Thursday, 28 February 2013

Caleb is 6!!!

Time does fly indeed and yesterday our darling grandson, Caleb, turned 6 years of age....these are Elizabeth's words...

       "Did you hear that? That's my Caleb just finishing his sixth lap around the sun (and still showing no signs of slowing down)!

On this day six years ago I was on the operating table (caesar) while Danny was teasing me that "there's twins!!" A few minutes later, as the Doc pulled Caleb out and handed him to the nurse, Danny tried to convince me that "he's blonde!!" Pfft, yeah right.

Back on the ward an hour later somebody unwrapped the blankets and I couldn't believe it. It wasn't just blonde, it was like the palest gold. And so began six long years of 'sleeping with the milkman' jokes. LOL And may there be many more to come!

For those of you who don't already know, we don't celebrate birthdays but if you want to send us some well wishes can I remind you that each year 2.6 MILLION children under five die from malnutrition and ask you to remember your favourite children's charity next time you have an opportunity to be generous.

(My fave is Plan: "

He's doing well at school and is always a delightful, well spoken little him so very much.

Rent Inspection went very well yesterday and my grocery challenge is still on track. I made an eggplant and chicken curry(one sml breast), tarka dahl(better than sliced bread now that I've learned to fry up the spices and add them after the lentils have cooked) and a spiced rice dish so I won't need to cook today.

Hope you are keeping well, another hot day is forecast, it's been in the mid-30s all week and it's wearing rather thin! The may be showers this weekend and slightly cooler temps under the cloud cover from Cyclone Rusty. It only caused minor damage in the end but is causing flooding in some areas of the North-West.

Stay cool, warm or dry depending on where you are,
Love from Sue

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Purple Vegetables and Fruits

I bought my first purple carrots at the Spud Shed on Saturday and last night I boiled them up with some white nadine potatoes. The water went deep purple in colour and so did those lovely potatoes! Here they are roughly mashed together with some olive oil, salt and pepper...

I'd also bought a red(purple) cabbage, an eggplant and some beets and as I was making coleslaw this morning I wondered why I had chosen so many purple vegies...some instinct was telling me my body needed them. They are a wonderful power-house of minerals and vitamins compliments of a little something called anthocyanin ..have a look at this great link which explains how valuable it is and where it is purple vegies of course!

To make my coleslaw I whisked together French mustard, some whole egg mayonnaise, pepper and a little white wine vinegar, chopped around a cup of red cabbage and grated a red apple and a regular orange carrot, it's quite piquant.

Were you aware of these valuable foods? Do you use them regularly? Remember how good they are for you when you next enjoy red grapes, blueberries and blackberries. I will use them much more now I have learned about them, ain't the internet grand?

Rent Inspection tomorrow but I am much calmer than last time, just the shower screen to do and the kitchen floor really, change the bed and just generally potter as it's very warm again. A cyclone is off our Nth West coast so we're  hoping there will be no loss of life up there, we will get some rain from it later in the week.

Bye bye for now,
Love Sue

Monday, 25 February 2013

That Grocery Challenge

Last week I decided to try to limit our grocery bill to $150 per fortnight, this sounds quite a lot but it doesn't go very far in the regular supermarkets so I went out to the Baldivis Spud Shed and spent less than $25 on this lot...

It really is a big shed, just the bare necessities inside but the prices are so good. 4 kgs of potatoes for $2, they cost $3 per kilo in the supermarkets, the bacon ends and pork mince cost around half of the $25 so that shows just how cheap all the vegetables were...
carrots 49c per kilo
red cabbage 99c
spring onions 99c
eggplant 79c
brown onions 99c 2kgs
apples $2.49 per kilo and so on.
tinned tomatoes 59c
passata(tomato puree) 99c

However...if you go on Saturday morning you are greeted with gorgeous BBQ smells, this group are volunteer emergency service cadets and were fund raising, close to lunchtime and the temptation was just too much lol


So all my budget is now spent, we don't need to buy anything at all before next Monday(payday). Mum gave me 18 eggs, a huge bunch of organic grapes and a take-away carton of fried noodles yesterday. Today I'm using the pork mince and some of the chopped bacon and one of the eggs to make a tasty meatloaf that will make 4 meals. One chicken breast was sliced thinly yesterday to make all this...I just covered the pieces in seasoned flour and shallow fried them, 3-4 meals there too. I made potato salad, putanesca sauce, gently fried kidneys and cottage cheese over the weekend and proved it is possible to live rather cheaply when you cook from scratch.

