Friday, December 26, 2008

Back to work...

The four day break I have been looking forward to is over. Back to work this morning for 5 hours.

Christmas day was spent at my BIL's house, we had a nice time helping the children play with their presents our SIL had made a nice lunch the day was great as I didn't have to cook.

After Lunch the kids went swimming in the pool. They had a great time jumping in while I took photos.

I got lots of nice pressies for Christmas, Pandora style beads for my bracelet, 2 WII games Monopoly and Beach Sports, and the Nourishing Traditions Book and Candle and Soap Making for Dummies. I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes in the Nourishing Traditions book.
On Boxing day we had some friends for lunch, I cooked slow cooked Roast Pork and Veges and for dessert we had home made Plum Pudding, cream, custard or icecream. I didn't cook the pudding, one of my customers gave it to me as a pressie. I can tell you it was delicous.
Yesterday we harvested another 4 kilos of tomatoes I think this is about 12 kilos to date. This morning I made "Green Tomato Pickles" they are now bottled and ready for storage. This is the first time I have made these pickles. I was going to make tomato sauce but I don't have enough ripe tomatoes.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all

Well Christmas is finally here, I still need another month at least. Still have a few last minute stitching to do but all will be finished. I only have to be in the shop for 4 hours today, then I have to go and buy my Hubby a present. Nothing like leaving it till the last minute. He is so hard to buy for and he is always with me when we are shopping so I thought I would take the opportunity while he is still at work.

I hope everyone out there in blogland has a very Merry and safe Christmas or a wonderful whatever holiday you are celebrating. If you are driving anywhere over Christmas please keep safe.

We are off to my BIL and SIL's place for Christmas lunch. It should be really nice. I will try and remember to take some photos, for a Scrapbook shop owner I'm not very good at remembering the camera. We have to make an hours drive North of here but the roads are generally quite first thing tomorrow so we will make the trip early.

Well I'm off now to wrap some of the pressies that are still all over my lounge room floor, yes thats right I'm not very organised this year, present wrapping is usually already done.

Merry Christmas to all.

Tracie xx

Saturday, December 20, 2008


The Farmers Market at Warick Farm Race course was packed this morning. Some of the stalls had already sold out of produce and I was there at 7.00am - they don't "open" till 8.00am, from experience I know that you have to go there on the Saturday before Christmas at the crack of dawn. They are even open this year on Christmas Eve.

I don't buy food anywhere else if I can help it, it just doesn't taste the same and everything comes from NSW.

As well as Fruit and Vegetables, there is beef, pork (best streaky bacon and ham around), olives, honey and the best cupcakes made with seasonal produce toppings, just love them. I don't eat too many though as they just go to my hips.

Tomorrow we are having a Christmas Party at home for Steve's work, have lots to do, working now in the shop better get back to it.

Have a good day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Traditions Quiz

Tracy did this on her Blog soI thought I would give it a go to try and get some Christmas Spirit...

Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper, but i like all the pressies wrapped that same in the same paper.

When do you put up the tree? I haven't this year not having Chrissy at home so decided not to and thought we would wait for Kirby (the kitten) to be older.

Do you like eggnog? I don't know. I don't think I've ever had it.

Favourite gift received as a child? A Tipetoes Doll, I got her when I was about 5 years old, she was my favourite doll for a very long time. I still have her somewhere. My next favourite pressie was the iPod I recieved 2 years ago. I just love it and it goes everywhere with me full of country music of course.

Hardest person to buy for? My Hubby. Has everything he wants, and when you ask what he wants he says a "Porche" I have received this answer for the last 25 years.

Easiest person to buy for? All the children in my life ...

Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, I think this part of christmas is very important.

Mail or email Christmas cards? neither, phone call on Christmas morning does the trick.

Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I really can't remember...

Favourite Christmas movie? Miracle on 34th Street. The Santa Clause.

When do you start shopping? Doing very little shopping this year, trying to hand make everything.

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I haven't but I have had a present given back that I gave someone a couple of years before. I was rather amused at the time and we still talk about it.
Favourite thing to eat at Christmas? Real plum pudding boiled in the cloth, Roast pork with good crackling.

Lights on the tree? Of course!

Favourite Christmas songs? Colin Buchanan's Version of "Jingle bells" brings a smile to my face.

Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travelling this year to my BIL and SIL's place for lunch.

Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? No

Angel on the tree top, or a star? Angel.

Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning...first thing.

Favourite ornament theme or colour? Red, Green and gold

What do you want for Christmas this year? I'm not that fussy, just something nice.

If you would like to do this Quiz too just leave a comment here so I can have a read.

Have fun.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Only 13 days to Christmas

Wow only 13 days till Christmas, where has the year gone, I feel like it was only yesterday that it was last Christmas. I still have quite a few things to finalise before this Christmas comes around. All the pressies are well on the way to being finished, The album I was working on is finished and has already gone to it's new home.

I found this great site called "Made It" it is like Etsy but Australian, I have listed a couple of my MIL's bathmat and Christmas Table runners on there so go and have a look. They are the best and most gorgeous bath mats around. I have been using a couple of these mats for years and they wash like a rag.

