Thursday, July 31, 2008

Quiet Moment

Am about to enjoy a time of stillness as it has been busy since this morning. The breeze has picked up which means that the towels out on the line will dry, even though they were hung out late. I did so enjoy holding 4 year old daughter's hand as I read "Hairy Maclary" to her and 2 year old daughter. They have played together beautifully today and enjoyed each other's company.

Books and storage...

Speaking of books I thought of this bookshelf that is behind our front door. I found the baskets at Ikea and junk shops for our shoes, one basket for each of us. It is a tad messy, but not as bad as if the shoes were dumped on the floor.
The baskets on top are my "pass on" baskets. One if for E and my extended families (there is always stuff to hand over...). The other is for friends. Very handy right behind the door, ready to go......I love baskets.

This morning....

The mist was a thick blanket in the valley. I drove the children to school as 6 year old daughter needed to be there early. How I love the bus that usually takes them to school. It picks them up at the end of our driveway.

I struggled to wake this morning as I went to bookclub last night and it was rather a late night. We are a very casual bookclub, enjoying discussion on a range of topics and not always books. These ladies are at different stages in their life and I enjoy hearing what they have to say. Many have lived overseas and that brings an added interest for me. Delicious strong coffee and chocolate was enjoyed.

Speaking of food (a favourite topic), I am looking forward to a repeat of my lunch menu yesterday, today: avocado on grain toast with butter and herbs, pumpkin soup and a piece of shortbread. Husband E agreed it was the best batch ever and I think the difference was mixing the sugar in thoroughly first with the melted butter and then the rice flour thoroughly before adding the plain flour.
Only one more month of Winter.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quiet moment

Cup of tea and shortbread.

Wednesday's Baking


This is a double quantity:
500g butter
1 cup castor sugar
1 cup rice flour
4 cups plain flour

Melt butter, add sugar and then gradually mix in flours. Spread in two slice tins.
Bake for about 40 minutes in 160-180 degree oven.

This recipe comes from a 'Women's Weekly' recipe book ('Sweet Old Fashioned Favourites')
Now if anyone has some good tips as to how to prevent the shortbread from cracking when I cut it, please let me know...


Well as I mentioned in "Conquer the Clutter", here are some things I found in chuckout.....

The sideboard...
Little stool.....

The table, we had the chairs already.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quiet moment

There is some sunshine streaming into this room. The cat is enjoying it.

Pumpkin soup

This is the best pumpkin soup I have ever tasted. Mrs N made it for our weekend at the lake house.

Pumpkin soup

60 gm butter
about 2 kg chopped pumpkin
2 medium onions
2 teaspoons sugar
5 cups chicken stock
1-2 cups milk
2 teaspoons garum masala or curry powder

Heat the butter in a large saucepan. Add the pumpkin and stir until the pieces are well coated with butter.
Cover and cook gently for 10 minutes.
Add onion, curry, sugar, salt, stock and millk. Replace lid and cook over a low heat until pumpkin very tender. Puree. Add nutmeg when serving.

I am trying it in the crockpot and leaving the milk till the end. Hope it works as well. This is dinner with homemade bread tonight.


I have seen that someone visited this blog from South Africa, I do hope they stop by again as I was born there.


However, jewellery will have to wait whilst I have little ones grabbing. I do love chunky, colourful necklaces. This printers' tray is one I had growing up. Then it was filled with little ornaments, now my necklaces, brooches and earrings. Husband E cut some glass to fit over it which slides in and out keeping things dust free. I am thinking if you can't see it , you forget you have it. Also if I am not enjoying wearing these at the moment, at least I can enjoy looking at them.

Use your best

I have read in a few blogs such as Warm Pie Happy Home that it is good for us to dress nicely in the morning, put on some lippie (lipstick), don the pearls and I would like to add; use your perfume if that is your thing. Don't keep it till 'best' for sunlight to evaporate....I even have one I wear Monday to Friday and another that says 'weekend' for me. My children recognise it as my scent and 4 year old daughter in particular loves it. When my 6 year old daughter was younger, I would spray a little on her pyjamas if I had to go out at night....
This red box was painted by my great aunt.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Rainy afternoon...

Steaming cup of tea in a lavender cup,
Candle flickering,
Heater warming,
Smell the raisin toast cooking...
Cat in lap,
Children all home...
Thoughts of Shepherd's pie for dinner,
Awaiting husband E to come home in the rain...

