Friday, December 31, 2010

Plastic Christmas Candy

What a marvellous surprise from my beloved!
Am trying to curb daily book buying!

Little girls

they are made of sugar and spice and all things nice...

what a mighty fortress they made...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

I pray that you have all had the most wonderful joyous time with your families over this season... may His mercies be new every morning.

My sister and I were chatting about our favourite Christmas things, these are my favourites...

Favourite Christmas tradition
Hands down winner... putting up the Christmas tree with Rebecca on the first of December. She counts down the sleeps to it and we have hot chocolate and biscuits, and crank up the carols while putting up the decorations

Favourite song
Hark the Herald - always makes me want to cry

Favourite memory
I was about nine years old and my father took me shopping (he was often away so this was a treat) and he bought me a mint green dress and a little canvas bag with a flower motif. I loved that bag!

Favourite biscuit
Naturally the Gingerbread men

Favourite cd
Josh Groban's Noel

Favourite crockery
I love Christmas plates, t-shirts etc... its so cheerful! But my favourite thing is a mug that my niece Anastasia gave me last year. Everyone knows I have a mug fetish.

Favourite food
Turkey stuffing and Christmas pudding... okay this will be a long list... its all my favourite

Favourite movie
Elf... my sister and I watch it every year - so funny - you must see it!

Favourite family game
We love playing games while on holiday... I love 30 seconds

Favourite moments of Christmas 2010
Okay, there are two
Reading through His birth from the book of Luke to Rebecca every evening, from different bible translations...
Having Wayne's family at our home on Christmas eve... wonderful group of merry makers.

I love all the traditional things we do, they build such strong memories.

"Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people"
Luke 1.68

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Milky happiness

Thanks to Clover for their Christmas cheer first thing in the morning!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A summer bite

This has become my favourite thing to reach for in this heat.
Place about a cup of natural yoghurt in a bowl and swirl in about two tablespoons of good quality molasses (getting a little extra iron and magnesium into your diet). Real good!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekends are for

A time of Christmas Carols (with lots of glow sticks for the kids) at the beautiful Kirstenbosch gardens... and a modern Christmas play at church... and a relaxed impromptu lunch after a morning of chores, including a fabulous Italian Gorgonzola.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


An aromatic kitchen, a cold glass of milk and a Christmas cookie. A pretty good afternoon.

These are two favourites at this time of year...

Vanilla biscuits

180g butter, room temperature, chopped
1 cup caster sugar
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 egg

Beat the butter and sugar together. Add the vanilla, then sieve and add the flour and egg.
Combine until blended. Cover bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Roll out dough to about 5mm. Use cookie cutter and cut out desired shapes. Bake for 10-13 minutes till golden.

Ginger Biscuits

300g flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 teaspoons ground ginger (to taste - more is better)
1 teaspoon ground spice
100g butter, room temperature - chopped up
80 - 100g muscovado / brown sugar
2 eggs
3-4 tablespoons molasses / honey

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
Blend sugar and butter. Add sieved flour, salt, baking powder and spices. Whisk eggs and molasses together and add to the sugar bowl. Blend until combined and then put in the fridge for 15 minutes. Roll out dough to about 5mm and cut out shapes. Bake in greased baking sheet for about 18 - 20 minutes.

Introducing Mr and Mrs Gingerbread...

Christmas icing

You can use this for both biscuits.
Mix +-250g icing sugar and about 3-4 tablespoons boiling water, whisking well. Ice the biscuits using the back of a spoon.

Happy Baking!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Press forward

'We are made wise not by the
recollection of our past, but
by the responsibility for
our future'
George Bernard Shaw

Personally I am prone to waves of guilt that sometimes seem to engulf me like a huge sea breaker knocking into a toddler, when I start to think on some mistakes from the past. If that applies to you too... don't dwell there, it helps no one. This is the perfect time of year to press into new things and remind yourself that by God's grace you are not who you use to be.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Time to bake

Surely, the biscuit jar should be full this time of year.

Rebecca uses the cookie cutters for playtime.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Glory flashed

We are reading through the Christmas scriptures every evening. I'm trying to set a scene for Rebecca, we are talking about the history and the people. How the redemption plan starts way back... how Zacharias and Elizabeth were barren (and his name means 'the Lord remembers') and were from the line of Aaron, Moses's brother. The Lord did indeed remember and John was born, who was to prepare the way for the King.

We are loving it... the Word is so alive, we have just finished off where the shepherds leave the stable making a lot of noise with their singing and sharing what they had seen.

