Birthday Cake Experiment!

I have always enjoyed baking but never really been interested in decorating cakes. It isn’t something that I have attempted often as I don’t feel that I have the skill for it.

It is my husband’s birthday today and I wanted to make him a special cake. He wanted a red velvet cake – a cake that I have never made before so that was a challenge in itself and I’m still not sure about the outcome!

We both enjoy watching Wallace and Gromit, in fact we had the theme tune played when we were welcomed into our wedding reception! – So there was my idea for his birthday cake..a Gromit cake!

I didn’t bother trying to find instructions to make a cake like this, I just had an idea in my head (not sure that is the best way to try to make something look good)!

I knew I wanted to different sized circles so used two different size cake tins to bake with. I followed a recipe for a red velvet cake, however the red food colouring I bought was heat sensitive so it faded in the oven, and the result was a brown cake!

After the cakes were cooked and cooled, I cut a section out of one of the circles so that the two cakes slotted together (with the help of a little jam) to make Gromit’s face. I then used the cut out section to make the ears.

The decorating part…… I found a recipe to make a cream cheese frosting and added some cocoa powder to it to get the colour that I wanted, I then spread this over the cake and was quite pleased with the result. The nose was easy – I bought a packet of chocolate mallow cakes, I removed the foil from one and popped it on the cake. The eyes were tricky, I had bought white chocolate buttons but they seemed too small so I had to be inventive! There was more cake leftover from making the ears, I cut too little circles out and poured melted white chocolate on them. I then stuck a chocolate button on top and used some black icing to make the pupils

It isn’t the best looking cake, I think perhaps the moral is to follow a recipe for shaping and decorating cakes.  I am quite pleased with it though for my first attempt and hope that my husband will be when he sees it tonight!

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Fitting In…Or Not

Being a modern-day housewife is definitely out of the ordinary, especially straight into marriage and before having any children.

I am very fortunate to have found love so young and that I am able to live the life I am living. If I hadn’t met my husband I really don’t know what career path I would have taken. I believe that hings happen for a reason and I am very lucky that I can stay at home and be a homemaker. I am not taking advantage of my husband and I definitely didn’t marry just so I could be a housewife!

When my grandparents got married 57 years ago, my Grandma gave up her job to be a housewife. This would have been very common then and nobody would have thought anything of it.

I don’t think people would have expected this from me, maybe they feel that my education is wasted on me, or that I am lazy. This is not true at all, I enjoy spending time at home, I love cooking meals and keeping the house tidy. I am also enjoying decorating and renovating our house. All these things keep me busy and I am happy.

I have never really fitted in with people throughout my school years, I liked to be unique and not follow the crowd. I have never been a follower of fashion or make-up and perhaps do not really fit in with people in my age group. I am pleased that I have stayed true to myself and I think it suits really that my full-time job – a housewife is out of the ordinary.

This Year’s Gardening

This year we bought our house and I really wanted to grow some vegetables straight away. If you read my blog post ‘My Garden Transformation’ you will see how I transformed an area of grass into  a fruit and vegetable garden.

This year time and money weren’t on our side, so I bought some cheap packets of seeds and hoped that some of them would grow! My growing was more successful than I thought it would be – bear in mind I had no fertiliser or chemicals. The only thing I did was use a tiller to churn up and soften the soil.

The Growing

I was eager to plant as many vegetables as I could that I overfilled one of my beds with a variety of squashes. I sowed the squashed indoors in a propagator that I had been given, when they had got to a good size and the weather was warmer I planted them into the bed not really realising how big they would grow!

The second bed had carrots and beetroot in that I sowed straight into the soil, in the other end of the bed I planted in some sweetcorn that I had also started indoors in the propagator.

In the largest bed I sowed some pumpkin seeds, I was a little late sowing them so wasn’t sure if they would grow or not.

The last bed which is triangular shape has become my herb bed and I have built up a collection of herbs that I have bought as small plants from garden centres and some that I received as gifts.

The Results

img_20160925_142614The first vegetables that I harvested were yellow courgettes and rolet summer squashes – these were tasty and I was able to harvest several of these. I had to put a make shift trellis in the bed for the summer squashes as they are trailing plants and needed some controlling!img_0764

The beetroot didn’t grow particularly well and I was only able to harvest two of these but they were tasty.

Unfortunately all of the squash plants had a bad case of powdery mildew which gradually killed them off. I had to pull them all up and leave the fruits that had grown to ripen in the sun – they are ripening well and I have a pumpkin that is almost fully orange!

The carrots were more of a success and we have eaten several of those – they have a very strong flavour and there are still more growing ready to be harvested over the rest of Autu14612548_10157672343960599_5735609183841632076_omn.

We have also enjoyed 4 corn on the cobs that were very fresh and juicy. I was worried that these hadn’t formed properly as the end of the cob was brown and dry. As I peeled back the leaves I saw that there was a good amount of corn that was ripe and we were able to eat them – just with the ends cut off that hadn’t grown properly.img_20161004_143245-1

I also grew some tomatoes (far too many) and soon realised that they don’t grow particularly well outdoors and in the wrong size pots! So one day I hope to have a greenhouse for better tomatoes. Having said that, I did still get quite a few tomatoes.

