Thursday, 27 September 2012

Get your mojo from tea towels

So what to do when your mojo is gone? Well, after being housebound for ages (kids sick and all that sort of stuff) I just had no mojo left...anywhere. I needed to find something to inspire me.

It was hard to find something past chocolate. And red wine.

So I thought more simply. What do I like at the moment? My bright tea towels (I did say simple thinking).

And from that I thought of red, yellow and turquoise. Yes, colours. I typed them into Pinterest and that led me on a journey and now I feel all mojo'd again.

Red Yellow Turquoise

It is an add for the Santa Barbara Armchair by Pier 1 Imports. I really like the print on the wall.

This led me to a Pinterest board by a lady named Cheryl Poirier. You can find the board here. And on this board I saw this beautiful Suzani fabric from Loom Exquisite Textiles.

Oh Suzani! I have a new love affair...seriously, where some are fantasising about Mr Grey I am fantasising about Uzbekistan - this stuff is devine. So now I add Suzani to my Pinterest search and come across this cool furniture.

Which was located on Get Togetha blog. Which had a link to Bokja.
And Bokja furniture. Not for everyone I know but MAN would I love to redecorate with this furniture. My place would seriously be great.
And now I start my week on an up note. I hope you do too. And all from tea towels.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Day of the Beetroot

Each Saturday I go to a farmers market while my daughter has her dance class at the same location. Master 4 and I have fun walking around investigating all the produce, and most often end up at the animal farm where he has fun with the goats (he LOVES goats).

Last Saturday I bought a bunch of beetroot – among other things. The primary reason behind the beetroot purchase was to make beetroot cordial. It’s my sister’s recipe and I love when she makes it.

Beetroot Cordial

1 bunch of beetroot (approximately 4 bulbs)
2 cups of sugar
1 ½ tablespoons strawberry essence

Cut the beetroot stems off at the base. Most times you would leave some of the stem on so it doesn’t bleed, but in this case we want that.

Thoroughly wash and place in a pot. Bring to the boil and then simmer until tender.

Strain the beetroot saving the liquid. Return the liquid to the pot and add the sugar. I had approximately 700ml (about 24oz) of liquid. Bring to the boil again, stirring constantly, and then let simmer for 5 minutes. Add the strawberry essence and let cool.

You only need a little bit of cordial, about 1 teaspoon per glass. And add your fresh water!
Not wanting to waste anything I used this recipe from Pikelet and Pie to make a salad out of the stems and leaves (I’d probably just use less salt than the recipe asks for). Here are the photos but go to Pikelet and Pie for the recipe:

I then used 2 ½ bulbs of beetroot, grated, to make these brownies by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Lovely brownies, but the beetroot isn’t that well hidden if you wanted to trick the kids. But in saying that my kids did devour these brownies in a heartbeat.

My all time favourite beetroot recipe is this beetroot andchocolate cake from "best recipes". It is my go to chocolate cake. The beetroot is pureed so unnoticeable but adds such a rich flavour (almost cherry like). I love it. My boys just turned 9 and I made it again for their birthday. But that will be another post.
So, that was my beetroot day.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

From Shelf to Bench - a DIY

So, I’ve been on a blog break. No real reason except that I have been indulging in the non-cyberworld of life. But now I’m back.

One of my recent DIY jobs at home was to convert two bookshelves into bench seats for Masters 8 (twins who are almost 9). I love Pinterest and it was there that I first spotted the IKEA hack of taking a tall shelf, putting it to its side, adding a seat cushion and there you have a lovely bench seat.,

I had two el-cheapo shelves in my boys’ room and we decided to upgrade to a bigger, nicer one. I was going to get rid of these two but thought I’d give this project a try. So I started with two of these:

I bought the foam cut to size ($15 each) and decided to recycle some old jeans for the upholstering.

I have wanted to introduce the denim look into their room and thought this would be a good start.
I cut up some old jeans and sewed parts of them together.

Using a staple gun I secured the denim into place. And ta – da! I’m happy. They fit perfectly at the foot of their beds and it is a great place for bags, soccer balls, library books, etc.

And a really poor quality pic of it in their bedroom:

Have a great weekend. Next post will be about beetroot (you heard right).


Monday, 13 February 2012

Valentines Day Sweet Treats

Miss Six has a birthday smack bang in the middle of the school holidays and she has always wanted to celebrate at school with a bunch of cupcakes for her classmates. We came to a compromise this year and I told her we would bring in some sweet treats for Valentines Day.

