31 December 2011

This girl







Seriously? This girl. Love her so. She's just too funny.

30 December 2011

The light








This was the light, the dew and the morning beauty. Christmas morning.

29 December 2011

Christmas Eve




On Christmas Eve, we drove down to my Mum's new house, out in country. It is such a beautiful place. The boy began the day at an awful time, 4.50am to be exact. Seriously? So tired. We picked up fresh oysters froma  littel shack beside the creek and decorated Mum's Christmas tree. Again, we went with the "more is more" decorating philosophy and the kids loved it.

They romped around the property, harrassed the cows and spotted the koalas. The kids played with the games I used to play with when I was little.We lit a sweet fire in the old fireplace and relaxed with drinks out the back. We admired the coloured sparkling fairy lights and swatted the mosquitos. We lit the Hannukah candles and shared this with my family.



The kids went off to bed in the same room, for the very first time. It was very sweet. Good night, funny little people.

28 December 2011

The eve of Chrstmas Eve

Friday 23rd December. Itay headed to work for a short day and the kids and I spent a lovely day in our pyjamas at home. The kids wanted to know "where are we going today?" and were hugely disappointed when I said "nowhere". We obviously need to stay home more! We had a slow, gentle home day. The kids played together and alone. I didn't have to break up too many fights. We ate leftovers for lunch, we had a little nap. It was just what we each needed. Time to do not much at all.


Three small balls of playdough - yellow, blue and pink. He started off rolling snakes and cutting shapes.


Then he decided squishing the three colours together was much more fun!


I thought M would go crazy when she saw O had "ruined" the playdough, but instead, she embraced. "Oh, that is beautiful! I'm going to do it too!" And she did. This day just worked. Loved it.

25 December 2011

23 December 2011

And so this is Christmas...

Bringing Christmas in... For quite a few years I haven't enjoyed Christmas so much. It goes back to one Christmas when I was 17, so really, I should get over it. I want to enjoy Christmas. I spoke about our family, that we have two cultures to blend and celebrate and absorb. I want to bring Christmas gently in to our home.

Here are a few ways we have been celebrating Christmas in our house. M began to write Christmas cards for her friends but lost momentum quite quickly. This is probably because she meticulously illustrated each card. They were beautiful but very time consuming! So I finished them off for her. We added some silver Christmas tree cutouts to each card.


A friend from work gave us their old tree. What a beautiful way to receive our new tree - one that has seen many family Christmases before. I love this idea! M so enjoyed decorating the tree, piling every single bauble, doubling up on branches and declaring that "our tree is the most beautful ever!". Oh, I love that. She also made some decorations herself.


M made some little playdough snowmen at Kindy, which are ridiculously cute and simple. Adore them. Aren't they sweet? Such a simple idea but so pretty!


And here she is. She's obsessed with these plastic candy canes. On the tree, off the tree. One dozen candy canes in a little tin bucket. In a Barbie car. On the floor. Back on the tree. Fabulous $2 find!

Getting my bakey crafty on

I just adore the women who care for M and O at Kindy. They're beautiful people who lavish our kids with just the right amount of care and attention. They deserve so much appreciation. I left it to the last minute, but luckily I'd been thinking about end of year gifts for their teachers for a little while now and had a collection of ideas and the items I needed.

I bought some cute Christmas mugs, some clear treat bags and then got my bake on. I made some delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies which are ridiculously good. I filled the mugs with cookies, slipped in a movie voucher and then tied them up in a clear treat bag with red and white twine and a little tag.

I think they look very cute and the movie voucher gives a little added surprise. I hope they enoyed this gift, I loved making them.


I had a few cookies left over, and rather than eat them, I packaged them up for my gorgeous hairdresser. She runs a very successful business from her home and she really does do a great job for such a very reasonable price.

(Oh, and did I mention I had all my hair cut off? It was half way down my back. It's now just touching my shoulders and I have a fringe. Hmm. Love the length, not so keen on the fringe.)

Did you give little gifts to your kids' teachers? What did you do this year?

