Saturday, January 1, 2011

Delights of Christmas 2010

'Our God reigns - it may be raining on Christmas Day but the Son is shining brightly today'. This was my Facebook status for Christmas Day. Rather than complaining about the weather, I resolved to be thankful and to enjoy this very special day at home with the people that God has blessed me with - my family. A special day deserves a special table. I ironed my new tablecloth and relished every moment of setting it beautifully.

A last moment of inspiration to set out a favourite French style metalwork tray for a centrepiece arrangement that took less than 10 minutes to create - I call these my 'trim, toss and tuck' arrangements. So simple to create for any occasion - no trips to the florist needed, just use whatever you have to hand! Walk in the garden. Look in the pantry, the fridge, the fruit bowl!
Step 1. Trim some greenery.
Step 2. Place your candles on a shallow decorative tray or bowl and toss in some tiny pine cones and fruit. I was able to use summer fruit - rosy red nectarines.
Step 3. Tuck some greenery into the gaps. I also added on each corner my 'final four' succulent candles which I dare not light until I find some to replace them - have been to every discount store in town searching for more!

I found matching tea light holders for my wine glasses at a local discount store - $2.95 each!

My place setting and my favourite bon bon - I couldn't bear to pull it! It is now gracing the top of the piano. I will untie the end and remove the chocolates to enjoy with a coffee one evening this week. The children of course, delighted in pulling their crackers - they were all covered in glitter from the paper I had used - next year it is a return to all 'crackers in crepe'.

It felt like fine dining this year at our house as we also enjoyed entrees! Another last minute inspiration. We usually sit down to a Christmas lunch around 2pm but with a husband saying he was hungry at midday I had to whip up something - totally last minute using what I had plenty of - eggs to make mini quiches. Eggs, cottage cheese and fruit chutney are the ingredients sprinkled with Parmesan and a topping of cheddar. The garnish is Lebanese cress - which grows in a big pot outside my kitchen door, a plant I am singing the praises of - more of that in a future post. And our second entree - gourmet wafers, sun dried tomatoes and smoked salmon, courtesy of Aldi! The cucumbers courtesy of the neighbour.

We dropped off a jar of my 'Holiday muesli' (I will share my recipe in 2011!) to the neighbours who grow the most amazing bio-dynamic produce in their front yard. A last minute gift made on Christmas Eve! Last minute doesn't have to be racing to the store for a box of chocolates or a tin of biscuits - last minute can be thoughtful, hand made, frugal but fancy and once again, using what you have on hand - ingredients from the pantry, fabric scraps, ribbon and recycled trims from last year's crackers.

December is a month for celebrations. Lots of birthdays and a wedding anniversary. I'm sure you are not surprised that I chose the Christmas season for my wedding day 21 years ago!
So many pictures I could share but first birthdays are always special so I'm sharing this picture today - he was born three days before Christmas one year ago. I brought him home on Christmas Eve. He has been such a blessing to our family. We love him and we call him the 'Vroom Vroom boy'. He loves cars, anything with wheels and is always saying 'vroom vroom'. He also discovered the delights of pulling the bead garlands off the tree and rolling baubles across the floor - which is why they are plastic and not the vintage glass ones I dream of owning!

You can imagine his excitement when he saw this for the first time! It even has a number 1 on the side - the perfect gift for the vroom vroom boy on his first birthday. The teenage son is asking why he didn't have a ride-on car like this. Those were the days when we didn't think twice about buying cheap plastic toys. Now we give more consideration to quality and durability. I hope to keep this car for my grandchildren one day, therefore - no riding outside and the twins are banned from it! This beauty came from Vision Forum in the States. At the time it was on sale at fifty per cent off, the Australian dollar had reached parity with the US dollar. I saw a smaller version in a store here at a much higher price.

His feet don't quite touch the ground yet so he needs volunteers to push him around at the moment. In a few short months he will be racing through the house on our miles of tiles - another reason for it remaining an inside car!

