An alternative to salt dough ornaments

  We usually make salt dough ornaments at this timeof the year, but spurred on my Chris at Thinly Spread I decided to give cornflour dough a try.  However, typically I didn't have the ingredients on hand to make her recipes so made up my own. Ingredients
  • 2 cups salt
  • two thirds of a  cup of water
  • 2 cups cornflour
  • Half cup water
Method Mix 2 cups of salt with two thirds of a  cup of water in a pan and stir constantly over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until bubbles appear. Remove from heat and immediately add to 2 cups cornflour and half a cold water  and mix quickly to form a stiff dough and kneed. Roll out and cut out your shapes, use a straw to push out a hole to thread ribbon through and then cook for 3 to 4 hours at 150 degrees c.

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A Pause in Advent Joy

joy / joi/ n. a feeling of great pleasure and happiness: tears of joy the joy of being alive. a thing that causes joy: the joys of Manhattan. v. [intr.] poetic/lit. rejoice: I felt shame that I had ever joyed in his discomfiture or pain. There is a real feeling of joy over adversity at the moment in the mad house.  We are all working hard to enjoy and make the most of advent, without making it a chore.  We are trying to find joy in the small things in our life, yes we have had enough of the snow, but it does make things feel clean and bright. We had my 5 year old niece slept over last night and she is a real joy, she makes is realise just how much hard work the boys can be, but she also makes us realise just how much we wouldn't change them.    A very wise woman once told me that each parent cries the same amount of tears over a child's life time, it is just some cry more at he beginning and I am focusing on that when I had hard days with the minimads. One of the main things that I have felt this week, is a sense of community.  Our annual residents association carols on the green had to be cancelled this week due to the inclement weather, so we had a carol service in the church, which was wonderful.  Also the weather may be getting everyone down, put the community has really pulled together, the men on the street have all dug out the road to enable us all to be able to get off the estate. What has brought you joy this week?
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Why the boys nativities mean so much to me

Even though last week was snowed off for the school, the children and the teachers have worked really hard to ensure that the nativities took place this week. Maxi's was first on Thursday and it was a Snowman at Sunset and yes, I cried.  Maxi doesn't do dressing up, so as a narrator he only had to war his hat, scarf and gloves.  It was a wonderful show and I have to say there wasn't a dry eye in the house when one of his little classmates did a solo at the end.


Friday saw Mini's show, which was whoops a daisy angel, hats off to the teachers on this really, as the children had only had just over a weeks rehearsal and my oh my what an amazing show it was.  Mini was a Shepard and again I cried!

The boys nativities have real meaning for me, when I was really ill I focused on seeing them and they were one of the things that I was determined to see as they grew up.    So no matter how hard this past week has been, I am so grateful for being here to see them.

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Nativity Scenes


I am a great lover of nativity scenes and grew up with the lower image in my mums house.  When Maxi was born she gifted me it.  I love it, so do the boys, but as it is china they can not play with it and make up their own story, so we made our own version out of loo rolls.

We had so much fun, but no images of us making them, as I was far too involved with the boys, glue, ribbon, scissors and lots and lots of fabric scraps!

Oh and I went to Maxi's Nativity yesterday and Mini's is today, so I will be back with more Nativity Scenes tomorrow.


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The Gallery – White

We are still covered in snow and it is snowing again this morning.  Yes I am sure that there will be lots of artistic pictures out there of white stuff, but we have been living with this white stuff for far too long and it is starting to get silly.




The annual residents association "carols on the green" has had to be moved to the village church instead of our estate green tonight due to the amount of snow.

So world, please can we have a thaw and get rid of the masses of snow, pretty please.

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A Pause in Advent – Peace

We had a pretty peaceful start to this week, as we had so much snow that the school was closed all week and MadDad struggled to get in to work.   We tried to make the most of each others company and use the time wisely. We really all enjoyed putting up our Christmas tree and inside decorations (there is far too much snow for the outside ones yet) and took pleasure in the simple things like hot chocolate and marshmallows. But the greatest lesson for me this week has been that peace is not something that is always an external thing.  We had a nightmare on Saturday morning when the heavy snow off the house roof came down in one go and took down part of the conservatory roof (which is our family room).  I was upset, angry and frustrated that it meant that our plans would have to change.  But instead we all worked together and MadDad patched up the roof, whilst the boys and I shoveled snow and ice and dried all the electrical items off and then after ringing the insurance company we shut the door and decided to carry on with our weekend. I am so pleased that we did.  The boys had a fantastic time, therefore, so did we.   Although we will see if there is still peace in The Mad House now that the TV, Wii and Blue ray are all out of action!
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It’s snow joke

