Friday, October 31, 2008

Patty Cake Cones

I normally leave it up to my friend June to put up recipes, however I made Patty Cake Cones for Mason's blessing and I was so pleased with how they turned out I decided to share the recipe - they're great for kids parties and easy to make! I ended up making 2 lots of the recipe (20 cones) and I noticed a few 'big' kids also eating them - and at the end of the day there were none left

10 ice cream cup cones
60g butter, at room temperature
70 (1/3 cup) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
2 tbs milk
90g (1/4 cup) Raspberry jam
hundreds and thousands to decorate

300g (2 cups) icing sugar mixture
1 1/2 tsp butter, at room temperature
2tbs water
2-3 drops pink food colouring

1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Divide the cones, base side down, among ten 80ml (1/3-cup) capacity muffin pans.

2. Use an electric beater to beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Stir in half the flour and half the milk. Repeat with remaining flour and remaining milk until well combined. Add the jam. Stir slightly to create a swirled effect.

3. Spoon the mixture into a sealable plastic bag. Use scissors to cut one corner form the bag to make a small hole. Pipe the mixture evenly among the cones. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

4. To make the icing, combine the icing sugar, butter and water in a heatproof bowl until a thick paste forms, adding a little extra water if necessary. Add the food colouring and stir until well combined. Place over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until warm.

5. Dip the patty cake cones into the icing. Sprinkle with hundreds and thousands, and top with a glace cherry (I omitted the cherry as I don't know any children who actually like them).

Set aside to set before serving.

Patty Cake Cones

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Zoom In

I love seeing lizards running around my garden, unfortunately I don't get that many as Sandy tries to catch (and unfortunately kill) the ones that she comes across. On Sunday morning I was tidying up the yard after Mason's Blessing the day before and spotted a little fellow sticking his head out to see if the coast was clear....

I was very patient and waited for him to stick his head out a bit further, which he did, but then Sandy scared him away again!

It seemed like I had to wait ages for him to reappear but my patience was rewarded with another appearance. For some reason he didn't seem scared of me but he was (wisely) very wary of Sandy! After a little while I went inside and I happened to glance out the window in time to see him scoot across the driveway while Sandy wasn't watching - hopefully he was off to sun himself somewhere nice!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Beautiful Colours

Today was Mason's 'Blessing' at the Nan Tien Buddhist Temple and the ceremony and afternoon tea went off without a hitch.

Having never been to the temple before I wasn't sure what to expect but the special baby blessing aims to ensure that the child begins life under the guidance of the Buddha's blessings and that they live in peace and harmony. It was such an unusual but lovely way to celebrate Mason being with us, especially after all he's had to go through with his surgeries.

After the ceremony it was back to my place for afternoon tea and it felt like Danielle and I had been cooking for days, but it was well worth the effort as nearly all the food was eaten. As well as the cooking there were streamers to decorate with, banners to put together and balloons to blow up (one of which burst on me and slapped me in the face - I wasn't impressed). By the time we'd finished the place was looking pretty good!

Of course the star of the day was the jumping castle as the kids loved it and it definitely kept them all amused.

I was a bit worried about putting Sandy on a lead as I hate tying her up but with so many young children around and me too busy in the kitchen to watch her I had no other option. Thankfully she didn't mind as she was spoilt rotten by the adults as well as the kids and she just lapped up the attention. When most of the people had left I let her off the lead and she helped clean up as she went around eating the food that was dropped on the ground, it made cleaning up so much easier!

It was a long day but a happy one, and that's what really counts.

Nan Tien Temple

Outside the Temple

Mason chewing the beads he was given during the blessing

The Monks who conducted the service

Noel, Madeleine, Mason and Danielle

Mason's Blessing certificate

Party decorations

Mason enjoying chocolate slice

Big and little kids helping to take down the jumping castle

Me and my girl!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Red Carpet Massacre

I went to have a look at Noel and Danielle's new house today as they picked up the keys on Friday. As this is the first home they have bought together it's very exciting, especially for Madeleine who got to choose the colour of her new bedroom!

Seeing as they had only had the keys for a day I was surprised at how much work had already been done, walls stripped of wallpaper and imperfections filled with putty, not to mention removing some of the hideous red carpet!!

