Friday, 30 December 2011

Post Christmas

We had a brilliant Christmas.

The kids raced down on Christmas morning to see if Santa had delivered their pressies but I had to make them wait a little bit as Mr Bucket had worked Christmas Eve and needed some sleep (although they didn't agree with me on this). I didn't make them wait too long.

I love it when the unwrapping frenzy starts - I don't think they even look at the gifts. It seems like a race to see who can get the wrapping paper off all the presents the quickest. Then when it's all done, they finally sit and look to see what they have been given.

We had Christmas dinner at the in-laws, which is good in one way as it gives me a break from cooking but then again, I don't have any leftover turkey to snack on.

Last year Bucket jnr was given some Thomas the Tank Engine pants as a present from Granny and the look on his face as he launched them across the room with 'they're not presents' was priceless. So this year I was on the lookout and sure enough he was given some jumpers. As his face started to morph into 'that look' I quietly whispered 'say thank you' and grabbed them and replaced the gift with something else to unwrap. Disaster averted (it was funny though).

I've been keeping up with some of the blogs I follow and found a nice site, Ravelry, which gives loads of knitting and crochet patterns. I'm probably the last person to find this site but it's brilliant and I've already marked things I'd like to make.

After a lot of thinking, I'm going to try and concentrate on crochet this year. I'm only a beginner but hoping to get a LOT better. Also the usual New Year Resolution.... get fit and lose weight.  It's not small in error, I just thought that if it was that size it wouldn't seem such a big problem.

As I get older I like trying to find the best present for someone, it doesn't have to cost the earth and sometimes is something that I've put together. I find that I like giving presents more than receiving nowadays and it's always me who is last to open any gifts as I get more joy out of watching other peoples faces.

But I did get a couple of good ones....

Oooh, last night I made a Hairy Biker fish pie and I can thoroughly recommend it. I would tweak it slightly next time I make it but it's the first time I've ever attempted fish pie (I know, I can't quite believe it either) and I wanted to follow it to the letter. Definitely a winner though!

The kids weren't that bothered but then it didn't include chicken nuggets or chips - I'm going to keep trying.

Kirstie I just love. I like watching her on the telly as they are just feelgood shows. I know that she's not everyones cup of tea, but then who is????!!!!

And the Hairy Bikers are excellent - they are just mad and funny and make everything seem really easy. Although it's amazing how they manage to keep those beards clean.

Mr Bucket also got me my Michael Buble Christmas cd which I've been playing quite a lot. I might have to buy another just in case I wear this one out. How long can you play a Christmas cd for without someone mentioning that it's the wrong time of year?? I'll probably stop playing it around mid March.

All in all, not too many arguments; I only threatened to cancel Christmas twice and, amazingly, most of the toys have already been put away (still a few left to find places for). I would say that we've done quite well and I hope that everyone else had a good time too. Sam xx

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Right that's it, the shopping is finally done. I was one of the mad ones doing an early morning trek (5 a.m.) round the shops. Amazingly it was only really for 'normal' everyday food.

The amount of yawning, muttering and head shaking was hilarious.....I was doing it too. Everyone should have had warning lights on their trolleys as an extra precaution.

I got back home just in time to put the stuff away before the kids woke up and I've had one coffee, so far. Nevermind bucketful of everything, as long as my bucket if filled to the brim with caffeine, I should get through the day ok.

I've got a last round of baking to do and a quick hoover up just to tidy the place up. Just about all my wrapping was finished last night so I haven't too much to do tonight except relax but I don't think today is going to be that relaxing as the kids are already hyped up and wishing it was Christmas day already.

So, a big Merry Christmas to everyone and hoping for a great New Year. Best wishes to you all for 2012.

Sam xx

Friday, 23 December 2011

Just chilling...for the moment

Hi, I'm still here just as the title says.

The kids broke up for the Christmas holidays and as you expect are really excited and counting the sleeps until the big day (2 more mummy).

We haven't really done anything too exciting over the past few days, just chilling out. But I do have a few jobs that I need to do and SOON. When we were off sick, the housework was shoved put aside and I really need to go around with a damp cloth as it's in that stage where you really don't want to move the ornaments out of place.

