Saturday, September 24, 2011

Creating a Family Recipe Journal and a Giveaway!


I have recently started work on a project that I have wanted to do for some time and that is to create a family recipe journal to give to each of my children for when they leave home. I would also like a copy for now that keeps the recipes that I use all the time contained in the one volume. Over the years we have gathered favourite family recipes - some are from friends written on scraps of paper and others are from the pages of cook books that I own, so splattered you can hardly read the recipe!

Now the idea of giving each of my children a hand written book of recipes certainly holds appeal but the thought of writing out seven copies does not! It was therefore very timely when I was contacted by a representative from My Memories asking if I would like to do a review of their digital scrapbooking software at my blog. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to begin my recipe journal project. I am a complete scrapbooking novice and publishing software programs have always been a challenge for me but I was happy to give it a go. What did appeal to me about using a digital format was that it was scrapbooking without the mess! No cutting out, no gluing, no masses of punched out shapes and scraps littering my floor to sweep up!


I have so far completed 10 pages of my family recipe journal and I would love to show you what I have been able to achieve so far using the My Memories Suite 2.0 which was very straightforward to download. I had to exercise a little patience as it downloaded so I took the time to start sorting through my cook books and notebooks deciding which recipes would deserve a place in our Family Recipe Journal.


I opted to create my own album - there are numerous layouts to choose from for creating your pages but I found a blank page to be the most versatile as I could decide where I wanted pictures placed as I assembled each page. There are lots of different backgrounds to choose from - I chose an apple green paper for my first project. The beauty of using digital scrap booking software is that I can change the colours and give each of my children a copy in their favourite colour. Isn't that a sweet thought?



So many of our childhood memories revolve around food, so in my recipe journal I am including photographs of family dinners and occasions that relate to the recipes chosen for this journal. See how the little flower embellishment mirrors the decoration on the cake? I chose to use Word Art for most of the titles on my pages. Resizing and placement was simple. There were lots of different fonts, textures and colours to choose from. I thought Mocha a most appropriate shade for Chocolate Cake Memories!



I also thought to dedicate a page to my two favourite cooks both who happen to be New Zealanders! This recipe journal is all about memories. I taught myself to cook as a young wife using Jo Seager's books and loved the 'easy peasy' recipes she featured on her cooking shows. And if you follow my blog you will know how much I love Annabel Langbein. Her new cook book 'Free Range in the City' comes out later this year - can't wait! I may add in another page later with more recommendations for good cook books that my children will be able to hunt down if they so wish. I used a ribbon embellishment here because I consider both Jo and Annabel to be gifts to me on my culinary adventures!

It seems many of the recipes in this journal are going to be for cakes and desserts so I had to remind my children that for many years they were blessed (and still are) with beautiful hand made sourdough bread. Bread making is one skill I have chosen to pass on to my children and along with this recipe journal I hope to be also able to give them a batch of the heritage sourdough to pass onto future generations. I experimented with the different shapes you can apply to photographs and thought hearts seemed appropriate for something we all love in this family - fruit and nut sourdough bread!

I'm sure like me you often find recipes at blogs that you write down on scraps of paper then lose and have to go searching through archives for. Recently, I was thrilled to find a wonderful coffee cake recipe at Rhonda Jean's hugely popular blog. It is a wonderful cake - if you like your coffee cake to have a real coffee flavour that is! I let Rhonda know that I would be adding her recipe to my collection of 'best ever' recipes and it was also at Rhonda's blog that I received the final prod I needed to stop procrastinating when she encouraged her readers to create personal recipe journals and to pass on a heritage of love for the home, domesticity and cooking from scratch. I mentioned in my comment that I was considering using digital software to create my recipe book and just days later I received the offer from My Memories to review their software. I was meant to do this don't you think?


I will continue adding pages to our family recipe journal over time. I can also add in music and videos if I so wish. Music to cook by if you have your digital recipe journal stored on a portable device - now there's a thought! I will of course be printing off copies and have the option of creating a bound photo book. As this is a book that will be used in the kitchen where spills are inevitable, I'm considering printing and laminating the pages and presenting them in a binder.



And I have some wonderful news. I also have a copy of the My Memories Suite version 2.0 the #1 rated digital scrapbooking software in the USA valued at $40 to give away to one reader! All you have to do is visit the MyMemories website at the following link:-
www.mymemories.com

Take a little tour, then return here and leave me a comment telling me what appeals to you about the many design options they have for creating your own digital scrapbooks, photo books and other possibilities such as the recipe journal I decided upon for my first project.

What do you think you might create for your first project? Once you have the basic suite then you can add to it purchasing extra kits, backgrounds, embellishments - I'm sure you get the idea and now you don't have to worry about the kids using your best scrapbooking paper to make paper planes!

If you are already following my blog or sign up to follow my blog let me know and you will receive a 2nd entry.

Let others know about my giveaway via your blog, Facebook or Twitter and that will qualify you for a 3rd entry.

I will draw the winner on Monday 3rd October at 8am here (AEST) so you have just over a week to submit your entry/entries. I will announce the winner on my blog and contact the winner via email with the promotional code and instructions needed to download the software at the My Memories site.

All the very best and if you do not win you can still receive a discount on the purchase price of the MyMemories Suite 2.0. I will be putting up a picture of my Family Recipe Journal on the sidebar with a link and promotional code that will give you a $10 discount on the purchase price of the MyMemories Suite and a $10 voucher to use at the MyMemories store.

I don't do giveaways often but when I do I like to choose ones that fit the theme of my blog that I believe will really bless the recipient. Keeping a record of the special times is something I would encourage all mothers to do and this software is something that might just make the task a little easier and save you from writer's cramp if like me you have a number of children to write out recipes or memories for!

