Monday, 27 June 2011

Things I'm Loving - Chai Latte (Make Your Own)

Today I'm having fun exploring new blogs like Paisley Jade, and Kristy is asking what things people are loving at the moment.  You can visit her lovely blog by clicking on the link at the end of this post.

I'm loving Chai Tea on cold winter mornings and nights, and there's something about making things from scratch.  So here's a recipe to make your very own at home.  

10 teaspoons Black Tea
5g Cardamon seeds
2-3 Cinnamon Sticks or 2 1/2 tspns cinnamon ground
1 tspn Ginger powder
1 Clove ground

How To:
1. Grind up spices using a mortar and pestle or coffee/spice grinder.
2. Add tea to spice mixture.
3. Fill tea pot or coffee plunger with boiling water and add spiced tea mixture. Use 3/4 cup boiling water and 4 tspns of tea/spice mixture per serve.
4. Let stand 3-4 minutes.
5. Heat milk on stove top, microwave or coffee machine.
6. Pour tea into cup and top with hot milk.  Add a dash of vanilla.
7. Add sugar to taste.


Recipe adapted from

What things are you loving at the moment?

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Today I Feel

   This morning we found ourselves ...

 eating pancakes by the sea

enjoying a bit of hopscotch

feeling a little sand between the toes

some drawing & exploring in the sunshine

And all before lunch.  Did someone say it was winter?

So lucky to live where we live.

What do you love about where you live?

*This post has been edited to remove photos of my children for internet security purposes.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

A Sweet Obsession

What can I say, I just love cupcakes, baking them that is, and ok, maybe eating one or two.  They just make me smile.  I think its because they're old fashioned, and it takes me back to my childhood.   

This year cupcakes have taken up a bit of my time, as part of my creative urge. The thing is when I try something new I tend to get obsessed with it and spend all my time on it until I get bored with it (hence my avid blogging of late, but I don't think I will ever tire of that).  One of my daughter's first words was cupcake (or cu-cay, close enough). I even thought about starting up a business from home supplying birthday parties or even local cafes etc.  We'll see, maybe with a bit more practice...

Anyway, you would have seen one of many cupcake stands on the market, there are even pretty cardboard ones you can assemble yourself, great for parties.  Cupcake towers seem to be the "in thing" at the moment and look really great, especially when they match in with a theme.  And the good thing is no messy cake cutting or squabbling (is that the right word?) over who has the bigger slice of cake.

Here are just a few I've whipped up so far, minus the ones which were gobbled up before I had a chance to take a photo!  Ok, now I'm showing off a little, but everything's better shared right?

Do you have something that you love to bake? Please share, I love to talk baking!


Monday, 20 June 2011

How to have a "Hoot" of a time

I just love owls, I don't know why, maybe because they are nocturnal creatures (like me), or it could be those big captivating eyes that fascinate me.  Recently, I found a simple tutorial on the internet to create a soft, crinkly owl toy and so I decided to give it a go.   And here is what I came up with..

Ok, you can stop laughing now, I think it's kind of cute, ugly, weird and pretty all at the same time! This is just my own version (can you tell) I put together using some scraps of material I had lying around.  Think it's a little bit "shabby chic" even!  You can find a tutorial to make your own owl at  It didn't take long at all to make, nor did it require a sewing machine.

I have to say my heart did smile though when my 22 month old daughter gave the owl a big cuddle and said "oo oo"! Guess I'll have to make more toys!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

"Plane" Old Fashioned fun!

On a recent op shop outing, I was so chuffed when my son was charmed by this second hand old world globe bookend.  I looked at the globe, then looked at the price tag, and for once I could happily say yes to his "can I have this mum, please?".  It made such a nice change to the usual requests for dvd's, or the latest plastic mass produced toys on the supermarket shelves. 

I was even further impressed by his choice of a book,  The World Record Paper Air Plane Book, written by Guinness World Record holder Ken Blackburn.  Ethan and his Dad have been having a great time together trying out the different paper planes and throwing techniques. 

You see, our son loves computers and television, and we are trying to find a balance between technology and hands on, good old fashioned play.  There is so much influence from his peers and the media to play with high tech gadgets, and our son is so interested in them.  Then there is the violent content  and "attitude" in some G rated games and popular television programs.

