This Moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.   Have a lovely weekend.


Check out SouleMama for the inspiration.

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This Moment

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.


 

Check out SouleMama for the inspiration.


Keeping Warm

Currently we are snowed in for the fifth day running here at Newbridge House.

The doctor drove to work on Monday in our good-for-commuting-but wholly-unsuitable-for-rural-snowfalls Civic and it got stuck in the ice and snow in the drive leaving and returning.  Tuesday he worked from home.  Wednesday he trudged over knee-deep snowy fields to wait for a bus that never came since the Forth Road Bridge was closed for the first time EVER due to snow. Today we are all here…waiting desperately for the gas tanker to come and fill our tank (hopefully in the morning – fingers crossed) and trying to keep warm without central heating or hot showers.

Although there are staples in the the pantry, it is getting a little low.  But we are still managing proper sustenance for now.  And tonight the wonderful people at Ardross Farm Shop will replenish the larder for us.

In an effort to fill our tummies and add extra heat to the house via the oven (old trick from student days, bake something and leave the door open when you are done), I made these ugly-but-tasty numbers:

They are a hybrid of an Alison Holst Pinwheel Scone recipe and my US-favourite scones from Martha Stewart.   I only had wholemeal flour, so here is the recipe:

Winter Emergency Pinwheels

2 C Wholemeal Flour

1 T Baking Powder

65g Cold Unsalted Butter, cubed

3 T Raw Sugar

3/4 C Milk

I chucked it all in the food processor until it formed a loose dough, then rolled it into a ball and then rolled out into a thinnish flat rectangle.  (Not too thin, this is a very crumbly recipe.)

THEN

1/4 C Brown Sugar

1 t Cinnamon

25g Cold Unsalted Butter

Chop up in the food processor and add about 1/4C Sultanas once processed.

Spread this mixture over the dough, roll the dough up into a tube, cut into about 6-8 sections, lay each piece on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 12-15mins at 200degC.

We are toasty and warm and full of wholemealy goodness…though the little one did think they were a bit ‘hard Mama’, so perhaps it will be back to ‘muffin-cakes’ tomorrow!

Winter Comes a Little Early

As predicted on Wednesday, it did take all week for real snow to fall.  Friday night we had a proper dusting, though it took until Sunday – after nearly 12 hours of blizzardy conditions – for our lawn to be completely covered, that grass is getting long!

Although we had some great snowfalls last winter in the Lou, it was often just too cold for snow.  And the wee one only really got walking by the start of February, so we stayed indoors practising that skill until the weather improved.  So this weekend was his first real taste of snow. Like the sand, he was not really sure what to make of it at first.

This confusion may have been somewhat extended by the frocliky teasing of his Dada, who celebrated the moment by tossing snowballs at his tiny progeny’s legs…

We discovered the tracks of a local fox as we trekked down the driveway to see the condition of the road.

The drive was also peppered with pheasant and partridge tracks, and we saw lots of tiny birdy feet marks around the feeder we set up last week.

Later that morning we ventured into St Andrews, which saw rather less snow, and had a wander in the courtyard of St Salvator’s Chapel. We also had a cuppa and a little play in the Byre Theatre, which is fast becoming a favourite haunt as it is wonderfully child-friendly.

On the way home I scored a teeny rattan stool for Kazuo at the local Recycling Centre…I am hoping for more freegan bargains like that as we get to know our way around the community.

The next morning,  Dada got his comeuppance while horsing about in the deeper snow of the bottom of the garden…Kaz thought Dada’s tumbles in the snow were hilarious.

Figuring out how to ambulate in knee-deep snow was another skill altogether.  Something Mama had to help with…


…though it was worth the giggles that ensued when I let go for a minute…

The snow continues on today, and probably for the rest of the week, which is very early for the UK, and perhaps the most comprehensive dumping I have ever witnessed.  It is rather beautiful, but somewhat inconvenient – driving is kinda hazardous, the car got totally stuck in the icy driveway this evening, and the exchange of the faulty gas tank that should have been happened a month ago and was delayed until today has been indefinitely cancelled…and no promise when they will be able to fill up our unusually empty tank (kept low while waiting for the tank exchange) due to the adverse weather conditions.  We are now on emergency heating and hot water rations in case it takes them more than a week!

Akira managed to chug slowly into work in the car this morning, so Kazuo and I ventured out in a break in the snow and made tiny Mr Snowman, who is nearly covered again now!

After a skype chat to Nana, we decided to make a tent in the kitchen (c0mplete with teddies, books, the new stool and some fake sandwiches) and we have had a lovely snowed-in Monday morning.  I do hope I can come up with a few new tricks to get us through what might be a long week of keeping out of the cold.

