Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas garden art - painted tree stumps

They are supposed to be reindeer. I drilled holes in the top and inserted twigs to look like antlers.

I only usually do crafty, creative shit when I am inspired, and my most recent creative flair comes from these painted tree stumps I saw on Facebook during the week. I am not entirely sure it was even from the page I have linked here, I don't think it was. 

I know I am guilty of it in my earlier days of social media sharing, and probably even recently. But people sharing other peoples stuff on social media, and not crediting the original poster shits me. I even saw it over the weekend, a popular page sharing a pile of washing adorned with christmas lights as thier own photo. Most of their followers asumed it WAS thier photo, and if I hadn't seen it a couple of hours earlier on the original posters page, I would have thought it was thiers. An act of cunning. Facebook is a fickle and deceiving place. 

God knows, most of the photos I post are when things are good, things are pretty and I'm putting the best forward. There is plenty of shit times round here, where I am stressed, swearing like a sailor and crying in the dishwater(because I still wash dishes in an actual sink). I am not exactly reaching for the phone at these times, believe me. I am reaching to flick the kettle switch or for a wine glass. Mostly the latter. Depends on which side of Friday it is.

I don't know about you, but the last week for me has been exhausting. A couple of late nights and I have been fucked. It seems like everyone has wanted their piece of me, and their hasn't been much time for me to pause and catch up. I am so looking forward to not having to be responsibly forced to be up and organised for six weeks. 

I was inspired yesterday, the weather was fabulous and my creative juices were in flood mode. I hit the cheap shop for paint and brushes and got busy in the driveway, decorating the left over stumps from our tree removing from last yearThe white agapanthus have relished with the extra sunshine!

I painted three of the stumps and used a few slats from the pallet cubby our neighbour has built for his kids. I am not sure of who actually owns this strip of garden, us or the neighbours, it's like no man's land. I think there is an unspoken truce of halfies. At least thats how I look at it. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Spinach, mango and mint salad

I was in Beachport almost two weeks ago, delivering thank you letters to businesses who'd donated to our recent gym club super raffle. I don't get to Beachport a hell of a lot, but when I do I like to pop by and have a quick look out the front of the National Trust museum in the main drag.

They have a little stall with second hand books, plants, garden produce and a bit of bric a brac. Nothing too fancy, but worth a sticky beak. I found some Bromeliad plants and a cute little pocket size Christmas cook book. Lots of good little recipes in it, including a salad recipe. It basically called for tropical fruit, and what better tropical fruit at this time of year, than mangoes! When I think of mangoes, I immediately think of the juice running down my chin while I get every last bit off the pit in the middle.

While I was doing exactly that standing over the sink, I said, out loud, to myself, "Where's a teething baby when you need one!" They would LOVE that shit!

Back to the Christmas recipe book, and I would love to share the salad that I made from it. Perfect for Christmas lunch! It would go great with prawns and ham.

You will need:
  • 60 gram bag of baby spinach
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced in half moons
  • 2 sticks celery, sliced

Mix these ingredients together and then toss with a vinaigrette. You can make your own vinaigrette by mixing 
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar, or any vinegar you have
  • 3 teaspoons of olive oil, or vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
Finish the salad, by garnishing it with
  • 1 sliced, or diced, mango
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

I love the colours of this salad, so Christmassy!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Super moon distraction

Monday night was the rising of the last super moon for 2017. In our neck of the woods in South Australia, at 8:55 pm to be exact.

At this time of night I am usually settled in front of the telly with a wine in hand. Sitting drinking wine in the evening stops me from doing loads of things I could be doing, and I have just gotten into the habit I think, because that is me time. It's my time to just sit, but I've associated that time to drinking wine.

While having me time is a good thing, it just so happens that drinking most nights isn't so good. So I am on a mission to try and change that. 

In the past I have found that replacing one vice with another is usually the way to go. Or not...cigarettes instead of pot...tea instead of cigarettes(which I suppose was good, and no I didn't smoke the tea!)...

Coffee connoisseurs will gasp at the thought, but I've just bought some fake coffee. Coffee has NEVER really agreed with me, and I am not a drinker, but I actually am not minding a cup or two of this. Last night I made a mocha with it as I sat to watch Jamie Oliver and my SBS fix, Struggle Street. Did the trick...

Back to Monday night, Isabel and I jumped int he car and drove out of town a little, up on a hill and waited for the moon to rise. I don't have all the right equipment to properly shoot a super moon or any moon for that fact, but had some good practice for when I am the owner of a decent tripod and an appropriate lens. It was a great evening out with my eldest daughter, until she started complaining to go. I am sure it is the complaint of many a photographers family member., forced to stay until every photograph has been taken.

This is classic funny Izzy, pulling faces for the camera

Monday, December 4, 2017

It's December! #takingstock

I am pretty sure I forgot about Taking Stock last month. I am not sure if I closed my eyes at the wrong time somewhere in August, but the last few months have been a total blur. 

Making:  End of year presents for my tiny Tot gymnasts. I am thinking Reindeer noses. My last gym classes for the year are on December 15th. Our Kindergym class is getting a visit from Santa on the 14th. 

 My sour dough bread making is improving.

Cooking: I am going to attempt a lavender and blueberry 'magic cake' sometime this week. It like a custard cake that magically cooks in wonderful layers. I've never attempted it before, so why not experiment with some cool flavours.

Drinking: A white. I've been drinking a little too much. I was going to write I think, but I know. Going to do my best to cut down some.

