Friday, October 31, 2008

A fun award!

Karen from Homespun Simplicity has given me an award! Thank you so much Karen. Karen has a lovely blog, so if you have the time, please visit.

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day.

The rules to follow are :
1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to other 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

These are the people I have chosen to award. I appreciate the cultural side to these blogs.

Caroline at The Simple Things
Mama Bee at Bee~Content Ranch
Daisymum7 at Notes from daisy mountain
Mandy at The Old Dairy
Tania at Out Back
Tilly at Tilly Tatas
Lynda at Food, Fun & Farm in East Africa
flmom at The Narrow Path
Gill at That British Woman
Denise at An English Girl Rambles
Linda at At Home On The Rock and the lovely ladies at:
Hill upon Hill
Woman of Notes
Garden Goose
Gracious Hospitality

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Skywatch Friday ~ October 31

Remember the photos my daughter took in Canberra recently on her school trip? I have some more to show on the 11th, but in the meantime my eldest son sent me some pictures from Canberra. His girlfriend has a new camera. The photos are taken at the Botanical Gardens. I think they are hoping I'll come and look at it myself.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thankful Thursday ~ October 30

The theme for today is Five Senses - sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.

Thursday: I finally got to shop in the town that I usually shop in. I have been away from there for probably six weeks, as I had to go to the large town for my daughter's sports and to my hometown to pick up the kids from a holiday with family. I was so looking forward to shopping back there again.

I didn't get the meat that I usually get, so came home a bit light. But I did get my meals planned. Hubby went to the shop on the weekend and got some meat. He had to go twice as the butcher was just arriving with the meat as he was leaving the first time.

I was so thankful it wasn't hot, in fact a little chilly to start with as my car's airconditioning isn't working and the car needs it, it isn't like the older type of cars.

I got to see the start of the hay baling in the country.

Friday: I achieved a goal in getting a top for my daughter's netball.

I was really happy how my daughter's early morning ballet class went.

Saturday: I got to see some of my lovely flowers at my new house of one year.

My husband and I actually got to go there with just us and our six year old daughter who was no trouble.

When we got nearly home a saw a paddock of newly wrapped hay bales with a glorious backdrop and the smell of hay. It was stunning.

We got the tools we needed, and came home and fixed our chimney. We were very happy that the part got pop rivetted back on before it rained.

Sunday: I saw some zebra finches. They come when you have aphids on your roses or apple tree seedlings. A bit of a consolation prize. They are very cute, and I love them. I love the sound they make as well. They were nice and close to the front of the house for two days. I could hear them inside.

Monday: I ended up liking the book at the library, at least a little bit.

I was blessed by a set of photos my son sent me from his outing on the weekend. He says I can post them, they are very nice. He bought his girlfriend a nice camera.

I had a nice afternoon which made all the difference to me. When I walked to school the wind etc. reminded me of shearing season when I was little.

My son is on study leave for school. His hardest subject is English. Today he went in to school and did a practise exam and wrote two pages, so I was pleased. He asked the teacher how much he needs to aim for in the real exam.

Tuesday: Coming home to the smell of roses. On investigation I found it was the rose that was bought by my MIL when my daughter was born, they have the same name. We didn't plant it until we moved here. The photo was taken by my second son.

I also was sitting in the car waiting for my middle daughter to finish sports, and saw something like mini tumble weeds or particles of something floating around on the breeze.

Wednesday: I got right into the book in the end, so much so I may blog about it later. It was good as I needed not to think about facing the fact that my husband's work has no need for two of its people and will name people soon.

When I bought some caper berries when I went to the regional centre, or town large enough to have Aldi and Target, I found it hard to find a recipe for them. I tried a new type of nicoise salad, and I thought, I already have a nicoise salad recipe. It turned out fantastic, I loved it. It was a posh recipe but I thought why not make it similar to the one we normally make? The thing that make it really nice was the aioli rather than a dressing even though they are similar. It reminds me of a recipe for vitello tonnato I used to love making many years ago.

I also enjoyed watching Jamie's Ministry of Food again, and enjoying more airborne objects floating magically past my kitchen window in the late afternoon light.

Looking back through the week, a lot happened, wow. End of year 12 class parties, the works. Hard things but good things as well. I nearly didn't post, but I am always glad I did.

Count your Blessings by Martin Wiscombe
Count your Blessings

Word-filled Wednesday ~ October 29

Psa 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Another photo taken by my daughter in Canberra.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Recipes Using Kranskys

I found out the other day, that kranskys or Krainer Wurst in other places, if you buy a lot is not cheap. But if you are not so generous, it is a good cheap meal. My eldest daughter's favourite, is kranskys in bought pea and ham soup with brussels sprouts, we call it green soup.

How did I come to be eating kranskys? I think I learnt to eat them after I came here to live, because I knew they would be available.

Thanks to the comment on my Menu Plan Monday I know another name for them, and can possibly find some more recipes in the future.

Sausage, Bean and Brussels Sprout Soup is our new version.

This one was a great find in a magazine.

It is adapted from a recipe from the Australian Country Collections Jan/Feb 2008.

