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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We had some busy weekends lately...

The weekend before last I wrote a post about travelling up to the Sunshine Coast to my niece's for her daughter's 2nd birthday. The rest of the family stayed after the long, leisurely brunch but DH and I headed off back home just after 2 pm. We had tickets for that evening's 6.30 performance of 'Mary Poppins'. I can still remember going to the movie  'Mary Poppins' when I was about 13. It was at the Metro, a city picture theatre, and our neighbour, Mrs Springer, took me. I loved it! The stage show was absolutely brilliant; the sets were amazing...and of course Mary Poppins 'flies'. lol

Then last weekend was also busy. On Saturday morning I was up early to give the house a bit of a spruce up, as we had some of our girls and 2 partners coming for lunch. We try to get together when DH's DD1 comes down for the weekend from Wandoan. This time, because I'm temporarily back in the workforce, the girls all brought a contribution to the lunch...that worked very well!

On Sunday mid-morning, DH went off to golf (very muddy!) and I went to my monthly coffee morning with some old friends. It was lovely catching up and then I noticed a former neighbour sitting at a nearby table. I moved from that area nearly 12 years ago and only recently I wondered about this neighbour from the next street to where I had lived...I thought that she was probably dead I'm afraid. But no...there she was. I pointed her out to my friends and said that I wouldn't interrupt her and her young friend but then I noticed that the younger woman had got up and was talking to people at another table. So I went over and said (with a big smile on my face), 'Hello Edna, don't know if you remember me, but it's Maria who used to live in the street behind you'.
She looked blankly at me...and then recognition dawned. What she said then sure wiped the smile from my face! 'I would never have recognised you Maria! You used to be quite thin!'.... :-/   We chatted for 10 minutes or so and I found out that she was 89! Anyways I went back to my friends then and when I told them what she had said...they all laughed!

My sense of humour soon returned though and I had a good laugh later at the photo below which a friend sent me.

Yarn bombing in Germany
Just imagine how much time knitting a sweater/jumper for a tree would take! It would certainly put a dent in the stash! lol

Monday, February 27, 2012


Today I'm again joining Jodie in her regular Monday feature. This week I'm sharing something a little had to be something fairly quick to do as I'm working for DH for a short time in the lead up to the state and local government elections. This means that I'm a bit tired by the end of the any way I'll explain about the 'Five Minute Chocolate Mug Cake'. DH saw the recipe print-out on the kitchen bench and commented on what he thought was a 'typo'; he thought it should be 'mud' not 'mug'. But that's what it is.

The recipe said use a large coffee mug; I used the largest one we had

I first saw this recipe on a friend's Facebook page last year and copied it into my recipe file. So today after work, was the day I decided to have a go at making it. The recipe says to mix it in a large coffee mug...I used a small bowl and greased the cup. I didn't use quite as much sugar and I left out the choc chips. Other to that I followed the recipe. It was such fun watching it rise through the glass of the microwave door. Shortly DH and I are going to share my 'mug cake' and I'm planning to spoon over some raspberries...just because I can! lol
A cup of cake

Now here is the recipe, including the comments at the end... dangerous cake recipe???? lol The cake is best eaten straight away.


4 tablespoons SR flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.

Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous). And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.

Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake...
(read more)

PS My microwave oven  is a larger one (Not that DH and I use it much but the girls did when they were still at home) and I would possibly lessen the cooking time by a minute. And then check after 2 minutes 'rest' time whether it was completely cooked through.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Old negatives...

Another one of the tasks that I set myself when I retired, was to sort through the hundreds of photos that I have. So far I have made a PowerPoint presentation for my 60 th last year as well as an online album of my mother's family. The idea of this online album is that family members from all around Australia can access the photos, saving any that they wish.  I've also now got quite a few photos of my father and I will make a similar album with these photos. None of his 6 grandchildren ever knew him as he died in 1967 and of course my brother never knew his father either.

