Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sewing lessons - Bukuro Bag

Well it has been a super rainy holidays and yesterday I ended up with Seven children in our little 85 square meter house with the rain bucketing down outside. So what to do when it is a squash and a squeeze?
Keep them all occupied of course. So the fire was on and I rang the girls to say "Bring your sewing machine". Their Christmas present had been a machine. A while ago when I was at the craft and quilt fair in Christchurch I made a Bukuro bag at the Brother stall. This only involves sewing straight lines so I thought it a good project to do.
I almost had the material cut when they arrived and so we got stuck in. Then I found out that the twins had never sewn before. They had not used their new machine. Amy and Mikayla just got going with just instruction on where to sew their seams etc. The twins learnt how to use a machine, go back and forward and be steady and guide material. Mikayla was a great help.
While queuing for the machine they sat with the boys and looked at games etc on the I-Pads. The time zoomed by and 2.5hours were gone before we realised. The awesome thing was all the girls finished their bags and so next time we will be making pin cushions and lanyards for their snips.
Once they all left I lit the hot tub and had a good restful soak!!!

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Monday, April 28, 2014

The two extremes

This last weekend we spent three nights at Mt Cook where we had freezing driving hail and unbelievable thunder and lightening one day. Then the next day it was hot, hot, sunny and amazing.
So when it thundered and rained we hunkered down and used our ipods etc in the cosy room. After a bit of that I decided that we were there to walk!! We headed off on a easy walk to the Hermitage and then off to the campground. But halfway there we had to turn around as the hail STUNG like crazy. You do need to know when to give up sometimes.

The next day was such a different story. It was stunning and clear. We all walked as a family in the afternoon to the Hooker Glacier - 12km return. The track had been completely changed since we were on it last time. Two new suspension bridges and ending up on the opposite side of the glacier lake than where it used to be.
We were all a bit tired though on the afternoon walk as in the morning Aaron and the boys went up to Sealy Tarns. This is sometimes called "the stairway to heaven" as the views are amazing. Most of the way is on stairs - but tramping stairs so really high legs and hard work. Close to 1800 of them to get these amazing views. 
So in total the boys did close to 16km with a huge portion of that being UP!
I walked the Kea lookout so that I could see the boys and Aaron walking up the ridges to the Tarn.

Amazing day. We love Mount Cook!

Friday, April 25, 2014

5 minute cake recipe

Another blogger whom I met at the Christchurch Bloggers Christmas posted about a rhubarb slice / cake today. It looked so simple and easy that I decided to make it then and there. It took me 5 minutes to make and that includes going to the garden to pick the Rhubarb. All made in the food processor.

I am eating a piece and it is delicious!!! I made double the mixture and put it into a high sided slice tray. But did not double the sugar in the topping in half and it has worked out well. ( I just thought that it was too much sugar).

So pop over to Lauren's blog - SHAM and whip it up for yourself 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Training my boys

With school holidays upon us we still need to have time at home to complete those domestic chores. The boys had prior warning that today was a day of chores. So I started to extend their understanding of what needs to be done around the house. They have the basics sussed now. 

Lovely looking clean lounge
Today they:
  • wiped down the window frames, latches etc. 
  • Dusted their bedrooms including under their Lego (which they had told me was too precious to move)
  • Cleaned and oiled the Rimu wood tables.
  • Vacuumed into the corners and looked at the ceiling for cobwebs etc.
  • As well as the normal vacuuming and dishwasher clearing.
  • Then we went onto baking biscuits. We are going away tomorrow and if they want something sweet they had the time to do it.
This was all completed with minimal fuss (which is rather extraordinary!!!) as they were allowed to have breaks on a new XBox game they were into.
Baking choc chip cookies
So my house is clean as I did the windows, my own room and the toilet and bathroom. I do love a clean house and hopefully the boys are slowly learning to look at the little things too.

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The reward - XBOX time

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My boots were made for walking

But that is not what they normally do!! They sit in the bottom of the wardrobe remembering the times they got out into the bush.
The selfie before starting
Well this last Easter weekend I dusted the boots off and went with Aaron and the boys on a walk in Arthur's Pass. The views were amazing. After an initial hour of up and down we came out on a wide valley, the sun shone and it was gorgeous. 
The up and down bit was almost too much but it was so lovely to be out in the real bush like we used to all the time. 
The boys and I went about half way to the hut and then turned around. Aaron left us and ran to the hut and back again. So we did 12km but Aaron did 22!! Autumn is the time when I seem to be able to tramp. Cold enough to keep my blood pressure up which means I can walk further with not so many issues.
With the way that the weather started at the weekend it was just amazing to have such lovely weather and get out and about on Sat, Sun and Monday. We went down memory lane and stayed at Flock Hill in the backpackers. We talked a lot about Kerryn's wedding there.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Treat

I made Red Velvet Cupcakes with Chocolate buttercream icing to look like nests, and added a few Cadbury Easter eggs.
They were yummy and looked great but i could not find my piping bag so the presentation could have been a wee bit better.
I told the boys in the morning what I was doing and they promptly requested cupcakes for their teachers and friends after school. We had school interviews so I thought the teachers might need a wee boost and went along with their idea
When I rocked up at school with a tray of these there were many an admiring glance and when Jakob took them into his class they all wanted one. To say he got a pile of instant friends was an understatement!!

