Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Looking for joy :: The Christmas Edition

Christmas this year was a mixed bag but overall it turned out well ... hindsight and rose tinted spectacles help enormously ;-)

Christmas Eve

This was my reward for tackling the supermarket for last minute items and loading the car with the logs for the wood burner.  It was God's gift to me, half an hour of peace and quiet at Leighton Moss!  Note to self must do this next year :-)

Christmas Day

 Opening presents a knitting machine for Pip and a build your own catapult for Benedict.

 A Lego Fr Leopold Celebrates Mass.

 Sara setting the table~ it wasn't that cold it's just that she loved her snowman hat!

 A flaming Christmas Pudding!

I cannot believe that I didn't take any pictures of the Christmas dinner, it was a case of eat it before it gets cold!  Suffice to say it was the usual roast dinner fayre with extra accompaniments of bread sauce and sage and onion stuffing.

Later in the day we played a new board game entitled "Best of British" and it was a load of fun.

Sara and Tom stayed an extra night as many roads were impassable due to heavy and prolonged weather and so they took the kids to the cinema for two separate screenings.  In the afternoon, Pip saw the "Good Dragon" and in the evening Benedict watched the latest Star Wars film, he was one happy chap!


Benedict spent the day with his cousin and Pip and I visited our home ed friends with their twin girls.  We had a very busy and fun day; the kids drew pictures, played with their toys and watched a short film.  After lunch we took their dog Alfie through the woods and into a field.  The walk is literally five minutes from their house but at the top of the hill you have a wonderful 360 panoramic view of our city, the sea and the lake district fells.  Pip and I both managed to slip in the mud so thank goodness for spare clothes :-)

Once home we were rewarded with a mug of steaming hot tea and a chocolate from the sweet tin.  We played pin the nose on the snowman followed by filling some home made bird feeders to take home:


Pip and I visited Leighton Moss but were confined to the sensory garden and feeding stations since the majority of the paths were knee deep in water due to the recent heavy rains:

 Making Music.

"Hello There!"

  We have had some rather unusual visitors these past few weeks; first Abigail followed by  Barney, Clodagh, Desmond and Eva.  Storm Frank is now battering our shores so I guess tomorrow will definitely be a home day :-)  

Christmas Blessings x  



Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Looking for joy :: DPP Day Twenty Three ~ Birthday-ing

Seven times around the sun and as always the adventure begins at midnight when I am finally finishing with birthday prep and fondly reminiscing of early labour signs at that exact moment!

 Wrapped and ready.

Pip woke at her usual time of six thirty but was happy to hang out in her room until I was sorted a little while later.  She found the large box shaped present very intriguing and her response upon opening was absolutely delightful:

Meet Shannon who likes nothing more than being outdoors, she is an our generation girl

Once the remainder of the presents had been opened we made our way into the front room for the "x" marks the spot, you were born here at 8:30 am:

 My not so little baby just about able to sit on my knee :-)

It wasn't long before Pip's best buddy from school arrived and they had great fun:

 Sharing a how to draw book.

 Decorating cup cakes.

 Pink icing, Christmas sprinkles and chocolate hearts!

 Watching and waiting ...

... for the fountain!  

I had "technical issues" and could not strike the second match quickly so that they would burn simultaneously!

After lunch we made spoon puppets:

A flower girl puppet for B.

We also had several other visitors throughout the day dropping off cards, presents and good wishes.  Pip remarked several times that it was the best birthday ever and kept thanking me for the party and the treat activities.  We bought her a birthday card with her absolute favourite phrase:

" Love you to the moon and back"

And she also adds, " and deep down into your heart."

As I write she and Shannon are tucked up snug in bed and since Pip is not usually a bed sharer with her teddies and rag doll this is quite an interesting turn of events :-)

Smashing Seven! Oh to be young again :-)

Advent Blessings x

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Looking for joy :: DPP Weekend Catch Up

DPP Day Eighteen ~ Gaming

 Cousins ~ birthdays within three months of each other, one six foot tall the other a whole foot shorter :-)

DPP Day Day Nineteen ~ The Canon Who Came To Tea ...

 ... and caused a riot with an impromptu magic show :-)

DPP Day Twenty ~ Christmas Lunch With Friends

 The two littlest girls waiting on dessert and having fun pulling the crackers at the table.

DPP Day Twenty One ~ Solstice Little Flowers

 "It's the latest rage wearing a home made peony on your head!


 "Surprise!"  An early birthday song and good wishes for the forthcoming year, get ready and ...


Pip and I always have a lovely time at the little flowers group and my heart is truly blessed to spend some time with like minded souls.  When I was sharing about being disorganised and not having achieved the things I had planned this advent, Kara reminded me that, I was rocking the Advent that God had organised :-)  And yes that included, MS relapses, ear problems, peeling wall paper in the playroom, still to be painted wood work in the hallway and a major clean of the rooms yet again!