Now people of my vintage have a lot of photos in slide form and I'm no exception; I have lots of little red boxes of Agfa slides and a smaller number of yellow Kodak boxes of slides. A few years ago DD2 gave me Digital Image Copier and many of my slides have been scanned into files and stored on my computer. Now the copier is able to scan negatives but I've found that this is really only successfully done with 135 films. My mother's old camera was a 'Box Brownie' which had much larger negatives and my first camera also produced larger negatives. I made a number of enquiries about what I could do with a my collection of old negatives which seemed to have been parted from the printed images. There are a number of companies that do such scanning but their prices quoted were quite steep. My nephew's wife is a photographer by profession and she suggested I take the negatives to a Kodak or Fuji shop rather than the big laboratories.

Once such shops were in most big shopping centres...not so here these days. I did find a Kodak shop a few suburbs away and organised for 31 negatives to be scanned and put on a CD...the cost was just under $3 per neg. When I went back the next day, the assistant put the disc into one of their machines so I could look at the photos.

Probably about 2 here and walking along the Sandgate footpath

I was 'blown away' looking at old photos that I either had never seen or had seen them and forgotten about it. My parents would take photos of me on a semi regular basis to send to my Uncle in Sicily. Then there were the photos from my little first camera...such memories!

Top photo; 10 years old with my beloved cat and  then  as a 13 y/o with him

Same cat; probably 14 or 15

Don't remember this photo but it was my little first camera that took it; would have been 15

With my beloved godmother (Patrozza) and 2 of her daughters

Obviously a double exposure and it was never developed. But what glorious memories! I was 17 and wearing my much loved pants suit which was the height of fashion in 1968!!!

PS As I've been writing this post a nephew has sent me an email telling me about 'Drop box' which is apparently another way to store images and videos that can be accessed from any where. I must check that out and see how it compares to Picassa and Facebook.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I'm again joining in with Jodie in her regular Monday feature. This week I'm also sharing a recipe. I used to make it years ago and for what ever reason, hadn't made it for years. I decided to rectify that situation by making it as my contribution to a family brunch yesterday. It has a number of names, Impossible Quiche and Nanna's Impossible Pie are 2 names I've seen used for it.
This is what it looks like...

And this is the recipe...

Impossible Quiche/aka Nanna’s Impossible Pie
4 eggs
2 cups milk
¾ cup Self Raising flour
1 small onion chopped or 3 eshallots chopped
1 cup of bacon chopped
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
¾ cup of feta crumbled
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrot
½ cup chopped capsicum (pepper)
60 grams melted butter
Method: Now you can just mix the ingredients all together but I prefer  to lightly beat the eggs first, mix with the milk and add to the other ingredients. You can chop or grate any vegies you like (leftover vegetables are good) or add tinned corn etc.
Bake in a moderate oven for 45 minutes until set and golden in colour. There will be a base similar to a pastry. 

Even my brother who normally doesn't eat quiche, had 2 pieces!
And one more photo showing the progress on the blanket that I making out of donated squares; it's grown since last Monday and I'm now determined to have it completed by next week.

A family Sunday...

Today was a busy day. DH and I set off just after 8, picked up DD1 and then headed for the north coast, to where my niece and her family live. The family met up today for a celebratory brunch for my great niece's second birthday.
We saw the lovely tent cubby that my niece had sewn for Lucy after getting the idea from a TV show. My niece did a great job...all with recycled materials.

The birthday cake was 'Lamington Man' one of little Lucy's favourite picture books (it's like an Aussie version of the Gingerbreadman). But she seemed more interested in the chocolate cupcake that DD1 had baked! lol

And what would a 2nd birthday be without presents? Lucy had lots of fun opening her presents and loved the playdough set from DD1, the pink playsuit, hairclips, hairband and bracelets from DD2, an Icecream Shop and also a new sandpit from Poppy(my brother), Myra (his partner) and her 2 uncles. And the pink tutu skirt and hotpink 2 piece togs set from DH and I were pretty popular too! We also gave her a toy vacuum cleaner for her cubby! lol

My niece, with her father (my brother) and little Lucy

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Last night was the February, Friday Night Sew In and despite my best intentions to start a sewing project, I worked on something that has been a WIP for the past week or so. I sewed another 2 rows on the blanket that I'm sewing up out of donated squares. Individuals and groups knit and crochet squares for the group, Knitting for Brisbane's Needy which distributes the sewn up blankets to needy people around the state.

