Friday, 31 May 2013

A little bit new


Have you noticed?
Simone over at Great Fun 4 Kids has designed a new logo/banner for me and I love it!
Simple and fresh is what I asked for and I think she delivered.
A few emails back and forth is all it took.  Easy.
It's nice to have a bit of a change and freshen up every once in a while don't you think?
Have a great weekend lovelies, up to anything special?
Elaina xo

Thursday, 30 May 2013


A bit of cook book research for our "Date night" feast.

Saturday night Mr H and I had an at home "Date night".  The kids were packed off with family and we stayed in by the roaring fire.  I lounged like Lady Muck, drank bubbles and watched movies while Mr H cooked up a seafood storm in the kitchen.  Beef Udon and vege soup,  seafood stir fry - salmon, terakihi, squid, mussels and shrimps.  Topped off the next day with a huge cooked breakfast.  A huge walk was required in the Vineyard after all that.
It has been so cold lately.  Alot of fireside activities to keep warm.  This one was an impromptu bake off, poo pie to be exact (gross I know!).

Piles and piles of washing.  This is one of the things I don't like about the colder months.  And my boys get so muddy playing outside that there are often constant clothing changes throughout the day.  Even when it is cold outside, I like to wrap everyone up and head outside for fresh air.
New cardi and pretty scarf.  Love the flower pattern on this one.

Tom has never been one for sitting down and drawing.  He prefers to be outside or playing with his cars and trucks.  But lately he has been coming home from kindy with all sorts of things.  Loving his wood pieces.

Planting -  Bell has been choosing her own vege plants and is planting up her own gardening space.  Looking forward to seeing what she grows.  Bell has thrown away the tags and can't remember what plants she picked!

The start of my Winter garden, albeit a little later than planned.  Fruit and vegetables around these parts is plentiful and cheap in summer, not so in Winter when alot of it comes from other parts of the country or overseas.  Hoping to have a plentiful kitchen garden.

We have new residents in the fairy garden.  Horses and a funny looking fairy.  And we have added wooden stepping "stones" and lots of garden moss.
Georgie, sound asleep on Dad after one of our walks in the vineyard.  Mr H lapped it up.

Hooray!  Internet connection is back up and running.  I really do love this blogging gig!  And as we don't watch TV I'm reliant on catching up on news online.  Not to mention online banking and the all important internet shopping browsing!

Mr H is home on holiday from the winery this week.  Loving having him around.  He would make a brilliant housewife!  I think he would do a far better job than me to be honest.

We have been quietly busy over the last week or so.  Getting into the swing of Autumn and Winter family rountines.  Tom has started Rugby "little rippers" for the under 6 team.  Very cute and funny but sooooo cold.  As my brother pointed out if George plays as well we have the next 10 -15 years of Saturday morning winter games to look forward too........and maybe an All Black or two?

Hope your week is a good one!


Wednesday, 29 May 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Bell - Day dreaming............ gazing off while keeping an eye on George.  A busy weekend of horse riding, sleepovers and Theatre practice  makes for one very tired girl.
Tom - "Mum!!!  Georgie's in the vineyard"! - he is my escape siren.
George - Plotting his next escape.  It goes in stages.  Some weeks he stays put other weeks he is constantly plotting his escape.

Very happy to be joining in with Jodi's "52 project".

Monday, 27 May 2013

"Regular service will resume shortly................................"

We have been having "issues" with our internet connection and we are currently trying to change service providers.
Being rural it seems to be taking forever, which does not help.  Pants!
I can't load photos or download your lovely blogs for reading so don't go posting anything exciting, I don't want to miss out!
It is sunny here but getting colder and colder by the day and I'm keeping myself busy with everything that comes with family life.  Mr H is having a weeks holiday from the winery too, yahoo!  So it is all hands on deck!
Have a great week and hope to catch up very soon!
Elaina xo

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A conversation with my mother........

I had an interesting conversation with my mum the other day.

I had popped into her place with the boys for a cuppa on my way back from town.

As we were sitting and chatting I casually said to her "I don't know how you kept the house so tidy when we were growing up, nothing was ever out of place".

Now I'm one of six, mum had three then an eight year gap then me, my brother and baby sister.  We were a busy household with lots of after school activities going on.  We were noisy.  We had pets and always had friends popping in and out.  Dad worked long hours during the week and played in his band in the weekends.  I never saw him do any housework or cooking.  Mum did everything.

She looked at me with one eyebrow raised and said "Do you really want to know?"

"Of course!" said moi.

Here is the list of what she said, in no particular order:

  • When she was a young mum, women spent alot of time at home.  The street was full of stay at home mums.  They said hello to each other over the fence while hanging out the washing - early in the morning.  Sometimes they would pop over for a cuppa - there were no such things as "coffee groups".
  • Children played in the garden or in the street.  They were not taken to daytime activities, like swimming, music and movement unless they had kindy or school.
  • We were at home to do household chores, cooking, baking, mending etc - we had the time to do it as we had no other place to be.  These types of things were priority.
  • Shopping was done in town once a week.
  • School runs were done on foot mainly.  You lived and went to the local school.  NO sitting in long traffic queues to get to school in the morning or afternoon.  After a time we walked to and from school with neighbouring was safe.
  • We did'nt have computers.  No time wasted sitting on "that Facebook thing".
  • Children did'nt have that many toys.  Mum can't get over the amount of toys that children have today - I did not point out however that she buys a good deal of them now though!

