18 April 2014

What We Believe

On Facebook this morning, some one had written "why is Good Friday 'Good'?" If you're like me, the lead up to Easter has been exciting. I mean a long weekend, and hot cross buns, and chocolate! We have family down for the weekend, so what isn't good about that???

Last night we met with our home church for an early Easter service, and I was trying to explain to Meg about what Easter means to us. She understands about Christmas. A little baby who is born to be a king, is something she gets. It's harder to explain how that little baby grew up to be a man who was killed because he was God's son.

Yet for us as Christians, this is at the core of what we believe. I found this video (love YouTube!), which explains simply why Easter is so important to Christians.

On Sunday, you can bet we will be having a long lunch with family, and an egg hunt with the kids. But we will also be remembering why we celebrate Easter. We celebrate that, through Jesus dying on the cross, we are free from the consequences of our sin, and that we will be with God for ever.

16 April 2014

Prize Winning Scones

At the local show last month, our friends'  12 year old daughter took out champion cake in show, beating all the CWA (Country Women's Association) ladies, and veteran cookers. Best of all she took it out with lemonade scones. She was most happy about beating her older brother, who had made scones in the traditional way.

From that moment, my friend (who is an awesome country cook) decreed that she will never make scones any other way again. She was telling us about this, when Country Boy asked how she made lemonade scones.

Upon hearing how easy they were supposed to be, Country Boy bought up big on the lemonade and cream, and we have been enjoying them as a super easy a filling snack. (I keeps long life cream on the shelf, which is perfect for this kind of thing!).

1 cup cream
1 cup lemonade
3 cups SR Flour

1. Preheat oven to 220*c

2. If you're really serious, sift your flour (several times if you are going in the show) or else just whack the flour in a large bowl.

3. Pour in the lemonade and cream. Mix till it forms a soft, slightly sticky dough. If it is too sticky you can add a little more flower

4. Gently knead to make the dough into a 3cm high rectangle (sort of) shape

5. Use a scone cutter to cut out the scones. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. If your cutter sticks to the dough, dip it in a little flour first.

6. Repeat until all the dough is used.

7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden on top.

8. Serve with Jam and cream, or hot, dripping with butter and honey.

Now I'm the first to admit that these don't look like prize winning scones. I got distracted with kids, and left them too long in the oven, BUT, they tasted so good, and and the kids hoovered them up. Best of all they are super fast and easy to make. Total winner in my book!

Have you made lemonade scones before? Got any hot tips??

15 April 2014

Weekend Things

It had been almost three months since I last spent time in the mountains. I guess it is a reflection of how busy life is down here, and how, as we get more settled into local life, a weekend away is that much harder to fit in.

So Friday afternoon saw me pack up the car and kids for the drive the mountains. Country Boy had fire brigade training, so I was parenting solo for the weekend.

Saturday morning saw Mum, the kids and I hit up some garage sales. Hannah got super excited when we found the whole set of Deltora Quest, which we snapped up for $5 - bargain. I also snapped up a big box of lego for $25, some kids DVDs for a $1 a piece, and some textile paints  - just what I needed for work! Love a good garage sale morning!

The rest of the afternoon sailed by as the kids played with their cousins (I hardly saw them), and I caught up with a friend who I hadn't seen for years. I also spent a few hours setting up a blog for my sister (more on that later!)

Whenever I go to the mountains, I always end up going shopping with a huge list. The convenience of not having to drive for an hour and a half is too alluring. So on Sunday we popped down to the local shopping centre with a long list, for a speed shop. Two hours, and I got most of the kids clothing that they needed, new doona covers for the girls, a loom band set (hmmmm), and the girls spent their pocket money on lego.

My mother had picked up a toy saw in a Two dollar shop, so Toby spent the rest of the day 'sawing' everything in sight.

The rest of the weekend was full of fun and family.  The only hiccup was a flat battery when I stopped for petrol in the Southern Highlands on the way home. Fortunately the NRMA came quickly, and although the trip was longer than planned, we arrived back last night ready to relax into the holidays!

Love a weekend in the mountains!

9 April 2014

Plans And Projects

Holidays are almost upon us. It has been a great term, but we are ready for a break. The holidays are already filling up with things I want to get done.

Straight after school on Friday, I'm jumping in the car and driving up to the mountains for the weekend. I haven't been up since January so I'm looking forward to catching up with friends and family. I'm taking the kids with me, while Country Boy stays home to do a fire brigade training course. He did one when he was a teenager, but thought it might be a good idea to do a refresher. I'm packing some audio books for the drive. I think we are going to need some new ones by the end of the holidays.

I love a holiday sorting project. The summer holidays saw me clear and sort out the spare room. These holidays it's all about the laundry. Quite frankly the laundry is a disgrace. We have too much jammed in there, including lots of bits and pieces we probably don't even use any more. I haven't sorted it properly since we moved here over two years ago. I'm carpe-ing the diem and getting it into order.

We will probably hit the big town for a day of shopping over the holidays. The girls have been studying up toy catalogues, and their pocket money and show winnings are burning a hole in their pocket. We might take the nut wizards over and collect a few bags of acorns at the same time! Possibly even catch a movie if we are super lucky!

My sister and her family come down every Easter for the long weekend. Looking forward to taking the camera out, having cousins to play with, and some Easter treats. Country Boy and my brother in law plan to build a new chook shed and finish pulling down the old one so that we can start to extend the back yard.

Of course, in between all this, I'm hoping to have some time to read, go for a wander around the paddocks with the camera, and have a bit of down time. If that is actually possible.

Are you on holidays? What are you planning to do?

8 April 2014

Hannah Talks About Tree Changing

A few weeks back I posted about some of the downsides of tree changing. Hannah and I were talking about the good and bad parts of moving to the country. Her perspective was different to mine, being a child, so I asked her if she wanted to be interviewed for my blog. She was initially reluctant, but later changed her mind.

