Friday, March 26, 2010

Chocolate Carrot Muffins

These muffins were simply made with those things I had in the frig needing to be used up. I read a couple of recipes to inspire me but largely I just used what I had available. Albeit, they turned out deliciously. So much so that I simply have to try to write down some sort of recipe so we can try them again. I have no idea, however, of the quantity of much that I used, so if you are feeling a bit free-spirited this is a great recipe for you.

Chocolate Carrot Muffins

Wet Ingredients
Fill a 2 cup measure to just full with the following:
1 beaten egg
¼ cup honey
natural organic yoghurt
sour cream
oil (I used rice bran oil)

Sift Dry Ingredients
2 cups wholemeal spelt flour (or flour of your choice)
1 tsp bicarb soda
½ tsp cream of tartar
2tsp - 2 tabs cocoa (depending on the quality of the cocoa you use)

Add 1-2 grated carrots to the dry mix along with some currants and a few choc chips.

Mix all together till just combined, spoon into muffin tin.

Bake in a moderate oven 180°C for 15-20mins or until done to your liking.

The addition of the moist carrot always works wonders for a cake/muffin in my opinion. It is also a great way for my two little treasures to eat an orange vegetable, something they always refuse and seem to detect everywhere...except in these muffins. Both of them knew they were there, so obviously the chocolate worked its magic and totally obliterated all thoughts of carrots.

You know the secret? I am absolutely convinced that you simply need to add sour cream to a cake to make it absolutely stand out and shine. It gives so much moisture and a rich dense flavour yet still leaving the cake light and delicate. I don't always have it to hand, but when I do, I'll be sure to be adding it to my choc carrot muffins.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Leaves are Turning

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of (March), and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Little Eee and I spent a moment wandering and enjoying the beauty of Autumn. I love Autumn. Tis a season which provides relief from the dry hot summer months and reminds us so visually of the pattern of continuity and change in life.

As the fresh green leaves of spring become old and change, their beauty is enhanced and the joy they provide increases.

Little feet cannot resist stomping and crunching their way through brightly coloured fallen leaves.

At the beginning of this year, which was touted to be a year of change, I sat back and pondered my/our life wondering what changes would be in store for us. My brother and sister-in-law are about to head overseas to reside in Northern Ireland. My sister and brother-in-law moved back to the town we all grew up in and I am delighted they provide some company for Mum.

Now I know there is quite some change happening for us also. I think now I am ready to share some of that after some weeks of thinking, praying and simply being exhausted. :) This week is my daughter's last week of school as we made a decision to provide her with home education. There are so many reasons we are choosing to do this, yet in summary, we want to provide her with a family-based education rather than an institutional one. She is very bright and we want to offer her as many life experiences as possible. She also finds school exhausting as there are so many people there and she needs lots of personal space. So we are making changes to ensure her learning continues appropriately.

Next year it is likely that we'll no longer reside here...well not in this home, as my Generous Gentleman's work is probably going to change and require us to move. This is a little stressful for him so please offer your prayers as you are guided. We will all appreciate them.

In the meantime we will be adding another delightful little soul to our family. Yes I am expecting which is probably the reason activity here has been quite sparse in recent months. All my creative energy has turned inward to nurture and create another person. It is exciting!

I'll try to pop in again sometime soon yet we have lots to do including some travel so please forgive me if my words are few.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Farm Game

And that's the wonderful thing about family travel: it provides you with experiences that will remain locked forever in the scar tissue of your mind. ~Dave Barry

Our hills drive today was made even more enjoyable and delightful as we shared in The Farm Game. It was a new game I was describing to my dear Generous Gentleman. Ess listened with interest and was soon creating her own farm.

The idea is to acquire items for your farm which you see out your window as you travel along. It needs to be out your window only to create greater interest in each individual farm.

I commented that I was sure to forget what I saw on my farm over a long distance travelling. So we came up with the idea of drawing our farms. Ess got out her paper, pencils and textas very quickly and was drawing her farm, quite symbolically.

For instance, rather than drawing more and more horses as she saw them, she kept a tally as she added more until she decided that 21 horses were quite enough for her farm.

Ess was very fortunate to see three deer (above) out her window also. Quite a rare find for us in Australia.

Other things we put on our farms included a bull and cow, trees, chocolate (yes we had an enjoyable coffee break in Hahndorf at our favourite Chocolate No.5), lake, bridge, eucalypts, rolling hills, alpaca, donkeys, apple trees in fruit, kangaroo and a tyre swing.