Quiet moments

I had many quiet moments this morning as my dear friend, Mrs H, babysat our 2 year old daughter. 4 year old daughter was at preschool and the older two were at school. What a gift!! I put all the laundry away, checked soccer details, cleaned our bedroom and had a lovely, quiet cup of coffee. I was still and able to read through some things in my Bible study journal.

Thankyou dear friend!!

The Simple Woman's Daybook

A new week:
Outside my window is cold, grey and drizzle
I am thinking that the weeks are flying by
I am thankful for good friends and silence
From the kitchen I am making things that warm us up inside
I am creating a sympathy card
I am going to my father in law's house today where 18 cousins will play together
I am wearing jeans, a denim waistcoat and red scarf
I am reading "Blossum Street"
I am hoping to finish it before Wednesday as that is bookclub
I am hearing my 2 year old eat her mandarine
Around the house is no washing as I had free time this morning
One of my favourite things is knowing what we are having for dinner
A few plans for the rest of the week: to start a good routine for the new term
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

The view from my 6 year old daughter's bedroom window.

Conquer the Clutter

On the weekend I cleared some clutter from the garage. I put skipping ropes and rockets (!) and chalk into some drawers of an old filing cabinet I found on 'chuckout'. Now chuckout is a wonderful Australian tradition that I enjoy. Twice a year our council sets a date that we can put all things we do not need from our houses or garages on the pavement (sidewalk) and anyone can take what they like. Then on the date posted, a truck collects the leftovers. Much of our furniture is from this and husband E has repaired and tidied the items. I shall post some examples later. At any rate, the filing cabinet drawers helped me conquer the clutter in the garage.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The tree bears fruit

E's dad gave us some lemons, another sister in law had gathered 250 from his tree before our bag full! Tonight we had lemon pudding.

Lemon pudding
50g butter
130g sugar
4 tablespoons flour
4 eggs
juice of 4 lemons
500 mL milk

Mix and bake in a pudding bowl in an oven 180 degrees for about 50 minutes.
This recipe came from a newspaper supplement.


"You are the light of the world-like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all."

Matthew 5:14-15

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Quiet Moment

Today, inside with a magazine; tea, an apple and a chocolate covered Scotch finger biscuit.

Soccer season

We had a fun game this morning and not too muddy. Back late for lunch outside in the sun and then husband E and 9 year old son have gone to work on the vintage car....

Grandpa stopped by for a quick coffee and "Tiger, tiger" where the little ones climb on his back whilst he 'prowls' around.

Simply Saturday

Today has started later, husband E is out cycling in the cold and then later in the day he has to work on the vintage car to get it ready for this year's registration. E and his Dad restored the car about fifteen years ago for a sister's wedding. The last time we went out in it, it had engine troubles....
We will head to a soccer game this morning which should be a mud bath after this week's rain.
I hope to make a card today and write invitations to our neighbours for an afternoon tea next weekend to meet and welcome a new neighbour who has been here a few months now!!
Today's dinner will be bolognaise.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Quiet Moment

Yes, I still managed to have one. The groovy aunt (my sister) phoned yesterday and told me that we all needed at least 15 minutes rest a day!!!

Today the quiet moment was with 9 year old son, eating some M&Ms whilst watching "Mr Bean" on video that the kind Mrs B has left here.

Fresh Produce Friday

I will be placing an order for fruit, vegetables, milk, bread and eggs shortly. Meals for next week will include teriyaki chicken, bolognaise, Shepherd's pie and possibly pumpkin soup. Mrs H gave me a meal planner for my birthday which I will enjoy using.

I felt guilty last night as I left for an appointment at 6pm and left husband E to finish homework and give the children their dinner. There was not much left in the fridge and pantry as I had a huge grocery list to deal with at the shops. When I came home though, husband E said that there had been plenty of soup left over and all enjoyed the last of the chocolate cake with ice cream for dessert. Loaves and fishes....

Frantic Friday

"I woke up early this morning,
And paused before entering the day,
I had so much to accomplish
That I had to take time to pray."

Author unknown.

Yes many things to get done today. It is still raining here and I have kept 9 year old son home again as his tonscillitis was severe and being out for a ball games' day is not a good idea.

6 year old daughter has gone in mufti (no uniform) which takes longer as we have to decide what to wear. I know many of you have to do this everyday and I recall my American host sister and I having a grand time each morning getting ready for school when I spent a year in CarolStream, Illinois.

