Tuesday, 30 November 2010

25 sleeps to go.... (and for one special person tonight will be sleep number 18,263)

As I sit here watching the snowfall from my super king size bed with heated under-blanket and goose-down duvet, I am merrily eating lemon cheesecake Häagan Dazs (I embrace the cold. I luxuriate in the cold. I fight cold with more cold) and reflecting on the day's events.

[eating a mouthful of lemony-creamy goodness]….mmmmmm

Today is my mumsy's 50th birthday. The big 5-0. Cinquante. Fünfzig. Cincuenta. However it is said, that is a relatively high number, and is certainly approaching infinity.

[eating a mouthful of sweet biscuit scrum]….mmmmmm

OK, so it is not that old. Hell, Noah lived to be 950, Methuselah lived to 969 and Tom Cruise has got to be getting close to that.

[digging in the half-empty tub to find a lump of biscuit]…. mmmmmm... biscuit

Strangely, this is the same number of years to the very day that the crisp-munching Gary Lineker has walked the earth. Thankfully, while Mr. Lineker OBE was playing tennis, or some other ball-related shenanigans, mumsy was raising her family… and especially me (whoop-whoop).

[licking the lemon-sauce-covered spoon]…. mmmmmm

So here is to you mother of mine. You have always been there for me when I got sick, argued a point that I had, antagonised my siblings, built highly-sophisticated death-trap "bases", argued a point that I did not agree with, needed a confidante and drank all the squash hidden in the tumble-dryer. Thanks for being a great mum, a patient friend and an example of youth. I love you.

[dipping the spoon back into the tub… what the freak… finished?!?… Becky you greedy oinker!!]

Monday, 29 November 2010

26 sleeps to go.... (said with an Optimus Prime voice-over voice)

I was shocked this evening by an interview on local news. Anchorman Peter "Ron Burgundy" Levy was interviewing some local education guy about schools closing due to poor weather and he put forward the argument that teachers should live closer to the schools where they teach so schools can stay open. It made me laugh!

So, since we are in "day six of the big freeze" (Look North banner headline, to be said with an American voice-over guy accent to add emphasis and make it sound  more than a little menacing) I thought that I would continue the winter humour with some of my favourite snow/Christmas-related jokes…

What sort of ball doesn't bounce ?
A snowball!

How do you call an Eskimo cow ?
An Eskimoo!

Why does Santa like to work in his garden?
Because he likes to hoe, hoe, hoe!

What do snowmen eat for lunch?

Why is the slippery ice like music?
If you don’t C sharp – you’ll B flat!

Why does Santa always go down the chimney?
Because it soots him!

That's quite enough of this malarkey!

Oh, I just remembered a funny video on YouTube… nothing to do with snow and every thing to do with the American voice-over accents that you see in dodgy infomercials

Sunday, 28 November 2010

27 sleeps to go (or -6° revenge)....

Well buenas noches! Following an incredibly cold day- heading down to -6° before taking into account the wind-chill (that is cold for this area!) we are now having more snow here in the Trent basin of North Lincolnshire.

Today we set off eagerly for Church only to get half a mile or so down the road, sliding only gently towards the curb every time the steering wheel was turned from the straight forward position, when we passed our first wiped-out vehicle which had closed one of the lanes. As we overtook the paramedic and the police directing the traffic we decided that maybe a journey to Lincoln was not such a good idea so (carefully) turned around and headed home.

Our road is currently under about two-inches of ice and is as slippery as a large eel that has recently returned from being slimed by a flock of marauding used-car selling snails.

After tobogganing our van to a stop we returned to our warm home, lit a large fire and held Family Home Evening followed by a marathon session of Christmas movies, starting with my all-time favourite movie the Muppet Christmas Carol. What can be better than straight-laced Michal Cain threatening redundancy to the self-effacing little green Bob Cratchett? If there is something I do not want to know!

Following a hot-chocolate-with-marshmallows-and-cream swilling, pyjama-wearing day my father (Grampsy West) came to visit so he, Samuel and I set off for an impromptu snowball fight with Pudding in tow.

One of my earliest memories was living in Rainworth and having a snowball fight with Dad. As I chased him around the corner of our house he pounded this helpless five-year old in the face with a snowball. The shock, cold and pain caused me to cry my little eyes out, which noise prompted one of our neighbours to bring round a pack of 5-4-3-2-1 chocolate bars in an effort to buy my silence.

Thankfully the competitive nature of my father has subsided with his hairline and, while snowballs rained down with the abandon of a Luftwaffe on speed, injuries were minimal. Both Sam and I were also able to get some payback for the above-mentioned prior injustice. Revenge is best served ice cold… and down the back.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

28 sleeps to go (or Walking in a Winter Wonderland)...

