Monday, 20 December 2010

December Daily - 19th December

We battled to church despite the fact that Market Hill was closed and found we were one of the chosen few to have arrived in one piece. Apparently a few people gave up on the way.

As our lunch guests were unable to make it, we opted for the same planned menu but just eating a little later, eventually sitting down around 2.30pm for beef stew.

Our annual Christmas do (we do a drinks do or a party every December of one kind or another) was going ahead tonight - regardless of the weather. We lost a few guests, mainly those from further afield than Witham who didn't want to face the icy roads later on. But we did have a goodly gaggle of carol singers arrive at 8.30pm from CGC, many of who where in our youth group when we attended that church. It was amusing to think that we had more people in our house last night than we amassed for Family Eucharist this morning!!

The food table...before the hot food came out. The highlight was definitely the gorgeous cheese selection from Maldon Deli along with the baked fig ball to go with it. Fabulous!
After all the clearing up, I sat down to relax a bit and watch the final of The Apprentice and see Stella English crowned the worthy winner. A great series, enhanced by Stuart Baggs and I thought Lord Sugar was more personable this series - softening in his old age!

Baked fig balls YUM! more info if you'd like it!

Friday, 17 December 2010

The Smith's Christmas Eatings - our 2010 letter...

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December Daily - 8th - 16th December

8th - Youth Group tonight, all about 'Why bother being a Christian?'...we also got excited about our Christmas party next week, discussing games and food and decorations. It was decided (by the kids!) that we would definitely have our Christmas tree up by the 15th so we will put it up the day before Matilda's birthday...breaking a 4 year tradition!!

9th - We attended our first Victorian evening as a family tonight...M was born on a Victorian evening 4 years ago nearly. They happen on the first and second Thursdays of December and Maldon High Street is transformed into a hive of activity, lots of stall holders and shop keepers dressed up in Edwardian and Victorian dress, caps, aprons, dresses, suits....there are hog roasts, chestnuts, gifts, games, crafts and a general Christmassy atmosphere. Matilda loved it, especially the free sweets they gave away at different places and the fairground rides she got to go on!

10th - Matilda's birthday weekend; Ellie and Ollie and Freddie arrive, we have a trip out to Maldon Deli and then E&O babysit for us while we head out to the TOM Christmas Huddle in Walthamstow.

11th - A relaxing and sunshine filled day. Walk at Prom, Mexican lunch, Tiptree Cheap Shop for cake decorations, Strictly Semi finals, Roast Lamb, cake decorating and party preparations.

12th - 4th Birthday party. Great fun had by all, 10 kids, assorted adults, lots of iced gems, jelly, little sandwiches and the usual games...Matilda loved every minute and was so tired when we got home that she fell asleep standing up! She was Jessie the Yodelling Cow Girl from Toy Story - and we had various other Disney Characters attend too!

13th - all of us, pooped! Could not get up this morning, after all the busyness of the previous few days and the excitement too, it all caught up with us. We did manage to all get to work, school and nursery and also to buy our Tree and decorate it!

14th an early start for M's birthday itself, with a few presents in bed, a new dress to wear and the excitement of a new bike too! The rest of the day went as normal with M at childminder's, Andy at school and me at meetings with the Bishop's Team and one of the youthworkers I supervise. In the evening, we had an easy pasta dinner at home before putting M to bed - not until she'd had all her new books read to her though! We then headed out to my work's do with the Bishop's Team and partners which was a bring and share dinner...we brought dessert since we had already eaten earlier and shared the seriously sinful Girdlebuster Pie from Nigella's Christmas.

15th Normal day on many levels, followed by the Random Youth Christmas party at ours. Highlights include Pass the Parcel with forfeits, Ibble Dibble game, the After Eight game and a gorgeous Malaysian curry brought to the table by 2 of the group..yummy! Lots of laughs and relaxing time together to end the first term that this group has existed...they are a blessing and a highlight of our week! Thanks lovelies!

16th I finally managed to finish the Christmas cards today - all written, addressed, stamped and posted. Our emailed Christmas newletter was also scheduled to go out today (I'll link to that in a seperate post.) Our Advent Calendar pocket contained the tag labelled 'Mummy Daughter Date' as I was attending a Craft afternoon at M's nursery which was great fun and lovely to see her 'hosting' me in her special space with her friends...we then headed into town, covered in glue, glitter and paint and stopped off at the library and the Deli for some more quality time together. The day finished off with our friends Louis and William coming for dinner which was most enjoyable and I trialled a new recipe on them - Cider Chicken with Mushrooms and anchovies which was yummy.

There we go, all caught wonder I'm tired, when I read it all back I haven't really taken a breath until today! Love Fridays - hope you're having a good one, whatever you're up to...xx
Back tomorrow!

getting behind...

Despite my best intentions for a December Daily blog series, I've got behind...4th birthday and a house of visitors scuppered the weekend a bit and I haven't had any time til today to even sort photos out, let alone write anything...

I'm hoping to get back on track as I want to journal these days, as much for myself as anyone else and so I'll be back with December Daily 8-17 December...and hope to keep it up after that too!

