Second day of Advent and Letters to Father Christmas 4

An angel came to Nazareth A long time ago With a message from God in Heaven above To Mary on earth below “God sent me here to tell you” Said the glorious one “That you will bear a boy child And that child will be his son” The first task on the advent calender was to write a letter to Father Christmas.  Both boys took this very seriously, but only want the same things.  A box of Maltesers and a marble run!! MaxiMad decided to draw what he wanted I wrote MiniMads letter for him – he basically dictated it to me and then he put lots of stickers on it. more »

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Writing Workshop on a Wednesday 8

Guilty Pleasures I am not sure that I have many pleasures that I feel guilty about, but I do have a number of things that make my life good, if not great and bring me great pleasure too. I like tea, no lets change that I love tea.  I have and am know in some circles as a Tea Monster.  It is my drink of choice, followed back Jack Daniels.  The thing is I need it to be a decent cup of tea, none of this wood shavings in a tea bag, lord no. I like my tea of of a special cup and preferably made with leaves, dont you know.  more »


Advent Calenders a Plenty 10

Sound the Trumpets Beat the drums Advent is When Jesus Comes It feels as though I have been talking about it for week, but here it is in its old and tatty glory, my advent calender.  I won this aged 6 at Sunday School for a special drawing. I had to drag it off my mother when the boys were born as we all adore it and have searched high and low for a similar one to no avail. So the plan is to regale you with a poem and picture from it each day as it tells the story of advent.  It is such a nice way to discuss things more »

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Children Craft Showcase Advent Angels 11

Week one advent is for the ascension when the angel Gabriel came and told Mary that she was to have Gods child.  So this week we made card angels. Materials Coloured card Glue Glitter Wool Scissors Pens   Draw around a plate on a piece of coloured card and cut out.  Then cut the circle in to a semi circle. Spread one half of the card with glue and sprinkle on slitter or decorations and leave to dry make a pattern with glue a long the curved edge of your remaining semicircle and add glitter or other decorations and leave to dry Draw a head (a smaller circle) on another piece more »


Spiritual Sunday 11

Advent for a Reluctant Worshiper Yep that is me, I dont really fit in to a box when it comes to religion, I was raised C of E, in a church school.  I went to Sunday school, my younger brother was a choir boy, who became a Mormon.  I married an Atheist (in a church) and when my dad died, I became much more agnostic. When MaxiMad was born, I went back to church, we went to a church toddlers group and also a children in church group.  Then I fell pregnant with MiniMad and visiting a church with two babies, well that wasn’t going to happen. As the boys have more »

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Home Start – A valuable helping hand 12

Knowing that I was going to be going in to hospital, this time last year I swallowed my pride and wrote an e-mail to home start asking if I fitted their criteria for a home start helper.  Pressing the send button on that e-mail was one of the best things I did for us as a family, it started a chain of events that led us to Wendy.  We are so blessed to have her in our lives, but first let me tell you a little of Home Start and the things they do. Home start are the UK’s leading family support charity, they help parents with at least one child under more »


TheMadHouse Advent Calendar 17

I have been a busy bee over the last week.  I have been making an advent calender for us, one that meets our needs and that I hope will be used for many, many years to come. I have been inspired by one I saw on Living with Kids, but of course my version is homemade and as inexpensive as possible.  I used a fleece from Ikea, little peg clips from poundland and everything else we already had in the house. I stitched 24 mini stockings, put some ribbon trim abound the top.  I then cut out 24 green felt stars which I stamped with the dates. I punched a tag out of more »

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Things to be thankful for 11

I am feeling a little down at the moment.  Month left over at the end of the money thing going on yet again and the realisation that next month is going to be even worse, so I though I would take a leaf out of our American Cousins book and list some things I am truly thankful for.  The thinking is if I am full of gratitude then the negative thoughts can not get in.. I am thankful for my funny boys, my Dark Vader MiniMad and my “I dont want to dress up and be in the school play” MaxiMad. I am thankful for my den making capabilities!!! I am more »


Writing Workshop on a Wednesday 14

Everything doesn’t need to be Perfect I used to be a professional who gave 110% to my work.  I was good at my job, some would even say great.  I won commendations from our CEO in the US.  I relocated 600 people without one of them losing a single item in to a brand new building of 160000 square feet over 5 weekends.  I was a perfectionist, I did what I need to get a job done perfectly. Enter being pregnant and motherhood.  I struggled at being pregnant, I didn’t do it well, I didn’t bloom, I didn’t enjoy it, I was very ill indeed.  I was pants at giving birth more »

