Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Boston ivy making a start on the front of the house.

Starting the Ligustrum Vulgare hedge. We bought 80 small plants originally. Keith has propagated a further 150 and planted 50 so far.

Our first (and maybe only!) apple of the year.

Sunflowers in the vegetable garden, grown from seeds from the chicken feed.

I know it's now the end of January, but it really takes the start of school for it to feel like the beginning of a new year for me.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


We've just spent a few days on the central coast, visiting my sister, niece and nephew. The weather was warm and sunny, and even better the water temperature was perfect.

On the way home we called into here. Highly recommend, especially if your children would like to own a reptile but your not so keen!

Back at home, it looks like this family has moved in for good.  (The little one is very sweet.)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Present in a jar

We're off to visit my sister for a few days in the morning, and I want to take her a small gift. Something a bit different, after all we've just had Christmas with lots of presents all round. So, I decided on this jar of White chocolate, cranberry and macadamia cookies which I saw in a recent Home Beautiful magazine.

Everything is ready to go, the flour sifted etc, and she just needs to add the butter, eggs and vanilla. They said to use a 1.25L jar, but we had some space left at the top - I think a 1L would have been perfect. I put a piece of baking paper on top of the last ingredient, the lovely macadamia nuts, and then popped the recipe in on top.

Hope she likes it - I know her children will!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Morning walk

A quick, after breakfast, walk to the top of Hat Hill (1035m).

Yesterday was almost a complete 'white out' with the fog, but today is going to be beautiful and hot, so we plan to be outside and make the most of it!

Actinotus helianthi  (Flannel Flower)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cookie dough

We made biscuits today using this recipe that I pulled out of an Easy Living magazine quite a while ago.  I really like the photo of the rolled up dough and love the idea of having dough prepared and waiting in the freezer to use whenever we want freshly baked cookies.

Instead of making the full quantity, we halved everything this time (just to make sure we liked them!) and then decided to bake them all now anyway . . .

Here is Keira's version with chocolate chunks instead of pecans.

They were a big hit for afternoon tea so now we just need to make another batch so some can actually make it into the freezer!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

War Horse

A while back the children were given this book by their Grandmother who had been to see the theatre production in London.  Already being Michael Morpurgo fans (Alone on a Wide Wide SeaBorn to RunKensuke's Kingdom), they enjoyed this story immensely.

Today we went to see the film version.

Well, what can I say except that it was stunningly beautiful and moving.  I think I cried just as much in the funny moments as in the war/death scenes . . . 

But it was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us, even if we all feel a bit flat and in need of a cup of tea afterwards!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 - Remembered


  • Summer holidays.
  • Day on harbour in friends boat, swimming at Nielsen park, lunch at Watsons bay.
  • Lots of afternoons spent at Blackheath pool.
  • Stay in Fairlight, Sydney at a friends house while she is overseas.  Swim at beach every day (Freshwater, North Steyne and Dee Why).  Catch ferry accross to Sydney and visit Botanical Gardens and Art Gallery of NSW.  Also, Mirazozo - part of Sydney Festival.
  • Keira went on holiday with a friend to beach house near Taree, NSW.
  • Keith's Birthday.
  • Keira started high school.


  • Keith went to Brisbane to practically re-build our house there that was severely affected by the floods. (12 days)
  • Kids played lots of basketball
  • Caley went to Maths camp - and enjoyed it!
  • Had a great day doing Dargans Creek canyon.


  • Caley turned 11.
  • More basketball.
  • Keira learnt new skills doing her school assignments.
  • Keith did lots of planting and landscaping work.


  • Keira played the piano at the opera house in a graduation concert.
  • Soccer season started for Cal.
  • School holidays (2 weeks plus Easter)
  • On the 6th we fly to the UK!
  • Spend time with Keith's family in the UK.
  • Visit London & Lake District.
  • Fly to Paris.
  • Catch train to Nice and visit Keith's Mum.
  • Have a truly wonderful holiday!


