Cait’s watercolour leaf 2011

Cait has had a great week at art classes learning all sorts of new techniques. The theme was bugs!

I guess the grub would look better without my shadow in the background.

Regular art classes here we come.

Posted in Family


We have had a recent outbreak of viking activity around here – no doubt inspired by our recent (repeat) watching of How To Train Your Dragon.  It hasn’t been too violent with the main focus of any raids being the pantry.

Having turned down requests for a sharpening stone (not sure where I would find one anyway) and permission to use a knife to sharpen a stick, I was feeling a bit mean.

So to enter into the spirit I made a couple of viking beards.

Now we have a request for a helmets – and as I haven’t been able to find any in the two dollar shops we may need to resort to paper mache.

Unless I can convince them that a viking tunic would look really cool…..

Posted in Family

birdcage beginnings


Originally uploaded by northcoastjo

Well it’s a start … even if it’s only a small one.
There seem to be a lot of more pressing things to do during the holidays. We are already half way through which is pretty sad!
Still, in the last few days we have had nerf wars, visited relatives, watched movies, waterslid (it should be a word), cooked and played an epic game of Risk.
Tomorrow Caitie goes of to art classes so at least one person in the family gets to be creative.  Here’s one she made earlier…

Inspired by a photo we saw on flickr a while back.

It was a good timing for new piece of artwork – don’t the walls seem bare after the Christmas decorations have come down!

Maybe we’ll get a few more pieces over the coming days!!!

Posted in Family

Caramel Pie

caramel pie

Originally uploaded by northcoastjo

Another challenge down – the famous caramel pie.

I think I was at a slight disadvantage here as I don’t really like caramel and have never actually eaten my mother-in-laws famous pie so I had to get the kids to keep tasting the mixture.

I merged two recipes I found on the net and I think it turned out pretty well. That or my family were being really nice. And I’ve never known them to be polite about my cooking before. So I guess it was okay.

The recipe called for 6 egg yolks which worked out really well as I have been wanting to make friands which needed six egg whites. Perfect.

Raspberry and white chocolate.  The next batch will be coffee.

Posted in 40 yr old challenge, Recipes | Tagged

Eccles cakes

Super easy and very addictive Eccles cakes.  Perfect for a Sunday afternoon treat, and then again after dinner on Monday and what the heck … Tuesday morning tea as well.

Caitie is perfecting her Eccles making skills and no one here wants to stand in her way. Is three batches in three days a bit excessive? Maybe … but it is school holidays.

Want to try some?  I’m not sure if we make them the traditional English way but here is our version.

Melt about 30 grams of butter in a small saucepan and add three or four tablespoons of brown sugar. When it is dissolved take it off the heat and add a couple of handfuls of sultanas. This is the filling.  You could also add peel, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.

Thaw a sheet of puff pastry and cut into either four or nine squares.  Wet around the edge of each square with a bit of water – using a finger is the easiest way.  Place a spoonful of filling on each square. Fold in the opposite corners and pinch together.  Then fold in the corners again to make little parcels.

Squish them flat with a rolling pin and place on a greased tray.  Cut two or three slits into the top of each cake with a sharp knife and then cook them for around ten minutes at 220.

Pull them out as they are starting to turn to a delicious golden shade.  For the final step you will need to brush each cake with egg white and then quickly sprinkle with caster sugar.  Be generous.  We obviously aren’t talking health food here anyway so don’t skimp now.

Then they just need to pop back into the oven for another five minutes.  If you have made nine eccles from one sheet of pastry cook a little less at both stages.

Now they are ready to eat as soon as you can bite into one without burning your mouth. Or maybe even a bit before!

Delicious when hot. Still very good when cool.

I’m not sure how long they last. It has never been a question we have had to answer.


Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

retro rules

Ever since we came across the ipod ‘cassette’ cover we have been looking out for other fun ideas.  And then we saw this at ipodcasesblog and couldn’t resist.

The kids kind of remember the etch-a-sketch.  I think there was one in the doctors waiting room for a while.  But it’s really a flash back to an earlier generation.  I had to explain why it was funny/ironic.  They tried to understand a world without instant online access but it wasn’t easy.

The problem was that we don’t know anyone who actually has a ipad.  I know someone who really wants one (HINT HINT) but that isn’t quite the same.  But then I remembered that my sister-in-law was given a ‘promise photo’ of an ipad for her last birthday so that seemed good enough.  It would have been easier to have the actual ipad to measure but I took the dimensions from the apple site so here’s hoping.

A few sheets of red felt, a bit of stitching and voila!

Fully lined to keep the precious ipad safe and snug … when it actually arrives that is.  For now it is holding a pencil and paper – remember those.

Posted in Christmas, Handmade | Tagged , , , , , , ,

and so we begin again

And so the year grows old, weary with what has been.
It limps along slowly towards that final day, that final hour
when numbers fill the air, glasses clink and voices raise in song.
And so we begin again.
Not all who started are here for our days are numbered not by us.
What do we take with us from old to new?
We know that we are small and that plans may go astray
and yet we dream of bigger things and plan afar.
We think of moments shared, of coffee drunk and secrets told.
A caring touch, the quiet smile that speaks of welcome,
of good news shared and candles lit and blown.
Glasses filled and emptied and tongs that turn meat with care.
Meals sent with love and prayers and plates gratefully returned.
Of time wasted in laughter and nothingness and yet so wisely spent.
The look of one who knows and loves despite,
of tensions cleared and peace restored.
We think of going and then coming home
Of places we know, roads we travel and faces so familiar.
We think of living a small life that is made big by those we share it with.
We rejoice in the love of friends.
We are held in the hand of the one who loves always
and we hold each others hands too.
We have hope and we have love.
We have each other.
And so we begin again,
with eternity in our hearts we begin again.
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