Saturday, January 31, 2015

These Winter Days

Everyone might at some point in their life learn to hand stitch in a swimming suit ("Mommy, I'm wearing a long sleeve shirt to make it look like a leotard"), with 6 clips in one's hair so absolutely no hair will fall into your eyes.

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Meanwhile, your Mommy might sort your Great-Grandma's cross stitch thread and think to herself, "Grandma sure had a lot of stuff...but she was certainly organized."

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

It's Me




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Hello 2015! The Christmas tree is outdoors, the manger scene and ornaments are packed away, the wreaths have been brought in, and things are looking much less "red and green" once again. The New Year's calender has been hung and the annual tidying up has begun again. It's a good feeling to begin anew.

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All of December was full of merry-making; decking the halls,

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To steal my cousin's comment, "Thanks Pinterest" for wrapping ideas. Couldn't have done it without ya. 

 baking up dozens of cookies,


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A gluten-free roll-out cookie recipe that didn't make me want to say bad words when rolling the dough out. It was that amazing to work with. Tasted just like my Grandma's cookie dough recipe too. I can't stop raving over it.

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She knows where the food coloring is stored. 
Top shelf.



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My Grandma's spritz cookie maker in action. Used this recipe

 sending out of Christmas cards,

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Not always so cheerful at facing 30 some cards that need signing.

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I must have had New Zealand's sheep on my mind, since they all appeared on on Christmas cards.

making memories,

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 They haven't fallen down yet, although my jolly-rancher stained glass window has a hole since the lights inside were a wee too hot and melted it. :)

 and so on and so forth.

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Watching a Christmas movie in the living room, then sleeping under the tree.

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Cinnamon Rolls for Christmas morning breakfast

 It was a lot of fun, but I feel...tired. Completely wore out and ready to face a proper January with no official celebrations. I want to curl up in a couch (which we don't have) and knit, read and eat chocolate chip cookies. 'Cause lets face it: Iced sugar cookies, spritz cookies, thumbprint cookies and all those traditional Christmas desserts are grand, but they usually don't include enough chocolate.

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We decorated these cookies after Christmas with my sister-in-law's expert instruction. 

One of my favorite bloggers mentioned that this is the time of year when we all hunker down for a long winter. And, just as my husband said would happen, the beginning of January brought us winter. Snow and c-o-l-d temperatures. Now I don't mind winter in general, but the single degree temperatures make me absolutely and completely a homebody. I don't feel like going anywhere. Staying warm inside practicing my handstands is enough movement for me and I'll just look out at the lovely snow for entertainment.

Downton Abbey started up again, and we are watching it online to stay updated. Only one episode in, and I'm already planning afternoon tea time with real teacups and saucers. That show has a way of making me do things like that. So please excuse me while I go dig out my Grandma's teacups and have afternoon tea. Perhaps while I do so, I will contemplate how so many of the bloggers I follow can blog and live life at the same time. I seem to be able to only do one or the other. Ha!

Happy New Year everyone!

Post Script: As very close readers might notice, a few of the recipes I linked to have rice flour in them. Rice is a grain, and generally we ARE grain-free. However, white rice is the one exception and we've started to incorporate more of it in our diet. Not only cooked rice on the menu, but rice flour in baking. We haven't noticed any negative affects of this particular grain and especially for baking this holiday season, it made my life incredibly easy with those recipes. I'm singing the praises of the gluten-free baking with tapioca flour, potato starch, rice flour and xantham gum.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Back Home, What I Wore

We have been back in the States for exactly 2 weeks today, and I must admit, it was hard to come back. I can't quite describe it, but maybe it's because we don't *love* where we live to begin with that makes it more challenging to really embrace being home. I honestly only missed my own vegetable peeler and my crock pot. (Aside from family and friends, of course.)

However, we are here. This is where we are for this time in life, and so it is. And, after two weeks in our own home, it is feeling cozy and comfortable. I am excited about the newest Cosco opening near us, Thanksgiving coming soon (Kiwis don't have that!), getting back to my sewing machine, and settling in for a long winter's nap. (Hmm...not really, but it sounded appropriate.)