Kransky Salad

Serves 4 (6)

6 kransky sausages (we used 9)
125g snow peas
125g (4oz) green beans rinsed and drained (not sure we used those)
500g chat potatoes washed (1.5kg)
2 red onions peeled and cut into thick chunks (1 large brown)
1 tab olive oil
2 tabs parsley chopped (reserve a little for garnish)

3/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tab wholegrain mustard
1/2 cup olive oil (or 1/4 olive, 1/4 cup sesame)
salt, cracked pepper to taste

(Partially cook kransky (fry?) then cut to cook sliced bits, onions cut as per segments. Set aside kransky, cook onion add kransky when cooked.)

Cut diagonal slits into each kransky sausage and place under a preheated med/hot grill. Cook for 10 minutes turn sausages and grill for a further ten minutes or until cooked through.

Slice the kransky and place them in a large bowl, keep warm.

Boil chat potatoes for approximately 10 minutes or until tender. Drain cut potatoes in half if needed and add to kransky, keep warm.

Heat oil in a small frypan and cook onions until slightly coloured, season with salt and pepper while cooking. Add onions to kranskys and potatoes keep warm.

Immerse green beans in boiling water for 1 minute. Add snow peas and cook for a further minute. Remove from heat plunge beans and snow peas into a bowl of iced water and leave until chilled. Drain.

Add the beans, snow peas and parsley to the kransky potato and onions. Pour over dressing and gently toss salad until well coated.

Transfer salad to a large serving bowl or platter and sprinkle over reserved chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread rolls.

Combine vinegar, mustard and oil whisk until combined.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Farmhouse Hotpot

PREPARE 15 mins
COOK 20 mins

Ingredients list
* 100 g Penne Pasta
* 1 tspn JENSENS* Minced Garlic
* 1 tbspn CARBONELL* Extra Light Olive Oil
* 500 ml CONTINENTAL* Real Stock, Chicken
* 425 g ARDMONA* Rich & Thick Chopped Tomatoes with Chargrilled Vegetables
* 1 tspn MCKENZIE'S* Cracked Black Pepper
* 300 g Kransky, sliced diagonally thickly
* 1 Brown Onion, cut into wedges
* 1 medium Carrot, cut into 1 cm cubes
* 1/4 cup Continental Parsley, coarsely chopped
* 1 medium Potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes
* 2 sticks Celery, cut into 1 cm slices diagonally

Cooking method
1. Heat oil in large heavy based saucepan. Saute kransky, onion and garlic over high heat until golden brown. Remove from pan.

2. Add potato, carrot and celery to pan. Cook over moderate heat until golden brown. Blend in tomatoes, stock and pasta. Stir until boiling.

3. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Return kransky and onions to pan. Season with pepper to taste.

4. Simmer uncovered for further 5 minutes, or until pasta and vegetables are tender. Serve in large warm bowls, garnish with fresh parsley.

recipe tip
Serve Farmhouse Hot Pot with warm crusty bread for a quick and hearty family meal.

Freshly Podded Peas on Old Green Chair by John Hay
Freshly Podded Peas on Old Green Chair

Kransky Hotpot added later.

Monday, October 27, 2008

That's My World Tuesday

I have put this post in My World this week because it is spring here in Australia. These were taken on Sunday. Spring finishes on the last day of November. It has been cool where we are.

Earlier on in the month I wrote a post about gardening at our current house. This post is about our new house of one year.

Today it tidied up nicely, there is a lot of lawn to mow there. We didn't finish, but hubby got the watering system adjusted to water the row of David Austin roses and the altered garden bed that I have spoken of earlier.

Our son usually helps with the mowing, but every weekend for three weeks he has been doing extra study at school. His Dad started off well, but hayfever got the better of him.

I was there on Saturday and found some nice things to look at. This first plant was stuck inside the other one. Originally it came from my Mum's garden, so I am not sure what it is called.

The false valarian is something I have always wanted to grow, especially through a picket fence, so I have almost achieved that. It does look very nice at the moment, and is not far from a pink rose and they look nice together.

This is my favourite iris, I miss it here, all of it has gone to the new house. It was just in a box at the bottom, fragments at a street stall.

This is a new plant hubby brought home yesterday from the craft shop. So I am not sure what it is called either.

Heucera is a favourite of mine from childhood. I was able to buy one from the craft shop I think a couple of years ago. Mum used to grow it with roses.

This is my new plant a flowering tobacco, I also have seeds I think, but we haven't managed to do anything with them yet.

Menu Plan Monday ~ October 27

Monday ~ Tuna Nicoise-style Salad with Caperberries
Tuesday ~ Honey Soy Chicken with Pumpkin and Potato & Beans
Wednesday ~ Indian Beef Curry
Thursday ~ Singapore-styled Fried Rice
Friday ~ Polish Sausage Salad
Saturday ~ Farmhouse Hotpot with Kranskys
Sunday ~ Lamb Chops, Chips & Greek Salad

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook ~ October 27

FOR TODAY Sunday...

