31 December 2014

The year that was...



On the eve of 2015, this year that was, I've taken to the tradition over the last couple of years of taking stock of the year, the happenings and ups and downs and writing a quick summary here in this space.

Recently, while reading the pages of my Great Grandmother's memories (her name was Nandi and she was such a sweet Great Nana), I found myself sad that I hadn't really ever kept a diary of my life. I'm not really the sort that writes a daily diary... then it hit me - my blog is like a diary!  So thankful for things like instagram and my blog, where memories, celebrations and the like are recorded and filed away.  So many things would have been forgotten if it wasn't for places like these.

This year of 2014 has definitely been a busy one, with 2 teenagers now in the house, NCEA exams, life as pastors as well as parents of 4, while still renovating our home, there often doesn't seem to be too much spare time around to relax and enjoy - there's been loss, funerals, braces and broken bones, but there has also been birthdays, celebrations and many great memories made.

Taking stock of the good stuff is so important in every person's life - maintaining a thankful attitude for the good things that have happened, noting the things that didn't quite go as planned and learning from them.  When things go wrong, it's how you react and what you choose to do next that are the most important actions.  

I am so thankful for this past year, the celebrations, the things I've learned and also the things I've noted that I really need to work on in 2015.  I'm so thankful to God for my family, His graciousness and friendship throughout my life. 



Here's to an awesome 2015 - Happy New Years everyone!!


2014...

Here I was thinking 2014 had been a rather dull year, but looking back over it there was so much to celebrate and be thankful for.  Here are some of my favourites...

Adventures...




We had a few small adventures as a family in 2014, including an awesome Auckland Road Trip where our youngest got to indulge in her love for all things Penguin related!  There was a Kerikeri Road Trip with a bit of exploring and also some time away in Auckland kidless for Symon and I at a conference.  There was a Club Penguin Party, and a Broken Foot as well as the appearance of Beards and Braces.  I also shared a bit about Me, My Kids and the World Wide Web for those folks out there who were curious.  More trips to the big smoke (Auckland) were taken for Sistas Conference, the Big Weekend Away (Number 2) which included our guy getting to go on stage with the Mythbusters!!  (check out the video clip in the link).  We finally had a long awaited Family Holiday and also took a girls road trip to the Sound of Music Stage Show.  So much fun!!!




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Makings..

Despite feeling like I don't have half the time I used to to get creative, there were a few things that got created around these parts in 2014.  Of them, my favourites were...

This Penguin Softie made for my daughters birthday...









Black Board Container Labels for the newly renovate kitchen at the start of the year...




Hubby's creation of an Arcade Machine...



Some Softies & more Softies...




An Art Wall for our bedroom...




This Pretty Puffs Beanie made while hanging out in hospital for a week with my son...



This Crosses Granny Square Blanket - probably my most favourite creation in 2014!




Baking...

There were a few yummy food creations and recipes shared in 2014 (click here to see them all) but here are a few of my most favourite ones...

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge



Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


Beard CakeLost Dharma Cake & a Puffle Cake






Raw Vegan Chocolate Fruit Balls



Apricot Truffles



Of them all, this Feijoa Crumble Cake would have to be my favourite.  So delicious and perfectly fine for substituting with any other fruit!



Here's to another year of making memories (and some delicious goodies and crafty creations too)! Happy New Years!



To check out past Year in Review posts, click here.






28 December 2014

Christmas 2014

It's been a great Christmas this year, with the highlight as always being spending time with precious family from near and far.



On my side of the family we got together on Christmas Day - the first Christmas for my Nana without Pop.  There is always an abundance of delicious food (Nana's trifles being one of the special treats) and family to catch up with.  


Symon's side of the family gathered at his sisters house on Boxing Day. Once again there was so much delicious food, and lots of laughter.  Young children definitely make Christmas - one of my highlights was watching my niece's wee boy slowly tearing strips of wrapping paper off his gifts, a trick he had just recently learned, to discover the present inside.  

We had two people with crutches after both having knee operations, two pregnant ladies and two bearded guys!  I do love family.

Another Chrismas has come and gone, and it's always interesting to take stock of the year that has been, and thank the Lord for His goodness, and especially sending His precious gift of Jesus, the great Hope to a hopeless world.

Here's hoping you had a lovely Christmas.  Here's to some time with family and holidays!!!


p.s. My eldest is wearing his ugly Christmas sweater just for fun in this pic.



22 December 2014

That Christmassy Feeling...



Have you got that Christmassy feeling yet?  My girls are constantly talking about how it doesn't feel like Christmas yet.  We got the Christmas tree up early this year, have been blasting Christmas music for a few weeks now, and starting other traditions like checking out Christmas lights (one time was broad daylight - I roll like that) and drinking eggnog...



Nope - still not feeling Christmassy enough!

We had the most amazing Christmas Concert at church yesterday, with Christmas Carols, nativity drama and the most amazing Kiwi Christmas decor theme (Liz V - you are so clever!) followed by an amazingly fun church picnic afterwards...


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Nope, still no Christmassy feelings happening according to my girls.

I think they struggle with the fact that we are missing out on snow here in New Zealand, so Symon saw a $1 bag of fake snow and brought that home for them...



Still doesn't feel like Christmas!

What is Christmas really about?  What is that "Christmassy feeling" they are waiting for?  