Today's tasks: clean floors, dust living area, wipe bathroom, kitchen floor, place fresh produce order, get dough ready for pizza tonight and hand-wash ballet clothes. There are also some clean clothes that need to be put away....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kitchen clutter

Am keeping "Conquer the Clutter" in mind as I recall a great idea I saw on Oprah ages ago: how to clear the second drawer clutter: Empty the drawer into a box and when you use an item, return it to the drawer. At the end of the month, whatever remains in the box is not needed by you and you can get rid of it.....

Quiet moment

It is cloudy outside so no sunshine for me. Candlelight is nice though...

Tidy up

I divide my jobs in the week and although I would love a tidy, clean house all in one go, it is not possible with little ones still at home in the day.

Monday: dust bedrooms (the children do their own)
Tuesday: dust bookshelves in hallway and clean glass sliding door, TV screens....
Wednesday: bake and clean kitchen, including kitchen floor
Thursday: clean bathrooms and wash towels
Friday: dust living areas and clean floors, sweep outside front door
Saturday: vacuum entrance, hallway, study, laundry and bathroom

At some point from Friday to Sunday, two childrens' beds (linen) are dealt with.

Every second day I need to clean our wooden floors with a static mop.

I love rearranging furniture or sorting things out and I love a good chuck out. Doing this sort of thing in the room I am cleaning is a good incentive along with the routine job. I also love to spray lavender in the room when I am done.

I really enjoy clean floors before the weekend so that Saturday morning we can all relax (till we need to go to soccer) and the fluffies do not annoy!!

Every day there is invariably laundry to wash, dry and put away. Every morning, beds are made and the bathrooms are wiped over. Tables are wiped too. This means that as we walk through the house, things look fine...

So the house remains somewhat dealt with, the car however is filthy!!


I really enjoy making a white sauce, I love how the ingredients become soft and silky as they warm up. Our dinner (macaroni and cheese) was enjoyed by all last night and kept us warm inside while the rain drizzled outside.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Night Falls....

At 10am today, all looked lost: two dressed, two still in pyjamas, no breakfast yet for successfully on the school bus. But now, 8pm I have done all that I had hoped to today: baked two cakes, cleaned the kitchen surfaces and floor, folded laundry from yesterday, prepared dinner (macaroni and cheese with salad), helped two children with homework, made some phone calls, played hand ball with 9 year old son and had a few cuddles along the way. Husband E and I even had a quiet chat together at 5pm!!! A day where I was sustained....

Tomorrow I will start working towards the "Conquer the Clutter Challenge" that I have just learnt about. I have the garage in mind....

Quiet moment

Today's quiet moment was a request for silence whilst mixing the chocolate cake!!!

Meeting new friends

I am enjoying visiting other people's blogs and have found at least one thing in common so far with each person who has visited mine and left a comment. One blog in particular, is new like mine, also has four children and is a lovely read. Nice to meet you Cathy!!

Baking Wednesday

I generally try to bake on Wednesdays (usually stock for school lunchboxes). While I have a sink of soapy water and am waiting for things to melt or cook, I clean the surfaces in the kitchen.

Am surprised that baking has happened today; have been a little behind all day. Today's recipe is gluten free chocolate cake.

Gluten free chocolate cake (this makes two cakes)

300g good quality chocolate (I use dark)
200g butter
8 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
250g almond meal

Melt butter and chocolate together over a low heat in a saucepan. Take off the heat, add sugar and then eggs. Mix. Add almond meal. Mix. Pour into two lined pans (I use 20cm square pans) and bake at 160-180 degrees Centigrade for about 20minutes. I don't even think about icing this one.
This recipe came from a newspaper supplement


We are slowly getting back into the swing of term time. 6 year old daughter had ballet again yesterday afternoon. She looks so pretty in her ballet outfit.... She is learning how to touch type so that she can be quicker on the computer.

My dear friend Aunty L has taken 6 year old daughter to ballet this year, which has been such an amazing help as I do not need to rush all four children into the car. Without Aunty L, I don't think ballet would have been possible this year.

I love all the opportunities available to our children but am very conscious that I want to keep life simple and have some free afternoons. 9 year old son plays soccer and 6 year old daughter goes to ballet and piano lessons before school once a week. She also goes to swimming lessons further up our road. 9 year old son used to do swimming lessons as well.

