Tuesday, 12 December 2017

In Search Of Bigger Shoeboxes!

Last night was a rather disturbed night, with Hubby coughing etc.
He did get up with the intentions of returning to work, but the effort of showering and dressing sapped him of what little energy he had, so it was back to bed for him.
With no major commitments, I was eager to get up and on with the day, hoping to get more organised for the Big Day!
With Teen One now finished with the dining room table, I was able to put my lovely runner back out ( thank you FQ2FF) and finish off the Christmas card writing.
I failed to mention yesterday, but in the middle of my hectic weekend, the washing machine flooded the conservatory floor!
As if there wasn't enough to do, I then had to mop it up, rescue what was on the floor ( power leads to the tree lights!) then used an old towelling dressing gown to dry as much as I could.
I threw the sodden gown onto the washing line after, figuring it would get a random wash with the rain or dry out enough (what was I thinking!) for me to put it back in the garage.
Well this morning I wanted to put a line of washing out ( and some was almost dry this afternoon!) so took the gown off...which of course was as stiff as a board.
I remembered the first time I saw my first line of frozen washing many many years ago and what a shock it was!
I wasn't sure if the Teens had ever seen anything like it ( in these days of central heating and tumble driers) so brought in the gown, "draped" over my arm and said
"Have you ever seen this before?"
Took it off, with only scant attention on the matter, then put it on the floor, where of course it stood instead of fell into a heap!
Well.....their faces were a picture!
It was so funny, I wish I had the forethought to film it, but then that might have given
the game away.
I had several errands to run in town and round about, including dropping off a litre pudding bowl to one of the students. She had promised to make a sticky toffee pudding for her fellow students but didn't have a bowl in her lodgings.
With the errands run and lunch made for Teen One, Hubby and I, bacon and brie sandwiches....yum...
I took time to warm up, sewing in the ends of some granny squares I have been working on.
My friend had asked me if I would make a dolly pram set for a navy and white pram....I bought the wool and started making the  set when my friend gave me the pram cover for sizing...sadly its rather a light navy if it can be called navy at all!
Oh well....too late now.
I made up a lattice type edging, to thread ribbon through.
Tonight I hope to make up a shell edge then put ribbon bows in the corners.
The mum is a very "ribbons and bows" person, when it comes to dressing her little girl, so I am hoping this will fit the bill for her.
I finally made it up to the attic to make piles of presents for family members far and wide.
Surprisingly, the collecting of bits and bobs over the last few months seems to have paid off, and there is very little left to buy!!
Of course, I had forgotten exactly what I had gathered, and it seems I now need bigger shoeboxes!
(Those in the know will know what I mean!)
 Whose bright idea was this?

Monday, 11 December 2017

If Cloning Were Possible....

If cloning were possible I may just have considered it over the past few days!
Now I understand  for some, the idea of more than one of me is enough to send them running, but oh how I could have done with more than one of me since Friday!
In brief, Friday was all about the Kids Club party, not a lot else got done in any shape or form.
By 9pm we had sent away 41 happy, sugar hyped and red faced children, having laughed, cheered and ran through all the party games, cleared up the debris, set the church ready for Sunday and finally crashed out on the sofa!
One would have thought that after all the exertion sleep would be easy, well falling asleep was, but by 2am I as awake and unable to fall back to sleep, so I came downstairs, made a cuppa, put on the TV and did some knitting!
It was if my body was craving all the things I had been denied throughout the day!
I was able to finish off the "hers" socks....
...and wrap them ready for giving to the recipient on Sunday.

