The Month of Christmas

Yesterday I excitedly finished putting up our Christmas decorations. Last year during the post Christmas and New Year sales I had bought a Christmas Tree from The Warehouse for around $30 (I think, or perhaps less) which included decorations. As I put them up this year I felt quite chuffed at the bargain I had got. I didn’t even need to use all of the decorations and chose to use the tinsel and extra baubles for the birdcage. Due to Israel’s mobility I had to put the 180cm tree on top of a chest so that Israel couldn’t get to it easily. Since I have put it up he hasn’t even gone near it, which is helpful. If he starts walking all of a sudden then I will have to draw in the two single couches in either side to block it off. On a side note, I am still trying to teach Israel “No”. It doesn’t feel like I am getting through to him, but I know consistency and patience is the key!
The Scrabble tiles used to write ‘Merry Christmas’ were also a second hand shop bargain. For $4 I actually got two tile sets – a plastic and wooden set. I already own a Scrabble set, so these were purchased purely for decoration or crafts. I set these on a cake stand along with the candles I made in a recent post. Lastly I have reused my plain bunting to hang Christmas Cards on with little wooden pegs… now I just need to receive more cards from people!

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A Free Range Life

Last night I laughed so hard that there were tears rolling down my face. There were six of us in my home for a formal dinner consisting of three courses straight from the new book ‘A Free Range Life’ by kiwi chef Annabel Langbein. Over the course of the evening I showcased ten of her recipes. I was truly amazed at how brilliantly they all turned out and how impressed my guests were. Every recipe was a hit and it was even fun explaining the ingredients that went into each item at each course. Needless to say the ladies of the group are excited to rush out and purchase their own copies of this fabulous book. I thoroughly enjoyed planning the evening and presenting the evening in a formal way. It’s not often that you get the excuse to be a little bit fancy! I love birdcage’s and took the opportunity to indulge a cheeky $12 at Kmart to purchase one and create a rustic bird theme for our dinner. We were perhaps a little too eager or over the top with the fairy lights, and although they don’t come out so great in the photos, they really did add to the atmosphere of the evening. For a real cheesy twist we also had some Table Talkers which were cards with questions written for you to ask people to find out different things about them and their lives. I had such a great night and have been very tired today. The life of a Mum doesn’t afford you any sleeping in!

The Annabel Langbein Recipes used were:
Entrée: Asparagus Tarts with Smoked Paprika Aioli
Main Course: Juicy Jerk Chicken with Roast Vegetable and Chorizo Salad
Dessert: A medley of Chilled Strawberry Mousse, Ice Cream Sandwich, Rocky Road and Caramel Crumble Slice
Party Favours: Old-Fashioned Chocolate Sauce, Blackjack Barbecue Sauce

Here is a glimpse of the evening:

The Table Setting

Rustic Dinner Birdcage Setting

Birdcage centrepiece

Birdcage Centrepiece

Birdcage Table Layout

Bird Name Place Setting

party favour for rustic theme

Menu and Table Setting

A Free Range Life Menu

Entrée

Entree Asparagus Tart with Smoked Paprika Aioli

Entree of Asparagus Tart with Smoked Paprika Aioli

Entree of Asparagus Tart with Smoked Paprika Aioli

Main

Main Course Juicy Jerk Chicken with Roasted Vegetable and Chorizo Salad

Main Course Juicy Jerk Chicken with Roasted Vegetable and Chorizo Salad

Main Course Juicy Jerk Chicken with Roasted Vegetable and Chorizo Salad

Dessert Medley

Dessert Medley of Ice Cream Sandwich, Chilled Strawberry Mouse, Rocky Road, Caramel Crumble Slice

Dessert Medley of Ice Cream Sandwich, Chilled Strawberry Mouse, Rocky Road, Caramel Crumble Slice

Holding my inspiration of the night – A Free Range Life by Annabel Langbein

Amy Pearce holding Annabel Langbein's A Free Range Life Book

I can’t wait until summer properly arrives and I can continue to try more of the summer BBQ meals from this new book. At NZ$19.95, you can’t go wrong with it.