I want to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very happy New Year. And to say thank you to the friends who were so thoughtful to send gifts - Kylie from 'abiteofcountrycupcakes' sent me a lovely little koala ornament for my tree and these sweet festive chocolates - they look good enough to eat don't they? The children were almost fooled. You can see more of Kylie's amazing faux creations at her blog.

I felt so blessed by my friend Carrie at Farming on Faith who made me a very special glass pendant. I haven't had a chance to take a photo yet but I will and feature it again at my blog in its own dedicated post but I needed to say thank you now. There are so many creative people in blogland and I am in awe at the diversity of giftings that God has bestowed upon us. Each different, each unique. It has been an honour to read your stories, to be inspired by your creativity that you all share so freely and it makes my heart glad when I realize how many women are truly dedicated to their families who do as the Proverbs 31 wife does and 'watch over the affairs of their households and do not eat the bread of idleness.' Your children will arise and call you blessed, your husband also and he will praise you.

And that is my prayer for myself and my focus for the year ahead - to watch over the affairs of my household. To be a faithful steward not just of the physical gifts I have been given - a home, a garden, health and finances but of the children I have been blessed with to raise. They are my most precious gifts. I hope you will continue to accompany me on my journey at eightacresofeden in 2011 as I with God's help and by His grace and Favour raise this family and share with you from my heart the challenges and the delights along the way.

Please take time today to remember to pray for the families in this country, particularly in Queensland who have been affected by the devastating floods. Its on a huge scale - this is such a vast country. This year we have had lots of rain but not experienced a flood which is a common occurrence in this region - we have been cut off in the past for several days. A temporary inconvenience. My house is on a hill so we will never have to experience the water coming into our home or be evacuated - this is how some families have started the year. Keep them in your thoughts.

With Love and Joy,


Suzanne said...

Ann, everything looks absolutely lovely! I remember when you had the little fella--one already!!! Happy New Year to you and yours and yes, I will pray for those in your country experiencing hard times because of the flooding.

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Ann your Christnmas and Birthday celebrations look and sound so special!
I am amzed your little man is 1~aLREADY!
Love the table centrepiece....and the green accent glassware!

SF said...

Your sweet little boy has grown up so much!! :) He is so beautiful. I remember spending many weeks in early December praying for you leading up to his birth.
Your home is beautiful Ann. It's a joy to know you. :) xx

Farming On Faith said...

I so enjoyed your post. Your table was just beautiful. I am so jealous of your warm weather. We are freezing right now.
You boy is such a doll and so big. My oh my where has this year gone.
You too have been such a huge blessing to me. I look forward to sharing the New Year with you in our little blog world. I will send an email to you soon! Boy ~ do I have a story to tell you!
Talk with you soon!

Fruitful Harvest said...

Merry Christmas Ann~
WOW your table decorations are stunning!!!!!
The center piece and green glasses make my heart skip a beat! Well done! The mix of fruit and pine cones works so well together.....and the chicks and hens :) sigh!

Your little food models are getting so big!
And the baby....did he have a birthday in Dec.?

I pray you all had a very Merry Christmas and that the new year brings you much Joy~

Peace and Prayers,

Camille said...

What a lovely post Ann! How beautiful your table looked! And what creative ideas you have. Those crackers are so pretty.

My Dad was born on the 22nd of December as well...what a special little boy you have to be born so near to CHRISTmas. I think the little car you got for him is adorable. :)

Many blessings to you and your family for 2011.
In Him,

Homeschool on the Croft said...

Ann, I am soooo glad you stopped over at my blog, and allowed me to 'meet' you. I'm loving your blog and will certainly follow you. 'Carrie at Farming on Faith' is already a friend, 'Hi Carrie!'. Your family is adorable - what blessings. I'm really looking forward to getting to know you better. And to hearing of the Lewis connection! Love, Anne x

Lady Kara said...

Hi Ann,

Absolutely breathtaking! You have such a flair for decorating. The trays and platters are marvelous.

It's amazing how children grow in the blink of an eye, isn't it?

I hope your holidays were enjoyable. God bless!

Lady Kara


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