Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lucky We!

The best present I got this year....

Gypsy- Scrapbooking stuff with huge thanks to Les (financier), Etsy and Ebay (my Suppliers) and Santa Joe and Mrs Santa Jan for delivering! And the November Creating Keepsakes which I didn't think I would get but Kieran scored me for Christmas.

Les- Three Golf Balls that he already owned that I took from the shed and wrapped up to give him on Christmas Morning! (Each one had some cash in the box so he can go out and play a few games at some courses around and about).

Kieran- A pen. A $4 pen with a rugby ball attached to the top by elastic with a button that you push which makes the ball spring off. Said pen was purchased after a chance visit to the chemist late on Christmas Eve after I had been to the dairy and thought I'd just check and see if they had any little stocking fillers. I think also his new Indiana Jones Lego and the basket ball hoop and ball set from the Corsans. (In return for which we intend to buy Ehren a drum kit).

Merenia- Hannah Montana the Movie DVD. And she seems to be enjoying her crossword book that she got from Kieran as well.

Will- Stories and a little train which has blocks you can stack on the back and make tall towers with, also from the Corsans.

If you see....

.... a 2010 Dr Seuss Calendar (the large size I all ready have the mini) PLEASE buy it for me and I will pay you back!!


Cards on the Mantle

Each year we send out Christmas Cards to our nearest and dearest and we also include our take on a Christmas Letter. Here's this years version.....

Because we send out cards we also get cards and the odd letter and photos as well. After Christmas I take the cards all down and use them to create a Scrapbook page like this....

If you can make out the stitching on the page you'll see that it is only on three sides forming a pocket which is where we keep the letters and photos we received from out friends.

Taking it all down and our Boxing Day tradition

We leave our Christmas Decorations up for 12 Days after Christmas that means that everything gets packed up by the end of the day on the 6th of January. Until about 25 odd seconds ago I thought that was the start of Candlemas. But my Internet research has just revealed that it isn't. :-) So what I was brought up to believe was that the 7th was the start of Candlemas and that if you had any decorations still hanging about your home on that day that bad spirits would find them and you would have bad luck because of it. I didn't necessarily believe it but it was a good reason to have a set date. :-) Plus in this tiny house I get sick of the fuss and the busyness not to mention the imposing nature of our tree after a relatively short time so the 6th is really about my limit.

NB: Candlemas is actually dated as 40 days from the Nativity so therefore the 2nd of February. I think that the 6th of January date may come from the alternative date of the Nativity as believed by some Christians as in Russia where 'Christmas Day' is the 6th. They celebrate their Candlemas on the 14th of February. Religion is not my thing so don't quote me on this though, ok.

This from good old Wikipedia...
"Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and mistletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress'd the Christmas Hall"
Robert Herrick (1591–1674), "Ceremony upon Candlemas Eve"

As the poem by Robert Herrick records, the eve of Candlemas was the day on which Christmas decorations of greenery were removed from people's homes; for traces of berries, holly and so forth will bring death among the congregation before another year is out. Another tradition holds that anyone who hears funeral bells tolling on Candlemas will soon hear of the death of a close friend or relative; each toll of the bell represents a day that will pass before the unfortunate news is learned.

Last year on Boxing Day Kieran and I and at times Finlay watched a huge Dr Who marathon on Prime... this year much to our disappointment they didn't do that. We had planned to have a DVD watching day so we could also just relax and have a cruisy relaxing day but that didn't happen either instead we just fumbled about doing what ever took our fancy. I think that may have been my fault as I went to download the Christmas Day photos from the camera and ended up filling the Hard drive. That meant I spent the rest of the day weeding it out and freeing up some much needed GB! There's still more to go but I am getting there.

Monday, December 28, 2009

How Cool???


Christmas Day in pictures

Christmas Day started at 6:30am....






Christmas Eve And Anticipation

Aaaarrrggghhhhh, motivation, energy, will, blah. I really want to finish the prompts for Holidays in Hand because I can REALLY see the potential for this work in an album in my minds eye. It's going to be the sort of album that we keep forever and refer to often and hand down and I hope it will motivate families that stem from our family to add some tradition and magic and fun into their own Christmas Celebrations in years to come. But oh my it's hot and it's holidays and everyone is home, energy is sapped and my mind is elsewhere!

