When I blog, I draw an imaginary line in the sand of the closest beach my mind’s eye can reach.  I filter, and separate through the events of the past week, month, or even years to draw on what inspires me and what I hope will inspire my girls one day.

On the shoreline, there is a divide between the soft powdery sand sifting between your toes, and the hard gritty sand that sloughs and chafes and reminds you that you are alive.  There is a fine line on either side of what you draw from your experiences and how much you choose to share.

I have always lived my life in candid splendor, revealing all that I know, and all that I feel in hopes of making my experiences richer.  To share the everyday mundane, is to know that we are together in this walk of life.  We do the same things, think the same thoughts, yet we do it all in our unique ways.

To share the more personal and candid happenings in our life takes some pondering.  I often ask myself, “Is what I am going to write going to impact on others in a positive way?”, but have recently also given myself the license to know that this is my blog, with my thoughts and feelings, and by all means should reflect who I am.  You cannot be authentic and speak candidly when you worry about what others think or may feel about what you present.

I write because I enjoy weaving the tapestry of words before me.  I take photo’s because I’m a highly visual person and they evoke feelings of nostalgia within me.  I blog because I’m too lazy to scrapbook!! lol

This past weekend I took the girls to the library for story time which later lead to a quick visit to the park.  I hadn’t expected to go there but I like to go with the flow…….

And in this park that we’ve been to dozens of times before was a hidden jewel of a secret place (or not so secret but let’s just say we just didn’t know it was there!) with stairs leading down to pathways weaving in around the reeds and flax bushes…


which lead to a majestic little pond full of ducks where there was no turning back.

It was quite muddy……….which I didn’t think too much about….until Miss Ruby did this….

Well, this is the “Get ready, get set” pose…..just before she fired her shoe into the brown abyss of mud!!  What seemed to be a brilliant photo opportunity soon turned to a “Liv, you grab Lily!”…followed by “Excuse me sir, can you hold my camera and bag please?”(to the kind man who was sitting next to us!)….followed by “Ruby, don’t move!” and me planking myself across the muddy stairs which lead into the water to just be in a hair’s length of reaching her shoe.  I got it, and jumped to my feet to find some people staring at me in disbelief that I had laid down on the muddy stairs to get Ruby’s shoe.  I was probably a little overdressed for the duck pond but covering myself in mud to save one of the girls from deciding they’d like to go for a swim seemed like a better option!

A bit of mud never hurt anyone….

On the home front, I am all excited about being able to use my homemade Vanilla Extract that I made about 6 weeks ago after reading a link from 101 cookbooks.  I am constantly using Vanilla Extract and find it very expensive here in NZ.  It’s about $8 for a small 50ml bottle which doesn’t seem to last long in this house with all the baking I do.  When I read the “how to” post on the Chocolate and Zucchini blog, I just knew I had to try it out! Best part was that I could make it up in less than 5 minutes as I had all the ingredients, and even had some maple syrup bottles I had saved which turned out to be the perfect size!

Here’s what you need;

3 vanilla beans (I used 4 just to be cheeky)

1 cup of rum or vodka

Jar/bottle or suitable container to store it in

Couldn’t be any easier……

Pour boiling water into your glass container with tight fitting lid and let sit for 10 minutes (to sterilize).  Pour out the water.

Using a sharp knife, slice the beans lengthwise to expose the seeds.  Tuck the beans in the jar and fill with liquor (mine was a 25o ml maple syrup bottle and it was perfect).  Close the jar/bottle and shake a few times, and place in a cool dark cabinet.  Let the jar rest for 8 weeks (it may be tired after you’ve shaken it so ferociously…….), and voila!!

You are now the proud owner of your very own homemade vanilla extract!! Clever you!

The extract will darken over time (don’t forget to shake it up once or twice a week) and the smell and results are divine after 8 weeks! You’ll never go back to store bought again!

Once you have used about 20% of the extract you just top the bottle up again with your liquor.  Easy peasy.  You can then add vanilla beans and replace the old ones to keep it going.  So technically, this jar should keep on keeping on with a little TLC.

“If indeed you must be candid, be candid beautifully”-Khalil Gibran

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  1. Fleur Reply //

    Love it!! I have a perfect bottle stored away for a rainy day and we are never short of a bit of liquor in our house!! Thanks as always Steph XX

  2. Linda Moore-Carter Reply //

    oh Steph lol…I had the mental image running through my head like a movie of you rescuing the shoe! Did you find the flying fox there?? I know the place you were, as Cameron came home and said he had seen you there! Hey, I would have never thought to make my own Vanilla extract (was only looking at this in a store last week and it is so expensive!), and guess what…I have some rum here , untouched , woohoo! I am off to make mine. Thank you for sharing- gonna start calling you “my little encyclopedia of novel facts”! x

    • Nektar Reply //

      Thanks guys! Look forward to hearing about how you enjoyed it!! It is really yummy, and I ended up using mine early and it still tastes great!!! Yes Linda, we did find the flying fox in the end, it is such a lovely little area!! 🙂

  3. Lesley Reply //

    I am going to start making my own vanilla essence this week, thanks for the recipe 🙂

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