Advent in our family…

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Are you finding that time is moving too fast this December? Maybe it always does, but this year there seems to be less time somehow. It’s probably due to the fourth Advent Sunday falling on Christmas Eve and there only being three weeks this Advent in which to do all the crafts, reading and baking that we enjoy.  I don’t feel we have done as much as I would have liked to and it’s almost Christmas!! Can it be!?! As I mentioned in my last post, I base our activities around the four weeks of Advent and having one week missing feels like a loss, strange as it may sound! I will have to make up for this in the Twelve Days of Christmas, methinks…

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We have just entered the third week of Advent:

“The third light of Advent is the light of beasts,
All await the birth, from the greatest to the least”

We made some bird food today, combining lard and various seeds and grains and pressing them into festive moulds. We plan to hang them up with red ribbons tomorrow once they have properly set.

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We also strung some popcorn and cranberries onto thread to make the bird feeding station more festive and hopefully the birds might like to have a nibble 🙂

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I have a lovely pattern for making felt reindeer that we would like to try from this inspiring Christmas craft book. I think that’s all we will have time for this week as we all still have some Christmas elving to do too!

Last week, we did a couple of super easy crafts based around plants:

The second light of Advent is the light of plants,
Plants that reach up to the sun and in the breezes dance.

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Every Christmas my eldest daughter and I used to make heart shaped ornaments (using cranberries and wire) to hang in the front windows of our previous home, but since moving, we haven’t. As we are properly settled now, we decided that we missed making them, so we made a couple.

 

The girls made some simple pomanders with oranges and cloves, which we have hung up by our back door and make a beautiful addition to our decorations.

 

We also made pretty ornaments for our Christmas tree, using beans, pulses, spices and plenty of glue (!)

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I found the idea in LandLove Magazine and my youngest daughter particularly enjoyed this rather messy, but enjoyable craft. We cut the shapes out of card, punched a hole in the top, so they could be hung up, and glued everything on. My eldest daughter only made one because she really wanted to play by herself, so it was good that my youngest had something to keep her amused for a while and I joined in of course 🙂

 

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My eldest likes to play on her own more now that she is getting older and her sister sometimes feels sad about it….that’s when crafts come in handy! 🙂

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It just happened to be frosty for a couple of nights last week, so we made an ice window. I placed a few flowers and leaves in a bucket of water with some string hanging down into the water and overnight Jack Frost performed his magic 🙂 Sadly they don’t last long here, but we did enjoy the sun shining through it all morning.

We also went on a couple of excursions – Tis the season :-).

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We attended the Glow Wild Festival at Wakehurst Place on Thursday evening. Friends had recommended it to us and we were not disappointed! It was gorgeous! Totally magical, enchanting, wonderful! We arrived at 5pm and you have a half hour slot in which to start the magical journey around the garden.

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Each family receives a lantern at the beginning – the girls chose purple – and you are led around the garden by a myriad of beautiful willow lanterns and sculptures.

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We also walked around a river lit by fiery torches with Indian style music playing in the background. It would have felt like India, but for the cold weather!

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It was an extraordinary sight and must have taken a great deal or time and effort to organise and set up. The photos cannot do it justice, but I wanted to share them anyway.

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The lake was full of glowing water lilies and we cooed at all the animal sculptures.

 

It certainly brought out the child in me – I felt so excited and transported back to childhood wonder. That is something very special 🙂

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Trees and snowflakes were also projected onto the Mansion house -it was so magical!

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And at the end, there was a lovely little spot for sharing hot chocolates, roasted chestnuts and toasting the best marshmallows ever 🙂 A delight for all the senses.

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We loved it so much, we went back with my mother on Saturday to revisit it. I think we shall bring my mother next year as she was visibly impressed and could do with a bit of wonder in her life 🙂

 

On Sunday, we met up with our dear friends at Polesden Lacey in Surrey. We meet up every year on the third weekend of Advent and always enjoy a lovely day out.

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The house was decorated for Christmas and we enjoyed exploring it and imagining how the sociable Mrs Greville would have lived and entertained there.

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The girls especially enjoyed looking at the servants quarters and dressing up 🙂  My youngest particularly loved the housekeeper outfit, complete with key chain! (reminscent of Mrs Medlock’s uniform in The Secret Garden)

 

We were fascinated by the old gadgets including an old Singer sewing machine and the rather antiquated and heavy vacuum cleaner!

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We put up both of our Christmas trees  (we have two artificial trees – one from when the children were little – that is now in our family area at the back with all our home made ornaments on it – and this taller one, which we treated ourselves to last year and is much more realistic. We rarely have a real tree as we often go away before the New Year and it doesn’t seem worth sacrificing a tree for such a short time) and spent some time decorating them and adding the lights (never my favourite part!!!), It feels so festive now with all the twinkling lights filling the house.

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On the Nature Table, things are filling up. Joseph and the donkey have joined Mary. Plants abound and animals are arriving this week and will soon be followed by the shepherds and inn keeper, in time for Christmas Eve.

