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Tag Archives: celebrating

  1. Theme Night Inspiration

    Ooo, just came across this wonderful site, Hostess with the Mostess. So much inspiration for dinner parties. I get really nervous about entertaining for outsiders, but I love putting together a theme night when it’s just family. Below are a few of my favourites that I’ve gotten around to uploading:

    Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010

    Beijing Summer Olympics 2008

    Il Gato’s Italian Night

    Posted in Cooking, Creative, Inspired, Photographing.

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  2. Tales of Christmas

    It was hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit again this year. It’s just too hot to feel like going through all the trappings of the season.

    Instead of hauling out the tree, I ended up buying a couple bunches of arborvitae branches, and put them in a vase with some red pom-pon looking dries flowers. Decorations = complete! All the gift bags from America fit underneath.

    Christmas Loot Christmas Table
    A couple days before Christmas I raided the 50%-off holiday bins at Spotlight, Australia’s equivalent for Michael’s. I came home with some placemats and “peace” candles.

    Table Candles
    I didn’t feel like doing our traditional Christmas Eve dinner, because it was too hot to have the oven on all day. So we opted for a fresh broccoli salad and risotto with mushrooms and peas.

    Christmas Dinner
    It was lovely. Gift highlights include a sparkley ring and earrings, lots of goodies from Anthropologie from the US givers, and the parasol of my dreams. ♥

    Posted in Cooking.

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  3. My Mexican Valentine

    I’m not really one to need a big Valentine’s to-do. But we’ve been throwing around the idea of hitting our favourite (and, in my book, the ONLY proper…) Mexican Restaurant in Brisbane for Valentine’s Day.

    Then today, I came across this recipe for Mexican Chocolate Pots de Crème, and I think we have ourselves a Valentine’s dessert. MMMM!

    Posted in Cooking.

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  4. It’s New

    And here we have 2009. We welcomed it in a very low-key manor at the sibling-in-laws. After several energetic rounds of Wii tennis, we settled in to play Little Big Planet until someone mentioned that we should check the time. We watched the last 15 minutes of the various (lame) shows until fireworks time.

    I have lived in four states, and I don’t remember fireworks being part of the NYE tradition in the US. Not even city organized ones, much less half the neighbourhood setting off their own stash of contraband. Maybe it’s because of the snow.

    So we watched the fireworks on tv, and then went outside to try see what the neighbors were doing. We heard more than we saw. And then we promptly went to bed. The end.

    ** Get LittleBigPlanet 2 at Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  5. This is Your Birthday Song / It isn’t Very Long

    Hubby is the magic number today. We woke up and opened presents in bed. Then we raced to get ready so we could play Little Big Planet before work. (He has rehearsal tonight. I don’t. Hehe!)

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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    Just saw that the baby has arrived! So happy for you both. (Though Hubby probably won’t be happy to hear about the difficult labour. He’s a lot cluckier than I am, and he likes me to believe it’s all a piece of cake.)

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  7. Australia Day Today

    I asked around about the significance of Australia Day, but no one could give me an answer without googling. It’s the anniversary of the first European settlement here, and I only knew that because I’m re-reading Bill Bryson’s Down Under. (I am finding it infinitely more hilarious now than when I first read it six years ago when it was called In a Sunburned Country
    (American Version). Any expats here who haven’t read it, really should. The first chapter is online.)

    As far as traditions, it seems to be all about the Aussie concept of the barbecue and also listening to Triple J’s Hottest 100, though there apparently are fireworks for those interested.

    So we’re going into the valley in a couple hours. Hans and the guys have a show… at 4:00 of all times… and then we’ll probably just make our way home, unless someone really tries to convince us to go to the free Josh Pyke concert.

    ** Celebrate Australia Day by watching Australia, available at Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  8. Happy New Year!

    No 2007 post retrospective here.
    Been sick and been busy, but just wanted to wish everyone a happy new year.
    Resolutions and all that forthcoming.
    Life’s gonna be great in 2008…

    **Get U2’s New Year’s Day MP3 at Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  9. And a Pinch to Grow an Inch

    I was okay with “30”, but “31” sounds so old.

    Yesterday was lovely. Perfect weather. Wonderful husband to wait on me. Spoke to the fam having their Christmas Eve celebration. Got to catch up with Tash. Texts and emails from all over the globe — our friend is somewhere between Paris & London on holiday and bothered to send a message. Had our champers with wild hibiscus flowers. Played Call of Duty 4 with Dan & Lis all evening. Good day! I am very spoiled.

