christmas baking

Today I spent the day baking with my mum. For as long as I can remember, my mum has made the most delicious biscuits each christmas. There is her famous almond bread, hazelnut logs, almond crescents and pistachio pears.

As my sisters an I got older, we started to pitch in and began helping out each year. For several years now though, both my sisters have been living in another state, so it’s just mum and I. This year it was I who approached mum to get the day organised.

There is something very special about baking with a mission. Not just baking one cake or a batch of cookies, but to tackle the sum of baked goods we plan each year requires organisation and hard work. For six straight hours we each moved from one task to the next. Grinding, beating, mixing, moulding, baking, dusting, drizzling. Today we barely stopped to eat lunch or have a cup of tea.

The results were worth it.

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Aside from the copious amounts of baked goods I returned home with today, I also left with a great feeling. Mum and I had spent the whole day working, but also chatting and just being together which has been a rare thing this year. We talked about kids, work, health, religion, education, discipline and being women. I’ve suggested we do it more often. We have a lot to talk about.

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post chaos post

Once the day arrived it was a blur of activity for the next week.

We woke on Christmas morning to find our water had been shut off due to a burst water main up the street. Luckily, presents kept the kids too distracted to think about food, while we found creative ways to poach eggs and make coffee.

By lunch time we were packed and ready to head up the coast to see my other family where we spent the next week.

We are happy to be home and looking forward to the year ahead. There are plenty of changes coming for our household – changes at preschool for the kids, retraining for my husband and I will attempt to dive into study for the first time in 10+ years…

twenty fourth

This year I decided it was about time I hosted my parents. Both my sister’s live in another state, so it was just going to be us and them (at seperate occassions) and I thought it was high time.

Tonight we had a lovely dinner with my dad, his wife and their two kids. My fourteen year old brother loves playing with my kids and they had an absolute ball jumping on him most of the night.

Santa’s little helper (me) had done all the wrapping previosly, so santa prep was as simple as putting presents in bags, eating a few biscuits form his plate and a bit of a tidy up.

My mum and her husband will be over in the morning for breakfast which will also be lovely. The kids are at a great age for Christmas. It lets you re-live all those childhood memories.

twenty third

Today we went to visit an old friend I worked with many moons ago. She was like my mum at work at my first teenage retail job which lasted through my university days.

We’ve kept in touch over the years and my mum has become quite good friends with her too.

At this time of year she goes crazy and decorates her house top to toe with Christmas paraphernalia. People I tell can never really understand the extent of it, but here is photographic proof.

She makes the most delightful fruit cake (which usually goes into the amazing wedding cakes she makes) and mini puddings and other sweet treats. She has grandchildren of her own, so my kids always have a great time playing with all her toys and have never actually manages to break any of her amazing decorations (some of which are quite fragile).

It’s hard to believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I’ll be down at the fish markets early (with the crowds I’m sure) to get my good for dinner tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to it.

twenty second

Today was my last day at work for the year and what a relief it is. I’ve had a bad time at work in recent months, and have found it really hard to motivate myself to get out of the rut.

I finished the year off with a(nother) long chat with my manager, and I hope that next year will begin on a positive note. I’m now officially enrolled in a masters program that I think will provide me with the mental stimulation and purpose I’ve been lacking in the latter part of 2011.

We finally got the kids’ santa photos back today – and aren’t they just gorgeous?

We made some last minute rocky road slice this afternoon in preparation for a visit to a Christmas mad friend tomorrow.

Santa’s presents are all wrapped up and ready to go, and it’s almost time to enjoy it all…

twenty first

One more day of work before some time off. I’m looking forward to time away.

I finally got around to wrapping the family gifts tonight, and plan on being Santa’s little helper tomorrow night so I’m not stuck christmas eve frantically wrapping after spending the afternoon entertaining.

This year, I’ve invited both my parents (at different times) to celebrate Christmas at our place. We’re in a new house this year, and it’s definitely an entertaining house.

Now to write a shopping list of non perishable food needed for the weekend’s festivities.

Didn’t I say I was going to bed early again tonight?

twentieth*

A busy day at work and hectic night out left no time for reflection yesterday. Here is the most delightful thing to come out of the day:

Scarlett received a ‘paint your own jewellery box’ as her gift at our get together on the weekend.

I was so proud of what a great job she did and the patience she showed while doing it. She waited for each layer to dry so she could get it looking just right. The concentration and thought displayed on her face during the process was also amazing. Each little dab of paint was place with purpose. Each spoldge of glitter was squirted precisely.

I hope she will look back at it and know what a great effort this was.

*Retrospective post