Friday, June 30, 2006

In response to Tammy's Recipe Swap here is my recipe for Anzac Biscuits. Anzacs are a very traditional Australian biscuit (cookie). They are called Anzacs after the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Reputedly they were baked for the soldiers away at war during the first world war. They supposedly lasted long enough to be shipped to loved ones on the other side of the world. They don't last an hour in my house! Today I baked a double batch, because the elderly gentleman who lives next door spoils my kids and I wanted to return the favour.


125g butter
1 dessert spoon golden syrup
1 heaped teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup dessicated coconut
pinch salt
1 egg

Melt together butter, syrup and baking soda. Place dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Add butter mix to dry ingredients and mix well. Mix in unbeaten egg. Roll mixture into small balls and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Bake in a moderate oven (180C) for 10 to 15 minutes.

I am sorry I haven't converted this recipe to imperial measures. If anyone needs help translating from Australian just let me know!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I love embroidery. I love how delicate and pretty the tiny stitches are. I dream about pretty girls clothes, beautiful ornate bags, pristine, sweet smelling pillowcases. This weekend I decided to give it a go, and learnt to stitch bullion roses. These little baby's singlets are my first attempts, and I am very pleased with how they turned out. Each singlet took just one evening to make, so I am now ambitiously planning whole layettes for babies.

These two singlets are now in the mail, on their way to a friend in Florida who delivered her ninth child last week, a dear little girl they have named Ruby. It's just a little gift, but I am sure it will be enjoyed.

I really enjoyed making them. In my close circle of loved ones I have two sisters having babies next January and my best friend expects twin boys in October, so I can see a lot of baby stitching on the horizon. If anyone has any ideas of appropriate designs for little boys I'd be very glad to hear them!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Today is a beautiful, sunshiney day, so I decided to take a quilt and some morning tea out into the back yard and work on my candlewick cushion for a while. I felt I had earnt it after three loads of laundry, baking, mopping the floors and taking dogs and children for a loooong walk! The delicious chocolate slice in the photo was freshly made this morning, and I was very proud that I have done so much this morning.

These beautiful little dogs are our family pet, Abbey(brown and white), and Mum's little fellow, Shiloh(black ears). They are young Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Shiloh is visiting us for a few weeks while Mum is in New Zealand on a well earned vacation. He arrived by plane yesterday evening, and will travel home with Mum as she spends a week here with us before she goes home.

The illusion of the perfect morning break didn't last long. About 30 seconds after I took this picture of the dogs they broke into a scuffle and managed to up end the tea all over the slice and my stitching work. Aaargh! Fortunately it isn't too marked, so I'll try to finish the stitching today so that I can wash it in a bit of oxyclean. Fingers crossed that it will be ok. I also managed to quickly eat the slice so it didn't go soggy sitting in its little pond of tea! Things never really go according to plan, do they?

Monday, June 26, 2006

I made these yummy cup cakes for Samara to take to school on the day of her birthday. They were very popular. The kids love having that special day when they get to treat their friends to something nice. The teachers like something delicious with their lunch coffee too!

I made it through the exam (Popular Literature) relatively unscathed. The children are now on school holidays too, and it's just wonderful not to have to rush off to school in the mornings. It feels positively luxurious to enjoy a second cup of tea in the morning without having to nag anyone!

It has not been perfect. Both Christopher and Samara have coughs, and Joshua spent this morning with a very upset tummy, though it seems to have passed now. I have every hope that tomorrow will be a better day. I am hoping to take a quilt out into the back yard and spend some time in the sunshine. We have had some much needed rain recently, just enough to green up the lawn, and we are all longing to get outside and play (or bask) in the winter sunshine.

Other plans for the holidays include a lot of sorting and cleaning. A semester of study combined with a heavy bout of depression has left our house in a pretty poor state. We have discussed it, and decided that, for now, I need to prioritise home and care of myself and the family above all else. I was spreading myself far too thin, spending all my time fulfilling outside obligations to the detriment of our home and health. I confess I have truly struggled with my self worth as a stay at home mother, constantly taking on other things to try and prove I could be as useful and busy as my working friends. I am slowly coming to realise that I am not happy when I am overcommited, and not doing anyone any favours by doing so. I am lookimg forward to spending time being kind to my family and myself.

