What Christmas means to me

Christmas for me is all about spending time with family. It is a time to be surrounded by love, friends, fun, good times and food.

I’m sure some of you are probably thinking, well shouldn’t you do that sort of stuff anyway? And I agree. Yes we should. We should all make time for one another, enjoy ourselves and make memories with our family and friends because isn’t that what life’s all about? But the truth is, it isn’t always that simple. Work, being a parent and life in general all just gets in the way and before you know it it’s been months since you last seen your friends or since you had dinner with family.

Me, my partner and Kory have Christmas dinner at my nan and grandad’s house on Christmas Day every year with my mum, my sister, my uncle, auntie and Kory’s cousin and we always have the best time but did you know that this is the only time we all come together to sit down with one another to have dinner and to enjoy each other’s company. Sad, I know, but that’s reality.

I see and speak to my mum and sister every day, I speak to my Nan and grandad on the phone every day and usually see them every other day, my auntie and uncle I don’t see that much but their little boy, Kory’s cousin, I try to see as much as I can with Kory as I’d like them to be close. We’re quite a close knit family, it’s just difficult to get us all in the same room at the same time. That’s why Christmas to me means family. I’ve always had Christmas dinner at my nan and grandad’s house, I’ve never missed and I’ve always spent it surrounded by family and although we don’t get together as much as we’d all like to, we always have such a nice time together when we do and I think the fact that Christmas Day and Christmas dinner being the only time that we’re all in the same room together at the same time, as much as that sucks it just makes Christmas that bit more special.

So, that’s what Christmas means to me. What does Christmas mean to you?

Letter to Father Christmas

This year is the first year that Kory has wrote and sent a letter to Father Christmas. In the past he’s been a little too young to understand and take part in certain Christmas activities like this one for example but with each year that passes, he’s getting older and he’s becoming more excited about Christmas so not only was it magical for me to finally be able to do an activity like this one with him but it was a nice activity for us to sit down and be able to do together.

Because Kory is only 2 years old, I obviously helped him to write his letter but he was still very much involved, I would ask him questions such as ‘what is it you’d like me to tell Father Christmas to bring you?’ And Kory would answer by saying ‘toys, presents’ and so that’s what I’d write. He also got to decorate his letter once we’d finished writing it by sticking lots of stickers that he’d chosen all over it. I started the letter by introducing Kory, his name and age. I then went on to say that he’s been a very good boy this year and mentioned what it is that he would like for Christmas. On the back of the letter I wrote our address so that Father Christmas can reply back to Kory.

Did you know that the Royal Mail supply an address that you can send your letter to and they will respond with a letter written from Father Christmas? All you need to do is put your letter in an envelope with the address:

Santa/Father Christmas,

Santa’s Grotto,

Reindeerland,

XM4 5HQ

On the front and supply the stamp. Also, make sure you post your letter before the 7th of December!

Not only did Kory have a lot of fun helping me to write his letter to Father Christmas but he also had a lot of fun posting it too! He helped me to put the letter inside the envelope, write the address on the front and he came to the post office with me to buy a stamp. He was so excited to post his letter through a post box! He insisted on holding his letter and held it tightly in his hand all the way to the post box. Posting the letter for Kory might have been the highlight of this whole activity for him! Every time I say to him ‘Kory, did you write a letter to Father Christmas?’ He replies with ‘Kory post letter, red box!’ With the biggest smile ever on his face.

All you really need to write a letter to Father Christmas is:

  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Envelope
  • And some stickers (make it fancy!)

So if you haven’t already, get writing your letters to Father Christmas!

Thanks for reading. Have your children wrote their letters to Father Christmas yet? What have they asked for this year?

Elf on the Shelf

This is our first year taking part in the Elf on the Shelf. Meet our elf, Buddy!

On the 1st of December Buddy made his first appearance. He had left advent calendars for us and a note to Kory explaining who he is, where he’s from and why he’s here. (Basically he’s one of Santa’s elves and Santa has sent him to come stay with us so that him and Kory can have lots of festive fun together and he can also use his magic to go back to The North Pole each night to tell Santa whether Kory has been naughty or nice.) Having never done this before, I thought we were off to a pretty good start!

Today, we went downstairs to see that Buddy had been making snow angels!

