Showing posts from October, 2007

Painting and Embroidery...

Today I am going to paint a large picture for the Church's light party.
This is me painting, can't you tell?

I have always been really good at displacement activities; you know, the things you do when you have something you need to do and you aren't yet ready to settle to it. My bedroom was always neatest just before a big essay was due in, while I could always justify starting another glove/toy/book when I had to cook (BC that is... children won't let you displace for too long before yowling with pain)

So, for the past few weeks I have had a job to do; to produce a large painting to cut up as a jigsaw for the Church Light party (a Christian take on Halloween. We don't do witches, ghosts or ghouls, but we do do fairies and superheroes, with dressing up and an emphasis on Jesus as the light that saves. It's cool, because my kids get to go out on Halloween but not to trick or treat which I hate when there is a trick element to it) I have the card, I have the paint, …


So, after the stress comes the spend (my life is a little like that)

I went to Borders and got swayed by a little (!) book called 'Home'

Aside from the cute pink binding, it was the pictures that won me as much as anything.

The little girl's room.... look at the dress hanging up and the dotty suitcases for storage.

We used to do this with the Princess.... the sink was just about big enough, the bathroom was too small to fit the baby bath in, and with a 4 year old and a 2 year old to bathe too, the less stress the better.

And one of those artfully artless photographs that probably took hours to set up and look like it's permanently like that.

The book is divided into sections; Start, Live, Share, Nest, Bare and Find, but essentially runs you through the house and suggests things to do/have/live with. It's bigger on pictures than text, and the text strives for a poetic quality rather than a straight narrative approach. I actually like this, as I don't need always to be…


Thanks for the kind thoughts.... a scan in January & a follow up consultation are the result today and either "just heavy periods" or fibroids was the decision that the very nice lady doctor came to. So, roll on January, and only 2 periods to go before then. And after that, the most likely result is a coil or hormones. I'd just be glad to get them done now.

What do you mean you have homework?

Or, how life with Children is all swings and roundabouts.

At four o'clock on the last Sunday of half term, with tea to make (granted, a large pan of scouse and I know the hardest part is the peeling and then it's a matter of a quick stir now and again, but even so!) How am I supposed to help with homework and cook for ravenous hordes?

Well, once I was free to concentrate, I spent 2 hours (count them!) helping my DP write a story of his own. Chapters 1 to 5 (and a prologue) with a cliffhanger and the promise of "Oh yes, I'll sit next to you tomorrow and help with the next mission. Cool story, though. DP is my literate child who even in ordinary speech uses such beautiful narrative language that I just stand amazed. My language has simplified over the years (children do that to you, I understand) and it seems amazing that I can look forward to resuming my degree-level conversations again. My worry is that when I do have Adult children I won't be able to catch back up …

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

We have got season tickets to our local Safari Park again! (also here)
We had them up until about 6 months ago, when they ran out & we didn't bother renewing (swimming on Sundays meant we hardly got out this year) Well, swimming is now Saturday morning so we bit the bullet & went for it.
I think a person's favourite animal says such a lot about them. My youngest son loves Rhinos. He is slightly built and shy, doesn't say boo to a goose and has a thing for the biggest of everything, cars, animals, dogs. He has the biggest personality I know, such a happy smiler and I have watched him lean out of the window to stare at the rhinos for quarter of an hour at a time.
DP, he loves the monkeys. He tells stories and one of his favourite characters is a vandalistic monkey called Punkey. He loves to watch and decide which monkey is Punkey and then regale us with long and complicated stories of how Punkey breaks out of the enclosure and causes havoc wherever he goes. So far he ha…

More planning....

This time of nights out at the cinema.

Firstly, today's treat.

I really enjoyed it, but then the whole 'star fallen to Earth, wall betwixt one world and ours' premise has never been far from the surface with me. Just imagine them finding the wall at last? Who'd have thought it? Highlights of the film include when the hero drops Sienna Miller on the floor and tells her to get over herself (Yo! Go boy!), Robert De Niro acting camp... and I mean dressing for the can-can! and the race-to-save-the-girl-that-you-know-will-succeed-but-there's-always-a-chance-that-it-won't-isn't-there? moment. My niece (11 and sooooo cool) was banging her feet on the floor in excitement (Hi Roobs, you were, you know! ;) )

And then there were the previews; A few good nights ahead.

