Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking back, looking forward

Wow, I can't believe it's Hogmany tonight already. Where has the time gone? What a year it's been! It's been a really good year for me. Here are a few highlights of 2010 for me...
dollscelebrationscake competitionsbump
beauty birth

growing up

growing older

Last year I had no resolutions (not because I thought I was perfect lol, but because we had just gone through a big transition with the move). This year though I have quite a few. These are the areas of my life and the family life that I would like to focus on a little more:
Food: I would like to really revolutionise how we eat. My ideal would be to be able to hire some land and put up a poly tunnel and have an allotment allowing us to grow as much of our own as possible. I would then like to cut out supermarket shopping and buy only from the whole food shop and the local market. I would also, in an ideal world, find a farmer who would be willing to sell me raw milk at a good price... This is a real pipe dream though and it would take massive planning and commitment as we simply couldn't afford to do it half and half! Andy and I will really have to sit down and think it all out. Until then, I would like to make sure we keep treats for the weekend, eat more whole foods, raw foods and generally a bit more balanced!
TV: Again my ideal would be to cut this out for the kids, this isn't going to happen though so I would like both Andy and I to be better to only allow it on at it's allotted time of the day.
Noise: (by this I mean noise coming from me). I would really like to stop shouting. I find that I sometimes just have days when all I do is shout and moan and I think that with practice I can just opt out of shouting. I find it really draining and it's OBVIOUSLY not an effective way of getting things done. I would also love to still the chatter. I talk too much; over talk, interrupt and I would like to apply the filter suggested in 'You are your Child's First Teacher' where you only speak words that are true, necessary and kind.
There are a few things I would like to do for myself, one is to write a crafting article for a magazine. I have a shot at this and I'd love to give it a good go. I would like to make many more dolls for my shop, I just LOVE making them. I would like to make the kids some more clothes. I get such a kick out of dressing them in homemades. I would like to loose my baby weight. I would like to start running again. I would like to find some time as a couple with Andy.
So there we go, 2010 was great. I hope 2011 will be just as good!
Good Luck all of you and much love x

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our Year in Music

Our little house here is never quiet. I try to keep our background noise here to a minimum; I don't ever have a radio on, we only have the tv on if it is being watched and if it is Andy who is watching I try to make sure that we have the door to the living room shut so that the noise isn't seeping into the rest of the house. We have no battery toys that emit incredibly annoying jingles and tunes. I have dreams of pockets of silence where I can hear my own thoughts, but even in these rare moments we all find ourselves singing or humming.
Music and song is very much part of our being.

We use them to get activities done: 'Clean up, clean up one, two, three. I'll help you and you help me'.
We use them for health and healing: 'Oh dear, what can the matter be, there's something wrong with Rebe'.
We use them as part of celebration and just for sheer joy and pleasure.

Some songs become 'stickers', ones that get sung endlessly, time and time again for days, weeks, months. Here are some of our 2010 stickers (in no particular order). Perhaps one day I will be able to get a CD made up of them, that would be cool :-)

Puff the Magic Dragon: a staple for us, loved by all and sung fondly. Only now Rebe doesn't allow us to sing the sad bit.

Bob the Snail: when Benny discovered snails we wanted to find him a snail song...we found this.

the Duck Song: this was a follow on from Bob. Warning, this song will get in your head and not get out so listen with caution!

Wee Willies Marley: This was sang by a lady at the Story telling festival in Courtmacsherry. It's such an old folky I just can't find a full version on line to listen to for free. We love it.

Twinkle Twinkle: It's Benny's top favourite, he sings it all the time and insists on a fully paying attention audience.

Bobby Bingo: Benny's next in line top song.

A Harvest Song: We learnt this lovely song whilst at the Autumn Equinox celebration we went to. So beautiful.

Lantern Song: We learnt this song at the Steiner P/T group St Martin parade. It took me back to my childhood.

All Together Now: The kids picked this up somewhere and just love it and sing it all the time!

Irish songs: I'd love to be able to write the titles, but I can't speak or write Irish at all, but Rebe is bringing these lovely songs back from school.

I'm sure there are many more, but these are the ones that sprang to mind...what were you singing this year?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

a belated Happy Christmas

Phew, here I am. What a week! We have been SICK! Our Christmas was pretty much a washout because of all of us being really rather poorly. I don't know what it was/is but I am suspecting man flu, which is, as we all know, pretty serious. Rebe had it first, she started feeling poorly on the Thursday and by Christmas Eve she was awful with a high fever and no energy. She still managed to write a little letter to Santa and put her stocking out. I think she just kept going on the excitement of it all. She couldn't eat anything and on Christmas day. She couldn't even eat the special chocolate that Santa left for her:
I got this idea from a friend of mine. I drew the shapes out on baking parchment, then filled in the shapes with melted white and dark chocolate.
We had a very small, understated Christmas. We kept the stocking presents to a minimum, I think they had 3 or 4 little things each, and it was the perfect amount really. They were delighted.