When Hubby awoke around 4am and realised I was missing, he too came down and had a cuppa with me!
By 5am we were both back where we should be and didn't surface till around 9am!
We enjoyed another cuppa, in the comfort of bed this time, just chilling and considering the goals of the day, which for Hubby wasn't going to be very much....but then I suddenly remembered I hadn't closed the windows at church after the party!!!
So poor Hubby had to throw some clothes on to drive round and see what damage had been done by passing vandals.
As we have just had the interior painted I was dreading hearing it had graffiti everywhere and generally trashed.
Thankfully all was fine...because we learnt later, Grandma had closed the window!
The rest of the day was spent playing catch up.
I didn't stop once it seemed, only to sup the soup I had made and eat the simple pasta dish I made for dinner.
I kept expecting to get to the end of the chores and indulge in some crochet, but the endless essential chores just kept coming!
Hubby has had a cold trying to catch him since Weds and he finally succumbed to it, spending most of Saturday on the chair suffering in silence.
Teen One spent the entire day...and evening in the dining room working on her presentation.
She needed some advice of the fabric sort....yayyyy I get to play and help out!!
I did ask if it was a bit naughty getting help from home to which she replied
"Evie's dad has done the whole lot for her!!!"
Hmmm....naughty naughty indeed!
Behind the curtains the lesson plans etc are stored.
The theme was, as you can see, about a little black girl called Grace, who was told she could not play Peter Pan as she was not only a girl, she was black!
Despite my suggestions Teen One print off the paperwork that went with the presentation, she was so tired from the non stop work for two days, she said she would do it in the morning.....I am not a fan of doing important things that last minute, experience suggests there will always be an unexpected hiccup!
Sunday was church as usual, but without Hubby, who was feeling so rotten could barely function.
The students came round as usual ( minus one) where we had, by request, Christmas dinner, complete with crackers.
It was our last meal with them altogether, although sadly one had to go to Dorset unexpectedly for the day, but we plated him up a dinner to have in the evening.
As anyone who has cooked a Christmas dinner will know, it is hectic, with so many dishes to prepare, so I was extra busy, even with the help of the two girls.
However, it was enjoyed by all so always makes it worthwhile.
Our "loved up " couple sat at the piano, playing and singing carols together, it made a lovely background for me as I was busy in the kitchen.
The afternoon was not exactly leisurely, whilst Teen One continued with her work, the students helped me with the present wrapping for the Friday kids.
It took the entire afternoon and we only just finished in time for a quick tea then back out to church.
After church it was back to our house again, with the "missing student" who then ate his first English Christmas dinner.
We had saved cooking the Christmas pudding, so we could enjoy that together, but I think maybe it wasn't to our Malaysian friend's taste as he politely refused a portion, saying the dinner was wonderful  (and it was a HUGE plateful!) he didn't have any room left!
We pulled more crackers, and gave them all a little pile of presents, which of course they weren't expecting.
It was lovely to see their faces, as we had of course hand picked items especially for them.
By bedtime I was of course shattered and glad that the morning held no commitments.
Hubby woke feeling too unwell for work.....which is very telling as he rarely takes time off work!
Teen One was up early to get her work printed off...and what do know....
...the PC had a gazillion updates so she couldn't access the printer!!!!
Thankfully, with Hubby home, he was able to come up with a way to by pass the main PC and after a very fraught hour the work was finally printed off.
Teen One did have a couple of back ups, which is why she wasn't too worried about printing it off yesterday evening, she could have taken her USB stick to Uni, or got her work partner to print it off, but thankfully neither back ups were needed, but I gave her that little lecture I regularly give her dad
"don't leave it to the last minute where the PC is concerned...there is always a hiccup!"
The morning for me was spent on the sofa, finally writing out the cards.
I did try to post them later in the afternoon, but realised as I joined the end of a very large queue, I only had my credit card and the Post Office only accept Debit cards!
At least I didn't get to the end of the queue, let the assistant weigh all the overseas cards, then "sell" me over 50 stamps before I realised I had no means to pay!
 With the cards done I managed to do some clearing up ( how does it pile up so quickly!), and get a few loads of laundry done.
We didn't have any snow ( sadly) so I guess life is a little easier in some ways with roads clear for driving etc, meaning Teen One had safe journeys to and from Uni and I was able to retrieve my car from where I had parked it last night, unusually not in our own street.
Dinner was easy, left overs from yesterday, with some cream added to the gravy "Grandma style."
Hopefully tomorrow will be another catch up day and I can start making piles in the attic of family presents and see what stage I am at!
So, another one of me...or maybe two, would have been very useful, but I guess most will say one of me is enough!!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

A Hat Trick Of Dentists!

