Sunday, December 31, 2017

the elf on the shelf

so this ridiculousness happened in our house this year. oh my word. so much effort haha. but it was fun and the kids loved finding the elf each day and seeing what she had been up to. big thanks to my friend claire for sneaking me her spare one - into madeline's backpack i might add... so when she got home from school one day i told her that i had a text message from the north pole and asked her to look in the front pocket. priceless!

so here are the adventures of snowflake the elf in the kendall house ♥

day 1: december 7 hanging with mary and joseph and holding their newborn baby

day 2: december 8 did almost all of josephs puzzle, just left the pieces of lightning for him to do

day 3: december 9 got caught in the fridge, luckily there was a tea towel handy to use as a blanket

day 4: december 10 pooped some choc chips into a glass

day 5: december 11 got stuck hanging from the living room light fitting

day 6: december 12 toilet papered the christmas tree

day 7: december 13 imitating miley cyrus and cannonball on the kitchen lights

day 8: december 14 did a little graffiti on mum and dads wedding picture

day 9: december 15 playing poker with santa and joseph

day 10: december 16 being a pirate complete with her own flag and ship in the kids bathroom

day 11: december 17 playing daddy's samoan drum

day 12: december 18 having a romantic picnic by candlelight with flynn ryder

day 13: december 19 sunbaking (under the lamp) at the beach

day 14: december 20 helping put todays decoration on the advent calendar

day 15: december 21 babysitting the baby jesus while mary and joseph had date night

day 16: december 22 chilling in dad's shoe

day 17: december 23 all dressed up with pearls and perfume, ready for a night out 

day 18: december 24
holding the bible open at luke chapter 2, ready for us to read the nativity story before bed on christmas eve

Thursday, December 28, 2017

vegan cheesecake

i'm still on the gluten free and dairy free train (thank goodness i am feeling a whole lot better, it certainly makes it easier...) so decided to make this vegan cheesecake for boxing day. i had multiple questions from people that knew i had made it, wanting to know if i was going down the vegan path. here is your answer: no. i enjoying eating meat. i am sure if i desperately wanted to do it, i could. i mean really, anyone can do anything that they want to do badly enough... but i like meat. veganism is not for me at this stage in my life.

but, back to the cake. i don't eat gluten or dairy, so cheesecake was out of the question for me. and what is christmas in australia (ie. frigging hot summer!) without cheesecake or cold dessert of some description? heck to the no was i missing out. so when this delicious looking recipe appeared in my facebook news feed this week, i went looking for the recipe... which you can find here (at ever and ivy) - along with a video for you to follow along with.

vegan cheesecake

1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup raw almonds
10 medjool dates (pits removed)
3 tbs melted coconut oil
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1/ tsp sea salt

3 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked 3hrs or overnight)
1 cup coconut cream
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup blueberries

1. process crust ingredients until fine crumbs. pour into tin and press down until smooth.
2. blend all filling ingredients excpet blueberries until very smooth. set aside half of mixture.
3. add blueberries to the half of mix in blender and blend until smooth.
4. pour blueberry mixture onto crust. pour white mixture on top.
5. freeze. allow to thaw for 15-20 mins before serving.

the verdict:
so. it wasn't cheesecake and so didn't have the cheesecakey flavour. but. it was delicious! seriously. i was well impressed, as was everyone else that had some, including my skeptical husband, who i found out later had actually eaten 3 pieces! i will absolutely make it again, no doubt about that. my only comment is that it makes a lot! i made 2 cheesecakes with the mix! which was great because we are having a baby shower here for my friend this weekend, so we'll bust out the second one then, but you could possibly halve the mixture when making it? or not, obviously it is frozen, so you could store it for as long as you need. but yum yum yum. so worth the effort!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

boxing day

boxing day was spent at my parents house... my very favourite place to be. sure, growing up in clackline can't compete with growing up in the big city, but we made our own fun - and had the best time. and now, even as an adult with children of my own, going to clackline feels like going home. the wide open road with bush either side that stretches forever and the dirt roads, the kangaroos... and their house, my childhood home, that holds the very best memories i possess.

as you would have seen from my posts over the years, i love nativity sets... and this is the first one i remember... my mothers one. taking it out of it's black tin and taking it out of the tissue paper to set it up each year was my favourite thing - and definitely began my obsession. 

cooking and fun with my niece laura ♥

and maddie with her favourite cousin emma ♥

my two favourite babes. i love these kids!

i know people might not be a fan of the country, but for me it will always be home. i don't know how anyone could not love this view. the end of the day in clackline... it was a very merry boxing day and -

home is wherever i'm with mum ♥

Monday, December 25, 2017

christmas with the kendalls

i, along with everyone else i know, love christmas! it truly is "the most wonderful time of the year" and to celebrate the birth of our saviour, with family by our side is one of lifes greatest blessings.

we are lucky enough to have both sets of our parents living within an hour of our home, so we had them all over on christmas day... brunch with dougs parents and then both sets for dinner! my kids seriously have no idea how lucky they are to have them all around.

mum and dad and the grandparents* certainly delivered and the kids got some gorgeous gifts! madeline got a gorgeous doll that looks just like her (not the one in the link, hers has red hair, freckles and brown eyes ♥) the our generation dolls are so cute! such good value for money too. we were stoked to find them!

