Tuesday 30 December 2008

JYC December 30th

Today's prompt was to look back over 2008 and remember the important events.

Don't you just love those cute little eyes instead O's?? LOL
Added photos to the tags of the main events of the year.

Looking back on 2008 I think we had a pretty eventful year with lots more ups than downs.
January and February Mum was staying with me, while Chris went off to Saudi Arabia for a business trip of 3 months.
March 4th was Christopher’s 21st birthday.
April – we had the front garden landscaped and a wall built, making the gardens front and back as maintenance free as possible so that when we are away for long periods it doesn’t get out of hand.
July – Christopher passed his final exams for his BSc in Policing gaining a 2.1 honours degree and making me very proud of his hard work.
Chris and I celebrated 9 years of marriage.
August – I had Chris’ study re-done by removing the wardrobes and having book shelves built in and lighting as an anniversary present.
September 1stWe paid off our mortgage!! What a nice feeling that is, debt free at last...
September 11th – Christopher Graduated from University and Mum flew from France, Chris flew in from Saudi and we all went down South to watch the ceremony.
September 21st – Chris and I flew out to Jubail in Saudi Arabia for a 1 year assignment.
November – Christopher passed his driving test and bought his first car.
December – Chris and I took a trip to Bahrain and celebrated Christmas in Jubail.

Monday 29 December 2008

JYC December 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 ,28

'twas the night before Christmas and all through the house...

not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse... well, it was a good job there were no mice running about because Gypsy was sound asleep in the armchair exhausted from playing
with the catnip string mouse we found in a shop in Bahrain and couldn’t resist buying for
her.... and in true traditional style, we let her open a present on Christmas Eve, just like I did
when Christopher was little... and he always found a pair of new pyjamas inside!!

Christmas Day started with Chris and I getting up late and then enjoying pancakes and maple syrup. I started on the preparation for the evening Christmas Dinner, veggies to peel and meat to marinate.Chris and I sat and opened our presents later in the morning, I was spoiled as per usual and received lots of pretty things that Chris had bought in Bahrain like the Arabian perfume bottles for my dressing table, glass ornaments for our tree from Egypt, a wonderful old ring seal with Arabic writing and a brand new wedding and engagement ring.
Dinner was planned for 7 pm and our guests turned up from 6 pm onwards, Odelia brought round the food she had been preparing, Joumanna arrived with hummus and bread, John arrived with his lemon cake and baked apples... the table groaned under the weight of goodies!
Everyone started going home around 10 pm and Chris and I cleaned up, filled the dishwasher, crammed left-overs into the fridge and then we went to bed, exhausted!

Boxing Day is a time to relax, mooch about, have frothy coffee with friends, nap in the afternoon
and watch movies on the TV, so we did just that!! We taught Odelia and Alister, our neighbours,
how to make bubble and squeak with the left-overs and cold meat –which I think is going to be a firm favourite with them from now on...
Poor Chris... back to work when he would much rather be....

As you can see, I am playing catch-up with the prompts, some of these have been done for a while but I wanted to upload them in order.... so it might have been worth actually doing them in order instead of skipping about but rather than leave them all, I did the ones I could! LOL

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Last Minute Stuff!

So I have just sat and made the serviette rings for the Christmas table.... because, yes, I did not bother to pack any!! OK, not works of art, but they will do nicely and add a festive touch to the proceedings!!
The table gifts are made, wrapped and labelled - which means I can use these as place names too! (Which saves me spending another hour doing that little job)!!
and if you have never lived in Saudi Arabia... these fridge magnets I made this morning will seem a touch weird, to say the least... but everything you do or plan to do here has to work round everything closing for prayers a half a dozen times a day... so if you want to fill the car with petrol? You arrive and find a sign that says... Closed for Prayers.... if you go to the supermarket... they are closed for prayers, you are out shopping... and all of a sudden the lights are dimmed and everything shuts.... yep, for prayers!! So I thought the guys might find these amusing as a momento of working and living here.

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Wishing You All A Merry Christmas!

Just wanted to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a bright New Year from sunny Saudi Arabia. And no, this camel does not have a shiny red nose but I am sure Santa won't object to using him on those grounds... he's got to get around somehow!!

Monday 22 December 2008

JYC December 19th and 20th

December 19th's prompt was to write a letter a Santa, so I put inside an envelope with a magnetic catch for the flap.
Prompt 20 was to describe an unexpected surprise and this certainly was both, a lovely card and some bracket covers from Nan Paturzo from Bind It All - she certainly surprised me and I will be sure to using these on a mini book very shortly!!

