Monday, December 24, 2012

Dairy free Gingerbread Christmas cookies

We have done some Christmas baking which has been wonderful. I adapted a recipe of mine to be dairy free and it works well. It tastes really yummy and Blossom can eat to her hearts content!
Dairy free gingerbread men (or flowers/ stars/ circles)

50ml golden syrup
125g deodorised* coconut oil (more as needed when kneading**)
1/2 cup of sugar
1 egg yolk
2 cups of flour
1 tbsp ginger ground
1 tsp baking soda

Heat the syrup in the microwave until runny.
Cream the coconut oil*** and sugar, add the egg yolk and beat in the sifted dry ingredients a little at a time.
Add in the warm syrup and kneed the mixture** until sticky and moist.
Roll out the dough to roughly 3mm in thickness.
Use a cutter and cut shapes. Bake at 190 degrees centigrade fan bake for 7 to 10 minutes.
Remove and turn oven down to 100 degrees centigrade. After 10 minutes return gingerbread cookies to oven and bake for a further 5 minutes to harden.
Decorate, or if your kids are like mine, eat them plain!

* I use a deodorised coconut oil in our cooking and in baking as we are not quite into the taste of coconut flavoring all our food. Nothing wrong if you are though. The brand we use is Blue Coconut oil (white tub) available at Pak N Sav or new World in the oil section.

**The mixture is more crumbly using coconut oil as a fat and I guess that the vegetable fat must act in a different way to butter when helping to bind the mixture together. I just added more coconut oil until I felt the mixture was binding well enough. You need to use your hands to kneed and "feel" the dough! When it holds a shape in your hands it's ready- its not like a pliable sticky bread dough though- its more crumbly.

***Coconut oil is solid at room temperature except during a sticky Auckland summer when it becomes liquid. I "set" mine in the fridge until it was the consistency of spreadable butter. Or if in a colder climate you may need to warm it over a hot bowl of water until soft if yours is hard. It does resemble a butter/ sugar mix when creamed but is white.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Today is my last day of work. Because I have a great boss (myself) I have kindly given myself annual leave until the 7th January. I wouldn't work for me unless I had to as this is the first proper leave I have had since Blossom was born.

Anyway. I am super tired.

The kids have been home this week on school holidays so I have worked around them. Today they came with me to run some work errands and drop client gifts off. It was great mostly, apart from a few little boy meltdowns. I am learning not to base the success of an outing on Rupi's meltdowns. The inner city was bathed in Christmassy goodness, we loved it.

Bring on Jesus' birthday!!!!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

happy little secret

** UPDATE: Crochet does not have needles but HOOKS. Yes indeed... I am learning slowly!**

In these slightly scary days it's good to have some happy bits. And one if these is... crochet!! I am a newbie crochet lover...

I am learning slowly and can do granny squares. That's all. I can't follow a pattern yet and don't know all the stitches but I LOVE it. Love love love it!

Here's my first project, Christmas bunting! It's all wonky and the triangles are different sizes but I don't care. I am so proud!

And lovely generous Cat gave me a special Christmas present- a holder for my needles (or noodles as Rupi calls them!) Isn't it gorgeous?

Super happy!


Sunday, December 9, 2012


Cat (from Catalina's cottage) is a new IRL friend. And I like her a whole lot!!!! She is warm and funny and has such a soft heart. She wants to create a community of bloggers in Auckland and has gone about making her vision happen. And yes, it's all happening with warmth and inclusion and lots of fun.

This is the latest gathering. We met at a child friendly cafe and as expected had  we all had such a good time. I have never met a blogger I didn't like and this was no different!

 This is me, ha! With my little darling, of course.

 Sarann from "I Bequeath Love" and Simoney from "Great fun for Kids"

Leonie from "Sunshine x3", Rachel from "Heart and Crafty" and Cat from "Catalina's Cottage"

So, if you are in Auckland (or near enough!) and looking at the photos feeling a bit left out/ uninvited/ lonely.... you are invited to a dinner in January 2013. Pop along to Cat's blog and email her or leave a comment. She'll add you to the list and you will get details of when and where.

We will be loud, eat a lot, laugh even more and generally have a wonderful time and I would LOVE to have you there!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

little bites of happy

Little boy hand picked flowers just for me. Although I can't actually have them, they have live in his schoolbag (?)

Little girl offerings to the printer gods

She finally "got" toddler ballet and utterly loves it. Yes this is actually one of her ballet moves... it's called the "crouch down and spring up"...

