Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The case of the missing Rolos*

On Monday when we went for a long forest walk, and filled our pockets with nice things to eat in case we got lost, Smallest snaffled a packet of Rolos in his pocket. While he was waiting for us to get ready, he played football with himself and his rolo's fell out into the snow (he didn't know at the time). Today Huffle found them, Smallest was very pleased.

We had a late breakfast of pancakes (I think we have finally found the perfect recipe and the perfect amount as we only had one left and we didn't pig ourselves), before starting to take our Christmas decorations down. We left the tree, as it is still very healthy and luscious and looks so purdy (pretty). The boys partly put away their Christmas presents and we dusted and swept ready for the New Year.

We made a jelly for Smallest, a Chocolate trifle for Small and a yummy scrummy Whisky Baileys Trifle for the big 'uns (I had much fun tasting whilst making)**. There was more Loom Bandz made, elastic Bands balls added to and books read.

After lunch we all played Alhambra (Moo won even though she said she had no idea what she was doing - likely story). Late afternoon Moo and I jigsawed and Small did some more homework and Huffle and Smallest played football on the Wii. Small's homework for the holidays was to listen to eight songs from the Romantic Era of Classical music (four chosen by his music teacher and four chosen by Small) and identify the main instrument, the tempo, the accompanying instruments and how he feels about the music. He has been very interested in this homework and had put a lot of effort in it. He uses the BlueTooth headphones to listen and brings them down every now and then. Moo and I have been particularly enjoying listening to the music.

After dinner and our New Years Eve Trifles (ours was a bit heavy on the Whiskey hic), the boys watched TV and we played UPSET.

The kids wanted to stay up until 12 but as we normally struggle doing this we said no. Smallest was struggling at 8pm as it was.


Here's to 2015 x




Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Bless You

Huffle had an appointment at the dentist so Moo and I decided to take the kids to the Mall. Small needed more Elastic Bands, Smallest needed a container to keep his bands organised and wanted an Elastic Band Ball, they both had Book Vouchers and Christmas money to spend and we needed a Birthday present for an eight year old boy.

We did really well as we started in the book shop and spent their vouchers and got the Birthday present. Next we went to the toy shop where Smallest got his container and some Lego. We went into a couple more shops, one of which I met a man called Jesus (probably pronounced Heyzoos - bless you). The boys bought themselves a wii game and we finished our shopping. Huffle, after his dentistry, managed to buy the boys some elastic bands so Small can continue his ball and Smallest can start a new one.

We ate in the Mall and then came home. The kids went out today dressed in the same tops purely by accident (Moo bought them in England but didn't know she had got them the same ones). They didn't seem to mind.

I couldn't get them to stand together without hurting each other!

The rest of the day was spent tidying, Loom Bandz making, playing table tennis, playing on Gadgets and Lego.

My favourite quote from Small's new book.


Monday, 29 December 2014

We're walking in the air

Time to get some fresh air today, so after breakfast (which was late due to lie-ins), we drove to Glen Major Forest (15 minutes away) and started our walk. The temperature was -3* which wasn't too cold and inside the forest it was quite sheltered. Still, we all wore thermals, scarves, gloves etc.

Moo is not wearing an old lady scarf, it is my snood that she borrowed.

We climbed to the top and were above the forest. It was so bright and clear that we could see all the way over the trees and to the Lake.

At the top we found a cool bench that also doubled as a table - we would like one of these please Grandad next to the fire pit!

We walked deep into the forest with Moo and the boys pretending to ski, snowboard and sledge (all without snow says Moo - not everybody can do that you know!)

Right in the middle of the forest we found a Candian Flag attached to a branch.

We picked up silver birch sticks to make snowman decorations for next Christmas and threw stones into the icy ponds to try and break the ice.

After walking out of the forest and then back in again and walking a long way down a new path in the wrong direction (Huffle got his directions a bit wrong) and then a much longer way back the other way until we hit the car park. All in all we think we walked about 8km in two hours. Nice.

We had the odd jelly baby to keep us going and Small managed a whole Crunchie all to himself (piggy!). It was a lovely walk and we were all hungry at the end so we went to a place in Uxbridge but remembered Uxbridge shuts (yes pretty much the whole town) on a Monday. It's silly how quickly you forget what day it is during the Christmas Holidays. We tried another place but that was shut too and ended up in a Country Coffee/Mr sub, now this little family is not very good at Fast Food. We never eat at MacDonalds, rarely go to Tim Hortons and never do Burger King, KFC or places like that. So with the knowledge we were hungry and not near anything else we tried to order something quick. We make fast food service look bad as we stand oohing and ahhing over what we want. Eventually Moo, Small and I had a bagel with cream cheese (very adventurous) and Smallest and Huffle shared a steak and cheese sub.

