Sunday, 26 December 2010

364 Sleeps to go....

Well with another year over and new new one just about to begin the preparations for Christmas 2011 start now!

Just kidding.....

Having too much fun with this Christmas still!

I do need to start thinking about new year celebrations though.... and how to keep 15 people happy and laughing for a whole evening right into a new year!

Best get my thinking cap on then!!!

Saturday, 25 December 2010

The BIG day!!

It has been an amazing day!!!
I love my family so so so so so so much, they are all wonderful.
Our day started about 5am, opening the pressies next to the open fire..... wonderful
Then onto a lovely breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled egg with bacon and croissant .... Ummm
Then off to play with the pressies..... and become a patient for Larakia who became a nurse care of her nurses outfit and real stethoscope... Priceless 
Off to prepare lunch with David.... Just lovely... I love cooking with David!
Enjoy our three course dinner..... Filling!!
Wear mini Santa hats from the crackers and get our duck for the BIG duck race...... can't wait!
kids enjoying new games and toys while David naps and I start the sale shopping.... Bargains!!
Cuddles with Samuel...... Fabulous
Children off to bed..... Quiet!!!
David sets up the Kenect give it a go..... so ridiculously funny!
Get out Just dance 2 and THRASH the competition........ oh yeah baby!!
Finish up and shower for bed.... that's better
Off to sleep.... Zzzzzzzzz!

DUCK RACE TOMORROW AND FAMILY TIME!!!!

WE LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!!!

We hope you all had a lovely Christmas and made lots of magical and fond memories which will not only live the next year through but a lifetime!

To all our friends and family, we love you and wish you the very best of time.
To the fond friends we do not see often, WE MISS YOU!!

But don't forget the reason for the season!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

2 Sleeps to go..... Panto galore!

He's behind you!! Oh no he isn't!!
Today we saw The Wizard of Oz in panto.... having not seen the film since early childhood I had no idea what to expect and it was certainly an interesting experience.

It was a enjoyable way to start the build up of Christmas and was most certainly enjoyed by Liliana who was dancing and singing along the whole way through.
After the panto we enjoyed a nice family roast dinner with crackers.... not homemade I am afraid.... they are saved for the big day (A big Thank You to Auntie Karen for the snaps!)
The table looked beautiful with my amazing flowers a wonderfully generous man bought for me.
After the nice roast pork shoulder dinner we enjoyed a chocolate and poached pear torte.... ummmm!!

Once the children were safely tucked away in bed the busy work got started, finished the crackers for Christmas day, piecing together the activity packs for during Christmas dinner and finishing the napkin rings.
Tomorrow will be a busy day doing finishing touches, decorating the Christmas fruit cake and making a army of marzipan penguins!!

And of course the walk to Tesco half an hour before it closes for the bargain reductions.... always looking for a cheap deal!!

Oh and just a quick reminder to those who care..... NEXT SALE STARTS MONDAY 5AM IN STORE!!!! (Christmas Eve online)

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

3 Sleeps to go....

With only three sleeps to go until the main event there is alot to do!
As you can tell from our lack of keeping up with posting life gets very, very busy this close to Christmas.
Today is the last school day, ending with a special assembly with a festive presentation from the children.... I can't wait!
The children finish early, as soon as the assembly finishes, about 14:30. Which means a whole afternoon of entertaining possible the most excited 7 children in the world..... in case anyone thinks that is a hint to our family growing, please let me assure IT ISN'T!! Auntie Kayla who is 8 is staying with us for all of Christmas!!!

So what do you do with so many hyperactive, over-excited, crazy and let's face it extremely noisy children?
My plan put them to work!!

We will be trying out my new Whoopie Pie tin, making a gingerbread nativity and a shortbread star tree centre piece.

There is still so much to do but hopefully by the end of today we will be at a stage were we can sit back and enjoy... at least until the Christmas dinner has to be made!

