Friday, February 16, 2007

*half-term...*

MAMMOTH POST ALERT!!!
...has just flown by! Even with the two extra days tagged on to last week because of the snow, this week has gone really quickly. We've been busy, but not so busy that I feel frazzled and the kids zonked. So, a quick run-down:

Saturday: girls and Ed went over to grandma and grandad's and made snowmen - just realised I've already blogged this momentous occasion in last Saturday's post! I had a final rehearsal for the first Wind Band concert, which was last...

Sunday: as I've previously stated, it is NOT possible to look glamorous/attractive/sane whilst playing the clarinet, witness:

WSWB-concert-11.02.07

Was fantastic fun, though, and well-received by our smallish audience of mostly family and friends. We're just trying to get our younger players used to playing before an audience - it's all good practice for them, before we do the rounds of the summer fĂȘtes this year - that's the tentative plan, anyway.

Monday: had school friend, Kathryn, over for the day with her two little girls who are 4 and 3 - got caught in the rain at the playing field, and whilst the little girls were fine because all four of them were well wrapped up in rain gear and wellies, Kathryn and I were not exactly dressed for the inclement weather, and came home looking like drowned rats. Blogging was obviously far from my mind because I didn't take a single photograph on Monday, which is unforgiveable, really, especially when I consider the infrequency with which we have all four of our girls together at the same time. Never mind...

Tuesday: we played host to F's friend D for the day; easy day, the girls all played nicely together, picnic lunch and roast chicken dinner. Perfect! Also made a Valentine card for Ed - not going to embarrass myself by posting a photo of it here, but it was very quick and easy and made use of one of my fabulous Blonde Moments stamps.

Wednesday: even easier day!! A was taken out for the day by one of her friends - play barn in the morning, and home to bake cakes in the afternoon. Her friend's dad was looking after them for the day, and he was a complete star, ferrying them about and then making chocolate cakes with them, one of which A brought home with her, still warm and dripping with melted chocolate! Upon learning that A was out for the day, mum of F's friend D invited F to their house for the best part of the day, and I was left to my own devices, putting together a birthday parcel for my swap partner at the Pad, which included making an exploding box following the excellent instructions on Anso's blog. Of course, I didn't take any photographs, and I can't say too much about it yet because the recipient's birthday isn't until next week. Popped a very belated card and pressie in the post to Kirstles - no excuse for it being late, other than that she had gallivanted off to Barcelona (see fabbo photos on her blog) for her birthday, and then mini cruise to Rotterdam, lucky girl! Made an anniversary card for ma and pa, who celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary yesterday, and a 35th birthday card for my darling cousin Daniel, who is only 5 weeks younger than me. Upon the girls' return from their days out, we dashed out to Hiller's for some last minute ingredients for a Valentine meal - we don't usually do anything much for Valentine's Day, but I thought it would be nice to have a good meal after the girls had gone to bed. Bought some freshly-made Cumberland sausages to have with a cauli and some spuds from the organic box. Picked up a few bargain bunches of daffs as well, and some little tubs of chocolate ice cream for pud.

Thursday: yesterday - A had rugby camp all day - must take a photo of her in her rugby gear because she's got all the kit now, including boots, shorts and shirt, and boy does she look the part. A couple of her classmates were also there, one of whom was in floods of tears because he didn't want his mum to go, and A just waved us off and went and got stuck in!! She is not easily fazed - she was the only girl there yesterday, amongst a pack of boys ranging in age from 5 to 9 - and she won't be 5 until a week on Monday. She is a gutsy little thing, and I am somewhat in awe of her ability to just join in and get on with things - I was a shy, retiring wallflower at her age. F and I decided that we would spend the middle part of the day doing some baking, and we settled on cupcakes, as I had this fantastic recipe book for my birthday (or was it Christmas??!!) We asked F's friend V along to help us! Here are some photos of various stages of the baking process - I hadn't realised that I'd run out of self-raising flour, so had to wing it with some plain flour and baking powder, using a bit of guess-work on the quantities!!

cupcakes-before-icing
The naked buns...


cupcakes-after-icing
My decorated efforts...


cupcake-icing-station
The girls' icing station...


cupcakes-Freya-and-Vic
Hyper on a combination of sugar and artificial colouring...!!!

