A farm stay and the snow!

We just came back from a whirlwind trip to the snow via Canberra. Part of our ‘ticking off things to do before we move’ list. It has made it even more clear to me that a tree change is the right thing for us. I have been snowed under (ha ha) at work since we got back, so I’ve fallen off the blogging wagon this week. I am hoping to catch up on all my favourite blogs over the weekend. For now I will share some pics from the trip.

walking on farmland

Exploring the farm

Perisher, snowy mountains

Pretty Perisher nestled in the snowy peaks

icicles hanging from building

Check out those icicles!

The farm we stayed on was wonderful. Highland Lodge farm stay. Great location, just outside Jindabyne, with views out to the snow-topped mountains. And such a good rate for peak snow season. Just 40 minutes from the snow. I would highly recommend it, perfect for families. Ros, our hostess, was so wonderful and friendly. The kids loved the animals and wildlife, and exploring the farmland.

kids exploring a hollow tree

lots of things to explore

farmland and snow capped peaks beyond

snow capped peaks viewed from the farm

kids running on farmland

space to run

Leftover snow from a recent fall - a first for the little one

Leftover snow from a recent fall – a first for the little one

shy sheep running on farmland

shy sheep

canberra parliament house

Parliament house – tick! look how rugged up I am compared to my husband. He’s pommy through and through.

Oh well, its back to reality for us. I wish we could have stayed longer, but work and school beckoned, but we have some wonderful memories.

Have a lovely weekend!
Teresa x

(P.s. I am not receiving any commissions from highland lodge farm stay)

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Recycled T-shirt basket and a crochet toadstool

Hello there! Well, kids are back at school today and we are slowly returning back to the normal routine. Even though we had the kids home for the holidays I managed to get a few crafty things done. I finished my first crochet project, the amigurumi toadstool, using the pattern supplied for free at annabooshouse.

crochet toadstool

I am so pleased with it, despite the odd little mistakes here and there. Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to get photos before my girls played with it, took it to bed, and then took it to school today! I had to snatch it back for a quick photo opportunity when they came home. Its looking a bit bobbly in the picture. My daughter made the little mushrooms with a bit of help from me. It was such a gloomy day today it was hard to take nice pictures.

crochet toadstool

My next holiday project was inspired by Heike at made with Loops, who shared a free pattern to make a basket. Her creations are lovely, my efforts do not do her pattern justice at all. You should definitely check out her blog. Unfortunately I had no chunky t-shirt yarn for this basket project so decided to improvise and cut up some old t-shirts I found during my school holiday clear out to make my own yarn.

t shirt yarn

Cutting up one of my old t-shirts to make continuous yarn

I actually used up almost 6 t-shirts to make Heike’s small basket. I ran out of the royal blue colour with only half a row left to go, so had to add in a darker blue to finish off.

crochet project

half finished basket with cut up t shirt yarn

I am pleased with the result, although the seams in the t-shirt made it look a bit scruffy, but its a great size for a project basket which is ready to go when you’re out and about.

crochet basket

 

crochet basket being carriedAs a complete crochet novice it really wasn’t too hard to do. I might try another one with the nice proper yarn that Heike used, and maybe tweak the pattern a bit to make the handles smaller. See, I’m getting quite confident with this crochet malarky already!

crochet basket with wool

I Hope you enjoyed my holiday projects!

Tx

 

Gluten free shortbread and a crochet project

I don’t know where the time has gone, these school holidays have been busy. During the past week and a half I have experimented with some gluten free recipes, and also learnt to crochet! Yes me! Avid knitter, afraid to go near a crochet hook because it all looked too hard, and here I am crocheting an amigurami toadstool! More on that later, first I will share my gluten free shortbread experiment.

IMG_3759

I am so pleased with how these shortbread stars turned out, and the recipe only has three ingredients and is very easy. These biscuits were wonderful and buttery, and we could not tell they were gluten free. Kids loved them too.

Gluten free shortbread Ingredients
100g butter (I used unsalted)
150g Gluten free plain flour (I use macro organic – I get the best results in all my baking projects with this flour)
50g Caster sugar

Method
Cream butter and sugar
Add flour gradually, then use hands to bring together into a ball
Roll out to about 0.5-1cm thick, depending on how you like your shortbread
Cut and place on lined baking tray
Bake in 160 degree oven for 15-20 minutes
Sprinkle with sugar while cooling.

shortbread dough

dough ready to roll

shortbread stars ready to bake

I sprinkled these with icing sugar before baking hoping to get that dusty look but it didn’t work.

