With the help of the Sew Scrappy Happy class, my dear friend Clair, and my Valentine's present from The Doctor, I did learn how to machine sew onto my layouts. I also took part in a few more online projects, just dipping into them and taking bits of inspiration, or starting them then realising that I didn't have time to concentrate on them properly just yet so setting them aside for next year.
I think you could say that I kept up with my blogging!! And I've done my best to keep up with everyone else's blogs, too.
I did start eating more healthily, and tried out many new recipes, with grateful thanks to the recipe jar! The good habits started to slip a little towards the end of the year, but overall I'm pleased with my choices and can re-commit to a healthier way of living for 2011.
Similarly, I was pretty good at reading my Bible each day for most of the year, but this started to slip too, so again I want to re-commit to this.
We did get a new car, and I started teaching a papercrafts class in addition to my part-time primary teaching job and the one-to-one tuition.
I've used up quite a few of my amassed supplies, and cut down a little on the online spending - enough of both to feel that I could justify joining a monthly kit club!
The Children had regular swimming lessons for a couple of terms but then we decided that they'd learnt enough; since then they've been swimming only a couple of times, so that's something to think about for next year. We did manage to get together with their friends a bit more often this year, and I met up with mine a few times too!
And The Doctor and I did get to spend some quality time together, though it would always be nice to have more evenings out just the two of us.
All in all, then, I'd say that it was a successful year! And doing Project 365 means that I've been able to preserve so many more memories of the everyday moments through the year. I can't wait to have my photobook printed, and to be able to flick through a year's worth of memories in those pages!
22nd December: The final food shop before the big day. I picked up all the fresh stuff (milk, salad, vegetables and so on) and a few extra bits that I hadn't got round to picking up in advance - including the turkey!
The Mother looked after The Children for me while I was shopping, and when I got there to pick them up afterwards I discovered that she'd been baking - yum!
Thank you letters are very important to us. We always insist that The Children write notes to say thank you for gifts received, and naturally we do the same ourselves. If we can say thank you in person then that's OK, and there are a few cases where an email or text is allowable, but in general a proper, handwritten letter is best.
After all, if someone's gone to the trouble of finding, buying, wrapping and giving you a present, it's only polite to thank them properly for it! If you don't, then why should they bother to get you anything in the future? And your letter should specifically refer to the gift sent, and should say something about how you have or intend to enjoy it. That's what I think, anyway.
It saddens me that the art of writing thank you letters seems to be dying out. Sometimes we never hear back from the recipient at all, and when we've sent something by post, we can't be sure that it's even arrived - we just have to assume, and hope, that it did! Meanwhile, though, we'll keep writing our letters and saying our thank yous properly, to show that we really do appreciate our gifts.
The journaling for this JYC envelope will also include a list of the gifts I received this year, and who each was from, as a checklist for writing the thank you letters!
I've mentioned before that food is a big part of our Christmas! There are many treats and indulgences that creep into these few days....
We have mulled wine when we get back from the children's carol service on Christmas Eve. Santa's current tipple of choice is ginger wine, so we need to make sure we have some in stock - and that it's tested for quality control purposes. For a kind of brunch/starter on Christmas Day, we have smoked salmon and a glass of bubbly.
We only really have turkey at Christmas - and, well, then we have left over turkey for quite a while!! (I tend to make a few dishes for the freezer with the leftover meat, so I guess we don't *just* eat it at Christmas!) Stuffing isn't a regular side dish for us, either, but Christmas dinner wouldn't be complete without sage and onion and sausagemeat stuffings. It's also the one time of the year that I make my own gravy properly from scratch.
And then, of course, there are the various sweet treats - the mince pies, the trifle, the mincemeat cake, the Yule log.... All these only tend to appear at Christmas time. Not to mention the biscuits and chocolates we're fortunate enough to be given for Christmas!
There's no getting round it, Christmas is a time for indulgence all round. Yep, we're complete pigs at Christmas! Time enough for healthy eating come the New Year, huh?!
It's such a good feeling to be able to turn off the alarm when we get to the holidays! I am NOT a morning person....
I'm much more of a night owl type really, and tend to get a bit of a second wind in the evening. No matter how tired I am, I don't find it easy to go to bed!! I like to stay up reading, or blog hopping, or watching TV. And however hard it might be to go to bed, it's even harder to then get up the following morning, *yawn*...
