myself.

Simple and easy is what I wanted and even though this still took a bit more preparation than I was really wanting (about 5 minutes!) it was worth it.


I can't even remember where I originally found this recipe but I've thought about making it for ages.  All you do is cut the crusts off some bread then roll them flat with a rolling pin.

Squish these down into a muffin pan to make a cup then crack an egg into each one.  Prick the egg with a fork then press some bacon into them and cook for about 15 minutes in a 200 celcius oven.

It was so yummy served with re-heated leftover vegetables to make me feel like we were getting something a little bit more nutritional.


The kidlettes gobbled everything up (and so did I).  I'm already working on a million different variations of this dish for a quick and easy breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea or dinner. 

Not only was it a hit with the kidlettes eating it all but they also told daddy when they spoke to him on the phone that they were making it for him for breakfast when he next comes home.

That's so sweet.....although I know that Mummy will be asked (yelled at) to help and end up doing most of it. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

The winter school holidays have just started here so I've got three weeks ahead of me of trying to keep the kidlettes entertained.  I have no plans so we'll see what we end up doing over that time.

Some sleepovers with family would be nice occasionally (hint, hint).

xx Susan

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gingerbread men

Little Miss R had a school excursion to the Ginger Factory today.

It was a huge success I must say as I've got more than 3 sentences from her about school.  Most of the time I get a 'GOOD', 'BAD',  or many times it's just a thumbs up or thumbs down and no words at all. (Definately takes after her father there!)

For a girl that can't be quiet half the time, it really is like pulling teeth to get any information out of her about school.

Tomorrow is the last day of school for the term and her teacher sent out an SOS for parents to make some gingerbread men so the kids could decorate on the last day of school.

I answered the call of course and I had a little helper too.



I seem to be the only mother to answer the call to baking things or making things for the kids.  I'm fine with that because I don't volunteer to do reading with the kids or go on school excursions.

Some mother's love to do those things but I start to feel a panic attack coming on even thinking about dealing with so many other kids.

Things are changing a bit there and I may tell you about that in future but right now I'm not quite up to expressing it all.  Let's just say it has to do with Little Miss R and her beautiful but extremely 'full on' personality and after a number of school interviews and peadiatrician visits, things are finally starting to change.

That's another post though (maybe).. for now it's back to the gingerbread men.

I made plenty for her whole class so that they could decorate on the last day of school.


The first batch that went into the oven were overcooked a bit so these were reserved for family only.  Master M decorated one for morning tea.  His was a bit of a dancer as that's all it really wanted to do.  Eventually it did get eaten.


After school the few extra burnt (whoops......'family' ones) were decorated and eaten with much enjoyment.

(I'm quite amazed that they don't look anywhere near as  burnt in the photos as they really are.)


They are very yummy and I just hope all the kids in Little Miss R's class have fun decorating their little gingerbread man tomorrow.

xx Susan


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My throw it all together Torta

This week has been a big week for meals in our house.   I'm very lucky that lovely hubby has been home because we've had my brother and his two boys for dinner a few nights already.

On a couple of occasions we've had to pick up Nephew J from school with Little Miss R, so he gets to stay at our place until his daddy (my brother) picks him up around 5.30pm.

The kidlettes have all been excited to see each other and it also means my brother has had a chance to catch up with my husband.  They are not only brother's-in-law but have been best friends since about kindegarten so I'm pretty lucky that my husband gets on well with my family.

Because they're here so late, I've ended up feeding a horde on a few evenings and this meal below is one that stretched a long way.

I made a basic tomato sauce and let it simmer right down.  (Ingredients and quantities will be at the end of the post).


I also roasted a heap of roast vegetable in strips or thin slices.  These included carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, capsicum (pepper), and zucchini (corguette).

Master M looked at the dish in the below photo and asked me if it was compost.  I'm not sure if I should now call this my compost pie/torta.

I made the pastry myself this time but you can easily used bought shortcrust pastry.  I use bought pastry most of the time but for this pie I just love using homemade pastry.  I don't know why but it just adds to the flavour I think.

I line a springform pan (around 24cm) with 2/3 of the pastry then start to layer in the ingredients.