Often the squares are varied in the sizing; some are loosely knitted, others are very tightly knitted/crocheted. So I've worked a row of double crochet in black around the squares and knitted some rectangles to fill in spaces . 
I think that this blanket will be ready to hand over at the next Knit and Natter that I'll go to in the last week of the month. That makes 2 blankets finished for this month! woot woot! The box of squares that I brought home last year is now under half full...the question I offer to take another box, or concentrate on some of my own projects? I guess when winter hits, that'll help me make up my mind! lol

Now I just have to share this cartoon that a friend posted on K4BN's Facebook page:-

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What I'm reading at the moment...

When I worked, I found that I wasn't reading very much for pleasure any more. I would be too tired to read novels and other books at night, and had got into the habit of reading craft and gardening magazines (borrowed from the library) during term time and reading the occasional book in school holidays. Even though I'm now retired I still find it hard to sit and read during the day; feeling that somehow I should be doing something more actively constructive. But I am getting better...I sit and read for at least 30 minutes during the day as well as bedtime reading.

I used to read a lot of 'detective/who done it' type books as well as forensic sciences' genre such as Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell books and DH read biographies and autobiographies. But my tastes are changing and I'm now enjoying biographies etc. A few months ago I read a women's magazine at the hairdresser's and read articles about 2 books. I thought that the reviews sounded interesting so I checked out the council  library catalogue, found them both, and put a hold on them. I've had to wait nearly 2 months but at last they became available.
Tea with Arwa is a delightful book, written in a style that makes reading on a pleasure. Arwa describes how her family came to live in Australia and to eventually settle in and become Aussies. Her parents were Palestinians who had been forced to leave their homeland when the Israelis took over the land. They moved to Saudi Arabia where they had a good life but they could never be granted citizenship, so they were people without a country to really call home. It took great sacrifices for the family to come to Australia. Arwa recounts what it is like to be a Muslim and weaves in a lot of information about her family's beliefs...There are some funny anecdotes as well as some sharply poignant events recounted. Arwa also includes recipes for favourite family foods and includes her mother's recipe for lamingtons. (a very typical Aussie cake)  Arwa uses beautiful imagery and descriptive prose...very enjoyable to read!

 The second library book is called That Woman' and is a biography of Mrs Wallis Simpson who changed the course of British history by becoming involved with the heir to the throne in the 1930s. He became king, Edward viii, but abdicated not long after as he wasn't supposed to marry Mrs Simpson. I've only read a little bit so far but it is quite interesting reading about her humble beginnings.

The 3rd book I'm reading at the moment is a recipe book. It's a compilation of favourite recipes sent in by listeners to a radio program on the ABC. It was published to raise funds for the flood appeal last year. My friend Tricia gave it to me for Christmas. I read it in bed at night...some recipes look and sound like they are worth a try...others...maybe not! lol It's interesting that the dessert section has a higher number of 'must try that' recipes. When I do try them out, you'll be able to read about it here!

Monday, February 13, 2012


Once again I'm joining in with Jodie the Haby Goddess and her regular Monday feature Make-Grow-Thrift. Last year I wrote about volunteering to take a box of donated squares that had been given to the group I belong to, Knitting for Brisbane's Needy. So far I've made 3 blankets (one is in the banner of my blog) and number 4 is being worked on now. I might add that the box is still half full so plenty of work still to do.

When I sorted all the squares and put like with like etc, there were a number of square/rectangular shapes, in just 3 colours, possibly knitted by the same person. I wondered whether they were practice swatches or maybe samples of various patterns; they are quite varied in their sizes but all beautifully knitted.

There were only 16 of them so not enough to make a blanket on their own. So on the weekend I started 'fiddling' with these shapes plus others in the box and gradually a 'crazy' patchy blanket is starting to emerge...early days yet though. But I find I'm really enjoying the challenge of creating something out of all these odds and ends.

Postscript:- A reminder that Friday Night Sew In is on again this Friday night (Feb 17). Why not sign up over on Heidi's blog right now?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Wow! Ten thousandth pupil! I'd forgotten about this....

