Bank Holiday Fun With Our Big Family

We were truly blessed this weekend - with weather which ranged from not bad to awesome, with the opportunity to spend time with friends and family, and with time together  as a complete family which doesn't often happen when you are 9-strong!

children on seesaw in park
The only fly in the ointment was that DH was not well - is still not well really but he battled on as much as he could retiring occasionally for much needed naps. Like a toddler, bless him!

The fun started on Good Friday when my cousin and his family came for lunch. We have children of similar ages who all get on so while they entertained themselves we got the chance to browse round some antique shops and have a restorative cuppa and a (large) pastry, then tackle a large lunch and chat.

A short walk after lunch to see our village donkeys took us past the playground at which point our "cool" teens suddenly became more animated and hurtled around like, well, the children they really are I suppose!

On Saturday there was dull supermarket shopping to be done but to make our trip out more alluring we stopped at a little farm shop and treated ourselves to their bargain cream tea - just over £5 for homemade fruit scones with proper jam and clotted cream and tea for two.

In our neck of the woods you would normally pay more than that for one coffee and a slice of "bought" cake for one! I'd tell you where it is but it's only got five or six tables and I'd hate to get there one day and find I can't sit down!

cream tea with scone and cream

Sunday was joyous - Easter Day in our house is a big deal as we are practicing Christians (practicing - such a funny way to describe living our faith but I suppose we are always trying harder so it fits!).

Sadly because of DH's illness we missed the dawn service but I took the children along at 10am for flag waving, Alleluliah singing cake eating, egg hunting fun.

Slightly stressed when I realised about ten minutes into the service that I was meant to have prepared intercessions, a set of prayers to read out, but thankfully we have a "cheat book" of ready-written prayers in one of our chapels so I surreptitiously slipped out of the pew and tiptoed off to find it. Not that subtle though as my friends teased me terribly afterwards!

I was also asked to help with the chalice - offering the wine after people have taken the bread during the part of the service known as Communion.  I always feel very honoured to do this but have to work hard not to pull faces. Let me explain. Whenever I was spoon feeding a baby I'd find myself opening my mouth to encourage them to open theres. Anyone else do this?

It's a bit like rocking when someone else is standing rocking a baby - look round and most of the mothers young and old in the room will be subconsciously moving too. Well with the chalice (cup with symbolic wine in) as I tip it towards congregants mouths I find myself pursing my lips as if I am taking a sip too!

In a mad moment I had invited two other families to lunch so after church (and coffee and cake) I hurled a leg of lamb and a turkey crown into my thankfully recently repaired oven. As an aside I was delighted with my bargain( reduced for a quick sale) meat purchases -£7.19 for a whole leg of British lamb and £6.15 for a turkey crown! Sad, I know, what delights this thrifty mother of 7.

Do you remember the Christmas cake competition? The one I didn't win? Well there was talk of a simnel cake competition so I made one hoping everyone else had forgotten about the suggestion and that it would mean I would win by default. Competitive? Me? Well whatever it certainly caused a lot of laughs when I brought it out after lunch and threatened my friend with dire consequences if he couldn't find anything nice to say about it.

simnel Easter cake home-made simnel cake

I didn't seem to need to terrorise my other friends- they ate slice after slice over the course of the weekend and one friend declared it the best cake I had ever made! I used this recipe if anyone wants to give it a go - the 12 marzipan balls on top represent the 12 apostles/disciples by the way.

We had tea at the Vicarage (rock n roll lifestyle me) to end Sunday on a lovely note then went early to bed for Easter Monday's big walk - the 16 mile pilgrimage to our Cathedral at St Albans.

Unfortunately fibromyalgia is a fickle mistress and I had a terrible night. My legs hurt and I was tired before I had walked a step but I decided to walk at least part of the way and felt proud of what I managed.

canal walk pilgrimage Easter Monday

It was so nice walking along in unexpected blazing sunshine chatting to friends as we walked along the canal for the first part of the route. I was generally lagging at the back but people were very nice waiting for me to catch up!

I had warned DH that I was unlikely to manage the whole 16 miles so he was ready and waiting when I sent a text asking him to rescue me.

The one benefit of finishing early was that I got to take my youngest daughter out for a last minute lunch enjoying some precious one on one time with my mini-me. We got home in time for a parade of visitors all wanting to wish her a happy 8th birthday.

madmumof7 and daughter

The day ended with a giant Chinese takeaway with every single one of my children- a rare treat to have them all here, plus FDIL, plus some of our friends.

We sang Happy Birthday loudly and just about had room for a small slice of her amazing birthday cake, made by my lovely friend. DD asked for a cow design as our pet name for her is Moo-Moo.

I'm lying in bed now as I type,  feet still throbbing, legs and hips in agony dreading my first peek into the kitchen which I'm sure looks like a bomb has hit it and anticipating another fun-filled day ahead.

DD has invited her friends for a "champagne" afternoon tea today- the champagne being that fizzy grape juice in the champagne style bottles complete with foil and popping cork.

The older children have had to go back to school today but our primary has an inset day so it's great timing for her birthday party and a lovely way to end the Easter holidays.

children with birthday cake

FDIl has bravely agreed to help and has already made amazing butterfly cupcakes. All I have to do is have a shower, tidy up, make chocolate brownies and sandwiches, lay the table, sort out balloons and
lay out craft activities....They are coming at 11am and it's 8.30am now- Argh!

I hope you all had a lovely Bank Holiday weekend too - I'd love to know where you went and what you did as before we know it another half-term break will be upon us! Leave your holiday activity tips in the comments box below - feel free to add a link to your Easter activity round-up.

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