Our Festive Celebrations for 2013

Well hello there!!! Welcome back lovely readers.
Happy New Year to you all!!!
I can’t believe it’s now 2014. Christmas is all done and dusted for another year. Thank goodness Christmas only occurs once a year, I love it, but physically, financially and mentally I think once a year is more than enough for everyone (I believe the next 12 months is to recover).
We had a fantastic festive break, sharing it with beautiful family and friends. I feel truly blessed to be part of such a special network of people. I did promise a post-Christmas Blog Post so rather than waffle on (like I usually do) I think I will let the pictures do more of the talking today.

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It was a group effort putting our Christmas day feast together. This was some of the kitchen action on Christmas Eve. Zasister, Zagrandma and Zakidlets all doing their bit. Zadada was doing plenty behind the scenes, taking these pictures, tending to the outside maintenance and keeping Zakidlets entertained.

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I love a pretty Christmas table. This year I used a mirror as part of my centre piece on the table (an idea I found on pinterest). I was really happy with how it all turned out.

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Tradition in The Zamamabakes household is to attend Mass on Christmas Eve. We managed a quick bite to eat before hand, the kids request of course, but it was lovely to just sit and have a few moments as our family of 5.

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We had to leave some treats out for Santa and his Reindeer. The banana and strawberries on the plate was my attempt to Christmas Brekky a little (some more pinterest inspiration).

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I love watching the kids discover their gifts from Santa on Christmas morning.

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This was our group for Christmas lunch. Zasister, Zagorgeous Aimee, Zabrother, Zadada, Zamama (me), Zapop, Zagrandma and of course Zakidlets our little cherubs Alani, Blake and Ella. Missing from the picture is Zauncle Jim, he was behind the camera for this shot.

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Some yummy morning appetizers! I made sure I had that glass of champagne (a Christmas gift from Zasister last year). We had a delicious Cheeseball Zauncle Jim made I intend on sharing the recipe as soon as I can.

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This is some of what was on offer for lunch, dinner and lunch again on boxing day!! So much food, so delicious.

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Zakidlets table and the rest of us.

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Dessert was scrumptious another great group effort.

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And just in case you felt like something else sweet we had Zanan’s Trifle, Zagrandma’s fruit cake and a tray of yummy homemade chocolates.

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It’s not Christmas without a spot of cricket, I chose to spectate and ensure the electric fence was switched off!!!

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How could we forget Zapuppydog!! Blake found this dog shirt at the reject shop before Christmas, wrapped it up and put it under the Christmas tree for Locky. It was a little on the tight side so it was on long enough to take a picture. I think Zapuppydog needs to lose a little weight, (his New Years resolution perhaps).

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Boxing day brought some motor biking action.

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As well as some construction action.
Lots of fun was had by all involved.

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For Christmas Zagrandma and Zapop, Zanan and Zapop as well as Zadada and Myself all put in to purchase a climbing fort for Zakidlets. The only thing was it came flat packed.

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The day after boxing day we had a working bee that went for 12 hours (I happened to be in at work for 8 of those hours). I still managed to lend a bit of a helping hand when I got home (I think) for a few brief moments at least (I fitted in the fort a little more comfortably than Zadada), they even let me loose with the drill!!!

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The finished product with some very happy owners!!
Thank you to Zanan, Zagrandma, Zapop and Zadada for making this happen all in a day!!!
For those interested we purchased the climbing fort from climbingframes.com.au the ceder climbing frame specialists. See details here. We are extremely happy with it so far.

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We also managed a beach trip during the festive break. We had a great day!!!

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Before we knew it a week had passed and a new year was almost upon us. We stayed at home sharing New Years Eve with some lovely friends.

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New Year celebrations are not complete without Dessert!! In fact no celebration is complete without dessert!! I made an easy Chocolate, cream and berry log, it’s a bit of a cheats dessert, great when you are a little time poor and is always yummy!!

I am looking forward to sharing some recipes from the festive break soon.
While the kids are on holidays things may be a little hit and miss, I will do my best.
It’s great to be back, stay tuned.

