Tuesday, January 1

Christmas with a twist

Hi everyone. Here's hoping that a good time was had by all, and that you enjoyed some serious spoiling from your loved ones and friends. As with all things Christmas, some things (like this wonderful blog of mine!) ;-) inevitably got pushed to the back burner. The intention was to get this baby up and running before New Years, but here it is - dreadfully late - with New Year's day more than halfway over for many! Big boo! So everyone, happy 2013 to you all.

And here we are - another festive season under our belts (in more ways than one)! Hooray! Is it only me, or do you also breathe a massive sigh of relief when the festivities are over each year? Don't get me wrong. I love getting sucked into the whole excitement and preparation thing in the run-up to the big day. But equally I cannot wait for it all to disappear - like a magical wand's disappearing act! Without fail every year I start thinking about why we Southern Hemisphere dwellers feel that we need to celebrate Christmas in the traditional way of our Northern friends? The fact that we are literally Poles apart should, you’d think, have some bearing on location? It's true that many Aussies do flout with tradition, and each year sees more and more of us opting to happily queue our way quite literally around the block at local fish markets, waiting to snatch up those giant king prawns for the big day! The “barbie” is proving to be the Christmas tool of choice for many. I applaud us Aussies for taking tradition to a whole new level, modernizing it and making it our own!

Not wanting to follow the usual turkey & stuffing trend this year, we opted for a Chrissy feast – with a Thai twist! And oh my, did it turn out good! In fact, it turned out better than good. The family vote's been taken to make this scrummy meal a regular on our Christmas foodie scene! Full credit must go to Jennifer Evans (aka “Princess”), this year’s joint winner of Channel 7s, My Kitchen Rules, from whom I took the inspiration for a Thai-inspired Christmas spread. Acknowledgement goes to New Idea magazine in which Jen's spectacular Five-Spiced Glazed Pork Shoulder recipe featured in their November Issue 48 edition. From the same edition, we topped off our meal with our version of her yummy Coconut, Sago & Mango Mousse dessert – my personal piece de resistance choice! Thank you Jen!
Don’t you just love a fuss-free Christmas? I know I do.

Speaking of food, I ended up ad-libbing and making a maple-orange glaze for a very small leg of ham in case the kids didn’t quite get the whole Thai thing. I also ‘borrowed’ another beaut recipe for hard-to-resist roast potatoes, which I found in the December 2012/January 2013 double edition of the ABC’s, Delicious magazine. Three very do-able recipes that went down a treat! I just had to drop the pun! ;-)
Check it all out! I was so thrilled to get something onto the table that was totally left of center and not your usual traditional festive fare. If anyone would like me to post or email the recipes I used, just holler. 

You can see from the pictures that I kept our table low-key, while still embracing the beachy theme I adore. It seems a bit "out-there" to embrace a beachy theme while living in the bush, but that’s the thing about me and my quickly shrinking family, secretly we’re all a bit out there!  ;-)

 Now grab a bit of this an tell me what you think.
Five-Spice Glazed Pork Shoulder; Maple-Orange Glazed Ham; Lemony Parmesan Spuds; Steamed Pork Buns
And here's a close-up of that yummy nosh!
We got so caught up in the delicious food that we totally forgot to take any pictures of Jen's Coconut, Sago and Mango Mousse dessert. Another boo!  :'(  There was so much food left over that we were indulging our taste buds in the follow-up to New Year. We also packed our esky with left-over pork and ham, rolls and refreshments, and headed down to the beach on Boxing Day with the dogs!

Three other little 'happenings' happened over the festive season which I just have to share with y'all. Our Silkie chicken, Little Red, rewarded us with her very first egg! Isn't it awesome? So small and so perfect.

Here's the provider of this awesome little egg...

"Little Red" - Silkie

And we can't forget this cute little fella who came a-calling around the same time. Isn't he gorgeous?

Native Green Tree Frog

And here's another not-so-cute visitor! Urgggh. Actually, he's a beauty and was small enough not to be a threat to the chickens or dogs. He slithered off under his own steam after this impromptu photo shoot.

Juvenile Carpet Python

That's it for now folks. Be back soon!


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Tuesday, December 18

{drifting} between tree and sea

Sound catchy? Between tree and sea....or sea and tree. It's got a nice ring to it. That is, until you're living the limbo-land life like us, waiting for the tide to turn, and a buyer to fall head-over-heels for our little corner of paradise in Qld. Patience and me are good friends, and you know what they say about good things coming to those who wait? Damn the wait...I want to go now!! :D So while we wait, and I dream, I got me a little creativity going on in this here bush house. Why not bring the two together - a bit of tree and a bit of sea? And so a plan was born. Bring the beach to the bush! And here it is....my first evuh completed project! Drum roll, please....
Isn't it gorgeous? I'm so proud of myself for getting this one off the ground. And running with it. The norm around here is to think and not do, so I'm thinking who's a very clever girlie?!

