Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas time, misteltoe and wine.........

Another really busy week and a couple of goodies ready to wrap.
Gay Paree apron for beautiful daughter. Each year, we try to outdo each other with a Desperate Housewives pack.  This year, Angie's pack will be this apron, some crocheted dishcloths, rubber gloves with fake fur pure maribou trim, Bella champagne and Lindt chocolates. I will pack it all into a Coles cooler bag.
Another apron, this time for darling son who has built an amazing bar on his deck. It's not very clear, but I have embroidered the Cheers logo in black at the top of the apron, which is just made out of white cotton. With it goes two black hand towels, Cocktail Parties for Dummies and a half dozen bottles of what I truly hope is cordial to put in champagne.

We took Mum and gorgeous grandbaby up to Yandina to the Ginger Factory. What a great day we had.
We visited Santa and pondered the difficulties of getting around the world on nought but reindeer power
and had the best train ride! Hannes is looking a tad more manic than usual, due to having eaten some of a lolly pop which was bigger than his head.
Good news! A giant Christmas parcel arrived at the front door and I told Hannes he could open the bag. 'But what if there's a present for me in there?' he wanted to know in typical male fashion. Told him he needn't worry but as he was unpacking the goodies and putting them under the tree, he spotted a tag with his name on it!  He was ecstatic! Inside was a present from Yinda! A Christmas badge making kit so of course, we had to get to work on it right away.
Ooooh! The concentration required!

In the same parcel was a gift to Suby from Merc. Hannes was delighted about that too but Bill the Builder was off in the Suby so we had to wait for another day. Finally!! Suby is decked out in his Christmas clobber!
And the end of an era. Graduating from kindy. No more babies. Only school children now.  How quickly this year has gone by. In nearly every photo I have of the milestones in Hannes' life, Angela is also in the frame taking the same photo.

There's been lots of sleepovers, lots of visits, lots of shopping, absolutely no lots of housework so I am totally freaking shattered am feeling a wee bit weary. Hang the misteltoe. Gimme the wine. I might wander off for a good stiff drink cooling beverage and put my feet up before making the final decision on whether or not to quilt a quilt for Mum for Christmas. I hope everyone's Christmas preparations are tootling along beautifully! I love Christmas.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

At this time of the year.........

things start getting busier and slowing down. How can that be? I think that by this time in the year, everyone is starting to feel a wee bit tired and in need of a good break. I have had some happy days and some a little bit sad. All my babies are growing up and next year will see the littlest guy going to Prep. My happy days have been having all the grandbabies have a sleepover and put up the tree and decorations.
After some tense moments lively discussion, a spot was decided on for the tree. Then after much mucking around and threats of tears and tantrums sorting out of boxes, the final decisons were made on the decorations and lights. So many special things to put on my tree. Handmade and store bought decorations from dear Lynda, a special bauble I bought from the most amazing Christmas shop in New York, some bows my beautiful daughter made for me when I had my first Christmas home alone and put the decorations up by myself, bawling, chugging wine and howling along to 'I'll be home for Christmas'. A music box ornament that Hanney bought for me last year "because it looked like Gramma" though I'm not sure what part of Santa patting a lamb looked like me and I don't want to think about it;  a string of leather reindeers that Holly bought for me in Canada "because Grandma loves cats" which makes absolutely no sense to me; the most amazing little house from Las Vegas that Jack bought for me "because Grandma likes weird stuff" what makes him say that?? So after much oohing and aahing, we finally had the tree!  Taa daaah!!
My happy and sad day was when I went to Hanney's kindy concert to see the little ones do the nativity play. Happy, because they were all so beautiful and innocent and keen to get it right. Sad, because it is just a fact of life that they are growing up and things will change - for them and for me.

