Back to Earth with a Bang.. this year can not get any worse 18

I need to vent, I am sat in tears at the laptop.  Since we moved in to our lovely new build house just over three years ago, we have had nothing but issues with the heating and hot water culminating in 4 weeks without either heating or hot water for more than 24 consecutive hours last November. Now we haven’t had the best year as most people are aware.  I went into hospital for surgery in February and due to massive complications developed a major infection and nearly died, so spent most of March, April and May in the hospital.  This meant that MadDad had to take unpaid leave to help more »


Kirtie’s HandMade Christmas – Rant Alert 18

Now I love Kirstie with the rest of the country, but I feel a little reality check is required here. I was really looking forward to this and have waited until viewing all three episodes before letting rip.  I was hopiong to be able to watch it and get useful, practical, inexpensive, handmade ideas for Chritmas and maybe that was were I was going wrong. Yes it was beautiful, the artisans were increadably talented, but cheap it wasn’t!!  Gold leafing a pear, what a precious waste of good fruit, in addition to a frivolous, not make that mad way to spend £38 on a book of 24 carrot gold.  Dear lord more »


Jelly Baby Jesus Cakes 12

  Ingredients Shredded wheat Golden Syrup Milk Chocolate Jelly Babys Royal Icing Cake Cases   Break up the chocolate in a bowl and microwave till melted, whilst scrunching up the shredded wheat. Add about a tablespoon of golden syrup to the melted chocolate (it keeps it melted longer, which is easier for the children) and then add the shredded wheat. Have a good lick at your spatula when you have finnshed mixing! Scoop out and place in to the cake cases, this is the chocolate straw. Add you Jelly Baby Jesus, very gently as not to wake him on to his bed of straw. Then cover him in a royal icing more »


Woops a Daisy Angel 12

MaxiMad’s Nativity play was held yesterday afternoon and MadDad made a mad dash down the A1M in order to get back for it. Now MaxiMads year (reception or FS2) is a very big year with excess of 70 children in it and 3 classes, so I can not imagine what work has gone in to this by teachers, Teaching Assistants and the children.  We were not asked to provide costumes, so I was very excited to arrive and see what was going to happen and what everyone was wearing. Maxi wouldnt tell me or MadDad anything about it at all, as it was a secret, he wouldnt even practice his words more »


Why my Christmas’s will always be stuck in the 70’s 15

When I was growing up Christmas was a magical time.  It usually started after my Birthday on December 20th when we would put up the tree and the decorations.  Now this was no mean feet as my parents lived in a Edwardian house with very high ceilings and we would string paper chains from each corner to the ceiling rose in the centre of the room. The tree would also be placed on a table in the bay window and would be about 8 foot tall. My Granddad, who lived with us would always take me and my little brother out for a couple of hours Christmas shopping whilst my mum more »


Decorating on a Budget 2

I’m just a boy who helps around The workshop and I can be found Sawing for Joseph or shaping wood Helping a master who’s kind and good And now I’m here to wave goodbye To watch them go and know that I Am trusted to finish the table and stools And take proper care of the carpenters tools I have had a lot of of wonderful compliments on the Christmas Decorations here at TheMadHouse, so here are some tips for decorating on a budget. MadDad and I have been lucky enough to build up our collection since we were married nearly 14 years ago.  We decided pretty immediately that we wanted more »


Pine cone door decoration 7

Mary I’ve packed the oil And I’ve packed the grain, The water is ready Now listen again – Here are the blankets and covers And your mattress there, So please, my sweet friend, Keep warm and take care Today I have a very easy Pine Cone decoration, which I totally pinched from Sweet Paul. It is very easy for an older child to do on their own, MaxiMad and I did this together.  We also made one for my mum with red ribbon and golden sprayed cones, but forgot to take any photo’s of it before we gave it to her yesterday. I couldn’t find my glue gun (my mother had more »


A Pause in Advent – Priorities 7

“The Messiah shall come to Bethlehem – That prophecy soon will come true For Joseph is going to take me there And I know that my baby is due”. Today we will light the second candle on our advent wreath and discuss the shepherds and their sheep with the children.  I will be making cotton wool sheep with the minimads and we will have a quiet (we as quiet as possible with a 3 and 4 year old) family day. Christmas is creeping up on us this week and I have done my best not to feel overwhelmed by the things that often need to be completed before Christmas day.  I have more »


Christmas Decorations in TheMadHouse 8

Who am I? I’m Caesar Augustus! I live far away in Rome And I want to count all my subjects So, Mary and Joseph, GO HOME! Please let me take you on a tour of TheMadHouse dressed for Christmas…… First my wreath as you come to the front door Then the advent stockings hung over the fire Meet Rudolf one and Rudolf two the very annoying jungle bell rock singing and ear flapping reindeer that the minimads adore given to them my Grandma. My Plastic 1960’s Santa, which is older than me and pinched off my mum, which guards the dinning room door. More signing and dancing scary  soft toys, purchased more »


Egg Box Jingle Bells and Advent Poem 5

“Mary, I too saw an angel, And now we can marry with joy, I’ll care for you both, just as he said, And together we’ll bring up God’s boy”. The boys task for last night was anther craft, which I have seen out on the blog circuit, but can not for the life of me remember where, so I am sorry for not linking to it.  This is another really easy and inexpensive craft. Materials Egg Box paint Glitter String or ribbon Little bells (I bought a wreath full of the from Poundland) I cut up the egg cartons and the boys the little sections and then covered them in glitter. more »


Day 3 and Pipe Cleaner Crystal Decorations 9

We have seen Borax decoration all over the internet and wanted to try them, but with Borax banned in the UK, we had to use a borax substitute to make our pipecleaner Christmas decorations.  These are super easy to make and the kids can manipulate the pipe cleaners all by themselves. “Joseph, an angel has told me That though it is you I shall marry. I have been chosen to bear the Messiah And it will be God’s child I carry” Now this is a blast from my past, something that I remember doing at my Playgroup before I started school, but you can not get Borax now, so need to use more »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »