Wednesday, July 29, 2015

winter, part 1- making, baking, growing.

hello, neglected little blog. 

I feel like I'm emerging out of a big black cloud into more optimistic skies. Don't ask why; it's probably not really something I can answer. It's a head space thing. Some things are finished and so some things are starting. Another cycle begins. Suffice to say I feel a whole lot more positive about where I'm headed. 

We've been making some big decisions as a family; including finalising a high school for next year. Years of talking and reading and researching, months of paperwork and interviews and scholarship applications and auditions are finally over. We have chosen a path and it feels good.

I've got holiday plans afoot. I love dreaming of new places and adventures in new climates. There is stuff to be done but I do love to plan. Exciting suff.

I've been assessing my work situation and I've got some ideas there too. Building on what I have and what I like; the possibility of adapting my skills to build another income stream. It involves some re-training, which finally feels like an option. I've got some time-frames and some budget strategies and I feel ready.

While all these moods and plans and ideas have been swirling and whirling around in my head, we've been getting on with life. 

So this is winter, Part 1.  Photographic evidence of daily doings in our little house.

Winter in the subtropics may not really seem like winter to a lot of people. Or to plants. My tomatoes continue to grow; without any frost about we have a slow but steady supply of these little gifts.

I've got pumpkin flowers, and for the first time ever, little pumpkins growing on these vines. Little round yellow balls which I am desperately hoping will hang in there for the long haul. 

Winter is all about comfort food. Passionfruit cake, made with gifted fruit, via my Mum's friends, to me. Served with whipped cream, of course, and a cup of tea.

A chocolate fudge cake which I have been making for years.  It's a birthday favourite and now seems to be a standard in this house.  Topped with chocolate butter icing, this is a decadent treat guaranteed to make you feel happy.

I'm more a baker than a savoury maker, but these bagels from Kate's blog are amazing and fun and delicious and not hard at all.  There's something about winter and warm yeasty bread that just make for a magic combination.

Pesto with basil from the garden. Pesto in everything for winter. Well, most things, anyway.

I've never been a processed cereal lover. Why eat cardboard? I just don't get it. This homemade granola is divine and I eat it every day. 

Lemon curd with gingerbread biscuits. If you have never tried this combination, you should. Lemon curd recipe courtesy of Beth.

We stitched a hat for this little owl, made by Ruby. Did you ever see anything so cute?

I'm still going on my Tikki Knits cardie.  This is my second winter knitting away on this project. I'm onto the sleeves and should be finished by the end of winter. Time is not important though, I feel. This is my down time, my relaxation after the kids head to bed. No rush.

And this. Some left over clay, moulded and embellished with love. This is what makes everything in the world good. 

Such a treasure.

Onward and upward.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Planting

We spent a weekend camping on a 500 acre property known as Woodfordia, home of The Planting Festival.

Most people would know this area from the better-known Woodford Folk festival, a mega-annual event held between Christmas and New Year.

The Planting is a much smaller gathering, but oh, so rich in community spirit, music, visual delights and more than a touch of magic.

We set up camp Friday afternoon, and just on dark wandered into the grounds of the Festival itself. 
Goodness, it was amazing. Trees were illuminated and campfires were burning.  There were small bars selling mulled and red wines; tiny stalls selling an array of delicious looking food. Old trucks morphed into dazzling stages, amazing weaved nests for reclining, an eerily beautiful lake, ethical wares....

The kids were entranced. I was overwhelmed. We sat around the fires with glasses of wine while the girls climbed trees and made friends.  We sat and relaxed, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the creativity and talent surrounding us. We ate chilli beans on rice, gourmet duck pies and gelatos.

We spent the weekend chilling with friends, sleeping in and doing fun creative stuff. We made ponchos, listened to music, walked and explored, laughed, rolled down hills in sleeping bags, had foot spas in the creek, and ate like royalty. We wore home knit beanies with pom-poms, leg warmers and layers for warmth at night. There were crafty workshops and interesting lectures on all kinds of fascinating stuff.

It was great. Just felt like a world away from what goes on in the routine day to day life.

Check it out here

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Million Paws Walk- an annual RSPCA event

Each year, the RSPCA holds an event to raise funds for animals in need. That event is the Million Paws Walk.

"Funds raised from registrations, merchandise sales and fundraising pages, will help to provide essential care, veterinary treatment, food and shelter for more than 18,000 dogs that RSPCA Qld cares for each year." *

The girls and I always like to go down and lend a hand. We usually have a couple of other willing helpers too. This year we manned the cupcake stall. I left the kids in charge this year; they did a great job on sales and promotion.
After their efforts, we joined all the other lovely locals for a meander up the river. We don't have a dog so we borrowed little Shadow here from a friend. She was prettily washed and hair-sprayed for the occasion. Stella got her face painted especially to match Shadow's tail.

