Saturday, 30 August 2008

Rock Cakes and Weekends

Don't you just love Friday's? The only thing better is Saturday! Dh & Mr Busy are outside right now mowing the lawns...YAY! The kids can go outside and play now that the jungle has been slashed back to normal! I think I need to prune my apple trees today too...before they start budding!

Back to Friday's though. In our house, Friday means staying up late to watch 'Better Homes & Gardens'. Last night everyone was in the mood for something sweet, so Dh & the kids hit the kitchen with my trusty old 'Cookery the Australian Way' and produced these yummy Rock Cakes. A classic from my childhood that our children enjoy now too. Last night saw us entertaining Dh's oldest brother as well. He was biding his time before picking up his daughter so rather than drive all the way home he picked up some dinner for himself and a block of chocolate for us all to share and hung out here. The kids were very excited to see him....with fish & chips....and chocolate. I wonder how much of his dinner he actually ate on his own LOL.

Eventually he left, the children headed off to bed and we settled down to an evening of 'chick flicks' and catching Dh up on the news of the day. News like, Mr Busy's teacher and Miss Mischief's teacher BOTH had run-in's with our son during the day. Oh dear. He did have a rather bad day! Having a boy at school is so vastly different to the two girls who wouldn't dream of being 'naughty' and whose personalities are more malleable when it comes to being corrected. Mr Busy stated rather emphatically that his teachers were too tough on him, when only Mum's and Dad's 'are allowed' to be so tough! The poor boy was in for a rude awakening when I informed him that if he is naughty the teachers should be tough on him!

You just gotta love their logic!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Once in a Decade

Today was that momentous day once in ten years when I headed off to the dentist. Four and a half hours later I am reminded why I don't like going. My face is still numb. The scale and clean was more traumatic than the filling and I don't think she filed the filling down properly because it feels wrong.

Is it just me, or does the anesthetic last a whole bunch longer than they say it will? At this rate I think I'll be lucky to enjoy my dinner without feeling like everything will fall out of my mouth!

The good news is that for all my neglect (which is based on budget, rather than neglect, as such) the only work they had to do was to replace a filling that had started leaking. Pretty good going for avoiding the dentist, I'd say. Now what to do about the lump in my tooth!? The public dental system isn't as easy to work with as a private dentist, for an appointment.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

McLeod's Who?

I am an unashamed 'McLeod's Daughters' fan. A rather disappointed one at this very moment in time. The very last season should be on TV, but after screening only a few episodes of this season it was taken off. For the Olympics. It's not on again tonight. I'm not sure what Channel 9 is doing but I'd really love to give them a little piece of my mind. Not too mind is precious and vanishing quicker than I can keep track of! But I'd really like to be sitting down enjoying some good Aussie drama.

What is left, is a rather pathetic effort at television viewing for the evening. *sigh*

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

On Pizza and Having a Night Off

First of all, thank you all for your precious thoughts and get well wishes. We were ALL at school this morning. YAY! I didn't even feel the need for a nap by 9.30am. Woohoo, things are lookin' up folks!

Felicity, I would happily swap cooking meals if someone would come to mop and vacuum my floors. I keep looking at them thinking "must get to mopping one day soon". Sigh. We never skip meals though.....

Now, on to the reason for my post today. I have made a new discovery and it's really a bit of a double edged sword. It means my potential for night's off from the kitchen have dwindled to only one affordable option. The flip side is that our wallets will happily keep their contents. Bought pizza is now off the menu. Dh's belly doesn't like the ham. I've been having vegetarian pizza for quite some time because it doesn't like me much, but dh has just realised this for himself. I am quite disappointed in this development. Pizza is a healthier meal than fish & chips!

So I'm thinking that perhaps this should be one of the first things I teach Miss Sunshine to cook on her own. When I was her age I used to make our Sunday lunch pizzas for our lunch at the beach each week. I've gotten to a very very simplistic topping menu, so it wouldn't be too hard I don't think. Good plan, do you think? I might get to have a night off here and there after all.

So what is a post about pizza unless I tell you about our favourites? I make pizza dough in the bread machine. We prefer a thinner crust, so once the dough is done I roll it out and make the pizzas straight away. We do two 'family sized' pizzas and it's getting to be so that's almost not enough. One base is brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with crushed garlic and diced onion, and then topped with a layer of thinly sliced potatoes. A sprinkle of salt is a must The other is pineapple with bacon or pineapple with mushroom on a tomato base. We like oregano sprinkled on this one. Both get mozarella cheese, of course.