It’s only day 2 and I’m already running out of ideas of what to do next with this elf! So after looking online, I came across lots of great Elf on the Shelf ideas that I thought I’d share with you. 24 elf ideas to be exact, so that if you too are taking part in the Elf on the Shelf this year, you won’t be stuck like I was!

Here goes:

  • Place a piece of paper next to your elf that reads ‘can you find all 12 candy canes?’ And then hide candy canes around the house for your child to find.
  • Leave notes/letters from your elf for your child to read. There are lots of free printables online or you could choose to write your own. (Certificate, Arrival letter, goodbye letter, ect.)
  • Place your elf on the couch with the remote and a bowl of popcorn.
  • If you have a dog, put your elf next to the dogs bowl, make it look like he’s been eating the biscuits and leave a note saying ‘worst cookies ever! Do not leave out for Santa!’ Lol
  • Start a jigsaw, leave it unfinished and sit your elf beside it. Encourage your child to help finish the puzzle.
  • Put your elf inside a glass with a card that reads ‘HELP.’
  • Leave a gingerbread house kit with your elf and a piece of paper that reads ‘do you want to build a gingerbread house?’
  • Leave a packet of reindeer food with your elf for your child to use.
  • Place your elf next to everything you need to make Christmas cards and a note that reads ‘Let’s make Christmas cards.’
  • Leave a colouring book or some colouring pages and crayons with your elf.
  • Place a treat (donut, lolly, chocolate, ect) on a plate in front of your elf and a note that reads ‘I made this for you, Santa said you have been good. Keep it up!’
  • Cover your elf in stickers and leave a note beside it saying. ‘Stickers are fun!’
  • Stuff your elf inside a glass jar and write a letter that says ‘I have stuffed myself in this tight spot so you can carry me around for the day. Don’t pop the lid because I will fall out and lose my magic. I am excited to see what you show me today.’
  • Place an open book in front of your elf, what have they been reading?
  • Leave your elf in front of your child’s packed lunch with a note that reads ‘I made you lunch.’
  • Leave a baking kit besides your elf with a note that reads ‘do you wanna bake some _____.’
  • Let your elf present a new book you’ve bought for your child to them by leaving the book beside the elf with a note that reads ‘I’ve bought a book for you!’
  • Put your elf on the back of a toy dinosaur.
  • Stick wrapping paper and cello tape over your elf, make it look like they’ve been wrapping presents for Santa.
  • Put your elf on strike for bad behaviour.
  • Make it look like your elf is trying to climb up the Christmas tree.
  • Put your elf on the potty!
  • Put your elf inside a toilet roll tube and roll them down the stairs.
  • Set up an ‘elf car wash’ by placing lots of toy cars in front of your elf and a sponge.

Are you taking part in the Elf on the Shelf this year? Are you a first timer like myself? I hope you find these Elf on the Shelf ideas to be helpful… What has your elf been up to?

Christmas tree! Oh Christmas tree!

Kory has been asking me for weeks now about our Christmas tree, probably because so many people we know, family and friends have already put theirs up. Every time he seen one he would get so excited and shout ‘Christmas tree! Christmas tree!’ and when I asked him what did he want from Father Christmas, he said a Christmas tree… I’ve felt so bad for not putting ours up sooner, I love Christmas but November just feels too early to be putting our tree up for me. But Today we finally brought our Christmas tree down out of the loft, put it up and then decorated it!

Kory was so excited! He really wanted to get stuck in and help with all the branches and putting the baubles on. So we stuck on a movie and got to work decorating the tree.

I love our Christmas tree. We’ve had it for a few years now and we didn’t pay much for it when we bought it but every year when it’s time to put it up I fall back in love with it all over again. It might not look like much to some of you but I love it’s size, how easy it is to put up, it’s bushy branches and the glitter on the ends of each branch add a lovely sparkle to the tree. I’ve always stuck to the same cream-gold Christmas look. Just because I think it compliments the gold glitter that’s already on the tree nicely and also with our living room being natural colours it suits really well.

This time last year Kory couldn’t care less about a Christmas tree and didn’t know who the hell Father Christmas was (probably because he was only 16 months old at the time.) Where as this year he’s helped with all the decorating and we speak about Father Christmas all the time! It’s crazy how much your child grows and how much things can change in just one year! I just know that with each passing year, as Kory starts to understand more and more about Christmas it’s only going to get more and more magical…

When do you usually put your Christmas tree and decorations up? What do you love most about your tree?

