Well it's a good job that I was up early this morning and got some jobs done because I spent most of the day on the telephone to Dell trying to find out why my computer wouldn't play DVDs or burn CDs anymore - and yes I did have to keep calling them and speak to SIX different Irish guys in an office in Shannon. Honestly it was just to sort out the problem and not because they were so nice and friendly and spoke with such lovely accents.....we joked that I might get to speak to all twenty of them by midnight tonight if I kept calling back every hour. (I wonder if Tom'll be suspicious if I have a sudden interest in going to the west coast of Ireland this summer?)
Thankfully or maybe not considering the mess, the children were occupied all day with baking and decorating a gingerbread house and playing cricket in between. This is how the finished house looked - I don't know how those logs are going to get through the door.
Gingerbread shapes were made and eaten and some left over to ice. I had great plans to make some more mince pies, wrap up some presents and some of these 3-D paper snowflakes but alas the Dell boys took up all my time. However, I did make some Clementine and Cranberry relish this morning - this is such a delicious thing that I make it religously each year to go with all the cold meat we eat. It makes a lovely present too. I don't think my photograph is going to be terribly enticing but believe me you do want to try and make some:
You will need a packet of cranberries, six clementines and some sugar. Cut two of the clementines into eighths and take out any pips. Put into a food processor with 75g of cranberries and 75g of sugar. Blitz the whole lot or pulse it a few times until the fruit is broken but isn't turned to mush. Transfer to a bowl and repeat twice with more fruit and sugar. This will make about three jars. You'll need to leave it for at leat 24 hours for the favours to mingle and for the rind to soften. Serve with cold ham, turkey, goose or whatever. It's slightly tangy, fresh, sweet and definately yummy.
The children broke up last Friday and have been finishing off the presents they started some weeks ago. Amber is progressing with her Irish Hiking Scarf and is praying she'll finish by Chrstmas Eve. Rohan has made a beautiful dishcloth (to be photographed later as he has wrapped it) and the poor boy burst into tears last week as he discovered that he hadn't followed the pattern so that two off his rows of bricks were the same - he'd spent a whole hour on it. I explained that what he'd done was made his dishcloth unique and that patterns weren't always for sticking too religiously. Phew. He was fine after that. I hope it's for me cos I'm gonna treasure that masterpiece that he put so much time and effort into. Handwork doesn't come that easily to my middle one unlike his sister and little brother. Talking of whom - here is Raj, still in pyjamas surrounded by all his knitting projects:
Here is one of the bracelets that he made for his aunt and cousin. Letters went off up the chimney last night to Father Christmas and the children are so excited now with only 5 days to go. We're still pretty relaxed compared with how it was this time last year when I was running around cooking, cleaning, defrosting, baking etc. All I have to do is pack, make some cheese biscuits to take with us, wrap the presents and just go off on Saturday morning. My sister is insisting that it's her turn to do everything else as I've done it for two years running and for someone who is a bit of a control freak I'm not complaining. Just so's I don't get too lazy we're having some friends round on Friday afternoon for a sing song around the piano and for a slap up tea.
Mary and Jospeh are nearly there and so are we. May I take this opportunity to wish you all a really Happy Christmas. I hope you have a lovely joyous time however and wherever you spend it. Before I go I must share my shock and amazement at seeing that I had just over 1000 hits on my blog yesterday - CRIKEY!