Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Easter Sunday treat

Instead of just having a pile of eggs I made an easter cake. Well I was trying to make it look like a nest full of eggs. I made a banana cake in a ring tin and then iced it and covered the area near the centre in the more natural coloured eggs by cadbury.

the 5 s continues!!! Now the Laundry

We have done the dining room and computer, Jakobs room and today I got stuck into the laundry. I cleared the under sink cupboard out and found a lot of cleaning products that were unused. So that will save in the shopping over the next wee while. I then cleared out behind the shelf as we could never properly open the door. Filtered down to at least half the number of things on the hangers. Bulky things nearer the kitchen so that the door opens (I am going to be really anal and label the hooks so that the correct things get put away in the correct place. The top of the shelfs is cleared of junk and the shelves organised. The window sill cleared off. Then it all cleaned (except the floor). Man I am on a roll!! (or procrastinating as I do not want to have to do my room - that will be a mission!)
"oh happy thought indeed, the shelves in a cupboard"

Dressup Man

Well it is school holidays and when we went shopping Eli and Jakob found a sun hat with pig tails attached. Eli insisted on buying it and has been wearing it ever since. Much to the embarrassment of Jakob, who tried very hard to persuade Eli to leave it in the car when we went shoe shopping. Two days later it is still one of the first things he puts on!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

You know it is the school holidays when there are 8 children in the house!

On Tuesday I was looking after Jorja and Spencer in the morning. We were going to make a piƱata.When it comes to things like that it is always  a case of the more the merrier. So I invited all the girls over too. We had great fun with a flour glue, getting sticky and using the hairdryer to dry each layer. It still remained pretty damp so we could not finish it off. But everyone found the bag of balloons and started drawing. By the time that was done, hot cross buns were made for lunch and the kids occupied themselves with playing the brain teasing games. We all had a great time
Now you see them
now you don't

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A night away in Hanmer Springs without the kids

Our gorgeous breakfast of croissants and coffee, in the sun
Yesterday we dropped the boys and Morris off to Anna and Mark and went on our merry way to Hanmer Springs. We stayed in a cute cabin in the River Holiday Park. It is 8km short of Hanmer, lovely little camping ground, considerably cheaper than those in Hanmer, quiet, pretty, great games room and amazing vege garden. We went to the pools for 3 hours and then to the Tapa's cafe. Our favourite. Had a good night sleep, I did not wake till 9.30am and we had to be out by 10am. So a quick shower, pack the car and we took a picnic breakfast down to the river. We had a lovely two hours reading magazines, walking to the confluence of the rivers and relaxing. Along the way I found heaps of water cress and a couple of mushrooms.Then back to Amberley to pick up the kids (who had been fantastically entertained by Anna and Mark and had eaten like horses!)

Once home and unpacked I made watercress soup with floating islands (poached eggs) for tea.
Karen's watercress soup
Finely cut 1/2 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 stalk celery (from the garden) and saute in a bit of olive oil. Add the vege stock you have in the fridge (or chicken stock if you have made some) to a total of 1 litre. Bring to boil. Add a good bunch of watercress and simmer 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and a couple of drops of tabasco sauce. Blitz with blender till smooth. In another pot of water poach an egg per person for 1 1/2 minutes. Put watercress in bowls, add an egg per person making sure it shows (it is an island after all) and serve. As you are eating the egg will finish poaching. Yum

Hitting the house with 5 S theory

Well yesterday was a revelation. Aaron cleaned out the computer desk!! While I am only working 4-8 hours a week I am using the time to go through everything and reorganise the stuff. Now it is a mission that I am expecting to take a good four months. I had been working toward a garage sale but have started listing on trademe to see how it goes.
Anyway - last week I started with a vengence with Jakob's room. Rearranged the entire room so that you can access his wardrobe, put Dad's bookcase in. Today I have taken down all the little kid pictures etc and have started framing certificates of achievement that he gets from school, soccer, swimming etc and making the room a bit more adult. I still need to sort the wardrobe and make some bunting and redo a bean bag for his new reading corner. But we are well on the way.
Anyway, was in bed discussing what I want to do with the kitchen so that I use the nice things I have. At the moment they are all behind doors and harder to access. Talked about how to make the dining room look more spacious and how to make the kitchen more attractive. PRESTO - Aaron was out of bed, dressing gown on, and was working through all his computer gear. I was not going to stop this particular whirlwind from occuring. 1 1/2 hours later and look at all the clear surfaces!!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Camping to relax

the kids watching tv before bed on friday night.
Last weekend we joined Margo and Warwick camping on Saturday morning. On Friday night all of my family went out for dinner while Matthew babysat all the five kids. When we got back to the house we decided not to head out camping that night. So we all slept in the lounge and headed out early (7am) the next morning, set up for camping and made french toast for breakfast. 

