Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions.jpg

Three years ago, my husband and I celebrated our first Christmas together as a married couple. We shared each other’s Christmas traditions; going to a carol concert, going on “Crib Crawl” visiting the cribs in the 7 Churches in town, making Christmas cards, praying the Hail and Blesseds and making mulled wine.

This Christmas, our daughter is much more aware and excited about what is happening. We open the Advent calendar every morning, she looks at the crib figures, and reads Christmas board books. She is especially interested in the animals!

Recently, at play group, she had her first encounter with Santa Claus. She looked very unsure initially, and carried on playing for the rest of the morning, ensuring she kept at least 10 meters away from the man-in-red. As I observed the goings on, I chatted to another mother.

“Have you taken her to see Santa yet?”, the mother asked.

“Erm, no”, I replied. To be honest, I hadn’t even thought about a visit to Santa.

“Well, now’s a great opportunity for her to have her photo taken with Santa”, the mother assured me. I must have looked unsure about it because she continued, “she has to have her photo taken with Santa”.

Really? Does she?

Maybe in a few years, we’ll see, but right now, I think she would rather push the toy pram around the play group and nibble on a rice cake. Right now, sitting on the lap of the man in the red suit would be her idea of toddler hell, and you could forget the photo!

But it made me think- it would be nice to have a Christmas photo tradition to look back on as the years go by. So, this year, we’ll begin a new tradition- a photo at the Crib. Santa can wait!

 

 

 

Advertisements

All Things New

All Things New

Linking up with Kelly over at This Aint the Lyceum for another 7 quick takes!

Here’s what happened chez nous

1. I went to my first ever football match (or soccer match, if you are reading this on the other side of The Pond!). Premier League giants Liverpool vs a local Irish team, Waterford United. Talk about David and Goliath! I didn’t really know what to expect, but I enjoyed the match, the cheering from the stands and the family-friendly atmosphere. And, in case you were wondering, Liverpool won, 6 – 0.

2. Its been a bit quiet on the blog for a while… I have been beavering away finishing an essay for my studies, which was about how the EU and the UN shape the socio-political context of the family. It was an eye-opener to see how radical groups that often represent a minority can influence policy.

3. Things I’ve done since the pressure of an essay deadline has been lifted– relaxed on the sofa with my husband, a family trip to the park, tidied the craft room and tonight, maybe even an episode of the West Wing!

4. My Kikki.K planner arrived! #Kikkikplannerlove abound! Its blue, with gold polka dots and now I am going to be the most organised girl in town!

5. T got something new this week too…  Her first pair of shoes! She’s 15 months old and has been cruising and walking while holding my hand for a while. Now she has her new shoes she is even more keen to practice her walking skills and I wonder if she will ever sit in the pram again?

6. We don’t always make it to Mass during the week. Sometimes, it seems impossible to get out of the door on time, its too wet or there is simply too much to do. I know, all rubbish excuses, right? Well this week was one of those grace-filled weeks where, despite the rain and the business, we managed to to Church. Thank you, Lord!

7. With my essay in the post, its time to move on to a new module– Love, Marriage and Family: A Psychological Perspective. I am totally new to psychology but really looking forward to getting stuck into this module. Watch out for a few psychology-related posts in the next weeks!

How was your week? I would love to hear from you 🙂

Head on over to This Aint the Lyceum for more 7QTs!

7 Meatless Meals That Make Great Toddler Finger Food

I’m linking up with Kelly at This Aint the Lyceum for 7QTs. This week’s 7QTs are all about the toddler kitchen!

7 Meatless Meals vegetarian baby toddler pescaratian talking about family

So, we’ve been through the weaning process… we’ve blitzed the parsnip purée, mashed the sweet potato, served the lumpy lentils. Now our little baby is a a toddler she is only interested in feeding herself. Its great she’s so independent and enthusiastic about food, but sometimes its a challenge to cook one meal to suit everyone and that can be eaten without a spoon and with minimal mess. Here are a few meatless family meal ideas that suit everyone, even the little person who whats to eat with their fingers!

Baby pasta shells1. Pasta Finding really small pasta shells for babies at the supermarket can be hard. These Roma pasta shells to be the perfect size for everyone, and they cook quickly too. I make them up with a simple tomato-based sauce, usually mushroom or tuna, and add a sprinkling of cheese. Sometimes I serve them with garlic bread, which our little toddler enjoys!

2. Fish and vegetables My Dad cooks lovely salmon or white fish in a tomato sauce and serves it with steamed vegetables. Teresa loves sweet potato cubes, broccoli florets, carrot slices and green beans. Its super healthy and super yummy If you are not into cooking fish in a pan, you could easily steam, broil or oven cook it.

3. Cheese sandwich This is something Teresa has started to enjoy for lunch if we are out or on a picnic. Its as simple as it sounds. I just cut the sandwich up into bite size pieces and it disappears as quickly as you made it!

4. Omelette / Spanish Omelette / Scrambled Eggs Make your regular egg dish and throw in baby’s favourite vegetables. Teresa’s omelettes usually have a cheese and tomato theme. The great thing about Spanish omelette is that you can use up any leftover potato, and it tastes great cold, so you can keep it in the fridge and eat it the next day.

5. Fish fingers, vegetables and chips This is a quick, easy meal for when the cupboard is bare but there’s a few essentials in the freezer! Fish fingers, mixed frozen vegetables and oven chips! Peas and sweetcorn make great finger food.