I haven't been online a lot this week. Here in our little corner of the North East coast we have felt the full force of the weather that has hit Britain this week. We have had masses of snow and the boys school has been shut all week. So I have taken the opportunity to spend some quality time with mini and maxi and we have crafted, baked, read, made up stories, put up the Christmas decorations and enjoyed each others company.   MadDad has been working from home and has also spent a lot of time clearing paths and making sure the house is as safe and secure as it can be.  We have walked to the village and managed to keep us in supplies.  We have seen accidents involving a lorry and cars and been thankful that no ones has been hurt. So you can imagine my upset when we got up on Saturday morning ready to travel for a weekend with friends and a visit to Drayton Manor's magical Christmas at Thomas Land that we discovered that a huge snowfall had come off the roof of our house and then through the roof of the conservatory, which is our family room and most utilised room in the house. What a nightmare, thankfully nobody was hurt.  The boys had just come in to get dressed when it happened and would have been stood under where it fell.  As it was only all the electrical got it (yep that would be the TV, wii, playstation, blu ray and video player).  The weight of the snow that fell had been great enough to actually bend the metal frame of the conservatory.  The irony of all this is that we had been clearing the roof of the conservatory after hearing of a skylight in a nearby village braking under the weight of the snow, we had also left the heating on. So we made the decision to go and have our weekend away and leave all the worry behind (after speaking to the insurance company) and it was the right thing to do.  We had a great time. The insurance company will be out on Wednesday (first day they can get to us) and we will deal with everything then.  Our only issue is finding the £200 for the excess, but it could have been so much worse.
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Our advent activities, one mum creating traditions

As you probably gathered I believe in the wonder and joys of Christmas and want to welcome my boys to the warm arms of tradition.  I want them to relish advent each year, which is why I made our advent stockings last year. I wanted to make each day special in its own right, without is just being a countdown to Christmas day itself.


Write and post your letter to Father Christmas Help ice the Christmas cake Make Christmas cards Make shapes with the cookie cutters and playdough Make Christmas shrinky dinks Make paper snowflakes Go to Carol Service Colour in some Christmas pictures Make some Christmas fairy cakes Make paper chains Collect Pinecones Start reading about the nativity Write your Christmas cards and deliver local ones Make salt dough ornaments String popcorn to go on the tree Make a bird feeder Sing and dance to Christmas songs Make some Christmas cookies Watch a Christmas movie Make reindeer food Read a Christmas Story Make up a Christmas story Take a walk in the dark to look at the Christmas lights Help trim the tree Make mince pies make spiced cider. Find Mistletoe, hang it in our house and kiss under it. Make Thick Hot Chocolate and Homemade Marshmallows Put up a wreath Decorate our gingerbread house Make a family traditional dessert


We also light the advent candle every evening at dinner and discuss our day and also read the advent calender that I got as a child.  We discuss the nativity and talk about anything that it raises with each of the boys.

I love advent, it makes me feel warm, it makes me feel that Christmas doesn't need to be all about Christmas day and that you can make the time leading up to it just as special.

Over the coming weeks I am looking forward to sharing my advent and Christmas traditions with you.

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The Gallery – A Celebration

Sound the trumpets

Beat the drums

Advent is when

Jesus comes

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The Ladies of Steel

I may have told you in the past that my brother and sister in law run a sports and social club (which is kind of like a workingman's club) in the North East of England.  The club is in a very deprived area and recently the local steel works closed, who in the past has sponsored a lot of events at the club, but more importantly employed a lot of the locals too.Earlier in the year my sister in law, along with The Ladies of Steel (a group she is chairwoman of) decided that the area needed a youth group and they did something about it.  Every Tuesday night in the club they hold an evening for the local youths aged between 8 and 15, where they can play snooker, do arts and crafts, play organised games and also have a boogie as the club DJ is involved too.  The children only have to pay 20p per week.  Since then they have gone on to form Classified (a dance troupe) and also are planning on holding a pantomime this year too.  They have never received sponsorship or any income from The co-operative membership fund.

It is groups like this that the The Cooperative Membershipy Fund are looking to help.     The Co-operative Community Fund is a grant scheme, which helps local communities throughout the UK with grants from £200 to £2000.  The scheme is funded by generous members of The Co-operative donating some of their share of profits.  This year The Co-operative Members have donated £1.2 million to local community groups across the country. To be successful a group must caarry out positive work in the community (it does not have to have charitable status to apply) and the project must address a community issue, provide a long-term benefit to the community, support co-operative values and principles and ideally be innovative in its approach. Do you know a group or project that would be a worthy cause?  The application form can be found on The Cooperative Membership Fund Website. Sponsored Post
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