Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Last Day of 2011!

Wow - it's hard to believe it's almost a week since Christmas! We woke up to a stunning day - the sun was out, the birds were singing and Father Christmas had paid a visit. The small folk were beside themselves with excitement and both of them were absolutely certain that they had heard him on the roof during the night! He had snacked on the milk and biscuits and the carrots for the reindeer had gone. We have a tradition, that only started last Christmas, that the children can have icecream for breakfast on Christmas Day. Completely unhealthy but I figure once a year can't be too bad - and boy do they look forward to it. I would have absolutely loved that when I was a kid!! We then packed up the remaining pressies under the tree for the rest of the family and headed off in the car. We spent the morning with my parents, then headed another 30 mins north to visit my in-laws for lunch, then back to our place for a BBQ that night.

It was the most beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky. I managed to grab a few pictures but they're not the best, as they were taken while I was leaning out the passenger window while the car was moving! This is a lovely little inlet near my parents place. I love it when the water is this calm.

And here's the other end of the inlet - it's so pretty.

The trip home in the afternoon was amazing. Oriental Parade was full of people out walking off their Christmas lunch. The beach was full of people sunbathing and swimming - it didn't seem very Christmassy but boy it looked fantastic.

You really can't beat Wellington on a good day! We were so lucky to have such wonderful weather. We sat outside and enjoyed a lovely BBQ dinner but we were all too full to manage any dessert. So on Boxing Day we had friends around for another BBQ and this time we devoured the pavlova and brandy snaps! Mmm pavlova - delish. New Year's resolution - eat less dessert!!

We have had a lovely last day of the year today, starting with a 2nd birthday party for my dear friends wee girl. Miss B is mad about Elmo so I offered to make her an Elmo cake. I think he turned out quite well - and she loved him which is the main thing. I have a wonderful video of her seeing it for the first time and leaning over him saying "cuddle"!! Talk about melt-your-heart cute!!

I have totally jinxed myself, commenting on a few blogs recently about their lovely cosy fire photos ... because now our burst of fabulous weather has changed and it's chilly, rainy and more than just a bit miserable. Perfect weather for catching up with lovely friends though, drinking tea and eating cake. Not so great for everyone who had New Year's Eve BBQs planned - oh darn. I'm more than happy to end my year watching re-runs of Miranda, finishing my ripple blanket and having a sneaky takeaway gourmet burger for dinner. It sounds perfect to me - but I think it shows that I'm getting old!!!

So roll on 2012 - I'm ready for you and I'm pretty sure it's going to be a good one.

Happy New Year to you all. Take care and I'll see you again soon.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

4 more sleeps!

I can't believe it's only 4 more sleeps til Christmas! I think I'm organised but I'm sure there'll be a last minute realisation that I've forgotten something. School finished yesterday, kindy finishes today and my husband finishes work today - then we can start to feel like we're on holiday! We've been making lots of sweet treats for all the end of term parties. These decorated biscuits are a family favourite which we've been making for the last few years after spotting them at another party and ooohing and aaahing over them. Talk about easy but cute! A mallowpuff biscuit with melted white chocolate over the top, pop on a spearmint leaf and a jaffa and there you have it - a gorgeous little Christmas pud treat.

They are hard to resist. So much for that healthy eating plan I was following ...

I bought some gorgeous jars for next to nothing at the supermarket this week with a plan to put them in my pantry with all my baking bits and pieces in them. But when I got them home I realised they were proper preserving jars with the lid made of two separate bits - oh darn. So they weren't any good for the pantry - but I knew exactly what I could do with them instead. We'd been talking about wanting lots of candles for outside over the holidays for when we're having barbecues and just hanging out in the warm Summer evenings. I had loads of candles already so all it took was some wire and some fun with pliers. I absolutely love them and can't wait to sit outside with these dotted about the garden and on the table.

My small folk have asked if we can have them all on the dining table for dinner tonight ... it won't leave much room for plates but we'll give it a go!

We've also put up some gorgeous solar powered fairy lights so it's going to be a lovely place to sit and enjoy those warmer evenings. A bit of crochet by candlelight sounds quite appealing just now!!

We had a really cold snap last week and had to have the fire on which was just nuts. It was good weather to do some preserving though. I'd bought a huge bag of beetroot at the market and wanted to have a go at making chutney. It turned out really well and will be a very welcome addition to a good old ham sandwich over the break. Delish.

