Gluten Free & Dairy Free Shortbread

This is another of my go to recipes that people who aren’t gluten & dairy free also enjoy eating.  My husband likes these biscuits iced but shortbread is of course usually eaten without icing.  At Christmas time I usually make Christmas tree or star shaped biscuits with this recipe.  These biscuits were on the menu at my daughters 18th party.


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Exciting Adventure Stories for Advent

While we have done a number of different things for advent over the years, including building a paper chain by adding a link each night with a person to pray for & putting baby Jesus (one of my daughter’s dolls in her dolls cot) under the Christmas tree.

Christmas Treasury for KidsTwo Activities have definitely become traditions.  The first is reading a story for advent.  One year we used Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas Treasury for Kids but then I found a series of books by Arnold Ytreeide.  I found Bartholomew’s Passage on sale in a local Christian bookstore.  When I started looking at it to see if it was suitable to use with my children, I read it in one sitting! Each chapter finishes with a cliff hanger so you want to know what happens next.  In the story Bartholomew gets separated from his family.  The story is of his adventures until he is reunited with his family in Bethlehem.

All of the books in the series follow the journey of a different child to the birth of Jesus.  They all met a man called Nathan, a wise Essene monk who knows about the Messiah’s coming.  The children’s paths cross in all of the stories but each story is just following the main character of that book.  At the end of each chapter is a reflection with a question.

There is a chapter each day for the first 3 weeks of advent & then depending on what dayBartholomew's Passage2 of the week Christmas Eve is you read 1-7 small sections each day of the last week of advent.  For this year with Advent being on a Sunday you would read the last section all in one day.  Then there is a final chapter for Christmas Day.

To be honest there have been many times when we have been catching up on missed chapters by reading an extra chapter or two.  Or reading the book in the car on the way somewhere or reading a chapter or 2 at Grandma’s.  Many Christmas Eve’s have found us reading the book at the back of the church while my husband sets up the Data Projector for the Christmas Eve Service.  And occasionally we have finished the story after Christmas Day but that’s ok.

We actually read Bartholomew’s passage for 4 or 5 years in a row as all of the books were out of print.  I had seen one of the others in a Christian bookstore but didn’t buy it at the time.  My family was happy to read the same book, they liked it that much.


Once the books were reprinted we have continued reading one each year for about 13 years.  They’ve been keen to hear what happens to all of the children & try to remember how their journeys cross.  We only got Ishtar’s Odyssey last year, as it is a newer addition to the series.  I’m not sure that we’ll read them as a family anymore, as my children are much more independent now.  Having read them from when my son was 4 until my daughter was 18, I can say that these books are great for any age.  I cannot recommend this series of books enough.

Are there any particular stories your family likes for Advent?

In my next post I’ll talk about our Advent Calendar, the other Advent Activity that has stood the test of time.

Who’s Mentoring You?

This week we thanked a beautiful lady who has been a mentor in our MUMSnext group for 6 years & was also our MOPS mentor for 12 years.  So she has officially been a mentor for 15 years, as 3 of those years she was a mentor for both MOPS & MUMSnext.  Unofficially she has been my mentor much longer than that!


When we first moved to Brisbane (nearly 30 years ago) & joined the youth group at the church I still attend, this beautiful lady was one of the leaders.  I clearly remember her from the first youth group camp I attended soon after moving to Brisbane.  Continue reading

Pop Up Blog Zone

Recently I attended a Pop Up Blog Zone.  It was led by Janet from Middle Aged Mama who I first met years ago when she was the editor of Footprints magazine & she spoke at our MOPS group.  The topic was “Blogging for Money” which I have never really thought that I would do.  I mainly attended to meet with other bloggers in real life.

I’m so glad that I went & have realised that I should attend more real life blog events.

Janet shared how it is possible to make some money from blogging, potential income streams & what you need to do to start blogging for money.  We then shared an awesome afternoon tea.  I was very grateful that Janet had especially provided gluten & dairy free food for me.  (Would you believe I’m a food blogger & I didn’t take a photo of the yummy food!)  After this we had a Mastermind session where anyone could ask about any blogging issue & get advice/help from everyone else.

Here are some things that I learnt from the event:

  • that it is possible to make some money from blogging (not sure if I ever will)
  • I will probably need to move to a self hosted blog so that I can do more with my blog (whether or not I ever look at things like affiliate marketing or selling products).
  • I may need to treat my blog like work & have set times for working on my blog
  • I should attend more real life blogging events
  • I can probably add more to my existing blog & don’t need to start a 2nd blog

In regards to that last point I have been considering blogging about some of the things that I do in my role as Faith Formation Pastor but feeling like I couldn’t manage another blog.  During the mastermind session I was reassured that this blog “Feed My Family” with the tag line “body, mind, heart & soul” would fit with posts about passing on faith & intergenerational events we run at church.

So watch this space you may see some changes to this blog in the coming months.

If you’re a blogger do you attend many real life blogging events?


Gluten & Dairy Free Chocolate Brownies

This would have to be my go to slice recipe & my most often made snack.  This is usually what I make if I have to take a plate of morning tea anywhere & it is eaten & enjoyed by everyone even though it is gluten & dairy free.  I have made this for a couple of teenage boys (who are on a gluten & dairy free diet) instead of giving them a birthday card & it was much appreciated.  This recipe has been adapted from a recipe that was published in Notebook magazine (no longer published).

