Sunday, August 21, 2011

thoughts on being 40...

I cant believe that in just a few weeks I will be turning 41...where did that last year go?  I cant complain though, I know many people wish they were a different age, but, Ive been really happy with being 40, its been a pretty good year for me.  If I look back on my life, I'm happy with being just where I am.  If I had to choose another stage of my life to revisit...maybe about 20 years or so ago, to when I was young and life was simple and carefree might be, this time 20 years ago i was about to turn 21, single, and studying my teaching degree at uni....seems like a lifetime ago!   But I love my beautiful family, and have surrounded myself with wonderful friends, and I am more than content with right here and now, even with the increasing amount of grey hair ( it has been around for about the last 10 years, I'm sort of used to that - but yes i still colour it and cover it up), the skin that is definitely starting to show signs of aging lol and all those other little signs that seem to happen as we age.  In general I'm OK with all that.

The past year has been one that has seen me grow as a person. Ive learned to be content with who I am, Ive tried to look after myself a little better, both emotionally and physically; Ive made a point of trying to connect with my family and friends, and to really appreciate what an important part each of them is in my life and my heart.  A lot of this was due to taking part in a programme called 'one month to live' It refocused me on what the really important things are, it made me look into myself and ask some hard questions, it made me truly value the friends that i have had forever, and cemented the place of a few new friends firmly in my life, It reminded me to dream, it reminded me to tell all those that are important to me how much they mean to me, and how much i love them, often; it focused me on believing in myself and made me realise that I'm very blessed to have pretty much always known my path in life, to have been able to follow that path and to have had the unconditional love of family and friends all the way.  It made me examine and attempt to put the way i feel into words, sometimes a real struggle for me.  Ive never liked talking on front of a group, and this involved a lot of that - cant say it got any easier, but with some gentle encouragement I did it.

As I enjoy these last few weeks of being 40,  Im also looking forward to embracing the next year of my life and everything it may entail.  Life goes on, and Im ready to enjoy the ride!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Crafty Day

Wednesday I spent the day with my friend Nell.  We planned on getting together once a fortnight this year to do something crafty - worked for a while, but then life started getting in the way!  We try to do it as often as we can though.  Today, after a trip to my local op shop, and a yummy lunch of homemade soup and pasties, Nell finished a crochet beanie, and knitted a scarf.  I flicked through some craft books and then got stuck into making an A4 notebook cover to gift to a little friend who is turning 8 in a few weeks.  I had seen one with a denim pocket on the front and knew I wanted to give it a go. 

A pair of denim shorts from the op shop - with a cute printed pocket, and a piece lining fabric in her favourite colour (purple) and I was set.  As usual, no pattern, so it took a bit of fiddling to remember how it all needed to go together.I added a little hand stitching to the pocket before I attached it.   Im really happy with how it turned out, and it looks super cute with a set of mini gel pens tucked in the pocket.

With a pile of scraps and a little time before school pick ups I decided to whip up a zippered bag to match.  I put in my first ever zip, and although its not done perfectly, it is functional and with the addition of a purple fabric ruffle, the little bag looks very cute.  Not sure if this will go with the journal, or get popped in my bag to hold my lip glosses...i suspect it will be gifted and i will make another minus the purple (which is so not my favourite colour!) for me.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One of the joys of winter

One of my favourite things when its cold outside, and the fire is going for weeks on end, is big pots of homemade soup. Ive been making chicken soup for years, and the occasional batch of pumpkin (with varying degrees of success).  This winter I decided to try making Pea & Ham Soup.  It was a big hit. Like most things I cook, I'm not good at following a set recipe, and tend to trawl around a few variations of what I'm making and come up with a version of my own. I have been asked by a couple of people for this one, so though I may as well share it here.  This recipe fills (to the brim while the ham hocks are whole) my large oval slow cooker.

Pea & Ham Soup

3 Smoked Ham Hocks (If they are really big you may only fit two in your slow cooker)
1 1/2 packs green split peas
3 carrots - finely diced
3 sticks celery - finely diced
2 onions - finely diced
2 bay leaves
1/4 t mixed spice
pepper to taste
2 1/2 litres water

Rinse split peas and place in slow cooker.  Place ham hocks on top of split peas, and add the carrot, celery and onion. Pour over water and add spice, bay leaves and pepper.  Cover and cook on high with out stirring for at least 6 hours or until meat is falling from the ham hocks.  Remove ham hocks, cool and remove meat.  Discard fat, skin and bones, and add chopped meat back to soup.  Continue to cook until soup peas have broken down and the soup has thickened.

Friday, August 05, 2011


Star light, Star bright, first star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.

I still wish on the first star I see at night, and make a wish as I blow my birthday candles out each year.  Today as I carefully pulled the meat from some chicken bones that I was using to make soup, I came across the wish bone. 

As children, my Dad would always carefully remove the wish bone for us every time we had a chicken. It would sit it on the bench to dry, and then using little fingers, two people would snap it in half.  The person who got the bigger half, got to make a wish.   Ive set aside the two wish bones, and tonight I will share this little story with my little ones, and two lucky people will get to make a wish of their own.  Anyone that misses out can always go wish on a star ;)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Lemon & Orange Cordial

Sunday night I came home from a dinner with friends with a huge basket of lemons.  Yesterday I made our first batch of homemade cordial for 2011.  I also had a few home grown oranges Craig had been given by a customer, so I decided on an orange/lemon cordial. It is a wonderfully refreshing drink when made up with water and ice, or my favourite way to drink it is mixed with soda water for a 'real' lemonade taste.  Today I will juice the rest of the lemons and freeze the juice to make up some more once this batch is gone.

I combined a couple of different recipes for this batch.  If you want to make your own here is the recipe I used.

Lemon & Orange Cordial

7 medium lemons
3 oranges
1.5kg sugar
1 1/2 litres water
2 Tablespoons Citric acid
2 Tablespoons Tartaric acid

Combine water and sugar, in a non aluminium saucepan, and heat until all the sugar is dissolved.
Add the finely grated zest of three lemons to the sugar syrup and allow to cool.
Juice the lemons and oranges and dissolve the Citric acid and Tartaric acid in the juice.
Add strained juice to cooled sugar syrup mixture and mix well.
Transfer to clean, dry (and sterilised, if you want) bottles.

Refrigerate.  Keeps for 4 - 6 weeks...if it lasts that long!

Drink diluted to taste with water and ice, soda water or lemonade. 

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

everyday life | May, June, July 2011

For anyone who is still bothering to check in here.....
Finally after quite a bit of time away from my blog,  I am back!   I have been a bit slack with taking lots of photos lately, so I have caught up the last three months with monthly rather than weekly photo boards.  From this point onward, I will be back to my weekly updates, and might even have some crafty goodness to share!  YAY, and thanks for popping by!