I asked her if she ever felt lonely.  She said no, she was too busy.  She always chatted to other mums in the street and on the school runs.  "And you never had Girls nights out".

We chatted for ages on the subject.  Pros and Cons for today's stay at home AND working mums.
Tell me lovely readers - Do we have it better these days?  Are things easier or harder?
Would you want to go back?
I'm Thirty Five now so we are talking a few decades back here.  I don't think I could do what my mum did. Day in day out.  No help from the man of the house.  Mr H does loads around the here.  He takes the kids out in the weekend to give me a break and will often come home from work and cook dinner if things are a bit "mad" around here.  And he irons better than I do too!

Something to think about....................I can't wait for our next catch up and cuppa.  What should I ask her next?!

Sunday, 19 May 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Bell - Shes LOVES technology.  I'm not a huge fan.  Consequently we are always clashing over the subject.
Tom - Making his way into the Playroom through the "secret door".  He is not a fan of having his photo taken.  This is as good as it gets this week.
George - I was trying to get a photo of him sitting on the wooden bench.  He kept on grabbing for the camera.  I might have better luck next week!

Very happy to be joining in with Jodi's "52 project".

Friday, 17 May 2013

Things I'm loving

Sunny Autumn days, neatly lined up gumboots and potted colour to "pretty" up the back porch.

My favourite tree in the front yard in all its Autumn splendour.  It provides much needed shade in Summer and is now busily scattering orange and brown leaves everywhere.

Mothers Day treats - Beautiful blue jug and wire basket which now houses my growing collection of new and retro napkins.  Bought from a lovely new homeware store that has opened up here in town.  I have my eye on so many things in there.  They also have an online shop if you want to take a peek here.  Gorgeous enamel homewares, baby linen and clothing.  Treats galore!

A homemade Mothers Day card and reluctant model.  He takes off as soon as I get my camera out.  This is my first "proper" handmade card from Tom.  Done at Kindy.  I love it.

How pretty is this?  Made by Bell for me!  A sweet little bag that came to me wrapped in lace.  Has a perfect little wooden button on it too.  Sewn up on her machine.  You could see that she was so proud of it when she gave it to me.

Material from Bell's fabric stash.  She handed these over and said "these are more you mum", ha, love it.  Can't believe she has a better material stash than I do.

Autumnal sunsets over the vineyard.  They have been amazing this week.  Showing off oranges and pinks for all to see.
Have a relaxing and fun filled weekend.  Up to anything?  I have a (finally) weeded and dug over vege garden to tend to.  Dinner with family too which will be fun.  Going to bust out the Sultana and honey ricotta cake for all to try.

Happy weekending!

"I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful matter how simple it is."

Joining in here


Thursday, 16 May 2013

Eco Store giveaway winners!

Hello and welcome to all you new followers of A little bit country.  I really enjoy discovering new blogs and reading about your corner of the world.  And for those who have been following for a while now, thank you for visiting this space, I really do enjoy sharing it with you.


The three lucky winners of an Eco Store Lip Balm each are...........
(we use the tried and true method of names in a hat!)

Please drop me an email with your contact details to: alittlebitcountrynz (at) gmail (dot) com so that I can post you each a gorgeous Eco Store lip balm.
Be sure to take a look at these beautiful blogs for three amazing Autumn Giveaways:

Eco Store

Healthier for you.
Safer for our environment.
Packaged in the best materials available.
Labelled with a full list of ingredients.
Guaranteed to give excellent results.
Concentrated to save you money.
Not tested on animals.
GE Free.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Honey and sultana ricotta cake

I made my first recipe from my new Nici Wickes cookbook on Sunday.  We had it as dessert but it would be perfect for morning or afternoon tea too.

This is most definately going to be a regular fixture in our house.  The kids loved it and George even pinched the last bit off my plate when I was'nt looking.

I sprinkled icing sugar on ours, but by the time I got round to taking photos it had melted into the cake.  Although the recipe says it's a "cake" to me it is more like a clafoutis or flan.  Either way it is just so delicious and the smell is simply mouth watering.

Give it a try, it is so easy to make.  I managed to do it with children and dogs flying around everywhere, everyone wanting something including one who managed to walk muddy feet from the front door to the back door!

There is a great tip in the recipe regarding the sultanas:

"Toss the sultanas in a tablespoon of flour to coat. This stops them from sinking to the bottom of the cake batter mixture. "

Genius!  I did'nt know this and it does work!
Honey and sultana ricotta cake

1 cup sultanas
3 eggs
4 tablespoons sugar
2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
100g liquid honey (or any honey warmed slightly to liquid)
Zest of 1 lemon
250g ricotta cheese
1 cup thick yoghurt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Butter and flour a 25cm ovenproof round ceramic dish (I just used a cake tin).
Toss the sultanas in a tablespoon of flour to coat. This stops them from sinking to the bottom of the cake batter mixture.
In a bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until pale, light and creamy.
Stir in the remaining flour, honey, lemon zest, ricotta, yoghurt and cinnamon. Stir until well mixed.
Lastly stir through the floured sultanas.
Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake to ‘wobble stage’ (i.e. set around the outside but with a slight wobble in the centre 6cms) and golden on top, about 30 minutes.
Serve warm or cold, sprinkled with extra sugar.
This honey-scented cake is the most divinely simple cake to make and is beautiful served with poached or grilled fruit.
Makes one 25cm cake


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