Monday, November 26, 2012

I've Moved

Hi there,

It's been a rather long absense from this part of the web. Not because I've stopped recording my days but rather I've moved web homes.

You can now find me at
www.corinnarhodes.com

and

www.familiesinhomeeducation.org

Please come on over for a visit soon.

Corinna

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How to make a Sourdough Starter

Quite some time ago, I had this wild idea and decided to try making sourdough bread. It sounded all earthy and somewhat romantic to, not only make my own bread (which I've been doing for many years) but to start the entire process from scratch. Using nothing but flour, water and a bit of salt to create delicious, homely, earthy sourdough bread. Ahhh....

With great enthusiasm I began. . . . . Three attempts later, I had a starter I could work with.

Since then, many loaves of sourdough have been produced in my kitchen. Some declared as 'perfect' and others almost inedible. I've discovered that my pet sourdough starter doesn't really like the heat of our sub-tropical summer and only lasted a couple hours before wanting to be fed again, or else it goes rather sour, in a not-so-good way. (It's been nick-named my pet, but it's rather like a baby at times). I've discovered that on our cool, winter days it requires a bit more time to prove. I also found out that it loves the warm morning sunshine found beside our bedroom window - so do I, coincidentally!

My pet and I have got to know each other fairly well now and I've developed a routine and recipe which seem to work perfectly every (well almost every) time.

Today I'll walk you through the process of making the starter and keep posted for the next instalment when I explain the process of making the sourdough bread itself.


 

Making a Sourdough Starter:

 

Ingredients:

:: Good Quality Wholemeal Flour
:: Filtered water
:: Juice of Half an Orange

Day One:

:: Put 4 Tablespoons of flour in a bowl
:: Whisk in juice of half an orange and approx 4 Tablespoons water. This should make a thick but stir-able batter.
:: Whisk for a couple minutes.
:: Loosely cover bowl with cling film and leave it in a warm place. Possibly beside an open kitchen window.

 

Day Two:

:: Stir in another 4 Tablespoons of flour and 4 Tablespoons of water.
:: Loosely cover bowl with cling film and leave it in a warm place

Day Three:

:: Stir in another 4 Tablespoons of flour and 4 Tablespoons of water.
:: Loosely cover bowl with cling film and leave it in a warm place
Hopefully your batter will be showing signs of action, bubbling and rising up in the bowl.

Day Four:

:: Tip out about half of the starter.
:: Feed with 4 Tablespoons of both flour and water.

This is a good time to evaluate your starter.


:: If it has shown no signs of bubbles at all it's probably not worth continuing, I'd start again, maybe with different flour or location.
:: If it is showing a small amount of bubbling action but not doubling in size each day, then continue feeding as per day four until it is showing good signs of activity.
:: If your starter is bubbling away nicely a few hours after feeding and it doubles up in size then it's probably ready to use.
:: If you aren't sure, then give it another day or two or even more (feeding daily as per day four) - it won't hurt.


 

A few comments I'll add:

:: Don't rush this process. You are breeding a living, yeasty organism here. Growing a 'pet' from thin air, sort of. So give it time to develop.
:: But if you think it's just not working then be prepared to throw that one out and give it another go.
:: Depending on how heavy your flour is, you may need to add extra water each feed. Even up to twice the volume of water. Remember you want a thick, stir-able batter.
:: The starter needs approximately half it's volume in food (flour and water) each day - or twice daily in hot weather. That's why you begin to tip out some of the starter each day. If you kept feeding as much as it needed, you would end up with one very large container full, very quickly.
:: Once you have a nice active starter you can either use it or tip some out at each feed.
:: Once your starter is active you can then keep it in the fridge and then it only needs feeding weekly.


Please leave a comment if you have any questions. I'll try to answer them but do remember I'm not an expert, I've just figured out a system that works for me.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Live. . . .

