Thursday, June 30, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
I like to have the kitchen clean before I start, and I've limited myself to this workspace...the more space one has, the more the mess tends to spread.
My two most favourite kitchen items: electronic scale and proper beater with a good engine. The scale has been unbelievably helpful - pop a bowl on, tare it, add an ingredient, reset to zero, add another ingredient, reset to zero...makes things so easy. I've even started converting fluid amounts to grams on each recipe as I go, eg I know that half a cup of packed brown sugar = 105g. It's easier by far to spoon sticky brown sugar into a mixing bowl than it is to pack it into a cup. And butter...who can ever get the right amount of butter into a tablespoon? As for the beater - oh the bliss after having used a stick-whisk!
Recipes: This is still a work in progress, but the idea is to have all my tried-and-true recipes (comfortable recipes, like comfy old shoes) in one place for easy access. I dislike having to page through several books to try find an old favourite, or to remember which book it was in the first place! This little compilation will keep growing.
I use two mixing bowls, large and medium. The medium bowl doesn't always get used but is handy when you need to premeasure and sieve dry ingredients, or separately melt butter etc. These bowls are so convenient and take the guesswork out of 'where to begin' when you're faced with a cupboard full of clumsy tupperwares. I also have an array of measuring cups and spoons, and other than those I use a knife and a spoon.
Ingredients at the ready - I assemble everything so I know I have what I need, and so it's there when I need it. I've organized most of my dry ingredients into tupperwares like the ones on the right, and they sit neatly in my pantry. As soon as I've used something, I close it and put it back on the shelf so I minimize clutter along the way. If I'm baking a variety of biscuits in one sitting, I keep out anything I'm reusing and do a small clean-up between each batch - rinse out bowls, wipe down counters, put away anything extra.
Logs! This technique revolutionized the time it took to roll things into balls. So much easier to roll the dough into a log form (sometimes the dough is very mushy and needs to be wrapped in clingfilm before even starting to form the log), chill it and then cut slices. Looks neat too. Not all dough is suited to this technique eg things with choc-chips or oats, but even then I start with a log and slice it (no chilling) before rolling into balls, which is easier than teaspooning out individual portions for each biscuit.
Ta-da! One last thing...instead of greasing cookie sheets, I line them with baking paper or silicone mats - it's clean and healthier. Anyone for a cuppa?
PS...the boys were dressed and ready for school again today and although I didn't do a room inspection, at a glance things looked pretty good. They are definitely getting it!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Isaac had Part III at Agri-Business today. We thought we were doing fencing but it turned out to be animal handling again. We had to traipse through poo-filled yards to the paddocks further out in the cold and drizzle to find the sheep first of all, then round them up and herd them back into the poo-and-mud yard, where the boys had to practice drafting, tipping and checking, and drenching again. It was all rather tedious and extremely cold at about 7 degrees (if that). Nearly got squashed by charging fat ewe and had to flick a mud-clod out my hair (hope it was mud, anyway). Altogether not my favourite part of the day. Endured about two hours of that, then we went back to the classroom for the checking of assessments and some general chatting. Had to go home to change my shoes before venturing into the studio...felt considerably more comfortable in that setting :)Had some major plans for baking prep this evening but I couldn't get the potbelly going - or rather, I got it going but left it too long and the fire burned out and I couldn't relight it (or wouldn't...only had one firelighter left in the box and was scared I might need it for the lounge if that fire died!) So instead, since the cold diningroom was utterly unappealing, I just prepared veggies and diced ham to go into the slow-cooker tomorrow morning for pea and ham soup. Am hoping to do a Bakeathon tomorrow, along with several other things on my TeuxDeux list. My what, you say? Well have a lookie at their website - have just been introduced to this marvellous free web-app which will find a permanent home in my browser!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Meanwhile, in Fiji...drum-roll..."Today I get a day off; the meeting that I was due to take this evening was cancelled - harvest season for sugar cane has just started so people only get home at 7-8. Last night was good, we had the pastor’s fraternal. I was all set to preach a direct message about monergistic regeneration, but God changed my plans. Two American Mormon girls pitched up with their Mormon pastor for the meeting, so I had a chance to speak to them before the meeting and preached the Gospel from Romans 3 instead. Vijay and I are chatting for hours at a time, about all sorts of things. I have been helping him with his books - he has hundreds and they need to be re-organized. The food is good, nice and spicy which is how I like it, but the best part is that I don’t have to use a knife and fork - you eat everything with your fingers! And my feet are swollen."