To date, I think we have a good balance of activities, but it is a constant battle to keep my son away from the technology.  His favourite inside activities are Lego, drawing and writing.  Outside, its kicking the ball around, riding his bike or climbing.  We have also just started him in a soccer program and he is loving that now.

How do you deal with technology and your kids?  How do you keep your kids occupied?  What are their favourite activities at home?  I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Strawberry Season!

Guess what? It's strawberry season! These little babies were $3.98 for a punnet today at the supermarket (which is about half the price they were a week ago), so I picked up two because I know they won't last very long in my house. 

So of course, what's a girl to do with a spare punnet of strawberries?

Strawberry cupcakes of course!  I also needed an excuse to use these pretty cupcake wrappers and vintage teacup set I picked up at the markets on Sunday.  For the cupcakes I adapted Martha Stewart's recipe slightly and just added chopped strawberries to my usual buttercream recipe. Mmm, doesn't take much to make me smile! 


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

I'm Easily Distracted

Hello there, this is me today attempting to expand my repertoire of books.  On my thrift shop expedition on Saturday, I picked up a copy of "Tuesdays With Morrie", a book I have always wanted to read.  Today I decided to make a start on it (while little one was sleeping)...except, I was distracted by these little fellows...

I tried to get closer, but they were very shy & quick...

unlike this willy wagtail who was not at all shy...

but this honey eater had better things to do...

Hey nature, would you stop distracting me!  This is why I hardly ever read books! And sorry about the blurry photos, modest equipment and out of practice (I'm working on it)! 

Hope I haven't distracted you too much!


Monday, 6 June 2011

Apple Crumble Slice

In my younger struggling student days, I was a waitress at a cafe on Park Road, and during the cooler months, I served up lots of apple crumble slices. 

This is my own recipe which I came up with, essentially topping a basic slice base with apple crumble. I do cheat and use tinned apples, which saves time and I find them to be just fine.  The slice makes a lovely alternative to the traditional apple crumble, because it keeps well in a lunchbox, and just has that extra biscuit base to devour.   It can be served warm as dessert or cold as a snack. 

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • ½ cup castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cups plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 600g of sliced pie apples
  • 1 tablespoon castor sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Rind of ½ a lemon finely grated
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • ½ cup castor sugar
1. Preheat oven to160°C.
2. Cream the butter and sugar. 
3. Add egg and mix until well combined.
4. Add flour and milk and mix until combined.  Press mixture into lined rectangular baking tin. 
5. Combine ingredients for the filling and spread over the top of biscuit base.
6. To make topping combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until it resembles breadcrumbs (but not too fine).  If mixture is too dry just add a little more butter and mix through.
7. Sprinkle crumble mixture evenly over the top of the apple filling. 
8. Place in oven for 40 minutes or until lightly golden.
9. Remove slice from oven and slice evenly into squares.
Serve warm with custard, cream or ice cream.  Alternatively serve chilled.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Serendipitous Saturday - if furniture could speak

Serendipity: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way - Oxford Dictionary. 

Today was just a regular Saturday.  I had my coffee in between dodging somersaults and marbles, wiped tears, made beds, wiped other things, did some housework and then managed to finally get the kids in the car for a special trip to the  thrift shop or "Treasure shop" as I like to call it.   Maybe I would stumble upon a nice little antique coffee table I could freshen up for the front loungeroom, or maybe a cute cup and saucer, and a couple of books and toys for the kids.  What I actually found was priceless. 

Upon entering the store I came across a little Queen Ann style coffee table, and decided that I would come back to it if I could'nt stop thinking about it by the end of the shopping trip (that's generally the way I work).  I continued along to the kitchen section where I studied a collection of tarnished silver platters, wondering if they could be revived.  As I turned around, my attention was caught by the coffee table in the arms of another woman!  I jokingly said to the lady "I was looking at that table, cute isn't it", half wondering if she might surrender it.  She smiled, shrugged and continued along.  Then, I did a double take as I immediately recognised the lady as my old highschool art teacher.  Since I don't do "being taken off guard" very well, and her name did not come to me immediately, I continued along treasure hunting, and  decided I would stop her if the opportuntiy arose.