Anyway, Christmas Eve. At our house on Christmas Eve there are the standard last minute preparations. The most important of which includes glazing and baking the Ham.

Our ham glaze is a non-reciped mixture of 'Bit on the side Apricot sauce", Orange Juice and brown sugar heated together to dissolve the sugar and then poured over the Ham and basted over and over as we bake the yummy flavour in over about 2 hours. This year we happened to have some fresh Apricots so I put those on as well.

We have a nice together family dinner of a Roast generally Chicken although we'd prefer it to be lamb! With gravy, stuffing, roast vegetables and fresh corn on the cob! I really like this as a tradition as there is the potential for the night to be rushed, stressed and full-on but knowing this dinner is coming we are sorted to sit down calmly.

After dinner we wait. This year we played outside and also spent some time inside watching the Norad site to see what Santa was doing. Once we can see that dusk is setting in the kids and I head out to check out the neighbourhood light displays. There's not a heck of a lot where we are and I recommend a pre-check without kids a few nights before Christmas so you can end the trip on a high. This year was Wills first- to be honest I didn't expect him to be out so late (10pm) so young but due to circumstance he had a late sleep and was a chirpy as a chirpy thing so we took him along.

When we got home we checked Norad again, the kids did their teeth and then after the big kids put their personally purchased presents under the tree and then headed for bed.

Before Les and I hit the hay we set up the video camera to record Santa's Visit. This is some thing we have done for years. Santa of course is incredibly fast so that you can't even see him but you do manage to see the presents as they build up under the tree, it's amazing. Unfortunately it's recorded on VHS so I can't upload it but now that we have a DVD HD recorder perhaps we'll be able to digitize and upload it. Santa does the stockings first I believe and then the tree, he wishes us Merry Christmas as he leaves and if you listen closely you can hear the sleigh bells jingle.

Do you remember as a child going to bed on a school night during the summer, especially in the first week or so back after the holidays? You could see that the sun was still high outside, the bedroom was light as day, and you could hear people still enjoying the day outside your window. It was like fun and excitement was just on the other side of the wall but you couldn't get to it. I think Christmas Eve feels like that, it's so close but yet so far.... and even though you know it's just there you still have to go to sleep to get to it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mixed-Up Dinner

We did a lot of small and fun activities throughout the month of December to add a little more spirit to the season. One of the most fun but probably something we'll only do once a year is a Mixed-Up dinner. As you can see from the photo above both dinner and dessert were served at the same time.

We each got a bowl of papers like such and had to pull a piece out in rounds and then eat what it stated.

Kieran started his meal with Cake!

It was Will's Chocolate birthday cake from the day before with Ice Cream and a sweet very berry sauce.

Les also started with cake.

Which I believe he followed up with broccoli.

Will got into the spirit by eating his dessert first.

Merenia shakes up her options!

And pulls corn!!

I got corn last that above being the order I ate my meal (top to bottom). By the time I got through all the other stuff there wasn't much room for sausages... not to worry though they didn't go to waste....

Luckily we all had delicious drinks to wash the weird flavour combos down with!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

To you and yours...

from us and ours...

Don't Forget NORAD

You can track Santa's Progress at Norad... make sure you click the about tab and read Why they track Santa!! Serious coolness! Not long now... Merry Christmas Eve everyone!!

And don't forget Santa's Blog.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Today's prompt for Holidays in Hand relates to Stockings do we hang them? Do they have special meanings? traditions? contents?

So... our kids all have felt stockings with their names on them, made be me in time for their first Christmas (yes even Will's). We hang them on their door handles or on their beds and then Santa fills them up on Christmas Eve and leaves them on the ends of their beds. The stocking contents have been known to vary in size depending on the tidiness (or not) of the recipients bedrooms- I do wish Santa was a bit more of a hard arse in this respect though. :-)

On Christmas morning the kids come into our room (not before 6:30am or 7am if Will is still asleep- he's still in our room at the mo) and open the contents of their stockings and inhale the chocolate there within.