Mmmmmm, there's nothing quite like pizza made with just the things that delight you, and a pinch of Mum's love.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Monday's Menu Plan

Here we are again. A whole week flashed by and I missed most of it! Not only that but I also didn't cook for a few days. Hard to do when you're asleep! So I'm almost back to normal, apart from having a not so nice reaction to some cough syrup I took at 3am. I got up feeling icky, sweaty & lightheaded ~ but not coughing. That stuff was evil!

I have Mr Busy back at school, albeit with a cough. Today I have Miss Mischief home instead. She told me as we were walking out the door that she has an upset tummy. I dunno...I'm not seeing much evidence of that! She'll be at school tomorrow. I think she took advantage of my still not-quite-working-right brain. Anyway, an extra day to have a nap at 9.30am didn't do me any harm either. How pathetic is that. I get up and have to have a nap almost immediately LOL.

This week's menu goes something like this:

Monday: Sweet & Sour Chicken, Rice
Tuesday: Herbed Ricotta Fritters, vegies
Wednesday: Chicken Parmigana, hassleback potatoes, vegies
Thursday: Creamy Bacon & Mushroom Pasta
Friday: Lamb & Tzatziki Burgers (cross b/n burger & souvlaki I think)
Saturday: Roast Chicken or Cranberry Pork, potatoes, vegies
Sunday: Lasagna ~ will freeze half in preparation for a weekend away ;)

Actually, since I missed the chicken pie the other night I might do the pie filling over pasta instead of sweet & sour chicken. I'm still not feeling that much like eating. I think the sweet & sour would tip me over the edge. I hope by Wednesday I'm feeling gung ho again. I'm looking forward to that meal LOL.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

The Other Side

After spending two days sleeping more than being awake I think I'm coming out the other side. I feel like I've missed out on half a lifetime worth of activities that I would've loved to have been there for though. Mr Busy has sat at my feet, on the other end of the couch and watched ABC Kids for two days straight too. Neither one of us has had more energy than that!

Why is it, I'd like to know, that when I get a cold it's not the kind where you take a couple of tablets every four hours and keep going. I seem to get whatever it is that lays you flat out and renders you completely unable to function. I haven't even been able to read!!!!

Hopefully by the end of the day, and with a bit of help, I'll be able to make dinner....a pot of soup.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Winter is Now Complete!

Mr Busy is home today with his cold. He was getting better and then he dive bombed again. He's not really sick, but it's cold and rainy today. That, and between me and my parents someone was going to be home all day. A good day for a little boy to stay warm and cosy and have a quiet day at home. This time I bought the big bottle of Dimetapp! And 'The Invisible Glove' hand cream....and some First defense nasal spray. I told the lady at the chemist I was about to empty my wallet right there.

Thanks to Mr Busy's coughing and spluttering I have now caught my first winter cold .... actually, my first cold in 14 months. So far it's just a bit of coughing and throat kind of stuff. Hopefully the First Defense will prevent a full blown effort. I get sick so rarely I'm not a very good patient!

I think I might find a rug and curl up on the couch for a little snooze. I've been reminded I'm not so good at being up in the middle of the night with kids, either. I don't go straight back to sleep like I used to so I've missed some important hours there for two nights!

So here's my 'funny' from 3.20am the other night:
Mr Busy: Daaadddd....I can't breathe properly.
Dadddy: Go back to sleep!

I finally realised he said 'breathe' not 'read' and thought perhaps 'go back sleep' was not such an appropriate response after all. I couldn't figure out what he might be reading in the dark!!!!! So I dosed him up with panadol, dimetapp, a couple of puffs on the ventolin kind of stuff and some Vicks on the chest.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008


We've had quite a day. We began ours sharing breakfast with our Grandparents, who are sleeping over at our place for a couple of nights.

I got the job of handling car parking for Grandparents Day, at school. Now there's a challenge! The best parking I saw done all morning was by a younger Mum. Yeah, oldies are not quite so confident with interesting parking situations! I had a giggle through it though. One old Dutch Grandma gave the Grounds & Maintenance man a hard time about the street signs a few km's away. Another Grandmother was 45 minutes late. She came from Tullamarine (over an hour's drive). Her grandchildren are late. Every. Single. Morning. Yes, I had to laugh! I shared that giggle with the office lady who has to write those five late passes every single day.

