D. had to work today, so there was just me & J. However, in the past year/18 months, J has grown up soo much. He was quite helpful today, doing jobs for me, so the place was (relatively) clean & tidy, the table was set and the food mostly ready by 3pm, when everyone was due. This year there were only 3 friends here, as the other two he invited were visiting relatives, but they are his best friends and they all get on very well together.
Here are the four of them, posing for me at tea-time.
They had a great time, playing Twister before tea.
B. was the "Caller" at this point.
J. resting (excuse the pinkiness, it's the best I could do).
All in all, I think we had a good time. They had pizza and nice bread rolls, with cold meat, cheese, salad etc, then a selection of nice little cakes & biscuits, with a great little chocolate fondue that we bought the other day, specially for the party. It was fun - I made the fondue with a mix of dark & milk chocolate, plus a little cream, then stood it on a big plate, with an assortment of dippy items - grapes, strawberries, tangerine segments, bits of mango, "zoo" biscuits and some great little almond shortbread curls that one of the mums made for us. It was definitely a success - and strawberries dipped in chocolate are my new favourite!
Once they had eaten all they could, we had a "relaxing" game of pass-the-parcel - except that nothing is relaxing with a group of 11 & 12-year-olds! Lots of daft fun, forfeits and jokes.
Then we played "What Am I?", which involves someone sitting on the bean bag, with a hat on. A piece of paper is stuck to the hat, which has the name of an object, person or animal. The person who's "it" has to ask questions, to try and work out who or what they are. I made up a batch of paper labels this morning, with stuff like "squirrel", "aeroplane", "smelly sock", "toilet", "Sherlock the cat", "a dog's collar", etc etc. Some were mundane and others were silly. This game is very popular with J and his friends. They beg to play it now!
Then they tried Charades, but they were tired and excited, so it didn't go so well. The Wii was the next thing they chose, which was much more successful. B. and E. went home at 6:30, but G's mum sent a message to say she'd be over a bit late. She knows I don't mind, so J. and G. carried on playing various Wii games, while D arrived and had a coffee with me. It was just after 8pm when they went home. J was pretty much ready to crawl into his bed by then (I wasn't far off it myself)!
It was a good day and I have had fun. They're a great bunch of children and it's so nice that they're still friends. J. has a group of friends, who are pretty evenly split between boys and girls. I'm happy for it to stay that way (though I daresay there will be times when they are less close, as they grow and realise they are boys or girls!).
I was amazed today, to see how tall they have all become over the last year. They have all grown a good foot in height! They were so long and leggy, playing Twister! They're all going to be taller than me very soon (in fact, G and E may be already).
It's time I found Sherlock and persuaded him that it's bed time... I need my pillow!
G'night all! Christmas Eve tomorrow (or now if you're Amy and co!).