Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Summer Salads

We're in the midst of enjoying salads at the moment. I know all of you in the northern hemisphere are thinking I'm a little bonkers...but for those in Australia, I know you're all looking for ways to enjoy your meals without heating up the house. For us, that means a lot of salad eating. By the end of summer I'll be wishing never to see another salad as long as I live, but for right now we're enjoying the sunshiney taste of yummy things not eaten since.....last summer!

Tinned Salad
One of my favourite I-can't-be-bothered meals comes from tins. Lots of salad things can come in a tin! We have beetroot (well ~ for those who like it....blech!), corn kernels, pineapple chunks, tinned potatoes can be rinsed, chopped and mixed with a dressing & fresh chives. Add some cold meat, sliced tomatoes and lettuce and you have dinner. Five minutes tops. You can pop all those tins in the fridge and then you cold salad ;)

Potato Salad
My favourite potato salad is just chunks of unpeeled desiree potatoes cooked until just tender. Then I make a dressing out of whole egg mayo (I use Praise brand) and a bit of dijon mustard and some fresh chives. Season with some ground rock salt and there you have it. I don't like my potato salad swimming in dressing. I like just enough for the spuds to be barely coated.

Sunshine Salad
I'm sure I got this from Steph's Country Kitchen Goodness. Her site has disappeared, much to my great sadness. Wherever the idea came from it's a goody!

Chopped lettuce or cabbage, crushed pineapple which has been drained (reserve the juice), grated cheese. To make the dressing just mix some mayonnaise with some of the reserved pineapple juice until the consistency is like a thinner dressing, rather than gloopy like mayo. Toss the dressing through.

Tossed Garden Salad
Really, a garden salad should be filled with things you love. For me, this means a red oakleaf lettuce, finely sliced spring onions, halved grape tomatoes, cucumber, mushrooms, shaved parmesan cheese and sliced kalamata olives. In reality, I put some olives on my plate and no one else's because no one but me enjoys them. I might also be inclined to add finely julienned carrots (I have a slicer thing that does this with no effort) or red capsicum. To dress, I mix 2 parts olive oil to 1 part white wine vinegar, a little dijon mustard and a little honey and then season with salt to taste. I don't buy salad dressings anymore, as I really do prefer this. You can leave out the dijon and the honey to keep it really really simple.

I'll post some salad main meals soon.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Last Menu Plan for 2008

What a momentous week for menu planning! The last one for 2008. Being well into the throws of summer now, most of our meals are focused around the BBQ and eating salads. Besides the fact that it's too warm to cook inside, quite often, we all get the can't-be-bothered's.

Monday: Corned Beef, vegies
Tuesday: Vegetarian Enchiladas, salad
Wednesday: Lamb Rissoles (garlic & rosemary), salad
Thursday: cold corned beef (leftover), salad
Friday: Singapore Noodles
Saturday: Either take away or cold meat & salad
Sunday: Warm Lamb & Feta salad

For those of us Aussie's who are attempting to avoid heat, I'll be posting some favourite salads this week.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Merry Christmas


I hope you have all had or are having a very special time with each of your families, celebrating the birth of Christ together with people you love.


For us, Boxing Day has dawned clear and sunny. We have had a wonderful Christmas. Now we look ahead to three weeks of Dh being home for summer holidays. If my presence here seems a little scant and scattered, it is because the lure of family and the excitement of summer fun together will be more than a computer could possibly hold!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Summer Vegetable Garden

Just as well I went out yesterday when it was warm and sunny to take pictures. Right now it's drizzling with rain and significantly cooler. Just what my vegies needed I think. A good drink and some respite from the heat sounds good to me.

The tomato plants are looking a little behind. I don't think they like where they are, but the alternative was fighting off jumping jacks so I figured they could be a little unhappy. Better than any of us getting nasty bites. I've had tomatoes over there before and they did produce, so I remain hopeful. Ohhh the taste of homegrown tomatoes....I can't wait.

