Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year for 2010

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, we certainly did and I shall be updating the blog with some pictures of what we got up to next week.

Lots of planning going on for the forthcoming year, things we want to do, crafts and gift making for 2010, and lots of planning for the garden and allotment.

But for now, happy New Year to all, and I shall leave you with this from Thich Nhat Hanh "Kiss the Earth", a lovely poem on being mindful, appreciating and looking after Mother Earth, and finding peace within ourselves

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Bring the Earth your love and happiness.
The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas

I doubt I will be blogging for the next few days so Merry Christmas to everyone, hope everyone has a fun and relaxing Yule. I look forward to catching up with everyone next week and in the New Year.

So until then

Merry Christmas and
Happy New Year to all

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Christmas delivered ...

Well the food has been delivered anyway. Well the food that was being delivered, as some of the food making it to the Christmas dinner has been home grown. Mmmm lovely home grown Arran Victory potatoes, lovely home grown Cavalo Nero, Brussel Sprouts, beetroot, garlic, herbs and more.
Christmas food delivered

So for now, the food is away in the fridge or the cupboards awaiting the big day.

My house is currently filled with the aroma of oranges drying as I wanted to add some new pieces to the wreath on the door to add fragrance to the porch on arrival.

Oranges drying in the dehydrator

More baking in the making too. Thanks go to Jacqui at Corridor Living for inspiring me to make some cranberry mincemeat pies that featured here at the weekend. I don't make normal mince pies as I don't like them and my Mom makes them each year anyway. However I do like cranberries, so I had thought to make these sometime, and after seeing them on Jacqui's blog I felt I just had to give them a go today. More festive smells in the house.

Butternut Squash Muffins to make tomorrow I think.

And another picture of our decorations, this time a ceiling view with the fabric bunting, paper chains, felt parcel chain, etc and the Season corner and garlands.

The place will look bare in the New Year!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Christmas baking part 1

Baking these today. The recipe is from Rose Elliot's Vegetarian Christmas book. I love making these, they are a delicious alternative to meat sausage rolls or just a nice alternative for vegetarians.

Chestnut Sausage Rolls

225g/8oz pastry (recipe is for flaky pastry, but I’ve used/made flaky, puff and short crust too)
1 x 250g/8oz Chestnut Puree
1 small onion, grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tblsp lemon juice
1 tblsp soy sauce
100g/4oz soft whole-wheat breadcrumbs
Good pinch of chili powder

Oven 190C/375F/Gas 5
Recipe makes approx 48 small party sausage rolls – adjust amounts and size of sausage rolls if needed.

Mix together the chestnut puree, onion, garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce, breadcrumbs and chili powder. Leave the mixture for a few minutes for the breadcrumbs to thicken it a little. Add more breadcrumbs if needed to allow you roll into sausages.
On lightly floured board, roll pastry quite thinly, then cut into long strips about 2 inches wide. Roll pieces of the puree mixture into sausages about the width of a slim little finger and the length of the pastry strips, and then lay on the pastry strips. Dampen the edges of the pastry with cold water then roll around the filling, pressing edges together. Prick the pastry with a fork and cut into 2.5cm/1 inch lengths and place seam side down on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Winter Season Swap

The Winter Season swap was opened today and we were absolutely delighted when we saw the lovely homemade items from Talie (Moon Mumma) so beautifully packaged too.

This card is just beautiful

We received a lovely handmade card, seasonal postcard and lovely little packages. There was some gorgeous bunting, an Yule gnome, some beeswax candles and a fabric bag of chocolate coins. These were all beautifully made by such a talented mama.

Take a look at our lovely yuletide gifts

Yule gnome and candles

Lovely bunting with jingle bells

* * * * *

To save adding another post, here is a picture of the Yule gnome and Reindeer I made for the Season swap. These were sent to Lucy and her pixies here, and her pictures on her blog are much nicer than this one of them going in the box to send off, I forgot to take any other pictures of them.

Happy Winter Solstice everyone. Another wonderful Season Swap which I've loved being part of again.

Book Sharing Monday 21st December

The final Monday before Christmas Day, and the shortest day of the year, so today we would like to share this book,

The Shortest Day by Wendy Pfeffer

I'm kind of cheating as time is a little against me today - so the following description is from Amazon (sorry!). It does sum it up perfectly though.

"The beginning of winter is marked by the solstice, the shortest day of the year. Long ago, people grew afraid when each day had fewer hours of sunshine than the day before. Over time, they realized that one day each year the sun started moving toward them again.
In lyrical prose and cozy illustrations, this book explains what the winter solstice is and how it has been observed by various cultures throughout history. Many contemporary holiday traditions were borrowed from ancient solstice celebrations. Simple science activities, ideas for celebrating the day in school and at home, and a further-reading list are included."

