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Month: December 2016

A day in the life of #2 Admiring the Christmas lights

A day in the life of #2 Admiring the Christmas lights

The one thing that always bugs me about winter is the short days! We like to get outside every day, but during the winter it just feels like you blink and before you know it the sun has set and everything is covered in darkness. It’s no wonder that it can get the better of people! I should know it, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) has often been a steady partner of mine through the winters, touch wood I haven’t felt it this year! But I truly feel for those who suffers under the dark cloud that is SAD, Karen from twotinyhands has written a lovely heartfelt post on the subject, if you yourself have SAD, or know someone who does then I encourage you to pop over and have read.

As I mentioned we like to get out of the house every day, go to groups, get some fresh air and catch some sunlight if we should be so lucky! In the winter months, with a baby, our prime window of opportunity is limited seeing as the naps take up a good chunk of it at either end. Sometimes I go out and let Elliot nap in the sling, but he seems to sleep the best at home (plus mommy does appreciate the peace and quiet of naptimes too!) so winter for me is tricky! Especially January and February I find can be really tough, but I try and find the best in every season (some definitely easier than others) for the winter months December is my shining beacon of light! Come 1st of December and everything changes! The dark afternoons are turned in to magical outings with sparkly lights and the feel of Christmas warms you to the core.

Elliot loves the sparkly lights! Luckily we have quite a few houses in our neighbourhood that have gone all out on Christmas lighting! So Elliot and I have now made a little tradition of going out after his afternoon nap and as the sky darkens we walk around and “oooh” at the beautiful lights. The other day as we where returning on the train from having visited the in laws in Bridport, I thought it would be nice to walk around Lancaster and see the Christmas Decorations before we headed home. As expected Elliot enjoyed them too and it was a nice way to shake off the rather long journey on train, having been predominantly sat down for 5 hours!

J and I are really enjoying seeing the world through Elliot’s eyes, everything is just so magical and it truly makes every day in to little adventures. Now all we need is a bit of snow and everything would be perfect!

What outdoor activities do you get up to in the winter months?

For other examples of Elliots everyday adventures  check out – a day in the life of #1

Country Kids

Rocking Motherhood

Rocking Motherhood

Thanks to Lucy from Lucy’s Locket I found out about White Camellias new # initiative “Rocking motherhood” its simple really, list 10 reasons why you’re rocking motherhood!

Rocking motherhood
Out and about with my happy boy!

But is it really that simple? I found myself struggling to think of 10 reasons! Now is that because I’m failing as a mother, I don’t think so, but I do think that a lot of the times we, ladies especially, find it easy to point out our mistakes and imperfections – whether it be with our looks, wits or parenting skills, but asked to compliment yourself and “BAM” you hit the invisible wall! Or atleast I did to begin with.

Rocking motherhood
Elliot loves the playgroups and all the new toys!

That is why I think this #rockingmotherhood is great! It has forced me to sit down and reflect and compliment myself. Something I really want to get better at! To focus on the positives and let go, our atleast minimise the negativity. So here goes, 10 reasons why I rock as a mum, we will start in the lighter end of the spectrum:

