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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for Christmas

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!

Body Bars

bar-ingredientsbody-barsI came across this post a couple of weeks ago, and thought it looked interesting. Then I realised that they would probably be a good choice for Paddington’s dad for Christmas—he likes to work in the garden, and these might be nice afterwards.

I was pretty pleased with how they turned out, although, the one I gave to my dad turned out to also be effective as an ant attracter:-(

Napkin Rings

napkin-ringsnapkin-ring-treeFather Christmas was going to leave these in our stockings, but they didn’t quite get done in time, so instead, he hung them on the tree.

I used the pattern from knitty.com, Venezia.

I’ve never knit with wire before (nor done any beadwork), but I found these pretty straightforward—the only delay was in trying to keep them a surprise from everyone:-) Once I gave up on that notion, they progressed quite swiftly:-) Mind you, that was also the time I started to tie a bit of string after each ‘batch’ of beads, so that when I had one bead left in a batch, it would go on it’s own row (after every thirteen beads).

I’ve also added matching wine tags, using a couple of the same beads to suit the napkin rings. The children don’t yet use stemware, but I think that Puggle at least could probably start having his water in one:-)

I think I’ll be doing these again:-)

Christmas Dresses

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

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—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 3

Making Christmas cards.

I hadn’t anticipated the busy day we had (although, given how busy it was, I doubt we’d have completed any of the possible activities). Still, now we’re ready to do them tomorrow.

The basket has some card blanks, as well as textas for drawing with. There are also some plain rectangles and decorative scissors (for card inserts). I’ll add glitter pens to this (I forgot to put them on the shopping list:-( )

The small tray has some Christmas-themed paper stamps, and some paper. You can see it, but there’s some glue on the shelf as well.

Blogging Advent 3—December 2

The activity in today’s pocket was to “Help Make the Christmas Cake”. So a baking we did go:-) I’ve altered the recipe a little in more recent times, I only have plain flour now, so I add 2 dessertspoons of baking powder. And I now use wholemeal flour for this—so it’s good for us:-) The cake has now been doused with sherry, and I’ll wrap it up and put it away until Christmas Day (or, more likely, Boxing Day:-) ).

Christmas Meme

Last Christmas, Erin from Seven Little Australians plus One has tagged me for this Christmas Meme. I failed to get to it in a timely fashion (story of my life:-( ), so here it is this year:-)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper.

2. Real tree or artificial?
Artificial. I like the idea of a real tree… I even got one in a pot one year, but it had died before the summer was over:-(

3. When do you put up the tree?
Growing up, we always put it up when the last person finished for the year (usually when my dad finished work, about a week before Christmas). I’ve decided that Gaudete Sunday (two Sunday’s before Christmas) is a good choice… sufficiently in advance that there’s somewhere to put presents as they’re wrapped, but not so far in advance that the children vs tree field is in action:-)

4. When do you take the tree down?
I aim for Epiphany (the twelfth day of Christmas), but was most relieved to discover a couple of years ago that Candlemas (2nd February) was also traditional… it gives me a back up:-) Pulling the tree down isn’t anywhere near as much fun as putting it up:-)

5. Do you like eggnog?
I haven’t ever had it. I did come across a recipe for a chilled version in this last week, so I’m feeling tempted to try it:-)

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
I can’t remember any in particular… a lot in general… I know I recieved a lot of books at Christmas time:-) I guess my favourite thing was probably the Darryl Lea’s chocolates we would get every second Christmas in our stockings (before they had a Perth shop). We would usually reach Port Augusta (the western most shop:-) ) the day before Christmas Eve, and we’d stop for lunch. Mum would always disappear:-) Then Christmas morning at my Uncle’s house in Melbourne (having usually arrived late Christmas Eve), we’d find Really Cool Christmas Chocolates in our stockings:-)

7. Do you have a Nativity scene?
Kind of. We have a small one, which needs to be painted (and then put out), and I have the makings of one (which so far exists of a solitary angel:-( )

8. Hardest person to buy for?
My brother’s partner… she’s into very differenth things to me—and does a much better job of getting rid of clutter:-)

9. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Can’t think of anything… I know there have been a couple of things that were a bit… unexpected?… but I can’t think what they were:-)

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail, and I’m gradually becoming more organised about sending them:-)

11. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Don’t have one.

12. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
I always have good intentions to have it all done by Advent but it never happens. (I am just going to leave Erin’s answer:-) )

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Quite possibly… but only because I thought the new recipient would really like the item:-)

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Oohh! That’s like asking me to choose a favourite child! My mum’s tomato and onion pie is pretty high up, and definitely Christmas Cake (mum’s Boiled Fruitcake), Christmas Pudding, and Ice-cream Plum Pudding:-) Oh, and Turkey… and my mother-in-law’s Ham:-) Oh, and Mince tarts… and Peppermint Creams… Oh, it all:-)

15. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Both.

16. Favorite Christmas song?
Once in Royal David City

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Growing up, we travelled alternate years. Now though, we just travel around the city… usually only one trip in the day thankfully:-)

18. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, Donder and Blitzen. And Rudolph.

19. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Star.

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Christmas morning. Although we do let the kids open one on Christmas Eve, before they get ready for bed. There are some childhood photos of my sister and I opening presents on Christmas morning in the most saggy baggy pyjamas around… so when I came across the idea of pyjamas for Christmas, I adopted it:-)

21. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Juggling families (hasn’t been an issue before, but is beginning this year) and the overwhelmingness of being social (I know, awful problem to have!)

22. Best thing about this time of year?
Spending time with family and friends:-) (I know, you can’t have one without the other:-) )

I tag Alice at A Number of Things and Lizzy_bbb (because she doesn’t post nearly often enough:-) )

Boxing Day

‘Tis _nearly_ the season to be jolly!

I’ll be hosting my Boxing Day Morning Tea as usual—with one important change… Instead of an open house all day, we will only be around between 10 and 12.

As always, I’d love to see people, even if only briefly. Our address is unchanged… email me if you need it:-)

‘Tis the Season

Our first Christmas card arrived in the mail today. Most pleasant:-) Of course, it’s also a bit depressing because I haven’t even begun to think about our cards yet:-(

(Actually, that’s not entirely true… I know I kept the list of recipients from last year, and all the addresses we had. I’m even fairly certain I know where they are:-)  So although I haven’t done anything about it, I have thought a little:-) )

Found

The Christmas stockings!
The Christmas stickers (for in the Advent calendars)!
Some kitchen bench!
A white stovetop!
Room for Bilby’s bed!

It’s been a somewhat productive day:-) (My connection to the outside world was down for most of it… so I achieved more than I expected to…)

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