Sunshine in my shadows

Welcome to sunshine in my shadows. This blog is my space to share all the stuff that makes up my every day life. Family, friends, crafts, recipes, books and all the little things that add 'sunshine to my shadows'. We all have a sprinkling of sunshine and an equal sprinkling of shadows in our lives. Hopefully you will find more sunshine than shadows to read about here and on the days when shadows fall, know that the sunshine is peeking just around the corner!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Anything but turkey....

Christmas is over and the year is drawing to a close. I'm not sure about anyone else but I am getting sick of eating the Christmas leftovers. It's a case in point of the adage that all is good in  moderation. I asked my better half to pop out for pizza the other night as I wanted anything but turkey for dinner. I'm making mental notes about the quantities of food left over and what we can cut back on next Christmas. Leftovers are yummy for about a week and then just like the tree after Christmas, the gloss wears off.
It is a little strange how the tree and the decorations just don't seem to have the same sparkle once Christmas Day is gone. Looking around the room everything just looks a little forlorn. Traditionally I take my tree and decorations down on New years day so I can enjoy them for a few days yet. Forlorn or not they still contain that tiny seed of Christmas spirit that touches the child within me!
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas blessings to all...

Christmas is almost over for another year. It's funny how the tree just doesn't look the same anymore. The lounge room has various gifts, bits of wrapping paper etc scattered around. The gloss and glitter just doesn't seem to have the same sheen and sparkle anymore! We had a wonderful day here today, my son and daughter, my daughter's friend from the States, my partner and I. All adults but we still shared the special moments that the spirit of Christmas brings.

The kids were all up at some ungodly hour of the morning. I believe it was around 3.30am. I refused to get up until a respectable 7.30am despite repeated nudgings from my 14 year old. Everybody was suitably spoiled by santa and we spent the rest of the day chatting, relaxing, eating and napping turn about.
My partner and I managed a few short hours of special time together early evening as the kids all went off to have dinner with their father and his new family.

Now late in the evening we are all winding down, each relaxing in our own way prior to bed. My son is staying with his dad for two weeks holiday. My daughter's friend is staying with us for approx 3 weeks so we will be trying to show her a little of Australia before she returns home.I feel truly blessed to have my loved ones with me this Christmas.
I hope your family was touched by the Christmas spirit and enjoyed a loving and relaxed day.
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

**photograph my own

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Playing domestic goddess....

I've been running around like a mad woman for a couple of days, finishing up last minute Christmas preparations. Like  most women I suspect. Actually I have been much better organised this year in part due to the wonderful online group I belong to Aussies crazy about Christmas.Gifts all done and wrapped I bought all my ingredients for my baking yesterday and spent the better part of this afternoon making yummy things for us to have at Christmas.

I used to bake all the time but haven't in a while. I let my pantry run down and it is expensive to buy a lot of ingredients all at once. However perhaps in keeping with the new start in a new home I have been feeling somewhat domestic this week and my grocery bill reflects it! So for a little while at least I can pretend to be a real domestic goddess and impress my family with my culinary skills. Ok ok so I'm getting a little carried away here. Truth is I'd never make a domestic goddess I'm far too relaxed and easy going. Some would say lazy but I prefer to think positive! ;)

Sharing piccies below of the treats I have made so far.Unfortunately the choc truffles look a bit like doggie doo since I couldn't find my piping tube and had to use a plastic zip loc bag with the corner cut off. I usually pipe these with a star tube so they look nice. I still plan to make Buckeyes and choc peanut butter fudge if I can find time tomorrow.

Wishing you sunshine in your shadows and choc chips in your cookies
~ choc brandy truffles, white choc lemon truffles and rum balls~

Monday, December 20, 2010

The gifts of Christmas...

I went into town today to finish my Christmas shopping. It was crowded, busy and tedious in the shops but a few short hours later I was exhausted but finished. I tend to buy things early and tuck them away all through the year. Unfortunately this means I often forget about things or one of the kids ends up with more gifts than the other. I know it shouldn't matter and it probably doesn't to them now they are teenagers but I have always fastidiously made sure they each receive the same number of gifts under the tree. Even if it means wrapping a pair of socks to make up an extra gift! Do other mums do this or is it just me?

This year I didn't manage to put too many things away early so had most of my gift shopping to complete today. I have ended up with too many gifts for my son this year so he will be terribly spoiled. Buying gifts had me thinking about the less fortunate today. If you can I hope you will make a donation, place a gift under one of the many charity trees in the shops or donate food or a hamper to a local charity or homeless shelter.  We have always done so when able. I have been on the receiving end of charity before today and know first hand what a difference it can make to needy families. I truly believe in making a difference when and where we can and there is no better time than NOW to give yourself a dose of the warm fuzzies by giving to others. After all isn't that what the true spirit of Christmas is all about?
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

I could not find the original source of this photograph to give credit. If this is your image and you would like credit or it to be removed from my blog please let me know.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The long and short of it.....