Christmas traditions

The other night me, my mum, my sister (and Kory) all helped to decorate my nan’s Christmas tree. This is something I’ve always done from being a small girl, it’s something that we’ve all always done every year together and it’s a tradition that Kory is beginning to take part in and enjoy now that he’s a little older too.

He’s really excited for Christmas this year!

We all go round to my Nan’s house and we all help to decorate the Christmas tree whilst listening to Christmas music with a takeaway. This Christmas tradition always gets me so excited for Christmas, it really kicks off the festive period for me and it’s when I really start looking forward to Christmas. I can’t wait to put all of our own Christmas decorations up now!

For me, Christmas is all about family and family traditions. Now that I’m a mum myself with a little family of my own, we have some of our own Christmas family traditions. Heres some of them:

  • Decorate our Christmas tree whilst listening to Christmas music and drinking hot chocolate
  • Put up all the Christmas decorations around the house
  • Visit the Christmas markets
  • Write a Christmas list and a letter and send them to Father Christmas
  • Go and see Father Christmas
  • Watch Christmas movies (we have a list of must watch Christmas movies)
  • Elf on the shelf
  • Decorate a gingerbread house
  • New pyjamas ready for Christmas
  • Christmas Eve box

Over the festive period I am going to try my very best to write a blog post for each one of our Christmas traditions and share a little more detail about each of them with you.

I am so excited! It really is the most wonderful time of the year…

Do you and your family have any Christmas traditions of your own?

My REAL sister

If I had £1 for every time someone said to me ‘ohhh, so she’s not your REAL sister?’ or ‘Oh, so she’s your half sister then?’ I’d be a very rich lady!

I don’t quite understand what is it that people are asking when they say that? She’s real alright… She exists if that’s what you want to know?

Are you asking if we share the same mum? Because yes, we do. Are you asking if we have the same dad? Because no, we don’t. But she’s always been my sister from the day she was born, she’s never been anything but. I’ve never called her half or referred to her as ‘step’ and I think we would both be offended if I did.

We might not look anything alike, we might have two totally opposite personalities and completely different traits from one another but we’ve grown up together. We’ve been on family holidays. We’ve shared memories and good times together. Despite a 10 year age gap, we’ve also argued and fought like cat and dog but we’ve stuck up for each other and had each other’s backs too. She drives me mad, sometimes I could kill her! We’ve been through so much together, I watched my baby sister grow up into a young lady and become my best friend. We’ve ate together, watched movies together, been shopping together, laughed together and even cried together.

She is Kory’s auntie. She isn’t his half auntie or his step auntie. She’s his real auntie (as they would say) and she’s his only ‘real’ auntie too and one day when she has kids of her own, I will love them with every bone in my body as if they were my own kids because they will be my niece or nephew and Kory’s cousin.

So if you’re asking if we have the same mum then the answer is simple;

Yes we do.

And if you’re asking if my sister is my REAL sister…

Yes she is. We’re just like any other sisters, we grew in the same womb, we grew up together, we’re not half sisters, we’re not step sisters. We’re sisters. She’s my sister.

She’s my REAL sister.

Preschool Watch review

What I really like about the Preschool Watch is that it doesn’t have numbers, the animals that go around the face of the watch represent minutes and the different colours shown represent hours. So as soon as your toddler can recognise animals and colours, they can start using the Preschool Watch and learn to tell the time which meant Kory could start using the watch right away!

The idea of the watch is not to tell the time as such but to help toddlers understand the notion of time. For example; ‘When the big hand reaches the rabbit, it’s play time.’ The Preschool Watch also helps with helping your toddler to be more patient and helps your child to establish daily routines.

Here are some simple and effective methods using the watch that can help teach your child the concept of time:

  • First, start by just using the big hand (minutes) to discuss time and when your child feels comfortable, then introduce the small hand (hours)
  • Use the small hand (hours) and the corresponding colours for events happening beyond an hour, for example, ‘we are going to the park in 2 hours’ becomes ‘we are going to the park when the small hand reaches the purple.’
  • Combine the big and small hands together for events happening beyond, but not directly on – an hour. Such as, ‘ your friend is coming to play at 4:30pm’ becomes ‘your friend is coming to play when the small hand is touching the pink and the big hand is on the frog.’