They always get Chocolates in the form of Santa's and gold coins and such and some other varied lolly supplies, a small can of Pringles chips and a new tooth brush. Then they get a mixture of stuff like mini bubble baths, glow sticks, and in Will's case rubber stamps and stickers and other little bits and bobs.

When I was a kid...

From left to right; Tara Taylor, Berri (Berinthia) Binnie, Me, Kerri Cleaver, Suzy Duncan. DIC Santa circa 1990/1. As an aside I remember Berri once said that she had a dream that she died no one who came to her funeral wore black except me and that, that didn't count because I always wore black. :-)

The HIH Prompt for the 22nd was Name one Holiday ritual you practice because it reminds you of childhood. What specific recollections do you have of the ritual that stand out in your mind?

I'm not sure if these are rituals so much as traditions but here goes...

I can't remember a year in my life that I didn't visit Santa and I think most times we would have got a photo although I don't have the evidence to prove that. We always do with our kids in fact we did it on Monday see....

We always get the kids an Advent Calendar... this year is advent calendar madness; We have the homemade muffin tin ones we made with the Dawsons, the kids each have a very commercial Chocolate Calendar and likewise commercial Lego and Littlest Pet Shop Calendars for K and M and finally Kieran has a school made calendar also with lollies. Personally I'd much rather they had the ones of my childhood that had lovely glittery traditional Christmas Scenes (Oh which one to choose!!??) and each door opened to reveal a little picture of mice, or pixies or some other sweet thing.

And we have in the past few years instituted a tradition of having a nice meal (Roast Chicken usually) on Christmas Eve which was something we did in my house when I was a kid though it was normally a VERY nice cut of beef or lamb - not sure how that was afforded on top of everything else, one of the perks of a butcher in the family maybe?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


(Not our house... do love that 'Christmas Whale' though!)

The HIH Prompt for day 21 asked about; the significance of light, traditions relating to light.

I don't believe that light has any significance as such for us at Christmas but we do definitely have traditions.

This year we started a new one which was to have sleep out under the tree the kids watched a movie by the light of the tree and slept in the lounge in front of the tree all night. In the future I hope to make this the night when we first read the years new 'Christmas Book' but as Jake was visiting I skipped the stories as 'uncool' (yeah dumb I know!).

Other than that we generally don't have our Christmas lights on till Christmas Eve so I guess that's a tradition... I think it helps build the atmosphere and excitement of the event.

Finally each year on Christmas Eve we go out just before dusk and check out the light displays on local neighbourhood houses just me and the kids (except the year Will was born due to the post Caesar driving ban) when we get home Les has the house lit for Christmas. I would love to have an inconspicuous camera or voice recorder in the car during these trips as the conversations are classic. One year the kids came up with 50 odd reasons why the Santa doubters were quite obviously fools (Merenia still believes, Kieran is a half believer... I know he's real I read his blog). We invariably think that we may just have spotted his shadow across the sky or heard the Sleigh bells which provides an excellent reason to head home at max speed and head quickly for PJ's and bed... I mean after all if 'he' catches you awake you'll miss out on the good stuff!


I am a little behind for my Holidays In Hand prompts not because the holidays aren't in hand, they very much are. But in fact because we been taking some time to do 'not much'. Things like talking and reading and kid watching, and crafting and such.

In case you were wondering these prompts will go together to make an album or albums... I haven't quite decided on the format yet. Probably an album which I'll give the working title "Christmas Stockley Style" and a whole bunch of pages for the album I have that is called; Gypsy- Collected Stories (A 'book of Me' album for those of you who are scrapbookers out there).

So the prompt from the 20th..... Something I feel incredibly blessed and grateful for;

Well Duh!
Les, Kieran, Merenia, Saskia and Will.
Extended Family
The opportunity to be at home to really raise our kids.
The Defence Force and Les (they pay for our lifestyle and provide our home, relatively crummy though it may be, and give our kids the awesome gift of being 'Airforce kids').
Coming to my senses about the state school system.
Scrapbooking and other creative outlets.
and most of all Les.

How have the holidays changed since I had children; They are relatively the same but more expensive and the workload has shifted. :-) And I do kind of miss the mystery and excitement that you get as a kid on Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Big TWO

Edited Highlights from Yesterday in Pictures...