Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easter Baskets and Easter No Bake Treats, to Fill Them With

Only 8 more sleeps, give or take, depending on which time time zone you are reading from and the Easter Bunny will come a knockin'.  Here's a cute activity to keep the kiddos entertained and get them into the spirit, in the meantime.  Have them decorate some biscuits in the style of Easter Eggs and Easter Bunny faces.

These are arrowroot biscuits, unique to Australia I believe, but any egg (round) shaped biscuits would do.

Make some simple white icing with icing sugar and water. Ice the biscuit, sprinkle with coconut and decorate, using lollies such as licorice, chocolate chips and marshmallows.

For the eggs, load up 2 clip lock bags with hundreds and thousands. Snip a small corner out of each bag and pipe the sprinkles onto the iced biscuit to decorate as shown.

We made these at the Little Beach House Brat's playgroup today.  Both Mel and Lizzy, domestice Goddess' extraordinare, went to so much trouble to make it a fun Easter event for the kids. Thanks me it was the best one yet. The Beach House Brat had a ball. Getting her to share it with her brother after school was an interesting development.  Ever tried cutting a bunny face in half so each one is absolutely equal..... my advice, don't......make more than one!!!!

And this is what we'll be putting out this Easter, so the Bunny can leave the odd treat or two. He is sure to love this one, when he drops by the Beach House this Easter.
With a little bit of help from mummy, this was good kiddo craft.  By that, I mean they can do most of themselves.... 

 Here's the template, if any of you mums want to have a go at this. Just click on the template to enlarge and print it off . Cut along the dashed lines of the small four squares and fold all the remaining dashed lines. The big square in the middle is the base and the little squares can be glued in place to form the basket.

Get the kiddos to colour in the bunny before you form the basket. Stick on some whiskers with tape and glue on the eyes and pom pom tail.

You can see that this naughty mummy forgot to help with the pom pom tail.

Mel made these great birds nest treats to add to the basket. I snuck a little bite of these and they were yummy. It was a chocolate crackle, depressed in the centre to form the nest and filled with some jelly beans for the eggs.

I've added a link at the top of my side bar to some Easy Baking and Other Ideas For Easter if you need some inspiration.


Today I am contributing to a  great website called Everyday Mom Cakes Pop on over for some fabulous inspiration, on how to decorate cakes and sweet treats for all seasons.

I'm posting this a day early, as I am out of here and off to a Blogging conference interstate in Melbourne today.  Not sure how connected I'll be...... I finally joined the Apple party,(better late than never) and bought an ipad last weekend.  Don't really know how to use it, but being surrounded by bloggers, I guess I'll have help at hand..  I'm still packing and it's late at night here.  I laid out the clothes I am taking....mostly black and neutrals with some pops of colour.  I haven't been away from my family for this long for 10 years and it feels weird.  I am remembering the days, long ago, when all I left the house with, was a hand bag and a bottle of champagne.  With motherhood, that morphed into everything but the kitchen sink and it feels weird to be going back to clutch and bubbles mode.  Actually it feels good....darn good!!!!

I'm a little scared, I'll like it way too much!!!!

I'm staying with two different girlfriends in Melbourne and I can't wait to catch up with them.  Right now, I am wondering what I will discover on this journey.  I used to be great at working a room, but that was so long ago.   So Beach lovers .......Full report Monday

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bilgola Beach....My Day in Heaven Rubbing Shoulders with the Locals

Yep it's official.  Sydney missed out on Summer this year.  I just accidently wrote 'tear' instead of 'year'.  That's how sad I feel about it....being a beach lover and all.  So last Friday when the sun was shining, and I mean dumping rays, I grabbed the beach bag, the kid and the camera and drove to North Bilgola look out to make a plan.  My dad's ashes are out there somewhere, as this was his beach,  his Bilgola.  He helped start the surf club there in the 1950s, a break away from Avalon, the next beach to the north.  His name is on the honour board in the club and we used to come to this beach all the time when I was a kid.  Lets just say it has traction with me!!!!!