Tomorrow we are going to be enjoying our yearly tradition of going to a pantomime, this year is The Wizard of Oz.
We are all really looking forward to it,and with the shopping having come yesterday we will be returning to lovely gingerbread hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream and cinnamon chocolate sprinkles, with a nice white chocolate, apricot and macadamia cookie! Uuuuummmmmm!!!

We would like to wish everyone who reads our blog a very Merry Christmas, filled with more magic than watching a Disney movie for the first time through the eyes of a five year old little girls eyes brings.


Sunday, 19 December 2010

6 sleeps to go....

Well this weekend has been crazy chaos! Wonderful work parties at Michelin-rated restaurant, Christmas shopping (mostly for gift bags, as per the "15 sleeps" blog) and Larakia losing her first tooth!


Since this is the last Sunday before Christmas, here is a little something that I loved sharing as a Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (though in those days we called it "Luke 2"). It brings us back to the reason for this holiday season.



Wednesday, 15 December 2010

10 sleeps to go....

Can you believe that Christmas is only next week?

Today we have been at the school watching our little thespians put on their Christmas plays.
 

Micah was a sheep in the nursery's adaptation of the Nativity story and Lara was "mother" in her class' presentation.
 
video


Tomorrow we will be in single digits of sleeps and we will be having the company Christmas party followed by a bit of shopping in Nottingham. It's all go from here!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

11 Sleeps to go....

The ever changing minds!!

Today we found out that David's work Christmas party is indeed BLACK TIE AND EVENING DRESS!!!!!
So I am so glad I have my beautiful dress and my shoes have now even arrived!

I hope everyone out there preparing for Christmas parties have a fabulous time and make some wonderful memories.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, 13 December 2010

12 sleeps to go.... or letters to Santa

Oliver knows how to make sure he gets the most presents. By being very, very good...
 ... and, when no one is looking...
 ... eating his siblings' letters to Santa.
 Bwohoowahaha!

(no actual letters to Santa were harmed in the production of these photos, having already been sucked up the Chimney and on the desk of Mr. Claus)

Sunday, 12 December 2010

13 sleeps to go....

Today, following a discussion with the kids and Becky on the way to Church, I got thinking about the birth of Christ, the summer holidays and camping on a beach in Suffolk watching the magnificant sky.
  
This is (as if you did not know) NGC 2264, consisting of glowing clouds of hydrogen gas, interstellar dust and reddish emissions from nubulae. This star-forming region is 2,700 light years away and measures 40 light years across. That's pretty big and really far away- this picture is what it looked like about the same time that Lehi left Jerusalem.

The reason that I show it (apart from the inherent beauty of the universe) is that NGC 2264 is also known as the Christmas Tree Cluster.

