Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Saturday, 20 December 2008
The Christmas cards are tacked up all along the hallway.
A Christmas tree and its carefully wrapped decorations were retreived from the loft. There were a few curses (from me) and much patience (from G - he has incredible amounts of patience, more than anyone else I know) as the lights went up.
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
- Swimming goggles – 2 pairs.
- An entire pocket sized packet of tissues, still in their wrapper.
- Three lipbalms; one of which, disastrously, went through the tumble dryer as well.
- Two clothes pegs (why? Have not hung washing outside since October).
- A chocolate wrapper
- Enough loose change to pay for one child’s school meals this week
- One plastic catapult which came free with the Beano
- A marble
- Five hairclips
- One slipper
There is now a sign up next to the washing machine.
Sunday, 14 December 2008
I so want to get this quilt finished by Christmas. I'm near the end but there's still a great deal to do. I'm not sure how that works, but it's true. I want C to be able to sleep under it on Christmas Eve and potter round the house with it wrapped around his shoulders at some ungodly hour of the morning on Christmas Day. And I want to be able to photograph it in some nice, bright winter sunshine please.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
He’s tall enough to stand at the stove safely and climb up to where the oats are kept without sending other packages tumbling. He’s no longer freaked out at the process of lighting the gas, and he can measure the ingredients accurately. In fact he can now cook the whole thing semi-asleep and without any fuss at all.
There are only two things you need to know in order to cook porridge:
- The volume of liquid must be one and a half times the volume of the oats
- Keep stirring
In its most basic form, the ingredients are oats and milk, but even that is not set in stone. There are many variations.
The oats can be traditional Scottish porridge oats or jumbo oats or ground oatmeal. The milk can be swapped for other liquids: apple juice, half milk and half cream, half milk and half water. Even 100% water should you be feeling particularly puritanical.
If he’s making two child’s portions, C tips oats into the measuring cup up to the 20ml mark. Then he measures out one and a half times the volume of liquid – 30ml here. It all goes into a small pan over a medium heat and he stirs until it is thickened to his liking and then spooned, steaming, into bowls. C actually prefers his porridge really quite runny, but I think that’s more to do with impatience to get eating rather than any kind of gourmet preference.
When it comes to additions and toppings to the porridge, C’s creative side comes out.
Favourite additions to porridge – these are added to the pan with the oats and liquid at the beginning of the cooking.
- raisins – one handful per person
- dried apricots, snipped into pieces with scissors
- any other dried fruit – dried strawberries and dried mango slices have been popular with C and O
- bran – G’s favourite addition – a small handful per person
- a grated apple
- chopped hazelnuts
- all of the above!
Favourite toppings for porridge – these are added once the porridge is in your bowl.
- golden syrup
- sliced banana
- fresh raspberries
- strawberry jam, blackberry jam, apricot jam – any kind of jam
- soft, dark sugar
- stewed apple – cold and tart from the fridge
Of course there are endless combinations of additions and toppings. Our favourite discovery recently is porridge cooked with apple juice as the liquid and then with blackberry jam stirred in before eating – you end up with a deliciously sweet, autumnal, blackberry-and-apple start to the day. O is a strawberry fanatic and likes her porridge cooked with dried strawberries and milk and then strawberry jam stirred in at the end.
My mother remembers my grandmother pouring a little dribble of undiluted Ribena around the edge of her porridge when she was a child in the 50s. C and O tried that yesterday and there were sighs of delight around the table. I may not repeat it too often though as the smell in the kitchen was almost horrifyingly sugary. It sounds like a post-War, sugar-rationed adaptation to me. Although is it any worse than a lake of golden syrup on top? Probably not.
This is forward thinking to a ridiculous extent, but right at the back of my mind is now a happy thought: when C leaves home at least he’ll be able to cook himself porridge and have a healthy start to each day. Yes, that’s in a decade’s time, I know, I know.
But it’s never too early to start learning survival skills and it’s never too early to give your Mum a bit of peace of mind.
Sunday, 7 December 2008
- Sewing secret Christmas presents for special people
- Visiting the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum
- Admiring the new paint on the stonework on the outside of our house (who knew that watching paint dry could be so satisfying?)
- Showing C how to bake mince pies (the results were way too tasty to photograph them before eating)
- Putting the finishing touches to Christie's Holiday Traditions parcel
So no photos means that I must tell, not show. The opposite of what I mostly like doing.
It gives me a good reason to finally get round to doing this tag that Driftwood passed on to me. What photos am I going to find to go with any of this?