Today was a big day for me and my hair! I have had long hair now for several years and had recently been considering having it cut short. Long hair is lovely and I loved mine BUT I did not love all the time it takes to care for it properly. My hair is also very thick and unless dried with a hairdryer I could wash my hair early in the morning only to go to bed with still wet hair at night. Long hair also makes you very hot in Summer, even when pulled up in a ponytail.
So today was the big day. I had my hair cut, coloured and restyled. It feels strange but much cooler and I felt like a million bucks when I left the salon. I'm still not sure about the length around my face but will live with it for a while and if I really don't like it will ask them to cut it shorter next visit. I haven't had my hair this short since I was in my 20s.
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sunshine in my mailbox...

I received a happy surprise in my letterbox today. I love this time of year when all kinds of lovely things appear in my letterbox, instead of just the usual bills and junk mail. I have received a lovely number of Christmas cards from friends and family and I enjoy looking at them displayed in the lounge room. Today I received another card from an online friend. Elaine had inserted a beautiful crocheted angel decoration inside the card. Elaine is a very crafty lady so I think she made the angel herself. It is very fine and stiffened so it hangs nicely. Thank you Elaine for putting a little sunshine in my day!
wishing you all a little of your own sunshine in your shadows (or mailbox)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Are you counting?

It's only 11 more sleeps till Christmas Day! Usually I have finished buying gifts by now but this year I am behind schedule. Unfortunately this means a dash into town, probably next week to try to buy the kids gifts all in one days shopping trip. I am not looking forward to battling for a car park, queues in the stores. I love Christmas and I love people, just not when I am shopping!

I have all the stocking fillers and only have a couple of gifts to buy so I guess that isn't so bad.
Are you feeling the excitement build at your place as the number of days till the big day slowly decreases?
Next week will see me baking, finishing shopping and then hopefully relaxing and enjoying the special ambience that Christmas brings.

wishing you sunshine in your shadows

This is an adorable advent truck I picked up on ebay. It has little drawers on both sides to pop small treats in.

Monday, December 13, 2010

How did that happen?......

My baby girl turned 18 today. I am sure all parents can relate to my question of how did that happen?
It only seems like yesterday she was a baby in my arms, a busy toddler playing dolls and dress ups or building trains and lego. I missed puberty as she was living with her father at that time. She returned home to me as a fully fledged teenager at age 14. Kate has always been old for her years and a very unique individual.

She celebrated her 18th in her own individual style today, an outing to the second hand bookshop where she enjoyed a big spending spree on foreign language books. Kate has Aspergers syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Obsessions are a characteristic of the disorder and Kate has had various obsessions throughout her life, foreign languages being the latest and most long lasting. (She has studied various languages over the last several years and speaks Japanese and Indonesian)

Kate's birthday cake was a plain old madeira cake as per her request. The rest of the family did enjoy a more traditional birthday cake! We are not big on parties but birthdays always involve getting together as a family and sharing cake. As fitting to the occasion Kate and I shared a Midori cocktail. I'm not sure she was impressed. I suppose she will eventually find an alcoholic drink she does enjoy but I trust she has enough sense to drink responsibly.

I wish for my darling daughter as I do for all
sunshine in your shadows (Happy Birthday darling)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Blending the family...

My partner and I have been a couple for almost 3 years now. We have been talking about moving in together for the better part of a year and a half. We are finally about to take the plunge. It would have happened earlier this year but his cancer diagnosis kind of threw a spanner into the works! Ideally I would have liked to have been well and truly moved before Christmas but ....well the universe had other plans for us.

It will be a wonderful relief to me to leave my old house behind. Unfortunately it holds many more sad memories for me than happy ones.I am looking forward to a complete break from the past and an exciting new chapter in my life.
I am sure my kids will have mixed feelings about leaving their family home. It is the only home they have ever known. The house is to be sold, an unfortunate necessity.

In time I hope they will embrace the new and enjoy the freedoms our new home will provide. Our new home has space to run and explore, orchard & gardens to enjoy and many other things our current home could never provide. I know there will be huge adjustments to be made by all of us as we learn to live together as a blended family under one roof. I'm confident it will all be ok in the long run.

I'm not so sure about the 4 legged members of the family. We have 2 cats between us and introducing our cat to her new home and new family is going to be interesting to say the least. We shall be following the advice from our vet and praying a lot I think! Both cats are the same age, neutered females and used to being the Queen of their own domain! I hope they will eventually be friends or at the very least tolerate each other.

Moving is such a chore! I am badly lacking energy and motivation to get those boxes packed and ready to go. Hope to be done by New Year. Time will tell.....
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Tabby our princess

Squeaky Queen of my partner's realm

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Crazy about Christmas

If you know me personally you will already know I am crazy about all things Christmas! If you don't know me personally but read my blog you may have guessed LOL! I belong to a number of online groups but one in particular is an Aussie group that has become a cherished part of my online 'family'.  If you are an Aussie and love Christmas you might consider joining this friendly, sharing and caring group of ladies who all love Christmas.
We share our love of christmas through sharing recipes, crafts, web links, ideas for organising and preparing the house for the big day. We have competitions and fun games. We also share the important things that are happening in our everyday lives.
Check out the website to learn more.
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Growing your own...