You can layer it any way you wish and use what ingredients you wish to as well.  This time I started off with a little of the tomato sauce, then half of the roast vegetables.


I then added a layer of bacon, then some more sauce, more roast vegetable, some salami I had in the fridge and some leftover roast chicken.  I put some more sauce on top.

I then rolled out the rest of the pastry and put it on top, trying to jigsaw it all together because some bits kept breaking and I was interrupted a great MANY times by the four very hyperactive kids that were here at the time.


Dinner was finally ready and I'm surprised I remembered to take this last photo considering the chaos that was going on at the time.

Very rustic, not pretty but bloody yummy.  Amazingly all four kids ate most of their piece of pie, as well as the mashed potato and steamed carrots and broccoli.  I was so happy with the result.

So you want to know what I did to make this particular pie?  If you do, read on, if you don't then I'll say hooray and I'll see you next time.

Tomato based sauce.

1 tin diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 crushed garlic cloves
pinch of mixed dried herbs
half a teaspoon sugar (this helps bring out the full tomato flavour)
a good slurp of worcestershire sauce ( a couple of teaspoons I suppose)

Put in a saucepan, bring to the boil then simmer until it's reduced quite a bit, maybe 15 to 20 minutes.

The pie crust to suit a 24cm spring form tin.

3 cups of plain flour
200g softened butter
2 eggs

rub the butter into the flour, or blitz in a food processor until crumbs.  Then mix in the eggs until it forms a dough.  Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for about half an hour.

Break off about a third of the pastry for the top.  Roll out the rest for the base of the pie and after greasing the pan, line the pan with the pastry.

Layer all the ingredients in the pan.  You can do this anyway you like, I did sauce, vegetables, bacon, sauce, vegetable, salami and chicken, sauce and a little bit more bacon. 

Then roll out the top piece of the pastry.  Lay it over the top of the pie and fold down the edge bits until it's all enclosed.  Brush the top with a litte egg or milk, cut a few holes in it with a knife then place some foil over the top.

Place in a 200 degrees celcius oven for 30 minutes, then reduce to 180 degrees and cook with the foil off for a further 30-40 minutes.

Let sit for awhile before serving.  It's great hot but also absolutely fantastic cold.  Enjoy.

xx Susan


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Soothing Sunday's

Sunday was absolutely gorgeous.  The weather has been pretty fabulous lately, especially for winter with day time temperatures around 23-24 celcius. 


The kids are able to get out and have a good play in the backyard.  Lovely hubby was home so we had just a lovely family day at home.

I baked some biscuits and cakes.  I've wanted to try my Gluten-free recipe because I've promised to make some for the Year 1 cake stall at the school fete in August.



They are so light and fluffy and absolutely delicious, especially with a mid-morning coffee.

I also managed to squeeze in a little hooky time.  I'm onto the border now.


Then I finished the day making risotto.  I LOVE making risotto but only ever do it when hubby's home as I get interrupted by the kids constantly otherwise.

I really love the mindless stirring that goes with making a true risotto and find it so relaxing.  Then again, perhaps that was the couple of glasses of wine I had while making it that relaxed me!


Smoked salmon risotto with baby spinach.  Delicious!

Hope you have all had a fantastic weekend.

xx Susan

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Little Miss R goes to a party

There's nothing better than a jumping castle at a 6 year old's birthday party.

The kids keep eating the sugared goodies from the table then use the excess energy jumping and sliding within the castle.

They're so much fun and I was really tempted to have a go myself. I'm not sure what some of the other parents would have thought though as I don't know any of them very well.......maybe they would have joined me.

I just wish we had enough room in our backyard to have one when our little girl turned 6. Ah well...I'm sure I'll get the chance to bounce around on one again one day.

xx Susan

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A wet long weekend

My goodness, what a wet and windy weekend. You really wouldn't believe that we live on the Sunshine Coast and in the Sunshine State would you.

No matter though, I like the cold and the rain so it really was a nice snuggly weekend.  The kidlettes were quite good despite being housebound for most of the weekend and entertained themselves playing games, watching movies, building cubbies etc.

I kept myself entertained by snuggling up on my bed and indulging in my favourite passtime.



I've finished this baby wrap blanket which is so soft and lovely.  It was such a delight to make this one.