On the way home there was one image I longed to capture but it was not safe to do so and that was the image of a gorgeous ball of fire hanging in the sky!  The return of the sun and a happy memory for me :-)

Advent Blessings x  

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Looking for joy :: DPP Day Seventeen ~ The Travellers

I've missed a day, no bother!  Like most folk, Christmas prep and end of term events for Pip have taken over :-)

We had a visit from Dave's mum and dad yesterday and so we swapped presents and cards, this was greatly appreciated and meant that I did not have to make a three hour return journey masquerading as Mum Christmas!  In amongst the items that have been safely squirreled away was this precious gift:

My mum in law is one talented lady and we have been the lucky recipients of Christmas decorations and quilts for each of us in the family.  I love the long dangling legs and the humongous feet, they make me smile.  This image however is bittersweet; there is joy at Jesus coming into the world but sorrow at the realisation that He was born into abject poverty away from His family and that His very life was in danger.  Who better to understand then and identify with those fleeing their towns for safety or living on the streets due to unforeseen circumstances?  My heart goes out to all those suffering in such a way and this passage of scripture is whirring in my head.  I cannot solve the problems in the world but I can do my bit where possible.  Just think if those who are able gave to those in need  and shared fairly what a difference we could make.

 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.  


Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Looking for joy :: DPP Day Fifteen ~ Precious Pip

I never take anything for granted but have often said how grateful I am that Pip is the healthy one and not encumbered by problems.  Sadly this is not now the case and as of this morning we learned that she has significant hearing loss as a result of problems/damage to the cochlear.  We are now awaiting a referral to a specialist in audio vestibular medicine.  Sometimes, life really does not make any sense but as Christians we know that God is for us and so once more we lean all the harder on Him and his word.  I really do not know what we would do without our faith.


Monday, 14 December 2015

Looking for joy :: DPP Day 14 ~ A Photo Bombing Boy

It was the end of the day and I realised that I hadn't managed to take a photo,no worries I'll take a silly selfie of Dave and myself and that will do :-)  Not a chance with a Benedict around, what started off as this:

very quickly morphed into this...

 ... and we wouldn't have it any other way!

How on earth did this "compact chap" ( our GP's phrase, upon making a home visit a day after his birth) become so grown up?!  He is nearly as tall as me, is a lean but not mean eating machine and has hollow legs!!

When I spent a lovely morning with my dear friend last week, she told me a story of when she her son was six and she was training in shiatsu.  She asked the other course attendees who had older boys, "how do you know when a boy hits puberty?"  And the reply ... "when you are tripping over legs and the fridge is permanently empty!!"  So True :-)

Advent Blessings x 

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Looking for joy :: A DPP Catch Up on Gaudete Sunday

DPP Day 11 ~ A Gem of a Generator

 On Friday night we waved goodbye to this:

 This hulking brute had provided power from early Tuesday morning until 8pm Friday evening when we were finally re-connected to the main grid :-)

DPP Day 12 ~ Make and Cake

We had our last make and cake session for the year and as is the custom I made chocolate peppermint shortbread:

  I had real problems with the shortbread mix and so the biscuit base although yummy was very crumbly, hence the irregularities in shape and size!  Still it was good to gather and craft with friends.

DPP Day 13 ~ St Lucia Day

Cinnamon swirls made to the accompaniment of a St Lucia recording via you tube was the order of the day.  They weren't served at the crack of dawn but shared for afternoon tea with a very dear friend:


We survived another steady down pour of rain on Saturday and woke to blue skies and frost this morning.  I think the past few weeks are catching up with me health wise and so I made the decision to be home based for the remainder of the weekend.  

I still seem to be in denial about Christmas preparations and every year I say the same thing, "The only year I was organised when I was pregnant with Pip, which is seven years ago!!"   Sadly I do not have the nesting instinct to keep me on track and now I have a birthday to organise two days before the big day :-) 

We have bought all the presents and so they only need wrapping and since our present list is quite small it shouldn't take that long.  Pip spent the afternoon writing out her home made Christmas cards and as a treat for "Gaudete" Sunday both her and Benedict watched a Christmas Film.  All in all, a good day.

Advent Blessings x  

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Looking for joy :: DPP Day 9 and 10

Day Nine ~ Powerhouse Pip

It was a non school day yesterday due to the ongoing power problems, so my friend Sal and I took Pip on her bike along the cycle path, followed by a trip to the local play park.

 This gal could power an entire street with her energy :-)

Day Ten ~ Special Selfie

 This gal and I go way back when ~ college days, births, child rearing and sickness/disability. 
 Been there, done it, got the t-shirt :-)

 Love her loads and our coffee treat today was just what we both needed.

Advent Blessings x 

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Looking for joy :: DPP Ahoy There!

We have been living with a power outage since late Saturday night.  When storm Desmond struck the constant unremitting rainfall wreaked havoc across the North West of the country.  Thankfully we were spared our home being flooded but the electrical substation near the city centre was badly hit and the city was on a complete blackout from Saturday evening until this morning.  The city has been running on generators shipped over from Ireland and other parts of the UK. 