These shortbread biscuits would make nice christmas gifts, packed up and tied with some ribbon. You can substitute gluten free flour for ordinary plain flour. Enjoy them with a cuppa. As usual I couldn’t stop at one.

tea, crochet and shortbread

To distract my attention from the shortbread, I got busy with the crochet. I have never crocheted anything until last week, when me and my daughter made some crochet flowers. It was a bit tricky, but we managed to make some 5 petal ones, although my pink one ended up with six petals, not sure what happened there.

While browsing my favourite blogs, Heike at Made with Loops posted some lovely friday finds, and one of the finds was a pattern for a gorgeous amigurami toadstool by Sarah at Annabooshouse. I decided to give it a whirl, despite my minimal (i.e. non existent) crochet knowledge. Well see my progress below – not bad for a complete beginner! I’m about half way through. I learnt how to do the magic ring, single crochets and decreases from various youtube videos.

crochet

I will update you on my progress and the finished project. Sarah offers many of her gorgeous patterns for free, and also has an Etsy shop.  Go and check it out.

Lastly, I thought I would share my photo of the beautiful sunset we had tonight. I found a ‘sunset’ setting on my dodgy old compact camera, and the photo is not too bad. I normally miss these sunsets as I’m in the kitchen at this time and it faces the wrong way. Luckily I caught this one while taking the bins out. My life is so glamorous!

sunset behind trees

Hope you are all having a good week. We are off on a day trip to the Blue Mountains tomorrow.

Tx

Cheap and cheerful family activities

So, how are your school holidays going? We’ve had our moments of tantrums, sibling fights, and tears over the daytime technology ban. I found myself turning into my parents by doing the ‘back in my day we had no iPads or kids tv channels… whats wrong with lego and colouring books…blah blah etc etc’, you know the rest. With the short attention span of my kids, and their aversion to doing anything that doesn’t have a screen attached to it, I have succeeded in doing some cheap and cheerful activities the kids have enjoyed. Here’s a few of the best.

Bushwalking
They may be reluctant at first, but once we’re off on a bush walk the kids have a great time. Lots to see, things to climb, caves and creeks to explore, its good outdoor fun.

kids in the cave bushwalking

I discovered a new free app from Wildwalks that has 955 walks described, photographed and all mapped up ready to download to your phone. At the moment it only has walks for New South Wales, but it is growing with new walks added all the time. Hopefully in time it will extend to other states. When you install the app you can select to use your current location, and you will get a list of all the walks near your area. The descriptions are very detailed. The great thing about this is its all on your phone, so no need to print off maps and directions. There are some in-app purchases to make if you want to download longer walks, but at 99c its not going to blow the budget.  Alternatively you can get descriptions and maps for all walks from the website at no charge.

IMG_3776

Pet rocks
This craft activity is great fun, and afterwards the kids play with their creations. All you need is to collect some suitable pebbles from your garden, park or beach, then get creative with the paints. I use clear nail polish to finish them off and seal the paint in – otherwise the paint ends up coming off on your couch/carpet etc.

painted rocks

Baking/cooking
This one keeps my girls happy for a couple of hours, and even my son likes to get busy in the kitchen. He’s become an expert pizza dough maker, and gets busy creating different toppings. Its great for me as dinner is sorted without too much effort on my part. The cleaning up after is a bit of a challenge though.

cupcakes

Insired by Fast Ed from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, May issue

Library

We usually find something for everyone here, with a bit of coaxing even my son was happy. The girls found some great books on learning to crochet and knit and my son found a book on fishing.

library books

Fishing
We bought a couple of cheap kids fishing rods for 9 bucks each a while back and have used them every school holidays. Bait is cheap at about 4-5 bucks, and we have a national parks pass so we go down to the water and spend a good afternoon fishing. The kids usually catch quite a few fish, we always throw them back as they are not big enough to keep, but they love it. If you are near the beach then a couple of hand lines are super cheap and can be dangled around rocks to entice the crabs. Hours of fun to be had.

fishing off the kayak

Fishing off the kayak

 

Fire pit
Our last one rusted away so next on the list is to get a new fire pit and toast some marshmallows. This is always a hit with my kids.

What have you been up to these holidays? I would love to hear your ideas.