Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

After last Christmases craziness, this has been a very relaxing time.  The period between the boys finishing school and Christmas Day was a week.  It was very chilled.  We did very little, spent a lot of time around the house, preparing for the big day.

I tried a couple of new things.  I made mulled wine in the slow cooker on Christmas Eve, and de seeded a pomegranate for the first time, in preparation for our Christmas Day cocktails.

Christmas Eve was spent at the Barton's. Six families, 12 adults and 14 kids (2 are missing from the picture below)

 And no fighting from anyone! Everyone was well behaved, and the kids left felling pretty sleepy.

The adults left feeling a bit fuzzy.....

Once we got home, our kids, or rather Isaac, sprinkled the reindeer food into the lawn, and set out cookies, carrots and milk for Santa.  They must have been good this year, as they had quite a pile.

And the mulled wine I mentioned earlier went down a treat.  It was yummy, and definitely something I will do again.

Isaac managed to contain himself till 6am on Christmas Day.  The boys were crazy excited. We were wise parents, and had put the coffee on the night beforehand!

The boys got straight down to opening presents.  I have never seen a child so happy over underwear before....


This was probably one of Oliver's favorite presents,  a bag to hold the skylanders.  We weren't even sure it was going to arrive on time.  Thank goodness for Amazons lightning deals!


Considering Isaac's birthday was only a month before, he did very well.  He is probably easiest to buy for, as he is in to pretty much everything, and plays with all he gets. 


All the boys received some form of play doh. They are really into it at the moment.  Seb really wanted the buzz saw pictured below, and luckily for him he got it.  The play doh was out most of the day.


We had a big turkey, which was a gift from Paul's work.  It was tasty, but far too big for us.  I think next year, when we receive it, we will give it to a food bank, so someone can have it who really appreciates it.  A lot of ours went in the freezer, but too much went in the bin.  

I think Isaac played with all his presents that day.  Oliver made about half his Lego. Sebastian still has toys he has not played with yet (it's New Year's Eve tomorrow). Santa was exceptional bad this year.  He gifted some Lego to Oliver the was meant for paul.  Whoops.....

I did pretty well too.  I got a new iPad, chocolate, a jewelry stand, Lego and other little bits.  Paul also did well, with plenty of clothes, rum and a few other little bits.

The boys went to bed at a normal time on Christmas Day.  Paul and I stayed up not too late, and didn't drink too much either.

I woke up the next morning feeling terrible.  I was sick a couple of times in the morning, and felt like death.  While I was up in the morning, paul managed to make the present for the boys from the Gosling's.  It is an awesome climbing frame.  Oliver has mastered it.  Isaac is getting there.  Sebastian can't even make the first rung yet.  He will in time.......


I spent most of the afternoon in bed, sleeping.  I managed to drag myself up to help get the boys to bed, and managed to keep done some food, so knew I would be on the mend.

Good job too, as we were off to the mountains the next day!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Christmas is here!

Christmas officially arrived in the Gosling household last weekend.  I had been saying for a while that I wanted to go and choose our own Christmas tree, we decided to actually do it (I am getting much better at following through on the things I say I am going to do!)

After much research, discussion with hubby and texts with Rachel, we decided to go to Hidden Trails Christmas Tree Farm.  This is 30 miles south from our house.  Isaac fell asleep in the car!  It was a bright sunny, warm day.  Not your usual Christmas weather.

The people were really nice, and there were plenty of trees.  You cannot cut Fraser firs (the more traditional tree that we are used to), as they do not have any, as they do not grow below 5000ft.  So we inspected the rest.  They had many varieties, but the strangest to us was Leylandii Cypress trees, cut to be shaped like Christmas tress. After coming from England, where these are privacy trees, that can become a blight, this was very strange.  Anywhoo, we had more of a look around, and eventually settled on what I think is a Carolina Sapphire (someone please correct me if I am wrong!). This is a long needle tree. Here are the boys with the tree.


The boys had fun playing around the trees.  They were fortunate enough to get a small gift each, a little stocking with sweets, and they all had a photo done with Santa (this was extra).  Our tree was $40.  Same as it would have cost in Home Depot/ Lowes. But it is a nice feeling to know our money will stay local, with friendly people, maintaining a beautiful place.  They shake the tree to get rid of bugs/dead branches, then bag it, and help you get it in the car.  Awesome service.  

