Quick pre weekend update – dining room progress

I think the fact that it is a full working week next week is giving me a false sense of security as I normally have some time off before Christmas but due to the way it’s fallen this year, on a weekend, I keep getting a slight shiver of panic that I need to be all done by a week today and have no time off before hand.  So this weekend I will be getting the gifts wrapped and set to one side. 

We’re in the middle of getting the dining room finished in time for Christmas.  We didn’t want to do any inside jobs in the Summer so left it until Autumn but with one thing and another it’s only getting finished now.  The plasterer completed the walls last week and my lovely Dad helped out by painting it this week.  Normally Ste does everything but December is a crazy busy month in the butchers and we just weren’t going to fit it in, so we asked for help.  It looks great, just a plain colour – such a bright sunny room.  Somehow we managed to get a roll end of carpet and arrange for fitting for tomorrow.  Don’t ask me how but it involved lots of traipsing round and the air was blue by the end.  The guy is fitting it at some point tomorrow, then tomorrow night will be spent getting the tree up in there, the table and chairs in for the big day, the mantle decorated and start to dress the table for Christmas.

My Mam is giving us her dinner service, some of which was her Mam’s, so we will be using that for Christmas which is just lovely.  It will then be stored in the empty display cabinet that we have. 

Sunday will see the goose and duck being prepared and a trial of the frozen red cabbage.  Along with a million and one other things that I need to list out and put in order of what to do first.

Sorry no photos today but expect photo overload after the weekend 🙂

December birthday and raspberry vodka

Sounds like a good combination right 🙂

It was my birthday yesterday and also my long day at work, however it was great fun.  I heard from people I’ve not spoken to for a while, saw my family, was lucky to receive gifts and got to taste my raspberry vodka which we started off in summer.  Oh man, it was lovely.  I’ve been having a few drinks through December to celebrate and feel festive with friends when they visit etc and now I have this, we’re taking a bottle next door with us to celebrate Christmas Day Night with our lovely neighbours.  It’ll be the perfect end to the day when I get to chill after a hectic day no doubt.

So in true Tracy style, I was given a greenhouse heater and 2 huge propagators and a thermometer for min/max and current temperatures from Steven, along with some long socks, a bottle of Baileys and other items.  How lucky am I?

I also got a personalised notebook which I just love, that I am going to use to record all of next years info around eggs, veg seeds sown, grown and harvested (weights etc, thanks Dawn!).  My lovely parents got me a new coat to do my smallholding jobs in Winter, for which this weather is far too warm to wear it yet, so I am wanting a bit more winter weather please.  I got a Bake Off apron and £60 cash which has been spent on something for the smallholding that I will do another post on.
Hugely exciting too – the farmer has confirmed the litter of piglets which we’re getting ours from is due 2nd Feb so we will take them once they are ready.  In between now and then, I need to learn all about caring for them (already done a lot) and Steven is going to get their shelter/ark sorted.
Later in the year we are hoping to get goats too but that pending what Mother goat delivers in the Spring.  More on that once it’s firmed up.
Ooh and Christmas is still firmly underway, home made cards have been made and the kids put SO much effort in to them.  They were gratefully received which I was super happy about.  We didn’t manage to do all the cards as homemade, I didn’t realise how long they will take.  That’s ok though.
Did you know, apparently, Boxing Day is the time to sow onion seeds traditionally.  Don’t ask me who’s traditions or in what country, but that’s what I was told! 
Plans for the weekend?  I’m going to put some winter lettuce in my propagators this weekend.  We also need to get the Christmas meat sorted – a goose and duck from the smallholding will be dispatched this weekend.  They have had a wonderful life and this is what they were raised for.  We know what they have eaten and have been with them from cradle to grave.  Next year I am hoping for all home raised and grown produce as the main Christmas lunch.  There are a million and one other things on the list, which I’ll post as I get round to them,  In the mean time I leave you with how my work place was decorated for me! 
Where I work – a lovely lady always makes us feel special.

Happy December!

When we put our previous house up for sale,  my mind wandered to the next Christmas, what would our next home look like, would we have any animals, neighbours, wildlife to share it with?  Even though we had not seen this house, I pictured a perfect Christmas.  Kids with smiles on their faces (and not arguing!), Steven finally able to relax after the busy December period, and me sat watching, taking it all in.  All of the thoughts I had, I am now putting it into action.  I love my family more than words can say and what better time of year to show it and make the most of it. 

So today, December 1st, the kids got up a lot quicker than normal.  They knew their grandparents had left advent calendar for them.  Jack was down first (he never is) and opened his.  We even broke the rules and had the small advent chocolate before breakfast!  How naughty is that?  He’ll remember that though and I’m all for happy memories.  Grace isn’t so much of a bull in a china shop where Jack is concerned, but she had hers too. 

My lovely Mum bought them a handmade advent calendar where each day has an envelope with a treat in it.  They love it and I think they look amazing in the kitchen on the beams.  As the envelopes get used, I’ll put them away for next year and we’ll use the string they are on to hang small, light cards on. 

I have cut out 24 stars, each star has something on it for the kids to do together each day.  The stars are stuck to the side of the fridge with blue tac in the shape of a Christmas tree.  We’ve never done this before and I think it will be a new tradition.  Today’s star was:

We have never done a reverse advent calendar before either.  I’m not sure what everyone else does if they do one, but we are putting one useful item of food/drink, into a box every day until around 23rd when we will take it to someone in need. I’m not too sure where this will be yet as we’re dropping some items off at a hostel and if they need it, it will be there.  Otherwise I may go to Durham Cathedral and hand it to a homeless person.  Any other ideas are welcome?

Whilst I am showing you – here’s the Aga at the moment and the final advent calendar which has followed us around for many years.

I wonder what will be outside the door at 7pm tonight? 
Whilst we wait to find out, this was outside last night.  How pretty?