The Q&A Meme.

Emma from Life at the Little Wood passed on this wee Q&A meme and I thought, Yeah, I’ll join in with that craic. I’ve never really done something like this on the blog before. So here we go….

Where in the world would you most like to be now?

Mmmmmm I would have to say – right here.  My Granny passed away at the end of November. Granny was a special lady in my life for lots ofdifferent reasons.  We grew up seeing Granny and Granda basically every day, they live on the same plot of land as my parents. So many of my childhood memories involve them.  And we all miss her very much. And Granda too, he passed away 7 years ago. This Christmas there is nowhere else I would rather be than at home with the rest of the family.

What do you most love about having your blog?

I really do love my little blog.  It’s not something that I ever really imagined myself doing, but I have come to really love it! I started it because a lot of people told me to.  I had started sharing on my personal Facebook page things that I was doing with my little ones at home, which then led to me starting a Facebook community, Making Memories in The Chaos.  Some followers from that encouraged me to start a blog and so, very cautiously I did.  I was so worried what people would think of me for writing a blog, I worried that people would think, “what is she doing that for”, “who does she think she is?!” But I have to say I have loved the community that has formed in and through it. I love getting messages and comments and emails from people telling me that they have been encouraged / inspired to play more with their kids, or that something that I have said has struck a chord with them.

There are still days I worry about what people think of me and consider just packing it all in! But then I look back at all the memories that have been recorded and I smile and start typing again!

Who is the person you most admire?

Wow! What a question! Gosh there a lots of people who I admire for lots of different reasons! Ok. I’m going to pick my top 5. Honestly I could list about 20 people whom I admire and aspire to be more like. But, right, Top 5.

1. My mummy. Things haven’t always been easy for her in lots of ways, but through it all, if her 3 girls have been ok that has been her main priority.

2. My Ben. He is always patient, kind, loving, strong, gentle. The perfect gentleman.

3. My friend Mandy – despite everything she NEVER complains – NEVER. She always smiles, is always the same.

4. My minister. He goes above and beyond the call of duty every time.

5. My kids – I wish I had their sunny outlook on EVERYTHING every day. Their ability to forgive and forget so easily. Their genuine love.

What keeps you awake at night?

Honestly? Right now – nothing. As soon as my head hits the pillow these days I am out of it! I am just so tired. Roll on tomorrow 12 noon …..helllloooooooooo Christmas holidays!

What is your all time favourite breakfast?

Oh a fry, everytime. With a large cup of coffee.

Which song makes you smile every time you hear it?

Lots of songs make me smile.  I love music.

“My girl” by The Temptations always brings a smile – it was our first dance.

“The Gambler” …good old Kenny Rogers.  When this song comes on it’s a full on sing out loud no matter where I am! Even better when it comes on, on a night out / wedding party – good times.

If you could go back and give one piece of advice to your fifteen year old self, what would it be?

I’m quite similar to Emma about this one. In fact basically the same….

Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks.  You are great just the way you are.  Those pretty, really popular girls?? Stop comparing yourself to them. Good looks fade.  Makes and brands and material things really don’t matter.  When God made you He didn’t make any mistakes – He made you YOU for a reason. He needs you to be YOU for a reason.  Be confident in who you are.

All a glow!

Last Thursday evening we had the most beautiful little family evening at The Argory ‘All a Glow’ event. I had been a little nervous about taking the kiddies to Afternoon Tea in such a beautiful venue.  After booking I started regretting it, thinking that we would be the family that ruined it for everyone! 3 kiddies 4 and under isn’t your usual clientele for Afternoon tea really are they?!  But I needn’t have worried, the kids were fab and the staff at The Argory couldn’t have been more welcoming to them.

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We had been to the Christmas Fair at The Argory the previous Saturday, but we had never been inside the house. We were excited to see inside and it didn’t disappoint. It was absolutely stunning. The huge tree, the amazing staircase, it was so cosy and quite literally glowing.

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The event was advertised – “Step away from the hustle and bustle of the high street. See the house decorated for Christmas and find out how the MacGeough Bond’s celebrated the festive season. Enjoy teas, music, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts in the courtyard.” And this was exactly what we did!

On arrival we were greeted at the front door by one of the maids and lady of the house. We were then taken upstairs where we enjoyed Afternoon Tea with some beautiful Christmas Carols being played on the piano and violin. We enjoyed some yummy Christmas sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, mince pies and gingerbread cupcakes. There were also little Quality sweet treats on the tables. The kids LOVED it and were extremely cute with their little china tea cups! J was over the moon at getting to eat 5 large mince pies!!!

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While we were having tea we met Brian, who was there photographing the event. We got chatting and he very kindly offered to take some pictures of us as a family as we enjoyed the event.  You can check out his website here www.brianmorrison.co.uk

When we had finished our tea we went on a tour of the house. All the staff were in character and it was lots of fun. J and S were particularly alarmed at the fact that the children were waiting to see if Santa would bring them an apple or an orange!!

