Christmas Photos 2012 (Part 1)

I thought I’d share some photos of how my Christmas is building up. It’s going to be a good one I can tell. My son’s got a list as long as my arm for Santa and my 3-year old daughter wants spaghetti and meatballs from our bearded friend.

Our church altar is gorgeous, thanks to Martha, Hazel and their team *wink* (you ladies are amazing!)

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We had Christmas jumper Sunday last week.

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I went for some crazy Christmas hair and I’m working the new look ;-).

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We’ve had fun with our neighbours and friends, from candy cane Lego to applauding a “Star” at the Christmas nativity.

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I’m looking forward to hosting this Christmas. It should be quiet for us but slightly noisier on Boxing Day when we open our doors to friendly troops.

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Merry Christmas!! xx

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Storytelling in pictures- Calming Mallorca and the Invisible Man

I spent a vacation week in Mallorca (ma-yor-ca). 21 degree celsius, swimming pool 5 steps from my door, great Spanish cuisine, smiling Europeans… great time away for me! Here’s the story and you’ll be glad to know it means far less text from me. Enjoy!

An invisible man followed me as a reminder that thinking about work or studies was out of the question and to ensure that I tried to relax.

The waters were beautiful and calm so I said I would try…

Voices in my head took time to quiet down and fierce faces of skulls and men charged towards my fragile frame.

I could have sworn I was seeing things when the mud people moved but this kid obviously had similar suspicions as me…

Seeing my invisible chaperone watching over me must have been the trick that did it for me…

Now I’m relaxed and enjoying the tall heights of the watering cliffs and thinking of the possibilities in store for me.

Finally, I’m ready for home and a good meal- Aromas is the place to be.

Ciao! 🙂

Invasion of Extreme sports (I am the Resistance)

There are two types of people in this world: People that do extreme sports and people who don’t. I’m of the latter breed.

I first knew I hadn’t been bitten by the extreme-sports-vampire the day I was on a roller coaster ride at a Disney theme park. It was the most bizarre experience I’d ever had. I kept wanting to jump out in a bid to save myself. Fortunately, my brain consulted with the fear flowing through my veins and reluctantly came to a resolution that it was better to stay put.

My plan to stay alive for as long as possible seems to be going down the drain since my dear husband (DH) and admirable son decided to learn how to ski. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been completely against it. I told my DH that life is dangerous enough and he should really be trying to stay around long enough to see our kids have kids. He laughed but I was very serious. I was most infuriated that my son had been infected with this thrill bug. With all my kicking and screaming, my boys have started to ski anyway.

This skiing madness has been going on for almost 2 months now and it’s only last week that I went to watch my son do his thing. He specifically requested that I watch his moves. In addition to the pressure of watching my 5-year old “fall” down a tall slope of artificial snow, there’s the not-so-subtle comments that my DH has been making about going on a family ski holiday. I’ve been ignoring him. Then the other day, he bought me ski gear, the gloves, jacket, the lot. He said it’s because they were on sale. Hmm. I have to admit that he paints a great picture of a family holiday where we’re all skiing, having something in common to enjoy. I guess it beats the shopping the boys have to endure at my hands on most holidays. And it beats the theme parks I endure.

Internally, my defenses have crumbled. After watching my son’s cool moves, I kinda started thinking about how awesome it’ll be to actually be able to ski. That will be sooo cool. Who knows, I can migrate to mountain climbing in a few years!

I’m still maintaining to my DH that I will NOT learn how to ski. It’s pay back for the time he refused to learn to play SCRABBLE.

How NOT to kill a chicken or turkey (especially if you have young children)

Chickens pecking at feed

Photo by Fir0002, Flagstaffotos.com.au, 2010

This Christmas, my sister and I had our brother came down from Cleveland, Ohio to spend the holidays in Aberdeen! It is turning to be great fun and I couldn’t help remembering some of our Christmases growing up back at home. Especially the one with the headless chicken…..

