Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'm off for a Cool Yule

Apparently it is more like this. WTF? What to pack??
Image source Destination NSW - Jindabyne

  • Handcrafted christmas presents completed? Check.
  • All christmas shopping done & dusted? Check
  • Livestock shipped off to Nanny for the next week or so? Check
  • Laundry & housework done? umm, almost. Next question please.
  • Habanero Peach Jam bottled & labelled? Check *puffs chest out with pride*
  • Packed? Not yet but there is still daylight. Stop with the questions!
The BC Famille is off to the unseasonably snowy Snowy Mountains for a big family christmas. I am hoping to use this time to reassess, rejuvinate, replan & reconnect. I will probably need to drink a lot. Wish me luck!

There is so much to blog about - the vege garden, the house reno updates, projects, lots of recipes & of course the handcrafted christmas presents. I am BUSTING to tell you how they worked out but they are intended for people who might actually read this blog & I don't want to ruin the surprise. Looking at you, Cheryl! Dont worry, they don't really look like a primary school craft project. I hope.

Merry Christmas/Solstice/Kwanza/Family Reconnect/whatever you celebrate during the holiday period.
Bright blessings of the season to you!

Mrs BC

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmassy Weirdness

The first Sunday of December is always earmarked for a Christmas picnic/bbq/get togethor with my Dad's side of the family, & the Chaos Family always travel to Sydney to attend. I love this day, catching up with my extended family, seeing the 2nd & 3rd cousins renew friendships all over again. It's lovely.

I had mixed feelings leaving Sydney this time, the visit felt both too long & too short. Wierd, I know. I was surprised to find the shop assistants so friendly, & the traffic so frantic; but then remembered that nothing had changed except maybe me. I used to be perfectly comfortable in Sydney traffic, & although it wasn't exactly intimidating this time round, I found myself annoyed at its unnesasary franticness. I don't know why I thought the shop assistants seemed friendlier than usual, but Mr BC commented that 'wasn't it nice to be served by such friendly people in the shops'. It was! Shopkeepers around here must be rude, & we have become accustomed to it without even noticing. The thought of that is too wierd.

Besides the family do, we also went to Taronga Zoo (call me biased, but it is the best zoo on the planet), hung out with my sister Cheryl, & went for a swim at the best beach in the universe, Freshwater. Heavenly. This family really needs to immerse itself in saltwater alot, we can't survive without it.

We stayed at Fawlty Towers in Haymarket, so we could be right in the belly of the beast. Unfortunately Fawlty Towers lied about their secure parking, so we hightailed it out of said belly at every opportunity to save on parking fees. Teenage Daughter & I did manage to wander through Chinatown for some late night noodle soup, & Mr BC & the children strolled through Paddy's Markets & returned with some amazingly cheap & beautiful produce. I would have been lovely to catch up with old friends & revisit old haunts, but that will have to be another time.

My goodness these holidays are going s..l..o..w..l..y. Only 2 weeks in, & I'm ready for a reprieve. 2 weeks ago everything was going gangbusters, & now every day seems to be stranded in the doldrums, dodging the rain & tending the laundry. I should be using this time to prepare for christmas, but the truth is I refuse to cannot go christmas shopping with the boys, & with Mr BC at work until this Friday, there really is nothing I can do. I have some handmade christmas presents to craft, but some of them are for Nanny & her surprise extended stay has thrown a bit of a spanner into that planned time. She is sleeping in my work area so I can't very well start things & then just shut the door on it...so tommorow when she goes, it is gangbusters once again!

How are your christmas plans going? Can you share any pointers with me?  Are you returning to your hometown this holidays? Is it weird for you too?

Mrs BC

Christmas Visitors

A smallish swarm of bees thought about setting up hive in our downstairs last week. Monkeyboy & The Gentleman thought it was marvelous. I found them wearing bike helmets & waving sticks, dancing with glee  in the middle of the buzzing bees. I had a hard time convincing them that bees might sting them, & thankfully none of them did. Eventually the bees dissapeared as mysteriously as they arrived. Bees are supposedly an omen of visitors to the house, so when Nanny turned up for a short stay ('Surprise! you've got me for 5 nights, not 2!') I thought that was that. So imagine my surprise when 2 dear old friends from school turned up for a 5 hour marathon coffee & chat!

Jackie, me & Lisa
20 years ago we where the best of friends, & I am delighted to find that we still are.

Mrs BC

Monday, December 13, 2010

Old House update

I posted a little while ago here about an old house in my suburb - well the new owners have decided to bulldoze it. The house is lovely & full of origional 1940s delightfulness, but also extremely run down. Fay & Gra have been given large quotes ($450k AUS) to restore it; & no one seems interested in buying it to relocate elsewhere...here are some pictures. If you are interested in buying this house or even some of its fittings, please contact me asap!

And the chest of drawers with the drawers I couldn't open?
Well this was in one of the drawers.

