Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Another Day At Grandma's, or, Just Call Me King Alfred!

Well lets get the second part of the blog title out of the way...
I was up bright and early, when the rest of the household was fast asleep.
My goal was to make the last Christmas present, to take to Devon, and then make a Sticky Date Cake for FQ2FF.
I have made this cake several times, never had any problems....
today when I had only one opportunity to make it, what did it do....
It was supposed to be in the oven 2 1/2-3 hours...but after one hour I could smell an unwelcome aroma coming from the kitchen....the top was more than a little over done already!!
I knew the centre would not be done yet, so covered the top with foil and turn the oven even lower ( it was only on 150)
Having taken the burnt bit off tonight, the centre is cooked through thankfully, but,
I am very sorry FQ2FF...it is going to make a pitiful offering I bring you tomorrow.
Isn't it always the way when you make something for someone else, it all goes wrong!
I don't have time to get more fruit and make another one either.
With the baking out of the way, and the three Teens up and ready, it was time to go to Grandma's again.
This time my brother in law and his wife were going to be there...so that's more present unwrapping!
The pond was even quieter than yesterday and Jack Frost had left his mark everywhere, although it was starting to disappear by the time we were out.
Kippy the Lab was pleased to see us....
...and even more pleased to be able to "help" unwrapping the presents...tearing the paper off from his owners packages....including one which had some of my hand sewing in!
When all the presents had been opened, he finally settled down....for us this was just the warm up for the next few days where we will have five dogs vying for attention, scraps, cuddles, seats on the sofa and we all have to remember to "SHUT THE DOOR!"
Teen Two in particular is looking forward to being amongst them again.
After another yummy lunch at Grandma's (its so lovely not to have to think what we are going to eat for a change!) The Teens ( all four of them ) went out with Uncle A to do some treasure hunting with their metal detector.
Grandma has a field backing on to her house so there wasn't far to go.
Not long after arriving they heard the very exciting beep beep beeping...
Teen Two dug a hole (with a trowel Hubby had made in school 40years ago, and Grandma still had!)
And wonder of wonders....
...a pound coin!
Sadly that was as exciting as it got, other than a staple, 2p and a few ring pulls!
The rest of the afternoon was spent, knitting, playing the ping pong ball game, Rummikub Word, and of course more eating at tea time.
Unfortunately my new camera had run out of charge after only the above photos, we aren't sure why, just a blip hopefully.
We are recharging the battery and hoping it will be ok next time.
Tomorrow we are off down to Devon, but have a lot to do before hand, animals to sort and notes to leave for Grandma, clothes to be packed, food to be put in the freezer from the fridge etc, and not to mention, making sure we have all the presents!
It's going to be a busy evening, but I have had a couple of lazy (ish) days ( exclude endless washing up at Grandma's and baking in the kitchen) and the TV looks pretty rubbish after 8pm, so I should get quite a bit done before feeling the need to drop into bed!

Monday, 26 December 2016

Boxing Day Fun

We had a fairly leisurely start to the day, a cuppa in bed and some surfing, before getting on with a pressie or two.
 Teen One helped out, as did our niece who is staying over...it was good to have extra pairs of hands!
I can't give too much away, would be a shame to spoil the surprise later in the week wouldn't it!
We then headed round to Grandma's for more present opening!
Our local pond, normally full of dog walkers, shoppers, children, bird watchers, was practically empty!
Hubby's nephew loves maps, so was very keen to see the Australia map Hubby had taken, to show some of the places we hope to visit next year.
Our niece is a great crafter ( not jealous not jealous!) and got on with some crocheting...
...whilst I gave the Teens a game of Word Rummikub.
After lunch we opened our presents, then played another new game the Teens had been given...
Hum that Tune.
It was surprisingly hard but a lot of fun.
The team with the youngsters won, even though there were several genres to choose from, they just seemed to have the upper hand the whole time!
Doesn't say much for our humming...or ability to pick out a tune does it!
Grandma used to love cross stitch and still does cards occasionally...it was lovely to see her work from years ago in use today....I love the simplicity of the patterns and one colour thread.
We are now back home, watching Bake Off and catching up with some laundry.
It's been another lovely day spent with family we just don't see enough of, thank goodness for holidays at this time of year that make it possible to reconnect with each other.