I must add that I was given the My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software programs to review and giveaway for free but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and I was under no obligation to put forward a positive review.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Homeschool Life Down Under


One of the wonderful things about blogging is that you get to meet others from around the world that are on the same journey and recently I met Natalie who lives on the last frontier - Alaska! Like myself she has been homeschooling for many years and has a real heart to share encouragement for those new to homeschooling or those who are considering it. You will also find information and reviews on the resources she has found useful for home education. As Alaska is a place of great natural beauty you will not be surprised to find that nature study is also an integral part of their studies! She asked me if I would write a guest post for her and share about our homeschool life down under. I was happy to do this for when I was just starting out in the days before blogs had ever been invented and the internet ran at snail's pace I was so blessed to find a website that had a series of articles on home education which were such an encouragement to me. They introduced me to unit studies and turned our learning at home into a much more exciting experience. That website belonged to a homeschool mother who lived in Alaska! Now it is my turn to write an article that may encourage someone on that side of the world!

So if you are looking for inspiration and are interested to find out a little more about our homeschool life and how we teach our children at home please do pop over to Alaska and meet Natalie. Her website and the link to my post can be found at www.mapleleafcircle.com




I pray that you are having a blessed and productive week. I am making mulberry jam today as our black weeping mulberry is absolutely laden with fruit which is ripening ever so quickly with the arrival of hot sunny days. The snakes are out of hibernation and just yesterday we had two venomous snakes close to the house. No more running barefoot across the grass!

My next post will hopefully be a giveaway so watch this space!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Sweetest Days


Spring has arrived at Eight acres of Eden and the past few weeks have been very busy for me. I have had little time to write blog posts but wanted to let you know what I am taking time out for as I work on future posts that I hope will encourage and inspire you.



I have started putting together a family recipe journal. This is something I have wanted to do for my children for a long time. I am using digital scrap booking software and in a few weeks I hope to review this software and also offer a giveaway to my blog readers. I am a complete novice at this and will be dedicating my computer time over the next week or so to this project. When it is finished or near completion I will share my efforts and maybe a recipe or two - only the real family favourites are going into this book!

I am also writing a guest post for a new homeschooling website that was set up by a homeschooling mother in Alaska with the intention of encouraging new homeschoolers. I just love to offer encouragement to others who are joining me on this journey. I am prayerfully considering and giving thought to what I will write about as I share about our homeschool life down under.

I am helping and encouraging my teens as they get very busy with their own businesses. My home is stacked high with all the clutter of their enterprises. Market gazebos, plastic containers holding all my daughter's baking supplies and boxes and boxes of hand made soap (not made by me or my family but sold by my son who I now believe could sell snow to an Eskimo!) At least it all smells great - I'm so relieved they didn't go into the compost making business! I make myself available to help out and offer advice, giving my son feedback on the website designs he is creating for clients. One is for a store that sells beautiful home wares. I am more than happy to do this for him!



I am watching rugby union games with my husband. I married a New Zealander - they are passionate about rugby and the Rugby World Cup has just commenced in New Zealand. He really appreciates that I watch rugby games with him, that as a young wife I chose to take a real interest in a game that made little sense to a girl who grew up in the city of Liverpool in England where soccer reigns supreme! I know the names of most of the players and I'm even familiar with the code of rugby league. If I could give one piece of advice to a new bride it would be this - take an interest in the sport or activity that your beloved follows. Even if it holds no appeal to you. Make that sacrifice. Give up an hour or two of your Friday or Saturday evening, step away from the blog or Facebook if need be and sit with him and watch that game and discuss it at breakfast the next day. I expect to be having lots of discussions about rugby with my husband over the next two weeks. I call it marriage preservation.




These are the sweetest days. I'm embracing these days, tasting their sweetness whilst the hive is still full of busy bees. Teenagers are buzzing in and out, a daughter is diligently writing out her Chinese characters with a brush and bemoaning the fact that the library only allows you to reserve up to 20 books! I have twins who are learning to read and a toddler who I spend lots of time chasing around. He's exploring everywhere and is like Bear Grylls in miniature form. Has no fear of steep inclines or ravines. He also loves to sing and grabs the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner and comes and serenades me. At just 2o months! My first musical child. A future Josh Groban perhaps? It is the sweetest sound and I just love to hear him singing.




So please excuse me as I return to my hive and tend to the bees and the hive. My husband has mentioned the possibility of setting up a real bee hive this year which is why I thought to use the illustration of a hive to give you a picture of what our home life looks like at the moment. It is also spring and a busy time in the garden too. Vegetables are going in and we keep adding trees to our orchard. I have a lady from my community coming to visit soon. She is practically self-sufficient and wants to see my garden. She gave me my first batch of sourdough starter and taught me how to make sourdough bread. She's quite a character. She's bringing a friend along. Our door is always open and we love having people visit and I need to make time for the people that the Lord sends our way and offer sweet fellowship and the hand of friendship.

Visiting the gardens of others is so inspiring! This photograph was taken a number of years ago when we toured the large rambling garden of the lady who will visit me soon. She grows all kinds of tropical fruits and vegetables and loves to share cuttings, gardening advice and recipes!



I love this quote from Anne's House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery. It seems very apt for springtime and my own gardening aspirations.



'To potter with green, growing things, watching each day to see the dear, new sprouts come up, is like taking a hand in creation, I think. Just now my garden is like faith-the substance of things hoped for.'

I pray that your new season is a sweet one too.

Until next time.

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