I found these lovely looking treats at The Novice Chef. They are marbled red velvet cheesecake brownies. Please visit this great blog for the recipe, I won't reprint it here, but here is a series of photos showing our achievement:

My only changes were the size of my baking pan. Mine was 26cm x 36cm (inches: 10 x 14). I was going to adjust the recipe but decided to risk it. Consequently it was thicker (which made the heart shape cutting process harder but it still worked). The baking time is 30 min but I decided to leave it in a little longer due to the added thickness, but then I forgot about it and by the Grace of God it did not burn. I think in the end it baked for about 45 minutes (but truth be told I have no idea).

If I were to bake it again I think I would add some lemon or lemon rind to the cheesecake mix and perhaps swirl some strawberry jam through it (I really like berry flavour with cheesecake). Reading others who tried this recipe, one mentioned a separation of layers. I think it is important when swirling with a knife at the final stage to penetrate all the layers, not just swirl the top.

Hope you enjoy. I made 40 of them and they heading off to school for all of Miss Six's classmates to enjoy (and her teacher).

Happy Valentines Day all you Love Birds.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Cathartic Crying and the ramblings of a mad woman

Well the kids are back at school today. Master Four had his first day at preschool and I had my first official day off in lots (and lots) of years. I was delirious and giddy with all the projects I planned to accomplish today and all the R&R I would get as well. Well, I got to the end of the day missing them all (it is too hard to go from all four every day to none). I didn't cry when Master Four shooed me away this morning, but I couldn't stop cuddling them all when they got home.

Monster Mum made an appearance though. Always lurking in the background ready to be the banshee when a child steps out of line. God I hate that banshee.

And rather than being well rested after a peaceful day I am exhausted. Utterly. Is it a build up of the school holidays? Things were getting hairy towards the end. My tolerance was wearing thin and I didn't (and still don't) know how to combat it. Rainy days took their toll. The next rainy day I am having a bonfire to burn all those "what to do on a rainy day" books - we have done it all ten times over.

And it's too hard to strive to be the perfect mum. I felt this on a recent trip to the museum. Taking a lunch break after one exhibition and getting ready for the next some of us had reached our limit. I packed lunches and it seems Master 8 must have had enough of this type of gastronomical adventure and wanted to buy something, but the selection was dismal and so he wanted to go to McDonalds after the excursion (not in the plan and very rarely is). Belligerence set in (both his and dare I admit it mine) and I felt like a horrible mum as the beautiful mother sat next to us with her metal lunchboxes packed with fruit, and vegetables and two darling children that did not complain.

Strawberries, alfalfa, beans.

Then tonight I read a book to Master Four we got at the library recently. I never noticed the title (and he doesn't read) until tonight. It is titled "Mad at Mommy". Really? Not sure I feel bad enough already, want to get that foot and grind in those grains of guilt.

So as one does on nights like this, I go myself a-blogging, and came across some other mums who experience the same feelings and some sad stories along the way. And then I balled my eyes out.

A good cry is what one needs from time to time. I think I still have more left in me that would probably go well with a bowl of icecream but I will try and resist the urge (for the icecream not the cry).

Tomorrow I think I will work on banishing banshee mum.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Photo a Day Challenge: Days 7 thru to 10

So I have missed a few days blogging my "Photo a Day Challenge" and will take this opportunity to catch up.

Firstly, Miss 5 is now Miss 6, so it's been party central at Toffeeapple Manor. Master 3 will soon be Master 4 (they are ten days apart in birth dates) so we had some combined singing and cakes too. So it looked a bit like this:

Lots of fun, dancing and presents.

And now to the job at hand. The "Photo a Day Challenge"

Day 7: Favourite
I realised that at the moment I don't have a favourite anything. No favourite tv show, no favourite food, no favourite colour (it used to be red, but I like tangerine and cornflower blue too). But I am favourite-ing the kids new trampoline. Each time I have a jump Master 4 stands outside and yells that mums and dads aren't allowed, and then he joins me but laughs so much at me he can't stand up to jump.

Day 8: Your Sky

Day 9: Daily Routine
Really? Well here it is:


I'm a mean mum and get my kids to do some schoolwork during the school holidays before the day begins.

Unload and reload the dishwasher

The washing

Make beds

Photograph children for blog

Then I make some serious decisions. This:

or this:

Day 10: Childhood
When I was little I didn't eat much. I remember clearly my mother taking me to the doctors because I just didn't eat. I remember never feeling hungry or having a large appetite (boy, how times have changed!) One thing I could not do without was a chocolate milkshake and a tall glass of ribena.

Miss 6 loves her chocolate milk too. Her daily chocolate milks reminded me if my childhood fetish. It had to be made a specific way too or else I wouldn't drink it (spoilt? obsessive compulsive? difficult? temperamental?) The ribena had to be made first with the syrup then the water. The chocolate milk next with the chocolate syrup first and then the milk. If ever my older sister was required to make it she would deliberately make it different and then I would go bananas and refuse to drink it. I am much nicer now - I promise.

So there you have it. All caught up now.