Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year everyone. I'm looking forward to a whole lot of simplicity in 2013.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

So I saw this wonderful macarons on Pinterest a while ago, the filling decorated
 with crushed candy canes. They were so pretty. Well.............either my candy canes
were just too cheap and nasty or I just have no skills in the art of crushing them.
My macarons just looked like they have a mouthful of smashed up hill-billy teeth.
As you can see I gave up on the second one and just rolled the rest in sprinkles.
I don't think they're going to taste fantastic but I still think
 they'll look the part OK for Christmas.

 Mini hamburgers, as Clary calls them (he loves).

I have packaged them in egg cartons for travelling tomorrow.
I have another packaging-food-for-travelling dilemma in the gingerbread-man ice-cream sandwiches.
They're heading into a super-chilled esky for a 60km journey in the heat tomorrow. I've wrapped them individually in a layer of baking paper and outside layer of foil.
I'll let you know how that pans out, hopefully it won't end in tears :(

Below is the Christmas  lampshade I've made to hang above the table on
 the verandah
where we will have our Christmas lunch. This was super hard to photograph
 (yes, I know I deserve bad photos for using my phone but time is precious right now. I hope to get to know my real camera again in the new year),
 but I wanted to show you anyway. There are two white doves and a few hanging candy canes.

I'm convinced it looks much better in real life.
We are heading off to my Mums' tomorrow to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day with her.
If I don't post tomorrow, Merry Christmas everyone.
If you stop by and read my blog do leave a comment for me, I'd love to know what you're all up to.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Only two more days until Christmas, I need more time. Food, food, food here. The fridge is overflowing and the kitchen is getting a real workout.

The kids are still making decorations, and so am I.
My Merry Christmas sign below came courtesy of a plank of wood I found washed up on the beach while we were away, combined with an old Merry Christmas decoration I've been hanging on to for years.
And my vintage Santa Claus should be feeling very lucky that he survived another year to be part of my Christmas decor again, due to the fact that the rest of the family hate him. I believe they call him "Evil Santa".
How are things shaping up at your house?

NB: as you can see below, no house was tidied up in the making if these photos.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

We've been away at that beach for a few days, back soon.
{just testing out the Blogger iPhone app}

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The gift wrapping has started!

I never ever ever allow enough time for wrapping gifts and generally put a lot of effort into a few gifts and the rest get done in last years paper from Target.
I'm working on it, but I expect it will be the same again this year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I never made a gingerbread house as a child (nor did any of my friends),
 and in fact last year was the first time I did it with my own kids.
 Certainly not an Australian tradition, but I think it's one we (my family, that is) may take on.
Because it's fun. And they look good.
 Last year we bought two kits and the kids had one each.
 This year there was only one kit in the whole
store on the day we went to get them.
 So one it was.
I didn't know how that was going to go down.
I anticipated lots of griping and whining over having to share.

Holy wow, they surprised me.
 Not one whingin' whiney grizzle was heard.
Bliss. Angels sang.
I divided the parts up before bringing them into it, I think that may have helped.
Just laid them out and said those are your bits and those are yours, and that was it.

Ruby adopted this very casual one handed approach to piping. Sometimes offset by the crooked finger placement in the opposite hand as you can see above. Seemed to help it all work, somehow.
She looks bored below, but she really wasn't. Just concentrating, she is.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that we didn't look at the instructions before starting, we thought the roof bits were the walls and vice versa. 

So there's windows on the roof and roof type decoration on the walls.

This is Clary's end of the house, below.

And Rubys' Ho Ho (no room for the third Ho) house here.

I really don't want them eating this stuff as it is disgusting. 
Maybe one day I'll make the gingerbread up myself,
 and we'll have some quality confectionary to decorate with.
For now, these kits are just fine.
Have you made a gingerbread house?

Monday, December 10, 2012

On the weekend I spent Sunday afternoon making a huge mess a huge batch of candles. Some for gifts, some for me.
I have made a few lots of candles now, with no problems, but in this lot there are imperfections in every single one of them. Bumpy tops and craters. I'm not quite sure what went wrong, I think maybe the wax wasn't hot enough when I poured.
Whatever the cause was, I think this lot will be stored away for me to use in future.
 (although I have read that maybe the bumps and craters may be able to be fixed with a heat gun and bought one off ebay today so I'll let you know how that turns out) 
They're still beautiful, they smell absolutely divine.