Matthew 2:9 says "When [the Magi] had heard [Herod], they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was."
As a young'un I read a paper circulated at my university titled Lunar Occultations of Jupiter and Saturn, and the Star of Bethlehem (I think it was written by Dworetsky and Fossey of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at University College London).
It is quite heavy on the science (sorry Becky- you can skip to the last couple of paragraphs if you want to).
 They postulated that, following from a proposal that the star of Bethlehem may be identified with a pair of astrologically significant lunar occultations of Jupiter in Aries on 6 BC March 20 and April 17 "...the Magi (``wise men'') were astrologers who were able to predict the occultations from their observations of the Moon and empirical knowledge of its complicated path. Such occultations... were particularly significant astrological events, especially in association with certain configurations and heliacal risings, even if they were invisible to the eye because they took place after setting or during the middle of the day. In Magian astrology, the importance of a lunar conjunction was dependent on the proximity of the Moon to the other object, with an occultation being a particularly powerful form of close conjunction. Out of curiosity, we reviewed the astronomical events of 6BC with two commercially available PC packages... In the course of this diverting exercise we noticed two other events which, to the best of our knowledge, have not been previously mentioned: on the calendar day before each occultation of Jupiter, the Moon also occulted Saturn in Pisces. The first occultation of Saturn took place on March 19, 22.20 - 22.30 local Jerusalem time, i.e., after the planet had set and about 19 hours before the first occultation of Jupiter on March 20; the Moon occulted Saturn again on April 16, 10.51 - 12.09 local Jerusalem time, about 25 hours before the second occultation of Jupiter.
Saturn's astrological significance is also well documented. In Humphreys' discussion of the possible identification of the star of Bethlehem as a comet recorded by Chinese astronomers in the spring of 5 BC, it is noted that in Magian astrology Saturn represented the divine Father and Jupiter his son. Furthermore, according to late Mediaeval Jewish sources, Pisces was associated with the Jewish people
We... calculate[d] every lunar occultation above the horizon from the region of Jerusalem over a sample period of 2000 years (-1050 to +950). There were 369 single occultations and 42 double occultations ( i.e., one month apart). Of the latter, only three were in Aries... and two more were ``near misses.'' It would seem from this limited sample that such double occultations occur about twice a millennium in any given zodiacal sign. However, Mars is present in Aries only for 1/12 of the time, on average, so such a rare combination of events would occur about once every 6000 years. If one relaxed the criteria to seek only single occultations of Jupiter in Aries with Mars in the same sign, the average frequency would be once in 780 years, still quite a rare event. Therefore, we conclude that the occurrence of astrological events with the right general properties would have been rare enough (separated by 1-2 millennia) to have been unique in the experience and lore of the Magi.
At the time of the second saturnian occultation, both codes agree that the planet was well within one degree of the first point of Aries. In other words, at its occultation and that of Jupiter which followed, Saturn was in Pisces and about to enter the sign of Aries, which was associated with Judaea by the traditions of the era. Molnar pointed out that the occultation of Jupiter on April 17 would have occurred in a southwesterly direction as seen from Jerusalem, about 30° from the azimuth of Bethlehem, and suggested that---given the vagaries of the Judaean road system---this was close enough to have impressed the Magi as a powerful confirmation . We note that the occultation of Saturn on the previous day would actually have bracketed (188-218°) the true azimuth of Bethlehem (~195°) as seen from Jerusalem. We speculate that this may also be relevant to the literal interpretation of the star having ``stood over where the young child was''. Unlike ordinary celestial objects, which move through the sky with the Earth's diurnal rotation, an occultation lasting of the order of one hour can only take place in a narrow range of directions as seen from any single location.
We are not experts on Magian astrology or on Biblical exegesis, and are unwilling to assign definitive astrological, mystical, or religious import to our results. We leave it to others to interpret such shades of meaning, and to consider whether the remarkable events of 6 BC March 19--20 and April 16--17 lend further support to [the] proposed identification of the star of Bethlehem." 

What an interesting date range!


More so when taking into account current views of the birth of Christ as put forward in this months BYU Studies where Chadwick argues that "virtually all hard evidence, scriptural and otherwise, now points to a narrow window of time at the beginning of winter for the birth of the Savior, and that Jesus was quite likely born in December of the year 5 BC."

The common interpretation of D&C 20:1 that Christ was born April 6th 1BC has never sat comfortably with me. Bruce R. McConkie is quoted in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism saying "We do not believe it is possible with the present state of our knowledge-including that which is known both in and out of the Church-to state with finality when the natal day of the Lord Jesus actually occurred." Also, Herod is dated to have died in 4BC.


So I am of the view that Christ was born at around the time of Passover (so around 1st April) in 6BC

Saturday, 11 December 2010

14 sleeps to go....

With a sick Rebecca, lots of ice outside and a house full of children, today was either going to be a cleaning day or a craft day... anything to keep little hands and minds busy so that they do not get into mischief... and sometimes they do get into mischief.

So we had some carols and some crafts, ate some Mexican food and watched Christmas cartoons.

