Friday, April 29, 2011

Exciting dreams of hopes for the future....Fruit Trees Arrive

Well finally today was the day....

Our fruit trees from Diggers have arrived.  We have been eagerly anticipating their arrival since we placed the order on March 18th.  We have great hopes for these little trees, can already taste the sweetness of their fruits, can't wait to see the blossoms and the bees that will hopefully buzz around those little blooms.  Patient, we must be as we nurse and care for these new little lives that have been placed in our hands.  Here is the box they arrived in....I was too excited to photograph it unopened lol.  For some reason this picture refuses to turn right side up, but hey that is the way the silly courier driver delivered it anyway, standing on its end!  Those guys sometimes just can't read can they????  Or they just don't care,,,the latter of the two probably!!!

Nevertheless, our babies are all in one piece,,, and safely standing right way up on my pot table.

Here they are in all their beautiful baby glory.....

See how tall they are....

Oh I can't wait until tomorrow when we will go and buy some pots for them and some nice fresh soil for them to go in.  Yes these babies will be starting their new lives in pots as we have been discussing buying a new house in a year or two.  An "our house", one that we have both chosen together.   Hopefully a house with at least an acre of land to let our new found gardening passion blossom to its fullest extent possible.  A home where these little babies can expand their little feet well and truly into the soil and share with us their future fruits.

Here we have 10 fruit trees and a strawberry plant (this little strawberry plant was a freebie for ordering so much).

The fruit trees are as follows:

3 x apples Cox's Orange Pippin, Jonathon and Blue Pearmain
2 x pears Buerre Bosc and Red Williams
1 x Cherry Stella
1 x Nectarine Goldmine
1 x Peach Anzac
2 x Plum - Santa Rosa and Satsuma

I am so excited.  Our little yard is slowly looking more productive.  I now understand how people get so excited about plants.  I have never been a green thumb but I think we are slowly getting there.  Learning little by little how to have a productive garden.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bowling, Big Rocking Horse, Whispering Wall....Easter goes by way too fast!

We had a lovely 5 day break over Easter, nothing got done on the house front but we kinda relaxed and just "hung out" with the kids which was nice.

On Good Friday we took the boys bowling and mini golfing.  It was great fun.  It was the first time that we have ever been to Barossa Bowland and I have to say it was pretty cool.  The boys loved it and we had an enjoyable afternoon, well most of it lol.  We played golf first and Hubby won (as usual lol).  Then we came inside to play a game of ten pin bowling.  All was going well for Hubby until he got to shot number 8.  He bowled once and felt his back go pop.  After his back issues last year, we weren't taking any chances and he sat the rest of the game out,,,,,,,naturally he still won lol.  Even with the boys taking turns to finish his game off he still thrashed us all!!  After bowling my fair share of gutterballs, I finally managed to get a Spare!!!  But overall I was pretty dismal on the score front.

Friday night we picked up Hubby's 2 kids as we have them for the following week.  Friday night became movie night, as is our usual school holiday ritual.

On Saturday Hubby was still in discomfort so he went to the doctor's surgery and prepared for a long wait.  It was one of the few clinics actually open over the Easter break so it was quite busy.  When he finally saw the doctor he was told that it was muscular this time and should heal itself in a few days and to just take some Panadeine Forte.  Needless to say I was pretty worried and wanted him to go to the hospital for a second opinion but he stood firm and said  he would see how it went.  (Update on back:  after taking it easy and being careful for the Easter break, his back is almost normal again, but he will make an appointment with his physio today to just make sure)

Easter Bunny came a day early in our house as my boys were going to their Dad's house for 2 nights.   With the boys away the house fell silent with just Miss12 and Mr10 left to entertain.  Miss12 was determined to watch a Hannah Montana marathon on TV and Mr10, well he was just his usual destructive self sadly.

On Sunday we went for a nice drive into the Adelaide Hills to  the Meadows Easter Fair.  I was a little disappointed with it, as I had been told it was basically a craft fair, but it was actually more of a second hand/bric a brac type of thing.  We did however, come away with a kilo of Nashi Pears and a large punnet of strawberries which were divine!!

Easter Monday was spent at home as we weren't sure what time the boys would be brought back.  I decided to turn it into a bit of a cooking fest.  I made my Coconut Pie, my self saucing Chocolate Pudding and I decided to try out this recipe from Farmama Farmama's Homemade Donuts, they were delish!!!  And were devoured by the tribe within seconds.

