Tuesday, 25 December 2012

The best Christmas Present...

Introducing my new little nephew, Rowan. Rowan was born to my lovely sister and brother-in-law on Christmas morning weighing 7lbs 1oz and is the best Christmas present we could ask for. I am so excited to be an aunt!

Rowan is in NICU at the moment, but is doing well. Your prayers for his continued recovery would be much appreciated.

Congratulations Elaine and Gareth and welcome to the world Rowan. You are a very much loved little boy!

Christmas Day

Auntie Mary (the Podlings' Great Aunt) asked that I post some photos of the children in their Christmas finery, so here they are in all their splendour. I feel that it is unnecessary to point out that Emma's white dress did not end the day in the same state in which it began it. White is not a good colour for a three year old at play! Never seems to stop me putting her in it though!

I have many more Christmas photos to post, but they will have to wait for another day.

For some reason Emma felt the need to show us her petticoat!

Monday, 24 December 2012

'Twas the Night Before Christmas...

Three very excited little Podlings in their new pyjamas getting ready for bed on Christmas Eve. Anticipation of the arrival of Father Christmas somewhat thwarted our attempts to get them to sleep, but they eventually gave up and settled down. Emma settled quite well, but Tom and Lily are sharing a room here at their grandparents' house and they manage to keep each other awake!

Lily wanted me take her photo on her own. She looks adorable in her full length nightdress.

New stockings this year. Emma has Father Christmas, Lily has a snowman and Tom has a reindeer. Mummy's making a note so you don't argue about which one is which next year Podlings!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas Dresses

Lily's Christmas dress

A sneak peak of the girls' Christmas Day dresses. Buying Christmas dresses for Lily and Emma is something of an annual thrill for me. I have a real weakness for little girls' clothes and I love dressing them in pretty things. They probably both have far too many clothes!

Lily's Christmas dress is in a beautiful heavy red velvet with a dainty cream lace collar. It will be large on her this year, but I was hoping it would do for next year as well. It just screams 'Christmas' to me and I love it! I had originally planned to get Emma a navy blue velvet dress and was bidding on an exquisite navy velvet and cream lace concoction on eBay. Sadly the bidding got out of my price range and I had to sadly let some other lucky person get it. None of the other velvet dresses seemed to quite measure up after that one got away!

I found this pretty white Sarah Louise dress going for a song when I was looking for something else entirely. The embroidered flowers are in reds and golds (the only Christmas colours in my opinion!) and I think it is absolutely beautiful. I had thought at one point that I might put Emma in the dress she wore to her Christmas party the other day (the navy and tartan with gold trim), but I think I will probably go for the white one. What do you think?

Emma's Christmas dress ~ the photo doesn't do it justice.

Painting Christmas Baubles

The Podlings had fun this afternoon painting their own baubles from kits I bought cheaply a little while back. They got two baubles apiece and they had a lot of fun decorating them. The wait for the paint to dry was somewhat agonising for Emma, who couldn't wait to hang her decoration on the tree!

Touching the tree is a bad move at the moment as it isn't really happy to be alive anymore. If you look at it a bit funny then scores of pine needles leap off the tree and pile up on the carpet beneath! We've always bought low needle drop trees in the past and I can now see that they are well worth the extra money!

Apologies for the washing on the radiator. With Christmas looming I am washing and drying like a mad thing at the moment and many of the radiators are fair game for the non-tumble-dryable thick winter jumpers!


Thursday, 20 December 2012

All Dressed Up

Emma all dressed up in her Christmas party frock ready for her playgroup Christmas party yesterday afternoon. We even tied gold ribbon in her plaits to complement her dress. This girl is just so adorable! Love her!


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Snowman Craft

What better way to relax after performing in your Christmas concert than to indulge in a little crafting. Emma and I did this snowman craft together after lunch today. Emma had a lot of fun sticking the cotton wool onto the snowman shape and then adding the eyes, nose and real buttons. I cut the hat and scarf out of felt (Emma chose the colours) and we stuck him down onto some blue card. I think he looks cute!


It was amusing watching Emma's face as she noticed how much of the cotton wool got left behind on her sticky fingers after she had stuck it on the snowman.

Emma's Christmas Concert

Emma was in her first Christmas concert this morning and she did really well. She was quite happy on stage to begin with and kept waving happily at Mark and me, but they took so long to get all the children settled that by the time the concert started she was getting a bit fed up and not a little intimidated by the audience.

For the first couple of songs, she kept her arms folded and her lips pouted and gave the audience her best "I'm not going to sing and you can't make me!" look. By the time they got to Whoops-a-Daisy Angel, though, she was joining with both the actions and the singing. She told me afterwards that it was scary and, to be fair, I should think it was pretty intimidating for a group of under-5s to be on stage in front of a large audience. Given that, on the whole, I think she would rather not have done it I think she was very brave and did incredibly well.

Well done Emma, we are very proud of you!

"I'm not going to sing and you can't make me!" She had at least unfolded her arms by this point!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Christmas Teacher Gift

Today was Emma's last normal playgroup session before Christmas. Tomorrow morning is her concert and Wednesday afternoon will be her Christmas party. I thought that today would therefore be the best day for Emma to take in her teacher gift. We made a Christmas card out of one of the footprint reindeer we made a couple of weeks ago and I made some fairy cakes for the teachers to share. Vanilla sponge with chocolate buttercream, topped with red glitter sugar to give them a festive air. I love the gold bun cases I used, they really make the cakes look Christmassy! I can vouch that they taste as good as they look as Mark and I enjoyed a couple of the leftover cakes with a cup of tea last night.


