Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Week 9: Nearly There!

Well I hope you are all enjoying the home stretch this week as you prepare to open your homes and/or drive to loved ones for Christmas. Mine is rather full with my daughter’s 12th birthday on the 21st! Great timing I know. Yet the having the day dedicated to her away from Christmas planning and banter, is not only imperative to the success of her birthday, but oh so needed for me.

The most important part of this week for me is taking a few hours out of my busy schedule to smell the roses with my family and friends. Before the hype of the big day consumes your every minute, make time to just sit and enjoy a quiet meal with those you love. Chat about Christmases past and all the great things that have happened, hilarious things that have gone wrong and the irreplaceable moments that took your breath away.

It’s the perfect way to unwind and recharge your batteries before Christmas is in full swing. For those of us that have children, having them see us take time to relax and focus on them rather than the stuffing ingredients will make their Christmas that much more memorable. For us singles, have a couple of close friends over and do the same.

To do:
• Buy remaining gifts.
• Have a relaxed family dinner ‘alfresco’ and enjoy!
• Finish wrapping final few gifts.
• Go to Carols by Candlelight with your family.

To buy this week:
Dairy Products (milk, cream, custard, ice cream, cheeses)
Stuffing ingredients
Juice x 2

From all of us at the familyroom, have a fabulous week and a very Merry Christmas. Keep visiting us over the holidays as we will be posting more great ideas to keep your family and friends entertained and connected.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sushi and other thoughts...


Well can you believe Christmas is next week??!!!

I promised a sushi recipe last week so thought I’d post that today with some general musings…

Let’s start with the sushi.

I’m no specialist but the easy peasy way we whip up sushi rolls in our house –kids can do it – is this…

You will need sushi rice, sushi vinegar, seaweed/nori sheets and any array of fillings. Oh also a bamboo sushi rolling placemat. Have a look in an Asian supermarket, they have everything and it’s good fun to see all the different products and to work out some creative ways to use them.

We use tinned tuna in water or brine mixed with a bit of mayo, sliced avocado and thinly sliced carrots and cucumber.
You could also use salmon, chicken, tofu and any range of veggies.

So my best amateur version is to cook the rice and mix in at least a tablespoon of the vinegar so it sticks together nicely. Prepare a bowl of water, the drained tuna mixed with mayo in another bowl, and the chopped veggies on a plate.
Then I dip a nori sheet into the water so it’s wet but not soggy, then place it on the bamboo mat and spread rice over almost the whole sheet. Then place the fillings across ways and use the mat to roll it all up into a yummy sushi roll.

Make sure you have a sharp knife to slice it up into small pieces and serve it up as a great kids’ snack. Get them involved in making it and they’ll be even more inclined to gobble it up.
It doesn’t have to be perfect and a few bumps here and there won’t take away from the yummy taste. It’s good for them too.

Living in the tropics, I have to rinse off the mat and dry it, then stick it in the freezer so it doesn’t go mouldy!!

We were evacuated from Fiji last week due to the military coup, in true dramatic style, so we’re now in Sydney until further notice, loving all the yummy stone fruits and grapes and crunchy apples. I’ve also been rounding up lots of salad veggies with cheese and bread and getting the kids to make their own salad sandwiches, which is messy but fun and they actually eat it.
They also love using blunt knives to make their own fruit salad and then dolloping it on top of mini pavlovas for dessert.

Enjoy your kids this holidays and organise some great healthy treats to have on hand so you can indulge in the sometimes and party foods that go with the season. YUMM!

Try and keep active through it all too so your family can expend their energy, sleep well and be ready for Santa…

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I look forward to chatting with you further in 2007!

Lv Jane

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Carols by Candlelight

To my family I am known as a Christmas junkie. As much as they enjoy Christmas carols, August is not quite the month they had planned to start listening to them. So I must employ restrain and wait with baited breath until I can belt out ‘O Holy Night’ along with Celine or jazz it up with Tony Bennett’s ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’.

