30 December 2012

The year that was...

For the last 3 years I have traditionally done a "Year in Review" post, looking at all of the things that have happened during the year etc.  I love reminiscing and I love being reminded of the good stuff that has happened each year.

To be totally honest, I didn't really want to do a year in review post for 2012...  this year has been difficult and to put it frankly, one of my hardest years ever.  I won't go into details, but I've cried a lot, and my heart has ached and ached.

But you know what, I've decided that looking back is probably the best thing I can do, to help me change my perspective and find the good stuff that has happened in 2012.  This is probably the most important year for me to review my year and dig through the stink stuff and find the gold and diamonds... cause we all know that pressure makes diamonds.

So here we go, digging for the diamonds in 2012...

We thoroughly enjoyed our summer holidays (as usual) which included a trip to Auckland, beach trips etc and a softie giveaway (might be time for another one of those soon!).  January ended with all of our children finally being at school - woohoo!  It also ended with me being back working full time!  Talk about shock to the system (not that being a fulltime mum isn't hard work - but you know what I mean).  

This month included a tonne of important celebrations, including my baby turning 5 (which also prompted me to write an Ode to my Cake Carrying husband).  Makings included Icecream Cake with Butterscotch Sauce, a Crochet Hamburger and Belgian Biscuits

This month I celebrated my 1000th post!  Woah - that's a lot of blogging for a shy-ish person like me!  I bared my heart a bit with this post.  Makings included an Amigurumi MushroomMini Crochet Mushrooms, Crochet cupcakes, Blondies and a Crochet Pixie Hat.  

In April I shared my daughter's version of our National Anthem (c.u.t.e), Symon and I celebrated our 16 year wedding anniversary with a delicious meal out together, I found this cute Flashback photo of us, and was sent this precious lawnmower love note.  We had the most lovely family holiday away. Makings included a Softie Bunny, a Microwave Chocolate Pudding, and an orange beanie.

I revealed to you all that in fact our family is rather crazy, we celebrated our oldest daughter's birthday, and I finished my Retro Granny Square blanket!!!!  Then sadly, we lost a most precious friend and pastor.  Devastating.  Makings included Butterballs, Cranberry, Walnut & Chocolate Chip Biscuits and Cheese Damper.

This month was a mega birthday month!  Firstly, my firstborn became a teenager!  Exciting and scary!  Then Symon celebrated his birthday - in a not so exciting way - poor guy!  Finally, celebrated my precious Nana's 80th - I have watched those videos over and over again!  Makings included some Orange Crochet Coasters and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread. 

Mega news of the month - Symon grew a beard (ahem), I reminded myself that God makes beautiful things out of the dark moments, we did a bit of road tripping.  Makings included crochet phone covers, a crochet beanie, Sticky Date Pudding and a lot of working on Symon's granny square blanket!

August started off with an early Christmas wishlist, and me joining Instagram (oh yes people, I'm a bit of a late one!), my kids made me proud at the annual school Cross Country.  Makings included Lime Syrup Cupcakes, and my Quick Quiche recipe.

The middle months of this year were CRAZY, and here I did a bit of chatting about my family, as well as introducing my 3 ducks to the home.  Makings included French Butter Cake and Mustard Crochet Coasters.

October started off with a bit of Lamb sitting, and Symon & I having a much needed holiday away by ourselves.  I finished Symon's Black Edged Granny Square Blanket and we celebrated our youngest son's birthday.  I also shared my wisdom after catching my oven on fire.  Makings included Duck Egg Blue Crochet Coasters, Salted Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Biscuits, the Tardis Cake and of course, Symon's blanket!

I had the most awesome time with some girls from church at Sistas 2012, shared about my struggle with fear and learning to do it afraid!  We had tonnes of fun at our friend's dress up 21st birthday and I was spoiled on my birthday.  Makings included Twinkie Chan's Lollipop Brooch.

We started off December with our usual "Eggnog under the Christmas Tree" tradition, I shared some tips for a Simpler Christmas, I started documenting Symon's naps on Instagram under #husbandnaps and caught up with special friends.  Boo painted her nails on Christmas Eve (ahem - she may have had a little bit of help), and we had a fabulous Christmas with our family!  Makings included some Cupcake Brooches, Christmas goodies - my favourites and Iced Tea.

So there you have it - that was so worth it!  Indeed there was a tonne of light and laughter shining through a year that at times was rather dark.

It's amazing what a change in perspective will do.

I am looking forward to 2013, not with the glossy expectation that everything will be smooth sailing and one big bed of comfy roses, but with the knowledge that even in the difficult times, my God was and is faithful to hold me close, and we made it through... and we can do it again with whatever the future holds.

Happy New Year to you all - see you in 2013!

To see all Year in Review posts, click here.