I've been searching through boxes of 'stuff' recently, looking for some old family photos. I still haven't found those old photos but I've turned up lots of items that I had forgotten all about. One of these is an old newspaper clipping from 1990 which features DD2. This photo was on the front page of the local Quest newspaper and it was all very exciting at the time.
The article that accompanied the photo stated that my daughter was the 10 000th pupil at the school. The article explained that when the school opened on July 4, 1904 there was only a handful of pupils. It's obvious that enrolments picked up a bit in the following 86 years. The article commented that I had been a pupil at the school and had taught there for 11 years and in 1987, I had come back to set up and run the Outside School Hours Care Centre attached to the school. DD1 had also started school there in 1987. The office checked up my enrolment number in the register and it was 4865, quite a way from the 10 000 mark!

The article also mentions something that I'd forgotten...there was a special assembly/parade to present DD2 with a commemorative book to acknowledge the occasion...I remembered the book but not the special parade.

The original school building, built in 1904; picture is taken in 1930 and shows the police officer Sergeant Creedy on his horse. A two storey brick building was built in the mid 1930s to replace this wooden building.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Food...I was tagged...

Ages ago (January 8) I was tagged by Lea and was meant to write a post answering some questions about food. It's a bit late Lea, but here goes:-

My homemade tomato puree

1. What, or who inspired you to start a blog?
Probably Rhonda over at Down to Earth was my inspiration. I read an article by her in a magazine so checked her blog out. She made such sense with her ideas. Then a male friend ‘sneered’ at my use of Facebook, saying I wrote mundane things like, ‘I did the washing and hung it on the line’...which is certainly not true that I would write such a thing as a FB post. However I had been increasingly dissatisfied with the imposed brevity of comments on FB as I longed to elaborate on my I eventually took the plunge and started a blog in November 2010.

2. Who is your foodie inspiration?
Probably my late mother in law Elsie. Both she and my mother were army cooks during WW2 but Elsie was adventurous and would try new recipes right up into her 80s. She of course had her specialities which we all loved. DH enjoys my cooking and tells me all the time how appreciative he is of the meals I cook for him and our family.

3. Your greasiest, batter – splattered food/drink book is?
The grubbiest one would be a little ‘homemade’ recipe book made for fundraising purposes by our parish church. People contributed favourite recipes and I know I have about 5 or 6 in the book. Another grubby recipe book is the Nursing Mother’s recipe book (red cover) that my SIL gave me way back in the 1970s.

4. Tell us all about the best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it, what was it?
A seafood meal on Burano Island near Venice; it was 7 courses of the freshest, most beautifully cooked local seafood.

6. What is the one kitchen gadget you would ask Santa for this year (money no object of course)?
A coffee machine that is easy to use and makes great expresso coffee.!

 7. Who taught you how to cook?
I learned a lot by watching my mum but she was super-critical of my efforts and not very encouraging. I learned the basics at school in Grade 8 but mostly just followed recipe books or TV cooking shows in the 70s and 80s.

My brandy truffles; inspired by my MIL's recipe for rumballs

 8. I’m coming to you for dinner what’s your signature dish?
A roast dinner or boeuf bourguignon

9. What is your guilty food pleasure?
the skin off a roast’re supposed to discard it...I eat it while I’m carving the chicken up.

Tomato and meatball sauce; similar to my mother's recipe

 10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?
Despite being a ‘city kid’, I can scale and fillet fish

Hikers cakes (a slice really); I get the recipe from a friend's mother when I was in my early 20s

Mini Christmas puddings
I missed out on buying some of these at the markets, so I came home and made my own! :-)

 So there you go Lea; better late than I won't tag anyone but if a reader would like to answer those questions on their blog, go right ahead and cut and paste the questions into your post.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I'm getting my money's worth out of

