The Gallery – Not everything is black and white

The theme for the gallery this week is black and white.  When you look at this photograph what do you see? When I look at this photo, I see my wonderful, precious and very lucky eldest child, who had only days before been in intensive care fighting for his life. I think it is time that we all realised that this life is never black or white, but filled with all sorts of beautiful colours and until we walk a mile in someones shoes we have no right to judge them or their decisions. I have this image on my sitting room wall and it reminds me that life is precious and worth living to the full.
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MadDad’s Birthday

My wonderful husband turned another year older on Sunday and I have to say, what a great day it was too.



It started with me and the boys busy with the glue and glitter making some unique cards for him and then cooking his favorite meal and making his favorite carrot cake.


The weather was pants, so we didn't do very much apart from eat, cuddle, watch movies and play boardgames.  What a perfect way to spend a birthday.  
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Hypersensitivity to touch, otherwise know as taking an hour to put his sock on in the morning

Maxi has always had issues from being a baby with tags in his clothes and I have always just unpicked the seam and taken them out, but recently this has been getting much much worse, to the point of it taking an hour each morning to get his socks on as he hates the feel of the seams.  
So out of desperation I have bought some seam free socks (although they still have a flat seam) and also started EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) with him.  Sue from Positive Parents was kind enough to talk me through the system, which I am also using with Mini to work on his tantrums (but that is another post). Other things that Maxi really has issues with include:
  • Maxi hates having his hair brushed
  • Tooth brushing can be a real challenge sometimes, even though he is aware of how important it is
  • He always complains his bed covers are too rough (so we now use flannel)
  • Labels in clothes are a big issue
  • He doesn't like the feel of hats
  • He will not have any zips up near his neck, therefore, coat zips can cause an issue
  • He liked to ensure his hands are always clean
If there are any other mums out there going through similar issues I would love to hear from you.  How do you tackle this without it becoming all consuming?
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Advent Crown

A large part of simplifying Christmas for me is making it all about homemade.  Homemade decorations and homemade gifts   I am a great believer in that the simpler things are, the more effective they are. One of the main ways we start the festive season is by making our advent crown or wreath.  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. 
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
4 tea light or votive holders and candles (my holders were 89p for four from Ikea) and the candles (£1.99 for 12 from Ikea)
Pine Cones
Gold spray (£1.00 at Poundworld)
Make a batch of salt dough
Basic recipe
2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of salt
1 cup of warm water
I also add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to make the final decoration harder.
Mix the flour, salt and lemon juice adding water until you get a firm dough. Then knead the dough. The more you kneed the more pliable the dough will become.
We roll out the dough and cut out our decorations with a cookie cutter.  You can keep any the remaining dough in a bag in the fridge to make Christmas Decorations.
Using some cookie cutter in star shapes cut out a some and bake, we used two different sizes.  I bake our dough at the lowest oven temperature for 3 hours, then leave overnight before we paint and decorate them.
When completely dry paint them gold and cover one side in glitter.


Paint the base dark green and allow to dry - I used cardboard glued to a cake board 
I also covered the card in PVA glue once the pain had dried.
Stick your stars to the base allow room for your 4 tea light or votive holders.
I used three purple and one pink candle, but you could always paint your votive holders or alternatively use coloured ribbon round the outside.
Place your candle holders on the base and add some greenery around it.  I put mine on a cake stand on the table.
You can also add a white candle in the centre on Christmas Day.  I have just added a couple of pine cones sprayed lightly in gold spray from the poundshop and added any left over salt dough stars we had. 
I use the time making the wreath to discuss with the minimads the significance of an advent crown.
A advent wreath is traditionally made of evergreen material to signify eternal life and of renewal.
The circle is to remind us of God, of his endless mercy and eternity with no beginning or no end.
The candles signify the light of God coming in to the world through his son Jesus Christ.
I want advent to be a time of reflection and preparation for the arrival of Jesus on Christmas Day.
When I was growing up my dad always told me we were allowed four gifts, one you want, one you need, one to eat and one to read, which is a really great strategy and one that we follow with the boys, even though they seem to want everything they see on the television.  So when Oxfam asked me to help publize their oxfam unwrapped gift, I was overjoyed to help.
Looking at things that would appeal to the boys I was drawn to the fertiliser, which only costs £5.00.
It is Amazing what you can do with a load of old manure. Add in some worms and a bit of food waste and you’ve got the perfect recipe for crop-boosting fertiliser – helping communities to grow loads more fruit and veg to eat and sell. Mighty-fine muck.