Yesterday also brought a lovely surprise for me in the post in the form of my Valentine parcel from the SOSF Valentine swap. My swap partner, Carol, whose blog is here, included some gorgeous chocolate treats of the mint/choc AND luxury dark choc assortment varieties, together with some chocolate covered sunflower seed kernels which lasted all of about five minutes, some chocolate mini cookies, and a super musical mug filled with tootsie rolls - I have always wondered what a tootsie roll was, having heard a reference to them in an American film (of course I can't remember which film) and now I know!! They are a sort of chocolate-flavoured bite-sized toffee confection, and are delish!! Thanks for everything, Carol - it was beautifully wrapped, and all much appreciated.


SOSF-valentine-swap-parcel


Friday: today has been spent with just F, as A has gone for a sleepover at granny and poppa's house, lucky girl. F and I have had quite a quiet day, and the highlight for her was having a big hand in the preparation of our spaghetti bolognese supper. She has learned how to chop an onion, use the garlic crusher, tell when the meat has browned, add the tomatoes, herbs and Worcestershire sauce, and serve up the spaghetti and bolognese sauce. She wants to have regular cookery lessons, and I am all in favour!

Wishing you all a great weekend.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

*snowy week!*

Phew! It's nearly all gone now, but we've had a fair old dump of snow this week, along with a good proportion of the rest of the country. It meant that the girls have had an extra two days tagged on to their half-term holiday next week, not that I'm complaining about that, it's been lovely to have them at home. Ask me whether I'm still feeling like this a week tomorrow!!! They've had great fun out in the snow, building snowmen and throwing snowballs to their hearts' content. I did venture out briefly to take some photos, but the novelty soon wore off, and the colder my feet got, the more I wanted to be back in the warm!!

snow-08.02.07-3

This was Snowman Mark I and was made without any help in our back garden.

anja's-snowman

A's Mark II version, made with a little assistance in Grandma and Grandad's garden.

freya's-snowman

F's Mark II version, again, in Grandma and Grandad's garden.

The promise of a day off from school yesterday brought a request for a sleepover on Thursday evening - not to have a friend to stay, just for F to be allowed to sleep in A's room! We didn't think there was much chance of them lasting longer than about half an hour because we thought they would keep each other awake. They knew that if there was any nonsense, F would be moved back to her room, and this was the sight that greeted us when we checked on them, all appearing to be quiet:

girls-asleep

They were so good we let them do the same last night, although this time in F's bedroom!!!

Was relieved to read that my SOSF Valentine parcel arrived safely with Sarah - it's always a bit of a worry sending stuff off across the pond, but thankfully it arrived in good time, and was well received.

And finally, for now, a layout. I have been a very infrequent scrapper of late, but have done a layout for my UKScrappers team's forthcoming weekly challenge, which I believe will be posted on the UKS home page from Monday, for a week. As it is Valentine's week, we decided that the theme was to be based around 'love' and had to include hearts and at least four different patterned paper scraps - no breaking into new sheets!! I had a short deadline, so stuck to a very simple design, and added text to the photo in Photoshop to save time.

Groovy-Chick-challenge-Feb-


Happy blogging!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

*photos, and some crafting...*

fabric-brooches-01.02.07


So, I decided I was going to have a bit of a play/experiment today, and made these fabric brooches, which I'm actually quite pleased with. I've got five more ready to make up, but I've run out of brooch pins, so I'm just going to have to wait to finish them. Any constructive criticism would be very gratefully received!

In other news (!!), A shares a birthday at the end of Feb with her classmate, B - so yesterday, I photographed the two of them for the invitations for their joint party - what a hoot!! The theme of their party is 'princesses and pirates', hence the headgear, and they were laughing so much I just kept on snapping. They then proceeded to laugh even more on reviewing the photos I'd taken. I let them choose their favourite for the invitation, and this was the one they chose:

anja-beth-blog-31.01.07

I then spent a not inconsiderable amount of time last night making their invitations, and, big relief, they've all gone out today. Just got to worry about small things like party bags and game prizes now...

Whilst A was at a party on Saturday, F went for a walk with her daddy and the dog, and E managed to get some very moody photographs - the sky was a superb palette of greys and blues, although the greys are dominant in this photo:

freya-27.01.07

Love the contrast with the earthy tones of the field.