Outside My Window... roses

I am thinking... about what Jamie Oliver said about salads in bags, he says they are washing in chlorine solution

I am thankful for... my husband's hayfever seems to have settled down a little after he mowed two nature strips, his breathing was worrying me

From the kitchen... lots of cheap bananas, a tuna tempter in Philadelphia Cream Cheese, a box with ham in it

I am wearing... one of my op-shop jeans that is getting too big for me, and a top that I have worn every spring and autumn for as long as I can remember

I am creating... finishing off paying bills for this fortnight

I am going... to ballet, and that is possibly about it this week, and school each day of course

I am reading... I have finished my book by Tracie Peterson

I am hoping... to get my menu plans finished

I am hearing... birds in the front yard, I think zebra finches, they were there yesterday

Around the house... I am very pleased with our garden at the new house and how our new bed turned out, the roses love it too

One of my favorite things... my new flowering tobacco plant, it came out and I saw it yesterday

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: going to the library to pick up Emilie Richard's Wedding Ring

Here is picture thought I am sharing... things that come out of wood

How to make Nori Rolls

I have been watching some more of the producegarden videos and this one is very good. I have combined it with my experience of seaweed and nori rolls.

I saw Janella Purcell use some arame seaweed in a soup for elderly people in a show where she helps improve their diets, still haven't found the name of it. So this prompted me buying the arame, the soup looked delicious and I was distressed I couldn't make it. Now to find the recipe or the show and then hopefully make it. I have Janella's book on my list with the library but it hasn't come yet. I bought the arame at a Health Food shop when I was in my hometown as well as the miso and some kombu that I don't think I have used yet.

When we made the Nori Rolls, it was the first time we had eaten Lebanese Cucumber. It won us over. It is also great in a rocket salad.

I bought pickled ginger later and agree with the producegarden about it. Wasabi is like horseradish and anyone who likes Hot English mustard or horseradish should like it. I love Wasabi Peas.

Rocket Salad

Toss together:

3-4oz (100g) arugula or rocket leaves
1/3 cup (metric bit less for US) drained sun-dried tomatoes, halved
1 lebanese cucumber, sliced
and 1/4 cup (60ml) fat-free balsamic salad dressing.

Serve with garlic bread and pasta, (garlic and herb sauce).

Brown Rice, Tuna & Cucumber Nori Rolls

265g brown rice
2 tabs rice vinegar
1 tab caster sugar/superfine sugar
1 teaspoon salt
185g can tuna in spring water, drained
1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon wasabi paste
3 tablespoons white vinegar (1tab is 20ml)
4 nori sheets
1 lebanese cucumber, cut into 5cm long batons
1/2 red capsicum or bell pepper cut into 5cm long batons
pickled ginger to serve
soy sauce to serve.

Bring the rice and 3 1/2 cups metric cold water to the boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside for 10 minutes to steam.

Stir the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Add to the rice and stir until well combined. Cover a large baking tray with foil. Spread the rice over the tray, then set aside until cooled completely.

Combine the tuna, mayonnaise and wasabi in a small bowl. Set aside.

Place the white vinegar and 250ml (1cup) water in a bowl. Place one nori sheet, shiny-side down, on a bamboo mat or sheet of greaseproof paper, with the long side of the nori closest to you. Dip your fingers in the vinegar water and use them to evenly spread a quarter of the rice over the two thirds of the nori sheet closet to you, leaving a small border around the edges.

Spread 2 tablespoon of the tuna mixture along the centre of the rice. Top with the cucumber and capsicum. Lift the end of the mat or paper closet to you and roll it over the ingredients to enclose them. Continue rolling to make a complete roll. Repeat to make three more rolls. Wrap each nori roll tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut the rolls in half or slice them, and serve with pickled ginger and soy sauce.

From: Family Circle June 2005? Australian

This recipe is fantastic. It won me over to nori rolls. Just beautiful. It is the only sushi I have eaten.

We haven't made nori rolls much this year as we often are running late on the weekends because we have two houses to run, or fix. We have made the Vegie Patties and they are very nice.

Vegie Patties

425g tin chickpeas
5 carrots, grated, lightly steamed
2 cups brown rice, cooked until soft
3 tablespoon tahini
2 teaspoons miso paste
2 spring onions, chopped
4 sheets nori seaweed, chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Whiz chickpeas in a food processor until broken up. Stir in carrot, rice, tahini and miso. Knead well. Mix in spring onion nori and parsley. Form into balls and flatten slightly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat and cook patties until golden both sides. Makes 12.

From House & Garden AU Feb 2008.

The Vegie Patties are very moorish.

Egg & Nori Rolls

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Moving To The Country

I promised on my Jamie's Just Pass It On post, a review of theproducegarden's best videos. This video came to mind first as I watched it recently. It is called Moving To The Country. It seems to lend itself better to a post by itself as it turned out. I will watch some more of the videos. I have seen lots, but will watch some more in case I have missed something I know you would like.

It fits in great with a blog post I found on A Homesteading Neophyte. Also my post called De-cluttering and Self-Sufficiency. Apart from my husband's stash of wood and things like that, we also have a lot of tools. Not the ones you see in the hardward catalogues, things he had when he first set up house I assume well over thirty years ago. We even have things from our Grandfathers. Tools do wear out though and this year we have had to replace at least two things. We are of the kind that we keep things going for as long as possible. What comes to mind is a lawnmower catcher, though I forget the details now. Hubby will be buying one or two more modern cordless type tools when we get a chance I think.