They were complete larrikins in those days, and invented something called the 5 O'clock shark.  That usually cleared the beach, so they could pack up and be at the pub by six.  I didn't hear this story until his memorial service on the beach, where many of his old surfing buddies gathered to watch his ashes be rowed out to sea and scattered to the four winds.

So this is Bilgola.
You've got to love a place that respects it's kids

A place where the mums train all year round.  This is a local school mum, we ended up talking school stuff of course.

We took off our shoes and made foot prints in the sand

and so did others

We shot some Beach House Door love

We negotiated the dangerous bits

Both on land and sea

We did coffee with a view

and we were thankful for where we live.

Then we shot a video.  I never intended to post this on the blog, but the big Beach House Brat is starting to make his own movies.  He wants to know about editing so, I thought I'd give it a go and see if I could use the Movie Maker program and help him a little bit.  It's easy and I encourage you to try it.  I'm going to do some cooking videos soon, if I can work out a way to film myself solo in the kitchen.

So this video was actually about the big seas crashing against the pool, but the daddy and his little girl, like us, were memorised by the sea and they became part of the story.  The chatter in the background is me oohing and aaahing at the waves, which don't look as big in film and the Beach House brat and I negotiating whether to go for a dip or not. I'm sorry to say we did not, as the sea was too rough for me.  The daddy in the story told me his daughter had been doing this since birth and he was alot gamer than I was.

  Actually the best part of this movie is the music and the credits at the end. Mr Beach House just watched it and said great location, not much of a plot and I'd have to agree with him....wonders will never cease.

It was my first go and I promise I'll get better.

 Let me know what you think or maybe not!!!!! Viewers in the States can't see it unfortunately...Believe me, you're not missing much in terms of my cinematography.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Easter Bunny Cupcakes and Motherhood Manoeuvres

'It has to be pink mummy and I'm not wearing that'.  Those were the Beach House Brats words to me as I tried to squeeze her head and long blonde locks twirled around her head into her swimming cap, just before her lesson on Saturday. Her swimming teacher has been hassling me to get a cap ever since we started there and that was what I came up with....a white one.  Who'd of guessed it had to be pink.   To successfully crown her, I really needed to stick my chin on the top of her head to hold the hair in place, so I could use both hands to manouvre the cap over what seemed at the time,  like a very large head. To make this cap go on, I really also needed to hook my leg around her body, to hold her still so the force needed to get the stupid thing onto her head wouldn't push her over the edge and into the pool.

Motherhood is so like what I am now calling 'The swimming cap manoeuvre'.  Attempting the impossible with only 2 hands.  I eventually asked another mum, until then unknown to me, to help with the cap.  I mean that's how us mums get by right, with a little help from our friends? Or in this case a complete stranger! 

With white swimming cap firmly in place all I could say was  'Sorry 'bout the colour babe, but you'll just have to suck it up'.!!!!!  I mean what the heck is wrong with white anyway?  What have you got against white and why can't you wear it on your head for half an hour?  What's the big deal I was thinking!!!! 

 'I am just so not in the mood for this.' she replied.  I laughed to myself and thought, and you think I am.  It seems I have been watching my own children swim up and down a pool for way too many years.  I call the Big Beach House Brat's freestyle action, the 2 million dollar stroke, because that's what it seems to have cost us to get this far  and even after all that dosh, it's still apparently not quite right. What's it going to take? Yet another million, I guess!

Ain't motherhood grand????  Well despite it feeling alot like a collection of little stuff ups and disasters alot of the time, actually yes, I think it is. The other day I was driving the kiddos to school, ranting to myself really, about how the blogging technology I am currently using, isn't working for me.  During the one way conversation, I threw in a line about feeling like just throwing in the towel and ending the blogging chapter of my life, then and there.  I didn't really mean it, but that's how I felt at the time.  Until that point my son had sat there in silence, looking out the window.  I didn't even think he was listening.  But straight away, his response to my throw away line, was a resounding 'NO!' very loudly and definitively.  I was shocked and interested to know why he was so concerned that I should not give it up. Did he like saying his mum was a blogger?   No!!!!