I love painting so I couldn't wait to help out and I'm pleased to say we got Madeleine's room done as well as one coat on Mason's room - and my arms aren't even sore today!

Madeleine's room- before

Madeleine painting with her kid sized roller

Madeleine's room - after

Initially I was a bit worried about the colour being too dark but once the red carpet has been removed (there are gorgeous floor boards underneath), and Madeleine's white bed, desk and wardrobe are in the room it will look fantastic. Besides, every time Madeleine walked into the room and saw the colour she said 'wow, I love this room' so it already has her seal of approval!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lay Lady Lay

I think I've lost my dog! In saying that I know exactly where she is right this very second; in her kennel asleep!

What I mean is I think she has transferred her affections to someone else... Aaron!

I realise that for some time there had been an absence of testosterone in this household but the way that Sandy and Ella throw themselves at him is pathetic (and before anyone dares say it they are not mimicking my actions)!!

This week Sandy has taken to laying at Aaron's feet just gazing up at him hoping for some attention, which she always gets. Never mind me, I'm just the one who feeds, walks and plays with her, not to mention pays the vet bills!

Animals! They certainly can be fickle sometimes!

Sandy; worshipping at Aaron's feet

Lapping up the attention

Two smiling faces!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

What Happens Tomorrow

It's been a funny ol' week. I was laying in bed this morning thinking about my lot in life and I realised I was actually quite content!

Since Belle's death there hasn't been a lot to be cheerful about as the family has had more deaths, health issues and stress than most people could cope with. I feel as though I've spent the past couple of years walking around with a black cloud hanging over my head; whenever something good has happened it has been swiftly followed by something bad.

Several work colleagues have commented on how happy I seem to be these days, and I know I've been walking around the office with a stupid grin on my face but part of me keeps expecting someone to slap me and tell me enough is enough because I'm not used to things going so well.

I've been to two funerals in the past two weeks, both were 43 when they died and they both leave behind children, which always makes it seem so much worse. The one thing I realised about Jodi and Michael is that they lived their lives while they were alive, they didn't just exist. They spent their time doing the things they wanted to do with the people who meant the most to them.

While I'm hoping not to have to attend another funeral anytime soon it has made me realise that it's important to live each day and not worry about what might happen tomorrow, you just have to deal with things as they arise.

It's time for me to accept that it doesn't dishonour Belle, or what she meant to me, by admitting that there are good things happening in my life - family, friends and relationship wise.

In a fortnight we'll be having my adorable nephew Mason's 'blessing day' celebration at my place and it's something I'm really excited about - I've been testing out some of my recipes on workmates just to make sure they'll be okay to make for the big day! Danielle has ordered a jumping castle for the kids and although I have no idea of the exact numbers I know she has invited almost 100 people (children included) and it's exactly what I had in mind when I bought my house - a place to gather the family around - and I can't wait!

Thanks to the internet, and more specifically Facebook, I have renewed friendships with some important people from my school years and it's wonderful having old friends back in my life - except when they post pictures of me from the 80s with a mullet haircut on the internet (thanks for that Kel).

Which brings me to Aaron. The reason for the stupid grin on my face and the renewed interest in baking (well he's got to take something to work for morning tea doesn't he). Last night Aaron's friend John rang and asked me, ever so politely, if it would be okay if he kept Aaron out a bit longer than initially planned - but he definitely wouldn't be home too late. Apparently if I wasn't happy with that idea they were going to leave immediately! Not long afterwards Aaron rang to let me know he was 'on my way home now'

There were a couple of things that I took out of those conversations;
1. Despite the fact that he hadn't seen his brother in 4 months, or that his friend was down from Sydney for the weekend, he chose to spend the evening with me - even though I had told him several times that he should have a night out with the boys!

2. While it wasn't necessary to ask my permission to stay out longer it was actually quite sweet, and very amusing, to have his friend ring me!

3. The use of the word home. He never said 'I'll be at your place' or 'I'll be there soon' he specifically said I'll be home soon, and his friend also said it - 'he won't be home late'. I like the fact that although we don't live together he considers being with me home.

As for what happens tomorrow... I have no idea but as far as today is concerned I can honestly say I am very happy. There, I've said it!