Friday, 30 December 2016

Birthday :: Christmas

A week ago today Pip celebrated her 8th year around the sun, she had a lovely day and celebrated with two friends, Beth visited from 10:30am until 2:30pm and Daisy-Mae visited 4pm until 7pm. 

 It was interesting watching and listening to the interaction between the girls, Pip knows Beth from school they were and still are best buddies, they both have a whacky sense of humour and creative spirit so it was fun watching them perform a magic show using existing props and then creating some of their own. 

Pip and Daisy Mae are almost birthday twins with 24 hours between them as DM was born around lunchtime on Christmas Eve!  DM just loves pretend play so the girls had fun playing with Shannon Pip's doll from last year and a new addition to the "Our Generation Family" a beautiful white Camarillo horse that Pip has named snowflake :-)

 The usual sit where you were born and "x" marks the spot at 8:39am photo opportunity :-) 

 Playing with the magic set from Beth.

 Waiting to blow out the candle of which they had several attempts!

 It is the first year that I have not made a homemade birthday cake, I was just too exhausted from the crafting and Christmas preparations.  Pip didn't mind as long as there was a cake and candles she was happy :-)  It was also the first year that she forgot to wear the birthday crown and the birthday ring was left in the cupboard!  Those epic bags under my eyes should give a clue that I was not in "the zone" :-)

Benedict has been a real help these past few weeks and Christmas Eve was no exception, he prepped all the veg and tidied around the house.  There was still some last minute wrapping of presents and Dave and I watched midnight mass on the television.  We haven't made church in months, my health has not been good and I have been struggling with ongoing pain which thankfully is now slowly being resolved:

 Pillowcase gifts of pyjamas for Pip and a Christmas jumper for Benedict.

 Every self respecting horse needs an experienced rider so meet Lily Anne, a playmate for both Shannon and Pip.

One epic selfie and ...

... one that would win the silliest selfie award!

 We ate Christmas lunch at 1pm which for us is a world record and the kitchen was completely tidied and sorted by 2pm.  We then played our new Christmas game of Carcassone and I am not really a games person but this game is fab and well worth buying.  Each game usually lasts no more than half an hour and is totally doable even with kids in tow!

 Our Christmas tree organised and decorated by Benedict, that guy sure loves to celebrate!

This past week has been marred by my health problems and so we have been very much confined to barracks.  I did manage to take everyone out on a short journey yesterday to run errands and have a hot chocolate treat.  It did us good to get out of the house.  Dave's mum and dad are hopefully visiting again on New Year's day so that should be good. 

Hope that you have had a blessed Christmas x 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

December Days :: Gluten Free Shortbread Recipe

 Late night crafting, yet again!


 Jingle Bells ~ white chocolate and candy cane gluten free cookies.

Gluten Free Shortbread Recipe

175g dairy free spread
75g caster sugar
175g gluten free plain flour mix
1tsp xantham gum
25g fine polenta
50g cornflour

Preheat the oven to 150C/130C Fan/Gas 2

Put the dairy free spread into a large bowl and using a wooden spoon beat until nice and soft.  Add the 75g caster sugar and beat until combined.

Stir in the plain flour, cornflour, polenta and xantham gum.  Stir to combine and then using your hands bring the dough together, it will be soft and slightly sticky.

On a floured work top roll out the dough to a 3mm or thereabouts thickness and stamp out biscuits using a cookie cutter.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and carefully transfer the biscuits.

Bake for one hour until golden, then remove from the oven, cool for five minuted and sprinkle with a tablespoon of caster sugar if leaving them plain.

To make the chocolate and candy cane shortbread, melt a 200g bar of white chocolate using the Bain Marie method of a glass bowl over a barely simmering pan of water.  Dip the biscuits in the chocolate and then again into the crushed candy canes.  I used 12 crushed candy canes for this recipe.

Happy Baking!


 Christmas Snippets.