The kids had more fun than I did, I'm sure! They all seemed to be beaming and have something special they'd done together and there was lots of photo-taking going on. I am now charged with the task of getting a hold of the photos relating to our family and passing them on!

And don't you think it's rather appropriate that the Prep-2's had Blue Colour Day today? They would've matched the Blue Rinse Brigade (the Grandparents!) beautifully!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

I'm Not Crazy!

You know that song by Matchbox 20? The lyrics of the chorus go like this:

I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
I know, right now you can't tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you'll see
A different side of me.

Yeah...that was me this morning. A little crazy. Or maybe it was Miss Sunshine that was crazy and she was pinging off on me?! Whatever the case she went off to school quite happy, meanwhile I went off with tears in my eyes, feeling a little battered. Is it just me, or are kids just a lot harder work than I ever began to imagine?!

In any case by the time I'd helped a little boy get his debate speech together and another two girls got to the end of maths understanding that the 3 angles of a triangle = 180 degrees, I felt much maybe I wasn't crazy and perhaps I might even be useful. Even if my own daughter doesn't think so right at the moment.

No....she's trying to be her own person. Trouble with that is she's only 12 and she's stubborn and independent. So am I. So is my mother. It's in her blood. It will be a good thing when she's 20, should she live that long! I can only hope that at some point we manage to find a balance between her stubborn nature and desire for independence, and the need for me, as a mother, to be more stubborn!!!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Monday's Menus

I never ended up making those muffins. Instead, I made another batch of pastry for an apricot pie, for some friends. My lazy Saturday turned into making a double batch of Chow Mein, plus the apricot pie and a little snooze to get me through until 2am when I turned out my light after watching 2 movies, driving home and reading for 10 minutes with my mini reading light before going to sleep. We watched 'One Night with the King' and 'Saving Sarah Cain'. I loved them both and they were all the more fun with the rest of the gals. Of course, these were interspersed with lots of chatter and a few rowing races that Aussie's won in the rowing.

This week I have lots of going's on. Besides my normal stuff, we have Grandparents Day at school this week, so I'm going to help the kids with serving morning tea. I'll also have my parents here for that...kind of. Apparently I didn't need to plan to have them for meals. We'll barely see them! Anyway, they'll sleep here. I have a funny feeling we have an Open Day at school on Saturday too. Dh will be making coffee, so I guess the rest of us will find something to do as well. I can't imagine the kids will want to stay home when there's all that fun to be had not at home. Not when they've spent all weekend saying "PLEASE can we go to someone's house???!!!!". Like being at home is the worst possible scenario. Ya know, cos you might as well chop off their limbs as make them stay home all weekend LOL.

So this week, this is what we have on the table:

Monday: Chinese Beef & Green Beans
Tuesday: Corned Silverside (crockpot), mashed potatoes & vegies
Wednesday: Orange Crumbed Chicken, vegies
Thursday: Vegetable Lasagna with something?
Friday: Old Fashioned Chicken Pie, vegies
Saturday: Mrs R's Vegie Soup, Vegie sausage rolls
Sunday: Tuna & Rice

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Where Cooks Fear to Tread

Picture from

I mentioned yesterday that I was trying a new pastry recipe from Maggie Beer. For those of you who don't know Maggie comes from the Barossa Valley near Adelaide and has a real passion for locally grown good quality produce and is an incredibly creative cook. I gather she's not a professional chef, but she certainly knows her way around a kitchen! She has a show on ABC1 on Wednesday nights a 6.30pm. It's one of the few nights that I do my best to get dinner cooked and finished eating by then so I can sit down with a cuppa to enjoy the show fully.

Anyway...back to the pastry. The recipe is very simple ~ 200g butter, 250g plain flour, 125ml sour cream. That's it. You wiz the first two in the food process and then add the sour cream and wiz that til it comes together in a ball. And it's done. The pastry itself is oooohhhhhh soooooooo wonderful. It does shrink a lot, so you have to trim with that in mind. But it's almost like a cross between a puff and a shortcrust. It doesn't rise like a puff does, but you can see the buttery layers and the taste is superb. I can see why she uses that recipe for everything.