"And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them"
Luke 2

May He continue to shine into our dark places and bring abundant light and guide our feet in the way of peace. May you see Him and may He be marvellous!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

School's out

After a diligent year... time to take off the uniform for the summer break

and jump for joy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

He came

It's amazing to think that God sent the plan and the person for redemption in His Son - His Beloved! I love that God in His wisdom let His Son live through family highs and lows, through heartache and joy, times of feasting and times of fasting, with amazing friendships and shattering betrayal. He can so relate to whatever you are feeling. And He came as a innocent little babe. Wow! And He brought abundant life. Wow!

I wonder what Mary thought while she was pregnant. What precious cargo.

What a reason to celebrate!!

It begins with...

"Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of GREAT JOY which will be to all people"
Luke 2.10

and as a man He says...

"These things I have spoken to you, that MY JOY MAY REMAIN in you and that YOUR JOY MAY BE FULL"
John 15.11

I echo the words that Paul wrote, "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice"

Monday, December 6, 2010

Carrot Cake

We had Brunch at my parents home yesterday and it was brilliant - Brunch is my favourite meal, uh... actually every mealtime is my favourite. She made her now famous Carrot Cake for dessert. Lovely! Maybe I'll ask her for the recipe to blog.


Rebecca loves the building anticipation and the countdown towards Christmas. These advent calenders are perfect for keeping time and the all important little treat.

We brought in the Christmas boxes and unravelled all the cords and baubles, with hot chocolate and Christmas music.

Today is actually only 19 days till Christmas! I know we are meant to do it all year... but use this time to be outrageously encouraging and generous. Enjoy the ride!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Weekends are for reflecting

"You learn to speak by speaking
to study by studying
to run by running
to work by working
and just so
you learn to love by loving
All those who think in any other way
deceive themselves."

St Francis de Sales

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First light

My favourite time of day... all is still, my family sleeps, my tea is hot, the day is full of promise.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Weekend time

Our annual cherry day began with rain... but quickly cleared to a beautiful crisp day.

Follow the sign and pick away.

While the others lingered by the trees we returned to the tea.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Charlotte's web

Every now and then we find a fantastic web hiding all of her spider 'treasures', lurking in the remotest spots in the garden. Look at the size of that thing - a fantastic work of art.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The 8 year old's chocolate cake

We've been glued to Masterchef Australia over the last couple of weeks and Rebecca has been so inspired in the kitchen lately... this morning she made me a fruit salad and freshly squeezed orange juice. This afternoon she wanted to make a chocolate cake. Due to the heat I wanted a quick mix and bake recipe... enter 'Can't go wrong Chocolate Cake'

It was fast but it didn't compromise the taste. The cake was baked in a square tin and it was moist, dark and delicious, with a dark chocolate glaze. Hmmm.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The organiser

She just fell in love with this bedding. We were out looking for bedding and even though I prefer a more "cottage" style in kids room, I let her pick it. The first night that it was on, I think it was on Saturday, she had a hard time climbing into bed and creasing the look. The benefit is that she doesn't need to be told to make her bed... awesome! She is, in fact, keeping the whole room in better shape, even labelling her wardrobe. Hope it lasts!

Friday, November 19, 2010

For the love of it

However you serve your family this weekend, keep the motive in mind!

"Love is a better master than duty"
~ Albert Einstein

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mud + pie

This gal just loves mud... when it rains she relishes the pools of water as her stomping ground... in the heat she pours her own rain on the soil with her watering can and bakes her mud pies in the sun. Then she gets herself in the tub while I attempt to soak the stains out of her clothes...

While she makes pies outdoors, I make a pie indoors. A rustic and generous meaty pie for tonight's supper.

I usually have a pile of vegetables and the odd bit of meat, but today I just felt like this hearty slice all on its own!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chocolate Swiss Roll

Feeling inspired to bake, I made this Chocolate Swiss Roll filled with banana and caramel, for friends last night. Swiss Roll is hands down the fastest thing to knock together and feel like a Baker.

Not quite Mrs Beaver's marmalade cake (previous post) but I think better for dessert.

There is a single piece left in the fridge, I wonder who will remember first?
Happy Sunday!

Cherry Cake and other things kids love to eat

This is a brilliant book, 'Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer' by Jane Brocket. Each chapter has an excerpt from a children's book (like 'What Katy did", "Famous Five", "Chronicles of Narnia") and then a few recipes from that book. It has so many of the classics - takes you back to your childhood, real reading pleasure!!

It reminds me of warm summer days building forts and then enjoying "stolen" bits from our kitchen, in our shabby castle.

