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Happy, Happy Holidays to one and all!

Christmas grocery planning and shopping is always a favorite pastime of mine… NOT, but I’m getting there, which is always a good start, the planning is done, now onto the shopping… Luckily Paul is off tomorrow and is coming with me to get the food, always a mammoth task with so many hungry mouths to feed in our house!

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Having a large family makes planning my menu especially for the holidays an essential, it’s a mammoth task that takes time and precision, especially when you are a home cooking person, not using convenience foods as much as possible! I’ve started my week today with some ingredients I already have in, I like to include baked goods in my menu too, and this week I’m going to be experimenting with using some gluten free flours to add to my dairy free change outs I now use in some recipes, it’s taken my brain a while to adjust to thinking dairy free where I can, but I’m slowly getting there!

Brownies are becoming a hot favorite in my house, I’ve discovered that melting some butter in a large cast iron skillet for baking then making the batter in the pot I melt the sticks of butter in makes brownies not only a success but it’s oh so easy with little to clean up… Easy quick and delicious, but this week I’m planning on trying to use the recipe and make it gluten free… I love experimenting with recipes to make my life easier! We have a new store opened near us, their selection on flours is fantastic and cheap too, so I’m heading in there to see what they have and what I can save on!

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We are not great traditionalists in our house, I like to mix it up for Christmas now and then, my absolute favorite thing to do for the holidays is go on vacation, I love being away and just doing something completely different, a few years ago we spent our Christmas and New Year in Florida then California… Best Christmas ever, but when times are tough you have to vacation at home for Christmas and make some traditions for your family! One of our new traditions is making our own mince pies, I prepare the mincemeat in advance and then Paul and Mabel make the pastry and bake the pies on Christmas Eve, I of course supervise with a glass of wine from the sofa! Mincemeat is one of those things I always bought in a jar until a friend told me how easy it was to make your own fresh and delicious, so now each year I whip up a batch ready for Christmas Eve baking!

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Another tradition we have steered away from in recent years is the traditional turkey dinner, oh no I hear many of you say, but after cooking Thanksgiving dinner just a few short weeks before, my need to repeat the process is not there! This year though we having a little bit of tradition with a baked ham, but apart from that I’m going for easy to prepare and little to do on the day itself!

We still call the day after Christmas, Boxing Day, always a true Brit, no matter where we live, our Black Friday left over sandwiches will be transformed into a Boxing Day treat this year too! Of course whatever the celebration there has to be a cheeseboard, a new favorite a large bucket of Trader Joes popcorn and lots of chocolate this and that… Oh I forgot something we’ve always had at this time of year is satsumas, mandarins or clementines… Vitamin C to ward off those dreaded Christmas bugs… That’s about it, our Traditions in a nutshell!

Now for my menu for the next week…

Thursday…
Tortilla soup and cornbread
Friday…
Chicken and fennel soup… Focaccia bread
Saturday…
Pumpkin pasta bake
Sunday…
Chicken pot pie and baked potatoes
Monday…
Sausage tortellini soup and a Mac and cheese
Tuesday…
Rotisserie chicken warm chicken salad

Christmas Eve
Pizza night with a huge cheese board
Mince pies

Christmas Day
Breakfast… Muffins and bacon rolls
Ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, Cesar salad, pumpkin lasagne
Chocolate Victoria and strawberry cake
Apple crumble and whipped cream

Boxing Day
Leftover sandwiches
Brownies

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This year of course is Tate’s first Christmas, I’ve hardly had time to decorate the house with this little bombshell in my life, at 9 months old he is into everything and anything, so Paul put the tree up and that’s as far as we have got… It is what it is, it’s far more important to enjoy my time with him before he grows up and that is happening so fast already!

Whatever you have planned for the Holiday season… take a deep breath, breathe and remember the most important thing of this season is family and loved ones, not the chaos that is in the shops right now!

Happy Holidays!

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Attachment parenting…

In this crazy world in which we live in we have to name everything and make it fashionable… One of the new trending terms for breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby-wearing parents is CRUNCHY, or attachment parenting… Although these things we do as new parents may make us crunchy these days, haven’t they been around for much longer than these trendy parents seem to realise!

I have always been a very attached parent, I do not believe that leaving my baby to cry will help him to learn to sleep on his own or make him a more independent person as he grows up, I believe in cuddles, comfort and being there for him so that he does not get distressed… Once upon a time I would have worried what everyone thought about me extending breastfeeding to my little girl, or what they would have said about babies sleeping in my bed so that I can sleep night after night, but being a new mother in my forties has changed this… I believe motherhood is about each individual’s journey with their child, their beliefs and their own style of parenting!

As I sit in bed and type, I look down to my side at the little boy sleeping beside me… This weekend he has been poorly, he has needed cuddles all the time and reassurance that he will feel better soon, it breaks my heart to hear babies cry, so this is why I choose to parent in the way I do… Sometimes Paul is not wholly with my way of thinking, but that’s ok, it is the way it is, we can’t agree on everything and on this subject we differ, well actually on many subjects we differ, but we make it work, that’s what is important.

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Tate's milestones

Crawling into 9 months…

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat… And unbelievably Tate is 9 months old today, I keep saying it, but the quickest 9 months EVER!

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This past month has seen the biggest changes in Tate’s development, he is now very mobile and in the last week has developed his crawling technique completely.he sits up with ease from his crawling position and just loves to head in the direction of the tv DVR when he spots it, I think I may have another Dom on my hands!

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He is not the best sleeper or eater, he is now 99% of the time in our bed, just so I can get some sleep… I don’t believe in letting them cry, it breaks my heart to listen to him crying, so I guess I’m an attachment parent, but that’s ok, I can live with the cuddles! Solid foods are definitely not something he enjoys, in fact it is hard to get anything into his mouth, I’ve tried puréed foods and finger foods and neither of them appear to appeal to him, I’m not worried, it seems to be the thing with our children, I’m sure one day things will change, so for now breast is best, and he’s definitely not a skinny baby!

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Tate can be very vocal, he likes to be part of any conversation, he shouts very loudly a a a, then waves his hands, he can clap both hands together now and will wave goodbye to everyone! He loves to play with Florence and he is most definitely a Mommy’s boy, more so than any of the others have been! I have been studying his fine motor skills, his hand co-ordination is improving daily, he can manipulate an item in his hands, he can swap it from hand to hand, pick it up and put it back down again. Another milestone I have noticed in this past week is his love for music, if a song starts to play he begins to rock back and forth in whatever position he is in, he will stop what he is doing and just rock, it is so funny to watch and it is just the cutest!

Things have changed a lot in the last 9 months, they have been the fastest months ever, our lives are just crazy right now, but having Florence and Tate make our days merry and bright… Happy Holidays!

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