We got the tree home, and stuck it in some sugar water over night.  The next morning the decorating began.  The boys (and by boys, I mean Paul) had great fun.  

The finished product! ( you may notice loads of needles on the floor. These came from moving and positioning the tree.  I vacuumed them up the next day, and there has since been little to no needle dropping.  Does help the water is getting topped up every day)


While we have been getting all Christmassy, I have been engaging in some arts and crafts.  I have had some slate tiles in the garage for ages.  You know me, I like a bargain, and picked these slate tiles up in Lowes about a year ago for about $3.  They are a pack of 12.  While I was clearing out the arts and crafts cupboard, I found a small amount of really thin Christmas wrapping paper.  Then I had an 'ah-ha' moment.

I cleaned up the tiles with a clorox wipe, and let them dry.  In the mean time, I cut out one of the pictures from the wrapping paper.  I put a coat of modge-podge (glue) on to the tile, waited for it to go tacky, then added the wrapping paper.  I then waited 30 minutes to an hour, then coated the whole tile in more mode-podge, going over the wrapping paper also.  5-8 coats later, here is the result


I am well pleased with these.  Not sure if they are going to be coasters (I need the felt pads for the bottom if so), or just display pieces (I have 2 currently on mini easels that I bought from AC Moore, they look well cool).  They made me happy, and are very pleasing! 

Thursday, 11 December 2014


I know, its been a while.  Sorry.

Here are some shots of what we have been up to.  Sebastian had a party at school for Thanksgiving, which I was able to take him to.  He enjoyed it, even though he didn't eat anything.  It was nice to see him in his school surroundings.

Then it was Isaacs birthday.  I can't believe he is 6.  I did him a special blog post (find it here).  He did well, better than he thought he would.

He particularly loved his presents from Nanny and Granddad Gosling, and the Battle Rover that Granddad Lee got him.

We went out to eat at Carolina Ale House on the Woodruff.  Darn convenient for us, as his birthday was a tuesday, and thats the night kids eat for 99 cents.  We have been eating out in the week for about a month, to take advantage of discounted kids prices. For example, we went to Zaxby's last night, and the five of us had meals for $15 (thats about 10 quid!).

Isaac was most insistent that he wore his explorers gear out for dinner on his birthday.   It looked awesome with his beige school uniform trousers.

I made his cake, with the help of a cake topper I purchased on Amazon.  The spongebob figures and candles we picked up cheap in Walmart about 6 months ago.  I love a good rummage through the clearance sections!

He loved it!

For his birthday treat, he chose Frankies Fun Park.  Unfortunately they have changed the single go-karts so you have to be taller to ride them.  Isaac was most upset about this, but we managed to bring him round.  Then on for a game of mini golf.

We have also been to the zoo a couple of time.  Not sure we are going to renew our membership.  Admittedly the kids loved it, but we were not so keen.  We will see how we feel when it comes up for renewal. 

Here is evidence that the posed pictures of the boys take a lot of direction.

We have been in to Greenville a few times, and decided to check out the World of Miniature train display.  It was nice, very pretty, but a little pricey for 30-or-so minutes entertainment

Of course, now it is December, an elf has appeared.  Meet Emmet.  The boys are not too taken with him.  Apparently, he doesn't do enough (bad mummy and daddy).  Will have to rectify that this weekend.  He did bring them a new advent calendar, and new pajamas.  

And with Christmas comes crafting.  I have done a lot, none of which I can mention yet, as it is for various people here, as Christmas presents.  I did try out my new glue gun though, and made this delightful Christmas tree.  I was well pleased with myself.  Most of the decorations on it I have picked up in various craft stores clearance sections.  Or the dollar tree.

The boys have also got in on the crafts.  Seb and I made some cinnamon dough.  Should I say, I made it, as Seb gagged at the smell.  I cut out various Christmas shapes, using cookie cutters, and left them to dry out.  The boys decorated them last week end.  They were lucky enough to get to use my new acrylic paints.  I wanted to see how they looked, and the boys were willing participants. 

I have since coated them with Modge Podge, to give them a nice shine, and the idea is the boys will use them on tags for the gifts for their teachers (also home made by moi).  Its like I have too much time on my hands (HA!)

We have decorated outside.  We are hoping to go and get our tree this weekend, but we want to go to a pick your own place, but one where they chop it for you.  I shall be making enquiries tomorrow.