Monday, December 30, 2013

The 24 hour holiday

We should be on holiday.

We were on holiday.
The view from powered site #8 at Henty Bay Caravan Park, gold. The showers left a lot to be desired though.

Izzy got gastro, the 24 hour kind, the morning of our second day. After much deliberation we decided to drive the hour and a half home. We didn't want to take the chance we might all be spewing today and packing up or riding it out in a caravan with the potential of a 'monty pythonesque' spewing fiesta, not just for us, but the entire caravan park. Imagine that. 

Twenty four hours after we arrived and set up the caravan, we were packed up and on our way home.

Izzy was coming good last night, with a couple of Salada biscuits for tea and a bottle of blue Powerade. Not just the goods for a hangover, but for gastro too  ;) 

She bounded out of bed this morning, announcing her betterness to the whole household. I was glad there was no one else chucking their guts up. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

Yesterday afternoon, instead of lazing the day away beachside in Portland, Victoria, or seeing the sights, I cut another cabbage and dug up my purple spuds. I planted three purple spuds in a pot last year in March, I ended up with about 15.  I have some little ones there I can plant back in a pot.
Disinfected the van, the car and home. Then went out in the garden. Busy bloody me. Thank god no one is sick today!

Picked these today. Blue Agapanthus, and roses from the garden.

We're all good today, Izzy over her sickness, and all of us are healthy, except for the odd runny nose. The weather is absolutely beautiful. 

Boggy is planning his first dropnetting outing in the boat for crayfish tomorrow, hopefully they get something, even a piddly little fish(of legal size of course) to chuck in a pan would be good. 

Happy New Year to you all and best of luck for 2014!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Painted Christmas biscuits

Recipe for biscuits:
75 grams margarine
50 grams icing sugar
finely grated rind of a small lemon or orange(I like the orange ones the best)
I egg yolk( I used a duck yolk=fine)
175 grams plain flour
pinch of salt

2 egg yolks
food colouring(liquid)

Beat the margarine, sugar and rind until pale and fluffy.
Beat in the egg yolk, and stir in flour and salt.
Knead until smooth, flatten into a round, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 190 degrees. 

Roll dough out gently with a floured rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, use cutters to press shapes.

With a spatula, transfer shapes to a baking tray, make features with the end of a straw(like Rudolphs nose, buttons on the gingerbread men, snowmen and baubles on the trees, and place in the fridge to chill.
I slid the spatula under and then flipped them over on to the tray. The dough is
very fragile but makes great biscuits.
To decorate,  put each egg yolk in a cup and add a few drops of liquid food colouring.

I used duck eggs, the yolks are bigger and I split the yolks to make three colours, red, yellow and green. For the amount of biscuits, splitting chook eggs would be plenty enough to colour.

Using a paint brush paint on the colour as you wish, I just did it simply, but you could get way more elaborate with the markings you make on the biscuits, the colours you use and they way you paint them. 

Bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes, or until the begin to colour at the edges. Transfer to a wire rack, I used the spatula again for this. 

The result, perdy, tasty biscuits!

Have you handmade anything for the christmas season? You know what, it's OK if you haven't! It's all sorts of batshit crazy this time of year isn't it? I am not the most organised bottle in the six pack by a long shot! Still in denial that everything will be ok, and you know what; it will. There will be shit loads of food, and laughter, love and most importantly FAMILY.

I hope you have an awesome Christmas. With lots of love and Christmas cheer, the O'Brien clan. Hugs and kisses xxxxoooo

Add your christmas cheer, love and #openslather below xxx :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

How to get yor fussy eater to eat vegetables

Guest post by Bronwyn, part of the Grasshoppers team. 

It’s easy to forget, but adults can be fussy about their veggies too. Around this time of year, there is often a debate about whether sprouts should be loved or hated and whether parsnips are delicious or deadly.

Having said that, some children aren’t just complaining about the odd sprout or carrot, many refuse to eat anything that comes from the ground. While this can be frustrating for parents, it’s important to remember that there are often reasons behind your child’s eating habits.

However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Getting your fussy child to eat vegetables isn’t impossible, but it certainly isn’t easy either.

Reasons behind fussy eaters
The first thing parents need to remember is that your child is not avoiding vegetables just to annoy you.

Research says, there are two main reasons for fussy eating behaviour: being afraid to try new foods – known as neophobia – and a preference for sweet tastes. 

If you think about it, it’s easy to see a dislike of bitter foods in children. While you might live off a diet of dark chocolate and coffee later in life, they are two foods that children tend to hate.

