November 23, 2010

Role Model Parenting

Role Modeling:

I  tell my children, clean-up their room and they look at my garage. I tell them not to drink and they look at my eyes when I come home from a party. I tell them to be honest, I have an escort radar scanner in my car and my tax return shows 'zero' income for the third straight year. And so there are those who leap all over the place pulling hair from their head and the employers tell their employees and the leaders tell the children to 'look at their parents'.

What good does it do to preach to someone
when the children look at their parents and say
"I'd rather watch a sermon than hear one, anyday,
So please my loving parents let your life show me the way
For I am but a mirror of how you live today.
Dad, I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there is no misunderstanding of how you act and live."
Hey mum. Hey dad. Hey manager.....
I'd rather watch a sermon then hear one any day."

What were you going to tell us dad about the psychology of winning? I replied 'Nothing, I was going to go clean the garage." I don't tell my wife to tell people on the phone I'm not in. No more 'National Enquirer' for me. No fad diets, gossiping, etc.
                                                                                Author: Unknown

The Little Chap Who Follows Me

A careful man I ought to be,
A little fellow follows me,
I do not dare to go astray
For fear he'll go the selfsame way.

I cannot once escape his eyes,
Whate'er he sees me do, he tries;
Like me, he says, he's going to be,
The little chap who follows me.

He thinks that I am good and fine,
Believes in every word of mine
The base in me he must not see,
The little chap who follows me.

I must remember as I go,
Through summer's fun and winter's snow,
In building for the years to be
The little chap who follows me!
                                                    Author: Unknown

If I Had My Child to Raise Over Again:

If I had my child to raise over again,
I'd finger paint more, and point the finger less.
I'd do less correcting, and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less, and know to care more.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I'd run through more fields, and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging, and less tugging.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd teach less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.
                                            Diana Loomans

November 22, 2010

On The Road Again...Travelling With Children

"Are we there yet?.....Are we there yet???....Now? Are we there now???"

Ohhh you've heard it before. My response is usually "Have we stopped the car? Are we getting out of the car? Are we walking to the ...........? Well then, we are NOT there yet."

Here's some fun games we use to play (and some we didn't but you may like to)to break up the time as we'd travel....or even during church or times the children need to be occupied.

Mr Squiggle: Here in Australia many of us grew up watching Mr Squiggle Children would send in a squiggle and he would make a picture out of it. He was very clever. (you can find clips of him on youtube and he even has a Facebook page)

What this involves is simply drawing a squiggle of some kind then handing the paper off to the child and they have to make it into a picture of some kind. I usually have them draw a squiggle next and hand it to me. Or you can simply have them hand it to each other.

Another version of this is when I'd write a description of what I want them to draw then let them go for it. For example "A monkey playing cricket with an elephant on a trampoline" or "A fancy race car with square wheels". You get the idea. It keeps them occupied for quite some time.

License plates: Keep track of the license plates you see from other states. See if you can find one from every state. Keep watching!!!

Alphabet:  Look at road signs, billboards, license plates, ANYTHING with words/letters. Start at A and go all the way through to Z. The first one to find all the letters wins. Wins what you ask? Well the honour of saying they won is what.

Songs: As I was growing up we loved to sing. The first game we played was shouting out a number (which would be a number from the hymn book) then we'd count to three and start singing the hymn. It was to try and catch everyone out. Then years later they went and changed the hymnbook on us and all the numbers changed.

We'd sing many fun traveling songs. Here's a list and the link takes you to a youtube link so you can hear the song.

One man went to mow....

There's a hole in my bucket.....

There was an old lady.....

Dingle, dangle scarecrow...

Teddy Bear's picnic....


Do your ears hang low....

On top of spaghetti.....

Found a peanut....

Bringing home a baby bumble-bee....

Here's some links that will take you to even more travel games:

Happy Traveling!!

Erma Bombeck wisdom

The other day I was going through a lot of papers I have as we are making a move from Australia back to the US very soon. I came across a folder of papers I was just going to toss out because they aren't relevant to my situation anymore but they were too helpful to just throw out to never been seen again. They are papers I found helpful as a young mother. I gleaned ideas of fun things to do with my children. I found them particularly helpful during the long breaks from school.

With that in mind I have decided to transfer the information to my blog in hopes that others will find it useful.

The first paper I pulled out to share with you was an article by the dear Erma Bombeck.

Treat Friends, Kids The Same

On TV the other day, a leading child psychologist said parents should treat their children as they would treat their best friend...with courtesy, dignity and diplomacy.

