Saturday, 20 December 2014

Christmas Musings on Life's Busyness...

We've been forced to slow down this week. Bugs and ear infections hit us with a vengeance and, horrible as it was, it has been a welcome break. An excuse to cancel plans, wipe the diary and chill out.

It's led to some horrible parenting moments too... Like the day we watched four movies one after the other. Yup. That happened. I was ill. Heidi was ill. Ava was well and loved it. I could pretend to be mortified at myself for that "Mama failure" but you know what? One off day like that is not gonna kill them... And it sure helped me get better quicker! And I kind of won't deny that I enjoyed an afternoon snuggled up with my girls on the sofa...

Thank goodness for Disney Pixar.

Things are gradually starting to wind down. This Advent season has been my busiest ever. Too busy. I think the low point was when Dave was away and I felt overwhelmed by it all, and was on the brink of starting that whole rocking on the edge of the sofa thing and bursting into tears ( the tears may have happened... I just about staved off the rocking...!) I'm a yes person. I like to be involved. In everything. And this year I've had to learn a hard lesson.

I'm learning to say "no"...

In my heart of hearts, I'm a home girl. And I've lost that this Advent. Everything I have been involved in has been wonderful - choirs, craft evenings, organising teacher gifts, teaching songs to the primary school. But my word, when I said yes to all those things, I was not thinking straight.

I was also not pregnant.

This pregnancy has wiped me out in a way that none of my previous ones have... Maybe it's the running after the other two, maybe its that I'm that bit older (although I'm still just under the 30 banner!), maybe its just that this has been a particularly insanely busy season, but the truth is I'm shattered. And therefore I've lost sight of a few of the things that actually matter to me...

Like spending quality time with The Lord every day...
Like just being with my children, and not doing the whole time...
Like blogging whats on my heart because this blog is primarily for our little family...
Like investing in friends, rather than events...

All food for thought, and this Christmas gives me an opportunity to actually mull over some of the chaotic random thoughts currently powering thought my brain at lightning speed. 

Sometimes I feel like I want life to slow down, but I'm not quite sure how to make that actually happen...

Anyone else ever feel like that?!

So my plan is over this next week to make some space to think, to scribble down in an actual notebook (not on my phone or iPad!), to read my Bible and to pray a lot and just to recognise that I can't do everything, or be involved in everything. And that I am not indispensable.

Thank The Lord.

A life lesson in slowing down... The perfect time of year for learning it!


Friday, 19 December 2014

Advent Day 19: Pyjamas, Puke and Holiday Plans

This morning I was woken up by two little faces... One little face woke up a little closer than expected. Heidi had ended up in our bed overnight (doesn't happen very often I hasten to add... But sometimes its nicer to have a snuggly one next to you than be pacing the icey cold floor for an hour at 3am!)

We trundled downstairs in our pyjamas for a nice lazy morning and some breakfast... The first day of our Christmas holidays!

Of course, all my plans for our highly organised and well-structured day were totally thrown when Ava, half way through her breakfast, suddenly threw up over everything.

First day of the holidays and I'm on nurse duty...

Why does that happen? Every year?

And so we had a lazy morning, watching Christmas movies, playing "Playdough birthdays" (check out my Instagram feed for Heidi's rendition! @Clarina1985) and rearranging the decorations on the tree (Heidi!) and it got me thinking about some of the things I'd like to do with the girlies this Christmas...

And so here you have it... Our Christmas holiday bucket list!

What's on yours?!

* Drink Hot chocolate and marshmallows
* Build our gingerbread house
* Reenact the nativity with our Fimo characters
* Watch Christmas movies with a duvet and popcorn
* A family trip to the theatre (thanks Mum and Dad)
* Dance round the room to Christmas classics
* Boxing Day family reunion
* Read the Christmas story beginning to end
* Go on wrapped up walks on ice-cold mornings
* Give out Christmas cards
* Sing in the church choir
* Catch up with friends and family
* Build blanket forts
* Make and write thank you cards
* Have an indoor picnic
* Make homemade soup
* Do some dot art
* Play board games
* Make chocolate fondue

Just for the record... Ava was absolutely fine after her one episode... We await the next 24 hours with trepidation to see if anyone else has succumbed!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Advent Day 18: Bake Day: #SavouringtheSeason

One of my favourite things to do with the girls is to bake... Yes it's messy, yes it goes everywhere, yes it particularly sucks when your dishwasher has decided to give up the ghost a week before Christmas and you have to hand-wash everything... but you know what? It's worth it, for the little cake-mix/biscuit-dough smeared smiles that greet me afterwards.

