Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Linen Press


Today I am starting "Homemaking tips Tuesday"
And I thought the care of linen press was a good place to start, as its my favorite! I think that the proper care of household linens is very important. Firstly because they are expensive to replace.
Secondly because there really is nothing quite as good as well laundered and starched bed linen.
And Thirdly, because you dont want a pile of odds and sods falling on your head every time you go to get a face cloth!

Buy the best quality that you can afford because if well taken care of it can last for many many years.
I prefer white especially for towels, although I do have some taupe and dove grey sheets as they go with Joshua and Stephens doona covers. Alot of people think white must be terribly difficult to keep nice, but it is actually easier, as long as you only wash white with white( sheets, towels, table linen etc, NOT tea towels! always do them on their own.) Use a hot wash and add nappy san.



I like to iron and starch pillow cases, flat sheets, doona covers,table cloths, tea towels and napkins and I tuck bars of soap in and around the things on the shelves. I use "crisp" starch and the original Cashmere Bouquet bars of soap, both fragrances complement each other very well. If you prefered, you could use a lemon scented starch such as "tonizone" and say, eco stores lemon verbena soap.
Only store linens etc in the linen cuboard, dont make it a dumping ground for all the things you couldn't find storage for elsewhere.
Put all related things by each other.
Once a month actually wash your clothes line with hot soapy water dirt accumulates on it and will mark your whites and lights.
The soap isn't just to smell pretty, women have done it for years as it deters insects.
Donate excess things that you havent used in years, if the cupboard is crammed full, air cannot circulate encouraging a musty smell and even mould and mildew in humid climates like Far North Queensland or Darwin.

I hope I may have helped or inspired someone,
happy homemaking!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Chicken Caeser Salad
a favorite of ours from "Real Living magazine"

MONDAY
  pork fillet marinated in plum sauce panfried and sliced
over crunchy salad
wrapped in tortillas

TUESDAY
minted lamb cutlets
with a warm salad of green beans, roast pumpkin,
pinenuts, fresh cherry tomato's and fetta.
special dressing
&
crusty bread

WEDNESDAY
chicken caeser salad
with polenta croutons.

blue ribbon vanilla ice cream with
a sauce made with blended frozen mixed berries, a little
water and a spoonful of castor sugar.

THURSDAY
Fettucine bolognaise
&
a big garden salad

FRIDAY
spinach, tomato & parmesan quiche.
with
homemade wedges and steamed brocollini & asparagus

SATURDAY
Home made pizza's
&
mummys special iced chocolates
(Brisbane version of my hot chocolates)

SUNDAY
BBQ sausauges, rissoles and onions,
with potato salad & "childrens favorite"salad.
Lovely soft bread rolls.



THIS WEEKS MORNING TEA
CAKES

apple & cinnamon

dark chocolate

pa's fruit cake


I hope this inspires some ideas in your kitchen!











Thursday, December 8, 2011

Congratulations!!

Today I am so proud of my husband! He has always been hardworking, and a man of impeccable integrity and respect.
Today he was presented with a
CHIEF OF ARMY'S COMMENDATION!
And so to my darling Shane you truly deserve it!
Thankyou for working so hard for all these years to take care of
us.
We Love you!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Girls Bedrooms


Above you will see the bedroom of my two youngest daughters 9 and 6. You cant see it in the photo, but fred the rocking horse sits in the corner at the other end of the window beside a big pine wardrobe. He is black and white and wears a red bridle. I am still deciding on window dressings, any suggestions? The bedding is from Ikea. I just love the embroidered cushions and the red and white gingham love heart pillows.( so do they! )


I believe childrens bedrooms should be simple, well organised and for girls, pretty! I cannot stand little girls rooms that have every available surface dripping with images of Barbie,Disney, Brats, Dora etc!( I am sorry if this offends anyone) Also in my experience, It is far easier for a child to calmly have storytime and drift off to sleep in a room where everything has a home and is in it, nothing to distract them from sweet dreams other than the twinkling fairylights above their beds.


