Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Visiting Sheila in Mandurah

For New Years Eve we visited Mums cousin Sheila, who has moved into a cool unit near Mandurah this year.
We played some "Taboo", an excellent game for sharing, and had a fantastic lunch, mostly from the garden.

Sheila has converted her small front garden to vegetables, and a few native plants. Here's the best butternut pumpkin so far.

And here's her dog, Lady, who was found as a stray. Much searching failed to find her owner, so Lady came to live with Sheila. She was obviously a trained sheepdog.

Sheila lives right on the estuary, so she can walk there any time, and Lady can splash in the water. Here's a stilt feeding just near Sheila's house.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Ron's first computer!

While we are here in Perth, Jeff is helping Ron get set up with a computer. After some discussion, he decided he wanted a laptop, and was happy to try an Apple.

Here is Ron confidently ready to open his FIRST computer! That tooth is getting fixed soon, by the way.
And here's Jeff showing Ron and Elaine just how nicely a new Apple computer is packed.

Comparison of Pepperplate and Paprika recipe apps

I've been investigating which app would help me organise recipes on the iPad the best, and I've picked two contenders. I know other people that are wondering about the same thing, so I've laid out my findings here. Enjoy!

If I've missed something, or got it wrong, let me know in the comments.


  • Pepperplate is free with ads on the web site. There are ads on your recipe in the web site. Since they don't ask you for money, there will always be ads.
  • Paprika costs money for each platform you want it on. No ads anywhere.

Signing in

  • Pepperplate requires you to have an account.
  • Paprika doesn't need you to have an account, there's no web site to "join".


  • Pepperplate stores your recipes on their server and pushes them to your device.
  • Paprika stores your recipes on your device, and allows you to choose somewhere to back up to, and then synch from that.

Importing recipes from other web sites

  • Pepperplate only allows importing through the web site, not the app.
  • Paprika allows importing in the app.

Import sources

  • Pepperplate has certain sites it supports, not including the Thermomix recipe community, and the rest won't work. Unsupported sites, you can open in another window and cut and paste. You need to be good at switching between apps. It works fine.
  • Paprika has certain sites it supports - a big list, being added to, including the Thermomix Recipe Community. Unsupported sites, you can open in Paprika's own browser, and cut and paste from. You can see what you are doing. This takes a bit of learning, but works really well.

When you travel

  • If you take your device with you, both work the same as at home
  • If you don't have your device with you, Pepperplate lets you log in on someone else's computer.
  • If you don't have your device with you, Paprika offers you nothing!


  • Pepperplate lets you set one or more, manually. If you do something else with your device while timer is running, it won't notify you.
  • Paprika has timers integrated with the text. If it finds a time unit on a recipe, it highlights it. If you touch one, it offers to start a timer. If you do something else with your device when the timer is running, it interrupts you with an iPad notification. You can add a name to the timer (eg "take cake out", or "check if cream is chilled"). Takes a bit of effort to do this. We noticed this feature doesn't exist on the Android version.


  • Both allow you to create your own categories. Easy in both.
  • Both let you put a recipe in multiple categories.
  • Paprika allows nested categories (eg "Baking", then "Cakes" and "Biscuits" inside that).

When you are not online...

  • Both apps let you see and use everything on that device. Both apps let you add new recipes while offline, and they will be synced later.

Menu planning

  • Both let you add a recipe to a menu plan
  • Paprika can export from there to iCal, so you can get it to show up on your choice of calendar.

Shopping lists

  • Both let you add recipe to a shopping list
  • Paprika lets you select items to move to the shopping list, and others to ignore.
  • Pepperplate copies them all, but you can delete unnecessary ones later
  • Paprika lets you add a recipe to a list more than once, Pepperplate doesn't.
  • Paprika lets you export from shopping list to iPad Reminders. Can also email or print shopping list.


  • Paprika has a "pantry" list of items you expect to always have (eg, flour, milk). When you add a recipe to a shopping list, it shows the pantry items as "in pantry". You can still add them to the list.


  • Pepperplate lets you send a recipe by email. The email that gets sent is a readable recipe, so you could sent it to a non-Pepperplate user. You need to type in the email address. When you receive one, you can import straight to your own account.
  • Paprika allows you to email a recipe. It integrates with your iPad email services, so you get to choose from your contacts list. What arrives is a readable recipe, and an attachment that can be imported to Paprika. You can have a default recipient set.

