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Thursday, 24 December 2015

Father Christmas's First Real Visit

Thanks for hopping over from Cookies & Cwtches and welcome to my post for the twelfth - and final - day of #12daysofparenting.

You still have until midnight on 31st December 2015 to enter.

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Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting Facebook page, and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


This year B is incredibly excited about Father Christmas, and her excitement is rubbing off on M who keeps telling us, "Santa Clause is comin' a-town!" Last Christmas was the first year B understood and got excited about Father Christmas. She told me she wanted to leave Father Christmas some milk to drink with his mince pie; and she remembered that we had found out at a friend's party that reindeer like to eat mushrooms, so we duly placed a mushroom out too.

Mince Pie, Milk and Mushroom for Father Christmas
It turns out, reindeer like mushrooms.

But it was that Christmas morning that will be in my memory forever. When she woke up, B was only interested in checking Father Christmas's tray. She didn't ask about her stocking; she didn't look to see if there were presents by the tree; she ran to the tray and, with a look of pure delight, declared, "Father Christmas left me a bit of his mince pie!"

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Christmas Necessities

Thanks for hopping over from Emma at The Mummy Balancing Act and welcome to my post for the eleventh day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to giveaway including a Snoozeshade Original from today's sponsors, Snoozeshade. Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting Facebook page, and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Christmas Dinner
A lot of bread sauce for the two of us on our honeymoon!
I love Christmas, but there are a few things that I absolutely need if Christmas is going to be just right. These are the things that come out year after year, or that live permanently on my Christmas shopping list, so that I can't forget them.

First off, Christmas just isn't Christmas for me if I can't have Bread Sauce with my Christmas Dinner, and enough of it to have leftovers to add to Boxing Day sandwiches, or just eat out of the bowl with a spoon. And it has to be proper bread sauce; none of this packet nonsense. I usually find that people who say they don't like bread sauce have never tried the real, homemade stuff. If that's you, then now's your year, folks. I use Delia's Traditional Bread Sauce recipe. It's simple and delicious, and I pretty much know it off by heart now.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Kids Don't Stop at Christmas

Thanks for hopping over from The Mummy Balancing Act and welcome to my post for the ninth day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to give away including a signed, limited edition, A3 picture (usually £95) from Fresh Photography's recent Iceland blog. (Any single picture from the selection on the blog). Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting Facebook page, and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes
But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes...

Nappies still need changing.
I greatly doubt it. Jesus was a human baby - he'd have cried at some point. Just like ordinary babies. Because babies don't know that one day is different to any other day. They continue living to their own rhythm. They still need feeding and winding and changing, with very little regard for our desire to cook an over the top lunch, or watch the Queen's speech, or have a lovely afternoon nap.

A young baby, however - unlike a boisterous toddler - can be happily accommodated at some Christmas activities. We took B to a candlelit carol service at 4 months old. She gurgled quietly, fed noisily, and slept happily through the rest. Unlike the lady behind us who loudly rustled her sweet wrappers during every quiet bit.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Obligatory Christmas Pics

Thanks for hopping over from Suburban Mum and welcome to my post for the eighth day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to giveaway including a Cuddle Deer, from today's Sponsor, Cuddle Dry. Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting Facebook page, and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.



Family in front of Christmas Tree

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Christmas Cooking with the Kids

Christmas biscuits http://laura-honeybee.blogspot.com/2015/12/christmas-cooking-with-kids.html
Yeah! Biscuit Art!

Thanks for hopping over from Cookies & Cwtches and welcome to my post for the seventh day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to giveaway. Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting Facebook page, and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

I'll make Christmas cookies with the girls, I thought. That'll be a wonderfully relaxing time for us all.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

That's me laughing hysterically, by the way.