So thankful that we had the caravan parked right outside our kitchen door.  It was the first time ever that the gas oven had ever been used :-)  Our martinmas lanterns and tea lights were pressed into action and with the addition of LED torches and a battery operated radio, we have been doing OK.  We even managed to go ahead with a planned shared meal with some friends and when Shalom prayers was cancelled last night, a few of us gathered in a friend's house instead :-)  I have kept up with the daily photograph's so here they are in order:

DPP Day Five ~ Chifting

Also known as charity shop gifting!  It was Pip's turn to have a one on one treat with me on Saturday morning.  She bought a present each for Dave and Benedict, including wrapping paper from a local charity shop and we finished our treat with a hot chocolate.

DPP Day Six ~ St Nicholas Day

I cooked a mini roast meal of chicken, potatoes, greens, carrot and swede and mashed potato in the caravan alongside our yearly Speculatius biscuits.  The Tomten were very bold this year and settled in at the bottom of my bed ... I think the power cut phased them and they forgot to camp out in front of the wood burner as in previous years :-)

 The Tomten left gold coins, their yearly letter and some cosy fleece blankets, which were very useful given the power outage!

 Veggies on the stove top ...

 ... and chicken in the oven.

 Pip making the biscuits.

Our friends arrived in time for tea and in addition to their companionship they also brought a delicious bottle of mulled wine, which went well with the spiced biscuits.

DPP Day Seven ~ A Home Day

All schools were closed and the two bridges both in and out of the city were impassable.  It was a day spent huddled around a gas fire and listening to regular updates from our local radio station.  The team did an awesome job keeping everyone informed, some of the crew had been working over thirty hours straight by the end of Sunday evening!  The two downstairs studios were flooded and the presenters stranded, so local folk including the two inns nearby kept them well supplied with food and beverages.  Electricity North West have also supplied food vans dotted around the locales and our main sports centre opened its doors for emergency accommodation, warmth, food and showers. 

  Lovely flowers bought by a friend over a fortnight ago and still going strong.

DPP Day Eight ~ Cartmel

Since Pip's school is still closed we met with Sara and Tom and had a lovely day in a village near to them.  There was a cold wind blowing but the sunshine and blue skies were much appreciated:

 Ben fell in love with the church cat, that is known, loved and fed by everyone in the village!

   Cartmel Priory

We had a lovely lunch in "The Mallard" cafe followed by a wander around some of the shops.  We tasted an amazing sherry that was truly, Christmas in a glass and bought a bottle to share over the festive period :-)  I am not normally keen on alcohol, but even I have to admit that it was gorgeous! 

We have another "no school" day for Pip tomorrow, so an outing is planned for the afternoon, weather permitting :-)

Advent Blessings x  

Friday, 4 December 2015

Looking for joy :: DPP Day 3 and 4

I was hugged by God yesterday :-) 

 Despite the sorrow and madness in the world I was blessed to meet a fellow kindred spirit.  We met as strangers and parted as friends :-)

  I had just finished my cup of tea at a local-ish garden centre and was on my way out when I was intrigued by this lady tapping an enormous urn.  I looked at her and she looked at me, she was ringing the pot to check for cracks.  The conversation flowed, both she and her husband are potters, we talked about the perils of making an income in the handmade market, shared about our concerns regarding the bombing of Syria and talked about the need for prayer.   We hugged and shared Instagram details and it was only when she handed me her business card, I realised that I knew of her!!   Geraldine and I are part of Pen's blogging network and Geraldine blogs over at the potter's house 

 Not one of my best photographs but that picture will be forever etched in my mind and heart.

Today's story is about our yearly jaunt for a holiday treat and a staggering trip down memory lane :-) 

 Dave had a dreaded welfare medical this morning but we had an answer to prayer and the assessor was a very understanding and knowledgeable Occupational Therapist.  Once the meeting was over, we headed into town to purchase some items for our Advent Wreath and some gifts for family members.  Our final stop was a well known coffee place for a gingerbread latte and a cinnamon swirl.

  As much as we love our two youngest it is really great to have some head space and actually begin and finish a conversation without being interrupted!  Our ponderings led us to conclude that the last time I was in town Christmas shopping was when I was pregnant with Pip seven years ago!  And the last time Dave and I went Christmas shopping together was in 1993!!!!  Chronic sickness and disability on my part meant that catalogue shopping and then latterly internet was the only way forward.  As my health slowly improved, Dave at that point was once more working full time and so the present buying was pretty much my domain.  Funny how time flies, eh?!!

This evening we managed to finally make our Advent Wreath.  Pip and I made the wreath and Dave rolled the beeswax candles.  I think it turned out pretty good and I'm looking forward to seeing it lit on Sunday :-)

 The last candle in the making.

 Aligning the wick.

 On a roll ~ couldn't resist :-)

A Ta-Dah Moment!

Advent Blessings x