Welcome back to another Good Morning Mondays Link up.  I have had a good week and I hope you have too.

The weeks seems to be going by very quickly and the list in my head of things to do is not getting that much shorter, although I did sort out my linen press – knock that off the to-do list!!!

Last Monday my husband and I and our younger two children travelled to visit with our No 1 daughter and her children.


We had a lovely day with them and you can see more and read more about that day here.

The rest of the week passed in a bit of a blur, but we did manage to start on Christmas cards and did all the other general things that seem to take up our days.

No 2 daughter and son had their piano exams this morning and it sounds like they went really well.  This is no 2 daughters 3rd exam but was the first one for no 1 son.  They were a bit nervous though but that all seems to be part of it.  They are both very happy that it is over now :-).

We finally got the aquaponics system up and running and ready for the fish coming next week.  We have planted some vegetables too, which is very exciting for us.  We have been working on this for about 12 months now.

This week I want to do some Christmas baking, fruit cakes, yo yo’s etc, then I will post some away to relatives.

I am determined to get some soap made this week and I am actually going to write a list and cross things off as I achieve them (sounds good….)

Thank you for all your link ups, I am really enjoying reading them.  I am not quite finished with them all yet so I won’t do my personal favourite this week.

The top three posts were:


Happiness Choice by Tiny Toadstool Cottage


Reasons I am choosing a home birth part 1 and 2 from Rahab to Riches.
thmb54720a43273abThank you ladies for sharing your hearts with us, and thanks to everyone for taking the time to link up, I really appreciate it.

I want to encourage everyone this week to remember the reason for the season that is fast approaching us.  I am not saying don’t give presents, or don’t have a tree or whatever else you have and do, I am just saying to remember that we celebrate Christmas because of Jesus, not santa or presents or food, but because of our Saviour.

So let’s get the link up started, please link up any posts that relate to God and christian living – especially encouraging or challenging posts, also recipes, crafts, gardening or homesteading as you call it in America and just plain old country living here in Australia.

I’d love to hear about how you celebrate Christmas, who you spend it with, do you open your homes to people who have no one???

May your week be full of God’s love and may He lead and guide you each day.


Here is a picture of our cherry tree, actually a couple of pictures.

IMG_0469 IMG_0467Hopefully you can see the red cherries that are forming on the tree. This tree was already here when we came and last year only had a few cherries on it.  This year there are heaps more.

Some of the fruit is full and plump and turning red but some are a bit withered and brown.

This reminds me of my own fruit of the Spirit, sometimes it is full and plump and sometimes it seems withered and brown.

It says in…

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

At the moment with families having just celebrated thanksgiving my thankfulness fruit is definitely plump.  Even though in Australia it isn’t something we celebrate, I have been constantly reminded to be thankful for all things, at all times for all that God has given us.

Sometimes my patience is the withered fruit, and sometimes my gentleness leaves a lot to be desired.

Writing this blog has definitely helped my fruits ripen.  I have been looking into more of Gods word and what is says about the different issues that I write about.  This writing thing has encouraged me to try harder to walk the talk I am talking (or writing), to develop those fruits that I struggle with.

I find now that I am catching myself more often with my tone of voice and my attitude, I am trying to be more gentle and caring of my children.

I am definitely not perfect and my fruits are not always ripe but I know that God is there for me leading me with His word and His Spirit as I struggle daily to show my family how much I do love them. God is ripening and plumping up my fruit, fruit to be given in service to Him.

What fruits do you have trouble keeping plump, remember we are all the same, imperfect people with a perfect God.


This post is linked up here…

Thought Provoking Thursday

 Fellowship Fridays





When I went to primary school I always felt that I was middle to bottom of the range.  I definitely wasn’t popular, and being a chubby child I was always the brunt of the jokes or teasing.

I seemed to spend my time following the in-crowd around trying to look like I was in, trying to be pleasing to them so that maybe they would notice me.


It didn’t change once I went to high school, it only became harder to be me amongst a crowd of teenagers who only thought of themselves and their status at the school.

I wasn’t good at sport, I wasn’t good at academics, the only subjects I was good at were Business Studies, and that’s the vocation I eventually headed into.

Even when I went to TAFE (Adult Further Education) I still didn’t fit in, it seems I have spent most of my life trying to find a crack into the in-crowd.

Now that I am married – and I have a great marriage – and I fit with my husband extremely well, I still have groups that I just don’t fit in.

We have a school connected to our church but I don’t fit in with the schooling mums because we don’t send our children to school.  I don’t fit in with the young mums (even though I have young children) because I am a grandmother as well – I’m a bit too old for them.