The last two days have been so hectic I have barely had time to catch my breath!
Starting with yesterday, I had to pop in to town for some party essentials, leaving Teen One in the middle of her presentation work.
I am not quite sure what its all about, something to do with the theatre is all I know, only because she asked if we had any old red velvet curtains at church...and needless to say I was able to oblige...with new red velvet curtain fabric!
Grandma had made new curtains for church several decades ago and I remembered seeing a roll of the fabric in the store room...nice when stash comes in finally!
A friend was calling in for lunch, so I made some pumpkin, cheese and bacon soup, mainly because I still have pumpkin left over and our student doctor said it was the best soup he had tasted!
Of course I reserved a large jar full for him.
My friend and I caught up with family news, then it was time to do some more matching of presents to Friday club names.
I think I may just have cracked it.
Anyone who has ever had to organise presents for kids clubs will know what a headache it can be, especially when you are trying to use up left over presents from previous years, and be sure you haven't already given them to regular attenders.
For the last two years I have made a list of who has what ( why didn't I think of that years ago!) so that has been helpful.
The next headache is ensuring the presents look the same value...its not good enough to spend the same amount, as some items look so much more expensive.
The whole thing is time and mind consuming!
I am disappointed that I have a couple of large-ish presents I bought in the sale earlier in the year, that I haven't managed to allocate to anyone.
Oh well, there is always next year!
This morning was Parent and Toddlers, then setting the church hall up ready for the party food, which meant all the toys going away and all the tables and chairs set up.
I then popped in to the wool shop...I know I know...with enough stash to fill a year and  a project still on the needles, but I have been asked to make a pram set for a dolly's silver cross pram, so I just HAD to buy the wool for that as I didn't have any navy and white.
Of course I am now itching to get on with it!
There were a couple more errands to run on the way home, half way through of which I remembered I had left the food list for the party at church, so had to double back.
However, it was a "meant to be" moment as I saw Grandma at the bus stop after her dentist appointment.
I then popped into another shopping centre as I had forgotten some bits from Poundland yesterday.
What a surprise....this branch of Poundland was selling all £1 items for 90p!
As I had to buy a dozen sets of felts tips I was thrilled!
I made it home just a few minutes before Teen Two, who had a dentist appointment to attend.
We whizzed down there...only to realise I had left the Christmas present I had bought for them at home!
With Teen Two having a clean bill of health and a polish up, we came home, then went back again with the treats we had bought.
Hubby sent a text to say he too was at the dentist and has a whopping bill for new dentures.
He had a new crown fitted last week...which fell out after three days, so we are hoping to get a refund on that ( the second problem with same crown) to go towards to denture.....it wont make much of a dent but every little helps!
His NHS dentist had referred him to a private dentist earlier in the year and the too-ing and fro-ing between them is frustrating to say the least, but the private one does give superior treatment it has to be said.
Lets hope the denture lasts a long time is all I can say!
What is left of the afternoon  has been spent changing bed linen, enough household chores to keep my head above water and finally a cuppa and some googling whilst dinner is cooking.
I am hoping for a quiet evenings knitting to recharge my batteries.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

A Change Of Plans

Today was going to be a rare, but very much needed stay at home day.
I really really really wanted to get to grips with the Friday Club presents.
There were some kits to be made up from stash around the house and church, and names/presents allocated to make sure I had enough for everyone.
However, around 7.30am I had a Facebook message from Hubby's cousin saying she was a bit down, her hubby  (who is very poorly with cancer of the brain) was unusually down and not getting up today, so as I had offered to pop in one day, she wondered if I was free today.
So of course, I abandoned the present sorting and drove over, calling into Morrisons for some of their delicious panettone on the way, as a little gift for them.
We had a lovely couple of hours, along with her little granddaughter, who is almost talking properly now, so very sweet to listen to.
Hubby called out "hello" from his bed but other than that all we heard of him was the terrible coughing which has plagued him for some time.
Aside from the cancer, he developed sepsis which thankfully was picked up quickly, continuous UTI's and now this chest infection, its no wonder he was feeling a bit down today, poor chap.
One the way home I called in to collect my new specs from Tesco, bliss to be able to see things properly again!
The car needed some fuel...ouch hasn't the price gone up a lot recently!
Finally back home it was the usual laundry chores, some sorting out of the garden ( Mr Bunny had dug the longest and deepest hole ever which he completely disappeared into!) I finally got all the present boxes out.
The little area where I sat was completely engulfed by it all, the only clear space was where I was sitting!
I bagged up a pile of organza bags with sequins, buttons, flowers etc...
...for the girls to decorate their  "Letter" with...
...each "kit" also has a tube of glitter glue and pot of glitter.
  I think I will get some cheapo felt pens to go in as well.
So I finally feel like I have accomplished something with regard to the presents...even if the living room looks a tad messy!
Tomorrow I am hoping will be a stay at home day when I can do some more sorting, then hopefully on Sunday I can hand over the baton for wrapping it all up to the students!!
Whilst watching some teatime TV I indulged in a bit of knitting... whilst thinking I really should be clearing up the mess I had made!
So not the day I had planned, but people are more important than plans aren't they?