Did he like it that when I published that vlog of his description of his first bus ride home and his You Tube account got lots more hits than usual?  Well yes, but apparently that's not the reason either!!!!!

Was it the baking?  The fact that the kiddos now get to eat lots more lollies and cakes than they ever did before I started coming here and writing about our lives at the Beach House.  Well kind of yes, but that's not the real reason either!!!!

Well what on earth could it be?  I asked him what precisely pleases him about the fact that I am glued to a screen lots of the time, that we seem to be later for all our appointments post blogging arriving at the Beach House and that he has to fight me for the computer so much more these days.  And you know what he said, which made me think he was just about the sweetest little boy on the planet.   'It makes you happy mum.' 

What insight, what empathy, what absolute gorgeousness.  He then went on to say that  'Pain is temporary, but quitting is forever.'  Apparently the ex army school band master throws that one around alot and it obviously stuck with the Beach House Brat. 

If we weren't in bumper to bumper traffic and going so slowly at that point, I doubt I'd be here to tell the tale, as his incite just blew me away.  Why on earth was I worrying about blogging?  It was a beautiful day, my children can be so fabulous and there is so much to be thankful for and I reminded myself to get a little perspective.  It is at these moments, I realise why I love my children so very dearly and why I spend the best part of my life doing all the mundane motherhood tasks which seem so thankless and slave like at the time.

Because my kids, like I'm sure your kids too, are beautiful people, who are so worth putting the effort into, to help grow into the fabulous adults, I'm am certain they will become.  Raising kids is the hardest task I've ever undertaken and although the dramas are constant and the work load feels mountainous, so does the love and feeling of completeness that they bring to my life.  And if they weren't around,  Easter would be just another little 4 day break.  With kids it's just so much more fun.  For one I would never have discovered the joy I get out of decorating seasonal themed cupcakes like these Easter Bunny faces.

There were the Too Easy Reindeer cookies at Christmas and I thought I'd give these guys a go for Easter.

So here's what you'll need.
 12 white regular sized marshmallows
24 small pink marshmallows for the eyes
12 red button type lollies for the nose
Black writing icing 
24 small white marshmallows for the teeth
Extra pink marshmallows for the inside ears

I cut the large white marshmallows in half  and squeezed them at each end to make the ear shape.  I cut smaller sections of pink marshmallow and squeezed them at each end the same as the whites.  
I pushed the white bits into the frosting sticky side up.  The pink bits stuck easily  to the white.  
I made this bunny without teeth and Mr Beach House thought it looked like a cat, but I left it plain so you can choose which way you want to go.  Teeth or not!!

I'm trying to sell all my baby stuff and a new mum to be, came around to the Beach House to check it out.  She saw these cakes sitting on the bench and admired them.  I looked at her baby bump and said you've got it all in front of you darling.  The poor girl  hasn't got a clue what she's in for and she shouldn't have either.  The less you know  about the motherhood club before it happens, the better I reckon.  It is a work in progress with its ups and downs.  These days I am worried about driveways and swimming pools and in the future those worries will morph into concerns about sex, drugs and rock and roll.  So not easier, just different.  I wouldn't even say the good outweighs the bad in this game, but when you get the good, it is just so priceless, that it keeps you going til the next time.  So until next time ladies!!!!!!!!

Have a wonderful week 
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Lime Cordial and a Tango After the Tropics

Mr Beach House has just returned from Bris Vegas( Brisbane, Queensland for the uninitiated)  where he undertook his latest sailing campaign.  As per the program, he did well.  He  also came home with a tan, some polished muscles and for a brief period he went slightly troppo on me.  He missed us all madly, but it only takes about 24 hours before the 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' thingy wears off and you are back to arguing about the household finances and who's meant to ferry which kid where.

I have said many many times on this blog, that when I walked down the grassy knoll along to the makeshift altar where our nuptuals took place on Whale Beach, all those years ago, I was completely and utterly in love with him.  A good and most desirable starting point to a marriage, I am sure you would agree!!!!

