Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas for 2011

I guess this is my first Christmas post on my blog, but don't worry, I'm pretty sure it won't be my last.....I'd just like to take the time to tell you all how much I appreciate you reading my blog. I have some very regular followers who have been here since the beginning...which isn't that long ago either, but I am coming up to my first anniversary in Feb too...which is also exciting.

If you are a lurker, now is the time to show yourself...leave a comment, and make yourself known. Given my blog stats, I know I have a huge list of lurkers who enjoy sitting on the sidelines, enjoying reading my blog. Don't feel obligated to show yourself though, it really is up to you and you alone. Although I would love it if you popped in and said Hi! No pressure....lol!

Christmas for me is a time to celebrate family and enjoy good food. Food that you wouldn't often eat, but more for a special occasion. I enjoy showing off my cooking skills at Christmas, and like to go the extra mile for a more complicated recipe.....although this year...I don't have anything complicated planned....but I know that my family will enjoy every bite.

I haven't even had time to (or remembered until now) to post about the beautiful Christmas Decorations both Mum and I received in the Down to Earth Christmas Decoration Swap.....

Mum received lots of lovely hanging 'gift' decorations from Lauren which are all handmade. They are stunning Lauren! Thank-you from Mum.

Just visible on the left is one of the
Origami butterflies....it's bright Orange.

My swap partner was Marnie...and I received a very complicated knitted stocking, along with a cute little house made from scraps of fabric....

Looking at all the photos, I didn't capture the Japanese Origami Butterflies,....but I know they are on the tree.....Thanks Marnie for the lovely decorations.

As you can imagine from your own household, things have been rather busy around here......As well as doing lots of baking for the freezer, I've been getting things done in the garden and doing lots of weeding, harvesting and planting too.....

I've even been too busy to publish my Gardening 101 for December post, but I did attend the December course, so I will make time soon to write that post....Sorry to those who have been looking forward to the December post, I will get to it soon after Christmas.

After hubby's flight being 5 hours delayed, I finally picked him up late last night....he had a huge day yesterday to get home for Christmas...the airport was packed to the rafters of all the workers trying to get home to spend Christmas with family and loved ones. I'm so grateful that we get him home for Christmas.

We have been busy tidying up, and I've been stocktaking in the garden to see what herbs I have for different dishes and salads....No herbs had to be store bought this year..which is fantastic!

Although I am organised with meat and other odds and ends...I can't help but look at more recipes......Yesterday, I found some more delicious recipes, and if I get time today, I might try a few of them out.

In the kitchen today I will do some of my salad prep for Christmas day.....All this stores very well for roughly four days in the fridge in press-seal bags....I use the bags, because they don't take up as much room as containers, and they can be stacked on top of each other: all being the same size....Some of my prep today will include the following:

  • Cooking and draining two types of pasta
  • Grating a big batch of carrots in the whizzer
  • Shredding some cabbage
  • Dicing spanish onions
  • Making another batch of Universal Herb & Garlic Mix

Remember: any prep you do today, makes light of the time spent in the kitchen tomorrow. All these ingredients will go in bags and be stored in the fridge, ready to make up salads the next day....any prep I can do today, makes things easier and less of a fuss or mess tomorrow....I think I mentioned that....lol....I will also be:

  • Boiling a dozen or so eggs to have on hand
  • Making my potato salad...making it the day before adds to the infused flavours of the fresh herbs
  • Mixing a French-onion dip for nibblies
  • Cooking my Ham in coke...(see *)....

*Instead of making Nigella's Coke Ham this year, I've found a simple recipe for making a cola syrup to cook the ham in...I think I will double the mixture though....so I will be doing that today too......I think this looks far more delicious than the Nigella version....and a lot healthier too.

  • Presents are all wrapped, and tonight I will get a small bag of pre-cooked turkey drumstick meat out of the freezer...along with stuffing balls and a few other bits.....all cooked over the last few weeks.....
Stuffing Balls
I've met many interesting and wonderful people since beginning my blogging adventure....and I appreciate all the comments and feedback...Some, I'm sure will be great friends for many years to come...To those who sent me a Christmas Card, I thank each one of you....I'm sorry, I didn't have time to do many cards this year. 

I take this time to wish all my readers, friends and family (and even the lurkers hiding in the background)...a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous new year. To  everyone on the DTE forum; along with all the followers on Rhonda's blog too.......

If you are travelling; stay safe.
If you are out drinking; make sure you have a designated driver.

If you are out partying, don't do it alone, take a friend.

Stay safe, and enjoy your Christmas holiday....I look forward to seeing everyone back here after their holiday celebrations....and I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.