I strung together a little climbing frame for the beans on Saturday, for two reasons. Firstly, they like to climb and perhaps happy bean plants will produce lots of beans for us to eat, as a reward for keeping them happy :) Secondly, it's easier for me to find the beans if I don't have to dig around the plants all in a heap on the ground.


My to-do list for the next couple of days feels a little like Mt Everest.
  • Food shopping
  • Finish Christmas shopping with the kids
  • Clean bathrooms, dust & vacuum
  • Move Mr I-don't-know-where-yet
  • Make Miss Mischief's summer nightie
  • Finish wrapping Christmas presents
Written down like that it doesn't seem so bad...I think it's the idea of heading down the hill into the fray that makes me feel a tad overwhelmed. Nevertheless, we'll get going early this morning (no telly watching for the little chickadees) and get that over and done with early before the worst of the crowds decide to join us. There are definite pluses to being early risers!

Monday, 22 December 2008

Christmas Menu Planning

First of all I wanted to say thank to those who have been concerned about my little fall down the stairs the other day. My arm (where I collected the banister) and down my back ribs were a little tender but I seem to be doing OK now. I just have a lovely bruise on my arm. The girls got to and scrubbed the steps on Saturday so hopefully none of us will repeat the performance!

I'm sure, like everyone else, there are elaborate plans for special meals going on this week. My family are coming here on Christmas Eve, so I have more pavlova to make and I think I figured out that I'm just doing meat aside from that ~ Mum will bring and take care of the vegies. But oh what a week we need to fit into three days LOL. My biggest dilemma is where to put Mr Busy while my parents are staying with us. He usually sleeps in the room that now has a Christmas tree standing rather proudly....and taking up a significant amount of space!

In any plans. We have kids on holidays, and Dh as well for a few weeks now so somehow I think I should be planning lunches too!

Monday: Out for dinner
Tuesday: Honey Soy Chicken, brown rice, stir fried vegies
Christmas Eve: Stuffed Pork, roast chicken, glazed ham, vegies
Desserts: pavlova, chocolate tart, fruit mince pies
Christmas Day: Leftovers at my brother's place
Friday: Hamburgers, bbq'd potato cubes
Saturday: Roast Chicken, vegies (leftover meat for sandwiches)
Sunday: Marinated chicken wings, salad, bbq'd potato

I'm going to take my camera out later today and gather some pictures of the vegie garden. Quite a few people have commented about forgetting we're in summer here and that we're into peak growing season. That'll give me a good reason to do some more weeding won't it!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Five Sleeps Until Christmas

It seems that as Christmas draws closer the little flurries of activity around here will grow until they become cyclones!

We have some jungles...err..lawns to mow today. And then some vegie gardens to weed and mulch. 'Garden' is a bit of a loose term I think. There are rhubarb, beans and tomatoes somewhere in amongst the weeds. I also want to plant some zucchini. We need them to start producing a little later than they might otherwise, hence the late planting. Hopefully the rain will have washed away some of those pesky jumping jacks. Today is the kind of day where I am so grateful for children old enough to do things. Mr Busy mows, under supervision and we are all capable of pulling out weeds, and understanding which plants need to stay.

I slipped down four steps out the back yesterday. They've become quite slimy and slippery this winter, so one of us will take to them with a scrubbing brush. I have the bruises down my arm that will insist that this job be completed.

And finally, lots of present wrapping and cooking in preparation for the family Christmas gathering tomorrow. Dh's family made the wonderful decision to meet before Christmas....we get to actually spend time together this way rather than rushing off, and we're all there, which would not be the case on Christmas day.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Fridge Update

I found a very prompt, gentleman who altered his route for the day to come and see to our fridge before another job he had scheduled. He came within an hour of my call and has been and gone. The fridge appears to be doing the right thing again.

I, of course, am a few hundred dollars lighter for the experience....but the lovely man assured me that our fridge was worthy of repairing as it is one of the good ones. It's about 16 years old and was built back in the day when things were made to last.

