Tuesday, 16 December 2008

JYC Day 14

This is my page about opening presents. We always open them on Christmas Day but don't really have any traditions about the way this is done!

The journalling reads:

'I don't remember a tradition about handing out presents when I was young. The presents were given ou and opened as you got them, so sometimes that meant several people were opening them at the same time. It was something that never occurred to me at the time, but we didn't see what each other had received or from whom. We then showed the presents around after we had opened them.

When Katie and Lizzie were little, they took forever to open presents - sometimes the whole of Christmas Day. This meant that we got to watch them actually opening them and playing with them.

Now they are older we distribute presents to one or two people at a time and wait for those to be opened before passing out some more.'

Sunday, 14 December 2008

JYC Days 10, 11, 12 and 13

I have got quite a long way behind but have finally managed to finish 4 pages and photograph them.

'Wrapping gifts' uses some of the paper that we use each year to wrap our presents in. We bought a huge pack of paper from Costco a few years ago and will be using it for the foreseeable future I think. It is nice paper though!

'Our Tree' was almost finished a few days ago, but I wanted to wait for a photograph of our decorated tree to add to the page. The tree is a real one but it is a bit unstable I think! Hopefully it will stay vertical until we take it down again in January!

In the Day 12 entry I compare various Christmases. My childhood Christmases, those of 25 years ago, when I first met Frank, 20 years ago when we had Katie and Lizzie and then again with how we spend Christmas today.

The final page here lists some of my favourite Christmas songs. Not carols, but more popular songs. I love hearing these on the radio as you get nearer and nearer to Christmas!

The girls are home

Early yesterday morning, Frank and I set off in opposite directions to get our daugthers. The weather was AWFUL! It rained all the way to Liverpool and the spray on the motorway made the visibility very difficult. However, I arrivedjust after 11 am, we got Lizzie's things packed up and left her flat at about 12.15. We stopped for lunch at Sandbach services and made it home at around 3.30 pm - not long after Frank got home with Katie. It is good to have them both home again!

Today I think it is time to buy the tree and get the house decorated. And then we have to write the Christmas cards and get them mailed!

Staff party

Friday night was the staff party at college. I left work at 11.30 as I had finished teaching for the day and came home to cook. I made the puff pastry first so that it could rest and then set about cooking the onions and preparing the rest of the stuff. I made puff pastry triangles, which were topped with red onions, stilton and pear and also filo pastry triangles that were stuffed with bacon, pate and chives. They all turned out pretty well considering it was the first time I had cooked them. I had intended to make twice as many but ran out of time, so the rest of the puff pastry is in the freezer waiting for me to make sausage rolls with it!

My Secret Santa was Malcolm - the head of maintenance. I had absolutely no idea who had been buying gifts for me but the gifts were all fantastic! A cookery book - all chocolate recipes; some bath salts; a countdown holiday clock; some chocolate biscuits and a Place in the Sun magazine and the final gift which he gave me on Friday was the book Chocolat, by Joanne Harris and a bar of chocolate.

We were supposed to be having a Beetle Drive after we had eaten but it was decided at the last minute that it wasn't a good idea as people don't want to sit with people they don't know very well! Personally I think that was the wrong choice as we all ended up sitting with those we work most closely with and what is the fun in that! You never get to know anyone else unless someone makes an effort and a beetle drive would have been the ideal way to do this! Hopefully the beetle drive will take place as a stand alone event next term! But I won't hold my breath.

JYC page 9

Traditions! This was a hard one for me as we don't really have many traditions at Christmas! Each year we do most things differently! No traditional Christmas dinner, no routine to where we go etc.

There are just a few things we do the same each year! We decorate the house with streamers and a Christmas tree, we open our presents on Christmas morning and we play board games throughout the holiday period.

Anyhow - here is my page!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

JYC Day 8

I caught up and now I am a little behind again.

Yesterday Frank was staying away for the night and I had planned on doing some scrapping, other than my JYC page. But I developed a headache and after completing my page for JYC decided to go to bed before midnight for a change.

This page is based on how things are changing around us. I decided to go for some simple shots of decorations and wrapping rather than think about things like the credit crunch.

After my early night I woke up at 5.00 and then couldn't get back to sleep until it was time to get up again. Consequently I have still got a headache and I have not given much thought to Day 9. So - that means I will be playing catch up again tomorrow or Thursday.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

JYC Day 7

This is my to do list! I am sure I have missed things off and I might tick when they are done - I haven't yet decided. In actual fact I have already completed the bottom 3 things on the list but felt they were part of the regular Christmas list of things to do. The birthday presents are for Frank (December 23rd) and for Katie (January 1st).

Student's Christmas party

I picked Gill up at 7 o'clock and we headed out to Northampton. We were really lucky and found a parking space near the Derngate. The Guildhall is a fantastic venue and we were greated by a man dressed like he was from a Dicken's novel. It turned out that he doubled up as the magician that wandered around the tables. There was also artificial snow around the building!

When we arrived there were more staff than students but by 9 o'clock it had filled up nicely. There was a rolling buffet of rolls and snacks and staff were allowed 2 free drinks. The decorations inside the building were stunning. Drapes from the ceiling, lots of lighted trees and beautifully decorated tables.

