Posted in Christmas

Christmas Traditions -Stir up Sunday

As a young girl I remember my grandmother being extremely busy months before Christmas, in her kitchen making Christmas cakes and puddings.

These images always struck me as odd, until recently, whilst I was researchingold Christmas traditions and I came across Stir up Sunday.

What is Stir up Sunday ?

But what exactly is stir up Sunday and what does it have to do with Christmas puddings?

Stir up Sunday, as it turns out, is the day ( about 5 weeks before Christmas) that you gather in your kitchen to prepare the Christmas pudding.

Traditionally Stir up Sunday falls on the last Sunday before the Christian season of Advent begins

The delicious aromas that waft throughout your home signal the start of the Christmas season.

The whole family stirs the pudding

The forgotten customs of this tradition, bring the entire family together, as according to tradition, each member has a turn to stir the dark, rich pudding mixture from East to West. This symbolizes the wise men’s journey to find the baby Jesus.

Images of an entire family all gathered in a warm kitchen, are the images Christmas cards are made of and the reason we hold onto traditions and customs as we get older.

To remember and hold dear the value of family.

The Christmas coins

As the pudding mixture is being stirred a wish is made and a coin is tossed into the mixture.

Today silver coins, which can be wrapped in foil, are added but as a young girl, I remember finding beautiful silver charms in our Christmas pudding. These would lovingly be cleaned and added to my charm braclet.

My grandmother instinctively knew just which slice of pudding to dish up to make sure I always recieved a treasure. As an adult , I have to wonder if these coins and charms were not infact added in after she sliced our piece of pudding.

Finding these coins on Christmas day was supposed to bring you health, wealth, happiness and ensured that everyone ate a piece of pudding to try get one.

The perfect Christmas pudding

Also referred to as a plum pudding during the Victorian era who dubbed any fruit pudding a plum pudding if they contained raisins, currants, beef suet,citrus zest, almonds and spices.

A perfect Christmas pudding is both dense and moist. It oozes with a rich array of fruit and brandy.

As beautiful as the puddings look they are rather time consuming to make due to the time needed to weigh the fruit, marinate it and steam the final mixture. It is then put away in a cool dark place and steamed for a further hour on Christmas day again.

The pudding consists of 13 fruit and these represent Jesus and his 12 disciples.

Traditionally this rich pudding is flamed before serving and served with a vintage port.

It’s interesting to note that the biggest difference between a Christmas cake and a christmas pudding is that, even though their ingredients are relatively similar, the cake is baked whilst the pudding is steamed.

The pudding also contains either meat or vegetable suet whilst the cake does not.

This year I’m going to attempt to make my own Christmas pudding. I’d love some tips in the comments if you’ve made your own.

Posted in Christmas

A complete Christmas Check list

I love Christmas. It is my favourite time of the year.

There is always good food, lots of activities and happy kids. It is a time of holidays and family.

But it can also be costly, especially to a big family like ours, and stressful as moms take on the extra burden of trying to achieve a Hallmark Christmas for our children to remember.

To make this year smoother I’ve compiled a checklist to break down the monstrous list of things to do and help you achieve a stress free Christmas season.

The Christmas check list

October

  • Decide on a family plan for Christmas. Where will you be spending the holiday? If you do holiday themes what theme are you choosing? What type of meals do you want to serve?
  • Book reservations to any restaurants if you are spending Christmas eating out.
  • Make any travel arrangements and book both tickets and accommodation.
  • Start a family WhatsApp group or email if you do not have one to communicate easily about holiday plans.
  • Use a Google calendar to start scheduling holiday events to allow the whole family to schedule items and keep each other informed.
  • Keep a print calendar on the fridge will help to keep track of school plays, carol services and that Christmas lunches.
  • Start baking the items you can freeze like un-iced cookies.
  • Prepare your fruit mix for cakes and puddings.
  • Make a holiday card list
  • Book any professional photos
  • Have holiday card photos taken
  • Design your holiday card to send out
  • Gifting -Purchase or make gift tags, Christmas cards and Christmas wrapping.
  • Send international cards and gifts
  • Measure your family for clothing size and shoe size. Make a list of this to help you shop or to send to grandparents.
  • Order any personalised items to ensure you recieve them before printers shut down for the holidays.
  • Famlly holidays-Make plans for family that will be staying with you. Do you need more linen, sheets, ect
  • Book any leave needed from work.