Here is my gracies room, she is nearly 12 now. She also has fairy lights but we hadn't put them on yet when we took the photo, they are very small stars on a clear wire twisted a couple of times around the bed head. I am thinking about also putting a white net draped over the bedhead aswell. It is a very small room so it is really important that there is no clutter and her wardrobe is super organised!



She loves a neutral palette!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

First baked goods!



Today I baked in my new oven! After a lovely morning at our new church, I came home and baked. Above is our family meals area  and on the table is a fruit cake that was for afternoon tea and the cherry pie I baked for dessert.
I love my oven!
It may be smaller than I am used to, but it is a breeze to work with! My cake turned out beautifully evenly browned definately CWA worthy, and the pastry on the pie cut well, and just melted in the mouth, no soggy bottoms here!

The little pie you see was made by my little one Lilly, she made it especially for her Pa who came for a visit with Nannie this afternoon. He was very proud and has wrapped it and taken it home so he can have it at work tommorrow for morning tea. You should have seen her face when he told her that he needed to show all the men at work what a clever grandaughter he has!

Now I cant wait to start mince pies for christmas! And to see how I go with the crackling on a roast pork!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Zones

I came to the conclusion, whilst aranging my new home over the last few days that perhaps I should mention Zones. No I am not refering to public transport! I am talking about desegnated zones in the home, I have always found this helpful especially in the kitchen. For example the kettle sits by the power point on the bench, the tea and coffee canisters are displayed beside it with the biscuit jar and in the cupboard above I keep tea cups, saucers and mugs. This is a zone, another would be the baking zone that has mixing bowls, and measuring jugs and cups in the cupboard underneath the bench and above is the scales and container of wooden spoons/spatulas etc.
  If you organise your whole home this way it does make things more comfortable and far easier to keep tidy. If the children have a play area in the living area outside of their bedroom keep it contained to a zone, there is no need for toys to be spread indiscriminately through the house, If you have nowhere to sit quietly of an evening with a favorite book or television program without being surrounded by your childrens belongings you need to do something! They do not run the home you do, so get zoning and teach them where it is appropriate to bring out toys and where it isn't.
  I zone everything from the desk and computer pariphenalia to The clothes in the wardrobes, Try it it really does make homemaking easier.....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

We Made it!!

We have arrived! I am sitting writing this post from our lovely new home in Brisbane! It was a very long drive and we stayed overnight at Coffs Harbour, the children did so well in the car, we had no motion sickness for the first time and they entertained themselves with eyespy and other car games.
 Our furniture etc was delivered yesterday and I have spent today getting everything unpacked and putting together rooms. As soon as everything is as it should be I will post photo's!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Planning Meals

Here is my meal plan for the week, I think meal planning is essential if you want to run your home efficiently, also it saves you money on your grocery bill and if you plan to use up leftovers in other meals there is much less waste.
  I also check the menu for the next day while preparing dinner so if for example I am doing a cassarole tomorrow, I would have planned for sausauges mashed potatoes and veg tonight so I can peel extra potatoes and carrots and pop them in a bowl of water in the fridge, ready to go straight into the crockpot in the morning. Oh and speaking of using up leftovers, yes spare bolognaise sauce makes lasagne but Shane and the boys LOVE it on toast with their egg in the mornings!

I start my menu from a Thursday because thats my grocerys and errands day. Shane has the car on the other days, and I must say It is nice to just be at home doing what needs to be done, without having to go anywhere for the rest of the week!

THURSDAY : Dinner - Marinated chicken and salad wraps.
                       Dessert - Apple, pear and blueberry crumble with cream.

FRIDAY : Dinner - Pumpkin soup and hot homemade bread and butter.
                 Dessert - Ice cream cones with sprinkles

SATURDAY : Dinner - Home made pizzas
                       Supper - Mummys special hot chocolates

SUNDAY : Dinner - Roast beef, gravy and yorkshire pudding, baked
                                 potatoes, pumpkin, carrots and onions with a side
                                 of greens and cauliflower cheese.
                   Dessert - Tinned peaches and custard.

MONDAY : Dinner - Meat and vegie pie (using roast leftovers) corn on the
                                  cob, broccoli and peas.
                   Supper - Warm stewed apple and rhubarb.

TUESDAY : Dinner - Spaghetti bolognaise with a salad.
                    Dessert - Fruit salad.