The fruit border is only just establishing as most of the plants were planted in throughout the year – hopefully next year will be fruitful! I did have a few yellow plums from a dwarf tree that I received last year as a gift.

That has been my gardening year, I am looking forward to next year so that I can plan properly. I am also hoping to make some more beds in another area of the garden. I have very little experience so this is going to be a learning curve for me.

‘Let the earth produce all kinds of plants, those that bear grain and those that bear fruit’ GNB – GENESIS 1:11

Keeping Busy as a Housewife

This week I have been quite busy, I enjoy being busy because I know I have used my time wisely and productively.

I began on Monday by tiling the hearth in our living room – this means we are one step closer to getting our carpet! I am very much looking forward to this as it will change the look of the room completely. I followed this by sanding down the rest of the banister on the landing and then gave it a couple of coats of white gloss paint.

I also made a soup out of some butternut squashes that I have grown and then made a plum crumble cake (this is one of my favourites and best served warm)

I then prepared some individual cottage pies for dinner, popped them in the oven and dashed off to meet my husband in the supermarket to do our weekly shop!

As I mentioned in my previous blog post – I am starting to make frozen ready meals for my grandparents. This has kept me busy over the last couple of days and today I have made 4 individual lasagne portions and 4 portions of chilli. I do enjoy cooking and being busy in the kitchen makes the day fly by quicker.img_20161019_145736

This is the time of year when Christmas is on my mind and this week I have started and completed my first craft project – a Christmas stocking for my husband. He chose the fabric and I sewed it together yesterday and then embellished it with a lovely festive ribbon around the top. Our plan this year is to get each other little gifts and fill up our stockings with them. I asked my husband if he was going to make my stocking! – he seems to think that if he sewed one the stitches may be too big and all the gifts fall out! So I think my Christmas stocking will be my next craft project.

Amongst all these other activities, I have been sticking to my schedule and getting on with the housework and laundry.  Keeping busy and being productive brightens my mood and gives me a sense of purpose.

Cooking for the Freezer

I enjoy cooking meals to put in the freezer as a ready meal for when we haven’t got much food in the house or don’t feel like cooking.  My favourite foods for the freezer are pizza and quiche. I especially enjoy having a cooking day when it is cold and rainy outside, the kitchen is full of lovely smells that are warming and bring cheer.

I have just started making meals for my grandparents, I wanted to do this to help them out. Today I have made sausage and bean casserole for them and tomorrow I am planning on making individual lasagne portions and chilli. These meals can be cooked from frozen for ease. This means that you don’t have to remember to take them out of the freezer to defrost – I know I have sometimes forgotten to take things out of the freezer in time for it to defrost for dinner!

Sausage and Bean Casserole Ingredients – this made 5 individual portions

  • 12 pork chipolatas
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 yellow pepper – cut into chunks
  • 1 small chilli – cut into small pieces
  • 3 onions – roughly chopped
  • 1 tin of baked beans
  • 1 tin of butter beans
  • 5 sage leaves – chopped finely
  • 1 table spoon of tomato puree
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs

Basically I cooked the onions a little in a tablespoon of oil and added the sausages, each one chopped in four pieces. I browned the sausages and added all the other ingredients.

I brought it to a boil and then let it simmer with the lid on for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

This meal could be served with either couscous, a jacket potato , mashed potato or a crusty bread roll.

My Kitchen and why Cooking is Important

I love my kitchen! Although it didn’t look anything like this when we bought the house.

I wanted a space where I could prepare meals, bake cakes and make drinks. A lot of time is spent in the kitchen, whether it is washing up or making a cup of tea.

Because I wanted to learn to become a better cook and start making things from scratch, I knew that I would need the space to do this. My role is to be able to provide nutritional homemade meals for myself and my husband. When we have guests I want to be a good host and offer them homemade cakes etc.

I have it all planned out for when we have overnight guests. Breakfast time will be important, I will have a jug of fresh juice on the table, there will be homemade breakfast muffins and granola and I will have options for cooked food.

Also when our house is complete and we have our dining room, I want to make sure that when we have guests for dinner that there will always be a homemade dessert as well as a tasty main meal.

When we have purchased our oven for our kitchen I will definitely be cooking more and hopefully will be baking fresh bread for us to eat.

I feel that because I am a housewife that cooking is a skill that I should progress with. I also feel that food is a way that I can help people and make them happy. It is important for me to find something that I can do that others will appreciate.

Working to Make our House a Home

We viewed our house for the first time about a year ago, I instantly knew that it could be a lovely home for us. In January we got the keys and began the process of renovating – there was a lot more work to be done than we realised and living in the house whilst work was being done proved quite difficult. We were several weeks without a bath (we did still wash!), we didn’t get our television license until June and we only got the internet in September!