Also, all of a sudden, my kitchen floor has become an ice rink. Beware if you're just wearing socks because one foot on the floor and you are sliding past - nice pirouhette, 10/10, shame about the landing. I've got the mop out ready to give it a good scrub today. Can you imagine carrying the turkey and then 'WHOOPS'.

I've just made a load of cakes which will be iced today (although Bucket jnr has just said they are ALL FOR HIM as they are not iced) and then I'm making the mince pies and also our holiday chocolate cake. This is like a refrigerator cake, very rich and tastes really nice. I'll try and put a picture on before the mob descends on it and nothing is left.

I also need to start wrapping the presents tonight when the little'uns are in bed. I had to brave the shoppers yesterday and buy some more paper as I just knew that I didn't have enough and come Christmas Eve I'd be banging on the neighbours' doors asking 'please can I have some more'. We trudged out early and I'm glad we did because it was BUSY - I was glad to get back home.

So quite a busy cooking day for me but with a little help from the Christmas playlist on Radio 2 and a nice glass of sherry, it should go ok. Sam xx

Sunday, 18 December 2011


Following on from my previous post (I'm on a roll now that I'm feeling a bit better), I was just thinking about turkeys.

Yep, that's right, turkeys.

My mum died when I was 20 and she was a good cook. In fact, she was probably more fabulous than I knew. But, unfortunately, I never knew how little time we would have together so I didn't show any attention to how she cooked/baked/made things. Silly, silly me.

I'm not getting into the ins and outs today but because of this and a few other factors, I was the one that was going to be cooking Christmas dinner.

I remember looking in countless cookery books and I can proudly say that the only thing that was a bit iffy was the roast potatoes which eventually were made into mash. But noone complained and the food was completely finished off.

But I'm wandering a bit. I was thinking of some 'small' errors that made some Christmases memorable for all the wrong reasons. I've had a couple of interesting turkey moments:

One year I was defrosting the turkey on the counter. I came downstairs Christmas Eve morning to find a half-gnawed turkey - bite marks on the breast and legs. I should mention that I had a cat at this time, who had decided to help himself although the turkey must have still been rock-hard and I can just imagine him trying to chew on the frozen leg and getting nowhere.

The funniest one though was early on in my cooking experience. I'd let the bird defrost and I went down nice and early Christmas morning to wash my turkey.

Now being quite a novice I still knew that the neck should be removed and the giblet bag taken out. So I pulled the neck out and very pleased with myself, turned the turkey over looking for its bottom end.


I looked and looked again and I started to panic as I was really worried about the giblets that I knew had to come out. Eventually I figured it out - the skin was just stuck to the turkey. But this took me about an hour to find this out.

I did laugh later.....much, much later. Sam xx

Nearly there....

We are nearly healthy again - thank goodness! But I think I have succumbed to cabin fever. I quickly popped to the shops, well I said quickly......I was gone over an hour. Totally made the most of being kid free.

This year, like other years, we'll be going to the in-laws for Christmas dinner. When I first got married I wanted to cook Christmas dinner, so we had turkey on Christmas day which my mother-in-law cooked and then I cooked another turkey for our little group on Boxing day. It was a bit tiring.

Source: Google Images

I gave up a couple of years ago and now just cook a big meal on New Years day. This year it's beef.

But as I was going round a well known supermarket (no advertising here, hehehe) I caught a glimpse of some turkeys and thought 'they've quite a good family size - not too big or small'. Then I happened to notice the price, around £25, and I looked at how many people the turkeys were meant to feed - about 11 people.


I'm not kidding, these turkeys weren't overly big - they were about normal size. So either they are shrinking or we eat way too much. Now I like turkey (and we do have good appetites) but I could not justify the price this time.

So definitely NO turkey for us this year. Nevermind, I'm sure we'll still be well fed.

Onto another topic (or the same one if you've been reading this blog), I've finally finished the teachers gifts. YAY!!!! Mexican Wave. I've just got to wrap them up ready for the school parties tomorrow.

One thing down, a few more to go. Sam xx

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Still unwell...

I'm still at home with Bucket jnr but the doctor confirmed that it isn't a chest infection, just another cough/cold straight after the first one.

And my children are sooooo kind and generous - he has lovingly shared his germs with myself and Mr Bucket.

