30 December 2010

Christmas Day in Saltwell Park

Christmas Eve

It's become a tradition on Christmas Eve to set up some landing lights (tea lights in glass jars) down the front path, so Father Christmas can see where he's going. We also scatter some glittery reindeer food...

...and inside there's also a glass of whisky and a mince pie, to reward Father Christmas for coming down our non-existent chimney. He really is rather good at getting past the gas flue and the chipboard.

16 December 2010


As is traditional, we've made our gingerbread house (when I say made, I don't mean I made the whole thing - I cheated and bought the sides/roof/chimney in IKEA). We used royal icing to stick it together, and then attached a whole load of sweeties to the roof. The girl liked that bit very much.

It does seem to be listing slightly, and a week on, the smarties on the roof have turned suspiciously white. I suspect the cat, who has a record of previous offences.

In other news, M's also written a letter to Santa. Apparently she wants some shoes for her (Barbie-sized) riders. Bless.

09 December 2010

On breakfast

Breakfast in our house tends to be a speedy affair, sandwiched in between waking up, slinging on some clothes and heading out on the school run. At the weekend we're a bit more leisurely, but most of the time it's a hit-and-run.

I've tried making breakfast exciting, with offers of eggs on toast, baked beans or porridge, but what the troops really seem to want is cereal, muesli and yoghurt or toast and something. (Actually, what they really want is croissants, chocolate muesli or pain au chocolat, but that's strictly a weekend treat).

The toast-and-something tastes are clear:

Orb: peanut butter, marmalade, honey
Me: homemade jam (currently working my way through a jar of blackberry and apple), Marmite, marmalade
M: Marmite, marmalade, strawberry jam or Nutella

Usually, it's never the twain shall meet. I don't go near peanut butter, Orb wouldn't dream of letting Marmite touch his knife. None of us have ever tried peanut butter and jelly. I suggested it, but the chorus of boos was overwhelming.

This week, however, we've had a bit of a taste test. The nice people at Whole Earth sent us a couple of jars of peanut butter - crunchy and smooth. So we thought we'd give them a go. Orb's been spreading it on his toast with wild abandon as you'd expect, and M has nicked several bits of his slices, which I think means the crunchy stuff has been a hit. I had a go...but for breakfast, it just wasn't me. Too sticky. However, in a sandwich with either cheese or banana for lunch - now you're talking.

As we say in our house, "two thumbs up good".

03 December 2010

The Collings go to Denmark

You might remember back in August we disappeared off to Denmark for a holiday - as guinea pigs for VisitDenmark. Here's a video we made about our trip!

If you want to follow what happened in more detail, here's the links to the blogposts we wrote at the time:

12 August 2010: The packing begins
15 August 2010: Ferry-tastic
15 August 2010: Denmark! (Grenaa Strand campsite)
16 August 2010: Denmark day 2 (Grenaa)
17 August 2010: Denmark day 3 (Kattegatcentret)
18 August 2010: Denmark day 4 (Dansk Landbrugsmuseum)
19 August 2010: Denmark day 5 (Jambo Feriepark)
20 August 2010: Denmark day 6 (Saltum Strand, Aalborg)
21 August 2010: Denmark day 7 (Aalborg Zoo)
22 August 2010: Denmark day 8 (Faarup Sommerland)
26 August 2010: Denmark - the verdict

02 December 2010

Too much snow

I may have had enough of the snow now. I've got Christmas cards to write, presents to wrap, and a small girl to shoehorn into a costume for next week's nativity play at school. Enough with the snowflakes!

Other things I haven't had chance to do yet (mostly food-related):

  • an exciting peanut butter taste text (the nice people over at Whole Earth have sent us some to review...but the sledging has kind of got in the way a bit)
  • make our Christmas cake (I'm going back to the 2008 version)
  • build the annual IKEA gingerbread house (learning from previous years, we won't be putting smarties on the roof, as the cat likes to lick them!)
  • make mince pies (we did the mincemeat on stir up Sunday)
  • make some crafty crackers (although this year, we'll be using tissue paper - it took superhuman levels of strength to pull last year's lot)
Eek. That's quite a lot to get done over the next couple of weeks...

01 December 2010

Snow! (part 3)

So far this week, we've gone sledging:

...built a snow cat:

...and spent quite a while excavating the car and attempting the school run. M went to school by sledge on Monday, which was jolly hard work. I don't think I was a husky in a previous life.