What started out as a joke has turned into reality--I am having a week long birthday celebration.
Last weekend, our dear friend Karen came to visit us from Newcastle. Although she lives in New York, she and her family often visit the UK and so we have seen them many times, but this year she is living and working in Newcastle on a Leverhulme fellowship. She kindly spent eight hours on a train to spend a weekend with us. It is always such a joy to spend time with her. I had a 24 bug for the first day and spent most of Saturday lying on the floor because sitting up made me dizzy, but by Sunday I was right as rain and we had a lovely nearly seven mile walk together through town.
Yesterday we met with 12 vegan friends and had Christmas lunch at the local cafe. It was good food, good friends and good fun. I am so thankful we have managed to form such deep friendships in such a short time.
When we got home there was a hilarious message on our ansaphone of my mum pretending to be my Aunt Icy. For those of you not in the family, Aunt Icy used to phone you up and sing Happy Birthday in a slow, melodramatic, operatic voice. The message cracked me up because it was an uncanny likeness and it was a day early which is a testament to my grandmother on my other side. Every year she would phone me on the 10th and say, "I cannot recall whether your birthday is the 10th or the 12th so i am phoning today." In reality--it was neither. it is the 11th. But try and tell her that and she would turn up her hearing aide and pretend she could not hear you.
Today (my actual-smactual birthday) was spent with those munchkins that I tutor. I adore these funny vegan kids and love being their home-education teacher once a week. I was gifted with lots of beautiful homemade gifts.
They were all handmade including the wrapping although M asked me if she could keep some of the wrapping because she wanted to reuse the sparkly paper.
Here they are together. Sorry for the accidental selfie--i can see myself reflected in the glass.
Here are the gifts from M aged 7--a bracelet that she made me and a little angel made from a clothes peg. Also a lovely card with lots of flowers and fairy cakes sellotaped on.
Here is the gift from H aged 9--a haiku poem written on the back of a cereal box (because he couldn't find any paper) and put into a frame. Please excuse the accidental selfie reflected in the glass.
If you can't read it it says:
Now it's your birthday
the best teacher in the world
Heather, that is you!
These gifts have won my heart. Who doesn't love homemade gifts?
So today was our home education Christmas party. We made some Snowman Snacks.
2 rice cakes
vegan cream cheese
a bit of carrot
some fruit leather like Yo Yo bears
1. Spread the rice cakes with cream cheese.
2. Use raisins for the eyes and buttons. We also used raisins to make a smile.
3. Use a bit of carrot for the nose.
4. Cut some fruit leather to make a scarf.
Eat and enjoy!
They were easy enough to make that their little brother A was able to join in and help. Then A went to play downstairs and we made some ornaments.
it basically involved sewing on a button and then sewing around the edges and stuffing with fibrefill. They came out really cute and the kids were really proud. M sews a lot but H had never done so.. He sometimes has very specific gender roles in his head (don't know where he gets it--not from home) and i think sometimes *wants* to do certain things but if they are perceived by society as *girl* things he is not too sure. I said sewing was for everyone and sewing on buttons is a lifeskill. By the end he was really enjoying himself and muttering, "Sewing is for everyone. Anyone can do sewing."
We had a brilliant time. Tonight when Spiderman came home from work he brought me a pressie. I wasn't expecting a gift and he wasn't planning to buy me a gift, but he saw it in the window of a wee Five and Dime shop in Lampeter. He knew I would love it.
Tomorrow we will decorate the tree, make leek and potato soup and watch the Muppet's Christmas Carol. Sunday we will go to see the pantomime of Sleeping Beauty and then out for a Chinese meal at our friend Soong's restaurant.
A big festival of me! With friends, food and fun. What more could a person ask for?