Joa got a book, this beautiful hand carved wooden spoon, a klean kanteen sippy cup and of course his mobile.
Benny got a wooden helicopter, a sippy cup and a really super picture book called 'In the Town All Year Round' which was recommended by one of my favourite blogs.

Rebe got a wooden yo-yo, a lovely book by Astrid Lindgen, some modeling bees wax and 2 sets of horse/dog/reindeer reigns.

We spent a good 2 hours being reindeer's and making bees wax models. This is the first time I've ever used bees wax and it is lovely.

Here's a little bird in a nest with her eggs.

I made Christmas dinner at which we had our own homemade crackers. They were brilliant, everyone helped over the previous few days getting them ready.

Benny and I made the crowns while Rebe was in school.

Andy made up the jokes and wrote them on pieces of paper. They were great, I think there could be a career move for him there!

I was responsible for filling the crackers. I made Benny a superhero mask out of red felt for his, I put this little doll's tea set in Rebe's and I crochet (how does one write the past tense for that?) these little booties for Joa. I'm dead pleased with them, I made them using the pattern from the children's year, the sole is a shammy leather for cleaning windows and the wool is Noro something or other. I looked up how to crochet in a book I have and it was simpler than I thought. I will definitely be making more of these!

Rebe rolled the crackers up and chose the ribbons. They were really great :-)

Wow, do we look peaky in this picture, but here I am at Christmas dinner with Rebe. Benny missed it, he had to have a nap. It all descended into poorliness after this, but I hope we're all on the mend now.
We got wonderful, amazing, thoughful gifts from lovely friends and family that I will post about later. We will probably have a special celebration/ fancy dinner when we're all feeling better.
I hope you all had a healthy and happy Christmas
hugs x

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gingerbread (what another food post!)

Before I do anything Rebe wanted me to show you her new slippers. They're from here. We'd gotten Benny a pair of the tractor ones a month or so ago and they are so great we decided to get Rebe a pair in the hope that she'll actually wear them as slippers! She loves them and so far they are ON HER FEET :-)

I also quickly wanted to show you this...
A few nights ago Rebe found an actual ladybird in her bed, I have no idea how it got there, but she really wanted to keep it as a pet. She kept it in a jar for a few hours, but as it became less mobile and happy she decided she wanted to put it outside. She came back in tears because she had wanted to keep it so much, but she said; 'I'm sad because I miss my little guy, but I'm glad I gave him his life back'. So, to replace him I have borrowed a button from one of Joa's cardi's, and Rebe made this beautiful habitat for it to live in. I think that's a pretty good compromise.
So on to the gingerbread...
A few weeks ago Rebe started bringing home little Christmas cards from her class mates. It seems that they give a card to every child in their class. This just doesn't sit for me, it seems pretty meaningless for a start as Rebe has no idea why people were giving her cards and she couldn't remember who they were from, never mind the cost both financial and environmental. And as you may have guessed I just don' t go in for consumerism! So instead we decided to make a gingerbread house for her to bring on the last day of term for the whole class to share.

The day before yesterday we mixed and baked the gingerbread. Oh, it was so christmassy, the smell of ginger and cinnamon. The heat from the stove and I brought down the tape player and we listened to Here Comes Christmas. We had this LP when I was a child and we listened to it every Christmas growing up. My dad kindly taped it for us last year, there is nothing else that gets me into the Christmas mood than listening to this.
Lots of gingerbread Mio Gingerbread

Lambie (with a funny eye)

That evening, with many sweary words, I cobbled it together. I have made 3 or 4 gingerbread houses, but never before had so many problems sticking it together! But finally I did it and yesterday afternoon Rebe decorated it (very gently).

We took it in to her school this morning. To my pleasure she reported to me that the WHOLE SCHOOL got to share it. I love that! It was a great success and I think this is a tradition we may do every year.

Still with food, here is my little cooking helper preparing the veg for dinner in a very novel way...
Check out the 'tools face'.

Lastly this little boy has been teething. Red , red cheeks, drooling, grumbling, chewing, but it's been worth it....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

christmassy goings on

Gosh it feels like it's been ages since I've been here. Things have just been pretty busy.
More than anything though things have been pretty manic. Rebe is in a whirl wind of excitement. She's been waking up very early every morning and waking the boys with her, and then just bouncing off the walls all day long. It's been pretty hard work to be honest, especially when I'm fairly sleep deprived....still there have been some lovely moments lately too.