This is apparently instilled in us as a defence mechanism to prevent us from eating poisonous foods at a time when children may have picked berries straight from the plant. Bitter foods were likely to be poisonous, whereas sweet foods were usually considered safe and nutritional.

The second reason, called neophobia, doesn’t usually start until children are around two years old. This is also the age when children are no longer reliant on their mother’s breast milk and so by avoiding new foods, they are protecting themselves from unsafe food.

Top tips for eating vegetables

  1. Set a good example
Why do you think your child will eat new foods if you won’t? Children often follow in the footsteps of their parents, meaning that if vegetables don’t appear on your plate, they’ll start to question why. Remember, young children only know what they are taught.

  1. Let them join in
By allowing the kids to get involved with the process of shopping, preparing and cooking, they’re far more likely to be interested in eating it. Whether they’re picking the ingredients in the supermarket or washing vegetables, it’s good for them to join in in any way they can.

  1. Make vegetables sweeter
As mentioned, one of the reasons for disliking vegetables is the bitter taste. However, by adding honey or lemon juice to the veggies, it will make them seem sweet. You could also choose to serve them raw as most are sweeter before they’re cooked.

  1. Don’t force them to clear the plate
You might remember being told that if you didn’t finish your dinner, you would eat it for breakfast, but this is not a good method. Forcing your child to eat something they don’t want will only create a negative atmosphere and in turn, negative associations with the food in question.

  1. Try the ‘one bite’ rule
It may not be beneficial to force them to clear the plate, but encouraging them to eat one bite of all food served is a good way to increase exposure. It has been found that kids have to try rejected food up to 10 times before accepting it.

These are five great ways to start getting your fussy child to eat vegetables, but most importantly, keep at it.

Bronwyn is a member of the Grasshopper Jumping Castle team. Grasshoppers is a Brisbane-based jumping castle hire company specialising in fun and good times. We hire castles and zorb balls for parties and events of all shape and size. We'd love to hear from you, so please get in touch by email at: and phone: 0438 737 332

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mums Christmas bells

 I turned up at Mums to find these hanging in the trees in her driveway. How friggin' cool are they?! She's just too bloody clever :)
 Made by spray painting plant pots gold, old mattress springs sprayed silver, some string, ribbon and cheap shop bell baubles.
 Her plant and fresh flower stall out the front of her house, everything is $3 a pot or bunch.

 The girls in their christmas regalia, in Poppys scrap yard by his shed. Where Mum sources her bits for the garden(like mattress springs!)

 Some of Mums other bright ideas for her garden and home with old mattress springs and old electricity conductors.

I'll be sharing some of her barbed wire creations soon!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Garden Christmas wreath

Sometimes I just get an idea in my head and have to run with it. I'm glad I did, this wreath is looking pretty on my back door today.

I have Ivy running rampant amongst the garden and what better way to make use of it at this time of year than to twist it around itself to make a round wreath. 

If you don't have Ivy, any bendy, twisty little branches or pliable twigs would work. Maybe from a gum tree for a native plant theme, with callistemon flowers and gum nuts(ok, so I've just inspired myself to try this one!). 

I picked some rosemary, yarrow(the yellow flower), statice(the purple-these make excellent dried flowers) and the seed pods of the blue nigella flowers and threaded the stalks through the ivy wreath. 

I'm not sure how long it will last on the door, the weather is in the mid thirties for the next few days, so I'm guessing not very long. But for something that didn't cost anything, except the twenty minutes it took to pick and put together it doesn't matter.

I am thinking of recreating something similar for christmas day. Maybe a table centrepiece with chunky candles, or a cute little swag to wind it's way down the table. 

What have you got in the garden to decorate with this christmas? 
Even if it is some little flowers you could float with some candles in a festive dish. 

Getting excited yet?(I mean about christmas, not about rushing out into your yard and picking flowers) :D

Monday, December 16, 2013

Somewhere I don't belong

My place in time #77

Izzy was riding her bike ahead as I pushed Summer home in the pram. We had just been to the playground.

She stopped at a gate, got off her bike and stood, looking through and watching what was going on. 

When I caught up she reached for the latch on the gate. My heart kind of skipped a beat. Should we go in? 

It seemed like some exclusive club, where outsiders weren't invited. Certainly not a place for children to be running around.

I said, "No we can't go in there".
She said "But I just want to go and watch".

After some convincing in my head, I thought there wouldn't be any harm in sitting and watching. We opened the gate, the kids had a ball, and I quite enjoyed taking photos. They didn't run too much of amok. Most of the oldies were pleased to see them, some had looks like I had two heads! I guess they don't get a mum and her two kids dropping in too often for a visit.

