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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for December, 2008

Resolution Progress

Last year I made a number of resolutions. Although I did start quite well on the piano playing, reading the list back, I had forgotten most of them. But I guess I did get a bit distracted from other things this year by Cygnet:-) Still… not my best effort.

Hmm… on reflection though, we did have a few music nights… and they were a lot of fun—even if they were rather disjointed… and I have definitely taken a lot more photos this year (more than around 1200—1000 of them in the last month!) I would still like to do more of the watercolour thing, but I suspect that will be helped by my recent setting up of the ‘art zone’ outside (Puggle can be independent about getting started, and I can simply go along with it:-) ) Actually, I made more presents that I’d remembered, as well… cloaks, and clothes, and the puppet theatre… plus a few this Christmas. Better than I thought.

Catch Up

Christmas and Boxing Day are done!

Now we’re just surrounded by more stuff—people have been very good to us (Cygnet could pretty much be a one-baby advertisement for Lamaze toys!)

Lots of posts to catch up on, and decisions and plans to make for the coming year. I’m hoping to fill in the missing Advent posts over the next week (it was a choice of doing stuff, or blogging stuff… so I chose the doing:-) ) But otherwise, I wouldn’t expect to hear much from me until we’re going to start back at ‘school’ in the middle of January. We’ll be busy catching up with folks, going away for a few days, and enjoying Paddington’s company while he’s on leave.

Hope you all had a good Christmas, that your New Year celebrations are enjoyable, and that 2009 holds many good things for you!

Christmas Dresses

christmas-dressesPresents for Bilby and my oldest niece, BG.

Blogging Advent 3—December 22

Three dozen Fruit Mince Tarts made:-)

I haven’t actually made them in years, so this is a nice change:-)

I didn’t make my own Fruit Mince this year (maybe next year, I reckon Puggle may well be able to do it himself by then), but I still had home-made Fruit Mince, thanks to Lizzy_bbb. I did fail to check I had enough Shortcrust pastry (I had already decided to just use ready-rolled sheets, to simplify matters), so we did the rest with Puff pastry… They’re not as good (they don’t look right:-( ), but they’ll taste fine:-)

No recipe this year, basically circles of shortcrust pastry, place them in a tin, add a teaspoon of fruit mince and top with a cross or some other decoration out of the leftover shortcrust. Bake for about 15-20 minutes in a moderate/hot oven.


My baby’s growing up… He’s not a newborn anymore.

Cygnet has reached the stage of being insufficiently immobile to leave on the bed. We discovered that he’d pivoted 180˚ about his head—which given I’d put him near the centre of the bed, put him disturbingly close to the edge.

So this evening, Puggle helped me put the cot back together.

When in Rome…

Well, where in Rome, I guess:-)

Paddington sent me a link to this announcement about the Ancient Rome 3D layer in Google Earth… Lots of possibilities for the future:-)

Friday Food

Friday: Bottomless Quiche
Saturday: BBQ (sausages and chops) with friends
Sunday: From the Freezer (beef sausages and lentil stew)
Monday: With my folks
Tuesday: BBQ (sausages and kebabs, and white bean salad) with friends

Wednesday and Thursday will be part of the next week, because I’ll have to shop then—I’m not braving the shops on Boxing Day for groceries!

Off to sew!

Blogging Advent 3—December 18

Make Shortbread.

I don’t think I’ve managed this since Puggle was born. And this year is no different. It may still occur if I fluke my way through everything else to complete, but that’s exceedingly unlikely!

I did get a decent portion of the remaining Christmas present shopping completed though, and Puggle and Bilby got to go to the beach, so not an unproductive day:-)

Blogging Advent 3—December 17

Make Peppermint Creams.

As so often happens around this time, we didn’t get this done. There was a fair amount of present making completed though:-)

We will get to these over the weekend (I hope!), as they provide a good balance to the other baking.

Blogging Advent 3—December 16

Read Hettie’s Christmas Gift (doesn’t seem to be available through Amazon—I guess, because it’s Australian.)

We did this. This is another book to which I really enjoy returning. I love the fact that it provides a link between the northern hemisphere traditions that we read about, and our southern hemisphere reality.

Blogging Advent 3—December 15

Read Is That You, Father Christmas?. Bilby became very excited when she recognised the Christmas tree in the book as being like the Christmas tree in the corner of the room:-)

Blogging Advent 3—Gaudete Sunday

Decorate the Christmas tree.

Have a picnic underneath.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas:-)

This Week

Our plans for
Week 4, Christmas Block/Term

Adestes Fideles
Annum Faustum! (Happy New Year!)
Vive le Vent (Jingle Bells)
Bonne Année (Happy New Year!))
Memorisation: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Folksong: Eriskay Love Lilt
Carol: It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught (or here) (who knew Inigo Montoya could sing!) and Honey Bun from South Pacific by Rodgers and Hammerstein
Our picturebook artist for this block is Julie Vivas, and we’re looking at The Nativity
Activity: Christmas Decorations

Tapas Reprise

We took advantage of the lovely weather and visiting friends to try tapas again (I’ve added links to most of the recipes now).

This time, we added Spicy Almonds. Most recipes called for blanched almonds, so I started doing that. I soon grew weary of it, so went ahead without blanching the rest.

Spicy Almonds

olive oil
cayenne pepper

Spread almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and cayenne pepper. Stir up to ensure that nuts are covered on all sides and return to a single layer. Cook at about 180˚C for about 10-15 minutes.



yoghurt, greek style
olives, kalamata

Drain the yoghurt (after you’ve mixed with salt) for at least a day in the fridge (we wrap it in a chux, and place it in a sieve over a bowl). Spread on a plate, drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with thyme, sumac and olives. Serve with turkish bread.

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