I'll be making more of these little babies today too as they disappeared really quickly. I saw a recipe on TV for easy muffins which were made in one bowl unlike the usual dry and wet mix being separate. Absolutely gorgeous - warm blueberry muffins and a big cup of tea - perfect.

Sadly this week also bought news of the loss of my lovely aunty. Aunty Maureen, I will never forget your laugh and your wonderfully smiley eyes. My love goes out to my cousins - what a totally rotten time of the year to lose your beautiful mum. xx

Well that's me for another week. Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and I'll see you again soonish. I'll leave you with this cute little song that is now a bit of a Kiwi classic, well in Wellington anyway ...

4 more sleeps to go, 4 more sleeps til Santa
4 more sleeps til the big fat fella comes down your chimney and gives you pressies and drinks your beer
4 more sleeps til Santa


Saturday, December 10, 2011

T'is the Season!

I'm a bit late doing my weekly post so it's really lovely to sit down now while the children have gone to the playground with dad. All I can hear is the birds in the garden and it's wonderful! Having two unwell small folk this week has been full on, we're all feeling a bit flat. But the sun has come out today and it's just gorgeous. Amazing how it can lift flagging energy levels!! Still, I did manage to get my hook out for a few little projects I wanted to try. The first was just a little jar decoration because I had this cute silver thread. So out came the hook and I had a little play and this is how it came out. Having looked at the photo now I think I need to put it on a prettier jar!! Then again, recycling of any type is pretty cool and my littlies think it's just lovely!

It's a good use of all the jam jars I've got stashed in the back of my cupboard! Will definitely make a few more and line them up along our fireplace.

Now that we are coming to the end of the year and it's time to think about little gifts for friends, teachers and neighbours - I couldn't wait to whip up my first batch of this delicious Christmas Rocky Road. I made it last year for the first time and it was dangerously good.Best of all it's easy peasy. Melt white chocolate, then to the bowl add chopped pistachios, dried cranberries, white marshmallows and coconut. Mix it all up, pop it onto a lined tray and press down slightly and then it's into the fridge to set. Once it's cut up and put into a pretty wee box it makes for a lovely homemade pressie. I'd certainly be pleased to receive it!!!

Although I have to say it's a very bad time of the year to be nibbling at this when you live at my end of the world. It's Summer which means shorts, sun tops and swimming togs - eeeeek. I had two Christmases on the other side of the world and I loved being able to disguise any Christmas weight gain under layers of lovely Winter clothes!I almost forgot, I also made some of these cute little bauble covers that I spied in the latest AWW magazine. It's a cute pattern by Pip Lincolne and they look really sweet - well Santa here looks happy to be on a neighbouring branch anyway!It was so nice to get these wee cuties out of the attic last week. I posted about these last year when I'd only just started doing my blog and at the time, I didn't want to take them down after Christmas! Tiny wee stockings - what's not to like? And while I'm in the festive spirit - it seemed only right to get myself an early pressie. This arrived yesterday in the post - a new cover for my phone and I absolutely adore it. How utterly girly. I couldn't decide which one I loved most so I got a blue one too!! Naughty! I'm loving this warmer weather, the garden is bursting with new veges and berries appearing every day and you have to be very quick to nab a raspberry before Miss 4 spots them. These pretty roses are neglected every year but constantly reward us with a huge amount of buds. I'd like to think that there is something in that - but I'm guessing it's a fluke and it won't get me out of neglecting the rest of the garden! Darn it. We also got our very first strawberry this week! Small but delicious. I adore strawberry season soooooo much. It's one of my fave foods ever. So it was a total shock to the system during the week to have some wild Wintery weather hit us that meant we needed to dust off our gumboots to do the school run. Miss 4 and I looked perfectly ready to deal with the puddles on the way to collect Mr 7! We even needed to have the fire on which is crazy considering today we can't cool down enough and have every window and door open. That cold snap meant it was perfect to work on my blanket. Bella had the same idea and quickly made herself at home amongst it.

Now as I keep this blog as a kind of diary for myself, I needed to write this as it has been such an emotional week. Amongst all the Christmas preparations there has been a lot of sadness. Yesterday I attended a funeral for a wonderful man I used to work with. He died in a tragic diving accident last weekend and it has absolutely shocked everyone who knew him. Eric, you were a gentle man and a true gentleman and I'm so glad I had the chance to meet you - you will be missed so very much. xx

Have a lovely week all. See you again soon.