So at the end of the big day, you get into that car.  You know the one with 'Just married' emblazoned in bold across the back window, tin cans rattling along the road as you drive of into the sunset.  After a few years of driving you pick up a few freckles.  A few more years on and you can add to that, a touch of sun burn.  But after ten years or so of driving, you've practically got sunstroke.

How do I know this????  Well it goes something like this.
Me on Tuesday night: The car needs its registration renewed by Friday.  Can you take it for a roadworthy check tomorrow?
Him: Didn't you get that done while I was away.?
Me: No didn't have time.

He's home, I've missed him and I don't feel like explaining the intricacies of why I have left this task to him.
The conversation finished and my understanding was it was agreed.

On Wednesday morning I walked out to the car and the one I thought we had agreed he'd take for the road worthy, is patiently waiting for me in the driveway.  He'd driven off in the one that has 9 months registration left on it. The clock was ticking.  The steam was slowly building.  I might just add here, that the cars have always kind of been his responsibility.  He chose them, washes them and generally takes an interest in them.  I don't have a preference nor any real interest in cars other than they go and are not bombs.

He once unbeknownst to me, left me to drive his unregistered car, when I first had the Beach House Brat.  When I realised it was unregistered, I refused to drive it until it was and so was unable to get him a father's day present in time for his first fathers day.  Lets just say it was a low point in our drive off into the sunset and as a result, I am a little touchy about getting cars registered on time these days.

So continuing on my quest to get this car registered on time, I showed up at the factory with the car in question.
Upon walking through the office door he said to me, still with an 'I've missed you after 2 weeks absence' aura about him.  'Hey darl look at this funny video', sailing related of course!!!

Me:  Yep yep It's real funny, now about this freekin car!!!!

Lets just say after 2 weeks holding the fort and running around like a blue arsed fly, picking up the slack left by him in his absence on a quest to relive some misguided sailing aspirations and still with a potentially unregistered car by Friday, unless he got off his butt and made some moves to get said road worthy, I lost it.  You could say I got a big fat dose of sunstoke right then and there.

Me:  You forgot to take the car for a pink slip!!!
Him: Well I asked you to get it serviced last week and you didn't

FYI dear reader.  A pink slip in somewhat less onerous than a service.  Windscreen wiper and brake checks and the like.  It's not a full service, but it is a prerequisite for re registration.

It continued,  the gloves were off.  All memories of a warm glow in his absentia were
now in the distant past.

 Me: You don't need a full service to pass the pink slip road worthy test.  Can't you just do it!!!   I was too busy doing all your other cr*pola last week. Like dealing with your customers, the Tax Office, the accountant, your web designer, typing up price lists for your website and let me tell you the  list goes on. And all the while, you were up there bobbing around on the ocean, just off sunny Queensland.

Him: Well that's why I gave you the mechanic's number. He said he'd come and pick up the car for the day.
Me: Ok so you're up in Queensland having a grand old time.  I have all this stuff to do for you and you want me to be without a car for a day, whilst you are away.  What if I needed to pick up one of the kids from school in an emergency?

I didn't listen to his reply.  I just drove off in the car with heaps of registration, vowing not to drive the other one until it had been renewed.

That night he walked through the door.  I handed him a cold beer with a dash of this yummy home made lime cordial in it.  I bet as he walked up the stairs, he expected me to pounce. But I didn't. I had the car I wanted and instead of holding his hand all the way to the registry office, I just thought I'd let the cards fall where they may.  We had a nice chat and a drink out on the deck.  I wanted that warm glow back.  Later in the evening, he said to me 'Oh I'll need the little car tomorrow, I've booked it in for a pink slip'. 