Here's a photo of me ready to go out. I am wearing one of Katie's dresses and I'm wearing Lizzie's shoes too. Having grown up daughters is so nice! And on the right is a photo of me with Rosa Nguyen - one of my Vietnamese students.

A couple of ex students came back for the party but not as many as in previous years. Gill and I left at 10 o'clock as it was getting very cold outside! It was a pleasant evening though.

JYC Day 6

I managed to get up to date before I went out last night and finished Saturday's page.

I found this one quite hard as there haven't been any really bad Christmases. There have been a couple where we have had arguments with the family over trivial things! One in Birmingham when my parents dog stole some of the pieces of the new jigsaw and left his teethmarks in them. And then the following year I fell out with Frank's mother. On both occasions it was a case of staying too long after Christmas and just getting on each others' nerves. From then on we make visits shorter or go away for Christmas.

My childhood Christmases were not great fun as we ALWAYS had to go to one or other set of grandparent's houses or they would come to us. And that always meant getting up early and rushing to open presents before driving to Worcester or Bournemouth, or opening them before they arrived at our house. I can't ever remember a Christmas when it was just my parents and me - but I can't write all this in the journal as they would be devastated to read it!

Good Christmases have been most of them, so again choosing just one was not easy! Anyway - here is my page for Day 6!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

JYC Days 4 and 5

I have spent much of today playing catch up with my Christmas journal. I must say it has been so nice not to have to spend time on college work which is the first weekend in about 6 weeks.

I have talked about my perfect Christmas and about Advent and the tradition we now have in our family. I think the journalling is clear enough to read so I won't repeat it here.

And this evening is the college student Christmas Party. It is being held at the Guildhall in Northampton and I am hoping that it will be a good evening. I hope lots of students attend and I know full well that most of the evening will be spent having photos taken with them all. They like to take photos of their teachers home to show their families!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

JYC Day 2 and 3

Today I managed to get the pages finished for the 2nd and 3rd day of the journal. Weather and Cards! It was parents evening at college last night so there was no time to complete my journal page yesterday. The first parents evening that I have been a teacher at for 22 years!

I really enjoy the journalling part of it which is quiet a surprise to me as I am not used to writing much on scrapbook pages! My pages usually tell the date and the place and not much else. I know I need to expand on this so that future generations can read about life in the early 21st Century and maybe this journal will give me the confidence to carry it over onto scrapbook pages.

Here are the two pages for Days 2 and 3.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

JYC Day 2

Today I finally got my page complete for yesterday's prompt. I toyed with several different papers and then decided on something quite simple. I also played around with several photos and then had trouble with the colour when printing, but this is my completed page!

Today's prompt is about the weather and this is what I have journalled about it. As it is parent's evening tomorrow I don't imagine I will get chance to create my page until Thursday. And I can't find the photographs I want either - I think they are in the loft so I may have to think again about what photos to include!

"Christmas Weather!

Winter in England – A white Christmas is something many of us dream about. As a child I’m sure we used to get more snow than we do now, but still not on Christmas Day I guess!

We have actually experienced snow on Christmas Day twice – the first time was back in 1993 . We were on an 8 day holiday to EuroDisney (as it was called then!) and were spending the day in the park. During the afternoon it started to snow and that was such a magical feeling – Walking down Main Street, USA, looking at all the fantastic decorations, listening to the singing and watching REAL snow fall. The next morning we awoke to find thick snow and some boys were building a Mickey Mouse snowman outside our window.

The second time it snowed on Christmas Day was in Wales in 2001. We were staying in a log cabin just outside Carmarthen. We had a lovely log fire and the cabins were nestled in a wood. And on Christmas Day we looked out of the window to see snow falling. What a wonderful way to spend Christmas – sat in front of a warm fire watching the snow falling all around.

In 2005 we went to the other extreme and celebrated a warm Christmas. This was the year we went to Florida. Christmas was spent in an apartment on the west coast of Florida in a little place called Anna Maria Island (near Bradenton). The weather was not that hot but it was warm enough for Frank and I to stroll along the beach wearing just a cardigan or jumper.

I wonder what the weather will be like on Christmas Day this year and where we will spend next Christmas!"

Monday, 1 December 2008

First Day of JYC

Today I waited eagerly for the first prompt, but all to no avail. Some hiccup with the email meant that I didn't get it first thing this morning, like I expected. But that wasn't a real problem - I emailed Shimelle and she sent it to me, but the prompts are also available on her forum.

So the first prompt is to write a sort of Manifesto - why you are doing the JYC, what is special about this time of year, what you want to get out of this experience ...

So - here goes!

Starting today, December 1st, I will keep a Christmas journal. In it, I will write something everyday (hopefully!) to reflect on the holidays of my past, enjoy the holidays of the present and dream about the holidays of the future. I plan to give at least 15 minutes of each day to this task, no matter how crazy the season becomes. This Christmas I will create something of my own which will be filled with my own memories and my wishes. It will be something for my family to look back on in the future and hopefully it will remind them of the good times we had.