A broken candle holder, an empty packet of ciggarettes
& a small amount of plastic leaves. Bonus! But there are still 2 drawers
that I can't open, so I guess I'm getting my $2 worth of mystery.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Old Fashioned Gingerbread

I have been making this gingerbread for years & years telling everyone it is an old family recipe, but that might be a fib....I totally tweaked it out of a Margaret Fulton Cookbook. God bless St Margaret of the kitchen.

This recipe is easy peasy, & is easy to double, in fact the instructions that follow are a doubled recipe, so feel free to halve. The gingerbread is moist & dense, & will keep for a week or so. It's great to take to Christmas bbqs, the office, etc, & is nice to give as a gift as well. This was gingerbread batch number 6 for the 2010 Yuletide Season. I'm almost sick of it, for this year. No, another fib. I'm totally eating some right now, warmed & served with some vanilla icecream. Nom nom nom.

In a large saucepan, gently heat 250g of butter, half a cup of molasses, 4 tablespoons of golden syrup, & 2 thirds of a cup of tightly packed soft brown sugar. If you can't find molasses you can use treacle instead. If you are in the USA & can't access golden syrup, then I feel sorry for you substitute corn syrup.

 Stir really well, & let cool for a little while.

 Mix in 2 cups of milk, & then 4 large eggs.
 Yes that is a lot of milk, but this is a double recipe & you don't want your gingerbread to be dry.
That would be gross. You want it to be moist. Trust me on this.

 Use electric beaters to really really mix well,
because you don't want any cooked egg in your finished gingerbread.

Sift 4 cups of plain flour, 4 teaspoons of cinnamon, 4 teaspoons of ground ginger, about a teaspoon of ground nutmeg & some ground cloves, & 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda.

 Dump this right into the saucepan & stir well.

Stop stirring manually as you will break your arm. Use electric mixer to ensure that all the flour is combined properly, as you don't want lumps of dried flour in your gingerbread. Seriously.
This is such a cautionary recipe, you can tell I have made all the mistakes for you!

Pour into a lined baking dish, & cook in a medium oven for up to 2 hours, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Because this is a double recipe I am using a baking dish, a regular sized cake tin is fine for a single recipe.

When cool, cut into slices & enjoy! This tin was going to the park to offer the other mums
& kids at a play date, & there was plenty left over to offer visitors. 
Or enjoy alone. Whatever...

Mrs BC

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Just make a list & check it twice!

A local church, last Christmas. How much forward planning do you think this involved?

I'm feeling a little discombobulated at the moment. There has been an endless round of school liturgy's, dance recitals, christmas picnics, carol nights, graduation events. Christmas cards & candy canes for the class. Teacher presents. Drinks with friends, catch ups.

And today is only the 2nd of December. Mr BC & I are yet to finalise the family trip to Sydney this weekend (yes, we leave tommorow), let alone our trip to Jindabyne for Christmas. I am only almost a quarter of the way through Christmas shopping, with stacks left to do.

Today is my day to start on the handmade christmas presents I have planned, but instead I am wandering vaguely around the blogisphere, procrastinating. Listening to The Gentleman & his friend enjoy their first day of the holidays. Trying not to intervene too much, only when it sounds like something is going to get broken.

I posted a little while ago about my well developed time managemant skills (lets be honest, it was a rant) & I feel that they have suddenly deserted me. Tsk, such a fraud!

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas. Love the whole spirit of giving, decorating, baking, drinking, bonhomie & good cheer. Having the smell of a real Christmas tree in the house. Driving around to perv on other peoples griswald style christmas lights.

Maybe there has been a bit of overkill, too much before we even get to December, to make me feel a bit disconnected...surely I can't have Christmas Burnout already? Time seems to speed up at the end of the calendar year, & when time is going this fast it stops you from noticing the moments of familial choas. I love those moments, they keep me grounded. Keep me connected.

Recent Chaos Moments that should have kept me Grounded 
  • Having to oversee the fair allocation of weaponry between my sons. When I mentioned to Mr BC that I never expected to be doing this as part of parenthood, he smirked & said "Well, welcome to Mrs BCs House of Chaos" Smug bastard.
  • Monkeyboy's insistance that he is now & forevermore Puss in Boots.
  • The Gentleman explaining to me that a (smallish) car stopped to let us through a crossing because "You are bigger than that car, Mum!" Thanks Darling!
  • The discovery that it's not eating baked goods that keeps me sane, it's baking them. Booya!
  • Running to our cars with about 2000 other primary school children, their parents, grandparents, siblings & teachers while the rain bucketed down in a biblical fashion. This was after Christmas Carols held on the evening of the last day of school.  The same Christmas Carols where the stage curtain wiped out the principal & his lecturn, to loud applause.
Alrighty then. that's those moments to ground me, time to make a list & get organised.

Mrs BC
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