We usually make a gingerbread house for Christmas and over the years there have been some very elaborate designs made by the children and their friends. This year B12 and I made a replica of a Hornet tank.
I also made a little more unconventional gingerbread including the animals above and the “Gingerdead Man” cutter courtesy of Andrew’s mum who is a very creative gift giver and knows our gingerbread making habits. He is fairly tricky to ice but I am going to persevere and try to make a whole gingerdead family!
Houses made in previous years:
2007 Lighthouse and Little House on the Prairie
Unlike many of our Canadian friends we chose to have roast beef for our Thanksgiving Dinner. We do have turkey now and again but we like to mix things up a little. Andrew cooked the roast beef in the Webber and it was delicious. I made pumpkin pie for dessert and we also had cream puffs B11 had made. I think I have said before how happy I am embrace Thanksgiving as a holiday to celebrate. (Australia doesn’t have a Thanksgiving holiday)
I have much to be thankful for and I like to remind myself of that often but a day devoted to being thankful is a worthwhile reminder. I am thankful to my gracious heavenly father for the many blessings in my life. I just look around me and see all his provision and know that he will always provide for my needs. I was particularly thankful to read some very encouraging news from my brother who was diagnosed with lung cancer ten months ago. At his most recent check up his oncologist used the term chronic illness instead of terminal illness to describe David’s situation. He writes about his journey with cancer as well as a range of Christian living topics on his blog Macarisms.
Our children have made some fairly elaborate gingerbread houses with friends over the years. This year B11 and I went back to basics with a yummy little gluten free cottage.
Houses made in previous years:
2007 Lighthouse and Little House on the Prairie
If you look around our home you will see signs of winter and indeed glimpses of Christmas.
When I look out the window I see we have about 10cm of snow on the ground, which seems to be staying. B10 and the boys across the road have started building snow ramps to toboggan down.
The boots and mitts are congregating near the front door.
We finished up our ancient history studies for the term with the reign of Caesar Augustus so were able to study the biblical account of Christ’s birth alongside what was happening in Rome and Judea at the time.
I am onto my fourth batch of gingerbread (baking not eating); this one is a gluten free batch. Baking gingerbread is a tradition for me so when I had to go gluten free it was hard to bake gingerbread I couldn’t eat. However I do get a lot of pleasure from the decorating as do others in the family so I kept on making it. Last week Gluten Free Girl posted a recipe for gingerbread on her blog so I am giving it a try.
We bought our tree, put it up in the lounge room, decorated it and it did look beautiful. Another tradition I have is picking a different colour scheme each Christmas and this year’s is silver and white. On account of our cathedral ceilings and sparsely furnished lounge room we usually have quite a tall tree and this year was no exception. Our tree was 8½-9 foot tall and quite full and wide also. Have you noticed the use of past tense yet? Our tree fell over. Now we have a shorter tree with fewer glass balls on it. But it is still pretty and stable too which is important.
There are secrets being kept, doors being shut and whispers heard.
L16 and A14 have played carols together several times at church: for the senior’s Christmas Banquet, during the service and at a Christmas concert on Sunday night.
Although I have looked at nativities over the years I have not found one that I really want to own so B10 made one this year from lego. No shepherds in this scene but three very imposing and intimidating wise men.
I have begun writing a Christmas letter, it seems to be the first one I have written in four years! That couldn’t be right. Four years already? Well that just means there is more of our life to draw from. I might get it finished and sent before Christmas.
Andrew has been doing preparation for the Christmas Eve service which is a service I enjoy every year. It is fairly simple service with carols, a few instruments, this year a children’s story and a devotion. A14 is going to join him with her violin, B10 is going to help me in the sound booth. We always end with Silent Night by candlelight.
I have been listening to Christmas music; A Cold December Night by Erin Bode in particular.
Yes some shopping has been done, a little more needs to be done. Every year I say I will do it earlier but it just does not happen. Maybe next year.
I am looking forward to spending time with our family and our friends here. I am enjoying reading news from family and friends far away and hoping to catch up via skype before the year is over.
I am rejoicing that the reason we celebrate is that God loved us enough to send his Son for us. He has not stopped loving us and sending us blessings since, but his Son is the gift we really need
Our MasterChef journey came to a close last night as we watched Callum and Adam battle it out for the title. I wanted Adam to win as I thought he was the better cook but I was impressed by how close it was. After a massive few months watching it is now time to turn to the website where many of the recipes are available for us to use. Most of us did not visit the website during the series as we were behind Australia in our viewing so a peek at the website would have told us who had been eliminated.
There are quite a few dishes I would love to try, some of them a little more complicated than others. L16 was inspired also so who knows what we might get to sample.
A few I’m interested in attempting are:
Alvin’s Drunken and Bruised Chicken dish.
Callum’s Violet Macaroons with Raspberries and Butter cream
Gary’s Rhubarb and Blackberry Souffle Crumble
I could go on and on, there is enough inspiration to last us until next year… or at least until the Junior edition starts!
We have arrived at the final 24!
Watching most of the pairs run around the farms like the chooks clucking in the coop was a little frustrating but they did eventually return to the kitchen and create their two course meals. Poor Philip was deserted mid-challenge but, as was only fair, received a second chance from the judges. I don’t know that he has got what it takes to get much further but I may be wrong. Looking at the fresh berries and peaches made me hungry for summer fruits. Another month or two and we will be picking and eating fresh strawberries too.
We enjoyed the “Mise en place” challenge a lot more than we enjoyed hearing George mispronounce it! I thought I could have completed the egg separating part unless of course the whole MasterChef experience caused my hands to shake uncontrollably like some. I might have even managed to julienne the carrots but the oysters and salmon would have seen me tapped on the shoulder. I don’t spend much time with seafood.
Both the quail challenge and the fish curry challenge showed us that some know how to fillet and others definitely do not. Smiley Shanee must have been a real favourite with the judges to make it through even though her plate was missing noodles. The mystery box dessert challenge was entertaining, as the 45 minute time limit left several with wobbly, runny jellies or crustless pies! Lucky for Princess Fiona that her Strawberry Jelly/Champagne actually tasted really good, which apparently wasn’t the case for the Cherry Jelly bloke.
I haven’t memorized their names yet but I am sure it won’t take long. B9 is backing Alvin, A13 likes Princess Fiona and Claire is L15’s current favorite. Sarah has the most amusing faces and Joanne the best, or is it worst, accent. I am keen to see how Claire goes but I also enjoy watching the guy with the sock hat and the one with tattoos. Jake seems a bit hit and miss to me but may might survive as long as he can keep all his fingers in tact.