I will be back later with a garden update and some album photos.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Just dropping in to let you know that I'm okay just really busy. Have a whole heritage album to have completed by Christmas. I have a lot of updates to do but will get too them when I can. Back in a couple of weeks.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Back to Basics Challenge 1

I've joined in Belinda's Back to basics to challenge. I was inspired by Belinda's post, so I thought this is how I'm trying to have us live so why not join a challenge. so here goes -

Sowing seed or Planting - This week we planted another 10 tomato plants, this added to the 23 we have planted at Steve's parents house totals 33 tomato plants all together, we eat a lot of tomatoes here all year round so hopefully fruit fly and possums won't get to them first. In the green house at the moment Steve has Bok Choy (this grows like a weed), carrots, cape gooseberries, celery. In the garden we have Zucchini, Beans, beetroot, radishes, tomatoes, corn, pop corn, watermelon, rockmelon, apple cucumbers, leb cucumbers, capsicuim, onions, potatoes, lettuce, strawberries, asparagus, garlic, pumpkin, squash.

Planning for The Future - As far into the future I'm planning for at the moment is Christmas, as I have written in past posts that my goal is to make as many of my pressies as possible, to date I have made 4 aprons, 2 drink bottle holders, 4 wash cloths, oh dear, I had better get a move on Christmas is only 5 minutes away, I still have some baking to do but that will be closer to the date.

Working for the Future - In the last year I have bought a Fowlers preserving unit so I can preserve fruits and vegetables when they are in season so that I have them for when they are out of season and outlandishly expensive. I'm hoping to have a good crop of Tomatoes to do this with so I don't have to buy another tinned tomato. I have always had a good stock of basic provisions in the pantry, lentils, flour, rice, beans etc. I buy these things when they are on special.

Building Community -

Learn a new Skill - In the past year I have been re learning skill that I once had, sewing, knitting, crocheting, cooking from scratch. I could already do all these things but over the years i had let them slide always saying I didn't have time. The one new skill I have taught myself is how to make soap, I have made 2 batches to date and we love it. Steve's eczema is a little better for the effort. I also make our washing powder which has helped with the eczema also.

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Garden Update

The garden is looking fantastic, we have tomatoes already on our plants, we also have 2 Jurassic zucchini plants that are taking over the garden. My lemon tree has grown a least 6 inches since the weather has warmed up. Our apple trees have leaves slowly coming on hopfully, we will get some flowers soon. I cannot get the Rosella seeds to germinate, I don't know what I'm doing wrong. If there is someone out there that can offer some advice please help.

The Chrissy pressies are well on the way, I don't know if I have set myself a task that is too hard to complete, I will continue and see how I go.

I haven't had a lot of time for cooking lately, just the basic meals, some type of meat(beef, chicken or pork) and salad, there has been nothing too adventurous. We mainly eat salad in this warmer weather.

I will try and take some photos this weekend, so there is a record of the spring process.

Thank you for dropping by.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

My Trusty Elna sewing machine.

I've had the trusty elna sewing machine out in the past few weeks giving it a work out. I got inspired to sew again with the swap I joined and now the bug has bitten. It has been years since I have sewn anything but I'm back and loving it more than I did before. It has to be at least 15 years since the last time I sewed up a storm. I am finding I've got heaps more patients than before. I had to give my wonderful FIL a call twice to be my sewing machine repair man. The first time because the machine was making a CLUNK CLUNK noise that just didn't sound right, the second time because the foot pedal would only go full speed, and this was just too fast. But all is now fixed, and I'm sewing up a storm.

Here is a bit of history about this old baby, I got it as a 21st birthday present in 1984, and it was already at least 10 years old then. But with a little oil it is still working like a dream at 34 years old. It does all that I need it too.

I have been busy working on my Chrissy presents, I have decided to make all my presents this year. We'll see how this goes, I'm up to my 5th Apron, Here is a photo of the first one I made for Imogen. Imogen is 10 in December and she loves to bake. (thankyou to my model Nicky who proudly modelled my creation).

I have made 4 others but they aren't completely finished so I will show them off when they are. I still have to do the hand sewing on the front of them all.
I also want to make a couple of special little girls in my life a cloth doll each, below is my failed attempt. The head just wouldn't work for me so it is in the too hard basket for now until I work out what and how to do it. I downloaded the pattern from I cannot recall where, and it was a easy to follow pattern but the head was deformed, so it is a "Wednesday Adams" doll at he moment.

I went to Spotlight and picked up a vogue pattern, hopefully this will work better.

Bye for now

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


This is the parcel I received from my Swap Buddy Cheryl at Gingerbread Crafts , Cheryl and I were in a swap that was run by the girls at Down to Earth, I forgot to take a photo of what I sent to Cheryl. But you will find it on Cheryl's blog through the Gingerbread Craft link above.I really loved my parcel from Cheryl, I use the water bottle holder and the note book everyday.

Thanks again Cheryl.

Bye for now,

Monday, September 22, 2008

Very Busy September Part 2

Here is part 2 - On the 12th September Steve and I along with our friends Amanda and Matthew, went to the "Basement" (a restaurant and stage show venue) in Sydney's Circular Quay, to see Jon English (for those of you that read from other parts of the world Jon English is an old Aussie Rocker from the 60s and 70s) and Jonah's Road. They were both fantastic, I thought I didn't know any Jon English music but I knew quite a bit. Amanda and I went to see Jonah's Road, they are some local boys trying to make it in the country music scene. We saw them this year in Tamworth, they are great, and a lovely bunch of guys, so friendly. They have a new release on CMC the song is called "Giddy Up" go and vote for them and get them up the charts so they might get signed up for a record deal.