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My daughters’ Nature Tables in their rooms are also filling up and they delight in the ‘elves’ bringing them a new addition every night.

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On both, Mary looks like she is laying on the donkey – but she is perfectly comfortable I am told! 😉

We are going to have a little pre-Christmas gathering of friends here on Friday afternoon – a mulled apple juice, spicy biscuit kind of thing with womenfolk and their children – craft group members present and past 🙂 Everyone is bringing something, so the catering should be minimal. I feel grateful to have the space to host a gathering of this sort. We shall no doubt make a few biscuits, mince pies and sweet treats 🙂

We are also taking our first trip to the cinema on Friday morning to see White Christmas. My eldest has wanted to go to the cinema for a little while now and I have been finding it difficult to find a film that will suit both my daughters. They watch some DVD’s at home – ones I know will be suitable – but going to see a film in the cinema (where there is no escape from the noise and action) is another thing altogether. My youngest particularly takes things in very deeply and can get nightmares from the wrong sort of film (my eldest was the same, but has outgrown it  somewhat), so I am very wary about taking them to see a film that I don’t know. They know this film well, so I think it will be the best start we can make to our cinema-going. It is a dementia friendly viewing, so we will no doubt be the youngest there, but that suits us fine. We are looking forward to it!

Well that’s my round up of the past week or so. I am still working on the little teddy bears….I decided to remake them from scratch as I wasn’t able to keep a tight enough tension on 2mm needles, but I think I have got the hang of it now (more or less!) I have been enjoying some cosy late-night knitting. watching Christmas DVD’s and they should be ready for the New Year, if not before. Wish me luck!!

Before I go (because I doubt I will make it here before then), I would like to wish you ALL a very Merry Christmas!!! Wishing you a peaceful, joy filled time with a generous sprinkling of magic! 🙂 

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Joining the crafty folks at Frontier Dreams Crafting On

8 thoughts on “Advent in our family…

  1. Merry Christmas to you, too! I got your comment in an e-mail, but it seems to have evaporated from blog. 😀 Your ice window is lovely. We are expecting cold weather on Christmas day, so that might be a great time to make one (or two). Your excursions do look fun. I think we could all do with a little more wonder, you know? I see the Advent calendars in your pictures. Did those come from Wynstones?

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    • Thank you! Yes think you can get them from there. We bought them from our school shop a few years ago but with a bit of blue tack they are still going strong 😀Yes we do indeed need some wonder in our lives, especially us adults who can be too busy to remember to ‘smell the roses’ Ice windows are fab- enjoy the 12 days of Christmas ❤️

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  2. You’ve made me feel better, thought the time was going quickly due to concentrate on GCSE stuff but maybe the lack of weekends also had a play in it, love all your Christmas crafts, esp the seed decorations took me back to junior school can remember being given a ceramic tile and lots of seeds and shells to create a pattern with, loved doing that. Have a wonderful Christmas xx

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  3. What a nice post, full of ideas and inspiration! I am going to use the idea of the beans/pulse/spice decorations, for sure. And also the movie suggestion is very appreciated. From time to time, my children watch very short cartoons and have never watched a “real” movie yet, so I am glad you gave your positive opinion.
    Such a lovely and suggestive walk you had. I wish I could offer such a nice experience to my children too. Ice window….maybe I could try for one in July…

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    • Ah thanks so much Chiara. I am planning to write a list of films that we find suitable for young/sensitive children, so watch this space 🙂 White Christmas is a very old film with Bing Crosby in it. My girls love the old musicals. There is a bit about the war right at the beginning, but it is pretty light hearted throughout. Yes of course! it is warm where you are – must be strange seeing ice and snow on other blogs! Do your children know Pippi Calzelunghe? It’s on youtube in various languages. We watch it from time to time in German. It is the original version from many years ago (when I was a girl or perhaps before?!) made in Sweden. Do you know it? My children love it and I know it’s in italian too. Just a thought as it’s such fun and nothing scary. It looks like you give your children lots of wonderful experiences already 🙂

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      • I will wait for the list 🙂
        No, for me it is still soooo strange to have a warm Christmas. We live in SA only (or already) for the last 5 years, and I am not used to the difference in season yet.
        I do know Pippi Calzelunghe, but I have not read the book to the children yet. We did start reading Astrid Lindgren’s books (Tomten and Lotta), but not Pippi yet. I am worried it might give them ideas for being naughty :)). Just kidding. They are still pretty young, it might almost be time for my oldest.
        A presto

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      • Oh yes of course. They are very young. We didn’t watch anything until my eldest was 7yrs and had to move house, I borrowed a few videos from friends to keep them amused but only a couple were suitable for my then 7 and 5 year old. I would wait a bit for Pippi in that case 🙂 There is all the time in the world. DVDs help when the children are unwell but want to be entertained and there is only so many books you can read!

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