Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This Month's Marvellous Mums theme: Jingle Bells

Dear MMs,

This newsletter will have a slightly different feel to it as I volunteered to be a guest writer for Andie.

I am nowhere near as eloquent as Andie and am in no way an expert on my topic of choice, but Andie’s group is about helping mums so that they in turn can help their own family, so offering to help Andie and her family while she becomes a mum to a newborn is the least I could do.

On a personal note, as a newcomer to the group and to the city of Melbourne, I would like nothing more than to help out. I have been to two morning teas and have found you all to be lovely ladies and very friendly and caring and this shows that the MM’s group does help.

So to Andie and Dave, Tobi and Eli, heartfelt wishes for your family for the safe and healthy arrival of your loved baby, and thank you Andie for these special morning teas that help us mums.

Toni

PS Don’t forget the next morning tea: December 1st, 11-1pm

This month’s theme: ”JINGLE BELLS”.

Last year I was flicking through programs on the TV trying to find something to watch and stumbled upon Dr. Phil. I am not a big Dr. Phil follower but I found this show quite memorable.

Dr. Phil was talking about his family Christmas traditions and how you can become swept up in the stress that Christmas can bring and you tend to forget that it is a magic time and something you shouldn’t wish could quickly pass by, but something you should look forward to.

In Dr Phil speak, his 5 rules from Family First: Your Step-by-Step Plan for Creating a Phenomenal Family is rule 3 - Establish Meaningful Rituals and Traditions.

The particular piece of the show I remember so well was Dr. Phil’s wife collecting wooden toys and putting them on the mantelpiece at Christmas. Her two boys would laugh at her, but they said without mum collecting her toys and carefully placing them on the mantle, it would not feel like Christmas.

It was such a simple gesture, but her two sons related Christmas, family and nurturing with her wooden toys.

This struck a chord with me and I have tried to create traditions that my two little ones will grow up with within our home.

This Christmas will be a little different for us as we are in a new city, but I think that by keeping our traditions that same, Christmas won’t feel strange or lonely as we still have our familiar rituals to keep us on track.

So this newsletter is sharing our traditions, just as Andie shared hers with us last year, and how it is never too late to make Christmas truly magical for your family.

Christmas Advent Calendar
Making a Christmas countdown calendar is a great way to excite your family. There are lollies involved, you are opening things, unwrapping surprises....excitement plus!
If you are health conscious you can swap lollies for sultanas or limit the lollies by substituting special messages. I put messages in half of my boxes. Just “I love you” notes or “Santa will be here in 4 more sleeps!”

You can buy an advent calendar from Big W or K-Mart, or you can go to Lincraft and sew a simple pattern.

Christmas Carols
I love the Melbourne Christmas Carols and we watch them every Christmas Eve. While we watch we drink my husband’s Egg Nog and relax.

Ben’s Egg Nog
This is the perfect recipe for egg nog novices. It's non-alcoholic, so make enough to share with the kids.

Ingredients: 2 eggs, beaten well, 3 tbs sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/8 tsp nutmeg ground, 2 1/3 cups milk
Preparation: Blend all ingredients together and serve chilled.

Christmas Ornaments
When we decorate the tree we have a bag of our best Christmas ornaments that we have collected from around the world.
Ben and I were lucky enough to go around the world on holiday and made sure we purchased an ornament from every place we went too. These are our special decorations.
This year we will add two more to the tree – one from our new home, Melbourne and a decoration from Canberra from a trip we are taking in under 2 weeks.
Even though our children are small, we still pull our decorations out and tell them where we got them from. By the time they are 21 they will be saying “Yes we know Mum...you got that from Vegas. We know! You tell us every single Christmas.”

Christmas Cookies
We buy a cookie cutter every Christmas and make cookies. This year, Elton was big enough to pick the cutter and we are making Christmas Trees.

Special Messages
Last year I purchased 4 big Christmas balls to hang from the tree and wrote our names on each one with a glitter pen.

This year I am going to make our own Christmas Stockings and print a special message for my family onto material and sew it to the stocking.

World Vision
We have a child that we sponsor through World Vision. We have been sponsoring Thavy for 7 years now and every year for Christmas we make a little package of combs, ribbon and an updated photo to send to her. This year was even more special as I could put in a drawing that Elton and Audrey did for Thavy.

Scrapbook
I make sure I take lots of photos from our Christmas and I scrapbook into a separate album that I make.

Sewing
To make the house more festive I went to Lincraft and purchased some Christmas material and made some simple ornaments to put around the house.

I drew a simple tree pattern and made hanging trees for each of our bedroom door handles. I also drew a bird pattern and sewed, stuffed and hung them with ribbon around our home. You can hang them from your curtain rods or pin a name to each bird and use them as place settings for your guests.
Just remember that you don’t have to do anything well, just give it a go and try. People appreciate your effort more than your skill, and your family will think Christmas time is magical thanks to a few traditions that they can look forward to.

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