  • Arrive back in Australia on the 1st. (Kids go to school on the 2nd . . .)
  • Sharyn stops working 2 days a week in Leura.
  • Hockey season starts for Keira.
  • Have 2 weeks to prepare our cottage in Leura to be let out for holiday accommodation.


  • Sharyn's Birthday.
  • Blackheath has an afternoon of snow.
  • Spend a few days with friends in Port Stephens, NSW (where the children swim!).


  • School holidays (3 weeks).
  • Keira baby-sits a friends pet rat . . . Keith and Sharyn are not convinced that she should get one!
  • Blackheath experiences a huge wind storm that knocks down trees all over the suburb including one that falls on a train carriage at Medlow Bath.  The damage is so extensive that we are without power for 3 days.  After the second night, with no heating, we all decamp to friends houses for much needed warmth, tlc and showers!


  • Heat pump is installed - and at almost the end of our third winter here - we have warm floors!!
  • Keira completes the 40hr famine - no food (just water and rationed barley sugars) or technology.
  • Cal goes to G&T camp in Sydney.
  • Hockey & Soccer seasons finish.
  • First anniversary of Sharyn's Mum's death.


  • Keira turns 13.
  • We host The Craziest Race party for Keira and 20 of her school friends . . .
  • Cal goes on school trip to Canberra for 3 days.
  • School holidays start (2 weeks).
  • Keith starts working at Sydney University.  First "job" in 9 years . . . and means commuting on the train for 4 1/2 hours each day.
  • Cal leaves on school 'Outback Tour'.  A 10 day trip out west visiting Dubbo, Lightning Ridge, Toowoomba, the Gold Coast and Coffs Harbour.
  • We say goodbye to Honey as she goes to live with friends in Bullaburra, who adore her!


  • Keira and Sharyn complete 45km Charity walk for the school.  They walk from Wentworth Falls to "Bungawarra" (the School's Outdoor education centre), Little Hartley, raising money for a school in Uganda.
  • Basketball starts again for Cal.
  • Keira goes to school camp at Bungawarra - rains steadily for all 4 days!
  • Cal goes on school camp to Shoalhaven - enjoys the abseiling, camping out in tents and canoeing.


  • Cal spends a day in the high school in preparation for next year.
  • Keira receives 1st prize at the school Art Awards for her money box made in Tech class.
  • Keira performs in the school pantomime Cinderella (6 shows) (and sprains her wrist during a costume change . . .)
  • Cal attends his Year 6 Farewell - looking very smart in his suit - and has a fantastic night.
  • Sharyn organises a dinner for the parents of year 6 children at The Grandview Hotel, Wentworth Falls.


  • Cal's Year 6 classmates put on a Fun Day for the rest of the school.  Cal and his friends run a Nerf Gun Tournament - which was very popular!
  • We all head out to Newnes State Forrest for our annual catch up/Christmas party with canyoning friends and Bush Santa arrives for a visit.
  • Keira and Cal have a piano exam (Keira's first one ever) and they both do a great job and get A's!! (Keira - Grade 4 and Cal - Grade 3)
  • School finishes for the year.  (Both children receive Academic awards, with Cal also getting the Chess prize and Keira a prize for coming first in PDHPE.)
  • Summer Holidays start (2 months).
  • We go and stay at the Swisshotel in Sydney for 2 days and enjoy looking at all the Christmas decorations and eating at nice restaurants/cafes. (Keith enjoys a much shorter travel time to and from work!)
  • Sharyn's sister and her 2 children move out of the studio at Hat Hill Farm and relocate to the much warmer Central Coast (Terrigal), after living here with us for nearly 3 years (6 months with us in the main house and the rest in the studio by themselves)
  • Keith finishes his contract at the Uni.
  • We all enjoy a beautiful, sunny Christmas day with family here for lunch.
  • For New Years Eve, we head to the Wentworth Falls Country Club and watch great fireworks with friends (and almost everyone else in the Upper mountains!)

And, all year long . . . 
  • Keith has worked tirelessly on the garden and house, creating a beautiful place for us all to enjoy.  We thank you!

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