WEDNESDAY : Dinner - Sausauges with gravy mashed potato, sauteed
                                         cabbage and steamed whole baby carrots.
                          Supper - Warm milk and honey.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Camping trip




Good Morning!
                     It is almost school holidays here in Canberra, It is definately warming up! We had the most glorious weather for the weekend and spent most of it outdoors, Joshua had his Rugby presentation day and BBQ on Saturday, and we went bushwalking at Kowen Forest on Sunday afternoon then took the younger girls for a bike ride before dinner so as Lilly could practice without "training wheels" (she's a big girl now).
    We love being out in the bush, and are planning a camping trip for the holidays. It's better to go in spring as there is no fire ban yet and significantly less flies!  We always go to camping areas that are secluded, and are usually the only family there, which I love ! We can cook everything on the fire( Mmmm damper!) The kids run around swim, play cricket and footy and Shane brings a big rope to hang out of a gumtree as a swing. At bathtime, strip off  girls then boys and bathe in the creek or river(remember DO NOT use soap, only a natural bodywash thats sulphate free and 100% biodegradable. Soap damages the ecosystem and encourages toxic blue/green algae.) The nights are cold in spring so we all snuggle up around  the fire chatting , laughing and sometimes singing with hot milk and honey and toasted marshmallows. Camping is so much fun, I cant wait!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lovely strawberries

Today I went to the farmers market, and I was so pleased to find that the strawberry man had one tray of strawberries that were second's, and for only $5.00! Of course I snapped them up and spent the afternoon making strawberry preserves and cordial, delicious! Making the preserves is easier than jam as they are just stewed fruit in a thick syrup. They have many uses, spoon onto hot homemade bread and butter or scones with thick cream, drizzle them over icecream or vanilla yogurt and they are superb wizzed in the blender with organic fullcream milk and a touch of vanilla!
  All I did was half the berries and put them in my heavy cast iron pot. I added the juice of a lemon, two cups of organic raw sugar and filled about 1/3 of the pot with water. I let it simmer for around 45 minutes constantly skimming the top and there you have it! Pour it into clean preserving jars and screw the lid on tight, as it cools the seal on the lid should suck down and not move when you push on it.
As for the cordial I had a fair bit of  fruit syrup left over so I simmered it down a little longer, next I added an equal amount of water, strained it and quickly brought it to the boil then bottled it, it is that simple mix it with sparkling water and ice for a lovely refreshing drink! I do love strawberries!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Welcome Spring!

                                             Floriade Canberra

 Spring is finally here! Above I have put a photo of Canberra's Floriade, as I think it is always so beautiful and this is the last time we will be able to take the children picnicing there, as we move in November. Now please dont misunderstand me I LOVE Brisbane, but bulbs and cottage flowers like these just dont grow, no matter how hard you try! I'll just have to appreciate all of the Jacaranda's, bouganvillia's etc. Oh and of course Gardenia's! They do very well there and just happen to be my favorite flower!
  My spring cleaning is now officially in full swing! I've been quite unwell for the last two weeks so it was a slow start, but I am feeling alot better today so look out family, if you stand still long enough I'm likely to task you, dust you or put you in the washing machine!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gumboots

We have had alot of very rainy and cold days these past few weeks, and it's over these weeks that I have come to fully appreciate "gumboots." The children and I walk to the school bus every morning rain or shine, now coats and umbrellas do the job very nicely when it is raining but their feet are soaked through by the time we reach the bus stop. An easy way to make sure the little ones stay warm and dry is to put their school shoes in a plastic bag in their back pack and wear gumboots! When they get to school the boots go into the plastic bag and the shoes go on the feet! If its still raining in the afternoon, out come the gumboots. Since Canberra gets very cold on a winter morning, I discovered that a pair of my husbands woolly army socks cut down and stitched at the top with elastic and bias binding make perfect gumboot liners for  little girls boots(They have to wear stockings, the boys are in socks) You just fold the elasticised edge over the top of the boot, they can slip their feet in and out "easy peasy" and their feet stay toasty warm! 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

On The Move!