Hannes was Joseph, although he told me he was Joseph and Mary so I was waiting to see how that panned out.
Here, Mary tells Joseph 'we gunna haff a baaaby' to which Joseph replies 'um, well, OK'. Fairly brought the house down. Joseph tells Mary that they have to go to Bethlehem to pay Joseph's taxes. Mary says they'll take the donkey, to which Joseph replies ' yes, well, that's probly a good idea, Mary'. House came down again. The good news is, they got to Bethlehem!
When they woke up, guess what?? They had a baby! Surprise!!!
On Wednesday, 12th of the 12th 2012, we had our anniversary. Here I am, looking totally shattered after three full days of little guys. Everyone said the world was going to end. That's what Mum said 42 years ago. But it didn't and we went out to dinner at the Courthouse Restaurant in Cleveland. Bill the Builder had the Oysters Kilpatrick. If you go to that restaurant, do not have the Oysters Kilpatrick. They were minute oysters that were overloaded with finely ground bacon I think and wildly overcooked. When Bill the Builder questioned the quality, he was informed that was how they got them. Clearly, the restaurant does not make its own Oysters Kilpatrick but buys them in, ready made. Poor form.
Our household is very big on trying to keep calm and usually failing dismally keeping calm so when I saw this little stitchery on Bronwyn Hayes blog, I just had to stitch it out as a mug mat for darling daughter, after I saw this perfect coffee cup! I am going to fill the cup with homemade Russian caramel that I saw just today on the Down to Earth forum. It is a recipe that my mother made for many years until our dentist bills got too high.
Here are some of my snazzy dishcloths that are going as stocking fillers, along with some hand made soap. I've given some of these to Mum and darling daughter already and they love them. I keep the ones that are dodgy don't turn out so well for myself, and I'm thinking that green number in the background is a contender!
Moist Orange Cake that I make just about every second week and Christmas cake is finally in the oven.  Smells absolutely divine so clearly the extra extra long soaking did no harm. And what is a blog post without the latest roses?  The pink ones and some of the white ones are from my bushes and the red one and the rest of the white ones are from SIL.
Did I mention that I love Christmas??

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Who's looking at me.....

looking at them and wondering what on earth they're doing?
We recently took Mum for a drive up through Fernvale, Esk and Toowoomba so she could check out the new car. We called into the Wivenhoe Dam area to have our lunch and spotted this little guy up in the tree. How cute is he?? Billy Connolly says that you have to love a country that has an aminal called a hairy nosed wombat. Well, I say you also have to love a country that has these little guys so close to a capital city. Why do we refuse to take better care of them?
Mum really enjoyed the car because it is higher than the Commodore and she was very easily able to get in and out of it. She was also able to sit in the back in comfort because there was plenty of room and she was easily able to see out. She had a lovely day out, as did we all. We certainly live in a beautiful country.
This road was closed. Do you know how I know that?  Hint - it wasn't because of the sign!
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! This is my favouritest elf in the whole world or any other big place. I just adore him and while he was horrifed to discover that his elf suit from two years back had disintergrated into a handful of powder, he quickly recovered when beautiful daughter brought out this outfit. Hannes loves a good dress-up and is always so willing to get into the swing of things. Such a joyful little critter.
Bill the Builder and I went over to help decorate the tree and how can you decorate a tree without a flashing red nose? We had a lovely night. Memories are made of these, as the song says. All the grandbabies are coming to decorate our house and put up the tree next week. Each year, I buy Hannes a tree decoration and scored no points last year by getting a musical one.
The collection so far! I absolutely love this time of the year. I've been beavering away on gifts but have nothing finished that I can show at the moment. Needless to say, SBS has taken a back seat where it spends a lot of time but the new year will see it moving along again. No idea what I'll do with it when I'm done. It's very busy. Need to get a wriggle on with everything. Bill the Builder is away to Victoria on his motor bike so I'm home alone for a few days which is always good for getting lots of things done.  I just love Christmas!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Isn't it funny.....

how one can own thousands a lorry load quite a few recipe books and magazines, yet still come back to the same recipe, over and over.
This is a mixed fruit and walnut slice that I got from Peg's blog. I discovered it ages ago and have made it so many times. It is always a winner. Very easy to make, lovely to eat and makes a large quantity. I didn't have enough mixed fruit this time round so added some dates. I love that beautiful green leaf plate too. Mum gave it to me years ago and I kept it safe and sound in the dresser. Then, one day, I just decided to start using all my beautiful things and it gives me such pleasure.

One slow contribution to SBS this weekend. This is Crossed Canoes and is something of an odd block, I thought. The colours haven't come up very well here. The pale fabric is a light apricot with a white spot.
I do have enough to make a good sized quilt but am starting to look on this project as a learning experience. I've never had patchwork lessons so working through these blocks, and trying to do the very best I can with them, is certainly giving me some good lessons. This block is foundation pieced.

My babies are certainly growing up. On Friday, the kindy kids were allowed to wear their school uniforms for next year for a 'show and tell'. They all looked so grown up in their uniforms but when they changed back into their kindy uniforms, they were just babies again. Time goes so quickly.
Hannes in his new school uniform. He will be in prep next year. And what blog post from me would be complete without a photo of the latest flowers from SIL's garden? The white roses are mine but the goregous red ones are his. Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Grandparents' Day