Angela awarded me a Liebster Award for friendly bloggers...bah humbug, I won't join in but you can see her blog here It never fails to amaze me when I read about the lives of others so far away, all so different and yet all so similar.

Cousin Sheila is still in hospital and may be allowed home tomorrow, she had developed a chest infection to add to her misery and is wearing a neck and back brace to support her spine. Cousin Janet suffered a brain aneurysm last week and is slowly inproving in a Liverpool hospital so please keep these gallant ladies in your thoughts. It's hard to be so far away when things like this happen to our family.

Priscilla is now 14 weeks pregnant and her specialists are searching for a surgeon willing to remove as much of her tumour as possible while her baby is kept safe. They are speaking to specialists in New York and Europe so hopefully they will find some-one.

So that's where we are right now, taking one day at a time and trying to relax a little.
Hope all is well at your place,
Love from Sue

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Spot The Rabbit

As you may already know from my last 2 posts our family loves nature...

so shall we have a little fun with Twitch...

Silly bunny!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Hot On The Heels...

of my little misshap comes this amazing tale...

    Mum has just finished telling me a long story about an accident Dad had 2 weeks ago(yes I know, she forgets things).
She was washing up and heard Dad yelling for her, dashed outside to find her nearest and dearest hanging upside down by his lower legs from tree in their front garden. She couldn't get him out herself and knew no-one was home nearby so she hailed a young man jogging past(with ear buds in so she had to run in front of him to get his attn) They prised Papa from the tree with difficulty, he had a chunk missing off the front of his leg but miraculously no broken bones. She cleaned him up and applied First Aid but the wound was still messy and bleeding at 11pm so she phoned a help-line who arranged for a Silver Chain Nurse to call in within 4 hours. Dad sent Mum to bed as she had to be up very early for golf but she heard the nurse arrive and says she thinks it was Nurse Gladys Emmanuel from "Open All Hours".
Two days later the wound was still bad so they went to the GP. Their Manchester born doctor had a look and took Dad to the nurse's station for treatment. She called out, "Do you know what this man has been doing? He's almost 80 yrs old and he's been up a ladder!" What a hoot! So every 2 days they've been back for dressing changes and Dad is banned forever from regular ladders, a tiny 2-step ladder is all now! LOL And they wonder where I get my ability to have accidents from! Mum is 75 yrs old.
Dad was pruning the tree and one side of the ladder wasn't secured properly and snapped a thin branch causing him to fall.

 What Dad used to look like when he was allowed on ladders...

Some daughters do 'ave em!


Edited to add, Dad was seen back in tree the following day finishing what he'd started!

Moving Right Along

...except I wasn't! Monday evening and time for Twitch to come from the garden. He was under the prickly asparagus fern so I bent to lift him out and fell head first into the garden bed. lol It's surrounded by large limestone rocks and although I was able to roll over I couldn't get back out, so I made myself comfy and waited for Joe to find me. (He was watching the start of Downton and wondered where I was lol)

Twitch went indoors for his supper.

Joe lifted me out and got me back on feet again, I'm bruised and scratched all over and was so sore this morning. All is well and Twitch's big jump and shake after running through the sprinklers means all is forgiven! He's just too cute and funny, he tossed his empty treats bowl around to let me know it was empty and now he has taken to jumping from the second floor of his cabin instead of hopping down the ramp!