What are the best things about living on the farm?
I like the trees because you can climb them. There is always lots to do and there is lots of space. There is lots of room to ride bikes. We are allowed to play where we want because there is no traffic.  I like the animals, particularly Jazz (the dog). I like living close to Nana and Pa.
I like being in a small school. There are 12 kids in my class. Because there is not many of us we are allowed to do lots of fun things like guitar and ukulele lessons, or listening to music at lunch. We each have an ipad for us to use at school. I love playing Alice Greenfingers
I get to ride on the motorbikes with Dad.
There is heaps of food in our garden so if you're hungry you just pick something like a tomato or a strawberry. You don’t need to go inside to eat.
I've learnt lots about animals. Like dogs don’t sit by your feet and do nothing (like they do in the city). There are lots of different breeds of each animal.

What things don’t you like about living on the farm?
Not being close to anyone else besides Nana and Pa. We are a long drive from my cousins and other grandparents. I can’t walk to my friends house like I used to. We can’t just walk to the shops if we need something. The other day I wanted to have some bread and honey with butter, but we were out of butter, so we had no butter until Mum or Dad went shopping. It always takes a whole day to go shopping. You have to get everything at the same time so the fridge goes from being too empty to too full.

What was the hardest part about moving from the city to the farm?
Not seeing my friends from my old school. It was hard to settle into a new school, because the schools taught some things differently. And all the other kids already knew how my little school worked. I had to get used to lots of different grades in the one class room. The size of the playground is a lot smaller, and I didn’t know where to go.
I had to learn to handle animals. I used to be afraid of dogs before we moved here and would scream if they tried to lick me or jump on me. Now I love our animals.
I miss our old house, because I was used to it, and I have lots of memories from there.

Where would you like to live the most? Why?
That’s really hard to choose. I wish you could just load them both on a truck and pull them together. I wish we were closer to the mountains. I do like here better now, but it took a while to adjust. I wish my friends from the mountains would move here! Now that I am used to living here, I think it would be hard to live in the suburbs again.

Is there a difference between city kids and country kids?
Kids in the country get to do more things. My friend got a motorbike when she was six. There is more to do outside. We don't play with computer games much. Sometimes we have to help around the farm (though I don't have to much) or go with our parents while they are doing farm work. In the country you have more freedom and learn to do more things.

Want to ask Hannah some more questions about tree changing? Do you have a question about our life? Ask away!

6 April 2014

Garden Share Collective - Six

March has been a big month in the garden. After a super hot, dry summer, we have been getting some slightly cooler weather, and best of all, rain. Suddenly everything is green again and farmers are starting to feel a little hopeful for a better season.

At the start of the month Country Boy entered some of his vegetables in the local agricultural show, and won quite a few awards including best tomatoes, which he was quietly pleased about. Later in the month we had the annual village harvest festival so we donated a whole car boot load of vegetables to be sold (and came back with half a boot load of home made cakes, pies, and biscuits in return!). In between, Country Boy has been selling his vegetables to locals via email, and working hard to keep up with the garden.

March is always our biggest month of the year for harvesting. We have more tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchinis, than we can possibly eat. We have made more tomato relish, dill pickled cucumbers, and this zucchini soup to use them up. The the pigs are well fed on all the left overs (recycling zucchinis into bacon).
We are also picking lots of silver beet, strawberries, artichokes, corn, rocket, basil, rhubarb, nugget pumpkins, purple beans as well as basil, parsley, dill and chives.

March is our big harvest month, but we did start planting some carrots, beetroot, celery, cabbage, and broccoli. April will see us doing a lot more.

To do in April
Our to do list this month really depends on when the frost comes. Usually we get the first frost in the middle of April. Once the frost comes a lot of the plants will die, then we will harvest the pumpkins and start pulling out all the summer plantings.

We need to plant leeks, onions, and garlic, as well as brassicas and maybe broad beans. Hopefully we will start to harvest kale and broccoli. We have a whole lot of beans growing to be dried, shelled and stored for making home made baked beans over the cooler months. Yum!

And if that isn't enough to do, we will probably also need to harvest the potatoes. Fingers crossed for a big haul. Out kids don't like shop bought potatoes any more after eating our home grown ones.

What is happening in your garden at the moment?

Linking up with Strayed From The Table for the April edition of The Garden Share Collective. You can head over there, and see what lots of other bloggers are doing in their gardens too.


4 April 2014

{Recipe} Zucchini Soup

Once again we are overloaded with zucchinis. The pigs are getting the leftovers, because we are picking more than we can ever eat. The have a habit of growing extremely quickly if they don't get picked, so if we forget, we are suddenly faced with lots of gigantic vegetables.

Country Boy was commenting on our zucchini glut to one of the ladies in the village, and she told us to make zucchini soup. To be honest I was a little sceptical. The idea of zucchini soup didn't really appeal to me, but we were given a copy of the recipe, so Country Boy gave it a go..... and we loved it. Hannah announced it was her new favourite soup (knocking pumpkin soup of the podium).

Since then we have made it several times, and it continues to be a favourite with the whole family. We serve it with some wholemeal toast topped with lashings of butter. Yum!

2 onions
700g zucchini
1 carrot
1 large potato
60g butter
900ml water
3 chicken stock cubes
2t curry paste (I used korma)
80ml cream
salt and pepper

1. Dice the onion and zucchini.
2. Peel and dice the carrot and potato.
3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and sweat all the vegetables for 5 minute.
4. Add  the water, stock cube, and curry powder.
5. Cook until all the vegetables are tender.
6. Purée the vegetables and add the cream.
7. Season with salt and pepper.



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