Of course, after a short while I bumped into the lady again, and just had to stop and mention that I was one of her students back in the late 1980's-early 1990's.  She (Jenny) was absolutely delighted to see me, asked my name and said she remembered me (I'll take her word for it).  I introduced her to my children and we had a lovely chat.  The conversation continued on for a while, and although there was this feeling that we were meant to bump into eachother (with the whole coffee table thing) we ended up saying our goodbyes, and that was that.

Driving home, I just couldn't stop thinking about my old teacher, and running through things we talked about, along with the things I wish we had talked about.   I have always felt that when coincidences like this happen, there is a reason for it, and we should take the time to figure out what that reason is.

This afternoon, I came upon a poignant quote from Eckhart Tolle that reads "Be alert and present and see that your identity is not from your past story; who you truly are is the alert presence that is inseparable from the present moment. You are this, which has no name and no form".  From this, what I learned from today is that it doesn't matter about the past, what I did, or didn't do, what matters is the person I am now, and striving to be for the future.  I have a beautiful family, unique talents, and strive to be a better person most days.   I know that I am heading in the right direction right now.

As for my art teacher, I cannot say what she took from our serendipitous meeting, maybe the same message, either way, I felt that she was quite satisfied to see one of her past students all grown up, and doing fine.

I dunno sometimes...I just think it is amazing that two people were brought together by a little coffee table, in a thrift store on the outskirts of Brisbane, at that particular time. 

Funny thing though, I forgot all about the coffee table!


Do you have any serendipitous tales you'd like to share?

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Gift

There's a saying that when you help someone else the gift comes back to you threefold.  Earlier this year, during the queensland floods, I was involved with baked relief in a very small way.  I say "in a small way" because I only baked a few things on a few occassions, as it was all I could manage at the time.  However, I had no idea at the time what a profound effect this would have on my life. 

Athough I have always enjoyed baking, I hadn't done much of it of late, with a toddler at my ankles, a residual 20kg on my hips and six years as a stay at home mum, I had somehow become "stale" on the idea of baking, and in fact stuck in a bit of a rut at home.   Well thanks to baked relief, I had an opportunity to step outside of myself and do something for someone else, and the first gift back to me was that good feeling inside for helping someone else, without expecting anything in return.  The second gift was a renewed enthusiasm to bake.   I will not take more credit than I deserve for the little amount of baking that I did, and only mention it here because of the journey it has taken me on.

Along this journey I discovered the world of blogging, one of which I had been aware, but not really involved with.  I firstly discovered the blog of Danielle Crismani, founder of baked relief, it is a great blog,  which you could spend hours pouring over.  I have since taken up various crafts such as sewing, knitting and developed a special interest in cupcake decorating, all thanks to inspiration from various bloggers on the internet.
The third gift was actually inspiration to create, which I had lost somewhere between nappy changes and laundry folding.  Its not that I was unhappy, its just that I was going through the motions of life a little, something was missing, and I realise now that when I create something it makes me feel, well, alive!

You could say that the internet has saved the sanity of this stay at home mum! Now here I am with a blog of my own, since I enjoy writing, and if not to purge, but to connect with others and motivate myself to create things that I can share with others. 

My journey as a blogger has just begun, and here you are at home with me.  I hope to make your visit worthwhile!


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Bringing girly back

Something funny happened to me this year, I have been on a creative, nesting frenzy of sorts, and no I am not pregnant, but I have been dabbling in everything from sewing and knitting to a complete obsession with cupcakes!  In fact I have recently taken up sewing after a long break, (having only basic knowledge thanks to home ec at school) which is also partly motivated by my need to (hopefully) pass on some home skills to my daughter one day. 

Anyway, here are some of my recent attempts at sewing for my daughter's bedroom.  I had so much fun designing and sewing them (probably because I actually had to stop doing housework and concentrate on something completely new).  

Patchwork pillow
Green , pink & white girly bunting

My house may not be spotless, but I have definately rekindled a fire in my belly, a creative fire.  Afterall, what's the point to everything if you can't have a little fun?

Hope your girliness has been inspired today!

*This post has been edited for labelling purposes.