As Tuesday was a public holiday here, we took the kids up to  Gumeracha's Big Rocking Horse.  They make the most amazing wooden toys there.  They aren't cheap by any means but they are very well made.  They also have a small wildlife park at the back which is free to wander.  We bought a couple of bags of food to feed the alpacas, sheep, goats and kangaroos.  There aren't alot of animals but the kids enjoyed it and it was out in the fresh air so that is what matters.  Even Mr14 quite liked it as they had his beloved Alpacas and his next favourite thing in the world his "afro chickens" lol.  I was a little disappointed though with the fact that they are now charging to climb the Big Rocking Horse.  This has always been free to climb since I was a child.  Now it is $2 per person to climb up on it.  I know its not a lot of money but I still find it hard to believe, as naturally all the kids want to climb it and with a large family all of a sudden it costs us $16, even an "average family" of mum, dad and 2 kids would have to fork out $8 just to climb it.  I found it pretty sad.

Anyway after our adventure in the rocking horse, we wandered down to Federation Park which is a lovely park in the heart of Gumeracha.  We cooked up some sausages and onion on the free bbq while the younger kids played on the playground.  After enjoying our sausage sizzle, which always tastes better when you are out in the fresh country air, we made our way to Williamstown to take the kids to the Whispering Wall.  It was pretty busy there and we didn't get to really appreciate the sound effects so we will have to go back at another time to really allow the younger kids to appreciate it fully.  They all enjoyed walking around the top walkway of the reservoir though.

And there you have it, our Easter break......can you believe that I forgot to take photos of most of it!!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why Do I Leave These Things Till the Last Minute!!!! Lol

Why on on earth do I do this to myself everytime there is a holiday near.....I have my shopping list done early in the week, declaring there is no way I am setting foot in the shops the day before the holiday, whether it be Easter or Christmas....but every year and every holiday I am running around like a mad woman organising the groceries on that very last day.
Today was no exception I traipsed my way around 4 different stores getting the various things I needed from each place and then of course came the line up at the checkout, Holy Moly!!!

Never again!  At Christmas I vow to be different.........I promise!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Easter Everyone - I hope everyone enjoys their break.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Art of Crochet - Square Number 2

 Well here we are with Square number 2 in The Art of Crochet rug.  This one for some reason I found a little tricky to get right and I feel even now that I have finished it that something isn't quite right, but it is done lol.  There will be others similar to this to do so hopefully I can refine my skills in the Scallop Lace Square at some point further on.  The rug, for me at least, is a kind of practice piece.  For me, it will be the piece of work I can look back on and say "I started my crochet skills with this rug".

I love to learn new skills and for my family, we are just starting out really on the "Simple Life" style of living.  We have so far to go, but we have already come so far too.  Yes, my house still holds way too much clutter, but little by little we are getting rid of it.  I am trying to sell as much as I can but at the same time I am being realistic and only holding on to things for a limited amount of time.  If it doesn't sell online it goes to a charity shop.  Some things are just too bulky to warrant paying out large amounts for postage so logically the charities get those items.  Everything we buy gets scrutinised carefully, "do we really need it", "how much use will it get", and the myriad of questions that those living the simple life ask.  We certainly still have our wants but those wants are becoming less as we strive to live a more self sufficient lifestyle.

Yesterday I saw the front page of The Advertiser and it worried me.  It was talking about the power plant our near Port Augusta and how it would likely be closing down by about 2015 and how it supplies 40% or our State's power and now we would have to get power from Victoria etc.  Part of me sees this as possibly being time for us to make a move interstate.  We have talked about moving interstate and getting a country property, that is our dream, or maybe move back to Hubby's homeland of New Zealand.  One thing that causes us a problem is the fact that we are a blended family and we have two ex-partners and 6 kids between us that still need to see those ex-partners.  I do believe it may be time to seriously start to consider our options, I just don't know that SA will be the place to be in years to come, then again the world is changing, so where is the place to be in ten, twenty or thirty years time????

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Art of Crochet - Square Number 1

I remember seeing the Art of Crochet advertised on TV I think in the middle of last year.  It sparked my interest as I love crafty things and my "want" is to be able to try my hand at many different crafts.  I am severely lacking in time for craft but hey that doesn't stop a girl hoping and dreaming does it???

I guess I am what you could call a serial hoarder of recipes and craft project patterns that I stash away to try at some point.  Currently I am in the process of printing my recipe collection and am making each thing and using my family as guinea pigs to try out recipes that have caught my eye over the years.  The ones my family enjoy I put on my blog to share but also to keep a photo and the recipe itself in a place where it won't get lost or ruined etc.

