30 December, 2011

Flower Seed Compost Shapes

Prior to Christmas, I had a lovely afternoon with my boys creating some flower seed compost shapes (or so we've called them).

 We used about 4 cups of compost and a large handful of air dry clay.

We tore the clay into tiny pieces and rubbed them into the compost (like rubbing butter into flour). Then added perhaps a cup of water, slowly, until the mixture combined. Finally I gently folded in all of the flower seeds by hand.

We took handfuls of the mixture and pressed it into the shape molds, until it was completely full and compressed. Similar to the process for making mud bricks. The resultant  firmness helped us to remove the molds and still keep the shape.

 We then left them to dry outside for a couple of days.

Then for every lucky recipient, we packaged a couple up in a box and presented it with absolute Love and Pride.
Ready to be planted at any time of the year here (Aside from not being natives, we chose our seed varieties carefully).

28 December, 2011

Sewing Kits for my Boys

I completed the sewing kits in time for Christmas. And they were very well received. 
I wanted to use tins, rather than baskets, to hold all of the notions. To avoid the smaller bits from getting lost. I just happened to find these retro fridge tins, the perfect size AND the perfect colours.

I am so pleased that one of the consistent things my boys have asked me for over the months, has been Their Own sewing kits. 

 Mr Turtle has a narwhal for his needle wallet image. And he chose for his kit to be blue.

 Little Pipkin has an echidna for his needle wallet image. And he chose for his kit to be red.

I thought they could further embellish and blanket stitch their needle wallets themselves, down the track. To really make them,  Their Own .

 I also gifted my boys, a selection of coloured wool felt pieces, to use as they pleased.

Little Pipkin has been making since Boxing Day. I took this photo this morning. 
He is in the process of creating : "a jug to hold lentils, that a baby can throw" (translation - a jug shaped small beanbag).

I am so, darn proud!

27 December, 2011

Merry Christmas!

An Australian Christmas Seafood feast. Celebrating at Nanny's this year. This was how we started lunch, buffet style. Oysters, Prawns = 3 ways and Thai fish cakes.
(For our main meal we had Crispy Fish, Moules Mariniére, Roasted Parmesan Potatoes and lots of salads.)

 Before going to bed in our tent (a VERY special treat in itself), our boys played with the obligatory sparklers.

My Christmas present were two of these Mosquito Coil burners. (I love nature, but I LOATHE mosquitoes draining me). Bought from the 'Global Justice' magazine site ~ New Internationalist. Purchase of these Fair-trade burners, helps women's cooperatives in Bangladesh.

My boys received a Yidaki (Didgeridoo) from their Uncle G & Auntie Mellie. Made by a local fellow, the traditional way (he told us). He also gave the boys a half hour lesson. I love to buy local! 
Little Pipkin really has taken to it. 

I hope everyone had a Very Merry Christmas.

26 December, 2011

Joy's Knitted Kitten

 This adorable little kitten is now sitting quite at home at my cousin Joy's house.
A gift that took me a little too long to make. But was so rewarding when it he came to life!

I am not sure of it's sex or if it has a name... 
It's a Boy! And his (just perfect) name is: Spice

 I do know it's he's cheeky. Likes to get himself into mischief. And simply adores being cuddled.

24 December, 2011

Queen B candle delivery and decorating candles for Christmas

When my nephew, J-man was here for the day. We decorated some delicious beeswax candles. A simple activity for any age child.

You see, a present for ME arrived this week. It took only 3 days from online order, to delivery. AMAZING at this time of year?!
I treated myself (well, all of us really) to a candle making delivery from wonderful, wonderful ~ Queen B.

Beeswax Blocks
Essential, quality bits to make our candles
Beeswax rub and tapers
Tools for creating our Christmas dinner table candles
Mr Turtle had been eating purple carrots.
Please excuse his stained fingers!
J-man's pressie for my beautiful Sister
Little Pipkin always seriously pursuing his craft
I'll see you again after Christmas.  
I wish you all a peaceful festive season and the creation of beautiful memories with your loved ones.


23 December, 2011

Baking Day ~ Organic Cherry Brownies & Chocolate Rum Balls

Organic, Wheat Free, Cherry & Brazil Nut Brownies 

 I had a wonderful day, yesterday. Caring for my nephew. All the cousins together.
We kept busy and had the best fun! 

