a tree, a tree, a glorious tree

“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.” Mary Ellen Chase (1988-1973)

This year/last year (Christmas 08 is what we are talking about here), instead of getting a Radiata Pine from the farm, we got a farmed Radiata from Real Christmas Trees. Oh my lordy what a tree it was. It was just packed full of branches and it was shaped like a real Christmas Tree! In saying that in hindsight, we would have done some selective pruning as since the tree was so bushy, the ornaments were to a degree buried in the pine needles.

Karl, the girls and I decorated on the afternoon of the 23rd. Well perhaps it is more true to say Karl and I decorated the tree whilst the girls had fun with the tinsel and taking photos. What follows are photos, lots of photos. IF the photo has Silja in it, it was taken by Birta, if it has Birta in it, it was taken by Silja, that applies for most photos, but pretty much the first half were taken by Birta, the next half were taken by Silja and then the last handful and the first few were taken by myself and then a handful near the end were taken by Karl. Does that make any sense? probably not.

Eventually the tree was covered with ornaments and then out came the magic texters and the girls gave tattooed our legs. I went to the doctors that afternoon to see about my leech bite with one leg covered in doodles 🙂

Decorating the Christmas Tree 2008

Wrapping the tree in tinsel
Tinsel, Tinsel, Tinsel

Birta and I doing silly faces
Crazy Girls

Due to the sheer number of photos to share from this day, here is a slide show again 🙂

Christmas Truffles

I’m moving house in a week today and one of the things I hope to have done by then is to have finished blogging about Christmas 2008. So here is another post to bring me a little step closer to the end of the 2008 Christmas Extravaganza.

I have wanted to make chocolate truffles for quite a while now and on more than one occasion I have brought cream with the intention of making truffles but ended up using it for something else.

For Christmas I made two types, the first where Peppermint Dark Chocolate and the second where White Rum, White Chocolate. They were rolled in a mixture of toppings, crushed Candy Canes (any idea how hard that is?), coconut, cocoa and sprinkles. I was not 100% happy with how they turned out so I won’t be sharing a recipe but here is a link to a search on FoodBlogSearch where I got my basic recipe from. My main problem was getting the consistency right and looking back now, I can also tell you that the Brisbane weather might have a little bit to do with it as well.

The truffles were rolled over two sessions. The night that I made the mixtures Karl and Matthew came over for a little gathering. We tasted one of Karl’s beers that he brought with him. By far the best tasting beer I have ever had, if I could get a case of it I would. We sampled different liqueurs and port with ice-cream and then we rolled truffles and we rolled till the mixture warmed up too much and the table warmed up as well.

When it comes to crushing candy canes, let me tell you the following things do not work; using the end of a rolling pin and a soufflé dish as a make do mortar and pestle, placing them in a plastic bag and whacking them with a rolling pin or placing the bag between chopping boards and whacking the top board, trying to grate them. I ended up chop, chop, chopping the candy canes till I had the pieces reasonably small enough to coat the truffles in. My “fun” crushing the candy canes resulted in Matthew buying me a nice beastly mortar and pestle for Christmas 🙂 What lovely brothers I have.

The next truffle rolling session was the day that we picked Erica and Ash up from the airport. Having learnt our lessons we knew how to roll them now and Mum’s house has air-con which made it a bit easier to roll them 😀

The following photos were taken by Mum.
candy canes!
Helen making truffles
Rolling truffles
and this is how we roll

They were a lot of hard work but oh my they were pretty tasty and they do look pretty!
Christmas Truffles

FYI for the future though. Crushed candy canes absorb moisture from anything and turn into liquid candy canes. Eat them shortly after making them.

I’m thinking that this year truffles will be made for winter celebrations not Christmas!

Also you can read Karl’s account of the truffle adventure here – Food, truffles, sausages and possums

And speaking of Candy Canes, here are photos of the girls with candy canes they were given by the Station Master at Albion train station. Anna, the girls and I went into the city before Christmas to do some shopping and check out my office – the idea was to look at the view but I think they had more fun having their height and weight measured by one of the nurses who is my work mum #1 (I have two work mums at work :D) and listening to everyone gush at how cute they were. 😀


There were flight delays out of Singapore and again out of Sydney but finally a plane landed in Brisbane carrying four special people. My brother, my sister-in-law and my two nieces. One of the first things they girls did when they arrived was hopped on the net, spoke to each other on MSN and played various Flash games. This photo is so much more than just a girl at a laptop, it is Birta, in the living room of my parent’s house in Australia playing on my laptop and that makes me smile.

so much joy

One of the things Karl did shortly after he arrived yesterday was to have a little look through the camera bag I had with me. Today, though he had more of a play with my lenses and I had a little play with his 24mm f/2.8, which let me take this image.


This afternoon after the girls had a little nap, all of us bar Mum and Pabbi went to the park and played French Cricket for a while which was a total ball and I am looking forward to quite a few more French Cricket games between now and Christmas Day. Oh I am so looking forward to the next few weeks! Tomorrow I am back at work though after taking the last two days off for the arrival of the Icelandic contingent.