Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Lesson.

Speaking of food, it is not good manners when the children in the house complain about the lovely food that is put before them.

I don't mind individual foods that are not appealing, I have still not come around to brussel sprouts, but when faced with a plate, that has been prepared with thought and care, thankfulness and appreciation would be appropriate. So..........

this week, we are having bread and apples for dinner. The same day in and day out. A can of tuna may appear or a slice of cheese (as I monitor growing children's energy levels), but the aim is to not offer too much variety and to keep it basic.

Before you think I am being cruel, I am 'feeding them up' throughout the day. I just want them to appreciate the variety and taste of different meals that are cooked for them. I am grabbing the last week of the holidays to do this, before brains and bodies are exerted at school.

Breaking Bread.

Some lovely New Zealand friends have sent me this link:

Looks good and easy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Australia Day.

26th January, 2010.

William Morris.

I had forgotten that I wanted to talk about this.....but my few days away with a friend whose eye for lovely things makes her home a joy; reminded me of William Morris.

Husband E's Aunt who died in July, introduced me to William Morris. His designs are so beautiful. We found some gift wrap and made bookmarks for our children and their cousins as Christmas gifts.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mothers in the Metropolis.

Last week, husband E gave me the gift of time away from home (overnight) and a great friend was my companion, sharing food, enjoyment of the city, chat and rest.

Here is a display in the city for the Festival of Sydney. There were birdcalls piped in this alleyway.

Our view of Sydney.

This is a street below us. Note the terrace houses. Did I dream it or is it a fact that when the Harbour Bridge was built, many people were displaced from terrace houses and not compensated or relocated?

A lovely cruise ship enjoying our port.

My 8 year old daughter and I love this building. We call it the rocket building.

Watsons Bay. Friday was so hot and a ferry ride from the city the most appealing option. Beers with this in front of us was lovely.

Watsons Bay felt quite removed from everything.

First Day At Preschool.

3 year old daughter took my face, kissed me and said "Bye, see you later." She has waited a long time to come to preschool!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bill Granger's Chicken and Homemade BBQ Sauce.

Two Recipes;


Bill Granger's Chicken:

1/3 cup fish sauce
crushed garlic
1 1/2 t tumeric
2T lime juice
2t brown sugar

Marinate chicken for one hour or overnight and bake at 180 degrees till very brown. A winner in our family.

Secondly, as I don't like the additives to store bought BBQ Sauce:

BBQ Sauce:

1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup worc. sauce
2t paprika
1/4 cup tomato sauce (additives here?)
2T brown sugar
2T treacle
salt and pepper.

Cook sugar till caramelises, add cider vinegar and worc. sauce. Cook till reduced by half. Stir in paprika, tomato sauce, brown sugar, treacle...Simmer till thick. The recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens.

I have not tried this yet, but don't wait for me.....

Monday, January 18, 2010

Food in the 1800's.

The older two went to Vaucluse House today and made lunch as if they had lived there in the 1800's. They gathered vegetables and eggs and made butter.

I loved the character of the kitchen; wood, baskets, shelves and produce. It could work quite nicely in my 2010 kitchen.

Special Family Memories.

Excellent, excellent.....a balm to my thoughts! This lady raises some refreshing thoughts to the pressure we place on ourselves to create 'special' family memories.

I might think about what I like doing and how this influences our family 'memories'.

P.S. I like eating, sitting, reading, laughing,watching: people, movies, views...
walking in the breeze or cold (but not too cold mind you...).
I like worshipping with a quiet mind.
I love looking at our family's photo's and love slide nights. I love hearing about life for my parents and previous generations.
I like reading home magazines, but only where the furniture/house has character and elements that have been recycled. No modern extreme minimalism for me.
I love moving furniture around and a good clean out- yes, even as a hobby......
I love travelling, the planning that is needed for a trip and then the actual trip......I look forward to staying in nice places that give you a window into some other life and of course good food.

Now where does the family fit into all of this?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Bare Essentials For a Day.

I will be thinking through a few things out loud if I may and using my blog to do it. After all, I view this blog as a journal, one that comes to life a bit more than a pen and paper type, especially as I can download photo's and cross reference to other things on the internet that I have found helpful and inspirational.

It is also easy to compartmentalise the development of ideas etc. One poor friend of mine who also has a blog has had to put up with some of these thoughts already! Another good friend who reads my blog quite regularly had also done so. For them and others who find it tedious, skip down to the next entry of interesting books and holiday snaps!

If I had a simple list of what I really value and would like to occur in our day or couple of days: (Bare Minimum, not wish list), they would include:

Activities for Me:
-time with husband E, listening
-Healthy eating: juicing, vegetable intake, portion size, chewing and eating slowly.