We have our own chainsaw. It sat in the shed for many years. We have a newer one now. But it was great to find a log that no one wanted, that was too big and rip into it with this saw and bring the wood home. Even though this place is surrounded by gum trees, we have to drive half an hour to get our wood, though we are still grateful.

I prefer the older one, and in a previous post explained why this new one is a help to us. The new ones of course have more safety features. When I was little my Grandfather cut himself on the neck I think with a chainsaw. Can you imagine. I remember visiting him in hospital. He was quite alright, though I don't know a lot of the details.

The old chainsaw I love it reminds me of cutting wood with my Dad I think. Maybe I just love old engines. So I actually used some extra money that I could have used for something I wanted to get the chainsaw.

I have been thinking about the oxymoron The Homesteading Neophyte mentioned.

"First, meet your neighbors. Community is a huge part of being self sufficient. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it really isn't. Unless you are incredibly well off, you will not be able to acquire everything needed to live. Find out which neighbors think like you do, then sit down and talk. Work out what you can do for each other. And older neighbor my not be able to milk by hand, but can afford a milking cow, another neighbor has a tremendous green thumb, yet a black one when it comes to small livestock. Figure out what you can do for one another, work out deals and barters, creating a neighborhood that is reliant on one another."

It is actually an oxymoron I decided. But I don't think it matters too much. I thought this a few days ago but didn't write in down. If I can be more specific and remember it I will add it in.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The practise seachange I had forgotten about

This photo was taken in 2006. It is the remains of a country school that my children went to for a little while. The school was annexed by the city or large town that is called a city, school my older children went to. The Principal offered that town children could go there if they wished. In the end though, probably because I was the only family that wanted to do that I had to drive them there myself, but that wasn't really a problem. We weren't so organised, or more busy then and as long as we left before 8:45 we got there on time.

It was lovely for me. It was the first country experiences I had enjoyed for years, or it seemed like that. One highlight was seeing turtles on the drive out there. Sometimes I noticed the wind seemed stronger out on the plains. Three weeks ago I was driving along the same road, and amazingly I still noticed the wind stronger there. (It helps me out now, because I know the road, so when I take the long drive to my hometown I have some familiarity which makes the time go quicker.)

I think the kids were there altogether two years. We owned our house and had our gas on LPG so I didn't notice any increase in expenditure. But we bought a new house, so we decided to move the kids back into town to school. However, it made such a difference to my eldest. He is going well in his career so it certainly didn't do him any harm.

When I first checked out the school, it had a pet class calf. As is often the case, they had better things in some ways, like after school care, that I used a few times. It was a fun experience and they were very well looked after.

My 15 year old daughter started her school life there. They also had great books for learning writing, for some reason the country schools had difference resources and belonged to a cluster. This meant they had a visiting art van. To start with they also had the municipal mobile library. Both these things we used later when we moved to the farmhouse when my daughter was in Grade 4, remembering she started school in Prep, then Grade 1 etc.

So any experiences can add up and be used later on when you are managing change. The changes we deal with during that season in our lives was corporate restructure, then finding another job, then contract work and back to a more permanent way of living. Things were up in the air for three years. There were some exciting times as well mixed in with the scarey bits!

This practise year was during the start of the changes I suppose. The corporation had already sold out to some local people and their financial backing from the US I think. Hubby was flying interstate etc.

I think the kids did things like fire clay pottery in a fire kiln onsite. They made stained glass thingos that stick on windows. They were involved in cluster sports. That to me was a help because it was the same as the sports I went to as a child, so it helped me remember them and I suppose move on. I left the farm in such a rush I suppose it helped bridge the two lives.

The cover of the writing book I have since lost which is a shame as I love the cursive script, Victorian that the kids get at school to practise. My daughter brought home a sheet recently. The beauty of this book was that is was yours, and had lovely pictures of Australian money and animals. I have had some luck when my youngest was three buying something like that from a homeschool site.

The Christmas concert was a lovely country Christmas concert. The kind I had as a child. Santa came on the fire engine, and we sang Jingle Bells, and I think it was after the school concert, in the hall. We have them here, but not with Santa, and it is a daytime performance here. I always seem to shed tears. Not sure if I did that year or not.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thankful Thursday ~ October 23

Thursday: My daughter got to stay in a nice motel with a family who took her to compete in the regional sports for schools. She took her new togs/swimmers that she asked me to buy when she competed in the sports the time before. She stayed in our hometown which was nice for her.

Our puppy appreciated his surgery so much he got a burst of energy. The kids said he was "full of beans".

Friday: Our daughter came sixth which was great. Her friend's Mum wrote down her times for her.

Saturday: Finding out that a plant that we love has self-seeded and there is a great replacement plant that is a good size already.

Getting our other house tidy on the outside to make it look loved.

Sunday: My husband's work mate bought him some Italian cheese from Melbourne.

Monday: I had a nice talk to my Mum on the phone. I also had something bothering me all week and I was given some peace on it. I don't mind if it is temporary, it just got me out of a space I was in. It is a very difficult time of year for us normally and just a matter of holding on until it is over. Sometimes work is hard, but maybe in this case balances out over the year. I do forget where the stress comes from, then when I remember the pattern I go, oh yeah...