I think I see choc chip sour cream muffins on the Beyond My Picket Fence menu more often...which is what I do with leftover sour cream :) is yet another overcast day here with rain falling. A perfect day to stay inside and read a good book, do some baking and end it with a drive 'down the hill' to Rel's place for a movie night with the ladies from church. I think I might venture down the street to poke around the Op Shops for some pretty crockery too. Mmmm don't you love deliciously quiet Saturday's filled with only your favourite things?

Friday, 15 August 2008

Friday Updates & Stuff

Yesterday I came home after my sewing circle morning to find chainsaws a-buzz and sawdust all over the place. Yes, you guessed it! Some wonderful men came to take that tree down. Finally! It's only been 12 days (nooooo...I'm not counting at all!).

So now we have a hole in the fence where those wonderful men just chopped a hunk out so they could get through to our side and get the tree back to the other side where the super duper mulcher was humming away greedily. Hopefully next week the neighbours will return from their holiday and we'll get some movement on repairing that fence.


Australia is just now bringing in Season 3 and beyond of Little House on the Prairie. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this development. I had contacted the previous distributor to ask when they would bring us Season 3 and they said never. Apparently I wasn't the only desperate fan in the country. I have pre-ordered my set and it should arrive sometime next week. Well, it's being released on Monday, so I'm hoping!


There are flies in my house. It's the middle of winter....the coldest part of winter for us and there are bloomin' blowies floating around. I've closed off the flue in the fireplace so hopefully that will put a stop to them. I had a moment of sadistic glee this morning when I discovered one of them had drowned itself in the water bowl that the honey container sits in....along with two ants. YESSSS!


For all you pastry-challenged folks around the world, I'm trying out a new recipe tonight. Maggie Beer is forever using her Sour Cream Pastry in a rather versatile manner. Everything from savoury tarts & pies to a very messy looking Vanilla Slice, on Wednesday night's show of 'The Cook and the Chef'. So after some super sleuthing I have tracked down her recipe and I will use it in my bacon & mushroom quiche tonight.

I'd love to spend a few days, I think, in Maggie's vegie garden and cooking in her kitchen with her....and then sharing the meal together. Yep, a perfect way to spend some time, I reckon.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

A Very Special Blogging Award

This lovely award was bestowed upon me by Felicity. Isn't she a sweetheart?!

Of course, I get to pass this on to some other wonderful blogging friends. Here are the rules:

- Only 5 people are allowed to receive this award.
- 4 of them followers of your blog.
- One has to be new to your blog and live in another part of the world.
- You must link back to whoever gave you the award.

Who to choose?! Here are my five:
Frances is the newest I think.

Today's Puzzle...errr..Project

Last week I think I might've mentioned that I had my Block-of-the-Month quilt class. Oh. My. Goodness. A more brain bending block I have not before seen. This is my first experience with paper piecing and what a doozy! Normally in the 2 hour class time we get one block finished. Finished as in we've chosen our fabric colours, cut out the pieces and sewed the block together. Last week we didn't get to finish sewing up the first block. After this one, I have three more to complete before September. I'd better get a move on, don't you think!

Since today is my stay at home day, and tomorrow is my sewing circle day, I'm hoping that I can finish sewing this block together and get the other three cut out. Then tomorrow I'll take my machine with me and get a long way into sewing the others together.

Oh, and I have half of the last episode of 'Anne of Green Gables' to watch. So, when my brain is completely boggled, I think I might rest it with that!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

What does Your Name Mean?

What Tracy Means

T is for Tame

R is for Remarkable

A is for Active

C is for Cultured

Y is for Yummy

Monday, 11 August 2008

Menu Planning Monday

We're continuing with wintery Antarctic blasts here. I've got my favourite woolen jumper (sweater) on....8 play wool...knitted by my Granny when I was about 15 or 16 years old. I'm thinking boots with socks today will also be good. Especially if the Prep-2's do PE. Golly I hope not though LOL.

This week's menu plan was a little hard to come by. I sat and looked at the two spare spaces and the only suggestions the kids had were meals already there. Oh well, at least we're on the same track and they'll enjoy dinner every night LOL.

Monday: Chinese Simmering Chicken, brown rice, stir fried vegies
Tuesday: Ricotta Gnocchi & tomato pesto
Wednesday: Bacon Wrapped Chicken, potatoes, vegies
Thursday: Soup & bread
Friday: Chow Mein with rice noodles
Saturday: Bacon & Mushroom Quiche, vegies
Sunday: Homemade pizza (mushroom & pineapple and potato, onion & garlic)

I'll come back later today and attach links to some of those recipes. It's time to head off to school right now.

