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Happy Christmas!!!

Happy Christmas everyone!

I hope you have some truly happy times over Christmas and much joy and peace in the year 2014 to come!

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There are many lovely Christmas things I would like to tell you about …

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We decorated our tree with two of L’s work colleges, along with our own mulled wine and festive snacks …

I’ve been finding (with a little help from the husband!), sewing, sticking, painting and wrapping Christmas gifts for friends and family …

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I held a Gingerbread Party for my friends and my sisters …

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… we had so much fun decorating gingerbread men that my friend A and myself had made!

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My personal favourite was Eve – complete with a little red apple in her hand! Go C!! 😉

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I cooked up a two course Christmas meal just for my hubby and I, with inspiration from the latest Masterchef The Professionals Series … although thank goodness I’m not being judged on the final result!! 😛

(Pickled Beetroot with Grilled Goats Cheese and Walnuts, followed by Shin of Beef braised in Red Wine, with Bacon-wrapped Potato Cakes, Roasted Shallots and tenderstem broccoli.)

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I baked, fed with brandy, iced and decorated three Christmas cakes for friends and family …

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And we got to attended the lovely Christmas wedding of two wonderful, God-loving friends and celebrate with their blood and church families!

My faithful little camera broke and although L thankfully has one he never uses, it is taking quite a bit of getting used to – hence the lack of photos! 😛 Our internet connection is also playing around, so I can’t always upload/download things when I want to …

If this was not the case, you would have had more photos and blog posts from me … I miss talking to you!

My first resolution for next year: learn how to use L’s camera so it takes photos I like!!

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Have times of much love with your families, peace in the midst of trouble, happiness in the small things, joy in the greatest gift of all time and the hope of things to come!!

Our love,

Mr and Mrs Moose

Mince Pies

Many times in the last few months, not to mention over the last number of years, I have expressed my opinion on mince pies being in the supermarket far too early … I have said that you shouldn’t eat your first mince pie of the season until it’s December.

Yesterday I ate my first mince pie for this Christmas.

I know! I know! How inconsistent can I be, right?

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But these weren’t any ordinary mince pies! No shop-bought or Mr Kipling varieties here!

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These were homemade mince pies, which I made with my three sisters. The pastry was made by my youngest sister T, who makes melt-in-the-mouth short crust pastry.

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The mincemeat we used in the pies was made by my older sister J, who chopped the apples, finely sliced the almonds and stirred in the currants herself.

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We rolled out, cut out, filled and topped each mince pie between the four of us.

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They were dusted with icing sugar as soon as they came out of the oven – or Aga in my family’s case … wish I had one of those to keep my flat toasty warm! 😉

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We ate the mince pies in front of the cosy wood burner, while they were still warm and fresh out of the oven, while sitting on the hearth-rug and chatting.

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Mince Pie Heaven!

Now don’t you think I’m forgiven for eating my first mince pie before the 1st of December?!

Meet …

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… Rosie the Owl!

I finished sewing Rosie last night and at the end of November she will be going home to a small friend of mine who’s going to turn three!

Rosie has flappable wings, button eyes, a beak that lifts up and down and cute heart buttons on her front. She is also soft and cuddly and hopefully just the right size for little hands.

I’m sure that Rosie will get a new name all her own and I hope she’ll be a part of many exciting adventures created by G!

Until then, I’m enjoying having Rosie’s cute face around and am starting on some owl-friends for my niece and god-daughter.

So grateful to my lovely honorary-mum for the wonderful pattern, adapted with the help of brilliant advice from hubby and friends! 😉

The Lord Of The Rings

Yesterday night L and I finished reading a book I’ve been reading out loud to us for a while.

Not just any book, mind you.

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We finished reading The Lord Of The Rings!

I first bought this book about 4 years ago, on a mission to read classic books that most(ish) people have read/watched or at least know the basics of. The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings were some of the first I picked up in charity shops or in this case, a read and return shop – yeah, this one never got returned and exchanged for a different book!! 😉

I was about 1/2-2/3rd through The Hobbit when I went home for Christmas with L, just a couple of months after we started dating. He got a sicky bug while we were at his parents and I offered to read to him – what about The Hobbit?

