Monday, February 28, 2011

Emily bakes Bombe Alaska


Both my girls are wonderful cooks.
Emily made Bombe Alaska at school this week - in Science!

So she decided to make some for us too.
We didn't mind ;-)

Steve wanted to make the flambe version, but I didn't think that was such a good idea ...


Steve pitched in and helped at the time-sensitive steps
(such as getting the icecream, then the meringue onto the cake)

and Laura hung around hopefully ...



After just 3 minutes in the oven:


"I'll just pop it here on the stove for now ..."


The baking paper caught alight from the gas heating the kettle.
Yikes!
Luckily Super-Daddy was nearby to blow it out with a single puff.

Almost had a flambe, after all.

I'm happy to say that the
Bombe Alaska was enjoyed by all.

And some went into the freezer for another day.

Lilies by the letterbox



The lilies are back again this year.
(Can it really be two years since I wrote that post??
I could have sworn it was last year)


These lilies pop up each February now near our letterbox.


Since we didn't plant them
or plan them,
I guess some people might call them weeds.


But really, how could you?
They are just so beautiful.
(especially when I crop out the deadish straggly plants around them)


I love this photo, it reminds me so of a lady in a pink ballgown
daintily picking up her skirts.


Just before I went inside, the sun came out!
Look how the light shines through the petals!


And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
- Matthew 6:28-29

Quiet Morning


This will be a quiet week in the little green house.
Four more days of isolation for Laura.

I have vacuumed and enjoyed a cup of tea.
A friend called to see why we haven't been at church, it's nice to be missed.

And I am trying things with the camera.
I love this old silver cup, a family heirloom.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Indecision



Making decisions has never been my strong point.

If you've visited my blog in the last week you'll have noticed I've been trying a few different looks ... one of these days I'll decide which one I like best, and stick with it!

In the meantime, please enjoy this photo of a couple of apples who
show the same signs of indecision -

"red?
green?
red?
green?"

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Morning Tea with Mum


Sometimes a girl just needs to get out with Mum.
Sometimes Mum just needs to get out with a girl.

So ... sometimes ... we do.

Two weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, Laura and I took a train trip to an exotic destination, filled with Chinese dragons, drums, foreign costumes, dancers, strange foods and amazing sights.

And we were still back home for lunch!

I didn't have a camera with me, so I didn't capture the exotic sights, but I did take a few photos with my phone of the things we particularly enjoyed.


A tower of Valentines Day cupcakes


A heart made of woollen pom poms!
(such a cool idea!)


A girl's dream come true

|

- serve-yourself lollies.

And I bought myself (oops, I mean our house) some things too,
which I'll show you soon.

We also bought 3 cute cardigans for we three girls, Laura put hers on straight away!

We had a wonderful time, and truly felt like we'd visited another country

(I obviously don't get out much!
Plus it was Chinese New Year so lots of wonderful Chinese things were happening!)

Then, after four days stuck at home this week with Laura

I thought it was time for Emily and I to enjoy morning tea together.

So we headed out to our favourite local coffee shop.

Where the crockery is vintage and mis-matched

The decor is cute and changing all the time

The music is straight out of the 1940s-60s

And you feel like you're in someone's comfy home.


Not a great photo, on the phone again, and the light behind, but this was our morning tea.
(and I love how my girls dress up so cute for our "date"!)

Tea & Charlotte Slice
Vanilla Milkshake & a Melting Moment.

Next time I want to try a Chai Milkshake
or a Pumpkin Milkshake
or an Iced Green Tea.

Afterwards we visited the secondhand bookshop.

Not so exotic as my trip with Laura,
but still good fun.

Morning tea with Mum.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lemme out! I've had enough!



It's been a big week here at the little green house.

What's going on?

On Monday morning I dropped in at Jacqui's, where another friend had also coincidentally dropped in, and we had a lovely morning chatting about school and children.

One might call it gossiping, but one might also call it encouraging for each of us to share how our families are doing. That turned out to be the high point of my week, it's been mostly downhill from there.

Okay ... this isn't funny ...

On Tuesday I kept Laura at home, she'd been coughing in the night.
We went to the doctor, suspecting whooping cough.

I wanna put my feet on solid ground again ....

The (young, inexperienced) doctor didn't think it was whooping cough.
But I'd been on the lookout for it in our family, ever since my niece had it in early January.

While we were in the waiting room at the doctor's, my good friend Tanya rang, distressed.
Her parents had phoned her, having just survived the Christchurch earthquake.

From then on we watched the devastation and heartache that was unfolding on our television.

So much tragedy.
So much teamwork.
So much trauma.
So much to do.