Well, I think it's that feeling of gathering together with those that are precious, celebrating life, giving gifts in celebration, family and the most precious gift of all, the fact that God is so amazing that even when we don't even like Him - maybe even hate Him, He still loves us and is constantly seeking after us with the Hope that He has to offer.  He's not far off, full of anger and disinterested in us - close and near, thanks to the precious gift of His son Jesus that He gave to bring hope to humanity.

That Christmassy feeling - I love the hustle and bustle, the food and the laughter, the family and friends and the giving of gifts, but most of all, I love so much the HOPE that this time of year is a reminder of - HOPE in any situation, that God drew near to us in love, even when we didn't know it.

I think I need to settle down with them and read the most amazing Christmas story (Luke 2).

Merry Christmas!!


p.s. These are some of my most favourite easy Christmas time food ideas - check them out here!


11 December 2014

Update...



How are you all surviving out there?  It's that time of year where things can get a bit crazy with a million and one end of year functions and Christmas gatherings.  How do you handle the stress?

Here's a few of the things that have been happening in my world lately...

*I survived another birthday!  Yay!  Had a lovely day and felt super spoiled by my friends and family.  I even had an Instagram cake made for me by my lovely friend Jackie (she knows me too well)!

*Our awesome first born decided to be baptised - so proud of him coming to this decision on his own.

*Our two "middle kids" (hehe) both received special achievement awards at their recent school awards night (our poor youngest was a sobbing mess at not receiving anything - oh well, we told her to congratulate those who did and try again next year!).  Schools out - yay for holidays!

Apart from that, it's rather busy around here, with not much time for crafting, lazing about or breathing... but my one survival tip for getting through this crazy time of year is to make sure you keep your priorities in the right order... for me that's getting first with God each day and facing each day out of an attitude of REST rather than STRESS.  Secondly (and I'm not perfect at this), my husband and family come next - without them I'm totally undone.

So here's to putting your priorities right, remembering to laugh and keep the reason for the season at the top of the list.  




04 December 2014

Lost Dharma Cross Stitch



My son is a Lost fanatic... and I'm a craft nerd.  

There is something beautiful that happens when your child (especially your tall teenage man-child) appreciates your crafts, and even requests one for himself.  I think it all started with this Star Wars Cross Stitch I did for our bedroom.

Recently my eldest asked for a 'Lost' cross stitch for Christmas - so I found a design online and got to work.  For those of you that don't know much about Lost, my son would say you are missing out on the most amazing 6 seasons of TV gold... I haven't chosen to be sucked into the Lost vortex just yet.





It's a small cross stitch and quite simple, but I like it!


For more crafty makings, go here

18 November 2014

Lately...




Life seems to be flying by lately with so much happening (and a lot of crazy thrown in there too if that photo above is anything to go by...).  Here's some of the things we've been up to...

After finishing my Crosses Grannysquare Blanket, I needed a different project, so have started this "Lost" themed one after my 15 year old teen requested it for Christmas.  Yes, you heard me right... a teen has asked for a crossstitch (fist pump for getting my kids to like crafty stuff!!!).  I still have a tonne of half finished projects - is it just me or is this the norm for most crafty peeps?  I've had a half sewn Yeti softie sitting in my drawer for over a year, coffee sack totes and cushions half done, half a crochet blanket stuffed in a drawer and who knows what else!



I bumped into these two awesome people today... Alex and Corban from the Block NZ!!  They were randomly doing some shopping up in one of our local supermarkets in Whangarei and my hubby (who wouldn't have a clue who they were) was told by a friend who worked there that they were in the store.  When he got back to the car where I was waiting he said, "Hey, I dare you to go and wait outside the store and get a selfie with Alex & Corban".  I took up the dare - they are sooooo nice!



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My eldest boy has been sitting his NCEA Level 1 exams (5th form School Certificate for those of us from back in the olden days).  I didn't think I'd get as nervous as I have for him!  Thankfully the big ones are over and only a couple of internal exams to finish.




We did our traditional Guy Fawkes thing by sitting in the cheap seats (across the river) and watching our local fireworks display.  Heaps of fun and so many others had the same idea as us.






If you haven't already noticed, my youngest daughter has a slight obsession with Penguins.  She draws them, owns soft toys of them, dreams about them, makes up stories and songs about them and even wants to have a pet one when she grows up.  Recently she decided she would make a penguin flag and also create a penguin National Anthem (click here to check that out)...






I have a feeling things are only going to get busier from now on with Christmas on the way.  Enjoy the good moments and keep a thankful heart.

xK



04 November 2014

Crosses Granny Square Blanket


So happy to have finished this awesome blanket - one of my favs!



I love granny square blankets - mainly because you can crochet the granny squares wherever you go without having to lug a giant blanket around with you!  I also really enjoy putting the blanket together at the end, and with this one I put a lot of the crosses together before I started doing the final arrangements.  The worst part of a blanket for me is always the threading in of the ends!  Such a relief when that is done.





I love the fact you could do this same blanket in any colours, or even a black & white or grey & black version would look awesome.



Looking forward to getting on with a few other crafts on my to do list, but this has been such a fun blanket to make.  I'd totally recommend this pattern to anyone, even to crochet newbies!


To check out my other finished crochet blankets, click on the photos below...








For more crafty makings, go here 


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