Advent Blog Day 25 – Christmas Day

It’s technically Boxing Day now, but nevertheless, Merry Christmas! After three family gatherings, two church services and our fair share of driving across the city over the last two days, I’m exhausted (and there’s still another lunch tomorrow). So I thought I’d simply share some photos today.

We’ve never done brunch before – it was refreshing to share a different meal!

ready for Christmas Brunch
ready for Christmas Brunch

Opening presents with the family, and a selfie from my brother-in law.

family!
family!

We do a Kris Kringle with my family, and this year I got Dad – he asked for Bunnings vouchers for a proper composter – he looks pretty happy about effectively reusing kitchen waste!

Dad looking pleased with his gift!
Dad looking pleased with his gift!

My sister made this super cute Christmas card for me. Isn’t she creative!

Christmas card by Heidi
Christmas card by Heidi

My siblings may not be impressed, but after finding all of these, I couldn’t resist sharing one of our Santa photos – complete with matching Christmas dresses made by Mum.

memory lane – our 1991 Santa photo
memory lane – our 1991 Santa photo

It may not be his favourite time of year, but I still love sharing Christmas with him.

my love.
my love.

The tradition continues in 2012. Gingerbread house demolition pose:

Adam ready to smash our gingerbread house!
Adam ready to smash our gingerbread house!

Today I got to bring along my first Christmas dessert. The cooler weather worked in my favour and my choc-mint ice cream slice didn’t melt in between home and my Aunt and Uncle’s!

Christmas dessert
Christmas dessert

This is my final Advent Blog for Christmas 2012. What started as a crazy, seemingly impossible ‘shower’ idea, became a very challenging but rewarding journey through advent. Thanks for reading my blogs over the last 25 days.

There will be new posts and new challenging blogging opportunities in 2013. For now, I’m looking forward to doing some more reading and craft during my short break from work, and a little more sleep each night! God bless. Adios.

Advertisements

Advent Blog Day 13 – Gingerbread House Making Day!

photo 1

Tonight my friend Kaley hosted a ‘Gingerbread is awesome’ party, complete with gingerbread cocktails and tiny take-home gingerbread houses for your tea-cup! I’ve been surrounded by lovely ladies, and mountains of lollies, icing and delightfully scented gingerbread all evening. Bliss!

tea-cup gingerbread houses
tea-cup gingerbread houses

And this is my 2012 gingerbread house:

my gingerbread house!
my gingerbread house!

I don’t know how many gingerbread houses I’ve made over the years. My friends Kirsty and Mel helped instil this rather excellent and tasty tradition in me many years ago.

There’s something very satisfying about building a small house and then covering it in intricate lolly designs, while covering oneself in icing sugar, and eating all the ‘mistakes’ along the way. What’s not to like?!

But making the house and enjoying it on display at Christmas time is only half the tradition. This is the other half:

 

all things christmas #1 – gingerbread

I am a true Christmas lover once again. I have never wavered in my love of the reason for the season, but the season itself took a fair beating during my uni days when I worked at Target.

But let’s not take a trip down that particular red and white memory lane in which poor Christmas music is played on a one hour loop from 1 November…

In my next few blog posts I’m planning to share some of the things I love about Christmas!

Gingerbread houses

This year I made two gingerbread houses in the space of one weekend. I helped organise a gingerbread making night for the women from church and friends. I picked up the kits from Jordans Cakes at Riverstone, which is pretty devoted to gingerbread houses (to the extent that there were only 4 loaves of bread on the shelf). Roofs and walls lay cooling on tray after tray and in the short time I was there two others popped in to pick up their orders!  Well priced kits…will have to find out about the taste from my boss since I gave that first house to her!

On the night I enjoyed hearing my friend Fiona speak. She shared a little history of gingerbread, and also gave a challenge to consider those without ‘homes’ at Christmas – like refugees, and homeless people.  It was also refreshing to be reminded of God’s promise to us through Jesus that He is preparing a place – a home – for those who call Him Lord, for all eternity.

I made my second house at GBHMD (Ginger Bread House Making Day) – a tradition organised by two of my friends who are sisters – and both passionate Christmas lovers. I have been making houses (and one gingerbread train in 2008) with them for a few years now. GBHMD has always been a fun tradition of Mariah Carey carols, catching up with friends, lolly sharing and eating, decorating, and potluck lunch.

my gingerbread house...to be eaten on Christmas Day!

House #2 is currently atop the bookshelf waiting for Christmas Day to ‘smash’ it open – that’s Adam’s job.

Gingerbread biscuits

A couple of years ago, I realised that just decorating the gingerbread wasn’t enough… I wanted to bake it too! My Christmas loving friend (same one as above) emailed me her recipe – complete with an instruction to buy a rolling pin!

In my first batch this year I made some stars, trees, bells and some mini gingerbread men. I then found a bigger gingerbread man cutter and (to my delight) a gingerbread woman! Apart from looking cool, I was hoping that the bigger cutters might speed up the baking process so I could get on with icing and lollies. But the little arms, legs and heads tended to break off easily and therefore required delicate transportation from pastry sheet to baking tray. I learned that the more I kneaded the dough, the more likely the biscuit would stay together after being cut out.

Decorating…is…fun. Piping bag essential!

ginger stars!
gingerbread girl!

Well as much as Adam and I love gingerbread, we couldn’t eat all two batches of bikkies. I bundled some up (as per photo) as gifts for my colleagues at International Teams and sent Adam off to work with a container as well.

gingerbread biscuits gift wrapped for my colleagues

Aside from being tasty, looking fun and being good gifts at Christmas, I really love making and decorating gingerbread for the same reason I like gardening. Whether covered in dirt or dough, my own hands are working to create something new. Something real and tangible. And that’s satisfying! I wonder if that’s my farming heritage on my Dad’s side coming out?!

Next post: the tree!