Next we dropped Huffle and Smallest off at the Tire whilst the rest of us picked up some groceries for tea and the week ahead. We also picked up a few Christmas bargains for next year including an Elf Advent Calendar.

Back home, the boys had long needed showers and played on the IPads while the big people made Beef Canneloni and Spinach and Ricotta Canelloni for dinner.




Sunday, 28 December 2014

A single flurry

We had an 'in' day today. There was a moment when the snow decided to come and Moo got very excited. Then it stopped and that was that! Huffle watched stoke win again.

We finished off our Bowling Dice game (I won) and learned a new game called S'quarrels. It was quite good once we got our head around it. (I won that too). Moo and I finally managed to get the edges on the jigsaw and started to do the middle.

Huffle sorted out his football cards in a frame and hung it. There was plenty of hanging of new pictures, putting away of new clothes and bits and bobs.

Aunt Pear bought us this tea towel showing lots of villages in our Home County. There are plenty we don't know and lots we can't find on the map.

Moo and I sorted out the front 'closet' and went through all the coats, hats, gloves, scarves and various other snow gear we have. All organised now.

The boys played some more Wii U and late afternoon Small's friend Cog came round and had pizza with us while we watched Ant Boy (which was a terrible film dubbed from Dutch).

Messing around with Smallest's kaleidoscope and a camera


Saturday, 27 December 2014

Yearly Hobbit Viewing

It seems very strange to us here in the North Pole (oh okay, not quite) that we have no snow and our homeland has plenty. Friends are making snowmen and sledging and we are walking in the 6* (that's a bit warmer Mrs Rumbleskins) sunshine. Keep warm Brits.

Smallest came in to us at 1am ish after a nightmare about people banging on our doors and trying to steal our things. His breath smelled awful (he is obviously suffering with his throat) and we tried to help him think of nice things. Eventually he went back to his own bed and we finally got back to sleep.

By the time we got up, Moo had already showered, emptied and refilled the dishwasher and was setting the table for breakfast. (It's good to have hired help - she also sorted out all the washing and drying this morning). After breakfast Moo, Smallest and I perfected the loom bands triple single bracelets (oh yes experts now), the boys played on the Wii U and Huffle Skyped Grandma and Aunt Pear.

We had a lovely dinner out in Uxbridge at the Tin Mill.

We got to sit by the fire.

The boys had Burgers, Huffle had Herbed Chicken Panini and Soup and Moo and I had Roasted Root Vegetable Pot Pie and Salad. Ummmm ummm. We don't normally have pudding but today we decided (well I probably decided) we would have pudding so we chose three between the five of us. I forgot to take a photo of the delicious things we chose but I did take one of the finished plates.

Triple Choclate Torte. Butterscotch Tart with a Graham Cracker Crust. Ginger and Molasses with a Lime Mousse topping. OH MY GOODNESS, they were heavenly.

Small finished his elastic band ball and we all started a new game of dice bowling (good but complicated scoring)

As time was getting on (we had a late lunchtime dinner) we dropped Moo and Smallest off at home and Huffle, Small and I carried on to the IMAX cinema to watch The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. We had huge 3D glasses to wear and the sound was incredible. We were having trouble with our glasses in that one side didn't look very clear. In fact if you closed your left eye, the picture was very dark. Apparently someone in the audience complained. We know that because ten minutes in, the film was paused, two members of staff came in and told us the film needed to be rebooted and a small voice shouted IT WAS MY DAD THAT COMPLAINED.

The film was re-started and looked much better. I personally didn't like the way it was filmed. I felt it was like a documentary style. It was very clever, the sound was amazing and the 3Dness was great. At times I felt like we were in the film but it was partly spoiled for me by the way it was shot. We can't wait to see what it is like on DVD in our own home. Everyone enjoyed it nonetheless and we are sorry that it is the end of the Hobbit films as it has been a nice tradition at Christmas time. There was a trailer for a film called Jupiter Ascending which looked very good.

Back home, Moo was jigsawing with Smallest after watching the film Turbo. The boys watched TV whilst Moo and I started a new jigsaw after finishing the previous one.

2 pieces missing!


Friday, 26 December 2014

Fantasy of Mud

Boxing Day. Typically a day where everyone looks at their presents and removes the boxes. Well that's my interpretation. When I got up this morning (at a lovely 9am ish time) Smallest had lovingly laid his presents on the sofa so he could see them all. He was practising his zentangling from a book we had bought him.

