Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas Morning - Pictures for Nanna and Grandad

We had Christmas in our own home for the first time this year. We invited my parents to spend Christmas with us and we had a wonderful day. I wanted to share some photos of the Podlings on Christmas morning for their other Nanna and Grandad to see, since this is the first Christmas in a few years that we haven't been with them. There are, naturally, more pictures and stories to follow, but it is now very late and I am off to bed!

Wishing you all  a very Merry Christmas, with love from Mark, Paula, Tom, Lily and Emma.

All Tom wanted for Christmas was a Starbucks teddy bear and here he is opening it. A very happy little boy!

 Nanny helping Emma to open a present

Tom trying to decide which packet of Haribo to eat first!

 Tom with his new Nintendo 3DS. We had always told him he was never going to get one of these, so he was really surprised to unwrap it on Christmas morning. He loves it, but not as much as he loves his Starbucks bear I suspect! 

Lily wanted an art table for her room with every fibre of her being and was over the moon when she unwrapped this (we got her this one which fits nicely into her rather small bedroom and has a lovely little compartment for her to keep all her art supplies in) We had planned to have it all built for her, but best laid plans and all that! To say she likes it is a serious understatement! 

Emma loves play food and was thrilled with this wooden ice cream set from Nanny and Grandad, just like the ones her brother and sister have already.

The Night Before Christmas

 The Podlings in their new night clothes.

In keeping with our family tradition, the Podlings received new nightwear on Christmas Eve. We have a set pattern for Christmas eve. After tea the Podlings have a bath and then they are given their new pyjamas/nightdress to get into. Then it is supper (hot chocolate and shortbread are a must on Christmas Eve) whilst I read them 'The Night Before Chirstmas', then it is off to bed to wait for Father Christmas. I love traditions. The familiar rituals make family occasions so special.


Friday, 23 December 2011

Chocolate decorations

This afternoon I helped the Podlings to make chocolate decorations for the Christmas tree. Tom and Lily were surprisingly uninterested in the messy bit, which left Emma and me to fill the moulds with melted chocolate. I had to work fast as no sooner had Emma filled her mould than she started to scrape the chocolate back out again with her fingers to eat it!

Once the chocolates had cooled, I removed them from the moulds and Tom and Lily decorated them. We still have to put them in the little bags and put them on the tree, but I doubt they will get eaten as the chocolate that came with the kits is vile! I should have gone with my instincts and melted some decent chocolate (mmm, Cadburys!), but I still have the moulds so at least we can make more. Probably not before Christmas though...tomorrow is going to be busy!

 The kit is good and very cheap, but take my advice and use your own preferred brand of chocolate as the stuff that came in the kits was pretty vile!

 Emma had a great time filling the moulds

 Tom icing a decoration

 Lily concentrating on her decorating

The finished decorations

Painting ornaments

During Emma's naptime today, Tom, Lily and I painted some tree ornaments from kits I bought locally a couple of weeks ago. I had initially intended for Emma to do them too, but wasn't sure the paint was of the easily washable kind. That and the fact that the ornaments were breakable made me think that perhaps this wasn't the best activity for a two year old!

When we had finished, I got Tom and Lily to write their name and age on the back of their ornaments so in future years we can remember who did what and when. I like to think the Podlings will enjoy rediscovering their homemade ornaments each Christmas as we put up our decorations.

 These kits were going for a song in our local Home Bargains

Tom painting a Christmas tree

Lily paints a Star

Tom's colourful Christmas Tree

Lily's red and green 'elf' as she called him.

I even had a go myself! The paintbrush in the kit didn't exactly allow for fine detail work, but I had a lot of fun anyway!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Making gingerbread

The Podlings and I made gingerbread biscuits today. We made the biscuits in the morning and then had lunch.  During Emma's naptime, Tom, Lily and I watched a Christmas film and drew pictures whilst munching on candy canes and then we decorated the biscuits when Emma got up. It was basically just a really lovely day with my three favourite little people that I don't want to forget. I love the holidays!

 Emma loves to beat eggs. You can see from her face how seriously she takes the task.

 Cutting out biscuits

Emma didn't see any need to wait until we baked the biscuits and was basically content to stuff her face full of gingerbread dough instead of cutting out shapes!

