Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Time for Tea

Today I bought a new kettle.

We are giving up on electric kettles which are noisy and fail, after a few years, and trying a good old-fashioned stovetop kettle, complete with whistle. This one is the perfect shape, size and colour.

I think I am in love with it!
(luckily Steve understands!)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to You!


Merry Christmas to You, dear Reader.

This was my favourite card made with my new Stampin' Up! brayer, and I couldn't decide who to send it to, so I'm sending it to you!
Just loving those snowscenes.
Today it was 35degC or so here, and some snow would be welcome!
Tomorrow will be a more mild day, thankfully.

Hoping you and your families have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Australian Christmas

Around here Santa arrives at about 5.30pm, on the back of a rural fire service truck.
Tonight we enjoyed a little Christmas dinner at home, then Emily and I visited a street nearby with lots of lights, while Laura and Daddy stayed home. Both the girls went to bed a little late, but went straight to sleep - unheard of on Christmas Eve!

By the Beach

Here are some more photos from our lovely short break by the beach.
Fortunately for us this lovely spot is only 1 hour's drive from home. When we arrived we spent some time enjoying the scenery before we could check in to the hotel.

This was our hotel room


and the view


The girls got right into the swing of hotel living and posed for some photos

(you'd never guess it was their first time in a fancy hotel, would you?)

Highlights included:
Swimming in the lovely pool
Swimming at the beach
Amazing buffet breakfasts (loved the omelettes)
Mexican restaurant
Being together and having a change of scenery and pace.

Today I have a few things to do before Christmas, but on the whole we are pretty relaxed!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jumping for Joy

We just took a short holiday by the sea before Christmas. Steve starts a new job in January and we don't know when we can take another holiday in the next few months ... so we managed to fit in a few days at a lovely hotel by a beautiful beach.

We are all feeling relaxed and spoilt ... and still have Christmas Day to look forward to!
More photos to come ....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last-minute Christmas Crafting

Try as I might, I couldn't let a Christmas go by without making at least one felt ornament. This is for my parents, and inspired by someone's lovely blog I saw on the weekend, but I just can't find it now :-( - I did a LOT of surfing of crafty blogs on the weekend!

I'm also knitting one of these, and if I had time would make this and this which I think are both adorable!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gingerbread House

One of two gingerbread houses that Laura and I constructed and decorated on Saturday. One is for the Kids' Table on Christmas Day at my parents (9 kids!) and the other is ... ummm ... for us, I guess.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Peace

Second-last day of school, tomorrow is Emily's last day of primary school.
Two shopping trips today - 5 hours in total.
Bombarded with attractive (and some completely unattractive) products.
Groceries to unpack.
A house to tidy.
Christmas cards to write tonight, and hopefully post tomorrow.
A Christmas gift made to send to US, probably to arrive late.
Presents to wrap.
One last child-free day tomorrow in which to achieve all my hopes and dreams LOL.

I wonder what I am doing it all for, then I look at the Christmas Tree and remember - Christmas, time of peace and joy. The elusive completely peaceful sit-down with a cup of tea, carols playing softly in the background and something sweet might not ever happen (although sometimes it comes pretty close, it's never quite the way I imagine it).

But true peace with God and true joy will be ours one day to enjoy forever. And that's what I need to remember in the middle of the craziness. Jesus didn't come to earth so that we could be frantic in December. He came so that we could have peace with God.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another favourite

I have loved this ornament since I first saw it as a teenager. A friend, Erin, was returning to the States after a few years in Australia, and she and her mother made each of us girlfriends an ornament. I guess it's plaster, but not like any plaster I've ever made! After I took this photo I rubbed some more gold onto the raised bits, looks like it's rubbed off over the years.

Simply beautiful


I think my favourite Christmas ornaments are the ones in one or two colours and beautiful or simple shapes. This is one of my favourites, brought back from Europe by my parents. It is cut from thin plywood. It reminds me of a papercut, which is another favourite style for Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Handmade Christmas


I love the ornaments the girls make with Hama beads. This was one from last year.
They make me smile :-)

A Bouquet

... given to me by the girls in my Senior Recorder Group.
Lovely.

Smiley Pie


Look what happened when I asked Steve to cook the Egg and Bacon Pie from this book:

Irish Dancing Concert

As if we didn't have enough on in December already, we spent yesterday morning at the girls' Irish Dancing Christmas Concert! Actually it was a lovely concert and the girls danced about 3 times and it was lovely to see performers aged from about 4-50 on stage dancing.

Laura got to wear this lovely dress, loaned by the teacher. It's the first time she's worn a proper dress, in the past she's worn this style of dress. She looked lovely yesterday. Emily was all photo-ed out from her Year 6 dinner, so avoided the camera. Each girl received a trophy for her participation this year, the trophies this time were extra-special!

Year 6 Dinner

Here is our lovely Emily all dressed up to go to her Year 6 Dinner. The girls were all dressed so beautifully, they had so much fun getting ready! Emily's dress was a perfect mixture of girly and pretty and grown-up.


Here is a back view, showing how we did her hair.

While the Year 6s enjoyed a fancy dinner we parents went to a local bistro and enjoyed a yummy dinner together. Just one more Year 6 function to go, and 3 days of school! Life is rushing by too fast, for me!

The Trophies

Taken on our way out to celebrate the award, the girls enjoyed Triple Gelato Cones (they were huge!) and we had coffee and yummy cake ... the large trophy went back to school for the display cabinet and Emily keeps the little one.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kindness Rewarded


We are enjoying our Christmas Tree in our living room, with its red, white, green and gold ornaments and twinkling lights. This was an ornament I made last year when I was playing with my new Nestabilities dies.


Our tree belonged to my family and I remember as a child it seemed so tall. For the last few years I've taken a photo of each of my daughters by the tree to record their height. Emily can stretch right to the top now!

I can't believe she is leaving primary school and going to high school next year. Today we had a lovely surprise at the school Presentation Day when Emily was awarded the school Citizenship Award. The Principal had some lovely things to say about Emily being a quiet person, but someone who made a difference. The teachers have noticed her over the years being kind to other children and always helpful and thoughtful towards others.

Just yesterday I noticed her quietly helping to get her classroom ready after our morning recorder concert, then outside in the playground she helped a younger boy untangle his schoolbag from a seat, before I even noticed that he was having trouble. I was proud enough of her then, and told her so, but today when I realised that her kindness at school has not gone unnoticed by the principal and teachers, I was ready to burst! LOL

Emily, we are so proud of you! You are growing up so beautifully. We love you!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas is Coming!

The first free Saturday in December - time to get out the Christmas plates, the candles, a thrifted red and white chicken-scratch cloth, and the Christmas videos, and watch Santa Claus is Coming to Town while munching on Stollen.

And then it's time to put up the Christmas Tree!

Friday, December 4, 2009

One liddle zucchini


After some anxious weeks of waiting and wondering, attempts at hand-pollinating and many visits to the vegetable patch, I present to you

... drumroll please

...


... our first zucchini!

Yes, yes, I know zucchinis are ridiculously easy to grow, but with our past gardening record we just can't be too confident!

Actually we have been picking lettuce for some time and there are tomatoes growing as well, the garden is producing something, at least. The carrots are looking healthy on top, who knows what's happening below. This morning, as I headed out on my morning walk, I found a mouse who had come to a sorry end, heading away from our vegetable garden.
Which would explain the little white bites all over the otherwise perfect red radishes.
When I started vegetable gardening I didn't expect to be quite so confronted with the whole food chain thing ... at least not before breakfast.

Now to decide how to cook our first zucchini ...