This year we were stationed next to the Snake-catcher and rehabilitation stall. For a small donation, you could get close up with a python and snap a few shots. 
Ruby was into it but Stella's snake seemed very keen on wrapping round her neck.. I think she was a bit out of her comfort zone...

Ruby got brave and took Shadow into the Eventing Ring, where she managed to get this little girl to sit, drop and stay.  She made it into the second round, before being pipped by a very smart and quite gorgeous black Lab. 

It's always a lovely day where I get to meet and talk to some amazing and dedicated people. It makes me so happy to be working in a job I love, with people I admire. 

And that's May. 
And I'm caught up. :-) 

(*quoted from the RSPCA Million Paws Walk official website)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Mary River

A couple of weeks ago, we went camping. There's so many beautiful spots within one hour's travel from home.
One of the reasons we went is that at school, Ruby is learning all about the unique life forms that live in our Mary River habitat. She asked us if we could go check it out, so she could draw it accurately for her project. 
Seemed like a good excuse to extend it into an overnighter.
Some years ago, this region, including a lot of the smaller townships in and around, were under threat of being sunk under a huge water catchment. Luckily, at the eleventh hour, this plan came to nought, and so these beautiful places have remained intact. The Mary Valley people, unfortunately, didn't escape unscarred. A lot of people were bought out and moved on; it's caused permanent emotional scarring and change. That's another (long) story though, for another time.
Back to camping...

I'd actually booked at a place we'd not been to before. When we got there, none of us liked the look of it! We drove around and quickly exited before we were committed. Maybe not exactly the right thing to do, but we'd driven past some gorgeous camping grounds, including this one at Kenilworth. We didn't actually stay here this time but it's on our to-do list for a long weekend. Next time!

We set up on the bend of the Mary River, at a place called Little Yabba. 

The girls put up their own tent now. Such independence! They may or may not spend the full night in it, but it's their spot to read and hide away from us. They squirrel away the lamp and some snacks; it's delightful.

Late afternoon, the fire was lit; darkness fell quickly and so did the thermostat...

In the morning there was frost and mist; it was quiet and still and just absolutely mesmerising. 

As the sun rose and we warmed up, layers were shed and a meander up the river was in order.

It was chilly, but not too cold for a dip. The water was cool and clean and green and there was no-one else in sight. At all. 

We checked out the rocks and the pools, all in the name of research. 
Best school project ever.

Looking forward to our next camping adventure, in just a couple of weeks.

Have a lovely week, everyone xx

Sunday, May 24, 2015

other April highlights...a month in pictures

April always starts off with Ruby's birthday. It's one of my favourite months. Not just because of the birthday celebrations, but because it's Easter, school holidays and the weather here on the Coast is usually always close on perfect. This year was no exception.
It came and went in a flash. No time for blogging, really. So I'm just diarising it in pictures; highlighting some of my favourite parts.

I like to chuck in a little something handmade. This year I just went with a very simple bunny template, old fabric and some ribbon. Perched on the end of a kid's bed on Easter morning with some chocolate eggs; perfection.

Still on the Easter theme: the egg hunt. Obviously best carried out in undies and an oversized jumper...

The booty. I keep this part of it pretty small as we tend to get swamped in chocolate once the extended family has arrived.

Goodness, we had some lovely weather this April. My Dad has been getting into his sailing since my parents relocated to the Coast. At Lake Cootharaba over the break we took a picnic and had some fun times with the family.

We seriously spent a lot of time on the beach. You know, we have so many people around over Christmas, but right now, they seem to just drop off. I never get it. The beaches are sublime, you can be down here for longer without frying and it's so much easier to get a park. At Christmas, you won't find me down here on this busy beach, no indeed. But right now? Everyday.

This game of finska was a Christmas present and great fun on the beach.

We took the surfboards, surf mats and PK's handcrafted surfie: something for everyone.

We were down on the beach in the morning and back again in the afternoons for some awesome surfing sessions...

Back home we made use of left over party bubbles.

There was some silliness at the local park.

We had two lots of foster kittens through April. So, so very cute! They're never popular with our cat though; she moves outside while they stay with us.

Who can resist a pile of fluffy purr-iness? Not me, that's for sure. Not the girls, either. And not even PK, although he may pretend otherwise.

Cat whiskers...just delicious.

More beach. We just couldn't get enough.

My niece came to stay and tuned out to be a super-surfer.

Long shadows and glorious sunsets. Bliss.

Hope April was good around your parts of the world, wherever that may be.