He had also made a little den for some of his presents using a cushion and a remote control. Very inventive.

He still has more presents squirrelled in his Christmas Bag. I wonder what he will do with those? After breakfast the boys played on the Wii U (Smallest came up and gave me a big cuddle and thanked me again for getting it for them), Moo and I watched videos of how to Arm Knit, make Pom-poms and ice a Gingerbread house and Huffle watched Stoke.

This time last year we were playing in the snow and making a snowman, but there is no snow yet and any previous snow has disappeared.

After lunch and lots of Loom Bandz Bracelet attempts by Moo, Smallest and I while Huffle and Small learnt our new game Alhambra (very good thanks Rumbleskins), we decided to get out for some fresh air. We walked for about an hour and a half through the village.

It was odd to be walking on a late December day with temperatures of around 2*, no snow, and the sun was out.

We walked while the boys scooted and were still out as the sun went down. The sky was spectacular.

Back home we had a quick dinner of yesterday's leftovers and then drove to Uxbridge where we witnessed the Fantasy of Lights show in the park. In the four Christmas' we have been here, we missed the first year because we didn't know about it, the second wasn't working the night we visited, last year there was the ice storm and power cut, so it was nice to finally see it this year. It was pretty amazing.

The whole park was full of lights with lit up pathways guiding us around the park past various lightshows by organizations and companies.

Unfortunately because there was no snow and the temperatures were warmish, there was a lot of mud (which some of us got stuck in a bit). There was also Christmas music.

I really enjoyed it and so did Moo and the boys. Huffle was too worried about the mud and his car I think to fully appreciate it. We all think it would be more magical in the snow but I don't think we are going to get much before the lights finish on the 31 December.





Thursday, 25 December 2014

My favourite part of Trifle is the boudoir fingers*

Last night Santa managed to sneak past the eldest Elf in the house (Small not Moo) and put a few presents in his stocking hanging on his door. He also ate the mince pie and drank the orange juice (leaving us with minimal OJ for ourselves this morning). Small had trouble sleeping last night. First he was too excited, then too warm, then the rain was noisy, our film was too noisy, the wind was too windy. He was still awake at 12 midnight. Smallest slept well as usual. Huffle managed to set up the Wii U whilst watching Scrooged. He did a lovely job and then we put a piece of wrapping paper over the front of the cupboard to hide it a little bit.

This morning Small ran in to our room at 7:30am shouting "get up get up". HAS HE BEEN? They came in to bed briefly for a cuddle and then ran off to wake Moo. Apparently she was trying to get out of bed but Smallest wouldn't let her. Eventually when we could prise our eyes open, we crawled downstairs. It felt like it was the middle of the night (possibly because the wind was so wild last night that it kept us awake too).

Our stockings were investigated first. Santa had left us chocolates, toys and lovely things. Small was just too excited to wait for anything so while I had a shower, he put the presents into piles for each of us.

Small went through his presents at a fast pace. Smallest opened his quite quickly too (some years we have still been opening his days later) but he tried things on and opened them and played a bit, whereas Small just opened, put to one side and found the next one and when all of his were opened he went in search of the presents we had hidden. They found a few hidden in the kitchen and then went into the basement where they found another few.

Tennis Raquet, Smallest didn't get a box of Cornflakes but he thought he had (there was something hidden in there). Smallest got his big poster of Minions and a new dressing gown.

Then they noticed the paper over the cupboard and ripped it off. Their faces were of complete wonderment as they noticed the Wii U. Smallest came up and gave me the biggest hug and they were jumping up and down and dancing. Of course, they wanted to play and that's where they stayed for the most part of the day. In between they found more presents, came up for drinks and for dinner.

Huffle's new snow goggles and mask, Colour changing ball (both boys had these).

Lots of Wii games, England Tops and others, Santa Beards, Books, Baseball Bat and Ball and Basketball.

Today dinner was a very organised affair. We put the turkey on early (it needed four hours) and the grown ups carried on opening presents until we decided to stop to prepare the rest of dinner. It pretty much all came together around 2:30pm and we sat down with a glass of wine (and Apple and Blackberry Squash - a present from Santa) and a lovely dinner. No pudding till later as we were full.

Trifle, gingerbread, Christmas Table.

The boys returned to the Wii U after a brief chat (or maybe a wave) with Grandma and Grandad on Skype. Moo and I cleared away and then made a Treacle Sponge and warmed the Christmas Pudding while Huffle Skyped Aunt Pear and HB.

