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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for Advent

Pile of Books

For a number of years, I’ve read of the idea of wrapping up a pile of Christmas books for Advent. This year, I realised we had enough books to do it ourselves!
Pile of Books

It occurred to me that I didn’t ever get to Cygnet’s Advent calendar last year. So last night, before hanging the others’, I did some work on his. I finished it today:-)
Advent Calendars

Preparing for French

prepping french
My task today was to prepare for French. We’ve been doing it with another family, but we haven’t returned to it since our trip. It was about time:-) Initially, we’ll re-do a number of activities (we’ll certainly re-do the topics!) So today, I simply had to print some sheets, find the animals, and print the words for a new carol:-)

Advent (December) Chain

I’ve been a bit hit and miss around here of late… I’m hoping that this next month will see me start to post more regularly again:-)

Anyway, I’ve just been prepping our Advent Chains, and thought I might as well upload the file here for other people to use:-) I print the first page on one colour, and the remaining two on another. Each child gets their own (I let them choose their favourite two colours), and they will make them over the next few days:-) (Depending on their age, I cut them with the paper trimmer.)


Christmas 2009

A couple of years ago, the Advent season was when I started blogging daily (or nearly so). I maintained it until probably May-ish last year, and then a few times a week for about another 12 months. This year? I think I managed a couple of Food Posts through Advent, and that’s about it.

Mind you, this Advent has been lacking in a lot of my usual preparations! I have Ice Cream Plum Pudding in the house, because that’s essentially what I was doing for our family Christmas dinner. I have Gingerbread Dough in the freezer, because I made a double quantity when we made gingerbread houses at Halloween. I have the makings of Fruit Mince Pies (pre-rolled pastry in the freezer and a bottle of mince). We’ve read a pile of Christmas books. We made an Advent Chain. But that’s about as far as any similarity to previous Christmasses goes.

Before I get too disappointed though, I should point out that we have made quite a few presents this year! There should (I hope!) be several individual posts, once I download photos, but Puggle and I have been woodworking, and Bilby and I have sewn. Puggle made a small wooden boat for Cygnet, and a set of stilts for Bilby (as well as a pair of stilts for his Secret Santa, and he helped to sew an apron for Cygnet’s Secret Santa). Bilby made a woodworking apron for Puggle, five balloon juggling balls and a grab bag for her Secret Santa, and some Chocolate Coated Almonds for her grandparents. Me? I have finally finished the Pink Tower and (almost! still have to put the finish on) the Brown Stair. I’ve made (with some help from Puggle) several sets of Tree Blocks for some of the smaller children of our acquaintance. I have made three Bench Hooks (two to suit western saws, and one for japanese saws). And I’ve made a wooden forest (barring the dye-ing and finishing) (like blocks, but shaped like trees, rather than trees made from tree branches). I’ve sewn bags for the tree blocks (I still have one more to go, and a similar bag for the wooden forest), and three apron/chef’s hat sets… with accompanying bag. I’ve also been painting the IKEA abacus we got for Cygnet, to match the colours of the Right Start one:-) We did also make jam as part of our Christmas preparation.

I’m still anticipating doing our usual family calendar, and I’m hoping we’ll get to the cards—but obviously that won’t be happening by Christmas time!

So, a bit of a hit and miss. I keep reminding myself though, we can’t do everything! And we have been doing a lot of French during this time:-) Reminding me of more posts I have been meaning to write!

Hope your Christmasses were all lovely, and that the rest of your Festive Season is safe and joyous!

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.

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:-)

Blogging Advent 3—Feast of St Lucy

Bring Dada sweet rolls in bed.

Yesterday when Puggle was making his own freshly squeezed orange juice, he was talking about making juice for Dada for breakfast. Last night I set out everything needed for breakfast.

This morning, Paddington was woken with freshly squeezed orange juice and fruit toast. Puggle carried it all in, but Bilby helped clear it away (she’s pretty good at carrying laden plates, but not completely reliable yet:-) )

Blogging Advent 3—December 12

Make Blueberry and Cardomom Bread.

When doing the shopping, I wasn’t able to find dried blueberries (I think I usually find them at Woolies… I was at IGA). Instead I got dried cherries—what the recipe actually called for!

Sadly though, I napped with the children (three nights of Bilby waking in the middle of the night… teeth??), so I failed to put the wheat on to soak in time. None of this bread today:-( (We will make it though, possibly Monday… I’d like to see what it’s like with the cherries:-) ) I’ve cooked some fruit loaf instead, and Puggle was telling me today how he is going to squeeze orange juice for Dada in the morning:-) (I don’t think Paddington reads here every day, so it should be safe to say that:-) )

Blogging Advent 3—December 10

Make presents.

The day ended up being far busier than I had anticipated, so although the activity was ready to begin, Puggle and Bilby only really started on it today. Puggle is being highly industrious and productive though:-) He seems really quite excited by them (can’t give you too much detail though, I’m pretty sure some of the recipients are reading:-) )

Blogging Advent 3—December 9

Read Is It Christmas?.

This is a book we got from the library last year, and it was so sweet that it was a family Christmas present on Christmas Day:-)

This year Puggle is still enjoying it, and Bilby is starting to point out features of it… she’s especially keen on the baby bear hanging from the Christmas tree:-)

Blogging Advent 3—December 8

Help make the Ice-Cream Plum Pudding.

Well, we eventually got the fruit on to soak:-) Haven’t finished the rest (so no photos:-) )… but we’ll get to it:-)

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