Gingerbread shapes ready to be baked

 The really fun part...decorating the biscuits! You wouldn't believe the mess they made!

 Some of our gingerbread creations.

Finishing off the leftover icing is one of the perks of homebaking! 

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Letters to Father Christmas

The girls wrote their letters to Father Christmas this afternoon. I made some nice paper for Tom as well, but he told me that he wrote a letter to Santa at school and he didn't want to do another one!

 What Emma wants for Christmas is anyone's guess, but she had a great time writing her letter!

Lily's letter reads:

Dear Father Christmas,
I have been a good girl.

Art Table
Grown up scissors
Cuddly angel toy
a biros pack
Cuddly toys

Love from Lily

A festive afternoon

"When, what to my wondering eye should appear,
but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick."

-From 'The Night before Christmas' by Clement C. Moore

Yesterday afternoon we took the Podlings to the Trentham Estate shopping village where we had heard you could see some real reindeer. Sure enough, there were two reindeer outside the Santa's grotto, both of whom conformed to the 'tiny reindeer' of the poem. One of them was actually still quite a baby and certainly won't be pulling any sleighs this Christmas eve! The Podlings were all thrilled to see some real reindeer and whilst we hadn't once tried to tell them that these were Father Christmas's actual reindeer, Lily's parting shot to them was "See you on Christmas Eve!".

After seeing the reindeer we wandered round the shopping village and picked up a couple of extra gifts before heading off to Sainsbury's to pick up some milk. Who should be waiting outside Sainsbury's but Father Christmas himself, courtesy of the Lions Club. Lily and Tom had a sudden attack of shyness and hid behind me when we went over to see him. I suspect Lily was shy because she had been a bit of a monkey all afternoon and didn't want to be asked if she had been a 'good girl' by the man with the naughty list! Emma, on the other hand, wasn't in the least bit shy and went right up to him. Her bravery was rewarded in the form of a lollipop, which is about all Emma wants for Christmas anyway...she loves them that much! All in all a very festive afternoon!

Friday, 16 December 2011



A Christmas card from Lily

Tom and Lily were happily employed in writing out their Christmas cards last night when Lily suddenly asked me how to spell 'whole'. This was a bit of a change from the previous 'How do you spell (insert classmate's name here)?' refrain. Turns out she was writing out a card for all of you, so I thought I'd take a photo of it so you can enjoy it!

'To evree budee ni the whole wid wurld.
Have a wundfl crisms'.

or to put it another way...

"To everybody in the whole wide world.
Have a wonderful Christmas.'

Let there be light

The newest edition to our festive home. Mark bought us this lovely window arch last weekend and it now takes centre stage in the bay window in the lounge. Now we don't pull the curtains until we go to bed so we can sit and enjoy it in the evenings. I love Christmas!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Who needs toys...

when you have a large box to play in?

Father Christmas

When my parents were visiting we took the Podlings to see Father Christmas. We went to Bridgemere Garden Centre and joined the queue for the grotto. Then we queued some more and when we got bored with that we....well we queued a bit more! Suffice to say it was a long wait and Emma was getting a bit fed up by the end of it.

All their boredom was forgotten on entering into the room with the man himself! The nervousness! The excitement! I remember it all from my own childhood and I thrill to experience it all again with my children. They did things slightly differently here in that you didn't do the usual sit on Father Christmas's knee, tell him what you want for Christmas, have your photo taken and you're done thing. Here, a group of children are ushered into a room where Father Christmas was sleeping by a fireplace. The children then wake him up and he reads them a story. Then each child (or group of siblings) gets to go up and have a little private chat with him before going to choose a toy from his shelves. It was lovely as the children get to see more of him that way and the Podlings loved it.

My only complaint (aside from the exorbitant cost!) was that there was no opportunity to get a decent photo. I do like to get a nice photographic record of these things and I was rather disappointed not to get a nice photo of the Podlings with Father Christmas. My dad did get a couple that were a bit better than mine, so when I have had a chance to pinch them I'll add them to the end of this post.

 Waiting to see Father Christmas

 Still waiting...

 Are we there yet?

 And we're still waiting! As you can see, Tom has had a haircut. Doesn't he look handsome!

Emma listening to Father Christmas tell a story

The only photo I was able to get of the Podlings with Father Christmas. I even dressed them all in red ready for a good picture!