November ( 6 weeks before Christmas)

  • Decide on a Christmas budget
  • Make a holiday gift list
  • Buy gifts for Secret Santa events, neighbours, friends,teachers and work colleagues
  • Keep several small gifts of chocolates or biscuits for those unexpected people who pop in or gifts you recieve and need to reciprocate.
  • Start Christmas shopping for family. You may want to take advantage of the Black Friday sale for any big items you are planning to buy.
  • Do any online shopping .Make a note of delivery days when online shopping to ensure you recieve items in time.
  • Wrap gifts as you buy them. This will save you time during the busier days leading up to Christmas.
  • Charity– decide on the charity and causes you will support over the season

6 weeks before Christmas

  • Buy a Christmas eve box
  • Buy an elf on the shelf
  • Plan elf antics and get a box ready with activities for the elf to do throughout Christmas

5 weeks before Christmas

  • Celebrate Stir it up Sunday and make your Christmas puddings
  • Check your christmas tree and ornaments and make note of anything you need to replace.
  • Stock up on batteries.
  • Make an intinerary of holiday activities to enjoy with the kids
  • Book kids Holiday Clubs
  • Buy advent calendars or the items to fill reusable ones
  • Wrap 24 books to read 1 a night throughout advent. These are traditionally Christmas themed.
  • Neaten garden and outdoor areas.
  • Clean outdoor furniture
  • Stock up on braai items like charcoal, firefighters, ect
  • Put aside table settings. Items such as the table cloths, name tags, christmas crackers, ect for the Christmas meal. Getting this ready now will save you running around looking for matching serviette rings on Christmas eve.
  • Buy christmas crackers
  • If you are travelling over christmas book a service for your car, plan your route and pack emergency items in the boot.
  • Arrange pet sitters or house sitters
  • Have any photos you need printed
  • Buy instax film
  • Check board games and buy new ones to add to the family board games stash.
  • Bucket list – make a family holiday bucket list of things to do

4 weeks before Christmas

  • Test your Christmas lights . Replace any that do not work and see that you have enough.
  • Set up outside decorations
  • Enough to feed everyone – Take stock of your serving dishes, cutlery and crockery. Purchase what you need.
  • Write your local Christmas cards
  • Book any hair, annual medical or beauty procedures you will need until the end of January.
  • Stock up your medicine cabinet
  • Clean windows
  • Put up window decals or fake snow
  • Download a christmas ring tone or wall paper for your phone
  • Play Christmas Carols
  • Have photos taken with Santa

3 weeks before Christmas

  • Mail cards
  • Let the kids write to Santa
  • Christmas tree – Decide on your Christmas tree. Will you use one you have? Do you need a new one? Are you having a fresh tree?
  • Buy or make your tree skirt
  • Decorate your tree
  • Start your Advent calendars
  • Put out the Nativity scene
  • Decorate your home
  • Purchase any greenery or wreaths to decorate with.
  • Finalize your menus
  • Order your Christmas meat
  • Shop for groceries you can freeze and store.
  • Send any out of town gifts
  • Start your elf on the shelf activities
  • Let kids write a wish list
  • Make gingerbread men
  • Make gingerbread house and train
  • Put together a christmas day playlist
  • Fill any gas cylinders
  • Drive to see the city Christmas lights

Two weeks before Christmas

  • Purchase alcohol and beverages
  • Break out the Christmas crafts with the kids
  • Plan your christmas Caroling events
  • Print out free colouring pages and staple together to make a colouring activity book to keep kids busy.
  • Buy Christmas day outfits and Christmas eve pjs
  • Bake or buy Christmas cake

One week before Christmas

  • Spring clean your home
  • Line the oven with foil to prevent too much mess while cooking for Christmas day.
  • Clean out any unwanted or outgrown clothing, toys and books to donate
  • Clear out the refrigerator and deep freezer
  • Plan spaces for guests and clean the linen and towels.
  • Purchase any gift vouchers you are gifting.
  • Have a christmas movie marathon. Dont forget the popcorn.
  • Bake or buy mice pies
  • Christmas dress up – wash , clean and replace all christmas hats, stockings and Santa suits

3 days before Christmas

  • Shop for fresh ingredients
  • Make life easy – Stock up on paper plates, paper cups, serviettes, tin foil
  • Do any baking
  • Buy fresh flowers
  • Dry oranges, pears and apples to make potpourri and hanging strings
  • Go see christmas lights
  • Christmas light scavanger hunt – these are a lot of fun.