I did four fragrances: lemon mytrle (very nice), cinnamon apple (smells way better in the candles than it did in the bottle and will be really nice in winter), french pear (one of my favourites, yummy) and a scent called Montego Bay which smells coconut-limey to me and is lovely.
I really love these little ones which were poured in old milk/cream jugs.

I had the candles still on the table today while I dragged out the Christmas cakes and unwrapped them to make sure everything was still peachy under the layers of foil and rum soaked muslin and oh my goodness, you would not believe how good the house smelt.

I also tackled a batch of macarons today but they didn't turn out so great,
 I'm going to try again in the next few days.
My house is truly a huge mess and I think I'm going to have a late night
 getting other things done tonight. I'd rather be going to bed
with something to read but you know what they say....
A mothers work is never done.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A few weeks ago Ruby sweet-talked me into buy her a copy of
 Better Homes & Gardens magazine. It had a Christmas tree
 on the cover, I think that's what caught her eye.
Later that day she declared it to be her favourite magazine ever and also put in a request to be able to stay up and watch the Better Homes & Gardens TV show on Friday nights.
I've since been informed that show is currently on every week night at the moment.
I haven't passed that on to Ruby yet.
Anyway, she really has poured over that mag, and it has kick started quite a few
little projects for her .A couple of days ago when the table couldn't be
 seen for all the paperwork/assorted crap on top of it, she asked me if she could clear it.
She then proceeded to lay down this napkin and place a very pretty plate on top of it.
Then a quick trip to the far reaches of our backyard and she popped this pot of sage onto the plate.
"I got the idea out of Better Homes & Gardens" she said.

I love these kids of mine. One way or another, they surprise me every single day.

And I feel terribly spoilt sitting there at my BH&G inspired
table styling, eating pancakes in the morning sun.

Friday, December 7, 2012's for Everybody.

I have to share this with you all, it totally made my heart happy.
I bought this paint-by-number beauty at the op-shop a couple of weeks ago.
It's one of things I guess, where beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.
I wasn't sure if I loved it or hated it but I knew it would be perfect for
 Clarys' room as he is mad about boats.

The minute Clary saw it, he LOVED it.
Loved it so much, he had to replicate it straight away.

 He couldn't get his pencils and paper out fast enough.
As you can see, the painting hadn't even made it to the wall yet, just resting on the toy box.

 He drew and drew, looking back and forth. Making little adjustments to his work.


 It was beautiful watching him work so hard on his masterpiece.


Everything about it. Perfect.

I Have Been

menu planning.
Giving it a go anyway. The week and a half I planned and followed through with was fantastic.
It was absolutely fantastic to be able to wake up each day already knowing what we would be eating for tea.
ugh, what are we going to have for tea?
That thought has the potential to ruin the whole day for me sometimes.
I will tackle meal planning again.

 Have been trying to find the time to flick through a few magazines.
Really love the cover of this Country Style, so lovely.

 Pleasantly surpised to have more successes than failures out of the chosen menu planning recipes.

Success, below, with Spinach, fetta, and roasted cherry tomato tart.

Spent two days and a night working on Christmas cakes. Little ones.

And big ones.
I wouldn't say I was much of a Christmas cake fan (I make them to give away), but let me tell you, this lot smell so good. I just want to cut into them everytime I check on them. (these have been 6 weeks in the making so far, including a month for the fruit to macerate in Cointreau)

 I've also been recieving a few parcels in the mail, love this time of year, when those Christmas purchases start rolling in :)
This parcel below contained stamp albums for the little people. I so love that it was packaged up and sent to us with all those stamps on it.
I often request stamps, rather than a boring little reciept like sticker, when mailing packages.
Doesn't win me any friends at the post office, but really, it just looks so much better.

I almost posted this with my full name and address up there, just caught it and replaced with this blurred out version. really, the whole world doesn't need to know where I live ;)