Tanya's parents were at a conference, not in the worst part of Christchurch, and made their way to an open area. From then on, between lots of phonecalls back and forth, they found shelter for the night and managed to get on a flight and arrive home, with only the clothes on their backs, very late on Wednesday night.

I followed along with almost as much intensity as if it had been my own parents.

In the meantime, on Wednesday morning
I received a call to say that Laura had tested positive to whooping cough!

Not funny ...

So I've been busy since then, contacting school, teachers, my students, church people, everyone who needs to know that we won't be around for a little bit. All that takes time.

I've been looking after a girl who's sick but not too sick, who likes attention.

Since she's missing quite a bit of school I feel the pressure for her to do a little schoolwork, at least, and not watch TV all day long!

I've been dealing with a doctor who is learning along with me (well, actually learning after me) the regulations about isolation and antibiotics for whooping cough, especially after Laura was quite ill after going on the antibiotics.

Just trapped ...

There have been lots of discussions, lots of googling, and lots of decisions to make.

I've been trying to keep happy an older sister who has to keep going to school while her sister gets to stay home and "have fun".

I've had to cancel my plans for 2 weeks, and stay home.
I love staying home, but not quite so much when I have to stay home.
And I'm finding I'm not getting to any of my list of projects.

After 6 years of child-free Februaries, I'm not coping very well with this!

I'm learning to value being outdoors when I can, and took a long walk this evening.
Music helps, and reading Psalms.
And last night while walking in the garden I discovered something small and cute running into the bushes - it was a quail!!!

Being grateful for small mercies.

It's not so bad, after all .... just a little too much all at once.

And nothing ...
... nothing whatsoever ...
compared to what people are experiencing in Christchurch.


(All styling and stunts by Laura)

{which was lots of fun till I wanted to get something out of the pantry }

Sunday, February 13, 2011

White as snow


Come now, let us reason,”
says the LORD.

“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.

Isaiah 1:18-19

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cool change


After the longest hot spell on record, the heat wave has broken.

I am sitting blissfully by an open window while cool air and rain blow in onto me.

Last night we had a short blackout which set our sensor light flashing on and off continuously.

So Steve ended up getting out the ladder in the dark and fixing it.

It was 10.30 and the temperature was still 34degC! (93.2 deg F)

Now it is 20deg, and tonight Sydneysiders will sleep well.

I am looking forward to a new week and some energy to get some things done:

Getting my music teaching organized for the year

Continuing with de-cluttering - this week my craft area

Planning and leading bible study, we start back this week and are studying Isaiah, which I am really looking forward to.

Maybe working more on the armchair slipcover I started last year

And maybe painting the inside of a dresser.


Plenty to do.

The hot weather drains me so much, but this cool change is breathing new life into me!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thrifted Blouse


On Monday Emily and I braved the heat to go op-shopping.

One of the op-shops near us is great for clothes and books.

This year I'm hoping to buy lots of my clothes second-hand.

I found this lovely cotton blouse for myself.

It is just my style, and just my fit.

It was a little stained but after 2 nights soaking in oxybleach,

and a day on the clothesline in the hot sun, is clean again

Lovely white cotton for summer weather.


With pretty a pretty blue floral design.

And only $2.00

Woohoo!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blackboard Menu


This is something I never got around to posting last year.

With all the blackboards around in blogland kitchens it was inevitable that I would want one too!

I was hoping to splurge and get a Stampin' Up! decor vinyl stick on blackboard, but the decor elements range hasn't come to Australia, as I hoped.

So I went to my local $2 shop to see what they had.


And there was the perfect blackboard for inside my pantry!

For just $5.99


No more asking "What's for dinner?"

The girls can just check inside the pantry door.

(And I added the word "yum!" to help work on their attitude when
pizza or burritos are not on the menu)


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oh Chocolate, how I miss you ....


Oh Chocolate, how I miss you.

Ever since I had to give you up (almost entirely) late last year I have been thinking of you.

When I see you in the distance I have to remind myself to keep away from you, to be strong.

How I would love to sit with you, on the sofa after lunch, with a cup of tea.

Or even to spend time with you and my friends.

Before Christmas I thought I would pine away without you

... my weight plummeted.

But after Christmas I lost my energy and enthusiasm for life without you

... I sat on the sofa for hours at a time

... knowing that others were enjoying you instead of me

... turning into a couch potato, my skirts became tight again.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of you, a taste even ...

(made by Emily)

... while I eat a choc chip cookie.

I enjoy the slightest reminder of the lost pleasure of being with you.

I've tried to find other loves,


but nothing takes your place.

Once or twice I have given in completely,

and indulged in forbidden pleasure.


But it is not the same.

The joy is gone

and tasting you becomes a calculated affair

to be indulged only on certain days

and fraught with fear of the consequences.