We love him soooo much (we do really, but definitely heavy on the sarcasm here).

I've now stocked up on the vitamins and flu tablets just so I can keep going. I'm a mum - WE DO NOT GET SICK  (we just don't have the time).

So I haven't yet made the mince pies or the little cute snowmen BUT did manage to pick up some white wool to make them (the snowmen not the mince pies).

I noticed I had loads of other colours just not white. I did think of using cream but I'm sure that I would have had loads of jokes about 'yellow snow'.

I've managed to complete one project which had been hanging around and it doesn't look too bad. I've been seeing lots of pictures on the web of personal printed words (and I would have posted a picture on here but the minute I want to find one, I can't - typical).

They are really nice but I couldn't justify the cost (approx £40), so I decided to do one myself and here it is:

Not quite the same and a lot more simple than one I could have bought but I love it and now I've just go to find somewhere to hang it. Sam xx

Monday, 12 December 2011

Sick day...

I have a sick little Bucket jnr at home today.

He tends to get coughs every year which are aggravated by the cold weather. He's already had one and I thought we'd beaten this year's one but yesterday it came back and sounded much worse.

Picture the scene.... walking round Ikea with a little'un who every now and then explodes into a coughing fit; goes red in the face and splutters everywhere.

It didn't seem as busy as normal in the shop, well not round us anyway. I think the other shoppers took one look and scarpered and I don't blame them.

Usually with his coughs he is generally well but not this time, he's feeling a bit under the weather. So I decided to keep him at home today and he is, at this moment, lying under a blanket watching Tom and Jerry.

On a cheerier note, I just now received my giveaway items from Anne.

Thank you Anne, they are lovely.

The heart is really soft (must find out your supplier of felt), I love the little heart hanging decoration and the snowman is gorgeous. I'm off to find a good place for them. Sam xx

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Something new to make...

I've found something that I want to make this weekend.

I know, I know, I've still got to finish the teachers gifts and get on with making MORE mince pies and eventually finishing my crochet blanket squares. But these are sooooo cute......and I want one!

Jill at Dapper Toad has posted the tutorial and I think that even I can make one, so I'm gonna give it a go.

I'll keep you posted. Sam xx

Friday, 9 December 2011

Blog giveaway...

If you haven't already done so, pop over to see Anne at Marmalade and Catmint. She is doing a lovely Christmas giveaway which ends today at 10pm.

There are three chances of winning one of three giveaways - become a follower; leave a comment and/or post on your blog linking to the giveaway.

Give it a go, she has a really nice blog and you never know, you might win (but I'm hoping I win something too). Sam xx

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Oh yes I did .......

I am feeling totally shattered. I feel worn out and all I want to do is veg out in front of the boggle box and do absolutely nothing.

I have just spent the day with a load of school kids at the panto.

Don't get me wrong I loved it but even though it was a great day out I still had to be responsible for some of the children and help out with controlling some of the other terrors children as well.

My brain feels completely wrung out.

I must admit I shouted and laughed along with the rest of them although had to shush some of mine as they are at that age when they want to take away some of the magic by pointing out the wires and the actors that may have more than one part.

It all went fairly well but it was hard afterwards when they had finished lunch and their energy came flooding back by which time mine (and probably the teachers) was flagging. I have nothing but respect for teachers who have to do this day in and day out. I'm not too sure I have as much patience to be able to do this all the time.

I asked Miss Bucket if I was too strict but she thought I was easier than the teachers as I laughed at their jokes. 

I'm going to give myself a well-earned pat on the back but never again........well, probably until next time. Sam xx

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Christmas play...

Mr Bucket and I went to Bucket jnr's Christmas asembly this morning, his FIRST one.

It was brilliant!!

I had hopes of it being hilarious as earlier in the year he did a Harvest Festival assembly and about halfway through started an elbow fight with the boy next to him (defending himself, of course) and then during a singing bit he decided he didn't want to sing - he wanted to dance....and so he did. It was soooo funny.

So we sat and waited to see what would happen this time. I'm afraid I put him off to start with as I stood to the side, like any pushy proud parent to take pictures. He just sat and looked at me instead of singing, so I sat back down again.

