28 December, 2006

25 December, 2006

Wonderful Day

Christmas Day - terrific from beginning to end, even if small D. did wake up at 4-odd in the morning because he was so excited. He ended up sleeping in our bed until Lily came in at 8 to wake us all. Santa brought lovely things, family and friends sent wonderful things, and even Mommy and Daddy gave some nice things. Mommy and Daddy even got a present or two of their own.

Dinner was yummy, we got to speak to all the grandparents, and there was a Doctor Who Christmas episode. True excitement for the kid who got a TARDIS playset from Santa.

Here's a nice shot of the shop that Santa left - we've since changed the shopkeeper's chair for a shorter one that fits better.

Check out the Family Blog for a few more pictures of the kids enjoying some of their gifts...

24 December, 2006

Merry Christmas, Gentle Reader

Wherever you may be, know that I wish you the happiest of holidays and a wonderful new year ahead. May your Christmas have love and friends, family and fun!

And maybe some quality knitting time by the fireplace, with glass of delicious mulled wine close at hand, and your sweetie by your side. Sounds really nice to me. I'm just sayin'...

23 December, 2006


A fortunate Festivus to you, Gentle Reader!!
My Fortune Cookie told me:
Tomorrow will be an excellent day for putting Slinkies on an escalator.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

Too true! Especially if anyone is out there heading to the shops on Christmas Eve. Hoping like heck that WON'T be me. We're done here. Kinda need a bit more cello tape, however.

22 December, 2006

Joke for ya; Festivus decor

First, a great joke from small David.

Q: What do misers do when it's cold?
A: Sit round a candle.

Q: What do misers do when it's VERY cold?
A: Light it.

The pantomime was HILARIOUS and great fun for everyone. Highly recommend them...

Here's a picture of David with the Festivus pole - unadorned, as per Festivus tradition.

Dude has a new blog!

Papa's got a brand new blog, just in time for Festivus. I expect humor and curmudgeonry abounding...Today we are off to see our first pantomime - panto is huge here in England at the holidays. This one is Jack and the Beanstalk. Should be a hoot.

20 December, 2006

Decorated for Christmas

Here's that dollhouse - all greeneried for Christmas. David wants the Borrowers to come live in it...so do I, actually.


Not much happening here as we hit Day 1 of the Christmas break. Everyone is off work and school, and we are reveling in the late wake-up. Today's activity plan: decorate the dollhouse for Christmas. This is a dollhouse I won in a raffle at the Sandringham Flower Show this summer. The kids and I have gotten some bits of furniture for it, but now it's time to put the greenery on. Picture will follow...

The other activity going on around here is tracking food that we (adults) eat - D. is using the Weight Watchers site and I am using FitDay. Gotta say - for a free service, it's pretty spiffy. I can add custom foods quite easily. The only hassle is adding custom recipes - have to do lots of math BEFORE I get it added in. Or I can track them an ingredient at a time. It all works, somehow.

Rather than gaining ANOTHER 5 pounds over the holiday, the goal is to lose a pound or two before grooving into the New Year with some more weight loss

17 December, 2006

Critical Mass

Tonight, we have achieved something I fear - my daughter has enough of her favorite color clothing to make an entire laundry load of PINK. Perhaps I can encourage a new attachment to loden, or violet, or burnt sienna...

16 December, 2006

In which I consider the relative joys of Festivus...

Yes, there are times I can see the beauty in the simple aluminum pole and non-rituals of Festivus. This afternoon? Oh, that might be such a time...

On the plus side of Christmas preparations, there are many things. First, I found a rocking Christmas music internet radio station with a true mix of tunes, all of which I've enjoyed so far. Check out Superjukebox. Only the occasional plea for funds, and I like 'em so much I may just make a donation!

We were able to pass on some Christmas love by giving Lily's old toddler bed to a new toddler through Freecycle this afternoon. So her lovely Pottery Barn-looking pine bed will help another New Big Girl sleep well...that's cool.

I had a great time with Lily this afternoon, mixing up a great big batch of sugar cookie dough. Tasty stuff. That's more Christmas love, as we are making the cookies for single airmen who are here in the dorms (barracks) far away from family at the holidays.

