Friday, August 28, 2009

Doing Dishes

One of the nice things about 'doing the dishes' the old-fashioned, hands-in-the-sink way is the opportunity for some warm, soapy, bubbly 'water play'. Quite therapeutic actually.
"Washing dishes by hand saves water and gets your dishes back into the cupboard quickly."
NZ House & Garden - 'In the Sink' March 09 Issue pg 113.

In Form 1 (yr 7) I learnt about washing dishes in Homecraft classes including the order that things ought to be washed in -
Glass & Crystal
Crockery & China
Serving Dishes
Pots & Pans
Cooking utensils
Of course back then, we all practiced dish-washing at home anyway, amidst sibling battles over whose turn it was! Have we all become dependent on dishwashers now? I appreciate mine as much as the next person - albeit a vintage model purchased for $60 on Trade Me.
Do we now consider a home incomplete without one - our own or rented?
With the use of dishwashers have we lost something of value besides water play therapy?
What about all the relationship building that occurs between the sink and the tea-towel?

Friday, August 21, 2009


Recently we attended my Auntie's 70th birthday party. It was a lovely evening. We especially enjoyed seeing my cousins, some of whom I hadn't caught up with for ages. We talked and laughed and shared about our kids and our joys and sorrows...
Of course we determined that we wouldn't leave it so long before we saw each other again!
Sadly, it usually ends up being at funerals where we see each other. Much nicer to gather for happier celebrations!

The birthday invitation insisted on NO presents which I struggled with because I love giving gifts. However my Auntie has lots of lovely things so I decided to do as I was told and NOT buy a present. Instead, inspired by my Mum's card-making skills, I had this idea to make her a birthday card out of an old family photo of her and my Dad's family when they were all young. A bit of photocopying of some gorgeous old fabric, a stitch or two and a little glue and I managed to satisfy my desire to GIVE.
Auntie was chuffed!

She was also able to help me with remembering some details of a family holiday I shared with them when I was a child - great material to include in my memoirs. She filled in some gaps. Auntie also has photos!
Families are special and our older family members are a rich source of inspiration as well as interesting stories of days gone by. Just as our younger ones are a lively source of enthusiasm and hope for the future!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Simple Pleasures

There's been a lot of talk lately about saving electricity. We've been doing our bit, though not through any conscious effort! We have a little log fire with a wetback. It keeps us cosy and warm and allows us many more hot baths than we would indulge in if we were using electric power to heat our hot water.
It is also possible to cook on our fire, which is a rather novel thing to do from time to time. Especially if you are not in a hurry! We slow cooked our yummy 'home-kill' sausages and then added some veges to the same pan with all the meaty juices (and fat - ha ha).

We must be simple souls because these little acts of domestic life give us a lot of pleasure! The fact that we grow lots of our own veges and collect and saw and split and stack our own firewood adds even more pleasure to these simple daily happenings!

Perhaps we will make a more conscious effort to save electricity in the future - given that it is so pleasurable to have a cosy night in with good, home-grown food and a steaming hot bath!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


On TV3 'Sunrise' breaky news I saw one of the Home of the Year Finalists . An amazing $153,000 budget home in Mangere was tailor-made with a lot of imagination, quirky details, personality, use of off-cuts.... competing against houses worth millions! It was described as having 'a real spirit in the place'.

Of course we all know that 'money (spent on a house) is no guarantee of soul'. So what is it that makes a house a home? Someone once said, 'Home is where our story begins.' Another 'Home is where the heart is.' Greg Dixon, in Canvas Magazine in the Weekend Herald (July 11 2009) said, 'My home has been engineered so it serves not only as a dwelling but as, for want of a better way to describe it, the spiritual centre of my world.'

Our own home is nothing extra special but it is ours and it is the place that our family has dwelt the longest after many years of a rather nomadic existence! So it is full of memories...

What is it that makes a house a home?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Yay for Eggs!