Children making biscuits http://laura-honeybee.blogspot.com/2015/12/christmas-cooking-with-kids.htmlVarious events conspired against me, and we didn't end up getting started until nearly 4 o'clock, and M hadn't had a nap, despite being up since 5, so what - in my imagination - was going to be a delightful activity, where we bonded and laughed, and made beautiful biscuit masterpieces, actually turned out to be B having a lovely time, whilst I tried to stop M from eating the dough, throwing it on the floor, stealing B's cutters, and destroying the table with her rolling pin! Let's just say that, though I saved the table, I'm fairly certain we're going to find cookie dough in various crevices of the kitchen for months to come.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Just Add Glitter!

Thanks for hopping over from Kiddy Charts and welcome to my post for the fifth day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to giveaway including Sand Art Pictures. Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting Facebook page, and all entries are to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

When it comes to crafts, I'm not so great. Pinterest is both my friend and my nemesis. I love so much that I see there, but when I try the ideas out I invariably fail! And trying to do anything off Pinterest with the kids just results in everyone getting frustrated. So, today, we're going old school. Primary school to be precise. Those were the days, eh! Simple crafts, specifically designed for small children to do fairly unaided. The only Christmas crafts I can remember making at school are angels made from Art Straws, and gift tags made out of old Christmas cards. In the absence of any Art Straws - do they even make those anymore? - I have opted for the gift tags. While I suspect that most of you know how to do these, let's pretend you've never experienced the fun that is chopping up Christmas cards. Or perhaps you didn't attend school in the late 80s/early 90s and these might be new and amazing to you!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Our Christmas Traditions

Thanks for hopping over from The Mummy Balancing Act and welcome to my post for the fourth day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to giveaway including today's sponsor, Bambini & Me, who are offering a sleep bag in either size 0-6m or 6-18 m. The winner will be able to select from the following patterns: Elephant in grey; Bunny in blue; and Bird in pink. 
 Full details of the giveaway can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting Facebook page, and all entries are to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Christmas is such a traditional time, but the more people I meet, the more traditions I find. It seems everyone has their own that they are super passionate about, and when I married the Hubby I discovered new traditions that would now have to be a part of my Christmas, and others that I was shocked had never been a part of his. Making our own little family has enabled us to combine our traditions, and invent our own. So, here you shall find a selection of the Christmas Traditions in our house.

Advent:
Jesse Tree http://laura-honeybee.blogspot.com/2015/12/our-christmas-traditions.htmlJesse Tree - instead of an Advent calendar, we have a Jesse Tree.  The Jesse Tree is a vehicle to tell the story of Jesus as pointed to throughout the Old Testament. Each day we take out a decoration to hang on our Jesse Tree. The first 16 decorations represent characters or events from the Bible; the final 8 are based on the 'O' Antiphons used during Vespers and mass at the end of Advent, and which are in the hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. We try to read the relevant story from the Bible, or watch a video of it, and discuss how Jesus is shown in that passage. Sometimes we do crafts or activities based on the theme for the day, though these tend to get neglected as we get to the busier end of Advent. I hope that this will be a tradition that continues for many years, getting us all deeper into the Bible and discovering more about the reason for Christmas. If you want to find out more about our Jesse Tree, you can find my previous posts here.

Christmas Books - this is a tradition I've discovered since becoming a parent. Each night of Advent we read a different Christmas related book. The last two years I have wrapped each book up to be opened by one of the children, but this year I changed my mind. Too much work, and too much of a waste of wrapping paper! It was great the year M was born, because B was still in the stage of finding life with a new sibling difficult, so having a present to open each night was a brilliant distraction. I bought a whole load of Christmas books from a charity shop, and we are slowly replacing some of the more boring ones with much more delightful books. My favourites so far are Jesus' Christmas Party and The Lion, The Unicorn and Me.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Siblings - December 2015

dear beautiful




The Ghost of Christmas Past...