It's been a long journey to this point, but I am actually beginning to feel some peace in my life, and I love it!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

I haven't abandoned my blog, but am taking a small break away from the internet. I have an exam coming up on Thursday, and it would be nice to actually be prepared for it! So hopefully I'll be back, and giddy with the pleasure of a break from study, sometime on Friday.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways;
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper rev'rence praise,
in deeper rev'rence praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard
beside the Syrian sea,
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, without a word,
rise up and follow thee,
rise up and follow thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee;
O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee
the silence of eternity,
interpreted by love,
interpreted by love.

Drop thy still dews of quietness
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess,
the beauty of thy peace,
the beauty of thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
thy coolness and thy balm;
let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
speak through the earthquake, wind and fire,
O still small voice of calm !
O still small voice of calm !

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 - 1892)
This hymn has enormous meaning to me. It was a hymn Mum and Dad used at their wedding in 1969. Brett and I also chose to use it in our wedding service. When my father died earlier this year we all suggested hymns for Mum to choose from, and this was my suggestion. It makes me think so much of Dad, who dedicated much of his life to the Lord's service, and changed the world in his own quiet way.
When I sing this hymn I am praying its words. Especially the fourth and final stanzas. Quietness and calm are two things I know I lack.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

We are thinking a lot about water here at the moment. Today is the last day we were allowed to water the gardens with hoses (already limited to three days a week, between 7:00pm and 7:00am). Of course, it's been raining lightly off and on all day, so I didn't actually need to water the flowers. Sadly, it's not been nearly enough to fill the dams, which are getting as low as 30%.

30% doesn't sound too bad, but when you look at the big picture it's very worrying. The last time they were full was 2000. Since then rain has been far below average. There is enough water to last 2 more years without rain in the catchment, then we are out of water. If we don't get soaking rain by September then we face stricter water restrictions, basically no outside water use at all. It is estimated that, to fill the dams we would need 200ml of rain. Today we have had about 6 ml. Little of that has fallen in the catchment areas.

We are praying hard for rain.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

We have been hatching this week! These three chicks are the offspring of our peachfaced love birds, Henry and Min. The eggs were laid about 3 weeks ago, and Henry (the hen) has been nurturing them like a pro ever since. The largest hatched on Monday, and the tiny one on his back, barely visible, hatched yesterday morning. It has been very exciting to check the nest each day.

Henry came to us at Christmas time. She's had a rough life. She was originally one of a pair Mum gave to Dad for their anniversary a couple of years ago. Dad was living in a nursing home, due to early onset dementia. He loved them dearly, and named the birds Henry Crumb and Spotty Minnie Bannister, after characters in his favourite The Goon Show. As Dad grew sicker, he started to pull the cage apart to get the birds out, so Mum had to take them home so they would not be lost. She left them on her balcony while she was at work and visiting with Dad. One day she came home to find they had been attacked by a hawk. One bird was dead, the other badly injured, with an eye missing. The remaining bird survived, but Mum could no longer leave it outside, for fear that it would be attacked again. She was also out of the house a lot, working full time to support herself and Dad, and visiting Dad until he fell asleep each night. When we visited at Christmas she told me how worried she was for the lonely little bird, and asked us to take it. We already have a cockatiel, and were glad to take care of Dad's pet. We called it Henry, because we had no idea which of the two it was. Henry was packed in the car with the kids and driven four days back home. We got a second love bird for a companion and the rest is history!

Sadly, we lost Dad in January, just three weeks after we took the kids to visit him, but I know he would have been very excited to hear of the little hatchlings, which we plan to name after more Goon Show characters.

The second picture is of the proud father, Min. I haven't got a photo of Henry yet, as she's a very busy little mother!