Sunday, 25 December 2016

Our Family Christmas Day

This morning started relatively early....6am, with Teen Two coming in with his stocking,
but after that we dozed off for a couple of hours which was bliss!
Teen One didn't come in to us until around 8.30am
We had church as usual first thing, so had organised with the Teens that we would open the pressies after.
After church we called in to see an old lady who is no longer able to attend services, and sang a Carol for her....no doubt much to the bemusement of the neighbours!
She was delighted to see us and although we tried to persuade her to come to dinner, she was happier being quiet at home.
So back home, it was on with the kettle and time for opening presents.
A candy cane Pandora for Teen One ( amongst many other things of course!)
Teen Two and Grandma got a fit of the giggles as he  delved into the quilt cover for his final present...
...which was a mug that can have Lego designs added to it...very innovative indeed!
Hubby got lost in a car book...
...and I had a surprise present of a camera!
We don't spend much on each other so this was a surprise indeed!
My existing camera can take several seconds to take a picture, which means lots of "moments" are lost, so this will be perfect!
It was then on to dinner, the usual turkey roast with all the trimmings...
...with our homemade cranberry sauce and our very special spoon, a present from Grandma a few years ago.
3pm meant, everything stops for the Queens speech...
...then on with the fun...the Teens both love games, today we had a new game of charades....
...with plenty of scope for choice...
...then it was Pie Face!
We all got splattered and the laughs could be heard next door I suspect!
It was then time for a rest..and what better way to rest than watching Bake Off..
...with some knitting.
By the end of it I had finished the first stripey sock...
...and mastered the grafting finally!
It's been a lovely quiet family day and tomorrow we will have Christmas Day all over again as Hubby's family start to arrive....but no cooking for me this time!


Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Eve And Still Not Organised!

This morning started very leisurely, a cuppa in bed, and some rough plans for a take it as we find it day, but with a few essentials still needed finishing.
Breakfast was crumpets...very yummy and very cute.
Whilst Hubby got on chopping up wood from next doors old window frames, to woodburner size,
Teen One and I sat down to an hour or so of crafting for Christmas presents.
Its always difficult to know what to buy folk, but I figured everyone gives gifts and it might be nice to add a special tag now and again, so we have made a jar full of them, my only worry is its more a
"her" than a "him" gift.
I then transferred the Christmas Marmalade I made a few weeks ago, into prettier jars I bought in Ikea this week.
The presents just needed wrapping, which I was about to do when a little family who come to our Sunday School and Friday Club called in.
They hadn't been able to attend the party or Carol Service because of personal problems, so I said they could pop round anytime to collect their presents.
I hadn't expected them to stay ( but was prepared should they do so!)
The girls are really lovely and it was a joy to see them again.
They hadn't seen a woodburner before so had fun toasting marshmallows, making toast, screwing up balls of paper and watching them burn up...all under supervision of course.
The mum seemed glad of a couple of hours of normality and we all indulged in cups of tea and mince pies...of course!
With the family gone, it was time for a quick lunch, then back to wrapping.
I made a little box for a pair of cufflinks I made using Lego, for my brother in law.
FQ2FF showed me how to make these boxes from old cards about 20years ago ( I am sure the Teens weren't around) and I have made many since then!
I then had to tidy up the attic ready for my niece staying over for the next few nights, before making a start on tomorrow's dinner.
The stuffing is made...
...veggies peeled, jelly setting ready for the trifle, turkey crown is almost thawed,
all I need to do is make the pigs in blankets and the Yorkshire batter, both of which can be done in the morning before going to church.
Tonight we are having "party food" followed by games.
I'd like to say I am now all organised...but truth is there are still one or two things need doing pressie wise...but that's the upside of spreading Christmas out over several days, with various sides of the family!
Maybe next year I will be totally organised ( as is ALWAYS my plan!) but I suspect I will be saying the same "maybe next year!"
Looking back to this time last year, Grandma down south wasn't at all well....we are so pleased things are different this year, although have heard another member of the family is not at all well, having had an emergency C section due to sepsis.
We understand both mum and baby are doing well, but it will be a worry for the new grandparents.
Happy Christmas to you all!

