Thursday, 29 December 2011

A Cheerio and post Christmas Catchup

With the hustle and bustle of the season, I just didn't get a chance to post anything before Christmas, so I just wanted to send out a cheerio to my followers and hope you and your families have had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying this special time as we countdown the days 'til the end of another year.  

Although it went really fast, we had a great time catching up with our families and friends over Christmas.  We had Christmas Eve dinner at our house, so I had the chance to decorate, cook turkey and play hostess, and although lots of work, I thoroughly enjoyed it and  was really pleased with how things turned out. 

On Christmas morning, of course, the best part was watching the kids unwrap their presents..
*This photo has been removed for internet security purposes, as it contained photos of my children.

It's so magical to share that time in the morning together, having a lovely breaky, the kids enjoying their new toys, Christmas carols playing on the radio.

The rest of the day we spent up the sunny coast with my Mum, two of my brothers, niece and nephew.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos, something I seem to do alot when I'm with family, I think I just get caught up chatting and catching up, and never seem to have my camera at the ready.  My family all caught up for a picnic before Christmas, since we were all heading in different directions for Christmas this year.  I never seem to be able to get everyone together for a group shot!

I did have my camera with me when my Mum and I went for a stroll along the beach in the afternoon on Christmas day.  Just check out the surf foam on the beach from the King Tide (the closest we could get to a White Christmas!). 

Boxing Day was spent still up the coast eating leftovers, swimming, eating more leftovers at a park whilst the kids played, then drove back home to relax and eat yet more leftovers.
We are now decompressing from the excitement and build up of Christmas, and Hubby is on holidays for two weeks, so now it's time for just the four of us.  Although we like to take each day as it comes, we have a few ideas in mind:
  • A bushwalk
  • Drive to a rockpool nearby, dip our feet in and watch the kids splash around
  • Swimming at our local pool (my son has just recently learned to swim so I want to keep it up over the hols)
  • A day to myself, with maybe a spot of opshopping and girly time with Mum
  • A little house re-organising, and de-cluttering to get ready for the new year
  • Some playing around with new cake ideas, including baking some special cupcakes for New Years Eve
  • Movies
  • Day trip to somewhere like Maleny or Mt Tamborine for lunch, shopping and exploring
  • A day at the beach, which will inevitably include calamari and gelati (not together though of course)
  • Visit a playcentre I heard about which has a big Lego display
This post turned out longer than I thought, but if I don't blog about it now, I may forget, so thanks for hanging in there with me.

I'd love to hear about your Christmas and what you have planned for this time of the year?  Or do you just go with the flow and see where the day takes you?

*This post has been edited to remove photos of my children, for internet security purposes.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

My New Morning Routine

Lately, I'm waking up early,
it seems Summer has arrived.
Room warm and filled with light.
I feel rested, awake,
 thoughts of tasks to be done already running through my head,
so throw back the covers and bounce out of bed.
 I enjoy a cup of coffee,
even a little crochet or magazine,
it's quiet,
just me and the cockatoos that I see through the window.
Seems I have a new morning routine,
nature has seen to that.
I'm going with it.
Waking up early before the noisy little ones, 
I'm finding is a good start to the day.

How do the seasons effect you and your routine?


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

My Creative Space - Homemade Advent Calendar

My son was bugging me for ages to get one of those advent calendars which has a chocolate behind each window for every day.  He had one last year, however, one morning I awoke to find the whole thing completely empty on his bedroom floor!  So this year, I refused to buy him one, but because I really like the idea of the advent calendar, I decided to come up with something original and handmade.

I found plenty of inspiration on the net herehere,here, and here  (to name a few) and decided to use up what I already had in the cupboard, cupcake wrappers!

Before my son left for school, I got him to help me with writing the numbers 1-24 on some white dot stickers, and then told him I was going to make a surprise for him and his sister.

I filled the cupcake wrappers with tiny christmas ornaments, chocolate money (some), jokes, riddles, activity ideas, and nice messages.  Then closed them up with some sticky tape, and pegged them up to some festive string.

It was so priceless to see the looks on my kids faces when they walked in to find all 24 pretty packages hanging up. 

We're enjoying the morning ritual of opening up a surprise package each day.  We're also enjoying learning more about the true meaning of Christmas, and how a handmade gift can bring so much joy!

P.S. Despite turning the house upside down looking for my camera,  it still has not been found.  I'm just hoping that it will turn up when I'm looking for something else, which is how things usually work around here.  Nevertheless, I shall keep on blogging away with the aid of my camera phone, despite the dodgy photos..for now!

For more creative happenings go here.
*This post has been edited to remove photos of my children, for internet security purposes.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Christmas Cookie Recipe That's Extra Special

It feels like ages since I last posted, well it's been just over a week anyway, partly because I wasn't well, then with all the pre-christmas organising, I somehow managed to misplace my camera, and still cannot find it anywhere (so frustrating).  It's lucky for phone cameras, so I'm afraid that will just have to suffice for the time being. 

Anyhow, Christmas baking has begun, and I don't know about you, but homebaked biscuits (or cookies) have become a favourite on my list.  So I'm going to share my favourite Christmas Biscuit recipe (from an old Taste magazine) I've been using for a couple of years now.  I made these over the weekend and took them along to my family's Christmas get together.  I don't mind saying that the plate was emptied within no time.  There's something very Christmassy about the flavour of these cookies, and it's mainly due to the secret ingredients - honey and cinnamon!

You'll Need:
200g butter, room temperature
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 &1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup self raising flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons milk

Royal Icing:
2 eggwhites, lightly whisked
1 tablespon pure icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

To Make the Biscuit dough: 
1.Line two baking trays with baking paper.
2.Beat butter & sugar until pale & creamy.
3.Add honey and beat well to combine.
4.In a seperate bowl sift flours & cinnamon together.
5.Add dry ingredients to butter & sugar mixture.
6.Add Milk and mix until a dough starts to form.
7.Turn onto floured board and knead gently until smooth (you may need to add extra flour if it's too sticky).
8.Cover dough in cling film and place in fridge for atleast 15 minutes.

To make the biscuits:
1.Preheat oven to 160C.
2.Roll out dough on board until 5mm thick.
3.Cut out christmas shapes as desired and place onto prepared trays.
4.Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crisp and golden.
5.Cool on tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

To Make Royal Icing:
1.Lightly beat the eggwhites
2.Sift icing sugar over and stir until smooth.
3.Add lemon juice and stir well until combined.

To Ice the Biscuits:
1.Dip the biscuits into the icing, and hold upside until they stop dripping.
2.Place iced biscuits on tray as you go.
3.Sprinkle decorations on top as desired (before icing is set).
Alternatively, pipe the icing on before decorating, this gives the biscuits a cleaner look.

Note: I much prefer the look of icing when it's piped on, however, this is tricky for littlies, and also, much more time consuming.

For more biscuit (cookie) ideas go here or here.

Now I'm dreaming up a gingerbread house, but that will have to wait until next week, as we're focussing on school break-up (ie. class party, teacher presents, writing out christmas cards etc) around here, and I'm catching up with a few dear old friends, which I'm really looking forward to.

As busy as it is, I just love this time of year, don't you?