But I know that in an instant I could be with you again

... everywhere I look reminds me of you


... I have so much of you around me still.

Sometimes I forget that you are gone from my life,

I reach out for you ... and then remember.

But I shall be strong,

... knowing that being without you is for the best.

And knowing also that the previously unthinkable life without you

is actually possible,

after all.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fan-Forced Summer Day


Opening the front door and being hit by the westerly this afternoon is like opening the door of a fan-forced oven.

Only without the cake.


But fortunately (speaking of cake) we have been enjoying these sweet cupcakes that Emily made on Sunday, while Laura and a friend played with Polly Pockets, having a mini pool party.

Emily makes a great cupcake, and cleans up, too!
(well, better than she used to, anyway ...)

When I drove Laura home from school the car thermometer measured 39 deg, and it's still almost that hot now at 5.15pm.


I'm now going through paperwork from last year, and making frequent trips to the recycling bin, bracing myself each time for the burst of heat on my face, and feeling very thankful for airconditioning within.

Each time I step outside the house I remember that three days ago our neighbour saw a snake slither under the fence from our side to theirs.

Right near our carport.
To under their car.

Trying not to think about it.

But then at bedtime these days I'm reading the No 1 Ladies Detective books and finding that snakes appear every few chapters.

Mma Ramotswe's advice is to tread heavily (easy for her, she is a woman of traditional build) ...


so ... no tippy-toeing around here from me.

It was a green snake, and apparently that's good.

But trying not to think about it.

See how quickly my mind jumped from cake to snake?

Not thinking about it at all ....

Free Day No. 1 - The Kitchen


Emily headed back to school today, and Laura went back yesterday, so that makes today my first "free day".

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my girls, and I LOVE the holidays, but since about 4th January (when Steve went back to work) I've been aching to tidy the house and calm things down a bit. Even I can only cope with so many books, craft projects, DVDs and toys strewn about the place.

But oh while the girls are home, and the weather was warm, and I was a bit sick, and my iPad is too distracting, it was too easy to procastinate!

And then I discovered Lissa's blog, and her kitchen:


It is so clear and uncluttered and light and spacious!

And for the last week I couldn't get it out of my head.

I decided that today was The Day.

So this morning after some grocery shopping I began to tackle my own kitchen.

Here are some before shots - but please remember that this is my kitchen at it worst - I haven't cleared up from making school lunches (and what a shock to the system that is!), and now I've bought in about 7 bags of groceries to add to the mix.




First thing I did was to get the groceries away, veggies into Tupperware in the fridge,



fruit in it's place on the bench, looking much better already.

Then I worked from right to left, removing absolutely everything from each section of the bench top, cleaning it and replacing only what I really use and love.

This is the back left corner of the kitchen before:


And after:


Much better!

I have always loved these little spice jars that my sister gave us when we got married, and use them regularly. But with their peach-colored design and raffia they are looking very dated! And I don't have room for them in the pantry.


Then I had a brainwave! I replaced the raffia with some natural looking string, and just turned the jars around to the plain backs! Voila! Neutral colored spice jars with cute labels! Now I can love them all over again!


I kept working my way around to the main bench of the kitchen, cleaning and decluttering. I threw out lots of old pens and nicknacks around the phone, and decided to work out another spot for my folders. I still have some stuff to go through, but this is the end result of my labours:


A clear bench, lit by the skylight above.
The living room behind me is fairly dark, the curtains are shut today to keep out the heat.


Fresh summer fruit


I found this old tea box in my Gran's garage when she was moving from her home. I stored tea in it for years in the pantry, but now it lives on display and holds lunch snacks for the girls.


It's close to hand for those busy mornings but looks better than bright packaging on the bench.

A few more jobs to do another day - clean my old electric jug collection,


Clean the windows and glass in the cupboards

Find something to go on the lower shelf here:


It's pretty much how I left it when I moved the Christmas ornaments out.

And now at last I can get out my lovely new pitcher I found at Bed, Bath & Table this morning.


But where to put it? My bench top is so lovely and clear. I don't want to add it in anywhere.
At times it can go on the dining table, filled with flowers or foliage, but it needs a home.


Aah!


Perfect.

Still' farmhouse' but more 'chic'.

The phone and stationery area is sorted and simple.

And my hens have a new home too, on the windowsill.


After two hours of hard work it was time to stop and have some lunch.

And now I have room to prepare it!


Fresh baguette ...


with filo, and tomato and basil from the garden. Yum!

Loving my new-look kitchen.


But in case you think tomorrow will be a day of rest, let me tell you about the other side of the kitchen ... where I ... ahem ... piled a few things in order to get the more visible parts of the kitchen sorted ....

Linking to: