Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Where the heck did November go?  I can't believe how fast the weeks have been passing.  I never intended almost two months to go by without doing a post.  That also means nearly two months of not popping in to visit other blogs so I have a lot of catching up to do!!  And a big hello to lots of new followers - it has surprised me to see how many new folk have discovered my little blog. 

It has been an utterly crazy few weeks in the lead up to Christmas.  There have been ballet recitals, end of year school celebrations, summer sports, a few health issues and some very weird weather to keep me on my toes.  It's meant to be summer but I am currently sitting here, very early in the morning, and all I can see out of my window is fog.  The airport is closed making Christmas travel plans a nightmare for many.  Thankfully we are staying home this year and I'm really looking forward to some time to slow down and just potter about for a while.  Not to mention the chance to eat far too many festive treats and start the diet in the new year!!  My small folk love these chocolate biscuit Christmas puds so they requested we make them again this year.  Not to mention the piles of white chocolate rocky road and bottles of caramel sauce I made for gifts this year.  Delicious!
There has been a wee bit of time for some crochet.  I'm still trying to use up my Stylecraft yarn but it just keeps on going!  I started this blanket ages ago and wasn't sure that I loved it enough to carry on.  But my gorgeous sis-in-law Sarah visited yesterday and she spotted it in my basket.  So I'm going to get it finished and give it to her.
There is something nice about a simple granny square isn't there?  I think I was worried it was a bit too simple though - that's why I hadn't fallen in love with it.
 But the more I look at it now, the more it is growing on me.  Maybe I'll make another one for me later.

And there have been many, many more tea cosies made.  Quite a few sales and commissions in the lead up to Christmas which is fantastic!
I was a bit naughty this year and went a little but nutso with online shopping.  I had wanted this book for a while and it didn't seem to make it to the bookshops here so I ordered it from good old Book Depository along with a few other treats for gifts.  I love, love, love that website!!!  And I really love seeing a little (or large) brown parcel in my letterbox!!!
The very first pages the book opened to was this - I thought it was just gorgeous.  I have only managed a quick flick through the book - so can't wait for a sunny day so I can sit outside and read it properly.
Miss 5 has become a real little crafter.  She got this sweet little sewing kit for her birthday and it goes everywhere with her just now.  She was unwell recently so I cut out some shapes for her to sew.  She made this sweet little bear and today she is sewing more stockings to hang on the tree.  I am so proud of Mr 8 too, for a boy whose favourite part of school has always been lunchtime(!) - he came second in a poetry competition this week.  I didn't even know he had entered - so it was a huge surprise.  My little boy is really growing up to be a gorgeous fella.  
Even though the weather has been completely screwy, boiling hot one day and pouring with rain the next, we have managed to grow some yummy veges.  Broad beans are one of my faves and thankfully Miss 5 is keen to pod them with me and then peel them once boiled.  It certainly speeds up the process! 
And for the very first time, after trying for 4 seasons, we managed to grow a broccoli!!!  I actually squealed out loud when I spotted it!!  It wasn't huge but was enough to feed us for one meal.  It tasted beautiful as it was only a few minutes from garden to plate.
And another gardening success - well kind of - was this cabbage.  Again, we've been trying for years with no success and then one day it was just there, like magic.  It was tiny - but perfectly formed under those outside leaves!  My theory is that neglect was the perfect answer.  We'd had such terrible weather that the vege patch had been left unweeded for several weeks.  A theory I will try again because I hate weeding!!!
Our cabbage was tiny but check out this freakishly large strawberry.  I had to put my crochet hook in front of it show the scale of this monster.  So if you're going to be good and limit yourself to only one choc dipped strawberry then this is most definitely the one you'd want to choose!
And speaking of large - look at this gingerbread house.  Apparently it has set the record for being the largest ever made.  It is at Te Papa museum and the kids loved it.  The smell was just beautiful.
 Phew - that's a lot of butter!!
Another wee treat I bought for the family this week was these bright and gorgeous pudding bowls.  I had to go back and get another set so we have enough when friends visit.  A bargain at $5 and oh so bright and lovely.  I might just have to fill them with sweets and treats tomorrow and dot them about the house.

Before the fog set in, we went on a family walk around our suburb.  I wish I had taken more pics now as these Pohutukawa trees are blooming everywhere just now.  They are called a New Zealand Christmas Tree and the story goes that if they flower before Christmas then we are going to have a long hot summer.  Well where I live, there are beautiful red flowers on all the trees so bring on the good weather.
Miss 5 collected flowers on the way.

Telecom sets up this amazingly huge tree each year.  The children go into the old red phone boxes and call Santa.  Then their wish travels up the tree and lights up as it goes.  We took the children yesterday and it was just gorgeous listening to them leaving their little message for Santa. 
I love this pic - it is taken standing inside the tree looking up.  Just a shame it isn't dark until quite late here, so my small folk haven't had a chance to see it completely lit up in all its glory.  We might have to let them stay up late and go for a drive tonight for a Christmas Eve treat.

Well that's all from me!  Have a truly wonderful Christmas wherever you may be.  Thank you so much for popping by and I hope to see you again in the New Year.  I hope you all get thoroughly spoilt this festive season.  Merry Christmas!!!

Take care,