Friday, December 20, 2013

this christmas

miraculously, after a few consecutive weekends of lazing about and procrastinating about what I wanted to make for christmas, I finally got my christmas cooking done with just one day to spare!

which also meant that I had the oven on for most of this heatwave.

I decided on chilli spiced nuts for family and wagga friends (so easy and ridiculously moorish), peanut butter and honey granola for tony's dad (who happens to be a fellow pb fan), banana granola with coconut shreds and almond (this recipe is the best!) and some mango and salted coconut popsicles. and then because I couldn't sleep this morning, I got up extra early and made some gingerbread and used all of my new cookie cutters. yum!

tony woke up while some of the cookies were still warm, so this was his pre-breakfast snack. I am so proud of how perfectly golden-brown it is. thankfully this christmas there have been few cooking disasters/meltdowns, although it was already so hot by 8am this morning that my dough was starting to sweat and the bear faces were stretching out into zombie expressions as I moved them onto the baking tray.

so far, I've been really lucky on the pre-christmas present front. we received a hamper from sophie and tim earlier this week and have been enjoying the cheeses, special crackers, and chocolates after work ever since. they also bought me a pair of PANDA SOCKS which bring me great joy.

my work friend from bega sent me this awesome book of letters and another from the southern highlands sent a selection of minimalist cds. I also got a silly rug with a cartoon of a pug on it and a mini chocolate and date loaf from my bread friend kristy.

the lead up to this christmas has been a little melancholic for a few members of my family.  this'll be our first christmas without helen. I had my last proper conversation with her on christmas day of last year. she was wearing this green and white kimono style cardigan that she'd bought the day she got the time wrong for her alternative vitamin c treatment. the next time I saw her she was in palliative care.

in the last year I've lost an aunt and become one myself. sometimes I think about the circularity of this but most of all, I am so thankful for the wonder my new little niece has brought me and my family. without her, I think we may have grieved or questioned for longer. my uncle remarked just yesterday that it was amazing that my niece was alive and here on earth.

this year, tony and I have set a spending limit on christmas presents, which is funny because when we were finishing uni and celebrating our first christmas together, we couldn't afford anything more than presents we could make. I ended up writing tony a non-fiction story and he made me a layered acetate painting. having received an engagement ring that still distracts me when I'm driving means that I'd be happy if I got no christmas present at all from him :)

and on a side note, here's a little end of year bloopers reel that I'm in.

happy christmas!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

summer fruits & ice cream cake

today - a new and exciting blog discovery,  a hot breakfast made by tony's mum, the finale of breaking bad (which I watched with the aid of a pillow to shield my face), leftover mini cupcakes from my favourite city shop and some holiday planning. we're going on a spike lee movie double date with my brother at this super cool sydney cinema.

we ended the week with slices of tony's birthday cake from friday night. I made my very first ice cream cake - and it worked!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

this sunday

I bought my sister and I matching cookie cutters today, I can't wait for her daughter to be old enough to come over and bake cookies with me. she turned 2 months today, so her holding her own neck up is a bit more of a priority and likely achievement at the moment :)

last night my family got together in sydney to celebrate my brother's birthday. I watched the night unfold on instagram, and saw most of my family members holding my new niece and a short video of everyone singing happy birthday to one of my brothers (quietly though, so they didn't wake the baby). I felt like I was at the table with them, which was bittersweet. I can't wait to see them at christmastime.

I also ordered myself a little christmas present today, tao lin's novel taipei, which I've been intrigued about ever since I heard this interview with the author. the book has been a little tricky to locate but I ended up finding it at readings (hooray for free shipping, an aussie owned company and their excellent gift guide).

this afternoon I've planned a home-cooked feast for tony's birthday (his parents arrive on friday), tried out some coconut scented white nail polish, written christmas cards in my pajamas (and contemplated walking to the post box across the road in my pjs to send them..) squinted during the scary parts of breaking bad (we're halfway through season 5) and we have lots of leftover summer bolognese for dinner. hooray!

hope you had a good weekend.

cold snap, cheesecake and new work

we drove to the town of coolamon this afternoon to eat cake for lunch. it's becoming a bit of an a annual pilgrimage, there's an excellent cafe and gift shop that's only open friday through sunday, which only serves cakes, biscuits and scones, along with tea and coffee.  all of the sweets are homemade and it's my favourite kind of cafe.

we snacked on ginger creme biscuits and shared a slice of lime pie and reminisced a little about our time in wagga. next week will mark three years since we moved to wagga, we arrived in 2010 in the middle of a flash flood and I started my new job on tony's birthday, leaving him home alone in a new town.

back then, we knew one person who lived here, who happened to be an old high school friend of tony's mum.  a lot has changed in three years, and now wagga wagga feels like our home. I'll always be glad that came here and made the move together.

last week was a busy one at work and I was stoked to have two stories go to air. last month, I had the
surreal task of illustrating a couple's fight with sound effects. you can listen to the story here, it's a true story that was based on the theme of 'failure.'  it's about a misunderstanding that escalates overnight and it's read by the writer.

the second story was a little longer in the making.  earlier this year, I invited a mum and her adult son into the studio to interview each other about the son's life altering motorbike accident after hearing about the incredible blog they kept together to document his recovery. in many ways, it's a recorded conversation where they venture into previously unchartered territory and ask each other about some confronting experiences that came with the accident and the months of rehabilitation that followed. I found this story endlessly fascinating to work on and it made it onto the radio last week.

and now, I'm preparing for a big week of birthdays. there are no less than 3 this week, including tony's on friday. I'm planning to make him a lemon ice cream cake with a gingernut crust and try out this recipe for milo cupcakes for my milo obsessed work friend who turns 31 on tuesday. fingers crossed both cakes work out.

hopefully it'll be warm enough for the ice cream cake, in the last few days I've gone back to porridge eating and ugg boots! so far, this is a very strange summer.