I feel I have been neglecting the blog quite a bit lately but there hs just been a lot going on in the run up to Christmas, as I am sure you can imagine! It is only set to get busier over the next few days so this is my last post for a bit while I enjoy Christmas with my family and will be back again next week at some point.
In the meantime though we have been having a lovely time with friends and family. Hubs has now finished work, although he is still checking in remotely he is not going into the office again until after Christmas, meaning we get to spend some time as a family. I have been really looking forward to this day as the past few weeks have been difficult and it is nice to have some help with the kiddies.
This week has been one of those weeks. After a lovely time at the wedding on Sunday we both still felt really poorly and hubs spent all of Monday in bed, which just isn’t like him. Then just lots of things have gone wrong, there’s been spilled drinks, the light bulb in the downstairs loo went & its a funny halogen one and of course we don’t have spares. Then when some lovely friends paid me a surprise visit to cheer me up, one of them hung up her coat and the shelf with all the coathooks on fell off the wall on top of her, sending coats, bags, etc. flying across the hall. Just what we needed! As she rightly said thugh, thank goodness I wasn’t underneath it carrying the baby, as I had been seconds before!
LM has been poorly too meaning sleepless nights for hubs and I (though I have tried to take the lion’s share so he can actually get better!) and it has just felt like one thing after another so if I’m honest I have been pretty mopey. One thing I really haven’t felt, is particularly Christmassy.
But things seem to be looking up. Hubs is on the mend. We’ve changed the bulb in the bathroom loo (though yet to tackle repairing the shelf :() and even LM seems to be getting better so this has all improved my mood no end. With less than a week until Christmas I decided today it was time to get Christmassy. We’ve had the tree up for a while but didn’t have any other decorations up so today I got out some tinsel and with Monkey’s help (?) hung it around the house.
Monkey and I also did some simple Christmas crafting today, he is sooo excited about Christmas bless him and after watching a Christmas episode of Mister Maker he was desperate to get his Christmas Craft on. I first got the idea for the snowman picture from the lovely Tarana at Sand in my Toes. With Monkey’s own twist because of course the snowman has to have hands (?). Monkey is obsessed with Snowmen, we bought the Raymond Briggs duo fo The Snowman and Father Christmas and they have basically been on on repeat for over a week, he loves them! So if anything I have “Another Blooming Christmas” going round in my head, not particularly cheerful for someone who actually loves Christmas!
The Christmas tree is as simple as it looks, I cut out a tree shape and invited Monkey to stick a variety of sparkly shiny bits on! And of course the obligatory glitter, which of course ended up in his hair and all over the place, but he loved it :).
I’ve finished the meal plan and shopping order for Christmas week and even started on wrapping the humungous pile of presents that I have been avoiding. I normally love wrapping presents but have struggled to find the enthusiasm for it this year so far. Time for that to change. Though I have barely touched the surface yet have managed to go through 3 rolls of wrapping paper already… that can’t be good! Anyway, with less than a week to go now until the big day, I am determined to stop moping and embrace the Christmas Spirit!!
Are you feeling Christmassy yet? What is your word of the week?
At 2 1/2 this is the first year Monkey has really understood that Christmas is coming, and therefore been really excited about it. Because of that we are very much enjoying sharing Christmas traditions with him as his enthusiasm is really contagious! He has been asking basically every day this month whether Father Christmas is coming, so we thought he would love going to visit him. As an aside, he is very much Father Christmas in our house rather than Santa Claus, it seems everyone is adopting Santa these days but that feels so American to me, am I alone in this?
Yup we have been doing more Christmas Toddler Crafts! This time involving pinecones and a load of glitter! Monkey loves a good nature walk, collecting all the bits and bobs and bringing them home ( I am regularly having to clear out a load of leaves and twigs from the conservatory!).
A while ago we collected some lovely pinecones with the idea of doing something fun with them around Christmas. Another lovely simple toddler craft… but with the potential of getting a little messy!
