Monday, December 24, 2012

Season's Greetings !

To my family and friends , may all the joys of the season be yours.
 Happy Christmas and best wishes for a wonderful New Year .

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Preparations . . .

Plenty of baking, making and crafting going on around our house lately. How about you?
We have made many, many of these candy cane cuties for the youngest one's school friends . . .
and lots of shortbread packs for the middle child to bake and take.
I have sewn some very sweet little bird ornaments . . .
and made Irish Cream for the primary school teachers.
Packaged up in pieces of fabric and matching ribbon, they looked lovely - and every part of the gift is
re-usable, so they are green too!
I have also made a bunch of Christmas cards using the easy (and free) instructions and printables from here.
Still plenty of baking to go, and some decorating as well. I'll check back in with more preparations soon !
P.S. "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success." Alexander Graham Bell

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Purple Haze . . .

I made a purple topper for our rainbow tree last week, over a couple of days.
I used these . . .
I already  had everything except the plastic star ($2 from the cheap shop) and the purple glitter paint (also $2 from the cheap shop - I'm the last of the big spenders!).
First, I glued some braid around the edges of the star to give it some interest.
 This took ages to dry, so I couldn't do the next step until the following day. Yeesh!
Then I painted the whole lot with the glitter paint, which didn't turn out as well as expected. This is after 3 coats, and actually looks darker in the photo than in reality. The 'paint 'is more like clear glue with purple glitter in it.
To add some depth to the colour, I mixed up some leftovers to make the best dark-ish purple I could without having to buy anything! I painted over the lot, and then added another glitter layer once it was dry. Phew.
Finally I was able to add a hessian flower and a ribbon bow . . .
and get it on the tree!
P.S. "Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, 
they are all 30 feet tall." Larry Wilde

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Rainbow Connection . . .

A couple of weeks ago while chatting about Christmas I asked the kids
their opinions on a colour theme for this year.
( There are some of our decorations we haven't seen for a while
and I thought it was time for a 'multicoloured' decorating season. )
Eldest son suggested we decorate the tree in a rainbow pattern -
not just multicolored all over -
so that's what we've been up to this weekend.
We started with some new coloured LED lights, which are really bright!
Penny helped!
Then we sorted all our decorations into colour groups, to see what we have 
the most of. (If you want a rainbow pattern, you'll need lots 
more of the colour at the bottom than at the top.)
Our 'roygibiv ' became ' ivroygb ' (going from indigo at the top to blue at the bottom) 
and we used gold for the yellow. (Does anyone have yellow decorations? 
In all my boxes I don't have a single one!)
I tried just eyeing the sections of the tree, but it wasn't very effective
so we came up with this method:
I marked off a triangular section with vertical pieces of string, then added horizontal pieces
to make *6 even sections. (Our tree is 180cm tall, so I used a tape measure to put string
every 30cm.) *I put indigo and  violet into one section.
This worked really well. Once the marked off section was finished, I removed the string
and continued right around the tree with each colour, using the completed section as a guide.
The end result - pretty! 
. . . though I still need to find or make a purple topper.
Once the lights are on the rainbow is not as obvious, but it's still pretty . . .
So now we have a different look for day and night. 
Great idea, number 1 son!
 *Just as a reminder, you can see last year's 'luxe' tree here, 2010's blue, green and red one here
and 2009's aqua, red and white one here.*
P.S. “The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you do the work.” Anon
P.P.S. I'm linking up to Sarah's Christmas Tree Party here, so go and check out some truly beautiful specimens!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

a Recipe Resurrected . . .

I had to take a finger food plate to a housewarming party recently ,
and as I was flicking through my old recipe book I came across one I haven't used
 for at least 10 years .  As I looked at it , I was lost in remembrances of my old
 teaching partner Helen, who shared it with me, and the great staff morning teas
we used to have at our school - part of my ' life before children '.
It's really easy, and now that I've revisited it,
I remember why I kept the recipe. It's so good!!
Let me share . . .
Thaw a 250g packet of frozen spinach and squeeze the liquid out. 
Pop it into a food processor with 3 chopped shallots, 1 cup of good mayonnaise, 
1 cup of sour cream, a small can of water chestnuts (drained) and a 
packet of spring vegetable soup. Process until almost smooth 
and then refrigerate. Cut the top off and hollow out a nice fresh 
cob loaf (white is naughty, but oh so nice). Cut the top into strips
and break the insides into chunks. Add some really fresh and 
crunchy crudites to the serving plate, then fill the loaf with the dip.
Let's just say that well before the end of the night, everything was gone!
All that was left on the plate was a little of the dip that most folks
were too polite to wipe up with their fingers.
Not so my kids on the way home! Mmmmmm .

