EASY PEASY DESSERT – BAKED PEACHES

Before Summer is completely over, I thought I’d share this deliciously easy dessert with you…


Simply cut your peaches in half, taking out the stones.  
Place the peaches on to a baking tray and cover liberally in brown sugar.


Then pop them in a 220 C (428 F) oven for about 20 mins 
or until the sugar is melted and the peaches have softened.

Enjoy with icecream or cream!


Do you love summer fruits?  

Do you have any great summer fruit recipes?

For some more easy peasy desserts head over to the FGB easy recipes page.

First Day of Kinder…

Today little Frog finally got to start kinder!
I cannot believe that it was a whole year ago that her big brother started kinder.  

Frog has been so keen for so long and now she finally gets to go all on her very own.  

They’ve had a bit of slow & staggered start and then she had gastro the night before her first full day, much to her devastation, then school sores before the next one!  She has been so desperate to go that she’s been packing her own backpack, with hat, snack & water bottle, just to drop her big brother off at his kinder.*

The same backpack that her big sister used 5 years earlier, that is way too big for her but she insists on having.  This child is hilarious.  She is so independent and so full of character.  She does not stop talking for most of the day, decides her own fashion and insists on doing almost everything all by herself.

My little girl (“I’m not little Mummy, I’m big!”) is growing up so quickly and I can’t quite believe that she’s a kinder girl already.  I’m loving this age (I think I say that every year!)

* Frog is in 3 year old kinder and Bear is in 4 year old kinder.  Yes, I will practically live there this year!  That’s what you get for having children only 15 months apart!

A QUOTE…

Did I say I’d be back in mid Jan…. I meant early Feb…..
Apologies for extended break in transmission.

As a teenager, I collected quotes.  I had a small bound notebook that I had purchased while travelling in Nepal when I was 15.  In this notebook I wrote snippets from books I was reading, quotes from cards, posters, bookmarks and any other words that resonated with me at the time.  This notebook expanded into 2 or 3 notebooks.  I stopped filling the books some time in my early twenties, but every now and then I still like to collect the odd quote or two to inspire and remind.  I have a particular favourite on my fridge at the moment.


My mother is a quote collector.  Quotes on inner beauty by the bathroom mirror were not unusual. I found this quote on her kitchen bench when last at her house.  I had come across it before, but not in it’s entirety.  It is just what I need to hear at the moment.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 


(Although often attributed to Nelson Mandela, this quote can be found in A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”, Marianne Williamson, Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3])

Each year I like to have a word to describe the year to come.  Two years ago, it was the year of ‘me’, last year the word was ‘survival’ and this year was going to be the year to find  ‘balance’.  I’m certainly more on track with feeling balanced this year and I was all set to join in Maxabella’s ‘one word for 2012′ meme earlier on in the year, but the word just didn’t feel right.  I read this great post about the myth of balance and realised why I hadn’t been comfortable with it.  So this year is going to be my year of allowing myself to overcome my fears and to shine and to explore even more of my creative side.

I’ve recently started up quote collecting again via pinterest

Do you collect quotes?  What is your current favourite?
What does the year ahead hold for you?

MERRY CHRISTMAS

In the words of my gorgeous eldest daughter…
“Merry Christmas Everyone!  And a Happy New Year!”

I thought I’d leave you on this lovely Christmas morning with some images of some Christmas creativity…

This gorgeous gingerbread house was constructed by my children and their Granny while Mr FGB and I had our weekend away
Mum has been making a gingerbread houses every year since I was a child.  It was always one of my favourite traditions.
  
As there were 3 of us we would each get either the roof, the front/back or the sides of the house to decorate.  Granny did the same with my three.  
Can you tell who did which parts?


I’ll be taking a little bloggy break for a couple of weeks as we go camping along the SA coast.  I’ll be back sometime in January with some posts about Goose’s 8th birthday party which is coming around in a few short weeks!  

See you next year, my friends!

DIY CHRISTMAS WREATH

As Goose and I snuck down the street to pinch some pine leaves* to embelish our pressies, she asked if we could make a wreath for our door.


I had been secretly wanting one myself, and had never made one before, so we set to work and in about 5 mins we had ourselves a wreath.  


We grabbed a wire coat hanger from the cupboard and pulled it out to make a circle shape.  You can probably just make out the hook of the coat hanger in the photo above.  Then we tied some pine branches on with some string and covered the string with some little red baubles (which are attached to wire) leftover from last years bon bons.

We added a little clay bird decoration that we nabbed from the Christmas tree.

