Friday, 30 December 2016

Visit to a smallholding and making butter

Another good day relaxing here. This morning we had been invited to bring the children to a local friend's smallholding to meet her alpacas, sheep, peahens/cocks, geese, chickens and ducks. The kids loved it and I came away with a new cock to go in with the girls. My feet were mighty cold by the time we got home though and it took a good while to warm up.

This afternoon I got to play with one of my Christmas presents and churned some butter. It was really quick, I just won't tell James that to buy the cream makes it twice the price ;-) 
It does also produce buttermilk which I'm hoping to make into scones tomorrow.

I also oiled the new doors that were hung in the upstairs extension, they'll need a second coat but at least now they're somewhat protected from sticky little fingers and I feel I've got something productive done.

Yesterday as I was doing some jobs I could hear some very sweet singing and I called James upstairs to see baby girl singing her heart out on the windowsill in her new room (that we're currently borrowing). She was at it for ages but I caught 30 seconds and I thought it was so cute.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Merry Christmas to you all.

Last weekend we had the honour of collecting the little man's award for swimming, he has come a long way and is less fearful of getting in the pool now. 

We also had a big first, the kids had a sleepover at my mum's whilst James and I went out with my best friend and her husband. We hadn't got together in ages as he was studying for his detectives exam and we were so pleased that he passed, so we all went out for a curry. He suffers endless ribbing and we call him our 'pig in the pocket', but he takes it in good humour and we're really very proud of the effort he has put in and he makes a great policeman because he really does care about the people he looks out for.

Baby girl had her cot made into a bed too, I can't believe how quickly she's growing.

Friday night couldn't come soon enough for us to finish work and together James and I cooked and cleaned in preparation for the big day.

Christmas eve day we saw my best friend, her husband and their kids for lunch, it was so lovely to spend time with them. 

Here's a photo of our traditional carpet picnic on Christmas eve, we invited James' sister and watched Elf and A Christmas Carol. You can see Santa's glass of milk and a mince pie in the background. He must have been grateful for the refreshment because it has to have been hard work bringing all the presents and stockings to the kids.

Little man was up at 4.30am on Christmas morning and had to be put back to bed until a decent hour. The kids both brought their stocking's into bed to open with us and then moved to the main event downstairs. After the presents were opened and James' parents had visited for an hour we went to my mum's for lunch and ate more than was comfortable!

On boxing day my mum and sister and her fiance came to us for lunch which we had in the downstairs extension. Obviously it was not beautiful in there but we lit the table with candles and it was great to have our big table out. 

Today we visited a nearby friend so James could help her husband cut down some trees and she made us lunch.

Tomorrow is back to work for me for a day then we can spend a few quiet days together as a family.

Here are a few picture's of the kids enjoying Christmas. Little man got some geodes for a present and was so excited to split them open for the crystals. Baby girl got a ladybird dress and looks incredibly cute.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Tree's up and preparations are in full swing.

At the beginning of the week we got the tree out of the garage, planning to get it up for the kids to decorate the following day. James started the unpacking whilst I fed the fire and we started to get a whiff. Not of the lovely cinnamon decorations we hang, but of urine and death.
The further in we got the worse the smell, until James had to take it outside. Entombed in their own Christmas tomb were a family of mice. The smell has permeated the plastic and we have left it in the greenhouse to air for next year. Plan B came into effect; next day delivery. As it turns out trees before Christmas are expensive so I borrowed my mum's as her mental dog means she can't have the big tree out.

So after a short delay the tree was out up on Wednesday evening and decorated Thursday evening. The excitement was palpable and the bottom half of the tree was once again crammed with decs. This year the kids have their own mini tree for their room and it was done in the least tasteful style, you literally couldn't fit another decoration on it! Although between then and now the tree and been much loved and many decorations have fallen from it's overcrowded branches.

Wee man had his school play this week, he was a sheep in 'The Innkeepers Breakfast' and as it started at 6, he proceeded to yawn throughout the entire performance, but was so cute I had a tear in my eye the whole time.

This weekend I worked Saturday and the kids went to James' work Christmas party. It's a bit of an old fashioned thing for a company to still hold a Children's party but is always well done with lunch, entertainment and a toy, so they loved it.

Today James opened the door between the house and the extension downstairs so we could get in there as we're planning to put the table in there for Christmas dinner. Unfortunately when we went to get it from the shed the wooden top had warped markedly, so much so it won't lay in the top of the legs. We're hoping a few weeks in the extension will mean it dries and shrinks down enough to use on Christmas day. 

I practiced making the Christmas tree cake for the big day and the kids helped decorate it today with ganache, silver balls and some icing sugar for snow. I was going for understated elegance, the kids were going for overstated exuberance, there was icing and baubles a plenty.

I also finally got the last of the garlic in the veg bed, but we had to build it first and although we tried to keep the good soil in roughly the same area it's definitely very compacted and not as good quality. It'll need lots of compost this year to get it back up to scratch.

And finally one more from last weekend, all four of us in a photo for a change (not that we're all smiling!).

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Our weekend trip to Cardiff

This weekend we spent a few lovely days in Cardiff visiting a uni friend of mine that's recently had a baby. He was just the cutest little thing and looked so dapper all dressed in a shirt, trousers and braces! 

On Sunday we visited St Fagans national history museum. It's one of Europe's largest open air museums and has relocated old buildings from all over Wales to a 100 acre sight on the outskirts of Cardiff. 

It was a bitter day but we trooped around all the buildings. James and I used to visit here when I was in university and this is our first time back in over 10 years. I could go on for hours about the amazing buildings but I'll just show you a few photos and say if you're near Cardiff you must go!

On the way the car developed a fault and has gone into limp home mode. The garage can't get me a courtesy car for another 10 days so I'm stuck driving the worlds slowest car for a bit.