I have started my Christmas presents, I have made 2 aprons for two little girls I know that love to bake, I am just finishing off their names on the front. One of them I have made too short so I will add some more fabric to the bottom of that one. I then have a couple more to make but adult ones, these are for a few friends. I like the idea of the pressies in a jar, and I'm going to make the older of the 2 girls some biscuits (cookies) in a jar as well as a recipe book to go with her apron.

I am about to start my cloth dollies as well, I have 3 to make for 3 special little girls in my life, I tried a pattern I found online but I couldn't get the head to work, so I went off to spotlight and bought a pattern, I am a pattern girl I like to have a pattern to follow. The pattern I found online was good but it needed how to do it pictures.

I'm going to give everyone I can homemade gifts this year. I really like the gift in a jar idea. I got all my ideas over at Down to Earth. While you are checking out Down to Earth leave a comment in answer to the questions Rhonda is asking in this current post. Rhonda is writing a book and she would like to know why all here readers have chosen the simple life.

Well I think I have caught up now, I will try and be more diligent

in my posting.

Bye for now,


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Very Busy September

I can't believe that it has been 3 weeks since my last post. I'm generally not that slack. We have had a hectic September. First there was Fathers day, we had a lovely brekky out with my FIL and the rest of the family at Rhodes. After breakfast we had a look around Ikea - I love Ikea, it was very busy at Ikea for Fathers Day, I thought everyone would be out having Fathers Day lunch and I would be nice and quite, but no, everyone had gone out for Brekky just like us and then they all went to Ikea as well. We managed to fight through the crowd and grab a few gadgets that we needed.

The next week we had our nephew Ethan's 8th Birthday Party. He turned 8 on the 9th of September and had his "Sports Party" on Sunday the 14th of September. The children had lots of fun. I glad I wasn't the 2 young ladies that were trying to keep 18 children amused in between rain showers. It was a very wet afternoon. They both did a very good job, the children were exhausted when they left after 2.5 hours of non stop running and lots of sugar.
Today (21st Spetember) was the Annual Spring Carnival at Gannons Park. When we got there I thought, I should have bought the camera and taken some photos. It was a beautiful spring day as usual, there were some great crafts and displays to look at. We stood and watched the dog trials for a little while, some doggies are very clever. We spent 1.5 hours at the fair and had a great time, we then spent an hour in the garden, the spuds are growing like weeds so I covered them with mulch again. They will be out of the mulch by tomorrow, I'm sure.

Last week we planted zucchini, purple beans, Lazy Housewife beans, yellow squash, baby corn, we now have added this to Tomatoes, potatoes, asparagus, snow peas, carrots, chard, lettuce, beetroot . If we can keep the slugs and possums off them we should have a good harvest this year. This is a photo of our snow peas, we have been harvesting chinese takeaway containers full every couple of days.

Here is a photo of Steve doing some planting in the pouring rain.

Don't our snow peas look yummy, I can tell you they are. There is nothing like picking and eating out of your own garden. Not too many make it into the container when I'm picking. I love raw vegies.

I do have more photos I will try and do more posting tomorrow.

Bye for now,

Tracie xx

Monday, September 01, 2008

Happy to see Spring

Today is the 1st of September and the first day of Spring. The days are already starting to get longer, the sun is coming up at around 6.00am. I only know this because this is when Kirby wakes me up, and this is the time on the clock radio. Who needs an alarm when you have a little cat chewing on your fingers. Steve and I went to the Gardening Australia show in Sydney yesterday, we were both a little disappointed, but this didn't stop us from buying a new greenhouse The new one is the tall one. and a new cat loo. Steve had filled up our little greenhouse with seed trays and everytime I would ask have you got seeds planted for this or that he would say that he had no more room in the green house. So now we have 2. He will probably fill up the 2nd one this weekend.
This morning it is nice and warm sitting here at the computer, it is 19 C (66F) on the clock. The clock hasn't been above 8C (46F) in the morning for weeks now. I think the warm weather is going to come on fast. This is fine as long as we get a little more rain.

I will leave you with some other photos of our "Patch".

This is the end of winter look, we will start to mulch and spread some worm castings around to make this all look better.

Here are our strawberries trying to make a come back after the possum ate all the leaves.
Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Weekend in the garden

I started this post on Tuesday and it is now Friday and I'm getting around to finishing it.

We spent all day Sunday (24th Aug in the garden), very nice but tiring. The 24 tomato seedlings we planted last weekend most have been eaten we have replaced them with bigger seedlings from the nursery. Steve has got seedlings in the greenhouse but these aren't growing fast enough and we want to put in bigger seedlings so whatever stole them last time won't steal them again.

We now have 5 garden beds ready to be planted up in the spring.

We went to Altra Nursery and bought some larger tomato seedling and my FIL put in the ground for me. Hopefully nothing has eaten them.