I just love the season of family, festivities and food. Around the month of December I am a diehard decorator, cook and gift wrapper. Martha Stewart eat your heart out! But I have to confess my most favourite moment of the Christmas season, other than the ceremonial gift giving with a million family members jammed into my parents lounge room, is the tradition of heading down to the local oval or church where carols by candlelight is held.

Christmas would not be Christmas without this fun and meaningful production that gathers so many to remember the true spirit of Christmas.

Last Sunday night we went to our local oval near my daughter’s school to light our candles (which is a blog in itself...remember to cut the holes for the candle in the cups before you leave the house! Using a set of keys to hack a circle-ish shape into the base should only be left up to the likes of McGyver!) and sing along with neighbours, school friends and family.

To experience this each year constantly takes me back to the days of my youth when the awe, the reverence, the gift of Christmas was instilled into my young heart. I am so grateful to my busy parents who took the time out to sit for hours with us on a rug surrounded by mosquitoes for our sakes.

There are still many places peppered all around Sydney that will be hosting Carols by Candlelight before the big day, so grab the precious people in your world and the picnic rug and enjoy. Don’t forget to take your camera...documenting the dreamer in your child by candlelight as they stumble over the lyrics of O Little Town of Bethlehem is priceless.

Write and share your Christmas moments…we always love hearing from you.

Monday, December 11, 2006

thefamilyroom Movies

Hey there everyone I hope you’re all well and enjoying the days leading up to Christmas……’s getting very exciting, the shops are full of people, car parks are a hot commodity and Christmas music is everywhere.

thefamilyroom have developed our own movie list. We have sifted through countless movies and have come up with a few of the classics plus a few other greats that you can enjoy as a family or perhaps on a quiet night with your partner curled up on the lounge or even a night alone.

Why not make a night of it, prepare a few of the family favourite snacks and enjoy a night in at the movies.

Enjoy and if you have any great suggestions pop a comment on and we can add to the list.

Susan & Michaela xoxo

Wild America
Huckleberry Finn
Horse Crazy
The Greatest Game Ever Played
The Ice Princess
Racing Stripes

Finding Nemo
Ice Age
Over The Hedge
Brother Bear
The Incredibles

50 First Dates
Remember the Titans
Coach Carter
Raise Your Voice
The Devil Wears Prada
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Mean Girls
A Cinderella Story
Big Wednesday
Noah’s Arc

Cheaper By The Dozen I & II.
Father of The Bride I & II.
Parent Trap
Ever After
The Kid
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Your’s, Mine & Ours
Raising Helen
Suddenly 30
Kicking and Screaming
The Man From Snowy River
The Sound of Music
Home Alone
Freaky Friday
High School Musical
Princess Bride

Older Teens and Parents
About a Boy
Notting Hill
Sweet Home Alabama
The Horse Whisperer
Walk the Line
Just Like Heaven
The Passion

Chick Flicks
Little Women
The Little Princess
Secret Garden
While You Were SleepingPride & Prejudice
You’ve Got Mail
The Perfect Man
Maid in Manhattan
Shall We Dance?
Sleepless in Seattle
Dirty Dancing
The Wedding Planner
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Riding in Cars With Boys
The Notebook

Quirky Choices
Napoleon Dynamite
Elizabeth Town
The Castle

Santa Claus
The Grinch
It’s A Wonderful
While You Were Sleeping
Jingle All the Way
Christmas With the Cranks
The Little Drummer Boy
The Polar Express
Miracle of 34th Street

Absolute Crap!
Chicken Little

Sunday, December 10, 2006

thefamilyroom Christmas Plan - Week 8

Christmas is almost here....can you believe it? If you've been following our Christmas Plan then you are sailing into the season. If not, don't worry you have some time to catch up.

Enjoy this week and remember doing the simple things now will allow you time to relax on Christmas day and the week that follows.

Week 8 The Wow Factor – I’m Enjoying the Season!

• Buy 4 more gifts.
• Pick-up and decorate tree.
• Enjoy some Christmas movies with the whole family.
• Take a Christmas Sparkle tour of the lights either in your suburb or head into town.