I think it was 1987 or thereabouts. My mum bought 3 live chickens (chicken is more common for Christmas than turkey where I am from) for Christmas lunch. She bought them about a month in advance. Because we three kids stuck together like glue and we looked like triplets anyway (actually 18 months apart each), we divided everything by 3. And fortunately, there were 3 chickens so we named them after ourselves! Chicken 1 was K, chicken 2 was N and of course, my lil’ bro, R was chicken 3. It all worked out! So each day after school, we’d come into the back garden and play with the chickens, chasing them around and observing what K, N and R were up to. Then one day, we came home to find R’s (chicken 3) legs tied together and under my mum’s feet. She had a knife in her right hand.

I exclaim, ‘oh no, she’s killing R!!!’
My sister shouts, ‘Mummy, don’t kill R!’

And we start to cry and mum just can’t make the move to cut the chicken’s throat. She let’s R the chicken go from under her feet and there were signs of relief all round. It’s one of those pictures that never leaves my brain. Now, it’s funny and we laugh when we talk about but that day, when R’s neck was about to get sliced..it wasn’t funny.

Somehow, mum got us all in the house and tried to get on with killing the chickens in time for Christmas lunch. She had some success, well kind of because as she finally got K (Chicken 1) in the right position, with the knife slicing through her neck, my sister and I spring out of nowhere (actually we had been peeping through the kitchen door for 3 seconds before)! We gave my mum such a fright, she let go of K and ooooooooh boy. The chicken went berserk around the garden at unbelievable speed, headless. The rest is history as they say. We did not go hungry that Christmas but we nearly did. And my mum never bought things in 3s again, especially LIVE things.

So if you can help it this Christmas:

  • Opt for dead birds at the store
  • If you must have a live one, don’t let your kids get acquainted
  • Keep the kids away when you are killing the bird
  • And finally, don’t let go of the bird until you’re sure it’s dead!

This christmas will be awesome as we reflect on the good times and even “scary” times like the headless chicken and laugh so hard. I am very grateful for my siblings this christmas. And I hope life continues to let us smile and laugh together for as long as possible.

Left to right: K, N and R, Christmas 2010 (The humans, 24 years later)

Happy christmas!

I have got great gift ideas for men that you can steal from

What could be inside for him this christmas? (freedigitalphotos.net, 2010)

So I’ve always had a real problem buying presents for men. I never know what to get! Beyond boxers, handkerchiefs and shirts…I’m kinda stuck. It’s worse if its a man who seems to have everything ! I’ve got men in my life: my husband, my dad, my brother (and my son but I already know he wants Super Mario Galaxy video games… or rather Santa knows….) To get something “creative” for my men, I’ve done some research. I am known to be a practical gift-giver but this year I don’t want to give a hot water bottle again (hehehe!) or a DIY kit. My top choices for men’s gifts are:

10. Boxers (I know- basic but he can never have too many)

9. Massaging chair (beats you having to do it!)
8. Gaming chair (around £120 but much cheaper ones exist, depends on what you’re trying to encourage here)
7. Topgear box set (Ebay is the place to get these at a bargain, £10 tops)

6. A subscription to GQ or What CAR? (there’s currently a christmas gift offer on Whatcar.magazine.co.uk)

5. Topgear ticket (shockingly, these are free try BBC website!)

4. Turntable to play those oldies (£80/Boysstuff.co.uk)

3. Personalized items e.g. Mug, t-shirts (something from the kids like”World’s greatest dad” will soften him up 😉 )
2. Tickets to a game in the new year e.g football (do him one better n buy two tickets so he can take his friend).
1. A really cool jacket….

The best websites (UK only) are Boysstuff.co.uk, NeXT, Asos, Oxfam, Boots just to name a few. I’m sure similar outlets in the US and the rest of Europe will have an assortment of choices. I hope this helps!

Happy holidays- over and out:-)

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