Our Zucchini are growing nicely they getting bigger everyday, at least the Possums don't like to eat these yet. We are having trouble with keeping leaves on our strawberry plants, I have to cover them every night or else the resident Possum eats all the leaves. I thought he might have left our yard as I have been leaving an apple out for him every night and over the last few nights the apple has still been there, but this morning the apple was gone, so I think he was just eating elsewhere for the last few nights.

My blueberries are coming along nicely, Steve laughs that we are only going to get enough berries to make a handful. This is the first year we have had the plant so i will be happy with this. I will put another blueberry bush in this year then we will have more berries for next year.

On Thursday night I made Kate's from Our Red House "Gran's Apple Tea cake" you will find the recipe here, it was delicious and so simple to make. I will certainly be making this again, thanks Kate for sharing.

This is about all the baking I have had time to do lately. I did make Strawberry Jam again on Monday night I still don't like it. I probably won't make it again I thought if i made my own Strawberry Jam I might like it but no I don't. It's official the only way I like strawberries is fresh.

We are off to the Gardening Australia show this weekend, hopefully to get some good ideas. I will try and take lots of photos and post the here. I'm not real good at the old photo posting.

Not too much gardening is going to happen in the next few weeks as we are so busy on Sundays with Father's Day and Ethans Birthday party taking up the next few weeks. But I will try and do more baking and I do need to make more soap.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Catch up

Was very busy in the garden this past weekend. We have planted 24 tomato plants of different varieties. Cherry Tomatoes, Roma, Morgage Lifter, this is the start of our pre spring planting. Have put in more Bok Choy as we just love it, the zucchini we put in 2 weeks ago is growing like a weed even though we are having a cold winter here in Sydney. Last week never got above 16 degrees C, I know in some parts of the world that this would be considered summer, We're not acustomed temperatures this low, not day after day anyway, in some parts of NSW it has snowed more than usual. Does this mean we are going to have a stinking hot summer? I hope not I had the heat.

Enough rambling on about the weather.

We harvested another cauliflower it was delicous, there is still some in the fridge so i might make some soup out of it.

We started to use our homemade soap yesterday, it's been about 6 weeks since I made the first batch, its so nice, I will have to get on to another batch so we won't run out. I'm going to try the Copha soap recipe that I found on Down to Earth next. It looks so easy and copha is a little cheaper than coconut oil.

Our little Kirby is growing everyday - he now weighs 2.3kg, not bad for a cat that only weighed 600g when we adopted him 4 weeks ago. He's not feeling real well today, last night he had his first kitten vaccination and it has knocked him about a bit. For Kirby not to eat he must be feeling sick. Stacy (our good friend and Vet) said he should be eating by tomorrow. All he has done all day today is lay on the bed curled up in a tiny ball, I can't even get a purr out of him which is so unlike Kirby.

Better go now and do some work.

Bye for now...

Tracie xx

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I've Been Tagged!!! "My Five Favourite Things"

Kristin over at Homemaker at Heart has tagged me.

(1) Steve - Husband

(2) My cats Lil Pud and Kirby

(3)Aidan and Riley - our friends Kelly and Steve's children but I love them lots and lots.

(4)Country Music - anyone that knows me knows I'm a diehard country music fan. My favourite singer is Troy Cassar-Daley.

(5) Cooking - this is a new favourite thing. I always thought I didn't have the time to do it but now I love to cook and try new recipes.

I don't know alot of bloggers out there that I would feel comfortable tagging so If you are reading this and would like to participate just put your five favourite things on your blog and let me know about it so I can read it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Too Busy

I think I'm just going to have to make one day per week a blog update day. It's 2 weeks since I was last here. Slack is what I am. Steve and I had a great time in Mudgee. It was very cold up there as we expected. I didn't get to take as many photos as I wanted but we are planning on going up again in the spring when it's a little warmer and we don't have places to be all weekend. We didn't get to do anything touristy like winerys etc.

We have got a new kitten, well we have had him for a week now. He is soooo cute his name is Kirby - and he is a little ginger fluff ball. I know I said that I wouldn't have another gnger cat but Kirby just wormed his way into our hearts from the moment we met the scrawny little thing.

Isn't he just the cutest little thing.

The next photo shows just how little he is. He was so scrawny that you could feel every bone in his little body. We have given him the nick-name of seagull, whenever he thinks there might be food around he meows and meows and it sounds just like a seagull squarking waiting for you to throw it a chip at the beach.

One week later he isn't as scrawny, the little bones in his body aren't as easy to feel there is a bit more padding on his bones.

Steve and Kirby.

It was so cold outside that when Steve bought Kirby over to the shop he carried him in his jumper. Lil Pud isn't taking to this interloper in her house too well. She gave him a good swipe over the head the other night just to let him know she is the "Queen" of the house. He stays right away from this grumpy big bullyof a girl cat. I'm sure they will get use to each other eventually.

I will have to take him back to the vet for his needles on Sunday then he will be able to come outside and help us in the vege garden, this willl be an adventure for the curious little critter.

I will try to be better at updating. I will leave you with another photo of Kirby.

Bye for now.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Steve and I are off to Mudgee tomorrow, at 5.00am, we are just going for 2 days one night, we will be back on Saturday afternoon. We are staying at a B & B called Suzie's Hideaway, we haven't been to Mudgee for years so it will be nice to go up and have a look around again.