2 days before Christmas

  • String popcorn for tree
  • Make pomanders
  • Make a timeline for Christmas eve and Christmas day
  • Go caroling
  • Put fuel in the car
  • Double check all gifts are bought and wrapped
  • Make Christmas deserts
  • Purchase Christmas candles
  • Buy Santa’s cookies and Rudolfs carrots
  • Watch the nutcracker

Christmas eve

  • Prepare Christmas eve meal
  • Watch christmas family movies
  • Have photo taken in matching family pjs
  • Put out children’s Christmas eve box
  • Leave milk and cookies for Santa and Rudolf
  • Read the Christmas story
  • Drop christmas cookies at neighbours
  • Place gifts at tree
  • Christmas day box -Set out bin bag and box with batteries, scissors , ect ready for the mornings excitement
  • Fill stockings or Santa sacks
  • Make trifel
  • Make eggnog
  • Take any meats out to defrost
  • Pre cook some food
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Track Santa on Google tracker
  • Place luminaries in the yard for Santa to find his way
  • Leave out magic key for Santa
  • Charge phones, cameras and laptops
  • Hide the pickle and Rudolfs nose for the children to find in the tree
  • Leave flour Santa and Rudolf prints on the floor
  • Take elf away
  • Bite the cookie, eat the carrot and drink the milk so that it looks like Santa did it
  • Mull your wine

CHRISTMAS DAY

  • Make hot chocolate for the morning
  • Open gifts
  • Cook lunch
  • Take family morning photos
  • Read the story of Jesus birth
  • Kiss under the mistletoe
  • Family- phone, Skype or text family to wish them
  • Send out digital Christmas cards

Posted in Brands we love, Christmas, Education, Family Life, Family Time, Giving back, Parenting, preschoolers, Tweens & Teens

Superbook brings back the heart of Christmas

As a mom I love watching my children enjoy all the magic of Christmas.

We decorate the tree and make our gingerbread houses. We fill our stockings, put up the lights,remember to move the Christmas elf and enjoy the many other traditions around this holiday.

But

As a mom I also very much want my children to grow up understanding the real meaning of Christmas and know that Jesus is the heart of this magical celebration.

So how do I do that?

Looking after their hearts

When my older children were younger we would prepare for the festive season by attending Sunday school and reading a chapter of Luke in the Bible a day.

We made nativity scenes and told the story of the birth of Jesus.

Often on Christmas day I would read to them from their children’s Bible all about the story of Jesus.

As my children grew older, these traditions faded and aside from my lonely nativity scene and a few Christimes carols there was very little to remind them of the true reason to celebrate.

A new beginning

After Hamish was born, it became important to me to once again share the true meaning behind Christmas and each year I’ve tried to include him so that he would understand that Christmas is so much more than just a day of gifts.

Last year was his first Christmas, at 2 years old, that I felt he could understand.

Last year I bought him a new Children’s Bible and we read the Christmas story before making a homemade advent spiral using some tree angels and a lot of imagination.

Each day we would move the Mary and Joseph up a bead and he would tell me it was nearly time for Jesus to be born.

But was this enough?

A heart for God

Would these simple acts over a month a year bring my child’s heart to God?

I was convinced I needed more and as I sat pondering this I came across the CBN Superbook advert on Facebook.

An invitation to experience the Bible like bever before.

For just R99 I could invest in :

  • A DVD combo with two stories (The First Christmas & The birth of John the Baptist)
  • Family discussion guide which help to open discussion and extend on the teachings behind Christmas time and how to apply the scriptural lessons in their little lives.
  • Stickers of the Superbook character

To order your own click here

Screen time

We were away the weekend Hamish recieved his DVD package and on our first Monday home I settled him just before nap time and told him we were going to watch the story of Jesus.