We are moving to Brisbane! How exciting, we already have a lovely new married quarter home and I have been having a lovely time planning and preparing where everything will go, and what style I would like to achieve. I am seriously tired of clutter! So I have decided to go with a classic look this time with lots of white and neutrals, a little charcoal, oh and plenty of natural fibres etc like big jute rugs and linen drapes! Perhaps a touch of provincial?I am lucky we are not going until December it gives me time to bring together everything, I have been buying something every week for our new home and putting it away. Things like  new white fluffy towels and  bath mats, also new sheets for all the beds. I think it's so nice to move into a new home and be able to bring out all the wonderful things I've collected or made and kept aside especially. I suppose its like preparing a "glory box" I will be beginning some new quilts for the childrens beds next week, I do hope I can finish them all in time as there is six of them to make!  I have set aside a shelf in my linen press where I am carefully wrapping the things in tissue paper and storing them there until moving day, I pop a few bars of my favorite soap { Rose of course!} on all of the shelves in the cupboard to keep our linen and towels smelling beautiful, It seems to have infused the tissue paper aswell! I might reuse it as drawer liners in the girls rooms at the other end, or maybe to wrap christmas gifts for my Mother and Sister in law. Even if you are not moving but long for a change in the look of your home you could do this it dosn't need to be overly expensive or overwhelming, just start small, put a little something aside here and there, maybe paint some old chairs or throw a nice coverlet over your couch, perhaps a new rug? If you see something on sale that you love but is not in your budget, layby it! dont they say,"A change is as good as a holiday!"

Itching to "Spring Clean!"

We are only halfway through winter, and I'm quite over it! I am longing to open up my windows and doors and let the fresh air in, without risking hyperthermia! I am so looking forward to green lawn, lucious gardens and taking tea with the butterflys...
  I am itching to spring clean! To freshen everything up, clean all of the windows and give all the bedding a good wash and a full day hanging in glorious sunshine! Alas unless I want doona's that are damp and smelling like wood smoke I shall have to wait...Therefore, I have been sorting out the linen press, re-organising everybodys wardrobes and tidying the pantry and kitchen cupboards. There has been substantial donations to the Salvation Armys winter appeal and St Vincent De Paul.
  Even though its not a "propper" spring clean, it certainly helps one feel lighter!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A good breakfast



I can not stress enough the importance of a good breakfast! And I am not just talking about nutrition, as it is fairly common knowledge that beginning each morning with fruit, wholegrain cereal and an egg is a brilliant start to the day, in fact I find that I barely need much more than a nibble at lunch and dinner! What I am talking about is the "ritual" of breakfast. Once I have  fed and organised children out the door to the school bus, I clean up my kitchen make a pot of tea check that my "good room" is as it should be. Then I prepare a lovely breakfast put on some quiet music and enjoy my morning meal at the dining table with good china, silverware ect. As I gaze out my windows at my garden I contemplate the day ahead and make a few mental notes regarding tasks I'd like to achieve, the days menu etc. I recommend every Lady to try it, as it really does put you in a calm and positive state of mind!
Now I know that some of you out there with small children are thinking "How on earth am I supposed to do that with a toddler?" All you need is 15-20 minutes, so once your little one is fed and dressed  bring out a  toy or game that you only get out at that time of day, sit them on the floor near to you and let them know its time for them to have their special game while mummy has her breakfast. When you are finished ask them to come and keep you company while you tidy your dishes etc, and you pop their special toy away safely for tomorrow. My youngest used to love to play with a little china tea set at the coffee table having "breakfast" with Dolly.
I suppose the point I am making here is that we are important and special, and if we treat ourselves as such, others will too. Also taking the time to do these little things makes a happy calm Mother, which in turn makes happy calm children!  

Monday, June 27, 2011

Where To Begin?

