On the 24th day of the Christmas Countdown we successfully made a gingerbread house!
Last year’s was a total disaster! I had to make this year’s work. I started with my own gingerbread shapes…rather than IKEA’s broken ones! I used a recipe from my favourite site…taste.com.au…that had received fantastic reviews. I found some templates and some great tips here, and got to work.
The secret to a successful gingerbread house…as my mother told me last year (and I ignored!) – don’t rush it. You need to take good breaks between each step to let the house set and strengthen, particularly before adding all the sweets.
I’m looking forward to giving this a go again next year – and if you haven’t made one before I’d recommend you do too. Merry Christmas everyone!
On the 23rd day of the Christmas Countdown the Christmas Fruit Cake was final put in the oven. For the week leading up to this the fruit had been soaking in Brandy!
I have one recipe I use every year…but this year I decided to try something a little different from taste.com.au. I’m not sure it’s my favourite but it worked out quite nicely. My preference is the darker, richer taste that comes from a boiled fruit cake, like Jill Dupleix’s baby fruit cakes. Here is this year’s attempt, looking very un-glamorous!
On the 21st day of the Christmas Countdown…we made labels for the anticipated gifts using old Christmas Cards.
In the past we have used photos of the family to indicate who the gift was intended for, but this year I decided to try something a little different. I have piles of Christmas cards I have received that I’ve been very tempted to toss when cleaning out the drawers. I thought this was a great in-between step…convert them into something useful.
I simply printed each of our initials using a large Arial Black font. Fortunately our names all start with a different letter. I then cut out the letter and traced the reverse side on to the inside left hand side of the Christmas card. I then cut this out, punched a hole, strung through some ribbon and stuck it to the gifts. Voile….and easily identifiable gift!
On the 20th day of the Christmas Countdown we made some cute little candy cane mice.
So easy, and oh-so-cute…the full instructions are available on the Martha Stewart website.
On the 19th day of the Christmas Countdown…Christmas festivities were put on hold for my birthday! Unfortunately there were no birthday cakes this year! Last year’s was rather special…maybe next year (hint – hint!).
We had a lovely day together – movies and lunch with my young boys. Lots of lovely presents – and tomorrow Christmas festivities will resume!
On the 18th day of the Christmas Countdown we realised that time was running out to let Santa know what the boys would like for Christmas.
This year we used the gorgeous Martha Stewart template to pass on the full updated list!
There’s one for girls too!
More Christmas treats…and this time I decided to get creative. I’ve made Apricot Balls many times, infact one of the top hits on this blog is for Hamish’s Apricot Balls. But today when I went to make them I didn’t have all the ingredients so I decided to make up a recipe using what I had, and they worked out really well.
Here’s the recipe.
350g dried apricots
1/4 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup roasted (unsalted) peanuts
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
10 sweet biscuits
1 can condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup extra desiccated coconut
Add apricots and peanuts to the food processor and process until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Process biscuits until finely crushed. Transfer this to the bowl too.
Add chopped marshmallows, white chocolate chips, coconut. Stir to combine and then add condensed milk and vanilla essence. Mix until well combined. Roll a tablespoon of the mixture into a ball and then roll in coconut, repeat. The peanuts add a great crunch and fantastic savoury taste to the sweet apricot and white chocolate mix.
This year I took on a role at work with a couple of other colleagues to encourage employees to bring in a gift for a child who might otherwise miss out this Christmas. It breaks my heart to think that there are children out there who don’t receive any presents on Christmas day. We received quite a collection – perhaps 40 gifts all up. Today we went in to the office to collect the presents to deliver them to the distribution centre. I was so pleased the boys were with me. An opportunity for them to see people giving so generously, working tirelessly to sort and pack the gifts for distribution, and to understand that there are children out there who have far, far less than they have. And as we drove away the boys said ‘why are you crying Mummy?’…for so many reasons…
Please give – if you can.
With 10 days until Christmas we couldn’t wait any longer…time for a batch of rum balls.
To me, Rum Balls, are Christmas. I’ve been enjoying this recipe for many, many, many years. I hope you enjoy it too.
1 can condensed milk
1 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup sultanas
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 cup desiccated coconut
Add the dark rum to the sultanas and allow to soak for a few minutes to a few hours – depending on how much time you have.
Crush the weet-bix. Sift the cocoa over the crushed weet-bix, then add the sultanas and condensed milk. Stir to combine.
Roll into balls – whatever size you like – and roll in coconut. Tip: wet your hands first to reduce the mess…for some reason the sticky mix sticks less to wet hands.
On the 14th day of the Christmas Countdown we had a mixed bag of Christmas activities.
Singing Glee Christmas carols…
…and making a swag of napkins for the Christmas table.
What do you think of the idea of a mix of fabrics for the napkins on a dining table? I’m loving this trend at the moment! It means I don’t have to settle on just one fabric.