In the second week of Advent

The second week of Advent has just passed and we now have three candles lit on our Advent wreath and the sense of anticipation is mounting!

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As I mentioned here, each week of Advent has a different theme: the first week was the week of stones, crystals, shells and minerals. The second week was that of plants. To that end:

I added golden hazenuts, little shiny toadstools, silvery pine cone trees, a pot of paper flowers and bits of greenery to the nature table.

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Mary has moved several steps forward along her star path.

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This picture was taken in the evening on the third Sunday of Advent: we light the number of candles for the weeks of Advent and move Mary forward one star, whilst singing this song.

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This week, I also made our door wreath – recycling greenery that previously hung over doorways and from beams at our School Fayre and adding some homemade dried orange slices and rosehips from our local park.

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I also purchased a poinsettia, which is a must for my Advent experience. I have such happy memories of having a poinsettia at home as a child and ever since. I also treasure my candle bridge, as it reminds me of the German Christmases of my childhood and gazing in wonder at the candle bridges shining merrily from almost every window of the houses and flats I passed on my evening walks with my grandparents. They feel quintessentially German to me and I love them for it! There is such a feeling of  nostalgia for Christmases past at this time; the smells, the sights; the tastes; they all evoke childhood memories of cosy, magical times.

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This week I made sure we read this version of the Legend of the Poinsettia, The Christmas Eve Tree and The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree.

I put all our garlands up too. I use artificial garlands, purchased last year from a Garden Centre and have woven fairy lights through them and added an assortment of dried oranges, cinammon sticks, golden pine cones, red ribbons and artificial berries.

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I really love them. They feel so festive and look quite naturalistic too. We have one on the mantlepiece and two over our large doors at the back of our house.

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We always try to do a craft of some sort based on the theme of the week, but since my daughters were busily making gifts for their class secret santa, we made do with making plant shaped gingerbread biscuits;  in this case,  trees and holly.

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We used Khorasan (Kamut) flour, which my youngest daughter seems to tolerate and we find it works as a good substitute for wheat in this kind of recipe. They were spicy, with a good crunch; just as gingerbread biscuits should be. 🙂

The recipe is as follows:

120g flour

1/2 tsp of cinammon, ginger and bicarbonate of soda

30g unsalted butter

60g coconut sugar

1 tbl molasses and 1 tbl date syrup ( or 2tbl of one of these)

  • Sieve the flour, cinammon, ginger and bicarbonate of soda together.
  • Melt the butter, sugar and syrup together in a pan on a low heat.
  • When slightly cooled, add the melted butter mix to the dry ingredients and give a good stir, adding a teaspoon or two of cold milk or water if necessary to make the dough come together.
  • Roll the dough out between two sheets of baking paper to about half a centimetre thickness. We did this warm, but it said to chill the dough for half an hour. We were impatient for our gingerbread biscuits so couldn’t wait!
  • Cut out lots of lovely shapes
  • Bake the biscuits in a preheated oven at 160 C for about 7 minutes,depending on thickness and size of biscuit. Tiny biscuits only take 4-5 mins.

Yum! 

Below are the Secret Santa presents my daughters are making for their classmates. My eldest daughter’s boy classmate absolutely loves tigers so she wanted to make him a tiger hand puppet. She is so in love with it, she would rather keep it herself! But I remind her why she made it; to bring joy to this boy and she can always make herself one at another time.

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My youngest daughter is making a little gingerbread man ornament for her girl classmate. I helped her with the face as it was a bit fiddly for her.  She will finish it this afternoon as they break up from school tomorrow – hurrah! Can’t wait for a break from the early morning wake ups and the school run.

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For their teachers, they tied two clay dove ornaments (that they cut out last week), onto shiny red ribbon and also made little candy canes from two glittery pipe cleaners twisted together (that St Nicholas brought them last week). Simple things, but made with love. 🙂

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As for me, I am only managing to do one long post a week, as I am busy making, baking and writing my Christmas letters a lot of the time. My favourite kind of busy 🙂

Last week, I started another one of my little cushions that I make well deserving friends 😉 This friend was born only four days after my eldest and they have known each other all their young lives. I was planning to make it for her birthday, but with all the birthday preparations for my eldest daughter’s birthday and party, it went on the back burner. I now have a deadline to work to, for when we next meet, so that has got me motivated. I love the tree fabric at the back ( perfect for the second week of Advent 😉 ).

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I have also been asked by my sister to make bunting for her four children for Christmas. I finally bought the fabric on Friday, after much deliberation. I do so hope they like it. I put quite a bit of thought into it, so fingers crossed! I have almost sewn all the triangles together (except for one set). Now I just need to sew them onto some bias binding and hopefully they will be ready for our family get together this weekend.

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For the eldest fourteen year old girl

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For a 12 year old boy. He wanted his nickname on it and some emojis!

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For  10 and 8 year old boys who have a forest themed room

As for my making for my own daughters, here are their Phoebe Mice in progress. I sit down for a couple of hours every evening to work on them and I am hoping with steady progress, that they will be ready and waiting for my daughters on Christmas morn 🙂

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I hope you too are enjoying some festive crafting. Joining Nicole for KCCO.

Peace and Joy to you all. *

 

 

 

 

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