Thursday, 31 December 2009

2009 reading list

I read a number of books this year including plenty of pregnancy and child related books. I read more than I was expecting and even more than last year. My book pile dwindled during the year and I had the unexpected task of procuring more books. Not that numbers count but here are some interesting stats

1 signed copy [Olive Kitteridge - thanks Betsy for the loan!]
3 Australian novels [My brilliant career, cloudstreet, Snugglepot & Cuddlepie]
3 previously read books [Three men in a boat, The alchemist, On love]

5 audio books [Confessions, Anna Karenina, Peter Pan, Paddington 1 & 2]
9 electronic books on my Kindle

My top three books for the year are Beowulf [Seamus Heaney's new translation, first published 1992], Anna Karenina, and The reason for God. Beg, borrow or steal these!

The full list

Confessions - Hippo, Augustine of

My Brilliant Career - Franklin, Miles

The Old Man and the Sea - Hemingway, Ernest

Cloudstreet : A Novel - Winton, Tim

Olive Kitteridge - Strout, Elizabeth

Peter Pan - Barrie, J M

The Alchemist - Coelho, Paulo

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work - Botton, Alain de

The Birth Of Christianity: The First Twenty Years - Barnett, Paul

The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer - Karp, Harvey

Don't Waste Your Life - Piper, John

Three Men in a Boat - Jerome, Jerome K.

Light Years - Salter, James

The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith - Keller, Timothy

Carry On, Jeeves - Wodehouse, P.G.

Out of Africa - Dinesen, Isak

A Fraction of the Whole - Toltz, Steve

Wandering Star - Clézio, Jean-Marie Gustave Le

The Scarlet Letter - Hawthorne, Nathaniel

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism - Keller, Timothy

A Lifetime of Wisdom: Embracing the Way God Heals You - Tada, Joni Eareckson

More About Paddington (Paddington book 2) - Bond, Michael

Little, Big - Crowley, John

Anna Karenina - Tolstoy, Leo

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie - Gibbs, May

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible As Literally As Possible - Jacobs, A.J.

A Bear Called Paddington (Paddington book 1) - Bond, Michael

The Shy Child: Helping Children Triumph over Shyness - Swallow, Ward K.

The Sun Also Rises - Hemingway, Ernest

Treasuring God in Our Traditions - Piper, Noel

Beowulf: A New Verse Translation - Heaney, Seamus

A Mercy - Morrison, Toni

My Man Jeeves - Wodehouse, P.G.

The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed - Becker, Gretchen

Amerika - Kafka, Franz

The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Kundera, Milan

The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Barbery, Muriel

The Waste Land and Other Writings - Eliot, T.S.

The Prince - Machiavelli, Niccolò

The Elements of Style - Jr., William Strunk

The Pocket Book of Ogden Nash - Nash, Ogden

On Love: A Novel - Botton, Alain de

Look Homeward, Angel - Wolfe, Thomas

The White Tiger - Adiga, Aravind

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

2009 watch list

Here's the list of movies we rented from Netflix this year. An interesting mix. There are some that I wasted my time watching (Mamma Mia!) and there were others that were enthralling (Slum Dog Millionaire). There are 33 movies left on my 'to watch' list - maybe we'll get through them in 2010 and we can cancel our subscription. Our favourite family movie was Mary Poppins. What a classic! At the movies we saw The invention of lying, The soloist, Bride wars, The boat that rocked (Pirate radio) and The secret life of bees.

Top four - go rent these now: John Adams, Revolutionary Road, Ben Hur, The curious case of Benjamin Button

Movies I turned off before the end: The Family Stone, The assassination of Jesse James, Beowulf (the story totally departs from the original text)

Full list:

Julie & Julia

Monsoon Wedding

National Lampoon's Vacation

Away We Go

Lawrence of Arabia

Peter Pan


Ben-Hur: Collector's Edition

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Sunshine Cleaning

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

I Love You, Man

Out of Africa

The Family Stone

The Philadelphia Story

Mary Poppins

Rachel Getting Married



Revolutionary Road

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes



Flight of the Red Balloon

New In Town

Look Both Ways


The Painted Veil

The Reader

Corrina, Corrina

Slumdog Millionaire

Indiana Jones/Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Frozen River

Beowulf: Director's Cut

The Assassination of Jesse James

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Garbage Warrior


Into the Wild

Get Smart

Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

The Case for Christ

American Teen

Les Miserables

Ghost Town

24: Redemption

Marie Antoinette

The Savages

John Adams

Mamma Mia!

Legends of the Fall

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Happy birthday Jesus

We had a great Christmas season! It has been jam packed with fun, food and friends, and thus blogging has been lacking. Presents were not a highlight in our house so when people ask Lucy what she received for Christmas she says she can't remember. [We all crawled out of bed at 9am on Christmas morning, made pancakes and then opened the first present at 11am as Henry was going back to bed for a nap] What Lucy can remember is the time we spent playing board games, decorating the tree, watching The Nativity movie, and the food we cooked. She loved being in the Christmas play, dressing as an angel in the Living Nativity and listening to Colin's Christmas CD. She also enjoyed checking the manger every day and opening the advent calendar, which she'll have to share with Henry next year! Surprisingly she also enjoyed taking down the decorations (we had twitter bugs). As a family we enjoyed the Christmas eve church service and a get together at the Farvers. We also attended the adult Christmas cantata at church, 2 playgroup parties (one for mums and one for families), the church women's group cookie exchange and baked cookies for our CBS teachers. It's been crazy busy because the kids have been sick with colds & coughs, Andrew had root canal surgery on a tooth and it's been zero degrees outside.