We finished off unwrapping our presents (we had some lovely presents) the boys carried on playing, and then early evening we all stopped for a small tea. Moo bought the boys Red Leicester Cheese (can't get that here unless it's import from the market) and they had that with crackers. Small decided he now likes Brie, Cheshire but is not so keen on Wensleydale with Cranberries - shame.

The gingerbread house was attacked and the trifle dug into. More clearing up and the boys watched TV before bed.

*when Small tried the trifle today he said "my favourite part of a trifle is the boudoir fingers". I found that a very funny statement for an eleven year old boy. He didn't know why.


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Let's Go Mallard!

My husband is so Rock n Roll. At breakfast this morning he announced he was having a Christmas treat in his porridge. BRANDY I replied. "Oh I could have Baileys couldn't I?" He said. IS THAT WHAT YOU WERE GOING TO HAVE? "No, Raspberry Jam!" Honestly. Raspberry Jam in his porridge! Chamomile Tea at his Christmas Party! This boy needs to calm down!

We spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon assembling the gingerbread house, making decorations for the chocolate log and decorating gingerbread biscuits.

Moo said yesterday that I should have a plan for the gingerbread house, with templates and what to do etc. today I realised she was right (shhh don't tell her I said that). The house was built and glued together using Mary Berry's foolproof icing and the boys decorated it. I never made any roof supports so we decided upon a flat roof. Well everyone knows that flat roofs, lots of snow and roof tiles don't work in Canada and eventually it collapsed, taking the back wall with it. I then placed the roof on a different way and added some biscuits for the middle. There is a structural support inside which is an upside down Sundae Glass (old school Aunty Kat).

Huffle and Small were asked to make a Robin for the log but instead made a Blue Jay. I thought it was a duck, Moo thought it was a mallard and when Huffle Skyped Grandma and Grandad later, they thought it was a penguin.

After baking and decorating and clearing was done, we set about making pasta from scratch. Small mixed, Huffle kneaded and the boys and Huffle rolled and cut. Moo and I prepared the sauces and accompaniaments and Garlic Bread. Finally, with a glass of Italian Red, we sat down to eat mid afternoon. It was worth it.

Late afternoon we sat down and watched Polar Express before the boys were allowed to open one present each (as is tradition for us on Christmas Eve). Of course they chose to open their presents from each other which were Nerf Guns. Then the Nerf war began.

Lots of shooting, cowering, splatting and then a visit from Mrs Royal who had a singing dancing hat and brought us a present (she may have been a bit merry too).

I had a message on my phone which said "fancy a Skype call?" DEPENDS WHO IT IS I said as I didn't recognise the number. It was the Rumbleskins and we had a lovely call with them. Stilll Christmas Eve for us but Christmas morning for them. We got to see some really cool presents and the sunshine outside. No snow for them!

No snow for us either. All of our snow has pretty much gone and it looks drizzly outside. We are supposed to have flurries tomorrow - we'll see.

There were three video messages from Santa this year. One each for the boys and one for Moo. Unfortunately he couldn't tell any of them if they were on the nice or naughty list - I'm not surprised, the way they have all been behaving!!



Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A rare night out!

Small went off to play at Cog's house for most of today. Huffle went off to the dentist late morning and came back late lunchtime. Smallest, Moo and I played, jigsawed and walked to the Beer Store. We took back 21 wine bottles, 18 beer bottles and a couple of spirits bottles (one was last years brandy for the Christmas cake). We get money back on the bottles here and we got at least a bottle of free wine to the value of about $13. Not bad! Clean sheet for Grandad in the Spring when he can start collecting them again.

After lunch we left Smallest (still complaining slightly about his arm) and Huffle playing Junior Monopoly, Table Tennis and Scabs and Scrapes (at which point we came back and I had it play too). Moo and I went shopping for food and my windscreen wipers.

Back home we made the start of the gingerbread house. Moo and I mixed and weighed, Huffle squished, Moo kneaded it and I rolled it. Small came home and the two boys cut out shapes with Moo. The house is complete with stained glass windows (a la Mary Berry) and will be put together tomorrow.

Huffle and I left the boys and Moo and went out for an Indian Meal together.

It was lovely and we sat by the fire. Afterwards we went for a trip round the Mall (just because we could) without the pressure of having to buy anything because everything is already bought, though we did get a couple of bits.

Messing in the Mall.

When we came home, Moo was busy with the jigsaw and the boys were fast asleep and had been Angels.