Monday, 26 December 2011

And Just Like That It's Over

Christmas has been and gone in our household. The tree is down and the house is looking fairly normal with a little less space for anything. Thank goodness it's over for another year!

As exciting as Christmas is, especially now with young children, I always have an anti-climax sort of feeling towards the day. All that preparation for one day and as quick as the blink of an eye, it's over!

On Christmas Eve we went to bed excited to wake up with the kids and see their faces as they entered the living room to open their presents from Santa. Their faces were a picture, especially Wee Z's, who took his time unwrapping each present and careful looking at what he had received. Miss C was a bit more production line about it but then she is only 2.

After the present opening was completed, we chose some of the new toys to play with and spent a few hours with the kids enjoying family time together. We then had to start preparing the food for our Christmas dinner. This year we had my Father in Law and youngest Brother in Law for dinner and as soon as I have to cook for more than us 4, I get a bit stressed. I mean, it's OK if the food tastes crap and I'm feeding it to us, but it's quite another story if I'm feeding it to other people. I want them to enjoy their food so they come back again...although maybe if it did taste rubbish I'd get out of hosting dinner at all?!


As my BIL is quite fussy, I decided to make macaroni for him and the kids. The kids would eat a roast dinner but I thought we should treat ourselves to some steak instead and Husband spent a small fortune buying fillets for my FIL, him and me. I made roast potatoes, steamed veggies and a peppercorn sauce to go with it. Husband made his prawn cocktail for us (garlic pizza bread for the kids and BIL) and I served apple crumble with ice cream for dessert. It was rather yummy!

After the stress of cooking and all the clearing up and once FIL and BIL had gone home, we got the kids bathed and in their jammies and settled under a duvet on the couch to watch The Gruffalo's Child. I thought the kids would fall asleep watching it but no, they stayed awake captivated by the story until the very end. I could feel myself drifting off to sleep as I was so exhausted but as soon as the kids were in bed, I got my second wind and Husband and I sat up watching TV and working our way through the chocolates.

When I went to bed I lay there and thought that's it; Christmas is done. I don't know what the end to that thought was because I fell asleep!


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas Gifts - Homemade Truffles

Last year as Christmas gifts for the nursery staff and some of our neighbours, I made chocolate fudge. This year we decided to make truffles. I love truffles because they are bite-size deliciousness and really quite addictive. They are also really easy to make.

For my fudge, I asked my Mum to find me some cellophane bags as she's quite good at crafty things so I thought she'd know just the place to find some. All my Mum could get was some cellophane sheets from Thorntons (of all the places) but it did the job fantastically.

On Twitter a few weeks ago @Jessies_Online shared her eBay shop and a link to some cellophane party bags which is exactly what I was looking for. I bought some gorgeous blue and white snowflake bags which are perfect for holding all the truffles in and look really pretty as a gift I think.


There are so many variations to making truffles but I tend to stick with just plain digestives and chocolate drinking powder for mine.

Recipe

1 pack of digestive biscuits
1 can of condensed milk
50g of unsalted butter, melted
50g dessicated coconut - optional
70g drinking chocolate
Chocolate sprinkles, icing sugar, cocoa powder or dessicated coconut for rolling them in

Start by crushing your biscuits in to a fine mixture. I did this with a food processor or you could put them in a bag and used a rolling pin to crush them. Add your drinking chocolate, dessicated coconut and butter and mix together. Then add your condensed milk bit by bit so you can judge easily how much you'll need. If you use too much the mixture will become too sticky and will make it hard to roll the truffles. Once mixed, allow it to cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

The mixture is ready to roll if you can roll a truffle without it sticking to your hands and it holds it shape when placed on a flat surface. You can roll them as big or as little as you like and coat them in sprinkles, cocoa powder...whatever takes your fancy. I coated these ones in chocolate sprinkles and dessicated coconut.

Place them in your bags, again how many depends on size and how generous you are feeling and seal them up with some ribbon. Yummy!

I'll have that one and that one and that one...

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Gallery - Christmas of Yesteryear

I'd love to say I'm sharing a photo from a Christmas many, many years ago but sadly I'm not. My old photographs are currently boxed in the loft underneath, behind and in between all of the Christmas presents.

