Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas is Coming!


Christmas is coming!

And with the busyness of

November and December

I've not had time to blog much at all.


We put up our Christmas tree 

on the 25th November,

knowing that we had some busy weekends 

coming up in December.


Thanks to our renovations,

this year we could fit in the tree without

major furniture rearrangement.

What a relief.


The tree fits nicely between the 

dining and sitting areas.

(and looks stunning at night

when seen from the stairs)


As I hoped last year,

this year I had my own little tree

in my own little craft room.


I love that from the front of the house this tree

looks like the top of a full-size tree,

it's just at the right height!

The craft room is cozy and Christmassy,

lovely. 

Such beautiful Christmas music

has been playing almost constantly 

in our home for the last month.

I will miss it so much after tomorrow.


I made over 80 cards,

and finally got them written and posted

in the middle of December.


At last I have stairs

with Christmas greenery!


(something I always wanted!)


Crafts have been made,

although not all I had planned

(what's new?)


I made sand art cookie jars for some friends and neighbours.


I love the way they turned out.


I'm very excited that my very own DF and GF

Christmas cookies were a success!

Thanks to Meadow Lea Dairy Free Margarine,

and Orgran GFG Gluten substitute

all sort of things are possible!

Pastry has abounded around here ever since.

We made a gingerbread house,


using the Woolworths Select Gingerbread House Kit

but were very disappointed with the 

icing and the taste of it all.

Wishing now that I'd bought the Aldi house.


But at least it looked cute.

We had my parents and aunt 

over for dinner and a little concert

(recorders, flute, guitar, whistle, harp, piano, violin)

and finishing with singing carols together,

a lovely night.

*  *  * 


Advent readings have been read,

although all squeezed into this last week.

I'm finding these traditions much harder as the girls get older.

(Homeland on Sunday nights didn't help though,

our one must-see show of the week)


And now it is Christmas Eve.

And, in contrast to former years,

where the girls stood on little chairs

wearing cute aprons

and helping mix the Christmas Cookie dough,

this year the girls are on the front step,

putting on each other's nail polish.

(I don't like the smell in the house)


But now the polish has dried, 

the dough is ready to roll

and I will go and help them.

Some things never change, at least!

They love to cut the cookies and 

sprinkle on the coloured sugar.

Tonight Santa will come by on the fire truck

and we will have a roast chicken dinner,

our own little Christmas dinner 

with church and a 

big family celebration tomorrow.

* * *

Wishing you and your family 


very 

 M*E*R*R*Y 
C*H*R*I*S*T*M*A*S*




Photos taken by Fiona & Emily.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Too much chocolate



Speaking of ballet ....

Look what we won at Laura's ballet concert:

A massive basket of Lindt chocolate!

Weighing in at 3.8kg 

(including the basket).

There is a serious amount of chocolate here

in all sorts of beautiful packaging

and flavours.



Just a shame I can't eat any of it ....



(but I can't complain really, 

last year in the same raffle

we won a bottle of scotch,

and whisky is something I can indulge in.

Pretty good for a family that "never" goes in raffles.

I think next year we will have to 

stay out of the ballet raffle!

Which is more than I will be able to say 

about the concert itself

Card I made for out ballet teacher

- if our ballet teacher has her way 

I will be up on stage for the first time in my life

pas de chat -ing and jete-ing

like an uncoordinated elephant.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Night at the Ballet


On Wednesday Laura and I had a wonderful night at the ballet.

Stephen Bayne's

Swan Lake

performed by the Australian Ballet.

Something we had planned months ago.

Timed to come after the rush of end-of-year events,
ballet concerts etc.

And inspiration for we two ballet dancers.

Lately the days have been dark and cloudy

or brilliant sunshine

and we were fortunate to have 

an evening of sunshine.

As we arrived at Circular Quay a ship was leaving



People were watching, and partying.

A brilliant atmosphere.



We soaked it up for a while


and then headed to the Opera House.




Seeing the last of the ship 

over the other side of the point.


It was our first time at the ballet,

fun to dress up for a night out.

There were quite a few girls around Laura's age 

also wearing beautiful dresses.

(And who knew that canapes would be served?)

Swan Lake rehearsals
Picture: David Geraghty Source: The Australian

And then the ballet itself.

Spectacular.

Tchaikowsky's music,

incredible violin solos,

clever choreography.

gorgeous costumes

and precision I never dreamed of

(how do they do it??)

Definitely a night to remember.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pastorale


Picture a gorgeous property 

in the Southern Highlands.


Lush green English-style plantings;

a private one-hole golf course, 


- complete with summerhouse



A home which is a modest 

dairy cottage from the outside

but oh so comfortable on the inside



and complete with many sitting areas,

a grand piano, string instruments, 

books, lovely china, 

plenty of space

 amazing views,


and a sea breeze to cool us.


This must be one of the prettiest farms in Australia.





Even the outbuildings are pretty.



To all this bounty 

add twenty or so congenial string players

and a few pianists,

with a few woodwind players for good measure;

two VERY generous hosts

loads of sheetmusic

and food to spare.

 And you have a picture of our recent weekend away.


All because of a concert in a barn,


preceded by a day playing chamber music (just for fun)

and touring the property.


Steve led the orchestra,

and I was in the audience,

but so happy to be involved in the chamber music,

it was lovely to be with classical musicians again.

I didn't know that I'd missed it so much.

The girls had a good weekend with Mum and Dad,

so we were free to play music until midnight on Saturday,

after which we headed to our local accommodation

(which was of the Fawlty Towers variety.

Fortunately I can laugh about it

 .... now.)

We left for home after the concert on Sunday



... refreshed and grateful for such a perfect weekend.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Quiet December Day



After our flurry of activity over the last few weeks,

today was a quiet day.

Ballet concerts,

instruments lessons,

school performances

and birthday parties

are all done and dusted for another year.

Phew!


At our house it's dark and cosy today,

I'm wearing jeans and a cardigan.

Not one of the hot Decembers

I remember from childhood.

The girls have a week or so left of school,

but Laura spent today at home,

recovering from ballet and swimming lessons

in the last week.

My first day at home for ever so long.

And yet I still had contact with the outside world.

My Italian neighbour sold me some giant yellow squash

out of the back of his ute!

Due to (our usual) communication difficulties 

I first thought he wished to give me one,

but soon I found myself the proud owner of 6 giant squash for $4.00.


(egg included in photo for scale)


 So I guess we are having squash for dinners this week.


I've popped a squash and potato gratin in the oven now.

My good friend phoned for a long-overdue catch-up

and my piano teaching neighbour came over for a chat.

I guess they've all been missing me while I was so busy??


In the leftover minutes of the day  

I've been wrapping little gifts for my recorder students,

organising Christmas cards ... tidying up ...

and now with Emily due home soon and 

students coming for lessons this afternoon

the afternoon feels a little stressed.

But no need to feel that way,

I've got three more free days in a row to enjoy!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Lately ...


Yes, I'm still here....

... just busy.

Next week I'll fill you in on

a weekend away ...


... Christmas craft ...

... Christmas decorating ....

... Christmas plans ...

 and perhaps my personal favourite ...


a Celtic harp on loan.

Have a good weekend!