Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - 17 December - Christmas Stories



Thomas MacEntee of Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories says:


Whether it is A Christmas Carol by Dickens or The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Suess, we read or heard special stories at Christmastime. What is your favorite story and who wrote it? Do you have a tradition of reading certain stories each year at Christmas?
Tell us about your favorite Christmas stories and your memories of Christmases past.

My favourite story is The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen.  It's not a very cheerful tale but I remember vividly the picture of the little girl outside looking in at the people inside having a great time at Christmas.  The story is actually set on New Year's Eve.  You can get a sense of it here.




A more cheerful story that someone sent me yesterday can be found here




May your Christmas stories be powerful and meaningful.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - 16 December - Christmas Travel







Thomas MacEntee from Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories says:

“Over the river and through the woods” as the song goes . . . Christmas time can often mean travel home or meeting up with family at a special destination. Do you remember traveling back home for Christmas? Were there any trips that standout in your memory? What methods of travel have you used to make the trip home?Tell us about your Christmas travel and your memories of Christmases past.

I don't think there is a transport method we haven't used to get to our Christmas destination.  Well, maybe a bicycle or a donkey.

We have used shanks pony to walk across the creek to my sister-in-law's for Christmas.

We have driven from Brisbane to the Blue Mountains.

I have caught a plane.




Here I am at Mascot Airport with my mother's turkey stuffed firmly under my arm.

We have caught the car ferry to Stradbroke Island for Christmas in years gone by.  You can see the joy in Caspar's face here.  Such a great feeling to get on that ferry and leave the troubles of the world behind you and enter island time.





The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com

Monday, December 15, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - 15 December - Christmas Tree Decorations





Thomas MacEntee of Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories says:


Do you have unique decorations that you use each Christmas? How did you get them or were they passed down to you from family members? Do you have certain traditions surrounding Christmas decorations such as purchasing one from every state or country you visit? Describe your favorite decorations!
Tell us about your Christmas decorations and your memories of Christmases past.
Let's be honest.  I am a complete sucker when it comes to Christmas decorations.  It will be with great reluctance that I give these latest finds away as gifts this year.


I did decide to keep the birdie though and he is now perched on top of the tree.


One of my colleagues is very talented when it comes to making Christmas decorations...bless her.  Here are some from last year and the one with the spider on it is from this year.


Our thoughts tonight though are with everyone in Martin Place in Sydney and their families.  We are sending positive thoughts your way for a peaceful resolution.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - December 14 - Christmas Cookies



Thomas MacEntee of Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories says:

Any other time of the year, a cookie is a cookie – even homemade ones. But during Christmas, well a cookie is a special treat. Whether it is a Snickerdoodle or a Peanut Butter Blossom or perhaps decorated Spritz cookies, we all have special memories about Christmas cookies.
Tell us about your favorite Christmas cookie (and share a recipe please!) as well as your memories of Christmases past.

I don't normally get excited about biscuits at Christmas...well maybe a bit of shortbread.  

For the first time this year, I made some.  And they seemed to go down quite well at work.  Perhaps I should make more....and perhaps I should ice them next time.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - December 13 - Christmas at School


Thomas MacEntee of Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories says:


A Christmas pageant, a Secret Santa gift exchange, or a concert singing Christmas carols. There are so many memories of Christmas activities at school that they could fill a book. How did your school celebrate Christmas each year? Were there activities that also involved parents or neighbors?
Tell us about school activities during Christmas and your memories of Christmases past.

I must be getting old because I hardly remember Christmas concerts when I was at school.  I have vague memories of singing in 1st grade at St John's (now called Northside Infants)...a song with the lyrics "Orana to Christmas Day" - you can read the lyrics here.. and listen to John Williamson's fine rendition below.






I do remember my kids' Christmas concerts though. Parents often stood outside for hours reaching up on tippy toes trying to catch a glimpse of their darlings on "stage"...wondering if the tropical thunderstorm was going to ruin the proceedings....and then trying to find them in the dark after the show.  All the excited squealing and running around afterwards.  Yes I remember it well. That's my little angel in the first photo at the top of this post.  What a darling she was and still is.  