This photo is from our first Christmas together as a family of 3. My Mum and Step Dad spent Wee Z's first Christmas with us. It was a relatively quiet one after everyone had visited to drop presents in for Wee Z. We spent the morning opening presents, playing with new toys whilst Wee Z had a nap (present opening can be a tad overwhelming to a 7 month old apparently) and enjoying a stroll in the afternoon to work up an appetite for our Christmas dinner. We enjoyed our meal together, playing games and watching Christmas TV.


Wee Z adorned a Santa outfit for his Christmas outfit which was so cute but didn't stay on for long. In the evening we went to visit my Father in Law and came home with more presents for Wee Z who was just ready for his bed by that point.

It was a lovely Christmas and really brought back the meaning of Christmas to me; sharing it with family and those you care about most.

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Christmas of Yesteryear.


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Christmas Cracker Show

On Friday it was that time of year again at nursery where all the parents piled in to see their children performing in their Christmas show. Last year they had a nativity and recreated the story of the birth of Baby Jesus. This year the nursery put on a fantastic show for us all called The Christmas Cracker.

Each group at Wee Z's nursery had to learn a song and they performed it for us. They were all smashing! The 4 year olds that we watched as 3 year olds last year were much more confident and sang so loudly, knew all the words and knew all the actions too.

Wee Z's group were singing "When Santa got stuck up the chimney" and wore hats and scarfs and had tissues for props. They did very well; all the groups did and there were plenty of proud parents, some close to tears.

My "Proud Mummy" moment was when Wee Z opened the show with his lines he had been practising. He was the only child to have a line of his own so I was beaming even if you could hardly hear him! He had to say "Welcome to our Christmas show. Sit back, relax and enjoy!"

It's scary to think that this time next year we'll be watching a 3 year old Miss C in her first nursery nativity. How the time flies!



Monday, 19 December 2011

The Weekend We'd Rather Forget

Last weekend was one of those weekends I could quite happily forget about. It was terrible. Friday night, as I was finishing clearing away after dinner, Husband shouted me through to the living room. I thought he was shouting me to see something cute or funny the kids were doing but no...! He shouted me to tell me that Miss C had just done a poo but might have been pushing too hard as it seemed she had a minor rectal prolapse.

Husband phoned NHS 24 to get some advice and the nurse didn't seem to think this sounded right for a 2 year old, especially when Husband told her that Miss C had passed blood too. Husband had to take her out to hospital to see a DR. I was so stressed and scared and felt sick. All I could do was stay at home with Wee Z and wait to hear if she was OK.

Thankfully Miss C returned home fairly quickly after seeing the DR. They seemed to think that she has been straining to go for a poo and may have been a bit constipated. More fibre in the diet should sort her out and if that doesn't help, they can give her some laxatives. She seemed in good spirits though as she walked through the door wearing a bedpan on her head.

Whether it was down to the stress of Friday night or I was holding out for something, I woke up on Saturday morning feeling like death warmed up. My throat was swollen and it felt like I was swallowing knives. My ears were pounding and my joints were aching. I had to go to work though, it was my third to last shift before my holidays so I wasn't about to phone in sick.

My voice was strained, which was bliss for Husband as it meant I could hardly talk. When I got home from work, we pushed the couches together, I put my jammies on and we all cuddled up under my duvet and watched Despicable Me. Husband made sure I had plenty of painkillers, throat spray and cups of tea.


I didn't feel much better on Sunday and after spending the day with my Dad, I had an early night which I thought might help me feel more human again. I couldn't eat anything apart from some soup but I was craving carbs! I honestly felt like I'd never feel the feel of swallowing normally again.

This morning I awoke and all positivity left my body. My ears were pounding harder and my throat felt dry and raw. I got ready for work, took some more painkillers and wrapped up warmly. The thought of 4 hours at work was exhausting but I only had 2 more shifts to go.

I thought I may fall asleep at work, and then my painkillers started to kick in. My throat wasn't sore, I could swallow again. At first I swallowed cautiously, in case it was a fluke, but then I got braver and I was eating a banana and then a pear and gulping down cups of water.

My throat is still slightly tender but I definitely feel much better. However, Husband is now unwell so it looks like I'm on tea duty! I can cope with that though, so long as Miss C doesn't give us another fright.


