Saturday, December 28, 2013

turning 8

It's so nice to celebrate birthdays with family and grandparents.  Having a birthday just after Christmas has obvious disadvantages.  But the nice thing is that more often than not, we're with extended family.  B and I gave our eight year old a much coveted greenstone necklace.

Nana and Grandpa gave him a wonderful gift. A set of real tools (and a tool kit) and an old printer to dismantle, an excellent eight year old pressie.

Nana and Grandpa threw him a lovely party.  DaddyB made sticky BBQ ribs (his favourite) and there was a very colourful cake made by the birthday boy.

He decorated the cake just how he wanted it.  A sponge cake with whipped coconut cream and strawberries.  Pretty much the same as the one we'd had in Auckland. He got to light his own candles too.  I love how much the boys can do for themselves these days.  It really is a great stage right now.

Happy birthday gorgeous boy.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

christmas traditions - the night before christmas

 Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Monday, December 23, 2013

christmas traditions - santa photo

Taken with the cousins this year... so impressed with all the smiles!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

celebrating early

With a Christmastime birthday we always make sure that we make a good effort to celebrate properly.  This year he's been getting lots of celebrating... friends over for a play and a cake (strawberries and coconut whipped cream), another for a pizza night and a family party yet to come.  Once again I can't believe how old he is!  We gave him a cool new scooter which he is loving.

Monday, December 16, 2013

christmas traditions - granola

Recipe for our Christmas crunchy fruity granola here.  We use cranberries, almonds and cherries.

Friday, December 13, 2013

christmas traditions - the gingerbread house

Last year with me working four days a week we didn't make a house.

This year, despite me complaining to B about the amount of work it required, I'm pleased that I did it.

To see the enjoyment the boys got from decorating it was lovely.

And watching the glee as they got to bust it up and eat it was priceless.

Monday, December 9, 2013

DIY: fabric gift wrap

With Christmas time just around the corner I promised to do a wee tutorial on how to make fabric gift bags.  They're pretty straight forward if you have a sewing machine, some fabric and a bit of ribbon.

Begin by cutting your fabric into a rectangular strip.  The size will depend on how much fabric you have or how big the gift is that you want to wrap.

Fold your ribbon in half and pin it to the patterned side of the fabric (this is called the "right side").

Now fold the fabric with right sides facing each other (the ribbon will be tucked inside).  Sew a seam up each side and clip the bottom corners at an angle to make it neater when you turn it back in the right way later on.

Zig zag or overlock the edges if you feel like it.  I was at a friends place so I took advantage of her overlocker as it does such a professional job.  Often I just use my pinking shears to cut fabric out so that it doesn't fray too much.

Fold over the top twice, press it and stitch along the edge.

That's it... not too tricky really.  You can make them as large or small as you like and either gift them or reuse them year after year.  Makes good sense for the environment, plus it's a nice family tradition too.

We have a variety now.  The 75% off Christmas fabric sale at Spotlight is the best place to buy material (right after Christmas).  Don't get carried away like I did and end up with 5m of checkered reindeer fabric though even if it is down to $2 a metre!  I've been sewing napkins recently to use it up.

I was inspired by Louana who is doing Handmade Christmas posts over at her blog.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

the amazing dinner - Germany/Switzerland

We're getting close to the end of this series of the Amazing Race.  Actually it finished in NZ this week (we've been away in Australia) but we haven't watched the final yet.  This dinner will be our last special one though, even though Ireland/Scotland would have been fun to do.  We're a bit knackered from a week in the heat of the Gold Coast.  So for our final dinner we had German and Swiss food.

 We ate Sauerkraut and listened to German music from youtube.

Tastier than I expected.  It's something I've been meaning to make forever (for the probiotic goodness) but never really got around to.  Since eating this canned version though we'll definitely give it a try sometime.  
Have you made it? Can you recommend a recipe?

 German coasters.  I was tempted to make soft pretzels (we have a great recipe here that we've made before) but in the end we didn't make/have the time.  Shame as they're delicious.

Interesting facts we came up with: Germans are the second largest beer consumers in the world (after Ireland), Chancellor Angela Merkel has a Barbie doll made after her, Gummy Bears were invented by a German, there are more than 300 different types of bread in Germany and even bread museums!

We ate the sauerkraut with crumbed schnitzel and rosti (a Swiss hash brown).  The rosti was a bit of a let down (probably should have fried it in lots of oil rather than tried to be healthy) but it was all edible.

 For dessert we made a filo apple strudel.  Recipe here at the Healthy Food Guide.

And of course some Swiss Chocolate!!