Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas was good this year, although I'm just starting to recover now (and it's been 3 days)!  I'm even considering a no-sew December for 2012 since it seemed to overwhelm me this year - although I do have to remind myself I have a 3 month old in the house and I'm not superwoman!!
My family came to have lunch at our place on Christmas Eve.

 And then we backed-it up with Christmas Lunch with Trev's extended family
Smile everyone!

And then an evening get together for ham toasties and left-over desserts at our place for his immediate family.
Toasties all round!
Handmade goodies were well received.  The "Pimp Your Vans/Volleys" shoelaces were a hit with the 14 year old.
Apparently "Vans" are popular with Melbourne schoolgirls and these shoelaces make them even cooler!!

And I finished Liam's Christmas Stocking at about 10pm on Christmas Eve.  I have IOU's for three others that are in various stages scattered about the sewing room!
Gotta love that face!  Sitting next to his Christmas Stocking which is bigger than he is!

So I hope you have all recovered from the celebrations and are sitting back, relaxing and enjoying some sunny summer weather (or snow if your on the other side)!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

3 Months, lots of making and doing!

Firstly, Liam is 12 weeks today (which also coincides with him being 3 months old).  He's stretching out and seems to be a bit more in control of his head which is always good!

We have also continued with our book and activity advent calendar.  One of the most popular activities has been to paint our nails in Christmas colours!

I have also made a fold-over bag to contain the wool and needles requested by the mother of a 10-year old boy who recently learnt to knit from his Dutch Oma (grandmother).  I'm not sure if being a knitter is cool when you're 10 but it sure will be when you have this hip and groovy bag to hide it in!!

Good books over the last week have included...
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: Yellow Back Book
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

12 Days of Christmas
Fold Out 12 Days of Christmas

The Night Before the Night Before Christmas
The Night Before the Night Before Christmas by Richard Scarry
Father Christmas Needs a Wee
Father Christmas Needs a Wee by Nicholas Allan

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Making for Girls

Trev is the eldest of a hoard of cousins - the youngest three cousins are still at school and the very youngest is only a couple of years older than Matilda.  We'll be seeing these cousins at Christmas and I don't like to do this empty handed so I have been sewing for the two girls.

I can recommend the Lil Cutie Pouch tutorial from Noodlehead's Anna - quick and easy to make and I think it'd be pretty useful to hold your house key, your phone and some lipgloss etc.
Red and pink for Emily (aged 14)
And then last week Oliver+S's Liesl posted about her handmade shoe laces.  Let's just say I have been in a shoelace making frenzy since I saw this - I've made a pair each for the cousins and another 8 pairs for the kids in our Mother's Group.  I made them 42" long which is long enough to put in your Dunlop Volleys and they would fit a pair of kids 5-hole lace-up boots. 
Blue and green for Nina (aged nearly 8)
I bought the washi tape for the aglets (the end of a shoelace) on-line from NoteMaker and was really impressed with their service, my package arrived in only a couple of days - which is a surprise when you live in Tassie!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Carols by Candlelight

Yesterday was a warm humid day and the evening was perfect for Carols by Candlelight at the local park.  We had a lovely time although have discovered that Kelvin goes a bit silly when he's tired!!

Today we went to a work BBQ and my contribution was the usual Chocolate Ripple Cake (with a touch of rum).

And our calendar task for today will be to make some Lolly Holly to decorate our Christmas presents.
And our book is the beautifully illustrated The First Christmas.  The words are directly from the King James Bible and the images created by Jan Pienkowski (who did the pictures for the Meg and Mog books I love from childhood).
The First Christmas

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fabulous Christmas Wreath

Our task for Wednesday was to make a Christmas Wreath for our front door.  I was inspired by this post.

Matilda and Kelvin made one each and now I have a red wreath hanging on my front door (to welcome guests) and a green wreath hanging on my back door (to welcome robbers - noone uses our back door except us!).

I love the way they waiver in the wind.

I can highly recommended making one and my kids loved the stapling and glueing.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Childcare Picnic

Our task for yesterday was another easy one - have a picnic for dinner if the weather was fine (which is was).  It was the annual childcare picnic and it was in our local playground - there was a Christmas fairy, Santa dropped by and the kids got their faces painted.
Kelvin as a dinosaur.

Matilda, the 100th butterfly they'd painted (or at least it felt like 100)!

Santa Liam hanging with his Dad.
And our book for the day was the classic Golden Book version of The Christmas Story.  I finally found our Fisher Price nativity scene so we read the story and found the characters and played a bit before bed.

Today our book is Aliens Love Panta Claus - all about decorating your house with underpants and Santa's sack being exchanged for a massive pair of bloomers!!  And we're looking forward to a quiet day at home making a new wreath for the front door (and probably the back on too) - inspired by this one.
Aliens Love Panta Claus

Monday, December 5, 2011

Another Christmas Book, Another Christmas Thing To Do!

Today is a school day (Matilda) / childcare day (Kelvin) / work day (Trev) / rest day (Liam and me) so our Christmas countdown activity was appropriately easy.  It instructed us to drop our presents under the Wishing Tree.  Which is what we did on our way home from dinner at Granma's.

But on the way to Kmart we passed a group of Salvation Army horn players tooting carols in the street.  We used to live in the area and this was always one of my favourite things in the lead-up to Christmas.  So I swerved to the kerb and hauled the kids out and we listened to a few carols and then requested Jingle Bells and then I found myself squatting on a busy street corner with a child on each knee singing carols out loud and although the weather doesn't feel like Christmas it's beginning to feel like Christmas!!