Cue lots of hand waving and smiling and bobbing up and down as he tried to see us. He also wasn't too comfortable in his shephard garb, by the end I thought he was going to strip off.

It wasn't just him though, we saw lots of yawning; waving; nearly falling off the stage; nudging; face pulling - in fact, just about everything that you'd expect from 3-5 year olds.

As I said, BRILLIANT!!! Sam xx

Monday, 5 December 2011

Quiet time...

I'm sitting all by myself tonight.

The kids are in bed, Mr Bucket is in bed too with the start of flu and I'm sitting here looking at the computer with just the Christmas tree decorations for company. It's actually quite nice.

I let the kids decorate the tree this year which was kind of hard for me as I've decorated the family tree since I was a kid (not even my brother or sister got a look-in). It's something I like to do as I like to get all the baubles and little treasures in just the right place (I know, control freak again).

It was hard for me not to interfere and move some of the baubles into better positions but I stopped myself and let them get on with it. The only thing I was really worried about is that a lot of the decorations are really old and from when I was a child (yes, really old!!!) and they might have broke them, accidentally of course.

But they didn't and they were really proud of themselves and the job they did.

And so am I.

Some of the blogs I follow have been showing Christmas songs that they love (yes Anne, I love Michael Buble too) so I thought I'd share one of my favourites.

I love this man's singing and this song always gives me that warm, fuzzy Christmassy feeling. Sam xx

Sunday, 4 December 2011

School fete...

Yesterday I went to a brilliant school Christmas Fete. Our local Infant and Junior school are on the same site but split in two so the school held the fete in both the school halls - infant hall for infant children and junior hall having older children's items.

Usually I spend way too much on tat that someone else has thrown given away to add to the ever-growing number of toys that my children will never play with more than once.

But this time they had some really good stalls at the fete, some of the parents were showing off some of their skills - card making, jewellery, sewing, honey. And yes, I did contribute some cakes to the cake stall. I didn't see them so I'm hoping that they were eaten very quickly because they did look really good (even if I do say so myself and Miss Bucket told me they were really tasty).

The plain ones are for Bucket jnr who doesn't like icing - finicky little so and so

The kids bought some great items, lovely books and there were even some magnets that featured Moshi Monsters (Miss Bucket's new obsession). I even bought something for me, a lovely tape measure made from felt which I'm going to treasure.

Only had one sticky moment when Bucket jnr saw a little dinosaur jumping toy. We were just sorting out the money when another lady reached across and picked it up - I wasn't having that....
"Excuse me.....".

Apparently she had gone away and came back to get it but, in my eyes, she'd had her chance and it was now ours and I wasn't going to let her take it away from Bucket jnr who had his heart set on it.

It wasn't handbags at dawn, more like I've got a shopping bag and I'm not afraid to use it.

We got it.

Everything went smoothly and then Mr Bucket was persuaded to buy me some mulled wine (well, it is nearly Christmas you know) - it was VERY strong but tasted lovely and it went down really well. I paid for it though, I don't generally drink too much and even that small glass gave me a fuzzy head.

I'm trying to think if I became louder after drinking it and did I become one of those annoyingly loud parents that you can hear across the playground (well, louder than normal anyway). Hopefully not, Mr Bucket didn't say anything and he's usually the first to let me know.  Sam xx

Thursday, 1 December 2011

One of those days...

Do you ever have those days when everything seems to go wrong.

I don't have them too often but every now and then they creep up on me and bite me on the bottom. Not a big bite all of the time, sometimes it's just little things that happen just to annoy you.

Today seems to be one of those days:-

I have a serious case of 'dropsy', everything I handle amazingly ends up on the floor;
I walk into doors, even automatic ones at shops;
I spill things;
I lose things (hopefully will turn up somewhere strange in a few days time);

And today, the biggie for me - my washing machine was full of water and even though I shouldn't be able to open the door (it has a lock which is meant to stop this), I CAN. I have no idea where this water has appeared from as I have been quite slow with my washing for the past couple of days. It is just there.

The day has yet to end so I know that something else is waiting for me.

I'm having chilli for tea.....WHY????? Why did I cook chilli today???!!!

Does anyone have a big bib that I can borrow. Sam xx