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….. We make
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Three children *** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

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Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

Thank you….

  • Jill Your ornaments are beautiful and inspiring. I have had them on my "to make list" for a few years now and love seeing them dangling... 11 Dec
  • Sarah Christie I also made the calendar mistake and had to run out at the last minute and buy them, Jack said I am 18 not the... 10 Dec
  • Carol It's hard to let go of traditions and no matter they're age, your kids will remind you if you try. The pecan pie looks so... 10 Dec
  • Kim Carberry I think it's rubbish that they don't really do much at secondary school for Christmas. I am really missing the plays and concerts this year!... 10 Dec
  • Helena Ah yes traditions they certainly become ingrained in us #MMBC 9 Dec
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Sticky

Run-up

 

So the decorations are up and we’ve started festive crafting and cooking. There is Christmas music playing. Candles burning.

With all three children now at secondary, we no longer have a festive run up to the holiday, courtesy of school. Secondary is more opt in, when it comes to these kinds of activities. No plays or concerts. No crafts or dressing up. Feet are dragging and days are being counted down.

I made the mistake this year of thinking, that they wouldn’t want a chocolate advent calendar. So I didn’t buy or make one for them. One small step towards a simplified festive holiday, I thought. How wrong was I ? We have an advent truck with drawers. That seemed enough for a countdown. Each year, I put a nativity character, made of Fimo, in each drawer with a chocolate treat. I upped my game by taking the quality of the chocolate to a new level and adding a tiny scroll with an activity suggested. We’ve had wreath making, clockwork penguin racing and a festive, foreign language challenge, among other activities.

Looking back, I see where I went wrong. I deleted a tradition. Somehow, I had only discussed the change of plan with two out of the three children. It was a rookie mistake. I should know better. Not an error I’ll make again. Mr TTC came to the rescue and picked up three calendars. Next year. Next year.

Apart from my desire to simplify a festival in our family, to bring back some meaning to it, the other reason for looking to shake things up a bit, is that the children are getting older. As days tick over to weeks, and then on to months, I can see them growing into the people they will be. At the moment, it feels like they take on more each spin around the sun.

Last weekend, eldest teen decided to make pecan pie. I have no idea where this came from as it’s not something I make often. Ingredients bought in, she made it. It’s not often she cooks, but when she does, she really goes for it. The pie was yummy. She’s also reached the stage where she clears up after herself as well. Somehow that makes pecan pie taste even better.

Final part of my weekly roundup is a new tradition. Mr TTC entered a 5k charity run dressed as a Santa. If you saw my Instastories last weekend, you’d have seen a photo of him, dressed up as Santa, holding a bag of sprouts and a parsnip. One of those photos, in years to come, that would puzzle. Why was Grandpa Joe (not his name) holding veg, dressed as Santa? Is that what they used to put in Christmas stockings?

No. Just to put your mind at rest, although as someone who grew up with the threat of La Befana adding coal to stockings, who could blame me! The answer is that he over took the two runners dressed as a sprout and a parsnip. Therefore earning an extra reward.

He enjoyed the run. We got soaked supporting him. Everyone agreed that this would become part of our family run up to Christmas tradition. Although the rain doesn’t have to be part of it. I hope.

Linking up to Anne’s word of the week linky. Anyone else joining in? My word is run-up. I know it’s strictly two words, but I’m throwing in my hyphen wildcard this week.

Raisie Bay – Word of the Week

 

December Yarn Along

Have you ever read a book that you wish you had written? Maybe not exactly, but something along the same lines. Letters from Father Christmas (affiliated link) would most definitely be on my ever growing list. There are wild moments when I think I’d like to take a sabbatical and write a book. One for my children, I think, but hopefully enjoyed by all. It would contain hidden details, which only they would pick up on, and they’d ow and ah when they spotted them. Something only a parent could include. Most importantly it would have stories to entertain and relate to, just as Tolkien did.

Not that I could or would want to compete with Tolkien. I’d have my own stories to tell. Adding my humour, and bringing it up to date. The polar bear would undoubtedly be there, assisting Father Christmas. I’d have my own host of characters to weave into my tales.

It would be written as letters to my children, just as Tolkien did. It would be fun to write. Maybe one day. Oh, and I would ask middle teen to illustrate it. It is just her style.

Not that my children have missed out by my current lack of book writing. They used to receive beautiful letters from Father Christmas each year. The letters stopped a couple of years back, as all his communication does eventually.  The style, stories and illustrations were very similar to the ones in Letters from Father Christmas, but slightly more contemporary.

Tied up with a red ribbon, they’d appear by the fireplace on a morning, running up to Christmas Day. Sometimes sent in an envelope covered with eye catching illustrations. I found myself stopping to take in every detail. Each letter has been kept and re-read. No, they have not missed out.

I find myself dipping into Tolkien’s book each year. It has become part of my Christmas tradition, and nudges me nicely into a suitable festive mood. I never read the whole book. And never in the right order. That’s me.

Another tradition that seems to have crept up without much of a to-do, is to knit up another clutch of tree decorations. They are quick and give me something to do in between making presents. Unlike the gifts I make, I am free to post them up here. (In other words, I can’t show you my main knitting project!)