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

My Angel Baby

Emma is an angel in her playgroup concert next Tuesday and since our current angel costume is looking a little shabby after four years in the dress-up box, I ordered a new one for Emma. I knew what I wanted and when I saw this one I was beside myself. It is almost exactly what I had in my head. Needless to say I bought it immediately and it arrived today. I tried it on her for size and just melted on the spot! With her waist length blond hair topped with her fluffy halo and the floor length cream gown she looked just angel! I have to confess to getting a little choked up and that was just trying the costume on in the lounge. Goodness knows what state I will be in watching her in the concert next week!

Emma loves the costume, especially the little bells on the skirt that jingle gently when she moves. You will have to forgive a doting mother a picture heavy post. I couldn't decide which of the pictures was my favourite, so I thought "Why choose?" I am melting!


On a Cold and Frosty Morning

The mornings are cold here at the moment. The frost which lies on the ground when we awaken stays throughout the day, lending an almost ethereal quality to the countryside behind our house. Our walks to school, though cold, are breathtakingly beautiful.

The freezing fog we had overnight left its legacy of hoarfrost behind this morning, half a centimetre thick on the trees and hedgerows in the lane behind our house. Even the spiders' webs were thickly encrusted and the threads hung heavy with ice. The fog still lingered as we walked to school this morning, but later in the day the sun came out and shone in all its winter glory. The sun, reflecting on the frosty ground, making it seem as though we were walking on diamonds. These crisp, clear winter's days bring a special quality of beauty with them and, cold as they are, I wouldn't change them for all the world.

A frost encrusted spider's web on the railings around our front garden

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Thinking outside the box!

With the end of term nearing rapidly, we have school and playgroup concerts to look forward to this week and next. There has been much excitement with rehearsals for Tom and Lily and the need to prepare costumes has been a concern. Tom is a narrator for his class performance, so he simply needs to wear smart clothes. Emma will be an angel in her concert next week, so I have purchased a lovely costume for her (I just hope it arrives in time!). Lily's costume proved to be the tough one this year. She is a Christmas present in her class performance. It would seem that children's Christmas present costumes are not exactly ten a penny, so the need to make her costume became clear fairly early on!

This is what I came up with. It is a sort of cardboard version of a sundress! I did buy the sparkly headband she is wearing to complete the look, but the rest of it is basically down to me, cardboard, wrapping paper and lots and lots of Sellotape! I think she looks cute!


The Nativity

I have wanted a Nativity stable for as long as I can remember. I used to gaze longingly at the ones they used to sell in Past Times at Christmas, but the ones I like have always been out of my price range. Finally this year I stumbled across one that I love that wasn't very expensive and my most excellent husband bought it for me. Isn't he wonderful! It looks just like the ones I used to moon over! I have set it up on a low table in the lounge so the Podlings can see it easily. (They are all very good for not touching it. I have never believed in keeping things out of the children's reach, I have simply trained them not to touch things they shouldn't from a young age.)

I think the Nativity set it is an important visual reminder of the reason for the season for the Podlings. In amongst the excitement of school concerts and events, festive crafts, pretty lights and decorations and the anticipation of Christmas morning, I never want the children to forget why we celebrate Christmas. The wonder of that first Christmas in a stable so long ago should always be in the forefront of our minds during the festive season.

I let Emma help me set it up as she was home with me when it arrived. If you see the odd bit of white in the photos it is because Emma starting breaking off bits of the polystyrene packaging and sprinkling it over the scene, telling me it was snowing. Snow in Bethlehem! I think I managed to get most of it off, but a few bits may still remain.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Felt Bird Ornament

I had one of my 'I have to make something or I will explode!" moods last night. I get like that when I haven't done any needlework in a while! The result was this little embroidered felt bird. I altered a bird template I found online and then just made up the embroidery as I went along. The leaves of the bullion knot rose are shiny green beads, which catch the Christmas lights quite prettily. I didn't bother drawing out the design, I just embroidered it free hand from my head. I think this shows as the lines aren't as even as they would have been had I bothered to do things properly. That being said, I am very pleased with how it turned out. It looks pretty much like the one I had in my head, which is always pleasing! I embroidered the year on the back so I will remember when I made it when I am old and forgetful! She looks rather lovely hanging on our tree.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Christmas Crafting

Each of the Podlings had a freshly baked rock bun (on Christmas china of course!) and printouts for an angel and a Father Christmas decoration

I had a Christmas craft waiting for the Podlings when they got home from school today. We used these simple printouts (you can find them here) to make stand up angel and Father Christmas decorations. Lily was lamenting the paucity of Christmas decorations in her bedroom, so I thought I would give her the opportunity to make some. Emma and I had baked some rock buns earlier in the afternoon (without the fruit since the Podlings prefer them that way), so they were able to tuck into those whilst crafting. Lily was thrilled because she had only asked me to make rock buns earlier this week...she really loves them!

Tom wasn't in the mood to craft this afternoon (though he says he will do them tomorrow), but the girls had a lovely time. First they coloured in the printouts, then they had some fun with the glitter glue. Father Christmas even got some cotton wool trimming to his cloak and hat! I cut them out, since they are a bit fiddly. I also stapled them together at the back since these sorts of things have a tendency to keep coming undone otherwise. They turned out really well and were simple and good fun to make. I know because, given that I have never entirely grown up, I had to make one myself!

I laid everything we would need out before I went to collect Tom and Lily from school, so this was the scene that greeted them in the dining room when they got home.

Emma colouring in her angel

Lily enjoying her rock cake whilst crafting...pretty much an ideal afternoon for Lily!

Emma's little angel

Lily wanted me to photograph her angel with her new Christmas decoration