To buy this week:
Cooking Oils
2 bottles of Champagne
2 bottles of soft drink
Garbage bags
Paper towels

Finally, make sure you have fun and remember to can do this.

Susan xoxo

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Breathe……… Summer holidays are almost here!

Okay so this is just a quick post for everyone preparing for the last day of school (mine being tomorrow). I want you to breathe and know that this is going to be an amazing summer holiday for both the children and yourselves!

Make sure you relax into the holiday season and have heaps of fun. Don’t stress about making every day special because that’s not what is really important. What’s important is that your kids (whatever their age) are able to relax and enjoy a break after a long year.
Take a moment and think back to your summer holidays, your mind probably isn’t full of huge days and you probably don’t remember each one. What you wil most likely remember are things similar to me….things like:

• A full day of swimming
• The sun on your skin
• Whole watermelons being cut and eating the entire thing
• The smell of a bbq
• The smell of freshly cut grass
• Games of hide and seek or spotlight
• Friends over for lazy afternoons
• Corn on the cob
• Fresh fruit
• Ice blocks
• Laughter
• The occasional sunburn….ouch!
• Flies waking you up in the morning when you’re trying to sleep in
• Coconut oil
.....and so much more...

You see summer holidays weren’t always packed full of adventure. Rather, most of our time was spent discovering life in the back yard, through conversations with family and friends whilst our legs dangled across an outdoor setting as we madly swatted away flies and mosquitoes.

So friends make sure you enjoy yourself, be creative and allow the tight ropes of our yearly schedules to be loosened and enjoy as many laughs as you can over the next few weeks. These are the memories that will last a lifetime.

Have the best day.

Susan xoxo

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Great Story about FAMILY....things that really matter

Hello everyone I hope you are all well and enjoying life. I posted this story/poem a few months ago and strangely it seems to have found its way back to me. As I read it I thought it would be great to post again as a simple reminder to everyone as we enter a busy season of life – the end of the year, Christmas and the beginning of the next.

Remember those dear to you, those you love and adore and make sure you don’t let ‘life’ get the better of you.

Enjoy and remember we totally believe in each one of you.

Susan xoxo


I ran into a stranger as he passed by, "Oh excuse me please" was my reply.

He said, "Please excuse me too; I wasn't watching for you."

We were very polite, this stranger and I. We went on our way and we said goodbye.

But at home a different story is told, how we treat our loved ones, young and old.

Later that day, cooking the evening meal, my son stood beside me very still.

When I turned, I nearly knocked him down. "Move out of the way," I said with a frown.

He walked away, his little heart broken. I didn't realize how harshly I'd spoken.

While I lay awake in bed, God's still small voice came to me and said,

"While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you use, but the family you love, you seem to abuse.

Go and look on the kitchen floor, you'll find some flowers there by the door.

Those are the flowers he brought for you. He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue.

He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise, you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes."

By this time, I felt very small,

And now my tears began to fall.

I quietly went and knelt by his bed; "Wake up, little one, wake up," I said.

"Are these the flowers you picked for me?" He smiled, "I found 'em, out by the tree. I picked 'em because they're pretty like you. I knew you'd like 'em, especially the blue."

I said, "Son, I'm very sorry for the way I acted today; I shouldn't have yelled at you that way.” He said, "Oh, Mom, that's okay. I love you anyway."

I said, "Son, I love you too, and I do like the flowers, especially the blue."

Are you aware that if we died tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days. But the family we left behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.

And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than into our own family, an unwise investment indeed, don't you think?

So what is behind the story?

Do you know what the word FAMILY means?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

THEFAMILYROOM Christmas Plan - Week 7

Week 7 Time to Decorate – it’s feeling like Christmas!

• Buy 4 more gifts.
• Send cards for students and gifts for teachers to school.
• If artificial, set up tree and decorate.
• Bake Christmas biscuits with the kids and allow them to decorate and deliver to neighbours.
• Book in your necessary summer beauty treatments.

To buy this week: Bon Bons
Tea Lights
Table Decorations

©thefamilyroom 2006

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