Monday, January 20, 2014

Catching up Part 2 - Christmas!

Our Christmas preparations were low key this year, as we were traveling away for 
both the weekend before Christmas (to see the MIL in Hervey Bay) 
and the big day itself (to my folks in Cooroy).
I still had a decorating theme though - this year it was red, white silver and lime. 
I didn't go crazy and do the front door etc (like this year) but will go the whole hog next 
year when it's our turn to host the family again.

(My new decoration this year - just a cheapie, but so sweet!)
For homemade gifts this year, I made Limoncello (for the first time), 
gingerbread star trees, rum balls and shortbread.

The limoncello was delicious - 
I had to keep some aside for myself - and really easy. I used this recipe:

Peel just the zest from 10 lemons. Put into an airtight jar and cover 
with 1 litre of vodka.  Allow to sit in a cool dark place for 2 weeks, 
giving the jar a swirl every second day.
After the two weeks are up, strain the liquid and discard the peel.
Make a sugar syrup by dissolving 2 cups of white sugar in 
3 cups of warm water. Add the lemon vodka to the syrup and 
bottle while still warm. Cap tightly and wrap up for giving, 
or drink it yourself with lots of ice and soda water or lemonade.

The gingerbread star trees were similar to previous years, just with
different coloured icing.

(Lemon colored and flavoured icing if they were going with a bottle of limoncello)
(green if they weren't.)
The teachers all got rum balls and shortbread this year - packed in noodle
boxes and finished with a handmade tag and striped ribbon.
The two younger boys took some treats for friends -
Chocolate sultanas in a cello bag with a label from here!

I also made some easy cards using the free star paper in the Christmas issue of 
Better Homes and Gardens and some black A4 card I already had. I combined
these with a free printable sheet of labels, found here and some self-adhesive bling. 
(All my crafty friends and family got these ones, the non-crafty ones 
got nice fund-raising ones instead.)
Christmas morning was spent at home, opening gifts with the boys
 and eating yummy ham croissants...

before traveling up to Cooroy for lunch with Nan & Grandad,
Aunty CC, Uncle Shane, Anouk and Oscar.
A lovely day was had by all, despite the heat, and we camped on
 the property for a few extra days as well.

Phew! Up to date.

P.S. "The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other."  Burton Hillis

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I blame Facebook...

Gah! It's been months since I posted and I do blame Facebook. 
Since I joined in the middle of last year I don't read blogs nearly as much, 
which makes me forget to update mine. 
Enough excuses! Time to catch up with family news...

 Since last post, the eldest has graduated up to a bigger bed - his 184cm frame is just too 
long for his old single. His room is really coming together, with a new desk and pinboard 
(to meet his coming Year 11 study and homework load)
 and a double bed (found locally on Gumtree) on which he sleeps diagonally.
 He specified 'black' as his favourite colour (hmmmmm, not
what I would have chosen) so I was able to dye 
a set of chocolate brown sheets to keep him happy in the colour
department. They are poly/cotton and took the Dylon washing
machine dye in 'Velvet Black' really well.
 He has now gotten rid of the last of his toys (apart from his Nerf gun -
around here that's essential equipment and we all have one) and
the room looks completely grown up. *sniff*

Lego-lover middle child and I went to a great lego show in October 
(with my sister, neice and nephew) - some of the creations were just awesome, and there 
were plenty of great photo opportunities!
D's mum turned 70 this year, so went up to Hervey Bay to celebrate with
 her. It was a great night out with family and friends at Cafe Baleana
right on the water.

 In November F had his last major instrumental music event for the year.
He's still deciding whether the viola will come on his high school journey or not.
We went to a great carnival run by a social club - R had the best time
rock climbing. He was easily twice as fast going up as the bigger kids
on the climb at the same time!
R went on his first school camp - 3 days at Camp
Warrawee at Lake Samsonvale.
He had a great time with his friends, but it was a bit sad
for me - my baby on camp!

We passed a milestone in December, with middle son finishing primary school. 
During the last couple of weeks of school, the Year 7's had such a fantastic time 
with trips to Seaworld on the Gold Coast and Caloundra (for instrumental music), 
as well as a trivia day and lots of other fun activities both at school and away. 
They had their final dance in the last week
(doesn't he look dapper?)
and a lovely graduation ceremony and morning tea
with parents and teachers on the last day.

Now youngest son will be the only one left at his school while 
both his brothers attend the local high school, in Year 8 and Year 11.

Only 10 days left of the lovely Summer break and the whole
shebang starts over!


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