Rebe's school had their Nativity play on Sunday in the church. Her class were the stars, and they each had a little line to say. Rebe belted hers out so loud and she was so proud to be part of it. They sang a really sweet song too with a little dance and I admit it, yes I had a wee cry (Oh god I'm such a mummy!!). This is a bit of a blurry picture but I love it because it really captures the twinkle in her eye.

Another success was/ is (I haven't eaten it all yet lol) this Christmas bread...

It is unbelievable, and therefore I'll share the recipe...

1 large egg beaten
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tbsp veg oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup plain flour
4 tbsp crystallised ginger
1 cup cranberries coarsely chopped

Mix wet ingredients then add dry and mix in cranberries. Don't over mix. I put mine in a loaf tin and baked it until you could put in a knife and it comes out clean.

I'm afraid I can't credit this cake anywhere as I can't remember where I found the recipe, but you simply HAVE to make it!!

Still on food; we had chicken pie last night and the kids made their own pastry shapes. I find a little fun with dinner always helps it to go down a little better.

As well as being winter solstice today there was also a lunar eclipse that we could see perfectly from the children's window this morning...

It was really amazing!
I have just about finished all my Christmas gifts now. I only need to get together a few wee things to put in our crackers. I have been putting off finishing Joa's mobile, but yesterday when I was out for a stroll with Benny I found the perfect branch (sneaked from my neighbours garden). So I finished it last night and I love it.

My three little Angels flying amongst the stars.

Benny (and his strawberry-berry hat)

I'm so pleased with how it came out. It will hang in the children's room.
Hope you all have a wonderful winter solstice, hugs x

Saturday, December 18, 2010

cooking up a storm

I've had a real day in the kitchen.
This morning while Joa had his nap I made bread dough and these Oatmeal Crackers.
The recipe is from Whole Foods for Babies and Toddlers
They are great, really crunchy and have only 4 ingredients: oats, oil, honey and water! I think next time I make them I might add some crystallised ginger yum yum!

My bread came out pretty good although I say so myself...
I have a friend at a playgroup we go to that is a bread maker, so I sat her down and interrogated her. I'm much happier with the result and so it seems are the rest of the family. It's funny it's just not something I can give up on this bread making. It's something I want to be able to do and it bugs me that I can't make bread taste the way I want it to. Still I feel I'm a step closer today!
I also made 2 huge vats of soup.

The orange is squash and red lentil and the light coloured one celeriac. I want to eat soup a lot these days but not finding time to make it in the mornings. So I thought I'd make loads and freeze them in batches then I can whip oneout for lunch no matter how busy my morning is.
So I'm pretty cooked out now, I'll be getting something out of the freezer for dinner lol!
I'm off to do a bit of knitting, (either that or breastfeeding).
I'm working on Rebe's cardi. The little minx went through my drawers last night and found the Peter Pan buttons so it's no longer a surprise but I know she LOVES the buttons which is what is important anyway. Still, I am disappointed it's no longer a surprise. At least I hid the Santa presents better.
Hope you're having a good weekend x

Friday, December 17, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

This is our wee Christmas tree.
Andy brought it home for us the day before yesterday and last night while the kids were in bed we decorated it. I do like our decorations, they always bring lovely memories back...

These little wooden I bought to go for our very first Christmas tree when Rebe was only 4 months old. There are bits falling off them and some of them are very poorly painted but I do love them, they spark my imagination and the kids love them.
When Rebe was 1 and a half I made these little decorations with her. We found these pine cones whilst out walking in Cobh and we dipped the tips in glue and then red glitter. Two pictures of these lovely stars (how do you remove just one picture without having to start a whole new blog post?) We made the stars when she was 2; we cut shapes out of salt dough and painted them gold and threaded them with ribbon.My favourite of last years decorations (and we made a few) are these cinnamon sticks. Although the smell has gone, they are so pretty!
So we're starting to feel a little festive here....The kids have been playing 'Santa'. Rebe is Rudolf and Benny is Santa complete with sack of toys on the back of his sleigh.

We've been reading Christmas books and I've been buying ingredients for a bit of Christmas baking this weekend. All the cards are written and posted, nearly all the presents are finished, the tree is up and we even have a sprinkling of snow.

Slightly unseasonally the kids played this swimming game during the crazy post dinner madness...
And today we celebrate this little boy becoming a whole half! 6 months today Joa arrived.

In his honor I ate half a piece of carrot cake while I was in town (and then the other half lol). He's sitting up unsupported, enjoying eating and must join in every family meal time. He loves bouncing on his legs, chuckles and laughs all the time and wonders at his siblings. He's squidgey and yummy and the sweetest wee man around.

So here's to a festive weekend