Tuesday: A lovely $2 Tracie Peterson book arrived from ebay with lovely wrapping and a bookmark! The link has an excerpt in it.

A big bag of bones for the puppy.

My daughter actually changed around two rooms so she could have a room to herself. It was a worry to me but it looks great. She took apart the bunk.

Wednesday: I found three books to put on my list at the library. I got them from library thing. A lady called LetterPerfect has similar books to me, and I got the authors from her list. I had already read Kristen Heitzmann, but found the library had two books I hadn't read. I know I will enjoy them. Though I remember the series I read did have violent parts in it, but not too bad.

I was blessed by a warm fire in the heater that hubby lit this morning. I was worried about driving to grocery shopping without air-conditioning but it has turned cold so that should help.

My middle daughter again, was able to stay behind ballet class and learnt how to sew ribbons on her shoes.

We got our gas, our cheese, washing powder and milk that we buy at the farmer's shop, and our shopping list nearly done.

We have a plan to fix our air-conditioning in the car, but still it was a worry.

Blessings by Sue Allemand

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

Everyday Elegance has a new meme that is inspired by the Sound of Music. Caroline at The Simple Things has asked about favourite things as well, so I will finish this post!

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things...

Caroline has a list of adjectives that describe her favourite things. It is a great writing exercise, and is good for thinking about what you really like. The perfect situation is to do a lot of thinking, and derive the most benefit. But I will think some and see what I come up with.

In the meantime I have posted about paint colours and the Taubman's website has these favourite things on it, amongst others.

inspired by the abstract in our world...
the crusty top on a perfectly baked
loaf of bread, smooth pebbles on the
bottom of a creek bed,
an overcast
sky about to storm, driftwood washed up
on a beach, plain paper packages
wrapped up with string...

inspired by the blues in our world...
the taste of fresh blueberries, your
favourite pair of blue denim jeans,
relaxing on your back staring into a
big blue sky, warm, crystal blue waters
lapping at your feet,
those tiny blue
flowers... you've forgotten their name,
but their fragrance lingers...

My favourite things are:

Delicious, Comfortable, Crusty, Smooth, Natural, Weathered, Retro, Wiggly, Bouncy, Scenic, Witty, Smiling, Refreshing, Entertaining, Crisp, Red...

Here is my retro song that I love the start of, the song isn't retro but the part I love at the start is. Adam Brand's Good Friends.

Some adjectives in novels that you may have come across here.

That's My World Tuesday

This is another photo that my daughter took on her recent trip to Canberra. These are the emblems of Australia.

That's My World Tuesday, is a follow on to the very successful Skywatch Friday. I will show the badge for it when I can get Blogger to accept it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

At the well ~ October 20

This week's At the Well is hosted by Natalie at I Am (not).

Our home is an extension of who we are. How does your home reflect who you are?

I found an article about this subject at Christian Mommies called The Simplicity of Simplifying by Susie Cortright who starts by saying:

"They say your home is a reflection of you - of what's really going on inside. If that's the case, I'm a mess from the '70s in bad need of a facelift."

Well, this is my house, not a '70s number. The style of it does reflect my heritage though in a grander way. I lived in a similar styled house when I was little, only a smaller version more flat on the ground. And I love the chimney. I just wish the stove was still in it.

I found an article How To: Reflect you personal values in your home

My home wouldn't necessarily reflect who I am right now I don't think. In many ways I don't know if I will go back to doing the things I did in the past or not. I certainly think I may some day, but often it hasn't happened or I do it occasionally. So I guess I am like someone you may find on Your Life On The Lawn or the American equivalent and the British Life's Laundry.

I have discussed these issues with hubby, but it is complicated then.

Like the puppy. Had I actually moved past having a dog like that in the backyard? Well, I have one again now so I don't know.

So I guess the home reflects a bit of everyone. Once my son talked me into buying a bigger TV, is is really small by modern standards, but if it was up to me I would have still had my portable. Often those in the same house know what is better for you than you do, thankfully.

We have a painting, or print with a older style large frame on it. It was something my husband had prior to our marriage. It reflects my heritage on the farm with sheep on it, I think it is by Roberts. It probably doesn't reflect who I am now, because it is still painful for me that I don't spend days in a sheep pen, though I would probably last 5 minutes in there in the dust in reality. But I know no one would want to throw it out, so it stays.

My new house has another Australian painting in it, an old one. It is called The Cricketers by Russell Drysdale. Apparently my children saw an inexpensive match to this painting at an op-shop with their Nana. She didn't believe that I would want it, and the girls knew I would love it, but it stayed there. Yes, the paintings have more chimneys in them. My Nana had a chimney where you could see who was coming down the path through the little squares on glass at the back of the stove.

My new-to-me house has those panes of glass, though it doesn't look out onto the verandah anymore.

One of the reasons I chose my new house is the paint colours on the walls. My favourite rooms there are the orange lounge and the red bedroom. There are also some purple accents. We have never painted the whole interior of a house before, so I appreciated the effort the previous owner had gone to. There is also some orange feature walls in my current house.