Thanks for hopping over from Adventures of a Novice Mum and welcome to my post for the 3rd Day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to giveaway. Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting page and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Nativity Angel and Shepherd
We bring you glad tidings of great joy!
Gone are the days of wrapping presents whilst watching Christmas films with my girlfriends, as we sipped on mulled wine that was kept warm - and topped up - all day in the slow cooker. Now the slow cooker does heavy duty cooking actual meals, and present wrapping is done hurriedly, at night, after the children have finally accepted that, yes, bedtime is happening again. Though the Hubby and I still enjoy a Christmas film whilst doing so. Nothing beats cutting lengths of sticky tape whilst watching Arnie punch a reindeer in the face! Thanks, Hubby, for introducing me to Jingle All the Way.

I've said goodbye to the mischievous delight of filling Christmas card envelopes with glitter to surprise my friends. Now karma - otherwise known as parenting - has taught me a torturous lesson.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Dear Father Christmas...

Thanks for hopping over from Oh Little One Sweet and welcome to my post for the 2nd Day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to giveaway including a Hoppy or a Patch from today's sponsor, BabyBundle. Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting page and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.



Santa Baby - A Mum's Wish List
Untidy Christmas Tree http://laura-honeybee.blogspot.com/2015/12/dear-father-christmas.html 
Santa baby, just tidy up a bit by the tree for me;
Been a fairly good mum, Santa baby,
So let me have eight hours' sleep tonight.

Santa baby, a toilet trip and time on the phone – alone!
Won't wait up for you, dear, Santa baby,
I'll be woken up just after you leave.

Think of all the work I do,
Think of how many times my children poo!
Next year I could be twice as tired,
So make my Christmas wish come true.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Surviving the Christmas Holidays

Christmas Tree decoration http://laura-honeybee.blogspot.com/2015/12/surviving-christmas-holidays.html
Photo by C. Durling, 2015

First posted as part of the 2015 #12DaysOfParenting

The school holidays always seem to come as a bit of a surprise to me now that I've been away from teaching for 5 years, and when they start I suddenly find myself unprepared for the lack of activities to attend. All the preschool-age groups stop and it's up to us  parents to be the sole entertainers of our children, or to brave very busy soft play areas, full of much bigger kids. No sipping a latte whilst the younglings run and climb - I have to start supervising!

I've found that saving the bigger Christmas activities and crafts for the last week of Advent maximises the fun and stops us from missing our groups. When I was growing up, my parents didn't put up our Christmas tree until just a few days before Christmas. Now I understand why, and we've continued that tradition in our home now. I think this makes the last week of Advent more exciting, and marks it out as different to the rest of the month, helping in the build up to Christmas Day. However, it has also had the added bonus of

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Celebrating Breastfeeding

Why celebrate breastfeeding?


File:GNM - Maria lactans 2.jpg
Madonna lactans ( 1380 )
German National Museum.
In a world that seems to be filled with hate and violence, where the desire to bomb and kill seems to be greater than the desire to save and heal, breastfeeding gives life, promotes life, feeds and nurtures. Breastfeeding is gentle, peaceful, loving. Even during the gymnurstics of toddler feeding! 


Make Milk Not War

In a world where we are constantly told that we're not good enough, that we need to spend more and more money to achieve perfection, breastfeeding is free and simple. It provides the perfect nourishment for our little ones, without need for upgrades or fancy packaging or bogus sciencey-sounding claims. 

In the action of breastfeeding a baby, we give of ourselves, literally, and both baby and mother feel the oxytocin-inspired love running through our veins. It is a selfless act in an all too selfish world. 


Mary breastfeeding Jesus from From The Story of Christmas  by Jane Ray
From The Story of Christmas
by Jane Ray
As we head towards Christmas, the time when we celebrate the birth of a tiny, helpless baby, who was undoubtedly breastfed, and who grew up to be pretty rebellious himself, remember that breastfeeding our babies is a simple act of rebellion, in a world that bombards us with hate, violence, and death; exhorts us to spend more and more money; and applauds narcissism and living only for ourselves. 

Celebrate breastfeeding. 


The code word for the Celebrating Breastfeeding Christmas Extravaganza is holly
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