Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Presence

At this time of year, it is so easy to think presents presents presents.  What am I going to make or buy for whom?  Have I got enough? What if second cousin Joe turns up?  Should I have some extra chocolates?

I try every year to not be dictated by this giving - receiving frenzy.  Really, it is a consumerism thing in the end.  That is why I tried to go as handmade as possible so that I could inject as much love as I could into each gift.  But I also know that my sons love Lego, and I wasn't about to fashion Lego bricks out of Fimo.  My boys would be horrified!  So giving something that you know the recipient would love is still giving in love.

These verses have been playing over in my mind lately and I thought I would share them with you.

~ John 3:16 ~
For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed. 

~James 1:17 ~
Every good act of giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father who made the heavenly lights; with him there is neither variation nor darkness caused by turning. 

I want to remember that the gift of Christmas is not what Baby Jesus received from the wise men.  The giving and receiving of gifts is actually representative of Gift that God gave this world, our world, His Son Jesus Christ.  And any gift from God is perfect.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas day and enjoy His presence at your table and in your home or out in nature.

Love and blessings,

Fi xxx

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Our Christmas Came Early

Warning: lots of photos!

We hosted our family christmas lunch last Sunday.  It was just easier that way.  Here's the wrap up (excuse the pun!)

The Guests

My husband's gorgeous children and their families.  We didn't get to see one of my steppies but he and his girl have promised to visit Boxing Day.  Joy!

The Food

We had a BBQ.  Easy peasy.  Makes everyone happy.  Plenty of vegetables though to eat alongside the mandatory steak and sausages for our meatlovers.  And dessert was the quintessential aussie/kiwi christmas pudding, pavlova.  I covered it in mangoes, strawberries and passionfruit with chocolate to sprinkle to personal measure.

Oops, only got instagram pics of these sides and salads
veggies for chargrilling | Spanish potato salad | tomato basil & boconccini salad with avocado

squeaky cheese (haloumi) kebabs
chargrilled eggplant with paprika served with a garlic feta sauce (not pictured)
Pavlova for dessert of course with extra strawberries and generous dustings of chocolate shavings

The Pressies

I made presents for everyone this year.  Unfortunately I didn't get a pic of the lemon butter but you can grab my recipe here.  It is the lemoniest lemon butter so it is definitely for lemon loving fans.

1. Slippers
2. & 3. Pyjamas for my step grandson.  Using my favourite pattern, well my only patter for pj's!  Oliver&S Sleepover Pyjamas as seen on this blog before
4. And my attempt at the much-done-for-christmas-presents-in-blogland beads (I would have to put a dozen or so links here for where I've seen it before; can I just trust that you have been around here too for a while and know all the places you've seen them?)

My shortbread didn't turn out as I liked so it didn't get gifted.  And to add a bit more value to the presents, gift cards and chocolates were also thrown in for good measure.

We received awesome reading material and yummy-yums, while the boys got toys, toys and more toys.

Getting the kids to sit still and face the camera was next to impossible!  I took dozens but the others are all blurry or not faces!

Yes, this is my tree.  At least it wasn't raided of its baubles or knocked over!

What about the big day?

Well, admittedly Christmas has lost its thunder but it would have been more disappointing on Christmas day to not have had an early celebration.  Rick's older kids have their Mum's christmas breakfast then their partners family commitments.  They live 90 mins from us, it was just easier to grab them early than to not see them at all.

We will enjoy our little family's company.  I love my husband and children to pieces, so to have a lazy morning with pancakes and eggs and tomatoes from the garden, then perhaps a picnic at the beach will be more than christmassy enough for me.

I will bake some special slice no doubt and we will probably eat something from the freezer that night.

Tonight we are off to our cul-de-sac neighbourhood party.  Such fun times!

I hope your Christmas day is full of happiness, of laughter, of special happy memory making.  Wear loose clothing!

Love and blessings from mine to yours

Fi xxxx

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Evolution of Our Green Smoothie

My boys loved this smoothie so much that I had to scrap out every last bit from the Vitamix jug and Liam upon seeing the spatula squealed "I lick it please Mumma!"

I have learnt a lot since I introduced smoothies into our diet.

I have learnt that ::