A lovely book with things to do and learn, it's waiting for me now with a lovely warm cup of hot chocolate.

If you have any lovely books you would like to share, visit Canadian Home Learning for more book sharing or to join in.

Gardenmama waldorf dolls giveaway

Gardenmama has posted another of her lovely giveaways, this time with some gorgeous Waldorf Dolls to treasure.

Claiming the Christmas Number One back

You might as well stop reading here if you're a fan of the X-******.


Still here, then you must be more like me and the thousands of people who have finally claimed back the Christmas No. 1 for REAL music. Yes I shouted. Sorry, but I can't stand rubbish like that programme so I was so pleased yesterday evening to hear that the wonderful Rage Against the Machine had claimed No. 1. Well done everyone who bought it. What I'd love to see now is the demise of the programme (like other such rubbish reality shows) although I think we will be stuck with it for a while longer.

The success is fantastic and it's not personal to the guy who won the programme (whatever his name is), it's the principle of the thing - that programme finishes at the right time to release the track to top the charts at Xmas, but then we don't get to look back in years to come and remember all those terrible and some cheesy Christmas No.1's with affection, and I bet you sing along to all those old cheesy ones too, don't you? Go on, you know you want to admit it.

Anyway, well done RATM, still sounding good when they've got back together. Hmmmm, wonder where the free UK gig will be next year then, they were great live on the occasions I got to see them.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Jungle Jeans

We are off to Jungle Jeans this morning for a party! Big cup of black coffee at the ready, and boots on the feet as it has snowed (a little) overnight - might just about leave a footprint in it on the pavements.

Updated to say we had a great time, very tired now so watching a DVD snuggled on the sofa. No pictures as their policy is to have no photography of the children in the play area. Ho hum. Great time anyway.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Enchanting giveaway

How about this for a wonderful giveaway over at The Magic Onions.
They are such lovely things.

Oh Christmas Tree

We picked up our Christmas tree last weekend (thought I better post this before it's next weekend) and have decorated it, which was great fun for Imogen who sang about Christmas all the time whilst hanging decorations on the tree. We think it looks lovely and it's great to see it adorned with lovely big red jingle bells I picked up last Christmas that have the most delightful sound, and felt and wood decorations, and not forgetting the knitted ones I have made previously and recently. There are also some sparkly ones and homemade clay and coloured wooden ones Imogen has made too, along with home dried oranges, bundles of cinnamon sticks and little lavender bags..

Mommy's knitted snowman
and felt snowflakes

Mommy's knitted Father Christmas,
felt snowflake and red jingle bell

More decorations have also been hung on the garlands, and there is more to follow as I still have the bunting and paper chains to put up. Will update with photos another day as I haven't got the camera today and I haven't got one of the completed tree with Angel on top.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


Yes, it's snowing outside. This has made Imogen's day as she keeps asking when is it going to snow, and we've tried to get her to accept that it might not as the South coast where we live doesn't get a lot of snow. We had a lovely lot of snow (for here anyway) in February 09 and she loved it, enough to build snowmen and have a snowball fight. I can't imagine we'll get that much this Winter but you never know. A little girl here would love to be building snowmen again.

This is just a little snow, not settling on the ground, but snow nonetheless and she enjoyed catching it on her tongue whilst we were out walking earlier. I love to see the awe in children at the sight of snow, it's magical. I used to love the snow when young, and living further North than where I am now, we had real snowfall and snowdrifts halfway up the front door to dig yourself out of. Oh the memories.

Copenhagen climate summit

If you care about the planet, and hope that the leaders of the World will do the right thing at Copenhagen this week then please go here to add your name to a petition to get a real deal made.

Real Deal petition for Copenhagen climate summit

Thank you to MyZeroWaste for bringing this to our attention, hope you can add your name to reach the 15 million people they wish to achieve. Over 11 million so far ...

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Chasing the sunset

On the way home from getting the Christmas tree at the weekend, we saw a lovely rainbow and a really bright and beautiful sunset. As luck would have it, I had my camera in my bag so we sought a lovely spot to take a picture of the sunset across fields and the Solent water.

I love the rich colours, the way you can see the rays and the bright outline on the clouds. I love to capture sunsets, especially Winter ones, they seem to have that special glow.


Have you seen these lovely gnomes on the Gardenmama blog giveaway this week? They are lovely. Enter a comment on her blog for a chance to win them.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Book Sharing Monday

A Christmas book this week, we would like to share "The Night Before Christmas" by Clement C Moore. I bought this version for Imogen a couple of years ago as I knew she'd love to open the flaps. It works well as an advent book with the 24 flaps, although we've always just read it as a book and looked through the flaps as we read it.

