A Mothers Ramblings: December 2017

Sunday, 31 December 2017

My 2018 Word Of The Year

I didn't have to think long about my word of the year, for 2018. It was obvious to me and as soon as I vocalised it, it felt right. I did think that I might need to try a few other words just in case this wasn't the right word for the year, but then I remembered my word for 2017 and realised that throughout the year I have been focusing and so it shouldn't be a surprise that the word came so easily to me.

Last year, my word of the year was Focus and I believe seeing that word every night before I fell asleep and every morning when I woke up and every time I went into my wardrobe seeing that word was perfect for me. It made me think more about what I was doing, what I was focusing on and what was important.

Which is why this year my word for the year is Family.

Family. My word of the year 2018

Family is what is most important to me and I know that if I remember that every day by seeing the word on my wardrobe door that I will intentionally do things to strengthen my family.

And what more could I want for 2018?

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Meal Plans Are Changing!

I've been thinking recently about meal plans and saving money from the shopping budget, mainly because it is the only area of the budget that I have control over! I decided that what I really needed to do was to do something like my Father In Law used to do. Back when I first met Flyfour he and his brother lived with his Dad and they had seven meals that they ate each week.

I can't remember now if it was the same meal on the same night each week or if he mixed it up, but there were a lot of benefits to eating this way. Flyfour used to do the shopping each week and he always knew what it was that he needed to buy. They could stock up on ingredients they used when they were at a good price and well, Flyfour was a lot skinnier before he and I got married and started living together!

PippaD and Flyfour on their Wedding Day


Friday, 29 December 2017

Rudolph Club 2018

Every year I look forward to Christmas because for one month of the year it seems like everyone is interested in helping others, performing service, celebrating moments of faith and of course everyone believes in a little magic at this time of year too. This year, I want to think about and spread the magic, the service, the helping others and of course the faith aspect for more than just the month of December and so I thought that I would share my Christmas preparation in the form of Rudolph Club posts!

Rudolph Club is where on the 25th of each month, I'll hold myself accountable for getting ready for Christmas, but I will also report back here on things that I've purchased or how I have spread the Christmas spirit around either my community or somewhere that I've been.

Rudolph Club

I'll also prepare for other Holidays and Celebrations, like Valentines Day, Chinese New Year, Easter, the Royal Wedding, Halloween, Bonfire Night, Mother's Day, Father's Day and others I'm sure!

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Christmas Trifle

For the most part, the Christmases that I remember were held at my family home. I mean sure there were some that were held at my Grandparents home (and they were special) but when I think about my childhood Christmas memories, my Grandparents would drive down to our home a few days before Christmas Eve laden down with gifts and TONNES of food. Seriously there was always a Christmas Ham, a Christmas Cake, Mince Pies galore and the piece de resistance to my mind a Christmas Trifle!

Unfortunately after my Parents divorced, the Christmas Trifle was no more. Well, I'm sure my Nan still made it, but the delivery of it to my parents home, along with my Grandparents and other Holiday treats was no more.

Delicious Christmas Treats

As I said the other day though, it was about this time that Flyfour and I were married and so we were busy making our own family tradtions and merging the ones most compatiable from our respective childhoods and somehow trifle didn't make the cut.

UNTIL THIS YEAR!

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

New Year Resolutions For The Whole Family

Every year I make a million resolutions. Okay, maybe not a million, but plenty, and then each year they slowly fade away as I lose resolve. Which is weird, because I'm stubborn and you'd think I'd want to stick with making myself better or whatever else it is that I had resolved to do at the start of the year!

This year is going to be different, the resolutions I'm making are less resolutions and more monthly family challenges, which we hope might stick around longer than the month we're challenged to do them.

Family Fun in the Snow

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

DIY Christmas Gifts For LDS Young Women

At the start of December, Top Ender and I were talking about giving gifts to some friends of hers at Church. Tops wanted to get the girls in the Young Women's programme something, but as she didn't have any money she decided to DIY something using the supplies we have in our house. Top Ender had an idea, that involved me, she wanted to me to draw some postcards for her to give them as a token of her love. I agreed because, I'm wonderful but told her that she would need to tell me what to draw for them, as she knew the Young Women better than I did.

Which is why we have these following cards, that I thought I'd share with you today!

Vegan Card LDS Young Women Gift Idea

Monday, 25 December 2017

Christmas Memories

I've been feeling a little nostalgic of late. I think that it is mostly to do with my Dad having died and my thoughts turning to times where we were a happy family unit, but of course I don't know that this is the reason, it could just be that I'm getting older and therefore more nostalgic!