All in all, a good Saturday... but now I have to fold laundry!

 
 


Friday, 10 December 2010

15 sleeps to go....

We have been really good this year and have pretty much finished all the present shopping but now comes the wrapping. When you have six children this is more than a little daunting!
 Thankfully I am the worlds best wrapper so here are my tips;

1. Buy your gift from somewhere that has a gift-wrapping service
2. Buy something that does not need gift-wrapping (my company specialises in presentation boxes- this is the way forward retailers!)
3. Buy a gift bag big enough to stuff the goodies into
4. Marry someone talented (obviously used in conjunction with points 1-3 above)

Alternatively you can follow the BBCs guide to life, the universe and everything...

Wrapping a Box
Wrapping boxes is probably the easiest of all things to wrap, as boxes are usually square or rectangular in design. But even this can become quite difficult, especially if it's a large box.
Boxes are usually measured by width, length and depth. The width is the shorter distance between the two sides, the length is the longer distance between the two ends and the depth is the distance between the top and bottom. So, when you measure your paper, the length will need to be twice the width plus two-and-a-half times the depth, while the width will need to be the length plus one-and-a-half times the depth. Once your paper is prepared, follow these steps.
1.       Lay your paper on a flat surface, design side down.
2.       Place your box in the middle of the paper upside down, so that the width of the box is facing the length of the paper and the length of the box is facing the width of the paper.
3.       Your first fold should cover one side and just over half the width of the bottom - secure with tape.
4.       The second fold should cover the other side and the rest of the bottom, with the edges just overlapping - secure this end with double-sided tape.
5.       You should now have a rectangular-shaped tube, with both ends of the box visible.
6.       Turn the box back on to its bottom, so that it is right side up and turn one end towards you.
7.       Fold one side in until the edges of the paper are flush with the ends of the box, secure with tape and fold - you should end up with a 45-degree-angle fold.
8.       Repeat step 7 on the top and the other side.
9.       You should now have two pieces of paper on the top and bottom, with two 45-degree-angle folds either side.
10.   Fold the bottom piece first and secure with tape.
11.   Do the same with the top, but secure with double-sided tape.
12.   Follow steps 7 to 11 on the other end. For ease, place the box on to the newly-wrapped end.

You now have a fully-wrapped box.

There are only two cases where some alterations may need to be made to the measurements of the paper. One is where both the width and the depth are the same and the other is where the box is 100% square.
In the first case, the measurements should be: the length is twice the length of the box plus two-and-a-half times the depth and the width should be the width of the box plus one-and-a-half times the depth. Then, simply follow the steps above, remembering to place the box with the length facing the length and the width facing the width.
In the second case, where the box is a pure square, the difference is when you fold the ends. When you follow step 7, don't slide the paper flush with the box, because each side fold will end in an overlap. Just secure the side folds in the middle of the paper and manually adjust the paper as you fold in the bottom and the top.

Wrapping a Tube
This is a lot easier than it sounds and gives you the chance to show off your artistic skills. You can get tubing in many different lengths and thickness; try to make sure that it is not too big or too small for the item you are wrapping. For the purpose of this example, we're wrapping a bottle and making it in to a Christmas cracker. The paper will need to be cut at twice the diameter of the tube and three times the length of the main tube.
1.       You will need to cut three lengths of tube: one the size of the present - the main tube - and two at one-third the length of the main tube - the side-tubes.
2.       Lay the paper on a flat surface, design side down.
3.       Place the main tube at the edge of the paper, in the middle. Making sure that you lay it on the edge that is three times the length.
4.       Then place the two side-tubes approximately three inches aside of the main tube and secure all three tubes with double-sided tape.
5.       Using both side-tubes, roll until you reach the other end of the paper and secure with double-sided tape.
6.       Holding one side-tube and the main tube, twist them in opposing directions to twist the paper (don't twist them to much, as you will probably rip the paper).
7.       Repeat step 6 on the other end.
8.       Tuck the excess paper into the two side tubes.
9.       Finally, tie some ribbon or decorative string around the middle of the two twists.