 With life being turned inside out and upside down lately, uncertainty is shrouding everywhere I look. Trying to make arrangements for a child's weekly class and I can't even give a straight answer because I don't really know what my life will look like in a months time.  It's a bit unsettling to be sitting on the brink of something wonderful - a change we have worked towards, a new stage in our family life. Going through the motions of daily life which seem so mundane and 'normal' and 'routine' when our life at the moment is anything but.


It's good to get a shake up every now and then. A chance to view life from the outside. An opportunity to evaluate and decide:

What makes our family unique. . . .
What makes us come alive. . . .
What we want our family memories to be. . . .
What we love. . . .
What we want more of. . . .
How we want to live. . . .



I've been made aware just how important the small moments are. Taking the time to stop and notice the world which is flying by at a frantic pace. Determining to be grateful simply because I'm the one who gets the privilege of living my life. Making the effort to say 'yes' more and follow through on those things which I say I'll do 'soon' but 'soon' very often doesn't come.






It's about finding the joy, the good, the beauty in the everyday.


I've been forced to reevaluate the importants and the urgents. It's so easy to let my days fill with the urgents and squeeze out any space for the truly importants.



Looking at life objectively has made me realize I want to be even more intentional with my time. I want to cultivate life and joy in my home. I want to truly live.

::  Live Intentional.
::  Live Grateful.
::  Live Joyfully.
::  Live Fully.
::  Live my Love.
::  Live my Dream.

Truly LIVE.



Monday, July 2, 2012

Holidays are for......









:: enjoying the warm, winter sunshine
:: playing with Eamon and rocks and buckets and spoons (quite an odd mix, I agree)
:: listening to the violin and cello sounding so melodious in the background
:: trying a new idea for breakfast (and have the entire family say it was yummy)
:: squealing with delight as my bub gains confidence learning to walk
:: reading book after book after book after book
:: celebrating four family birthdays
:: shopping with my sister (and no children!)
:: partying the night away in 50's style to celebrate turning 21 (my sister, not me)
:: chatting, organizing and giggling for 5 whole days with my beautiful little sis.
:: cuddling my delightful 6 week old niece for the first time
:: getting to know an Egyptian Mummy at the local museum
:: sharing Nicholas' delight as he sees the Rosetta Stone in real life
:: listening to Holly as she tries to whistle now that she has a big, 2 tooth gap
:: dreaming of the future and what it might hold for us
:: sewing a present for a precious, newborn friend
:: finding all sorts of odd things as I sort through the top shelves of our cupboards
:: working on a new project (I'll tell you about it soon)
:: savouring a coffee with my bestest friend (otherwise know as my Mum)
:: walking down memory lane as we revisit our childhood home
:: camping out in style, with a warm fire and carpeted floor
:: packing and unpacking and packing and unpacking as we visit family and celebrate birthdays
:: watching Alexander design the 'perfect' train track
:: loving the relaxed, holiday feel
:: making lots of family memories

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Favourite Moment

As crazy as this may seem, my favourite moment was nothing to do with the conference. I actually had two of these moments, one on each morning I was there.



It seemed rather silly to be setting an alarm in those early morning hours when I crawled into my bed, after some rather fun, and rather late, chats and giggles with my Mum and friends. But the interesting thing was, at 6:00 the next morning both my and my Mum's (who I shared a room with) alarms went off in unison, with the exact ring tone and all! How crazy is that!!!




A sideways glance at each other and some kind of mumble about beach and sunrise was all it took. We both jumped out of bed (reluctantly crawled may be further to the truth) and pulled on our running shoes. Without a second thought I bundled up my sleeping baby, quickly wrapped a quilt around him and hurried toward the sound of waves. The sound of the ocean had been calling me since we arrived the evening before and a sunrise was beconning even louder.






We found our way to the beach (quite amazing as neither of us are gifted in navigation skills and we got totally lost finding our way to the restaurant the evening before). The light was just beginning to show itself and the new moon shining down as if to welcome us to the weekend.





Then. . . . it was spectacular. The sun rose over the water with deserving magnificance. It even rendered my 13 month old, busy boy, silent and still (and that's really saying something!).



