advent


Christmas, it is all about the presence not the presents 1

The older I get the more I realise that Christmas is not all about what you give or get, but about being there with your family. This was compounded with a health scare and even more when my mum died at Christmas four years ago.  So now MadDad and I focus on our presence rather than the presents. Growing up my dad always told us the following rules and this is something we have tried to instill in our children.


Holidays are coming – Give a little happiness 11

Holidays are coming, holidays are coming, holidays are coming, its always the real thing…………… You know when the Coke advert comes on that Christmas is on it’s way and now even the Coke lorry tours the country.  We have never seen it, but Cass from Diary of a Frugal Family has. This year however, I have to say that I adore Coca Cola’s new advert, has made a big impact in The Mad House.  The mini mads are forever to be found singing “let’s make someone happy”.  Have you seen it?


Animal Safe Magic Reindeer food and free printable labels 23

Reindeer food is one of our Christmas Eve traditions and we love to make it as much as the boys love sprinkling it outside for the reindeer.    We have great fun each year making it for family and friends and this year I am excited to share with you 7 great free printable labels for you designed by The Purple Pumpkin Blog using the same designs as our Advent Acts of Kindness.   Traditionally it is just oats and glitter, but, we live in a pretty rural area and we stopped putting glitter in our reindeer food a few years back.  Now we use other things to make it pretty more »


Make your own Christmas Crackers 19

One of our family traditions is homemade christmas crackers.  Since as long as I can remember we had small cracker presents on the dining table usually made by my mum.  They were precious things that were small and once I got older we each took a turn year on year to make the crackers and full them with cracker presents. When Wrap.me sent me a couple of sheets of their amazing personalised instagram wrapping paper I knew just what I wanted to make with them……. Christmas Crackers. How to make Christmas Crackers


Make an Advent Candle or wreath 2

We love advent and one of the ways we celebrate is to have an advent wreath or ring that we light each sunday to help celebrate the lead up to Christmas.  The first Sunday of advent for 2014 in November 30th.  Me and the boys have spend the last few days making this years advent ring, even though it is more of a plinth! People light one candle on the first Sunday of Advent, two on the second Sunday, three on the third Sunday and all four on the fourth Sunday. Some people then continue to light all four candles during the Christmas period. Traditionally an advent ring has three purple and more »


Ways to use your free advent acts of kindness printables 20

So you saw my recent post with the 50 advent acts of kindness with the two free printable sets designed by the lovely Purple Pumpkin blog. Well I wanted to share with you ways to display them or use them. We tried to make it easy for you all by offering them in two different sizes (A4 and US letter size) in addition to two designs christmas trees and also gift tags. We love Anna from The Imagination Trees Kindness Elves and this would be a great list to use for Kindness Jars


An Alternative Advent Calendar – Acts of Kindness by kids 33

Advent, we love it.  It is a BIG thing here in The Mad House.  We use advent as a way to celebrate the build up to Christmas and to take the commercialism out of it.   The MiniMads have not yet had a chocolate advent calendar, although I might bend to their wishes this year!  We have an activity advent calendar instead and this year we are having an alternative advent calendar, where we are going to do an act of kindness each day Kindness can cost nothing and I want to raise the MiniMads to always be kinder than they need to be and feel that focusing on acts of more »


Be inspired to craft with the kids and eBbay voucher giveaway 34

eBay asked me what Inspired me at this time of the year?  Well I didn’t have to think all that long to know that it was doing art and crafts with the kids.  The fact the evenings are darker, so they are not out playing gives us the opportunity to get creative together. Plus I love this time of year for all the inspiration to craft and make together. We love to make homemade gifts, cards, art and food.  It is part of who we are and I feel that it is important for boys to be exposed to creativity, which is why we have a six pm limit on screen more »


2013 Gingerbread House 6

One of our advent traditions is to make  and decorate a gingerbread house.  With being out of the country this year we accepted a pre cooked one from Sykes Cottages to build and decorate.  Unfortunately ours came a little damaged (hence the silver foil bottom), but I managed to get it stuck together and then provided the boys with a selection of sweets and icing and left them too it.


Christmas Eve Gifts and Making Christmas Eve Magical 7

Once of my favorite tradition over the festive period is the Christmas Eve Gifts which are left from our Christmas Eve Elves.  I adore Christmas Eve, there is something really special about the anticipation of Christmas Day and we spend it as a family as MadDad always tried to get it off.  We make sure we are prepped for Christmas Day and can be found in the kitchen as a family for part of the day.  I love the thought of making it magical and wanted to share with you what we do and how we do it! Christmas Eve Sacks


Stocking filler ideas

  Now that Halloween is out of the way, I am turning my attention to Christmas. Yes, yes, I know there’s still the best part of two months to go but you can never be too prepared. Plus, with my two boys, I need to grab every single shopping opportunity I can get! Are there any other parents out there who find it’s the little things that make the difference at Christmas? Thankfully, my boys are past the stage where the packaging is more appealing than the present, but last year I found that they were more interested in the yo-yo they got in a Christmas cracker, than the heaps of more »


The ultimate advent activity list 9

Advent for me is part of the way of getting away from the whole consumerism of Christmas Day.  As a family we have our own advent calendar that I made and we do an activity each day throughout advent, which helps us focus on the true meaning of christmas for us.  Plus I have to admit that since my Mum was found dead on Christmas Day three years ago, this helps me keep up a brave face to the boys and not become too down.