Wednesday, December 29, 2010

31 days of Zero

So this new year, instead of making a list of all the resolutions that I will proceed to break by January 2nd, I have roped in the rest of the family to have a month of spending nothing.

There are several reasons why I want to do this; firstly with our move in April, we need to cut back materialistically. We have a plethora of Christmas leftovers and a freezer full of food that we can't move. We are also moving down a bedroom size and with it being our own home finally, one where we do not intend to move from again, we are finally able to put up shelves, unpack boxes etc, so I can downsize.

I have also nearly come to terms (there is still the occasional tear and pang) with the fact that I won't/can't be a mama again in this lifetime and as one of my dear friends is now expecting her first, have passed on  a huge bag of goodies to her, this means that I can free the garage of baby swings, cots and pushchairs and sell on or giveaway some of the toys the children have now grown out of; the ones I've been hanging onto...just. in . case!

So, my plan of action for the month is to only spend on fresh groceries such as milk, veg and fruit and maybe a joint each weekend that we can then find different and inventive recipes for the leftovers in the week. I am intending to write a menu for the week so that my shopping is strictly minimal and to the list exactement!

No clothes, home items, garden stuff etc will be bought and we can make or mend what we have.

We may well be able to swap things with friends, I have boxes of homemade chutneys and jams that I may be able to exchange for half a dozen eggs from one of my friends with chooks. 

No cinema trips, meals out, pub jaunts this month - we can play board games - the kids got loads for Christmas - and watch the movies we were given, recorded or that we get on our monthly sub from Love Film which is already pre-paid for, so doesn't count ;-)

The sewing machine will be set up in the lounge so that I WILL complete the projects I have in my cupboard and I am going to aim to finish all the started knitting projects (of which there appear to be quite a few!) by the summer!

Magazines (other than the boys' subscription to The Beano and Mr Beehive's Private Eye) will be bought - not sure how I'll live without February's Country Living, but I intend to cut out all the bits from the last few month's editions that I wish to save and put them in my file (er...yes...I am THAT woman...I have a file of pages I've cut out of magazines that inspire me or remind me of how I want my room/s to look!)

We don't have any real vices, we don't smoke, we don't wear Jimmy Choos, we don't drink - a lot ;-) and we have stores of wine thanks to Mr Beehive's job! we don't even get a daily paper as we don't have time to read it.

I intend to blow the dust off my running shoes again as long as the snow holds off and that way I can work off the wine and sitting on my arse-ness that might be a result of not going out - yeah, cos we're normally such party animals in this house *guffaw*!!!

Blogland will henceforth be used this month, to record how well we get on with this. I intend to be honest and record how many times we slip up, or use the car unecessarily and try to log how much money we waste/save.

If anyone is up to joining me, I'd be very happy to either link to your blog or invite you to write a guest post for this blog.

Who's with me?

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yuletide Greetings

I've abandonded you all again, and so close to Christmas too! I'm sorry!

I've also been a bit of a stresshead, so it probably wasnt' best to get online and bore you all with it.
I love Christmas, for me, it's all about being with the family, enjoying good food, giving lots of handmade (and not so) gifts to friends and family. Yet the snow this year, for all it's beauty, is proving a right royal pain in the proverbial butt.

Ma and Pa were hoping to come up today, but their attempts were thwarted at the end of their drive by the pile of snow that deposited itself overnight, so they're hoping to come tomorrow. Of course, this is hoping that not more white stuff falls, otherwise, and this is the stressy bit, I'll have sad kids, sad parents and sad me!

I've had enough of the snow now. This afternoon when I picked up the children, I had to reverse to get traction on the car and get out of the parking spot and the back of the car skidded out and slid into a post - thus giving me an early Christmas present of a nice dent and some added paint colour to my car! Of course, I still hadn't actually gotten out of the space, so I put my car mats under my wheels and asked the chap sat in the van watching my antics if he could give me a push.

I love how the weather brings out not only the very best in neighbourhood spirit and community, (having watched and helped with digging cars out, spreading salt and grit on people's drives and paths, doing extra shopping for elderly relations, friend or neighbours) as well as the absolute bloody worst.

"No!" he shook his head!

Are you as astounded as I was?

He didn't even have the decency to wind down his window and tell me he had a bad back, sciatica, angina, was pissed or just a plain old arsehole. No! I wasn't granted that honour, just the honour of standing in the street with my chin on the floor watching him shake his head!

Anyhoo, successfully pushed out (not by him!) we've been busy going to school plays in which the littlest Beehive was the star; yes, I thought that too - a nativity, needs a star, but no, she was the star! It was very sweet and she proved her diva/director status stands by acting her little heart out and telling the rest of the cast their stage directions when they were busy waving at their parents. Amazing what a couple of years makes, considering two years ago, she ran off the stage crying because someone had "taken her spot"!!

We've also been cooking and baking and making gifts.

This evening we went to the German Market in the city, I love this event, it's the perfect appetiser to Christmas:

I hope if you are travelling or expecting travellers this Yule, they arrive or you arrive safely and you can share the love and warmth of this season together and maybe spare a thought for those who have been stranded or separated somehow.