Mr Busy has also provided my first experience of children saving parents money! As the man poured warm water over the defroster, which was covered in ice, Mr Busy sat behind the fridge and scooped out the water from the collection point at the back. He saved me half an hour's worth of labour. I love that boy.

I'm collecting myself quite a little gathering of repair and service people this year. If you want a good plumber/gas heater repairer or a whitegoods repairer, I have some lovely men that have visited promptly, repaired appliances and offered sufficient advice so that they don't have to come and visit so often. As nice as they are, they're not cheap! Cheaper than a new appliance though.

Christmas Decorations

My Christmas decoration of the house is probably considered quite scant for Americans, and not so far from normal for Aussie's. We basically only decorate one room ~ the front lounge room, where we open our gifts of Christmas morning. Dh & the kids put the tree up last Sunday while I was napping. I feel terribly guilty...but I was so glad to have missed that one. I find the event quite stressful, with three more than energetic children going full bore at the task. It's not yet the gentle and tranquil thing I have in my mind that it should be.

This morning I've finished off my decorating. My mother made us a wall hanging quilt, that gets hung in front of the fireplace ~ which is unused during summer months and so quite a reasonable place to put it! It makes the fireplace look more festive! We each have a little pocket with our names on it.

I also found this very cute little set of nativity figurines when we were visiting Bright in the middle of last year. They have a Christmas shop in the little town there and these little people just wouldn't let me leave without them. They also have a fabulous toy shop there. Better than any I've seen down here, apart from Geppetto's. So my little people sit on the coffee table in the lounge room.

My decorating is done.


I've just discovered that my freezer is not freezing anything apart from already frozen meat. The meat is the only thing not defrosted. The fridge contents are not feeling quite as cold as they should.

I'm off to drag out the Engel to freeze things and phone some fridge repair people. Talk about timing :(

Thursday, 18 December 2008

San Choy Bau

I've had some roast pork floating around in my fridge this week. The last has been used up today with a very tasty treat for my lunch. There is just a couple of spoonfuls left to go with some lettuce tomorrow. I don't know about anyone else but I'm really not terribly fond of reheated roasted meats. I can't even put my finger on what it is that I don't like about it, but I am pleased that I've finally figured out what to do with leftover pork!

I made san choy bau. This is an Asian entree dish that is often served at the beginning of a banquet style meal. I never have iceberg lettuce, so I will admit that on my red oakleaf lettuce it was a tad tricky to eat, and next time I think I'll just shred the lettuce and drizzle the meat over it and have it with a fork!

San Choy Bau

1 cup or so Leftover roast pork, cut into tiny little pieces ~ almost minced
1 spring onion
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon crushed fresh ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

  1. Heat a little oil in a small fry pan and add the pork. Stir and heat through.
  2. When the pork is just starting to brown, add the spring onion, garlic and ginger and continue to stir while that cooks ~ about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the sauces and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes.
  4. If using iceberg lettuce, carefully separate the cups and place a couple of spoonfuls of the meat mixture in each.
  5. Serve.
The other thing I thought of today, is that you could put all this into rice paper and make little rolls. Rice paper is easily available...even in our Safeway, so you should be able to get it in any good supermarket. The rice paper comes in stiff sheets in a packet. The oakleaf lettuce would look remarkable with it's red and green, done in the rice paper.

Just dampen the rice paper until soft. You would probably need to soak them for a moment in warm water ~ read the directions on the pack. Remove from the water and add some shredded lettuce and a spoonful of meat and roll up. With rice paper, you don't need to cook it. It's something you eat fresh, just like that. A great lunch idea for guests, I think.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

End of an Era

Today is the last day of school for us ~ and then things will explode with childish exuberance and energy here at home. Mr Busy is on the verge of being out of control at the moment, such is his excitement and enthusiasm for life! I'm enjoying my final hour and a half of peace and tranquility!

