Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year

Just wanted to wish everyone a very wonderful Christmas and the very best for the New Year. Thanks for making Blogland a wonderful place and it's been an amazing experience meeting you through blogging. I feel privileged. For those of my friends who are not blogging, my best wishes for you are just the same.And a couple of turkey photos, the birdie turned out to be very tender and juicy, there's of course none left now.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

High Tea Style Breakfast

Busy time hasn't ended, I've been making more Christmas foody gifts for friends and relatives, and it will continue till Christmas day.Almond and Cherry Rocky Road, Little Plum Puddings, Fruit Mince Pies, cookies...........You can see I got carried away with photographing these mini pudds, they are so cute, you know. We had high tea style breakfast with my brother today before he flew off overseas for his Christmas. Managed to get a few photos. The middle and bottom tiers have sandwiches, scones and croissants. But I used fruit, a healthier alternative, instead of sweet treats on the top tier. It was such a nice and enjoyable time and our kids even got to open their presents from him early so they could show him their appreciation in front of him.I'm cooking turkey and other dishes for Christmas dinner at church tomorrow night, I don't know if I'll have time for photos, will wait and see. Make sure you have a fantastic weekend, everyone.

P.S. I'm taking a bit of time-out outside while the big bird is roasting in the oven, with a cup of Earl Grey Tea, a homemade scone with jam and cream and raspberries(I love raspberries!), a little piece of almond and cherry rocky road coz it's supposed to be gifts for relatives and some chocolates from my sister(Thanks, my dear sis).

Monday, December 17, 2007

Back to Roses

It's been chilly willy and rainy here, and I have been too busy to deadhead my roses, flowers have come and gone and some have even produced rose hips, they must be confused by the weather, I usually get rose hips in autumn(or they've taken all the goodness I gave them and put it in their hips, lol). I cut some roses and took some pictures today and ahhh! I feel like myself again!The kids have finished school for this year, I spend so much more time doing things with them these days even though they do entertain themselves as well. Haven't done garden pictures for a while, so here are some I took today. Hope you'll enjoy them. Please click on images to view larger pictures. Also a photo of my Heritage Roses and Christmas baubles. Till next time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Festive Air

This year for Christmas I decided to look into the linen closet and the Christmas boxes to see what I could use with what I've already got without having to spend much on decoration and yet give everything a new look. These are what I've come up with. I dug out metres of white fabric from the linen closet and made slipcovers for our dining chairs. I only bought ribbons and chains of stars and snowflakes for the makeover, they only cost around $15 for the lot. I made bows with these beautiful blue wired ribbons and with some old chains of pearl, changed the decorations on all my Christmas wreaths. I folded the napkins in candle shape to add to the cheer. I used the light blue dinner plates I already have to create a blue and white colour scheme and the white dinnerset with fresh pink and red roses for a red and white theme for our Christmas entertainment. I will also add place cards on the table for guests and a little gift for each person as finishing touches.Tell me which colour scheme you like better, the blue or the red?
P.S. Of course when we eat at the table, all those extra decorative stuff on the table will be removed, they were there for photographic purposes.
My kids put the Christmas tree up for us, I only had to sit on the floor and handed them out all the ornaments and they did the hanging and the adjusting and everything. They made Christmas trees (pictured below, the tinsel trees) with drycleaner's coat hangers and tinsels at school. They also made little gift boxes for these trees with old Christmas cards. You can click on all images to see larger pictures. Can you believe these gift boxes are made of old Christmas cards?Now I'm going to have to go and make some Chocolate Truffles and other Christams goodies as gifts for my friends. Have a lovely week, ladies.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas Preparation

The weather has been cooler, we've had temperatures ranging from the minimum of 10C to the maximum of 25C, which is quite perfect. The last two Christmases we'd had rather cool temperatures, one year we even had to have our woollen garments on, which is unusual for Australia at Christmas. My husband and children love Self-saucing Chocolate Pudding, not the store bought ones though. I made one on Saturday and there's none left now, all I've got left is photos. It's a very simple recipe, anyone can whip one up in a jiffy. Please refer to the recipe at the end of this post if you're interested. It's best served hot with a bit of whipped cream on top, yummmmm!I've been out shopping and boy, I could feel Christmas fast approaching. People are frantically looking for the right gifts for loved ones and the normally rather quiet check-outs are now filled with long lines of people waiting to pay for their finds. Talking about finds, I did find these Cath Kidston soaps at Target on sale and I simply couldn't resist, they don't only look pretty, they also smell great! They are wrapped in papers which look pretty close to her fabrics.Christmas has also been a hot topic in Blogland, I've come across many a post on this topic, other ladies' decorations and preparations done to celebrate Jesus' birth in this festive season. Every year I receive a whole heap of Christmas cards and photos from family and friends in Australia and abroad. Many of my close friends are missionaries overseas and we've established a tradition of sending a family photo/photo card to one another each year at Christmas time, I collect these and go through them from time to time and I'm amazed to see how each of these family members has grown and changed over the years. My family also get a photo card done at this time of the year and we'll have them mailed off soon, this practice has become so much easier now that the kids have got older, usually no drama in this department. The only challenge is to try and get everybody looking okay at the same time in the same photo!Here are some images from last year's decoration at our house. I used to go for the traditional red and green Christmas colours when the kids were younger. But now that they are older, they, like me, love the softer colours like white, silver and even pink. Last year I splurged and bought and made some new decorations for the tree in the lounge room. The kids are perfectionists and they wanted everything to be symmetrical when decorating the tree. I find I don't get tired of white so quickly as I do other bright colours. It's a fantastic colour with cooling effects. I also bought this softest fluffiest feathery white tree for the master bedroom, I couldn't resist. It's decorated with the flower I love most, roses(these are artificial though), with little heart-shaped pink lights. The kids also decorate their own bedroom with whatever we have, it's always great fun to make some of the decorations ourselves as they come up with new ideas all the time. We also make and iced cookies together, the icing part is their favourite thing to do. They also love making paper chains and I hang them up in door ways, everywhere I can in the house.As we're preparing for Christmas, let us also make certain we have our heart and soul prepared for Eternity. Let us not neglect the important part of nurturing a relationship with God. It's an everyday lifestyle of giving Him the pre-eminence and top priority in everything we do. Let us strive to please and honour God in the decisions we make in our lives and choose what He'd have us do or be instead of living our own selfish lives oblivious to what His Word says. Let us have the right perspective on life's temporal things so we won't cling on to material things and neglect the eternal things of God.

Below is the recipe for Self-saucing Baked Chocolate Pudding:

1 cup self-raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
60g butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp cocoa powder, extra
3/4 cup caster sugar, extra
2 1/2 cups boiling water

>Preheat oven to moderate 180C. Brush an 8-cup capacity oven-proof dish with melted butter or oil.
(1) Sift dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, make a well in the centre.
(2) Pour in combined milk, egg, butter and essence. Stir until smooth; do not over-beat. Pour into prepared dish. Dissolve extra cocoa powder and sugar in boiling water. Pour gently over the back of a spoon onto the pudding mixture.
(3) Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Top may be dusted with sifted icing sugar before serving. Spoon some sauce with each serving.