Best laid plans of mice, men and mini-book makers.... I figured I was halfway through the prompts at this point and there is no way this baby is going to close nicely... so I will have to do some thin pages and re-bind it hopefully evening the load between the two sections!!

Thursday 18 December 2008

JYC December 18th

The Christmas Menu
Adaptation is the key, and none of the traditional things I am used to appear to be available here in Saudi Arabia, no mince pies, no Christmas puddings, no Christmas cake, no ham to glaze, and no wine with the meal. Chris and I are off in the morning to spend 3 days in Bahrain to see if we can seek out some of my festive treats and maybe even smuggle a gammon back under my Abayah!
Some of my guests are bringing a dish with them on Christmas day so it will be an interesting event whatever happens. Joumanna and Samir, from Lebanon, are bringing freshly made humous for dips and vine leave wraps for a starter, Odelia and Alistair, from Canada, are bringing devilled eggs, pumpkin pie and baked yams – yams? I don’t think I have eaten a yam)! John, from Texas, is bringing his delish lemon cake so maybe not my traditional British fair but a lovely mixture of people and their specialities – it sounds like a pretty good deal to me! Bon Appetite...

Oh... and if there are no further updates to this blog... they found the gammon!! ;)

Wednesday 17 December 2008

JYC December 17th

The Perfect Gift seems to be another of those things we put ourselves through as parents. Each year before Christmas there is always some craze for the hard to get present that every child has asked Santa for... and you end up feeling like the worst sort of parent if you can’t get it/can’t afford to get it, even if you could, get it, that is!! Tracy Island was the one I failed miserably at, not only was it expensive, it was nigh on impossible to get hold of, and to make matters worse, Christopher’s best friend, Charlie, got one, his Dad found it in Macro in Aberdeen. It worked out well in the end, because the two boys always played together so Christopher enjoyed playing with Charlie’s and would take along all his Thunderbird models – which I did manage to buy.

Furby was another version of the ‘must have’ toy – and I went to every toyshop in Aberdeenshire to get hold of one of these illusive creatures, paying almost double the retail price when I did locate one!! I still have it, because like all ‘must have’ toys... they are ignored within days of receiving them and I felt sorry for it, so ‘adopted’ it and Chris bought me another one so it had someone to chat to!!

Tuesday 16 December 2008

JYC December 16th

Today's prompt was about all the things we are grateful for this Christmas. I wasn't feeling very Fa la la la la when I did this page and looking at it... I think you can tell! Maybe I will re-do this one at a later date - when I am feeling less Scrooge and more Santa's elf.
The journalling is on the flip down piece with the trees on it... and you really don't want to read my grumpiness, so best it stays shut!

Monday 15 December 2008

JYC December 15th

Today's prompt was about who will be coming to spend Christmas, so its a nice simple one, I will add a photograph of our dinner guests, to the pull out tag, afterwards. Just 10 more days to go until Christmas.... am I panicking yet? No, but I think I will be in a couple more days!!

Sunday 14 December 2008

Curiosity and the Cat...

So, here I am with a teeny wheeny tree and about 3 Christmas decorations to my name and Gypsy decided to attack something on the table with the tree and one ornament on it... resulting in glass and bits everywhere.... so here she is hiding upstairs in the scrap room under the table with a few mini books plonked on it... but you can't stay cross with her... I guess all the shiny, glittery, dangly stuff must be a huge temptation....

The tree survived, the ornament did not...

JYC December 14th

Today's prompt was about gifts... and more specifically how they are handed out on Christmas morning. Christopher enjoyed the handing out of pressies tradition and as I always arranged the gifts at the base of the tree in individual piles it was pretty easy to make sure each person had a pressie to open. Once he was of an age that he would stay in bed Christmas morning we settled into a routine of having home-made pancakes and maple syrup for breakfast, went for showers and got dressed, then into the lounge for the opening of gifts. This year, I guess either Chris or myself will do the honours after breakfast.