I have made a chart to keep track of which activities each child has done; when they started and when they ended. I think wherever possible it will be helpful if two children (or more) can be in the same place at the same time. There are possiblities for next year where I may attempt to have the older two children together. We did no activities except swimming in the first year of school, which was helpful for us. I do not have a problem with children taking turns at activities so that we do not spend our lives in the car. The only problem is if the activity warrants many years of dedication......... What will they remember when they are older?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


The soup was delicious and the bread the best ever; it really pays to measure the yeast accurately!!!

The Simple Woman's Daybook

I am hoping it is still Monday somewhere in the world as I did not do the Simple Woman's Daybook yesterday.
Outside my sunshine
I am thinking...that I need to get back to my jobs
I am thankful for....heating
From the soup and homemade bread
I am creating....a blog (still)
I am and from school and preschool this week
I am wearing.....a long, rust coloured jumper that my sister in law knit for me
I am reading....this month's Country Style magazine
I am hoping.....that our 9 year old son gets better soon
I am hearing.....a Steve Irwin DVD in the background
Around the house.....are toys
One of my favourite things....chocolate honeycomb icecream
A few plans for the rest of the start a quiet time in the morning
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...... our backyard

Quiet moment

More sunshine and no wind today. Must remember to set up the breadmaker after lunch!


I have been enjoying reading through By Grace Alone and many posts have struck a chord with me. One interesting post in particular was the encouragement to view things in a positive light, so here goes: Last night:
I was thankful that my husband arrived just in time to take the older two to the doctor.
I was thankful that the chemist was still open.
I was thankful that there is medication to help our 9 year old son.
I was thankful that dinner was ready just in time.
I was thankful that my husband went out to get petrol and replenish some groceries.
I was thankful for a cat on my lap and honeycomb chocolate icecream to enjoy.
I was thankful that my husband has a job that requires ironed shirts.

One could imagine a different perspective on the above, but perhaps there is no other perspective for honeycomb chocolate icecream!!!


I have always enjoyed God's help with the laundry! Have you ever been annoyed when after the washing machine is done, you pull out an item of clothing that had a tomato based stain and it is still there? Then you hang it out (as other things need to be done) and you come back and it is gone? God's help with the washing..... (Sunlight removes tomato based stains).

School days

OK, I need to get up earlier. We started to run late towards the end as a few unexpected events took place. 9 year old son home for the week with tonscilitis. 6 year old daughter was very helpful and grown up and caught the school bus by herself.

Now onto the jobs: laundry, bathroom floor and start the bacon and lentil soup.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pancake flop

It is official, I cannot make pancakes. 6 year old daughter has requested them for days now and I made them for afternoon tea. They were terrible (slightly improved hot with dripping butter and jam). 6 year old daughter loved them (which was grand as they were her treat) drizzled with honey. This is my third attempt and third failure. What is the secret to edible pancakes or even pikelets (hot cakes)?????

Another quiet moment

2 year old daughter in bed, older two quiet and happy, time for another quiet moment in the sunshine, hopefully sheltered from the wind.

Back to the clock

We are back to watching the clock. 4 year old daughter has gone to preschool and the older two will go to school tomorrow. 9 year old boy is sick with a fever....

Lots of washing to put away today, floors to clean and a bedroom to dust.

Yesterday's brunch was very nice, the smell of bacon chases thoughts of dust bunnies and laundry to be done and makes one feel like the hostess with the mostest.

We had blueberry muffins, Winter fruit and fritatta.

Winter fruit

Can of plums (large)
Can of strawberries
orange rind

Heat on stove or microwave, serve with yoghurt
This recipe just happened.


bacon, onion (chopped and fried or done in microwave in quiche dish till onions soft and you can smell the bacon)
Grated zucchini
parmesan cheese (shaved or grated)
8 eggs

Mix altogether, bake in oven till set.

You could basically add anything that takes your fancy.
This recipe is an altered version that Mrs H gave me.

Tonight we are having the leftover roast in a casserole which we all love served with rice:

Leftover roast casserole

Cut roast into diced pieces
a few tablespoons of corn flour and stock dissolved in cold water

Bake till gravy thick. YUM

Sunday, July 20, 2008


A day that is set apart, different... a day of a quiet mind perhaps...

I have a set of cards with Bible verses. Today's :

"Faithfully obey My laws, and I will send rain to make your crops grow and your trees produce fruit. Your harvest of grain and grapes will be so abundant, that you won't know what to do with it all. You will eat and be satisfied, and you will live in safety."