With our second rent inspection due next week I was already worrying about it ages ago and thought that I was just ridiculous...the house is almost always clean and tidy, it's just a matter of pulling it altogether on the day. Many members at the forum follow various routines, perhaps deep cleaning a room a day etc but as we are both at home all day and there are only the two of us I have been in habit of just doing what I felt like...the problem with that was I never realised just how much I was actually doing and I felt like I was doing nothing at all. I've started making a list in the morning and writing down all the jobs I need to get through...Joe also reads the list and picks a job or 3 which helps a lot as he lives with his head in the clouds and rarely notices when 'stuff' needs doing lol

I also bought some Shower Power after the girls at the forum sang its praises, less harmful that most cleaners and it will give me the help I need; with muscular dystrophy I tire very quickly. I make my own soap and laundry liquid for a fraction of supermarket prices.

My other big change is to see if we can live on $75 per week for groceries and loo paper etc. To achieve this my plan is to pay cash, putting $150 in my purse and making it last two weeks(pension is given fortnightly). I'm confident of being able to do this, buying seasonally and cooking from scratch are my keystones. We already eat vegetable based meals, 500gms of minced meat will make at least 6 meals here, a chicken breast will stretch to 4-5 meals. I will use up what we have in the freezer this fortnight as I feel my way. Not sure what we had for lunch yesterday but it was very tasty served on rice with melted cheese on top. Today I found some yummy chicken and vegie soup in the freezer! ;)

Search out Farmers' Markets and Asian Supermarkets for great prices...Chinatown in Montreal is so exciting...

I found a lovely embroidery kit at the op-shop for $1 and I've been getting my hand sewing mo-jo back. I love embroidery and "Feeling Stitchy" is a very inspiring site indeed.

So that's all for the moment from Our Place,
Hope you are well and happy,
Love, Sue

Friday, 15 February 2013

Potato and Pepperoni Casserole and a Mermaid

Googling potato and pepperoni yesterday afternoon to see how to use these two ingredients together brought me to this recipe. It uses some kind of frozen potatoes and I have some lovely big brushed potatoes so I boiled up a kilo or so and chopped them into bite-sized pieces.

Made a creamy sauce and added too much fresh tasted like medicine so I slopped in some American Mustard! In a casserole dish make rough layers of potato, a cup of peas/corn, some sliced and chopped meat, you could use pepperoni/bacon/ham/chorizo etc, 1/2 cup chopped red capsicum and pour your sauce over. Sprinkle with as much cheese as you like and bake for around 30mins, just long enough for everything to be hot and the cheese melted and browned...

It is really so very good!

This photo was taken of Elizabeth in Exmouth when she was almost 3 years old, she looks like a chubby little mermaid...

I hope you have a lovely weekend,
Bye for now,

This Week

Friday already and what a week!

 Several days of 40C heat, Joe being unwell, a dear (ex) cousin in law given 6 mos to live(please keep Sheila in your thoughts), granddaughters having a change of address and the postcard swap at the forum...around 90 members to pair up and set the swap in motion. We had 18 children join in too which is really nice for them to "meet" like-minded families around the world.

The garden is enjoying the heat as long as it's well-watered. Several years ago I picked up an acorn up in the Perth Hills at Jarrahdale. I poked it into the strawberry pot that Elizabeth painted and this summer it has sprouted! Can you see it in the middle of this picture?

shady corner for the pots...

'that' hibicus again...

I turned around to see my little shadow following me...

Joe was thrilled by the colour of his breakfast eggs yesterday, they are free range and bright orange...

We had yummy home-made pizzas at the weekend...dough made in the bread maker...

Kyra and Megan went to a reptile zoo, all the animals are former "pets" that ppl bought on a whim and then couldn't be bothered with...Megan loved the big boa(?) from the safety of Grandpop's knee...

  These are Kyra's chubby hands, she gently held this tarantula and a huge black scorpion too...

and how thrilling is this...Priscilla's baby is thriving despite her tumour, her treatment has been paused to allow this little miracle to grow safely. The doctors feel it will not harm Priss to have this baby and the baby is strong and growing well...

