Friday, December 30, 2011


I had the opportunity to pick some raspberries this week from a friends bountiful patch, and gathered about 500gms. They are delicious, and there is nothing like fresh raspberries straight from the cane.   Instead of making just jam, which is a habit of mine when I have berries, I decided I should expand my berry cooking repertoire.

First I made what I am calling Raspberry Cheesecake Muffins. I used the tried and trusted Caramalised Strawberry Shortcake recipe. Only this time instead of using whole Granita biscuits as the base I used chocolate biscuits which I blended in the food processor and added to a bit of melted butter to it. I used enough to make a cup full. I then made the filling and mixed a cup of whole raspberries into it and stirred. I admit that despite the muffins not looking very pretty they tasted great, which I think is ultimately more important.

Secondly, I made a Raspeberry Roly-Poly from this Blueberry Rol-Poly Recipe. I have used this recipe with both blueberries and blackberries and each time it tastes great, so I thought I may as well give it a try with raspberries. Again it is not picture perfect, but I was super happy with the taste.

This is how it turned out...

But this how it is meant to look. This was made earlier in the year with blackberries.

And lastly, I gave in and made some jam. I threw in about 250 grams of strawberries, 150 grams of blueberries and 150 grams raspberries and made what I am calling Summer Berry Jam. I also used the juice from one lemon and about 550 grams of sugar. I should have taken a photo of it while it was on the stove as it was such a wonderful colour but I always forget about such things. So here is a photo of it in the jar. Not as stunning but at least it is something.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Break

Since Daniel has been home since last Friday, I have been living the life of luxury. I haven't had to dress Nicholas, feed him solids, give him a bath or even change his nappies. Daniel has really stepped up in into the position of being a stay-at-home father while he has been on holidays, and I am loving it! I am loving that Nicholas and Daniel are spending lots of time together. He is definitely 'Daddy's little boy'. The other when Nicholas woke, I went into his room to pick him up and give him his morning hug, and as soon as Daniel walked in the room he started pushing me away and put his arms out for Daniel. 

I have actually been enjoying having a little bit of freedom. I went into town the other day with Mum for a few hours and when I returned Nicholas was asleep and had been for about 2 hours! I was super impressed. This has also meant that in the last few days I have had the opportunity to spend some time in the kitchen preserving and baking.

I made some more mango chutney, as it was super delicious and I didn't make enough jars at Christmas time to leave any for us. We have already opened up a jar and used it on toasted sandwiches. I can't envisage it lasting the entire year.

I also made some Rhubarb and Strawberry cordial. I used strawberries from the garden and rhubarb that I bought from a small local market. I doubled the recipe (kind of). I used about 4 cups of strawberries instead of two, and I had 9 stalks of rhubarb so I just put them all in. I doubled the water and sugar content, but only used 3 lemons, as I thought four lemons might make the drink a bit sour. It made about 2 litres. I also sterilised the jars so it would last a bit longer. I have already given one bottle away to friends and plan the drink the other on New Years Eve.

It is delicious and tastes like summer.

I also gave this bottle of Blackberry and Apple cordial (and the card) to a friend yesterday to say thank you for lending me her baby bassinet when Nicholas was born. It was such a blessing not to have to buy one.

And here is a another decorated bottle of Blackberry and Apple cordial from earlier in the year.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hark The Herald Angels Sing

Hark The Herald Angels Sing 
Hark the herald angels sing

"Glory to the newborn King!

Peace on earth and mercy mild

God and sinners reconciled
Joyful, all ye nations rise

Join the triumph of the skies

With the angelic host proclaim:

"Christ is born in Bethlehem"

Hark! The herald angels sing

"Glory to the newborn King!"
Christ by highest heav'n adored

Christ the everlasting Lord!

Late in time behold Him come

Offspring of a Virgin's womb

Veiled in flesh the God head see

Hail the incarnate Deity

Pleased as man with man to dwell

Jesus, our Emmanuel

Hark! The herald angels sing

"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Son of Righteousness!

Light and life to all He brings

Ris'n with healing in His wings

Mild He lays His glory by

Born that man no more may die

Born to raise the sons of earth

Born to give them second birth

Hark! The herald angels sing

"Glory to the newborn King!"

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Along with cards this year, Daniel and I also made mango chutney to give to family and friends. We then covered them with paper and twine, and used some Stampin' Up bits and pieces to finish it off. I hope it tastes as nice as it looks :).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let Us Paint!

We finally got around to painting the salt dough ornaments. Aren't they grand!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Musical Monday!

Being Christmas, I have been listening to a bit of Christmas music lately. However, finding decent Christmas music that it is enjoyable can be difficult. As kids the only Christmas album we owned was John Denver's 'Christmas Like a Lullaby', and it was played every year on Christmas Eve as we open up our presents. I can't say it is my favourite Christmas CD, but having listened to it every year since I can remember, it brings back lots of good memories.

This year I have been listening to three Chirstmas albums. First is Sufjan Stevens 'Songs for Christmas'. I love this album. It has fives discs, produced from 2001-2006, with songs ranging from Amazing Grace to Jingle Bells. If I had to choose a favourite though, it would have to be Come Thou Font of Every Blessing.