  • it is important to consider the acid-alkaline balance of our diet.  That means, some foods such as meat and cheeses can be highly acidic for the body once digested, leading to such problems as weaker bones (yes, cheese can weaken your bones!) and that alkaline foods, such as most vegetables and some fruits and nuts can improve bone health and general well-being and longevity.  You might find this table helpful in discerning acid and alkaline foods.  Basically, eat more fruit and vegetables and less meat and dairy.
  • combining fruits and vegetables in the one juice, or meal, can lead to bad digestion.  It takes different enzymes to break down fruits than it does with vegetables.  You can listen to your body on this one too.  Even though it isn't bad to let one go (flatulence, fluff or fart - I can barely write that word as it is a rude word in our house, boys!), it isn't good if they are quite stinky.  That means that your digestion isn't great and possibly caused by a wrong combination of foods last eaten.  But if you are like me and struggle to listen to your body (in my case, I think I am that toxic that it's hard to tell), it is good to do some research.  I did, and it was a little conflicting.
  • after some internet searching, there is a general consensus that mixing fruits and vegetables together isn't that great for your health.  And even though many manufacturers of juicers promote combining fruits and vegetables in their recipes, this may be to make the juicer more appealing for sale rather than what is good for you.  I liked this woman's view on the topic because it sat well with me.  Doesn't mean it is conclusively correct though.  And I would like to believe this guy as it is convenient.  So it brings me back to listening to my body.
  • the Eight Laws of Health make sense and I should consider abiding by them.  Not only will it benefit my health but also the example set before my sons will help them to make healthy nutritional choices.  And right now, I just want them to eat the healthy food I set before them and not pester for pizza-from-a-shop, chippies and ice-cream!  In a nutshell they are, Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunlight, Temperance, Air, Rest and Trust.
  • variety and making it fun is essential to keeping my little boys interested.  We make up names for our dishes, like Pirate-Treasure-Porridge, Snakes In Red Sauce and Monster Green Smoothies (well we didn't make that one up of course!).  And this morning we discovered Banana Green Smoothie (highly imaginative we are in this house!).  I have found that my boys like a smoothie combination for a couple of weeks before we have to reinvent it.  And new ways in presenting it to them.
That brings me to today's new smoothie.  

Banana Green Smoothie

5 leaves of silverbeet, stalks removed or leafy green of choice
2 bananas 
rice milk (I measure the milk using their little drinking cups x 2)
2/3 cup quick oats
1 Tbl chia seeds
2 Tbl coconut oil
pinch of celtic salt (must be celtic or himalayan pink salt otherwise omit)
tiny dribble of maple syrup, optional

Place all ingredients in given order into your blender (most blenders will blend better if spinach is in first, soft to hard rule).

To serve, we pour it into a cereal bowl and top with a small handful of cornflakes.  Cornflakes are high in salt and really are not good for you.  My boys just love the stuff but it dawned on me that if I were to make a thick smoothie and top it with only a fraction of the cornflakes they would otherwise be having I have reduced their bad salt intake and increased their good food intake.  

Do you make smoothies?  What are your favourite combos?
Can you give me tips to get my boys eating more fruit and veg in its whole form?  Chewing is always a good thing.

Four more sleeps to you-know-when, hope you are ready.  By the way, can't go without a mention to the obvious- the world has not ended today.




Friday, December 14, 2012

Beetroot Chocolate Cake :: A recipe


I instagrammed this cake today and was asked to post the recipe.  I'm not one to keep yummy recipes to myself so I offer it up here with pleasure.

Now, if you have never had a beetroot chocolate cake, you can be forgiven for thinking EErrrrkkk.  I did, and never thought I would be baking one myself.  But as it turns out, I had a bunch of beetroot leftover in the fridge from a sad abandoned juice diet.  I really dislike feeding my bin dead vegetables (no worm farm or compost presently) and couldn't bear the idea of throwing the beets away.

A side note, I had every intention of seeing the Reboot Your Life juice diet through to the end but I don't actually have a juicer.  Mmmm, bit of a problem.  But I do have a Vitamix (high powered blender) and thought I could get away with it.  

Apple Cherry bake and Green Juice from Reboot Your Life
All was good until I made a veg juice, using the very beetroots in question and found that all the fibre in the juice too much to bear and promptly turned the juice into a pasta sauce and shelved the diet for another day.

Ok, back to the cake recipe!  I found the recipe in a Family Circle booklet "50 of the Best Cakes & Tarts".  The recipe is by Jill Dupleix.  But this is how I made it.  I had 3 beets to use but the cake takes only one large one, so the extra cooked beets were drizzled with oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and a spike of apple cider vinegar- nom nom nom.

Beetroot Chocolate Cake
serves 8
cooking time: 35 mins (fan force oven)

70g cocoa powder
180g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
250g caster sugar
250g cooked beetroot (see note at start of method)
3 large eggs
200ml sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Note: I had 3 beets.  I washed and trimmed them then cut them into quarters and placed them in a steamer until tender.  I then weighed out 250g of cooked beets which ended up being 4 quarters.  So perhaps one large beetroot will do the job!

Preheat over 165C fan force (original recipe is 180C conventional).
Line base of 20cm springform tin.  Mine is old pre dates non-stick so I lightly greased sides and floured.

Sift all the dry ingredients, except sugar, into a mixing bowl, then stir in the sugar til well combined.

Using a blender or food processor (I used my trusty Vitamix), blitz the beetroot.  Then add the eggs, oil and vanilla til smooth.  The colour is amazing at this point, and it gets even better.

Pour the wet bright purple ingredients into the dry, using a balloon whisk to lightly combine.  At this point, I wished a took a photo.  The wet ingredients awakened the cocoa into a deep brown and the bright purple created an awesome swirl against the chocolatey batter. But keep mixing till all is combined.

Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for 30 mins.  Check to see if cooked.  If the testing skewer comes out wet, cover the cake with a bit of foil to stop further browning while you give it another 10 mins or so.  The original recipe says to cook for an hour but a max of 45 mins was enough for my cake.

Let the cake cool a bit before removing the sides.  We ate it hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to salve our mouths.

The question is, how did it taste?!  Well, it did taste chocolatey without being too rich and the beetroot gave it an earthy flavour, but only mildly.  In fact, I reckon if I didn't know there was beetroot was in there, I mayn't have noticed.  And it was moist, so goodly moist.

I would like to make this cake again but reduce the sugar.  Perhaps dates or maple?  I'm yet to bake with stevia but I will no doubt venture there too one day.

Have you ever baked a beetroot cake?
Or any other vegetable (besides carrot cake!)?
What do you use to cut back sugar?  Or even to replace it altogether?


Monday, December 10, 2012


Hello lovely people.  There are 50 of you now!  Do you know that actually freaks me out?!  Welcome, I am so chuffed that you are interested in the comings and goings of a nanna-craft-loving mumma of 2 little boys.

I write this little blog for two reasons.  Firstly, as an outlet to record stuff that I am happy to share with complete strangers and friends alike.  And to have a profile beyond just a name so that you can know who it is that leaves random comments on your blog- its nice to click to a person and not just a name isn't it?

As you may know, I am quite late to this sewing caper.  I have been sewing since late 2010, actually since blogging.  And when I say sewing, its an every-so-often thing, not a daily jaunt much like my blogging!!  So it is no surprise that I have never made bunting before despite loving it to bits.  Yes, if a mag has bunting on the cover you can pretty much guarantee that I will buy it.  Sucker.

Remember the December Baby Quilt?  He came early!  And now that he is here, I thought the quilt  was not quite macho enough.  Little baby Jakob needed more diggers and less flowers!

The fabric is from Spotlight and the binding was a premade.  I bought the fabric to make some pjs for my step grandson, also named Jacob, which I am halfway through making. And bunting is the perfect solution for large scraps!

I used the same red fabric as I used on the quilt's binding for the letters.  I have to thank Rachel for this idea of personalised bunting as her's was the first time I saw this idea.  

No one warned me that bunting making is addictive!  I then whipped up a lovely girly one for my dear little friend Ella whom you may know from here.  I've known Ella's mum since I was 7.  I can hardly believe that Ella is 5 already.

 I used fat quarters from Spotlight.  A purchase I made back when I started sewing as I was determined to sew something girly.  But because I have sons, no girly excuse came until I figured out bunting that is!!

This time I backed each flag with the same fabric as its front and the letters are actually the back of a printed fabric because I didn't have a pink solid!

Now that I have these two projects done and dusted, I can concentrate on getting the rest of my christmas crafting done.  You see, our family christmas is this Sunday!!  Yikes.  Still have 4 gifts to make.  I don't want to bring it down to the wire just in case they flop and a quick run in to DJ's is required.

What are you making for christmas presents or is time running out for you too?


Friday, December 7, 2012

Six years

We got married 6 years ago in November.

And we are still crazy about eachother, emphasis on crazy.

And he bought me yellow roses as they are my favourite, even though traditionally yellow roses symbolise friendship!  But that's ok.  We are friends too.  I love him, nuff said.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Oh My Stars

I had so much fun making these stars!  And I am delighted in them.  I know you want to make them too for your tree or as a garland like I have done.  The free pattern is from Jodie at Jellywares.  Aren't we blessed to have such clever generous people here in the blogosphere?!  I'm blessed for sure.  I have had numerous requests for the pattern and for me to gift them.  I'll be crocheting around the clock I think!

I made these from 4ply cotton thread in true yellow, soft yellow, peach and sky blue.  I used the tiniest hook I had and then joined them with a single crochet to a chain.

I have plans to make more in a thicker yarn as individual ornaments with ribbon and a button like Jodie's, for the tree we may or may not get.  But they will definitely adorn my annual jars of lemon butter!





Wednesday, November 21, 2012


So I knitted a necklace!  I found inspiration from here via Pinterest

I'm not chuffed with my colour joins and has me debating whether it is good enough to give away or not.

Do people wear knitted jewellery?  Do you?

I haven't worn jewellery for almost 10 years.  I just find things hanging off me irritating.  But I like the look of this coloured cord.  It feels like a scarf on.  I used 100% wool.  The coloured wool is Bendigo Woollen Mills and the white is Moda Vera.  I am thinking of trying Bendigo Woollen Mills' cotton next to see how that looks.  It may also be a bit cooler to wear in the warmer weather.

I took a bunch of pics wearing it but then deleted almost all of them because it kinda looked like I was taking pics of my boobs.

And clickety-clacking an i-cord on my DPNs had me wishing I owned a french knitting thingy.


Click :: My Creative Space for inspiration for your next project!
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