I took a test on the Taubmans website and I liked Dessert Spice at the time.

Your home furniture a reflection of your personality

A very challenging topic.

Today I was at ballet. I had such a great time, and it reminded me of the lessons I have learnt from the years I have been doing ballet. It is really a discipline. A discipline that could be applied to this topic. It really inspired me. I am tired, yes. But I will try and see if I can rise to the challenge.

Jamie's Just Pass It On

I have been reading some wonderful posts about this today. Jamie's Ministry Of Food is the only other TV show I have been watching apart from Australian Idol for the past few weeks, well two, we are on to the third show I think of Jamie's show. The show is on Channel 10 in Australia on Wednesdays at 7.30pm.

The girls got excited about the meatballs on the show. The recipe is on a great video that I learnt something from.

Just Original's Post
Josie-Mary's Post
and At Home with Mel~Mel's Post

I hadn't heard of the Ministry of Food book mentioned in one of the above posts. I have been looking at the recipes on the site. I even went as far to find Patak's Jalfrezi curry paste in Coles when I was at the regional centre recently. I didn't find any though.

I did put the Good Old Chilli Con Carne in my menu plan to try. The kids preferred the way we usually make it, I suppose they have had this recipe all their lives, and one son, like me will eat chickpeas, but sometimes we aren't that keen in particular dishes. If anyone knows the original Australian way of making Chilli Con Carne I would love to know how to make that, I think it is the best. Ours is similar but has baked beans and butter beans in it, but doesn't quite taste the same. Mum didn't make Chilli Con Carne, more savoury mince.

I was listening to a favourite simple living video series the other day, in this case theproducegarden's favourite cookbooks. He was talking about Jamie and said something that surprised me. I love Jamie myself.

I am going to do a post of my favourite videos by theproducegarden soon. I have borrowed the book he mentioned from my library. I love that particular TV show. I love the china Jamie used to serve up. The gardening ideas are nice to watch. The show of course is Jamie At Home.

I suppose the recipe that comes to mind that I like to pass on the the traditional Australian Chow Mein. The newer recipe for this has been changed. Thankfully I remember the original. I also have found another great one online called Essential Chow Mein from New Idea. It is great if I have boc choy in the fridge to use up. That way I can make something everyday and use up the boc choy at the same time. It would be great if you grow your own boc choy. My family are great vegetable growers and they grow it now.

Chow Mein

(Serves 4-5 people)

2 tbs oil
1 dessertspoon curry powder
3-4 sticks celery, sliced
250g or 1/2lb beans, sliced
1 pkt chicken noodle soup
1 onion, chopped
500g beef mince or hamburger
1/2 cabbage, sliced
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs, optional
1 tablespoon tomato sauce or ketchup
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt

Warm oil and fry meat until brown. Add onions when soft add curry powder, stir for a minute. Add soup mix and water. Place all vegetables into the mixture with cabbage on top and cook for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with rice and soy sauce or sauce. Can add pineapple pieces.

The Cabbage Patch by Anton Mauve
The Cabbage Patch

Menu Plan Monday ~ October 20

Monday ~ Pork & Crab Meatballs with Egg Noodles
Tuesday ~ Lamb Sausage Pilaf
Wednesday ~ Lentil Soup with Silverbeet, Lemon & Olives
Thursday ~ Pork Mince Stroganoff
Friday ~ Cabbage with Split Peas
Saturday ~ Pasta with Pumpkin, Tomato & Butter Beans
Sunday ~ One-pan Sausage, Tomato and Oregano Risotto

Lentil Soup with Silverbeet, Lemon & Olives

Serves 4

60ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
400g brown lentils
750g desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5cm cubes
1 bunch silver beet, tough stems removed and leaves cut into wide strips
80ml (1/3 cup) lemon juice
16 black olives, pitted and halved
lemon wedges, to serve

Place oil, garlic and chilli in a large saucepan on medium heat and cook for 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Add lentils and 6 cups water, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add potatoes and cook for another 10 minutes, until tender, adding more water if necessary. Stir in silverbeet, lemon juice and olives, and cook for 1 minute, until silverbeet has wilted. Season to taste. Serve with lemon wedges.

From Australian Table October 2003.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Meal Planning Story

Hard-Boiled Breakfast Egg and Toast with Vegemite by Tanya Zouev
Hard-Boiled Breakfast Egg and Toast with Vegemite

I first started posting my menu online on the Prairie Homemaker forum. The format that it had then suited me, and I made a lasting friend from it. We chatted about food, and found we had lots in common.

I soon found that putting my menu online was much better than on paper because I couldn't lose it.

More recently I have used Meals Matter. The benefit of Meals Matter is that you can set the start of the meal plan to your shopping day. Say if you shop on Wednesday you can set the top day to Wednesday. This way you can see if you have filled the page if you shop weekly that you have all your meals covered without counting.

Now I joy in a meme on Organized Junkie and you see my menu's posted here each Monday. I do a draft so it is like putting the information into Meals Matter, only it is set from Monday to Sunday, so I have to do it slightly in advance.