Alrighty, the links I have are now there so you can wizz your way around the net in the click of a mouse! You'll need to scroll down to the recipe for Chinese Simmering Chicken. Actually I would recommend a good look through that Chicken Plan that Kim Tilley wrote. I have it printed out and use many recipes from it all the time.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

'The Moon in the Mango Tree'

If you read the Book Buzz yesterday, you would've noticed my addition to books to keep an eye on was 'The Moon in the Mango Tree' by Pamela Binnings Ewen. My extraordinarily efficient friend, Rel at Relz Reviewz, has posted the review I emailed her last night! You will find my thoughts on the book here.

I was reluctant when Rel first asked me many many...many months ago if I would consider reviewing some books for her. After reading the review I posted a couple of weeks ago on 'Embrace Me' by Lisa Samson, she really wouldn't take no for an answer anymore! So I agreed and was given some books to review in the coming weeks. As I get the reviews done and she posts them I'll pass on the links.

On The Way Home

This only happens about one day a year. Our town is too low for snow so if it's going to happen we have to head up towards Mt Dandenong. On our way home from church as we got past the suburbs we noticed cars laden with snow, so we thought we'd check it out for ourselves. Sure enough, Sassafrass and Olinda were smothered, the roads had brown sludge on them and we crept along with all the tourists, on our little detour to visit the snow. The Olinda golf course had lots of people visiting with their boogy boards to go tobogganing on the slops of the course.

Miss Sunshine started singing Christmas songs! You know, the 'Cuckoo' Restaurant had a snow man up on its roof from Christmas in July, after all.

We're now all tucked up at home with the heater going and extra layers of clothing. I don't know why, but even when the thermostat says 21C it feels cold!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Book Buzz Tag

Rel has tagged me so now I get to muddle my way through the instructions! Hopefully I get it all straight!

Here’s how it will work....

Becky has provided a list of her five MUST Read novels and five Keep Your Eyes on These Novels, then tagged five bloggers who she is asked to post her list on their site. They may then add one book to each list but must also subtract one book. Finally they should tag five other bloggers, link here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction, and comment to this post so visitors here know to check out how they may have changed the list.

If you aren’t tagged but want to play, copy the how to paragraph above, make your own list of MUST Reads and Keep Your Eyes on These, and tag away. It will be fun to see if we can generate some book wars … uh, I mean, discussions … good, healthy, respectful discussions! ;-)

The books marked with a * are ones that Rel agrees with being on this list. My additions are in a different colour.


Demon: a Memoir by Tosca Lee (NavPress)
The Restorer by Sharon Hinck (NavPress)*
Riven by Jerry B. Jenkins (Tyndale)*
Zora & Nicky by Claudia Mair Burney (David C Cook)*
When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin (Thomas Nelson)


On the Edge of the Dark Seas of Darkness by Andrew Peterson (WaterBrook)*
The Edge of Recall by Kristen Hetzmann (Bethany)*
Searching for Spice by Megan DiMaria (Tyndale)*
Shadow of Colossus by T L Higley (B&H Publishing)*
The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen (B&H Publishing)

Given that apart from Rel I don't really have any bloggy relationships with other book reviewers, I think I'll have to go with the 'consider yourself tagged' instruction! Surely there are some bookwormy bloggers that visit me who would like to join in!!!!

Friday, 8 August 2008

Happy Anniversary to Us!

It's Friday the 8th of August. I know that means nothing much to anyone else, but for us it means we've been in our current house for exactly three whole years. Three blissful years of no moving house! For Mr Busy, this is the longest he's ever been in one house.

Given my busy week and the fact that my head is suffering the lack of hydration from yesterday I'm thinking a night off to enjoy fish & chips or something similar may well be in order to celebrate. That and a quiet night in!

After an unusually late night at music practice last night (I got home at 11pm) it was up and at 'em this morning with another half a day in the art room hovering over novice sewing machine users. I will need to take my camera in and get some photos of the work the kids have been doing, to show you. Some of them have produced fabulous work. Most of them have never used a machine so with a quite 5 minute instruction spiel they are off and sewing. It's a beautiful thing to watch them go from hesitant and petrified to confident and excited. I have to admit though, I'm looking forward to a quieter weekend!