This afternoon will make a significant ending for us. I will no longer be the parent of all Primary Schoolers. After today I will have a secondary schooler. ~sigh~ Wouldn't things be kinda nice if kids could just stay in primary school, where life is fun and full of adventure and the woes and cares of kids are relatively little?!

I'm off to prepare a prayer for our Thanksgiving Service, thanking God for our teachers. Hopefully I will hold myself together this afternoon!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


I found some very cute fabric on the 'reduced to clear' table ... just what I was looking for, for three little 2yo girls. I need to get a different type of ribbon for the third skirt, but these are the two I made up on Saturday afternoon, using this pattern. All three fabrics had ladybugs on them...very sweet.

It took me less than an hour for each skirt and I think they look very cute. I wish I'd known about this when my girls were little and the width of fabric sat nicely on them!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Meals, Menus & Munchies

This week for us, begins the family Christmas gatherings and meals. Ugh, all that wheat and sugar!!!!!!

Monday: Pork & Feta Rissoles & vegies
Tuesday: Pasta & veg sauce (I'm out...they can have as much pasta as they like!)
Wednesday: Chicken Parmigana, vegies
Thursday: Veg Patties, wedges, cauli/broc au gratin
Friday: Pork & Apple meatloaf, vegies
Saturday: Frittata & wedges
Sunday: leftovers from a lavish lunch....or tinned tomato soup!

I'm in charge of dessert at the lavish lunch. I say lavish, only because a SIL delegated different parts of the meal to different family members. Said SIL is doing the main meal and I am doing dessert. Others will do nibbles before, bikkies & slices for after etc. contribution will be:

Individual Chocolate pavlovas with whipped cream and fresh strawberries
Baked Pistachio Ricotta with Cherry Syrup
Fresh Fruit Salad
Homemade Ice Cream

Saturday will be spent in the kitchen!


I have nearly finished my Christmas shopping, thanks to a conversation at recess time this morning. I had lots of little tots to buy for this year so as we were talking Mr Busy's 2009 teacher said "Oh, I like to try and shop's far quieter up here than down the hill at the big shopping centres". Well...that got me thinking, so I took myself for a lovely little tootle over to Sassafras to visit Geppetto's Workshop. I just adore that shop! It is brimming with quality toys that range from relatively inexpensive to rather extravagant in price. I left with an armload of beautiful wooden puzzles, some bath toys and many more ideas than I had children to buy for!

My tip for all you prefer a quieter shopping experience and have children to buy for, is to head up 'the hill'. Enjoy the drive. Have a spot of afternoon tea at one of the little tea houses or cafe's. There are lots of little shops in Sassafras and Olinda that will delight you. I noticed that Olinda has a 'Baby Geppetto's'. I didn't stop in, but I was intrigued. I don't know about the weekends, but during the week it's lovely and quiet up in the Dandenong's! Certainly beats the 45 minutes getting out of the car park that I heard about on Sunday. Give me trees and quiet stores any day!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Mr Busy's Performance

It seems like all the funny little tales of childhood come from the 8yo boy in our house. The girls have never been quite as imaginative as he. The last time Miss Mischief didn't want to go to school she just asked straight out "can I stay home tomorrow, I don't want to do the class detention ~ I didn't do anything wrong"....mixed with a lot of sobbing and boohoo'ing. First off...silly question for this mum with three 'dabs of mean' installed. Secondly, grit your teeth, suck it up and get on with it girly.

So...Mr Busy's little get-out-of-school effort was quite something to behold. He has had a cold this week. Every morning he has benignly mentioned that he feels sick. "Sorry bud, I think you've just swallowed too much snot overnight. You're going to school". He eats his breakfast, runs around the house like the mad thing he is and races off up the hill at school without a second thought.

Friday was another story.

He moaned and groaned in a way that only someone with a cold can do. I was playing the piano...he crawled into the dining room (where the piano is) and lay on the floor moaning. Oh Please!!!!! He still ate his breakfast and still annoyed his sisters between all this groaning. I sent him to lay down....he couldn't stay there, he just had to keep coming out and trying to make me feel bad for sending him! So off we went....with that pathetic little look on his face of "I just don't want to go and you're so mean and I want you to feel really bad". Poor boy...he so has the wrong mother for that!