I'm taking the big camera so I will post some pictures next week. Better go and check the batteries are charged.

We have a very busy weekend ahead of us, 21st Birthday party of very good friends eldest son on Saturday night, and our youngest nephew, Justin is having his first birthday party on Sunday. All this is being held in the Sydney CBD. Did everyone forget the Pope is here this weekend and Sydney is going to be a nightmare to get around. We will have to go by train, cheaper than using the car with petrol prices the way they are.

Will post more later, better go to work now..

Tracie xx

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Tupperware Party

Tonight I'm having a Tupperware Party. Tupperware the most fantastic plastic containers on the planet. I have the stuff breeding in the cupboard. Over the last couple of years I have stopped buying it as it is just too expensive. There are a couple of peices that I just can't live without like the Fridge Smarts and Veg Outs, these 2 articles are just fantastic and they really work. I put all my vegetable in the Fridge Smart containers and it keeps them for weeks (I actually use all the veges too quickly now) and in the VegOut I store potatoes and onions. They are stored seperately as they send each other bad.

The reason I'm having a party is to help a friend out, she is just strating out as a dealer, I try not to host Tupperware parties anymore but with that said, I end up having one every year it is really becoming an annual event. I will be trying not to buy anything my plan is to get enough sales that I will get what I want for free.

I have already made cupcakes this morning from the Crabapple Bakery cookbook they are the easiest cupcakes to make and I know they work. Now I'm going to make my friend Kelly's Weekender Biscuits.
These weekender biscuits (cookies) are always a hit whenever they are made, they just melt in your mouth.

Have a great day

Tracie xx

Thursday, July 03, 2008

How My Garden is growing

We ate our first Cauliflower out of our very own garden yesterday. It was so yum. I made a nice cheesy white sauce to go on it and that made it even more delicious. The Broccoli is also getting bigger and bigger we will be eating them as well real soon. Eating out of your own garden is so satisfying, the hard work is worth it to not have to eat all those chemicals. I spent a couple of minutes each morning and go down to the garden and pull the little green caterpillars off the leaves, I think the moths have finally worked out that laying eggs in my garden is no way of carrying on their moth lineage as the caterpillars only end up squished under my foot. I haven't seen anymore caterpillars for a couple of days.

Our Rainbow Chard looks and tastes just fantastic. I will make another Spinach/Silverbeet Pie very soon it was so nice last week, you will find the recipe on the Down to Earth blog.
I made some yummy Strawberry jam last week. It tasted good but I didn't get it to the right setting point. I will try again, this was my first attempt at jam making. I started to write this a couple of days ago but this is the first chance I have had to get back to it.
Steve and I planted our apple trees today. We have put them in two very big pots, we have used pots so that if we move we can take them with us to our new home.
I will try and get back tomorrow.
Tracie xx

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pay it Forward

I have joined Tracy in Pay it forward.

I saw the above sign on her blog and wanted to play along.

This is how it goes : it's the Pay It Forward exchange, based on the concept of the movie "Pay It Forward", where acts of kindness are done without expecting anything in return, just passing it on, hoping that the recipients will do the same and pay it forward, like a never ending chain of kindness...
How to proceed ?
I will make and send a handmade gift for the first 3 friends who post a comment to this post, requesting to join this exchange, and promising to pay it forward to 3 other persons, etc....I don't know what my 3 gifts will be, and I can't make them in the next few weeks, but I can promise I will send them within the next 6 months .
What YOU have to do in return then, is pay it forward by making the same announcement and promise on YOUR blog.
Come and join the fun to make the world a happier place !

I hope there is someone out there that would like me to send them something, please come and join in.

Tracie xx

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Queens Birthday Long Weekend

I have been having a great time baking bread rolls, I have made three lots so far if I had known how easy it was I would have done then before now.
Here they are before they are baked. I have found that the secret is to let them rise for quite a bit of time. I left this lot for 2 hours yesterday while we were out in the morning then I baked them for lunch.
Here they are after they baked for 19 minutes at 205 degrees on fan forced.

They were so yummy and light and fluffy inside, the secret is in the rising time. We ate these rolls with Celery and Celeriac soup. it was Yum and so filling

The other thing I have made is my Nana's

6 long Red Chillies

4 Large green apples

3 cups Sugar

1.5 cups white Vinegar

Deseed and chop chillies. If you like some bite in your relish leave some of the seeds in.
Peel core and chop apples.
Put all ingredients into a lge pot and simmer stirring occassionally until the relish is set using the cold plate testing method. The relish will darken the longer it is cooked. It takes 3 time the recipe to get this much relish.

I also finally used my Fowlers electric preserving pan that I picked up at Bankstown Markets for $7.00. So now I can keep my relish in the pantry.

My Mum always keeps hers in the pantry even though she doesn't use a preserving pan.

The other thing I made this weekend from scratch was pizza. I made the dough and all. The pizzas were just lovely. I don't usually like pizza but I will be doing these again.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

WINTER - My Favourite season...

I have reading two of my favourite blogs Sunny Corner Farm and Beyond My Picket Fence and their titles included winter in them. This inspired me to write something about winter here.

Yes winter is here, but here in Sydney we are just having rain and the cloud cover is keeping it nice and warm.