In term-time I don't have much choice. Even if I'm not working myself, I need to get The Children to school. It means that I do have to try to be more sensible at turning in before it gets too late. But when the holidays come and I can turn the alarm off, I can stay up a bit later and stay in bed a bit longer the next morning, and follow my natural sleep patterns more than usual. And it's lovely to be able to do that :-)
We've never been Boxing Day sales shoppers, though I've received email after email today telling me about all the online sales I can browse! It's just never been part of our Christmas, and I'm quite happy about that to be honest....
No, for us, Boxing Day is a chance to spend a quiet day together as a family, enjoying the new books and games we received for Christmas, building the Lego sets, playing the computer games, and challenging each other at a board game or two!
It's also a chance to eat more delicious food; there are always plenty of leftovers from the Christmas dinner (because I plan it that way), and for our main meal we have a piece of gammon with boiled potatoes and cabbage, served with parsley sauce. (The remains of the gammon, together with the remains of the turkey, become a stroganof on December 27th.) There's trifle, and Christmas cake, and mincemeat cake, and left over Christmas pudding, and left over sticky toffee pudding, and there are mince pies, and chocolates, and biscuits..... We don't go hungry!!
In a way it feels like a quieter, calmer continuation of Christmas Day. Almost as if the night in between was a nap, and Boxing Day is the afternoon of the day itself. I do like to make Christmas last as long as possible :-)
I made it! I've photographed and documented the 25th of each month through 2010, and I have a lovely record of the year now :-) So here's what we did yesterday:
"He's been! He's been!" The proof is in the crumb of mince pie, the scrap of carrot, the empty glass and water bowl, and - the gifts under the tree!
Breakfast first: pain au chocolat and a cup of tea.
And then The Girl played postman and handed out all the presents. We took it in turns to open them so we could all see what the others received. I got some lovely gifts! :-)
I set The Doctor's new Kindle to charging, along with the battery for my...... NEW DSLR CAMERA!!! And I had a quick cup of coffee...
...while sending a few Christmas texts and reading a little of the book I received from Jacky in Sian's 'Pass The Book' project. (I laid it aside after a few pages - it's a gripping tale, but not one for dipping into lightly at Christmas! I shall read it properly when I can settle down to it after Christmas.)
I helped The Girl put together the hamster wheel for her Zhu Zhu Ninja Hamster toy, then sorted out the next step in the dinner preparation.
Then it was time to get the brunch/starter ready: smoked salmon, cucumber, bread and butter, and a glass of bubbly!
After we'd eaten and cleared away, I spent a bit of time putting the finishing touches to the Christmas dinner, while enjoying a bottle of White Grape and Kiwi J20.
The table was ready, everything was dished up - dinner time!
Yum - turkey, pigs in blankets, sausagemeat stuffing, sage and onion stuffing, roast potatoes, roast carrots and butternut squash, broccoli, peas, and homemade gravy - with some rather nice red wine to accompany the meal :-)
For me, a portion of the delicious sticky toffee pudding, and then a cup of coffee.
By now the batteries were charged, so I put my camera together and helped The Doctor to set up the Kindle.
I also took a moment to post my JYC page on the class forum, and check that my Christmouse had posted OK on my blog!
Then I helped The Girl to put together the new Lego Harry Potter board game. By the time we'd finished, the Doctor Who Christmas Special was about to start so we watched it together before having a go at the game (which The Boy won).
Then we had a bit of tea - not that we were all that hungry! I had some fresh bread and pate, a small slice of my lentil plait, and a couple of left over pigs and a sausagemeat stuffing ball - and then picked my way through a big bowl of grapes and cherries.
I read a bit of one of The Doctor's Christmas books in front of Blackadder's Christmas Carol...
...then had one of the chocolates from the tree before trying out my new Harry Potter Wii game.
Then I read some of another of The Doctor's books...
...while enjoying a mince pie and a cup of decaf tea...
...before taking a nice warm wheatpack up to bed and snuggling down for a well-earned rest!
The journaling for my Christmas Day envelope will be taken from the details in this post, and I plan to keep it pretty much to a factual statement of what we did on the day.
I decided not to add the date tag to this page, as I didn't think it needed it!
I just used some of my beloved Thickers, some gorgeous PaperArtsy paper, gold paint, a piece of flowery netting from a hairband, and some gold beads. After all, if you can't use up your most treasured supplies on Christmas Day, when can you?!
...is what I speak. It describes what I actually say (nonsense, mostly) and how I say it (ie my accent, which is a mixture of all sorts - a bit of North of England, a bit of Irish, a bit of South West England, a lot of just me!) The word comes from my name, Mel, and the fact that I'm one-quarter Welsh. But there's not actually any Welsh in my accent. Go figure...