Wednesday, December 26, 2012


As long as the lead up is to Christmas (it starts around September, right?), it is all over far too quickly.

Our home was full of laughter, music and singing. The lads were in their element with not only two big sisters, but three (we adopted one along the way)!

There was too much good food, and the company was just amazing. My favourite memory was baking in the kitchen and listening to guitars and singing from the girls' bedroom - to the beat of the toy drums. It seemed they had a little band going on. The boys were drawn in and excited to be part of some amazing music, so it seems.

I loved the hub of our family home, busy with activity. I felt honoured to feed my family so much it hurt. I loved that our children were excited to be home together. I still smile from the memories.

Such a wonderful day, and we all agreed: it was the best Christmas we've ever had.

| Top to bottom: the family enjoy their new Christmas gifts; the girls upload their Christmas message to YouTube; the lads try out their new billy cart (made by dad); finishing Christmas gift hampers; Noah's fetish for pistachios; the lads with their cousin Karl (back from USA); waiting patiently for present opening time; present madness begins; the aftermath of Christmas day brunch. |

Monday, December 24, 2012


Sometimes Christmas is... all about the food. As a family, we loved this so much.

Eat up, and have a merry cherry Christmas!

oil spray
5 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
600ml cream, whipped
400g cherries, half quantity quartered and pitted
Icing Sugar, to dust
Cherry Sauce
1/2 cup Caster Sugar
100g Cherries, halved and pitted

1 Preheat oven to 130°C or 110°C fan. Using a pencil, draw an 18cm circle on 3 pieces of baking paper. Spray 3 oven trays lightly with oil and place the paper on them, pencil side down. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add sugar gradually, beating well after each addition, until thick and glossy. Beat in vanilla.
2 Spread the meringue onto the trays within the pencil lines. Bake for 1 hr, swapping the trays from top to bottom shelf halfway through. Turn off the oven, prop the door slightly ajar and leave to cool completely.
3 Meanwhile, to make the Cherry sauce, combine the sugar with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat without boiling until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cherries and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook for about 7 mins, or until the liquid has become syrupy. Strain into a jug and cool completely (reserve the cooked cherries for another use).
4 To serve, place one disc of meringue onto a serving plate. Spread with one third of the cream, and top with half the quartered cherries. Top with another disc of meringue, half the remaining cream and all the remaining quartered cherries. Place the final meringue on top, and spread with the remaining cream. Pile the whole cherries on top, drizzle with cherry sauce, and dust with icing sugar.

Original recipe found here.

Sunday, December 02, 2012


In an effort to be creative, I made some origami cups three years ago for our Advent Calendar. I wanted something that would be big enough to put a couple of treats in as well as a note. I bought packets of christmas paper, and then made each one different with some scrapbooking stuff I had. Of course, I would do it differently now that Pinterest has upped the ante with beautiful Advent Calendars there to view. But the kids love that each one is different, and that they hold something special inside.

Day 2: Choose a favourite Christmas DVD and watch as a family (with a small container of bubbles each).

What child doesn't love bubbles!? 

Delighted, both boys headed outside to blow bubbles. Noah is still learning how to aim his breath the right way, and so took a little practice. But he tried and tried until he literally ran out of bubble mixture!

Madison still has most of his mixture, and felt that riding his bike would be more fun than the art of blowing bubbles (especially seeing he mastered that a few years back!)

The boys both had such a big day on Saturday, they put themselves to bed after lunch. Yes, you read right. They put themselves to bed. It seems miracles do happen sometimes!

That evening, we chose Shrek The Halls, a movie which the lads just love. Plus it's short enough to still have an early night. Win-win.

I just love nights when we can all hang out together. Especially cuddling together under a big blanket! Good times don't get any better than this.

Saturday, December 01, 2012


Like the Advent Calendar that I've just put up on our dining room wall, I wanted to record the 25 days of December, leading right up until the big day.

And as the lads open up their calendar pocket each day, I want to record a bit of what we did as a result of the note that was placed inside that day.

Day 1: Put up the Christmas tree (With a small lolly each as well).

And Christmas tree putting up and decorating, we did!

The boys were so excited to put up the tree, which of course waned a bit when it took so long to get it up! Of course, what they really want to do is decorate the tree, not install it! But we got there eventually. Four hours later (yes, four hours!) it was done. The kids' enthusiasm had petered out by hour three, which was better than I'd expected. And being the control freak I am (okay, only slightly freaky), I was able to even out the lop-sided baubles on the tree in their absence.

When it was all finished, they sighed. I sighed. And we even had a short moment to put on the lights before heading out the door for our next appointment - the school family picnic.

After much fun and frivolty at the picnic, we arrived home exhausted, but not so exhausted we couldn't enjoy a short time in front of the tree with the lights on.

And when our teeth were brushed, our pajamas on, we sat and cuddled in front of our lit tree. We talked about our day - the highs and lows, and gave a prayer of thanks for protection, and so many blessings in our lives.

Then we fell asleep. Yes, in front of the tree. The perfect ending to a wonderful day!