Sending you all our warmest yuletide greetings for the holidays. x

Friday, December 03, 2010

Feeling thankful Friday

Okay, because I have run out of steam to think of anything today, I have put together a list of things that have made me happy and that I'm thankful for today.

Thankful that the fat bars worked and now the birds have some food. There are tons of peanuts and seeds packed in the other side of the fat bar!
I am so happy to see this little guy. He is one of those incense "smokers". I bought him from the German Market last weekend and he emits lovely Christmassy smells when I light the incense. Good for the soul. I am thankful for soul smells xx

This makes me smile, that the children, at the ages they are, still ask to change over the season's table. Our winter table needs some holly, I'll have to see if I can get some on the way back this afternoon. Thankful that our children still want to continue with rituals we started when they were babies and toddlers.

Ooooh, my stove top coffee pot. Makes the best coffee IN THE WORLD! It's coffee with LEGS! and there is just something very homely about having coffee bubbling on the hob. So thankful for hot, steaming, perfect coffee xx

Sour dough bread. I made it to the High Street today whilst taking the children to school and stopped at the Artisan Bakery. Thankful treats for our tummies when school is out at lunchtime and small legs have walked the mile home from school again as there are still no buses!

So thankful, to my darling husband for making it possible for me to attend this. The Midwifery Today conference in Eugene in March 2011. Five days of no mail produced this beauty in the backlog today when the postie arrived. I am so happy!

The postie also brought me this, which also makes me so happy. My friend and I exchange tree ornaments each year, we have done for the past five and every year I receive a little parcel from Wilton in the US with my beautiful gift. It's almost too pretty to open. Thank you Andrea - sending you lots of holiday love xxxxx
What are you thankful for on this snowy Friday?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Winter stars

Today I am at peace with the snow!
It's so quiet outside and, yes, it takes a lot more planning and organisation in the day to go anywhere or do anything and yes, we've done a lot of back breaking snow clearing and rucksack carrying, but the joy over these last few days of not having to be anywhere and the slowing down of life, has been idyllic.

We've all been able to share lunchtime and dinner together, which has been incredibly precious. We have eaten well as I've had time to really cook everything from scratch as there have been no after school activities to rush to, no school pick up to do, no work to fly out of the door to, we've laughed together, danced together, crafted, written stories and drawn. Of course, it's not all been happy families, there have been moments of intense cabin fever for the boys in particular, who also share a room, where there has been the desire for a moment of privacy or solitude and there is nowhere to go.

Tomorrow, for half a day (go figure!) life will resume it's normal status. Mr Beehive will be attempting to go into the office, all three Beehives are in school and I will be back with my head in a text book, but, I just want to say out loud, how blessed I've felt for this week in many respects.

I just wanted to share with you a tutorial for the Waldorf inspired winter stars that we do each year and put on our windows. They are so easy to do and can be made more complicated depending on folding, but they look so effective and pretty and anyone can do them, from the littlest hobo to the biggest boho.
I make them out of a kind of greased tissue paper - known commonly as "kite paper" in the US which comes in packs of squares. You could also use regular tissue paper, but one of the beauties of the wax effect is that the paper is sturdier. The link takes you to a shop that sells it online.

So I'll leave you with this, and also some more pictures of my stunning gallery of icicles!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

There's S'now business like S'now business!

Day four today of our snow pile and it's not showing much sign of stopping with any real determination yet.
We have dug the road out four times so far, dug the cars out twice and not used them of course and walked with rucksacks on to the supermarket twice to ensure fresh fruit, veg, milk and hay for the pigs!

Of course, this is still relatively novel, although the children are bored of playing out in it now, but today we're getting in the swing of things, I got together some school work for the kids and actually for a few seconds, missed the home edding aspect that used to be in our lives. Of course, being able to do this calmly today and enjoy it has meant that all of my work and study has had to be put on the back burner so I've not picked up a book. In reality, this was one of the reasons the children went back to school, because the logistics for all of us to study and stay sane at the ages they were, didn't fit together like that perfect jigsaw puzzle!

Living in a white wonderland requires so much more planning and organisation in a day (yeah - Dorian - mate - you win - I couldn't do it!) and between us, our day today has consisted of:
2 hours clearing the drive, road and cars
30 minutes clearing the drive of Mr Beehive's aunt and uncle who live round the corner.
3 hours of school work
2 hours trip to the supermarket which, on a regular day takes around 10 minutes each way!
1 hour making soup and bread
20 minutes making fat cakes for the birds.
1 hour cooking and preparing a larger than life meal so that we have plenty of leftovers for later in the week if the supermarkets run low because deliveries can't get in.
20 minute diversion on the walk to the post box - sorry to those of you who are waiting for hats and mincemeat - I haven't got three hours pencilled in yet to walk to the post office and stand in the queue with the millions of other people with the same idea. Next week, I promise!
...and I'm still knitting my socks! 

However, we still managed to bunk down on the sofa this afternoon to watch "How to Train your Dragon", so it ain't all chores!

Here are a few pictures from our Christmassy postcard!

Killer Icicle! Watch out below!