Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Winter Sun, Part Two

We're getting a few glimpses of Winter Sun this week...

Roasting our coffee beans
Transplanted rhubarb waiting to put feet in the soil
Sneaky sneaky opening the packet of Pebbles (shock, horror - yes, food colouring)
Sewing in the ends on a brainless knitting project - a new dishcloth
Library book basket - full of books on Shakespeare and Van Gogh this term
Our lounge carpet - zany
A teeny peek of my brand new nephew sunbathing

Monday, July 26, 2010

Winter Kitchen, Part Four

We eat a lot of Mexican styles at our place. We never used to, but cutting down our meat intake meant incorporating more beans into our lives. We bought a tortilla press because we make a lot of tortillas and various Indian breads from scratch. We've discovered the kids prefer tortillas made of half corn masa and half wheat flour. My favourite vegetarian chili recipe is the Red Bean and Quinoa chili from Feeding the Whole Family.

So, I usually cook our beans (kidney, borlotti, haricot, etc) in my slow cooker then freeze them to use later. But I could not resist the kitschy orange labels of these tins of refried beans, chipotle and jalapeƱo peppers. A bit of brightness in our Winter Kitchen.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Winter Wellington, Part Two

A stunning Winter Wellington morning taking my visiting parents to see the City and Harbourside markets. Brilliant. Coffee, French Baker, Roquefort cheese, old-fashioned lollies, fantastic foot-tapping live music, super fresh fish, Vitamin D, the buzz of the city.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Winter Wellington

We are so pleased the lovely Maranui Cafe has reopened in Lyall Bay, Wellington. We love it for family get-togethers. The kite boarders were spectacular in the winter sunshine this morning.

M10 is wearing the kilt my grandmother brought me back from Scotland when I was 10;-) Both girls are wearing brand new Grandma knitting. My cunning plan has been to get her to do the kid's knitting leaving my needles free for me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Winter Kitchen, Part Three

The Twins. A very important part of my daily routine. More so, when I need a good kick in the pants during the Winter Mooches. We roast our own Fair Trade Organic coffee beans in a popcorn maker ("we" = hubby, with occasional child labour). We grind them in a Bialetti coffee grinder and use a Bialetti stovetop espresso maker. Three times a day. Hmmmmm...coffeeeeeeeeee.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Winter Kitchen, Part Two

Organisation. I need to be organised. I don't do well in mess and clutter. It gets into my head and paralyses me. This winter I continue to make small steps in the kitchen to make it a space I can function well in. Bigger house (new rental) = less kitchen storage - go figure. This week I've made a start sorting our first aid and medicines on top of the fridge. I'd coveted these tins in a design store in Cuba Mall then fell over when I found them for MUCH cheaper elsewhere - they came home with me. We have a real mix of conventional and herbal/homeopathic medicines in them.
I've replaced the stinky old icecream containers with a sealed, non-stinky tin. It's also bigger meaning less visits out to the compost heap in the rain for whiney children;-)

There is much thinking about life in my kitchen at the moment. There is also much fruitful discussion with two soul sisters about weeny changes we are all trying to make in our lives. More soon hopefully.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Winter Knits, Part Three

Lies reminded me today that I, too, have whipped up a Lacy Baktus for myself. Perfect mindless knitting.

You must, must, MUST check out this foodie blog, knife loves spoon. I'll lay this out there especially for my veggie buddies after foisting oxtails on you this week;-)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Winter Kitchen

My Winter Triumvirate - Onion, Carrot and Celery. This threesome goes into a LOT of my winter cooking - soups, stews, ricie things, noodley things, etc. And my slow cooker? LOVE this especially in winter. I find my energy levels really sag at the end of the day and the last thing I want to do is cook dinner. Voila - it's already done!

And strange cuts of meat. Strange to me, at least. Oxtails. Never had them before. But they are now happily stewing away in the slow cooker nestled in amongst the onion, carrot and celery. I think the most respectful thing we can do for both animal and farmer, as meat-eaters, is to try all the strange cuts so we're not just growing and slaughtering them for their luscious flank parts. Tongue and tripe though? Not quite there yet!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Winter Washing

I've always been mildly obsessed with doing laundry. It's ridiculously satisfying getting a sunny, breezy day in the middle of winter and having a load swing around on the line. We've made the move to using homemade laundry powder recently, partly inspired by the book Make Your Place, which has all sorts of wicked recipes for natural first aid, cleaning and body care. I love it so much I'm giving away copies as wee gifts now.

There are a lot of free recipes for natural cleaners on the interwebs but here's one for laundry powder.

1/c cup baking soda
1/2 cup powdered castile soap (I use Dr Bronners, or a NZ handmade laundry soap but Sunlight may do the trick as well)
1/4 cup washing soda
1/4 cup borax

Mix ingredients well, and you can add your favourite essential oils. Mine is lavender;-)

I buy my baking soda in bulk from Moore Wilsons as we don't have a local Binn Inn. I've been getting my washing soda and borax off a seller on Trademe. The washing soda is finely powdered unlike the box at the supermarket and the borax is cheaper than from your local chemist.

We've also made our own laundry whitener with Prussian Blue pigment and baking soda.

I just need to get some pretty labels for my jars now. Give it a go!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Winter Knits, Part Two

I taught I8 how to knit yesterday afternoon in the sun. She's just had an orthodontic plate put in so it's taking her mind off her sore mouth. I was a bit nervous as she's a leftie and I've decided to just teach her rightie knitting. But she's a real natural. M10 is knitting her brother a scarf. How cool was it to have the three ladies of the house knitting while watching The Waltons;-) The young man has to wait a few more years before his lessons.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Winter Knits

Nothing like a bit of selfish knitting in winter! This is the Tea Leaves cardy, and is the third knit for me I've done this winter. I undid my too-big Hourglass Sweater and recycled the yarn into this, which I've hardly taken off since. More selfish knitting planned;-) (I find it odd looking at photos of myself. The older I get the more like my father I am!)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Winter Craft

My major crafting this winter is the sampler quilt I'm making for M10. How exciting to read Pip's piece over at ever-inspirational Meet Me at Mikes about an English paper pieced quilt made by female prisoners of war in Changi prison in Singapore in World War Two. I'd just learned English paper piecing last week and completed the above block which I'll applique onto a 12" block. (Yes, my tacking threads are still in.)

Hubby and I also rewatched Tenko last year. I have such strong memories of the Stephanie Cole and Stephanie Beacham characters.

Mrs Olga Henderson pointing out the block she made for the 'Tenko' quilt as a 13 year old Girl Guide and POW in Changi, 1943.
[Image from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Oh how I wish I could have seen this exhibition! May have to invest in the book eventually;-)]

Monday, July 12, 2010

Winter Frost

I'm glad I finished these for the girls in the weekend. It is crisp, cool and clear here. -3 as I type this.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Winter Star

We hope that popping a few of these on our windows will brighten things up on gloomy winter days. It's not necessary today because we have sun, glorious, sun again! We're all making the most and are outside hooping, biking, skipping and drawing. Thanks for the star tutorial link, Nova.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Winter Sun

Some much needed winter sun on a Sunday morning meant I could sit outside and finish taping my homemade hula hoop! I got onto this idea from reading Sara Janssen's hooping site. I can actually hoop too! This is going to work miracles for my mummy puku;-)

All of us, bar Daddy, have our own hoop now. There was Happy Skipping thrown in for good measure.

The kids undertook a bit of chalk art a la Bert.

The Dadda is doing some much-needed bike maintenance.

All in all, a lot of contented sighing in the sunshine.