Well I think it's warm (18 degrees C) today. This is my favourite time of the year I just love winter, I would like the rain to stop for a day or two just so I can get the washing dry. I have a dryer but I don't want to use it. I uses too much power. We have an outside undercover clothes line but the air is so damp that nothing is dryingThe fire has been going for 4 days now and the house is nice and toasty, so I have been trying to hang what I can on hangers but the house is looking like a laundry.

I baked my first lot of bread rolls from scratch the other night, they were alright, I need to practice some more, will cook some more over the weekend. I did cheat and do the dough in the bread maker. Next time I will take some photos.

Tonight we are having Apricot Chicken for dinner with Mashed potatoes and some other vegetables I still haven't decided which ones. This whole dish costs about $6.00 and there are leftovers for lunch tomorrow, Steve likes to take leftovers for lunch the next day so I always cook extra.

Tracie xx

Sunday, June 01, 2008

In Loving Memory of Toby 6/2/1996 to 1/6/2008

We lost our beautiful boy today.

He was hit by a car this morning. Steve found him on the footpath not a scratch on him.

We tried to keep him inside but he was at his happiest outside. He loved to wander and I knew our street would be the death of him.

Toby had a good almost 12 and a half 1/2 years. More than he would of had if we hadn't rescued him from the local vet clinic all those years ago. He was on death row, the kitten no one wanted, but we gave him a home and we loved him with all our hearts. He is going to be greatly missed as he was our baby.

He was grumpy but we loved everything about him. I knew him so well, I could read every little facial expression and I knew what he wanted when he wanted something, there will never be another cat like him.

We are going to miss Toby so much, rest in peace our little mate.


Ps. These are some of the last photos that were taken of him on Thursday 29th May.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bring on June

May just hasn't been the best month at Our simple green house.. First there was the cold then when I was in the shower on Tuesday Morning I put my back out. Dr said this is a very common spot for a back injury. The garden will be suffering for a bit, bending is a task that isn't happening without pain. I have been doing lots of sitting and resting. On Wednesday I spent the whole day Watching the 7th season on the "Gilmore Girls", (I just love this show I was so disappointed when I found out this was the last season) I had borrowed it to make doing the ironing more bearable but ironing was out of the question. The chiropractor said "No standing for long periods". Oh well I had to send the ironing to the ironing lady, bit out of the budget but what is a girl to do? I figured the pile was only going to get bigger and bigger and become a very daunting task so it may as well get done. The ironing lady and I are currently working on a Barter system, she irons for me and I'm going to scan a pile of photos and put them onto disk for her. This works for both of us and keeps the costs down. (I would prefer to scan photos to ironing any day)

Ironing lady is a luxury I used to have on a regular basis but now I try to keep up tp date with the ironing myself. A cleaning lady was another Luxury I used to have, but I haven't had one of those for a few years now. Nobody seems to do it just right...

Tomorrow we are going to a friends vow renewal ceremony, they have been married for 10 years but they didn't have a "wedding" the first time just themselves and 2 witnesses, they figure they have endured 10 years and are still going strong that they might as well have a "PARTY". This should be a lot of fun. I will try to blog more often, I also have some progress photos of the garden to put up, as well as my first attempt at pasta making.

Have a great day and stay safe.

Tracie xx

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I have been very slack in my posting lately. We have had visitors for the last 2 weeks and this makes it hard to keep up with everything. I was tagged the other day and only got around to answering it yesterday. As well as all that I have got a cold. One of the children that was visiting was very sharing and shared his cold with me. Oh well this cannot be helped but it sure does make you feel miserable. If I worked for someone other than myself I would have been home in bed for the last 2 days. I have tomorrow off and I'm going to the doctors, not that I think he can do much for my cold. I have been having lots of hot lemon drinks with pure honey in them. The throat is starting to feel a bit better today. The head is still throbbing. Enough about that it's only a cold...

Our garden is doing great, we are already eating salad greens out of it. The lettuce tastes just devine and I have had to sprinkle pepper all around to keep my 2 cats off the garden, this seems to me working, we will see. I have been telling everyone that the vegetables are already seasoned while they are growing. We should be eating Pak Choy and Chinese cabbage in the next couple of weeks. These are both growing like wildfire. We have also had a small meal of Snowpeas, they were so sweet and delicious.

Our "little" peach tree has decided to blossom, it is very confused, I think the couple of warm days that we had has made it think it is spring. It has eight lovely flowers on it. I hope this doesn't mean it's going to die. It was a Christmas pressie a couple of years ago.

I have the slowcooker on the bench bubbling away cooking dinner. The smell is devine. I'm cooking "Symple Beef Stew" or my variation of it. I found the recipe last winter in "The Symply Too Good To Be True" cookbooks. Here is the link to the web site. I use quite a few of her recipes, they are low fat, low salt and very tasty and delicious, I think they are reasonably in price as well.

I will try to take more photos so I can post them here.

Have a great evening...

Monday, May 05, 2008


I have been tagged by Tracy at Sunny Corner Farm to provide some trivia about me and some facts about me.

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.

2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.

3. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their name, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

***What I was doing 10 years ago:

Ten years ago I was working as a Daycare Mum in my home and enjoying every bit of it. I suppose this was homeschooling other peoples' children while they were at work. it was a great job. I cared for 5 children under 5. Which a lot of people in blogland do except I got to send them home everyday.