Hello! I cant believe it's been nearly 2 months since my last post! I have been so busy, I barely have time to fit in everything that needs to be done in a day let alone blog!!! I have taken a job at a lovely linen and homewares store, Its only 12 hours a week but I am starting to realise how much I need those 12 hours at home!! My mum is coming to stay tomorrow, we are very excited, Dad is coming too but he flys down next week as he couldn't take more than a week off work, they will fly home together.
 Now, lets see if I can manage to put my house back to the way its supposed to be today, ( its not too bad just needs some of my extra little touches) and this afternoon I think I will work on some sort of  organised shedule. I know I was organised before, but I think what I need now is organisation with military precision!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Beautiful Bread

How we love a fresh loaf  of bread hot out of the oven! It is so easy to make, there really is no reason not to have it every day! Forget about complicated recipes that involve "knock downs" and "proving",sometimes taking up to 4 hours to reach a finished product. My recipe is simple and only takes 1hour and 15 minutes, using just 15 minutes of my actual time.
   Begin by putting 4 1/2 cups of plain flour in a large mixing bowl,
make a well in the center and put 2 1/2 cups of warm water a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar( this feeds the yeast) and 2-3 teaspoons of dry yeast over the liquid. when the yeast starts to bubble,( about 5-7 mins) carefully stir the mixture starting in the centre, and folding in the flour as you go.
Using your hands start to knead it in the bowl until it comes together in a large sticky ball. place it on your bench and gently knead adding a little extra flour at a time until it is becoming more elastic and not so sticky.
At this point I wash my hands in very warm water unlike if I were making pastry, or scones, where you need quite cold hands, as very warm hands assist the yeast, and you tend to get a nicer dough.
Continue to knead until your dough is lovely and smooth and no longer sticky,( about 5 mins) Like the above photo.
Divide into 2 with a dough scrape or knife and place into 2 loaf tins, and sit in a warm kitchen to rise for 40 minutes.
Now tidy up, have a cup of tea hang the washing, even clean the bathroom if you feel compelled!
Bake the loaves in the centre of the oven at 180degrees for 25 minutes when they come out they should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. If not give them another 10 mins.
Enjoy!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Feeling Decorative!

I know I have not posted in quite some time, I have been a little distracted with children, housekeeping etc! I have been feeling very decorative of late, moving furniture and rearranging everything! I'd show some photos but the batteries in the camera are dead and I have to replace them, I assure you I will post photos as soon as its sorted!
    I have freshened up my kitchen hutch by making a display of all things white & cream, I love it and hope to add to my white china collection over this year, I have already started with a lovely white teapot with a little bird sitting on the lid that my mum bought me for my birthday. Changing things around the home and adding some new little touches here and there is so refreshing! especially if you do a thorough seasonal cleanout at the same time, I look at everything I already have and see how I can display or use it differently to achieve the look Im after, try it you will be amazed at how creative you can get, spending no money for fabulous results! 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Home Baked Aromas



I love the way our home smells when I have been baking!! I think of it as comforting, I always try to get our bread made and the next days cake into the oven at around 2.30-3.00 in the afternoon so that when the children come in from the bus after school they can smell it in the driveway!
 I do have very romantic ideas of them growing up with these fond cosy memories of home, bringing my grandchildren to visit "Nanna's" house still scented with my lavender and rose beeswax polish, and warm "fruity buns" dripping with butter or perhaps some apple and cinnamon muffins, ready for stories and songs.....

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Quiet Life

It is so important to have somewhere you can go to quiet the mind, a place of peace. My children call it Mummys Ahhhh moment , whether you take a pot of your favorite tea or a tall glass of your homemade cordial with ice, to sit for half an hour in a place of beauty quietly in your own thoughts. Not only is it calming but it rejuvinates you and inspires the most lovely things!



I find that in spring and summer my favorite spot is in our garden, My son Joshua set up a small table and chair with a pretty cloth and some lovely cussions for me, right in the middle of all of the flower gardens only last week as a suprise! The view is beautiful ....
When the weather turns cool, I sit in my " Good Room" I suppose you could call it my Parlour, I just love to be surrounded by special things! It is definitely worth the effort to make your home beautiful, because it is not just yours, but your familys sanctuary..

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My favorite things




                  Here is a beautiful bouquet, grown by my son Patrick and picked by my daughter Gracie. Fresh  flowers give me such joy! This is an example of one of the little things you can do even when on a very tight budget to make a house a home, be sure to replace them when they start to die though, as that is one thing I cant bear is vases of half dead blooms with smelly water !