22 December 2011

Reading right now


With My Body by Nikki Gemmell. I felt very challenged and a bit disturbed by this book. The first few chapters hit home and made me edgy. The rest of the book is quite erotic and surprising. A very, very interesting read. I couldn't put it down, even though it made me feel uncomfortable at times.

Adopting - Parent's Stories edited by Jane Turner-Goldsmith. This book contains so many stories by parents adopting babies and young children, predominantly inter-country adoption. The heart break, the waiting, the adjustment and the love.

What are you reading right now?

21 December 2011

What's for dinner?

Chicken satays w/ peanut sauce, rice and vegetables (we didn't eat this last week so it is on the menu this week!)
Borekas, grated tomato w/ chilli and eggs (This is an Israeli dish, basically puff pastry triangles filled with ricotta and feta, or potato. The hard boiled eggs are cooked at a very low heat overnight in the oven)
Lovely legs (An adapted Jamie Oliver recipe w/ olives, wine, fennel)
Lamb burgers & kumera chips
Nachos
Prawns, caper and chilli w/ spaghetti

And a batch of Spaghetti bolognaise for the freezer - kindy lunches

20 December 2011

Beauty stuff

I don’t often gush over beauty products. Considering I used to work in the industry, I have blocked most of my training out and I just survive on a pretty basic, boring little bag of beauty products. To be honest, I probably need to change this around a little, especially in the make up department.

But I have recently found two products I just love, and I couldn’t help myself. I need to gush.


:: Moisture Therapy Intensive Hand Treatment ::

When M was about 15 months old, I began to get eczema on one of my fingers. It quickly spread all over both hands and became quite painful, my hands swelled up, cut open and it was just plain horrible. I paid too much for naturopathic creams, steroid creams, special lotions and vitamins... I tried so many potions. Some would help for a little while but it always returned with a vengeance.

I spotted this cream in the AVON catalogue and thought I’d try it. It did say “for extra dry skin”, and that sold me. That, and the $2 price tag. Yes, $2. That’s the most I’ve ever paid for it. I have about 10 tubes stashed in my cupboard and then one in every bag, near my bed, in the car and at work. This cream rocks my world hands. It seriously helped fix my hands. The dryness does return when I have had my hands in water too much, when I’ve been cleaning or when I accidentally spill garden fertilizer on my hands, but it helps fix it up in a day or so. Love this cream. Seriously. Love it. Hit your local AVON lady up for it.

:: Covergirl Lash Blast Length mascara ::

I have quite fair eyelashes and I need mascara. I’ve been searching for the perfect one for years. I’ve tried quite a few budget mascaras and I could never just stick to one. I don't spend more than about $15... on anything, really! Recently I’ve had some disasters. I bought a Maybelline Colossal mascara but failed to notice the word “diamond” on the packaging. I loved the volume. However, after months of thinking I had constantly had M’s glitter in my eyes (our house is dusted with glitter from the continual artsy crafting) I finally realised it was the damn mascara. Diamonds = tiny glittery bits. No like. And even more recntly, a mascara purchase quickly hit the bin. I’m not into this clumpy mascara look.

This Lash Blast stuff rocks. It's a simple, straight, clean brush. It coats my lashes evenly. Makes them black. And that is it. That's just what I want.


Do you have any products you just love? Can't do without?

19 December 2011

point + shoot {weekend la la}

Oh, what a weekend. It was hard. Instead of all the fun of friends and a Christmas party, we cancelled our plans and stayed home. The little guy was sick. All three nights of the weekend consisted of wake ups, tears, snot, tissues, medication, me sleeping on a tiny bed with my wiggling, coughing, sneezing, croup coughing two and a half year old.

Saturday was just downright depressing. We were too apathetic to make our own lunch so I drove to the local Sushi Train. It wasn't open. I shed a tear, right there, leaning on the door. It was one of those weekends.

Ugh. Must shake this weekend off! Needless to say, I have very few photos of this weekend.


We did spot this rainbow during dinner on Friday night, before the weekend that was. It's beautiful, and so lovely to look back. Now, to find some serious caffiene to get through this Monday!