Vegetables that is! I took a stroll around our garden yesterday and snapped a few shots of our vegetable beds.
I am hoping that the locust plague will stay away from us. Our vegetable plots are doing very nicely and the thought that we might lose all our delicious home grown produce is well damned annoying to be polite about it LOL! I can only imagine how terrible it is for the commercial food producers who have already lost their crops to this pesky insect plague. I have decided at the first sign of a locust I will pick everything I possibly can and freeze it. It just isn't the same as strolling out to pick fresh as you need it though.
Do you grow your own?
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

bunny heaven! Our carrot patch

vegetable plot 2 with my beloved trying to keep out of the photo (he prefers to remain anonymous)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas puzzle

I like doing Jigsaw puzzles and each Christmas I like to buy a new one. This week I pulled out one I bought on ebay a few months ago. My partner and I spent quite a bit of relaxing time the last few days putting the pieces together. It isn't as nice as the one I did last year but still been a lot of fun. My partner did a lot of the tricky bits too so that was a bonus LOL!
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Monday, December 6, 2010

A little Christmas joy

Just another little piece of Christmas to share today. I get such joy from the decorations I collect each year.
I'm sharing a few of my favourites and I hope they will add a little Christmas joy to your day as well.
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A jolly good read!

Looking for a great book to read over the holidays? I was recently given a copy of "The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton. Reading the blurb on the back of the book I wasn't sure it would be my cup of tea but I thought I would read a chapter or two and see if it engaged me. My usual reading of choice consists of psychological thrillers, fantasy and science fiction. This book is part mytery, part romance and ....something undefinable.

This is no longer a new book, I believe Kate Morton has a new title out. (mental note to follow that up)
The Forgotten garden enchanted me from the start to the finish. This was a novel I did not want to put down and I was positively devastated when it had to end with the final page of the book! (and yes there were tears)
An apparently abandoned child on the eve of war, family secrets, an inheritance and a forgotten garden all combine to make this a totally entrancing and intriguing story that will bewitch you to the very last page!
It's a difficult book to categorise but it doesn't really matter. It's a jolly good read and I say you won't be disappointed if you pick up a copy. Happy reading!
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

I found Kate's website:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Now THAT's a strawberry!!!!

A little bragging today! Our strawberries are producing beautifully and yesterday came up with this beauty. You can find giant strawberries like this in the supermarket but they are tasteless compared to homegrown!
I just had to share.
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

photo my own
50 cent piece for size comparison

Friday, December 3, 2010

Quilled snowflakes

I love trying different crafts but I'm a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none!
A few weeks ago I finally decided to try quilling. Whilst my efforts are not perfect enough to satisfy an expert in the craft I was quite pleased with my results.
I used scrapbooking paper which is a little on the heavy side but I found it easy to work with.
I experimented with 1/4 inch strips and 1/8 inch strips and although I liked the effects of both the 1/8th inch strips gave a finer more delicate look.
My first efforts were pretty terrible but it only took me a few hours to master basic skills.
If you decide to have a go at this I suggest buying a metal quilling tool. I started out with a plastic one but changed to a metal one and found it gave much better results.
There are a number of quilling tutorials on utube or you can take a look at one of these:

Here are a couple of photos of my snowflakes.
I sprayed them with adhesive and sprinkled them with fine white glitter to finish. Unfortunately the glitter does not show up well in the photos.
Wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Summer Love

Summer is here at last. One of my favourite things about Summer is the stone fruit that comes into season.
We have a small orchard and productive vegetable garden at home and if we can beat the resident possums to them we pick a lovely amount of fresh organically grown fruit at this time of year.
Our strawberries are doing well and we always have a lovely lot of plums. The wildlife got the apricots before we did last year so I am watching them carefully as they develop & ripen. Unfortunately we are missing my favourite - nectarines.I really love nectarines! Really must plant one this coming year!
Our cherries succumbed to the drought so it will be store bought cherries for Christmas this year.
Do you have cherries at Christmas? Which stone fruit is your Summer love?
Wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Photograph my own

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Santa needs a wee!

I love books, I love reading. I collect Children's Christmas picture books. Today I wanted to share a delightful children's book that I recently added to my collection.
The proper title of the book is "Father Christmas needs a wee" by Nicholas Allan.
It's a counting book with a funny story. We follow along as Father Christmas goes from house to house, on Christmas Eve, drinking all the various beverages left out for him by excited children.
Eventually the inevitable happens and.....Father Christmas needs a wee!
Preschoolers will love the rhyming text of this adorable book as well as the funny story.
The ending is just too cute and the illustrations charming!
I highly reccomend it for children aged 2-5 but the preschoolers will get most from it.