Saturday, February 26, 2011

favourite kids song

Okay - usually kids music drives me around the bend. But this chick rocks!
Her name is Frances England and she has the coolest kids music.

Happy days.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I think any person that has ever grown their own food has a huge amount of gratitude for the abundance that the land offers us.  

 I just went out to the veggie patch to collect my corriander and mustard green seeds and noticed that my onions needed plucking out of the patch.  

We've been picking copious amounts of blackberries round here.  There's been many 'a ' crumbles devoured in these parts lately.  And there's been much sharing too.

we've even managed to put a few in the freezer.  I think I'll have to be a bit more disciplined on doing that to preserve for the winter time vitamin C hit. We're just being greedy at the moment.

these have been pickled.
My kids gobble up beetroot (much to my mother's disgust!) - what a powerhouse of nutrients.  

my Grandmother's apple cake recipe is one of the favourites of the children at the moment. Good thing because we have at least 7 apple trees here at the house and about 15-20 more in the paddocks.

Pears and kiwifruit are on their way from the old house block. Pumpkins have ransacked my lower veggie patch and we've realized that tomatoes really like to climb around in the pumpkins.  I hope we get a bumper crop because there's nothing I like more on a cold winter's day than a hot bowl of Pumpkin Soup. 
We also have a cattle beast to put in the freezer over the next few weeks.  

and.... Look at this little Ukrainian beauty...
(bless you ebay!)

Oh cream! Glorious cream!!

I've already whipped up a batch of AMAZING gobbled up ice cream - using all our own BioDynamic milk and cream and eggs.  I've got yoghurt culturing in the Fowlers - I do a giant batch and then drain whey on a lot of it to make thick yoghurt and yoghurt cheese (like a very firm cream cheese). The kids like to take a little pottle of homemade yoghurt with a few blackberries plonked in it for their lunchbox treat.

Abundant and blessed are we.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

iron and wine

apparently I've been living under a rock.
I have only just discovered Iron & Wine. Open that link and play his music immediately.

I am mesmerized by Sam Beam's intoxicating voice and clever lyrics.
I've just bought his newly released album "Kiss Eachother Clean" and I venture to guess that his older albums will make a permanent place in my music library as well. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

just another day of love for us...

Hello and happy Monday.
As some of you know... I grew up in the States.  And I love holidays. However, this is one holiday that I can honestly say I really think is crap.  The above sentiment is my sentiment exactly.  I'm so glad someone put it so eloquently.  Perhaps if it wasn't so commercial it would actually mean something.

I do have one memory though - my mom gave me a heart shaped tin with chocolates in it when I had first started school.  I was very proud of it and brought it on the bus whereby a heathen of a high-schooler smashed it. My best friend, Lizzie's brother told him off for it and fixed it and handed it back to me.  It felt nice that my momma loved me and my best friend's brother had the guts to stand up for me.

I really do miss Thanksgiving though.

My little girl has just gone off to her first day at 3 year old Kinder.  She was terribly excited. I on the other hand am not. It's actually quite a pain in the bum to toddle her off to kinder from 9:30 to 12:30.  Three hours and one third of that time is spent eating.

Do you like the skirt that I whipped up for her lastweek? She's yummylicious in it. And of course her Hello Kitty backpack from Uncle Jimmy and Auntie Roneita all the way from the USA.

My Monday is spent at our magical little Learning Group at Koonwarra.
This is the teepee that Baxter and I made from some branches... The kids loved bringing their projects out to set up under it.

This is where the kids will go to school in the future. We can go when we want and leave when we want. The food we bring is Organic and we share. We spend the day doing what the children want to do. We learn numbers, play games, ride bikes, take bush walks, interact with each-other, make school decisions.... I'm beginning to wonder if she might have a more fulfilling day coming with her brothers and I to the Learning Group and skipping out on 3 year old Kinder.  I am taking her with me for the first time this afternoon, and I will ask her what she wants to do and let her know that she can do whichever one she wants to do.

Anyway.... Off to do the kid stuff. Am a bit gutted because we cannot get a time slot that works for swimming lessons to suit us. They've been going SO well.  Maybe it's time I jumped in the pool with them and continue?

How's you week starting out?

Friday, February 11, 2011

first ballet lesson

There have been many good happenings around here lateley... One of which is the little Miss' very first Ballet lesson. It was SO much fun. The girls were allowed to express themselves and have fun, and the teacher and her 2 sidekicks were able to actually get them into first position and a few other moves. Gretta cracked it for the first 3 minutes and then had a ball. Her friend Nina from Fishy also came along and together they did great! Not bad for a 3 year old girl. I shock myself when I am reminded that she is only 3.

