Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kids cooking and foraging day

The day started at 7.30am with Jorja arriving. Normally I had headed of for a walk with Morris but not today - I slept in!! So a quick dash out of bed to open the door and the day had begun.

While I am not working I have restarted cooking lessons with Jorja and Jakob. Last year I decided that 6year olds should be getting their way around the kitchen. As they can read they should be able to follow instructions. So today it was Pavlova day. The only thing was what to do with all the egg yolks. I did not want to do lemon honey again. By the time I got organised enough for breakfast it was 8.50am so we decided to make french toast. Jakob and Jorja now have two more recipies for their books and we had a lovely breakfast and gorgeous dessert tonight.


French Toast

6 egg yolks
3/4 cup whole milk
Knob of butter
Your choice of topping.

Put the egg yolks and milk into a flat bottom dish or container (it needs to be large enough for a standard slice of bread to fit flat). Mix well with a fork so there are no egg lumps.

Heat the frying pan so that a bit of butter sizzles but does not burn.
Put one slice of bread into the egg mixture, push it in and turn it over to get a good coverage of egg. Put into frying pan. Cook approx 1-2 minutes and then turn over and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes. Take out and repeat until all egg is used up. It should make about 4-5 slices of bread.

Put on a plate and drizzle with maple syrup. Or grind salt and pepper. Or get extravagant and chop up banana and cooked bacon.

Alternative If you are not making pavlova then make French toast with 3 whole eggs instead.


6 egg whites from my chickens
2 cups castor sugar (but half the time I don’t have that and use normal and I have not noticed a difference)
1 Tablespoon cornflour
1 Tablespoon vinegar (either white or malt)

Beat the egg whites until stiff, keep beating and add the sugar continuously using a teaspoon to put it in the bowl. It should take about 7 minutes. Sometimes I get fed up and just dump the last ½ cup in and beat and it always seems ok. Add cornflour and vinegar and beat it in. Put it on a tray lined with baking paper. Any size or sizes you want.

You can make one big pavlova but I tend to make person sized pav’s. As this mixture makes about 12 individual person sizes we can have it for dessert with guests and keep the rest in an airtight container for another night later in the week.

Bake 110c for 1 hour. You can leave in the oven to cool but you don’t have to.


Out and about with the three kids to keep them entertained, we came upon a rugby field full of mushrooms. A lot of the fungus we stomped on as it had bugs etc but there were two sections of the field where the mushrooms were gorgeous. As we had been out for lunch and a play in the park we did not have a spare bag with us. But thanks to George Weston Foods, we had two Big Ben cowboy hats that the boys had been wearing as sunhats. So we upturned them and filled them with mushrooms. There were enormous amounts of screaming as they all found mushrooms, lots of running around and exclaiming. It all took over an hour and everyone came home tired and happy. Jakob and Jorja insisted that they were going to make money from them. Here I had been thinking that we could give some away. But no - we came home and Jorja organised me. Bags, stapler, cloth scissors and then we spent 20mins bagging them up. Jorja then rang everyone she could think of trying to sell the mushrooms at $1 a bag. We sold four of the nine and she had aunties etc lined up for the rest. (I think she needs to get a sales job cold calling - no fear or trepidation there!!!).

Our Xmas Letter

It has taken a long time to get going on this blog. Aaron set it up a while ago and I have been busy doing other things. SO... I have decided to post those directly onto my blog.

If you are interested - here is our news for 2009.
J.A.K.E. (belated) Xmas Letter 2009

Well Merry Christmas to all. Yes isn’t it amazing but as usual I have not been able to churn the news out before Xmas. To all those who did – I am stand in awe and amazement of your achievement!!! But Jan 20th is a lot better than the year when we sent it in June.

Continues to grow and is completely ready for school. He thought he was starting in February and is a bit disappointed that he has to wait until his birthday. He is very like Aaron in personality but looks like me. Eli’s had his first overnight tramp in January (which was also the first tramp we have been able to do as a family). He has a lot of oomph and physical capability but does not try to use his stamina in the way that Jakob always has. Eli attended ABC preschool this year and being in a room dedicated to four year olds, and a preschool that is more structured, has seen Eli grow in all areas and has been a great decision. So all that concern about changing where he was attending has proved to have very positive results.

He is really enjoying school and doing very well. He continues to be a very social person and is incredibly like me in personality, but like Aaron in looks. Jakob is very compassionate and that leads to him playing with both boys and girls and we have had to deal with “girlfriends” for the last three years. We keep waiting until he loses his interest in girls but so far this has not occurred. This proves to be positive and negative!! Jakob played rugby this year and both him and Eli loved going to practice and the team aspect of Rugby. Their team won or drew every game (not bad for under 6’s). He had a lead part in the school xmas play, he was the head of the elves and did very well.

This year has also seen Jakob develop glue ear even though he had no ear infections and resulted him being classified as deaf. We were incredibly fortunate in December. The specialist we paid to go and see got us into the public waiting list and then someone pulled out to go on holiday – so voila – Jakob had double gromitts on Jan 15. Instant results and we are very happy.

Jakob has been actively loosing teeth and has had three teeth missing for the whole holidays.

The school holidays for 08/09 were amazing. I finished my contract for Carter Holt Harvey on 19th December and we went on holiday to Motueka and Lake Brunner until 3 Jan. Then we got home only to have Ruth, Warren, Oscar and Alice arrive on their way to tramp in Nelson Lakes. Jakob and Aaron tagged along and did a three day tramp (not bad

for a 5 year old!!). No sooner had they come back than we hooked the camper on and holidayed on the west coast. Had 30 odd degrees every day, no sandflies and the most amazing holiday. Then spent time with Anna in Cromwell and went for our first family tramp since having kids. We went to Mount Aspiring Hut. Gorgeous hut and both the boys really enjoyed themselves. We got home a day before school started. So in total Jakob had 8 nights in his own bed during the entire holidays. This year has been the opposite. We went to Cromwell for New Year – got wind, cold and snow. Went down to Invercargill and the Catlins. It poured with rain at sometime every day, was incredibly cold and windy. Had two thunderstorms, hail, gale force winds……. Wet and cold after 7 days we retreated to a commercial camping ground to get on power and dry out. Managed to wash and dry clothes but the weather did not improve. Ended up packing up with me swearing that I would not set the camper up again unless I saw sun. We didn’t, and hence had three days at Ruth and Warren’s in Dunedin, came home and the weather has remained the same. Where is the summer!!??????!!!!.

We did not get away much at all this year. Several tramps Aaron organized were stopped due to weather. We were very busy with me working as well and hence tired, which makes it harder to organize going away. Aaron and I had a lovely 10th

When I finished work on Dec 3 wedding anniversary and we went back to the boutique hotel in which we stayed at on our wedding night. We felt very spoilt and really enjoyed the weekend. We had a week off for the September school holidays and went to Geraldine for five days. Had a good time as usual.
This year I took Jakob to Coromandel for five days. We went to visit my newest nephew Jack, who was five months old and seriously cute. A baby who laughs when he is tired!!! Aaron and Eli took a trip at the same time, they went to Kaikoura on the train and camped a couple of days.

The Garden
We have expanded the vege garden this year and are growing potatoes as well as all the usual things. The garden was doing really well until this cooler spell, where everything has ceased. We have had the most magnificent crops of strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants, and the pear, quince and blackboy peach are covered with ripening fruit. I have made an enormous amount of jam and have done a little bottling.

Things are constantly growing larger and the garden is starting to feel established.

This year I had until May off doing the mum thing, catching up on quilting etc and then in May I started a fulltime maternity leave contract, with George Weston Foods as the South Island Human Resource and Health and Safety advisor. It was long hours and hard work but I have never been taken out for so many meals in my life. They recognized the work and that was great. I really liked the people I worked with and I got a lot of personal satisfaction from the changes that I made. The contract was extended and I finally finished on 3 December 09.

Working fulltime meant pretty much everything except family was parked to try to limit the stress levels. I had my normal weekend away with my patchwork ladies in the middle of the winter but apart from that my sewing machine did not operate much.

We continue to be involved in our local church and have started helping with Sunday school now that Eli has decided he is too old for crèche.

I’ve had a topsy-turvy year with more down’s than up’s, although I still have my job – even if on 4 days a week, which is a lot more than some can say. With the economy playing bobsy-die and all our clients overseas having no money to spend on intangibles like software it’s been a tough year. On the plus side I have just about finished all the core papers to finish my Massey degree, and from mid way through 2010 it’ll just be a matter of filling in extras. I’m thinking of turning the degree into a double major by focusing my selections, rather than picking a ragbag here and there. As Karen mentioned not much tramping happened this year, as the weather kyboshed every trip I tried to make. I have a couple of trips planned for early 2010, a couple with the family, and 1 or two more difficult, so hopefully they’ll come off.

2009 may well have marked my last season in competitive football, as the osteoarthritis in my back has grown significantly worse, and I ended up popping voltarin and icing for a couple of days after every game and practice. Never mind, I’ll have to live vicariously through the kids. I’ve been thinking about taking up mountain running as an alternative to football, and have enjoyed the couple of runs I’ve been out on so far. Fortunately the back doesn’t play up too much for running and tramping.

A couple of highlights for me for the year: A trip in March to see Coldplay in Sydney and a ride in a 550hp Holden Maloo drifting car around Ruapuna driven by one of New Zealand’s top drifters.

Is gradually getting more sense and calming down now that he is a bit older, except when it comes to balls and sticks which he seems to have a fetish over. Continues to make us laugh and keeps us fit taking him on walks and runs.

So Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all. We trust that 2010 has started well for you.

A gorgeous break in Rarotonga

Woo hoo, A holiday with no kids for 11 days. Bliss, relaxing and warm! BTW it was an early 20th wedding anniversary present to ourselves....