The nativity scene at the local Shopping Centre

When Flyfour and I got married, we choose to combine our Christmas traditions and of course we have created a few of our own, as we've gone on because I'm a magpie when it comes to traditions! The combing of traditions did mean that there were a few traditions that we didn't include and it seems to me that most of those traditions were mine, I'm sure that Flyfour probably thinks the same for his own family Christmas tradtions, but the only one he has complained about is that I won't let him eat his selection box for breakfast!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas Biscuits!

As with most things that I write about, this all came about because, I had a brilliant idea. My idea was that on one of the days that Top Ender and Dan Jon were off School in the run-up to Christmas Eve, that we would decorate some biscuits and then hang them from the Christmas Tree. You know, like you always see in those amazing Christmas Movies that are on 24/7 in our home during December. As always though, my plans fell through and it wasn't until the Saturday before Christmas Eve that we were finally in a position to decorate our biscuits.

Luckily I had predicted my fail and had picked up a few Gluten Free Biscuits ready for Flyfour to decorate and eat later too, as I figured it would be really evil to get him to decorate something he couldn't eat! So we all gathered in the Kitchen around the supplies and got to work.

Dan Jon, Top Ender and Flyfour about to decorate their biscuits

Saturday, 23 December 2017

What We Are Eating W/C 23rd December 2017 The Two Weeks Edition!

We mainly shop in Tesco and so all year we collect our vouchers to use during December for the "Christmas" shop. Of course, I sneak goodies into the trolley each week as we're going along, a pack of biscuits here, a jar of cranberry sauce there and then when it comes to the actual Christmas Shop, sometimes we get lucky and just buy tonnes of goodies and other times (like this time!) we're sensible and shop for meals and snacks to last us the next couple of weeks.

Beans on Toast

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Finally Joseph!

Dan Jon Jr cracks me up.

When we started talking at Church about the Nativity, all I got at home was questions about who I was casting as which character. Normally, we keep me being Dan Jon's Mum and me being Dan Jon's Primary President seperate because of situations like this. Dan Jon was very clever how he worded his questions, he wasn't bothered of course over who he was cast as, but he'd quite like to be Joseph if that role was available...

Dan Jon Jr reading a Script

I didn't get bribed as Dan Jon attempted on his School teacher with his part request in Richard III as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival performance, but Dan Jon did end up with the Joseph part but mainly because he was the oldest male child that was taking part that wanted the role!


Monday, 18 December 2017

Father Christmas At The Ward Party

When you are the Primary President of your ward, you (and your family) get all the fun jobs.

No, I'm not being sarcastic, I seriously mean the real fun jobs. Like for the last two years, I've been in charge of making sure that Father Christmas knows when our Annual Ward Christmas Party is and then helping him with the children.

Luckily, I know Santa really well and he is always available to come and visit with the Children at the party and he rather loves doing so too. Thanks to a family friend he is also always well dressed, seriously I really appreciate that friend!

Father Christmas AKA Santa


Sunday, 17 December 2017

Family Fun In The Snow

When we woke up last Sunday, our home was covered in snow. It was terribly fun to wake up to, even more so when a message was sent round letting us know that Church was cancelled so as to ensure the safety of the congregation and keeping with the advice that had been given about only essential travel being undertaken.

Early Morning Snowfall

Dan Jon was so eager to get out, it was all I could do to get him to chew down some toast and wait for everyone else to finish getting dressed before he ran out into the Garden. I mean it was important we got out as soon as we could, we had essential snow business to undertake!


Saturday, 16 December 2017

What We Are Eating This Week 16th December 2017

It's nearly Christmas!

I am so excited and not just because all the wrapping is done, the Christmas cards written and even the fun stuff like baking Christmas Treats and making Gingerbread houses are complete. No, I'm excited because I am such a big kid when it comes to Christmas. It's not because of the gifts, but it's because of the time spent together as a family and time spent celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

SO EXCITED!

Gingerbread Christmas Jumper


Friday, 15 December 2017

Cinderella At Milton Keynes Theatre #Review

When we performed our Roadshow Panto back in November and watched the other wards perform theirs, it just increased our excitement to see the Panto at Milton Keynes Theatre and to really get our Christmas celebrations into full swing. Time seemed to pass slowly and when eventually the scheduled night came round, even Top Ender who felt really grotty as she'd managed to catch the bug I'd had that wiped me out for so long, managed to raise a smile.

We were excited even more when Dan Jon was asked how old he was by one of the Ushers and a short conversation about his Christmas Jumper ensued. We were sure that this meant that Dan Jon was going to be one of the children invited onto the stage, but then the usher mentioned to me that she had been instructed to pick children under the age of seven. Poor old Dan Jon was just a couple of years too old! Still jubilant, we took our seats, only to find Jingle and Belle sitting in the seat next to us!

