Monday, August 29, 2011

The Final Countdown

In 7 days time Rémi returns to school, and Tino starts school OMG!  Both my children will be in school, how weird is that? To help countdown the days (as they both can't wait!) we made a 'Back to School' jar- one sweetie a day for a week.  I hope they control themselves better than they did last christmas with the advent calendar "NO boys, just because you've opened and eaten the 24 chocolates on the 2nd of December it does'nt mean Santa will be coming tonight!"

Here's one of my little work in progress baskets.  Might actually get somethings finished as of next week.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Never put off until tomorrow...

...what you can do today!
Well with that in mind I decided to knit Tino a horse using a pattern that Linda from Natural Suburbia so very kindly sent me a few days ago; knit it and finish it in a day!  I told the boys that it was an 'unstructured activity day' which basically meant that they had to amuse themselves - biking, playing on the swings, in the sandpit, unarmed combat, it was a sunny day so the posibilities were endless.
So far so good, that is until Ginette (my mother in-law) turned up with a tonne of plums and a few tomatoes from her sister's garden.  Instantly the boys wanted to make a 'gateau' with the fruit and the idea of an 'unsupervised' cooking activity in my kitchen had little apeal to me.  So I had to help.

Plum clafoutis
 Never the less, I managed to get the horse finished (we had take out pizza for dinner) just in time for Tino to add it to his extensive collection of cuddly bedtime chums.
Tino named her Paquitta

I'm just pickled pink!

Home grown and beautifully rough around the edges!
After my sucessful foray into jaming I thought I'd give pickling beetroot a wirl.  We have lot of it in the garden and apart from picking it I've tryed roasting it with garlic and basil, eating it raw (grated) in salad, boiling it and serving it cold with sliced red onions and making it into mini soufflés. And i'm yet to try the 'Red Velvet' cake recipe that i got for my birthday.

Here's the recipie for the spiced pickling vinegar:-
1.5l cider vinegar (could'nt find malt)
2 cloves garlic
1 whole bruised ginger
3 bay leaves
25g chopped shallots
50g black pepper corns
25g mixed spices

It's very easy, just boil the vinegar  with all the other ingredients (put the spices in a muslin bag or coffee filter) for 15mins, strain, let it go cold and pour over cold, cooked beets in sterilised jars.  Leave to 'pickle' for 3 - 4 weeks before eating.
Homegrow/made, you just can't BEET it!
Still on the subject of all things pink, I've just finished off jaming the rest of the redcurrents.  This time I did it the old fashioned way i.e putting the hot berries through a muslin cloth and burning my fingers squeezing the jus out!  Not only do I now have 4 more pots of jam I also have a pink tinted drying up cloth. Bonus!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

All in a lather

A few months ago I bought some soaps and other goodies from Melissa at Honeybee Holistics.  She makes everything she sells with homegrow organic ingredients, and she very kindly explained to me the basics of  safe soap making with small children.  Naturally I couldn't find any organic soap making bases in Chamonix, so I had to 'cheat' a little bit! 

Firstly Rémi grated up an existing neutral white organic soap bar, then added to that some lavender flowers (and a few leaves), some oats, a few drops of lavender and mandarin essential oils and 5tbsp of cold water.

Then came the delicate part! We, well I, formed the soap 'mush' into ball(ish) shapes.  Rémi, with his big strong mountain boys hands, found this part rather to fragile, if you get my drift!

Whilst the soaps were drying in the mid-day heat we made some tye-dyed gift packets out of small paper coffee filters, using cake icing dye.

 Now this is the best bit - the boys have taken to washing; faces and all.  They went of to bed a while ago all shinney and sweet smelling.
packaging can also be used as a party hat!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

We're jaming, we hope you like jaming too

Like with most things that happen around here, jaming, is a family affair.  The black and red current bushes have been lovingly tended to by Papy Bob, the fruit picked and sorted by him, Rémi and Tino, and the jam made by me.  I made jelly or 'Gelée' as they call it in France, which is basically jam without the bits, it's takes a bit more effort than 'lumpy' jam but I think it's worth it.

500g blackcurrents, 1kg redcurrents & a handfull of leaves.

makes a great present

 the end of last years jam and the first of this years fruit

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Incy Wincy Spider...

"what no water-spout?"
...can't climb the water-spout! I never noticed before todays 'photoshoot' that our water-spout doesn't actually come down the side of our house, it just sticks off the roof and drains into the field.  So this spider has to content himself with sitting on the fence.
After making a slugg for Tino, Rémi asked me to make him a spider, so instead of looking for a model I thought I'd give my imagination a little work-out.  I kept him simple (this speaks volumes about my imagination hey!), just a crochet ball body and 6 i-cord (learnt from a natural suburbia tutorial) legs that I stuffed with drinking straws to make them semi-ridgid.  Rémi's baby blues inspired the big eyes and the teeth are just two tiny weeny i-cords.
Currently working on a snail to go with the afore mentioned creatures.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A bit of unfinished business

I'm not very methodical to say the least, I'm forever cleaning my teeth just before drinking my orange juice (yuck).   In creative circles my method (or lack of it) of working is termed 'work in progress'!  I just can't seem to finish one project before starting another, but I do always finish so i guess that what's important, it just means that there's bits of stuff everywhere!
Work in progress!

Lucky for me that Richard is rather more organised, or our electricity/water/gas would have been cut off ages ago!!  My paper work skills tend to be more of the origami kind than the paying bills kind!
after a long day in the sadle - Paperwork!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


MUM'S the word
I hear each day
Every minute!, every hour!,
Whilst I'm taking a pee,
Whilst I'm in the shower,
Whilst I'm making dinner
Or reading a book
"Mum, A lego spaceship
come take a look"
And everythings SO funny to my little guys
"Mum, there's a U.F.O. stuck down the toilet, SURPRISE!!"
But somtimes they come wisper in my ear
Something truly amazing for only me to hear
Don't worry boys,

ahh don't you just want to dunk'em in yur coffee!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Natural Suburbia

I've never been to South Africa, and despite the obvious reasons for wanting to go  i.e beautiful beaches, Lions, sunsets etc, I'm also curious to see how many hours they have in a day over there?
I've been following  for sometime now, and I never cease to be amazed at how much Linda, the author, homeschooling mother of 4, knitter, pattern designer, gardener, homesteader (i've probably missed a few thing out here, sorry) manages to acheive with her time.  She makes me feel like a Sloth!
Here are a few of her projects interpreted by us...

Just big enough as a display mat for one of  Rémi's crystals.

Banana Bread


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Finger Picking Good!

Picked, cleaned, baked, eaten and blogged - all in a day's work!

guess who had to climb up this 'homemade' ladder to get to the jucy fruit?

'Mirabelle' small sweet yellow plums

a slice of the action!