Friday, 23 December 2016

Still Making And Wrapping Presents!

As  I had left my camera at my friends last night, I was unable to take any pictures today...which I have to say I really missed!
So, instead of having a blank page to look at, I thought I would let you enjoy Percy's cute little face again!
This morning I was up early to dash into Asda for a couple of little presents I wanted, and they are usually the only place these items can be found...but sadly they didn't have any, so I had to have a quick rethink...but managed to thankfully.
I was back in time for the arrival of a friend from Leicester.
We enjoyed some homemade mince pies over a cuppa and catch up.
She had no sooner left than a family friend came with presents for the Teens and the news she may have to go back into hospital over Christmas if the new antibiotics she had today don't work, it appears there has been a complication with her gall bladder removal.
Hubby then came home, with no more work till the new year, he is mightily relieved for the break, its been a hectic few weeks for him.
I had booked them in to see "Fantastic Beasts and How to Find Them" a the cinema.
I really didn't want to see it, its just not my sort of film and with so many things still do to, aside from the extra trip out to the country to get my camera, I cried off going.
I had the house to myself for an hour or so and did quite a bit,  still making and wrapping presents nstill a few to go...then headed out to get my camera, ending up at the shopping centre where the family were watching the film.
I sat in the car for a bit doing some knitting, the weather was foul outside and I really didn't want to wander round any more shops!
I did eventually brave it outside but after a brief looked round M&S, went into a coffee shop to people watch till the family were out.
I had the treat of a free chai latte as my rewards card was full up!
With the family finally out, hailing it an excellent film, we headed into Harvester for yet another treat!
I can remember when Hubby and I only went out for a meal once a year....how times have changed!

Saturday 22nd Dec 2016: Is This The Cutest Pet?

This morning I had to take Grandma to the hospital for a gynae issue, so left the Teens doing their gingerbread houses.
I was most impressed with Teen Two's flower design!
His attempt at a wreath and bow was pretty good too...considering he only had those little gel tubes to pipe with!
I was back home by lunchtime, with good news, Grandma's issue was nothing sinister ( that had been a possibility) but will need a biopsy to determine what treatment will work best to relieve her symptoms.
With the gingerbread houses left to dry out, I made up some royal icing, and left the Teens to work their magic on this years snow scene.
The Playmobil/Lego figures now down to just two, to represent the Teens.
In times past it has been pretty much full of them!
Less is most definitely not more in these scenes!
Teen One had plans to meet up with old friends for coffee, and we also had an invite out to friends in the country.
I offered to take a dessert, so did my usual White Chocolate Torte, which Teen One decorated for me.
I dropped Teen One off near her meeting place, took Teen Two to see a friend who lived nearby, and enjoyed a cup of coffee with his mum in their lovely kitchen (not jealous not jealous!)
When Teen One was ready, we then headed out to the country.
We had such a treat when we arrived....one of the daughters ( a trainee teacher) has the
cutest pet ever!
Now Percy isn't cute and cuddly that's for sure, but really is very cute indeed!
He is an African Pygmy Hedgehog and is about 4years old.
Needless to say the Teens ( and ourselves) were captivated by him!
Tonight we saw his "twin" on a John Lewis advert!
When we managed to prise ourselves away from our prickly friend, we played some games, always great fun.
A new game to us was "Bounce Off" which involves bouncing ping pong balls into a particular pattern...not at all easy but a lot of fun!
When playing a different game later on, when our family won, my friend presented us with a "prize" for being the winders.....our own Bounce Off!
No doubt it will bring us plenty of fun over the coming days.
It was gone 10pm before we left and Teen One drove us home, the more practise she can get the better.
When we arrived home I realised I had left my camera behind, part of the reason for not blogging...but it was also very late so it was straight to bed!