Monday, 16 November 2009

Today we made our first batch of Christmas biscuits. They are really simple gingerbread biscuits,with a splodge of white icing,and whatever decorations we have on hand!It was fun,and Christmassy.....or at least on the most part. I do find it stressful when all the little ones join in.I feel it becomes more like a free for all with me trying-and failing-to keep a vague sense of order. I probably need to loosen up more. I need to loose my sense of what the finished item "should" look like and let them do it their way. I need to learn to turn a blind eye to all the mess and chaos. It is hard though,at the end of the day when I am already exhausted and know that it is me that will have to clean up...sigh...But I will try! I so want them to enjoy all the things we do together,and not to look back and remember a grumpy Mommy nagging them about the mess.

Still, the biscuits were nice,and were enjoyed by all with hot chocolate whilst listening to songs from The Polar Express. Lovely!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Birthdays, Christmas and random ramblings!

Today my baby girl , our eldest daughter is 10. 10...gosh how did that happen! I remember her being bron so clearly. She was almost 2 weeks late. She only just arrived hours before I was due to be admitted to be induced.I remeber taking her to a wedding when she was just 5 days old, dressed in the sweetest burgundy velvet little dress. And now she is 10! Her Birthday celebrations went well. She had 2 friends over,they went to the cinema, ate pizza and had a girly sleepover - which required a fair ammount of musical beds amongst everyone but it all worked out fine. In fact it was all quite civilised. They were asleep by 11, which was a vast improvement on last years 1am pillow fight. The birthday cake - a homemade chocolate fudge cake which they request every year- was declared the best cake in the world once again ! The presents proved to be a hit -much to my relief, so on the whole I think we can declare it a successful birthday.

So now all my attention can be focussed on Christmas! I have more or less now finished buying the children's presents.This is has been such a challenge this year. Ihave had to budget so carefully,and have shopped around endlessly for bargains and reductions. There are things that the older children would love but are simply beyond what we can afford right now. Sometimes this makes me feel sad and a little bit of a failure. Other times I feel it is important for them to learn that they cant always have everything they want.

I explain to the older ones about the choices we have made as a family for me to stay at home,and therefore to live on one salary for the time being. I hope it will at least inform them a little bit about some of the realities of life and give them experiences and knowledge to fall back on when they come to make decisions as adults themselves. I was never exposed to any such issues as a child, and as an adult I have learned a lot about life and its harsh realities the hard way,and with alot of mistakes,and decisions I would make differentlygiven the choice. It is hard,because I want to sheild my children fromall harm and unpleasentness,yet at the same time there are somethings that I feel can be shared with the older children in a sensitive way - suh as the reality of the fact that we just can't afford a wii or holidays right now!

But still, when all the financial hassle and trivia of the festive season is pushed aside I remember that I actually have so much to be thankful for. In Jul of this year my father-in-law passed away. He was only 64, and he died after a 10 month battle with a malignant brain tumour. He raised 7 children with my mother-in-law and worked hard all his life. He never even got a chance to enjoy his retirement. My mother-in-law is coming to stay for a few days this week with my sister-in-law and 2 nephews. The Overflowing Household may be in danger of bursting at the seems, but I want to do all I can to make this an enjoyable vivit for them all, at a time which must be so difficult for my lovely mother-in-law. He is greatly missed by so many poeple.
This photo always reminds me of him. It is the sunset over the sea near his home. He loved photography and was always offering me tips.This was my first attempt at capturing this scene and I took it just before Overflowing dad and I met up with him for a drink in his local.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The lovely smells of Christmas baking...

Christmas is fast approaching-there is definitely no denying it! I want this year to be about having lots of fun together and not so much stessful last minute running round as last year. With this in mind we made our first batch of mince pies today! I made the pastry this morning with little O,then this evening little O,and bigger A both wanted to help bake so we turned out 3 dozen mince pies!They may not be the prettiest mince pies ever...but they taste good! The girls love baking and we had great fun, even if we did all get very floury!

Poor Bella,our little black doggy came to sit by the table to see what was going on and also ended up with a dusting of flour and a sort of reverse dalmation look!

So I now have 2 dozen mince pies in the freezer,although our eldest son and biggest mince pie fan demanded I kept a dozen out to be eaten now - even though this goes against my "no mince pies till December" rule! Inspired by the lovely Christmassy aroma drifting from the Kitchen I have been through all my recipes and made shopping lists of the ingredients I need. I am planning on a lot of homemade treats to give to various people for Christmas this year I am going to busy in the kitchen over the next few weeks! I am also going to sort out some craft projects this weekend to do over the coming weeks ...hoping lots of baking and crafting will help us survive the horrible cold dark winter evenings

The fun of baking was a pleasent change from stress of the school bookfair after school.I hate it when the bookfair is on.I know it benefits the school,which I am all in favour of, but it still something that fills mewith dread! Last time we didn't go to it...but this time I relented.The trouble is all the books are so expensive,and often not the sort of books I would want to buy the children. They have endless Barbie sticker books and similar things and very few what I would consider decent chapter,story or picture books.Given that most of the books are around £6 each it makes buying for 6 children very pricey!

I did stand firm though this time,I refused to pay ridiculous ammounts for poor quality books...and so we bought one nice picture story book which was a surprise bargain at £1.99, and our elsdest daughter chose a nice chapter book/novel which will be part of her birthday presents. I did relent and let them all buy a sparkly pencil to alleviate some of the tantrums ...but we managed to escape spending just over £10,so not too bad!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

So much to do, so little time to do it!

Oh dear I have been so caught up in real life lately thet I have neglected my Blog. But I have been catching upon some very boring, but much needed housework and feel more in control as a result. I am trying really hard to be as prepared as possible for Christmas and all it entails ahead of time. We are always so busy in the last few weeks with Nativities, concerts,school parties and such like that I need to be organised to cope!

I have been inspired by some wonderful blogs and sites recently too, and am planning some lovely little creative presents for people.This of course helps the fact that money is severely limited this year,but also has made me think how much nicer a well thought out homemade present can be than something picked up last minute at the shops.

I am makingup little gift bags for my children for Christmas eve,with new snuggly PJs, slippers, christmas mugs and hot chocoalte and sock monkeys in. I am making the sock monkeys myslef. This is amazing for me because I am not naturally good at sewing,in fact the only thingIhave ever sewn before is a cushion at school,and an occasisonal button or hem since then! Despite that I am quite pleased with how they are going! I have done 2 so far,and hope to finish another one tonight.

I also came across this site last night A wonderful site that lets poeple send cards,letters and gifts to severely or chronically ill children. Reading through it made me cry. It also made me realise just how much I have to be thankful for. I am going to make up a Christmas parcel with my older children to send,as I often feel that getting them more involved in helping those less fortunate than themselves is a wonderfulthing to do.

I have managed to almost finish planting my spring bulbs too. I have found it hard to get motivated to get this job done as it seems a lot of effort for no instant reward! But that is my trouble a lot! I need to see the finished project at once....patience is definitely something I need to work on. But they are all almost planted now, and I am so happy because I know in the spring,the site of the first crocuses appearing, and then the bright daffodills and tulips will bring me many smiles after the long cold dark nights of winter.