Thursday, 15 December 2011

My Best Holiday Ever

Preparing to go on holiday is up there with one of the best feelings in the world. Knowing you've worked hard all year and saved up all your pennies makes that week or 2 away truly amazing. I've been really lucky to have gone on some fantastic holidays when I was growing up.

It's hard to pinpoint my best holiday because each one was memorable in it's own way. However, one that always makes me smile is when my Dad took my sisters and I to France. We spent 4 days at Disneyland Paris which was really good fun. I was 14 at the time but the kid in me still loved going on all the rides, meeting my favourite Disney characters (Tigger and Pooh) and watching the parade and fireworks at night. My youngest sister was 3 at the time, almost 4 so it was really amazing to share her first Disney experience with her.


After our 4 days in Disneyland, we headed over to a town called Berny Riviere just outside Paris to go camping for 10 days. I hate camping so I wasn't looking forward to it at all. I was also missing my friends and boyfriend because spending holidays with them was much more fun than being with my Dad and sisters (said the teenager in me!) We arrived at the campsite which was also a caravan site and immediately set about exploring the place. It was sunny which was bonus but that would mean cold, cold nights. No fun in a tent!

Not too keen on camping, can you tell?

Do you remember going on holiday as a teen and seeing the big group of kids who had gotten to know each other over the course of their holiday and thinking I want to be part of that gang, but not having the courage to go up to them? That was how I felt on our first night. The thing was, this group was no ordinary group of kids; this group was made up of around 6 or 7 boys and 2 absolutely stunning blonde girls. It was intimidating for sure!

Thankfully there was a boy in that group who apparently took a shine to me and we got to chatting. I found out he lived about 20 minutes from where I lived so we chatted about the area and places we'd go to hang out. We even shared a cheeky kiss in a tee pee in the play-park...! He was leaving 2 days later but he was kind enough to introduce me to the group.

My little sister loved going fishing!

The next 9 days were spent laughing by the pool, sharing life stories and dancing the night away with these 2 gorgeous blondes and the entourage of boys. Being able to drink at the age of 14 in France meant we took full advantage of cocktails and shots so most nights I didn't need my extra blanket in the tent! We were thick as thieves but made sure to welcome new people in to the group as they arrived and it was always a tearful goodbye when someone left.

It came time for me to leave and we promised to stay in touch. Sometimes these sort of friendships, like a holiday romance, just stay that way and don't develop past your holiday but we did keep in touch and I still have all the letters my friends H and K sent me over the years. We met up a few times although living far apart didn't always make it easy. We're still in touch to this day thanks to the powers of social media aka Facebook.

I never saw the boy who introduced me to my wonderful, gorgeous blonde friends again. He did contact me when I got home and persisted for a week or so but I remembered I was supposed to have a boyfriend and didn't reply. Being 14 is a fickle age! But I'll always be grateful to him for taking me in to the group and making my holiday to France one of the best holidays in my life.

This post is for the BritMums Blogging Prompts where this week they are asking about our best holiday.




Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Christmas Happy Families

This weekend was an exciting one as Bella and Pops made their Christmas trip up to visit us all. It was touch and go as to whether they would make it with the weather being so bad up North last week and with their dog, Cooper, deciding he was going to swallow a ball and not pass it within a 24 hour period. Thankfully, the wind eased off and Cooper threw up his ball so Bella and Pops arrived on Friday afternoon and were welcomed by a very excited Wee Z and Miss C.

Miss C told Pops how much she had missed him which was very sweet. I think it's really lovely that they remember them especially when they don't see them often. As always, they came laden with gifts for us all; chocolates for me, wine for Husband, animal snap for Miss C and happy families for Wee Z. They hadn't been in the door five minutes and Wee Z had roped them in to playing a game.

On Saturday we had booked to go and see Santa and the kids were really excited. We were greeted by one of Santa's elves who Miss C decided to call Ben Elf, like the one from Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom. He chatted away to Wee Z, asking him what he was going to ask Santa for. After a few minutes waiting outside of Santa's log cabin, the big man was ready for us.