This year we celebrated Jesus birthday with a triple chocolate mousse cake. It didn't look as good as the recipe photo but it certainly tasted good. Although rich, it was low in sugar, being flavoured with good quality chocolate Andrew could eat a large slab of it. We cut the pieces with a cheese wire so that pieces were very neat.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Lucy and Henry are both sick so they have missed out on a few Christmas events. It's a busy time for us so blogging is on hiatus for a while. Have a fabulous Christmas remembering Jesus birth.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Mamarama Christmas Parties

We enjoyed 2 Mamarama Christmas parties last week! The first was the mum's spa night where we got pampered with pedicures and manicures whilst eating chocolate dipped strawberries. The second was the family cookie exchange and ornament decoration craft. Both were lots of fun, thanks Alexis!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas photos

Here is a photo of our Jesse tree. We cut off one of the lower branches of our Christmas tree and put it into some florist foam within this vase (covered over by aluminium foil). Our ornaments are pictures we printed out from the computer and then laminated. We used a star punch and some leftover 'hangers' to attach them to the tree. Each day we do our bible reading and Lucy hangs up an ornament. Here are some other things we're doing:

Listening to 'Christmas Offering' by Casting Crowns

Reading: 'Have you seen Christmas?' written by Vickie Howie

Watching: The Nativity Story

Eating: The perfect chocolate chip cookie, panettone and drinking hot chocolate

The photos below are of the manger and the nativity set.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Mike's Farm

On the weekend a large group of us from church headed north to visit Mike's Farm in Beulaville. We enjoyed a Southern country buffet dinner (fried chicken, biscuits, mac & cheese, green beans, pork loin, mashed potato and gravy) and then waited in line to see the Christmas lights. We had a long wait in the cold weather, wrapped up in beanies and scarves. The worst part was that the cold came up through your shoes! Finally we hopped aboard our tractor for our hayride around the farm to see the lights. And boy were there a lot of lights! Lucy and Henry had an awesome time looking around and Lucy didn't want the hayride to end (she particularly like the fake snow falling on us from the trees whilst the song 'let it snow' was playing). We forgot the camera so there aren't any photos but check out the Mike's Farm website for the light show.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Living Nativity 2009

It's been a busy week where I been trying to play catchup. It is Friday afternoon and I've finally got a little time to blog. Last weekend we were involved with our church in presenting a living nativity. Our family had the fun task this year of being Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus and an angel in the stable. The whole setup was enormous with Herod's palace, the temple, shepherds in a field, marketplace, inn, stable, adult Jesus praying, the cross and the tomb. Henry was Jesus for 1/2 hour on the first night, 2 hours on the second night and 3 hours on the third night. It was VERY cold but Henry was awesome. At one point he was squealing for attention - not because he was unhappy but just to see how big a crowd he could draw in. He cried for one group, laughed for one group and the rest of the time he just stared at all the people coming past. Our friend Maarten took some photos of the four of us. Lucy was bribed with 3 cupcakes (white, purple and pink icing) so that she would participate and smile. Although this was the 9th year of presenting the Nativity and over 1000 people attended this year it was also the last. It has certainly been a fun time for us, even on our wedding anniversary!

Friday, 4 December 2009

11th Wedding Anniversary

Tomorrow is our 11th wedding anniversary! It's the year for steel, jewelry or travelling to NYC. We'll be celebrating by being part of our church's Living Nativity. Come back Monday for an update. Ava good weekend.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Christmas plans

I've been following the '12 weeks to a peaceful Christmas' plan this year so everything has been thought out in advance and there is no last minute rush for Christmas (8 weeks done, 4 to go) I've already participated in one cookie exchange and there is alot of baking to go. Our December calendar is booked, the menu is planned (triple chocolate mousse cake for Jesus' birthday cake) and the presents are almost all wrapped. Looking forward to celebrating, playing games and eating. By the way our theme this year is 'camping'. Expect presents and activities to run this way.

I'll let you into two new traditions we're starting.

1. Manger. Under our Christmas tree is a rustic wooden manger that Andrew built. Each day during December some straw appears in the manger until it is full. On Christmas day a baby Jesus is lying in the manger amidst the presents and is a reminder of what Christmas really means.

2. Ornaments. Every year each child is given an ornament for the Christmas tree. The child decorates the family tree with their ornaments. When they leave home they are given a large box with their annual ornaments to take with them and start their own tree.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Christmas Wreathes

This year, inspired by Martha Stewart, I made these two wreathes. They are made completely of unshelled nuts hot-glued onto flat wooden wreathes. They were fun to make, quick and look really good. I just hope that the one on the front door doesn't attract deer!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

It's Christmas time!!

It is the most wonderful time of year!

On the weekend we bought a 10 foot Fraser fir tree from a local NC farmer. We hung our ornaments on the tree, decorated the house and drank Williams Sonoma Peppermint Hot Chocolate (look closely at Lucy's mouth!) The Christmas cards are ready to mail and the music playing in the house has a Christmas theme.

Each morning we will be opening the advent calendar and putting a piece on the Nativity scene. Each dinner we will be reading a devotion and putting an ornament on our Jesse tree. Stay tuned for more Christmas happenings.