Showing posts from March, 2012

Creating panoramic views on a smart phone

I have just discovered something really cool and I wanted to share it with you. For anyone with a smart phone or an iPad with a camera - check out the app "Photosynth" by Microsoft.  The app allows you to create panoramic views without much effort. The one below I took at my local vet this morning (Charlie needed her vaccinations done) - not bad for a few seconds of photograph and a little editing in Picnik. This doesn't work when you have lots of moving people as we soon discovered when we went and tried it at the Botanical Gardens this morning.

I took a few others but they are way too long and thin to post here but if you visit this link you will see one that is 360C - this is interactive and you can move it in the loop!

I'm off outside to enjoy the wonderful sunshine and put my feet up with a cup of tea and a chocolate slice.  Come join me:)

Five favourite potato recipes

1. Hasselback potatoes are a quick and easy way to cook potatoes that are a little bit different to the standard roast potato. This is the recipe I use (link).  I sometimes sprinkle Parmesan cheese near the end of roasting or some smoky paprika.

2. Mashed potatoes with bacon and cheese is great on special occasions - however I would reduce the amount of cheese if you are dieting and you can skip the cream cheese and use milk or cream instead!!! (link)

3. Cheesy potato bake is another easy meal to make and one my sons loved as children.  You can add bacon to this if you like or replace the potatoes with sweet potato.  I have even placed rings of tomato on top and baked. 

4. Potato Latkes are my son's favourite potato dish and one of the first things he learnt to make.  My dad use to make these on Sunday nights for dinner and we ate as many as he could possibly make.  The crisper the better and covered in tomato sauce - even though traditionally they should be eaten with apple sauce …

J is for Jam

J is for JAM
I love jam!
On weekends I have jam on my toast, crumpets or muffins for breakfast.
I use to buy jam, but one day late last year I decided to make my own.  I did think jam making was some complicated scientific process.  It isn't, it is so easy to make and I am thrilled that I overcome my fear and can now whip up a batch of jam whenever I want to. Basically it is fruit, sugar and little water or lemon juice and that's about it. 
As for sterilizing the jars, I pop mine in the oven at 100C for the length of time my jam is cooking.  The lids go into a saucepan of boiling water and bubble away for around 15 mins. Its that easy.
If you have never made jam, give it a go.  I bought a couple of books - The Australian Women's Weekly has a great one called "Preserves" but most books are very helpful.   The most important thing about making jam is reading up on the right amount of sugar to fruit and what jam looks like when it starts to "set".  Do your …

Art Wednesday: 2012 Archiblad Prize

The finalists have been selected for the 2012 Archibald Prize (Portrait). These are my favourites, however, I have to admit I did struggle to find ten out of the forty-one paintings that I liked. Most I didn't. The first two paintings are ones I think should win, but it is highly unlikely as these sort of paintings never wins. These paintings are often considered to be too "photographical", lack character, and too traditional and this is bad if you want to win the Archibald Prize! The winner will be announced on the 30th of March.
Paintings are exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW and they have been the source of the paintings below. 

No . . not a favourite - how did this get selected in the top 41?
Did you like any? If you want to see all 41, here is the link. Warning . . . some paintings are not suitable for children. 

Do we?

'We want as many women as can be to have challenging and demanding careers rather than having to fit a bit of work in around the edges,''  Tony Abbott, Conserative leader . . . Leader of the Opposition (Sydney Morning Herald, 25th April 2012)

Do we?
Both sides of government want as many women as possible in the workforce as it is good for the economy. Both sides agree that there isn't enough women working and both would say that part of the problem is access to childcare and the cost of childcare. Neither party are likely to say that some women want to remain at home with their children and they should be allow to without pressure from government.  No government is likely to encourage women to remain at home for however long they wish. And from this comment, Mr Abbott doesn't want to encourage to women to work part-time either . . .  hours that better allow mothers to juggle their family needs.