Here are some more helpful ideas on how to use the watch ^^^

The watch states that it’s suitable from ages 3+ Kory is only 2 years of age and obviously can’t tell the time like most other 2-3 year olds and even older kids but he still loves knowing things like that when the big hand reaches the horse, it’s tea time and what all of the other animals represent too. Kory couldn’t wait to try his new watch on and was so excited to show me all of the different animals! For even more fun, we named the dog icon ‘Harley’ after our own dog!

The watch is available in lots of different designs that you can choose from that your child will love! Lauren from the Preschool Collection very kindly sent me one of the blue ‘truck’ Preschool Watches to try with Kory. The watch itself is a hypoallergenic silicone strap, it is certified safe for kids, it is lead and BPA free, it is water resistant (splash proof) and the animal icons even glow up in the dark!

The watches retail at $24.95 and if you’re in the US comes with free shipping. If you’re from the UK like me, the Preschool Watch would cost £19.39 plus shipping and can be purchased from the Preschool Collection website;

http://www.preschoolcollection.com

You can use promo code CYBERWEEK25 to get an extra 25% off everything until Monday the 26th November!

Your Preschool Watch also comes with one year limited guarantee and if you’re unhappy with the watch, can be returned within 30 days of purchase for a full refund. 5% of all profit from each watch sold is donated to organisations improving children’s health and education.

What I love even more about the watch is that the founder and CEO of the Preschool Collection, Lauren, is a mum just like you and I. She was always trying to find a way to explain to her kids when to expect things (aren’t we all!) for example; bath time and when to take a turn but wanted to do so without having to have an argument. (Difficult, right?!) Then one day she had the idea to replace minutes on an analogue watch with animals – something her son already knew and recognised to help him understand time better and to give him a better understanding of when to expect things to happen and it worked! Understanding time suddenly turned from a chore to something fun! Thus, the Preschool Watch was born!

To read more about Lauren’s story and the Preschool Collection, here is the link:

https://preschoolcollection.com/pages/our-story

Preschool Collection can be also contacted on the following platforms:

Email: contact@preschoolcollection.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/preschoolcollection

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/preschoolcollection

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/preschoolcollection

Thanks for reading my review on the Preschool Watch, Kory had a lot of fun trying the watch out and I had a lot of fun teaching him the time! I always thought helping Kory understand time would be a long and difficult process and a bit of a challenge but the Preschool Watch has definitely helped with that and now I’m excited to see him learn more and more about the time with his new watch! I hope you enjoyed reading our thoughts on this brilliant product. Please let me know what your thoughts are in the comments…

* Please note, I recieved this product in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions are my own. *

National Prematurity Day

Today is National Prematurity Day. Millions of babies are born prematurely each year. Did you know that 1 in 10 babies will be born premature?

Kory was that 1 in 10.

Kory George,

Even though you decided to make an appearance 6 weeks before your due date, the day you were born took us all by surprise but it was the best day of our lives. Weighing just 4lb 7oz, you were so small, i couldn’t believe how beautiful and tiny you were. After spending two days in the hospital with you, i was discharged and had to come home but you had to stay longer, you just wasn’t ready to come home yet. It upset me to see you with all these wires and tubes on your little body. Coming home to an empty moses basket every night broke our hearts. I dreaded leaving you in the hospital after a day of visiting, it was horrible and i hated it. I hated it all. It should have been me looking after you. It’s me you should have been waking in the middle of the night for a feed. I didn’t want other people informing me about how you were doing or making decisions on my behalf. I even started to feel resentment towards those taking care of you, thinking to myself that they were trying to take you away from me, for thinking that they could do a better job of taking you of than I ever could and thinking that you may even prefer them to me. Going through that whole experience is the hardest thing i’ve ever had to go through – much harder than the childbirth.

But look at you now…

I am so proud of you, I am so proud of how far you’ve come, what you’ve achieved and the person that you’ve become. You are a true fighter, you’re fire and you are so resilient. Maybe it’s because you’ve had to fight from the minute you were born.

Despite everything we all went through as a family, I will always be eternally grateful to the nurses and all of the staff that looked after you and took care of you like you were their own during your time spent in the nicu. If it wasn’t for them and their hard work, who knows where we would be now.

Poorly toddler

I ended up taking Kory to see the doctor yesterday. Luckily I had managed to get him a last minute appointment.