Samuel Taylor Coleridge said that "advice is like snow - the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind". While the snow might fall softly, the affect on the West family is all but gentle.

A little after midnight last night I (David) was awoken by an elated Rebecca excitedly opening the curtains to watch the soft but persistent falling of the first snow of winter. While I have eagerly awaited this time, I was all but totally unconscious and so the most excitement that I could muster was a "gradtpndfdtsnorrrrrr". But I was up early to enjoy the snow (like the big kid that I am).

 Following a proper winter breakfast of oatmeal with maple syrup and raisins all nine of us (the Wests and Samuel's friend Finn, who had spent the night) were decked out in boots, gloves, hats, socks (multiple pairs for each person), scarves, coats and a scattering of waterproof trousers, sledges and pushchairs ready to brave the cold. Our trusty sled dog was hitched to the sleigh and the Terra Nova Expedition 2 set off.

 We learnt two things today:
  1. Liliana and Harrison like the idea of snow but not so much the fact that it is cold.
  2. Labrador puppies get easily distracted and so do not make the best sled-dogs.
 So after a weaving, snowball-filled journey over icy bridges and through narrow passes we arrived at the hilly riverside location for our snowy frolic.

As I might have mentioned before, we love the snow!

Friday, 26 November 2010

29 Sleeps to go....

What a fabulously busy day it has been today!
I had the pleasure of going to a lovely and very creative friends house today to enjoy some festive fun while doing some Christmas crafts.
It was wonderful and I was amazed at just how creative all the ladies who went today are. 
We were spoilt with a huge variety of ribbons and bells and bows and all kinds of craft supplies to make things with. One of the things we made were napkin rings, I made some ready to use on Christmas Eve.

I still have a few to finish but I am pleased with the finished product.
It's amazing what you can do with some cardboard, twine and a couple of embellishments!

We enjoyed a delightful lunch and a choice of delectable deserts.... I had a lemon sponge cake which was frankly to die for.
It is Samuel's birthday this weekend so he has a friend staying over and we are hoping to take all the children to see Santa tomorrow, so hopefully we will have pictures of the big guy to post tomorrow!

On a completely non-Christmas related note, I saw this jar of warm fuzzy hearts at my friends house and just had to take a picture of them and post it on here for you all to see. I want one of these now, so simple but so, so sweet!

Just Lovely!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

30 Sleeps to go....

Tonight I am busy beading napkin rings.
As soon as they are finished I will put up a picture of them, they are so much cheaper than buying the ready made and you can decide how they look, let your imagination run wild!

The beads are from ebay, I am using gold and black pearl type beads. I used a black wire to piece them together. I am hoping to be able to make some wine glass charms with the same beads too.

The flowers arrived today for making the garlands with, just waiting for a few more flowers in the post and to go and get cuttings of holly, ivy and fern.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

31 Sleeps to go....

The Garland stuff came!!
I am very excited to be able to get them all made up and looking pretty.... Now to go and do some gardening at my friends house to get the trimmings I need!
Hopefully I will have them completed  and photographed by early next week.

I will be making the Garlands using the cages and oasis I talked about earlier in the month, I will let you know how easy or hard they are to use.

Oh and don't forget to wrap up warm ready for the SNOW!!

 Remember if you haven't already, you may need a few more minutes in the morning to clear your car!

Most importantly.... if we get the snow they say we will...... HAVE FUN!!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

32 Sleeps to go....

I have no idea what to write today because I am doing secret things!
I am spending the evening putting together my homemade gifts for my favourite person in the whole world. So I am afraid it is all top secret.

Maybe we can all make a stand this year and not spend a fortune on store bought gifts which by two months down the line we can't even remember what  we got.
So off the top of my head here are some ideas:
  •  A voucher book - filled with all sorts of things you know will make the recipients day. Like a sleep in, breakfast in bed, A candle lite dinner etc.
  • Cookies
  • Homemade candles
  • Homemade soap.
  • Homemade sweets
  • A gourmet gift basket
  • Find out from his/her parents what they always want and look on ebay or in vintage stores and buy it to surprise them.
  • Take some photos and have them made into an album or get them put on a canvas. If a canvas is too expensive then have it made into a large poster and buy a secondhand frame from a charity shop.
  •  Make up some jars with recipe for cakes and cookies and soups.
  • Make up a hamper filled to the brim with things that he/she will love to help them relax; like a book, hot chocolate, a mug, bubble bath, some of their favorite chocolate.
  • Buy old maps of places you have been together and frame them.
  •  Book them a day at a spa and take the day off work so you can look after the children and then cook a special dinner.
 Whatever you choose to do make sure you put your all into making it extra special, after all if you are doing it for your husband/ wife then they are worth every comment of effort you can possibly put in!
So go to and make things.... come back and tell me what you have been up to.... in secret if needs be!