  1. I do a mean Turkey impression that has Elliot in tears every time! No seriously I’ve even maintained my turkey neck aka double chin just for dramatic effect! Jokes aside, being able to laugh at yourself and goof around, be it at home or in public! As long as it puts a smile on my boys face I don’t care.
  2. We go places almost every day, Elliot and I, admitted sometimes it just as much a sanity saver for mummy, but we go to baby groups, bounce and rhyme and all sorts! He’s not even 1 and he already has more hobbies than his Mum!
  3. I have yet to forget to pack any baby essentials before we go out, despite massive baby-brain! (I know I probably just jinxed it and will soon find myself smack in the middle of M&S with a Poonami to tackle and no spare clothes or nappies!)
  4. I follow my child. I love being a mum and he is the single most important human being in the world to me! I follow his lead, if he needs extra cuddles and feeds during the night I don’t mind, I’ll sleep again one day I’m sure! But for now it’s about making sure he’s happy and feeling safe 24/7.
  5. I have taken multi tasking to a whole new level! BM (Before Motherhood) I thought I was being awesome when managing baking cake, sorting tea, writing the grocery list for the week and tidying all in one happy mix. Now add whilst breastfeeding/ singing nursery rhymes and/or wearing a baby! Now if that doesn’t make one feel like super-mom I don’t know what will!
  6. I have mastered the art of international travel with my baby on my own! Just me, him a sling and a ton of luggage. If you thought travelling BM was exhausting, well no one knows exhaustion like a sleep deprived mum trying to entertain/feed/juggle baby while frantically powerwalking to the gate before it closes! Read more on the subject here and here 🙂
  7. I share almost everything with Elliot, not on an emotional “what is troubling mummy today” kinda level, but in the sense that I bring him with me everywhere I go and by having him in the sling he’s sees what I see and gets to interact with me and the people around us, it’s wonderful sharing my life with him.
  8. I bake a lot – true he might not appreciate it yet, but one day I hope he will love the fact that he comes home from school to a cake fresh out of the oven or freshly baked rolls on a Sunday morning. Latest cake-creation can be found here.
  9. I set a goal to Breastfeed for at least 6 months and now at 10 months we are still going strong and I love all the milky cuddles and the awesome feeling I get from knowing that I’ve nurtured my little Pudding into what is now quite a heavy little boy. The female body is amazing!
  10. Last, but not least I’m patient. Now I’ll admit I asked J for help on this last one, I was running out of praise! The first thing that popped in to his mind was patience. As he puts it I’m so patient with the little guy, whatever mood he is in or however hard he is to get to fall asleep I will always be there by his side and ride the storm with him.
Rocking motherhood
Funtime celebrating a 1st Birthday

this has been such a joy to write! And I hope others will join in. I’d love to hear these ladies thoughts on the matter: Karen from twotinyhand, Angela from lifemotherhoodandeverything and Emma from Thenonperfectparents -what are your 10 Reasons? Look forward to reading/watching your replies.

Rules

  1. Thank the blogger that tagged you and link to their blog.
  2. List 10 things you believe make you a good mother.
  3. Tag 3 – 5 bloggers to join in the #RockingMotherhood Tag.
  4. Grab the #RockingMotherhood badge and add it to your post or sidebar.
Rocking motherhood
Elliot enjoying getting messy at Creation Station

Hope you enjoyed the read and the random selection of Elliot Cuteness! Snippets from our everyday life. Being a mum is great!

RockingMotherhood

Pink Pear Bear
Tammymum
Twin Mummy and Daddy
Visiting the Jurrasic Coast

Visiting the Jurrasic Coast

This weekend has been spent in Bridport visiting Elliots Grandma on J’s side of the family. It’s been several months since Elliot last saw his Grandma so it was a lovely to see how he just instantly warmed to her and his Bobbin (that’s what we call Elliots Bonus Grandpa) happily playing peekaboo and showing off his newest skill: crawling! We spent the Sunday enjoying the beautiful coast of Bridport.

It really is incredible to experience the difference in landscape and weather travelling from the north to the south. We have been so lucky with the weather, and when you look at the pictures it’s hard to believe they where snapped in December!

Firespiral woven wrap
Enjoying a sling cuddle while Elliot had a little nap!

We walked around Bridport Harbour, walking along the promenade and along the Jurrasic coast. The Coast line was filled with perfectly rounded rocks, like little eggs – something to do with the tide and how the rocks are transported up and down the coast, or so J told me, he is quite the knower of nature, geography and random trivia! J is excellent company on walks and all this trivia is hopefully something Elliot will enjoy too when older, as well as rock collecting! (Albeit I remember my mom swearing at me and my rock collection…probably because she was the one having her pockets full of rocks at the end of the day!)

It almost looks like an Egg from the Jurassic era!

It was a beautiful day, and to finish the outing, we found a lovely playground situated along the old railline in easy walking distance from the coast. It was great and I can imagine Elliot enjoying it even more when he is older, it’ll definitely get revisited!

Station Playground Bridport
Is this safe mommy?
Station Playground Bridport
First ever ride down a slide!
Station playground Bridport
Just chilling on Daddy

After a day outside, we spent the afternoon at Grandmas having a little early Christmas celebration, as we will be in Denmark come the 24th/25th! Getting a preview into the excitement that will fill Elliots day come Christmas was wonderful, he is just such a happy baby.