"I have never treated my children any other ways," I told myself. But later that night, I thought about it. Did I really talk to my best friends like I talked to my children? Just suppose.....our good friends, Fred and Eleanor, came to dinner one night and......

"Well, it's about time you two got here! What have you been doing? Dawdling? Leave those shoes outside, Fred. They've got mud on them. And shut the door. Were you born in a barn?

"So Eleanor, how have you been? I've been meaning to have you over for such a long time. Fred! Take it easy on the chip dip or you'll ruin your dinner. I didn't work over a hot stove all day long to have you nibble like some bird."

"Heard from any of the gang lately? Got a card from the Martins. Yes, they're in Lauderdale again. They go every year to the same spot. What's the matter with you, Fred? You're fidgeting. Of course you have to go. It's down the hall, first door on the left. And I don't want to see a towel in the middle of the floor when you're finished.

"Did you wash your face before you came, Eleanor? I see a dark spot around your mouth. I guess it's a shadow. Do, how are your children? If you ask me I think summer school is great for them. Is everybody hungry? Then, why don't we go into dinner? You all wash up and I'll take up the food. Don't tell me your hands are clean, Eleanor. I saw you playing with the dog.

"Fred, you sit over there and Eleanor you can sit with the half glass of milk. You know you're all elbows with it comes to milk. There now, your host will say grace.

"Fred, I don't see any cauliflower on your plate. Have you ever tried it? Well, try a spoonful. If you don't like it I won't make you finish it, but if you don't try it, you can just forget dessert. And sit up straight or your spine will grow that way. Now, what were we talking about? Oh yes, the Gerbers. They sold their house. I mean they took a beating but....Eleanore, don't talk with food in your mouth. I can't understand a word you're saying. And use your napkin."

At that moment in my fantasy, my son walked into the room. "How nice of you to come," I said pleasantly.

"Now what did I do?" he sighed.

Erma Bombeck

How close to the mark is she? Do we really speak to our children as we should?

Of course we need to teach our children not to speak with food in their mouth and to leave muddy shoes outside, but can't we do it in such a way as to not crush their spirit at the same time?

November 10, 2010

Passionfruit Perfection

I LOVE passionfruit. It screams 'tropical'. I came across a recipe site that had a gazillion recipes that each use passionfruit in one way or another. Ok, ok, so maybe not a 'gazillion' but there was a LOT of 'em.

I decided that I would share with you the gems that I found in all of them. I whittled many out for various reasons. If they used alcohol they were GONE. If the method was too long or too work intensive they were GONE. And finally if any of the ingredients weren't something I've heard of or regularly used (like dried lavender flowers or 'titanium strength gelatin leaves') they were GONE.

Here's what we have left. I hope you find something you could enjoy making, eating and sharing.

Passionfruit curd

Makes: 3 cups


* 4 eggs
* 2 egg yolks
* 3/4 cup caster sugar
* 3/4 cup passionfruit pulp (see note)
* 125g butter, chilled, chopped

Add above ingredients to your shopping list

1. Place eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a 6-cup capacity heatproof, microwave-safe jug or bowl. Whisk with a balloon whisk until well combined. Add passionfruit pulp and butter. Stir to combine.
2. Microwave passionfruit mixture, uncovered, on MEDIUM (50%) for 6 to 10 minutes, whisking every minute, or until thick enough to coat a spoon. Pour passionfruit curd into sterilised jars and seal. Refrigerate to cool.

Notes: You will need 6 to 8 passionfruit for 3/4 cup pulp.

Passionfruit ice-cream

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

* 500ml (2 cups) thickened cream
* 375ml (1 1/2 cups) coconut milk
* 4 egg yolks
* 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
* 160ml (2/3 cup) strained passionfruit pulp
* Ice-cream cones, to serve


1. Combine the cream and coconut milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Remove from heat.
2. Use an electric beater to whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl until thick and pale. Gradually stir the cream mixture into the egg mixture. Pour into a clean saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 15 minutes or until custard coats the back of the spoon. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Stir in the passionfruit pulp.
3. Pour mixture into a shallow metal container. Cover with foil and place in the freezer for 3 hours or until firm.
4. Roughly break up the ice-cream with a metal spoon. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Quickly return ice-cream to the metal container. Cover with foil and freeze for a further 3 hours or until firm.
5. Scoop ice-cream into cones or bowls and serve immediately.

Notes: You will need about 8 passionfruit for this recipe.

Passionfruit curd cheesecake

OK...this one has a little more to it than I usually like but it still seems easy enough and sounds YUMMO!!!!