Below is my most recently completed stitchery. It will be framed in a 4inx6in frame and handed on to thrill a good friend.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

How to Keep Out of Mischief

Thank you for all your concern and well wishes for Mr Busy. We prayed last night that God would heal him enough for school if that was to be the plan for the day, enabling me to go on the excursion. Also, that I would know for sure one way or the other. I guess the girl's teachers were praying as well. He woke up this morning with none of the dripping. So we thanked God, phoned Miss Mischief's teacher to let her know we were good to go, and prepared for a busy day ahead for all of us. I was up at 6.30am to get eggs cooking for sandwiches and muffins baked for lunches.

The girls and I, along with their classmates, teachers and three other parents spent the day at Scienceworks. Their 'Eyes on Earth' interactive exhibition saw us experimenting with all kinds of things to do with looking into space, including a 3D movie thing about satellites. Many of us got to find our school and our houses on Google Earth. We had an hour to ourselves in that area and got to have a really good go on everything there.

Mr Busy was sent off with instructions to visit the lovely office ladies to get a dose of his Dimetapp at recess time, which he did. They were impressed with his sense of responsibility in remembering to do so! I also mentioned to his teacher that he would consider it his personal mission to show her how deathly ill he could possibly be if she asked him how he was! Funny little thing, if you ask how he is he'll cough pathetically and put woeful look on his face. Then he'll run off and do what normal 8yo boys do.

Tonight we're off to regular Thursday evening things. One of our favourite super fast dinners is pasta bolognaise. So while the kids have showered, I got that cooked and we're ready to set off again.

Poor Miss Sunshine had so much fun today that she fell asleep on the couch after the 15 minutes that she's had to sit still with no one talking to her!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Wouldn't You Know It?!

The one day I have gone to pick up one of my kids in the middle of the day because they're unwell and I get a note home from one of the girls' teachers. Could I come on the Year 5/6 excursion tomorrow after all? Ooooohhhhhh, I'd LOVE to, but we'll have to wait and see.

Mr Busy has been dripping all afternoon. His nose is dripping. His eyes are dripping. Apparently he was doing OK until recess time. The very time at which all his medicine would've worn off, and then he looked miserable. I'm surprised he lasted til lunch time, given what he looked like when I picked him up. Poor baby.

He's not sniffing quite so much now. I LOVE Dimetapp. So does Mr Busy. Not only does it work, but it tastes good too ;)

Meat Pie

Aussies love a good meat pie. Apparently there's nothing like a pie and sauce at the footy. I don't know about that. I don't enjoy footy. But I do like a piping hot meat pie....without the sauce. Yeah, I don't like that either LOL. Unfortunately bought pies are not that healthy. However, when I was losing weight by attending Weight Watchers meetings about 10 years ago one of their recipe books had a fabulous meat pie recipe. The recipe calls for using filo pastry. If you're going to buy pastry anyway, then this would be my vote. It's nice and light and crispy. When I make this for dinner this week I'll be making my own pastry, because it's cheaper and I get to control what I put in there.

Meat Pie

450g minced beef
1 1/2 cups carrot, grated
150g potatoes, grated
1 cup parsnip, grated
1 cup water
2 teaspoons beef stock powder
1 tablespoon cornflour
salt & pepper
11 sheets filo pastry
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and coat a 23cm pie plate with cooking spray.
  2. Brown mince in a non stick pan. Add carrot, potato, parsnip, 1/2 cup water and stock cubes to pan. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender, adding more water if necessary. Thicken with cornflour dissolved in a little water, ensuring that mixture is not runny. Season to taste and cool slightly.
  3. Line pie plate with 6 sheets of filo, folding to fit the dish and spraying each layer lightly with cooking spray. Pour filling into pastry case and top with remaining pastry, folding to fit. Cut a steam slit in the pie and coat with cooking spray.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

I'm now off to pick up Mr Busy who is apparently feeling more miserable than I gave him credit for! He'll be 'enjoying' an afternoon nap I think.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


I posted last week, that I had received this award from both Tina and April. I'm finally getting back to doing the official bits that go with it!