But does it really matter if we fit in with the in-crowds of this world. Sometimes it seems to matter too much, but really there is only one crowd we should want to be in.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

John 17:14-16 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I am not after sympathy and I don’t spend my days wallowing because I don’t fit in, I am just so pleased that I now know that I don’t actually NEED to fit it.

It has taken me years to realise that being “IN” doesn’t matter.  The only one I should care about is Jesus and I want to run with His crowd.

This post is linked here…

Thought Provoking Thursday

 Fellowship Fridays


Now I am not a glue, feathers and glitter type of mum, just ask my oldest daughter, but I really enjoy making Christmas cards.

No 2 daughter and son have been helping me and they are really creative with glitter and glue.  I have to take lots of deep breaths when the glitter comes out and not let it get to me 🙂 .

imageHere they are with some of the cards we have already made and making some new ones as well.

This year I bought all our card already cut from our local newspaper office.  I got 80 cards for $14.00, this is much cheaper than buying them from the cheap junk stores in packs of 10 and the card is much nicer.  The packaged ones are normally shiny and hard to work with. The ones I got are just plain matte cards that anything (including glitter) sticks to.

I am hopeless at drawing Christmas trees so I tried a few and then got smart and just drew 3 triangles at different sizes and used these.



I bought some corrugated card this year in lovely shiny Christmas colours and I have heaps of scrap paper and supplies left over from last year.  I did purchase some more printed ribbon with Christmas designs on them for $2 a roll and we use quite a bit of this.

Instead of gluing on the pieces of card we used mounting tape which gives it all a slight 3D effect.  One warning, once you put this tape on you cannot remove it, it is there for life.

Now I’m not that big on Christmas trees but they do look great on the cards, but I wanted something that said that Jesus was the reason for Christmas, so we made stables as well.


No 2 daughter did a great job of drawing Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus, even I didn’t get that creative.

I normally write a greeting on each individual card but when you send out about 60 it gets quite tiring, so this year I am printing out one to put inside.  I am trying to work smart this year, below is what I decided on.


I then also signed it digitally from all our family.  So now all I have to put in is the names of the people I am sending the card to, and address the envelopes.

Making cards is very easy and fun to do and it is something we can do as a homeschooling art session.

Do you make your own cards at Christmas time?? Can you give us some other creative ideas??






Well it’s finally happening, the aquaponics system is up and running. My husband and father-in-law have been working hard this week, to get it ready as the fish will be here by the end of next week.

We already have a few fish in the tank and we have started planting a few vegetables and strawberries to see how everything goes.

Now is the trouble shooting stage, waiting to see what goes wrong so it can be fixed before we really get going with it.

We have had a few problems, like the stainless steel vat we had for fish had cracks in it. We had to replace it with a plastic pod.

This is the good vat that we have left, the other one had cracks in it.

We had a couple of these vats but now only have the one left, with some fish in it, and the pods below (covered with builders wall insulation paper) is for the fish coming next week.


Here is the layout of the system.  The tanks on the right are for the fish with the grow beds on the left.  The lower pod on the left is the sump tank that catches all the water that is cycling through the beds. That is where the pump is situated and the pump then pumps the water back into the fish tanks.  This water has then been filtered through the gravel as well as the roots of the plants and is getting returned back to the fish tanks with the manures taken out.  The fish tanks also have bubblers in them to oxygenate the water.


Here is the grow bed where we placed 3 mature tomato plants, 4 capsicums and 1 eggplant.


Here is the strawberry bed.  You can see in the photo that the grow beds are filled with 25 mm screened scoria sourced from our local quarry.  The area in which we live is very volcanic and the local mountains are extinct volcanoes and are surrounded by massive lava flows and the local quarry is on the side of these extinct volcanoes.

IMG_0461You can also see in the photo the pipe running across the top of the bed.  In this pipe is a tap which allows you to vary the flow of water into the bed. This water comes from the base of the fish tank where the waste from the fish collects, this waste then feeds the plant roots.


At the end of this area against the wall we will eventually have strawberry beds built.  Not sure yet whether they will be vertical or horizontal or a bit of both.

In the photo you can just see the frames that hoop over the top of the area.  As summer ends we will put hot house plastic film over these hoops and turn the area into a hot house.

If you are interested in aquaponics just go to you tube to find out heaps more information.

I am looking forward to sharing more of this with you as it gets bigger and better.

The writer of this post (me) would like to thank her husband for his technical contribution.