(*note: my kids talk about santa... and i neither confirm nor deny his existence. for us, the main focus of christmas is to celebrate the birth of christ and i am not fussed if they don't believe in him. plus i am the youngest of four, with only brothers [the eldest of which are 11 and 9 years older than me] so to be honest i can't actually remember believing in santa... we just tell the kids that the things in their stocking are from santa and they seem cool with that)

and joseph was blown away with this ride on lightning mcqueen car... you should have heard him squeal. so much fun! i can't wait to see him drive it once he really gets the hang of it.

and this book. what a crack up. more for doug than joseph i must admit, but so good.

we had the best day and put two very tired and happy kids to bed at the end of it. christmas comes but once a year, but with it comes so. much. love! ♥


"for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called wonderful, counsellor, the mighty god, the everlasting father, the prince of peace." isaiah 9:6

Sunday, December 24, 2017

christmas eve

christmas eve fell on a sunday this year and it made for a wonderful sabbath! everything had to be done by saturday afternoon, so there was no dealing with shops, just a chance to be home with our family and prepare for christmas day.

our church service was at 9am, combined with the other ward that meets in our chapel, which was nice and the program was made up of musical items and reading from the scriptures. i sang guard him joseph with my friend maddy as part of it. it is such a gorgeous song, have a listen here (not us!)

after dinner, we read the story of the nativity in the bible (luke: 2) which is a long time tradition from my family, before putting the kids to bed and putting their gifts out.

i can't wait for tomorrow!

marry christmas to all and to all a good night! ♥

Friday, December 22, 2017

gingerbread and christmas houses

our annual gingerbread house decorating evening with the pinker family took place this evening and the competition has become quite fierce. the kids were at it with their chosen grown ups, trying their hardest to outdo each other and i must say, i'm pretty impressed with the results. hearing them laughing and playing about is definitely the best bit!

once the houses were done, we wandered down to the "christmas house", a house close to us that is decorated to the nines each christmas, complete with a santa who greets the kids, characters from frozen who dance in the driveway and loud christmas music - every childs dream!

i finally managed to get the kids into the santa chair for a photo... and not surprisingly at all, this is what i ended up with. i'm not even mad, it shows their personalities perfectly! haha. a few more blocks of wandering and amazing christmas lights later we went home to bed with tired and happy christmased up kids.

it really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

christmas goodie plates

well... it's that time of year again, when i pull a few semi all nighters to make goodie plates for the western power boys. yes, it's a lot of cooking, yes it takes a long time, but yes it is absolutely worth it. i was inspired by the years of goodie tray making i watched as a child and seeing as my mothers efforts are still well known, i know these will be remembered long after the goodies are eaten.

this years trays consisted of: (starting at 12:00) salted caramel slice, white rocky road, popcorn and seed brittle, chocolate truffles, chocolate rocky road, peanut butter cookies, (then the middle) brownies and fudge

recipes can be found here and here

the popcorn and seed brittle is new to the line up this year (and will definitely be staying from now on... give it a go! it is so easy and so yum! (plus vegan/ gluten/ dairy/ egg/ nut free!!)) and amazing! recipe for this one can be found here

popcorn and seed brittle

2 cups (440g) caster sugar
1 cup cooked popcorn
1/2 cup (100g) pepitas, toasted
1/2 cup (75g) sunflower seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

1. line a baking tray with baking paper. combine sugar and 1/2 cup (125ml) water in a medium saucepan. stir over low heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves
2. increase heat to high and bring to the boil. cook, uncovered, without stirring, for 7-8 mins or until golden brown. set aside until bubbles subside. add popcorn, pepitas, sunflower and sesame seeds and swirl to coat.
3. carefully pour the hot popcorn mixture onto the lined tray. set aside until cool and hard, then break into pieces.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

lite n easy open day

today the kids spent the morning at lite n' easy in canning vale, at the annual "bring your kids to work day", checking out where grandma oli works. with a treasure hunt, face (well arm) painting and a sausage sizzle, i think it's safe to say they had a good time. plus... they finally got to see where grandma works, which was the best bit for the two of them!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

girls breakfast! ♥


some of the lovely girls from church organised a girls breakfast yesterday at a local cafe (mecca gourmet) for three of us that had our birthdays in one week. such a fun morning with lots of laughs.

dom and i

amy and i - our breakfast was actually on her birthday...

the crew playing blackjack with the deck of cards we found on the shelf behind our table 

and the cakes that were whipped out at the end

squad goals. our ward is great and i feel very lucky to be surrounded by people who love me!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

schools out for summer!

this little ball of energy has finished pre-primary and passed with flying colours. according to her teachers, she's reading at a year 1/2 level... she loves to write... and is a whiz at maths. i'm so pleased that she loves to learn as i know it will open so many doors for her in the future!

madeline has been in class with lara and sophie two years in a row and they are such good friends, we just hope their little squad remains together next year so the fun (and our mum dates) can continue.

congrats on making it through pre-primary little one. the sky is the limit!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

road to bethlehem 2017

one of my favourite parts of christmas is going to the road the bethlehem at the seventh day adventist church in canning vale. we have been going for years... and now with kids, it is even more fun!

it is an amazing night, with a full live walk through nativity, acted out by members of their church. so much effort goes into it!

with my little man, waiting for the evening to begin

the angel gabriel proclaiming the birth of the saviour to the shepherds

seems a little obvious, but the best bit is at the end when you reach the stable and see the baby jesus lying in a manger (or sometimes being held by his parents if he happens to be awake) while angels sing of his birth. it's just so beautifully done and i love that it's available to us to be a part of!

and they came with haste, and found mary, and joseph, and the babe lying in a manger