My craft patterns are kept in our bookshelf just waiting to be utilised.  I have knitting patterns, crochet patterns, christmas decorations, quilting, decoupage, felting, clothing, you name it, it is probably on my shelf!  I am kinda embarrassed to admit it but I currently have over 200 things on my "want to make list" lol.  Other than the crochet patterns from "The Art of Crochet" which will be a growing collection I have put  a stop on my pattern hoarding for now.  I usually flag things with one of those little stick it labels when it is something that I really either think I can do or want to give it a go.  I will just go through one thing at a time, many of them I will probably change my mind on by the time I go to make them lol but hey who knows, I may just get there one day!!

Crochet was one thing that had always eluded me.  I admired the finished results but I just couldn't quite grasp how to do it lol.  So when I saw this advertised I knew that I just had to at least get the first one and give it a go.  Hubby convinced me to subscribe to it and then if I decided after the first few installments that I was just not cut out to crochet, we would then stop it.  So I subscribed and I must say I love it.  I normally cringe at the idea of subscribing to this sort of thing because lets face it, it is darn expensive.  But in this case I feel happy that it is money well spent as I absolutely adore the patterns that come with it and I have flagged the majority of them for me to attempt at some point in the future.  Currently I am up to issue 31, not of course in crocheting the squares, I am way behind in that lol, but that is how many issues I now have.  Which means there are still 89 left to go.  That is going to be ALOT of folders worth of patterns and many balls of wool lol.  Each week comes with the ball of wool for you to use to crochet that week's square which at the end of the series will be joined together to make the rug that is featured on the cover above.

To keep me honest and to ensure that I will in fact make use of this collection I have decided to put each finished square on my blog.  I am pretty happy with my efforts so far.  They aren't perfect by any means but I think for an absolute beginner they aren't too bad.

This was the square required for Booklet 1.

And here is my finished square,,,,this hasn't been pinned out yet.

I think I actually prefer crochet to knitting because it seems to come together so much faster.  I look forward to making many more items.

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Baby has turned 9!!!!! Swimming Pool cakes and a Gorgeous Boy

Where does the time honestly go????  This cute little bundle of joy....

is now this cheeky little monkey of a 9 year old, full of beans and always making us laugh....

 and here as he requested is his swimming pool cake.  I usually do the kid's cake requests each year and over the years I've had some great ones and some that I was a little horrified with the outcome lol but this one, this one was one of the better results I think....

He loved his cake and it tasted really really yummy too.  I'd hate to think of the calories in a slice lol but I have to say it was so worth it!!!

I basically made two cakes and joined them together with apricot jam and cream and then smothered the outside with what I believe may be the world's best icing which I will share with you tomorrow.  I dug out the centre and filled it with Blue Heaven flavoured jelly and then added the rest of the decorations.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


This recipe is just fantastic for those days when you need to go shopping but just can't be bothered but you still want to make something sweet for the family.  It doesn't need eggs or milk, just perfect in my house where milk can disappear in the blink of an eye!

My kids for some reason prefer this to the more traditional Anzac Biscuits which I always used to make, and hey, I don't mind as a slice is so much faster and less fiddly than biscuits lol.


1 Cup Self Raising Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Oats
1 Cup Coconut
150grams butter, melted
2 Tablespoons Honey

Place all dry ingredients in a bowl
Melt the butter, add honey
Mix by hand and cook in a prepared lamington tin for 18-20 minutes at 180 degrees

This slice is very forgiving.  It tastes great as a softer type of slice but if you happen to leave it in the oven a little too long, it is still great.  This one was left in a little longer than I usually would due to me sorting out an argument between Mr10 and Mr8 but the end result was still given the thumbs up.  Instead of neat little slices we had more of a broken ragged look but it still disappeared in record time and the kids said it was just like biscuits lol.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Preparing to change our garden messy part at a time!

 This weekend saw us begin our garden transformation as I will call it.  As part of our simplifying journey we are determined that we will start growing veggies and fruit on a more serious scale.  We have decided to add 2 large garden beds into our small back yard and take up the lawn area that now lives there.  The kids don't really use the back yard for much these days as they have all outgrown the small area.  Now if they want to play they head down the road to the oval.  Therefore the backyard has laid dormant, used primarily by the dogs and cats and as you can see in this photo,,,,,tends to get very neglected looking.  The last few months we have basically done the bare minimum to the backyard, tending to just keep the grass area in check (as you can see by the photos though, the recent rain has made the grass grow like crazy and our lawn mower died a few weeks ago and we can't quite afford to replace it at the moment, so the whole area looks pretty horrid!