He was intrigued from the first minute. The characters, Chris, Joy and Gismo, are fun and relatable. Modern day kids just like him that set off on a big adventure to discover the Bible through animation.

Gizmo the lovable robot is Hamish’s favourite character and I was impressed that the Biblical character’s dialogue is mostly taken from scripture, whilst great care has been placed on the careful attention to detail within the illustrations.

Children love animated stories and I know how much knowledge Hamish picks up from the other animated stories he watches so I was certain he would walk away from this story understanding the birth of Jesus.

I was also sure he would have many question and was really greatful for the famiy discussion sheet that I pre read and assisted me to explain the story to his little heart.

About Superbook

The Superbook mission is to take the stories of the Bible to children of all ages and has been broadcast in over 90 countries and translated into 50 languages.

Superbook is created by an award-winning team of artists and storyteller, who have worked on some amazing Disney movies like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and Mulan.

Each episode invites you into the pages of the Bible to experience God’s word as never before through captivating animation videos.

Now, children of all ages can learn to apply scriptural principles to their daily lives by watching the biblical events unfold on a TV, and through the Superbook App on a computer,tablet or Phone.

The App is aimed at children 6 -12 years but Hamish who is 3 has been able to play some of the games.

We watch the videos, discover the heroes of the Bible, enjoy the daily devotions and have fun learning new fun facts.

You can download the Superbook App from Aapple App store, Google Play or Amazon Apps or for more information http://www.Superbook.CBN.com

A new Tradition

We will certainly be watching The first Christmas many times before Christmas and have added it to our Christmas traditions.

But

More than that, I now have a little boy who understands the true meaning behind Christmas time and I will be using the Superbook App, videos and activity books daily to build his heart and character.

Posted in Brands we love, Christmas

10 Affordable stocking fillers from Hasbro

Each year we search for affordable, good quality and entertaining toys to fill the kids Christmas stockings.

To help us, Hasbro have compiled a list of their 10 top ‘stocking filler’ ideas for 2019

These toys are perfect for Holiday gifting, on the go entertainment or as small spoils to keep the kids busy during the long December holidays.

Hasbro’s Top 10 stocking filler ideas

1· The Monopoly Deal Card Game is all the fun of the Monopoly game in a quick-playing card game ideal for on-the-go fun.

2· Have a blast with Play-Doh Colour Burst, it’s the classic non-toxic Play-Doh compound with an innovative way to mix and play.

3· It’s a real treat to experience the irresistibly fun Play-Doh Ice Pops ‘n Ice Cream Cones Assortment. Instead of a can, Play-Doh compound come in an airtight container shaped like an ice cream cone or ice pop.

4· Blast into big fun with the Nerf Microshots Fortnite series of collectible, mini-sized Nerf toy blasters, which includes replicas of the FORTNITE TS blaster, FORTNITE RL blaster and FORTNITE Llama blaster.

5· Look out for the Lost Kitties Mice Mania milk carton singles, which comes with a mouse or kitty figure, meme stickers, two hidden accessories and a collector’s sheet.

6· Kids can image new adventures with their favourite rescue birds-in-training with the Top Wing Single Figure Assortment. Each poseable 7-cm figure includes a snap-on ‘wings’ badge.

7· The 15-cm Power Rangers Beast Morphers figures feature multiple points of articulation and design.

8· The Marvel Figures assortment includes classic Marvel design. Create scenes from the Marvel Universe and imagine incredible adventures with Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man and Thor.

9· My Little Pony Cutie Mark Crew combines the worlds of My Little Pony and Equestria Girls. With a tropical vacation theme each blind bag includes a 4cm figure, beach-themed accessory, collector card and storage case.

10· Collect My Little Pony Equestria Girls Fashion Squad dolls to mix and match more styles. Each mini doll comes with two outfit pieces and an accessory to dress her up in her signature style.

With so many fun and affordable options to choose from your child’s stockings can hold an entire world of play this year.