My kids have never really been toy shopping with me before - it has always been easier to do it on our own.  However, this year I decided to let them choose something each for a child the same age and gender as themselves and they were really good!
Octonauts Book & Kwazii Kitten playset for a boy who's 3.
A fairy Barbie with an extra outfit for a girl who's 5
And I chose a Fisher Price toyset for a 6 month old boy and added in some nappies, wipes and scented nappy bags and then we headed off to put our gifts under the tree.

And then fortune had it that our book for today was 25 December Lane by Helen Ward.  This book was give to Matilda by my Mum - for her first Christmas as a big sister.  Helen Ward has also dedicated this book to a Matilda and it's about a little girl who's searching for the perfect gift for a special little brother celebrating his first Christmas.  My mum has written Kelvin's name on the last illustration, along with his birthdate and I can see this becoming a book to treasure.

25 December Lane

Two More Days, Two More Books, Two More Tasks

We're still counting down to Christmas!
On Saturday we were to visit the old fire station - celebrating 100 years of being on that site.  Enjoying the old, old fire engines, honking the horn and dinging the bell.  Pondering the no longer used fire pole.  Wondering what Hobart would have been like back when they had hand-drawn fire fighting equipment!

Sunday's task was to go to the Sorell Fruit Farm.  The heaven's opened just as we finished buckling the third kid into the car but the Oesch and Doots's were already on their way so we decided to join them!

It was our first trip to the Fruit Farm where you buy a punnet for each picker and fill it with whatever you can find. First we started with strawberries - the perfect fruit for little kids to pick (and delicious to sample too)!

Liam is not so keen on sitting in a stationary pram so Trev tucked him into his raincoat for a little bit - bringing baby wearing to a whole new level!!

 Next we headed up to the very remotest part of the farm to pick some cherries - which is when we all got very, very wet dispite our coats and gumboots!

And the only way to get at the good fruit at the top of the trees was to work together!!
We also picked just over 1kg of silvenberries (a domesticated blackberry?) which were a bit prickly but delicious too.  These were quickly made into yummy jam - a great rainy afternoon activity, with much sampling!!

And our books for the last few days?  Wombat Devine by Mem Fox about a sleepy wombat and the Mr Men Christmas Extravaganza!
Mr Men: A Christmas ExtravaganzaWombat Divine

Friday, December 2, 2011

What Book Today?

Our Christmas Countdown Book for today was Melrose and Croc a Christmas to Remember. I was lucky enough to win this in a giveaway last year and it's a sweet book about a dog and a crocodile who feel lonely at Christmas time and crash into each other whilst ice skating and the illustrations are lovely and a little bit retro in their muted colours.
Melrose and Croc a Christmas to Remember

And our activity for today was "To have a photo with Santa"!  And we had a reasonably successful trip into the city.  We didn't have to queue for a photo, there weren't too many toilet stops required, the kids chose some lovely presents to give to their Wishing Tree recipient, and the big kids both chose new sandles for summer without too many tears from anyone (including me!).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent 2011

It happened again - I totally forgot that there are only 30 days in November!  So at 9:30pm last night Trev and I were wrapping books so that we could have a literature countdown to Christmas Day (totally inspired by Dana)!

We already had 16 Christmas books in our collection so we wrapped them up in butchers paper (using the Christmas sticky tape) and numbered them and have lined them up along the window).  Our book for today was I Love Christmas by Anna Walker - love her illustrations!

 We also have a "things to do" countdown too.  It's just 25 bits of card bluetac-ed to the window.  Don't tell the kids but only one of these had an activity on the back - we're going to see what's happening tomorrow and write something on each evening!! 

Today's activity involved cooking playdough and chocolate cake with our friends - courtesy of Holly the Tupperware demonstrator.  I was roped into hosting a demo last week and I can really recommend the Kids in the Kitchen party, although the Flaming Pineapple party would be tempting!!

It's summer and we're officially counting down to Christmas at our place!  I wonder what we'll do tomorrow?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Killer Coffee Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes this evening to share at an afternoon tea Tupperware party tomorrow.

Of course, we had to try them to make sure they were OK.

Trev declared them some of the best cupcakes he'd ever tasted!  He's a good man.

Coffee Cupcakes
125g butter, chopped, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups SR flour, sifted
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup strong black coffee, cooled

1.  Preheat oven to moderate, 180 oC.  Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper patty cases.
2.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar together until light and creamy.
3.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Fold in flour alternatively with sour cream and coffee, beginning and ending with flour.  Spoon mixture into paper cases until 2/3 full.
4.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked when tested with a skewer.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

1 cup soft icing mixture, sifted
10g butter
2-3 tablespoons hot strong black coffee
12 pecans, to decorate

5.  Combine icing sugar and butter in a small heatproof bowl.  Stir in enough coffee to make a smooth paste.  Place over a saucepan of simmering water and heat gently, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until mixture is a spreadable consistency.  Spread over cooled cupcakes and top each with a pecan.

6.  Eat with a hot cuppa!!

I struggled a bit with the icing - I think I put in too much coffee too soon and then had to add nearly another cup of icing sugar to correct it.  Next time I'll be adding the coffee a teaspoon at a time!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2 Months Flies By

Well, Liam is 2 months old.  Time has really flown by.  He is starting to smile heaps, especially at older ladies which makes him very popular when we're out and about.  He coo's and really loves to watch his brother and sister when they are careering around the house (loudly).

He's sleeping well at night but in the last week he has decided he no longer does long sleeps during the day and is doing 40 minute cat naps which really doesn't suit me!
Especially when I had grand plans to get crafting in the lead-up to Christmas.  Oh well, it can wait - this little guy is growing fast!