Five Snacks I enjoy:

1. Cheese and biscuits

2. Chocolate

3. Anything homebaked

4. Bananas

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

I would buy 5 acres in the bush but near enough to the sea so my DH can go fishing everyday, I think I would also help all my close friends and family become debt free.

Five jobs that I have had:

1. Deli assistant (first job out of school)

2. Checkout chick in Woolies

3. Personnel Manager Grace Bros (Myer)

4. Self employed Homebased Daycarer

5. Self employed I currently have my own Scrapbook Shop

Three of my habits:

My husband will tell you I have a flat surface problem - If there is a clear flat surface I will put something there and clutter it up. I don't think this is a problem at all...

I am a hoarder

Eating - I love food way too much

Five place I have lived:

1. Woodridge (Suburb south of Brisbane Qld) This is where I grew up.

2. Lakemba (rented here first year married) (Suburb Sydney)

3. Narwee (bought our first and only unit here) suburb of Sydney

4. Padstow Hts (our current home) suburb of Sydney.

5. Will be somewhere in the country where we can live a more simple life.

Five people I Want to Get to Know Better:

Anyone who reads this consider yourself tagged

Friday, April 25, 2008

Simple living

Rhonda Jean of has asked all her readers to write about living a simple life.

Steve, myself and our two cats Toby and Lil Pud, live on a 675 square metre suburban block.

We're trying to live a simple life and are taking this journey one baby step at a time.

To start this journey I have taken most of the convenience out of our lives. When I cook/bake, I do it from scratch. I always used bottles packets and sachets to cook with thinking this was saving time and it tasted good. Then I started to look at what was in these convenience foods and I was astounded by what I found in them that wasn't healthy. I now have complete control over what we eat and what things we put into our bodies. I bake bread daily, (in a machine), I use the slow cooker at least 3 times a week, this is so convenient when you work full time plus some. I come home in the afternoon and dinner is not only cooked but the house smells wonderful.

We have also taken dining out every other day out of our lives, this took a bit of getting use to but I now prefer to stay in and cook for friends. If is far more peaceful and cheaper than a noisy restaurant.

A couple of years ago I discovered the farmers markets at Warwick Farm. I haven't bought fruit and vegetables anywhere else since if I can help it. The vegetables are so fresh and taste like they should, not like they have been in cold storage for weeks before they make the shelves. The carrots still have green tops on them and the sweet corn is so sweet and fresh.

We have turned going to the markets on Saturday Morning into a special outing that we look forward too, not a weekly chore. We have a nice coffee and something nice for breakfast.

I recycle, we have started growing our own vegetables, we collect water when it rains in 3, 200 lt drums, I dry my washing outside on the line, and now I think before I buy something new. I look in the op shops to see if I can recycle something from there, (have found some treasures).

I would love to have my own chooks but still talkingSteve into it. I'm sure I will get there eventually.

We will just continue to take baby steps towards simple living.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It's a Cats Life

In my next life I want to be a cat. Not just any type of cat but a pampered spoilt cat who gets to lie around all day and do nothing much except think about where his next meal in coming from.
This is Toby getting ready for a day of snoozing on our bed, and on the new quilt my MIL made, he just loves our new quilt he thinks he owns it.

As soon as I had it on the bed he was up on it getting ready to have a snooze. This morning when I left for work he was curled up on the beanbag in the lounge room. I went home to get lunch and he popped his head out of the beanbag as if to say "Oh it's only you" then put the head back down and proceeded to go back to sleep.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Still Raining ... not complaining

It is still raining in Sydney Town, the morning temperatures are dropping as well. This morning it is a little cooler. This is my favourite time of the year, Autumn and winter. I just love both these seasons, I love Spring as well but not as much as Autumn and Winter. I'm not a fan of summer at all too hot, although, this summer was really mild quite bearable, bring on more summers like 2007/2008. It will be very interesting what type of winter we are going to have. I'm putting money on a very cold one.

Yesterday I planted celery, borage, spinach, rocket and some marigolds, the marigolds looks lovely in amongst all the green leaves of the veges. I also planted some cornflower seeds, these are to entice bees and other lovely bugs too our garden. The cabbages are coming along fine one of them is already starting to form a heart, it's so wonderful to watch. We are already starting to harvest some of the salad greens we have growing in the garden. They were just great on sandwiches last week.

We have a new grower at the local Farmers Market, he has the most wonderful tomatoes around, I have had a couple for brekky this morning with some lovely farm fresh scrambled eggs, it was divine. Now I'm working on Steve about some chickens, I would love to have some chooks so we could eat our own farm fresh eggs, we would then know what they are being fed as well. I will take some photos of our farmers market and post them here next week.

I really should post more often then I wouldn't have to ramble on like this.

The Pak choy and the Chinese cabbage we planted out last week have doubled in size. It won't belong before we are eating them, Mmmm I can taste those stirfries already.

