Sunday, 31 January 2016

Me and Mine - January 2016

The Me and Mine Project

And so begins another year of joining in with the Me and Mine project hosted by Lucy at Dear Beautiful

I took a brief glance back at last January's Me and Mine post. Turns out I was even less organised this year than last. Our family photo this month is a swift shot taken when I suddenly remembered what day it was! January has disappeared in a flurry of activity. New Year and Epiphany celebrations; wintry walks and National Trust visits; trips to Center Parcs, Southwold and Bristol; Spanish and Jiu Jitsu classes; baking and green smoothies; and lots of playing with Lego. This time last year M was just starting to say a few words; now she can speak in full sentences, and has no problem in making herself understood. B is so grown up, learning to read and write at her own pace, helping more around the house, and just generally surprising us every day. As a foursome we have spent more quality time together this month than usual, perhaps down to our journey into The Life-changing Magic of Tidying. This has seen us getting more clutter out of our house than ever before, allowing us to spend more time at weekends enjoying each others' company than frantically tidying and cleaning. Still a way to go, but we're all already enjoying the benefits of keeping only the Joy Sparkers.

This month...

The Hubby has enjoyed:
Making headway in kon-mari-ing our house
Growing his beard
Jiu Jitsu
Using Instagram 
Getting more involved in volunteering for NCT

I have enjoyed:
Walking on the beach at Southwold
Taking up knitting
Listening to B read
Avocado on toast 
Seeing B & M both get more confident in the water

B has enjoyed:
Spending her own money on Lego
Reading books to anyone who will listen
Dressing up
Swimming at Center Parcs 

M has enjoyed:
Undoing buttons
Watching Bernard
Singing Away in a Manger
Climbing on anything and everything, especially when her climb leads to finding chocolate! 

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Friday, 29 January 2016

The Extra Mile

The rule in our house is that everyone must stay at the table until everyone has finished their meal. This has worked pretty well until recently, when M started to sit on a grown up chair instead of her booster seat. She gets down and wanders. She's only 2 years 2 months, so we give a little leeway, a couple of chances to return, but we've explained that if someone leaves the table, then we presume that they have finished and won't be wanting anything else to eat, including pudding.

Yesterday, she got down from the table and, despite three reminders that if she chose to leave she would be finished and would not be joining us for dessert, she chose to leave the kitchen and was gone for about 10 minutes. The rest of us were just starting to eat our pudding, when she turned up and demanded cake. We explained again that she had chosen to leave the meal, so she was finished. Of course, she cried. We empathised. She was still cross.

A voice piped up from next to me. B told me, "Oh, just let her have some!" The loyalty of sisters! But I explained to her too. She's had the same happen to her before, so she nodded and went back to her cake. But, I should have noticed the funny little smile on her face.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Why I Wear a Star of David

Cross and Star of David - Holocaust Remembrance Day

When I bought my silver Star of David, in a Holocaust museum in Krak√≥w, it was to be a reminder of my trip. We had heard a Holocaust survivor speak. Moving doesn't even begin to describe that. The strength of the man, to have seen and experienced such horror, and yet to be still full of life and love and forgiveness. I wanted to remember that human ability to survive and to love. 

We visited Auschwitz-Birkenau. What a desolate place. Silent, but for the visitors. No birds overhead. I walked along the train tracks there and prayed. There, where the horrendous train journeys ended; where people thought they were being sent for showers; where the infirm, elderly, disabled, young and pregnant were cut off from the fit and healthy; where people were chosen for extermination or toil. I can't remember all that I prayed, though I know I asked for understanding, naively thanked G-d that we now lived in a world where "Never Again" was the mantra, called for peace to reign.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Siblings - January 2016

The Me and Mine Project

Siblings Project

Four and two - both interesting ages, with their challenges and delights. These two are the best of friends, and mortal enemies. One minute hugging and kissing, the next screaming and hitting. They play all sorts of make believe, though B's imagination is much wilder than M's, and they can't always agree on who should be Cinderella. 

M adores her big sister, wants to do everything B does, and is desperate to help her, finding her shoes and offering her toys. B thinks M is cute, but struggles with their differing levels of ability, speech and understanding. Having a little sister can be very frustrating. 

B's reading is coming along amazingly, and it's lovely to find her reading books to M, snuggled up on the settee. M's speech has taken a massive leap over Christmas, and I frequently hear her talking about "my sister," and having conversations with B. 

I'm looking forward to another year of taking part in the siblings project, seeing how these two grow and change together. 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Twelfth Night Sausage Rolls: Using Up Christmas Leftovers

It's Twelfth Night; tomorrow we celebrate Epiphany - the visit of the Magi to the Baby Jesus - and the end of the Christmas season. Tradition has it that all Christmas decorations must come down tonight, though our Nativity set will remain until we've had our Epiphany party tomorrow. And I've heard people say that today is the day to finish off all Christmas food in the house. I'm fairly certain we won't manage that, having four selection boxes, a stollen, a massive panettone, oodles of chocolate coins, pandoro, a Christmas pudding, and a tub of Celebrations still left to consume! However, if you're looking for a way to use up the remnants of the mincemeat, and can't face another mince pie, you've come to the right place.

Here is my recipe for Twelfth Night Sausage Rolls, though they can be quite happily enjoyed at any time over the Christmas period. We munched our way through them on New Year's Day, so quickly, in fact, that we only had two and a half left when I remembered that I wanted to photograph them! They are moist, and lightly spiced, with gentle Christmas flavours on the inside, and crisp, golden pastry on the outside. Perfect for a snack or light meal whilst catching up on the Christmas telly you missed.

Twelfth Night Sausage Rolls: Using Up Christmas Leftovers - moist, lightly spiced sausage rolls made using leftover mincemeat. #leftovers
Oops - forgot to do a fancy photo, because they just smelled so inviting!