for the night

Mias Hospital Pack - wrapped & ready to give

Early tomorrow Mia and I are heading to the hospital – Mia is having her tonsils and adenoids out, and having her third round of grommets. She has had ongoing problems with her hearing, having almost constant glue-ear, and this has made life hard for her at times. Add to this that, despite a very healthy diet, she seems to get sick rather a lot, and it feels like life could be a little bit kinder to her. So we are off to get a whole lot done in one surgery, and this will hopefully end all of these problems for good. She’s been promised lots of ice cream and jelly, but all in all with promises aside she has been really amazing about the whole thing.

As we are staying the night, spending two entire days there, I decided to make her up a little pack of things to take to with her to hospital – things to occupy the time and distract her from her sore throat. A little tissue paper wrapping and it’s all ready to gift to her.

Mias Hospital Pack

1. a hugging monkey – his hands velcro together so you can attach him around your neck – Kmart $5

2. The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton for me to read to her – this series was an absolute favourite of mine as a child, I hope she loves it too – University Book Shop $16.95

3. felt tip pens and a Frozen colouring book – pens from The Warehouse, 1/2 price $2.50, colouring book from Kmart $2

4. watermelon pad and mutli-colour pencil – both from Typo, the pad was on special for $3, the pen was $6.95

5. flamingo & pineapple pencil, rubber, and sharpener set – Kmart $3

6. watermelon tote bag, to carry it all in – Typo $12

So the whole thing was pretty affordable, and a lot of fun to put together – isn’t it wonderfully colourful, she’s going to love it.

Speaking of colourful – isn’t it just wonderful that America has ruled Marriage Equality for all! So heart warming to see rainbows just everywhere – what a great piece of news.

Midwinter in Purakaunui

Purakaunui Midwinter 2015 1

Purakaunui Midwinter 2015 2

Purakaunui Midwinter 2015 3

Purakaunui Midwinter 2015 4

Purakaunui Midwinter 2015 5

Each Midwinter we are blessed with a day with the entire extended family, in the red house on top of the hill above the Purakaunui Inlet. It’s a wonderful day filled with food, laughter, and wandering around the land as we follow a treasure hunt. Such a wonderful place, such a happy day x

caramel oat slice

Caramel Oat Slice - fresh out of the oven

Caramel Oat Slice

This recipe is so easy, and is an absolute fave around here. With a gooey caramel centre you really can’t go wrong..

Caramel Filling

  • 390g can of Condensed Milk
  • 50g Butter
  • 2T Golden Syrup

Oat Base

  • 175g Butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1t Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 cup Rolled Oats
  1. Put the oven at 180 deg celsius/355 deg fahrenheit.
  2. Grease and line a square 23 x 23cm/9″ x 9″ tin
  3. Put all the ingredients for the Caramel Filling in a small pot and gently heat on the stove till all the butter is melted and it’s thick and golden
  4. For the base – cream the butter, vanilla and sugar in a bowl till it’s light and fluffy.
  5. Stir the flour and oats into the creamed mix, mix until it looks like large crumbs. I often use a wooden spoon to ‘cut’ across it.
  6. Press 3/4 of the base into the tin, then pour over the caramel filling. Scatter the remaining Oat Base across the top – you don’t press this down, just leave it loose.
  7. Bake 30-35 minutes, till the top is starting to look slightly golden.
  8. Cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then remove to a wire rack.
  9. Cut and enjoy! (..but be warned, it’s very crumbly to eat, but we don’t mind that when it tastes as scummy as it does..)

Easy Brown Bread

Easy Brown Bread

This recipe uses a Kenwood mixer. Seeds and bran are optional – or you can change them and try other things like fennel seeds or cumin seeds. Try adding a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon – the house smells amazing when you toast it.

This makes two loaves – I cut one in half after and freeze the two halves for later use.

4 cups high grade flour
2 cups wheat flour
I cup Oat Bran
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 cups warm water
1Tb yeast
125g butter – melted
2Tb cane sugar (I use Chelsea Dark Cane sugar)
2 tsp salt

1. To the warmed water add sugar & yeast – I use about 1/3 boiled water and 2/3 filtered tap water, then cover and put in a warm, breeze free place for about 10 minutes till its gone frothy.

2. Place all the dry ingredients in the Kenwood bowl, mix using the dough hook for about 30 seconds on 1.

Easy Brown Bread 1

3. Add the water/yeast mix and butter, mix on 2 for about 2-3 minutes. If it feels dry add a little warm water, if it feels sticky add a little flour. Mix till its a smooth dough and stretches when you pull a piece rather than tearing.

Easy Brown Bread 2

4. rub water over the dough in the bowl, cover and place in a warm place for 2-3 hours – I put it in the hot water cupboard.

Easy Brown Bread 3

5. Punch the dough lightly to deflate it, then roll into a log on the bench.

6. Cut the log in two, tuck the ends under, and place each log in an oiled bread tin.

Easy Brown Bread 4

7 Cover with teatowels and place in a warm spot for 40 minutes to an hour (hot water cupboard again) until doubled.

Easy Brown Bread 5

8. Oven at 180 – bake the loaves for 35-40 minutes – I check and turn the tins after about 25 minutes. When the bread sounds hollow when tapped it’s cooked – take out of tin and tap the bottom to check.

Easy Brown Bread

8. Wrap cooked bread in a cotton tea towel and place on a wire rack to cool.

Easy Brown Bread 7

9. Enjoy nom nom!

Easy Brown Bread 8

a twist on the Photo Board

Photo Boards 1

Photo Boards 2

Photo Boards 3

Photo Boards 4

Photo Boards 5

Today was a very special day – celebrating a landmark birthday for Simon’s father David. The whole family gathered for an informal lunch at Orokonui Ecosanctuary – a wonderful, special and relaxing day filled with love, laughter and beautiful food. I was entrusted with some photo’s from David’s life, to do with as I will, and had the thought that the classic ‘photo board’ was perhaps a little too flashy to be displayed in the middle of a busy cafe. After bouncing ideas around for a week or two I settled on the idea of making triangular table displays, thinking they could be turned for viewing and swapped around so that the photo’s could be viewed by all.

I bought a range of coloured cardboards from Typo and glued them to cream coloured board, then added small features like some stamped “Happy Birthday’s”, star shapes cut with a craft punch, and a mini bunting. Once the boards were glued and pressed flat I used photo corners to attach the pictures so that they wouldn’t be affected by glues, then folded the pieces into a triangle shape and stuck them together with masking tape. They were a great success, being constantly picked up and turned for viewing but, most importantly, the birthday boy thought they were really rather super.

Orokonui Ecosanctuary