And of course every year we would have to try to think of something original to give to the teachers to thank them for all their hard work throughout the year.  This thorny issue is still the cause of some consternation all these years later, as per this recent radio interview.   I guess gift cards are an easy option for parents juggling work and kids (like I used to) but ... in the eyes of the law...it's just too close to bribery for comfort.  Given Queensland's sad history in this regard...better to be seen to be doing the right thing than not.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com

Sepia Saturday 258: 13 December 2014


Alan from Sepia Saturday says:
Our Sepia Saturday challenge this weekend is a little different. What we are asking you to do is to forget the foreground and look into the background. Take, for example, this pedestrian snap of my Uncle Harry, Auntie Annie and Unknown Man. The centre of attention is the three figures walking down some seaside promenade, but the interest in such a shot is probably limited to those fascinated by the everyday history of my family (a small and select group of people). But if your move your focus to the background there is a wealth of interest. Note the sailor in uniform, suggesting that this might have been a wartime shot. But there are still cast-iron railings on top of the wall and later in the war all such things were taken down and melted to make gun barrels or some such thing. Look at the hats, look at the sensible shoes : there is enough to keep you busy for a whole Sepia Weekend.

This has been a great exercise for me in working out which photos work best for focusing on the background etc.  I played with about four or five photos but have settled on this one.

Here are my mother's mother Kit and her twin sister Belle with, I think Shirley, on the beach.  But which beach I wonder.  

Kit and Belle and Shirley (?) on beach c1940


If you zoom in at the top of the photo you get this...I think it says Ocean Baths...but what do you think?




When I searched Ocean Baths on Trove, my eye caught Newcastle by chance and I reckon this photo was probably taken at Newcastle.

Have a look at this photo and others of Newcastle beach and baths on the Hunter photo bank.

At first what I loved about this photo was looking at the gentleman's swimming trunks just to the right and behind the twins.



As I looked more closely at the photo I realised that my mother was in the photo...asleep on her mother's lap.  It was her sandal that I spotted first!



Then I saw the ginger beer and what I thought was seaweed but now I realise is sandals again.


and the hat at someone's feet.


Shirley's trowel....




and the ever useful Globite suitcase...


For more focusing on backgrounds go here.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - 12 December - Christmas Cake





So what side of the tin are you on? Do you love fruitcake or despise it? Do you have a favorite recipe or favorite kind of fruitcake? If you are in the “no” column, do you politely refuse a gift of fruitcake or do you regift it or even recycle it as a door stop or food for the birds?
Many people are passionate about fruitcake and its role during Christmas time. Tell us all about your like or dislike of fruitcake and your memories of Christmases past.
When I married my husband, his best-man/friend's wife gave me her boiled fruit cake recipe.  Robert is rather partial to fruit cake and this was Pat's gift to me to ensure the continuity of our marriage ;)  As a young bride, I tried to mess with various recipes, but this one always comes out trumps, is easy to make and smells divine when it's cooking.  

Robert loves grocery shopping and happily goes to at least two supermarkets a day.  This year, for example, he bought an Aldi christmas cake.  Experience has taught us that Lions' christmas cakes are often the best. The trick is finding the outlet and getting to them before they've all sold out.


This morning's guilty pleasure however was friend Gina's delicious gingerbread man which was given out at our Bookclub's Xmas dinner on Wednesday night. Gina individually decorated each of them with our initials - such thoughtfulness and care.  Bless.  We shared stories of baking in Brisbane's stinking heat last Sunday.  I made biscuits for work.




The madness of trying to make dough in that heat and how we wanted to climb into the fridge with the dough while it was "spelling". 

Have I mentioned that I finally went back to the gym last week in anticipation of all the weight I will be putting on over the next couple of weeks?

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com