The vegetables are growing really well and I must admit to being very excited about it, both my husband and myself like just going out and watching it all.

Here are a few photos to update you on the progress, but here is a reminder of what it looked like before.

Before it all began…
This is what it looks like now…

IMG_0470The first row is the first lot of tomatoes that we planted, they have been mulched (as stated in update 3) and have a length of mesh next to them to support them.  Some of these tomatoes even have flowers on them.

IMG_0471Next to the tomatoes are 3 rows of potatoes, the first row has been mulched down the middle with hay to prevent weeds growing up and to keep moisture in.

My husband is then going to go down each row of potatoes with a double sided mulboard plow which will turn the soil from the middle of the drain between the rows and put it up against the potato seedlings.  This plow is a tractor mounted implement.

IMG_0472We haven’t mulched the others yet, but will probably do so in the next week.  We are amazed at how the potatoes are growing, we haven’t grown them like this before.  We have grown them in tyres in the past like this.

Here are the next couple rows of potatoes.

Here are the zucchinis that were planted last week, we also planted the same amount of cucumbers.DSC_0598

The corn is going great guns as well and there are heaps of pumpkins coming up amongst them too.



Here are the men staking up the tomatoes.  We planted another 3 rows of tomatoes and we have had some losses, maybe 20 or so but we are going to replant them over the weekend.

The weather has been great for growing vegetables, we have had rain and then some clear sunny days – just perfect.

I don’t think we will have our own tomatoes by Christmas, but that’s ok, if everything keeps growing like it is it won’t be too much longer.

God is really blessing our vegetables and us, thank you Lord.

What’s up in your garden this week???






A couple of days ago we headed north to visit our No 1 daughter and her daughters for a few hours.  We even had the pleasure of babysitting them whilst dad and mum had an appointment.

We were so blessed to be able to do this and we had a great time with them.

Here are some photos:

Granddad and our youngest granddaughter having a special moment together.


She is just beautiful.


This is our oldest granddaughter enjoying the swing at the park.


She is having such fun.


This little one has such a great character and is a lot of fun.


Here she is with her aunt and uncle on the wizzy dizzy thing. (I use to love these as a child going round and round and then getting off it and not being able to walk straight).

DSC_0576It is always great to see our daughter and her family and spend time with them.  They are such a blessing to us.

Proverbs 17:6 Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.




I am a bit tired of eating rice and carbohydrates so I thought this might be another option for my tea, they were really yummy and very filling.



  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 3 mushrooms
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 capsicum
  • pinch salt
  • cos lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 cup hot water

Chop up chicken and vegetables into small pieces and fry in pan until soft, add a bit of hot liquid and cook until evaporated.

Wash lettuce leaves and dry and arrange on a plate.  Place mixture along the leaves.

I then topped mine with a Vietnamese dipping sauce for a bit of extra spice.





This is a quick easy dish, one that I make in my electric pressure cooker.



  • 250 grams bacon
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 capsicum
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • 1 can of champignons
  • 2 cups risotto rice
  • 1 tblsp chicken stock
  • 6 cups hot water
  • pinch salt

Brown bacon and vegetables in the pressure cooker until soft.


Add rice, chicken stock, salt and hot water and mix together.


Place lid on and cook on high pressure for 15 mins.  When done, release pressure and stir to combine.  When you open the pressure cooker there will be a bit of liquid on top, just stir the risotto and this will blend in.


Serve while hot and ENJOY!!

PS: you can really use any fresh vegetables you have and any meat. Chicken thighs would be a nice change as well.


A couple of years ago we headed north to Mildura and brought home a heap of oranges.  We ate a heap fresh, they were sweet and juicy, but we just couldn’t eat all of them, so I preserved them.

I sliced them up and put them through our Fowlers Vacola unit and bottled them without sugar.   Unfortunately when they are bottled they do turn sour so you need to make them into something instead of just eating them with a heap of sugar.

The oranges look really impressive in the bottles.
So I make these muffins and they are lovely and moist.


  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup oil (I use olive oil)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tblsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (moderate).  Blend orange and sugar in the food processor, add egg, oil and milk, process.

Mix dry ingredients and blend together with wet.  Place in muffin tray and bake for 12 – 15 mins in moderate oven.


I ice these with chocolate icing.


PS: you can make these muffins without the cocoa powder, and ice them with orange icing.

PPS: if you don’t have preserved oranges just use a whole orange and put that in the blender instead.

PPS:  This recipe makes 1 dozen muffins, I usually double it because I have about 2 oranges per preserving jar.