At recess time I saw his teacher and asked how he was. "Oh, he doesn't seem sick, he just seems tired....he's been such a grumble bum". Apparently he'd been caught out copying someone elses work (not that it matters much 4 days before the end of school!) and wasn't in a good mood when he got sprung. So we agreed he should stay at school. He was just tired.

On the way home he found his energy. Funny about that!

To top it all off, Dh's sister and her family were here for dinner that night (Mr Busy was oh so fine by then!) and his cousin had managed a day off. I had to laugh. Mr Busy just looked at me with a look that said "he's so lucky".

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Christmas Tradition Quiz

Felicity did this on her blog and I really liked the idea. So, in my newly acquired Christmas spirit, here it goes....

Wrapping paper or gift bags? Paper. I was given rolls and rolls of the stuff from Mr Busy's Prep teacher. I have a few year's worth to get through.

Real tree or artificial? Artificial. It's more cost effective and environmentally friendly...and less messy.

When do you put up the tree? Any time from the 11th onwards. We follow Dh's Mum's tradition of allowing 'the twins' (dh) to have their birthday before we put it up. Plus, we all need to be home. That's quite an ask at the moment.

Do you like eggnog? I don't know. I don't think I've ever had it.

Favourite gift received as a child? A Baby Alive doll. Oh how I had coveted that doll for ever so long. She was the love of my life until I got to about 11 or 12yo. I got too old and she went mouldy. You gotta love the Tropics! I wish I'd never given her away though.

Hardest person to buy for? My Dh. No hobbies and doesn't read. And when you ask what he wants he says "I don't know".

Easiest person to buy for? My Mum. We have a lot in common.

Do you have a nativity scene? I have three wise men, Joseph and Mary hold the baby Jesus. I'll have to post a photo when I get it out. It's very cute.

Mail or email Christmas cards? Neither. I've copped out completely. Consequently I get very few, which is not something that bothers me in the slightest.

Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Some gadget thing the older of my two brothers gave me when I was about 10 or 11yo. I still, to this day, have no idea what it was or what I was meant to be used for. He couldn't tell me either!!!

Favourite Christmas movie? Miracle on 34th Street. The Santa Clause.

When do you start shopping? If I'm smart, in July. If I'm really silly (like this year), about two weeks ago. This year isn't working for me.

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so. At least not that I remember.

Favourite thing to eat at Christmas? Fruit mince pies. Real plum pudding boiled in the cloth. Mum's sugar coated peanuts. That is really the ultimate comfort food!

Lights on the tree? Of course!

Favourite Christmas songs? Colin Buchanan's version of 'Who is He in Yonder Stall'. Gets me every time.

Travel at Christmas or stay home? We are always home for Christmas...our families are both here.

Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Nope. We don't have Santa in our home. A Christmas stocking yes...but no make believe stuff.

Angel on the tree top, or a star? Angel. It was a toss up but we found an angel we loved first.

Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning...first thing. Both our families did this. FIL has been known to be up at 5am waking his kids!

Favourite ornament theme or colour? I like gold ~ if I could have a coordinated tree (post child-made decorations) I would have white and gold.

What do you want for Christmas this year? Ducted evaporative cooling....and on a more realistic note, the newly available 'Maggie's Kitchen' recipe book. Because Maggie Beer is my kitchen hero and her recipes are always beautiful, simple and fool proof.

Person most likely to respond to this? Surprise me. I have no idea! But if you do, then leave me a comment so I can enjoy the fun with you!

Friday, 12 December 2008

My New Skill

I learned something new yesterday. Predictive text on my mobile phone. Mum clued me in to the little secret I needed to make it work for me. It is so much faster! Yes folks, I have caught up just a little further in the advancement of technology!