Christmas 2016
Someone liked his Pressie!

How have you spent your weekend? Any outdoor adventures? xx

Country Kids

Mini Christmas Puddings

Mini Christmas Puddings

Last weekend I hosted what could best be described as a little bake-athon with one of my mummy friends. We had been real clever and invited our other halves to take part aka watch the babies! (and eat cake) This was brilliant and we really got quite a bit of Christmas baking done. Amongst our creations where these mini Christmas Puddings! I absolutely love the look of them and they are quite tasty too. We used a cake-pop mold to bake little round chocolate sponges, but really there are so many options, for instance you could make confectionary instead – I imagine Nougat and Marcipan would be a great combo!
But back to the cake pops, these are so simple to make and a hit with kids (other halfs and babies) too. Once the cakes had cooled we covered them in melted dark chocolate, left them to set and then I decorated them with white chocolate and Holly/Berry sprinkles.

Mini Christmas Puddings

Recipe Mini Christmas Puddings

The Sponge

  • 100g Plain flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs Cocoa Powder
  • 50g soft butter
  • 1,5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Egg

chocolate cover

  • 200g Dark Chocolate
  • 1 white chocolate “pen”/100g white chocolate

Mini Christmas Puddings

This recipe should be enough for about 20 Cake pops. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Grease your Cake pop mould. In a bowl sieve the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder – set aside. Whisk together butter and sugar, add the egg and vanilla extract, continue whisking until light and fluffy. Slowly add flour-mix. Add mix into piping bag and pipe into cake-pop mould. Bake for approx 20-25 min. Cool off and remove from mould. Melt the dark chocolate (I melt chocolate over a hot “water bath”) coat the cakes and let the chocolate set. Once set melt the white chocolate, add it to a piping bag. Pipe out in whichever pattern you desire, I wanted these to look like Christmas Puds, now either leave to set or decorate with sprinkle. Enjoy!

Mini Christmas Puddings

Just like I did last week with the Honey Cakes, I thought these mini treats would make for a good Hostess gift. Just wrap them in cellophane and put some glitter on and there you go a nice homemade gift.

What Christmas treats have you been baking?

 

One Messy Mama
CookBlogShare
DIY: Personal Christmas Cards

DIY: Personal Christmas Cards

Every Christmas I love sending out Christmas cards to family and friends, to me the Christmas Card is more than just the generic “Merry Christmas”, in my family we’ve always had a tradition of the Christmas card being a way to sum up the year past and talk about hopes, dreams and plans for the year comming. I feel it’s even more important now that we live so far away from our families, even J’s parents are a good 6 hour drive away, his aunt is in NZ and I even have one sister living in Sweden! For us it’s a way to keep them up to date, the old fashioned way, slow mail! No “.coms” or snappy post, just a handwritten letter. This year I wanted to make it even more personal, and what better way than to get my little smiler dressed in his Christmas jumper for a little bit of “modelling”

Christmas jumper baby
Always so happy (And almost crawling eek!)
Christmas tree jumper baby
Good thing he doesn’t know they are for opening…yet!

 Once I had the pictures I used the app “canva” to edit and add text to the pictures and then I just went to the nearest shop that offered self-service photo print. It was super easy I just plugged in my phone and it opened my picture folder to pick and choose what I wanted. I probably could have just written a letter on the back of the pictures, but it didn’t feel finished. Off to the craft section!

DIY Christmas cards
A selection of this years Christmas Cards!

Bought a packet of readycut cardboard, a glue stick and envelopes. To decorate the cards I just used what Christmassy bits I already had – you could use gift-wrap, glitter, gifttags just as long as its festive! I used these cute stocking shaped gift tags and cut hearts out from giftwrap and Christmas trees out from leftover  cardboard.

What you need:

  • printed pictures with a Christmas theme
  • cardboard
  • glue stick
  • scissor
  • gift wrap, gift tags or similar
  • envelopes

it was quite budget friendly. To print the photos was £2.70, the cardboard was £1.50, glue £1 and envelopes £1. The rest I already had in the house. Now we just need to get them posted so they can arrive before Christmas Day.