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Advent Crown or Wreath 8

  OK to start our traditions at Advent we are going to make a child friendly advent wreath or crown.  This is one of the many things I remember doing as a child, however, I remember the Blue Peter version of wire coat hangers, tinsel and open flames!! What I have tried to do here is design one that all the family can join in making and can be burnt at the dinner table each Sunday with supervision.   Materials Circle of card/I have used a cake tray under it as it is solid Salt dough Cookie cutter in a star shape Green Paint Gold paint Glitter Greenery 4 tea light or votive more »


Rules for a Perfect Family Christmas 8

John Lewis is asking parent bloggers to share their ‘Rules for a Perfect Family Christmas’, so not to feel left out, I though I would add my rules too. Children Christmas is a time for children.  So we make it as magical as we can for them. We dress them up to take lots of Photographs (that is MaxiMad above) We make reindeer food and sprinkle it outside. A Carrot, mince pie and milk (no drinking and driving) are all left out for Father Christmas We hand a special key so Father Christmas can get in as we have no chimney The Christmas Elves leave new night wear for everyone on Christmas more »

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Crafting with Children – Make your own wrapping paper 3

This is another really simple, but fun childrens craft, which will save you some pennies over the Christmas period and also over the year to come. Materials Paper – we have a roll of white paper from Ikea £2.99 Washable paints Paper plates Washing up bowl filled with soapy water Towel Now I am not going to pretend this is a clean craft, no sir, it is a messey, fun and wonderful craft and if you are feeling up to it then why not join in too.  If you have a fine day then you can always go outside for this one. Now I do not have images of this work more »


Never underestimate the power of a woman 7

It seems as though the up and coming election has forced the UK’s political parties to sit up and recognise that woman and particularly mothers are going to play a big part in the next general election. There have been a number of articles in the newspapers over the last couple of days highlighting this issue: The Independent on Sunday has one here Even the Sun got in on the act too It is about time I feel that us woman and us mothers especially were listened too and not only as there is a general election coming, but we are raising the next generation of citizens for our country. Politics more »


Spiritual Sunday 3

Today is traditionally also know as “Stir it up” Sunday Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; That they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. So as you stir three times each (east to west to represent the three wise men) say the prayer and make a wish. My Christmas Pudding recipe can be found here


Awards and Link Love 13

A while back I received an award from Kelly at A Place of My Own – Shining Light: The blogger that receives this award has left a comment or written a post that has helped light the way for the blogger who presents them with the award.  I also received the honest scrap award for Aingeal over at Mum’s Survival Guide I am ever so proud of this, as it signifies and highlights what blogging means for me.  It is a community of people who I am happy to call my friends.  I am all for offering support, in one way as a mother I find other mothers the first to judge, but more »

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Cooking with Children – Tarka Dal and Naan Bread 7

I love cooking and more than that I adore cooking with my children.  I love watching them measure, weight, pour and get excited about the tastes and textures of the food we grow, make and eat. MiniMad and I made dal and naan breads last night, a real store cupboard meal, which is warming, filling, inexpensive and meat free, oh and it is also dead easy too, especially with a little prep work. Firstly I rinse and soak the lentils, we use split yellow ones (chana dall??), they need at last 40 minutes. I used 200g ish for all four of us. Then we make the naan bread to prove. We use more »


Parsnip Harvest 3

I pulled our first parsnip from the garden yesterday to add to our sausage casserole. What a whopper!! It tasted good too, time to pull the rest I think.

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Writing Workshop on a Wednesday 8

In an ideal world a hospital for me would focus on healing the mind, in addition to healing the body.  It would be a calm and peaceful place catering for all the needs of the people there. Now I have been in and out of hospital enough lately to be able to say that the staff are wonderful and do the very best with the resources available to them, so this is not an NHS bashing post, but a far away dream. On my visit in February this year, I was awarded a single occupancy room and it was fantastic, I had my own bathroom  area, which was in a wet more »


Holiday Traditions 4

I have been thinking a lot about our holiday traditions lately and I have signed up for Sew Liberated Holiday Traditions Exchange 2009 .  Why are traditions important, well for me they cement and make memories.  The more frequently we do them the more memories the boys should associate with them.  As the boys are getting older it is so much fun to involve them in our traditions and create new family traditions.  I find them comforting and great fun too and a way to draw us closer as a family.  Christmas is a great time for traditions and it is also a great way to take the focus on the more »

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A Hard Day in TheMadHouse 10

Sometimes I have a down day too.  I try and remain positive and to see the best of everything and every one, but today has scratched at my very being and coping mechanisms. I am a doer, an organiser, a mover, I am capable, I am a coper, I am the best I can be (I know I sound like something out of dollshouse there), but today I have been beaten. Today I went to have my stitches out, I was sick at the hospital, I was sore on the drive home and in pain.  I dropped MiniMad at preschool and came home to try and do a home blessing, which more »