Thursday, December 28, 2006

Back Home...

Just for a few days, at least. I love Christmas, I love seeing my family, I'd love to see more of family friends that live near my parents, but I can't deny how great it feels to be back in my own bed. I sleep badly enough as it is - add a bed that is much narrower than our own and it's a recipe for me and Mr Grumpy to really fall out. (Well, he falls out, I've got my nose pressed against the wall...)

Following several blog links through (as you do), I stumbled across Library Thing, an on-line cataloging system. I've listed some books I've read during the last year or so down the side. Eclectic mix, isn't it? But then, that's me all over. If you think this combination's weird, don't look on my iPod.

We are away again at the weekend, so if I don't get the chance to, Happy New Year to you!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It worked!

Hats off to Nigella!

The turkey was lovely and moist, the cranberry sauce was tart, the maple roasted parsnips were beautiful (and I don't like parsnips!) and the stuffing was lovely (although very citrussy and no taste of gingerbread - next time I won't put as much clementine zest in).

Was so replete, couldn't blog for 48 hours!

Have now travelled to my parents', complete with a well-developed throat/ear infection - don't know which, but both hurt. Ah well, you can tell it's the holidays!

Merry Christmas everyone, may you all get what you wish for.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Preparations

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I am not a "girly" girl.

Neither am I Susie Homemaker. Life is too damn short to stuff a mushroom.

But this year...

I've come over all Nigella.

I have spent the best part of 2 hours scouring Northwich for cloves (not a sniff - good job I have half a jiffy bag of the little blighters left over from a Tudor history project c.1999 that still have a strong aroma. Thank you Cathy at Schwartz, for your overwhelming generosity - 7 years later and I still haven't found the bottom of the bag), star anise and whole allspice(finally tracked down in the Health food shop), maple syrup (last bottle retreived from the back of a 6 ft high, 4 ft deep shelf by a gangly youth at Sainsbury's), chestnuts (scraped from the bottom of the last basket at Tesco) and semolina (none left at all anywhere). Anyone who knows Northwich will know that 2 hours usually gives you a chance to explore every nook and cranny, so it's a sign of how far the fragrant Nigella has invaded our consciousness this Christmas.

Saying that, I've just made my own cranberry sauce and it took no time at all. No, really... by the time I'd got the packet of mince pies open, they were ready to pour into a bowl!

I also have everything I need for the gingerbread stuffing and a brand new bucket to give the turkey its spicy brine bath tonight, in readiness for our own Christmas dinner tomorrow (we always have one on our own before we set out visiting).

Now if only I could look as gorgeous as Nigella in my dressing gown, I'll have cracked it. I'm not sure blue toweling covered in cat hair quite creates the impression I'm after, but heigh-ho...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

One More Get Up!

And then it's the holidays!!!!!

Friday was the Carol Service in church, with the whole school attending - 240 children walking through pouring rain - nice...

Yesterday was the panto and the party - no profesional disco this year, so no need for L and I to have half of the Infants playing Dead Lions to help calm them down, thank goodness!

Today was Christmas dinner, a slightly raucous affair, with an extended playtime. Staff also got their Secret Santa pressies. Mine was BRILL - a note-pad and pen, a packet of instant latte and, best of all, an earthenware mug wide enough to dunk biscuits in (there's nothing worse than a wedged Rich Tea swivelling on the brim of your mug as the bottom disintegrates) with a special shelf underneath it to stash several biscuits safely while I eat the first one. Top banana! Thank you, Secret Santa!

Tomorrow finishes with a candlelit service in the hall, which sounds like a lovely end to the term...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's all over!

Well, after some last minute changes first thing on Monday morning, the Christmas productions have been and gone - hurrah!

I think the changes foxed some of the children, but the parents loved it, which is all that really matters!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Dress Rehearsal Update

Well, J, S and I all thought it went okay. The only problem was a missing Wise Man (a new baby brother born at 6 o'clock that morning) who stands slightly in front of the one who has now decided in full costume that he won't sing or dance when he's on the stage. That and the fact that he and the other one kept taking their crowns off on stage. Grr.

However, I was then told that all 75 of them looked like they were going to a funeral because they weren't smiling, they needed to sing up, Mary was hiding behind her headress and a lot of them they needed to speak up because they couldn't be heard.

I do keep trying to tell people that the performing arts aren't my thing (good at appreciation, no talent whatsoever), but no one seems to be listening...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Gibbering Wreck

That's me, that is.

My head is permanently aching at the moment and I've developed a twitching eyelid that just won't keep still. I crawl home shattered, collapsing on the sofa and sleeping instead of doing my marking, but then lie awake half the night staring at the ceiling, with songs running through my head.

Deep joy.

There are a number of reasons, but the major one is probably the one that causes most Infant teachers to become faintly homicidal when faced with tinsel, a tea-towel and a grubby child-sized toweling dressing gown.

The Christmas Production.

Tomorrow is the dress rehearsal in front of the rest of the school, and we're nowhere near ready. It's not a total disaster - they know the songs, they know their words (well, most of them do, anyway), it's just that they can't remember when to stand up or move around. Joseph keeps turning his back on the audience. The kindly innkeeper has clean forgotten his words and now clutches a "Welcome to Bethlehem" visitors' guide with his words pasted on them. The donkey forgets to go on the stage. The angel choir have learnt their song beautifully (and the little Y1 angels have learnt a dance at very short notice) but they haven't learnt their cue, so there is an undignified scramble to get on the stage and deliver God's message to the shepherds. Herod is trying to set the world record for Fastest Delivery of Two Lines. One Wise Man works on his own timescale, so the camels keep setting off to travel around the hall without him. When the shepherds and the Wise Men arrive at the stable at the same time (I know, I know, but for this production they just DO), the shepherds keep having an argy-bargy as they try to get back on the stage (is there such a thing as an Alpha Shepherd?) Meanwhile, their sheep keep wondering past their masking tape line in front of the stage and getting mixed up with the Wise Men's camels, which wouldn't be a problem if they weren't supposed to be facing each other, singing a song to each other about how they are different.

And then half of my Year 2s told me confidently they didn't need another rehearsal, they were pretty good...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Children's work

After some discussion with a reader who contacted me about how I embedded Hedgehog's Breakfast (v easy BTW - follow the oh-so-easy upload procedure on YouTube then just copy the embedding code in) I spent a little bit of time looking at the work they have been doing with the Digiblue with children. It's great! Check out the work on White Oak Primary School's website.