Jingle and Belle at Milton Keynes Theatre


Thursday, 14 December 2017

Christmas Shopping Date Nights

A few afternoons ago, I needed to pop into our local Town Centre to pick a few bits and pieces up for Christmas and a family meal we were having the next evening. I managed to get Top Ender to agree to go with me... the promise of a Hot Chocolate may have been a deciding factor for Top Ender, but she was in fine spirits as we worked our way around the few stores that we needed to go to and that were still open, as it was almost closing time!

PippaD and Top Ender

Of course, Tops agreed that a Selfie at the Christmas Tree was a brilliant way to commemorate the occasion and despite not managing to get a Hot Chocolate (it was just way too cold to walk down to the local Costa!) we did get everything else we wanted, had a really good giggle together and Top Ender and I were able to bond over the stupid bits and pieces we saw and wondered who would buy, or who decided these were a good things to sell to the British public!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

December Snow Trickery

Milton Keynes is normally in a little weather bubble, where all the "fun" weather just splits and goes right around us. So when I heard there was supposed to be snow across Central and Eastern England, I kind of ignored the weatherman and all the doom and gloom my friends were saying about how we would be unable to get to Church or School and anywhere else that people would be wanting to go and assumed the snow would miss us.

Dan Jon was much more excited and arranged that Flyfour would wake him up at 3am when the snow was supposedly going to be falling, so he could watch it before falling back asleep. Dan Jon told me he also secretly thought that he could get up and go outside in the snow whilst everyone else in the neighbourhood was sleeping!

3am came and whilst there was a thin layer of snow, there wasn't any snow falling and so Flyfour didn't wake Dan Jon up. When I got up just after 7am, there was a lot more snow and there was snow falling, so I went in to see Dan Jon and to show him the snow.

The New Garden mid snow fall

After watching the snow for a few moments, Dan Jon asked what the time was. He was worried, that I had stolen his Dads thunder a bit, by showing the falling snow to Dan Jon before the agreed middle of the night wake up call. I told him it was okay, that the time that he and his Dad had agreed had already passed, but I then said something which may be borderline genius.

I told Dan Jon, it was still very early and that he should go back to sleep until it was time to wake up.

And then I went downstairs, opened the curtains, switched on the Christmas Lights and sat and read on the sofa, watching the snow fall between reading paragraphs of my book and all the while sipping on my Hot Chocolate.

It was perfect.

Especially when Dan Jon didn't emerge from his bed for another two hours!

Saturday, 9 December 2017

What We Are Eating W/C 9th December 2017

YAY! This is the last week of School for Dan Jon, Top Ender has a couple of days the week after to "suffer" through, but with everything going so fast, I doubt that we'll even notice and it'll be time to return to School before we know it!

Anyway, here is what we are eating this week!

Gingerbread Christmas Jumper Cookies


Friday, 8 December 2017

Dan Jon's Christmas Concert And The Secret Treat

For the last few years, the Christmas Concert for the older years of the Primary School that Dan Jon Jr attends has taken place at a local Church. The Church isn't actually that far from us and so normally Dan Jon, Top Ender and I walk to the Church and Top Ender and I enjoy the concert whilst Dan Jon performs and then we walk home singing carols together.

This year though, Top Ender was at the second of her Christmas Meals, this time with the Brownies as helper Little Owl (they wisely upgraded the Owlettes name!) and so Dan Jon and I waved her off with one of the Adult Helpers who had kindly agreed to take her and Dan Jon and I walked to the Church.

The Local Church At Night

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Christmas Meal Out

Top Ender loves volunteering and helping out with the Rainbows and Brownies each Tuesday and Wednesday as a Young Leader and funny enough, the girls and the Grown-up leaders of the groups love her too. So it was no surprise, that when the time for the Christmas Meals for the three different groups came around Top Ender wanted to go to all three, but understood that she couldn't. However, with a bit of Christmas Magic, we were able to make it work and Top Ender was able to go to all three meals. And by Christmas Magic, I mean some very helpful and lovely Leaders, who I honestly love as much as Top Ender does.

This left Dan Jon and I feeling a little... deflated. I mean, I'd organised Soup with Pasta as our evening meal before I knew Top Ender was going to have a Christmas meal out. So on the night of the First Christmas meal, after driving across Milton Keynes to deposit Gummy Bear at the restaurant, we went to McDonalds.

Yes, as you've guessed it was Dan Jon who chose where we got to eat, but it didn't matter really. It just meant we didn't have to drive back across Milton Keynes to our home during rush hour (and then back to the restaurant and then back home again), we got something warm inside us and we were going to make it count as our Christmas Meal out somehow.

Dan Jon Jr and PippaD having some Christmas Fun


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

A Family Photo Shoot

My Mum was very excited a few weeks back and gave me an envelope that she explained was a Christmas gift that she was giving me early. If she was being perfectly honest, the gift was actually for herself, but in the disguise as being a gift for me.