On the minus side, oh, let's see - ahhh, yes. The fact that I somehow FORGOT about the BAKING POWDER for the entire batch of dough, and didn't realize this until we had rolled and chilled all of it, and were cutting the first batch of cookies to bake.

Yes, that was a minus. It was even an opportunity for me to use colorful language. LOTS of colorful language. I'll need more flour AND more butter before I redo these the right way, because I am just about out of both. Sigh...

So, on to a plus. We do have two dozen chocolate chip cookies done (these were the slice and bake jobs but the kids added their special sprinkles touch to each one). Made those already while the "sugar cookie" dough was chilling.

Furthermore, I have made great flourless peanut butter cookies before, and they're dead easy to do. Even had organic PB around so they wouldn't taste totally of sugar. They took no time at all to make up, and David rolled each one in sugar for sparkly good looks.

Oh, wait, a minus! The cookie baking is supposed to be nut-free to avoid allergy issues in any recipients. However, we decided that might just be a plus, because it means 2 dozen cookies are going to be eaten right here at home...

And a final plus - the test batch of "sugar cookies" that I went ahead with tasted just like boring but good pie crust. So I have taken some of the batch and I'm baking a crust right now. We'll have an apple tart from it, at least.

No, wait, another final plus - because I'm a DOOFUS, the house will smell of baking cookies for two days instead of one. I love Christmas, you guys!

Signing off for a coffee and one of the non-givable peanut butter cookies now..

14 December, 2006

Socks and Turkeys

Thanks for the input on teeny sockdom for this month. No, there are no knitting police! So I will forge ahead and finish them up, and if they're big enough, I'll count them as Official Socks for December.

Meanwhile, we have turkeys in the yard. A medium-sized trailerful of turkeys. Here's a view from the kitchen door - you see a corner of Knitting House at left and the wall that separates us from the stables behind the trailer.
Our landlord and local landowner has been raising some lovely Norfolk turkeys this fall for the holiday eatin' season. They've been in a little fenced-in area across the lane. Today Lady Landlord knocked on the door to ask if she could stash them in our yard for a little bit - they're loaded and ready to go, but I guess wherever they are going TO isn't ready yet. Since it's really their yard and all, and since we could park a dozen cars easily and still fit ours, I graciously agreed :) And that was very sweet of me...

13 December, 2006


If a knitblogger wants to knit a pair of socks in December but is:

a) sick,
b) rawther lazy, and
c) still working on a certain Snowdrop Shawl

do American Girl doll socks count as official Sock-a-Month socks? In my defense, I can't get that gauge (8-8.5 st/inch) to save my life on size 0 needles, so they will be bigger. Perhaps even requiring a touch of felting to fit the dolly. Could I call them booties, which do count? Rules are: Must fit a human.

Writing of the Snowdrop Shawl reminds me - poor Yarn Harlot has outgrown her webspace, or something like that, and can't make new posts or take comments until it's sorted. I, along with multitudes of others, am in serious withdrawal.

12 December, 2006

It's hard to believe sometimes, but it's been over 10 years since I left the world of the office, first for full-time freelance work, then part-time, and for the past 2 years for plain ole Stay-at-Home-Momliness. Now, way back in my Cube Farm days, I used to indulge my Not-so-inner Dork by sticking plastic action figures or the odd Happy Meal toy to my computer monitor top - He-Man and She-Ra had a good run, as I recall...it kept me amused. That and lots of coffee. And doughnuts.

Now, if they had had these fellas back then, you know I would have had them in the cubicle as well! Darling Son has had the various Cubicle Playsets on his wish list since we discovered ThinkGeek.com. Hours of fun, baybee.

Something else essential for any cubicle is a Successories poster, or maybe a Despair ,Inc. poster instead, like this one at left. Caution: some of these are so funny you may snort beverages from your nose.

10 December, 2006

Six Months in a Nutshell

"Ooooh, I'm in a nutshell...oooh [say it a la Austin Powers for full effect]." If you want to see our last 6 months in a nutshell, check out the Family Blog for all the words and pictures...