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about paying for a year's membership of the site and how I was enjoying accessing records, but the best thing was when I found people who were also doing family trees which included my great grandparents and even ancestors further back. I've filled in a lot of the blanks in my mother's side of the's side will be more of a challenge but I'm not too concerned with that just at the moment.
However, because my dad was 'naturalised' (they used that term rather than citizenship previously) in the 1930s he is on the electoral rolls. I've been able to 'track' him via those rolls from north Queensland, down to the Granite Belt (Stanthorpe) and eventually to Brisbane. There are a few years between 1949 and 1954 where he disappeared from the rolls so I still don't know when he arrived in Brisbane. By 1954, my mother is on the roll . I always knew that we lived in Paddington; I knew the street, I knew that it was a groundfloor flat, I knew that there was an electrician's shop in front and I knew that my dad's boss owned the shop and flats. What I didn't know was what number and over the years I've driven along the busy street wondering which shop it was. (the electrician had long gone I suspect) Well, the electoral rolls 'told' me the number...102!!! I goggled it!

My second birthday; with dad in the backyard of the Paddington flat
It's probably had a number of 'identities' over the years but now the flats are obviously one dwelling again; and it is a B&B. So when I googled it I was able to find a site that had photos of the interior. Needless to say it looks a bit different these days...I was only 3 1/2 when we left there but it's surprising the memories I have. I remember the backyard as having a fence made of chicken wire and I remember an old fashioned clothesline with the post and cross piece to hold the lines. At night I used to see the shadowy outline of the clothesline posts and feel scared...I used to say to mum that it was a plane that was going to come through the window. I also remember the bedroom was tiny; my parent's bed and my cot seem to fill the room.

The shop front/B&B to the rear

B&B kitchen/dining area

A little terrace at the back

I wonder if this room was the bedroom in our flat
I really enjoyed finding my old home. I won't be so lucky with the previous residences where my parents and I lived. Those old residentials were torn down many, many years ago and replaced with high rise buildings.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Today, being Monday, I'm again joining in this feature on Jodie's blog. This week I again made something.
But first let me give you some background to this post. When I retired I joined a few groups where I could indulge my crafting passions. One group I joined was the K4BN group who knit and crochet items for the needy in the community. The first weekend of every month we have a challenge which runs from 7pm Friday night until 7pm Sunday. The idea of these challenges is to build up stocks of items that are needed in the community or to focus on a particular group that we can help. The February challenge gave us a lot of variety in our choices.

One choice was that we  could make items for Downs and west Community Support which  distributes hampers to needy women and their families especially  in remote areas. The same group may also assist families with paying power and phone bills and always take 'women's things' to make them feel better in troubling times. They also have pampering days where the women come in and have time with massage, hand and foot, hairdressing days and just that good social get together that can often be overlooked.

Knowing that in a few months it will be cold in these centres, I made some scarves in some novelty yarns...I finished 2 and have another on the needles. Requests for tissue box covers, crocheted edged washers and covered coathangers were also on the suggested maybe a 'thrift' mode, I'm also donating some covered coathangers with a matching soap holder that I won in a raffle. I'd planned to put them in a 'Lifeline' Charity Bin but will  include them with my scarves.

Another choice of what could make were for knitted/crocheted toys...always in demand apparently but I wasn't able to find time on the weekend...but one day just never know what I might create! lol

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Goodbye Jim...hello Bruce

Our parish  said goodbye to Father Rod last Easter. I wrote about our trip to Warwick for his commissioning at his new parish here. While the search went on for a new Rector, Father Jim Nolan was the locum and what a lovely man he turned out to be. But he is retired so his time with us was only temporary. On Saturday night Jim and his wife Fay threw a party which was a thank you to all of us for being so welcoming and this get together was also a welcome to Father Bruce and his wife Patti and a chance for parishioners to meet them informally.

Father Jim standing; Father Bruce sitting

I guess it's a sign of the times that parishes have quite long waits before a new priest is found. It's just as well that there are a number of retired priests who fill in as locums in these circumstances. DH asked Jim what he would be doing now that he has handed over to Bruce. Apparently he will continue to be very busy with a number of projects and locum positions!

Suzanne, church warden, presenting Jim with his going away gift of a weekend away!

My friend Carmen; she's still teaching but will retire mid year

Fay and Marge who have been parishioners at St John's for years