 Cosy ~ new flannelette bedding and a first in months,  an actual before midnight bedtime :-)

 Working lunch brought to me by my ace chef and son Benedict and eaten in the loft room aka SAN-ta's workshop ;-)

 Benedict has succumbed to a really nasty cold virus but thanks to the home pharmacy he is currently holding his own and his blood sugars are stable, yay!

 Broccoli and Cheese soup courtesy of the Pioneer Woman with a small helping of pasta since we were minus any gluten free bread!  The nutmeg added just the right amount of spice and the dish was comforting and delicious.  Just the thing for a dreary December day :-)

Friday, 9 December 2016

December Photo Project :: Seven, Eight and Nine


Wake up and smell the coffee ... as in dealing with a post lunch, mid afternoon slump.  These magic beans did the trick and the rest of the day ran relatively smoothly ;-)

The Travellers

This image is interesting on two levels.

  Our friend and neighbour helps with the cleaning on a Thursday afternoon and she has taken to placing items in unusual places for the rest of us to find!  We had just arrived back from a trip out; a trip that included traffic delays due to road works, followed by a road traffic collision.  Not only were we delayed but re-routed, there was fog and I felt quite unwell by the end of the trip.  This image cheered me as did the slow cooker hot pot that awaited us on our arrival.

 The image also had me pondering about those misplaced, rejected, isolated and persecuted.  God knew what He was doing when He sent his only Son into a refugee family fleeing for safety.  He understands x 


 A quiet moment at the hairdressers and a chance to ponder.  Giving thanks for all that I do have and saying a prayer for this lady, her husband and their two year old daughter.  Amnesty International are highlighting her cause and messages of love and support can be sent to her via their website.
#bethechange  #loveinaction 

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

December Photo Project :: Day Six ~ Kid Capers

Like synchronised swimmers they both remembered to "strike a pose" as Madonna would say!  Two very funny crazy dudes :-)

The St Nicholas treats went down a storm and how fortuitous that Nanna and Grandad N ( my parents) were visiting.  Pip enthusiastically shared her new knitting book and wool and with Nanna's supervision learned to cast on, measure and make a start on a knitted case for my phone 💜

Benedict made his signature "Leek and Potato Soup", almost as good as Aunty Mo's ~ God rest her soul and whilst the soup was cooking I managed to rustle up some St Nicholas biscuits.  I did not make a large batch of dough so they were star as opposed to saint shaped!  They went down well and my dad even asked for the recipe, so they must have been good :-)

 Happy St Nicholas Day 🎅

Monday, 5 December 2016

December Photo Project :: Day Five ~ The Tomten

Last year the rain and floods came and the power went out!  This year all has been calm and we even had blue skies today :-)  We wished Nanna H a Happy Birthday and Ben played the song on a keyboard app on his tablet!

Once the kids had settled and the house was still the Tomten came to help tidy around and fill the shoes with good things to eat, read and do.  This wee chap could not help himself and settled down for a spot of late night knitting ... 

 Happy St Nicholas Eve!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

December Photo Project :: Day Four ~ Impromptu

The phone rang mid morning and it was Mum W inviting us all for an impromptu lunch of soup; the chicken in the oven was switched to the slow cook mode and we enjoyed a forty minute drive admiring the hills and blue skies along the way.

I never tire of this view.  This snap was taken from their lounge window which directly overlooks the bay.  Who needs computer screens or a TV when you can marvel at the ever changing skies.

Peace x 

Saturday, 3 December 2016

December Photo Project :: Day Three ~ Long Distance

I'm a bit late to the party this year and for a split second even wondered whether I would actually join in!  Old habits die hard however and this will be my eighth year searching and capturing the memories around the darkest and yet most hopeful time of the year; so without further ado here is my photo of the day:

 Pip talking to her big sister, Sr Emma Maria SHM, in Spain.  This baby of mine talking to our firstborn who has only ever seen her twice in her life, once at her Christening when she was five months old and too young to remember and two year's ago at Sara and Tom's wedding.  Today they were chatting like they had never been apart.  

Precious x