Tuesday, 30 November 2010

end of November cometh...the illusion of Santa...

I had a realisation that, 4 years ago today, I was heavily pregnant with M and expecting to pop any day...as it was, she didn't make an appearance until 14th December which seemed a long way off at that point and seems a long way off now - but it will come round soon enough! And we have lots to do before then!
Can't believe my little Bean is going to be 4! She is just really great company at the moment and has come home unexpectedly from her childminder this afternoon cos Andy's school is closed and so her got her on the way home. They are snuggled up watching Home Alone and we're going to do some craft stuff later on...I have had to take a sick day from work today as I've got a nasty fluey bug - sore throat, snotty nose and generally feeling pretty unwell. I had a lazy morning and a hot bath with tea tree oil which hopefully will clear the passages...and now I'm just pottering on with a few online jobs which don't require too much thinking or strain! Hence the update now...

So, tomorrow is December 1st and although I know Advent officially started on Sunday, we're only getting going with those bits of preparation in time for tomorrow. We have a pocket Advent Calendar which this year will not only have small chocolates inside, but may also have some challenges, activities or other treats (like hot chocolate with marshmallows before bed etc.) We always have a candle to burn down one notch each day and we try to spend evenings when we're all in together with only music, no TV and spending time talking, playing games and getting excited about Jesus' birthday. Every year, Matilda is more aware of what the season means and this week, she's been enjoying the new Vicky Beeching album 'Eternity Invades' and singing along to the 'Glory to God Forever' track. It's great that she can enjoy the gift giving and receiving season, as well as understanding the reason behind why we get to do all this fun stuff. Previously we've really not done Father Christmas in a big way at all, but with her being at nursery and having lots of little friends to talk to, she's pretty into Santa etc. - we still don't 'do' Father Christmas particularly but we do have some little presents in a stocking on Christmas morning and she is aware we buy those, not Father Christmas. I find it difficult to have integrity about that aspect of the season's traditions without making M feel like she's missing out or we are weird. So Father Christmas is around, but not referred to specifically and we choose to do stuff about the Jesus story rather than other more localised traditions.
First off in this house though, we focus on Matilda's birthday as her special day of the year. Despite it being so close to Christmas, it is far enough away that we can do her birthday justice before we need to get focused on Christmas. So, the tree doesn't go up until 15th December, or evening of 14th at the earliest if that is what she wants to do on her birthday evening. We keep other decorations to a minimum, bar the things I listed above and most of that will go up on 15th December.

So, while I have some space and the Boy and the Bean are occupied, I'll get on with some other jobs online and elsewhere and leave you to let me know what you do about the 'illusion' of Father Christmas? Does he make an appearance in your house?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Advent activities and ideas

Karen Edmisten: The No-Panic Advent Series, in the right order this time

With a slightly more Roman Catholic slant (no matter) this is a great post with some lovely ideas for family activities, traditions and ideas to focus on during the season of Advent (which starts on SUNDAY!!)

We'll be doing a prayer board this year, similar to the Jesus stocking and our advent calendar will contains some chocolates but also some challenges and activities - probably leading to chocolates!

I'm looking forward to the season of Waiting this year - we're quite strict about not doing too much Christmas stuff until after M's birthday (14th) and it's good to not get carried away because of that. No tree or too many decorations until 15th December usually. We want the focus on our celebrations to be on Emmanuel, God with us, Jesus our friend and the promise of fullness of life in Him.

What are your Advent and Christmas traditions and activities??

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

shuffle music meme

Can't remember who tagged me first on this, but thought it would be fun!!

) Turn on your MP3 player or music player on your computer.
2) Go to SHUFFLE songs mode.
3) Write down the first 15 songs that come up–song title and artist–NO editing/cheating, please.

Pass it on.

Here goes:
1. Many Roads - Andrew Peterson
2. I'm not your baby - U2
3. Run the Race - Doug Horley
4. Kissing You - Des-ree
5. Can't Breathe - Martyn Joseph
6. You are Everything - Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross
7. Love gets me every Time - Shaina Twain
8. Yesterday, Today and Forever - Vicky Beeching
9. Shaken Up - Delirious
10. Amy Hit the Atmosphere - Counting Crows
11. Just One Smile - Dusty Springfield
12. I'm on my way to Canaan - Mahalia Jackson
13. 86 - Green Day
14. If not for Your Grace - Israel Houghton and New Breed
15. Forever - Chris Tomlin

Reflects the eclectic mix - U2 and Green Day plus a bit of country, gospel and the mighty Counting Crows! 
Look forward to reading your list!!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Gift Ideas for the 2010 Holiday Season — Simple Mom

Some great ideas here from the SimpleMom website - some of the links are US sites but once you get the idea, I'm sure you could be resourceful enough to find them elsewhere.

Ethical, original, local and personal...be inspired!

Gift Ideas for the 2010 Holiday Season — Simple Mom