Most mothers with young children do not want "challenging and demand…

Precious moments

It's not the amount of time a parent spends with their children thats important, it is the quality of the time.  Many parents are at home with their children but have the TV on (loud) or too involved doing other things to even notice their children. Many parents are busy rushing here and there taking their children to sports and other activities or to friends that they are too tired to spend time that counts. When you look at the statistics, parents spend very little time with their teenage children and they don't seem to realise what they are missing out on. Even though I am not with my sons all the time as I work, when I am with them . . . that time counts and I make the most of it. 
It is moments like these that are precious . . . not only for me, but for our teenage sons and daughters.
On the 16th I took my 19 year old son to the secondhand book fair and we had fun searching for books and then looking at what we had found. Afterwards we went out for lunch at a local pub.  …

Popular teenage literature and film

Warning: this may be disturbing to some.

A new teenage movie is being released called “The Hunger Game”.  It is set in post-apocalyptic America called Panem, where teenagers aged 12 to 18 are selected (via lottery) and forced into an annual televised battle to the death (murdering each other). The main character is a 16 year old girl called Katriss who takes the place of her sister to play the "game". The lone survivor (the winner) will return home to wealth and fame. Twenty-three other teenagers will died (violently) as a result of this game.  When two remain, one must die.  Katriss and Peeta (who are friends) threaten the game organisers with suicide and are both allow to live - for now.   The game is staged as entertainment for the rich who are bored with their lives. 

The book (part of a trilogy) on which the film has been based has become a worldwide sensation with more than 26 million copies sold thus far.  This follows on the footsteps of other teenage book/film bes…

Thankyou Lord

Every afternoon I have to merge into a very busy fast moving lane of traffic.  It isn't something I enjoy doing and on occasions it doesn't go as well as I would like it to. As I approach the merging lane I find myself saying "Please Lord, give me a hand" and once I am safely where I need to be, I say "Thank you Lord".  I do this every afternoon as I know that I couldn't do it without His help.
How many times a day does the Lord help us through tricky situations and we completely forget to say thank Him.  Or, we say thanks hours later long, well after the event.  Do we forget to say "thank you" because we are in such a hurry, focused on other things that we consider to be far more important.  Or do we simply take for granted that the Lord will provide and that He doesn't need to be thanked for all the small things.   And when you start adding up all the ways He has help each day, it could number quite a few thank yous.
Luke 17 is a very go…

Art Wednesday: Varvara Harmon

Artist: Varvara Harmon
Russian born, living in Maine, USA
Varvara Harmon was born and raised in Volzshk. She began painting in her childhood and was a student at the Volzshk Art School, where she graduated with a Diploma in Art Studies. Varvara's career goals briefly turned from the arts towards the earth sciences. While pursuing this interest, she studied geology at the Moscow Geological Exploration Academy, where she earned a Degree in Geological Studies.
After graduation, Varvara worked as a geologist - work that brought her to some of Russia's most spectacular wildernesses. It was during this time, with so many opportunities to see Russia's wild beauty that Varvara returned to painting landscapes. While in Russia, Varvara participated in many regional art exhibitions and also had the honor of being the first artist ever to put on a solo exhibition at the Museum of V. E. Lenin in the City of Kazan, Russia. Varvara immigrated to the United States in 2001 and moved to Maine…

I is for ironing

I is for ironing
I'm not one for long hours over a hot iron as I don't like ironing very much. I iron clothes when I need them and not before.  I drip dry what I can and this reduces wrinkles, therefore less work.  I also like to buy clothes that require minimual ironing, therefore I never buy linen!
I hate to admit this (as I am going to look like a very poor wife) and where most ladies are wonderful homemakers, but my husband irons his own shirts and trousers, ok the secret is out.   We have been doing this way for 24 years and it works quite nicely. It all started when I messed up one of his shirts and he decided he would simply do his own (I was only 20 and not very good at ironing).
If I am going to write a blog story on ironing I should provide some tips - as I don't iron very often, I thought I would borrow some professional tips (source): Make sure your iron is hot enough for your fabric but not hotter. A too cool iron will not remove all the wrinkles, and one that is …