Ooops about the abrupt finish to my advent blogging at day 9. I think I ran out of enthusiasm to write paragraphs about paper chains/ cookies/ days out - they are all so self explanatory but they all exist on my instagram @mandytoombs - I shall be using them for reference this coming Christmas as I tackle advent with a new 9 month old in my life!
I've not enjoyed the beginning of this pregnancy all that much. I was so
preoccupied with worry and the whole prospect of maternity leave
bringing in 1/4 of our monthly bills has just meant that I've not been
able to buy anything and making rubbish decisions like value pasta or
value rice for tea has not been fun and has not inspired me to blog. I
know, because when I read back on my diary around new year time, it was
such a stressful time.
Thankfully we are out of some very dark woods when Joel was not working and we had such inconsistent income. We're not exactly comfortable yet and things are still tight - but the good news is that as my maternity leave approaches fast, he has a stable income and I can finally relax (a bit) and get back into what I enjoy... spending decisions!
I'm enjoying doing a bit of shopping at the moment, both for the children and the new one... due in 5 weeks... and for myself. I'm taking this time to stock up on a few bits and pieces that I might not want to have to go out hunting for once there is a screaming newborn in my arms and there does seem to be some good sales on. I'm so excited to be back in normal clothes soon - but have been trying to get a few things during this pregnancy that will work for me once I've given birth. I've hardly bought anything with a maternity label in - and focused on finding things that look as though they might fit a bump in anyway and that I actually like for afterwards. I've also been stocking up on nice toiletries (allbeauty.com has some amazing deals on decleor night creams at the moment) I know that pampering kits to be able to use while home in PJs getting used to sleepless nights will be a huge help and anything to help you feel normal is worth the investment! I'm also trying to focus on the exciting bits of having a baby. Buying a few pretty things is really helping me focus on the good as I'm getting closer and closer to the day and I realise how nervous I really am about the birth. I've not forgotten my previous births and I know I really never wanted to have to do this again... but its just a while - (maybe less than a day, maybe a few days) of pain you cant believe possible and then it is over... but I am really frightened because I don't cope well with it. I need to remember what I'm doing and why and letting myself get a bit excited should hopefully help me with that.
One Born Every Minute starts again tonight. I cant decide if its a stupid idea to watch it or if it will gear me up. I've got 15 minutes to decide!!!
Monday, 9 December 2013
Ooh this was a fun activity! I've never done a kit like this before and feel excited that we've all learned a new skill. These were a kit in the Christmas 3 for 2 in Hobbycraft a while back. There were 2 little penguins to make which arrive in the form of some big balls of felt, a small pack of feet and wings and 2 egg shaped polystyrene pieces. I expected glue and creating a big sticky mess but no - you get 2 very long very thin needles and have to stab the fuzzy felt into the polystyrene over and over again and it kind of wedges itself in and stuck and the more you stab at it the flatter and more matted it gets and the more 'penguinny' it becomes.
Its better if the children are not distracted by looking at other things as they stab themselves, as we found. It's also better if they don't jab the needle in and then snap it - which Elijah did within 5 minutes - having a needle each is easier than sharing one. But we were very happy with our two cute little penguins and they'll make a lovely addition to the tree :-)
A nice easy advent today for a busy Sunday. Today we went over to Manchester for the Dedication of our very cute little God son Jonah so it's not a good day to have a busy craft. So in a bundled package for day 9 were their 2013 matching Christmas jumpers!
I love them in matching jumpers. Last year I had the same as them too. However pregnant bumps and jumpers are not a flattering look so I'm giving the Christmas jumper a year off myself and spending my time trying to find a range that have from newborn to 34 year old man so that next year the 5 of us can all be in exactly the same one. :-D
Saturday, 7 December 2013
Awww I loved our advent today. We've just made Christmas soap and have a few all wrapped up for gifts for teachers. We have so so so many teachers we have to get things for so it's always mega important to get creative. On the odd occasion I've left it till last minute and gone out for bottles of wine I've needed an overdraft! These are sweet and were a fun activity to make.
I found these perfectly sized little silicon molds in Lakeland. I'd been looking for some online for ages and am planning to do this activity for Holly's 10th birthday party and lots of them are trays. I love these because there are 12 individual ones so they will be be perfect to give to each girl at the party so they can have their own space with theirs. I bought tubs of clear melting soap from hobbycraft and some scents and colours from ebay.
Holly microwaved the soap till it was all runny - its really easy to chop into little bits to do. Meanwhile Elijah grated some orange and lime peel and broke up a couple of sticks of cinnamon. We added a few drops of orange colouring to the soap liquid, and a few too many drops of cinnamon and orange scent. We added the bits of fruit peel, cinnamon and a few spoons of poppy seeds. (my mother in law gave me a soap with poppy seeds in last time she was here and I love it as a shower exfoliate) Then after a good mix up - but not too much that it makes lots of air bubbles (easier when not working with enthusiastic 7 and 9 year olds) and then pour into the molds and wait for it to set... and ready!
Friday, 6 December 2013
Pretty paper chains! One of our lovely volunteers at work has lent me her amazing die cutter and this amazing paper chain die was amongst the goodies. A few sheets of value white copier paper and a few turns of the die cutter and these are the prettiest paper chains we've ever had at Christmas...much nicer than the expensive packs we've used before. I love that these are just white - they don't clash with the other decorations! I've had to tear the children away from these to get them in bed and have promised they can carry on ALL weekend if they like.... apart from, of course, there will be something completely different to do tomorrow! :-)
We went a little bit German for today's advent. Holly's been learning about the tradition of St Nicholas and how German children will leave a shoe out on the night of the 5th. They can put their lists inside for Father Christmas and he will collect them from the shoes and if the children have been good he may fill the shoe with goodies, like nuts, satsumas and chocolates...however the bad children will get STICKS AND TWIGS in theirs! Since our next door neighbour is from Germany we asked her more about it and she helped us out greatly (and sorted us a great delivery of walnuts, chocs and German biscuits)
So todays activity was our craft pack to write our letters to Father Christmas. They each got a nice piece of paper and an envelope full of stickers and tags to decorate it. (and then the added bonus of squashing them into shoes instead of the normal trip to the postbox).
If only Elijah would stop putting 'A pet dog' at the top of every single list he ever writes! I've told him Santas does NOT distribute pets but nothing will put him off!
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
Sometimes I am amazed at how organised I am. I'm also, unfortunately, ridiculously forgetful. I'd just finished planning this years advent calender the other night and sent Joel to collect 'Christmas' from the loft. Amongst the billions of baubles, lights etc was a huge bag full of advent activities I'd collected from the dregs of the January sales last year - doh! How can I have organised it all already and then forgotten?!! How do things fall out of brains completely like that? Thus I was amazed at myself. Not entirely in a good way.
Christmas craft kits do tend to be overpriced little packs of things you could make yourself for so much cheaper - but quirky little packs when reduced to 20p after Christmas are really handy and last year there were obviously lots of them around.
Today's advent is one of those - a very basic indeed 'Make your own crackers' kit from the John Lewis sales. So basic that there aren't even any cracking strips in it - in fact nothing to go in it but its been a couple of hours of fun making them, tying them, writing our own jokes from our best jokes book, sourcing a sweet and a toy from the party bag box that will fit inside. And voila - crackers!
These are all made up now ready to use for something they don't know about that they will unwrap another day!