Predictive text has always baffled me because I couldn't figure out how to make it go for a different word if the one that came up was wrong. It's all about the little button in the left hand bottom corner. What a shame I don't get that many SMS's LOL


Dh is happy and Mr Busy is the most excited 8yo boy on the planet. We got the car back after being fitted with gas and a different spare tyre mount. Just in time for Dh to be out all over the countryside today making deliveries and installing coffee machines. Poor Dh has come down with Mr Busy's cold and is quite miserable. It's a pretty nasty one, although Mr Busy seems to breeze through it. His only complaint is that his tummy hurts. I keep telling him it's all the gunk he's been swallowing....he still eats three weet-bix for breakfast so he can't be too sick!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Christmas Spirit

The Christmas spirit has finally arrived Beyond My Picket Fence. I was kind of despairing of it ever arriving this year...I was feeling just a tad 'bah humbug-ish'. Not so difficult to come across in the modern consumerist culture we live in.

Last night we went to 'Road to Bethlehem'. What a moving experience. All of us enjoyed it and got different things out of it. Mr Busy was all about racing on to the next scene as fast as he could. My girls enjoyed their time with Rel's children. Us grown up's were taken with the amount of effort it took to put the sets and costumes together and the copious number of volunteer hours. Not to mention of course, the true-to-the-Bible beauty of the Christmas story. As I said we all loved it and Mum was very glad to have been able to be with us for the evening too. I feel very blessed to have been able to take advantage of the opportunity.

This morning I had my sewing circle break up...well, the group is having two. One for us Mums this week and one for everyone else who don't have children at home next week! I got up this morning and made Maggie Beer's fruit mince to make mini fruit mince tarts to take with me. Ohhhhh they are so GOOD! I must send some to work with Dh for his Dad. Dad is always feeding Dh treats and such. I think he will appreciate a little reciprocation. I have checked with him today ~ he loves mince tarts.

So with my house smelling beautifully of Christmas spices, I decided I needed to unearth the Christmas CD. We breakfasted together with that going in the background. Dh and I also managed to sneak in some Christmas shopping for our children. They will finish school next week ~ it needs to be completed before then!

So yes, I would say I have dusted off the bah-humbugs and am now officially ready to get into Christmas. According to Mr Busy's teacher it is now officially the Christmas season (as of Monday!). It took me a few more days to catch up to her LOL. The tree will need to go up this weekend, won't it?

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

It Was the Best of Days...

I kind of had to stop there...there is no 'worst of days' just now :) No...just lots of fun things.

It seems that this week is full of celebrating in our house. We have a couple of birthdays and the ensuing celebrations that each are worthy of. We have just taken delivery of the 'dream car'.'s a dream car to us. Something that suits the needs of Dh's business and our family requirements. How wonderful to have one car that can do it all!!!!!! I still keep my car, but the Ute is gone :) The new car is so much easier to drive than the Ute ~ I've backed it out of the driveway, so I would know all about it LOL.

I can't wait to go and do 'The Road to Bethlehem'. I've been wanting to do it ever since I heard about it This year a very dear friend offered us access to some tickets, so the five of us and my Mum will join her family to experience the Christmas story in action.

See...lots of celebrating and fun going on here! I love it when the week is full of really good things to enjoy, instead of feeling like you just have to get through it all.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Square Peg in a Round Hole

Actually it's more like round peg in a square hole, isn't it?! This is the latest quilt block from my Block of the Month class last week. We're into hand piecing again. This is one of those blocks you simple cannot do by machine. Going slow, one or three stitches at a time makes easing those curved pieces a lot easier!

We have one more block to go in February, and then we'll be putting the quilt together!!!! What an incredibly efficient way to get a quilt made within 12 months!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Monday's Menus & Tidbits

This week is filled with special little celebrations. It's our wedding anniversary today. It's Dh & his twin's birthday later in the week, and Mum will be staying overnight again one day as well. Lots of good things...lots of things that will have me at home more this week ~ I might even get my dress finished!!!!!!!!

So...our meals may look a bit more dapper than usual, now you know there's a reason!