The day before that, Kory had started with a dry cough, he was coughing for most of the day but was absolutely fine in himself. He was still running, still jumping around, still playing and eating like he normally would – nothing different there, just that he had a cough. That night I thought I’d have been up with Kory coughing all night but I wasn’t. I noticed he had started to get a temperature when I was putting him to bed so I gave him some calpol, that helped to bring his temperature down and then surprisingly he slept all night.

But the next morning I was woken by the sound of Kory choking, he started to heave and then he spat up a load of this yellow flem type stuff. (Sorry for tmi!!) He had me very worried. Despite this, Kory still went on to eat all of his breakfast, the only thing was he just looked a little paler than usual but I knew something wasn’t right. I phoned the doctors that morning and managed to make him an appointment for the same day and then I phoned nursery to let them know that Kory wouldn’t be coming in.

I took Kory to the doctors and on our way there, he fell asleep in his pram and never woke once during his appointment. It is so unlike Kory to sleep like that, especially during the day. It did make letting the doctor listen to his chest a lot easier though! Have you ever asked a squirming toddler to sit still why he sees the doctor? Yeah, it’s not much fun… After speaking to the doctor, it turns out that Kory has got a chest infection so the doctor prescribed him with some antibiotics and some cough medicine.

Other than that, Kory appears to be okay in himself, he’s still bouncing from the walls and driving me a little nuts. He just looks a little pale and he’s a bit more whiney than usual. I suppose that can be expected though, I’d feel pretty lousy too if I had a chest infection. I hate it when Kory is ill… Not just because he’s like a miniature Sheldon Cooper when he’s ill – difficult to live with and awkward (just kidding!) but because I know he isn’t well and it makes me sad. I wish I could just click my fingers and make him better.

I’m going to be keeping Kory at home for a few days just to keep my eye on him and continue giving him his medicine. I’m unsure whether or not to send him in nursery this week but hopefully he’s feeling better soon!

Stay at home mum

As a stay at home mum, I feel privileged that I am able to stay home and raise my child but sometimes being a stay at home mum also makes me feel like a bit of a failure.

As a stay at home mum, sometimes I feel like all I do is be a mum, my only achievement is being a mum, all I have to show for myself is being a mum and all that I am is just a mum. I do the same thing day in and day out, to most people taking care of your child, looking after your family and your home are not things worthy enough to be called achievements, I’ve been a stay at home mum for so long now that I don’t have anything else to show for myself, everything about me, everything I do and am revolves around my child and sometimes that makes me feel like a failure.

Do any of you ever feel this way?

Well if you do, I just want you to know that you are NOT a failure. As a stay at home mum myself, I know exactly how you feel. I’ve thought the same thoughts as you and I’ve felt the same way. I know what it’s like to be trapped in your own mind and to believe that you’re worthless because you’re just a mum. Other people or even yourself may not realise or believe this but what we do as mums is the most hardest and most rewarding job in the world, to some what we do may not seem like that much of a big deal but it is. We spend every waking minute taking care of our kids, learning them new things, loving and nurturing them and playing with them and it’s because of this that everything our kids know and have learned is because we have taught them. Our kids are polite, funny, clever and caring because of us. That is what we as mums have to show for ourselves and that is something to be proud of. To outsiders it might seem silly for me to class being a mum an achievement of mine but for me, being a mum is my greatest achievement and it’s what I’m most proud of in my life. Yes I would love a career. Doing what exactly? I’m not quite sure. I feel like the only thing I know how to do is look after my child and I even question my ability at doing that sometimes! But right now, I’m happy with being a full time stay at home mum.

On a bad day when I’m feeling down and in the dumps about the way my life is, I make myself feel better by telling myself that yes a career and all that other stuff would be amazing but all that stuff can wait. That can all be put on pause. But being a mum can’t and everything that we do as mums is so important. When our kids have grown up and left us and have lives of their own, we’ll have all the time in the world to do all of that stuff that we wanted to do and only then will we realise that when we thought we was ‘just’ being stay at home mums, that was the most important thing we’ll probably ever accomplish in our lives. Looking after our family and raising decent human beings is what truly matters above anything else. When we’re old and gray are kids at what we will look back at and be most proud of, not a job. None of that other stuff will even matter so why worry so much about it now!

Just remember that you are not a failure. From one stay at home mum to another.