Happy Early Winter to you All…

Hats

Way back in November I cast on a hat for Kazuo for the winter.  I am such a slowpoke knitter, esp when I only do a row or two once or twice a week.  But some lovely peaceful girl-alone nights in the past couple of weeks finally led to the end of the hat.  Just in time for winter to give way to spring with a burst of uncharacteristically HOT days – no need for a woolly hat now Mama!

Since I will not be able to persuade the pop to wear this little creation, here it is being modeled by the living room lamp instead:

It is a version of the flower hat from Susan B Anderson’s Itty Bitty Nursery book that I got at Knitty Couture when I was pregnant.  I knitted it in the 6-12 mths size as the newborn size was really generous and still fitted Kaz’s two-year old sized head this past winter.  But that was in cotton, so this lovely woolly one might not be still in use next winter…we shall see I guess, his head is not growing that much now – we imagine his little body has a bit of catching up to do!  It was knitted on circular needles to begin with and then transferred to bamboo double-pointed needles to finish off – the decreasing is my favourite part and goes really quickly.  Why did it take me all winter though??

Anyway, now it is too too hot, and in good Kiwi-Mama style, I want to shade my wee guy’s face from the terrible effects of the sun.  Once again, debate ensues in the Eason-O’Connor household as Dada insists I am being over-protective and Kaz will survive.  But I persist and make him a hat anyway.

I found this freebie pattern on Make Baby Stuff.  Super easy and quick to run up.  I experimented with my theory that relocating the sewing machine to the kitchen and turning on the noisy extractor fan would mask the sound of my quiet little machine, and hey presto, I can sew when the baby is sleeping!  Yayy.

Here are the pieces cut out and ready to stitch up:

So by lunchtime yesterday there was a new hat to try on when eating the summer lunchtime sandwhich:

And of course it was unceremoniously ripped off (even with elastic to anchor it) as soon as we got to the park in the afternoon…but since he spent most of the time in the water fountain anyway, it would have not been too much protection:

Ah hats…Mama likes to make them…Kazuo is not too keen on wearing them…sigh.

Winter Sewing/Crafting Pt II

Finally my poor sewing machine has made the journey to and from the Brother Repair centre in Tennessee and is home safe, sound and in great working order again.  But the wonderful generosity of Tarah meant that I managed to get a few crafty projects off the ground over the winter – especially given how ill we have been.  In my previous sewing post I mentioned that I had made some cushions for the sofa.  I finished their felt companions recently.  They do look a little duller than I expected, but they help to make the futon a little more curl-uppable.

After receiving my lovely button brooch from friends in the UK last month, I remembered that I had picked up a jar of old buttons while rummaging on the 61 Mile Yard Sale a couple of years ago.  So I ferreted them out and had a sort through.  It was pretty much dross, but I found enough to have a go soon at making a pretty hodgepodge of a brooch like the one I was sent, and the leftovers I glued together this week into some funny  little button/felt pins to brighten up my summer cardies:

I also managed to finally complete the bunting I have been making for Kazuo’s room.  I was in the middle of making his birthday bunting when I received Handmade Home for Christmas.  I hadn’t considered making a bunting a permanent fixture in the home until then, but I loved the idea of the single-word banners in this book.  So much so that I barely made any changes to the original idea on the cover – except to pluralise, use my own font and change the end images.  I’m not too good at dreaming up my own crafty ideas, though I usually use published ideas to fuel my crafts, but then I stumbled across the delightful toadstools that Janelle at Heartfelt was using to embellish her crafts.  They are so lovely and I am totally in her debt for the inspiration – I urge you to check out her Etsy site – her upcycled kids clothes are simply delightful!  Kaz seems quite taken with his bunting (a ‘baba’ – just like everything else beginning with/containing a ‘b’ – there are surprisingly many of those!) and it will hopefully create good dreaming karma in his little space:

We made a trip to Hobby Lobby last week (still so profoundly disappointed with fabric selections in this town…) so there are now a range of spring sewing projects in the pipeline.  Yayy for the return of the machine!  There may be more to come…

Recovering

Another week of ghastly gastric flu at our house.  Thankfully (and I am holding my breath as I type this) Akira seems to have emerged unscathed.  Which was a mercy since I was so ill for four days solid and am only just recovering today.  Kazuo seems to also be on the mend, a little quicker than last time, which is also good.  So we can breathe again, and re-enter society.  Another one of those ‘I didn’t sign up for this’ kinda things that happens when you embark on the road to parenthood.  They seem rather frequent and random, and yet so common that they are part of the territory – just a part that you never anticipate in the rosy glow of anticipating all the joys of family life.