How about;

Even if I haven't particularly flipped for the books yet, this looks sumptuous and the presence of *sigh* Daniel Craig makes it eminently watchable for some of the time even if it turns out to be…

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

A notebook to write everything in.

I love lists at Christmas. I write everything down and tick it all off. For a few years my Christmas notebook was a plain red one, which is unfortunately looking rather battered and worn now. So, this year I treated myself to a new one from Paperchase. It is A5 size, lined and full of thick, good quality pages. I am a pack-rat and I don't throw out Christmas notebooks so it might as well be good quality and act as a memory book, too.

So far, it has all the lists I need each year, having spent a happy two or three nights writing them out (again).

Yes, I know I could store them on the 'puter and just print them out and stick them in, but I like something about the way a neatly written page looks enough to make it worth the effort. I have my presents list, my cards list (including addresses), the list of things to buy, make and bake, a calendar for December listing all the dates that I need to know, some of my favourite poems and quotes about Chris…

14 years; You get less for murder.

That's a family joke when it's time for an anniversary. (Two doctors, two nurses and two teachers in the same house = sick sense of humour)

And this is my own dearest darlingest man.

I have known him since I was 11. (he was 15)

I have fancied him since I was 16. (he was 20)

I have loved him since I was 22. (he was 25)

I have been married to him since I was 25. (he was 28)

I have been co-parent with him since I was 30 (he was 34)

and I have been thinking about him since 9am this morning. We (that's all 5 of us) are having spaghetti bolognese and garlic bread this evening with sparkling wine to celebrate 14 really fun years.

There was the first anniversary when his firm went bust the day before (he was an employee not a boss, so it wasn't too bad)

There was the anniversary with DP when the 'candlelit dinner for 2' didn't quite happen (imagine someone soft and cute trying to smile a very bad tempered Mother into happiness. When he patted my arm and reached over for a k…

Night Night, Garden, sleep tight.

Today I put the garden to bed. I cut the grass for (hopefully) the last time this year, I brushed up all the fallen leaves so far and collected all the kids toys into boxes and plastic baskets ready to go inside the little house and stay there all winter. Although the children go out and play, usually they like playing running games rather than sitting and drinking pretend tea, so they don't need the teaset or little chairs. I put away the washing line, tucked the chairs and table against the wall . I put the barely used parasol into the garage. Hopefully no mice will find it and chew it. And then I sat on my blue bench and drank a glass of cool water and sat down to enjoy the low afternoon sunshine. I know I'll need a warm bath later, but for now the knowledge that my garden is fit for 4 or 5 months will keep me warm.

Handkerchiefs at Two...

After a Friday morning spent taking the Princess to speech therapy (we now have 'cats' instead of 'tats' and real 'cake', not 'take') we went to Morrisons, where for the princely sum of £2.50 I got one of my favourite films of all time on DVD. I said I never would buy all my best videos on DVD, but the quality of picture and sound is so immeasurably superior that, as long as they fit within my £5.00 treat budget I don't see why a little judicious replacement is bad. So, armed with some chocolate and a drink, I settled down, alone, this afternoon to watch it.

I think, sometimes, that my Ma knew what she was doing giving me 3 first names.... Joanne Elizabeth Mary. No good when you're 5 and some clever dick asks you to write them all, but wonderful when you're 13 and seeking a true identity. In my time I have been Elizabeth, Joanne, JoJo and Jem, but the name I come back to again and again is Jo. It is the name I give people when they ask what I…

The Diary of A Domestic Competent.

I thought of the name, I'm darned well going to use it so, for those of you in shock and wondering where Angel Jem is... it's still me, just a new improved (I hope) and little sexier me. Domestic Competency. Just good enough, the mantra of my life. Some people strive for excellence, me I strive to be good enough.

And I fully expect a TV series to follow. A combination of Anthea and Nigella, with the decent cooking taken out but plenty of finger licking, a white glove test, but only on one perfectly polished table, and a lot of scenes of gratuitous sleeping. Just good enough.