Fall lasted about a week and a half after our arrival, and now it. is. winter. As in, the ground is white, it's snowing now and there's more snow coming approximately every day this week. I'm usually fine with winter and don't mind it till March, but last year kind of wore me out. So I'm trying to brace myself.

Anyway, the first Sunday back, we went to our own church which was nice and I wore this:

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Dress // Made by me, shown more here
Cardigan // Target
Scarf // Bought in Germany last year
Boots // Ugg

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Haircut in NZ and A Masked Parade

Last Friday was a perfect day for a haircut. I had several inches of length taken off, and now I feel very much refreshed. It's such fun getting one's hair cut in another country. I did it in Germany about a year ago, and now Down Under. It's simply a fun experience. :)

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Marie was my hairstylist this time, and she said she's been doing hair for about 30 years. She took a break to try something else, but turns out she didn't love working at a bank for those two years even though she did well at it. She returned to cutting hair and loves doing it.

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Thanks to Maria for being my photographer. She was with us for part of our trip to Europe last year and now she AND her brother Logan have joined us for the latter part of our New Zealand trip. Daniel and I met on their family's farm, so we all kind of go back a long ways. Um...I guess I don't even have a picture of Maria in this post. Oops. 

That evening was the Masked Parade as part of the Nelson Arts Festival, which is going on right now, and it was another fun little outing we all had. We walked downtown for the event, and when the school groups started coming by, Natasha perched on Daniel's shoulders to see.

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Afterwards, we got a picture with one of the taller masked creatures. :)

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Nature Play in Nelson

The past few Wednesdays that we've been available, Natasha and I have gone to the Nature Play walk for children at the base of Grampians Reserve. It's an easy stroll up part of the hillside, going at a preschooler's (or younger) pace. Halfway through the walk, we gather with the other mom and children to have a morning snack. But it's a little fancier here; they call it "morning tea" and we actually have tea. At least one mom usually brings a thermos of hot tea, and if you bring a cup, she will pour it out for you. There are healthy snacks, like fresh fruit or homemade bread and it's all very relaxed and easy going.

Natasha enjoys going and we have made a few new friends, which make us feel like we aren't so isolated. Thing is, we only have about a week left here in New Zealand, and then it's back to the States and winter, where there won't be any nature walks with flowers to pick like there are here!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Girly Times

Just a little peak into the more girly side of life last week:

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My sister-in-law and her family came to visit us for a couple weeks and we did a big road trip around the South Island of New Zealand. (Check our adventuring/travel blog, Ordinary and Beyond for lots of fantastic scenery of New Zealand!) Back at the Holiday House, it was fun to continue watching Natasha and Myah bond as cousins and friends.

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I must say, it was simply FUN having this girlie here.

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AND...she basically learned to walk in New Zealand. Too bad she's so little she won't remember it, but I won't have a problem telling her all about it when she's older.

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The day or so before they had to fly out, Lydia and I did a bit of girly shopping. We started at the Spotlight store and then biked downtown to pop into some shops. The LUSH shop was a fun visit, with lots of bath bombs and soaps that looked good enough to eat.

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We also visited the Cotton On Kids store and oohed and ahhed over all the darling clothes. I was so proud of ourselves, biking around without any help all on the left side of the road and everything.  :)

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Thinking Pink and Preparing for Winter

I've fallen in love with knitting again. It's so fun to rediscover the joy in something so simple. After my infinity scarf, I needed something else to work on, and I remembered Natasha's winter hat from last year was getting a little small. What a happy discovery. I have a proper excuse to knit something else!
We then went on a little search for the best yarn for a new hat. We found some 100% Australian wool at Spotlight, for a reasonable price and bought two balls.
Of course, it had to be pink.

After much deliberation, I settled on the Little Flower Hat on Ravelry, and completed it fairly quick.

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Raveled here.

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After that, I still had a ball of yarn. Guess we bought one too many. Not a problem though, another realization hit me: Her mittens are going to be really too small this winter as well! So I taught myself, with a couple youtube videos, how to knit mittens. I used a vintage pattern that I pinned a while ago, and I think it was a perfect pattern for giving me an idea of how mittens are constructed.


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Raveled here.

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Both patterns are *free*. :)

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