The cabin was filled with presents and in the corner was Santa. Miss C immediately freaked out but Wee Z went straight up to him and said hello. Santa asked him to sit on his stool and to tell him what he would like for Christmas. "Stickers by numbers please Santa!" He had a photo with Santa and then took his gift and off we went.


We decided to have a cuppa and ended up running in to my MIL and her husband so we all sat together enjoying some rather overpriced very tasty carrot cake and cheesecake. Wee Z and Miss C opened their presents from Santa; Wee Z got a pirate dress up costume so he just had to put it on in the middle of the cafe and Miss C got a soft toy giraffe.


Once we got home and the kids had gone to bed, Bella and Pops treated us to a take-away and then we decided to tackle the present wrapping. I am a terrible wrapper; I could ruin the entire Santa belief with one misplaced piece of sellotape, so Bella offered to help. We chatted away, laughing as we recalled old stories and reliving the take-away we had just eaten. Quality family time!


All too soon and Sunday had arrived which meant it was time for Bella and Pops to go home. Thankfully the kids didn't get upset when they were leaving which made it easier. I don't like my Mum or my Sister leaving because they live so faraway. However I'm sure we all appreciate each other a lot more for it.


Monday, 12 December 2011

Funny Things My Child Says #3

Wee Z has a nursery concert on Friday and has been learning lots of Christmas related songs like Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney and Jingle Bells. He's been teaching Miss C Away In A Manger and all about Baby Jesus which she thinks is fab as she quite likes babies.

As I'm getting the bath ready I can hear Miss C and Wee Z talking away to each other. Wee Z is telling Miss C she has to be Mary and he will be Joseph and they have to find a space at the Inn so Mary can have Baby Jesus. They both come running through from Miss C's room to tell me all about their game.

"Mummy, me Mary!" says Miss C.

"And I'm Joseph and there is no room at the Inn Mummy so Mary has to sit in a stable!" says Wee Z.

"Mummy, me have Baby Jesus!" says Miss C.

"Really? Where is Baby Jesus?" I ask her.

"Baby Jesus in mine tummy!" says Miss C as she rubs her tummy.

"OH right! How did Baby Jesus get in your tummy?" I ask her.

Miss C looks at me as if I've asked her the most ridiculous question and then answers "In my mouth Mummy!"




Friday, 9 December 2011

A Letter To Santa From Miss C

Dear Santa,

I have been a very good girl this year Santa, just like last year although, to be fair, I didn't know much about Christmas or you then. This year my brother has been telling me all about Christmas and this baby called Jesus. I'd quite like a baby for Christmas, a pretend one Santa, not a real one. My Daddy says Mummy isn't allowed a real one and I agree with him as I liked to stay the baby of the family.

I'd also quite like a puppy. My God Mummy has a new puppy and he is really friendly although I'm not too keen on him giving me kisses. I think a pretend puppy might be a better idea as then my kitten Casper won't get too upset. But Mummy says you've not to get me one of those life-like puppies that do actual pees.

I really like doing jigsaws with my Mummy and Daddy so some new puzzles would be nice. My favourites at the moment are Peppa Pig and a fairy toadstool one but they are getting too easy for me now so Mummy says I need some new ones to help me learn more.

Thank you very much Santa,

Love Miss C aged 2 years and 6 months

P.S - Santa, my Mummy has been telling me and my brother that there are lots of children who won't get presents this Christmas. I hope you haven't forgotten about them Santa, but my Mummy says we can help those children by visiting Operation Christmas Child and making an online shoebox filled with goodies for a little boy or little girl so they can enjoy a Christmas gift too.


Thursday, 8 December 2011

A Letter To Santa From Wee Z

Dear Santa,

I have been a very good boy this year although Mummy does tell me I have my moments. I try to tell her that I'm just expressing my individuality but she says that I am stubborn. Sometimes. Anyway, I'd like to think that I have been a good boy most of the year; I have helped my sister with her learning and given her lots of cuddles and played lots of games with her. I've helped my Mummy with her baking and helped her watch her tummy doesn't get bigger by eating the cakes we bake. I recently started emptying the dishwasher - just the plastic stuff Santa - which is lots of fun.