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It really was a lovely evening and one that we will remember as a highlight from our Advent activities this year.

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Christmas Planner …. the final week!

So I have had to make a few changes.  I had originally planned to do 6 themes over the 6 weeks running up to Christmas, but with Granny passing away the wind got knocked out of my sails.  There are now 7 week days left until we are all off for the holidays so I am going to share with you 7 activities that we plan to do until then.  (This is on top of our Activity Advent Calendar)

They are all very simple as time really is going by so quickly and with Christmas parties and nativities over the next 10 days, time is only going to go by even faster! If you’d like to see how the activities turn out, or indeed or to make them be sure to pop over to Facebook each day and we’ll have some photos up over there.

Christmas Trees.

1. I have bought foam trees from Poundland and we are simply going to decorate these using various bits and pieces from our craft cupboard.

2. A little play dough activity using homemade green play dough, sequins and cookie cutters.

Reindeer.

3. Reindeer cupcakes – plain fairy cakes with chocolate icing, m&m nose, raisin eyes and curly wurly antlers.

4. Handprint reindeers – 2 handprints to make a reindeer.

Nativity.

5.  Paper plate angels – glitter-tastic!

6. Handprint / footprint pictures of the manger.

Santa.

7. Santa paper plate craft and Fruit Santa pops.

I’m sorry I have no pictures to make this post a little more exciting or to help you out if you feel like joining in! But hopefully, they are pretty self-explanatory :)

I hope you all are doing well, I can’t believe how quickly Christmas is coming. We have 3 very excited little people here who, like their mummy, are counting the sleeps until the big day!

9 ladies dancing.

Hello there!

This morning we have been busy making our 9 Dancing Ladies for a little 12 days of Christmas blog hop that we are participating in. Hosted by Silly Sparkles; myself and 11 other bloggers are sharing some ideas for each of the days from that delightful little song. Our favourite version of this song is the one by The Muppets, go have a little listen, it’s sure to bring a smile to your face :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDBMzGq1vhs

We were given the task of coming up with a craft or play activity for 9 Ladies dancing.  I just knew a little girl who would be delighted ;)

J (4.5 years old) has been VERY into making paper snowflakes lately, apparently his teacher taught him how to in school last week! So, I decided to use his enthusiasm as part of our craft.  Little L (2.5 years old) is into all things sparkly, and twirly and pretty and girly, so we decided to go for dancing ballerinas. S (3.5 years old) loves all things messy so he enjoyed the mess from cutting the snowflakes (which his big brother showed him how to do!) and the glittery paint!

First we set about making the skirts for the 9 dancing ladies. Both J and S were able to complete this activity independently. I had to help a little with the folding of the paper, but after that they were happy to just snip, snip, snip!!! Here are there finished creations –  not bad I have to say.  There were admittedly a few others that didn’t quite make the cut, but are decorating our kitchen windows nicely!

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Next we decorated some of our snowflakes with pink glitter paint. We had decided that the dancing ladies would hang in L’s bedroom and pink is her favourite colour after all.

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The next part I did end up doing myself. J gave it a go, but his patience soon wore out. The are a little fiddly.

I printed off some ballerina templates to cut out.

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And then cut a little slit in the snowflakes to ‘feed’ the dancers through

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The last thing then was to hang them in L’s bedroom and watch them twirling and dancing!

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(they look much prettier in real life, it’s hard to get a good photo!!)

Be sure to check out the other posts in this Christmas Blog Hop! There’s lots of different ideas for your little ones to do.

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop

Taking part in this blog hop are:

Silly Sparkles – A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Because Babies Grow Up – 2 Turtle Doves
Building Blocks and Acorns – 3 French Hens
Messy Little Monster – 4 Calling Birds
Multicrafting Mummy – 5 Golden Rings
Swords and Snoodles – 6 Geese a Laying
Craft Ideas for Kids – 7 Swans a Swimming
Three Foot Cooks – 8 Maids a Milking
Making Memories in the Chaos – 9 Ladies Dancing
Adventures of Adam – 10 Lords a Leaping
Play Explore Learn – 11 Pipers Piping
Learning and Exploring Through Play – 12 Drummers Drumming

Countdown to Christmas!

Hello there! Just grabbing a wee moment to share with you our ‘Activity Advent Calendar’ ideas / Our Christmas Bucket List / Our Countdown to Christmas. Not sure what is the best title to give it, but I guess any of those would suit.

This will be our 3rd year doing something like this and I have to say we have come to love and treasure it as a family. Some of my best memories of Christmas over Wrjust type it up as a rather mundane list, but I’m afraid time is not really on my side, (never really is these days it seems!!) and I want to make sure I get it all typed up before little feet come plodding up after their naps.

