Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's the last day of 2006. It has not been a stellar year, if you ask me. The real highlight of my year has been discovering the blog world. Especially the craft blogs, Posy, Pea Soup, Yarnstorm, have been so inspirational to me. And the beautiful people I have met along the way. I read a very diverse collection of blogs, and take something different away from each one I frequent. I may not always comment, there are days when the introvert in me just doesn't feel up to it, but I do always read. I do love you all!
I am looking forward to 2007. Several blogs I have read today have mentioned the fresh start, the clean slate of a New Year. I feel that way too. All the mistakes and miseries of the past year are just that, past. The future is exactly what we make of it, and I have high hopes and big dreams for the coming year!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

My Darling Husband laughs at me. He says that I am a magnet for needy critters, and that they know a softie when they see one. It's hard to dispute it after a day like today!

The kids were playing in the backyard when Samara ran in to tell me that they had found a baby bird that couldn't fly. I went to investigate, and they had discovered this cheeky little guy, a young grey butcherbird, or rather, he discovered them. When I got there he almost immediately flew up to me, and sat about a metre away, squawking in that hungry, insistent, baby bird way. I know he's a carnivorous bird, but I had no raw meat to give him, so I got a couple of bread crusts and he took them, in tiny pieces, straight from my fingers. He even allowed the kids to stroke his feathers a little! He is able to fly, but as far as I can tell, has lost his parents a little too young. They are usually such fierce providers for their young that I have no doubt that he's an orphan. He has been hanging around the garden all afternoon, and now I assume he's off to find a place to sleep the night.

So now I have a little bit of lamb defrosting on the sink to mince up for him if he comes back tomorrow!

Summer Christmas

Of course it starts with the tree. The more observant of you may notice, I moved the tree. This was really a whim, rather than a well thought out action, but it did mean we could use the lounge room sofas while the Great Gift Glut took place. Much nicer from a parent's point of view. I took this photo late on Christmas Eve. It has to be my favourite moment of Christmas, peaceful, yet so full of anticipated pleasure.

After going to church and opening our gifts we headed down to the Gold Coast for a funfilled couple of days with Grandma and Pop, Aunty Melissa, Uncle Brian and the cousins. We took all the children down to the park, as it was too windy to go to the beach. Aunty Liss produced bubble mix and the kids expended a lot of energy blowing and chasing bubbles, playing on the playground and terrorising the water fowl.

The kids had their own sitting of Christmas dinner, which was a range of cold meats and salads. It was lovely. The gingerbread house was created by Grandma, Aunty Liss and the girls. We thought them very clever! Gingerbread houses are a relatively new phenomenon here. We've all heard about them, but it's only been in the past couple of years that I have been seeing the kits etc. for making them.

We had a very enjoyable celebration. I hope that you all did too!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Everyone's here, now where's the Guest of Honour?

Our Advent Calender, which Darling Hubby bought last year, has provided us with hours of excitement throughout December. It's a magnet board, with the magnets stored in the little boxes around the border.

Friday, December 22, 2006

It's a rainy day today. The moment the rain hit the roof, at 6:24 am, I shot out of bed and into the rain in my nightie to drag the parched potted plants out from under the eaves of the house. The children are ecstatic, and keep running to the glass doors to look out as each shower drifts across the city. You see, Brisbane is in the grips of The Drought. Every so often we get a little rain, just enough to green up our dying lawn and give my little lime tree false hope. It flowers after every shower, then the tiny limes drop off the tree a couple of weeks later. It keeps trying though.
Today's rain does not promise to be any better. We have a forecast of showers leading up to a fine weekend. The dams are draining. Water restrictions mean that the children aren't allowed to play with the hose. We'll enjoy today so much for the hope it brings, and keep praying for the downpours we really need.

I have a little finish to show off. I am exceptionally proud of it, especially because my sewing machine is broken, so I have spent every spare moment of this week hand stitching the border of the little cushion. I still need to attach a ribbon to hang it, but I was so pleased with it that I just had to show off a little!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monday: Pumpkin Pizza from last week
Tuesday: Lasagne and salad
Wednesday: Apricot chicken, rice, broccoli and carrots
Thursday: Steak burgers, home made chips
Friday: Takeout
Saturday: Chicken stroganof, fettucine and steamed vegies
Sunday: Roast turkey, potato, sweet potato, broccoli and carrots, gravy. Dessert of plum pudding and custard.
Monday: Christmas dinner with the in laws. I am making a large plum pudding and a pavlova to take for dessert.
Don't forget to check out Org Junkie for more menu plans!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pink Lemonade at the Pineapple Hotel
We have just arrived home from a lovely meal with Sarah, Douglas, dear little Tom and Sarah's parents. It was a very nice evening. It feels like an age since we last caught up, Sarah. Tom is growing like a weed. I just can't believe that he'd ever chuck a tantrum. He was a sunny little sweetheart all evening. My own terrors wore a path to the fabulously pink-lit ladies bathroom. I think that the lighting and the fancy taps had a lot to do with their suddenly weak bladders.
The food was delicious. I dined on fresh prawns, served in their shells on a bed of ice, much to the children's disgust. (Eewww I see its EYEBALLS!!!) Darling hubby seemed very satisfied with his bangers and mash. Kids ate fish and chips (though the salad seemed a little too nutritious to be edible). It was all very civilised, and a far cry from the burgers in front of the tv that is our usual dining out experience!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It's braggin' time at our house. The kids had their concert and awards night last week. It was all so cute. Here's a picture of the three of them all dressed up and ready to go. There was a sausage sizzle beforehand, and I told the two older darlings that tomato sauce was totally off the menu if they were wearing white. They deemed it worth the sacrifice to wear their favourite clothes. Please ignore the plastic bags of unwrapped Christmas presents at their feet. I have started wrapping since then!
Samara's Grade One class sang "The Little Drummer Boy". It was gorgeous. They were all so proud of their costumes. Samara loved being an angel. They were beautifully in tune, and sang very clearly. The music and Grade 1 teachers were justifiably proud.