Saturday 13 December 2008

JYC December 12th and 13th

December 12th - My Christmas

Christmas this year certainly looks as though it will be different to what I am used to, a new country, that doesn’t celebrate Christmas is definitely going to make things more difficult than normal. My first Christmas without Christopher. I read my journal from last Christmas and I actually wrote that I hoped it would not be the last Christmas he spent with us, and here we are a year later and I am adjusting to the fact that he will be in the UK and we will be here in Saudi Arabia. Luckily, Glyn and Rebecca have invited him to spend Christmas Day with them, so he won’t be alone in his flat and will in all likelihood have a great time. I am filling the house with neighbours and Chris’ work colleagues in the hope that it will make up for the lack of family. We will phone all the family after our lunch and wish them all a Merry Christmas and then get ready for our evening Christmas dinner.

December 13th - Christmas Music

Silent Night!

The origin of the Christmas carol we know as Silent Night was a poem that was written in 1816 by an Austrian priest called Joseph Mohr. On Christmas Eve in 1818 in the small alpine village called Oberndorf it is reputed that the organ at St. Nicholas Church had broken. Joseph Mohr gave the poem of Silent Night (Stille Nacht) to his friend Franz Xavier Gruber and the melody for Silent Night was composed with this in mind. The music to Silent Night was therefore intended for a guitar and the simple score was finished in time for Midnight Mass. Silent Night is the most famous Christmas carol of all time! The irony of this is that when I was a child my Mum bought an upright electric organ and it sat in our dining room and I learned how to play Silent Night on it…. The downside to this was it was the only thing I ever learned to play by heart, so my family heard this song many, many times… it’s still one of my favourites, not so sure about the rest of the family though!!

Thursday 11 December 2008

JYC December 11th

Oh Christmas Tree!!!

It’s my own fault, I was so busy making sure that I packed every conceivable piece of stash to go in the air shipment in September that when it came to Christmas decs and the all important tree... I figured no decs and the little red straw tree with built in lights that I bought in Mr Price Home in Secunda when we were there for the Christmas of 2005 – it’s great for the dining room at home, adds a touch of Christmas but doesn’t take up too much room, and I figured it would do fine for Saudi because we would probably be home for the holidays anyway.
So, here I am in this villa, with a lounge the size of Aberdeen’s airport terminal which has 3 huge windows overlooking the terrace... the centre window would be perfect for my big 6 foot tree, weighed down with all its lights and decorations, it would look stunning, the sort of position a tree such as it should have... whilst the reality doesn’t quite match the dream...and the little red one looks quite pathetic in its place...but no matter, the little kids coming to Christmas dinner won’t mind about the little tree, the guys who aren’t going home to their families won’t mind about the little tree, so the little tree and me will just have to brave it out!!

Oh and we had to add a close-up of a tree decoration and use one of those little ornament hangers on our page... well, I didn't have any of them so I made my own and took a photograph of one of the baubles I have collected to remind of our Saudi Christmas. I have angels from Antwerp, beaded decs from South Africa, French hand made baubles from my Mum, in fact, my tree is a bit like the United Nations, it makes decorating it and taking it down quite an interesting event, as I recall the different Christmas' we have enjoyed represented by their own unique ornaments.

Wednesday 10 December 2008

JYC December 10th

I love beautifully wrapped gifts with bows and ribbons and always try to run with a colour scheme that matches my Christmas decor... but then I give them all away to go under other peoples' trees and I end up with a mismatched clashing/contrasting bunch of pressies anyway so when I saw these papers I knew I had to get them, they just said Saudi Christmas to me!!

I just had to buy this wrapping paper, we have a lovely Abayah clad lady with her PINK camel and her bearded sheik in his thobe, how cool is that?

Well, how could I resist paper with Santa on his camel looking so surprised at finding a snowman in the desert? LOL I guess I am just a big kid at heart....

Tuesday 9 December 2008

JYC December 9th

Today's prompt was all about the traditions we have with regard to our Christmas and one of my favourites is the Christmas stockings. Each person has their own stocking that comes out each year (Chris' is suffering with age a little but he still uses it), Christopher's is white with a Snowman in a pocket - the 'flying through the air' Snowman and he has had it since his 2nd Christmas!! Mine is not the same, I see a new pretty version in the shops and I have to have it... I change the colour scheme for Christmas and I buy one to match... which means we always have plenty of 'surplus' stockings for guests!!

I made a secret keeper for the page and put one of my fav quotes in it, because it basically reinforces my childish attachment to Christmas stockings!!

JYC December 8th

Oops, sorry its a bit late but I had a stinker of a headache yesterday afternoon which upset my stomache so didn't get a chance to put the finishing touches and upload my journal entry before I went to bed. Just got Shimelle's email with today's prompt so I had better go eat my toast and marmalade and think about that one!!