Ingredients (serves 12)

* 250g butternut biscuits
* 200g digestive biscuits
* 120g butter, melted
* 500g cream cheese, at room temperature
* 1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar
* 300g sour cream
* 2 eggs
* 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
Passionfruit curd
* 2 passionfruit
* 50g butter
* 2 eggs, lightly whisked
* 1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar
* 1 tbs lemon juice

Add above ingredients to your shopping list

1. Line the base of a 20cm (base measurement) springform pan with baking paper. Place the biscuits in a food processor and process until finely crushed. Add the butter and process until well combined. Transfer mixture to the pan and use a glass to press the crumb mixture firmly over the base and side of the pan. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
2. In the meantime, to make the passionfruit curd, place passionfruit pulp, butter, eggs, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and set aside for 30 minutes to cool.
3. Preheat oven to 160°C. Use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and sugar in a bowl until smooth. Add the sour cream and beat until smooth. Add eggs and lemon rind and beat until just combined.
4. Pour half the cream cheese mixture into the biscuit base. Dollop spoonfuls of half the passionfruit curd over the cream cheese. Pour over remaining cream cheese and dollop half of the remaining curd. Use a bamboo skewer to gently swirl passionfruit mixture and cream cheese to make a marbled pattern.
5. Place on an oven tray. Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until centre is just set. Turn oven off. Leave cheesecake in the oven, with the door ajar, for 1 hour or until cooled completely. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill. Spread over remaining curd to serve.

Passionfruit marshmallow mousse

Preparation Time

15 minutes
Cooking Time

5 minutes
Ingredients (serves 6)

* pulp from 5 passionfruit
* 250g pkt marshmallows
* 200ml cream
* 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
* 1 cup cut up fresh fruit
* extra passionfruit pulp


1. Use a teaspoon to remove the pulp from 5 passionfruit and place in a saucepan with 250g pkt marshmallows. Stir continuously, over a low heat until the marshmallows have melted.
2. Set aside to cool slightly, then stir in 200ml cream and 1/2 cup natural yoghurt until smooth. Transfer to serving glasses. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until thickens.
3. Top with the fruit and extra passionfruit pulp.

Passionfruit slice

Preparation Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 12


* Melted butter, to grease
* 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
* 85g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
* 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
* 100g butter, melted
* 1 x 395g can sweetened condensed milk
* 125ml (1/2 cup) fresh lemon juice
* 2 tbs passionfruit pulp


1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a 16 x 26cm (base measurement) slab pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the base and 2 long sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing the sides to overhang.
2. Use a wooden spoon to combine the flour, coconut, sugar and butter in a large bowl. Use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl. Transfer to the prepared pan. Use a metal spoon to press firmly over the base. Bake for 12 minutes or until light golden. Set aside to cool.
3. Reduce oven temperature to 150°C.Use a balloon whisk to whisk together the condensed milk, lemon juice and passionfruit pulp in a large bowl until smooth and well combined. Pour into the pan and spread evenly over the base. Bake in oven for 15 minutes until just firm to the touch. Set aside to cool completely. Cut into slices to serve.

Notes: You will need about 2 fresh passionfruit for this recipe.

Tropical ice-blocks

You don't need special ice block molds to make Popsicles. Use paper cups filled to your desired amount. Cover with foil. Poke a hole through where you want the stick to stand then put the stick through. I put the cups in muffin tins and put the muffin tray in the freezer to stop the cups from falling over.

Makes: 18


* 1/2 (750g) pineapple, peeled, cored, chopped (use canned pineapple is fine)
* 1 large mango, peeled, chopped
* 4 passionfruit, halved
* 2 cups lemonade/Sprite


1. Place pineapple and mango in a food processor or blender. Blend or process until smooth. Remove to a jug. Add passionfruit pulp and lemonade. Stir to combine.
2. Pour mixture into molds. Insert paddle pop sticks or secure with lids. Freeze until set.
3. Remove ice-blocks from molds. Serve.

Notes: You'll need eighteen 1/3 cup (80ml) capacity plastic ice-block molds and 18 paddle-pop sticks.

