We Are All Blessed.

Nobody’s life is easy. Some are easier or harder than most, but to every person, our lives are going to present us with challenges and dilemmas that are serious business to us.

And sometimes, when we see everyone else gloating about their happy lives, their happy families, their great incomes and great jobs and great friends and great hobbies… we can start to wonder why everyone else seems to have it so much easier.

But this time of year isn’t the time to be jealous, because however much or little you have, relatively speaking, you are deeply and truly blessed.

You are blessed for having had any family or any friends by your side. However alone you may be now, that acute pain is there because you were, and most likely still are, loved.

You are blessed for having an internet connection with which to read this, a way to reach out to others and simply talk.

You are blessed to be alive and breathing, to have enough food, freedom, shelter and healthcare to keep you going until now, and hopefully longer.

Those are things I know for certain you are blessed with.

Furthermore you are supremely blessed for every single thing you have above that. Every penny, cent, yen or centimo to your name. Every person by your side right now. Every gift you receive, every bite of food. For being able to hear carols and see the lights strung up about town. For having children or pets to shower with love. For all the faith and love and happiness you can hold in your heart. Not because others don’t have these things, but because you do. If everyone on the planet lived a perfect life, you would be no less blessed to be their equal.

However much or however little you have today, you are blessed to have it. Not blessed in guilt of what others don’t have or in envy of what others do, but purely and simply blessed.

And I hope you’re continually and consistently blessed with more.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

How To… make some quick Christmas treats.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone is a bit pressed for time this season. So what’s worse than remembering you have no goodies to give guests or passersby? Of course, we can always buy a few, but if you want to stand out and cut costs in a relatively stress-free manner, here are some super quick treats to make.

1: Shaped Flapjacks.

Simple, quick, can add as much or as little as you like.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • an equal balance of wet and dry fillers

Recipe:

  1. Mash all the wet ingredients together.
  2. Fold in the dry and stir until smooth.
  3. Pour out into a flat baking tray.
  4. Bake until firm but springy.

Then, just use a cookie cutter to cut them into adorable shapes!

2: Cocoa Dusted Meringues.

Meringues are actually really easy to make and the cocoa dusting makes them extra luxurious.

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 175 caster sugar
  • 2tsp sweetened or unsweetened cocoa powder

Recipe:

  1. Heat the oven to 140C.
  2. Whisk the egg whites until peaks form, but its still smooth.
  3. Slowly whisk in the sugar.
  4. Place dollops on baking paper on a baking tray. Put in the until pale and dry.
  5. Air cool. Lightly sieve cocoa over the top.

To mix and match, try making cocoa or caramel meringues and dusting with white chocolate.

3: Woven Biscuit Baskets.

More of an arts and crafts than a culinary crafts person? Make some simple sugar cookies and cutesy them up by handing them out in these adorable baskets!

Link.

4: Cute Biscuit Jar.

Or you could also look up some cute ways of decorating mason jars and candle jars to become snack-containers to give to friends and family.

5: Snowman Ice-Cream.

An adorable pudding you don’t need to make on the day!

Instructions:

  1. Roll out two or three differently sized ice cream balls per snowman. Pick a pale ice cream!
  2. Stack them up.
  3. Use raisins or chocolate chips for the eyes and buttons, maybe the mouth.
  4. Use strips of candy and fruit for a scarf and the mouth if you didn’t do it in raisins or chocolate chips.
  5. Use a round slice of chocolate wafer and a round chocolate (like a peanut butter cup) for a hat.
  6. Use thin slices of wafer for arms.
  7. Put back in the freezer until needed!

6: Festive Fruit And Cheese.

For something simple and adorable, make a festive cheese board.

Instructions:

  1. Lay out crackers and sliced hard cheeses in triangles until you’ve formed a tree.
  2. Sprinkle crumbly cheese for snow on the ground.
  3. Make a snowy log of goat’s cheese.
  4. Decorate your tree with half grapes (baubles) and ribbons of apple and pear (streamers).

And those are a few quick snacks to hand guests at parties and passing friends these holidays! Cute, cheap, festive, simple.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

12 Days Of Happy Holidays.

It’s 14 days from the Solstice and 17 days from Christmas. Soon kids will be on Holiday and a week or so after adults will be taking seasonal leave as well.

So before the actual countdown begins, here are some ideas for the 12 days of Happy Holidays.

1: First day of the countdown!

Make an advent calendar with your family and friends. Make one for your pet too. And if loved ones are too far away, make yourself a great one to boast about online! :p

2: Last minute presents.

Forgot to get anyone gifts? Packing stockings? Better go out and do some shopping sooner rather than later.

3: Cards for everyone.

Whether they’re traditional cards, ecards or handmade cards, try and get a festive message ready for everyone you love.

4: Seasonal music.

You’re absolutely justified in putting seasonal music on by now! Make a full playlist of your favourite warming, spiritual, Wintery or Christmassy songs and play it until you’re sick of it.

5: Light a fire.

There’s something lovely about a warm fire when it’s cold outside. Or a flaming BBQ when it’s hot outside, for those in the Southern hemisphere! Light a fire, a bbq, a candle, anything. Put a decorative fake fire on if you can’t light one.

6: Decorating time!

Any decorations you haven’t got out yet, get them. Any you haven’t put up, hang them. Any you want, make or buy them. An afternoon crafting and decorating the rooms artfully or as a family can be a peaceful experience.

7: Paper baskets and treats.

An alternative to a stocking for neighbours and dinner party guests. Pick some great seasonal colours and weave paper baskets to fill with candies, trinkets, messages and confetti. Top with a grab big curly ribbon bow.

8: Meal planning.

You almost certainly have a good idea what you’re making, but sit down and work out the prep and cooking times for everything and check the ingredients’ lists.

9: Stock up.

Anything you haven’t already got, go out and get it. Don’t plan anything else today. Take it easy. Enjoy the shopping. Separate yourself from the anxious crowds.

10: Baking day.

Rather than bake and cook on the same day, take a whole day to bake biscuits, pies, tarts, cakes and anything else you fancy. Remember to store everything well so it won’t go stale!

11: Be grateful.

As you welcome friends and family into your home, as someone fusses over their food, as a kid breaks an heirloom, as the roast catches fire… be grateful you can have this time. If you’re on your own, have a good meal and call friends and family. Remind yourself that you are loved and needed, whoever you are.

12: Festivities!

Enjoy yourself. Cleanup starts tomorrow. Eat, drink, be merry. Pray. Play games. Get drunk. Sing carols. Eat too much. Dance. Read. Do whatever makes you happiest.

What are your plans for the twelve days leading up to your holiday, then?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!