Happy Christmas Time!!

Happy Holidays 2011 everyone!

I hope you are all having a wonderful time celebrating Christ’s birth with your family and friend! As for me, I am enjoying yummy food cooked by my Mum-in-Law, wonderful company with all my family in law and the greatest fun playing with and reading to my 21 month old niece!

See you soon!!

(and enjoy the Christmas pudding! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

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Pausing

As any of you who have been reading my blog for any amount of time will have seen, I try to keep my blog posts upbeat, positive, funny (when at all possible), optimistic, colourful … you get the point! ๐Ÿ™‚

On a few occasions, however, I have found myself compelled to break my own principles and write about the deeper things in life – or at least to right about them in a fittingly serious manner.

Now is one of those occasions.

Christmas is a time to celebrate so many things, first and foremost the birth of Jesus. It’s meant to be a time of family and friends, fun and laughter, joy and happy memories … but amongst the baking and shopping, cooking and decorating, parties and present giving … for some of us this is also a very hard time of year, when we miss family and friends who are no longer with us, grieve for sad events and find that our sorrow is at least as equal to our joy, even as everyone celebrates around us.

Yesterday evening one of my friends, also a former house-mate, lost one of his close friends. He died in hospital of brain injuries, after being hit by a bus just the day before.

One of L and I’s old friends is driving herself and her Mum an hour to hospital and then another hour back every day. S’s brother has been in hospital for a while now and has had surgery, but is not getting better.

My friend H is visiting her Grandmother’s grave tomorrow, on the 1st anniversary of her death. She will be going with her Mum and they are both finding it hard, missing her and especially at this time of year.

My Nana died on Christmas Day last year. I loved her dearly and am missing her this holiday season more than other times. I want to be happy that she is in a much better place and getting to celebrate her favourite holiday with Jesus! But the hole will still be there.

My Mum is finding these weeks very hard, as she faces a year since her Mother died. She almost cried when I told her I would be wearing Nana’s wedding and engagement rings on Christmas day.

So right now, I am pausing in the middle of my nearly-Christmas rush, to remember all those who have sorrows this Christmas, to pray for every person who is sad, for whatever reason, during this Season of Joy.

Maybe you could join me?

Christmas is nearly here … !!

So I told you about my Christmas Pudding adventures …

… they seemed to turn out alright and tasted nice and Christmasey …

… and the hubby was so eager to taste them that his knife got caught all ready to plunge into action!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I set to on a crazy amount of Christmas baking, which supplied a quantity of Christmas treats for L’s friends …

… Sticky Chocolate Brownies …

… Christmas Flapjack (Flapjack with sultanas/golden raisins and mixed spice) …

… and last, but most definitely my hubby’s favourite out of them all – Chocolate Tiffin! ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ve also been working on the finishing touches of my home-made Christmas presents …

… the specific details of which will not be revealed …

… until after the gifts have been given …

…yup, I know some of my present-recievers read my blog, so, although you might be able to pick up clues, I’m going to pretend it’s all a big secret, and not reveal the exact details until after Christmas!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and here’s the Christmas Wreath on our front door …

… and our beautiful Christmas tree, which my hubby, A, J and B put up and mostly decorated yesterday evening, with the help of homemade Mulled Wine, before we all went to a Carol Service at our L, B’s and my church …

… I’m afraid, boys, that I added a few more decorations …

… one of which was our Christmas 2011 Tree Decoration!

I started last year, the first Christmas L and I were married, and I’m going to add a Christmas Tree decoration each Christmas, with the date noted on the back!

Ahh, I love feeding a houseful of hungry boys … especially when they put up and decorate my Christmas tree for me!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Christmas Fairies!

On Friday my best mate R and I were daubed Christmas Fairies!

It has become a tradition, over the last three years, for R and I to decorate an older couple’s Christmas tree – M and S C (One of my Mamas and her wonderful husband) …

Friday lunch time found R, myself and my hubby having a truly sumptuous roast chicken dinner round at the C’s home!

Than, after M and hubby went out to attend to important matters, R and I transformed the naked Christmas tree into a thing of beauty!!

It was decided that as Christmas Fairies we had to wear halos/wreaths …

Mine was an actual Christmas door wreath …

R’s halo was a much more inventive arrangement of a Christmas flower decoration …

And, of course …

… we looked beautiful! Just like real fairies!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Christmas Pudding!

Last year, the first Christmas L and I were married, I made a Christmas pudding … it was big … it smelled scrumptious … and we never ate it!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

It was a massive pudding and, bearing in mind I had to steam it for 1-2 hours in a pan of boiling water before we could eat it, what was the point? It could have easily fed 11+ people, and there are just 2 of us …

So eventually, come March/April, I put our beautifully muslin-wrapped, but sadly neglected Christmas pudding in the bin …

Oh dear.

This Christmas however I am starting afresh … I gathered my ingredients …

… carefully consulted my ingredients and the cooking method many times over …

… crumbled my breadcrumbs …

(Take my advice and if you have a gadget that will do this for you – use it! Talk about aching fingers … )

I weighed, chopped and grated …

… admired the many ingredients …

(Yup, I know, it is a saucepan I’m mixing my Christmas pudding in, but my biggest mixing bowl was too small, so I had no choice!! ๐Ÿ˜› )

Ok, so this stage doesn’t look quite so pretty …

… but once they’re in their little individual little tins though, don’t they look cute?!? ๐Ÿ˜›

Now I can give some puddings away as Christmas gifts and finish cooking two little puddings just for my hubby and I!! ๐Ÿ˜€

This method of steaming the puddings (after placing the little puddings in the tin, half fill the roasting tin with boiling water and bake/steam for 1 hour) was so much more simple and immeasurably less bother than the method I used last year!

After slipping these little beauties in the oven I proceeded to cook a Chicken Saag Curry … interesting aroma combinations!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