Hasbro products are available from leading retailers including: Takealot.com, Makro, Toys R Us, ToyZone, Toy Kingdom, Game and Checkers.
Posted in Brands we love, Christmas

10 essential Christmas gifts for your baby from Chicco and Prima Baby.

With Christmas just around the corner shopping for quality baby toys that are both educational and entetaining can be an overwhelming and arduous task.

We have made it easy for you with a selection of the top 10 essential items this festive season from the trusted Chicco and Prima Baby brand.

1) CHICCO FIRST DREAMS MOBILE

A multi-tech mobile that brings a magical atmosphere into the nursery. Ten minutes of gentle classical music, alongside a diffused nightlight will sooth baby off to a peaceful sleep. With 4 removable plushies, the mobile is suitable for all wooden and travel cots, as well as co-sleepers. Available in gorgeous pastel pink or blue.

2) CHICCO BABY SENSES ANIMAL COTTAGE

The best way to get your child understanding shapes and colours, The Animal Cottage teaches animals as well as improving motor skills. Hugely popular with the global market due to its developmental innovation as well as entertainment value.

3) V-TECH BABY FIRST STEPS ACTIVITY WALKER

One of the most high-tech walkers on the market, The First Steps by V-Tech Baby has songs, sounds, lights and much more to encourage baby to walk with fun and entertainment.

4) DISNEY BABY 50CM MICKEY AND MINNIE PASTEL PLUSH

As soft and cuddly as a plush toy can get. Standing 50cm tall, these gorgeous dolls in pastel variations of Mickey and Minnie Baby are representatives of one of the best-loved baby labels in the world.

5) CHICCO MOVE & GROW TUMMY TIME PILLOW

Made by Boppy, leaders in the nursing pillow market, this memory foam tummy-time pillow has lots of entertainment for your child, with a book, mirror, textures and colours to keep their developing minds busy and active.

6) CHICCO BABY SENSES STACK ‘N FUN CUP

A great way to learn the alphabet whilst working on your child’s motor skills. The cups build a large tower with a hole down the middle that a ball drops into to collect in the base, which is a 4-piece puzzle. A great development toy for toddlers starting to grasp cause and effect.

7) CHICCO BABY SENSES FINGER PUPPET

One of few traditional finger puppets on the market, the Baby Senses Finger Puppet is unique in the sense that it has animals and textures on each finger and provides wonderful bonding time between parent and child.

8) DISNEY BABY MICKEY AND MINNIE FIRST ABILITIES 25CM PLUSH

Available in Mickey or Minnie, this plush toy contains various activities for your baby to engage with. A gorgeous gift that will instantly become their new best friend.

9) V-TECH BABY MY FIRST GIFT SET

A collection of V-Tech Baby toys in a great hamper type set that will blow your little ones mind. Consisting of 4 tech toys that act as entertainment whilst helping them reach milestones.

10) CHICCO MOVE & GROW HAPPY HIPPY WALKER

Another great walker from the Chicco stable, the Happy Hippy Walker is a fun, colourful and interactive way to encourage your child to take their first steps. With flowers and a cute face, the walker is a great gift for any child this Christmas.

The above toys can be found in selected stores including: Babies R Us, Takealot.com, Loot.co.za, Thekidzone.co.za, selected Kids Emporium stores, Hamleys, Lilliputs and others.
Posted in Brands we love

Busy Bean Christmas bucket review

This review was sponsored by Busy Bean- Kids Art & Craft Supplies and Activities. The opinions are my own.

Bear recieved a Busy Bean – Kids Art & Craft Supplies and Activities Christmas bucket yesterday and I had intended to show you one craft a day but both bear and I can’t resist a good craft project so when there’s a whole bucket of crafts you have to imagine that we going to get stuck right in.

Bear loved the bright Christmas coloured bucket and I love that we can reuse the bucket at the beach, to store craft supplies or as the perfect storage space for his decorations.

I’m also contemplating turning it into the elf’s house but bear won’t let me near the bucket yet 😂🤣

There are 5 crafts in the bucket and only one of the crafts ( the hat) was a little to hard for bear but an older child of about 4/5 years should manage this with a little mamma help.

You get a beaded elf ….which is great for fine motor skills, practicing that threading and sequencing skills. Bear loved this and needed very little help.