Reading: How to's on the internet. How many times has Google taught you to do something? The latest is how to turn a chambray dress (op shop score) from a size 16 to a size 14 and shorten the sleeves. Going to try to attempt it today. Wish me luck.

Wanting: To do some online shopping. I have a new niece to find a present for, and I am lusting after the Classic Countdown CD. We've been watching the Countdown series on a Sunday night on the ABC. Reliving my youth with music!

Looking: Forward to seeing the super moon tonight. I may even take the kids for a drive where we will have a fab vantage point to see it. Maybe take some photos.

Deciding: What to get Brett for Christmas. I have NO IDEA.

Wishing: I had the money for hydrangea plants for an area in my garden. I've talked to a friend of mums and she has said I can get cuttings from her anytime. I will do that, but wish I could have them flowering in my garden NOW :)

Liking: My new garden arbours my hubby has made to replace the rusted ones that have been there in what feels like forever. He has done a good job. Will post them on Instagram today. 

Wondering: What the hell we are doing for Christmas Day. Mum will be working at the old folks home all day. Will catch up with my sister today to nut it out. 

Considering: Stealing the green waste bin from the empty flats next door, to get rid of some garden waste. I filled mine up today!

Buying: My girls some new runners. I was trying to stretch it out for the next two weeks of school. I don't think I am going to get away with it!

Watching: Struggle Street on SBS. I've become hooked on watching other peoples life's struggles.

Hoping: To spend some time fishing this week. God knows what day, I will have to make time. I really felt like going yesterday.

Marvelling: At how amazing my girls are. They shit me most days, but they are truly amazing little people.

Cringing: At how shocking my chin hairs must be looking. Better get some wax strips today!

Needing: To hit the pavement and get some exercise, eat better and lay off the bourbon cans. I could do with losing a few kilos!

Smelling: Our REAL Christmas tree! I cannot remember the last time I had a real tree to decorate. Well the kids decorated it, the smell is nice.

 Wearing: Some warmer clothes this week. Going from heatwaves in the high thirties down to temperatures in the teens sucks. Did you hear that Tassie has had snow?!

Noticing: The snails have eaten my sunflower seedlings! I won't forget the pellets when replanting seeds this time!

Knowing: I need to make a day where I clean this house from top to bottom and declutter on the way. I am reasonably well at being ruthless when it comes to it. It's just the coming to it bit.

Thinking: The strawberry plants have been amazing this year. We are getting lots.

Admiring: All the pretty flowers in the garden right now. I haven't picked a vase for inside for the longest time though. I've been picking fresh herbs for a little vase on my kitchen bench though. Parsley and mint. 

Disliking: How down I can be on myself. I need to remind myself of all the amazing things I do everyday and how much I have achieved so far in my life.

Giggling: Along with my girls, when they warp their faces on Aunty Margi's iPad. They left surprises for her in the way of funny faces when she wasn't home today. I hope she gets a laugh too.

Snacking: Aaaargh. On too much processed food! Besides that, I am not sure why, but a plastic wrapped cheese slices! They are my go to in the fridge lately. Maybe it's my body telling me I need more calcium.

Hearing: The jingle jangle of Christmas bells! Don't you love this time of year? I do.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Rosewater, cardamom and pistachio slice

During the month of November, SBS Food was asking for food lovers(that would be me), to get creative in the kitchen by putting a multicultural spin on Australian favourites. I am always up for a challenge in the kitchen and this slice was the result for the #BringBacktheClassics campaign. 

This is basically a differently flavoured version of vanilla slice. 

Vanilla Slice is my hubbys most favourite slice in the universe. I was a little worried he wouldn't like this new take on it, but he loved it and ate most of it! Good thing that, because my belly doesn't need any extra jelly. Don't get me wrong, I ate my fair share. It was delicious!

Slice ingredients
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup custard powder
1 1/2 cups cream
2 cups milk
1/4 heaped teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon rosewater essence

2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp butter/margarine
1/4 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup crushed pistachio nuts

Here's how...

Preheat oven to 220 degrees.
Place puff pastry on lined oven trays. Prick with a fork all over and bake for 10-15 minutes.

In a saucepan, put sugar, custard powder and cream. Stir over medium heat until it starts to thicken.
Add cardamom, rosewater, then add the milk 1 cup at a time. Whisk until the the custard is thick.
Let everything cool a little.

Using a 22cm square tin, place one pastry sheet on the bottom. Depending on what shape tin you are using, you may have to cut the pastry to fit.
Add the custard and then the other sheet of pastry on top.

Refrigerate while you make the icing. Mix all icing ingredients together and spread evenly over the top of the slice. Sprinkle the crushed pistachios over the icing, and you are done!

Refrigerate the slice for at least three hours before you dig in. It is best left for 12 hours though if you can wait that long.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Red Rock Bay

We stayed in Pelican Point for a couple of nights this weekend just gone. Saturday we headed to Mount Gambier for the annual Christmas pageant, and this is where I would usually show you photos of the many floats and characters that make up that event.

We settled in to our positions in front of Fasta Pasta on Commercial street, our usual vantage point for watching the pageant. I reached into my handbag for my camera and turned it on, only to realise at that point, that the SD card was not in it, and at home in Millicent on the computer desk.

I then came to the realisation that I'd also left my back up camera, my phone, on the kitchen bench in Pelican Point! So no photos of the pageant this year.

Before we returned to our holiday house, I ducked into Big W to get another SD card, so I could at least capture something of our weekend.

On Saturday arvo after the pageant, we tried our luck fishing at Red Rock Bay, between the Cape Banks lighthouse and Carpenter Rocks. We caught no fish, but did loads of exploring.

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