Christmas Meal Planning Monday

menu blackboard

Christmas is finally here after weeks and weeks of build up. We travelled home today after a weekend with my Knight-in-Shining-Armour’s family. No it’s not a Christmas tradition but a celebration of a family member surviving a major illness this year.  They will be partying on all week whilst we are returning to have Christmas at home with my side of the family. I’m looking forward to being able to relax.

Monday 23rd Eating somewhere on the journey home
Tuesday 24th Poached salmon, now potatoes & veg
Wednesday 25th Traditional Christmas Turkey & trimmings
Thursday 26th Indian Feast – this has become a family tradition with my children who are not keen on too much traditional Christmas fayre.
Friday 27th Left overs
Saturday 28th Left overs
Sunday 29th French onion soup



Two Christmas Cats

books board

Two more Christmas favourites.

Mog’s Christmas

By Judith Kerr

Another delightful Mog story from Judith Kerr.   Mog is very disconcerted by the  disruption of household routines caused by preparations for Christmas and retreats to the roof. A walking, talking tree is the last straw for her and she takes refuge on the roof and refuses to come down. In the end she  returns with and unexpected bump. Poignant and funny.

Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers

By Lynley Dodd

I’m a great fan of Lynley Dodd’s Hairy Maclary series. All great stories which play with words and rhymes.  Slinky Malinki started as a minor  character in Hairy Maclary stories but has now been promoted to having whole books of his own.

Slinky Malinki watches the Christmas tree being decorated and as you would expect he  disrupts the proceedings as only he can.  “Slinky Malinki, with mischievous glee, crept from the shadows to climb up the tree.”   Very funny.


Both simple stories that revolve around the family home familiar to most children. Children love them!


Decorating the Christmas Tree

Christmas tree

Decorating the tree marks the start of Christmas in this house.  Opening the box of decorations is magical. I collect decorations. I’m always on the lookout for them when I visit somewhere new. You’d be surprised where you find them. I  have some from places as diverse as Sea World in Florida, the Houses of Parliament in London, the Black Forest  and  Dingle, the most westerly point in Eire, to name but a few. As I unpack each decoration memories flood back – salt dough decorations made by my pre-school children, a myriad of holidays and trips and even one which was bought with my Mum on what turned out to be out last ever shopping trip though, of course, we didn’t know it at the time.


Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present

book notice board

Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Presents

By John Burningham

This was my son’s favourite story for years – and not just at Christmas time, we read it all year round!  I knew it off by heart. What better recommendation could there be?

The story starts with Father Christmas arriving home tired, after delivering his presents, only to find that he has missed one.  The present is for Harvey Slumfenburger  who lives in a ‘hut on top of the Roly Poly mountain, which is far, far away’. Harvey’s parents are too poor to buy Christmas presents so this is the only present he will get.  As one of the reindeers is not well Father Christmas sets off on foot to deliver the last present.  The story is about his journey, the many types of transport he uses and the mishaps that befall him.

John Burningham’s cartoons are brilliant – perfect for the story and funny. My son loved them. I now read it to my class of 6 & 7 year olds and they love it just as much.

I can only thank John Burningham for the hours of pleasure he gave us over the years.


First signs of christmas



I love getting home on Friday evening and closing the door on the working week. For us Christmas began to tiptoe in this week. I received the script for our Christmas Production, we’ve started learning the songs already and the children designed Christmas cards for PTA fundraising.  I’ll spend the next few weeks fighting a losing battle to keep the curriculum going  but my heart isn’t really in it. I love Christmas and Christmas in a primary school is just magical.


Cranberry sauce

advent-day-18Oophs! Just found this one lurking in the drafts folder – better late than never! Day 18 and its traditional Christmas day trimmings (centre to left of table mat), Brussels sprouts and bread sauce – originally  a medieval recipe.  We prefer cranberry sauce. This recipe is not too sweet.

cranberry sauce

Cranberry Sauce


250 g fresh cranberries

2 satsumas

100g sugar

150 ml vermouth

Add the cranberries, zest and juice of the satsumas, sugar and vermouth into a pan. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes, util berries begin to pop. Leave to cool. The sauce becomes thicker as it cools.


Merry Christmas

Christmas day

Merry Christmas Everyone!  Our family has been slowly establishing new Christmas traditions over the last few years. We now seem to have settled into a pattern.  Christmas Day itself is quiet, just me, my Knight in Shining Armour and all the festive trimmings.  Boxing Day, with my children and their partners, is much livelier, with presents, games and curry!