  1. Merry Christmas to you too Narelle and your family. Sounds a bit like my day. We're at Mums tomorrow and I'm taking plum puddings (done), trifle cake (to do), coleslaw (to prep) and chooks (to buy). I've loved every minute of reading your blog and look forward to reading more next year.

    All the best,
    Anne xx

  2. Merry Christmas and many thanks for all of the ideas and inspirations that you have provided since I began reading last summer (my summer / your winter?). I hope you have a lovely day.

  3. Merry Christmas to you and your family Narelle. We'll be having a buffet tonight and thinking of you when we eat mini pizzas and breadsticks both made with your yoghurt dough.

  4. Merry Christmas, Narelle! :) Best wishes for a lovely holiday with your family - most especially, your hubby! :)

  5. Merry Christmas To you and your loved ones Nellymary. I can't remember if
    I have posted on here or not ! I like your blog and your good honest down to earth wisdoms - thank you for it! Keep up the good work in 2012 :)
    Mabel Grey ( from D2E forum)

  6. Merry Christmas! Thank you for all your generous posts. I've learnt lots of things. Plane travel is not all it's cracked up to be. Specially the waiting. I hope that the new job and accompanying changes are working well for you both. Take care.


  7. Merry Christmas to you and your family Narelle and thanks for all the things you have written about since you started your blog. You have certainly taught this old dog some new tricks. Some have been very handy for this festive season. Back to my prep now. See you next year.

    Cheers, Karen near Gympie.

  8. Best wishes to you and your family Narelle. I have enjoyed your blog very much. Thanks for all the tips and inspiration. I'll be back reading and learning next year.


  9. Merry Christmas from a lurker. Mostly because I don't often have anything new to add :) I'm going to look up origami butterflies - they look cool. See you after Christmas :)

    viv in nz

  10. Great pictures !! Merry Christmas to you and yours !!
    Greetings from The Netherlands.

  11. Thanks for sharing this Narelle. I'm probably one of your lurkers ... but I love reading your blog - it's definitely one of my big favourites since I started blogging about 5 months ago. Look forward to being more interactive next year when I'm hope from cold old England again.
    Greenie x

  12. Merry Christmas !!! have a nice day ~ =D

    www.lonelyreload.com (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

  13. Merry Christmas Nelly Mary, Looking forward to seeing what your up to in 2012...
    Karen :)

  14. another lurker here! Thankyou for writing... I enjoy reading and incorporating the tips into my life.

  15. ♥♥♥
    Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year

  16. Thank-you to everyone who commented....even the newbies...It's lovely to read such wonderful well wishes.....
    Yesterday went off as planned...we exchanged gifts, then the boys checked out theirs...and I got onto making salads and fruit punch for lunch....easy, as most prep was done the day before..we were so full after lunch that most had a siesta either on the couch or bed....some couldn't make it to their beds...heheh......so the same meal again last night, but we all decided there was no room in bellies for a big dessert, so I popped a tray of frozen biscuit dough biscuits in the oven....2 biscuits each was more than plenty....even the puppy dogs got a biscuit each which they thought was pretty special.....

    This year we decided to put the dining room table in the bigger family room....so we could extend the table...there was much more room, and far easier for everyone to get to their seats...we all decided that this was a great idea and will do it again next year.....I love how we get the boys talking of their earlier Christmas memories from when they were much younger....I always ask them what things they remember....that they will do in the future for their children...and they both agreed on putting chopped carrot out for the reindeer...they had no idea we used to go out and pick most of it up after they went to sleep.....Ahhhh good times.....and all the phone calls to Santa...very cunning to get little ones to eat their vegetables...lol....and they never did work out why Santa preferred a packet of chips (crisps) to a piece of cake.....hmmmmm.....

    It's lovely to know that we have started some Christmas traditions for our boys which will be passed on to their children.

    Keeping these memories alive makes for good chat at the table.......I especially love hearing my boys versions on the memories they have....and both Mum and Hubby and I also shared some our memories with the boys.

    A lovely day was had by all of us with great food....but my thoughts also go out to those who are less fortunate, those who don't have a home or family to spend Christmas with, or are without good food, those who are not healthy, those who have lost a loved one either recently, or around Christmas....those who have a loved one passed away; who was with them last year....those who have no gift, or can't afford to give a gift.....and also those who are working away and not able to be with their family, and their families.

    Merry Christmas and best wishes to all for the coming year.
    A new adventure begins....for the year 2012.

  17. Hi Narelle, I'm a 'lurker' and have enjoyed reading your blog for a couple of months now. I am in awe of your energy. Your apricot balls were a real treat with the family, thank you. Happy New Year to you and yours and I look forward to visiting your blog and possibly contributing if I can.
    Keep well,
    Lyndall (Happy Grammy)


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