So that's our week, yesterday was much cooler so I made a nice potato casserole, will post the recipe now.

Hope your week has been happier than ours, it certainly makes you appreciate the good/better times doesn't it?

Love from Sue

Reading back over this it seems so flippant and uncaring in view of Sheila's illness, it is not meant to be, my kids and I are shattered.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Markets of Paris

Towards the end of last year when Blogger began charging for space I deleted all my posts and photos of Paris and Canada. I'm going to slowly "revisit" these places and greatly reduce the size of my photos before showing them here again.

In the summer of 2007 Joe and I stayed with my Uncle Tom near Lancaster and also flew from Manchester to Paris for a 5 night stay. The following year we were lucky enough to be able to spend a whole month living in a Paris apartment as well as another lovely month with Uncle Tom.

One of my very favourite things was shopping for food in Paris and that meant the fantastic markets as well as the regular small shops that abound, bakeries, cheese shops, fruit and vegetables, seafood and meats, treats like sauerkraut and German style sausages and the patisseries are almost too good to be true!

Here are a few of our photos from 2008. The nearest market to us was on Avenue du President Wilson...have a look...beautiful fresh seafood...

fabulous breads...

 farm fresh onions and turnips...

vibrantly coloured fruits...

beautiful flowers...

mouth watering cheeses...

a mountain of fresh, fragrant herbs...

and a picnic lunch in a nearby park...German meats and sauerkraut  yoghurt cheese, tabouleh  2 gorgeous lumps of cheese whose names I no longer remember, Lebanese flatbreads...

I have many more photos I wish to return to my blog and will slowly work on that!
Au revoir!

Home-made Sausages

Several of the forum members make their own sausages from scratch and I even considered buying this even though we already have a food processor and an old fashioned crank mincer! I talked myself out of that, it's easy enough to make skinless sausages so I had a go yesterday...

500 gm lean beef mince
2 inches of black pudding
1/2 cup oatmeal
lots of pepper
2 fresh sage leaves
2T of grated cheese for the fat

 Process well until it becomes a sticky lump...

set aside in the 'fridge for at least an hour to chill, this lets the flavours meld and also makes the sausages easy to roll out...I rolled them in wholemeal flour to coat them...I was surprised it made so many...

sausages are sizzling s s s s

Yummy, just a subtle hint of black pudding and no nitrates or other nasties! Pork and chicken mince would be a nice addition and you could add just about anything, bacon/ham/salami, any sort of cheese, olives/sun dried tomatoes, any amount and type of herb, home made chutney or sauce perhaps? You could also shape them into patties to make home style burgers.

This is Rhonda's recipe, she uses equal quantities of pork and beef.

I saw a strange orange-red light flashing in the trees yesterday, it was this beautiful butterfly opening and closing it's wings!

Just caught Twitch selecting his breakfast by standing on his tippy toes to reach the nasturtium leaves...cheeky boy!

Thanks to every-one for your kind and supportive comments about Priscilla's latest news, one day at a time is all we can do isn't it?

Bye bye for now,
Love from Sue

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Priscilla's News

Quite frightening so I'll let you go over to her blog to read her own words, after 15 months she seems no closer to the correct treatment for this tumour but she remains stunningly brave.

Priscilla's Journey

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Post Card Swap

We're having a post-card swap at the forum this month and have many members joining in already. It's become very popular with mums of under 12s putting their childrens' names down too so the children will be part of an international swap with other lovely Down to Earth families. The postcard is to be one from your region, perhaps the town, beauty spots, flora or fauna so will be a little educational too and who knows what friendships could begin here? You can click on the link on the right-hand side of this page to become a member, it's free and there are no rude a or annoying posters there.

This lovely little chap was found on a local beach and taken to the Naregabup Environmental Centre until he was well enough to be released in the North-West of the state.

It's still hot hot hot but is supposed to be cooler next week, around 30C!

Bye bye for now,