With the ingredients I buy at the supermarket or on the on-line fruit and vegetable shop that delivers to our door, I make up the menu. I do this by searching on the Taste website. They have nearly everything I need, with new recipes being added. The recipes come from magazines that you buy at the newsagents. I don't think we have had a recipe from there that we haven't liked or didn't work. We do modify some to suit us and they are quite adaptable, you see the other people that have tried the recipes have done that with great success.

I go to my blog post around 5pm each night and look at what I have posted in those two weeks, choose one and print it out. If I have already had it printed and my husband has written cooks notes on it, I will find it in the marbig.

If I have to search for recipes that I can't find on Taste I put them in a place online where I can come back and find them. It is my own forum so I know the information won't be deleted. I am going to post more of my recipe collections for certain ingredients that I have found to be hard to find recipes for. I have already done a post for pork sausages.

So basically I go to Taste or my forum until I have two weeks worth of meals that may include the specials at the fruit market or the meat that was left at the supermarket, as all the meats are necessarily there all the time, but most of them are. If something like silverbeet or rocket is expensive that week I avoid it until the price comes down.

If you have several recipes with the main ingredient, you can choose one with the vegetables that suit.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Looking forward, looking back

FOR TODAY Saturday...

Outside My Window... bright green leaves of ornamental pears, an overcast day, but not quite sultry

I am thinking... my husband was saying ideas for my blog so I can have the template I wanted, but not sure he has the time. It just would make it easier for everyone to read

I am thankful for... our government giving money to people just before Christmas, I was struggling with ideas until I heard that. Although I do have lots of food from Chrisco coming that does ease the burden on our pocket at that time of year

From the kitchen... a piece of bread with Fluff on it on a plate that my daughter didn't eat, I bought it at Coles when I was at the regional centre last time. I looked in the fridge and it is possible we have enough for tea in left-overs.

I am wearing... another pair of op-shop jeans and an older mauve t-shirt

I am creating... a list of hampers I would like to order for next year. Last year I didn't think I would need to order, but it always turns out a good idea. Two of the catalogues have arrived

I am going... I thought I would be going to where I usually shop last fortnight (two weeks), maybe this time

I am reading... Across The Years by Tracie Peterson. It has been great so far, it fits in with my reading on the net about Gallipoli or WWI, and issues to do with cancer that I recently went through with my dog, and prior to that my Dad. I found the book on ebay, and I am glad I did

I am hoping... I eventually fill out the forms I have to fill out, mark in calendar dates etc.

I am hearing... Pimp My Ride on TV

Around the house... the wood heater is on, our daughter was cold so she got industrious and lit it herself as practise, her friend and I helped a little but she mostly did it herself

One of my favorite things...
the new mullein plant my husband found at the new house, we had a mature plant last year that was finished and we pulled it out, it is the middle of spring at the moment so it is self-sown

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: will have to organise to pay the terms ballet and gym fees and maybe buy a new sports top for school, they have a new one and quickly the plain ones have become not so nice. One daughter starts Year 7 next year in late January and I did want to go to the information night just to buy the top.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... this is a photo my eleven year old daughter took at the National Dinosaur Museum.

Friday, October 17, 2008

" in our personal environment"

I am new to simplicity, I hadn't heard of it until fairly recently. Today I was reading an article by Linda Breen Pierce who is known by two of my online friends. I was pleased that some of the 12 values listed I can relate to very well. And upon reflecting on them more closely I can see I can relate to them all. I hope I haven't bent them too much out of shape. As the points are most of the article I have just posted the last three.

"Some of the simplicity values that are important to people who live simple are:

10. Connection to nature -- delighting in spending time in nature regularly.
11. Aesthetic beauty in personal environment.
12. Living in harmony with values and integrity."

I have been reflecting on them overnight. Today (last Friday) point eleven came up and I was thinking about it during the day. I have been outside the area where we live for a daytrip one day for three weeks in a row and another one before that. There may also be one next week.

Our "area" is the 1 1/2 hours it takes to get "somewhere" that resembles normal Victorian living. One of the times I went out I noticed a marked difference, it really was different to come home to and very scenic.

I noticed that this comes at a price, possibly to simplicity. I wonder if this subject is discussed in simple living?

What is the subject? I was married at 20 and until hubby went OS for a week here or there, we did everything together. Even when OS I still just went basically to school and back, but I suppose it does count that I drove to the airport a couple of times as our hometown didn't have a big enough airport. Remember now we live 2 or more hours from our hometown.

When we went out in the car, it was together mostly. Even if hubby had to go out it was for work, but not that often I don't think.

These days, my car is mine. I don't regret having a second car, I wouldn't go back to having one car. I like flexibility. Not for lifestyle purposes.

I go driving in it to buy food, lots of driving. And like these past weeks, I have had to go out, not optional, except for the one day hubby had a rare day off work and we did go together. I didn't want to go at first, but since we were buying a puppy I did. The people at the camp remarked how tired we looked when we got there. We were up very early and it was a long way.

The other two days related to the dentist and the school holidays and this time we went to zone school sports, and yes, my daughter got a ribbon! I have five children and this hasn't happened to our family before.

The next day my husband took our second son to a University based help for Year 12, he went out and I stayed home. So that is one day out of our weekend together.