I feel good because I am catching up on lots of things that have needed to be done, but I've still got Christmas cards for family and a few small packages to prep for mailing. HAS to be done by Tuesday, the day I am driving down to the base to the U.S. Post Office. Good times...yeah, fun times.

And craftily speaking, here's an awesome sampler that David made in school for a Christmas gift. I am well impressed. How about you?

07 December, 2006

Schooly Thoughts

David's friend Ciaran and Ciaran's brother Benjie received letters from Santa today. David told me this the instant he came out of school today. And insisted I blog it. So what was IN the letter, I wonder? Money? Fabulous gifts and prizes?

Nope, and David will tell us: "It came in a red corrugated envelope with a seal (not an otter, snort) that says 'Merry Christmas from Santa' around the edge. Inside there was a letter and address was Snowflake Cottage, Icicle Lane, Reindeer Valley, North Pole. Ciaran's letter finished off with: 'Must dash...I've got to get Leacham off the ceiling.' (Leacham was an elf who was trying to see how high he could bounce on a pogo stick and got his head stuck on the ceiling) Benjie's finished off with: 'Must go...Mrs Christmas has reminded me I need to exercise the reindeer before I go to bed.' They both came with a red leather pouch and inside was a small bag of Elf Fairy Dust. Uses of Elf Fairy Dust: on Christmas Eve sprinkle some outside and it will guide the reindeer to landing. Also, put some under your pillow; you'll have sweet dreams all night and be fast asleep when Father Christmas comes."

Special thanks to David's photographic memory for that.

My schooly thoughts: OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education) are scary. I am the chair (voluntary position) for Lily's preschool. The preschool staff and I met today with the Link Teacher (sort of a mentor) about being prepared for OFSTED's surprise at-any-time inspection. It was a bit overwhelming. NOt so much for the inspection of the school itself, which is a terrific place; it's the paperwork and documentation that they want supporting every plan, or activity, or what-have-you. I'm feeling a bit ISO 9000 about it all. I spent a couple of hours this afternoon doing the instantest bits, and making a list I can go through with the head teacher so we can get all our ducks lined up most efficiently. The staff are so amazing - they are truly gifted with the children, and Jane (head teacher) is also incredible with planning, etc. But this paperwork has got to be a real team effort...

05 December, 2006

Checking in...

Quick post to say "I'm here, still alive and kicking..." Mom arrived safely back in the states, and we are all missing her. I'm just sick is all, with Lily's cold having taken up residence in my chest, thankyousomuch. Delivered David to school and took to the couch for the rest of the day, with periodic breaks to feed Lily and otherwise keep her from burning the house down. Lily deserves the Well Behaved Preschooler of the Year Award for her incredible patience and behavior today.

Feeling a bit better now. Tomorrow looks busy - Simon's last visit until spring, I should think (Simon is the Garden Guy who makes it all look good) and the preschool treasurer is coming over to puzzle out an annual report we have to file. Fun times.

There are Christmas cards to write...none of which got done today, Tae Kwon Do class to go to (that job goes to dadster tomorrow), knitting to finish, food shopping to do (this is URGENT), etc., etc.

But I got this cool badge from fussy.org's site - I claim it, even though I had one post which could not be put up on the date because of bad wireless mojo.

03 December, 2006


Thank you, premade gingerbread house kit! This is what the kids did on my mom's last night here - David decorated the back and one side, Lily decorated the front and one side. I think it came out pretty well, and it was VERY easy to assemble, unlike last year's Rice Krispy House.

The Jultomten Are Watching...

In this season of Advent, just remember that the Jultomten, the little Swedish Christmas elves, are watching you! They may appear anywhere in your home each day, and they report back to Santa Claus. But only if you are Swedish, or a little bit Swedish at least.

My mom (the Swede in us) left for the U. S. yesterday - we took the train down to London and Heathrow and it was surprisingly smooth. May I recommend On-line Check-in for Virgin Atlantic? The Bag Drop line was about one tenth as long as the other check-in lines. Excellent...

More posting later, maybe later today, when I show you the work of the Gingerbread House Construction Crew.