Post script; I didn't like it; I prefer to be Angel Jem. She is me and I am her. Good to be back. The DomCom was too bossy!

Fairy cakes? Or cupcakes?Not by Mr Kipling, actually.

I made some more cakes with lurid green icing. It's very therapeutic, with measuring, mixing and a time of patience. I like the alchemy of cooking when you take flour, eggs and sugar and change them into fluffy gold balls of fun. So do my children, a plateful never lasts more than a day.

Making cakes (whatever you call them; unhappily, 'fairy' has overtones nowadays that I am sure would have horrified Fanny Craddock so that the simple epithet has the power to elicit a nasty giggle off older children. Perhaps the magic of life truly has disappeared for them) is such a simple activity, yet it is one of those activities that Others seem to regard as 'odd'. Why would you want to bake cakes, they seem to say, when you can buy them for pennies? It's the same argument as when I tell them I'm crocheting a blanket, or making a bag, making clothes for myself or a child, planning to make seat covers, re-painting a desk or rescuing something that someone else has deemed…

when your mind is away....

am knackered today, can't think straighet and my fingwers are runnins skightly wonkey. 4 hours is not enough sleep fir anuone an dseepecially not on a day when She is going to Rainbows and ha spesetered me since 4 for a thinh tha startrs at 6!!!!!!

For sale or loan; pretty princess, one careful owner. Tendency to run slightly fast but good service history. Would prefer something silent.

Or a decent nights sleep.

When life gives you lemons....

You make lemonade.
When you have a little girl off, you make a dolly.

It wasn't until after the Princess had put a jacket on her new friend that I realised that the colours were the same as The Book's cover. The colours of Tuesday; turquoise blue and cerise pink. Cute.

Mind you, she wasn't staying still.....

My little one is ill...

She has a cold and is feeling dismal. I, too, am not exactly brimful of life. This is my third child off in three weeks. Work is a distant memory and, with Christmas under 11 weeks away, my budget is assuming supermodel thin proportions. Oh, that I could sell my ideas or buy presents with the honesty currency of my childhood... alas, nobody pays for my thoughts and I have dismally forgotten to plant any money plants in my back garden. Next year I'll remember.

However, to brighten my darkness the courier brought this....

three days early and just before lunchtime. I have read five pages, scanned the rest and I pronounce it acceptable. As a Domestic Competent, I salute the Artist! Thank you, Jane, for a read suitable for my Earl Grey tea.... and I have to go compile my Christmas present wishlist... just how many Persephone books can one girl have?

Cherry Choc Chip cookies

No, I don't usually do recipes, but these proved such a hit with the children, as well as being so virtuously Domestic Goddess/Artist/Competent to serve with cold milk after a day at home that I had to share it with you.

My trio of hungry mouths love cookies and one of their favourite weekend breakfasts (the time of the week when healthy eating means they haven't got a cold, rather than a meal that would fit onto any food triangle I've ever seen) is a cookie. Tesco and Sainsbury's cookies are well over £1.00 for a bag of 5.... these were pennies, literally (less if you leave out the cherries, but life is too short)

You will need;
100g butter or margarine, room temperature
175g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/2 tablespoons of golden syrup
250g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
A pinch of salt
50 to 75 g glace cherries
55g chocolate chips, or smarties, M&M's or other small sweets. I understand Milky Way Stars are lovely, but I have to try…

See, look what you're missing....

See, chocolate cupcakes with mint green icing...

Homemade cookies with chocolate chips and cherries....

Mamma's best meatloaf with baked potatoes, gravy and carrots....

A ripple blanket that's a bare 6 or 10 rows away from completion (and then there's only the ends to fix in and a single border to do....)

My fireplace cleared of the summer stones and shells and surmounted by red candles ready for a chilly evening when I need to pretend my fire really works an dto knit by candlelight....

Casino Royale, my treat for being a good Mummy this week...

No, don't scroll any further, there aren't any photos today because He is still off and I can only get to the 'puter long enough to post (barely) let alone upload photos (and I do want to show you them, I do, I do.....