And this week was no different.
This week we made three big batches of our mixed spice biscuits, packaged 'em up and handed them round the neighbours with big smiles and a confident "merry Christmas" from Ava and a very cute "may cwistmas" from Heidi. We handed out invites to our carol service on Sunday too, and do you know what? It was just so fab to meet some new neighbours. We have been here four years now and are good friends with our neighbours on either side, but it was just great to get to know some of our further afield neighbours and extend a bit of Christmas cheer.

And yes, though it started well, it did end with two rather cold and very grumpy children, I don't want you be imagining a picture perfect family here. It. Was. Far. From.

But anyway, I thought I'd share some of our favourite Christmas biscuit recipes for you to pick and choose from. Though I'm holding back on the gingerbread... Our gingerbread house is on next week's to do list :-)

Enjoy! Who's joining me for a gingerbread house challenge next week?!

Savouring the Season is all about celebrating the season we find ourselves in...whether it be recipes, crafts, outdoor adventures or reflections on life, link up and share some comment love! And don't forget to grab a badge!

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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Advent Day 17: A Plastic Christmas

I stumbled across this little video earlier this week and was humbled and challenged by it...

It's easy to talk the right talk, to say the right things... But this challenges what is really going on under the surface of our Christmas preparations.

Prepare to be challenged!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Advent Day 16: Kindness Elf Inspiration 2

The girls are so excited to come downstairs every morning and discover what their little friends have been up to... our Kindness Elves have become a part of their morning routine...

Here's what our little friends have been up to in the wee hours this week...

 Shall we write your Christmas cards for your friends today?

Your friends are coming to play today! Let's make some Christmas playdough, then they can take some home with them!

Did you know there are many people in our country who do not have enough to eat? Lets take some yummy food to Food Bank to help them!

Shall we be kind to the birds today?
Let's go and feed them!

A hug is the best medicine if you're sad... 
Can you give a hug if you see someone sad today?

It's party time!
Let's wrap up a nice present for the birthday girl!

Today we're eating at Nanny and Grandpa's House!
Shall we see if we can help them get the roast dinner ready?
That would be REALLY kind!

As you can see, our Kindness Elves are keeping themselves busy coming up with new and creative ideas for being kind to people... not an easy task!
But I suppose that's their speciality!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Advent Day 15: Advent whispers...

Advent. A time to wait. A time to remember. A time to hope.

A season I love and which I feel in the busyness around, I have not made enough time to savour this year.
And so last night, I sat down at my laptop and wrote a little poem about what I love about Advent.

Let's not busy away this beautiful time of year with Christmas stress.
Let's savour every morsel of waiting and remembering and hoping out of it.
Because really, that's what Christmas is all about anyway...

The scent of cloves and fir and berry,
Smiles surround us, hearts are merry 
Candles burn, flames they flicker 
"Christmas is coming" Advent whispers...

Cards they tumble to the floor
As presents under the tree grow more
Jolly laughter, happy noises
"Christmas is Coming" Advent voices...

Lights they glimmer on evenings dark,
ice cold winds on skylines stark.
Round the fire, warmth we seek
"Christmas is coming" Advent speaks...

The day draws near, excitement mounts,
carols are sung, sleeps to count,
Still we await the longed for name
"Christ is coming" Advent proclaims...

The day arrives, great joy abounds
As we remember and gather around
A meagre stable, a lowly stall
"Christ has come!" Christmas calls!
Excited hearts we look beyond
The stable, stall and carol songs,
So we await our hope to come...
"He's coming back" : Advent's just begun...

© Clarina's Contemplations. Christmas 2014

Friday, 12 December 2014

Advent Day 12: My Top Ten Christmas Movies...

Last week I shared our top ten family Christmas movies... but there are some movies that I like to whip out for Christmas myself every year.

They have become Christmas classics for me :-)

In no particular order...!

While you were Sleeping (1995)

Meet Me in St Louis (1944)

Serendipity (2001)

Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

The Family Stone (2005)

The Holiday (2006)

Little Women (1994)

Love Actually (2003)

White Christmas (1954)
Little Women: The Original (1949)

 What are your Christmas favourites??

All photos courtesy of Google Images