being thrifty, sEAsons, trEAsury

sEAsons…oh the weather outside is frightful

Here we are the 3rd December it’s bitterly cold outside and snow keeps threatening and the countdown to Christmas has really begun.

Little L has sent her letter to Santa and we have all completed our family ‘Not so Secret Santa’ wish lists and passed them on to the relevant person.

This year I am buying a gift for my son in law and my OH is buying for my sister – she has a wish list as long as your arm but that makes it easier to pick a few things to the value of £50.  The big present swap and family party will be in two weeks time and I am generally in charge of crackers, games, silly hats and the music.

But first things first – I have mum’s photo book to finish and the computer is playing up – soon it will be me with frustration.

I have my fruit soaking ready to make my cake today and we bought a Christmas tree from Waitrose last night, a nice bushy 4 or 5 foot rooted one and it comes with a large red pot for £35 and all we have to do is bring it into the living room and decorate.  We used my £18 off a £90 shop voucher and also got a bargain on 3 gifts at £10 which were 3 for 2 (which conveniently brought the gifts into my £7 limit)  and also managed to find one of my sisters gifts – a stick blender.

To make up the £90 I also stocked up on a few items I can only buy from Waitrose and a few that we normally buy in Sainsbury’s that were on offer here.  So I was quite pleased with my purchases and the savings I made – the total came to more than £90 but with the coupon and £10 saving on the gifts I think I got quite a lot for the money.

Next Thursday mum arrives to stay and try out the brand new guest room – I need a heated underblanket for mum to replace the two hot water bottles she used to have.  This item is proving difficult to purchase as stock in the shops is low – everyone must be having one for Christmas, but I did manage to buy my plain white duvet cover for the new bed and a new plain white sheet for our bedroom as one of the two sheets had ripped right through in the last wash because it had worn so thin.

To finish the room we need to put up a picture or two and find a bedside table, but apart from that it is ready to go.

If I get time at the end of the day I will compose my Christmas letter that I usually send out to update relatives and friends and perhaps write a card or two.

Back soon x

managEAble, sEAsons, to do list

Tis the season to be jolly…

christmas lights a

…Fa la la Fa la la Fa la la…

When our girls were younger we would jump into the car one evening just before Christmas and have a tour of the neighbourhood lights.  It became quite a tradition and we would secretly award a First, Second, and Highly Commended prize to the efforts of the unsuspecting contestants.  The girls thought it was such great fun and even now they have flown the nest we still tend to have that neighbourhood tour wherever we happen to be.  The picture above was captured in a little Shropshire town called Wem where we stay over at Christmas when visiting my mum in law.   I love this fun part of Christmas especially all the over the top displays you come across in peoples gardens, I would never have a giant blow up Santa or a flashing neon reindeer but I love the people who do.

I expect like me you have all been very busy this weekend trying to put ticks against those never ending Christmas lists.  If you haven’t please let me know your secret of how you can be so close to Christmas and not have an endless to do list!   Yesterday the lights finally went up outside after the first lot didn’t work and we had to return them.  We also bought the tree and delivered a few cards on the way home to save on postage.

Today I made the cake which is one of my favourite jobs as nothing beats that heavenly smell of the Christmas cake cooking all afternoon. The recipe I use is a virtually organic cake and the dried fruit is marinated in Brandy with the zest of an orange and lemon for 3 days before mixing the cake. The recipe suggest that you stir the fruit occasionally over the three days and add a little more Brandy if the fruit seems a little dry – I suspect sometimes we overdo the Brandy bit as we both tend to have a stir and add a tablespoon more each time we pass the bowl whether or not the fruit is seems a little dry!!

Christmas Cake

The cards are beginning to drop through the door thick and fast now – I received my first on the 1st and then the odd one or two over the last week and now suddenly we arrive home to a little pile on the doormat.

During this coming week it will be my younger daughters birthday on the 13th December and on the Sunday our family get together for my side of the family for the big present swap.  Each alternate year we spend Christmas with my family and in-between with our respective partners families.  This year my daughters go to their partners families for Christmas Day, my mum and sister to her new partners mums and we go to my mum in  laws Care Home. So we meet before Christmas to get together and swap presents then next year we will all be together again for Christmas Day.   We find this arrangement works quite well for us and we are perfectly synchronized!

So what do I need to do this coming week

  • Make a few special cards to post
  • Finalise the newsletters to enclose or email
  • Get ready for our family get together
  • It will also be a celebration of my daughters birthday as she was born on the 13th December so I need to fit in a birthday cake as well
  • Buy a few more presents
  • Begin wrapping the gifts as this can always take longer than I allow for
  • Buy present for daughters birthday
  • Get decorations down from the loft
  • Put up the greenery along the Banister rails

How are your plans going everyone?