How nice to have a few moments to blog, even if it is only while I'm waiting for biscuits to cook for an afternoon of visitors tomorrow.
The last day of term yesterday went by in a blur of activity.
I spent the morning preparing as much as I possibly could prepare in advance for a Xmas dinner with my parents and the afternoon watching my little girl in church with her schoolmates singing Carols. It was a lovely service and although I neglected to pick up the sheet with the words to the Carols, I surprised myself with how many I knew confidently by heart (Hymns and Carol singing featured quite heavily when I was at school).
Back home, it was all systems GO to get the Xmas dinner ready. I made a pie with quorn fillets and homemade mushroom pate that turned out well enough that my dad took the leftovers home with him for his lunch next day.
Despite telling us the interest on his savings was virtually non-existence these days so he would not be spending as much on Christmas presents this year, my dad came laden with festively wrapped gifts and a large Santa sack containing surprises that he was itching to distribute. After dinner, his impatience could be contained no longer. He did not take much persuasion to put on a Santa outfit (probably still a bit sweaty from my Santa Run) and with an exuberant flourish, emptied the contents of the sack onto my coffee table. Sweets and chocolates and biscuits and a packet of monkey nuts (!) cascaded into a tantalising pile of goodies and inevitably, a feeding frenzy ensued.
The kids LOVED it.
Once the initial wave of overindulgence had subsided, I did manage to make some sense of my dad's generous contribution to the Xmas confection, putting some away for the days to come but leaving enough to keep the children feeling thoroughly spoiled.
My parents are amazingly fit and well for their age but they do get tired and do like to be back in their own home at a reasonable time. After they left, we had enough evening remaining to play a fiercely competitive game of Family Fortunes (complete with buzzer that made the trademark 'Uh-Uh" sound when a wrong answer was given). It was great fun.
The following day, my husband and I had been invited to a our daughter's house for mince pies and coffee. Although my daughter and her boyfriend have been a couple for longer than my husband and I have (only just!), we have never been formally introduced to his parents and certainly have never been all under the same roof at the same time. The coffee and mince pie invitation was the opportunity to put this right.
I really enjoyed sitting in my daughter's living room which almost a year ago we had been busy decorating and preparing for them to move in. I remembered how freezing cold it was then and how my fingers would became too numb to hold a paintbrush. Now it was warm and cosy with lights twinkling on the beautifully decorated tree that was my Xmas gift to them, the smell of freshly made coffee and plates of dainty nibbles. It was perfect.
I spent the afternoon trying to get my kitchen organised for our Christmas celebrations. My husband returned from an expedition to a local farm shop with the little ones with a brussel sprout tree, a sack of unwashed spuds, some odd looking carrots, some beautiful parsnips and a little boy desperately in need of a change of clothes after jumping in too many muddy puddles.
It has been a wonderfully packed, festive couple of days but nothing says Christmas to me quite as much as a brussel sprout tree.