Had a lovely relaxing time. On Saturday Matthew had a  rugby game at Culverden. The family stopped for a coffee on the way and Montana-Rose and Albie decided to stay with us. We had a great time with all the cousins together. Roasted Marshmellows over the fire and had pikelets for lunch.
On Sunday the Schulz cousins came out with their bikes and all the kids were biking around together. Jasmine was very confident on her new bike. Gran took photos so I will update once I receive them.

The autumn harvest - pumpkins

For some reason Pumpkins have always evaded my growing skills. I get tiny teeny ones or nothing at all but vines that take huge space in the garden. Well this year a pumpkin sprouted in the chook house. As we had not chooks at the time it managed to grow. I realised that it was pumpkining. I had fertilised three more than the crop of two that I got but it was just too late in the season and cold so they got no bigger than a tennis ball before they went yellow. But here is my gorgeous crop of two very big and healthy pumpkins. Looking forward to have pumpkin, green curry and coconut soup, YUM!!!!

The Preserves keep coming

The pear tree has yet again been prolific, with pears well over 600grams. I have preserved two lots so far and am done!! The rest have been given away or we are eating fresh.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Seed saving for next year

This year I am trying to economise. Seed for the garden actually costs a lot. Still cheaper than buying plants but I do go through a good bit of seed. For the last couple of years I have saved tomato seed from my mother, which came from my uncle, which came from my granddad. It has worked well. This year I have saved berlotti beans, lettuce, the tomatoes seeds you see (no longer just one type) and am waiting for my current climbing beans to set seed. Not prolific yet but starting.

What else can you do with blackboy peaches?

I have managed to bottle 20 jars of black boy peaches. I have learnt from previous attempts that it makes aweful jam. So I struck the thought of making black boy peach sauce (like tomatoe or plum sauce).
While making it I was disappointed as it was sharp and not tasty. Added a bit of brown sugar to the recipe and by the time it was all blended together it was yum. We had to have fish and chips for tea to make sure that it would be useful. Very happy with the result.

Awesome quinces

Yet again the quince tree has produced a prolific crop. This is just a smattering of them. I am giving away by the dozen. I love trees that produce so much that I can be generous to others.
In other years I have tried preserving quinces many ways. The traditional bottling methods I have found to be incredibly difficult and time consuming. Even then often the quince cores are rock solid.
This year by shear chance I came across my new and permanent method. No more trying to peel rock solid quinces or decore them.
Now I quarter the quinces, take a full slice out that removes the core section, put them in a single layer and only just cover with water. They go in the bottom of the oven with whatever else I am cooking and whatever temp. I leave them in the oven when it is cooling. Make a sugar syrup of 3 parts water to 1 part sugar and boil well. Remove hotish quinces from the oven, the skin just peels off. Put them into sterilised jars, top up with sugar syrup and seal. Sooo easy.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Our Earthquake Break-away

We have been meaning to have a long weekend at Mt Cook ever since a very cold show weekend when Eli was 1. Well Jess, Stephen and Mieke were leaving our house after nearly four weeks and we decided to have a family time away.
Mt Cook on Friday driving there was shrouded in mist and so we walked into the Tasman Glacier and viewed all the icebergs which dropped off the glacier face on the September earthquake.
picking mushrooms at Fairlie

Tasman Glacier and lots of adventuring

Panorama of Tasman Glacier lake and the icebergs

Taking a break near the top

The view from the motel window first thing in the morning
 That night we stayed at a motel at the Hermitage and it was amazing. We woke in the morning, opened the curtains and were stunned. Even the boys got really excited. All we saw was glaciers, snow and ice. Had a fantastic breakfast with a view of Mt Cook and then walked into the Glacier. It was hot, which we had not expected, and we were sunburnt and tired by the time we got back - 5 hours later.
The Panorama of the view

An awesome breakfast and spectacular scenery

On our way again

More climbing for the boys

And yet more adventuring. No sticking to the paths for them

Mt Cook in all it's glory

And the full Panorama

The gorgeous men in our family.

Glamping food

Sometimes, when camping, I can muster the energy to go above and beyond for a meal. It tends to be brunch. In the tiny cooking space in t...