  

Then posed for photos!

Maybe a little late with Christmas only being 2 more sleeps away, but it’s pretty gorgeous (both the wreath and the child;) if I do say so myself!  In the above photo, Goose is holding some secret pressies that we made for her aunt’s and uncles today.  I will post them tomorrow afternoon, as they are great last minute gift ideas, as I know that my family all read my blog!

Linking this post with Skip to my Lou’s Made by you Mondays.

*  Just in case you were wondering… the trees are on the street, not in someone’s yard.

REINDEERS & CHRISTMAS CRAFT

Now that the gifts for teachers, classmates & neighbours, kriskringles & ‘plates’ for 1001 Christmas parties, breakups & end of year celebrations are (almost) done and dusted and kinder, playgroup, swimming lessons, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. are all over for the year, I can finally start doing the Christmas shopping…we’ve still got another 5 days haven’t we?!

I love all of the craft at Christmas – there are so many reasons to get crafty!

Along with many in blogland, reindeer food for kinder friends and Reindeer noses for school friends are all made and delivered.  Head here for last year’s reindeer food.  This year, I used this free printable for the reindeer food (there’s other cute ones here & here) and this printable for the reindeer noses.  You could use some gorgeous free ones here & here.  

Now I’m off to make cupcakes for Goose’s class Christmas party tomorrow.  Don’t you love it when the teacher sends a note home with all of the food they would like at the party with it already allocated.  Everyone else gets the ‘packet of chips’, ‘popcorn’, ‘dip & biscuits’ and I get ‘small cakes’.  Actually, I do love it!  Any excuse. I’d much rather be making cupcakes than folding the ever rotating gigantic pile of washing!

Do you go crazy with Christmas craft, like me? 

PRINTABLE CHRISTMAS… nativity style!

Sometimes I find it easy to loose sight of why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

Here is a list of printables that I have come across that highlight the very first Christmas.  I think it’s great for the kids to know the history and significance of why we do things and how traditions come about.  

Cute little printable nativity dolls (above)
you can print on magnetic paper and use on fridge or as a car activity on a metal tray

Anna’s cute printable angels
to use as bookmarks, gift tags or Christmas tree decos


Nativity Christmas Tree Decos


‘Silent Night’ Printable Collection 
inc. menu, gift tags, invites, table decor, gift boxes & more


Print & build a Nativity Scene hereherehere & here


Nativity Scene Kids Activity
with Paddle Pop Sticks & free printable


Nativity Finger Puppets


Not a printable, but check out this edible baby Jesus you could make with your kids or this edible nativity scene!

For the Printable Christmas List that I compiled last year (not just nativity), which will still be relevant, head over here. They’re perfect for a last minute spruce up of a gift or a table or a tree without having to head to the shops.

EASY PEASY CHOCOLATE DESSERT (with chocolate melting tip!)

I seem to have melted lots of chocolate lately.  I have melted it to make fairy wands & marshmallow teacups for birthday parties, chocolate christmas puddings, christmas bark and the odd bowl of chocolate fondue….


To make simple & basic chocolate fondue you just
 melt 250g of milk chocolate (using the method below)and then stir in 1/3 cup of cream.  

You don’t need a special fondue set, any old bowl will work perfectly well.  Using forks you can dip anything you like in the chocolate.  Grissini bread sticks work beautifully, as does fruit or marshmallows.

So decadent and soooo yummy.  Lots of fun for kids too!


Now, here is the promised chocolate melting tip….

In the past I have often found melting chocolate a bit of ‘hit & miss’.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.  More often than not it went lumpy.  I could never get it right in the microwave even when others swore by that method.  But, with a bit of trial and error, I have found a foolproof way of melting chocolate perfectly every time.  A method no doubt well known by others, but new to me.

I like to use a double saucepan, but you could use a metal bowl on top of a saucepan.  
It looks like lots of writing, but really it’s 5 quick steps written in bold print.

1. boil water in kettle (or saucepan on stove).
2. pour boiling water from kettle into saucepan until approx. one third full.
(or remove saucepan from heat if you have boiled water on stove) 
3. place top saucepan (or metal bowl) onto bottom saucepan 
(making sure it is no longer on the stove – this is the key people!).
4. Place chocolate into top saucepan (or bowl).
 I like to use melts especially designed for melting.
5. Wait for chocolate to melt.  It will happen slowly….quite a few minutes, but be patient and stir as you go if you like.  You’ll think it is not working, but it is!  