With the arrival of December we are well and truly embracing the Christmas spirit in our house and feeling festive! My mum made Monkey this fab advent calender and he is loving finding the number every day and eating a chocolate. The only trouble is reminding him it is just one a day hehe! We also got a gorgeous Christmas Tree from Pines and Needles last weekend which we had great fun decorating. (You can read our review here and find an offer code too!). We don’t normally put the tree up quite this early but Monkey is really happy we have! He’s actually a little obsessed with Christmas and asks about 50 times a day when Father Christmas is coming. He also wants to read his Christmas storybooks every night! Ooh it may be a long month ;).
Our Christmas crafting has begun! Monkey is hugely excited about Christmas this year, he loves seeing all the decorations in the shops and was running round one shopping centre shouting “Merry Christmas” to anyone and everyone!
I wanted to harness this excitement so we have been making some lovely Snowman Christmas Decorations.
I love Christmas and I love getting into the festive spirit. This year we are getting started nice and early with this fabulous Christmas tree from Pines and Needles.
I have always been a huge fan of real Christmas trees. I love the smell and there’s just something nice about having a real tree rather than an artificial one. There is also something really nice about going to choose a tree yourself. But, I have to be honest, that part has become more of a challenge now we have small children. Fitting the tree in the car along with said children is a bit interesting for one thing and then there is carving out the time to go and get the tree.
Pines and Needles, with their delivery service, take that hassle factor out of choosing a tree as they deliver them right to your doorstep. We chose a Nordman Fir, as the needles are softer than a “traditional” Christmas tree, and they drop less, which means less hoovering, a huge plus.
Baking is a big part of Christmas don’t you think? It’s a good opportunity to indulge in some of your favourite sweet treats, and a good excuse to make them for others. That’s one of the things I love most about baking, watching others enjoy something I made. Not sure what that says about me! I know some people have whole baking days and I would love to, but with Monkey around there’s no way to do that at the moment, and he’s not quite at an age to help me bake, so this year baking is confined to his nap times.
We are baking a couple of our faves this Christmas, the Red Velvet, and the Chocolate Roulade, some chocolate brownie (recipe to follow), and we are also trying a new recipe! I know there is a lot about Nigella in the media at the moment and I am not going to weigh in on that minefield! Whatever went on in her home and marriage, there is no denying she is one heck of a cook and has some great recipes. This is no exception.
150g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
75g Rolled Oats
125g Soft Butter
75g Dark Brown Sugar
100g Caster Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
75g Dried Cranberries
50g Pecans (The recipe says roughly chopped but we whizzed in a processor to get them as small as possible! :))
150g White Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 180C and line two big baking sheets with baking parchment (makes approx. 30 cookies)
Measure the Flour, Baking Powder, Salt and Oats into a bowl
In another bowl, beat together the Butter and both types of Sugar until creamy, then beat in the Egg and Vanilla Extract
Beat in the Flour, Baking Powder, Salt and Oats mixture, then fold in the Cranberries, Pecans and Chocolate Chips.
Roll tablespoons of dough into balls with your hands and place them on the prepared trays. Squish the dough balls down with a fork.
Cook for 13-15 minutes. When ready the cookies will be tinged a pale gold. They will still be soft so leave to cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes. Then move to a wire rack to cool fully.
Note We had a debate over how big a table spoon sized ball should be and hubby went for a very literal size, and they came out a little smaller than we imagined, and didn’t quite look how they looked in the piccy in Nigella’s book. We only cooked them for 13 minutes, rather than the suggested 15 minutes and they turned out lovely. I was initially worried they were a little overdone, but they taste absolutely fine! We ended up with 36 I think, so could have made them slightly bigger!
The other good thing with Nigella’s recipes is that she gives tips about freezing them! She says these can be frozen for about 3 months, which is very handy as we are planning to take these to my brother in law’s house on boxing day. So they have been baked and are now in the freezer ready to get out the night before… fingers crossed we remember!
I just made the yummy roulade too, and tomorrow will be making the Red Velvet, amongst a whole load of other Christmas Preparations! I am finally getting into the spirit of it all, can’t believe it is Christmas Eve Eve already! How are your Christmas preparations coming along?