Christmas / Boxing Day Wrap-up

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With 2014 about to bust in, it is time I posted our Christmas/Boxing Day adventures.

So, how was your Christmas?

This year it was our turn to spend Christmas Day in Sydney and we got up to all sorts of mischief.

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Mid December Richie and I woke up early one morning, made some coffee and put up the tree. It was never going to happen unless we put an early morning in. I posted a pict on Instagram with the caption: “Two things could be heard in the Reid home in the wee hours this morning: 1) “There you go, Merry Christmas” (the tree was like ^^^ this) and 2) “Crap, I’ve got glitter in my coffee”.

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First ornaments on the tree this year were a our ceramic stars from Karyn, one of our bestie’s who decked us out with some lovely Paper Boat Press items.

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The finished job – picture taken on Christmas Day. Richie proudly set up this photo. Take note of the particular emphasis on the lit lamp. He was very proud.

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11:50pm on Christmas Eve we had a knock at the door, and it wasn’t Santa. Lysh was meant to be in Bali but there was a passport expiry date malfunction, so she unexpectantly re-booked her flight and spent the morning with us. Luckily, she was able to re-book a Christmas arvo flight.

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Do you have a funny egg story? We do… now.

It turned out that the two dozen expensive free range eggs from Thomas Dux I bought on Christmas Eve, were all off. ALL OF THEM! I got ripped. Luckily we had an older carton with 7 or 8 eggs in the fridge which we did the float test with. Marcus was then put in charge of frying them all while Richie cleaned up the stinky electric fryer. Bummer.

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After brekkie we headed over to the Pereira’s for a late lunch with the extended Portuguese fam. It was awesome to hang out and play with little Eve. She is such a cutie-pie.

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Richie had a crack at making a Coconut & Pomegranate Cheesecake which our friend Shivvy used as her entry into this years Philly cheese competition – if you want to make it though, call us first! Shiv did some fine tuning after the comp and they wouldn’t let her post it. It was so yummy, I think Erica would love it.

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Boxing Day was spent in the city at the sales, and let’s be honest, Vanessa and I were in our element! Really VP and I should have gone alone, but sometimes we all need to be pushed out of our comfort zones and forced to swim for our lives in the deep end. Check out the sea of people in this video taken by Marcus. Haha, good times!

 

Actually, I think secretly, the boys did end up enjoying themselves.

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So, Happy (belated) Birthday Jesus and Merry (belated) Christmas to you and your family.

Since it is New Years Eve as well, we want to wish you a cracking good New Year too.

Looking forward to the 2014 adventures that God has in store for us all.

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Merry Christmas

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Richie and I hope and trust your Christmas Day was filled with love, joy and a sense of peace. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the presents and the Christmas lunch or dinner, and forget why we celebrate this day. It’s the most profound gift ever given to humankind. The promise of salvation, forgiveness, freedom, grace and mercy. A new life and a new hope.

Jesus is the reason. Period.

How silently the wondrous gift is given. Let earth receive her King! New life, new hope, new joy He brings.

Radiant beams from thy holy face with the dawn of redeeming grace. His law is love and His gospel is peace.

Joyful, joyful! Come and worship, come and worship! All glory be to God on high and to the earth be peace.

Let all within us praise His holy name. Glory to the newborn King!

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Words all taken from Oh Holy Night, Silent Night, O little Town of Bethlehem, Joy to the World, Away in a Manager, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Joy to the World, Angels from the Realms of Glory, While Shepherds watched, Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child.

Joy to the World graphic made in InstaQuote by me. Original Babuble picture taken somewhere from Pinterest :)

Holiday House Sitting

This Christmas Richie and I get to have a little holiday out at our friends home in Kenthurst. While they are travelling in the US of A with 40-odd of our friends from church (lucky buggers!!!), we are babysitting a hen-house full of chooks and these two cheeky dogs. These photos below are some old photos from a few months ago…

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Marley is an Australian Border Collie and Cassie is Bernese Mountain Dog

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They are worst enemies who can’t live without each other. They remind me of our own two dogs back at the Parentals. Marley, the younger pup, will tease and tease and tease until she gets bored, and Cassie is extremely patient with her. I love these two like they are our own dogs.

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These are our chooks. I’ll be honest, I’m not in love with them yet.

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But they do have the best Chook-shed in Sydney :)

The above photo was taken this morning after I let them out of their little house. I’m missing one chook from the photo, but otherwise I would have captured the whole crew.

See Boys, look how happy they are all!!! :)

Wednesday Words to Live By – Matthew 2:10-11

* Picture Found here

Have you ever read the below verses in different versions???I love the highlighted common theme in each of them:

Matthew 2:10-11 – King James Version (KJV)

  10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

Matthew 2:10-11 – New International Version (NIV)

10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.Matthew 2:10-11 – Amplified Bible (AMP)

10When they saw the star, they were thrilled with ecstatic joy. 11And on going into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then opening their treasure bags, they presented to Him gifts–gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Matthew 2:10-11 – The Message (MSG)

9-10Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! 11They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped Him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.