Monday, 4 December 2017

Golden Ticket Anyone?

The Christmas decorating is just about finished, just the cards to write...and oh yes...the presents to sort!
Decorating the house is always a time to bring out gifts, many of which are handmade, from family and friends.
I do love this one FQ2FF made a few years ago, and have a smaller version ( which I believe was a gift tag) hanging in the hall.
This delightful nativity scene was a Christmas card one year ( also FQ2FF)
My bunting was from several years ago, when I was involved in a monthly swap throughout the year.
The fireplace is always bedecked with lights and stockings, and candles are lit in the personalised hand painted glasses...gifts from many years ago.
In the dining room I keep things a bit simpler, we only use this room at weekends ( well aside from Teen One doing her work in there and the clothes horse stacked high with laundry!)
Grandma and Grandad in Devon Lincolnshire, often treat us to M&S special musical biscuit tins...all of which come out at this time of year...the conservatory shelf is the idea place to have them all on show together.
Not even the hall escapes the Christmas treatment...which personally I think is quite modest....but when Grandma came in and checked out each room she declared it to be "over the top!"
After taking Grandma shopping in Morrisons, then calling in to the home of my Late Monday Recycled Teenager, to collect some plate stands we had been offered, I went into town with Teen Two.
His new specs needed collecting and I wanted to pop into Poundland to get some bits and bobs for the Friday Club party this week.
One of our students had recommended a game that entails dressing someone up, in groups.....reindeer antlers were one of the suggested items, so I was pleased to see some also in Poundland.
We will need to double check the rules of the game as it was all a bit sketchy when we were discussing it.
Back home Teen Two tried out his new specs ( for long distance use) and it was a real surprise to see him smile so much when he realised how much clearer the TV was now!!
As you can see there the bunnies were enjoying their sofa time.
When we were getting Teen Two's glasses, the assistant presented him with a "Golden Ticket"
Well as you can imagine his face lit up...what was his prize to be we both wondered ( well maybe I had already figured it out actually!) Was it the chance to go on a cruise? A new car maybe? A tour of the Specsavers factory ( now wouldn't that be exciting....not!)
Nope....it was money off a second pair of glasses for the next 6months!
Very slightly over campaigned I would say!
I decided the inverse sock patterning was just not working, so unpicked it and am now trying to get back to where I was. I am much happier with it this way, even if the socks will be ankle socks instead.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Apologies for no blogging for the last couple of days....we had two of the students sleep over, which was great fun, but left me with no "me time!"
So here is a quick round up.
Friday was our last regular kids club, so our last Christmas activity, snowmen and angels.
The next couple of Fridays will be special sessions, I cant believe how the time flies!
One of the reasons the students wanted to sleep over, was because they wanted to be part of dressing the Christmas tree...I guess an activity they associate with home and childhood memories, and being so far from home, we are the closest to family life they have.
So they donned their PJ's and set to  on the tree...complete with silver halos on their heads!
It looks pretty spectacular in real life, is probably the most decorated tree ever...partly because I bought a carrier of 5p items in the sale at the end of last Christmas, so they all came out and every other decoration, all collected/made over the years, and all holding special memories.
We played carols as the tree was decorated, with some mulled apple juice I made in the slow cooker earlier in the day, and of course some mince pies.
It really was beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Saturday was a slow start, with a large cooked brunch around 11am.
We then drove down to Bournemouth to our favourite Bible book shop and told them to pick themselves a book each as a "Bible Class Prize."
As usual we spent hours in the shop, but left enough time to wander through the lovely gardens, which were very festive with lights and an ice rink.
After dinner at Nando's (their choice!) we drove part way home to a nearby church we regularly visit, catching up with various friends.
They lay on a huge supper...too huge for Teen Two, who has eyes bigger than his stomach, so at 2.30am I woke to the sound of "I feel sick!"
Today was the usual sort of Sunday, usual in as much as its dinner for eight ( who have the appetites of a dozen!) some game playing in the afternoon, a bit of knitting and some down time.
I decided to unpick that sock in the end, it just wasn't looking right.
The students have now gone home and the house is of course quieter without them.
I am hoping to get the church kids club presents sorted this week so I can then concentrate on family stuff.
Other than having a pile that has been in the collecting for a few months, I have no idea who I still need to buy for, let alone what I will buy!!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Lessons Have Been Learned!

