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!
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
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!
Friday, November 30, 2012
It's been a while between Food Club blog posts, but here is just a sample of what we enjoyed a couple of weeks ago. It was a Fancy Finger Food night, complete with chicken mince sliders, mini pikelets, pastries, polenta, stuffed mushrooms, cheese dips and petite fours for dessert (including macaroons, mini cheesecakes and chocolate hazelnut mousse teardrops.)
I'm not going to lie, it was all amazing. We loved it so much, we've decided to do a Christmas themed Finger Food night in a couple of weeks! Just before the big day. I promise to blog about that also, as I know it will be worth sharing!
Monday, November 12, 2012
Forget the daredevil who dove to earth from outerspace to break the sound barrier. I think that life regularly breaks the speed of sound and light, it flies by so quickly without even trying.
So, here we are in November, I'm thinking about the year that's almost been. And how I've spent it.
What have I done exactly?
- Slept more. I've had a slept debt which I'm still paying off. Which also probably explains my lack of blogging this year.
- Done the school run. Which takes much longer than I always thought it would. Why didn't someone tell me that my life is going to be a big school run for the next 12-15 years?
- Bought not much. This buying nothing new has been awesome in so many ways. And a struggle in less. But only a month to go before I can technically purchase new things. Not that I will.
- Exercised more. I dumped my membership earlier this year (see above point), and replaced my gym with outdoor exercise. The fact is I've been running for the first time in my life, and it's changed my whole body and how I feel about myself. True story.
- Watched my children grow and grow. It's obviously the same for every parent. Our kids are bigger than they were last year. But Prep really changes children. They go to school in oversized uniforms, and don't want to leave their mum. And in a matter of months, they've outgrown their uniform, are reading billboards, making responsible decisions, and actually helping around the house. Where did my five year old go? And don't get me started about my two year old. I think I might actually cry from his super fast growth spurts and large, comprehensible sentences.
Isn't that what happens? One day you're planning for someday. And without ever really noticing, someday is today. Which was now yesterday.
There goes our life. Much too fast.
Sunday, November 04, 2012
Here it is. The white bolero jacket I was telling you about that Brotherhood generously sold me for just $2 on their half price day. How can they justify a 50% off day when everything is so cheap already? It blows my mind.
This jacket still had its tags on, so has never been worn. And this is even better, because I'll be able to wear it throughout spring and summer too! I thank that lovely person who decided to send in their unworn jacket to Brotherhood.
It can't be helped, there are so serious happy dances around here, when you find something you have actually been wanting to buy, and then finding it's just a couple of bucks.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
SERVES 12-16 | PREP 30 MINS + 4 HRS CHILLING TIME | COOKING 75 MINS | VEGETARIAN, GLUTEN FREE
Halloween is so over-rated in my books, that I'm going to put off for as long as possible my lads' need to dress up in horror clothing and scab lollies off of people they don't know.
Yes, I make it sound so appealing, huh? Sorry if you're mad for it. I'm just not a lover.
But on this very coincidental occasion, I did make pumpkin mash last night for dinner and had some left over today. It also so happened that I was in a baking kind of mood, had some free time and Pinterest was beckoning me to make something sweet with pumpkin.
So, I did.
Monday, October 29, 2012
What seems like a lifetime ago, we took some annual leave. We worked on our garden, did a little maintenance around the house, and then decided to take a road trip.
We skipped the Great Ocean Road, and made our way towards the South Australian coast. It was a beautiful trip. But there was a place that we had to visit again. I could almost declare that it's my new favourite beach town.
Move aside Lorne and Palm Cove. We have discovered Port Fairy...
Where the sands are golden, the waves surf-worthy, and the town historic.
Where the cafes are gorgeous, the boutiques unique, and the people are friendly.
Where there are lovely places to visit in the area, just a stone's throw from a large regional town, and the home to four festivals every year.
In fact, since our first visit in August, we have visited three more times.
Yes, we love it that much.
And we're hoping that we will visit there again very soon.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Remember the time when I bared my soul and shared how I want to be a hippie and all? Well, this outfit proves that I really can do the hippie thing, even when I feel corporate so much of the time.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The other day my six year old asked me, "Mum, what do you love?"
