Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wibbly Wobbly Walking Tiny Teddy Bear

My recent post What Christmas Means For Our Family, only written a couple of days ago tells of Rupert learning to walk and, taking odd steps unassisted here and there. 
Well yesterday the little guy walked! Not just 1 or 2 steps but he was walking short distances across the lounge room unassisted. Matty and I were very excited to watch Rupert wobble along on his own two feet. I was so excited that even after we put him down for bed, I wanted to wake him to experience the thrill all over again. 
This morning I was concerned he may have forgotten his triumph of the night before but it was not so, much to my joy. So here we have a [nearly] 10 mo (who looks more like a 6mo, hence why I refer to him as our 'tiny teddy bear') wobbling around the home.

Now, an update on the Christmas baking which I am having oh so much fun with!
Earlier this week I made my first Christmas Cake and it does look great but... I don't eat fruit cake and I can't stand the smell of it! I figured I needed to do it once in my life, and well, hubby can spend the next 6 months getting through it.
It's not particularly Christmas-sy but it did taste great so I'll give it a mention. On Monday I made a Chocolate Walnut slice in my new Tupperware silicone form and it tasted GREAT! I've never really been into making slices as they seem to be somewhat fiddly when moving from the tin to the container. With the silicone form I don't even have to cut the slice prior to moving it! I thought it was great. 
On Wednesday I spent the afternoon with my 2 sister in-laws decorating gingerbread houses and a gingerbread train. I felt like I was cheating myself a little as I have previously made and shaped the gingerbread from scratch but, this year I was not in the mood for 'complicated' and really only wanted to participate in the decorating side of things. We bought the gingerbread house and train kits from Coles and... well... they don't taste nearly as good as our homemade gingerbread but, they did look FABULOUS! 

To talk about something that does taste great would be to tell you that today I have made the first Pavlova for the year. Its actually still in the oven but looks to be doing great and the batter tasted amazing. I love making pavs and it was something I did a bit of when growing up in NSW. However, since living in Darwin I only ever make a pav at Christmas time (whats Christmas without a pav?). The humid weather here in Darwin is too often the cause of many flopped or flat pavlovas. Last year I made 2 successfully which I believe was the result of trying a different recipe, and maybe not cooking on an extremely warm and humid day. If you get the pavlova blues then maybe give this recipe a go. 

Marshmallow Pavlova

Taken from Women's Weekly Classic Cooking cookbook.

4 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp white vinegar
300 ml thickened cream, whipped
Fruit for topping

1 Preheat oven to 120c/100c fan-forced. Line oven tray with foil; grease foil, dust with cornflour, shake away excess. Mark 18cm-circle on foil
2 Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form; gradually add sugar, beating until sugar dissolves, Add extract and vinegar; beat until combined. 
3 Spread meringue into circle on foil, building up at the side to 8 cm in height. Smooth side and top of pavlova gently. Using spatula blade, mark decorative grooves around side of pavlova; smooth top again.
4 Bake pavlova about 1 1/2 hrs. Turn oven off; cool pavlova in oven with door ajar.

5 Cut around top edge of pavlova (the crisp meringue top will fall on top of the marshmallow centre . Serve pavlova topped with whipped cream, and desired fruit.

1 of 2 last years pav using the recipes 'marshmallow' design. Excuse the over-whipped cream!
2 of 2 last years pav, using my usual traditional design.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What Christmas Means for Our Family

I am finally back again with another post!
Life has felt somewhat busy with this and that and the little things we call 'living life'. And although tiresome its also a nice feeling to be experiencing a full life.

Christmas time generally is a busy time of year but I'm determined to never make it a stressful time. 
This year is Rupert's first Christmas and it comes with a lot of thought on how we, as a family, are going to celebrate it. For a period of five years when I was growing up we didn't have Christmas, not only because of the pagan roots but mainly because it was a financial strain on my mother. However, we never went without and as we needed things those needs were met and, when mum felt it on her heart to give us a gift she did so without waiting till December 25th. 
My lovely gingerbread house made today.
I do love the pre Christmas festivities though and, I do believe we can celebrate with the true meaning of Christ. We have a small Christmas tree and we buy gifts for family but it'll never be an event that causes financial stress. I also don't like to buy 'just because' but it is nice to 'give' so, I always try to look for gifts that the receiver will either like or find useful. For friends I like to send out greeting cards as a reminder that they are special to our family and also thought of by us. I generally only buy gifts for friends if I feel God is leading me to buy something in particular for them (and this shouldn't be something that only applies to Christmas day). But as Christmas for us is primarily a time for giving I still like to give and that is why I buy "Gifts of Compassion" from Compassion Australia. Basically, we donate say  for example $15 for a family overseas to have a pair of chickens and we in return receive a card to give to someone which represents that, our gift to them was a gift to help someone in need. 
I also love participating in the Operation Christmas Child cause and, it's a great project for the children to participate in and to become aware of other boys and girls living in poverty abroad. We would like Rupert to grow up knowing he is very blessed and that he too can bless others in need. Christmas is not a time of year where our children will be overindulged and bribed to be good. It will be a time to reflect on what God has blessed us with and a time to bless others. Having said all that we will be buying minimal gifts for our children and we have contemplated to what extent we'll do this. 
Earlier this year when Target had a huge toy sale I bought a Fisher Price walker for $50, and this will be our gift to Rupert this Christmas. 
Then there's Santa Clause. Hmmm tough one. We don't have a huge issue with Santa so long as we teach our children that Christmas isn't all about Santa but it's about Christ and, we'll teach Rupert the story of St. Nicholas. We'll let Rupert believe in Santa but we won't lie to him either and we'll make sure that Christmas isn't all about Santa bringing him many gifts. 

Anyway enough of the Christmas talk, just thought I'd share our thoughts and plans. It's something that hasn't been given much thought until now and since having children. 

Onto an update on our precious Rupert bear! Rupert is a very active 9mo and has began taking his first steps walking unassisted. It hasn't been consistent but I'm sure it will become second nature any day now. It's very exciting!
I'm now almost 21 weeks pregnant with our new wee bub and that too is very exciting. We visited our obstetrician  on Friday and although bub is healthy and developing well it is very small. This wasn't any surprise as I was looking very small and hardly pregnant (not so this last week) but will Lord willing be of no concern for the rest of pregnancy. 

Matty has been very busy with work which included a week away in Melbourne. He is looking forward to the Christmas break where he'll have nearly 3 weeks off work. 

And... I'm going to sign off now!

love love love xxx