The rising sun is a sight I'll never tire of. I left that beach filled with renewed energy, excitement, refreshment and inspiration.

A small sacrifice of sleep seemed so insignificance in the beauty of the morning.



The next morning I had my family staying with me, so it was with trepidation that I ignored all that well-meaning advice to 'never wake a sleeping child'. I woke all four children and my husband and bundled them all down that sandy track in the semi-darkness, some still adorned in pj's and other wrapped in a mottley assortment of patchwork quilts to shield against the cold.



But oh. . . . it was worth it. What an honour to share such a moment of glorious beauty with my precious family. The conference my have been fantastic, but the moment that took my breath away was 6:34am on the beach.



A small amount of effort to experience more than beauty, it was magnificance.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mum Heart Conference 2012

I told you have fantastic it was going to be here.
I mentioned how amazingly, awesome it was here.
And I'm still floating through my days with an extra lilt to my step as I reflect on the privilege of being a part of this event.

In Summary:

The People:

Fun and friendly. There was over a hundred of these beautiful ladies to get to know over the two days.
(Walking back to my room late in the evening, after all was finished and the next day prepared for, I heard bursts of giggles floating under several doors along the way. So I'm assuming it wasn't only me and my friends who spent those late hours pretending we were teens again and giggling the night away.)

The Team:

What a delightful looking bunch of ladies (I'm sure you agree.) They all had their roles to play and did it with grace and excellence. Without these ladies and all their efforts, this conference wouldn't have been such a success, I feel it's rather a privilege to be in this photo with them. You are an amazing group of ladies.


The Speakers:

Three different ladies all very different in style, topic and experience. But somehow it was as if they had been orchestrated together as one - just the right mix of everything.
I was challenged by Barb as she shared from her heart about making our home just that - a home, and making our marriage just that - a marriage.
I was brought to tears and humbled by Ann as she shared her deeply personal story of overcoming Cancer.
I was inspired by Belinda as she shared from her personal experience as a Mum. She inspired me to live my life fuller, grab my dreams and hold them close, write down our family stories, live intentionally in every area of our family life.

The Location:

Just PERFECT!!!!




The Extras:

All accounted for.




My Favourite Moment:


I'll tell you about tomorrow . . . . .




A weekend like this is all about sharing with friends and here are some of my blogging friends thoughts on the conference:

Live Life with Your Kids
Happy Sparrow
Quiet Sonbeams


ps. If you were at Mum Heart and I've missed your blog, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I've Been Sewing Winter Jackets

That's right - my sewing machine has been purring away ever so nicely recently. I've enjoyed a few moments here and there to create some winter warmth and Mummy/Auntie love.
The days around here have become slightly cooler and the mornings have a definite chill to the air. It's rather early in the morning when we all bundle into the car en-rout to music or tennis lessons and I've discovered this super busy, crawling bub's wardrobe selection was lacking anything warm enough.
Well that's a good enough excuse for me anyway, as I begin rumbling through my fabric stash and drooling over the gorgeousness found in this pattern.






It takes a bit of creativity getting any photo of this boy at the moment, let alone a decent photo, and a 'picturebook' photo - not happening here while he is so busy. Sitting still is not his favourite pastime!
After one boy is perfectly, snugly, warmly rugged up in his jacket, I start to think that maybe his little cousin, just a few weeks younger than him, could well do with one of these as well. And really wouldn't it be nice to play with some pink for a while as well.

Thus, Jacket number two was created.






Then. . . . well . . . the pattern comes down for really little bubs. . . . And I was about to become an Auntie of another little girl. . . . And she will be living in a rather colder climate than we do. . . . And well I was sort of enjoying playing with pink. . . . so I decided that another, much smaller, jacket was definitely needed.




.
Oh, it's nice to begin this cool season with a practical jacket, just perfect for the busy adventures ahead.


Sewing Notes:
Pattern - Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings Jacket

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's my day off.