I responded by telling him "I love dancing, and big bubble baths. I love reading and cooking, and being a mum."
But what I love most of all is that he simply asked the question.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Saturday, October 20, 2012
I have a terrible confession to make. It's been almost two months since I blogged. And it's been even longer since I wrote a grateful post.
Somehow my life is not as wonderful as when I'm being grateful. Sure, I'm still grateful, but writing it down makes it feel so much more celebrated, so much more real. And so I want to say that this week I'm grateful for blogging, and even more grateful for the time I have to blog today. My husband has taken the lads out this afternoon and I have some glorious me time.
It's so rare, but oh, so lovely!
And when I have time to spare? Blogging is one of the things I truly love to do!
What are you grateful for?
I'm joining in at Kidspot's Village Voices.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Calm down, Mum. I'm NOT pregnant.
It's just that it's been almost nine months since starting the Buying Nothing New challenge.
I've relished in it, I've learnt so much, and I've even regretted doing the challenge at times.
Right now I'm tired of my clothes, and eyeing off the new spring/summer fashions, and looking forward to January 1 when I can buy a few staple purchases for my boys and me.
I'm darning socks and stitching tops that are now getting holes in them. If I haven't already learnt how to stretch the dollar further with the savings going on around here, I've also learnt this: I'm very hard on my clothes. Every single top has many holes in them around where my jeans button goes. Apparently, I rub on that area a fair bit when a) making breakfasts, b) packing lunches, c) wiping down benches, d) washing dishes, e) filling up the bathtub... perhaps it's time I tucked in my tops, or stopped wearing jeans...?
Don't worry, I'm not going to undo all my lovely goodness of buying up a year's worth of clothing goodies, but I just know what I'm still thinking about, which means that I am not going to buy something that isn't of any value. Or a last minute purchase. (I'm really looking forward to a little make up, though).
Around May, I took some new steps in the BNN challenge. I started making my own laundry detergent, and I stopped buying tampons (seriously, this needs it's OWN post, but I'll save my brother and father from reading all about this for now). But let me just say this one thing: Menstrual cups are the BOMB! I'm not sure why I haven't bought one earlier than now.
Yep, it's about buying smarter, and working out the real value for money. If I've bought something new (hello, Menstrual Cup!) it's because I know that in a few months, I've paid it off fully, and will benefit from it much longer than the continuation of purchasing disposables. Right now, let's just say I'm smug.
Our credit card is getting lower, things are getting finished around the house (massive garden post about to happen), and we're thinking about investing again. This can only be good, right?
Funnily enough, I can see the good things, but still would like a brightly coloured blazer.
See? Still some challenges. But only a few more months to go!
If you are Buying Nothing New, how are you going?
Friday, August 10, 2012
To stop or not to stop, that is the question.
This is the quandry I am in when it comes to afternoon naps.
Me? I would have one every day if I was able. But as for the three year old in the house, I'm not so sure. If he doesn't have a nap, then this is what happens at around 5pm every day. And the attitude. Oh, the attitude.
If he does have a nap (no matter how short), then it's party time until around 9:30pm every night. EVERY NIGHT, I tell you.
What to do?
Do you have night owls or grumpy children on your hand because of the in between stage?
Thursday, August 09, 2012
Excuse me while I backdate a little right now.
A few weeks' back there was a wildlife display in Warburton, around an hour from where I live. It's such a delightful drive just getting there. The lovely little towns are a must to stop at on the way home. There is something about The Valley.
Oh, and it's freezing outside. Always.
So, here are my lads and their little friends having a hold of the wildlife.
Madison was tentative at first, but he soon braved up.
On the side, isn't Zoe just a peach? I get the pleasure of looking after her and her big sister every week. She is just so cute. And if my son Noah doesn't go out with her (when they're 27, of course!), I'll be very disappointed. Look at the love, won't you?
Aside from the love and cuddles, we all had an amazing afternoon together. And yes, we stopped on the way back to have a touristy sneaky peek. When we arrived home I felt refreshed and it felt like more than just a few hours, more like a mini-break.
I can't wait for another excuse to get out of the city for another tourist trip.
Do you feel refreshed after getting out of the house for a few hours?