Well hallelujah, he'd got the message.  He doesn't do many of the house hold tasks, and this was one I was keen that he continue to do.  The next night he brought home the pink slip.  I phoned through the credit card details on the rego this afternoon and as I peeled the registration sticker from the certificate and stuck it onto the windscreen, I felt immense relief that one of those crappy little day to day tasks that build up and seem to stifle a marriage, had been achieved.  As I looked at the blue sticker, I slumped back into the passenger's seat and laughed.  My sunstroke had been revised down to a warm glow.  Mission accomplished.  I doubt the sun will ever set on this marriage, but sometimes as we drive along, I can see a glimpse of its demise on the horizon.  Luckily he is a good enough man to know when I mean business.  Thankfully after his two weeks in the tropics our ability to resolve conflict is still intact.

Oh and if you want to make this marriage soother of a lime cordial here's the recipe

6.5 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
1 cup strained lime juice
Dissolve sugar in water over a moderate heat.
Add lime juice.
Pour into a jug then decant into sterilized bottles.
Mine's in the fridge, but if you sterilize the bottles properly there's probably no need.

It's great served with cold light ( in colour, not alcohol) beer or with soda water and a shot of gin or vodka.

The kiddos are free to drink it with water!!!!

Be seeing ya,
Today I am Partying here
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A White Easter Tablescape For Brunch in a Beach House By the Sea

When it comes to entertaining here at the Beach House, Easter time is a biggy.  The racing season has finally come to an end and I am no longer a sailing widow. The Sunday long brunch/lunch is happily reinstated and all seems right with the world.  This year I am thinking brunch, with French crepes to start.  Something eggy, I can shove into ramekins the night before and bake in the oven with ease, along side something else Mr Beach House can throw on the BBQ, to go with the eggs.  Do you see where I'm going here dear reader?  That's right, simple, scrumptious and very relaxed!!!!!

The table to fit with this simply put together feast, needs to be equally casual and easy on the budget.  I am proud to say this white Easter tablescape cost me not a brass razoo.  Even down to the scavenged plank, gracing the centre of the table.

I trimmed the buxus hedge, which currently has a beautifully fragrant white flower in bloom.  You know how smells bring back memories?  Well even though I adore the fragrance now, this one reminds me of nasty little girls.  Yes that's right!!!!  This flower is in bloom at just about the time that I decided, the very exclusive Sydney school for very polished girls, which I was sent to as a twelve year old, was not at all, where I wanted to be.  The school year begins in early February here in Australia and it must have been by about now in the school term, that I realised I did not like the company I was keeping.  This stuff was planted everywhere around those, looking back now, gorgeous school grounds and its fragrance so conjures up feelings of unhappiness and loneliness.

I begged my parents to withdraw me and send me to the local secondary school with all my friends, but they refused.  I went on to get over it and learn lots about how to deal with nasty girls, in addition to many other things.  I am now very grateful for the education they bent over backwards to furnish upon me.  I guess that's why the fragrance is quite tolerable to me these days, but memories are memories I guess.

But enough of that, today we are talking Easter Brunch by the sea.  Despite this, you won't see a shell or a piece of coral today ladies.  It's very easy to throw a few shells around on a white table cloth and call it a coastal table, but today we are going for a more subtle Beachy look.  I am using props such as beach towels, a little red, white and blue nautical stripe and an adirondak thrown in for good measure.

The plank of wood is an idea I first saw on pinterest, that absolute treasure trove of lusciousness.  But recently  the lovely  Chateau de Lille gathered some of those shots together in a post on rustic tables.

I love the idea of the plank under the tin flower pots.  It adds texture and is another beautiful grey on the table complmenting both the tin and the silver pieces.

The ribbon napkin ties, I cut from some left over gold medal party favours I had for a party I planned, with lots of fun races.  You know the kind, egg and spoon, sack and wheel barrow.  Sheer kiddo heaven.

At my Easter brunch there will also be bubbles and freshly brewed coffee

Any takers??  It's our last little hurrah before the cooler months will be upon us.  The water is lovely at this time of year and lets hope the beautiful weather continues.  Oh and I was wondering is there a fragrance that brings back memories for you?

And just to let you know that Google Friends connect is not working for me.  Thanks to all those are following that way but it is currently pointless.  I encourage you to follow on linky followers or via Twitter or Face Book.

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