Apologies for no blog yesterday.
It was a full on day, with the funeral of my Monday Recycled Teenager.
I was at church from 8.30am (with a brief dentist check up...right across the road so that was handy!)
until gone 5pm, back home to pack away the left over food, then back out at 7.30pm for our prayer meeting.
So by the time I finally got home I was ready for nothing but bed....which is a shame as I suddenly realised it was my turn for the activity today at Parent and Toddlers, and although I had brought back from church last week, all the essential items to make a snowman, I had forgotten all about it so all the components needed to be cut out.
What a good job the students and Teen One could come to my rescue!
Being so tired you would think I would just drop off to sleep wouldn't you...but nope....at 4am I was still awake!
I must have dozed at some point as I then remember Hubby's alarm sometime after 5am.
So, right now I am barely awake it has to be said and my bed is beckoning!
As for the funeral, well all went ok...ish.
There were a couple of hiccups, one being a mercy dash for the Order of Service which Hubby thought I had and I thought he had with him!
With minutes to spare I made it back in time with them ( and must confess to speeding!)
The other hiccup was the organist playing the wrong tune for our opening hymn.
I am sure all church organists will understand the  embarrassment felt, but as we regularly sing accapello, we weren't phased and Hubby started the hymn off again.
I don't think the mourners worried that much, if at all.
Needless to say, for those of us organising, it was a bit of unnecessary stress and lets just say, in the words of Her Majesty...
"Lessons have been learned!"
On the plus side, we had lots of compliments on the food, which kind of becomes the "main event" once the official stuff is out of the way, and its a time when the mourners can relax and be themselves.
As you can see from the top pic, the malteser tray bake came out ok with the white chocolate drizzled on top.
It went down well...which is just as well as it cost a bomb to make!!!
 You may just see my knitting bag photo bombing the picture...but sadly there was no time for any of that, it was all hands to the deck for the entire day.
Last night I gave our student his socks, which he was thrilled with.
He has left them here to wear tomorrow as a special occasion, when they all help us decorate the Christmas tree....who would have thought a pair of socks would need a special occasion aye!
I cast on the stitches for an inverse pair, for his girlfriend, but I am not loving it to be honest, and I may even unpick it as I think there is enough of the coloured wool to make a small pair exactly the same.
I will sleep on it first though...cant bear to think of the wasted time getting this far!
Today was of course Parent and Toddlers, and the snowmen went down well ( forgot to take a pic sorry!) and I may quite possibly have driven everyone mad by singing
"Do you want to build a snowman?"  every time a little one came to the activity table, and then asking them if they wanted to sing it with me....which of course most of them did!
It was a blessing I only know that line, so the singing didn't last too long!
After dropping Grandma back home, I called in to see Our Dear Friend, who wasn't well enough to come to the funeral yesterday.
I spent an hour with her and gave her a copy of the Order of Service to read through.
Of course we reminisced on our late friend.
Finally back home, it was on with the laundry and catching up on jobs neglected in recent days.
I had promised myself forty winks in the afternoon, but ended up just having a leisurely hour or so in front of "Escape to the Country" with a cuppa and some knitting.

Hubby is out for a meal with his "team" at work, a rare event, but means I don't have to bother with a dinner, the kids and I had left overs, so that was quick and simple!
The weather has been frrrreeeeezing I must say and I am glad I don't have dogs to walk!
Its also the kind of weather, when I am pegging out/bringing in washing I say to myself
"I am so thankful not to be sleeping on the streets tonight"
Daft really as I wouldn't ever want to sleep on the streets, but the bitter cold really brings it home to you doesn't it.