Monday, 22 November 2010

33 sleeps to go...

Today Rebecca is feeling a little sicky so the blogging reins are being controlled delicately by David (with his spanky new Alienware M11X notebook). Becky apologises for the diminishment of quality...

With the long range weather forecast looking like the next few weeks will be bracing, we have been taking stock of the warm-weather gear in the house. We now have a plethora of boots, gloves, scarves, hats and coats with ample wellies, Gore-Tex boots, winter socks and waterproof over-suits thrown in for good measure.

Every time we apply the layers on our kids, I remember a classic Christmas movie that I loved as a kid;

Liliana and Oliver certainly end up Maggie-esque.

We love snow!

Love it!

Luuuurve it!

And in the run up to Christmas, can there be anything more festive and cockle-warming than sitting around a blazing fire with hot chocolate, soothing music (or more likely Super Mario on the Wii) and snow falling outside?

I think that Bing himself would be hard-pushed to top such a scene!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

34 Sleeps to go....

It was ward conference today, which was wonderful.
The talks were fabulous and the children behaved wonderfully.
I am looking forward to next week because it is the primary presentation, and then the week after we get to start singing Christmas carols!!!

The weather report (the Met Office and netweather.tv) for this week is suggesting we may get snow by the end of the week and the cold front will last for the next couple of weeks, if it has to be cold then bring on the snow!!
Especially as we are now proud owners of a sledge! David will be hunkered on a snow-topped hillside with his new notebook calling China on the phone as the children shoot down the hill! Got to love working from home!

We had eggnog (non-alcoholic of course) today which was lovely and looking forward to having more over the coming weeks (hence the weight gain during the holiday season)! It is so easy to make and tastes absolutely delicious!

12 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 litre double cream
mixed spices

Separate the eggs, cream the yolks and half the sugar and put aside, beat the whites and the rest of the sugar to peaks (blancs au bec d'oiseau) then put them aside too, then whisk the cream until it peaks. Combine the whisked ingredients in a large bowl, adding milk until the consistency is good for you (we like ours a little thicker so maybe add only 1/2 to 1 litre of milk) then add vanilla, nutmeg and mixed spices to taste. Simple yet satisfying!

(recipe based on the one from www.food.com)

I have to say it was lovely today to drop David off on the way home(we drop other people home on our way home) so he could get dinner and a fire started.
There really is nothing better than coming home to a nice open fire and dinner ready, especially when it has been raining and it has to be said very cold out.

This week is very much a week of preparation and planning, I have to make David's Christmas gifts and some gift hampers. I also have four stockings to make... should be interesting!
Not to mention the napkin holders and swags.
Going to be a busy few weeks.... can't wait!

Oh and possibly most importantly finish our Christmas "cards". Look out for those in the next couple of weeks, once they are given out I will post about them.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

35 Sleeps to go....

The tree is decorated and the turkey has been eaten!
Today we celebrated Thanksgiving West style, as we sat at the table we shared what we were each thankful for, the children surprised me with some of the things they were thankful for as they were very thoughtful. I have to say I Love my family very much and am so glad I get the privilege of not only knowing them but getting to be their Mummy and Wife too!

Samuel and David cooked the dinner today, Samuel really did do a fabulous job. I can't believe just how amazing he is in the kitchen. David and Samuel are so sweet to watch as they work together  and it makes Samuel so happy and puts him in such a good mood to do it.

During the dinner when everyone pulled out their napkin out came a nativity piece along with it. We decided we would talk about each one and explain why we are thankful for them and who they were and what they did. I was taken back a little by just how much knowledge my older children have, they out shine me! I guess this means I have to start learning and do it quickly before they realise how much more intelligent they are than me!

As if Sammy had not done enough he then also helped me set the table.

We tried out our little stars too...

After dinner we went into the living room to decorate the tree...

and the fireplace....

When it was all finished we had a little dance....

and Pudding practiced attacking reindeer.... 

So Rudolf had best watch out!!

We then enjoyed a Christmas film and then it was time for the children to go to bed.
David and I are going to finish off the evening with watching 3d polar express on the projector!

I love this time of year!

Friday, 19 November 2010

36 Sleeps to go...

Today the tree went up!!!
Though it will not be decorated until tomorrow. The children were very excited on the way home from school when I told them.
Apparently Larakia is really getting into the mood too as she made David listen to Christmas music all the way home home from Rainbows today.
Tomorrow is going to be The West Families Thanksgiving!
The turkey is defrosted and the decorations ready to go up and Christmas movies reading for watching  after the house is decorated.

Hopefully tomorrow I will have some pictures up of the tree and the decorations around the house, Minus the swags as they materials have not come yet for them.