Christopher's Grade 2/3 class danced and sang "All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth". Honestly, when they shouted "Sister Suzie sitting on a thistle" I thought I'd laugh til I'd cry. They had practiced their routine so long and hard, and they had it down perfectly! Edit to mention that Christopher is the kid in the background.

Now for a little bit of true boasting. Christopher got his results for the big Grade Three testing that took place earlier this year, and scored 100% in two parts of the numeracy testing. We knew he was good at problem solving, but were so proud to hear that he'd managed questions way beyond the expectations for his age. That's my boy!

Monday, December 11, 2006

I am starting my New Year's Resolution early. Our house is not good, and I plan on spending the next year, decluttering, organising and renovating it. Even basic routines seem to elude me some days. I feel a little ill admitting this, sad but true.

In order to keep me motivated and accountable I have started a fresh blog which will describe my daily goals and follow my journey. If anyone is interested in joining me, you can find it at Diary of a Desperate Housewife. I'd love some company!
Woohoo, Menu Plan Monday is back! I really missed this last week.
Monday: Lamb and Bean Casserole, Rice.
Tuesday: Grilled Maple Chicken, mashed pumpkin, broccoli, carrots.
Wednesday: Beef and Vegetable Stew, fresh bread rolls.
Thursday: Vegetable and pasta Bake.
Friday: Take away (take out, for you Americans :) - we're celebrating the end of the school year! (And pay day, LOL)
Saturday: Pumpkin and fetta pizza with macadamia nuts.
Sunday: Roast lamb, potato, pumpkin, broccoli, mint sauce and gravy.
We have a very busy week, with all the excitement of Christmas and school break up. On Friday afternoon I'll be hosting an afternoon tea to celebrate school finishing with a couple of families we are friends with. I am planning a nice menu for that party, as I will be home all day on Friday and have plenty of time for cooking. I'll update my blog when I have decided on an exact menu.
As usual, you have got to get yourself over to Laura's Organizing Junkie Blog for a whole lot more menu ideas!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas cooking time!
This afternoon I have been making these little 'plum puddings'. They are so easy to make, taste great and look good too. I borrowed the idea from an unknown little old lady, a friend of my grandmother's who brought a box of them to her in hospital a number of Christmases ago.
To make them you crumb a store bought dark fruit cake and moisten the crumbs with a couple of tablespoons of brandy. Roll it into small balls, and top each with a dribble of melted white chocolate and a quarter of a glace cherry. It's really that easy.
The Beloved Husband wants me to make a second batch for him to take to work for their celebration morning tea on Friday. I think I can oblige, though maybe I should pretend they're really hard to make, so as to gain extra wifely credit!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Here are the ornaments I have made for the children's teachers this year. Christopher chose Joy Tree, from M Designs, for his teacher. We gave her Peace Tree last year, so it seemed appropriate. Samara chose The Sweetheart Tree's Holly and Hardanger for her teacher. Both designs came from the 2005 JCS Ornament issue. I am very happy with how they turned out.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I was going to put up pictures of some Christmas ornament finishes, but it appears Blogger is having photo issues right now. Bummer.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Tonight we put up our Christmas decorations. The kids have been waiting all week for this moment. First we made them eat dinner and bathe, but after the parental brutality had stopped the fun began. There is a strict order to be followed, and because the first part is a bit boring, we did it while they were still in the bath. Set up the tree, test the lights (new ones this year, we seem to have misplaced the others in our last move), then put them on the tree. Mum applies the angel hair tinsel liberally, then baubles are added. The bottom half of the tree is very well decorated, the top half needs a little redistribution. The finishing toush is the angel, which Dad place on the top with due pomp and circumstance.

Then we settled down with popcorn for the children, and a delicious slice of fruit cake for the parents and watched The Santa Clause, purchased especially for the occasion. It was a lot of fun, though had to imagine snow falling and blazing fireplaces with airconditioners blasting and summer pajamas!

Oh, and our tree is tiny, because we purchased one that could be kept in a play pen, safe from toddlers. We had planned on buying a bigger one this year, but thought with the possibility of a real Canadian tree next year that to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a fake tree now would be a bit silly. The joy and excitement in our house tonight proves that size most definitely does not matter!

I am totally out of it today. I just made my lunch, turkey, semidried tomato, cheese and cranberry sauce toasted on Turkish bread.

Umm, no.

As I put the cranberry sauce jar back in the fridgeI realised it's actually strawberry jam. This should taste interesting.

I'll let you know if it's a combination worth repeating.