What crafty projects have you been working on for December? I’d love to see pictures of it all! Feel free to tag me on Instagram and I’ll send some Christmas cheer your way!

Two Tiny Hands
Twin Mummy and Daddy
One Messy Mama
Danish Honey Cakes

Danish Honey Cakes

One of my favourite Christmas treats have to be Honey cakes! Now if I was in Denmark I’d probably just go to the local bakery and pick some up, but that wasn’t really an option. So what do you do when you’re just craving Honey cakes! Well you bake them yourself!

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Now the traditional Honey cake, also known as Lebkuchen if your German, is a lengthy process  – you have to make part of the dough 8 weeks before you need it! Now with a baby that kind of foresight and planning is just unrealistic. One day I’d love to try and make them the traditional way though, as it does make for an extra yummy Honey cake! The very best of them, in my opinion, are made in the southern parts of Denmark in a little town called Christiansfeld, famous for its Honey cakes like Grasmere is famous for its Ginger Bread. If you ever find yourself in that part of the world do yourself a favour and take a detour, I promise they are worth it!

But seeing as I’m neither 2 months in advance nor situated in the southern parts of Denmark, I’ve Thankfully got a recipe that can be made in one day, it’s not as good, but it’s still pretty darn good! (I’ve had it tried and tested by J and he vouches for it 100%)

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Honey Cakes (Danish Lebkuchen) 

  • 450g of Honey
  • 450g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 tsp Ground Cardamom
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 10g of fresh yeast
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate Soda
  • 200g of dark chocolate
  • 150g white chocolate (alternatively use white icing pens)

Melt the honey in a spacious pot. Mix the flour with spices and baking soda. Stir in the honey. Stir the yeast into the egg yolk. Add the yolk/yeast mix to the dough and allow it to rest 1-2 hours at room temperature.

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Roll out the dough, roughly 1 cm thick. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter (or any other shape for that matter) continue till all the dough is used up.

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Bake them at 180 degrees C. for about 10 min. Leave them to cool. Once cooled, Brush the cakes with melted chocolate and decorate with melted white chocolate or white icing, I used white chocolate. The Honey Cakes can be split and merged with apricot or orange marmalade to add a little extra to it. Store in a well sealed box.

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I wrapped some of the Honey Cakes in cellophane to give as little Christmas hostess gifts. I always find that homemade pressies (especially the edible kind) are well received! Now if you’re in the mood for more Christmassy bakes you should check out my recipe for Danish Rice Porridge and Christmas Pancakes!

One Messy Mama
Two Tiny Hands
Mummy in a Tutu
The Choices We Make…

The Choices We Make…

There is no perfect way to be a a good mother, each situation is unique, each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children… What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply.

There is something that has been playing on my mind for a while. You see I didn’t realise this when I was expecting Elliot, but when you become a mom you don’t “just” become a mom, you also become a member of the Parent club, willingly or not. But it doesn’t end there, questions arise… what kind of mom do you want to be? Who do you look up to? How have you chosen to raise your child? Have you chosen at all or are you winging it?  This “Parent club” is not always one happy supportive community, sometimes it can be ever so busy labelling each other or themselves, judging one another. As Lucy’s Locket puts it:

…when we label ourselves it is often the stereotype that is conjured up in the imagination of those who don’t know us.

Sleeping baby
My little boy all newborn and gorgeous

Its been playing on my mind because I myself have been guilty of doing it! I’m not proud to admit that before I felt like I had found my footing as a mum, back when I was very much still in a state of constant survival mode, I would find myself comparing, labelling and I’m sad to admit judge too. I think I judged because I didn’t know any better, because I was afraid that if what others did was different, then maybe what I was doing was wrong? Now that I feel out of the fog of early days with a newborn, I’ve thankfully started to see things differently! We can’t all be doing the same because (news flash) we are all different and so are our babies, I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that our babies are in fact tiny humans and just like us they have different personalities, different likes and dislikes.