Baxter also started Karate this week. We are so lucky to have so many activities so close and handy and of such good caliber surrounding us here.

Swimming has been a smashing success - with both of my big kids (age 3 & 4...) dunking under water, torpedoing to the steps, kicking on their own with faces in water... I'm terribly proud and glad that I didn't push myself while we were in Queensland to start them too early. The 70k each way trip to town didn't excite me, nor the cost of doing it too young. I think we've made the right decision.

We also started our week out at the Koonwarra Village School unofficial Homeschooling group. Baxter and Monty and I had a terrific day at the new grounds. Baxter spent most of the day riding his bike (of which he does with complete confidence and expertise! - no training wheels ever!) and Monty spent the day trashing the place but in a good way. We built a teepee out of some big branches, played games and had a load of fun.  I'm so excited to be a part of this "unschool school" and anticipating an amazing education for our children there.  

I also have some exciting news...

this is MY VEHICLE parked in my .... wait for it....... SHED!!
Holy Crap - and hell has not frozen over yet!
I've been waiting nearly a year to have a shed to park my car in. To have the freezer and dryer in, to have a spare washing line in for those rainy days.... and low and behold - here it is. Hurrah!

and.... we've had some more additions to our family...

they have adorable fluffy tails and are a bit camera shy...

Peter Rabbit and Beatrice Bunny.
Welcome to our menagerie of a family.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

God Bless Basil

I'm a Basil lover from waaaay back. I however had never made pesto until this year as my crop of Basil just keeps on giving.  I've made 4 batches this year, and I cannot think of anything better to have on a warm summer's evening than a big plate of Spelt Pasta smothered in spicy, garlicy, pesto mixed with a bit of cream.
How do you make yours? This is the gist for mine...

Amy's Pesto:
Massive bunch of basil leaves
a few good sized hunks of Pecorino or Grana Panado Cheese
a good sized packet of pine nuts - toasted and still warm
a few lashings of good quality Olive Oil
2 gigantic cloves of garlic - grated in

Squash the basil leaves and the grated garlic into a small food processor - add about 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil and start blitzing it. It should be thick. Continually add Olive Oil until a firm smoothy consistency appears. Add the pinenuts (still warm) and chunks of Pecorino. Blitz until a thick consistency, but not runny.  If a bit runny - add more Pecorino.  
Eat everywhere possible: pasta, on fritatta, on Scrambled eggs, on crackers, on sandwiches and wraps. 

We've also been Blackberry picking. My very favourite berry. Oh how I love late summer.
Funny thing is that we're out there enjoying the fruits of the prickly canes and husby is out there whacking them down with his slasher.

What do you do with your pesto - how do you make yours?


Sunday, February 6, 2011

muffins and BF love

I've got this friend named Jen.
I've been using her banana cake recipe for more than 10 years now.
It's the best banana cake recipe out there (however I use 1/2 the sugar nowadays)

Jen is also the my best friend. Always there. No Matter What.

We met in Richmond QLD - I was fresh off the bus from Townsville, she was fresh to town with her brand new baby boy, Sam. That baby boy has just started boarding school. OMG.

There have been 6 births since then between us. One wedding, a couple of Christenings and Naming Days, Many Many hugs and smiles and phone calls. She fills my cup and makes me want to be the best person I can be. We cluck over babies together, get giddy about beautiful things and little people together, share recipes, secrets and wonderful moments together. She also serves up arse kickings when needed. I do the same, and although a good telling off can sometimes be difficult to endure (for both of us) we ALWAYS know that comes from love and care.  

We were fortunate enough to live only 3ish hours from eachother for a few years while we lived in Queensland - after nurturing our friendship across 2 continents and 3 countries (we can't call New Zealand a "continent" now can we??!)  

We have been putting off making a will because we always came to the part where we have to name guardian's and have struggled. Jen and Chook are our children's Godparents (all 3) and I guess we always sort of thought that they would take care of the kids if needed.... but then so many kids came along from both of us and would make it 7 children total if (God Forbid!) something were to happen to any of us.  

Well, as easy as anything, we have decided to make them the official guardians of our children after a very clear and loving message came from Jen today that they would love to be their (official) guardians.  It is such a difficult thing - you know... to think about.  

Above all, we KNOW fully and well that our children would be unconditionally loved  if they were ever put into their care.  It certainly wouldn't be a walk in the park with 7 kids, but they would do it with love and respect for each child. We are very grateful, and it has put my mind at ease.

It gives my heart a teeny tiny bit of heartache knowing that there are several hours separating us now, but deep down, I know it doesn't matter because we always love each other and will always see each other every so often... But I do miss her.

... my goodness - this photo doesn't even include all of us!! Montyzooma wasn't here yet!