And while I've learned heaps about the art of fire-making, there is still much to be learned. You'd think it would be simple, hey...but experience teaches that non-dry wood is never going to catch when you're starting a fire. Three firelighters, several charred logs and another trip to the woodshed for pinecones later, my fire finally got going. Aaron had arranged for his friend Merric to come over after school, but my condition was that his room had to be tidy...no underpants lying on the floor, no bits of Lego on the floor, and especially a made bed and stowed pyjamas. By the time we left for school it was spotless with almost zero intervention from me, and so Merric came. I was impressed!! I had my second violin lesson this evening with Jemima, and am happy to report that by all appearances I have improved exponentially since a fortnight ago ;) Like I said last time, the only way to go was up after that abysmal beginning. I will be learning Ashokan Farewell which gave me goosebumps when Jemima played it for me. Hope my attempts don't make my hair stand on end.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Well, what a day.
It started with us going to the town of Ba, to have a look around. We had tea at a local tea house, and went to the food market. I have a few photos. During that time we were asked to conduct a wedding tomorrow for a Hindu girl and a NZer. He wanted a ‘Christian’ wedding, because he had seen on a dvd how long and arduous a Hindu one is. So we went there around 3:30 to discuss the ceremony and to give some premarital counseling. The wedding is tomorrow.
So after that we went to the house of a young couple who had a baby on the day I arrived and I led a short devotion and prayer time for the baby.
Then after that we picked up some people and headed out to a young man’s house where he had invited us for a meal and to share a short devotion with the family. There were some non Christians there. We had a very good feed there, I am getting lots of curry. I couldn’t drink the pea soup it was too rich, Narsarma tells me that they use a lot of butter in it, that is probably why.
Prophet + King - Priest = Fundamentalism
Prophet + Priest - King = Evangelicalism
Priest + King - Prophet = Liberalism
The last category is where 'emergent' or postmodern churches find themselves, where Jesus is perceived and preached as a big sweetheart who winks at sin and is never unpopular. Nice, but wholly incorrect. After the teaching we had popcorn and juice and several rounds of Taboo - these kids are fiercely competitive!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Today, Monday, Nick left for Fiji. Seems that it's becoming a regular thing to leave us in winter for some mission or ministry event somewhere! Two years ago (to the day, I believe) it was Ascension for a month, last year he was in Palmerston North for a School of Theology for a week. All good though - this time he's away for two weeks to minister in the only reformed evangelical church in all the islands. He will preach several times at church and bible studies, conduct a pastor's fraternal, and generally encourage the pastor of the church. I will give feedback where possible when I have communication with him. Andreas also happened to be going to Christchurch for a flight to Auckland, and was able to give Nick a lift to the airport for which we are very grateful! Nick was due to be boarding at 12.35; at 1 pm there was a 5.5 magnitude earthquake, followed by two smaller ones before another whopping 6 at 2.20 pm. Rachel and I were in the studio which rocked severely and we were both in doorways feeling pretty terrified. Nick felt the first one strongly but thankfully his plane had taken off before the bigger one, and the airport was closed. His plane was the last to leave Christchurch today. I spoke to him when he'd landed in Auckland again; he was to be leaving NZ around 5 pm and arriving in Fiji three hours later. And thus I am now in charge of keeping the home fires burning again...this time Nick has given me better instruction so today I used one match, one firelighter, one pinecone, one piece of paper, and a few small dry logs to get my fire going. The boys were suitably impressed - last year they called me Fireman Mom because I was so good at putting it out :) Winter evenings are now very much spent together in the lounge...we've moved the Mac into the lounge for the winter as well so we can all be comfy cosy. Music practice, reading, Lego, mask-making, blogging, e-mailing, Skyping, crafting all happen in here. In summer the boys would still have been outside playing on the tramp at this time of day! The sun is rising just after 8 am these days and setting at 5 pm. Only a few more weeks before the winter solstice though and the days lengthen rapidly. Wooohooo!