    Succumbing to Commercialism
    I know Christmas is absolutely not all about the presents… but… my favourites were a gift certificate to get a couple of our wedding photos (particularly this one and this one) printed on canvas. Yeah, that brought me to tears. And then for my birthday I got a mirror for my hallway, some flower pots and the Time Team Dvds.

    What did you get?

    ** Celebrate with Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup from Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  10. On the Third Day of Christmas [Holidays]…

    Well today things are better… mostly. Yesterday I woke up with a 24-hour flu bug or something, but it wasn’t pretty. I was finally able to sit upright and had some mashed potatoes around 5:00.

    So today the house isn’t immaculate and the motivation to cook a feast is barely there, but I don’t even care anymore. Hubby was starting to feel a little blergy this morning, so I think the goal is just to stay well and not worry about the rest.

    Decorative Ideas
    For next year from Sunset Magazine:
    Decorate with Winter Greens
    Fragrant Fir Snowflakes
    Festive Berries
    Tabletop Floral Trees

    ** You can subscribe to Sunset Magazine at Amazon.

    Posted in Creative, Inspired, Nothing in Particular.

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  11. Christmas Tags

    I got tagged by Tommy. He tags me now and then, and while I always have the best of intentions, I seem to be pretty slack about following through on the actually posting. Be sure to read his answers — but wait until after you’ve read mine, because he’s funnier than I am.

    1) Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
    2) Share Christmas facts about yourself.
    3) Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
    4) Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

    1. Wrapping or gift bags? Wrapping. I love making pretty packages. (I just remembered one year the college group from church was having a Christmas party, and everyone was meant to bring a white elephant gift that was less than $5 or something like that. I took great care in wrapping mine — a mixture of a couple of different natural papers, raffia and hemp ribbons, the works. It looked good and was the first one picked and was fought over. The final present stealer opened it only to find a can of spam. Loved it!)

    2. Real or artificial tree? I don’t even think that real trees are an option here. I have never seen them advertised. I think some people might have an evergreen in a pot (but really, aren’t all trees here “ever green”?) that they might bring inside. I have my baby bunya that I haven’t killed yet, but it’s not strong enough to hold decorations, so I put a few baubles around the base.

    But yeah, we also have the artificial tree, as seen here as I can’t be bothered to repost.

    3. When do you put up the tree? Tradition dictates the day after Thanksgiving, but neither of those days were holidays here. I didn’t really have myself organized or in the mood to do it that weekend. Might have been a smidge depressed about being half a world away from my family. I think we finally got the tree up on the 1st.

    4. When do you take the tree down? Whenever we can get up the energy to do so, but definitely before the end of January.

    5. Do you like eggnog? I can’t remember the last time I had eggnog. I feel like I remember my dad making it when I was a child, but I have no real recollection of the taste nor consistency.

    6. Favorite gift received as a child? My doll Amy

    7. Do you have a nativity scene? We don’t have any spare surface area at the moment. My mom still puts out the one that my sister made in Bible school ages ago. I think that’s cute.

    8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? It must have been the Christmas that I turned four. My grandparents gave me a set of firetrucks. Firetrucks! Granted my grandfather and dad are both firemen, but the reasoning was because they thought we needed some boyish toys in the house. A month and a bit later my brother came along. I blame him.

    9. Mail or email Christmas cards? Ugh. I think I’m going to do a New-Year’s letter instead. And it will most likely be emailed unless I pare my list down quite a bit with postage being $1.30/per for a card that people are going to throw away in a week anyway.

    Though I must say, we have gotten probably six or seven Christmas letters/pictures from friends and family this year — all from America. It’s just not something they do here.

    10. Favorite Christmas movie? Probably A Christmas Story. I’m going to miss TBS’s marathon. Oh, and I’ve never seen It’s a Wonderful Life nor Miracle on 34th Street, so maybe I just don’t know what the cinematic world has to offer in terms of Christmas movies.

    11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I did really well this year. We got my parents’ presents in Sydney last month. Everything was in the mail to America by the 5th, I think. I was finished with Hubby by the 8th.

    12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My mom’s peanut brittle.

    13. Clear lights or colored? Clear. (Except I got a string of snowflake-shaped lights that turned out to have blue lights in them… what the?)

    14. Favorite Christmas song? “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

    15. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? Stay here… *sniff*

    16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Were there nine? If so, yes.

    17. Angel or star on the top of your tree? I had a leftover silver bow that ended up getting chucked up there. I think my homemade fascinator from Melbourne Cup Day has also made it to the tree.

    18. Open your presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Christmas Eve. Christmas morning we’re opening my birthday presents.