Stretchy Wrap babywearing
Newborn Elliot in stretchy wrap

So lets take a look at me! What labels could we stick on me? Now if I look at me I think some might call me a “Hippie mum” or label me an “Attachment parent”. Honestly I don’t mind! as long as it’s not accompanied with judgement or stereotypes, based on ideas more than the facts. We don’t have to agree on everything, as long as we agree that we all put the welfare of our children first. I think stereotypes and “negative labels” stem from ignorance or shall we say lack of insight to the other persons life. So here is our story: When I was pregnant I had every intention of reading books on how to raise a child – what to expect and such. I like to be prepared, but for some reason I never got around to it. Work got in the way, and then once on maternity leave, laying in all my whalesome glory binging Netflix got in the way. Today I’m quite glad I didn’t dive into all the books out there, as I fear some of those books might have made me feel like I was failing as a mum (Read more than I was already convincing myself I was). Turns out my baby didn’t remember to download the manual on how to be a ‘good baby’ and eat on set times and sleep through at 6 months or whatever other lovely snippets I’ve found in various parenting books and pamphlets. My baby woke hourly to begin with, he was pretty much attached to my boobs 24/7 and at 10 months he is still not sleeping through the night. I am not trying to raise my child following some dogma, or  by the rules of a self-proclaimed parenting experts advise. So far I have raised my child following my gut! The choices I’ve made have been because it felt right, and works for our family.

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10 months and rocking the double chin and cheeky grin!

So what works for our family? Here goes: We co-sleep, I breastfeed, I wear my baby in a sling (J has a buckle carrier) and we try and follow Elliots lead when it comes to weaning, we’ve not gone full on BLW as a combo works for us. We’ve basically followed Elliots lead on it all. As I said this wasn’t a conscious decisions, we co-sleep because he would only sleep on me or close to me when he was newborn (thank you to the person that told me about the 4th Trimester!) and now at 10 months as he still wakes for feeds during the night, I honestly can’t see myself getting a better nights sleep if he was in a different room, especially seeing as he now refuses a dummy – he only wants the real deal, not even a bottle will do, much to my dismay, believe me I’ve tried! But there comes a time (after you’ve ordered a dummy all the way from the states because of its alleged magical abilities, and then it arrives and mostly looks like a tiny willy! Like what the actual F***!) when you have to stop trying and accept defeat. I breastfeed because it’s convenient and it gives him comfort and for now I’m happy with that. When I had Elliot all I thought was I hope I make it to 6  months of breastfeeding, I didn’t plan to continue, but now 10 months on it just feels natural to me. That’s the way it’s been with our choices so far, it has felt right.

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Now I love, love, love Baby wearing, In my opinion the sling is magic! It allows me to get on with things whilst keeping my curious boy happy. Honestly he has grown so fast in these 9 months, I’m just happy to get all the slingy cuddles I can get, before I know it that time will be over! I didn’t know I would love baby wearing, at first it was out of desperation! Despite having bought an expensive travel system Elliot couldn’t have cared less, he hated not beeing on me and would scream and cry if I hadn’t magically managed to get him to sleep and then transferred into the Pram – Only to have to constantly be moving, seeing as he woke so easily. I quickly learned that it was a lot less stressful for me to be out and about if I just carried him in the sling. If only I had known before we bought the silly expensive pram!

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My happy boy! At 6 months

I made my choices so far because they’ve worked for us, simple trial and error. Like with our bedtime routine, I tried putting Elliot down in his own crib, he just wasn’t happy about it one bit, and so we co-slept, first out of necessity and now because it works and feels right, if it’s not broke and all that. That’s pretty much the story of many of my choices:

Happy baby = Happy mum

So what am I trying to say? I guess as a new mum the parenting community can be quite overwhelming and it can be easy to pass judgment, I just wish we where better at just acknowledging each other and accepting that not one shoe fits all! And that we are all just trying our best to manoeuvre through this parenting jungle. I’m sending lots of love out to all new mammas, you’re doing a great job, and trust me it will get easier and one day you might even find yourself writing a blog about you and your family life because it’s just that damn great!

Is there something you wish you could have told yourself as a newbie mum? Have you found yourself judging or perhaps being at the receiving end?

Diary of an imperfect mum
Twin Mummy and Daddy
One Messy Mama