Sunday 7 December 2008

JYC December 7th

I needed a nice easy one after yesterday and this is nice and slim (well, slim-ish) to go inside the pocket. I have to admit I am not normally a list maker.... I go supermarket shopping without one and seldom come home without something I need, I keep all sorts of stuff in my head like birthdays and appointments... in fact, Chris knows that as soon as I start making lists that I am stressed out and need help!! These events are normally after he has informed me that we are moving country... and I have to make arrangements for the house, the house to be, the passports and medicals, wind up my old life and get ready for a new one... so Christmas is a piece of cake... as long I remember to get the food in, send the cards and buy the pressies... LOL

Saturday 6 December 2008

JYC December 6th

I have faffed about all day avoiding this prompt... so at least the laundry is now done and the house is tidy so I guess something good came out of the avoidance!! LOL

Remember a good Christmas and remember a not so good Christmas.... so I have made two pockets on the page and two tags, one for each memory.

A Christmas too far...
It was Christmas of 1991 and it was the Christmas that changed my life, a point when I was so down that the only place to go was up – and I have not looked back since but maybe that is cowardly and to review that Christmas is another way to bury it. The relationship I was in was awful and it had been for a long time but I trudged on through the years until that Christmas morning... when my 4 year old son came down to open his gifts and his father couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed and watch him doing it. It wasn’t the fact I chosen the gifts, it wasn’t the fact I had paid for the gifts, it wasn’t even the fact I had wrapped them.... all I wanted was him to enthuse and make a nice Christmas for his son... and he couldn’t be bothered. Once he had gone to the pub and not bothered to return for the Christmas dinner I had spent the day cooking I decided that it was the last Christmas he was going to spoil for me and Christopher... and it was, by March we were gone...

A Family At Last
2000 was the first Christmas that Chris, Christopher and I had as a proper family in our own home, it was a massive undertaking as Chris was overseas and Christopher and I moved into the new house the 7th of December – and I worked full time so it was a miracle I managed to get everywhere unpacked, sorted, the house decorated for Christmas, the shopping done and we were ready for Christmas by the time Chris got back from South Africa on the 15th December... and what a great Christmas it was, we were a family, celebrating in our new home.... definitely a Christmas to remember.

Gypsy Learns to Play...

Those that follow this blog may recall me telling you about the little cat that decided she was making her home with us. After some investigation I found out her name is Gypsy and she has been roaming the compound for over a year. I also found out that she had been neutored so that was a big worry as feral kittens are a big problem here. She has had kittens, probably when she was no more than a kitten herself and the vet that neutored her removed a litter during the operation. (Not sure if the vets in the UK will actually do that but here it appears to be quite normal as people go to a lot of trouble to cage the feral cats, have them neutored and either re-homed or released back into the village).

Well, Gypsy is a pretty little thing and if outside loves to be up high where she can see everything and escape if any other cats appear. Here she is doing a pretty good impression of a sphinx!!

She loves my bedroom balcony - will sit and look out for ages and can climb down from here to the garden and back up again when she wants! She has decided that my feet are really good place to sleep at night and if she decides she wants out... she just puts her claws in hard and I move pretty quickly!!

When I am scrapping she makes herself comfy on the sofa in the scraproom and is quite happy to sleep away a few hours while I mess about. Then this morning she found a piece of ribbon and was gently giving it a swipe... so I got some silver foil and some ribbons and made her a ball...

What a delight it was to sit and watch her play for the first time! She had that thing under the table, in the air and hunted it from every direction...Apologies for the poor photos but I struggle to get good pics when the subject is still... a moving one had no chance but you can see what fun she was having.... until the timer on the clothes dryer went off to say it was finished... she still hates sudden noises and movements and heads for the nearest exit when alarmed... but she has learned to play!!

Friday 5 December 2008

JYC December 5th

Today's prompt was advent calendars with the request to incorporate numbers onto your page to represent the countdown to the BIG DAY!! It took me a while to figure out words that would add up to 25 so that I could hide the numbers behind the letters. Santa Claus is coming to town! also has 25 if you count the exclamation mark... LOL - how sad am I???
I am not sure I have finished with today, I may add some journalling and a photo to a tag to go with this... but the book is not looking any thinner... so maybe I should just leave this as a thin page!! ;)