Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Swiss Family Reunion

Wow what a week I have had. My lovely Swiss friend came over to see all the new arrivals. This obviously meant that all my family had to be there! So I had 13 adults sleeping in the house plus three babies and a dog! It was a wonderful time. There were bodies everywhere, baby bits and pieces scattered all over the house. Golly it took me back to when my four were little. I had forgotten how much one small being needs in belongings! Here is Mr P trying to keep the twins quiet with their dummies! They have grown sooo much since I last saw them.

It was great to see my number four child again as I have not seen him since June, on our family holiday. Working at the outdoor pursuit centre in Scotland makes it very difficult for him to get away. So he saw all three babies for the first time too. Here he is trying to pretend that he is not enjoying holding one of his nieces! He's such a lovely softie.

Then I had a lovely surprise - No 4's fiancee has an identical twin sister and she came too for one night. It was great to meet her for the first time. I could see some facial differences but her voice seemed identical to me. It was strange hearing someone else talk like your son's fiancee. She works for a theatre company designing and sewing costumes and they were on tour near to Leicestershire. She will be making her sisters wedding dress. Ooh I've seen a picture of what it may look like and I can't wait to show you but that will not be till November 2014.

Bath time with babies is such a lovely time and here is Rowan enjoying his. He's at that cute cuddly stage.

I think he looks adorable in this outfit. He responds when you talk to him (in that silly baby voice) with lots of smiles and cooing sounds.


OK spot the difference? The only way I can tell the girls apart is one of them has a slightly more pointed ear but whether that will continue to be that shape forever we do not know.

Then there was that awful time when my beloved No 4 had to leave. Just look at the size of this rucksack. Apparently he's often dragging this bag up huge mountains and hills! So proud of him.

Just had to include this picture - don't babies look wonderful when they are asleep!?

6.30pm everyday the twins have their bath. Having twins mean that my son and daughter in law have to be organised in order to survive! The girls love their bath, apparently it's probably their favourite time of the day. I think you can see they are having such fun in the water.

Final baby picture - Rowan eying up the cereals. I think he is desperate to start mixed feeding. In fact during the weekend my daughter started him on some baby rice and he whuffed it down! There was no hesitation or spitting any out of his mouth!

Then the day before our Swiss friend had to return home to her family we went to Chatsworth house. It was a very very cold day but the sun came out and it was great to be outside enjoying the Derbyshire countryside. This is the converted stables! They are huge.

There are some great views and I just love seeing the changing colours of the land.

Started to take a picture of this fountain and then realised if I stood at a certain angle there was a rainbow in the water, as the sun shone on it. I'm sure you scientists would be able to tell me what this is called.

Took me a few minutes to understand why my Swiss friend was studying this holly so intensely. Apparently it does not grow  in Switzerland. So she took some back in her handbag, from our garden, to put on her Christmas pudding!

Such a lovely day. Originally Mr P was going to go to Chatsworth on his own with our friend - then I spoilt it by coming! He wanted to be seen walking around with a gorgeous young Swiss girl, so I promised to walk behind them!

Last time I visited the house they were restoring the gold paint work and it looks fabulous now.

There are some amazing statues, new and old, around the gardens.

Final view of Chatsworth. We went inside the house but my pictures were not very good. Inside they had the theme from one of the Narnia books - Lion, the witch and the wardrobe. It was brilliant and we had great fun dressing up (well not Mr P) he's too sensible! If you are in the area and have children I'm sure they would enjoy the house.

Well I had an amazing six days of family and friends. Think the local supermarket enjoyed my mass spending too! I have not mentioned much about my Northern Irish family in this blog. It was great to see them and they were so funny, helpful, mucking in with washing, cooking, baby feeding etc. Run out of time to tell you how my son in law was involved in some filming as an archer - hopefully I will be able to have some pictures to show you at another time.  Sadly all good things have to come to an end but it is only a few more weeks to go before Christmas and my chicks will be all back again.  :)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Manse Mania

It seems rather strange that a large chunk of the year Mr P and I loose each other in our rather large home - then when our family returns home the place becomes somewhat small! It is at this stage that I write this posting. For tonight sees the start of the return of the children. During the next six days we shall be having about 11-13 adults staying, plus three babies and a dog! Virtually every room will have a body sleeping somewhere! So what can I do other than bake masses of cakes!

Baked two large fruit cakes.

One rather disastrous chocolate cake. Not sure what happened to it? But I went to take the cake out of the tin and it was rather crumbly! Then when it had finished cooling I started to lift up one half of the cake to place on a plate and the cake started breaking up! Aaaaargh horror! The top half of the cake managed to stay intact and I hoped by the time the chocolate icing covered it then it wouldn't look too bad. Mmmmmm not sure that plan worked but it should taste alright! Wonder if I've overdone my cake baking brain?

Also in the freezer I've prepared four cottage pies, lots of muesli marvels and fairy cakes to either ice or turn into butterfly cakes.

Also I have made lots of small apple cakes with a cinnamon crumble on top. Never tried this recipe before but needed to use a cookery book up!

I am looking forward to seeing my No 4 child as I have not see him since June, he arrives today. He now has a date for his wedding next November 2014. Then late tonight my No 2 child, wife and twins arrive. Tomorrow I collect my Swiss friend early from Birmingham airport and we are planning on spending a day in Stamford before I throw her into the deep end of babies! During the day No 3, hubby, baby and dog arrive. Friday evening No 1 and hubby fly in from Northern Ireland - hopefully there will be no delays as at the moment they have some snow! Also on Friday No 4's fiancee arrives. Saturday my dad is coming and the fiancee's twin sister! So apologies but as you can see I am going to be rather preoccupied/busy for the next few days. No doubt I will have lots of pictures to show you and adventures to tell you about. Happy weekending.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Farewell Hercule Poirot.