Ice creams on the beach together on a rare sunny Auckland November Saturday (note drip on the chin- he just lurves "dalilla" ice cream!!)

Putting dolly and lion to sleep and then sleeping on top of them- Plunket would have a heart attack!

Happy weekend friends!!!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

tradition sweetness

This year we made the annual trip to the Christmas tree heaven shop with the cousins. It was chaotic and lots of fun. The idea is that each child gets to choose an ornament of their own. No boundaries, well, except the giant stuffed reindeer costing over $800....

This is the first year that Rupi has really understood the tradition. And he just loved it. While Blossom ran around the shop creating havoc he carefully selected his own ornament. Which was.... ENORMOUS lolly (sweet)! He truly is his mother's son as this is excatly what I would have chosen as a child! It dominates the whole one side of the tree and makes me giggle every time I look at it. All of his ornaments are carefully hung close to each other and he relates the story of each again and again.

This is Blossom's. I chose it for her as she was randomly selecting candles, lights, tinsel and carrying them all around the store. Bless.

I love this silly little tradition! It doesn't take away from the true meaning of Christmas and provides a great introduction into the Christmas season. Traditions bind family together and this one doesn't get much better!



2009/ 2008


Tuesday, November 27, 2012


We sold our little house! We listed a week ago, had the first open home on Sunday afternoon and by 8pm that night it was signed, sealed and SOLD! I cried a little as this house is our first and holds so many memories.

The agent said the buyer fell in love with the house and made his offer as soon as he walked in. He's a single dad with a 13 year old son and so it's going to be a family home. Love that and love that he loves the house!

Can't believe it sold so fast and can't believe how insane the Auckland house market is. We plan to rent for a couple of years, sit on our nest egg (cluck cluck) and see what happens.

Happy days!


Saturday, November 24, 2012

my crowning glory

Singbarren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the LORD.
Isaiah 54: 1

We had a family shoot with these amazing photographers. They did my MIL's shoot and I loved their photos and they way they handled the kids, so booked them for my business shots and a family session.

They asked to use the kiddies as models last week (ummm yes!) and those photos are amazing. I can't wait to get copies of the images!

I highly recommend them and they have given me some vouchers to hand out to my clients or people like me. By that I mean, people who turn up on time and are polite. So if that's you, and of course it is, and you would use a voucher, say so in the comments and I will organise one for you x


Saturday, November 17, 2012

dry run

Yesterday we sisters had a dry run for when news is really bad.

I was driving home on a high after having coffee with friends. My middle sister calls. Have I been on facebook she asks? No, was my reply. She starts sobbing. This is posted on facebook by my aunt....

Ruth is having all sorts of tests done to precisely identify the type of cancer cell. Depending on what it is, she will have a course of medication preceding the actual chemotherapy. Chemo is being given to reduce production of fluid and relieve discomfort and pain. She has stage 4 cancer - terminal. All treatment from now on is given to keep her comfortable. But God ......... Thank you for your prayer support. Bless you.

This is NOT what we had been told. We had been told that my Mom's cancer is inoperable but we are hopeful that treatment will at the very least extend her life indefinately. But we had no reason to doubt this post. This is my Mom's big sister, who is a hospice nurse and spoke to my Mom the day before.

I try my Mom's phone, the friend who is with her (in hospital while they drain the fluid in her chest cavity) and my Dad. No-one answers their phone. To be honest, I freaked out.

My middle sister comes over to my house and we are faced with a horrible decision. Do we call our youngest sister and tell her what we have read to save her reading it cold? Or do we wait until we hear from my parents and hope that she wouldn't go onto facebook in the meantime? We decided we couldn't chance her reading it and I call her. It was awful.

While we spoke to my youngest sister my middle sister and I sat side by side on the couch. We leaned into one another and as we talked on the phone there was such solidarity. We were together facing a monster. It was horrible but we were together.

Eventually my Dad called and clarified the situation. My aunt had assumed a whole lot of stuff. It was the sweetest phone call. Yes, this is bad. Yes, it's life threatening. But we are in the fighting zone and believe that treatment can work! My Mom is NOT terminal. The end.

P.S. The coffee I has was with two amazing bloggers- Cat and Leonie. I felt like I had known them forever- they are fabulous. Real and kind and normal. If you can get to spend time with them, grab it with both hands!


