On Tuesday 1st December, I went round to Michelle Trickett-Smith's house - a lady from church, who's had incredibly bad health for a long time now. She needed help with packing ready for moving house. I spent a couple of hours with her packing up kitchen breakables and having a good chat. She's great company! I went over once a week during December - there was plenty to do, as Michelle is a bit of a self-admitted hoarder!
Wednesday 2nd - impromptu visit to the big Tesco with Donna!
On Thursday 3rd December, Harry turned 10! He had asked for a couple of friends from school over for tea and to a few games.
Henry, Mary and Harry having a doughnut eating race!
I was pleased because Harry had asked for a Minecraft birthday cake (ie. what the cakes look like in Minecraft) and it was quite an easy design to do!
Our Elf on the Shelf 'Maldad' made a reappearance this year... (Fortunately, I only came up with something for him to do a few times - the kids enjoyed doing it the rest of the time.)
On Friday 4th December, I met up with Scott at Peterborough Chapel for Dylan Martin's Funeral Service. He is Hannah and Spencer's 11 year old son, who was born with severe physical and mental health issues, and who in spite of being wheelchair bound has been a lively and happy part of our Ward.
We all wore bright colours to the funeral as those are what Dylan loved. Lots of Dylan's family gave beautiful talks and musical items, and as well as the sadness, there was much hope in the knowledge the Gospel gives us.
On Tuesday 8th December, Jack turned 16!!!
He didn't want a party, but I made him a big chocolate cake!
Singing to Jack... we had to make do with one big candle for the cake!
Maldad strikes again, on the medicine cupboard.
A few weeks ago, Harry had wanted to make some cream horns, and wasn't very impressed that we didn't have any cream horn moulds! (He loves watching 'The Great British Bake-Off'.) Anyway, I'd bought a pack of moulds for his birthday, and on 11th December, we made some.
I'd bought ready-made puff pastry, and Harry cut it into strips and wrapped it round the moulds.
(Our pyramid of Grape Soda in the background - a present from the Butikofers!)
The horns worked out pretty well, and I made cranberry and white chocolate cookies too.
I'd also bought some squirty cream, and fruit sauce. Yum!!
On Monday 14th I had to go to Fire Head Quarters, to collect my working rig (smart uniform) and have a photo taken for my warrant card. When I got there, they were ever so apologetic and said that actually I needed to go to the Training Centre instead (across town). My friend Jason was also there (great news, because it meant he had passed his assessment day too, and we'd be on the training course together!), so we both headed to the Training Centre. A few more people from our course were there. I recognised most of them from our assessment day.
I got changed in a room with another girl who'll be on the course - Vicky, just to check everything fitted. We each had a massive box of stuff! Trousers, T-shirts, smart shirts, sweatshirt, jacket, socks, boots, belt, eye goggles, whistle, bag etc.
We also had to try some PPE on for size too, which would be ready for us on the course.
I had a couple of photos taken, then headed back to Sainsbury's car park with my enormous box!
Tried everything on again when I got home! I love my magnetic name badge best of all!
On Wednesday 16th, I got to look after the Hookers' little boy Seth, for a while. I think Naomi was a bit worried that he'd get upset, but I had Harry 'ill' off school (not that ill!) and he played cars and train tracks with Seth, who was entirely happy the whole time!
The 16th was also Tom's 13th birthday! (This has been quite a year for special birthdays... Me 40, Lucy 18, Jack 16, Tom a teenager, and Harry in double digits!)
I was delighted that he didn't want a party, and requested a doughnut birthday cake!!
On Thursday 17th, I went for an Osteopath appointment in Godmanchester. Ben Conway had recommended a couple of osteopaths there, and I thought I should probably get my shoulder checked out before I started the fire course. I'd hurt it on the indoor ski slope on camp in the summer, and it still bothers me from time to time. I absolutely loved Vida, my osteopath! She is so positive and encouraging! She said I had a AC joint ligament strain that we should be able to get sorted.
Scott also went to an osteopath on the 17th, in Peterborough, because he's had a painful shoulder too!
On Saturday 19th, Scott went on a Ward Youth Temple trip with Lucy, Jack and Tom, and I had a baking day. I wanted to make gift boxes of treats for our neighbours and the families Scott Home Teaches. This was Tom's first time inside the Temple, and he said he really enjoyed it. Lucy had found some names of ancestors - some sisters - on Scott's family tree, and was baptised on behalf of them, should they wish to accept the ordinance.
Harry and I also assembled a Gingerbread House kit!
In the evening when everyone was back, I delivered gift boxes to four of our neighbours, and took a good couple of hours, because I went in and chatted with Bill and Connie, and then Anne, across the road.
On Sunday 20th we went to church, and it was a lovely day - it was the Christmas Devotional broadcast, Meg and Dave were there, and then we had a ward Munch and Mingle, plus I got to give out presents to my Visiting Teaching sisters. Also, most importantly, Jack was ordained as a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood. I was really proud of him living in such a way that he is able to have this responsibility. Part of his new Priesthood responsibilities include blessing the bread and water for the Sacrament, and he is also able to baptize others now.
Harry asked if he could sleep in the bath, and as it was the school holidays, and he won't always be able to fit in the bath to sleep, I said yes. Tom and Lucy 'helped'! They filled the bottom of the bath with sleeping bags, for padding.
That evening, Lucy was complaining she'd have no good skirts to wear on her mission next year, so I said we should learn to make them, and I had a go right then. I got some fabric out from the boxes under my bed, and laid out an old skirt I like, then drew round it, and improvised the pieces I'd need. It turned out pretty well! It has a side zip and everything! I rashly said I'd make Lucy a new skirt every week of her mission... that might be pushing it a bit... maybe one a month?!
