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It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…

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The Christmas tree went up yesterday. I think that’s the earliest we’ve ever started our Christmassey build up but we couldn’t wait any longer!

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After a rugby tackle, a headlock and a heated discussion it was agreed that it was Lily’s turn to put the star on the tree this year.

And our decorating theme this year is ‘the more the merrier’. Like it is every year. Otherwise known as ‘throw every decoration we’ve ever owned onto the tree’. And I love it!

Continuing cosiness.

I had a whole weekend off this weekend – what sheer joy! And I had originally planned some energetic activities.  You know, the sort that would actually require us to get dressed and leave the house.  But after my Friday afternoon cosy-fest I decided on an indulgent, all out pyjama day on Saturday. BLIIIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS!  In our defense, we have all been knocked sideways by various tummy bugs and coughs & colds, so (in my mind anyway) a PJ day was practically medicinal.

We baked…(using this recipe – the dough was LOVELY to work with and the results yummy!)

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and I crocheted little stars…(very cute – pattern found here)…

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and played with Hama beads…made homemade wholemeal pizzas using this recipe for the base, and topped with BBQ sauce, chorizo, peppers and cheese (I didn’t get any photos as they didn’t survive long enough!)…watched rubbish TV…had loooonnnnngggg bubble baths..read some of my favorite blogs (including 71toes, Posie gets Cozy, My Rose Valley….and took time to smell the lillies.

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Mark brought these home for me last week when I was feeling most sorry for myself.  He also brought Imodium, Sudofed, extra loo roll and a Greggs Custard Slice.  Who said romance was dead?  That man knows me so well.

Sunday continued in the same way after church.  Mark went to play golf, the kids went about their various indoor activities and I snoozed on the sofa.  We had the first rehearsal of our new choir last night and it was so lovely.  We are practicing songs for a couple of Christmas services.  I LOVE Christmas music and I came home having sung/bellowed/screeched my heart out feeling all festive.  Which added to my weekend of cosy beautifully!

November

I’ve been feeling very ‘Novemberish’ over the past couple of days.  But I decided that that is a GOOD thing!  I’ve always hated November.  And January and February, come to think of it.  But I found myself with a spare hour before the school run this afternoon so I filled it with some of my favorite things…

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…a lit fire, a hot chocolate, crochet, something tasty to eat (NOT slimming world friendly – ooops!).  And I decided I like the cosiness of November, more so because of rain and cold outside.

 

I’ve finished the bobble blanket and I LOVE IT!  Hopefully it’ll be going to it’s new home next week.

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But in case I want to make another one again I thought I’d better make a note of the pattern (taught to me by my Mum)…

chain row in multiples of 5, plus and extra 4, plus two for turning.

Row 1: triples across the whole row.

Row 2: 4 double crochets. Make 4 trebles into the next stictch then take your hook out of the stitch, insert it into the first of the 4 trebles and slip stitch it through the fourth treble (which makes the bobble).  Carry on with another 4 doubles, then repeat with another bobble, then carry on like this for the rest of the row.

Row 3: Trebles all the way back again.

Row 4: Double crochets with a new colour.

Row 5: Double crochets with the old colour,

then repeat from row 2.

I hope I can make sense of that if I need the pattern again!

 

I’ve got the urge to paint that blue wall green.  I feel a pinterest binge coming on to get some inspiration!  It’d be great to get it done before Christmas.

 

Domesticity

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Marbles! Although they can get everywhere and are a pain in the bum when you’re trying to hoover, I can’t begrudge Paddy his collection because I remember how much I loved them when I was younger. He’s got quite a lot now and he had a quick play with them before school.

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I’ve had a lovely day today. Lily has been off school poorly (she’s feeling much better already) so I’ve been grounded at home. Which has been wonderful.

Very rainy day + a day off = pyjama baking! I love putting an apron on over my PJs, switching five live on the radio and baking something sweet and cakey.

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Today I made Marmalade Cake using a recipe I found hehttp://circleofpinetrees.com/category/baking/a-cake-for-the-weekend/re.

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Although the recipe calls for Seville oranges and (preferably homemade) seville orange marmalade I just used what I had in the cupboard. Good old Aldi’s marmalade. And the cake turned out to be very yummy indeed!

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I spent a couple of hours cleaning the house (boring, but necessary to keep up with my New Year’s resolutions) so felt I deserved to relax and enjoy my library book – Janet Evanovich’s latest Stephanie Plum novel…sheer bliss! She’s one of the very few authors that can make me laugh out loud.

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It felt good to be at home with the rain belting down outside, feeling snug and domesticated.

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I need to make sure I build more days like this into my life – with or without the rain!

2014 – The Plan

Ok, so this year there is going to be a plan.  Some proper resolutions, that last the whole year and actually have a positive and long lasting effect on our lives.  And here they are in writing, so I can keep myself accountable.  And this is likely to be a work in progress!  I feel positive about these as I’ve actually already made a start on some of them…

Family

While I’d love to aim for one proper family night a week, in reality I know how difficult that can be when I’m working shifts. So rather than make a vague ‘let’s aim for more family time’ type if resolution, and in the spirit of making SMART goals, I’m going to aim for a proper, no electron devices and no TV, type family evening a fortnight.

Mark and I could really benefit from more time to ourselves so I’d like to try and arrange for us to go out on our own once a month. As this year is the spending fast year we’ll have to be imaginative about what no-spend dates we can come up with! Childcare shouldn’t be too difficult as we have friends in similar situations that will happily trade babysitting stints.

And I need more time with my lovely girly. She’s 13 now and in the blink of an eye she’ll be all grown up and leaving home do I need to cherish our relationship now.

Also on the home front; I need to get both kids into a proper after school homework routine. Both if them would really benefit from some more input and encouragement from us. But this needs to start happening on a daily basis.

Finances

I want to pay off all of our smaller credit card balances.  I’ll work out the exact figures soon. And then we’ll just be left with our bank loan and the one credit card.  The BIG ONE.  And I’ll do whatever it takes to get these paid off…shopping cheaply, cooking frugally, living on as little as possible and getting rid of my car.

I’m working on saving an emergency fund. The ‘life or death/boiler blowing up’ type of emergency, NOT to be used just because we’re running a bit short some months.

In a bid to minimise my spending I pledge to NOT GO INTO SUPERMARKETS! If I run out if something I’d rather pop to the local corner shop and pay over the odds for something, than allow myself to be drawn into the lovely rows of clothes, books & DVDs and 500 different types of pasta to choose from. And all those BOGOF offers! I appear to have no control in these situations at all so I’m just not going to put myself in temptations way.

I plan to create my own WANTS v NEEDS list. And ensure my spending is only for items on the ‘need’ side if the page.

Home

The one word that I want to sum up my goals for our home in 2014 is….DECLUTTER!  There are too many of us living in too small a house, and we all have too much stuff.  Seeing as I can’t do anything about the size of our house (at the moment) the thing that has got to give is the amount of clutter that has invaded our space.  This is going to have to be a work in progress and I’ve no doubt that this will be a long haul.  But I’d like to get to the point that we could invite someone round on the spur of the moment, rather  than needing a fortnight’s notice to get the place vaguely civilised.  I want our home to be a haven from the outside world.  And it’s not at the moment.

Craft

I hearby promise that I WILL NOT start another project until I have finished the many WIPs that I have lying around first.  This will be a hard one to keep!

So 2014 promises to be a busy year, with lots of hard work and ongoing changes.  I’ve put a reminder in my diary every three months, to put some time aside to evaluate the progress I make, and to try and work out what else I can do to help me achieve my goals.

I’m a woman on a mission!  2014…BRING IT ON!