You now have your hand-made cracker, which is easy and quick to do.

Other Wrapping
As we all know, not all presents come in boxes or tubes and with such it is usually the case that many people will buy a bag and throw it in. However, it is always best to make the effort. So if you have a present that is a little difficult to wrap, the best suggestion is to get or buy a box or tube to fit it in and follow the directions above.

Adding the Finishing Touches
Now that you have your presents wrapped, it's time to add those final little touches. The norm is to wrap some ribbon around the box, place a bow in the middle and tie on the tag. This is a simple and easy decoration, but again, just give it a little thought. Instead of choosing the same colour accessories as the paper you are using, try and pick the negative (an example is black paper with white accessories), or pick two-tone colours or even colours that match, such as light blue and pink.
For decorative or designed paper, you will find that most shops will sell the matching accessories to match. You can decide to go for plain accessories instead: just look at the colours in the design and match them with the ribbons and bows.
If you are just using ribbon to decorate your present, then once you have tied it, try and create a curl with the excess lengths. Just use the blunt end of your scissors, hold the ribbon lightly on the blunt end with your thumb and pull it through in a downwards direction, the strength of the curl, will depend on how much pressure you hold the ribbon to the scissors.
If you are in the creative mood, then add a little glitter or Christmas confetti. Before you start though, put an old sheet or newspaper down first, as this can get a little messy. Draw the design you are creating on a piece of paper first, so you can get an idea of what it should look like. Then using a glue pen, draw your finished design on the present - you may have to do this in sections, depending on the complexity of your design, as the glue will dry fairly quickly - then just simply sprinkle the glitter over the present and shake off the excess. You can even use this method to write words, such as the person's name or 'Merry Christmas', but if you do want to write something, then choose a colour that will stand out.

It's The Thought That Counts
It is as true today as it always was and adding that little extra thought into the wrapping itself, makes the present just a bit more special and shows the person receiving the present, that you really have put thought into their gift. It may take some time, a bit of effort and usually a lot of patience, but the finished article looks good and makes you feel good about your effort.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

16 sleeps to go....

Well suddenly things are going crazy in the West home.

Along with the arrival of Rebeccas ball gown and the countdown to mumsy arriving for the holiday we also have my company Christmas party (held at the  Michelin-star restaurant Sat Bains) this time next week.

It is still cold (so cold) but things are starting to melt and we are able to get out of the house every so often.
 
Today we have been harvesting holly, ivy and various other evergreen foliage, stringing lights and decorating the dining room Christmas tree. All to a cacophony of various Christmas carols and other festive songs.

I love Christmas carols. The suckiest thing about being stuck in the house these last couple of Sundays has been the fact that we have been missing the Christmas carols. Hopefully the weather will continue to improve so that we can get to Lincoln on Sunday.

 
 





 

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

17 Sleeps to go....

Today's post is more of a rant than anything.... what about... well the grand, wonderful always a let down ROYAL MAIL!!!!!!!

With the beautiful weather we have been experiencing in England over the past week, as of the 1st of December the Royal Mail have jumped on the opportunity to rise their profits for the year. By removing their guarantee on delivering special delivery parcels by the next day. replacing it with a promise of your package being their top priority.

After hours on the phone trying to locate my dress for David's work Christmas party I found that despite paying £6.95 for delivery it is being treated as second class post. Literally thrown in with all the rest of the mail.
On Monday it left Manchester for a far away land named Doncaster (about 1 hour 30 minute  journey) and has not been scanned since!
After speaking to at least 5 different Royal Mail workers I finally got the phone number for the Doncaster  post office, so off I went to ring it, thinking I was finally going to get somewhere. 
Only to be told that they may get to it in a few days, she was sure it had not been lost but is likely on a cage waiting to be sorted. 