  1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.
  2. Link to the person you received your award from.
  3. Nominate at least seven other blogs.
  4. Put links to those blogs on yours.
  5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you have nominated.
Seven other blogs. EEK! If I have commented on your blog in the last few months, it's because I really enjoyed something about it. So, please consider yourself nominated. I don't want to burden my favourite bloggy friends with an award they deserve, but don't want to do the passing on unless they really want to do it.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Monday's Menu Plan

I've decided I need to learn to dance. I went to see 'Mama Mia' with three wonderful friends last night. If ever there was a movie that would make you want to learn that was it. A fellow school Mum tells me it's never too late. I dunno. She's been dancing for 20 years. I grew up in a town where the only white people were almost all Brethren Missionaries. Bretho's don't dance. Anyway, that's something that will go on the "If I get a chance" list of things to do I think.

It's a great movie. If you want a good laugh and to enjoy some great music then go and see it. It's the perfect thing to go and see with girlfriends like mine....especially when you have a husband who prefers action movies with blood and guts everywhere!

Anyway, onto more important things. Like food! Lucky for me, I had this week's menu all sorted well before a weekend of early morning bed times.

Monday: Lamb chops with cranberry & orange sauce and vegies
Tuesday: Oven Risotto
Wednesday: Herbed Ricotta Fritters & vegies
Thursday: Pasta Bolognaise
Friday: Soup with homemade dinner rolls
Saturday: Singapore Noodles
Sunday: Homemade Meat Pie with potato wedges & vegies

Tuesday will be a 'guinea pig' meal. The last time I tried cooking rice in the oven I had the world's most stupid oven and it didn't work. I now have the most wonderful oven I've ever had so I'm going to be game and have another go. And yep, I'm going with the pastry thing again on Sunday.

Now, because Rel keeps telling me I need to post more recipes I'm going to go ahead and post tonight's without anyone asking for it. Why? Because it is sooooooo yummy and I think you'll be glad you tried it.

Lamb Cutlets Cranberry & Orange Sauce

8 lamb cutlets
plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups packaged breadcrumbs
olive oil
30g butter
1/4 cup cranberry jelly (whole berry or jelly ~ either is fine)
2/3 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
1/2 cup water

  1. Trim fat from cutlets.
  2. Dip cutlets into flour, then combined egg & milk, then coat in breadcrumbs.
  3. Heat oil & butter in a large frying pan and add cutlets; cook until golden on both sides and cooked through.
  4. Remove from pan and keep warm.
  5. Add combined cranberry jelly, orange juice, rosemary and sugar to pan and bring to the boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for one minute.
  7. Blend cornflour and water and ad to pan. heat until sauce boils and thickens.
  8. Serve sauce over the cutlets.
Serves 4

I use whatever lamb chops I can get on special or at a good price. When I can't be bothered with egg & breadcrumbing I just press some breadcrumbs onto the meat. It may not have the complete effect, but oh well. Near enough is good enough when you're feeling lazy!

Sunday, 3 August 2008


"The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe".

Proverbs 18:10

Saturday, 2 August 2008

'What Lies Within' by Karen Ball

What is it About?

Kyla Justice is the successful owner of her late father's construction business, Justice Construction. As a woman in a male dominated industry she has worked hard to earn her place in the field and her work has an enviable reputation. Despite her professional standing, she is feeling empty and unfulfilled with building projects whose only purpose is to make money for the client. Kyla wants a project that has some heart and soul at its core.

Meanwhile in another part of town a small group of believers are on a time limit to get their church building functional so that it can be of service to the community in which it stands. Their third contractor has just walked off the job and they have two months to get it up and running before the property would revert back to its original owners.

During a late night conversation between the owner of Kyla's favourite local coffee shop, Rafe Murphy, and Frederik, a dear friend from long ago, Frederik realises that Kyla may be the answer to the church's construction problems. Despite the impossibility of the task, Kyla thinks this might be the project she has been longing for.

What I thought:

'What Lies Within' is the third and final book in the Family Honour Series by Karen Ball. It is the absolutely perfect icing on a divinely delectable cake. I loved 'Shattered Justice' and 'Kaleidescope Eyes' and so this book had a lot to live up to. Karen does not let you down!

Kyla has a number of challenges to overcome from her past. The death of her parents has seen her hone her first-born inclination to be bossy and controlling. Another incident in her young adulthood explains her unconscious tendency to hold people a little at arm's length. Karen brings Kyla through all of these things in a completely realistic way, from the first smallest unexpected thought, to the ability to let go of her past and allow herself to be fully invested in her future.