I’ve been working on knitted baubles. Three knitted so far, although one has not made the cut. Less said about that the better! I do like the fair isle pair. They are knitted flat and then the seam is sewn up.

My mother passed the pattern on to me. It’s taken from a Yours magazine. There is no date on it. I’m going to try my own fair isle pattern on the next one.

I’ve stuffed them with wool, but they do lose their shape easily. I’d like to use something, like a polystyrene ball, to give them a firmer structure. I’m on the look out for something suitable that I can recycle rather than buying new.

I’m joining in with Ginny’s Yarn Along. Current book and knitting. I’d love to know what you are reading. So, which books are on your stack to read?

Looking after my hands

Is it just me or does everyone find themselves using the expression “I’ll just do this,” more times a day than they would like to? I seem to squeeze jobs into ever decreasing pockets of time.  “I’ll just get the firewood in“. “I’ll just give the bathroom a quick clean“. “I’ll just clear that area of weeds.” “Five minutes to do the dishwasher.”

Not that I’m against making the most of my time. Quite frankly, I need to get these smaller jobs done and I do like to squeeze them in. A fleeting moment of satisfaction, but…. and you could hear that coming couldn’t you….in my haste, I don’t always grab the tools I need to do the job.

I use my hands a lot. Apart from my day job and running the household, I use them for all my crafting. I do a lot of jobs outside. I need to take care of my hands, otherwise they can suffer. I cannot tell you the agony, one winter, when the skin on my hands cracked and bleed on a daily basis. I had no idea what was causing it. It turned out that my skin took against a new brand of baby wipe I was using.

Never again.

(favourite glove pattern, from my grandmother’s collection)

My issue is that I forget my gloves. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may well be chortling at this fact. It’s Ok. Go ahead. I’m smiling too. I’ve knitted my fair share of gloves over the years. A fair number gifted. I’ve laughed that I will fill a chest with gloves and put it in the attic, so everyone can continue to help themselves to a pair, each winter, after I’ve gone. I knit gloves.

Which is ironic, as 70% of the time, I forget to put them on when I need them.

Always heartily regret it half way round a dog walk. Or cutting willow twigs. Or clearing leaves.

I dismiss putting on rubber gloves to do the quick cleaning jobs too. The job is done in minutes. No need for gloves surely. This one, I definitely regret, because my hands tend to react and become itchy. Each time I still think the job is too quick to deserve gloves and I’ll get away with it today.

Now, I seem to remember receiving wise advice, when I was still too young to care, to look after your hands and neck, because those are the parts that give your age away. Easily overlooked and taken for granted. This winter, I really want to remember my hands (and my neck).

I’ve tried a few hand moisturizers over the years. Some lovely. Some a waste of time. I was intrigued by the sound of Aquaphor. I didn’t need to use much, a pea size amount for my hand at most. The tube should last. It hasn’t got a strong perfume, which is perfect for baking days, especially if I’m going to be making pastry.

Now the property that I personally love, is that it seems to give my skin a barrier protection against the elements. Not easily washed away either. In fact, it claims to create a breathable, protective barrier. This seems a good deal for someone who forgets to put her rubber gloves on most of the time.

OK the real test, is not my hands (apparently), but those of my teen daughters. I usually lose anything to them when it comes to skin care. What’s mine is theirs. What’s theirs appears to be theirs too.

They have both been using it. I’ve had to hunt it down in their room a few times. Even my fussy particular eldest teen has been using it daily. She gets very dry hands and moisturizes her hands several times a day. With this, she has been using it once in the morning before she heads out to school. Both teens tell me that their hands feel good most of the day. They could feel that moisturized, cared-for feeling almost all day. Even after washing their hands. This is good news as it means that my tube is not disappearing off to school each day.

I can use it too.

Before you think Aquaphor is just for hands, I should say it’s intended for body and face too. I haven’t tried it on my face, as I already use a moisturizer that I’m happy with, but I have been putting it on my lips before dog walking and it really helps.

I’m prone to cold sores in windy weather, so, fingers crossed, this will act as my lip’s very own wind barrier. Difficult to prove, but I’ve been using it for about a month and no tell tale tingling feeling on my lips. With this weather, I would expect to have felt one by now.

There is no nasty taste or overpowering fragrance, to leave a horrible taste in your mouth, I’ve found. Nor did I need to keep re-applying it. Perfect for daily use. I might suggest my husband tries some when he’s running.

I try and keep my tube of Aquaphor on the table by the front door. Note the word “try”. It does still wander. I’m practising a bit of self-care. Even I can remember to quickly use one tube, before I head out. I’ve been putting it on before our morning walk.

I use very little, otherwise it has a tendency to make my hands feel wet. Less is more, in this case. I slip on a pair of gloves too, to encourage the balm to soak gently into my skin, while I’m walking. Multi tasking, at its best. By the time I get home, my hands are soft and protected. Ready to tackle the next job. Although some crafting activities may be a bit too tough, but my hands stand a better chance of surviving.


This post is an entry for the BritMums #MyAquaphor Challenge, sponsored by Eucerin. Discover the benefits of Eucerin. I was sent Aquaphor free of charge as part of the challenge.

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