What dishes do you melt chocolate for?

For more easy peasy recipes head over to the FGB easy recipes page here.

DIY FABRIC CHRISTMAS CARDS

Christmas cards finally written & sent.  

This year, I used the same card making method as last year.  Ironing fabric onto card.  Simple, yet stylish I think.  Do you do Christmas cards?  
This year I did a big run and made 50.  I sold most of them at a fundraising market at my friends kids school, which left just enough for me to use myself.  I tend to only send to those who I don’t see regularly and live interstate & overseas and then use a few more to add to a Christmas gift or two.
If you’d like to give this method a try, this is what I do…
FABRIC COVERED CHRISTMAS CARDS

1.  Fold a piece of card* in half.  

2.  Round the corners with the corner punch if you’d like, or just leave it.  Up to you.

3.  Trace around your card using a pen onto Vliesofix giving a border of less than half a cm.  You’ll only need to cover the front of the card, with a few cm overhang on the back of the card.

4.  Cut around your pen mark giving about a centimetre border.

5. Place the Vliesofix onto the wrong side of your fabric, paper side up.  (wrong side to rough side) 

6. Glide iron evenly across the paper side of fabric for approx 10 secs. (longer for thicker fabric) so that they stick together.  Use a dry iron on a low heat setting.

7. Cut fabric to size, along the outlines of the Vliesofix.

8. Allow a bit of time to cool before peeling off paper carefully.

9. Place the folded card on top of the fabric, wrong side of fabric up.  You’ll be able to see the pen marks now ironed on to your fabric so line the card up inside the pen lines.

10. Keeping your card closed, iron the fabric onto the card.  Start by lifting the small bit of fabric over the back and ironing that on first, then turning the card over and doing the front of the card.  Always iron on fabric, never on card.  Make sure it is a dry iron with a low heat setting or the card will warp.

11.  Let it cool down for about 30 secs and check that it sticks really well everywhere.  If it doesn’t – iron some more.

12.  Trim the excess fabric from around the edges with fabric scissors.  Et voila!


*The card needs to be quite thick or the heat of the iron will warp your card.  I use 300gsm and it seems to work well.  You’ll also find that your fabric will adhere better if your card has some kind of texture and is not too smooth.

**Vliesofix is a double sided heat bonding material commonly used in applique.  The brand that I find the easiest to work with when making cards or notebooks is called ‘easyfix’ which I purchase from ebay, but I’m sure you could find it from an online or local fabric store.

Do you make your own Christmas cards?

1/12/12 – tutorial updated.

SNOW GLOBES & CHARITY GIFTS

A very clever friend of mine is running a truckdrive for Christmas!  You can purchase a part of a truck to help alleviate poverty in the highlands of PNG.  Well, it’s not just for Christmas, but a windscreen wiper would make a great Christmas present if you are looking for something a little different this year.  Head over to their website for details!
I’m not a big fan of shopping centres at the best of times.  As I generally have a couple of kids in tow – it’s enough to send me running to the hills.  In fact, it may well be why I’m such a fan of handmade at the moment!

I’m also not a fan of all of the consumerism that comes with Christmas and the purchasing of token presents that in many cases the other person really doesn’t want or need.

That’s why charity gifts are ideal.  You can give a gift to someone who actually needs it on behalf of someone who might enjoy the buzz of helping someone else.

I know of a few family groups who have decided this year, instead of having the usual token kriskringle amongst the adults, to join forces and pool their resources to purchase a cow, a well or even a school!  They are great for teachers gifts also (thanks Sonia)!

This post was not written as a guilt inducer – I love Christmas and all that it entails and I love to give gifts and to receive them!!  

Sometimes it can feel a little boring just giving a charity card so sometimes we add a roll of toilet paper (with a charity gift of a toilet) or some pencils (with a charity gift of school supplies) or a plant/seeds (with a charity gift of tree seedlings).  You could give a toy truck to go with the truckdrive mentioned above. 


This year we made a few snowglobes and put inside toy chickens, lambspigs or goats (to give along with a charity gift of animals).  A fun way for the kids to get involved.  If you’d like to make some, head here for instructions. (They work well for plastic giftcards too!)


Tricia from Little Eco Footprints has written a great little post on a similar vein which also includes a list of different charities you can purchase a Christmas gift through over here.

Do you give charity gifts?  Have you ever received one and felt jibbed?




P.S. If you’d like to combine the two – a gift of a gorgeous handcrafted handbag and also donate to charity at the same time, then head over here!


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