I am wondering if Amelia has made our girls some of her delicious cupcakes yet... they are now in Oyes, France with their cousins. A great little cook, she treated us with some when we were there. They have a ready supply of fresh, free range eggs from an elderly neighbor, affectionately called 'Madame Paris' who is very happy to get cakes in return! Sounds like a good deal to me. On both counts! We are glad to have a friend who sells us her lovely free range eggs. She loves her chooks and looks after them extremely well!
This week on TV3 'Sunrise' Breaky news programme an 'eggs-pert' said that 'an egg a day is OK'. "The egg is not only a good source of protein, it also contains a nutrient called choline which is essential to developing fetuses..." 

Amelia's Cup Cakes

1 1/2 cups plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
125 gms unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
2/3 cup of caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the over to 180 deg C. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add butter, vanilla, sugar, eggs, milk and mix, either with an electric beater or a wooden spoon till smooth.
Arrange cupcake cases in a 12 hole muffin tin and spoon the mixture into cases. Bake 17 - 20 minutes or until golden brown. leave in tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. Ice or serve with whipped cream and strawberries and raspberries.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cosy Gift 3

Today I learned about 'Operation Cover Up'- Kiwis making blankets for orphan children in Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. It all started in 2000 with Liz from Taupo who wanted to provide blankets for her sponsored child in Moldova. She contacted some friends..... and now many Kiwis are knitting loving stitches for children who suffer innocently from the conditions where they live. The project has spread to cities and towns all over NZ. I understand that recently the 50,000-th blanket was sent!!!!

Knit or crochet a square or a whole blanket, donate wool or money for wool. They send all sorts of other helpful things their way too.
Apparently scarves are needed - now that sounds like a bit of me! So if you are looking for knitting that will keep you clicking purposefully and you want to know how to help with these 'cosy gifts' or find out who your local co-ordinator is phone Liz Clarke 07 378 9171 or Maureen Braun 03 327 6413. If you live in Te Awamutu, the 'Courier' office is a drop off place for wool donations and also where you can get some wool to knit/crochet a blanket or a square and get the specs on size to make it.
'Having a bed covered by warm blankets brings more than warmth to these children.... although abandoned by parents due to poverty of the family, they are loved by someone far away. The distance means nothing as the blanket is a tangible means of conveying your love.'
pg 20 Overcomers 2009.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Zesty Lemon

There is nothing to equal the zesty, zingy flavour of lemon. Citrus fruit is plentiful and at its best/juiciest about now. If you are into seasonal eating - eat it at this time of year and get some extra health benefits to boot! Add coconut (for texture) to zingy lemon and you have a winner in my books! My Mum and I share a love of any thing coconut-y.

I've tasted a few versions of the 'Lemon Loaf' but this recipe of my Mum's is exceptional! It has well and truly earned its place in our family recipe book.

Lemon Syrup Loaf

1/2 cup coconut
125 gm butter
2 tsp grated lemon rind
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup lemon juice 1/4 cup sugar

Combine coconut and milk then set aside. Cream butter, sugar and lemon rind until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder & salt into creamed mixture. Add coconut mixture then fold until completely combined. Pour mixture into a greased and lined, 22cm loaf tin. Bake at 180 deg C for about 3/4 to 1 hr or until loaf springs back when lightly touched. Allow to cool slightly.
Place 1/4 cup of lemon juice & 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Heat gently, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Spoon syrup over warm cake while still in tin. Leave until cold.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cosy Gift 2

I love what I call 'winter lakes' - ones that look just as gorgeous in the winter as in summer. This morning we had a very enjoyable walk around Lake Ngaroto. Our darling doggy enjoyed it too - lots of sploshing and slashing and slopping about the wetlands. Thankfully we just missed out on getting VERY wet ourselves as there was a huge downpour just as we reached our car!!!
While we enjoy the delights of winter two of our girls are now 'summering' in the South of France. They have another cosy gift to deliver, this time to my sister. She will probably think a scarf is a mad gift at this time of year but I'm sure she will appreciate all its merino cosy-ness once the European winter strikes!! The synthetic 'fleck' adds a bit of humour and sparkle!
This is a great time of year to snaffle away a few yarn bargains in readiness for next winter when things cool down and the urge to 'knit and nestle in' hits and the new season wool prices are high. Always good to have something on hand to get clicking!!!
web page hit counter
web page hit counter