Simplifying Advent

The moment Talitha woke up this morning, before she’d even got out of bed, she asked in the dark (I was still in the bed beneath with Ophelia), “Mummy, can me and Effie open our Advent calendars?” In years past, I’ve made intricate calendars like this toilet roll tree, complete with an activity planned for each day and a Bible passage. This year, I spotted standard chocolate Advent calendars at a fundraising fair for Easton Jubilee Trust, a non-profit organisation my brother and my sister-in-law are involved in, and I thought, “Why not?” I’m absolutely certain the kids found these…

Finding “balance” and letting it go

I’ve had the word “balance” on my mind a lot recently, probably because the concept has felt elusive for a long time. I try to grab hold of it by making the most of naptime and planning our days the day before, making sure we have a good mix of days in and days out, parent initiated activities and free play. I sometimes successfully edge closer to it by going to bed on time. I strategise for balance by sending my kids to a childminder (both girls for three hours one day and just the toddler for three hours another).…

I didn’t grow up with Advent

I didn’t grow up with Advent. I may have mentioned this here before. My first December in England, nine years ago, I didn’t know what it was. My introduction came from my little cousin (who lives up north – and isn’t so little anymore!) showing me his Advent calendar. I’m guessing it was either left behind as a Catholic relic by the Protestant community I grew up in or it’s just one of those European traditions that didn’t translate to the Caribbean in great strength. In the last decade, I have fallen for Advent. I love the excitement it builds…

Toilet Roll Easter Bunnies

Here’s a fun little Easter craft Talitha and I did about a week before Ophelia was born. I’d started to find it difficult to motivate myself to do anything much and going out was not really happening either. Determined to make this happen for us, I laid out all the materials the night before. When she came downstairs, it was like Christmas! I’ve tried to start talking with her about Easter. Our faith is such an integral and important part of our lives, we want to honour our children by helping them to understand what and why we believe. While…

It’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas…already

The Christmas thing seems to be happening for us so much earlier this year. Usually I’d blame it on commercialism and certainly it was weird walking into The Co-operative today and seeing all the merry banners. However, other markers are ushering us into the season sooner than I expected. In an attempt to make this the year I don’t get ulcers stressing over last minute Christmas presents and the state of our bank account, I’ve been shopping gradually and putting things aside. Talitha’s presents are all done now, except for the stocking fillers, which we’re saying are from Santa. Which…

Hearts for Halloween – Lanterns of Hope for Those Living in …

Ignore the fact that these are possibly the wonkiest hearts you’ve ever seen. I am so pleased with myself for managing to carve a pumpkin, start to finish, on my own. I didn’t even grow up with Autumn or Halloween, friends. And getting bread sliced straight is an ongoing challenge. This is art. Last year I mentioned being a bit conflicted over Halloween. I’m not really there anymore. I can wholeheartedly say that we do not celebrate the true festival that Halloween is. We also do not embrace the scary side, even in fun. We do believe there are darker…

Observing Good Friday with a toddler

We made such a big fuss of Christmas around here that I’m actually a little embarrassed that I’ve let Easter sneak up on us when it’s such a significant part of the Christian calendar. Talking to Talitha about Jesus’ death and resurrection just wasn’t on my radar last year. I was in such a spiritual funk. But God has really has been doing some serious work in me since then (and is continuing – I certainly need it) and I’ve been feeling strongly that I want to somehow observe Good Friday with Talitha, even she doesn’t understand much of it…