We stayed for about 45 minutes, I think I am going to have some trouble getting past the gate again when we go walking past.

'My place in time' is a local area history project set by Kell at Blackcurrant Photography

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My local library

My place in time #78

On Thursdays, most Thursdays since Isabel was about six months old, we have been going to our local library for Baby Bounce.

We gather there with other Mums with their kids and sing nursery rhymes, led by one of the library ladies, usually Anne(the kids love her).

Sometimes the kids sing along, sometimes they are just not into it and just play, or deliver book after book to me and then walk off!

It is a great opportunity to catch up with other mums, or just have some time out from home.

'My place in time' is a local area history project set by Kell at Blackcurrant Photography

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Let's go fly a kite....

My lovely sister in law looked after the kids Monday, I got to shop, on my own. Got the christmas gifts sorted, just have to get my Dad some scratchies and Boggy....something. What, I don't know.

This year I've been diaryless, I missed out on one of the Gardening Australia diaries last year, they sell out fast. While I grabbed one for Mum for chrissie, I nabbed one myself. I love them! I will be way more organised next year, I hope.

I filled my arms full of stuff at our local Target Country. I only went in there for one thing, but walked out with lots of markdowns, like my sexy cosy sock slippers. It's still quite cold here, supposed to warming up in the coming weeks though, so we should have nice weather for Christmas. Picked up a kite too out the bargain bin and we went flying yesterday. 

Have you got Christmas sorted?
Found any bargains while out shopping?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Valmas chocolate pudding

I like old fashioned recipes. Ones that come from old cookbooks that use simple ingredients, nothing too fancy. 

I have a couple that I go to quite often, a local pony club cookbook and a centenary cookbook put out by a local school, both from the eighties and both scavenged from garage sales. 

Fair enough though that they are from an era when food was a bit 'boring'. Remember seeing or eating a prawn cocktail of the early eighties? But all the recipes that are within are tried and tested family favourites, that I am sure, at the time, Mums and kids were bursting with pride and excitement to share, as their respective names appeared at the bottom of each recipe.

I love myself a good self saucing pudding, I made this one last week. Most self saucing pudding require a water bath, this one doesn't and there is no separating eggs and whipping egg whites.

 It's a recipe provided by Valma Clark, from the Beachport Pony Club family favourites cookbook, circa mid 1980s I think. For all I know Valma may well be long gone, but her recipe lives on :)

I you're into experimenting, a cherry spin on this recipe would be great for Christmas :)

1 cup SR flour
2 teaspoons cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons margarine
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup brown sugar(if you don't have it use white)
1 dessertspoon cocoa
300 mls boiling water

Sift flour, cocoa and add sugar. Stir melted margarine into flour mixture.
Add beaten egg and milk. Mix and pour into pie dish.

Combine brown sugar and cocoa, sprinkle on top of pudding mix in dish. Pour boiling water gently over this.
Bake in a 200 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Serve with cream or icecream.

Have you ever added your own family recipe to a book?

Don't you think a Christmas recipe book would be a great end of year fundraiser for a club or school?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Garden goings on

All the grass is dead now. I put a heap of compost from the pile in the driveway, on top of the dead grass. Izzy helped with the rake, she's a keen gardener. On a recent trip to some open garden's Mum saw her interest in flowers and gardens and commented that she will be a gardener, just like her mum and nanna.

The pile of good compost. This is thanks really to my cheeky neighbour who dumps his stuff there. I used up the 'free' compost on my new grden beds, uncovered and fixed my sprinklers that were there and chucked some plants in! Reclaimed it.

I painted a couple of signs on old bits of metal I scrounged from dad's scrap pile.

"Take a photo of me and Summer Mum". "Summer come here and hold my hand". "Muuuum, take a photo of me and Summer!".

Mum sells plants she has grown herself out the front of her place in an old cart. I went round and scabbed a few, and divided a few of my own to get a few plants into the new patch. I had to use a pick axe to dig holes through the dead Kikuyu roots. It will be much easier when they break down to plant stuff.
'Sally Holmes' rose I got off Mum, she grew from a cutting. I have my eye on a 'Slim Dusty' rose at Plants Plus too ;)

The blue Nigella 'love in a mist' comes up every year from dropped seed. It looks lovely with the pink 'apple blossom' carpet rose flowering amongst it.

I don't let the chooks out for a wander as often as I used too, they eat all my lettuce!

The other new patch on the other side of the house. I dug up and divided some irises to put in the new patches, the leaves are all over the lawn.

Linking up with Susan at Jacana

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