This recipe will languish unmade in the cookbook of my memory no longer -
so thanks Helen.  It 's on the way to becoming a regular family favourite.

P.S. "I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it  to the food."  W.C. Fields

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy WTD . . .

How quickly has the last Friday in October come around ??
Seems like only a few months ago I was making
 chrysanthemum plant gifts for last year's
World Teachers' Day celebration .
This morning my primary school-aged kids gave some yummy
homestyle melting moments to their teachers,
an idea borrowed from eigtheen25 here.
I used her free printable words and some
stripey scrapbook paper to make my tags.
With a few simple tools,
some cute goodie bags and some kitchen string . . .
I made these .
The text on the free project tags says 
" with you as my teacher"
"I'll be one smart cookie" 
and I added "Happy World Teachers Day Mrs (name) " on the last one.
Hope they get a chance for a cuppa and a bikkie sometime today .
To all the teachers out there ,  keep up the good work -
you are appreciated !

P.S. “Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.”  Aristotle

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Going 'Bush'. . .

Time to show off my latest acquisition - a ' new ' digital radio !
I have been holding off on getting one since digital started in 2009 ,
 as they were waaaaaay too expensive back then and there
  wasn't any guarantee that we would pick up the few stations available .

These days however, there are heaps of great stations that we can pick up in our area
(including, if you can believe it, one that is just bird sounds !)
 and you can easily find units under $100 .

Including my new Bush TR82DAB. Isn't it the coolest ?? I've had my eye on this retro beauty for about 6 months now, and decided to save for it for Christmas . I couldn't wait though - when I saw it go on special at Appliances Online , and knew I had a discount voucher to use as well (from when we bought our clothes dryer) , I snapped it up .
I honestly did mean to just plug it in and make sure everything worked OK . . .but it's been plugged in for about a week now and I can't bear the thought of putting it back in the box and waiting till Christmas ! Just look at it's creamy oldy-worldy goodness ! Look at the big shiny dial ! The cool retro font ! The way you can't see any of the digital bits from the front ! Oh my . I luuuurve it .
As well as plugging into the power it also takes batteries , so this baby can come camping . Yay ! ( As well as picking up digital signals, it also receives ordinary analogue AM , FM and LW .)
Merry Early Christmas to me !

P.S. "If you're yearning for the good old days, just turn off the air conditioning." Griff Niblack

Friday, September 28, 2012

Done and Dusted. . .

F has the last birthday for the year in our
nuclear family , and he 's now 11.
How could this little guy . . .
now be this one ?
Where does the time go??
He had a great celebration , with a couple of friends sleeping over , eating
 make-your-own pizza for dinner , watching movies , staying up late and
opening gifts with them on Sunday morning .
As per the last couple of years , the Baked Coconut Cheesecake is now
the standing order for the birthday cake .
This year we added strawberries as they are so plentiful
at the moment ( and match the candles! ).
He is still into Lego in a big way , so that's what most of his gifts were -
including this amazing 'Minecraft' set (from the computer game) ,
 the latest production in the CUUSOO range of fan-suggested sets .
You should check it out if you are a Lego lover or have a great idea
 for something that could be made out of Lego !
Personally , I am hanging out for this one -
(pictures from
it's next to go into production !
He has been shopping with his gift money and has bought
still more Lego , as well as a slushy maker.
( The power of TV advertising, yeesh ! )
Now that the last birthday has been celebrated ,
 we are free to look forward to Christmas .
Yikes !!
P.S. "Let him who would enjoy a good future waste none of his present. " Roger Babson

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Birthday Wrap-up . . .

Another family birthday is over for the year.

As promised, some gratuitous cake shots . . .
Our little strawberry lover asked for a strawberry cake, of course. I made a strawberry flavoured (and coloured) batter, baked it and then split it horizontally. I spread the bottom half with strawberry jam, frosting and sliced strawberries. Once the top layer was on, I added some strawberry essence to cream before whipping it and mixing it half and half with vanilla frosting. The whole cake was covered with the cream, then strawberry halves and a dusting of cocoa. It was delicious!

R also took the usual caterpillar cake to school to share with his year 3 class . . .
This year he requested a green, blue and purple caterpillar. (By the way, teachers love this type of cake - no cutting or mess - just hand the cupcakes out to the kids on the way out the door to lunch!)

He received lots of cash gifts (his choice), and yesterday he finally went shopping! This is his haul . . .
so many thanks to all the family.
You'll notice the giant Lego set - hmmm. Luckily R is a bit of a Lego prodigy, and the 'age 14+' label and the 1230 pieces didn't phase him at all! He only needed a little bit of help to get from here . . .
to here.
And that about wraps it up. Hope you had a great 9th birthday celebration R!

P.S.  "How old would you be if didn't know how old you you are? " Satchel Paige


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