Linking up with Lou over at point + shoot.

17 December 2011

Blog loving

There are so many gorgeous blogs out on there on the interwebs. Too many to find, to read and to appreciate, but oh, I love reading the stories and the snippets of lives being lived.

These are just a few of the lovely blogs I have come across lately. I'm sure none of these are "new", but they are new to me.

Tina Grey {dot} Me :: Tina says her blog is a "brain dump". That's kind of what I write about too, and I love the way Tina thinks!
Beautifully Organised :: Just as the title says. Home. Work. Life. Simplified.

Sarah Wilson :: I really only knew Sarah Wilson from her recent stint on Junior Masterchef. It turns out she eats at one one one (darling friends in Byron own this cafe!) and she writes about a sweet life.

Home Life Simplified :: Again, just as the title says. "Get organised, manage your time, and improve your home and family life so that you save money, reduce stress, dump the guilt, and stop feeling overwhelmed."

Under the Sycamore :: Gorogeous photography and personal blog.

MamaJots  :: Beautiful photography, recipes and personal moments, Veronica is amazing. She's on a break at the moment, but trust me, her blog is gorgeous!

Have you found any yummy new blogs recently?

15 December 2011

Family

A couple of months ago, we had the priviledge of meeting up with amazing photographer Rachel Richter. It was a super windy afternoon by the beach and a little colder than we had imagined, but the light was lovely and just look! Rachel caught us in some beautifully sweet, funny moments. Photographs of our family that truly reflect us. Beyond precious. Thank you, Rachel.






14 December 2011

What's for dinner?

This week we're having:

Fish curry
Lamb souvlaki
Nasi Goreng
Pasta w/ a homemade sauce (made and jarred by my amazing friend Laura)
Phad Thai
Bacon & eggs w/ vegetable salad
Chicken satay w/ peanut sauce, rice and steamed vegetables

This week we're trying new new recipes, the fish curry and the souvlaki from the Kylie Kwong book Itay received for a Secret Santa gift at work. We love new recipe books!

What are your favourite cook books? And what is for sinner at your house this week?

Blended cultures, blending traditions

When our children were younger, celebrating Christmas and Hannukah was easy. Now they, well at least M, are beginning to revel in the idea of Christmas, blending our cultures is becoming more difficult. We live in an area and in fact a country where Judaism is definitely a minority. If we lived in Sydney or Melbourne, it might be a little easier to bring some more of Hannukah and the other Jewish holiday traditions in to their lives.

We do celebrate Hannukah at home by lighting the candles for each of the eight nights, enjoying suvganot (Hannukah doughnuts) and we will go to the local Hannukah Fair. But how can that compete with the huge, huge several month long build up to Christmas?

Each year, we aim to celebrate Hannukah seperately to place the focus on that tradition, then Christmas follows. This year is a little harder as Hannukah begins on the 20th December and goes through to the 28th December. I really need some ideas about how to blend these traditions in our family.

I found a couple of interesting articles here and here  is one about celebrity couples blending traditions. I also found an article on Wikipedia here which mentions a new word - Chrismukkah, the blending of Christmas and Hannukah for interfaith households. What the?

We need to find a way that works for us, for our little family. To bring joy and love and warmth in to our house and to place importance on each culture. This year, and each year going forward.

Do you blend traditions in your family, or know someone who does? Do you have any ideas for me?



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13 December 2011

She graduates

Our girl began day care in January 2008. We chose our lovely child care centre because it just felt like the right fit. They suggested placing M in to the baby room for a few months when she first started as she wasn't walking, feeding herself and was still having two sleeps per day. The other centres I had visited and spoken to had all said "she will just learn to fit in with the toddler room routine". It just felt right to have M ease in rather than expect her to fit in to such a foreign routine straight away. It was so hard to do, so I needed it to be as easy as possible.

She hated day care for a very long time. She didn't settle easily. I'm not exaggerating when I say she cried almost every single morning that I took her to kindy. Even though she learned to adore kindy, her friends and her carers, she cried hysterically almost.every.single.morning. She stopped in May this year. Long haul. Phew.