J-man is TWO and so very capable. His parents involve him in everything they do.

I know they ought to be fresh cherries this time of year. But to hand, we had a jar of sour cherries, which I gently stirred into the mix, at the very end.

Fresh from the oven

Organic, Wheat Free, Cherry & Brazil Nut Brownies
(As inspired by 'Gluten free brownies', by Deborah Parish in Living Crafts Fall 2011)
I prefer to use Organic/Biodynamic and Home grown ingredients, where I can

125g   Dark Choc ~ 85% cacao
125g butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup Rapadura sugar
1/2 cup Ground almond meal
1/3 cup Khorasan (Kamut) Fl0ur
1T cornflour
1t Xanthum gum
1/2 t Himalayan rock salt
1/4 t Baking powder
3 t vanilla
 1/2 cup brazil nuts, chopped
1 cup pitted cherries

Combine all dry ingredients.
Gently melt the chocolate and butter together over a low heat.
Separately, beat eggs until fluffy. Beat sugar and vanilla into eggs. Then beat in choc/butter mix.
Fold dry mix into the wet mix, and then once combined, GENTLY fold through chopped brazil nuts and cherries.
Pour into lined biscuit/lamington tin.
Bake at 180 degC ((350 degF). 
Test after 30mins. If skewer comes out clean, then cooked. If not, leave for a further 5 mins and test again. 
Leave to cool on wire rack and cut into squares.
Serve once cooled. 
 * * *

Ingredients for the adult version of our 
Christmas Day Rum Balls.

Mr Turtle rolls mix into a ball
We coated the kids' version in coconut, so there could be
no mistake on the day, whose were whose.
Organic gluten Free Rum Balls (ADULT)
1c Ground almond meal
1/4c Carob powder
1/4 cup Cacao powder
2T Butter
2T icing sugar
1/2t vanilla
2T rum
1t water
Chocolate cocoa powder for rolling

Organic gluten Free Rum-Free Balls (KIDS)
1c Ground almond meal
1/4c Carob powder
1/4 cup Cacao powder
2T Butter
1 1/2T icing sugar
1/2t vanilla
2T water
Coconut for rolling

Method ~
Grind almonds (if whole). Then add Everything and mix!
Roll into balls, roll into powder or coconut and then refrigerate. 
I feel the flavours come 'together' and they taste their best, after 24hrs.
Will freeze happily, for a few months if required.

THE adult Rum balls

MORE fruit and nut ball recipes here and here.

22 December, 2011

Outdoor Adventures

We have been watching Steve Irwin episodes lately, and have discovered Bear Grills recently. 
My eldest, Mr Turtle, LOVES them both. To say the least.
He's always been animal mad, but I hadn't realised until now, the Adventuring spirit is well and truly within him.

So, we sent him along to the NatureWeavers (Forest) School these last couple of weeks. 
A wonderful experience for all of us.

As we drove up to where the school was being held, I stopped and took these photos. We were exclaiming what a Wonderland it was. 
And my Big Boy was able to explore and take it all in, over 5 mornings!

*  *  *
And then, yesterday we were here.
At a friend's family property in Black Mountain. 37 acres of Hinterland beauty.

Playing with clay from the creek bed.
Swinging on a vine hanging over the creek,
 to cross it.
Testing a fallen tree to use as a bridge
to cross the creek.
Mr Turtle kept setting himself challenges (his exact words). I must admit I was a little nervous. But he was in his element! I also got a real insight into what he had taken on and responded best to at NatureWeavers School.
And I'm guessing, the extreme confidence in himself and his abilities, were a reflection of the afore mentioned professional nature lovers.

 Little Pipkin insisted on following his brother's every move. Resulting in his 'first ever leech'. The blood resulted in a little distress and panic at the time. 

But once we got to the point of this photo. He was VERY excited at being the first one to be 'sucked by a leech', between himself and his brother.

Despite the loud voices of the children. The wet and soggy clothes and shoes. And the leech attack (*grins*). We adult girls managed to enjoy the beauty, peacefulness and tranquillity of the environment we were in. And appreciate the sheer nerve, excitement and awe exhibited by our children.

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