We are due to travel a 4000km round trip across our country so we have no doubt this game will prove useful. I can't wait to see the farms we create as we travel this great distance. What a wonderful way for the family to interact as we journey to see new places and new sites as we visit family in eastern states.

Many thanks to a friend of mine who shared this game with us. They have extended it by returning all the items they gathered as they return, yet as we will be taking a round trip we'll simply be able to keep accumulating and growing our farms.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Playing Battleship

It is one of man's curious idiosyncrasies to create difficulties for the pleasure of resolving them. ~Joseph de Maistre

Do you remember playing Battleships as a child? I remember drawing up my battleground on grid paper, strategically positioning my battleships, then once prepared, hiding it all from my opponent and trying to find new strategies to win the game. It was a great childhood strategy game encouraging us to think in order to win rather than just be subject to chance or luck after rolling a dice.

So when I spied this modern version of a fun childhood game at our local thrift store (for only $3), I knew it would please my Ess who'd likely play along with her Dad. Sure enough, they were both seen over the weekend with their heads behind their radars striking each other's ships as they battled to win in naval combat.

The only problem is that there are two ships missing - an aircraft carrier and a little patrol boat I think. We used lego pieces (see left container in top pic) to substitute but one needs to be rather delicate to have them balancing in the right position. We'll have to see if we can find the missing pieces to complete the game.

What are your memories of Battleships?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Farewelling Friends

A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be. ~Douglas Pagels

We have spent some time these last days farewelling some good friends.

It is a little hard to say Goodbye when a friend is moving to another country and you are not quite sure that you will ever see them again. England is a very very long way away. It is even harder to explain to your little ones just what is going on, and what it all means.

The daughter of the family has been Ess' best friend since they met at age 2. They were born only a week apart, exactly. Now they are 6 years we mums hope their friendship continues.

So we sent them off with this little letter tote I made from fabric in my stash. It contains some postcards we made, some notelets and a few pictures Ess has drawn for her best friend.

This one just breaks my heart.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air - explode softly - and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth - boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn't go cheap, either - not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination. ~Robert Fulghum

"Amococo is an inflatable luminarium by UK company Architects of Air of labyrinthine tunnels and soaring domes. A walk-through sculpture inspired by natural geometry, this architectural marvel is a chill-out zone of the most unusual kind. We invite you to relinquish your shoes and your grasp on reality and immerse yourself in the breathtaking world of Amococo. This is sure to be a 2010 Adelaide Fringe highlight! " Adelaide Fringe Website

amazing hand-made construction...

intriguing effects of light...

so much fun for the littleuns...

exploring through tunnels and playing hide and seek...

the rain outside caused interesting sounds and you could feel the droplets on the walls...

we are glad we all experienced this.

Yet another construction which is the result of, as well as, incites imagination, happiness, laughter, delight and restful contemplation.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Garden of Unearthly Delights

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. ~Stanley Horowitz

On this day, the first of Autumn, the sun is shining, yet the air is cool. The warmth of summer seems past, yet this could rapidly change. There are winds blowing so strongly we dodge sticks and twigs as we walk our familiar path. Eee bends down to pick up a few in her way and tosses them aside into the "garden" as she calls the roadside plantings. We all wear jackets to warm our bidies as we wander outside in the cool of the morning. Welcome Autumn, we see you are here. Now we will take our time to watch the leaves as they turn, such a delight.

Autumn is the season of festivals in Adelaide. Last year we enjoyed the Fringe Family Day, this year, the Garden of Unearthly Delights.

We enjoyed our first Ferris Wheel ride as a family together.

Ess delighted in this Chair-o-plane ride despite that fact that Daddy thought it would be too fast for her. I was quietly confident.

And some live puppetry at The Puppet Palace - Pigs in Wigs is the story of The Three Little Pigs from the perspective of the wolf. You know all he wanted to do was bake a cake for his little old granny and needed to borrow a cup of sugar from his neighbourly pigs...or perhaps they weren't quite so neighbourly.

The only things we missed out on seeing was Amococo. We didn't know it was there and when we finally wandered over to explore the last tickets of the day had already been sold. It's "an inflatable luminarium by UK company Architects of Air of labyrinthine tunnels and soaring domes. A walk-through sculpture inspired by natural geometry" and it looks fascinating...we will definitely be back to visit.

Our New Treasure

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