Friday, 22 April 2011

One a penny, two a penny...

Today is Good Friday.  I have to say, as much as I love going away, I really do love holidays at home.  Especially when it's raining and I'm making hot cross buns!
Here's a step-by-step for you with waaaay too many pictures:

 You'll have to start while still in your PJ's, if you want to eat these around lunchtime... my feet look minute here.  They are small feet.  But not that small!

You'll need to melt some butter...

You could do this in a microwave.  I don't have one.  Well, I do have one.  But I don't use it.  It's not even in my kitchen.  Now add milk.  You want the mixture to be at blood temperature, which means you have to stick your finger in it.  Sorry about that.

Now you need to add yeast and sugar...

Leave it for a while, so the yeast can eat the sugar and go all frothy.

This next step is where it helps to have a Polly.  Polly is my Kitchen Aid.  I love her.  She's the most helpful person in our family. 

Here she is, with a bowl full of flour (plus a teaspoon of salt).  Pour in the frothy yeast mixture.
Note the dough hook - this is where you use it, after it's been annoying you in the drawer for a year.

Mix like crazy.  Make sure you show a little person - preferrably a little person in a onesie. 

When he saw me this morning, he gleefully announced, "look Mummy, I gotta onesie!"  He's a cutie.  He knows it.  You need to knead the dough for 10 minutes.  No less.  Don't skimp, even if you're kneading by hand and your arm's about to fall off!

When the kneading is done, it'll look like this... stretchy and silky.  Now cover it with a clean tea-towel and pop it in a warm place to double in size - the hot water cupboard is an ideal place for this.  It takes about an hour, so go fold some laundry, have a shower, contemplate the startling revelation that your husband has been wearing your socks.  I would be less horrified if he had nice clean feet with manicured toenails.  But my husband is Samoan.  He has feet like a rhinosceros.

Ok, back to bread... after an hour you whip it out of the cupboard and Ta Dah!!

It's like a small, yeasty miracle.  Right here is enough dough for 25 buns.  Now comes the fun part, so enlist some crazy little helpers in matching aprons.

Cute!  Now you're going to tip out your dough and add fruit, spices, and chocolate chips.  I'm not a purist. I just love chocolate.

Here we have raisins, currants, cinnamon, chocolate chips, coffee.  The coffee's for me.  Sanity in a mug.

We simply spread the flavourings on top, folded it over, repeat.  It worked ok, I think next time I'll just throw it all in for the last minute of kneading.  Polly can handle it better than I can.  Next, shape the mixture into little rolls... I allowed the kids to help, which means we have some random shapes.  It's ok, the Queen's not coming to lunch.

This is what they look like after 20 minutes in a warm spot... ready to bake!

Now ice with a little glace icing mixture, and you're done!  They were delicious, smothered in butter.  Not much isn't, when you think about it.

Have a very happy Easter my friends xxxxx

Monday, 18 April 2011


It's 10am... this is me

This is not the Cat in the Hat... this is my boy just realising he hasn't had breakfast.
We're eating toast, reading the Bible, reading blogs, lying in the sun... I love school holidays!

Friday, 15 April 2011


When I had postnatal depression, I used to write in my journal things I was grateful for.  I didn't always do it each day, but I tried to do it often.  I recommend it to anyone who's going through a low patch.  As the Bible says, "put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness". 

I love to read Under the Sycamore Tree, it's a great blog by a beautiful lady.  Their family is undergoing a major upheaval at the moment.
I must confess, I was quite frustrated this afternoon.  Nothing major - the kids need to learn to listen, and I need to take the time to teach them.  And they let the bunny out of his hutch - a major no-no!! 
But in the midst of frustration, there's nothing like a reality check to change a bad attitude.  So go on and check out Ashley's photos, of her little girl stuck in a hospital bed.
We've had our fair share of trips to the Emergency department... especially with this little missy.  She is strong, agile, confident... and only human.  Which she forgets sometimes.

This photo was taken last winter, after she had a major fall from the tree behind her.  She's holding the branch she was standing on.  It snapped.  She hit her head on the rock garden-edge when she landed. 
At the hospital she was sleepy, incoherent, nauseous.  Her eyes were rolling back in her head.  A CT scan revealed she had a fractured skull.  It would have been a scary time, but I had the most overwhelming peace in my spirit.  I knew God had the situation under control.  That evening, as our church gathered together for the Sunday night service, our wonderful Pastor asked everyone to pray for our girl.  And about 5 minutes later, she sat bolt upright in bed, looked her Aunty in the eye and told her all about the CD we were listening to on the way to the hospital. 
We had a miracle.  Gotta be grateful for that!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Fun things to Make & Do

Last night, my sewing machine fell out of the car.  You could hear me crying, "no no no noooo" all the way down the street.  I was prepared to cry myself to sleep, but apart from a few scratches and a blown lightbulb, she's working perfectly.  Relief.

My machine and I have made all sorts of crazy things over the years... from goose costumes to marionettes to a giant gingerbread man - and that was just for one production!
My latest crazy thing doesn't seem very crazy right now.  After Easter, when I can explain to you how it has to work and what it's for, you'll understand just how crazy it is.
But for now all I can really tell you is that the great wad of fabric in this picture is 7 metres long, and 6 metres wide. 

Last night we had 3 of us feeding it through the sewing machine.  Tonight, it's just me.  Which is fine, because all the pieces are joined so it's less work.  My dining room floor's really not the best place for something so white.  You never know how many bits of dried-up chicken or noodles are under there.