I've started another blanket, this time in one colour and using a shell pattern which is really effective and just lovely.  Sometimes the simple patterns can be the most effective.


While I was snuggled up on my bed hooking away, my little girl came in to snuggle up beside me.  She brought a couple of school books in so she could read and another one for Mum to read to her. 

It's the Secret Garden which I loved reading as a child and we both really love the movie.  She was so excited when she realised that I had the actual book so I've been reading a chapter or two a day to her.  We're both really loving the experience.

To continue on my completely crafty weekend, I made a scarf for a child and another of my kids messenger bags.  Little Miss R is going to a birthday party this coming weekend so I decided to make a couple of presents for the birthday girl.


The weekend is now over, the rain seems to have gone, and hubby heads back to work within the next hour so I probably won't be doing much crafty stuff for the rest of the week.

Housework is another thing though, especially as it was completely neglected over the weekend and with 4 people at home all the time.....well the place truly looks like a train wreck.

I don't feel as bad about the housework though knowing that I've had three whole days of pleasurable hooking and sewing.  It was soooooo worth it.

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend and have a great week.

xx Susan

Monday, June 4, 2012

Grocery update and cotton bedspread

I know I haven't been very forthcoming with the grocery update over the last couple of weeks but I'll just say that I've been making it in under my $80 budget...just.

Perhaps I do tell a small fib because the week after our trip to St Lawrence, we added an extra $10 to that week's budget.  The main reason was because our big freezer gave up the ghost while we were away so we came home to lots of defrosted foods, meat, and pre-prepared meals.  We won't mention the lemon juice blocks I had stored in bags which then melted all through the freezer!  Not good.

So I am sticking to my budget still although since the freezer breakdown I've had to be a little craftier with things.

Onto other things.

I have promised to show you progress on my cotton bedspread.


I stil haven't quite joined all the hexagons I've completed yet but I'll get there.  The photos will give you a bit of an idea of what it looks like anyway.


The joins are quite interesting as I'm trying a number of different techniques to decide which are my favourite ways of sewing blankets together and which ways look better.  It's for my bed and not for anyone else's so I don't mind if a couple of joinings are raised and others are flat.  If I had the time and inclination I'd undo the ones I'm not happy with and re-sew them but that won't be happening any time this decade so I'll just be happy with it as is.

Hope you have all had a great weekend!  It was my Mother-in-law's 60th birthday so we partied on Saturday night (all the adults) then had a lunch time get-to-gether with all her grandkids present the next day.  It was a lovely, if busy weekend.

xx Susan


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sleepless

I know I'm not alone when I tell you that I often wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep for HOURS.

If I go to bed a little too early then I find myself awake sometime between midnight and 2am and then around 4am I start to wilt again.

I usually have a cup of tea but tonight I was a bit peckish so I had a couple of ginger nut biscuits that I made at dinner time while the oven was on. 
Scrummy!


So what do I do with my peaceful few hours when I have this amazingly special time to myself?

  • I catch up on all things bloggy related if I haven't had the chance to get on for awhile.
  • Sometimes I write in my journal.  This is something that I've been doing for years and don't often get the chance to sit and have a good write these days.
  • Sometimes I'll do up a menu plan or go through my cookbooks looking for new recipes to try (this is not a chore for me, I LOVE looking through recipe books).
  • Sometimes I crochet.....of course!
Tonight after my blogland catch up, I decided that I would write in my journal for awhile.  I've got a few errands to do in the morning though while hubby looks after the kidlettes so I might save journal time for then and stop off at a cafe somewhere.

That leaves more time for me to crochet.  I've got so much that I want to do right now.  I've nearly finished this sweet little baby blanket that I've been making and my fingers are itching to do those last few rounds.



I also promise that I will show you my cotton bedspread so far.  I mentioned I would awhile ago then didn't get back to sewing the hexagons I had done together.



I've just got a couple more to sew on then I'll spread it out on the bed, hope for a sunny day and take some pics just for you. :)  I'm not sure about the sun though because it's just started raining again.  Oh I love the sound of rain on the roof.


I'm off to work my magic on some blankets now.

xx Susan

P.S  For those who are interested, I'm still doing the grocery challenge and will update you on the last couple of weeks when I get the chance.