A lot of people have the opportunity to live elsewhere whilst they are doing up their house but this wasn’t really an option for us. Sometimes it is difficult to stay positive when there is work to be done in every room of the house!

I have spent many hours stripping wall paper, painting, decorating and doing variety of other DIY jobs. This started in January when we got the house and there is still much more to be done, today I have been sanding down the banister and then giving it a fresh coat of white gloss. I have enjoyed the time I have spent because I know every small thing I do is helping to make our house more homely and how we want it. It has worked out well me staying at home because I have got a lot done whilst my husband has been at work. If we both worked we probably wouldn’t have had the time to put into the house.

Sometimes we feel that we are not getting anywhere or that when something goes wrong we feel that it will never be put right. But we have come so far and we have been to luck to have help from our families.

Our house has drastically improved since we bought it and we are hoping that by the end of this year we will have a carpet in our living room and our will be bedroom decorated!

Here are some photos of our renovation so far…..

As you can see, the rooms aren’t completely finished but it gives an idea as to where we are going with it. Having a project house means that we are able to put our own stamp on it

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Our bathroom before renovation.
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Our bathroom after renovation
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Our living room before renovation
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Our living room after renovation

Realising my True Identity

Being a housewife sometimes makes me feel that I am not good enough or that I failed because I don’t have a ‘proper’ job. I feel guilty that I do not make any money and that all the pressure is on my husband and I feel worse spending money because I don’t feel like it is mine to spend even though we are married and share everything.

I just want to do what I can to help and don’t want to let anyone down. I feel that it is my duty to care for my husband and to look after the house by keeping it clean and tidy. I may not be able to provide financially but I can provide in many other ways to keep our lives balanced and happy.

I realise that I need to stop belittling myself, just because I don’t earn money it doesn’t mean that I am lazy or have an invaluable job. I came across this lovely quote in the Bible which really helps me to see that I should not compare myself to others and be content in myself with what I do.

‘You should each judge your own conduct. If it is good, then you can be proud of what you yourself have done, without having to compare it with what someone else has done. For we each have our own load to carry’ GNB  GALATIANS 6: 4-5

I believe that success is measured in happiness – I know that I am a much happier person looking after our home and getting all the housework done so that my husband can relax after work and at weekends.

‘Her husband puts his confidence in her, and he will never be poor. As long as she lives she does him good and never harm’ GNB  PROVERBS 31:11-12

We made this decision between us that I would be a housewife, sometimes it is difficult financially and it means that it may take longer to save money for something that we want. But we have our own house, we have food to eat and we are gradually building our home together little by little. We might not have carpets and we might not have a lot of furniture but we do have love – and that comes at no cost at all.

‘Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love’ GNB CORINTHIANS 13:13

This is my job and I believe that God chose this life for me so that I can use the skills and strengths that I do have.

 

Why Did We Decide to Buy a House!?

Today has been a very ‘off schedule’ day. It began when the toilet started to leak – right before my husband needed to leave to go to work.

First of all let me take you back 5 months ago….  We had a toilet fitted in the bathroom upstairs as there had never been one previously. (We do have a downstairs toilet). The toilet was all up and running and we were pleased with our fully functioning bathroom…..

My husband was given the day of work so we could get the toilet fixed, he came home mid morning  and we had a good attempt at trying to fix the problem. However our plumbing skills are not too great and we ended up calling a plumber out – to cut a long story short, the plumber who had connected our new toilet (5 months ago) had done a very bad job and the pipes weren’t connected properly and getting blocked! So all that work has to be redone and dug up again!

It is at times like this when when we wonder why did we choose to buy a house with all the responsibilities and maintenance that comes with it?!

But we need to remember that we are lucky, we have a roof over our heads and warmth when we need it. Our house has been quite a project and there have been many times of frustration and even tears(from me of course, my husband doesn’t cry)!

We need to remember what we have and what we have achieved and we will eventually have our house comfortable and homely.

Soup Making and Painting!

I decided I would get on with more painting this morning, we are currently decorating the hallway, stairs and landing (not the easiest of jobs)! I had already painted an area of the ceiling with two coats of white paint on Monday, but clearly two coats wasn’t enough to cover the coffee coloured ceiling! I don’t particularly enjoy painting ceilings but I want our house to be lovely and homely so I will do any job I can to achieve that goal! So the third layer of paint has been applied!

I am also in the middle of doing an online shop, we decided we would try shopping online to free our weekends up. I would do the shopping on my own in the week but because I can’t drive it is quite a struggle carrying all the groceries home – the supermarket isn’t far from home but it feels it when you are weighed down by shopping!

The current plan is for me to order shopping in the week to be delivered on a Monday, so I was sat thinking about what foods we needed and began thinking about vegetables. I realised we had quite a few vegetables in the fridge and decided I would make a soup…..

So that’s where I am at now, I have a soup simmering on the stove and I am still half way through my food shop due to the distraction of soup making! IMG_0807.JPG