Monday: Baked Parmesan & Herb Salmon, vegies (the kids are having frozen fish)
Tuesday: Honey Mustard Chicken, vegies
Wednesday: Singapore Noodles
Thursday: Scotch filled with creamy mushroom sauce, vegies (the kids will have chicken with the sauce I think)
Friday: Slow Roasted Pork, vegies, (chicken wings for potentially picky eaters) Chocolate Berry self sauce pudding for dessert
Saturday: Homemade Pizza
Sunday: Soup (we didn't have that this past weekend)

Now before someone looks at all that and decides I'm depriving my children of all the special things....they don't like salmon much but love frozen fish. I bought an 8 pack the other day so there would be 3 pieces left for them. They're very happy. None of them really like beef that much but they will really enjoy the chicken. See....I'm not so mean!


I love it when you go into an Op Shop and discover the very item you had been drooling over in a retail store. As a result you acquire the item at a fraction of its original price. Such was my joy again this week. A beautiful skirt that suits me perfectly was found at Savers last week. I had seen it in Target earlier in the year and desperately wanted to buy it then and there. The fabric was light, but weighty enough to fall beautifully and the detail of the pattern was embroidered flowers, in the same colour as the fabric. Simple, but stunning. I now have the skirt. It fits beautifully, looks great and it only cost me about 1/5 of the retail price :)

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Those Proud Moments

It took so much preparation and now it's all over. Year Six Graduation. We had the most precious night on Thursday night celebrating with our Year 6's. Specifically...MY Year 6!!!!! What a poised, confident young lady, with a sparkle in her eyes and more energy than I can imagine Miss Sunshine was that night. Well...she always is, but Thursday night just had her shining. We had The Dress and we borrowed this hairstyle from She Does Hair.

Each student delivered their third and final Toastmasters Speech and they all did magnificently. I couldn't have been more proud... of all of them. Some of the kids performed musical items, poems, a couple of dances. Their character, personality and creativeness were highlighted all the way through.

At the end of the night I had the privilege of handing them their Toastmaster certificate while one of the 5/6 teachers handed them their graduation certificate.

The Year 6's celebrated yesterday with a morning at an indoor pool and then lunch & shopping at the shopping centre across the way. Poor Miss Sunshine was so tired that she asked her teacher if she could go home with me instead of returning on the bus. Not one to miss all the fun, no matter what, I knew she was tired when she requested that I put her to bed and leave her at home while I picked the other two up from school.

I had a moment yesterday morning where I had to walk away from my baby girl who is almost all grown up. Tears in my eyes and the very real awareness that the end of Year 12 is only a short six years away. In that moment she will be a grown up with the world before her, as prepared for life ahead as any 18yo will be. Knowing how quickly her seven years of primary schooling has flown, I know that day is ahead and will be upon us before I realise where the years between went.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Floral Flannels

I love hand-quilting. I don't know why. It seems that most ladies who go through the quilt shop in Our Town send their quilts off to get machine quilted. I don't know....maybe it's the lack of control I am able to retain when handing over a quilt for someone else to decide what they will do with it. I do love sitting under a quilt-in-progress in the winter though. It's reason enough to have piecing completed through the rest of the year, just to be able to sit and be cosy in the colder evenings!

The quit above is the one I'm quilting right now. I bought the fabric about two years ago, just because I wanted a nice warm cosy quilt to snuggle under while watching telly. It's just for me...not for anyone else to commandeer or snaffle. The diagonal lines are quilted. The perpendicular and horizontal lines are just the basting that keeps the three layers together. That will get removed once the quilting is completed. Since the very outside border is quite wide I'm thinking maybe I might find a nice template and quilt a pattern in that area too.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

What a Blur

What a blur the last few days have been. A flurry of photocoping, typing, rolled certificates, cleaning, hair cuts, excitement over new dresses and pleadings for new runners and glasses.