My Mum had been on Groupon and had purchased a Family Photoshoot for the children, Flyfour and I as she wanted a new family photo of us to put up in her home. Actually, she had purchased two, as she gave one of the photoshoots to my Sister too... apparently slacking on providing Family Photos is a family trait!

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The Lengths Flyfour Will Go To

Whilst Flyfour and I were watching TV the other evening, an advert for Green and Blacks came on. Now, this advert had caught my eye recently, not because of the woman being chased by wolves, not because of the nice dress that the woman was wearing but because of the seemingly massive bar of chocolate that she was tucking into.

Green And Blacks Advert Screen Shot with a MASSIVE Bar of Chocolate

I mean look, that bar of chocolate is HUGE.

Flyfour and I paused the advert and were trying to work out how big the bar was, based on the size of the woman's fingers in the advert and comparing it to bars of chocolate we had at home. In the end, I was convinced that the bar of chocolate in the advert was oversized compared to normal Green and Blacks Chocolate Bars!

For any normal family, that would be the end of it.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Shakespeare Schools Festival

When Dan Jon Jr started Year Five, one of the things that he was SO excited about was the Shakespeare play that they would be performing (and of course studying) as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival. The lower school that Dan Jon attends has done this for the last couple of years (basically they started the year after Top Ender left!) and all the children love it, as do the Teachers and Parents.

Dan Jon Jr, just like Top Ender and I, has a real love of Shakespeare, I guess the daily study of the Book of Mormon and the King James Version of the Bible has helped him to have a love and understanding of ye olde English. He took the Script around with him everywhere, I swear he memorised the WHOLE thing and not because he had to, just because he wanted to.

Dan Jon reading his Script

Dan Jon wasn't too disappointed that his class were performing Richard the III, instead of his favourite Shakespeare play Macbeth because he quite liked the story that Shakespeare told and like the rest of his family he quite likes a history!

Each of the three Senior classes take part in performing in one play (from a smallish selection of Shakespeare plays) and put on an abriged version of it, with the children workshopping and really getting involved with all aspect of the the production, before performing it on a stage at a local theatre.


Sunday, 3 December 2017

#LightTheWorld This Christmas

Each Christmas the Children, Flyfour and I try to do something extra that helps those around us. It might be that we donate a little extra to the local food bank, or that we provide gifts to one of the local shelters, that we donate to a local Charity or one of a hundred other things that we decide to take part in as a family. Last year, we took part in the Light The World campaign, where Church members all over the world were celebrating the life of Jesus by being a light to others and acting as he would be serving and helping those in our community.

This year, we're all taking part in the campaign again and I think based on the joy we got from serving others last year, it will be one of the main highlights of my Christmas.

Light the World illuminating gif

Apart from this blog post, you probably won't see anything else by me on any of my Social Media accounts about what we are doing to Light the World. Don't get me wrong, I will be documenting it in my journal and with photographs that we'll be able to look back on, but my little family love Serving others, not for a reward or for likes on social media, but because we genuinely want to make the lives of those around us better and we hope that you will join us too.

There is a Light The World calendar that you can download if you want to join in with us, and if the Scripture that is shared each day doesn't inspire you with an idea of something you can do, just let me know and I'll give you a few ideas either based on that day's Scripture, or from the hundreds of things that we have done in the past. 

I love that this Christmas we are thinking of others, and not just about our own wants and needs. I love that we are celebrating the life of Jesus Christ by acting as he would, by brightening the worlds of others and I really do hope that you will join us too.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

What We Are Eating W/C 2nd December 2017

I almost can't believe that it is December already, but the calendar doesn't lie and my internal clock is yelling that I've not wrapped enough of my gifts for me to claim to be on schedule just yet... maybe by the end of this week I'll have caught up with myself; But I probably won't have. I mean, I'll try but I assume, that as normal, I'll be distracted by some Christmas film or making some Christmas craft and I'll just have to cry into my Hot Chocolate come next Saturday when I am looking at how far I have (or haven't!) progressed!

A Mug of Hot Chocolate


Friday, 1 December 2017

All Is Well

Grieving is hard and funerals are harder, so I hope you'll accept that writing today is a little too hard and accept a poem I first heard when a friend's father died many years ago. I thought it beautiful then and now? Well, now it has new meaning for me.

My Dad


All Is Well

Death is nothing at all, 
I have only slipped into the next room 
I am I and you are you 
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. 
Call me by my old familiar name, 
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used 
Put no difference in your tone, 
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow 
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. 
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. 
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was, 
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it. 
Life means all that it ever meant. 
It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity. 
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? 
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, 
Just around the corner. 
All is well. 

Henry Scott Holland