Matthew 2:10-11 – New Living Translation (NLT)

10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

I can’t wait for the day when Jesus returns. I believe we are going to have the same joy-filled reaction the Three Wise Men had – we won’t be able to contain our joy and our desire to worship Him.
This Christmas, Richie and my prayer for you is to experience “exceedingly great joy” through the gift of Jesus.
Happy Wednesday :)

SPANK – St Paul’s Arts n Kids

I just stumbled across this awesome church website with what looks like an incredible kids ministry. I got connected through a post on Facebook and dug a little deeper to find these Christmas themed videos. You HAVE to watch all of them! They are “based on a true story” :)  St Paul’s, you guys are awesome!

I think this next one could be my absolute favourite.

I lie, they are all my favourite.

Kellyville SDA church… could we get this kind of thing happening? How much fun would it be???!!!

When was the last time you…

…posted a personal letter/card to someone?

Yep, that’s right.

Australia Post. Red box. Stamps. Street address.

Yesterday I posted two personal packages to the USA. Since Richie and I didn’t get our act together to send Christmas Cards this past Christmas, this is the first time in forever that I have posted a hand-written card.

The two packages, which included Aussie calendars, were being sent to people we met on our USA trip in June/July last year. One package was for a lady we met in church in Charlotte, North Carolina. We sat down next to her not knowing anyone in this All-African American, Gospel singin n preachin, Adventist Church. Lola was probably about 65-70 years old and so friendly. She told us about how she was extremely sick only a few months prior and close to death. She was bed-ridden and the church prayed for her and she was healed. At the end of the service she asked us if she could “write us”. We exchanged addresses and I thought, I wonder if I’ll ever hear from her. Last year we got a cute card that read “Do you remember me? I was your seat partner in church in Charlotte. You were on your way to the General Conference.”

The other package was for a lady from Shelbyville, Indiana sent us a Christmas Card. We met on the good ol Gospel Cruise in Savannah, Georgia.  Receiving her card blew our minds! Richie and I couldn’t believe that they remembered us. I actually couldn’t even remember giving her our postal address! We suggested that they come to Australia for a visit and her polite reply was that it was way too far for her to travel. “Coming down to Savannah is the longest trip we have taken.”

Below are a few vids from the Gospel  Cruise which I was meant to upload while we were at the GC.

Aren’t they awesome?

Choosing to Cheat

Our lovely next door neighbours gave Richie a book for his birthday called “Choosing to Cheat” by Andy Stanley, Pastor of Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta.

We cracked it out on our recent New Zealand adventure and started to read it while we were on the road.

Below is a quote from the following page which was a “Uhuh” moment for me personally.

“So let me take some pressure off you. Your problem is not discipline. Your problem is not organisation. Your problem is not that you have yet stumble onto the perfect schedule. And your problem is not that the folks at home demand too much of your time. The problem is there is not enough time to get everything done that you are convinced – or others have convinced you – needs to get done. ” Page 21, Choosing to Cheat, Andy Stanley, Multnomah Books, 2002.

We are now half way through the book and so far it’s fantastic. There are too many great quotes for me to post here – just go buy it. It has already made us start questioning how we can do life better in 2011 to improve our relationship and our family life. These kind of books may not be your cup-of-tea, but there are some challenging thoughts that will make you re-evaluate your priorities.

Maybe it’s a good Christmas gift for someone you might know.

Advent Calendar

According to Wikipedia…

“An Advent calendar is a special calendar which is used to count or celebrate the days of Advent in anticipation of Christmas. Some calendars are strictly religious, whereas others are secular in content. Despite the name, most commercially available Advent calendars begin on December 1, regardless of when Advent begins, which can be as early as November 27 and as late as December 3.

Today, most advent calendars are made for children. Many take the form of a large rectangular card with many “windows”, one of which is opened every day during Advent. In less elaborate calendars, each window opens to reveal an image, a poem, or part of a story such as the Nativity story itself. More elaborate Advent calendars have a small gift concealed in each window, such as a toy or a chocolate item.”  Wikipedia

I had a bit of a search around on Google and didn’t find much when it came to nice Advent Calendars. Then I hit up Etsy and struck gold.

Courtesy of this Etsy Shop - http://tinyurl.com/25e2c88

Does anyone have an Advent Calendar?

Courtesy of this Etsy Shop - http://tinyurl.com/2f48h23

They are pretty cool.

Courtesy of Etsy Shop - http://tinyurl.com/2fjtv9a

If you’ve got one, then today you can open the #1 and eat the chocolate or read the nice note about the importance of Christmas.