I don't know if I updated from the other day after Miss Mischief's optometrists appointment? She's long sighted like her mother and requires glasses for reading and close up stuff. "Mum, when can we go and pick out my glasses" is her constant plea. She's so excited about the idea! I have a feeling that might be Saturday afternoon's job....along with new runners for Mr Busy who has skidded holes into the bottom of his soles!

I will have a new quilt block to show you after today. More hand piecing :) I've also been meaning to show you my quilting progress of the flannel quilt I've had on the go for 2 years. And of course, I have a few Courthouse Steps completed too. My I have been neglectful, haven't I?!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008


I stumbled upon this idea last Thursday at lunch. One of the girls in my sewing circle group is on a wheat free diet and this was her offering for our feast. I really wish I'd thought to try it out before now!


5 onions, peeled & diced
400g can peeled tomatoes, drained & chopped
3 slices ham, chopped
1/4 cup oil
30g butter
parsley and basil to taste
6 eggs
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  1. Heat oil in a large pan, add onions, cook until onions turn pale golden brown. Remove from heat, stir in tomatoes. Return to heat,, stir over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Drain oil from pan and allow mixture to cool.
  2. Combine onion mixture in a separate bowl with ham, parsley, basil and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Beat together eggs, and add to mixture; mix well.
  3. Melt butter in pan; while butter is still frothing, pour in egg mixture. Cool over very low heat for 10 minutes; do not stir. Place pan under hot grill for 3 minutes or until mixture is set. Do allow top to brown. Cut into wedges to serve.
I balked at five onions....I can't imagine the torture that would create for the female members of our household! I used one onion and I chopped up a bowl of leftover grilled vegies (capsicum, eggplant and zucchini ~ about a cup's worth) and added it to the pan. Really, you could use whatever you have in the fridge to get rid of: carrots, sweet potato, cabbage....whatever you have little bits and pieces of, because you don't need a whole lot of any one thing!

Would you believe I had this post half ready before I took the kids to school this morning. My how differently the day ended up being. I think from now on, if I'm at school for any reason, I should take my lunch just in case! It's getting to that end of the year where everything is happening very quickly and all at once.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Page 56 Meme

Rel has tagged me for the most ultra super fast meme I have ever encountered!

The rules:

Grab the book nearest you, turn to page 56 and go to the fifth sentence, typing that sentence and a few others around it.

The book I grabbed was not exactly near me...I have none on my desk. Who reads at their desk? Not me! So I got the book I'm reading, which is 'The Summer The Wind Whispered my Name' by Don Locke

"We'd been having those duck-and-cover drills at school for some time now, and I never quite understood them. For one thing it didn't seem like something we needed to practice."

I'm tagging Lisa, Tina, Frances and Kate

Don't Blink, It's Monday Again

What? Again? Already? I swear it was Monday just yesterday. The final weeks of the year are flying by oh so fast. So much is being jam packed into these next weeks that I have abandoned the calendar on the wall ~ the squares are much too small to fit in all the information required! I found some free printable weekly planner sheets so I am busily filling the spaces up on those instead. And miracle or miracles I have a diary now for next year. My book club and Women of Worth events are already in there as the first day of school for 2009.

But what's for dinner this week you ask?'s the plan:

Monday: Frittata, salad
Tuesday: Ricotta Fritters, vegies
Wednesday: Honey Mustard Chicken, hassleback spuds, vegies
Thursday: Graduation Night
Friday: BBQ at school for lower primary
Saturday: Mrs R's Vegie Soup
Sunday: Homemade Fish & Chips

Hey how's that...I get two nights off from cooking dinner! And actually, I'm thinking that since Monday night's dinner got eaten on a night last week, I might shove a chook in the crockpot. I have a busy day tomorrow, which will be further occupied by an optometrists appointment. Miss Mischief keeps telling me her eyes are stinging a lot. I'm beyond trying to figure out if she's just angling for the glasses she so desperately wants to wear! It's time to bring in the professionals!

I'm going to post the recipe for the frittata later in the week. It is wonderful...why hadn't I had a go at that before now, I wonder?!