Next we made the elf door. Again he managed with me just cutting the one stick and directing him as to where to paste items.

There’s some lovely round Santa belly gift tags that require mom to cut out for little fingers. Older children will manage this without much assistance.

The wreath and candy cane decorations were bears favourite and he loved the tactile feel of the smooth foam and the soft pom poms. We got to practice that sequencing skill again trying to make the candy cane have a pattern. I cut the shapes for bear and he did all the pasting.

Lastly there are 3 stunning little wooly hats, that for some reason I just couldn’t make, so I used the tutorial on the website. Bear lost interest in this really quickly as he is a bit too young for this one so I sat ( happily) making little hats. It’s actually really easy to make but will need mom’s assistance. And in case you wondering why we only have 2 little hats….it’s because bear ran off with the green wool and a piece of toilet roll intended for the craft and dipped them both into his poster paint ….I’m still not sure what he was making 😂🤣

The directions are very easy to follow for each projects and you can find a tutorial for each on the website www.busybeanbuckets.co.za.

I loved that we can file each individually printed craft sheets to reuse again next year.

I absolutly love the Busy Bean products and this little bucket is the perfect Christmas eve gift to keep little fingers busy , for special times with grandparents or to take on holiday.

All items you need, except scissors are included.

Posted in Family Life

Give thanks – bringing magic back to Christmas.

Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I love the traditions and festivity. The food and the gifts. The family time and the hustle to make each year more special than the year before.

But one of the things I’m not always to keen on is the commercialism behind Christmas. I bulk at the mass production of cheap ornaments and Chinese imported decor.

So, I am always looking for something hand made or customised to add to our family celebrations.

Items special enough to hand down to my children to form new traditions in their own homes one day.

Give Thanks

As a self confessed memory keeper I love personalised items as these are usually chosen with love and care and because of this I always look at Give Thanks personalised gifts first.

Nelia and Leeanne have been my go to gift suppliers for the last 3 years. From a pregnancy announcement for Brent when we did our first scan for bear to my wedding decor, there is nothing I can dream up that they can’t recreate.

So, it’s no suprise that I turn to their website first when planning my Christmas gifts and decor each year.

(Because each item is custom made I try to place my orders early enough to ensure they are printed in time for Christmas and avoid any disappointment).

Christmas wish list

This year they have added to their already extensive range of products and here are my top 5 favourites for toddlers.

1. Christmas stocking

Every one needs a Christmas stocking and what is better than a stocking with your name on?

I ordered bears stocking 2 year ago and it was really hard to choose from the wide variety of designs. I finally settled on Rudolf but there are many other designs.

See my List of 100 fun stocking fillers for toddlers

2. Christmas bag

This little bag was also bought 2 years ago and I actually bought about 5 of them at the time. One for each of the little ones we knew.

What I love most about these treat bags is that they double as gift wrap and are easier for tiny fingers to open.

They are also reusable and great to store little toys and collectables.

This year I’ll be using it on Christmas eve to keep bears sweet treats in.

These also come in an assortment of designs that match perfectly with the theme of your stockings.

See 5 ways to reuse your mini Christmas bag

3. Christmas sack

I was so excited when I saw the Christmas mail sacks. I had wanted one for bear, mostly because I remember opening the huge big Christmas sacks at the bottom of my bed as a child.

I would rip each gift open as I pulled it out the sack.

For us this is also a wonderful way to save on wrapping and reduce our waste by allocating a personalised sack to each member of the family.

These sacks come in 3 sizes and I love this particular design as it would suit any theme I choose for Christmas over the years and also because of it’s timeless simplicity it’s an item that will grow with bear.

4. Christmas advent calendar

This little advent calendar has to be my favourite product this Christmas.

The small sack is a wonderful alternative to the chocolate box advent calendars.

The bag has draw strings so are easy to attach to a small hook and can be filled with a treat each evening.

It comes with a matching little purse that contains 24 numbered discs.

Your child can place a new disc into the front plastic pouch in the bag each morning.

It’s small enough to store away for the next year and I’ll be using the numbers to help bear to practice his counting.