Mother's Day morning tea

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October Reading Log

Well I only managed to finish 1 book this month. However I forgot about a book that I had read in September, so I will write about 2 books in this post.

Reading Log Oct

First of all the book I read in September but forgot to include in last months reading log:

The Kindness Challenge:  Thirty Days to Improve Any Relationship by Shaunti Feldhahn

I bought this book partly as it looked like it fitted with the part of the MOPS (MUMSnext) theme for the year.  Shaunti shares from her research how doing 3 simple acts can improve your relationships.  She not only shares what to do but also shares real life stories of how these acts have worked for people.  Shaunti Feldhahn challenges the reader to try the kindness challenge on a relationship in their own lives that could be improved.  There are tips in the book but also online tips & support as well.  After reading this book I have been more mindful of how I am relating to others but I haven’t seriously done the challenge yet. I plan to start very soon & I have someone in mind.

The book I managed to finish in October was:

The Man with the Golden Typewriter:  Ian Fleming’s James Bond Letters edited by Fergus Fleming

I saw this book in a bookshop in Melbourne & bought it for my Dad for Father’s Day.  He read it & lent it back to me to read.  As the title suggests it is a book with lots of letters that Ian Fleming wrote or received from others about his James Bond books.  I found it hard to get into the book but once I got to know who he was mostly writing to I found it quite interesting.  I really appreciated the way he took time to respond to many of the letter written to him by fans or people picking up faults in his books.  It was also fascinating to see how often he was making lunch appointments or similar via letter, something very foreign today.  Did you know that Ian Fleming was also the author of Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang ?

So with another 2 books to add to the list this brings my total to 44 books read in the year so far.

What have you been reading lately?


September Reading Log

It’s almost half through October but I’ve only just got to writing my September reading log now.

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In September I managed to read 5 books:

What is the Bible?  How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything by Rob Bell

The full title says it all really.  Rob Bell reminds us that the Bible is not a Christian book & in fact is a library of books, reminding us that Jesus was Jewish and explores why what is written in the Bible was important enough to record at the time & in the places it was recorded.  And ultimately how what was recorded thousands of years ago is relevant for us today.   From the blurb on the inside of the jacket cover “…When considering a passage, Bell explains the worst question we can ask of a text (‘Why did God …?) and the best question to ask (‘Why did people find this important to write down?) to get at how scripture can best guide us today.  … What is the Bible? recaptures this ancient library’s subversive energy and reaffirms its enduring ability to inspire and shape our lives today.”  We are currently discussing this book in the Bible Study group that I’m a part of & looking at some of the passages from the Bible, that are explored in the book.  I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to know more about the Bible.

Our Global Families: Christians Embracing Common Identity in a Changing World by Todd M. Johnson and Cindy M. Wu

This book talks about how as Christians we are all part of a global Christian family but ultimately we are all part of a global human family.  Christians are supposed to be united but yet we keep making more and more denominations, in fact there are now more than 45 000 Christian denominations around the world.  Often white, western Christians have imposed their version of Christianity on other cultural groups.  A quote from p15 “The foundation for our unity as Christians throughout the world is not our likeness but our diversity.  The unanswered question for Christians … is how well we will work, minister, and grow together as a family in the context of this astonishing diversity.”  Together with a quote from p56 “Christians are at the same time part of a common humanity.  While embracing a global Christian identity as primary is essential for unity among Christians, a common-humanity identity is key for solidarity with others.”  The book gives practical ways that we can work with our fellow human beings.  One final quote from p160, from a Jewish perspective “According to Rabbi Sacks, Judaism’s ultimate purpose is to honor the image of God in other people and thus turn the world into a home for the divine presence. … Rabbi Sacks points out that the Bible is unequivocal in its emphasis on responsibility to humanity.  Its message is that serving God and serving our fellow human beings are inseparably linked.”  A great but challenging read, with practical ideas as well.

And then 3 novels to finish of the month:

Reunion by Lauraine Snelling

A book about an upcoming family reunion but then a secret is uncovered & others in the family are going through difficult situations, what does this mean for the family?  I have read many of Lauraine Snellings books including many of her 5 series of books that follow the Bjorkland family over many, many years.

A Little Love by Amand Prowse

From the blurb on the back cover “Pru Plum is the celebrated owner of a famous Mayfair bakery. … Few would believe that this elegant woman turned sixty-six last year.  … She has done some shameful things to get where she is today.  And she will do anything to protect the secrets of her past – especially when, for the first time in her life, she has finally fallen in love …”  A good read with a few twists along the way.

The Quaryman’s Bride by Tracie Peterson

I have read many of Tracie Peterson’s books and this one seemed familiar at the beginning but I couldn’t remember what happened. So I’m not 100% sure if I’ve read it before or not.  Set in the late 1800’s in Minnesota, Emmalyne is engaged to be married but her sisters are killed so her father expects her to stay unmarried to look after her parents in her old age.  What happens about 10 years later when she meets her ex-fiance?  Another of Tracie Peterson’s very interesting historical fiction novels.

So with 5 books read in September that brings my total to 42 books for the year so far.

What have you been reading lately?