Hoo-evuh....I cannot take full credit for my creativity. That honor goes to the wonderful Karah from the space between. Her tree was the inspiration behind mine, so thank you Karah! Your tree blew me away. mwah.

How about a sneak peak at the embellishments on my little tree? Can you tell that I'm grinning from ear to ear? And I still haven't come down to earth!

I'm loving these Scandi elfins....
And if you haven't already recognized this little baby from my blog banner, then here it is again for you to enjoy!
So, what do you think about my beaut little contribution to Chrissy? Have you had any creative inspiration for the festive season? Please share.

That's it folks.  More next time.


Sunday, December 16

ta-da !

Today's a special one for me...it marks my very first post on bush*beach*beyond...and I am soooo nervous! After all, I'm presenting me and the whole craziness of this first post to you guys, some of the best evuh bloggers around! Seriously, it's taken months of hair-tearing preparation to get this to a point where I'm comfortable with launching it into the global community. It also marks an event I've been dying to share with y'all, like forever....we finally put this little beauty on the market back in October. Wow, has it really been that long?! So today I'm braving it and giving you a first dibs eyeful into the start of our journey {hopefully} from creek to beach....beginning here!

for sale!

I will be posting more pics soon to my bush house tour folder, so be sure to stay tuned. Don't fret about missing this next momentous event because, the minute they're up, you'll be the first to know.

There's a lot of redeeming things about this property that I will miss when we're gone, like this little fella....

koala rescued by me

 and many that I won't, like this unwanted visitor....

deadly eastern brown snake

It's hard to believe five years have passed since we packed up our former lives in Sydney and headed north to Queensland to a better, less frenetic way of life. That little plan backfired on us super quick. Life on our bush acreage has been very different. We've worked our butts off around here, with one job seemingly evolving into another with the upkeep alone. Fifteen acres of madness, is how I refer to it on a good day! Admittedly, when we first arrived here, there were five of us living at home - one already having opted to stay on in Sydney, rather than heading up north. A year down the line another one de-camped to share a house with her boyfriend. And then there were four of us....! (I hear some of you asking whether that's such a hardship? The truth is, every hand on a place this size, counts!) Any-hoo, this place takes up a lot of our precious me-times and requires all hands-on-deck time just to keep on top of things. So when #3 decided to de-camp to a shared house nearer his work last year, that left us with only one not-so-eager helper at home. At the time we thought, okay, we can deal with this - but all too soon, #4 was on her way to boarding school in Toowoomba for her final year in school.

But....I digress! The laidback lifestyle, the annual trips into Outback Queensland, the vision of a wonderful tree change - never amounted to anything. With the hubs and I working long hours in Brisbane, enduring long commutes into the city every day, we were exhausted for much of the time! Then two things happened which I believe were a blessing in disguise. The Qld government started axing jobs {yes, it's happening all over again right now}, so last in, first out - that was me. Two weeks later hubby broke his leg in two places when he slipped on wet grass while putting the goats out to pasture...and yippee for us, he's worked from home ever since! Yayness! My job is history, and so are the goats! No, no....we were kind. They went to a new life on a hobby farm.

Now that school is over and #4 is back home, we've got a lot of thinking and planning to do between now and February, which is when she needs to start her degree. The question is weighing rather heavily on our shoulders over destination and choice of Uni, should this place sell soon. The one thing that's absolutely and resolutely certain in our lives right now, is our desire to make that sea change we've been dreaming about forever! Trying to get the balance right in making sure that everyone's needs are met, is proving to be a tough one. One minute we're thinking Sunny Coast, next we're thinking Fraser Coast, and in recent days we're "armchair traveling" to Port Sorell in Tasmania, and the far East Coast in Victoria! It's mind-blowing stuff, believe me. If it were just the two of us, transitioning would be a piece of pie; but with university location to take into account, it's proving to be a nightmare. Admittedly that I'm leaning towards a more comfortable climate to live in, after enduring the relentless heat and humidity of Qld for so long. And I won't be sorry to leave this behind, even though we weren't personally affected....
Dayboro floods (2011)

Oh well, the art of patience has never been a strong point with me, and I cannot wait to leave this corner of paradise....

our bush house

for somewhere more like this....

my boys at Red Beach

And that's it folks. Join me here next time!