Well that will be no longer, of course we will still leave the dogs area to roam and explore as they like but we will have a productive section too.  We have placed orders for 10 fruit trees which for the moment we will grow in large pots.  Yesterday we bought 4 more feijoa plants and one strawberry guava plant.  These will be planted in the front yard, adding to the 5 feijoas we already have planted and our mulberry tree.

My plan is for the space along the fence to be filled with raspberries and blackberries and possibly kiwifruit.  This area will be underplanted with strawberries.

In front of this in the grassy area will be two narrow garden beds for zucchini, tomatos, cauliflowers, pumpkins and whatever else we decide or should I say lol, whatever else we can manage to grow!!!

This will be a long drawn out process like most things in my life but we will get there!!!!  Below is our dwarf orange tree which I hope will start producing fruit sometime next year.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Ok everyone, today I just have to share with you what could be the most yummy chocolate mousse I have had in,,,,geez I don't know how long.  I rarely eat Chocolate Mousse, mainly due to the fact that I am always trying to lose weight (lol trying new recipes sure don't help in that department!!)  Anyway here it is....its a crappy photo since I just took the pic of the bowlful lol but, oh you just have to try it!!!


2 Cups Chocolate Chips
2 Cups Thickened Cream
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
Whipped cream to decorate if you like

Place chocolate chips, egg and vanilla in a blender and chop.
Heat the cream until small bubbles appear at the edge.  Do not boil.
With machine running, pour in hot cream.  Blend until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Place in fridge until cool and then beat with electric mixer until thick.

I served mine in a large bowl as I don't have any cute little dessert glasses/cups.
The mousse is a nice thick one which tastes so divine it will have you wanting more.

Other than indulging in rather fattening desserts, life has been pretty busy lately.  I think I have moved into the times of  being the official taxi service mum.  I feel like I am spending more and more time in the car lately.  Wednesday nights are just horrible, I dread them every week, I feel like from the time I pick up the kids from school, we really don't stop until they are all in bed. 

Wednesdays normally goes something like this,,,,,,,,
2.45 - leave to pick up kids from school
3.20 - finally leave school after the kids decide to dawdle out making sure I have Mr14's mate as well
3.30 - arrive home, wait for kids to unpack lunchboxes, then pack recess/snacks into said lunchboxes for next day
3.45 - take Mr16 to his part time job and then drive to pick up chicken and bread from the On the Run
4.05 - arrive back home, bring in the washing from the line, stop kids from raiding fridge reminding them it is Wednesday and we will be having toasted sandwiches in half an hour
4.15ish - Hubby arrives home and we sneak in a quick chat and coffee
4.30 - get everyone's orders for their toasted sandwiches
4.35 - break up chicken so all kids can have "chicken on the side" with their toasted sandwich and begin the toasted sandwich making
5.00 - all kids fed and eating, hubby still debating if he wants a sandwich while picking at the left over chicken
5.10 - nag the 14 year olds to get ready for soccer and make sure they have drink bottles
5.15 - clean up dinner mess and supervise kids feeding the animals
5.30 - push 14 year olds and hubby out the door to head to soccer training.
5.35 - get Mr10 to get ready for karate and make sure he and Mr8 have their drink bottles ready
5.45 - leave to take Mr10 to karate, while arguing with Mr8 saying that he cannot stay home by himself
5.55 - arrive at Karate, pay the weekly fee and take a seat until it starts.
6.15 - Receive text message from Mr16 saying he is ready to be picked up from work.  Drag Mr8 back to car and drive to pick up Mr16.  Take him home and leave Mr8 with him.  Head back to Karate again.
6.45 - Arrive back at karate and watch the last 15 minutes.
7.00 - Karate ends and we head back home.
7.15 - Arrive back home to find Mr16 has made his toasted sandwich and remind him that it is his job to clean up the mess and do his homework
7.20 - Shuffle Mr10 into shower and nag Mr8 to get his homework out
7.30 - Help Mr8 with homework and listen to reading
7.45 - Help Mr10 with homework and listen to reading
8.10 - Mr14 and Hubby arrive home and it usually turns into a race as to who will make the shower first, Mr14 or me...I normally win lol
8.30 - Wrestle Mr8 and Mr10 into bed
8.45 - Watch a program with Mr16 and Mr14
9.30 - Bedtime for Mr16 and Mr14