I know for most people it isn't Thanksgiving until Thursday but we would like to wish all our American friends a wonderful day!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

37 Sleeps to go....

David brought the Christmas decorations down from the attic today.
We were meant to put the tree up so it is ready for decorating on Saturday but David got a little distracted with something very productive and really needed doing.
He spent the day in the dirty attic putting down insulation which has been sitting up in the attic in bags ready to be put down for the last year. Hopefully that means that the house will be a little warmer this winter!

I spent the afternoon looking for pictures to put in our elusive picture frame decorations.
Hopefully we will locate them soon.
I am not feeling very well so I am afraid it is a super short blog today,and I have to go and make t-shirts spotty ready for the children's Children in need fundraiser tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

38 Sleeps to go....

The turkey is out and defrosting!!

David has again been busy making pecan pies and making the dough for croissant, the dough however exploded in the fridge.... so back to the start on that again!

OK, so today we have lots of things ending we have been selling on ebay, we have managed to sell just about everything we put on. What has not sold has not ended yet so you never know what the last few minutes will bring. Why are we selling stuff on ebay, well we wanted to have a clear out before Christmas comes and we had a number of outfits we no longer want and don't fit.

David has lost a significant amount of weight and so had a number of suits which no longer fit him, so off to ebay with them. One sold for 99p but we were amazed to get £26 for one. I had a number of ball gowns which I no longer wanted and won't wear and don't want anymore so off they have gone too.The money we raise from selling these items will go to buy the materials to make our garlands and buy David a new dinner jacket.

So if you want to buy some extra special treats to make your Christmas special, while affordable then get searching through your cupboards and drawers there is bound to be Lot's of things you no longer want or need. Your rubbish is someone Else's treasure!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

39 Sleeps to go...

I can't believe it is already less than 40 days until Christmas!!
We usually enjoy the pleasure of Thanksgiving in our home  on the first Saturday after the official American Thanksgiving, mainly because over here it is not a holiday so the children are at school and David is working. But This year that would be celebrating on the 27th and 28th, the 28th being Samuel's birthday. So this year we decided at the weekend we would bring it forward.  This however means getting everything prepared to put up decoration..... THIS SATURDAY!!!
So much work to do! I need to buy the oasis for making the stairway swags and mantel piece swags and flowers to dress them. I need to choose photo's and get them printed to go in the photo frame tree decorations. Loads and loads more to do. 
I have spent the afternoon searching for a florist wholesale shop to buy my swag supplies from,to no avail. I know exactly were to go if we still lived in Essex but up here not a clue.
Never mind old faithful Ebay will no doubt be of assistance but unlikely by the weekend,they may have to go up later than the rest. On the upside a wonderful friend of mine has said I can raid her garden for Ivy and Spruce!!

I have a couple more pictures finished from Saturday's shoot here they are...

Not sure which of these two I prefer, probably  the bottom one

And then there is this one...

Well hope you are all well and getting some good progress on your own festive preparations!

Monday, 15 November 2010

40 Sleeps to go....

It was a beautifully misty start to the day...

  If but a little chilly....

 But it made for a perfectly enjoyable walk, taking the dog out this morning.

David has been fabulous today,he has spent much of the day between working making lots Croissant ready to freeze for Christmas morning. He has also been busy making Brioche and Onion Tarts.

I have been busy editing photo's for my Open University course and studying.

I have managed to edit a few more of the photo's from the shoot with the wonderful Mulliss Family, here they are:

I started out having a little fun making a sequence, here are each of the components:

Which come together to form...

 It is a little too small to appreciate on here, which is why I thought I would add the individual shots too.

As we were standing on a bridge over train tracks we thought that we would come back down and walk across the tracks (going through gates) and then decided it might be fun to get some pictures on the tracks...

Of course being careful to keep a watchful eye in case a train came along...

We had a little fun taking one of the old faithful heart on tummy shots...

Which I had a little fun playing around with and came out with...

I am sure you will agree this couple are truly in love and so excited to be having a baby together as you can see when the baby gets hiccups, Daddy is enthralled watching....

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Still 41 sleeps... but hopefully more comments

Just a quick note to advise that the comments section has been repaired and now functions as it should... allowing comments rather than rudely erasing, ignoring or otherwise discarding your words of wisdom in a systematically ruthless fashion.

41 Sleeps to go...

I thought today I would post a few more pictures from the photoshoot I did yesterday so here goes...

When there is a baby in the house everyone needs to be nice and quiet, just incase anyone forgets here is a reminder:

Here is a picture of the lovely Mummy and Daddy to be, Just enjoying a rest

Every new mum has to know how to hang out the washing!

After all that washing it was time for another rest...

We thought we would get creative with a train bridge (many more still to come from this part of the shoot)

With Christmas on it's way I thought we would get a touch wrapped up...

and just incase you forget, Sshhh babies sleeping....

Keep checking back because there will be many, many more to come!