On Friday night, that same girl graduated from kindy. She proudly sang their graduation song, shook hands with the director, smiled and announced she wanted to be a surfer when she grows up.

(Then we discovered for sobbed for about 15 minutes after that very cool moment because our loud cheers and claps frightened her.)

So she heads off to big school next year. My big girl. Happy graduation, sweet girl.

12 December 2011

point + shoot {weekend la la}

Another weekend passes by, with only just a few weeks of the year left. Can you believe it? We had a very quiet couple of days, with my darling Mum visiting us. Saturday morning was humid but raining so we wandered over to the shopping centre and pottered about. I did manage to achieve a few errands and then we wandered home again and all had a little nana nap. Ahh, I love an afternoon nap!

Later, M and I made strawberry and lime granita for the very first time. So easy and so delicious! It wasn't quite hot enough on Saturday for us to truly appreciate the icy, fruity goodness, but something we'll definitely make again through summer.



The boys played a little tennis outside. I just love his look of concentration here!


Then M made soup soup with fern fronds, water and sand. good stuff.



Sunday dawned sunny and blue. The boys headed to the beach while the girl and I glammed up for the last birthday party of the year. It was extremely hot and humid but the Miss Fairy Floss the fairy made it all worthwhile. My girl was in heaven!


She wasn't so well when we arrived home but after a shower and a little rest, she was happy again. I managed to sneak in a quick trip to stock up on books and drinks and then we had a simple picnic dinner on the lounge room floor while a summer storm thundered outside.

So another week begins. How was your weekend?

I'm joining in with point + shoot over with Lou.

11 December 2011

A trip to Europe {via Pinterest}

I was sitting at work last week, doing the stuff I do. Suddenly, the image of a holiday popped in to my head. Not the holiday season. A real holiday. A visit to a new place.

Here are a few photos of simply amazing places I've pinned on Pinterest. A quick trip to Europe, anyone?






1. Cave of Melody, Scotland
2. Lichtenstein Castle, Baden-Wurttemburg, Germany
3. Mineral baths, Terme di Saturnia, Tuscany, Italy
4. Slovenia
5. Stairs above the Sea, Aketx, Basque County, Spain

Each time we visit Itay's family, we say we'll get across to Europe. We haven't yet, but we'll do it one day!

This is the first time I've linked up to Piquing My Pinterest over with Tina Gray {dot} Me. She loves Pinterest too, so I figured I'd join in!



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10 December 2011

Reading right now


Here's my current pile.

Amazing Face by Zoe Foster. I've just begun to flick through this book, which holds "clever beauty tricks, should-own products and spectacularly usreful how-to-do-its" (as stated on the cover!). For a couldn't be bothered, can't remember and have no idea, but feekling really old lately kind of girl, I'm interested. I need help!

The Price of Life by Nigel Brennan, Nicole Bonney and Kellie Brennan. This is the true story of Nigel Brennan's kidnap and ransom in Somalia. An incredibly interesting read, a huge 18 month ordeal for Nigel and his family who worked extremely hard to get him out.

The Spider Goddess by Tara Moss. This is the second Pandora English novel, the first is called The Blood Countess. I haven't read any of Tara's other novels, which (I think?) are more crime based, but I find this series quite sweet. All about an unusual girl in the midst of the Sanguine (vampires) and various undead.

The Creative Habit - Learn it and use it for life by Twyla Tharp with Mark Reiter. I haven't started this one yet but it was recommended by some amazingly creative bloggers so I am looking forward to being inpired.

The Next Always by Nora Roberts. Chic lit queen, Nora Roberts seems to pour out these lovely trilogies and quartets on a regular basis! This is Book One of the Inn at Boonsboro Trilogy. Love it. Love some chick lit and this is a really lovely, feel good read.

Crunch Time - lose weight fast and keep it off by Michelle Bridges. This woman has seriously got it going on and she says some pretty damn sensible stuff in this book. This is the third time I've borrowed Crunch Time from the library for inspiration.

What are you reading right now?