    19. Most annoying thing about this time of year? That there is no

    20. What do you leave for Santa? Nothing. My parents never tried to perpetuate that myth.

    21. Least favorite holiday song? “Santa Baby”… eww, eww, eww.

    22. Do you decorate your tree with any specific theme or color? At the moment it’s purple, lime green, & silver.

    23. Favorite ornament? All of them. Hubby bought the tree and the baubles as part of my getting-engaged scavenger hunt. I had just returned from New Zealand and found the tree upstairs waiting for me… and later I found him in the park waiting for me with a ring.

    As for tagging others… nobody ever does it… so if you want to do it, please leave me a comment so I can go read your answers!

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  12. More Christmas Whinging

    It’s the heat. Christmas is not supposed to be hot. “Christmas in July” is a cute little way to rouse up sales in American summer, but seriously think about moving all your Christmas traditions to the hottest time of the year.

    What I have always loved about the holidays is the coziness of it all. Curling up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket watching movies with Dad. Spending all day in the kitchen cooking with Mom and sipping apple cider when there is a break. Watching the snow fall around the street lights, and maybe tossing a handful at a sibling.

    Now I’m trying to figure out how to keep my chocolate from melting. The last thing I want to do is turn on the oven for any reason to contribute to the heat. Even candles add to the sizzle. (But I’m going to be burning my pine-smelling candle anyway.)

    All this to say that I decided if I can’t be IN the cold, at least I can make it LOOK like I am. It started when I found the little stuffed snowman that Chris & Marj gave me during my first Christmas season here when I lived with them.

    Then I saw these:
    ♥ Yarn snowballs… cutest photo foundhere. (She also made the cutest bag out of an old suit jacket, and I’m totally stealing that idea.)
    ♥ Here is a different take on that idea here with yarn ornaments. Not nearly as cute, but I like the idea of hanging them too. (Will have to check out the rest of that Simply Green site for lots of reuse/recycle ideas.)
    ♥ We’ve all made paper snowflakes before, but I’ve never seen any like these. I might have a play with some of my scrapbooking paper this afternoon and try those.

    Without a Michael’s or Hobby Lobby within a gazillion miles (*sigh*), I had to run to the cheapie shop up the street where I did find styrofoam balls and then raided MIL’s yarn stash. The fuzziest white I could find was of the “feather” variety, which is apparently the bane of knitters everywhere. But it worked out sufficiently for this year.

    (Hastily snapped photo this morning.)

    The final display isn’t done. Made a couple non-trad coloured snowballs to match the baubles on the tree, but they may go. Had a long string of giant faux-pearls, but they look more like hailstones. 🙂

    Posted in Crafting, Creative, Inspired.

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  13. Decking the Halls

    We decked the halls literally with boughs of holly this year.

    I used pipe cleaners and red jingle bells to make the berries.

    We got the holly branches and some pine branches at the markets. Why are all the “Christmas-y” plants the ones that can poke and jab you to death? I should have dug out my gardening gloves!

    The inspiration to actually put up the tree and get into the holiday spirit was two boxes that arrived in the mail from America chockablock with pressies. (Australian for “full of presents”.)

    Family picture…

    And since I’m posting photos, this is the one that was in the paper the other day. Page 2.

    Culture Shocked & Homesick
    I had a really weepy Saturday. We were at the markets, and a mentally handicapped young man, maybe 22 or 23 years old, sat down at our table with us. He gingerly held his basketball and bottle of orange soda. Just the way that he acted made the tears well up as it reminded me so much of when my brother was coming out of his coma almost three years ago.

    And then there was getting ready for Christmas knowing that I’ll be here and my family will be there and that is that. I don’t see how it will ever feel normal, at this point… but maybe it takes a few years. This is only my second since we went back last year.

    Saturday night Hans ordered pizza so we wouldn’t have to cook, and we curled up on the couch to watch Glory. It was a perfectly good excuse to have a little cry.

    Posted in Creative, Nothing in Particular, Photographing.

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  14. Happy Horse Races

    It’s Melbourne Cup day. (Once again for the Americans, that’s basically the equivalent to the Kentucky Derby except that everybody seems to care.)

    So far today we’ve walked up the street for coffees since our machine here is broken. One of the girls and I stopped at the wedding stationary shop to pick up some sparkley thing to make our own $5 fascinators.

    We’re doing a bit of work at the moment. Well sorta.

    And then we’re going out for lunch and watching the race this afternoon. Good times.

    ** Look for your race-day fascinators at Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  15. Linky Links

    Sunset Magazine: I happened upon this one the other day, and I’d like to dive in further. Articles of note:

    Posted in Inspired.

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