In fact, tonight the dining room's being generally unhelpful.  The light's blown - it fell from the ceiling with great drama.  Darling Husband put it back up, but it won't go.  It's protesting.  As the sewing machine light's also protesting, I'm improvising with a lamp.

Note the cushion.  I am so short.  My Mum used to have a Holden Monaro.  She had to have a cushion to drive it.  It was a beautiful car, big and red, with a black stripe down the middle.  It had pearlescent paint, so it glowed in the sunlight.  Mum could do burnouts at the school gate.  But it was a protestor.  Wouldn't go just when you needed it - in the rain, on the way to the airport, collecting kids from school.  The last straw was it's failure to start at a friend's wedding.  The Monaro was a complete let-down as a bridal car.  I think Dad kicked it that day.  After that, we got a van.  Goodbye cool car.  Hello reliable van.  I was explaining to my kids about us not needing back seats in vans, back when I was young.  We had bean-bags. 
None of that has anything to do with the giant roman blind I am making (no, that's not really giving anything away).  But I like to ramble. 
Night-night little cyber friends, sleep tight!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

One Great Brownie Recipe

My lovely friend Cherie, this one's for you! 

Pandoro Chocolate Brownie
250 grams melted butter
145 grams cocoa
600 grams sugar
2 tsp vanilla
6 eggs
120 grams flour
11/2 Tsp baking powder
350 grams chocolate chips (white are best)

Combine butter and cocoa (I usually sift the cocoa, it's too lumpy otherwise).  Mix well, add sugar, vanilla and eggs.  Beat well, add dry ingredients and chocolate chips.
Pour into a large, paper-lined baking tin (a roasting dish works well).
Bake at 160 degrees celcius for 45 mins.

Not enough daylight for a step-by-step with photos - it's such a simple recipe.  And because I'm posting from my old computer today, and it has all our old photos on it, here's a spot of nostalgia:
Two little 3 year olds off to see The Wiggles.  Now they are 9.  I love it that they still like The Wiggles!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

How to Raise a Baby Bunny

Cutie Bunny is a whole new experience for us - none of us have ever owned a pet rabbit before.  It certainly helps that he:
  1. Is adorable
  2. Has lop ears
  3. Is grey and white (matches the house)
  4. Washes aforementioned ears in the most adorable manner
  5. Did I mention he's adorable?
I have sought advice from friends with previous bunny experience, as well as my good old friend Google. Where would I be without you, Google?
Of course, there's a great deal of conflicting advice out there - neuter, don't neuter, house train, don't house train, etc.  It's easy to get caught up in the opinions of others, to the detriment of what's practical for our family and lifestyle. 
Cutie Bunny's official owner is unconcerned by all that information.  She's just following her instincts.  She'll make a great Mum someday.
Cutie Bunny is read to most afternoons.  Usually a Beatrix Potter tale.  He is fed copious quantities of carrots and fresh grass.  And he's allowed inside for a cuddle on the bed.  She doesn't pick him up because she's a bit wary of his claws, but the others do - which apparently rabbit's don't like.
I'm trying to get the kids to appreciate how a prey animal thinks.  It's not easy, being a bunny.  You think everyone's out to get you.

At the moment, this bunny is chewing a scrap of denim I left lying on the floor.  That's the kind of housekeeper I am.  I wonder if Mark Gungor would consider adding another personality to the flag page?  Fun, Peace, Perfect, Control, Bunny. 
Bunny personality? 
Really cute, but want to be taken seriously.  You think everyone's out to get you.  Including the headband someone left on the floor.  You take great pride in washing your ears.  You will only ever poop in one place.  And when no-one's looking, you do a little dance.  Just for the fun of it.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

" Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people."
Philippians 2: 14-15

This verse has been on my mind lately. 
It isn't that easy to have a great attitude all the time.  But I'm gonna put my Pollyanna hat on and try harder!!!

This little person cried tonight, because she has curly hair.  Poor wee lamb.  She was just tired. 
I think sometimes we can get into "complaining mode" and say things we don't really mean, if we were to think logically through what we're saying.
But I had to post this picture.  It's the raddest hairdo ever!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Miss 5 Turns 6

Here's a little something I threw together... literally, in less than a week!  I was keen on a sweet, simple tea party, not many children, raspberry lemonade in the teapot.  But my girl was totally into this cute party from The Tortoise and The Hare, and had her heart set on a Supergirl Party. 
She invited six close friends, rather than the usual 12 or so... we asked them not to bring gifts.  I made them all capes, and they decorated their own masks before heading off on a secret mission... to rescue someone very special. 
Decorating masks
Searching for clues in the big rescue
The rescue mission included hidden easter eggs...
...and it led them right down the garden path
And eventually found...
a brand new friend!
What party is complete without a cake covered in lollies?

Did you like the bunny?  He was a gift from our lovely friends Spike and Dizzy (not their real names, obviously, but that's what we all call them!).  Spike and Dizzy got married recently, I'm going to do some posts about their beautiful wedding. 
You may have noticed Spiderman was there... my boys weren't having anything to do with their capes!  After the party, Spiderman changed his mind and asked me for his cape.  Typical.
The boy's capes are denim, the girls are from whatever fabrics I had lying around.  I made the decision to raid my stash rather than buy in (although I was sorely tempted). 
Sometimes limitations force creativity to blossom in unexpected ways.
Goodnight, lovely little cyber friends xxx