Spent Saturday night on my lonesome, Steve went to a Tuff Truck event with a mate that was being held at Singleton, I spent the night doing some sewing, I haven't had the sewing machine out for years so I'm trying to brush up on my skills. Sewing is a skill that I have let go over the years but to be self sufficient I will need this skill. I have been practicing with some undies, Bonds have stopped making the undies I love so I have to make my own, not ready for "cottontails" yet. Well I cut the pattern out, and thought these look huge, well they are, two people my size could fit into them, will need to do some pattern adjusting, another skill that I need to brush up on. Well the time has come to get ready for work. Tune in tomorrow..........

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Rain Glourious Rain

I just love the rain, there is such a feeling of cleanliness when it is raining. The Veges are just enjoying the nice soaking. It can stop for a bit now and let the water soak into the earth otherwise the plants will be floating away. All the water drums are filling up.

Here is the cabbage and broccoli enjoying the rain. Followed by the lemon tree and the snowpeas.

As I write the rest of this entry the sun has come out and it is a glorious day in Sydney. They are still forcasting rain for the rest of the week, This will be good and the plants should flourish and start to really take off.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Great Weekend

Have had a very busy weekend, Farmers market as usual on Saturday, it is our special Saturday morning outing now. Brekky, shopping then home. Went out to dinner with some friends on Saturday night it was great to catch up, haven't caught up since christmas.

Sunday we did some more garden work, planted more snowpeas, pak choy and chinese cabbage are now in the ground. Have started to have some lettuce leaves of our lettuces in our salad, they are so lovely and crunchy, this is just the start of eating from our own backyard. I know it is going to take patients but the wait will be worth it, lovely fresh produce from our own garden. Just have to keep Lil Pud one of our much loved cats out of the garden. I am trying Pepper at the moment.

The fingernails are starting to look a little worse for wear but that is a sacarfice I'm willing to make for our own fresh produce.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Cold Winds have arrived

The wind was really bad today. We moved the babies (seedling) in under cover so they wouldn't get blown over and destroy weeks of work. We now have pak choy, chinese cabbage more snowpeas a,d basil and dill ready to be planted out into the garden. The parsnips and turnips are now putting their heads up above the soil to see what the world is like. Will need to thin the parsnips out real soon.

Steve has planted some asparagus seeds today. We know they are going to take a long time from seed but we can't find a plant anywhere. We will just have to be patient with this one.

have spent a little more time reading about Peak Oil. I don't know what I believe, I still need to do more research. It is very scarey. I know the world Oil supply isn't finite so will eventually run out. I have started refreshing some of the skills that I have let go due to the easy life we are having at the moment, like sewing, knitting, baking, and gardening (never really been a gardener but I'm willing to learn all that I can). I am a avid reader so I have armed myself with all the books on organic gardening permaculture etc. thatI can find in the local library and am trying to devour them as fast as I can. we have been planning to buy property and move to the country for a couple of years, the time is just not right at the moment, we have other comittments, but when these committments are done we will be out of the big smoke for ever.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Silver Anniversary

Well today Steve and I have been married 25 years. Boy does time go fast. It doesn't seem like yesterday but it doesn't seem like 25 years either. Going out for dinner tonight to celebrate nice seafood buffet, on fly buy points wouldn't pay big money anymore not like we use to, and we already have these points so we may as well usethem.

Got a load of soil today (from Flowerpower) to start work on the new garden on the weekend. We are going to plant a small batch of winter vegetables at Steve's parents place and then prepare more beds for planting in the Spring. We are going to give "no dig gardening" a go, the soil is really poor so it needs alot of help. We will more than likely plant "green manure" to help it along and to add some nutrients to a garden bed that has been over gardened and nothing added back to it.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Oh My Goodness (Peak Oil)

I have just started reading "Choosing Eden" by Adrienne Langman. This is a very thought provoking book. It has made me look at life into the future very differently. Now I know we have to change the way we are doing things and be prepared for when this happens. It's not a case of if it happens but when it happens and I think we all should be starting to make changes in our life that will make the transition into a world were oil is sooooo expensive and beyond the reach of the average person easier.

Lowering our debt is the first place to start. While we have big debt over our heads we aren't free to do what we want. There will be no more frivilous spending at "The Simple Green House" all the money that is spent from now on will be to prepare us for the not so smooth future.

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Simple Life

This is the first entry into the log of our attempt to live a little more simply and not spend money on useless "stuff". About 2 years ago we found and started using the Farmers Market for all our fruit and veg needs. Doing this has sent us on a quest to eat food that has less impact on the environment. All the food at the market has had to travel less kilometres to get to us as it is all produced locally.

A while ago we stopped eating as much takeaway as we use to. It was always so convenient to just pick up chinese on the way home from work, this is expensive and full of fat, so we cook most of our meals at home and from scratch, I have even taken the processed bottles and packet mixes out of our diet. They contain too much salt anyway as well as making the meal more expensive.

We have now just embarked on growing our own food in our backyard. We had small amout of sucess with the tomatoes that we planted in pots in the summer that we have dug a vege patch in the garden and have planted winter vegetables. Broccoli, Cauliflower, Peas, Snowpeas, Parsnips, Turnips, blueberries, bay laurel, we have pak choy and chinese cabbage in the seedling house growing away frantically, we will be able to put them in the ground next weekend they should be srtong enough.

I have reorganised the worm farm and compost bins and have organised an extra bin someone is giving me one they don't use. Then we should have lots of lovely compost for the garden.