Lucy went to Mallory Grover's house on Monday 21st to make cupcakes with the Young Women. Tamisa Martin and Mariah Taylor came over to our's after for a Star Wars film marathon! (The next day the Young Women went and sang at a Care Home and delivered the cakes. Lucy said it was lovely!)
Also on 21st, I iced our Christmas cake, which Janice (Richard Blackhurst's Mum) made for us. I was at Richard and Jo's house for lunch one day when Janice was there. She makes Richard and Jo's cake and said she'd like to make mine too because I decorate their cake every year! I happily agreed! I'd left some ingredients money for her, but when I got the cake, she'd put loads of goodies in there for me too, because she hadn't wanted any money - she'd included mincemeat, icing sugar, homemade jams, and some other baking bits - it was so nice!
Scott went down South on 21st to meet up with two of his old school friends - Justin Illingsworth and Simon Bennett. They'd not seen each other for a few years and I think had a pretty good time!
Wednesday 23rd December. In some of Harry's 'no screens!' time, he made these Minecraft characters, using the back of my scrapbook paper and my box maker!
Also on 23rd, I came downstairs at one point to find all the kids making cookies together. It was so flippin' cute!!
On Christmas Eve, we all went to Shane and Dawn's for a lovely lunch. Chris was there too, which was nice. Then my lot went to the cinema (taking Ethan) to see Star Wars. I had refused point bank to see it, so went home!
I shared my testimony on Facebook that afternoon. I have focused more on Jesus Christ lately, and have felt strengthened and happier because of it. I wanted to express some of that.
We took ages to decide what to do for Christmas, and in the end stayed at home on Christmas Eve, had a nice quiet and relaxed Christmas morning on our own then drove to Mum and Dad's for lunch.
Robin and Niki's lot were there too, and we enjoyed just hanging out.
Katy and Dan hadn't planned on coming to Mum and Dad's, but ended up stopping by on their way to Dan's parents, so I got to see them briefly.
I recently got into Essie nail polishes (I'd seen a shade I'd liked on a Youtube video - which I'd come across while I was in a bit of a make-up researching/buying phase), and bought it in a set with a couple of other polishes, then got a bit addicted to looking at (and buying!) all the other nice Essie shades on Pinterest!
I'd bought my polish tin with me, and after tea did Emma and Heidi's nails, and Mum's!
I've also been doing Lucy's nails every couple of days, and she's stopped biting her nails for the first time in years and grown them out!
We stayed overnight, and on Boxing Day, John and Hannah's gang came at lunchtime and we had Christmas Part II.
Beforehand, the older kids and I went to the Avenue - mainly so I could go to the Boots sale! It didn't disappoint! I spent over £100 on toiletries and lovely things. I also had to get a refund on my Christmas present from Scott - a bottle of Chanel Mademoiselle perfume, which unfortunately had a smashed top. (I replaced it later!) Scott turned up just as we were finishing, and took us home.
The usual back room chaos.
Scott trying out some 3D viewing thing on John's phone.
I'd bought Hattie and Viv a mop/broom set, and a doll's pushchair. They spent ages pushing each other round in the pushchair (and shrieking every time they wanted to swap - talk about noisy!!) ...hilarious!
Asher and Emma trying to kiss Tom!
We headed home on Boxing Day evening.
On Sunday 27th, Bex Key was at church, visiting Ben and Anna, so in the evening I went over to Ben and Anna's, and Bex and I had a good catch up!
On Wednesday 30th, I traveled on my own to Nottingham for the funeral of Aunt Dot - Dorothy Saldeba. She had died after battling cancer for many years. I ended up getting to Nottingham 1 Chapel just after the service had started, and slipped in at the back, sitting with Ron Berrington and Roger Beardsmore. It was a wonderful service and the place was absolutely packed. David Bourne spoke, then Dad, and then Kate Radford. I felt like it did justice to Aunt Dot who is one of the best people I've ever known - quiet, unassuming, kind, generous, and always cheerful.
She used to teach me at church, and I was her bridesmaid after her first husband died and she married Eluardo (John) Saldeba. She was my toffee supplier, and introduced Juli and I to 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers'! (This photo of us is from a couple of years ago.)
After the service I walked over to Wilford Hill Cemetery with Robin, Adam and Martin Devine for the funeral.
The four of us walked round the cemetery a bit after the funeral, looking for our Grandparent's graves. We found Grandad and Grandma Asher, and further up in the same row, Granny Flinn. We also found Martin's Grandad Needham.
We came across some light-hearted grave stones too, and left the cemetery with Martin and I planning Robin's grave stone... laser beams projecting a huge Robin's head into the night sky, flashing lights, great quotes and pictures etc...!!
Back at church there was a lovely feast and I enjoyed talking with lots of the old Nottingham 1 lot - Kate Radford, John Saldeba, Sister Bennett, Tiffany and her kids, and Jo Milward for ages.
I spent the night at Mum and Dad's, then drove home the next morning.
In the evening it was the Ward New Year's Eve party! We split into teams and had some really great team games (I was in a group with Scott, the Wades, the Cooks and David and Ola Willis - what a laugh! We were highly competitive!)
Harry was in a group with lots of the Young Women, and he volunteered for one of the games which involved his face being covered with shaving foam while the rest of the team threw Cheeto's at him - the team with the most Cheeto's stuck to their victim's head, won!
We had a 'fake' New Year celebration at 9pm for all the younger kids who needed to go home early!
Our New Year (at 9pm) fireworks, which were pretty impressive!
Then we had more games, karaoke, food and chatting till midnight. One of the games was creating a costume for a team member from various scraps. My team dressed Richard Malachowski as a snowman! (I think we came joint first!)
The actual New Year! We'd thought we might take Harry home early, but he was fine, so we all saw 2016 in! Good times!