Christmas 2014

Because we had been on holiday for a week just before Christmas, this year Christmas day seemed to sneak up with alarming speed. We were lucky to spend the day at home with visits from parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties and cousins.

Christmas 2014 3The tree was its usual eclectic mix of ornaments both brought and home made, lovingly assembled by the children in early December. There were, of course, an abundance of packages beneath the tree…

Christmas 2014We celebrate Christmas in New Zealand in mid-summer so there is plenty of fresh summer fruit to enjoy. Strawberries and cherries feature a lot on kiwi Christmas tables… although we do like to add in a bit of mistletoe and some fake snow to accompany the far-from-home reindeer for a bit of Northern hemisphere white Christmas spirit. Christmas 2014 2This year we ate outdoors, the deck brightened with an abundance of colourful blooms from the garden…

Christmas 2014 5Arranged and deposited around the place (and I’m very proud to say all from my garden!)…

Christmas 2014 6Because it was so hot we opted for outdoor cooking, so the dinner was cooked in our pizza oven – we enjoyed perfectly roasted turkey and lamb.

Christmas 2014 4And an assortment of salads and baby potatoes (and maybe a glass or two of wine)!Christmas dinnerNot to mention a LOT of delicious dessert… which left us all feeling a little like this guy :)

Christmas 2014 7Merry Christmas, from my family to yours! I hope you had a wonderful day filled with love, joy, family, and delicious food. I’d love to hear all about it!

Janette xxxoooxxxooo


Sunny thoughts

Thanks for all of the kind thoughts and wishes sent my way in the past 24 hours, it really means a lot to me, I appreciate you taking the time to let me know you were thinking of me and my Mabel.

It’s the eve of Christmas eve and today has been a pretty hectic day. I’ve only just arrived home from my last outing of the day (9pm), officially checking off my last pre-Christmas chore  – grocery shopping. Seems I wasn’t the only one trying to get my last minute Christmas shop out of the way (so I can avoid the shops altogether tomorrow) as the supermarket was mad. Half the city must have had the same idea.

Ive just popped some (more) Christmas cookies in the oven (today’s final task), so while I’m waiting for them to bake Ill post a few pic’s from today and a few more of earlier in the week.Cookies

My that oven IS dirty (its ok, I’d notice it to) try focus on the cute Christmasy tea towels!

The tree is up, the presents are finally all wrapped and waiting…

TreeI love that we get to enjoy Christmas in the sun, but to be honest its almost a drought already so a few minutes of rain (strictly for the garden) wouldn’t go amiss!

I dug up a bucket of spuds for Christmas dinner, not quite the tiny new taters I had in mind, but we had some for dinner tonight (along with the very first sweet corn of the season) and they are very tasty. PotatoesThe garden is looking good, along with the potatoes so far it’s also been a good season for raspberries…RaspberriesAnd we are going to have bumper crops both of grapes and passionfruit later in the summer…GrapesI picked this posy of sweet peas and pink geraniums to give to our neighbors this evening. I wish I could share the scent with you…. its so sweet and summery.Sweet peasThe hydrangeas are also heavenly this year… even the bees agree with me! BumblebeeNow for a few more holiday pics…

MT Drury 2photo The weather was exceptional… sunny and warm, although a little windy. This panoramic of the Mt Maunganui main beach will display at full size if you click on it: Mt Drury2013The children had a ball; fishing, swimming, scootering, playing, sand castle building – we were on the go from dawn till dusk (literally, they were up at 6am) each day.half way down the mtphotoSo how’s Christmas shaping up for you, I’d love to know… is it summery or wintery? Are you all ready and waiting, or do you still have a long list of tasks to complete before you can relax? J xox

PS. Ive just taken the cookies out and sampled them (tasty!) Ive promised the children they can sandwich them together with peppermint cream tomorrow morning :)


A break away and some Christmas pillowcases

In the midst of the busy (or should that be silly?) season, we have decided to take a pause and make the most of the beautiful weather we are currently experiencing by spending a few days away at the beach…

At the beachCarter at the beachBeaching = happy kids!

Maia at the beachMy feet at the beachYes those are my toes. You’re welcome!

Ill post some more photos when we are home in a couple of days, but what I wanted to share today are these Christmas pillowcases I whipped up this morning – I’m embarrassed to admit they’ve been in my to-do pile for the last three weeks.

DIY DIY Christmas pillowcasesThere was really no reason to put them off; pillowcases are super quick to sew, requiring little prep and only three seams (and some over sewing so the edges don’t fray).Carters Christmas PillowcaseJust use another pillowcase for a template – there’s really nothing to them! Christmas pillowcase Maia 2 If you’re quick there’s still time to make pillowcases for some kiddos you know… in fact, I think my husband would quite like one made for him too! They are a lot of fun… and are certainly good for encouraging children, who are excited about Christmas nearly being here, to get into bed!Christmas pillowcase Maia 3I’ll leave you with a final photo taken from the top of Mt Maunganui this morning.  Paradise! Bay of Plenty from Mt MaunganuiI hope you are enjoying the lead up to Christmas, and are finding some time to relax? Love to all! Janette xox

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Despite the weather being almost unbearably hot….

Christmas centerpieceIt is indeed beginning to look a lot like Christmas!Christmas centerpiece 2From the Christmassy centerpiece on our table… Christmas crafts for kidsChristmas crafts for kidsTo the Christmas crafting that’s been going on. There are obviously going to be a lot of reindeer at the inn this year. Here’s hoping they don’t eat too much?Carter painting his reindeerCarter’s ended up with lightning bolts on both sides (he’ll need these for extra speed apparently).

Crochet christmas decorationsThe tree has been up for a couple of weeks, and the remainder of the decorations are now up too. These crochet decorations I made last two(!) years ago needed a few bead replacements, and are now good as new…Crochet christmas decorationsI’ve also started making a starry crochet garland, I’ll share the star pattern as soon as Ive made a few more. I’m loving my smaller hook and crochet yarns now I’ve become accustomed to using them.

Christmas muffinsAnd if you are looking for the perfect little Christmas muffin, give these a try. Sweet and cinnamony… just the thing for Christmas, wherever you may be!

Christmas Muffins

  • 1 cup plain white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk


  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a whiz mix egg, butter, sour cream, and milk –  until well combined.  Add in flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt, and whiz just a little until the mixture is all combined (dont over process or you’ll end up with tough muffins!). Scoop batter into 10-12 paper lined muffin tins.  Stir together topping ingredients and sprinkle about a 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of the mixture onto each muffin. Bake at 200C for 15-20 minutes or until muffins are golden brown.

Make a cup of your favourite warm beverage, put your feet up and enjoy. How are your Christmas preparations coming along?  Is everything ready? Jxo

Crochet Christmas Mouse

I’m overwhelmed by so much mouse love!  Thank you!

Crochet mouse free pattern Here’s a little Christmas hat and scarf for your wee mousie… complete with holes to let those ears through!

Crochet mouse free pattern christmas 3Mouse hat.
The hat is made using 4ply yarn and. 2.5mm hook.

Round 1: Ch 16 join with ss to form a ring
Round 2: Sc in each st around, continue to work in rounds do not join. 16
Round 3: Change color. Sc in next st, sc2tog, sc in next 7, sc 2tog. 14
Round 4: Sc in next 4, ch3 sk 3, sc in next 2, ch3 sk3, sc in next 2. 14
Round 5: Change color. Sc in each st around.14
Round 6: Sc in next st, sc2tog, sc in next 6, sc 2tog, sc in next 2. 12
Round 7: Change color. Sc in next st, sc2tog, sc in next 5, sc 2tog, sc in next 2. 10
Round 8: Sc in each st around. 10
Round 9: Change color. Sc in next st, sc2tog, sc in next 4, sc 2tog, sc in next 2. 8
Round 10: Sc in each st around. 8
Round 11: Change color. Sc in next st, sc2tog, sc in next 3, sc 2tog, sc in next 2. 6
Round 12: Sc in each st around. 6
Round 13: Change color. Sc in each st around. 6
Round 14: Sc in each st around. Ss in next st. 6. Fasten off, tie ends and weave into hat, leaving long strand of white to sew Pom Pom in place.

Mouse Scarf.
Using 2 strands of 4ply held together and 2.5mm hook. Chain 30. Fasten off, sew short section of white throughout each end, leave short tassels.

Have a happy day :) Janette xox

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…

Christmas treeIsn’t it funny how Christmas seems to loom imminently but then the day or two before pass quite slowly? But here we are, Christmas eve is now upon us, and the children are all tucked up in bed dreaming of tomorrow and what it will bring.

We’ve spent the last couple of days just relaxing around the house, going on bike rides and finishing up lots of Christmassy crafts – these salt dough ornaments have brought many hours of joy…

Salt dough ornaments 2Saltdough ornamentsSalt dough 3Salt dough ornamentsIf you are looking for a nice activity for a bit of down time for the kids on Christmas day or eve, I recommend this lovely nativity scene from Made by Joel, it’s a free download which you print and then color. Maia really enjoyed this quiet activity this afternoon, and I love the end result! Nativity sceneI’ve had a bit of fun myself on the chalkboards in our kitchen… all the while listening to Christmas carols of course – I obviously haven’t spent very much time out shopping this year, so haven’t reached Christmas carol saturation yet! Christmas chalk drawing 3Christmas chalk drawingChristmas chalk drawing 2 And here’s how they look all together…Christmas chalk drawing 4So with the presents all wrapped and under the tree, I’m off to bed myself –  the day tomorrow is bound to be a big one, as I’m sure the children will be up before dawn! I hope you have a very very merry Christmas where ever in the world you may be.  Love and best wishes, Janette