Activities with Chn:
-Story reading
-Chatting at bed time and after school
-O.T. exercises with 5 year old daughter.

Jobs Completed
-Making beds
-Packing toys away
-Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Healthy snacks
-Bathroom wiped over.

Are there enough hours in the day for these basic hopes?

There are also other commitments to factor in: homework etc. and what about darling Noddy the cat? ........

Summer Holiday Reading.

When husband E was in China, I read "China Cukkoo". A tree change to the hills in China.....

When on our mini holiday I read "The Book of Tomorrow" by Cecelia Ahern. I read it in one night, I was intrigued and also have a deadline to have books to present for bookclub which I am hosting in a fortnight's time. A book set in Ireland with a tragic death in a family initiating a move in location and position in society for a teenage girl and her mother. A diary gives clues as to the next day's events, yet the teenage girl still has control over her actions.

I hope to also read "Under the Greenwood Tree" by Thomas Hardy (A Classic) and "What Kate Did Next" by Lisa Heidke. All for bookclub.

I have had "Evening Class" by Maeve Binchy on my nightstand for months, I am struggling to get into it, but think it will be worthwhile. Perhaps, also read by the end of January for bookclub.

Summer Mini Break Part II.

The next part of our little holiday was extra special as I was able to visit my dear friend J from university days and her gorgeous family.

A lovely lunch, cups of tea and an indulgent escape to another favourite cafe, "The Sourdough Bakery" and more coffee. The photo was taken there.

We enjoyed that we were not that far from home really and we were back in our neck of the bush woods for lunch out. Definitely toast and fruit for dinner for the children and pate and cheese for husband E and me.

It is good to be home.

Summer Mini Break Part I.

We have just returned from a very short break.
Husband E arrived home one week early from China, and it was so good to have him home again!
As it is our long Summer holiday and I was mindful that I had promised to take the children to the lake, I set about researching a mini holiday that I could manage alone.....
Husband E was able to join us in the end....

First, a lovely day/night at the groovy Aunt's house. We all went to the beach on one of the hottest days in Sydney this Summer. As people were released from work, they came running on to the beach and diving into the waves. Everyone was smiling and happy to have access to such a wonderful, cooling resource.

The next day we headed South, to the Highlands. I was wondering what it would be like to be there in the heat, however, lovely, cool weather and mist that surrounded the area.

We stayed in an old guesthouse, built in the 1920's. I went to this guesthouse as a schoolgirl for a Geography assignment to study the region. This house had peacocks that would cry out eerily, with no warning. The grounds were huge, we did not get to explore due to the weather, but the weather did exaggerate the effect of these spiderwebs or "fairy baskets" as the girls and I preferred to call them.

The dark wood inside the house, with the warm lighting was lovely. The bathrooms are still as they were in the 1920's. Black and white tiles, with external plumbing and a particularly characteristic smell...... We had a whole wing to ourselves.

Part of this holiday package was to go to the Illawarra Fly; a treetop walk with a tower that had 106 steps and was 45 metres above the ground. The weather was perfect to visit this forest. We saw a wombat hole, but he/she must have been fast asleep!

The guesthouse provided us with a simple but perfect picnic hamper for our family. Egg and lettuce/ vegemite and cheese/ ham and lettuce sandwiches.....chips, drinks, chocolate and choc/caramel slice.

I indulged and visited my favourite cafe in Bowral, "The Elephant Boy". I sat in my favourite spot by the window and watched the people go by. I also drank coffee and read a lovely magazine. Bliss.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Tables are Full.

It is fortunate that we can eat out on the deck or on the new patio.

More of What We Have Been Up To.

I am mastering 11 year old son's Ipod,

I have sorted artwork from pre school to now for all four children,

We are still enjoying our photo albums,

What We Have Been Up To.

Looking at baby photo's and albums; First born son below and eldest daughter on top.

No. 3 child on top and youngest on the bottom.

I have been eating choc covered peanuts......

8 year old daughter has been painting:

The girls have enjoyed playdough......

11year old son has been busy with books, Lego, DS and downloading "Top Gear" episodes for his Ipod.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


New Year's Resolutions:

-Realigning priorities of God, husband, family and then the rest....

-Not planning too far in advance,

I have just read this and found it helpful and peaceful.

Images of Christmas Part II.

Each year we put baubles on the tree with family members' names on them. Some are no longer with us but we can remember them especially as we put them on the tree. This year's tree was in Grandad's front garden. There was a lovely breeze.

Images of Christmas Part I.

Sleepover at the groovy Aunt's....beds made beautifully for everyone.