Friday, 30 December 2011

Christmas Pictures

Christmas Day was a funny mix, we finally decorated the tree that very morning!

 Opening stockings and Pirates of The Caribbean Lego for Benedict.  Tree laid bare in the background.

 Our very own decorating the tree Angel.

 Stringing the lights.


Because I'd made the food the night before we actually sat down and watched Miracle on 42nd Street, at which point Pip declared:
"No Father Christmas, because there aren't any presents under the tree!"

Oops... I know she's a smart cookie, but I hadn't realised just how much she takes in.  I quickly remarked that, the present fairy would be visiting after we'd eaten and peace was restored, phew!

Christmas Lunch.

 A visit from the present fairy.

K-Nex for our mini engineer.

Wooden furniture and a family of dolls for Pip.

On Boxing Day we visited our families, just over an hour away.  We had lunch with my parents and our daughter Kathryn, who lodges with them, since this town is her place of work.  Dave's mum was out of action having had foot surgery less than a week before.   Dave and I did manage a visit to her and Dad on our own and Sara visited once we were able to take over with the childcare.

 Kathryn in the Kitchen.

Pip and Nanna N playing with the Lego.

We've been slowly opening presents throughout the week.  I think Pip was definitely outfaced having just had her Birthday two days previous!  This is what she woke up to on Wednesday morning... our gift to her, although Benedict loves it too...

 ... A Daddy made Doll's House, renovated in 2011 and originally made in ...

 ... 1991. 

 Our older three, twenty years ago!

It originally took six weeks to design and build in a very cold garage in our first house.  The renovation project took two weeks, as some water damage had occurred as a result of storage and some panels needed replacing or sanding.


 Opening the doors for the first time, to find...

A family in residence, although...

... she decided the house was also big enough for her to live in too!  So for the time being it is now filled with not only the dolls but a variety of book, games and other wooden figures!  This gal has definitely inherited my Dad's adventurous spirit!

It has been a mixed week, I think all the last minute preparations of gift buying, wrapping and sorting for Pip's birthday has taken it's toll and I've already resolved to do things very differently next year!! 

Our Christmas Eve attendance at Mass was scuppered by Benedict anxious that he was feeling hypo even though his blood readings were OK and Pip singing very loudly at the consecration!  So Dave was the last man standing to represent the family, the four of us having sloped off some time before the end.  I hadn't fully realised how anxious Benedict has become regarding the diabetes, up until now it is me that has shouldered most of the stress, but since he's growing up, it is inevitable that things will start to hit home.  Needless to say his behaviour has been at times very challenging.

The weather too has been pretty awful with endless rain, and despite having friends to play on Wednesday, cabin fever has set in, so I'm hoping a trip to the park before visiting friends for lunch will be the order of the morning.

We have however kept on top of writing our thank yous made easier by the fact that, we have been opening one present each day.  There are packages awaiting to be opened in the loft!  We've also got back on with our "lesson" as we'd lost time in Advent due to sickness and multiple daily hypo's with Benedict.  As always he grumbles when I get the books out, but once we are in a rhythm he settles down and has produced some good work this week.

Christmas Blessings San and all xx

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Our Three Year Old Christmas Babe

Pip turned three yesterday, where did the time go?  We were running late with the birthday breakfast as we slept in!  The feast was stomach filling porridge and syrup followed by Birthday Cake!!  The littlest one insisted it should be so.

 Presents and cards on the table.

 The Birthday Ring.

 Tucking into porridge.

 Loving the Cake.

"Help, please Mummy!"

Pip loved the edible baubles!

 "Need help again!"

Angelina had a new bike for her Birthday...

... and so did Pip!

 A magnetic wooden dress the doll.

 A very cuddly pink Miss Mouse.

For lunch we had bubble and squeak savoury potato and veg patties, chipolata sausages, green beans and onion gravy.  Most of the food was prepped in advance, thank God! 

Today has been one long round of time in the kitchen, but my efforts have paid off and all the food for tomorrow has been cooked:

Cashew Nut and Sausage Meat Roast, Roast Potatoes, Braised Red Cabbage with Apple, Carrot and Swede Mash, Parmesan Parsnips and Creamed Brussel Sprouts with Roasted Chestnut Pieces.

It's now 10:00 pm , Sara and I have still yet to bring in and decorate the tree and Benedict is still rumbling around, grr!!  We've had a very difficult week with his blood sugars and general behaviour and I'm seriously thinking of changing my name by deed poll to "Ebeneezer!".

Christmas Eve Blessings One And All.

San xx

Thursday, 22 December 2011

A Special Midwinter Tea

I've been promising myself a chance to join in with Dawn for a daily cuppa and moment of contemplation.  Her link can be found here: 

Well... Tuesday I had a humdinger of a migraine and unexpected but loved and welcomed guests and Wednesday we had a visit from our crazy Canon and the house was less than peaceful!!  Today however was a very different story, big sis had taken little sis into town for errands, Dave was out for a Christmas meal with a friend and Benedict and I had a very quiet house.