The second is 'A Very She and Him Christmas'. Patty from The Plaid Cupcake suggested it to me, and I am glad she did. It is just so sweet and lovely.

And the third, of course, is Handel's 'Messiah'.

What have you been listening to this Christmas?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oh Christmas tree!

This our Christmas tree.

It was originally meant to be an advent calendar. However, my Mum never got around to putting pockets onto it, so it turned into a Christmas tree. I like it because it conveniently doesn't take up a lot of space. Plus, it doesn't leave a mess.

As kids we always had a traditional Christmas tree, but since leaving home I have never been bothered buying one. It just didn't seem important. This year, since having Nicholas though, I have viewed Christmas a little differently. For the first time in ages, I have been excited about Christmas. I've been listening to Christmas music, putting up decorations, as well as making decorations, reading and talking to Nicholas about the birth of Christ, making lots of handmade presents, writing Christmas cards and spending time with family and friends. It has been fun. Since having kids, my sister is always commenting on how much more exciting Christmas is, and I think I would have to agree.

So when I drove past this sign,

I just couldn't resist taking one :). So we bought a few decorations and put it on the front porch.

I also bought this nativity scene template that I will eventually sew together, but probably not before next Christmas. I like it because it doesn't have tiny pieces that could become stuck in a little person's mouth.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sew busy!

Since setting up the sewing machine last week, I have been using it every opportunity I can. So far this is what I have achieved:

Three stockings!

A little hat for Nicholas. It is for Christmas but I couldn't help but try it on him. So cute!

I bought the pattern from here.

I made two of these Pixie Hats. One for my niece (for Christmas), and the other for my first-cousin-once-removed, who was born on Sunday night. For these two hats I used 100% wool felt. Next time though I might try making my own.

I have also almost finished these bowling pins (for my nephew, for Christmas), and this jumper for Nicholas. I'll put some pictures up when I am finished.

I am pretty happy with my progress this week. Left in my pile of sewing is a top and a dress for me, some more nappies, and a patchwork quilt I started making for Nicholas before he was born. I am hoping I can have them all finished by the end of January.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

7 months.

I know it is a bit daggy, but every month on the 13th, Daniel and I have started taking a little family photo.

This was taken at six months, while having a BBQ at the park.

This is our seven month shot. Nicholas looks a little shocked!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Recently, a little blackbird has come to enjoy the strawberries in our garden. This has lead us to putting up a net and so far it is working. It was very confused this morning by all the netting over the strawberries. It was hoping around everywhere, trying to find a way under the net. This really was a test to see how firmly Daniel had weighted down the net, and so far so good.

Here is Daniel setting it up.

And here it is keeping the blackbird out. What a great job. Thanks heaps Daniel :).

Actually, whenever I think of blackbirds, I think of these two songs:

Christmas Cards!

Daniel, on my request, very kindly and creatively designed our Christmas cards this year, and I am very happy with the final outcome :). He is so clever!

Thanks Dan :).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Salt Dough Ornaments

Being December now, I thought it was about time Nicholas and I got into the Christmas spirit and had a go at making some Christmas decorations, and so it wouldn't be too boring I invited some friends along as well.

This was my first time ever making salt ornamendents, so when the recipe said to leave the ornaments in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius I didn't think much of it until I needed to open the windows and turn on the fan because they were burning :(.

Even though we are going to paint them, I felt that they were just a little too burnt to give back to the kids who made them. I mean if I was a kid, and was given burnt ornaments to paint, I would be a little disappointed.

As the recipe was so easy and took no at all, I quickly made up a new batch that afternoon and put them in the oven, at about 120 degrees Celsius for a few hours, and thankfully this time they turned out much better. 

Here they are before I put them in the oven.

I'm really looking forward to painting them :).

Friday, December 2, 2011

Oh no, I've forgotten how to sew!

Today I set my sewing machine up for the first time in ages. I threaded it up and then started sewing the pockets for my advent calendar. However, it wasn't working properly. I looked around the sewing machine, puzzled as to what the problem was, but unable to find anything specifically wrong. I tried it again, and again the thread knotted up. Eventually, I worked out that I had not threaded the machine properly. This had never happened before. What had I forgotten?

Basically, I had forgotten how to sew. It had been such a long time since I last used the sewing machine that I couldn't even remember how to set up the sewing machine properly. How dismal is that! But don't worry, with a peek at the instruction manual and some practice on a scrap piece of material, it all came back to me. And this was the finished product (well almost). At the moment it is being stuck to the wall with blue tack as I didn't have any wadding to finish the back, which means that all the pockets (if you look closely) are being held on with pins. I hope to finish it properly for next year :).

This advent calendar has taken me a while to do actually. I started it last year after being inspired by this advent calendar. I know mine is very similar, but it differs in that I wanted it to be more Christian orientated. I am really happy with how it has turned out and hope that next year I will be able to hang it on the wall rather than stick it up with blue tack :).