I got the idea as I had been watching the latest Rachel Allen Cake series on TV. So I used her Red Velvet Cupcake recipe - click and it will take you straight to the recipe. Although there are a lot of ingredients in the recipe it is just things you would find in your pantry and is a very quick recipe to do. I did not make her meringue frosting I just used a buttercream icing. I will be making these again.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bouncing off the walls

That is what Aaron is doing tonight. We bought this machine on trademe..........
 and collected it after swimming lessons this evening. Once home we had to try to perfect our coffee shot. So we tried about 8 different shots. Different thickness of grinds through the inbuilt grinder, different tamping, different amounts of grinds etc etc. I took a couple of sips of the better looking shots whereas Aaron could not see past the waste of coffee until about shot 6. (When I swear he was due for palpitations!!!). Whereas I just saw it as part of the cost of purchase. What is half a bag of coffee beans to get the coffee operating perfectly??

Looking forward to many a good coffee.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Today I did some Scavacise

Yes I did. That is scavenging which is also exercise. A very good way to make your exercise enjoyable. There is nothing better than free stuff. I was trying to think of an american version of my word as they would say I was dumpster diving. So it would be dumcise, dumpercise....
dumpster diving, finding free stuff
So this is what my boot looked like at the end of half my exercise. 67 more bricks for the garden edging that I am going to try and mortar myself (we will see how that ends up!). These were in the work hard fill skip (dumpster) and it was getting picked up tomorrow so I had to be all action stations. 
Some of the new garden, though not quite as it will be. We were making last minute tweeks on the design over the weekend and now there will be a little less path. This is a long journey for us. Pottering on doing a bit here and there.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Home made Marshmellow

Well still being on the lookout for work means I have a lot more time at home at the moment. One of the side benefits is I get to try a few new things. So I made homemade marshmellow. There are so many recipes out there and it is so easy to make, but I was unsure how my family would view the home made sort.
All recipes use a stand mixer but I just used a hand beater. I used a recipe from online but cannot remember where fromm (oops). It was super simple to do and Aaron and Jakob loved it but Eli spat it out!!
We tried toasting it over the fire as this is what we love to do when camping. But it just fell apart (or rather oozed and melted off the fork) so we will still have to buy them for campfires.

Friday, April 11, 2014

18 down 7 to go!

Yes I now have 18 quilts for the orphans. Only 7 more to go and all the kids at Hope Homes International will have a quilt. Slowly getting there.
So I made this ages ago but have finally quilted it all. I posted about the making of it here.
As there were a lot of different styles of blocks I decided to quilt in an overall flower and loop pattern as anything that was rigid lines or diagonals would clash with various blocks. I used a quilting pattern that Crazy Mum Quilts had put on her blog one time. I am pleased with the result.
The back of the quilt is in a 1970's flannel that was donated and the binding in a black and white spot. Also donated.
Happy to be finished. 
I link up to these places and finish it up friday with Crazy Mum Quilts.
April Finishes

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

School lunch box

My oldest son struggles with food at breakfast and lunch and tends to eat from 3pm every day. I am trying to get my boys to pack their own school lunches and this is what Jakob made for himself. He does not like bread or cereal so that does not help either! sigh. He is either a seriously healthy eater or just eats cakes!!! today it was a mixture but I was impressed with his good balance.
lunch box food
2 slices of cold roast beef with cracked pepper and salt. Two pieces of Jumble made the other day. 7 cherry tomatoes from the straggly vines left in the garden. 3 slices of cucumber picked from the glasshouse that night.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Taking time out for tea

Every so often we like to have a proper afternoon tea on the weekends. This weekend was one such time.  We had Earl Grey tea and Ginger Gems.
Out comes the pretty china, the silver cutlery and the tiered cake stand.
All set and ready for us.
The boys getting stuck in. 
Ginger Gems and family time. A happy recipe.

My gem irons are really heavy cast iron ones. They are at least 80 years old. My Nana married when she was 16 and they were given to her as a "must have in the kitchen". If my Nana was alive she would now be coming up 100. So every time I make gems I think of her. It was her legacy to me when she died - along with an amazing gridle.

Ginger Gems
Preheat your gem irons in an oven at 200oC. This mixture will fill the irons 1 1/2 times.
50g butter and 1/4 cup sugar - cream well.
Add - 1 egg and 2 tablespoons golden syrup.
Then add - 1 cup plain flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger and mix in.
mix together 1/2 cup milk and 1 teaspoon baking soda then stir it into the gem mix.

Take gem irons out of the oven. Put a dot of butter into each cavity and place 1 tablespoon of mixture in. Do this quickly as mixture starts cooking. Put into the oven for approx 10 minutes until well risen and golden brown.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


My mother used to make this slice recipe. It is really easy to make and reminds me of my childhood. I don't know why it is called Jumble but it is a very appropriate word in my life at the moment.
biscuit recipe, Jumble

A lot of things have been jumbled up. Two very close relatives have been very sick and the job I had agreed to start I backed out of due to various issues. So when I thought all was going smoothly it all got jumbled up on me. So I have gone through a huge range of emotions, ended up exhausted but am now feeling that I am coming out the other side. God is a good God.

Here is the recipe as it comes from my mother.

4oz butter
3/4 cup sugar - cream together
then add 1 egg and stir.

Sift in
1 Cup flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Cocoa

If the mixture is not wet and soft then add a little bit of milk. Put a baking sheet on the tray you are going bake this on as you put the mixture on it and roll it out to about .5 cm thick. Make sure there is a lot of flour on your rolling pin as it sticks easily. Do not roll right to the edges as this does expand a bit.

Bake at 400 deg F for 20 minutes (sometimes it does get a bit dark around the edges)

While it is baking get icing ready. Make a water and icing sugar and cocoa powder icing quite thick. As soon as the slice comes out of the oven use a sharp knife to cut it into squares (just do the cuts - do not separate it), then pour the icing over the hot slice. It will run and melt. Sprinkle on 100's and 1000's and press it slightly into the icing. Cool and eat. Yummy.

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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....