So there is my pretty and amazing dress with a special tag labelled Special Delivery, lying in a cage in a cold cold warehouse along with all the second class mail, who's owners were not fooled into thinking paying more than twice the postage would get them to their new home a little faster where it is warm.

But the journey does not end there, once Lovely dressy gets free from it's Doncaster prison it comes to our local post office where they are also way behind and will sit for a few more days until I call up and ask about it and they say "oh, yes little dressy is here, you can come and collect her if you like!"

If I wanted to come and collect my packages I would not pay for a DELIVERY SERVICE!!!
(David is currently out at the post office picking up another parcel they have not even tried to deliver and I called about and when they found it was asked to come and collect it!!!)

So please spare a thought this evening for all the poor,cold and lonely parcels with the pretty little SP tag promising them a warm loving home would come faster, who are stranded unloved in a dark, drafty, cold, damp warehouse!

Lesson to be learnt:-

ROYAL MAIL ARE EVIL!!!!(lol)

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

18 sleeps to go....

Well, today we have been having complications due to good ol' ice Ih.

We have been slipping and sliding all over the place but the question is why is ice slippery?

When I was at school and university, the long-held view for slipperiness was all about pressure and the density of the ice. Ice, unlike any other non-metallic solid, is less dense than its liquid counterpart (i.e. water). Because of this, when you stand on ice you exert pressure on the surface and the melting point is reduced creating a thin layer of water between the surface of the ice and the foot. This serves as a lubricant which causes the friction to decrease significantly and a slip to occur. Simple!

Now though, the view is that this answer is just a bit too simplistic. The melting point drops around 1oC for every 130 kg/cm2 which is a lot of pressure. I weigh 84kg and I have size 12 shoes. Running a quick measurement of each shoe, I have a total surface area of 552cm2 (gosh my feet are big) leading to a total paltry pressure exerted on the ice on which I walked today of 0.152 kg/cm2. My walking should have lowered the melting point of the ice by around 0.001oC. Given that the temperature was -8oC, why did I fall on my butt today?

Friction is one answer- the walking involves a degree of rubbing which creates heat and so increases the temperature of the ice (thus melting it and lowering the frictional constant due to the lubrication layer of water). I still think this is a little bit far-fetched since I am dubious that even the most vigorous walking would increase the surface area of the ice to melting point (if I remember correctly, to melt a piece of ice requires as much energy as it would take to heat the equivalent volume of water to 80oC).

I like the view that ice molecules that are in contact with air simply cannot bond properly with the molecules of ice beneath, leaving them in a semi-liquid state and free to move like molecules of liquid water regardless of the pressure exerted on the ice. Simply put,  ice is slippery because it is (very Ockham-esque).

 

Monday, 6 December 2010

19 sleeps to go....

I love marzipan and we have a stack of it in the pantry ready for Christmas crafts when the kids break up for Christmas (if they ever get back, what with the stupid ice-rink roads preventing driving in a straight line). I was planning on a selection of ickle fruits hand crafted and delicately painted with food colouring. Not anymore!

Marzipan animals! What genius! What inspiration! Who wants stupid marzipan fruit? Not me!

Penguins. That is the way forward... an army of marauding penguins sweeping across the tundra.

Chased by a flock... herd... troop... drove... pack... litter (whatever) of fierce polar bears.
 (image courtesy of http://www.deandeluca.com)
Whatever a group of bears is called (I think it is actually a sloth or sleuth), these guys are the cutest!

Realistically I think that the polar bears are beyond my artistic talent- I think that Becky and Harrison will have to be drafted to help with these. But I am sure that a huge waddle of penguins can be assembled by the left-brainers in the family... that's if we can resist eating component body parts during the "art" process.