I have a little Advent pocket calendar that we got from Marks and Spencer’s a few years ago, and I simply type up the activities, print them off and slot them into the pockets along with a little bit of chocolate each.

Our 24 Advent activities……

Write and post letters to Santa.

Make bird feeders.

Make and send little packages to the children that we sponsor in Uganda.

Go to village Christmas tree lights switch on – sing carols and enjoy a mince pie!

Have hot chocolate, snuggle under blankets and read stories by the tree.

Go to a Christmas Fair

Have a Christmas inspired breakfast.

Make a family wreath.

Play board games and puzzles and listen to carols.

Go on a drive in our pj’s to see all the Christmas lights.

Have a special Christmas afternoon tea.

Family pj and movie night.

Go to the Christmas market,

Have a special meal with friends.

Bake mince pies.

Pick daddy’s present and wrap.

Make pizzas and watch another Christmas movie!

Donate old toys to charity.

Bake buns and deliver to our neighbours.

Choose a present for Belfast City Mission Christmas appeal.

Attend a nativity / carol service.

Make a gingerbread house.

Go on an overnight surprise to see Santa!!!

Open our special Christmas Eve Box.

 Do you have any Christmas traditions that you do as a family? Please share them below or over on my Facebook page, I’d love to hear them.

Week 2 Christmas Play Planner – Snowmen

Evening everyone, gosh hasn’t it got baltic all of a sudden?! Jeepers, I’ve been foundered every time I step out of the house. J had an exceptional closure today so I’m afraid I was a very lazy mummy and kept S off pre school too and myself and my 3 amigos had a pj day! It was fab! We lazed around in our pj’s, snuggled on the sofa under duvets, did some gingerbread men crafting and baking and bathing!!

We’ve really enjoyed the past week with our gingerbread activities. It’s been great to have a wee focus and also I have LOVED having messages and comments from all you guys here, and on Facebook telling me about what you have been getting up to and how you have been joining in. Thanks so much – it really means a lot to know that there are people out there who enjoy our little spot on t’internet!

So, this week our theme is going to be SNOWMEN! I absolutely adore “The Snowman”, and more recently with the addition of The Snow Dog. So we will definitely be reading that book this week and watching the film. Good old Olaf has also become a favourite around here too, so no doubt he will feature too. But for most of our activities I’m just going for a regular old Frosty the Snowman type! Call me old fashioned, but 9 times out of 10, tradition will always win with me! (I am Presbyterian ya know!! ;) )

So, this week you will need :

cornflour

salt

vegetable oil

cream of tartar

silver glitter

rich tea biscuits

icing sugar

strawberry laces

marshmallows

smarties

black icing

blue card

white paint

felt tips

shaving foam

pva glue

peppermint extract

potato

toilet roll tube

twigs

black card

And the activities we hope to do are:

Make white / snowy playdough

Snowman cookies

Handprint / fingerprint cards

White snow puffy paint

Olaf

Footprint snowmen

Snow dough

Snowmen water play

We will also try to do a version of this with our fridge:

We also hope to have a themed breakfast at some point, we had one last year and it was a huge hit with all of us!!

Tomorrow I am off shopping with my sisters, there’ll be Christmas coffees, lunches, snacks, more coffees, a wee visit to The Christmas Market….I cannot wait!

Have a great weekend everyone! See you Monday for some Frosty fun.

Gingerbread cupcakes.

Just a quick little post this evening to share with you our recipe for Gingerbread cupcakes.  This was our first time making these, and I have to say I am so pleased at how scrummy they have turned out.  The hubster LOVED them, he isn’t a big fan of the humble cupcake, but IS a huge fan of all things ginger (he has a bit of a weakness for Jesse and Jessica Rabbit!) and apparently these cupcakes are amazing!

I made with just L, as the 2 boys were at school and she was able to help me each step. I always think the key is to not over mix, and with kiddies I find this is a good thing.

So, first things first, you will need:

For the cupcakes:

  • 75g soft unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 125ml black treacle
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125ml cup hot milk

For the buttercream icing:

  • 120g soft butter
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2tbsp milk

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Ok, once you have all your ingredients together……

* Preheat the oven to 175’c and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.

* In a large bowl cream the butter with the sugar. Add the treacle and the egg and egg yolk.

* In a separate large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon and salt.

* Dissolve the baking soda in the hot milk.

* Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the hot milk mixture.

* Spoon into the cases. I put some of the mixture into a teacup for L to make it a little bit easier for her!


 Bake for 20 mins.

* Allow to cool.

For the buttercream:

Cream the butter in a bowl until smooth, gradually add the icing sugar and continue to cream until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the milk and cream until combined. Ice the cupcake and add a little mini gingerbread man to decorate!

Hope these turn out for you all ok :)

Last day of our wee gingerbread man theme tomorrow. We have had great fun and today found a gingerbread man bath bomb in Poundland! Oh Poundland how I love thee!!