A classic tale from the poem written by Clement C Moore on Christmas Eve 1822 for his family, the original being "A visit from St Nicholas", but later it became known as "The Night before Christmas". One hundred and eighty seven years later it is the "most-published, most-read, most-memorized and most-collected book in all of Christmas literature."

We love to sit together and read this book, Imogen especially enjoys when Father Christmas calls out to the reindeer

"Now Dasher, now Dancer!
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On Cupid!
On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch.
To the top of the wall.
Now Dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all!"

although this part often raises the question for Imogen, "what about Rudolph?"

A lovely Christmas book to share. Do you have any lovely books you would like to share? Take a look at Canadian Home Learning for more book sharing or to join in.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Blog issue fixed and Christmas fun

Thank you to Claire from Now We are Six for raising that my blog was unable to receive comments, I played around with some settings recently and it seems I didn't know what I was doing, but all fixed now I hope.

Had a great weekend - got the Christmas tree and it's looking lovely, will update the blog tomorrow hopefully. Also today we have been to our local working "Victorian Farm" for fun and a Christmas market, so news and photos from that tomorrow too if time allows.

Hope everyone is getting on well with their Christmas plans, present making has gone well, although much revised as I lost time when unwell. Still have the main things done and a few finishing touches to do over the next week.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Rare night out

Well the grandparents are here for a couple of days, so Alex and I are off out tonight to see Them Crooked Vultures at Portsmouth Guildhall. For anyone who hasn't head of them they are David Grohl (ex-Nirvana, and currently Foo Fighters), Josh Homme (QOTSA) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin); who came together to form Them Crooked Vultures which the music press dubbed a "supergroup" on account of the members individual successes elsewhere.

Photo: Samad/AFP/Getty (Grohl), Wood/Getty(Homme), Harrison/Getty (Jones)
Photo uploaded from rollingstone

We have been listening to the album on iTunes and looking forward to seeing them tonight.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

More Christmas decorations with children

Here are some pictures from previously posted about decorations made with Imogen, and then some new ones we have made over the last few days. She's really enjoying herself making things and regularly asks if we can do some making Christmas things.

glittery Christmas shapes

Pipe cleaner stars with bells

Pictures and Woven Stars

Snowflakes, Trees and a Heart

Yesterday we rolled and cut-out some air-dried clay shapes and today we are painting them.

We have been hanging Christmas decorations, updating the Season Corner and putting out other Christmas things this week. At the weekend we are getting the Christmas tree so the fun of decorating that with all our goodies, handmade and bought, is still to come.

Mamas knitted "paper" chains

Twig and felt wreath and garlands

Season Corner, garlands and
German Christmas Pyramid

Stamp painted pictures on black paper
added to the Season Corner

More to follow for the home and the Season Corner.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Book Sharing Monday

So, after not really keeping up with sharing a book each Monday, we are hoping to share a Winter or Christmas book for each Monday of December. Hopefully that will remind us to post about a book in 2010 too.

So our book for today is The Winter Garden by Ruth Brown.

"A magical book, introducing the visitors to a garden at night. As it is winter, the snow on the ground records which creatures came, and where they went."

In the moonlight we see an Owl in the Tree at the bottom of the garden; the Tree sheltered a fox, who chased a rat, which hid from the cat, who watched the birds eating seeds on the ground. The footprints are discovered by a young child the next day, so they know what animals came to visit the garden whilst they were sleeping.

Another lovely little book by Ruth Brown who also wrote "Ten Seeds" (amongst other books) which is another favourite here.

Hope you enjoy this book as much as we have enjoyed sharing it with you on this Winter day.

Take a look at Canadian Home Learning for more book sharing or to join in.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Victorian Christmas Festival in pictures

Few words really as the pictures say it all. We had a lovely time drinking in the atmosphere which was fantastic, and you felt as if you had travelled back in time. There was great street entertainment
Lots of singing and music

Charlie Chaplin

- a chimney sweep offered Imogen a job for a shilling

Chimney Sweep

a ride on a small steam train for Imogen and Daddy
Steam train ride
and visits to HMS Victory,

HMS Victory with Spinnaker Tower in the background

checking HMS Victory's rigging

HMS Warrior
Boarding HMS Warrior
HMS Warrior and Spinnaker Tower

crazy sailor

and the various museums on site such as the Mary Rose museum. We spent time browsing some lovely market stalls, ate roasted chestnuts and a real highlight was having "snow" in the air - from various snow machines, we don't get much snow down here on the South Coast.

Catching snowflakes

Fagins tavern

Imogen's vintage car ride
singing and dancing