Zamamabakes

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The Gift Of Giving

Christmas time should be a special time for everyone but the reality is there are a lot of people who go without at Christmas.
Zadada and I are always trying to explain to Zakidlets especially the older 2 how fortunate they are to have a safe, happy and comfortable home to live in. Being so young, I understand its hard for little people to comprehend much more than if they feel hungry or sad let alone considering how someone else might be feeling. That’s when I thought about a way I might be able to involve Zakidlets in a little project that would hopefully give them some better insight into the needs of others and that giving gifts can be more important and rewarding then receiving gifts, (I think it will take quite some time for them to fully understand this concept, I can only try).
As most of you already know I held a cake stall at a local Handmade Christmas Market last weekend and I promised I would donate any profits to local Christmas charities. I decided on 2 separate charities one being ‘Operation Santa’ which is run through Target department stores in partnership with Uniting Care. You have the choice of either purchasing a gift of your choice or donating a gift card. The second Charity was the St Vincent de Paul Society. You can donate non-perishable Christmas fare which is included in Christmas hampers getting distributed to local families in need.
So come Monday this week we set to work, shopping for gifts and Christmas fare.
We started with the 2 gifts, I let Blake and Ella do the looking and suggesting then we all collaborated and finalised the purchases. I think they did a really great job with their selections.

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We then payed for our purchases and headed for Target to attach and fill out the appropriate gift tags.

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A lovely sales assistant by the name of Joseph collected our gifts for ‘Operation Santa’ and happily obliged to have his picture taken with Zakidlets!! Thank you so much Joseph!!

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Moving on we headed across to the supermarket to shop for our hamper contributions. Again I asked Blake and Ella for their input on what they thought should go into someone’s house at Christmas time. You may notice there is a box of Coco Pop’s in both trollies, the suggestion of breakfast cereal came up and I asked what cereal they would want to eat on Christmas day? Can you guess what their response was? In the Zamamabakes household Coco Pops are a ‘sometimes’ food (we only have them for special occasions like holiday’s, birthday brekkies and of course Christmas brekkies!!). One box was purchased separately for us the other was included in the ‘Hamper’ collection.

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I think these 2 little people really enjoyed their shopping experiences.

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This is what we ended up with. I know it looks a little on the party, sugary side of things but it is Christmas after all, I can assure you we had some real food in their too.

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On Tuesday after School 4 of us (poor Zadada was at work) arrived at St Vincent de Paul to deliver our hamper contributions.

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We were introduced to a lovely lady Bernadette and we handed our bundle over to her. Bernadette happily obliged to have her photo taken too.
I guess no visit is complete at Vinnies without making a personal purchase or 3. Blake asked if he could go and look at the toy section, the girls were one step behind. They all found an item they wanted to take home. I struck a deal with them, agreeing to make the purchases on condition that when we arrived home they had to find me some toys of their own I could take back the next day to donate. They happily obliged.

It was only yesterday that Blake commented he would love to see the little boys face on Christmas morning that gets the gift we donated to ‘Operation Santa’. That’s what the gift of giving is all about!!

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to my Zamamabakes Cake Stall last weekend. Together we have made a small positive difference in someone’s Christmas experience.

Until next time…..
Zamamambakes.

A fun family outing

Last weekend  we had our local Agricultural show. It’s certainly not something to compare with the Brisbane Ekka or Sydney Royal Easter show but it is special to our little family and always proves to be a lovely little social outing, we always find ourselves catching up with other local friends we don’t get to see on a regular basis.
The show only runs for 2 days Friday and Saturday, we generally choose to go out on the Saturday afternoon. This gives us enough time to have a walk around the exhibitions, let the kids have a ride or 2, have a chat here and there and grab a bite to eat before waiting for the show finale fireworks!!!
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This year there was a new visitor to the show, a lovely ferris wheel which certainly attracted lots of attention.

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Of course there were the stock standard attractions.

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Alani and Ella enjoyed a ride on the elephant merry-go-round.

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On display was some very old farming equipment, this bulldozer being one of them.

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Blake was quite proud of himself this year as he had reached the height required to drive a dodgem car all by himself, even if he did drive backwards a few times, a big thankyou to the ride assistant that got him back on track each time.