29 December 2012

Iced Tea

While half of the world is eagerly awaiting any sign of snow while they sit by their fires and sip on delicious hot chocolate, us New Zealanders, (along with most others living in the Southern Hemisphere) are sitting in our homes in singlets, in the middle of a hot and humid summer, dreaming of all manner of cold drink concoctions and silently laughing at the snowmen ornaments hanging on our Christmas trees - because we all know that we will never ever have a Christmas here in our land with snowmen and other winter-like things, yet we still hang up these Wintertime ornaments for Christmas, year after year.

Anyway, while dreaming of cold drinks and deciding that I must make up another batch of Iced Coffee, I had the genius idea to make my own Iced Tea.  Iced Tea isn't really a common drink here in New Zealand - but while on our trip to Israel a couple of years ago we discovered it (mainly because we were desperate to get our hands on anything remotely cold and liquid-like, while stumbling through the 40 degree plus desert).  I quickly acquired a love for it, and have since bought the occasional bottle of it, but never attempted to make it myself... until now.

The recipe is simple and quick to make, and you can add your own flavours like lemon or peach to zhuzh up your drink.

I initially tried it out using normal teabags, but then tried using my organic green loose leaf tea, which was delicious and gave a much lighter taste.

Plain Iced Tea

  1. Make a brew of tea using 4 teabags (or 4 teaspoons of loose leaf tea) and 4 cups of water (filtered water will give a far better taste). Allow the tea to steep for no more than 5 minutes, otherwise it may become bitter. You can use either traditional black tea or lighter-tasting green tea.
  2. In a large jug place 1 cup of sugar (I don't have sugar in my tea normally, so half a cup or either a quarter suits me better) and 4 cups of cold (filtered) water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Pour your brewed tea into the sugar/water mixture and stir. Adding the hot tea to the cold water helps prevent the finished drink from becoming cloudy.
  4. Allow to cool further then serve in glasses over ice. Sprigs of mint or thin slithers of lemon make an attractive garnish.

Yes, us hot and bothered Kiwi's are very happy now...

For more delicious recipes visit here.
Iced Tea recipe source (and more flavour ideas) here.

26 December 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas love to you all!

It has been a very busy couple of days here, filled with visiting family and friends, eating, laughing, gift giving and tonnes of fun!


: :   Hearing one of my children say that their favourite part of Christmas was seeing relatives
: :   Our morning Christmas day church service - loved it!

: :   The fact that while in some parts of the world it is winter (and even snowing), both of our different family Christmas celebrations included water fights.  Only in New Zealand!

Christmas day was spent with my side of the family...

Christmas day lunch at my Aunty & Uncles house

Water gun shenanigans

 And Boxing Day was spent with Symon's side...

Annual Drake sibling Christmas photo
Yup - they're officially crazy

 I love Christmas time!

I realise that for some people Christmas can be a difficult time, whether it reminds them of their loneliness or difficult living situations.  If so, may you be encouraged by this (via Word for Today)...

For many people Christmas is a sad time. Author Jon Walker writes: 'I'm sitting in a fast food restaurant observing a young girl celebrating an early Christmas with her mother. Her presents are spread out across the booth and she just said, I miss you, Mommy. I miss you too, baby, her mother says. Beyond the booth...a woman casually but carefully watches them. Using my journalist's eye, I put it all together. The watching woman is a social worker supervising a structured visit for a mother and child who are doing their best to celebrate Christmas...a few minutes later foster parents arrive and take the little girl home. The mother leaves alone. There's a darker side to Christmas we rarely acknowledge. We create this fantasy that seldom matches reality, even in the best of homes...many Christmas memories are full of tension, not tinsel...the holidays are just another excuse for Mummy to get drunk, or Daddy to be with his new family...yet another reminder that the one we love is far away or perhaps never coming back...The suicide rate is extraordinarily high in December, depression as common as Joy to the World, more people hurt at Christmas than we initially imagine. For those tired of the hollow hope and false fantasies of Christmas, the good news is, God is with us.' Jesus came to earth to 'bring...good news...for all the people', and regardless of your situation Christmas is the best gift you'll ever get, because: (1) It's the costliest you'll ever receive because it cost Jesus His life. (2) It's the only gift that lasts forever. (3) It's one you can enjoy for the rest of your life.

p.s. Tomorrow I start eating healthy again and aiming to run a mile a day - anyone keen to join me?

25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone - Happy Jesus birthday!!!

24 December 2012

Christmas Eve...

It's Christmas Eve, and in amongst the flurry of Christmas cooking and last minute gift wrapping, the girls in our house decided to do Christmas manicures... girls, including our staffy dog Boo:

Finally finished these Russian doll stockings yesterday as well - love that two of my favourite things are combined in this print (russian dolls AND paisley!)...

And guess what?  Finally caughty my hard working hubby taking a quick nap... the #husbandsnap photo collection on instagram is growing - see here!

Have a wonderful Christmas Eve everyone!

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