Friday, November 12, 2010

as we have received

... as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him (daily keeping in step with Him), rooted and built up (can't grow strong, i.e built up without the rooting) and established (then comes the testimony of time.. established...sturdy) in the faith as you have been taught, abounding in thanksgiving (this makes all the difference... an attitude of thanks for all great and little things... an attitude of joy - people want to be around someone like that)...

Colossians 2

May your weekend be one of walking, rooting and establishing with a good side portion of infectious thanks to Him and all those who surround you!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A little time in the shade

This has been a highlight of my week. Out under the trees, birds singing, good book and a flask of hot tea! The two cyclists are out and about while my sister and I decided to join them in a wooded area near our home... but not to cycle.

Got home as the sun was setting!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

To braai or not to braai

Some of our friends braai every weekend but we don't really braai all that often, even though it is so delicious! But today's stunning weather drew us outdoors... so here is our first braai of the summer...

and Rebecca did the table, complete with place settings...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A simple supper

Salmon all prepared and ready for the oven. Beautiful! All this needed was a lovely green salad.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


"October! He had no idea at all where the time had gone. Yesterday was July, today was October. As a matter of fact, where had his life gone?"
"He tried to recall what, exactly, had happened between his youth and old age, but without a cup of coffee at the very least, he was drawing a blank."
Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon

I have been itching to start my new Jan Karon novel, it begins in the month of October and marches towards Christmas. How fitting! It is delightful to be back in Mitford!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Barbie time

She got two new Barbie outfits a few days ago so its been Barbie Party all over the show. I have to tread lightly when entering her bedroom so I don't step on Ken or the several Barb's lying about. There seems to be a queue building up for the dressing room.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Roasted Zucchini

This is my favourite way of cooking these babies. A little olive oil, a little lemon juice, lots of italian herbs and stick it in the oven. It should still be firm with a bite to it once cooked. To serve, add a little more lemon juice, a splash of olive or flaxseed oil and season. A wonderful accompaniment to just about any meal. Happy Days!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I've been meaning to make this for years and it actually couldn't be easier, and you can flavour it any way you like... cinnamon, vanilla, mashed berries. Rebecca likes hers with honey and no fruit. I even made a batch of Milo yoghurt for her. She loved it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Let not

"Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give to you.... Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14.27

I was reminded of these powerful words by Joseph Prince this morning. Peace has been given unto us but worry, doubt, fears suffocate the faith like a clamp on a hose pipe blocks the water. We have an instruction here to protect our hearts... let not... let not... let not. Take those thoughts captive and speak the truth. We don't have to meditate on all the junk that enters our minds. Surely and steadily we will overcome. Its not always easy but His grace is enough so whether it is an ambling along or a sprint, keep pressing in. Don't ever quit!

Speak the life... the truth... "I am the head and not the tail", "My family is hemmed in behind and before", " I shall not be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord", "He shall supply all my needs according to His riches", "I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind".

He will do the rest... seek first the Kingdom. May God's joy and truth rain down on you today!! Blessings!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


We like soup around here. We probably have it two to three times a week. On the side we will usually have a rye cracker with cheese but its simply the best with homemade bread.

Cheese and Onion Bread. Nothing like the wonderful smell of freshly baked bread.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My favourite rose

is in bloom, its hard to tell from this quick picture, but this is a beautiful bridal-type rose!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bring the sunshine

My birthday is in the middle of winter and I got a few fabulous summer items that I am excited about... we had a very hot spell a few weeks ago and now its kinda winter-y again. In a few weeks though... I'm sure we will all be wearing short sleeves. Yeah!! Plus, I will be wearing my stunning new (squirrelled away but still new - the sandals still have their tag on) items.

My 'metallic' bag

My fabulous sandals

The sunshine makes you want to dress up and smile more, don't you think. I know I'm friendlier in summer... ha, ha.

PS I needed to change my blog design back to this, my husband disliked the watermark effect. I prefer this too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Afternoon Tea

Delicious Cinnamon Bread

Sift and mix the following:
2 cups wholemeal flour (or nutty wheat)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
good pinch of salt
Blend the following:
1 and 1/3 cup of buttermilk /natural yoghurt
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180 deg Cel.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together on a medium speed until well blended.
Bake for about 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan for about 12-15 minutes. Remove and cool completely. It was wonderful with butter and honey.

We ate half and I have wrapped balance of the loaf to freeze. This bread is not sweet so I might even add a handful of raisins to next batch - we love raisins around here. Hope it still tastes as good after thawing.