Dawn's teas usually coincided around four o'clock her time just as the sun was setting and that was my goal for the day but something special happened instead at 11:00am.  Benedict recognised that I was looking particularly jaded and after giving me a hug said, "Wait there."  The next minute the kettle was on the boil, the teapot was out, the fridge raided for milk and amongst the backdrop of him humming Christmas carols a special tea was prepared just for me!  I'm so glad that I ignored my interfering alter ego and let him work unaided, his smile upon entering the lounge said it all:

"Just for you mum"

That tea was the best ever and he even gave me his special mug as a treat!

By now I was sufficiently fortified so we set to in the kitchen and made butter bean, cabbage, mixed vegetable and sausage soup for lunch:

" Do you appreciate the help mum?"  Absolutely!


There was plenty to spare as Sara had met a friend from college and he'd helped with the errands in town, so it was nice to be able to offer hospitality in return.  He's a really great friend and gets on well with Benedict and Pip.  I was thankful for a sit down with Pip after lunch and was even more grateful that, Sara and Nick tackled the kitchen chaos, what a treat.
The kitchen however did not stay tidy for long as we had a birthday cake to make.  Pip naturally wanted to join in and why not since it was her cake!

 Adding the xantham gum.

"Hmm... I wonder if I can paint my big sis with this sticky mess!"

The cake is in the fridge decorated and awaiting candles for tomorrow, the birthday presents have been wrapped but I'm behind on piecing together the dolls clothes.  I somehow do not think little Miss Philippa Jo will mind as there'll be plenty of presents to unwrap tomorrow.

Advent Blessings San x

Monday, 19 December 2011

Peppermint Bark and The Santa Special

Sara and I spent Friday afternoon making peppermint bark, a delicious concoction of dark and white chocolate, cream, peppermint extract and crushed candy canes.  We couldn't get hold of said canes when in town that morning, so good old fashioned mint flavoured rock came in handy!

Totally Moreish!

The link for this delicacy can be found on this website:
On Saturday Dave and the three at home kids including youngest-eldest daughter braved the wind and ice to partake in a yearly tradition:

That big man in the red and white coat appeared with some jolly helpers and gifts were distributed:

 A waggling wooden dinosaur for Pip, who was a bit bemused by it all!

 A stacking game for Benedict.

The fun was shared with two special friends and a great time was had by all:

Whilst they were chugging along I was appreciating the peace and quiet at home.  I've been out of sorts these past few days and the at home time was just what I needed.

We visited some extra special friends yesterday and today included a morning of errands.  Whilst finishing some shopping for Pip's birthday cake... ack!  that gal is three years old on Friday, I enjoyed the carol singing courtesy of staff working in the supermarket.  I shopped and quietly hummed along.

There are still presents to wrap, mince pies and birthday cake to make, last minute bits to buy, knitting to finish and food to cook.  I'm sure what needs to be done, will be done and the rest will just have to wait!
Advent Blessings San x

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

DPP Day Fourteen and Yarn Along

Joining Ginny once again for this week's yarn along.  My current make is :

Birthday knitting for an almost three year old and her special friend.

  The last time I knit from these patterns was when Emma and Kathryn were small, so almost twenty years ago, ack!  These patterns are nearly vintage as they were gifted to me by my mum who patiently and secretly knit for my dolls every Christmas when I was small.  So another bit of history repeating itself through the generations.

I'm currently reading:

a Bayer Contour Blood Glucose Monitor on an all to frequent basis both day and night and if I'm really lucky I might manage the evening prayers from the Divine Office!  Sense of humour still just about intact!!

Go join in the fun at 

Advent Blessings San x

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Afternoon Tea at The Midand Hotel...

... on the feast of St Lucia.  We didn't manage any of my at home activities associated with the feast but we did manage a celebration of sorts!  I'd mentioned a visit to this place earlier in the month and this treat was Sara's Christmas gift to the family.  After all the adults in the family have no real need of anything... apart from health and that you cannot buy, LOL!  The littles in the family have just the right amount of stuff and so this seemed a great idea for some family time.

We wore our smartest... some of us donned  twinkly party dresses and sparkly earrings, mum and dad attempted to raise a smile and littlest man had to be coerced into wearing smart trousers and the whole experience was akin to teeth pulling.  For sure there is NO chance of me earning a halo anytime soon!

Here are our pictures from the visit:

Entrance Foyer.

Spiral stairs above the foyer.

Close up of the ceiling.

Christmas Tree at the  bottom of the stairs.

Tree Decoration.

Winding round and round.

Our table and the view across the bay.

Dad enjoying five minutes peace!

Front cover of the menu.

Inside menu.

Pip fascinated by the views.

Benedict sharing a joke with the waiter.

Pip enjoying her apple juice.

View from the window.

Our Tea.

Cakes and Pastries freshly made.

We finished our tea just as the light was fading.

Advent Blessings San x