So the aesthetic beauty is offset by the driving alone in this case. I use my Grandparents as a point of reference for simple living. But on reflection my Nana did actually drive by herself a bit. Admittedly not the distances I drive.

I suppose this is another topic altogether?

When you live in a smaller community, if there is stress like suicides and things like that, everyone knows about it, and you wonder how it could happen.

About ten minutes from home there is a beautiful view, it was quite blue at the back of the view. It would be hard to photograph, all the beautiful views are on dangerous roads, but I wish you could have seen it. I think I have one picture of it I hope to find for you.

Skywatch Friday ~ October 17

This is a photo my 11 year old daughter took in Canberra.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Simple Life in Music

I found this by following a trail from my new widget (now defunked) to Lehman's Country Life to Down On The Farm. There was a song there by Ricky Skaggs.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Word-Filled Wednesday ~ October 15

1Ti 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

My daughter took this photo on a trip to the city.

Thankful Thursday ~ October 16

This week's theme is Joy.

Thursday: The girls washed the red dirt off my car, that got there in a rain storm even in the car port. We had bought a new compulsory trigger nozzle for the hose so they could wash it. We sort of organised it a few days beforehand.

Friday: I was very happy to see that the wildflowers were coming out on my trip to the sports day. I have missed them the past few years in that place. Have even been wondering if they flower every year. They are so stunning. They are different to the ones where I grew up.

I got to try wasabi peas that I saw on a blog once. Coles has them! I love horseradish and hot English mustard. It was heaven on the first shocking taste.

I was able to get the pantry items I wanted that we can't buy here easily. I bought caper berries, which unfortunately don't seem to have many online recipes.

Saturday: Hubby was able to do some of his work from work in the car while he waited for our second son who went to the university to get some tips for his upcoming Year 12 exams. They have a special program and we have to travel 1 1/2 hours to go to ours. It was pleasant weather for him to be doing this.

Even though our eldest daughter who is 15 isn't a loud person, it was very quiet without her on Saturday. She attended a church family camp. Yes, the family wasn't there, but I am thankful she was able to go by herself and get rides. She had a wonderful time. She went by herself, her sister couldn't come as we needed her here in case coming home on Sunday interfered with her early morning start to her school excursion to the city.

Sunday: There were funny things happening like hearing what sounded like a dog trying to climb up the wall. After investigating I found a window open. He must have been trying to jump into the house! The dog has brought back yard fun back into our children's lives while they are still young enough to do those sorts of things.

I really enjoyed our meal as well, a great pumpkin dish mentioned in this week's Menu Plan Monday post.

Bundled, Blessed & Headin' West by G. Harvey
Bundled, Blessed & Headin' West

Monday: Today I got the letter I have been waiting on for a week, so now I won't have to wonder what is in it. Our solicitor was also able to talk about it, which is such a blessing.

We also were able to get a short notice appointment for our puppy who we thought somehow had now caught conjunctivitis. He just had been rubbing his eye so much it is sore. But thankfully he hasn't done any damage and we have tablets and cream until we work out when he is to have surgery.

I felt blessed to finally visit the vet's and see what it was like. My husband has a tiny bit of time free and we were able to go together, which is a special treat.

I finally got to read Santuary by Beverly Lewis. I had been putting it off. It was scarey. I haven't finished it yet, and I am sure it will be fine. But to me, some books have too much information. I loved the other ones I have read recently by that author though. If anyone who reads this only reads Beverly Lewis plus the Bible and self help books, you may like Philip Gulley, Janette Oke or Jan Karon. I haven't read them for awhile though. Though that weirdo that stays with Father Tim was something else wasn't she? Help!

I felt blessed by a stunning banksia rose up close and one I saw driving around.

There was a big thunderstorm, well short lived, and thankfully I didn't get wet and the lightening didn't last long and we still had power.

I got two books in the mail from ebay. The Honorable Imposter by Gilbert Morris and Across The Years by Tracie Peterson. I know nothing about the books, but I think they will be nice. It is not that easy to get these kinds of books on ebay. I did have the very ones I wanted on ebay a few weeks ago, but they were very popular and I didn't get any. Which was probably a good thing for my finances!

Tuesday: I was thankful for the pleasant weather and not feeling too hot or cold.

Our vet was very helpful and caring towards our puppy, very efficient.

I was happy to hear news that my daughter is having a good time on her school trip.

Very thankful also to hear she may be able to get a lift, as we withheld some money that we could use somewhere else, plus I don't think I would be able to drive feeling as tired as I do. The people who offered a lift will be staying overnight. Overwise the kids will be too tired to participate in the sports as well as the other children.

Wednesday: I was thankful when I realised how cold it was in the house to walk in the lounge and find that hubby had lit the fire this morning. Also that he made some time to take the dog to the vet for his surgery just at 9am.

I saw another Tracie Peterson book for $2, and I bought it.

The ride is all organised. Looking forward to eating the stroganoff tonight. A surprise in the mail. The music CD I thought wasn't coming. Adam Brand's Good Friends album. One of the songs is slightly out of my comfort zones but some are great!

The stroganoff was very nice! We used broad beans and peas.