Phew, just had a busy few weeks what with Christmas Fairs and playing in end of season concerts. However, I have managed to fulfill my Pay-It-Forward obligations at last - a big thank you to Suzy @ Rustic Vintage Country, Jacquie @ BunnyMummy and Vicki @ VintageVicki who all volunteered to be my PIF recipients.
The parcels have been posted, I can't show you what's in them though as they've not all been delivered yet.
Now that that's out the way(!) I've been getting on with a few more Christmas preparations. All rather haphazard so far - decorations gradually appearing, rooms (very) gradually being tidied.
The tree is up. For the first time we have gone for a fake tree. Much less hassle. No lovely smell. The "needles" are staying put. Not as pretty. It'll go back in it's box for next year instead of lying round the garden till June. Too small.
I had fun with my camera after reading this post at BunnyMummy. The photo above was achived by waving the camera around while taking a shot on the firework setting. One of many.
This seemed like a good idea. I started crocheting an Eva's shawl in lovely Drops Delight wool. It's for a Christmas present and has to be ready in time for posting. It uses three balls of wool - that's nearly 600 yards of yarn. What was I thinking! Since taking the above photo I'm now about 2/3 of the way through, my left hand is getting sore, but I think I'll make it in time.
We've been enjoying the school and nursery Christmas shows. This year hubby has taken holidays from work to come along and see them too. Yesterday was the school show. It was a lovely sunny winter's day (such a nice change from the very wet windy stormy weather we've been having for the past few weeks - even to the extent of the school being closed for a day due to high winds, something I've never known happen before).
The boys spend some time cleaning bikes together before the show. The show itself was excellent, A was a dancing cow and did a great job!
I decided it was time to pick some holly for the house.
The birds are just starting to eat the berries, usually there are none left on the tree by Christmas.
I looked out my cookbooks for some Christmas baking. From Feast I intend to make the chocolate fruit cake for our Christmas cake, as I've done for the last two years, it's yummy and we prefer it to a more traditional Christmas cake. From Bake I'll be making more gingerbread biscuits. The other two books I was using for mincemeat reference. I had thought this year that I would just buy mine pies rather than make them. However, while at Morrisons I noticed that a pack of six rather unappealing looking pies cost £2 - expensive I thought, I'll buy a jar of mincemeat and make my own. Next I look at the mincemeat, again, it doesn't really look appealing, and on checking the ingredients it would appear to be about 50% sugar - way too high. So...
...I now have a big bowl of this maturing.
The good housekeeping recipe recomends leaving it in the bowl for 2 days then putting in jars and make no mention of the weeks of maturing other recips seem to require, so that'll do for me.
I have to say that in the past I've very much liked the Co-op Truly Irresistible brand of mince pies, definitely my favourite shop bought option.
This morning it was the nursery show. N was a star, one of about 8. He didn't sing any of the songs as he only wanted to sing Robot Robot Robot - a made up song which, unsurprisingly, wasn't part of the show. Still, he sat well, though did look rather bored, and yawned a lot.
Hubby and I had planned to go on a bike ride as he was to be in nursery all day, but this morning we woke to snow. Most unexpected - I love a snowy surprise on opening the bedroom curtains in the morning (so long as I'm not needing to take the car anywhere though).
I took another visit up to the holly tree for a snowy holly berry photo.
Snow on the whirlygig wires.
So instead of a bike ride, hubby and I went for a lovely snowy walk.
Up out the village past fields and trees.
I like how each fence post has a little hat of snow.
The tree at the corner. I have photos of this tree for all types of weather and seasons, but until today, I didn't have one of it with snow.
Under the troll bridge.
Snowy hogweed and straw bales.
Birds on wires and a straw bale.
Trees and straw bales.
Lines in the snow (no straw bales)
If you look closely there's a straw bale between the fence posts!
A lovely walk of about 4-5 miles. It felt like a good old Christmas day walk even though we didn't have bellies full of turkey and weren't returning home to relax on the sofa with a Bond film and Christmas sweeties.
Ahhh, home. Just wish it was a little better insulated!
After school we went sledging in the dark. It ended in tears as it often does - N didn't like going too fast on the sledge and needs better gloves. A, though, had a great time.
Lastly, an update on our orchestra's appearance with the BBCSSO a few weekends ago -it was a fantastic morning, you can hear the results here.