Happy 1-Month till Christmas!!

Today is 25th November. Christmas is the 25th of December, just in case you forgot.

Who’s excited???

To celebrate how close Christmas is, I’ve decided to post some of my favourite Martha Christmas Trees. Martha and I are on a first name basis.

To see the full range go here.

This is the tree which gave me inspiration to make my own decorations. You'll see the similarities when I blog about my efforts so far.

 

This tree reminds me of the tree in the foyer of our hotel in Florence, IT which we stayed at on our honeymoon.

This is the other tree which gave me inspiration to make my own decorations. You'll see the similarities when I blog about my efforts so far.

 

Hello Christmas Tree!

Today has been a great day.

It all started yesterday with a tweet from my friend Tamsin. I know that sounds funny, but just roll with it, ok?

This was her tweet:

“Put up our tree! http://twitpic.com/36cy07

Then this was the twitter conversation that continued today…

“I want to know which one?!?!? RT @173Miss_T @bec_reid I would recommend the same one, if you haven’t already bought yours.”

“@bec_reid Big W, Tree 3, $28″

SHUT-UP!!!! Richie and I are heading there after My open homes! RT @173Miss_T @bec_reid Big W, Tree 3, $28

“@bec_reid totally true! Ary found it then told me to go. It’s HEAPS nicer than the $80 ones I was considering. Mac Centre Big W has heaps”

Then we took a little trip to Big W in search of the perfect Christmas Tree. Then we ended up in Parramatta at The Christmas Warehouse with a tip-off from Nerise, a friend from church.

This is how it all unfolded…

These looked a little sad, but they were leaning towards the door way as a way to encourage customers to step inside and buy up big

 

This is THE ONE

Once the decision was made, there were some in-store shenanigans to be had.

 

Hello Kiddies! Who wants to have a can of coke and sit on Santa's knee?

 

 

This is the finished product, minus my home-made decorations and star/angel. But there are more decorations to come.

Too many photos?

Too bad, it was fun and it was all worth it, even if it is still only the 14th of November.

It’s Christmas already?

It always makes me laugh when I see Christmas decorations appearing in the shops in August. And, leading up to this Christmas, our first Christmas as a married couple, Richie and I are needing to make some big decisions…

Do we buy a freshie or a fakey?

I’m desperate for a real, fresh, smelly Christmas tree. Growing up we always had a fakey and since I’m in charge of my own house-hold now (yup, that’s right!), I really want to get a real one from the side of the road. You know the ones? You see the Boy Scouts selling them at the Servo in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Richie on the other hand, grew up with freshies and thinks they are a pain. This is still being negotiated.

 Do we spend a fortune on ornaments and decorations or do we make em?

After a bit of an “inspiration browse” in David Jones and searching for quality stuff on Etsy, I have decided to make my own Christmas ornaments and decorations. I told my sister/brother-in-law/husband about my new adventure and in sweet unison, they whined “Finish your chairs first before starting another project!”. Too late!

Last year before getting hitched, we placed some beautiful crystal Christmas ornaments on our Bridal gift registry and hip hip hooray, some of our good friends bought them for us! These will always be treasured and I know that there will be little hands placing them on the tree one day. But as you will see below, this is the extent of our collection of Christmas Stuff for the tree.

Remember Mildred? She was the sweet old lady who use to work for President Clinton. She gave me a little christmas tree trinket when we were in D.C. back in June,  after our huge chat about how desperate she was to get another job at the White House.

Then we’ve got this little treasure that we paid a pathetic amount for at Top Of the Rock. But when are you in New York to grab Christmas ornaments, I mean really? It’s all part n parcel of the New York experience to pay ridiculous prices for touristy things.

 Then below we have the Queens Coat of Arms we got on our honeymoon at Heathrow airport when we almost didn’t make it home in time for Christmas. Also, the little candy cane from our Cambodian Project 318 mission trip which was made by local women at risk Mekong Quilts

 So with my foundational Christmas decorations, I naturally googled “Make your own Christmas Decorations” to start the ball rolling. I got onto some different websites, but of course, too much information throws me into total confusion. But then the brain wave hit. Martha!!! She is full of all good types of advice… “A live Christmas tree is a wonderful way to enhance your holiday decor.” Of course it is! But I’m not allowed one! Was I going to go to the full extent of printing out Martha Stewart’s Entire Six-Week Holiday Planning Checklist??? BA-BOOWWWW That’s a NEG Martha. I didn’t find a whole lot of inspiration there. It was too Marth-like and not vintage enough for me. Instead I choofed over to Spotlight to see what inspired me… and below is the booty I came home with.

So what’s the plan Stan?

Keep an eye out for my DIY efforts. There is a likelihood that I’m going to coax my friends into forming a production line like Santa’s Workshop.

But maybe after the chairs are done…