Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas Wrap-up

It seems such a shame to have Christmas over in just one day. All that preparation for months, then, quick as a wink, it's all done and dusted. But oh how beautiful it is! It's a truly magical time of the year, wouldn't you agree?

Our Christmas day was lovely. Quiet and peaceful. We had three lots of separate visits from family, and all were absolutely beautiful times. We made lots of memories, shared lots of laughs, and of course ate lots of delicious food! 

As most of us do as home makers, I found a lot of enjoyment in decorating the home, particularly the dinning room table. The hints of shimmering gold, the poinsettia red and that pine green all just makes my heart sing! 

I can't decorate without berries, poinsettia flowers, vintage op-shop treasures and candles!

Our four children loved the table too, my girls especially!

I hope that your Christmas was beautiful, with many new memories made with your loved ones!

I'll be back sometime in the new year, another year of adventure awaits!

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Succulent Table Gift

My Dad is a lover of succulents. To be honest, I really didn't have an appreciation for them at all, until somehow, he got me hooked. And now my son is hooked too. Is there such a thing as succulent disease?

For Christmas this year my amazing husband allowed me to use one of the coffee tables that he made out of old windows, which unfortunately had the glass top accidentally smashed, to make a succulent table for my Dad for his gift. We thought it was an amazing way to re-purpose the still very structurally sound, and beautiful table without needing to use the glass.

So, my son and I headed into town to visit Mitre 10 to purchase some extra succulents to add to the cuttings from ones already growing around our home. We chose some larger ones so that they could be 'features' in the display. While we were out, my hubbie chipped out all the excess putty, planed and sanded, drilled drainage holes, lined the base with black plastic, and then added chicken wire in replacement of the glass.

It looked great! ...

My youngest son, eager to fill the table with soil for his Papa!
The table, prior to soil and plants.
The table being filled with succulent soil.
As we planted the cuttings, we tried to fill in the gaps and have each succulent nice and close together,
 it gives a much nicer look!

The (almost) finished display ...

My Dad has a lovely undercover outdoor veranda out the back of his house so we are hoping that he will find the perfect spot for it there! We do plan on adding more plants over the next week (my Aunty is visiting tomorrow and is bringing some of her succulent cuttings with for us!) We also thought that leaving a bit free would allow Papa to add his own, and have some gardening fun for himself too!

We are really happy with the table and hope that Dad is too!

Oh, and while I think of it ... here's an update, as promised, of my herb seeds that I planted in my new herb stand. They're not quite big enough yet to start using, 
but it won't be too long! ...

There is actually a few teeny, tiny leaves growing in the Peppermint!

Simple gardening brings such great pleasure!

Friday, 11 December 2015

But Hope ...

This time of year fills my heart with hope. The sweet atmosphere that lingers in the home, candles lit and dancing their glow around the walls. Beautiful decorations chosen and hung with love and care to adorn the tree, making their own stunning statement. The spicy aroma of gingerbread men cooking in the oven. Turkish delight being simmered with rose-scented air filling the kitchen. Lights that twinkle and shine out making the whole scene magical. Children with eyes full of wonder and excitement at the entire jolly ordeal. 

But, hope.

Hope of salvation, hope of an eternity to come that truly will be magical. 

Hope that all that is wrong and evil and desperate in the world could possibly pause, and in it's place be poured out peace, love, joy and thankfulness. 
Generosity, giving. 
The hope that all is not lost.

The display my 13 year old son made for his bedroom.

The display my eleven year old daughter made for her bedroom.

All hope is found in that little tiny innocent baby that rested on the hay; fully God-child.

In Him, and only Him, comes all the hope that we'll ever need, 
now, and all through the year.

Merry Christmas, may your hearts be full of hope in Christ.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

A Christmas Delight

Turkish delight has long been among the most favourite of our Christmas treats. All of us devour the soft, rose-red, snow dusted squares with eagerness. It is so delicious. This year we decided to make two batches of this delectable sweet, using two different methods; one batch on the stove top in a saucepan, and the other in the microwave (I know, I never knew Turkish Delight could be made in the microwave either!)

We began by making the stove top recipe ...

Stirring the sugar, water and gelatin together ... 


We discovered that the tin was too thin only after we had let the confection set ... oh well! Thank fully it doesn't effect the taste at all! We ended up 'folding' one half over on top of the other half to give it more thickness, it turned out much thicker!

Then, we experimented with the microwave recipe ...

I found this recipe was the most convenient, in that we were able to put the ingredients together in a microwave safe bowl, then walk away while it cooked. There was no having to stay by the mixture, stirring constantly. We were all sure that this recipe was going to give us the best results and provide us with the consistency and texture that we love in Turkish delight; soft, chewy and slightly stringy.

So we began to make the microwave version ...

We deliberately made this batch slightly darker in colour so that we could tell the two batches apart ...

... again, we only realised after this was set that my son had, unthinkingly, lined the tray with freezer paper, not baking paper ... you can imagine how that ended.

Sneaky little fingers always have to stick themselves into the mixture, 'just to check'!

The final results? ...

Stove top batch ...

The microwave batch ...

Our conclusion is that, surprisingly, the stove top batch turned out a much better result. We were all thinking that the microwave one would 'win', as while we were cooking it, the consistency just seemed so much nicer. It actually ended up being more jelly-like with the stove top recipe being the texture that we love! I would probably give it just a few minutes longer boiling and stirring on the stove next time though, just so it's a bit more chewy!

As you can see, we take making Turkish Delight very seriously in this home ...

... and we may have ended up with having an icing sugar fight in the kitchen!


‘‘It is dull, Son of Adam, to drink without eating,’’ said the Queen presently. ‘‘What would you like best to eat?’’ 
narnia-turkish-delight-temptation    “Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty,” said Edmund. 
    The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on to the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very centre and Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious. He was quite warm now, and very comfortable. 

Turkish Delight ... it reminds us of Narnia, every time.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

My Heart Will Miss

These moments my heart will miss ...

Sweet, tiny fingers.

She sets out her friends and happily chats ...

... calling each one by their name.

“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” 

The kindness in her heart is evident in her play. 

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” 
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Her sweet eight year old ways ...  

... don't grow up too fast baby girl.

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