Monday 7 November 2016


Good morning, everyone.   Brrrr - another cold morning here with clear skies and a stiff breeze which is going to make everything feel colder than it really is.

It was so cold yesterday too.  I was a bit concerned about the heating so I checked the thermostat and noticed that the 'needs new battery' light was flashing.  Only one problem - no batteries that size, so I zoomed off to Morrisons and got some, replaced the battery and after that the house warmed up nicely.  While I was at it, I changed some of the settings to match my life of leisure and, given that us golden oldies get a winter fuel payment, decided to hitch up the daytime temperature a bit.

You see, while I was at work, there was absolutely no point keeping my home warm during the week days, it would have been a waste of heat (and money) and last year I was pretty often at school so didn't bother to change it but it's different now.  I spend the greater part of each day at home (very nice too) and there's no point being cold if I don't have to be.

It was lovely having both Beth and Alex over for dinner.  When Al comes, I do a proper dinner whereas if it is only Beth we're just as likely to have something like home made soup or beans on toast.  So I roasted some chicken pieces with roast potatoes and parsnips and some broccoli and I cracked open one of the jars of spiced cranberry jelly (which was lovely).  We all enjoyed it and there were precious few leftovers!

After lunch, Al made his way home to study and Beth and I settled down to getting something ready for our stall.

Ages ago, we both used to make cards.  As a result we both had loads of bits and bobs, especially Christmas based, taking up rather a lot of space that could be very usefully used for other storage.  And that's when I had the idea of pick 'n' mix cards.

It's very simple.

You start with a card and an envelope in a bag.

You pick your bag of backing paper (those silver things are stickers).

Then you choose your bag of bits and bobs (apologies for the reflected light).

Finally, you can have something free from the lucky dip basket (all the bits that didn't go into bags - no photo).

So you end up with these - only all in the Christmas bag on the left.  Take them home and make your card (and, probably, another card too as there's loads of stuff in the bits and bobs bag).

I think the children are going to love it!  They loved our sock cat kits, our Christmas tree decoration kits and our fridge magnet kits and they will go for these too, I sincerely hope!  We're happy because it's used up a lot of stuff we'd never use again, having moved away from cards now.

Moving on!  The mince pie saga continues (see yesterday's entry).  I made some just ordinary pastry - just a bit - and it was fine.  So that was OK.  I then had a think and a ponder and adapted that ordinary recipe by adding some sugar, making the fats 70% trex and 30% butter (because the butter flavour is so good) and using a beaten egg to bind.  I then chilled it for five hours, then made the mince pies and chilled them again while the oven heated - and I used the other oven, not the fan oven.

You know what - it only went and worked, despite me letting them cook a bit too long (what a wally!).  Lovely short, melt-in-the-mouth pastry.  So tomorrow I shall be making the Christmas mince pies (again!) because today's effort, being a trial, only made a few pies and by the end of tomorrow there won't be any left!
It had better work!

Today Beth is over, I shall be nanny helping at school in the morning and I'm doing an extra tuition session late afternoon.  Oh, and I'm making bread and mince pies, Christmas slides and Christmas scrunchies!
Should be a great day!

Today's food:
B:  boiled egg and toast, apple
L:  broccoli soup orange
D:  pork curry and rice

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