See 25 alternatives to sweets in your advent calendar

4. Christmas apron

Bear fell in love with his Santa helper apron as soon as he saw it . The bright character designs on the front are appealing and resonate with Christmas cheer.

It has adjustable ties at the top making this suitable for children aged aprox 1 – 5 years old .

Easy to wash, just throw in with your normal load and perfect to keep little chef’s clean. We do alot of cooking over Christmas and bear will have many opportunities to use his special apron.

It was difficult getting bear to eventually take it off.

See Little bear’s Christmas cup cakes

5. Christmas elf

I wanted to try an elf on the shelf with bear but I knew he would want to cuddle and sleep with it so I ordered this hand knitted little elf for him.

They are avaliable in red and green and come with an adoption certificate.

All proceeds go to Granny Give Thanks. There is even a penguin that looks just as adorable.

Such a cuddly gift for a new baby or new Christmas friend for a toddler.

Bear has named his Elfie and as much as I had intended to put Elfie up for Christmas it looks like this cute little elf is our new reading buddy .

See 25 elf on the shelf ideas

These are just a few of the amazing products Give Thanks offer. To order your own Christmas magic or discover more of their products pop over to their website

Reference “FUNMAMMASA” and recieve a 10 % discount on your order.

Posted in Crafts

Make your own Christmas Stollen

A delicious Christmas stollen us one of my favourite deserts at a table.

This is a recipe I’ve used before.

You will need:-

1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup butter
1 packet of instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon seed
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup finely cut citron
1/2 cup sliced candied cherries
about 2 2/3 cups sifted all purpose flour

For the Powdered Sugar Icing

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
enough cream to make a thick paste
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

To make :-

Scald milk.

Add sugar, salt and butter. Cool to

lukewarm.
Mix yeast with 1 tablespoon sugar until liquid. Add to lukewarm milk. Stir.
Add whole eggs and egg yolks. Beat.

Add 3 cups flour. Beat well. Cover.
Let rise in warm place about 1 1/2hour or until doubled.

Add cardamon, raisins, citron, cherries and enough flour until dough pulls from side of bowl and is no longer sticky to the touch.

Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth.

Place in lightly greased bowl. Cover. Let rise about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk.

Divide dough into thirds. Use 1/3 for each stollen.

Roll on floured canvas into and 8×10 inch oval.

Spread with melted butter.

Press down center, fold over lengthwise.

Place in shallow greased baking pans or on greased cooky sheets. Brush with melted butter.

Let rise about 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes.

Frost with Powdered Sugar Icing. Decorate with cherries citron and blanched almonds.

Posted in Family Life

24 alternatives to sweets in your advent calendar

Advent calendars have long been a tradition in our home and the kids ( even the older ones) eagerly await the 1 December to see what we have chosen for them to count the days down with.

Last year I started looking at alternatives to the chocolate advent box. Mostly because the kids get so many sweet treats at Christmas time that I wanted their advent calendars to be a bit more exciting .

Which is why I was so eager to get bear an advent bag from Give Thanks Personalised Gifts.

These little bags are easy to hang on a cupboard or hook and contain a wallet with 24 round discs containing the numbers 1 -24 .

The outside of the main bag has a small plastic sleeve that allows you to slip a new number in each day and the little bag is big enough to hold a treat.

Here are 24 of the ideas I’m using in bear’s bag to make his advent gifts more exciting this year.

  1. Playdough kits in red and green
  2. Baking kit for gingerbread men
  3. Reading book of the nativity story
  4. Nativity set
  5. Mini puzzles with a Christmas theme
  6. Mini craft kits to make Christmas cards
  7. Christmas cd
  8. Christmas hat
  9. Christmas DVD story
  10. Christmas pictures to colour and crayons
  11. Personalised baubles for the tree
  12. Letter to Santa writing kit
  13. Magic elf door
  14. Cute Christmas theme t-shirt
  15. Christmas stickers
  16. Nativity theme felt board
  17. Large Beads to thread in red and green
  18. Key for Santa
  19. Santa ornament
  20. Christmas activity book
  21. Family brag book album
  22. Christmas socks
  23. Red and green slime
  24. A wooden reindeer

    Do you have any other ideas for me ?

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