Mmmmm... marzipan! Delicious almond confectionery of the gods! So close to exaltation that to taste gives a glimpse of Zion! I love marzipan!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

20 Sleeps to go....

With snow still filling our streets and gardens church had to be cancelled, so what to do with an extra day at home?!
After spending some quality time enjoying some family activities and interesting discussions we then went about doing a few individual things. 
Samuel and Harrison went off to play Samuel's new games for the Xbox, Oliver and Liliana went for a well earned nap, David played Wii with Micah and Larakia and Becky went to make some Christmas gifts.

We had alot of fun and it actually took half the time I thought it would!

We made soap...





These are peppermint, cinnamon and rose hip.
Samuel has already tested them out and says they are amazing...so I guess they pass!


Wrapped up ready for giving!

While the soap was setting we turned our hand to making bath melts...




These are cinnamon melts made with coconut butter.
These set extremely fast and took us by surprise, less than a minute!
You pop them in your bath either while drawing it or once drawn and allow to melt in the water, it gives a beautifully moisturising experience!

Once we had finished with those we checked on the soap and it wasn't ready to get out yet so decided to make some message bars...





These are my favorite, they are made with cocoa butter so melt slowly when they come into contact with the body releasing beautiful oil, which softens your skin wonderfully.
I infused them with lemongrass oil and herb, hibiscus flower and bergamot oil.

We had so much fun making them and the house smells amazing!


Saturday, 4 December 2010

21 sleeps to go....

Today the Christmas turkey was purchased, the holly harvested (and permission to harvest the ivy secured) and the stockings (to hang from the chimney with care) were cut ready for assembly soon.


All this while watching our snow mountain reduce as it started to rain.

Bitter sweet...but hopefully the sub-zero temperatures tonight will freeze the ice slide so we can get a 5-7mph increase in speed on the lower drop!

Though with the fabulously fun snow melting a new beauty becomes apparent, the amazing things the cold does with melted snow!


At the moment we are trying to get ideas for how to cook the Christmas turkey.

This is my (more-or-less) normal method

 but I am wondering about new flavours... I had deep-fried turkey for Thanksgiving one year while in El Cajon and that was so moist and yummy. It had been injected by the chef with all sorts of festive spices and herbs so, while I do not have a sufficiently large deep fat fryer, I frequently take advantage of this method of infusing the flavour throughout the meat.

Mmmm... Christmas dinner....


Friday, 3 December 2010

22 sleeps to go...

Today the children wrote their letters to Santa. Just before sending them up the chimney I photographed them. First of all Samuels...

I am not sure which independent country Samuel is planning to launch a military campaign against with his night vision goggles and nerf gun. Thankfully Lili was a little more peaceful (or was she... there is a lot of black)...


Larakia decided that words were not adequate in showing forth the objects of her innermost desire and so filled both sides of her paper...
... with pictures of presents. No clues for jolly 'ol St. Nick here.
I am not really sure where the desire for a violin came from with Harrison, but I do like his dog and his effective use of parentheses to avoid confusion with any other Father Christmas who might stumble upon his letter...


and finally Micah. He wrote his name on his own! Kudos to him and may Santa bring him everything that his yellow squiggle symbolises!

The letters of my darling offspring got me thinking though about other kids' letters so I went trawling the web. I found an awesome site http://www.kidssantaletters.com/index.php. Here are a few of my favourites


 

That last one is so sweet!




Thursday, 2 December 2010

23 sleeps to go.... (with a good chance of a broken leg)

All that snow... a blank canvas... it's only going to be around for a few days or weeks at best and then you are left with boring old soggy precipitation or sunshine...
You know that feeling when you have a lot of snow and don't know what to do with it... we had that itch today and needed to scratch it.

We have done the snowmen...
 The wrestling...
  The rolling down the hill with a dog attached to your head...
Snow angels...
One-dog open sleighing...
And, of course, dancing barefoot through the snow.

So where does the snow addict turn for their next high?
 
Building a snow slide!
 (we live in Lincolnshire- not really renowned for its hills)














We feel the need...


 The need...












 


For speed!