Monday has rolled around once again, as it does each week, and I'm buzzing on a 'high' while collapsing in a heap at the very same time. This past weekend was the Mum Heart Conference, at which I had to privilege of being MC. The conference was absolutely fantastic. It surpassed expectations all round and I'll tell you more about that in the days to come, when I have some photos ready.

The conference may have been such a wonderful experience and I have come home so fulfilled, but . . . . it's a lot of hard work organizing and being MC. Giving out all weekend, being on hand for questions, missing meal times (and sleep because I was giggling with friends!) and having a big responsibility has left me a little shattered. After losing my voice last week I managed to keep talking all weekend but today there isn't much left in my vocal chords.

With a determination to keep the buzz of the last 2 days alive somehow, I determined to mange this Monday a little different to normal.

It was intentional to let today come and go in a fairly relaxed manner. One of those days when I needed a RDO (Rostered Day Off) myself to catch up. Being a Mum and homeschooling my children those RDO's are pretty hard to orchestrate! So I determined to get the morning routine / structure in place then after music practices and a small amount of structured school I would throw in some TV time. I'm fine with that - days like this I need to utilize whatever resources I have at my disposal. ABC iview came to my rescue and Mister Maker is a particular favourite in our household.

The temptation was there to race around and get everything done - you know hang the washing, put on the evening meal, vacuum the floor etc. But this time was my RDO and maybe I could stretch it to an hour if not a whole day! So a steaming mug of coffee in hand and a little chocolate thrown in for good measure led me to find a chair and warm sunlight streaming in the window. I did nothing for at least 10 minutes, and oh that felt good. I rested, relaxed and reflected on the past two days - my role, my dream, my friends, my experience.

And . . . in this time I discovered something even more enlightening . . . . . sometimes homeschooling happens 'better' when the 'teacher' gets out of the way! My two big ones finished watching Mister Maker and disappeared outside to get creative, with amazing results. There have been dolls created, Easter stories acted out, shops/libraries made, doll clothes sewn, dance styles compared, music analyzed, books read and discussed afterwards by the two of them, and so much more. All this because I let them watch a short television program and simply decided to take an hour off.







Being a homeschool Mum is a fulfilling role and for me it is quite literally 'living my dream'. I absolutely love planning and 'teaching' and all that goes along with homeschooling but even more than that I delight in seeing my children learn. Today I realized they are discovering something hugely important - how to learn themselves.

So for me today, it was just right to give the teacher her RDO.




PS. I'll tell you all about the conference very soon - I promise.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Creating Memories

When the weekend is filled to the brim and spent with the most important people in my life, I realise that life's memories are made of:



:: Fresh croissants savoured after a chilly, early morning trip to the fruit/veg markets.
:: Unplanned 4WD adventures up a very steep, very muddy, VERY slippery track.
:: Further unplanned adventures as we encroach upon the home of a snake.
:: Stunning natural beauty appreciated as eight kookaburras and a magpie try to share our picnic lunch.
:: Long heartfelt discussions as we traverse the miles in the car.
:: Big decisions tossed to and fro as the pros and cons are weighed out.
:: Beautiful autumnal colours appreciated in the coolness of a mountain top.
:: Lazy Sunday breakfasts cooked by our son.
:: Cousin giggles as they play in the sunshine, waves and sand.
:: Time to sit and chat with family not often seen.
:: Lingering picnic cuppas as we try to extend the beauty of the day spent together.
:: Surprise picnic dinner by the river watching the stunning sunset over the city skyline.
:: Filling the lounge with cushions and blankets then snuggling together to watch a family favourite.


It's a pleasure relishing in the memories of a weekend spent almost exclusively outdoors with picnics being the theme. As the washing machine continues to hum it's tune and more meals are created again today, I am reminded that all this effort is worth it.

The memories we make as a family will last forever and it's days like those just past which are creating our family heritage with it's traditions and values instilled.