I’ll freely admit I hate being ill.  I am not too good at it, I get pretty miserable and spend the whole time wishing to be getting on with things while my poor body is actively rebelling against whatever has taken hold.  And I hate that ‘will I ever feel well again?’ feeling that seems to seep through me at the lowest ebb.  So it was with considerable relief that I awoke feeling only residual nigglyness this morning.  Pretty much back to normal.  Whew!

So we can venture out.  It is March. Madness…where has this year gotten to?  It has been cold, I can say that.  So I guess most of it has been spent indoors.  I am looking forward to a weekend of walks in the park/zoo and catching up with friends.

This is where I would like to be today:

A Little Older

At the end of last week I got a little older.  It was a quiet sort of day, spent moseying around the library in the morning, chatting to my mother and sister in NZ online in the afternoon and then going out for a coffee with Kazuo.  Unfortunately, he slept through the early dinner time I had planned to spend at one of our local pizza restaurants, so we had takeaway Chinese at home instead – anything so Mama would not have to cook!  It was actually much more relaxing as we could just potter about at our own speed.  We are yet to secure the services of a babysitter, so date nights are usually in at our house anyway.

But the next day was a weekend morning and we began with a birthday Gooey Butter Cake tea party for three (Dada had to be on camera duty):

I learned to figure skate as a child, and since it is both mid-winter and Winter Olympics season, and since I have been off such activities for a year or so due to pregnancy et al, I was dying to get back on the ice while the local rink was still open.  The forecast was for snow on the night of my birthday, so I was anticipating a gorgeous snowy landscape in Forest Park.  Instead, it was a shockingly wonderful 15degC outside and we could shed some layers and really enjoy being outdoors.  Although several friends joined us for the afternoon, my ice rink companions were the lovely Laura and Julia:

Here we are gliding about – it was a short trip, but so so wonderful!   (We were also joined by our friend Dave on the ice, but somehow he managed to dodge the photos.)

The big treat of the weekend was my thoughtful, and oh-so-much-more-tech-savvy husband securing Not Working it’s very own domain.  So here we are at our new home, I hope you didn’t have any trouble tracking me down!  I was also lucky enough to receive some delights in the post, here are a little sample – the button brooch from friends in the UK, the Manuka Honey hand cream and bath salts and the little fridge magnets from NZ.  They have all been a hit with Kazuo too and I am feeling very grateful for everyone’s kindness.

I am feeling a little older this year, perhaps something to do with perpetual tiredy-ness, and perhaps something to do with coming slowly to the end of another marvellous decade.  I am not sure I feel my age yet though – I seem to be coming to most of life’s major milestones and responsibilities rather later than some and maybe that is keeping the feeling at bay.  In any case, although I felt somewhat less inclined to make an ‘event’ out of this birthday, it was still a lovely weekend of feeling appreciation for the daily miracle of being alive and having connections with people I love dearly. Today those thoughts are somewhat tempered by the memory of the passing of my beloved father in 2007 – but deepest gratitude goes out to all of you who are still actively a part of my life, whether near or far…

He aha te mea nui o te ao?

He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata

What is the most important thing in the world?

It is people, it is people, it is people.

Blueberry Chocolate Cake

It’s snowing outside.  I’ve been inside all day with a cranky little boy who is cutting a molar and not having a very good time of it.  In the fridge were blueberries that I got to tempt Kaz (who seems to cope better with fruit than veges right now) that need eating quicker than he can manage, and chocolate chips leftover from his birthday cake.  So I did something I would only consider doing in the middle of winter.  I baked a cake.

I know, I know, I too lament my presentation style/poor photography.  But I was HUNGRY and I just wanted to drizzle the chocolate cream-cheese icing on that cake and eat it straight away.  Besides, as I have mentioned before, my camera is rubbish, and my eye not the most artistic.  Sigh.  I just hope you get a feel for how satisfying this cake was/is…and go rustle one up yourself, it is wonderful still warm out of the oven.  I’ll let you know in a few hours whether it is any good cool!  It should be enough to fortify me for another few hours wrestling with the poor wee teether.

Blueberry Chocolate Cake

6 oz Self Raising Flour

5 oz Sugar

4 oz Butter

3 T Milk

2 Eggs

1 T Cocoa Powder

1/2 t Baking Powder

Handful each of fresh blueberries and chocolate chips.

Melt the butter separately, mix into the remaining ingredients (except berries/chocolate) until mixed evenly.  Fold in the berries and the chocolate chips.  Bake in a ring tin (I used a moulded silicone tin I brought from York, they call them Bundt tins here I think) for 20 – 30 min at 375degF.

Because the berries and chocolate chips add extra moisture (and usually sink to the bottom a little), it is a good idea not to ice this cake.  But it tasted great with the cream cheese….

I treated myself to a cup of China Rose Petal Tea from the wonderful Taylors of Harrogate and paired the cake with a scoop of vanilla frozen yoghurt.  Mmmm.