Christmas 2012 was simple and beautiful. Simple because I chose to keep it simple - no new decorations or updated colour schemes as much as I loved the woodland themes that kept popping up on blogs and pinterest that would have been perfect for our home in its forest setting. So once again my tree was decked out in traditional red, green and gold. It was meant to be because someone bought my twins outfits that matched the tree!
My Christmas had to be simple because I have been so busy this past year and especially in the weeks prior to Christmas having set up a business making handcrafted cake stands and soy candles in vintage teacups that took me to markets all over the region. I did not have time or the inclination to spend hours in busy malls so I was glad that we had decided to keep gifts simple. I had bought a few gifts throughout the year for the children - puzzles, books and games. On one of the few occasions that I did venture into Target I found new swimmers and rash vests for the girls discounted by forty percent. This was something they needed and over summer they are spending lots of time in the pool. Even the most humble of gifts brought delight to the faces of children on Christmas morning!
Our beautiful boy celebrated his third birthday just before Christmas. He was thrilled with the big, beautiful quality Tonka fire engine with its moving ladder, bells and whistles. I don't think he minds at all that I found it at a garage sale for just ten dollars - in perfect, as new condition!
He didn't mind at all that his birthday cake was not elaborately decorated and looked nothing like the racing car and 'Lightning McQueen' cakes his sister had shown him on pinterest! He was more impressed with the sparklers I think!
Christmas Dinner was simple and beautiful. Simple because I chose to use what I already owned to set the table which was from the collection of vintage china I have gathered over the past year. All the plates, silver cutlery and table linen were found in garage sales! The cake stands are ones I have made for hiring out. The only new addition to the table was a set of pastel wine goblets and pale blue tumblers - the pale blue tumblers were found at Big W - 12 for $10 and the beautiful goblets were my Christmas gift from my children and were purchased online, days before Christmas. I was so thrilled when they they arrived at the Post Office on Christmas Eve. They made my table look extra special and setting a beautiful table is something I just delight in! And once again, I made the crackers from kits and recycled trims from previous years - mine were assembled on Christmas Eve as I had already made one set for a friend and almost ran out of time to make my own!
We set the tables up outside on the patio under the veranda. Three extra guests joined us - my son's girlfriend, my friend's son from Germany who is staying with us over Christmas and New Year and we managed to persuade a work colleague of my husband to come along who would have spent Christmas Day on his own. Initially, he was reluctant, he didn't want to impose but on Christmas morning we sent him this message - 1PM, Menu : Roast Turkey with pear cider gravy, lemon duck, maple roasted vegetables, spinach and paw paw salad. Dessert - pavlova. He sent a text back immediately 'I'll be there, what can I bring?'
The only menu item that did not eventuate was the spinach and paw paw salad because the spinach wilted in the intense heat of Christmas Day but the turkey which had sat in a brine overnight and then cooked in pear cider was just amazing. The most tender, moist and delicious turkey you could imagine thanks to the brine and the second consecutive year we have enjoyed this on Christmas Day - thanks to Annabel Langbein's fantastic recipes and tips which have made me a better cook.
Pavlova was a must have dessert with having an overseas guest but I confess I did not make my own pavlova base but didn't want to buy one that had preservative in its ingredients. Most supermarket pavlova bases do but Aldi's to my surprise didn't and it was actually very good if not better than the ones I have made in the past. It saved me lots of time this year and all that was needed was to whip up some cream and pile on fresh fruit - simple and beautiful because of the fruit which is in season at Christmas time in Australia - peaches, blueberries, strawberries and mango!
Our Christmas was also beautiful because it was spent in a beautiful place. How blessed I felt as we sat down to dinner at home and looked out over the trees - the green of the forest seemed even more intense on a day filled with radiant sunshine. The cicadas were deafening but this is the sound of summer in Australia!
On Boxing Day we took our guest from Germany out for the day and showed him the World Heritage rainforest that is not too far from where we live. We debated over which waterfall to walk to as we had several we could choose from. We opted for the one which you are able to walk behind! After our walk we had a picnic lunch and met other people we knew who were also showing their family and friends from the city the beautiful corner of the world that we live in!
It has been a simply beautiful Christmas and New Year. We have enjoyed picnics, dinners, movies, church services and outreaches, firework displays, hot days at the beach and cool days at the ice rink. We stayed away from the shopping malls except to buy groceries and essentials. The children and young adults have been bushwalking, surfing, swimming, ice skating and fishing. We have visited our new neighbours on two occasions - just popping in to say hello and spending two to three hours talking with them each time is a good sign that we are going to get along isn't it!
2012 was somewhat of an unexpected journey for me and yes, that is a direct reference to the Hobbit for I tend to identify with Bilbo Baggins for there is nothing I would rather do than stay in my hobbit hole with my pantry, my garden, my china and my doilies. Oh how I loved and laughed out loud at that part of the script in the movie and thought of the ever growing doily mountain in my home which is inevitable if you love vintage tables! And I could just blog about that and be happy but God knocked on my door this year and prompted me to go on a bit of an adventure. I have met a lot of people through starting up a little home based business which took me into the marketplace and the very heart of our community. We have started attending a bigger church which we love and feel very much a part of. The Lord has expanded our horizons, opened many doors and shown us the people around us who need to see and experience this life in Christ that we live as a family where every member loves Jesus and seeks to honour Him in everything that they do. What a joy it has been to welcome so many people into our home over the past few weeks. What a privilege to serve the Lord in this beautiful place where we endeavour with God's help to raise our beautiful children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
And as for 2013 and this blog. I have been seeking the Lord. It takes so much time to blog when your internet connection runs at snails pace. This post took a ridiculous amount of time today because of photos taking forever to upload. I'm still working out how to fit it all in and really appreciated the post by Amy at Homestead Revival on her priorities for 2013. She is so on my page! So like her I will blog when I am able. I will not write guest posts or accept guest posts. Giveaways will be few and far between. Adverts will be unlikely to appear here unless it is my own endorsement for someone or something that I believe will truly be of benefit to others. As Amy stated 'I must be diligent about living it first' and I believe she is right, otherwise our message is empty and hypocritical. The theme of my blog will always be 'Raising beautiful Children in a Beautiful Place' for that is what God has called me to do. I cannot do that from the confines of an office from behind a computer even though my family are just metres away and home during the day - I am drawn away from them into another world when I am online. My blog was always intended to be a family journal but one that would encourage others to cherish and sow into the life of their family and the people around them, so I must return to sowing in order to be able to share with you the harvest to encourage you to be a sower that you may also reap. That is my heartfelt prayer. I invite you to join me on this journey again in 2013 and when I am not here know that I am at work in my eight acres of eden.
May your 2013 be a year when you sow and reap. Your family will grow up before your eyes and if they are still living at home it may only be for a season. It is a year for getting our priorities in order fellow bloggers.
May God bless you and all your beautiful families.