5 Ways to Not stress this Christmas

5 ways to not stress this christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….. or is it?  Sometimes it’s cookie making on steroids and the only time of year that you have to listen to the same songs all day every day with only gingerbread lattes and mulled wine to get you through.

But then add a couple extra family members and it can all get a bit hectic.  There’s meals to plan, schedules to compare and presents to buy.  Add in all the nativities, Christmas parties and special church events and you’ve fit an entire years worth of socialising into one month.

Here’s a few things I’ve been reflecting on that help me enjoy the best of Christmas.

1. Don’t cook turkey

This may seem strange and go completely against your Christmas tradition, but honestly it is the most difficult and time consuming meat to cook.  Don’t spend your entire day slaving in the kitchen switch up your Christmas meat and keep the sides simple with fewer choices to cut cooking time by over half.  My favourite for Christmas is gammon which is very affordable and makes amazing left overs.

2. Shop online

I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and it’s been a life saver.  Not only do I get a huge thrill at all the discounts out there online, but I never have to stand in the queue, pay for parking and get stuck in traffic – lovely.

3. Make it more about people than presents

I have always found that the less I spend at Christmas the more I seem to enjoy it. I’ve had a few Christmases were I’ve been so inspired with Pinterest Christmas ideas that I’ve spent all my time thinking of how much everyone would love their own crochet snowflake in their Christmas card only to discover that it will take me 5 years to make enough for everyone.  What a waste! Just spend time with the people in your life rather than fixating on what absolutely perfect Christmas gift you could give them.  Too many details = stress.

4. Throw out a few traditions

Traditions are a wonderful thing to have and instil great memories, but when they become counterproductive by inducing stress and tension in the family it’s time to let them go.  We’ve had to work through this each year as we’ve never spent an entire Christmas on our own and so there is, of course, lots of compromise involved.  We tend to see the traditions more as guidelines than rules. For example, giving christmas pajamas on Christmas eve is a favourite tradition of mine, but not one we’ve always been able to afford.  So switch it up with Christmas socks or santa hats to keep the tradition going.  Another example is the date and time of things.  We’ve always traditionally put up our tree on the 12th, my brother’s birthday, but we tend to do it sometime in the week or as close to that date if we’re not available that day.  We’ll still get a Christmas tree and Christmas will still happen even though the tree is up on a different day of the year.

5. Stick to a budget

This is usually the one that always gets thrown out the window as soon as we spot that amazing deal or the massive toy that would just blow our kids minds, but it’s what can cause the most stress about Christmas – overspending.  There is no bleaker month than January with zero money.

I hope these tips help you stress less and enjoy this special time of year.

What are your best stress busting tips for Christmas??

My Farewell to Summer

My farewell to SummerI am so sorry this post is so late – again.  My laptop is dying a very slow death and killing my patience along with it!  I’ve struggled for two days to upload these pictures but had to persevere otherwise they would become irrelevant and I would never see them again.

So last week I took the kiddies up the road for a walk in the woods.  We went suited up in our joggers and wellies and set out for a great adventure.  It was the first time I went where I didn’t have to hold Lula the entire time.  She was running around and getting fully involved in all the fun.  There is a little stream that flows through the woods and of course the kids all ended up in it.  They were breaking damns, building bridges and finding fairy houses.

It was absolutely wonderful, but of course I forgot my camera so I can’t share any of those lovely moments with you.  They were all working together, discovering new things and getting a bit dangerous and ultimately incredibly wet and dirty playing in the stream.  I had to promise we would return the next day to get them home for dinner!

But the next day I woke up and realised we all had bug bites.  Only….I had about 50 of them, all over my body.  There were even clusters of three or four in one spot that just merged into giant red mounds.  But no biggie, I went through the day as usual without noticing them much.  The next day we head to town for the always lengthy and arduous task of buying school uniforms and I start to feel not so well.  My body feels as if it’s flushing hot and cold and I start to feel ever so slightly nauseous.

We made it home without any drama – I am a mother after all, there’s no time for mummy melt downs! I got myself to the doctor ASAP.  And, oh yes, infected bug bites – E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.  So I haven’t slept in three nights and I’m taking antibiotics and slathering anti-itch ointment all over. This was not the end to the Summer I had in mind, but at least I didn’t catch malaria!!

So I’m saying farewell to Summer which has been full of Birthday’s, outdoor adventures, climbing every single tree they see, getting wet with every drop of water they could find and plenty of pyjama days filled with cuddles, kisses and tickle fights.  I can’t believe how much we’ve all enjoyed this Summer despite the lack of actual ‘holiday’, no money and most days spent at home.  The kids have been completely lovely and I have cherished every minute.  Here’s our best bits in pictures.

What was your best bit of Summer?

Summer Holiday Check In

Summer holiday check in

Annnnddddd I’m late again! Time is seriously running away from me this Summer and I still can’t believe we’re almost at the end of it. We still have uniforms, shoes and bags to buy and I’m not quite ready for it all. I’m still stuck in serious holiday mode and will need to start making more of a conscious effort to get myself and the kids back into routine.

Today we’ll have 10 kids in the house for part of the day, so I won’t be spending any more time on my laptop. As my mum reminded me yesterday, I don’t want to let the Summer go by without soaking up every moment. You only get so many Summer’s with your kids. I’ve been really enjoying mine and have loved the closeness we’ve all shared. We’ve had adventurous days out, chill days at home and lots of hugs and kisses.

All that to say that we’re having waaaaaayyyyyy too much fun to post anything useful today. So go and enjoy some cuddles and sunshine with your kiddies.

See you Sunday!

I’ve just created a new Facebook page for the blog so please come and join us so we can get to know each other better!

February Half-Term In Pictures

Lula Bear Walk Another half-term holiday has passed and the week was filled with children.  I mean, a lot of children.  We just kept adding and adding children until we just couldn’t add anymore!  By Friday we had 8 kids for the day with friends coming over with two more, which took us right up to 10 children! So I called for reinforcements in the form of my lovely teenage baby-sitter, Naomi.  She served as fun and playful crowd controller.  And amazingly enough we made it all the way through the day and ended up with happy children and a clean house!  I was so impressed by these kids, they played non-stop with little to no aggravations.  Once again I am amazed at how much love and family I have in my life.  I am truly blessed.

We enjoyed muddy walks, dancing on mummie’s bed, drawing, story telling and epic hallway lasers rounded off with more dancing on mummie’s bed.  I also had a few lovely surprises.  My Valentine’s gift arrived in the post with my all-natural make up and provided a new game of styrafoam waterfall. I was also given some beautiful tulips from my very lovely friend, Hayley, which I’ve been admiring every day in my window.

So here is our February half-term in pictures.

Our half-term in Pictures

Well it’s been a very busy and full week with all four kids at home.  I always get excited about the holidays and spending time together.  We all need it, but as much as its a holiday for the kids its a whole lot of work for mummy.  More play, more mess, more food, more noise and less cleaning, less sleep, less quiet and less rest.

But what a privilege it is to be able to be together as a family.  We all had to learn more about being a family this week as daddy was away studying in London for most of it.  What does family do when one person is working really hard??  We all work hard together.  We had to all comfort each other, help one another and pray for each other to stand in the gap for daddy this week.  My precious children struggle when daddy is not around, but instead of crying and feeling sorry about it, which we had plenty of anyway, we prayed for daddy together for strength, courage, and blessing as he’s away from us.  I shared these pictures with him to keep him updated on our week.  So here’s our half-term in pictures.

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