With that big picture in mind, it makes the extra load of washing and effort seem minimal and insignificant.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mum Heart Conference

The days are going by, ever so quickly. I realise now, it was some time ago that an idea was hatched, researched, tended and grown, by a very sweet friend of mine. Well, to be honest she is really a friend of my Mum's who I claim as my friend as well (I do love sharing friends, don't you?). This lady has gathered around her a wonderful team who have been meeting quite often now, over cups of tea and goodies to eat (maybe that's why the meetings are scheduled so often. . . . just a thought). And the result is almost upon us.

Mum Heart Conference

A dream - turning into reality.

It's true it really can happen.

Mum's celebrating being Mum's.

Inspiration from beautiful people.

Maybe even a cup of coffee - savoured while still hot.

A location near the beach (thinking early morning walks. . . . maybe).

Encouragement to hold close in the days to come.

Friends sharing a unique journey together.

Maybe even some new friends discovered.

Lots of laughter, fun and joy.

Time to Rest, Refresh and Relax.

Yeah, it's sounding good to me..

It's a Homeshool Mum's RETREAT. In Australia. On the gorgeous Sunshine Coast. WOW!!




Do join us, please. I'd love to meet you.

Corinna


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

When the everyday seems . . .

. . . . very 'ordinary'.

The ups mingle with the downs. A lilting jazz tune buried beneath the noise created by children at play. A gorgeous bubby smile drawn out after an hour of grizzles. The bliss of a warm chai tea, in my favourite tea cup, discovered still sitting on the bench after time has taken all the warmth away. The rumble and rustle of lego's tainted by the school books still open on the table. A bub struggling with the disruptions of life's predictable routine, inevitable with three older siblings, adding to the longing of space and sleep.

I'm feeling like it's been a very 'ordinary' day today. In fact about as 'ordinary' as they come, in my opinion anyway.

Day's like this and motivation is hard to drag up. Inspiration is coloured in grey.

Fresh air seems to be the perfect prescription for all involved. Together we step out. Not really sure where, the fences seem to be closing in even closer. Green seems hard to find and colour non-existant.

We step out further and a challenge is issued. Not really sure why or what to expect but. . . . the moment is seems desperate.


"Who can find something beautiful."


Beautiful. That's a word I understand. A dream I long for. A challenge I issue myself daily. I search for beauty in my everydays.



"What kind of beautiful?" she asks.



"Sweet one, any kind of beautiful is perfect for today," comes the exhausted reply.
We searched but only found the toys which needed putting away, grass which was getting a bit long, the wet, boggy, messy sandpit which is usually our oasis.

Grizzles are gradually being replaces by smiles. But the beauty is still a treasure, as yet unclaimed.

'Keep searching', I chide myself. 'Surely something has got to be beautiful in this day today.'

While the 'ordinary' continues, I admire the clear, brilliant, blue sky. Freshness, a gift from the rainy days past. I close my eyes and desperately try to block out the 'ordinary' noises which surround and hear. . . . maybe the delight of silence. I work at feeling refreshed by the breeze. It's small, baby steps, I know. Surely, somewhere there is inspiration to savour and strength to hold for the afternoon ahead.

I find it. Small and unassuming. Not bold and gaudy but blending into the background. There in full view when searched for but nearly missed by us. Just like most 'everyday' kind of days. The beauty is always there, somedays it just takes a bit more searching.


A weed, some would call it. A beautiful-flower-for-Mummy discovered by my little one.

I had to search hard today. I knew it was hiding somewhere and I mustered the strength to search. A glorious weed is my beauty today.

Fresh air was just as the Mummy-doctor ordered.







Linking up with:

friday favorite things | finding joy

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekends are for . . . .

. . . . enjoying friends.




  • Friends staying for sleepovers.
  • Cool, cosy, rainy days.
  • Learning new board games.
  • Fresh bread and scones eaten warm from the oven.
  • A sewing machine humming along preparing for the impending cool weather.
  • Mugs of coffee enjoyed together.
  • Five boys and one girl snuggled between and under blankets and pillows, making the most of a movie afternoon.
  • A trip to the market leaving a bench overflowing with fresh produce.
  • Apple Cider - batch number 2 on the way.
Ahh. . . . . it's been a delightful day around our parts.