I loved the character of Rafe. He is a wounded ex-Marine who has that armed forces strength of character, balanced with compassion and a genuine care for those around him. Tarik, the young man who lives with Rafe, made me laugh. Karen's sense of humour shines through in Tarik. He has a quick wit, calling things as he sees them.

The warrior-like faith of the group that is re-building their church is an inspiration and encouragement. I loved the way that despite the impossible challenges they faced, they didn't allow those to determine that God was closing a door for them. The question they kept asking was "has God released us from our call?". Indeed! A far more pertinent question to ask in the face of adversities that are not actually a door closing at all.

Whilst it is not essential to read this series in order, I would highly recommend that you do so. They are worthy of a place on everyone's bookshelf. The theme of letting go and letting God, and allowing oneself to trust others is the strong theme through this book and Karen gently reminds the reader of these through Kyla's struggles. 'What Lies Within' is difficult to put down and definitely requires a tissues or two.

Our Phone Call with Karen Ball:

Last night our book club got to chat in person with the wonderful Karen. She sacrificed a few hours of precious sleep for us, getting up at 4.30am for our 9.30pm phone call. I had looked forward to it all week and I was not disappointed! Karen has a wicked and zany sense of humour and her love for life flows easily. I am sure that she is a blessing and precious gem as a friend, and a beautiful gift to the authors that she works with. Her 'real job' as an editor in Christian fiction is fascinating and she shared with us what it is that she does! She also shared of her personal journey in faith. What a story Karen has!

Karen, thank you for taking the time to spend the early morning hour with us. It was wonderful to get to know the amazing woman behind the books that I have long enjoyed. 'Shattered Justice' sticks in my mind with amazing clarity. I still can't believe you did it....the kids. I'm still in shock LOL.

Rel, as always your passion for Christian fiction is a gift to the rest of us and your willingness and ability to organise these special events is a blessing beyond compare.

Friday, 1 August 2008

And the Award Goes to....

I don't think I'll ever hear those words about me in an Oscar's or Grammy award kind of way, but today I have received the 'Brilliante Weblog' award from Tina and April.

I will do all the official bits with it very soon. I just wanted to say a huge 'thank you' to you both. I feel very humbled that you thought of me, for this award. I kind of think my blog is just the completely unnecessary meandering musing of an ordinary Mum. So for you both to think it's 'brilliante' is a wonderful surprise.

Thank you.

Updates from BMPF

My days have spiraled into being quite hectic! So my slacker post for today is updating on the bits and bobs from this week.

I finished 'What Lies Within' on Wednesday. A solid day of just reading saw it finished by end of school time. I laughed and cried all the way through. I promise I'll post a review tomorrow after our conference call with Karen Ball, at bookclub tonight.

The tree is still hanging over the fence. The neighbour popped in and said he had someone coming to remove it ~ don't know when. He'll look at getting the fence repaired when he returns from his holiday (lucky man!). He mentioned that insurance would only pay half, which doesn't make sense, given that the tree was on his property. Anyway, I'm sure that will all get sorted out in time.

The Year 5 & 6's did their Operation Egg Drop yesterday and the teachers asked if I'd like to come and see. So I did. The aim was to invent a contraption that would allow an egg to be dropped from a height without the egg breaking. There was one outstanding one where it just fluttered gently to the ground. Everyone else's basically thumped, but with good padding all but one egg survived. Wouldn't you know it, that was Miss Sunshine's! Her partners had compacted the padding to the point of uselessness. Miss Mischief's turned over and landed on the box that held the egg ~ even it survived the crash LOL.

I've finished another little cottage garden embroidery ~ will post a pic of it soon. It's very cute and I have a home picked out for it. A good friend was taken with the picture in the book, so I know she'll love it in real life.

The left over roast pork meal was a success. I'm not a fan of reheated roasts (apart from chicken), so it was a risk. But it turned out beautifully ~ even for Mr Busy who is not a huge fan of Chinese food!

There you have it. Little bits of nothingness from Beyond My Picket Fence. I'm off to play in the art room for most of today with the Year 5 & 6's. They'll be using a sewing machine and their art teacher was finding it an insurmountable challenge to supervise that as well as the rest of the class. I think I'll take my knitting with me!