Now if you do not live in the UK then you will not be aware that David Suchet who plays the role of Hercule Poirot has just finished filming the last four episodes of Agatha Christie.  A few days ago the final case was shown and we all knew he was going to die! On that night I was at choir practice and could not watch it, so Mr P taped it for me. Then it was with fear and depression that I sat down to watch the film on Thursday night. I did not want my David Suchet to ever end, but there are no more cases for him to film:( I think he is the best ever person to play the character. Mr P went out to the kitchen and came in with the kitchen roll! I tried to busy myself with some crochet to take the emotional pressure off. I have to say it was brilliantly done and thankfully the producers did not make it highly charged - I would never have coped. But I believe there  was an article that said they filmed this episode first out of the last four cases because David Suchet and the crew also could not cope with all the emotion and wanted to finish filming with him still alive:)


OK now that I have been ridiculous time to talk about reality! Started a little crochet project inspired by my favourite blogger Lucy from  Attic 24. Snowflakes for Christmas.

Lucy is very generous and shares her pattern on her bIog and with a pictorial guide too! Click HERE for the pattern.

My mind is very much preoccupied with the coming week. It's going to be a rather busy, mad, manic but wonderful time ahead. Our friend from Switzerland is coming to visit for six days - whoopee! She wants to see the new arrivals (3 babies). We decided because our family is scattered across the country that it would be easier for them ALL to come home for the weekend. That seemed a good idea at the time but it does mean that we shall be having eleven adults, three babies and one dog under one roof for seven days!

Mr P and I spent the whole of yesterday cleaning! Shocking isn't it - if I was a better housewife this would not have to happen! But a leopard can't change its spots or whatever the expression is! Mr P spent hours restoring the cooker to a colour that I'd forgotten! It looks so lovely now and I did not want to cook last night - fearful that I would make it messy! The dustbin men probably are not going to be happy on Tuesday! The dustbin is sooooo heavy and I have soooooo many bags with recycling! Glad I'm at work and won't have to hear them moaning and groaning!

Do you think I've got enough?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally just started baking - they look rather anaemic but they are small apple cup cakes with a cinnamon crumble on top.

I now need some time to restore my energy for the week so farewell my friends and I wish you all a very good week, and that you enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Cookery Book Challenge Update

Oh my I cannot believe that the last time I wrote about this it was on 21.09.13! There's probably some of you wondering what the heck I'm on about. Well I own lots of cookery books and I challenged myself to use one recipe from each book in one year. Well I'm very eager to see how well I am doing with this challenge. It's a mystery to me as well as you. So here goes the books I have been using since September.

Now that our children have grown up this book does not get used any more. Maybe it will get used again when the grandchildren get old enough to want a birthday cake. Mr P makes the birthday cakes.

So not having small children and wanting to use the book for the challenge I followed the fruit cake recipe.

This is a rather yummy simple dinner.

Golly I was 11 years old when I had this book as a Christmas present. It did originally have a spiral coil holding it together but over the years that has fallen off and the pages are now loose. But it is rather a lovely book still to have and nice easy pictures to follow! Think even Mrs A  might be able to use this book! 

Made these pyramids for the craft group, as one lady has to have gluten free products, and this was an easy option.

Now this book is not Mr P's favourite! There's no meat! So had to cook something that almost looked meaty!

I've always liked this book but find I rarely use it. Think this is because of the order and hardly any photographs. Guess I'm a sucker for pictures - like to know what it's supposed to look like!

The title to this book, in my opinion, is rather misleading. The recipes are anything but simple - NOT a book for Mrs A!

Chose this recipe because I love marzipan and so does my dad - so seemed an ideal pud. It did not disappoint.

This book is my very first hand written recipe book.  The following recipe I have made many many times for the children - so simple to make - guess someone else I know could make it!

As I was flicking through the book I found this page with recipes that my No 1 child bought home when she was at primary school and the reading scheme was a series with Jennifer Yellowhat etc! Ah it takes me back. To think she is now ...... years old! Where have the years gone.

On the very first page I copied a recipe from one of moms books. Got a little emotional as I found she had written in this book, on later pages.

Now this book came after I must have made poor mom and dad drink lots of extra milk!

I really like this book, even though there are no pictures. But the recipes make up for it.

As Mr P does not like spicy food I had to cook this for myself and eat it for a few days!

Mom and dad found this book on a market stall and got it because of its title (Mr P being a minister). Have to say sadly I'm not very impressed with the book and struggled to find anything to cook from it.

If you could see this book then you would realise how much I have used it. Again no pictures, but a very practical, no fuss cook book.

This was my mom's book. So when there was a glut of blackberries and apples growing in the garden then this seemed the best time to use this book. I think it is the sort of book I will use more when I retire.

Well it's Jamie Oliver and I don't think he ever produces a rubbish book. The first time I ever tasted the following recipe it was made from a very good cook, in Leeds. Sadly the lady who has her leg in plaster. I so loved this pudding that I bought the book and it became my No 4 son's favourite pudding.

Sadly never seem to find or afford the sweet wine to accompany it!

I must be a Jamie fan - think I must have similar taste buds!

Have made this recipe several times and then discovered that No 2 son uses this recipe too.

Of course here is St Delia and Christmas approaching I turn to her ever faithful Christmas cake recipe.

Final book for this blog. Had it some years and it is rather similar to one mom had many years ago.

As I have just made this cake I actually have a picture to show you - Mr P not home yet!

Oh lets have a drum roll as we discover where I am on the achievement chart................................

 94 books used. 33 books to go. 48 days to go to the end of the challenge.  

Mmmmmmm think I have some work to do! It's getting harder as the books that are left are ones that I do not often use! Will I make this challenge? What do you think?