December has flown away from me this year. There have been lots of end of year parties, end of school activities, trips to the beach, Christmas shopping, a street party, a couple of days hanging out in kids emergency waiting to get a splinter extracted, lots of baking, catching up with friends - all the usual busy life stuff plus extra shopping, food, decorations and trips to the beach.
The Advent calendar has been fun, and popular with the children, although I think for next time I need to find more super-quick activities (for the days when we have school, and then swimming lessons, and very limited time to squeeze anything extra in) OR more cards that sneakily incorporate things that we were going to do anyway ("Carols at School"! "Aftercare Christmas Party" - is that totally cheating?)
But now we are just a couple of days out from Christmas, school is finished, cards are posted and presents are wrapped, and we've had a great weekend with a trip to the City Farm and time at the beach. There are lots of good things planned for the next couple of days - a trip to see Anchorman 2, making gingerbread houses, and then we start our Christmas with a family dinner on the 24th - I need to glaze a ham and squeeze in a supermarket shop, but apart from that we are pretty well organised. I'm looking forward to time with family, excited children, eating mangos, and more time at the beach when it's all over.
A quick summary of what I've been up to this month:
Mince pies, my first ever attempt at a Christmas cake (Stephanie Alexander's recipe from the Cook's Companion, not bad at all but not as good as my mum's. It's possible I left it in too long, it's a tiny bit dry). Ottolenghi Spice Cookies for a biscuit swap with friends. These are pretty much my perfect Christmas biscuit, I could eat them all day. Ginger biscuits, recipe found via Kirsten via Suzie. Panforte (which, according to the boy child, looks like "poo with nuts in it". I am going to try and lessen the resemblance with a mountain of icing sugar).
Apricot jam (Stephanie, again).
A Christmas dress for Milla - the family reunion dress in Liberty that I posted about way back when. Not finished yet, but nearly there.
A kimono dress for me, which has turned out pretty sack-like and 1980s, but will do as a beach cover up.
An apple pincushion as a gift for a fabulous teacher who sews (from the Craftapalooza pattern).
... and that's about it. Hopefully I'll have a couple more finished things to share before the end of the year, and can do a round-up post, but in case I don't post again before Christmas, thank you to everyone who visits here, and wishing you and yours a very happy day.