For now, here's a few pictures of the birthday girl who turned 4 on Tuesday...

sofa snuggles

The Princess Castle cake - thanks for Ellie and Ollie for their decorating and creative strategy!

The Birthday Girl's bike - at around 6.30am on her birthday!

We had all day present opening - before and after nursery and the day after too!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

December Daily - 7th December

7th December

An unremarkable day in many ways - work, meetings, time with youth workers. Andy was at school, Matilda at her childminders. But still a lovely day with some hilarious and special moments...

I did manage an extra hour at home just before picking them both up when I prepped dinner which meant we could all eat together which is one of our daily aims of Advent. I did a variation on this Three Bean Chilli recipe from Rachael Ray which we had with polenta.
Matilda and I had some lovely snuggle time, curled up on the sofa and chatting about all the craft she is making at Yoriko's and nursery before she went up for a bath. Her eczema is not great at the moment so her baths contain Oilatum and she is slathered in aqueous cream all over afterwards.

I then had a night out at a Scrap Happy Crop which I have been to once before. I finished a few of my ongoing projects, including an album for my nephew and a little something for my dad too who is having a little op on Friday. My newest kit arrived today aswell:

Look at all those lovely papers and colours...can't wait to start playing this weekend!
December is flying by...crikey...

Monday, 6 December 2010

December Daily - 6th December

6th December
Back to normal today after the snow week - all of us back to work, school and nursery.
I had a breakfast meeting and a lunch time meeting, followed by a blood test then back to Maldon to get M for her class at 4.30pm so it's been a manic day.

Matilda had her final dancing lesson of the term and was very pleased with the card and chocolate she received from her teacher!

We had dinner at home altogether, with our Advent Candle lit and Matilda and I read The Camel who found Christmas as her bedtime story. We had a lovely conversation and prayer time as she was asking about people who didn't think Jesus loved them and how she wanted them to know that He was looking forward to seeing them at Christmas! It felt like a bit of a lightbulb went on for her tonight and we prayed for children in the world who don't have as many toys as she does.

I have been at PCC tonight - really not something I want to record here in detail, but I was glad to come home and have my first Amaretto Sour of the season. Yummy!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

December Daily - 4th December

4th December

Firstly, back to yesterday - we had a great night out with our chums, K&S and L&K...really fun, great food, Christmas is coming!!

Already I'm enjoying the discipline of taking photos every day and noting the important and significant small's bringing out the joy in everything, especially in this special time leading up to M's birthday and beyond it to Christmas. 
Up early enough this morning to watch Strictly It Takes Two from last night, do the Advent Candles and Calendar and come to slowly!
Andy headed out to an accountability session with a guy from church and then a music practice for the service tomorrow. I've been straightening out the house ready for an estate agent to come and value it for us - all part of the process of preparing for a possible move and change of direction next year if Andy is selected for ordination training. 
A chilled afternoon including some baking and some sorting of the garden and preparing food for us and the arrival of the Baguettes for dinner - the 3 kids are being babysat while we adults go out to see Harry Potter, finally, at the cinema! 
Today has felt like a metaphorical semi-colon in the week;            ...the snow coming down and causing us to stop our plans and schedules,  in itself has caused me to go a bit frantic thinking about what I could do with this newly released time. I've realised I have still overstuffed the days a bit too much, worrying that I might not get these free days again and so I should use them wisely. Today, I just lay on M's bed in her room while she laid out her building blocks to make a castle for her princess bath toys and we chattered and she got into her zone of playing and we listened to the Big Bible storybook about Mary being told she was to be the Mother of Jesus;    
and I closed my eyes...probably only for 10 minutes or so but it was so necessary and I feel better for it. 

Friday, 3 December 2010


SUNDAY PAPERS Being Pregnant - the waiting begins

This is a great series of posts from Richard Passmore for Advent...check out yesterdays and sign up for the rest.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

A December Daily...1st December slight belated!

I didn't quite get myself ready to do a Scrapbooked December Daily, a la Ali Edwards this year...would have been pushing it a bit far really! If only it could all be a full time job... :-)

Anyway, thought I'd compromise and do a December Daily blog post of what we're doing so we have it for future memories and to make us laugh.

So this is a bit late but here goes:

1st December:
A Snow Day! Andy is off and Matilda was most put out that we might keep her off nursery that we decided we'd try to get her there...roads were clearer than expected because no-one else was silly enough to go out!
So, a day at home just me and the Boy...we chilled out a bit, tidied and cleaned the house (we were supposed to get the house valued but the appointment were cancelled), watched some TV and got ahead with Christmas cards and some other bits and pieces.
I spent some time in the afternoon adapting our pocket Advent Calendar that hangs on our hall/lounge door to include little tags with extra treats and activities for 12 out of the 24 days.
When Matilda got home, we did pocket 1 - and the treat was Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows!
Andy ventured out in the snow, briefly getting to Tesco's for some supplies and then to go and pick up some loaned ski gear for his trip in February.
Matilda prayed for more snow but that everyone in the world would be warm and cosy in the night.
A lovely, quiet and snowy start to December - looking forward to tomorrow and more snow!