That was the start of a tradition for us and after finishing The Hobbit we started on The Lord Of The Rings. As any of you who have read this book will know, it’s quite a hefty volume and quite a bit more involved than the lighter Hobbit!

We have been reading this book together on and off for the last 3 1/2 years, with other books sprinkled in-between … it is well-travelled, well-loved, a little worse for wear when you look closely … but it has brought us so many hours of enjoyment!

I can honestly say that The Lord Of The Rings is one of the best books I have ever read!! I don’t know if I would have had the self-discipline to slog through the slightly heavier middle bits, but thanks to reading it with L, we have conquered!!

Autumn is here because …

I put on a pair of fluffy slipper socks tonight.

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I cooked this Sausage, Leek and Cider Stew last night.

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I cuddled up in my slanket this week for the first time since the spring.

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My laundry is taking twice as long to dry as it did a matter of weeks ago.

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I’m wearing my well-loved monkey slippers around the house.

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I’ve dug my long socks out from the bottom of my drawer … and remembered why I thought I needed to buy some new ones!

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My head is starting to buz with thoughts about starting on homemade Christmas presents.

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My strippy hat has been reinstated as a daily fashion essential – I don’t think it’s actually that fashionable, but I’m wearing it regardless! 😉

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It’s less then a month until my birthday.

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Oh yeah, did I mention something about the arrival of cold weather?! 😉

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12 Pictures of My Christmas

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A month or so ago I mixed up a Christmas cake for my Grandparents – Apricot and Brandy, from a brilliant recipe that let’s you choose your own combination but still comes out wonderfully moist!

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I wrapped the cake and fed it twice with brandy, keeping it the dark bottom of my wardrobe …

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… and tonight, after a minor-ish slip-up :P, I covered and decorated the cake ready for delivery tomorrow!

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On the 9th of December we had friends round for Mulled Wine and Mince Pies …

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… and to help us put up and decorate our Christmas tree – a tradition we love repeating every year, so much fun!!

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We had a Lady of Light!

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I grew a tinsel beard … as you do! 😉

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Our tree-builders relaxed with a glass of L and I’s special home-brew Mulled Wine – a little more potent than the ready-bottles but oh-so-yummy! 😛

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Our lovely Lady of Light made us gingerbread cookie decorations to hang on our tree – a really sweet and thoughtful Christmas gift!! Maybe I’ll just go and have a little nibble … 😉

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S took a Christmas photo of my hubby and I for us! 🙂

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Some close friends of ours are getting to adopt kids next year, so for D’s birthday party (which being on the 22nd December always feels like the start of Christmas to me!), they asked us each to bring an ornament to put on their tree, which they can tell their kids came from their friends – what an awesome idea is that?! I am so excited that they are soon to become parents and loved making a tree decoration for them!

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A few nights ago I settled into a three-hour plus marathon of present wrapping! I genuinely enjoy wrapping presents, but when it comes to Christmas, even I need to do the wrapping with the company of a film! 😉 I chose Magnolia – if you haven’t watched it: do!!

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For my last photo, because I’m a die-hard believer in a Baker’s Dozen (notice the mention L?!) … by tomorrow evening this little pile of presents will be sitting underneath my lovely in-law’s Christmas tree, waiting for the morning …

Have a very Happy Christmas and a most Blessed New Year!!!

Christmas Stitching

This year I am trying to make as many Christmas presents as I possibly can by hand … preferably from inexpensive materials 😉

This, of course, takes time, so my Christmas present planning started over two months ago …

Here is my latest project:

An Owl Christmas Tree Decoration

My Grandma loves owls. She has always had a thing about owls, as long as I can remember. Kind of like me and dots I guess. Grandma has paintings of owls, aprons with owls on, cross-stiches of owls, ornaments of owls, sweaters with owls on the front, mugs with owls on … you get the picture! My Grandma also likes handmade, crafty types things.

So I made this especially for my Grandma, although I might not last out until Christmas … her birthday is on the 10th December, so I might give into temptation … 😛

I am going to make myself an identical owl to go on L and I’s Christmas tree. It is our 3rd Christmas being married and I’m making a new Christmas tree ornament every year!