this post is part of the Oxfam Unwrapped Carnival hosted by Who’s the Mummy

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Duvet days with Disney

We had a duvet day on Thursday last week, the first day off school sick for both the boys ever.  Guess how we spent the day, yes you would be right, we spend it on the sofa in the sitting room snuggled under a blanket in our pj's watching Disney Blue Rays and cuddling.
Beauty and the Beast is one of the few Disney Movies that I didn't see first time round (in 1991) and now I have the boys it gives met he excuse to enjoy it now.  This movie kept me nad both the minimads engrossed.  We loved it, it was just scary enough to make the boys feel brave for watching it.  The beast was just ugly enough for you to believe that Belle could never fall in love with him and  the music was just captivating enough, that it left us all singing it too.
In contrast to Beauty and the Beasts we also watched Disney's latest movie The Princess and the Frog.  Although in many ways you would never guess there was 25 years between them and for me that is the magic of The Princess and the Frog.  It goes back to Disney's routes and traditions and is a magical musical tale, which had us all entranced.
So even though we were feeling pretty under the weather, we had a lovely day cuddling, singing (well croaking) along to the movies and spent some quality time recuperating together.
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Self Promotion – You can buy Christmas Gifts from Me

I have been busy making and have lots of new and lovely makes available, so I though I would have a little self promotion, as I can not see me getting these all on the Folksy shop before Christmas, so here they are.  If you are interested in purchasing anything, then please e-mail me or tweet me.  I except payment by paypal.
Tea Cup Candles (please click on the image for more details of the scent) large ones are £8.00 plus £3.00 postage and the small ones are £3.25 to £3.20 each.  Each candle is lovingly crafted by myself with 10% fragrance oil added.   They are made with 100% Eco soy wax, which has numerous benefits including being longer and cleaner burning (Soy wax is non-toxic and burns cleaner than paraffin, with no petrol-carbon soot which can blacken walls).  You can wash the used tea cup in hot soapy water and reuse the tea cup.
Washable learn to set the table mats.  These are again made my myself and are backed with towelling and make the placement of cutlery child play. £6.00 each, plus £1.90 postage.
Crayon (£4.00) and Pencil (£6.00) rolls complete with the pencils and crayons, postage is £1.90.

Mini bunting, the pennants on the bunting are 4 inches to tip and there are 12 on each length of bunting.  £5.00plus £1.90 postage.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.


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Spiritual Sunday – For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

As a mother I can imagine nothing worse than sending my children to battle, knowing the chance was they would never return. 

Whilst we are thinking about the dead, I would also like to point you to a very moving, but amazing post by an inspirational lady over at Brighton Mum Teenage Angst.  Karen's beloved husband and partner died in October and this post is all about quality of death.  She is so, so right, how can you have a quality of life without a quality of death.  Please do you and read it, but have your hanky at the ready.

Me and the boys had no luck with paper poppies this year, they kept losing them, so I decided to make a couple of felt ones with them.  They cut the felt out and then I sewed on a button and a broach fitting on the back, which made them much more secure.  We still donated for more poppies too.  I was also amazed at Maxi telling me why we did the 2 minutes silence on Thursday (both boys were home ill).

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Possibly the Best Fireworks in the World Ever

We were lucky enough to tag along as guests of the wonderful Rosie Scribble and Sally to Drayton Manors firework spectacular on 30 October.

Now I have to say it wasn't just a Fireworks Spectacular, but an amazing laser, light and sound show too, which had the boys and I mesmerised.  It was simply the best fireworks I have ever seen in the world ever, but don't take my world for it.  I have popped two small videos of the day below.

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The Gallery – Four Seasons in one Day

I have commented before how much I love the fact that in the UK we have pretty clearly defined seasons.  As a mum, sometimes I feel as though I am stuck in a time warp and nothing chances, the same old things day in and day out, but it is the changing seasons that let me know that time is passing and that life is ever changing.

For The Gallery this week the prompt is seasons.  I wish I had a photo of the same place each season, but I don't, although I AM going to do that now!

Spring - The wonders of new life everywhere you look.

Summer - Days out at wonderful places like Whitby Abbey

Autumn always means fireworks to me

Winter - Snow

Finally so I can leave you singing it all day, I give you Crowded House.


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Poo, Mummy you a a stinky Poo from a Poo hole

Oh yes, the poo words have started and will not stop here in The Mad House.  You are a stinky poo face mummy.  Daddy has a poo hole.  Ner ner na ner ner, poo, poo,  POO and more POO.  My boys may look angelic, but I can assure you the noises that are coming from those mouths are not in anyway of the saintly variety.

What is it with boys and the words poo, botty burp, parp, fart, plump, pump, plop, poot. boff, trump and lots of other words that are all in the same vane.

Yes I am living in a house full of toilet humour, where Mini thinks he is the height of sophistication for farting in the bath and creating his own jacuzzi!

And it seems that I am not the only one experience this, oh no.  I took the boys to a 6th birthday party yesterday and all the boys are at it.  They think it is hilarious.  Who can burp the loudest, say their name in a burp, make the best trumping sound using their armpit and hand and who can make the loudest raspberry.  They are constantly engaging in battles of this nature, in between the dancing and the food that is!

So to all mothers of boys over 5, please do let me know how long this is going to last, or is this it and I am just going to have to join in too?

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