Leviticus 26:3-5

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday night roast

"There is nothing like a roast dinner." is a frequent comment from me. Tonight we had roast beef and vegetables. We have a tradition of always having a candle on the table when we have a roast. The children then all take turns to blow it out. We often have a pudding too, tonight it was chocolate.

Chocolate pudding

1 tablespoon butter

150g dark chocolate

85g sugar

4 eggs

1 tablespoon flour

Melt butter and chocolate, add other ingredients and then bake in oven for about 20minutes. The centre should be soft and gooey. Delicious. I got this recipe from the newspaper a few years ago.

Quiet moments

This is the quiet moment in the afternoon. The cup and saucer are from a very good friend, Aunty L. I sit and drink, never on the run....

Blueberry muffins

6 year old daughter and I whipped up some blueberry muffins as we are now having a family brunch tomorrow...The recipe is from a sister in law.

Blueberry muffins

125g butter

1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar

3 eggs

1 cup milk

1 1/2 cups blueberries (I use frozen)

3 cups SR flour

Mix but not too much....

If you use plain flour they will be rather flat and you won't want to photograph them...

Storage solution

In the study..........

Here is the improved 9 year old son's desk....

Job done. I love these old suitcases, they hide many things. In 9 year old son's room, it hides rugby cards, bits and pieces he has made etc. In the lounge it hides paperwork and filing. The stack of suitcases have each child's keepsakes; birthday cards, certificates, first pair of shoes etc. One in the study holds a lot of craft items and another holds CDs. I even have one that holds all magazines and newspaper supplements that I have not read yet. What I really like about the suitcases is that when you open them, you can see everything at a glance and then you can actually 'work' within the case (I sort through my files by just lifting the lid). You could also just lift them and place them somewhere else if you need a clear work surface. My dear friend Mrs B has found many suitcases for me at second hand shops and E Bay.

Simply Saturday

We started the morning with four lovely children all snuggling in bed. After the healthy cereal, all four opted for a bowl of chocolate cereal, whilst a lovely Clannad CD played in the background (no the ambience was not there....) Happy, helpful children today as 6 year old daughter had to tidy holiday muddle from her room as her groovy aunt will be sleeping there tonight. 9 year old son has a clear floor but I will be tackling his desk with a storage solution this afternoon.....

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

I have just linked in with The Simple Woman's Daybook. I love the categories:
Outside my window..... is wind and cold
I am thinking..... that I should have been more open to interruptions today
I am thankful for..... four, healthy children and cuddles
From the kitchen.... we made the BEST pizza tonight
I am creating.... a blog
I am going.... to my 9 year old son's soccer match tomorrow
I am wearing.... my pyjamas
I am reading... newspaper supplements
I am hoping..... that I plan my time better
I am hearing... the 4 year old singing
Around the house... is warmth, and bedtime
One of my favourite things.... is contact with people I care about
A few plans for the rest of the week..... is to sort the older two children's rooms

The lakehouse

This holiday saw us mainly stay at home, but we did go North to the lakehouse with two families from school. The Dads rode their bikes from home to the lake, 120kms in total. They were there before lunch. The children had a ball and we had two other families drop in for morning tea and lunch.


Today is the last day of the school holidays and 6 year old daughter and I have completed a craft kit that she received for her birthday last December. I would love to say it was a calm, happy affair but it was not as I am impatient and it required my fingers to deal with small parts and not hers..... Kits: love them or hate them.....

Quiet moments

We do need to grab quiet moments in the day, hard but true. I decided a long time ago that I would never drink my tea or coffee on the run and I don't. I brew/savour the aroma and then I sit whilst it cools down and I enjoy. My first quiet moment in the day is 3 hours after waking up, when the two older children have left for school on the bus and the younger two are happily busy. I love my espresso machine and I enjoy one, good, strong cup of coffee a day.

My first quiet moment of the day should be a quiet moment with God, in prayer. I need to be moulded.

Fresh produce Friday

Today my fruit, veg, milk, bread and eggs are being delivered. I love this as the price is good and the convenience wonderful.
I also think ahead to meals next week and I think they will include roast beef and roast vegetables and a bacon and lentil soup that the 9 year old boy hates. It is a good recipe as it goes in the crockpot:

Bacon and Lentil soup
Place the following in the crockpot;
bacon bones (with some meat on them), chopped celery and carrot, a large tin of diced tomatoes, half a bag of red lentils and some water to cover. Cook on AUTO all day. It is delicious when the meat falls off the bone.