Taking all of this in to consideration Santa, I'd be really happy if I could have: -

  1. Some puzzles like the Orchard Toys ones I already have, they are great!
  2. Stickers by numbers
  3. Horrid Henry books
  4. A game for my MobiGo
  5. A flying board
In case you haven't heard of a flying board Santa, my Mummy hasn't either, this is a really cool silver board that can fly like the Silver Surfer from that film my Daddy watched. It's amazing!

Thank you very much Santa,

Lots of Love,

Wee Z aged 4 and 6 months

PS - This letter may have been altered by my Mummy slightly but that's only because I was too tired to write all this myself!


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Gallery - My Awesome Photo

I love playing around with my camera to see what shots I can capture. Mostly my photos turn out OK but because I've been practising and snooping around other Gallery entries, I've managed to get a few really great shots; I think anyways!

So Tara is asking us to choose one awesome photo for the chance for it to be made in to a canvas courtesy of Photo World.

Do I choose this one that I caught without even knowing it?


Or this one of gorgeous flowers in summer when there had been a few rain showers?


The bridge we drove past in Aviemore?


Or this one? The one that Husband said is the best photo I have taken and it was taken on my phone.


You don't make it easy for a girl, do you Tara?

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is My Awesome Photo. Go check out all the other awesome entries.





Sunday, 4 December 2011

My Best Posts of 2011

The blogging prompt on BritMums this week is: what were your best posts this year? Usually I recap some of my favourite posts from the previous year in the New Year but since BritMums are asking...

In January I wrote about New Baby Visiting, something we all endure experience with a brand new baby. I found it quite hard with Wee Z because he was the first grandson in the family and being too polite to say give us some space please. With Miss C, I was a lot firmer and whilst I didn't refuse people seeing her, I made sure it was at a time that suited us. I also made sure I was made a cup of tea, not the other way around!

In April we welcomed a new addition in to our family in the form of Miss Baby K. Staying a few hundred miles away from her is hard but we enjoy our time together so much more because of it and I loved meeting her for the first time.

My Gran was really important to me and I often talk about her on my blog as I'd like Wee Z and Miss C to be able to read about her when they are older, even though they never met her. We toasted my Father in Law's birthday on May 22nd which coincidentally was my Gran's birthday.

In the same month Miss C turned 2 and I wrote her a letter which I hope she will read and cherish when she is older. I wrote Wee Z a letter too as he turned 4 a few days later.

My Sister wrote a post for my blog during breastfeeding week, sharing her experience as a new, breastfeeding mum. It was one of my most popular posts this year!

These have been some of my favourite posts of this year. I love reading back on what I've written, just to bring back the memories and often for some inspiration.



Silent Sunday




Thursday, 1 December 2011

Dear Santa, I Would Like...

It is now the 1st of December so I can now get in to the Christmas spirit. I don't mind talking about Christmas before December I just don't get in to it until I have my first chocolate from my advent calendar (Peppa Pig since you asked and yes it is Miss C's but they both have 2 each and I find that one chocolate a day for 24 days is quite enough!) (For a child!)

BritMums are asking us on the blogging prompt this week - what do you want for Christmas? Me? Really? I used to get really excited about Christmas (and my birthday) before I had Wee Z. I couldn't wait to see what everyone had bought me, often going on present hunts to see if I could find a stray present that Husband had forgotten to hide. Since having the kids though, my excitement is for them and seeing Christmas through their child eyes again.

But since they asked...All I want for Christmas is...

  1. Ugly Betty Season 4 on DVD (I love my boxsets!)
  2. Some baking goodies (baking utensils, cutters, shapers, cake tins and an icing piping machine!)
  3. I did want new underwear until I read Northern Mum's recession money saving tips...
  4. Some new PJs (lovely and cosy - maybe a onesie!)
  5. Some new socks (I keep finding holes in mine!)
  6. The Cake Boss recipe book (or bring Buddy to me please - if Santa is real, he WILL do this!)
  7. Lorraine Pascale's Home Cooking Made Easy book
  8. Tom Hardy (The real Tom Hardy, not a cardboard cut out...Santa prove to me you are real!)
  9. A new camera (as mine is knackered!)
  10. A big box of Thornton's chocolates - or any chocolate to be honest!
  11. A kitchen aid
I'm not asking for too much am I?


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