Metric/imperial conversions

  • Paprika has a conversion utility built in. It's a bit hidden, but once you remember where it is, you can use it. Nothing like this in Pepperplate.

Scaling recipes

  • Both apps let you increase or decrease the quantities for a recipe - for example, convert to a double batch or half batch.
  • Pepperplate allows a few fixed proportions on the app, and free scaling on the web site (so you can ask for 30% of the quantities).
  • Paprika allows free scaling on the app.

I have Android, not iPad

  • Lucky you, both apps will work for you. I haven't compared them properly, though.
  • Paprika's Android version seems to lack a few of the nice features mentioned for iPad.

If they closed down...

  • If Paprika closed down, there would be no new features, but the existing software would keep working. Your recipe backups would stay where you have decided to put them. You'd still be able to synch them.
  • If Pepperplate closed down, their server would go away. Recipes you have on your device should stay there, but synching would go away, and all the web-only features would go away.

How do I start?

  • If you want to try Paprika, go to
  • If you want to try Pepperplate, go to

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Gingerbread house, apartment style

We like to make a gingerbread house every Christmas. Well, there's a double batch of tasty gingerbread dough chilling in Nana's fridge, but it's hard to know when we'll get there to make it into a house. But the easy kits were on sale in the supermarket. So, here we are building a village.

Then we decide to abandon the nasty tasting lollies provided, and replace them with gummy bears!

Ta dah!

The building in the top left has a helipad in top. Of course.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Lots more Laings

I finally got my hands on this great photo Pop took.

We have - Stuart, Connor. Pauline, Jessamy, Tegan, Xanthe, Catriona, Russell, Jonathan, Jeff, Thomas, James and Mitchell. All on the balcony of Nana and Pop's new apartment.

In which we seek the Christmas Pelican

There are a lot Christmas traditions around. Some of them, you may not have heard of. The kids found this out today. Did you know that it's a tradition, after Christmas breakfast, to take a nice walk, until you see a pelican? Well, it is. That Christmas we spent in Denver was very tiring, but here in Perth by the river, it's easy!
Here's Jonathan, Jeff, Thomas and Catriona looking for the Christmas pelican.

And there he is! I knew he was real.

Merry Christmas from Perth!

It's Christmas morning, and for the first time, we're in a holiday apartment in Perth. So, we've set up a fabulous christmas breakfast - grilled peaches, bacon, fruit toast, and freshly baked rolls with lemon curd and marmalade.
Later, we're going to Nana and Pop's place for a BBQ lunch, and pretty much the rest of the day.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Russell enjoys the attention

Russell hangs out with Tegan, Jessamy and Xanthe.

Mitchell is stupidly tall now

Nice kid too, obviously, but just really tall.

Grown ups club

Here's Tegan, Nana, Xanthe and Jeff discussing the future, the value of education, and who ate the rocky road.

Boys' club

The younger nephews chill out on Nana and Pop's space age sofa. We have Mitchell, James, Thomas and Jonathan.

Connor - scruffy teen or artful hipster?

Connor has finished school and is waiting on results. He's planning to do a business course.

The topic of discussion, though, was, is his hair just like that when he wakes up, or does he artfully tease it? Good grief, another little relative is now clearly an adult.

All the cousins in one nice picture!

Let's try, shall we? Let's get all the cousins into one nice picture. Shall we have them standing in a row and smiling? Nah, that's too dull, let's go for something more spontaneous.

Here we have, from left to right: Thomas (seated), Connor (cool guy), Xanthe (on-trend denim shorts), Jonathan (footrest), James (I'm fine with Xanthe hugging me), Jessamy (who can I hug next), Mitchell (let go, Jessamy), and Catriona (I can't believe I'm related to you).

And then I realised TEGAN should have been in the picture! Ah well.

Tegan's modelling debut

We're in Perth, and that means COUSINS. Well, visiting relatives generally. Last night was the one night we could get all of the locals together.

So here's Tegan, our favourite Canadian niece, on the balcony at Nana and Pop's new unit. Tegan loves the hot weather. Well, she thinks she does. This was her first 39 degree day. Ever. She just moved to Perth this year, doing the post-university thing while she thinks about a Masters degree. Or just ditch it all and go into modelling?