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Ella and Blake both loved the harnessed trampolines at the show, as you can see by the look on Ella’s face, although when the lady offered to show Ella how to do a backflip, she politely declined the offer and continued with her conservative bouncing routine she felt comfortable with. Blake on the other hand was more than happy to be shown how to do backflips and successfully achieved doing them, there was no holding him back.

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The Trot races are always fun to watch.

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As you can see Alani  (Miss Independence) very much enjoyed her train ride. I love this picture.

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I am not a vegetarian but I do like to enjoy food from all walks of life including vegetarian food. I was far from disappointed with the generous plate of food I received from this little food stall. I think I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture to share with you all. Zadada made a choice earlier in the afternoon to stick with show tradition and have himself a dagwood dog!!! I think about half an hour after consuming it he regretted his decision, but isn’t that what eating dagwood dog’s is all about!!! ha ha ha and I failed to get a picture of that too.

Finally it was time for the fireworks and they more then delivered, quite the spectacle. We had 2 out of 3 children enjoy the fireworks, poor little Alani is still very scared of them but I’m sure she’ll grow out of her fear soon enough just as the older 2 have.

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So there you have it, a summary of our little family outing.
The kids now have another 12 whole months to wait for the next show to roll around.
It’s funny how when you are a child you value things differently to when you are an adult. On the way in to the show I asked the kids if they had a choice between going to Noosa heads for the weekend or spending the afternoon at the show they looked at me like I had 2 heads, their reply of course was, “The Show”!!!!

An Outdoor Adventure as a family of 5 plus 1 furry friend

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We are very fortunate to be bringing up our 3 beautiful children on acreage in Northern NSW. Last weekend for the first time together all 5 of us including Zapuppydog Locky went for a bush walking adventure on our property. I have to say I’m not usually a bushwalking, adventuring Zamama, but I know how much the kids love being outside just like Zadada so I thought right make the effort Zamama so I did and I am so glad I did because we had a great morning.
I think sometimes we get so wound up with life in general that we forget to really appreciate what is right under our nose.
It was too good a day not to share some pictures with you all. I will treasure this little adventure forever, you may not be able to go back in time but photo’s are great for taking good memories forward.

So off we set up over our rolling hills on a beautiful blue skied day.

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It was somewhere between the photo above and the next below that Zadada spotted a snake, slithering away from us and with that the not so brave Zamama was very ready to turn around and run home, but assured by her husband that the snake would not be interested in gobbling up any of her family members or herself she continued on. I must add at this point not one of our three children flinched at the fact that a snake had been sighted, they stopped in their tracks when Zadada told them to stop but they certainly did not share the anxious fear and racing heart that I did. I guess that’s the difference between being brought up as a child on the land as opposed to being introduced to it at the age of 29 like me (but more on that another time, I may have lived here now for almost 6 years but I am still learning the ropes of out-of-town living).

I don’t know about the rest of you but we can’t take Zakidlets anywhere without their little tummies rumbling. We found a beautiful little spot in the rainforest and set up for a little morning tea picnic.
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Once those little and big rumbling tummies had been satisfied it was time for some exploring , splashing in the creek and listening out for all the amazing sounds you hear when you are in a rainforest. It gave Zadada and I great pleasure to watch our 3 little munchkins taking in everything that was around them.

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I should add it was not all smooth sailing, we did have one little family member decide they need the bathroom!!!!!!……….fortunately we managed to make do with what the great outdoors had to offer and everyone was ok.

Middle munchkin Ella thought that because she was ready to go home (in other words she had no more food left) everyone else should be ready to go home too. Eventually she got her wish but not before everyone was ready (that girl needs to learn a little more about being patient and courteous, ha ha maybe one day in my Zamama dreams!!!).

So we packed up and headed for home which was only about 20 minutes walk away and that includes walking with a 2 1/2 year old who did extremely well for her first real bushwalking adventure.

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Our adventure ended with a bit of clay wall climbing for the kids.
I would love to say a big thankyou to our fantastic tour guide, AKA Zadada. You are one very patient man and I appreciate everything you do for our little family.

My advice to everyone whether you live in the city or the country is get out in the sunshine and fresh air as much as you can, it really is good medicine and helps to refresh the soul.