This week, Grandparents' Day is being celebrated. I never heard of Grandparents' Day till last year, when the kids asked me to go along to their school. Yesterday, it was for the beautiful Holly and they celebrated with a liturgy, some games and lunch.
I was really touched with the service because each child had to nominate something that they thought was good about having grandparents and the whole morning was devoted to the value of older people; their wisdom, their experience and their value to the younger generation. The kids were encouraged to ask their grandparents about their personal stories and about their lives when the grandparents were the age of these kids. The kids had to bring along their favourite toys but they also had to give a presentation on the history of the toy. Holly chose Lego and there was some quite interesting history that she dug up!
There were two classes of Grade 2 involved and one group brought the savoury portion of lunch and the other group brought the dessert section. We played some games, using Apple laptops (!!!) out in the playground and the kids had to choose a game that they thought their grandparents would have played. Holly chose a billy cart and built a virtual billy-cart on the Apple, loaded me into it and proceeded to push me down the hill. My character was a hen so I'm not sure if there was any hidden message there! Needless to say, I spent a lot of time being emptied out of the billy-cart. How times have changed.
This flower was made with cutouts of their hands and feet and had little messages written on them. Just lovely. On the previous Friday, Holly's brother Jack, was sick and came over to my place for the day. He recovered quite dramatically after a few ice blocks while watching Star Wars! In the afternoon, I asked him to strike a 'sick' pose so I could take his photo. How good an actor is he?? He looks like he's on death's door! All my grandbabies are SUCH drama queens. I have no idea where they get it from.
Hannes was so excited to find his favourite cousin had come along to pick him up from kindy!
It has certainly been a full granny week for me. Hannes had his gymnastics presentation on Sunday and was totally chuffed with his trophy.

What a wonderful grandma week I've had! It's very heartening to see schools encourage participation by grandparents and to encourage kids to find out what older people can offer them. Stay safe, my beautiful grandbabies and have a wonderful life. Grandma loves you all very much.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Farewell, me lovely

After a lot of looking around and test driving and screaming and yelling discussion, we have finally bought a new car, so farewell to my trusty steed, the Commodore. I have loved this car and it was been wonderful. It has not cost us a bean and apart from some cosmetic touches (ie I ran into a carpark, Bill the Builder backed into a fence), it is almost as good as the day we bought it. Someone is going to get a bargain with this one. Thank you for keeping me and my babies safe and for always getting us to where we were going.
The new beast is a Subaru Outback and we picked it up with much flourish.
It has quite a few bells and whistles and is quite comfortable to drive. Still getting the hang of it. Hannes is delighted with it and we went for a spin with the sunroof open before we went to kindy on Friday.
Welcome home! Hope you fit in the carport!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A jammy kind of day

Spent most of yesterday making jam and relish. I made five bottles of apricot jam
and eight bottles of green tomato relish.
Mum gave me a heap of cherry tomatoes so I picked out the ripe ones and used all the others to make this relish. I hope it tastes OK. I haven't tried this recipe before.  I also made a banana cake for the freezer and topped up the jam drop supply and have now hidden those in the spare room too.
Bill the Builder is home on holidays and is goofing off tidying up the shed so he says. We are picking up a new car that looks like a Mongolian Racing Duck in the next few days and I am really hoping for a road trip down south to see Lynda. I'm not used to having Bill the Builder home and it's a real challenge quite nice, although there are lots of cups of tea and snacky cake. We'll both be fats as fools somewhat heavier if this keeps up!
How gorgeous are these roses from SIL's garden? They are actually a lot darker red than they look here and the perfume is just exquisite. What a beautiful day it is here today.
Here's looking at you, mister!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pick a spot….any spot

Generally, I am fairly neat and tidy. I usually put things away when I’m finished and I mostly work in a logical, orderly manner. And then the other times, I just lose the plot completely and the place looks like a bomb went off! Wherever you look, mess and chaos!  Just seems to go from 'not too bad’ to ‘whoa! What happened here?'
Hmmmm…maybe should have ditched the wine glass before I took the photo!
Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to take too long to get everything back in order. Very easy to mess up but very easy to put to rights again.

Remains of the jam drops I made, after leaving them to cool while Bill the Builder was home. I also made a lovely orange cake (hidden in the spare bedroom), a loaf of bread, a zuchinni slice, some pea and ham soup (found a meaty hock languishing in the bottom of the freezer) and put the fruit on to soak for the Christmas cake.
How good do I look in this apron from the M & M shop in New York?? Oh. OK. Not good at all. Rats!
 How beautiful is this rose? This poor bush doesn’t get much attention and doesn’t give many flowers (probably for obvious reasons!) but  when it blooms, they are just lovely.
Good bargains at the junk shop! Shiny purple diary for next year and three bottles for Christmas jam. Bargain! Apricot jam on the boil as we speak.

Today, Barney No Friends has to go to the doctor (again) but this time, only for his annual shots. How would you fancy having to load this into a cage?? Not one of my favourite past times, let me tell you. He weighs a tonne and also has an aversion to being stuffed into a cage and having the lid slammed shut, but then, don’t we all?