Monday, November 12, 2012


Thank you so very much for the deluge of kind words, encouragement and love. Emails, texts, face book messages, comments and blog love = amazing. This is why I love blogging. It's not a business for me, it's friendship and as the lines between real life and the internet blur I love each of you more.

Thanks, my friends.

So. Tonight my Mom meets with the oncologist. In about 45min in fact, and we will know the nature of the beast we face. It will have a name and a description and a timing. I admit that I am terrified. But I know that just because someone with green shoes (true) and a long list of letters behind his name calls the beast something does NOT mean it has jurisdiction over my mother's life.

The end.

I have had some good times over the last couple of days. Dida organized a birthday extravaganza that got sabotaged by the beast to some extent but Friday bight was a goodie. He organized some of my closest friends to go out to dinner with me. Some people were missing (hello Gail) But I had a wonderful time.

Then on Saturday I got to have lunch with Megs from MNMs. My gosh this girl is wonderful. She's tiny, wears mint green jeans, likes gluten free cake and is truly as lovely as she comes across on her blog.

Loved these two bits of cheer in the middle of everything else!


Friday, November 9, 2012

happy (not) birthday

Yesterday we got news that none of us expected. My mother is very ill. The cancer has returned and is inoperable.

Last Saturday my Mom left Rupi's birthday party early to got o the local hospital ER. She was in terrible pain and the doctors discovered a build of fluid in her chest cavity. Not unusual where a lung has been removed but unusual this far after chemo/ surgery. And tests indicated cancer in her chest cavity lining which is inoperable.

So officially the worst birthday of my life. But that fact shrank to insignificance in the shadow of what is happening. Instead of going out to celebrate last night my sisters gathered at our house with my parents and we battened down the hatches. We cried and talked and read scripture. It was where we needed to be.

We are reeling.

We face more chemo and treatment. It's different this time. This time it's not preventative but palliative. Not a word we are accepting right now but it does mean that this fight is serious.

So my friends, this blog may be a little cancer focused for a while. And even more than that- God focused. If this offends you, please accept my heartfelt apologies. But this is who I am and where I turn. I can't do this without my God, nor do I want to.

We stood on these verses a while ago. And they resonate with me again...

But mightier that the violent raging of the seas,
mightier than the breakers on the shore
The Lord is mightier than these
Your royal decrees cannot be changed
The nature of Your Reign, O Lord, is holiness forever. Psalm 93: 4-5


Sunday, November 4, 2012

spaceman delight

I think it's fair to say that Rupi had the best day of his life yesterday. Yeah, it was good. Which makes the stress and late nights and crazy cost and the advent of psycho woman emerging at times, well worth it.

It was good!

For his party we booked the YMCA party room. The horde of small boys (and occasional girl) also had the run of the whole auditorium with all the equipment for the whole party. A YMCA trainer played with them and tried to organize games. It was like herding cats and I felt sorry for her. She was young and had no idea about the combined testosterone levels of a bunch of small boys.

They emerged for afternoon tea and we played a few games and opened presents and it was easy. Ok, it wasn't easy and due to a lack of sleep (on Dida's part with the kiddies) and my pre party stress levels there were a few marital moments while hanging the bunting. Just keeping it real.... But once we got going and Dida drank a giant energy drink, all was well.


I did the requested "Spaceman" theme. Bunting, balloons and murals made the room look fabulous. The food was all dairy free and exactly the same as Blossom's party. I think I may have to mix it up a bit for Blossom's next party.

 The cake was a rocket and had part of it dairy free with american frosting for icing which is totally dairy free. We had sparkler coming out the bottom which the little boys adored. Dida tried to make a speech but Rupi got embarrassed and shouted him down. It was super funny!

One the way home Rupi said that it was a "wonnerful party" and that, my friends, is all we needed to hear! Love it.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

The best day ever for the fourth time

Darling boy, you are 4 years old today! In fact just 4 years and half an hour ago, you were born and we became parents. The breakthrough arrived!

These last 4 years have been the happiest of our lives. You are such a joy, precious little man. You bring laughter and light and passion into our lives.

I am so proud to be your Mama. You delight me.

I pray that the year ahead is filled with the knowledge of the presence of God, blessing and peace.

I love you so much,

Love Mama

Third best day ever

Second best day ever

First best day ever


Friday, October 26, 2012

my ride

Even if you are only 3 years old and you don't have much to work with... the urge to pimp your ride and stand next to it with a thumbs-up sign, is deep rooted and part of your male DNA..


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