Coconut and passionfruit self-saucing pudding

Ingredients (serves 6)

* 1 cup self-raising flour
* 1/2 cup caster sugar
* 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
* 2/3 cup light coconut milk
* 1 egg
* 80g butter, melted, cooled
* pure icing sugar, to serve

* 1/2 cup caster sugar
* 3 teaspoons cornflour
* 1/2 cup milk
* 2 small lemons, juiced
* 3 passionfruit, halved


1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 6-cup capacity, 5.5cm-deep, 19cm x 25cm (base) ovenproof dish and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
2. Sift flour into a bowl. Stir in sugar and coconut. Whisk coconut milk, egg and butter together in a jug. Pour into flour mixture. Gently stir until combined. Spoon into prepared dish. Smooth surface.
3. Make sauce: Combine sugar and cornflour in a bowl. Sprinkle over pudding. Combine milk and 1/3 cup lemon juice (don't worry if mixture curdles) in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until mixture comes to the boil. Remove from heat and stir in passionfruit pulp. Pour hot lemon mixture over the back of a large metal spoon, over pudding.
4. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted halfway into pudding comes out clean. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

Summer Christmas pudding

YUMMO!!! Who wants to be slaving over a hot stove/oven around Christmas in Australia??? NO ONE! So here's the way to have your 'Christmas Pudding' and your 'cool' as well.

Ingredients (serves 12)

* 1 large ripe mango, cheeks removed, peeled, sliced thinly
* 350g Sunbeam mixed fruit
* 2/3 cup (160ml) fresh passionfruit pulp
* 100g packet glace red cherries, chopped
* 110g packet Sunbeam macadamia nuts, toasted, chopped
* 100g white chocolate, chopped
* 2 litre ctn vanilla ice-cream, softened
* 150g fresh mixed berries, to serve


1. Line 8 cup (2 litre) pudding basin with plastic wrap. Line base of basin with half the mango slices.
2. Combine the mixed fruit and passionfruit in small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes to soften. Combine remaining mango, fruit mixture, cherries, macadamias, chocolate and ice-cream in large bowl.
3. Spoon the ice-cream mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Cover with plastic and place in the freezer overnight to firm. Carefully turn pudding out onto a serving plate. Remove the plastic wrap. Top with berries to serve.

Frozen mango and lime cheesecake

This recipe looks super easy and I can not wait to try it. I'm thinking I'd even forget about the crust and just sit with the container and a SPOON!!!

* 250g packet plain sweet biscuits (see note)
* 60g unsalted butter, melted
* 2 x 250g packets cream cheese, softened
* 3/4 cup caster sugar
* 1 teaspoon finely-grated lime rind
* 300ml thickened cream
* 425g can sliced mangoes, drained
* 3 passionfruit, halved


1. Grease a 6cm-deep, 20cm round springform pan. Line base and side with baking paper. Place biscuits in food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add butter. Process until combined. Press biscuit mixture evenly over base of prepared pan. Place pan in fridge.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and lime rind. Beat for 2 minutes. Add cream. Beat for 5 minutes or until mixture is thick. Spoon into prepared pan.
3. Place mango in a food processor. Process until smooth. Fold mango through cream cheese mixture to create a marbled effect. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer overnight or until firm.
4. Remove cheesecake to a plate. Stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Top with passionfruit pulp. Serve.

Notes: You will need half the packet of biscuits for this recipe.

White chocolate mousse torte

Yes I know this one also looks a little fiddly but HELLO....White chocolate!!! Passionfruit!!! I'm thinking it would be well worth it.

Ingredients (serves 8)

* 1 sheet frozen ready-rolled butter puff pastry, partially thawed
* 1 tablespoon milk
* 2 egg yolks
* 1/4 cup caster sugar
* 300ml thickened cream
* 250g good-quality white chocolate, melted (see note)
* 3 teaspoons gelatine powder
* 3 passionfruit, halved
* 1 tablespoon icing sugar


1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Using a 24cm round plate as a guide, cut 1 circle from pastry sheet. Place on prepared tray. Brush top with milk. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and puffed. Allow to cool completely.
2. Grease and line a 22cm (base) springform cake pan with baking paper. Place pastry in prepared pan. Press gently to flatten (pastry will crack).
3. Combine egg yolks and caster sugar in heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure base doesn't touch the water). Whisk for 3 minutes or until mixture is thick and warm. Add 2 tablespoons of cream. Whisk to combine. Add chocolate, stirring constantly, until smooth. Remove from heat.
4. Place 2 tablespoons of hot water in a small bowl. Sprinkle over gelatine. Whisk with a fork until dissolved. Stir gelatine mixture into chocolate mixture.
5. Beat remaining cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold cream into chocolate mixture. Pour mixture over pastry. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until set.
6. Transfer torte to serving plate. Combine passionfruit pulp and icing sugar in a small bowl. Pour over torte. Serve.

Notes: To melt chocolate: Place chocolate in a heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on medium (50%), stirring every minute with a metal spoon until almost melted. Stir until smooth.