7 things to do before I die
- Go back to America. Take my children with me and show them all the places I love there. Explain to them why they were nearly called Austin and Virginia in a burst of hormonal nostalgia.
- Walk up some Alps
- Knit a pair of socks
- Finish the dratted monster fence rail quilt
- Have a holiday here
- Have grandchildren
- Visit Iceland
7 things I do now
- drink far too much coffee
- fret about the need to move house versus the imploding economy
- daydream about spending all my time sewing (not at all compatible with need to move house and imploding economy)
- go for walks to clear my head
- buy sewing books
- get up just that little bit too late in the morning
7 things I can't do
- be nice to anyone before I've drunk a cup of coffee
- iron (yet mysteriously I seem able to press seams really rather well - sssshhh - don't tell G)
- enjoy swimming - urgh, chlorine up the nose - urgh
- remember which way round repos and reverse repos work
- listen to G singing without wincing. Sorry, I do try, but I can't help it. I know its mean of me, but I think its some kind of instinctive reaction.
- stop fretting about the need to move house versus the imploding economy
7 things that I find attractive in the opposite sex
- working for a company that gives you free books
- big, soulful eyes
- the ability to iron so beautifully
- not singing, unless its perfectly in tune and a song that I like
- tolerence of pre-coffee grouchiness
- nice, chunky arms
7 things I say most often
- Have you got your lunchbox?
- I'll do it
- Sshhh - its the Archers
- Lord, I need a coffee
- Lets go for a walk
- Don't interrupt!
- Morning girls! Who wants some nice cabbage leaves?
7 celebrities that I admire
- Writers and cooks mostly
- Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver, Clare Chambers, Sarah Waters, Shirley Hughes, Nigel Slater, Dorothy L Sayers
7 favourite foods
- smoked salmon
I'm off to find my camera now. I'm forgetting what it looks like.
Sunday, 30 November 2008
The cheek of it! My daughter knows how to write a list! I mean, she has list writing genes!
Since then - of course, wouldn't you? - I've been secretly turning her into a proficient list writer. Shopping list needs jotting down? Get O to do it. Gift lists for Christmas need compiling? Get O to do them. Never again will a teacher say that a child of mine does not know how to write a list!
However, I now think I may have been taking things a little too far.
I came downstairs, bleary eyed, yesterday morning to find this stuck to the mantlepiece:
She had been inspired by one of her favourite TV programmes on CBBC at the moment, Gimme A Break, a programme in which the children draw up the family rules....
- No ballet
- No walks
- No veg
- No accents of any language
- No moaning
She explained to her querying parent, that 'No ballet' meant no ballet by anyone in the house other than her. I don't think we meet her high standards.
'No accents of any language' is apparently for me and C who enjoy conversing with each other in whatever amusing and entertaining alternative accents we can think of. C is going through a Jamaican phase and my specialty is Southern Belle. Can't really see what the problem is there.
'No moaning' was one that I approved of, but then she explained that it didn't mean children weren't allowed to moan - it meant that parents were not allowed to moan about the house rules.
Saturday, 29 November 2008
Anna sent me this charity shop bargain she found - a dressmaking manual published in 1972 (a metric re-issue!). Its awesome!
But once I started reading, I could not stop. The manual is crammed with full sized pattern pieces and detailed advice. You could totally teach yourself to sew clothes with this book.
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
On the way to the tube station this morning.
On the tube (the man next to me was asleep so I didn't feel too weird leaning over to photograph my (and his) feet).
Monday, 24 November 2008
I brought the milk in from the doorstep.
It was wet, cold and nasty outside this morning, so when I got back home I put on another pair of socks my mother knitted for me. This time a bamboo pair that are incredibly soft.
After a day of sewing I was feeling a rather house bound and headachey. The sun came out and I grabbed my walking boots before dashing out for a late walk on Wanstead Flats as the sun set.
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Saturday, 22 November 2008
Before breakfast, on the world's most awful carpet (in our hall). Accompanied by rather a large number of snippets of thread. 2009 will definitely be the year in which that carpet goes.
I hope your shoes are taking you to nice places this weekend. Or else that you are cosied up indoors next to a fire with some thick socks and a good book.
That's where I'm off to - right now.
Friday, 21 November 2008
Thursday, 20 November 2008
In the car on the way back from the supermarket.
Notes from yesterday:
- My mother bought some boots - I was merely there to advise and tut over the price, in a complete role reversal from my teenage years.
- The parcel was from Clothkits and is for O for Christmas....