6. Homemade pizza I love learning to make my own pizza. Teresa seems to enjoy it too, as she wolfs it down. Instead of making the dough from scratch, you could spread tomato purée on top of pitta bread and add your baby’s favourite toppings before cooking under the grill

giant couscous7. Giant couscous Another quick and healthy meal. Just throw in a low salt stock cube and some broccoli, and any other veg you fancy. We often have this for lunch and flake some baked salmon on the couscous too. The size of the couscous means its a lot easier to eat as finger food in comparison to regular couscous!

What’s your toddler’s favourite finger food? What meatless dishes to you serve up to your little one? I’d love to hear your ideas!

7QT: Travels, Studying and Toddler Life

7QT Talking about Family Travels Studying and toddler life talking about familyAnother week has flown by.  I’m linking up with Kelly at This Aint the Lyceum for 7 quick takes of the week. These are my quickest ever takes. Hold tight. Here we go!

  1. Flying- Last weekend I flew with a new airline at my local airport called FlyVLM. What a wonderful surprise I had on board- the plane took off and landed early, it was a great flight and we had complementary drinks, sandwiches and chocolate! Ooh, and the views. Check out the view of County Wexford, Ireland, above. Beautiful, huh?!
  2. Maryvale– Did I mention I am doing a MA in Marriage and Family? Well, the purpose of my trip was a study weekend in Maryvale Institute, a Catholic distance learning college. I had a blessed and joyful weekend with the students, staff and Bridgetine sisters.
  3. they say i say talking about familyThey Say, I Say– I am not academically minded by a long shot. I love reading but when it comes to essay writing, I struggle. My tutor suggested this little pocket book which has really helped me get my head around academic writing. I totally recommend it!
  4. Naptimes– Back to real life, baby Teresa is figuring a new nap schedule. Two days this week, she had a monster two hour nap. Just when I was thinking “I could get used to this”, she napped for 30 minutes. The whole day. One half an hour nap!
  5. Sweetcorn fritters– My new favourite food, and Teresa’s too! We’re addicted! I tried these for the first time a couple of weeks ago but have made a double batch of them. They are so yummy, for toddlers and adults alike! They freeze well and you can cook them from frozen in 8 minutes.
  6. Running– still running, post couch 2 5k! Mixing up my runs, doing some 30 minute runs, some 5k+ runs and chopping and changing my routes.
  7. Card making– Ah! Gone are the day-long card making sessions, experimenting with design ideas and making a host cards for different people and occasions. When I have the opportunity, or the necessity, to make cards, I come to the craft table knowing exactly what I am going to make and make ten of the same, simple design. Keep it simple, do it well!

Thank you for hosting, Kelly! Why not head on over to check out more quick takes!

7QTs: Jogging for Beginners

comes Jogging for beginnersI was never a runner. It’s hard to believe I am now, but I have just finished a Couch to 5k (C25k) plan, and can run for a full 30 minutes! This is the second time I have done this plan. (My first time was a few years ago, before my wedding, but I didn’t keep it up.) Jogging has three main attractions- it’s free, all you need to get started is a pair of runners, and it gets results! I figured it was the best way to get back into shape after having a baby- I could do it with baby in tow, at a convenient time and with minimal expense. So I started again…. Here are seven tips I have learned along the way:

  1. NHS Choices Couch to 5k

    My couck 2 5k programme

    Find a good Couch 2 5k programme You can find them online, on podcasts, apps, and in books and magazines… I used the NHS Couch 2 5k programme, which consisted of 9 weeks worth of podcasts. Laura, the narrator, told me when to walk and when to run, as well as giving tips and motivation.

As well as listening to the podcasts, I would use an app like Map My Run or Endomondo to track my progress. This is a real motivator as you can see how many calories you burn after each work out and see your distance increasing as the weeks go on.

  1. It’s just a light jog C25k programmes usually start with interval training- walking for a bit, then jogging for a bit. The girl on my podcast often said, “Remember, its just a light jog”. I found this really helpful to remember as it took the pressure off.
  1. Route It’s good to vary the route. This comes naturally as the weeks go by and you are running further. If you are running on a treadmill, why not run outside? If you are already running outside, why not try a lap of the park instead of sticking to the pavement. Sometimes I go for a short drive and run somewhere beautiful, like a nature park or the beach. Changing the scenery mixes things up. Variety is the spice of life, right?
  1. My running buddy

    Equipment The first time I did a C25k programme, I knew by week 4 – 5 that I was going to stick with the programme, so I invested in some trainers, fitted at a specialist running shop. This made the word of difference to my feet.

The second time I started the C25k, I would bring baby T along with me. I didn’t need a special buggy for the first few weeks as the running distance was short and I was slow… again, when I knew I would stick it out, I bought a second hand jogger buggy online.

  1. Take a break I began to enjoy running so much I wanted to run consecutive days. However, it is really important to give your muscles a rest and chance to recover, and avoid injury. Why not do something else with that energy? Go for a walk, or a swim…
  1. Prayer Initially, I started praying when I was looking up a big hill, praying a decade of the rosary to get me to the top! Towards the end of the C25k, I found that jogging was a good way to incorporate prayer into my routine. Now, I often pray a whole rosary during my jog. And I offer up any suffering! Its also a good way just to get some head space and think about any ideas / problems or figure out what’s for dinner!
  1. Believe in yourself I am not a natural-born runner. I will never forget the time I ran for two minutes for the first time and looked back on the distance I had covered. I had a real sense of achievement! C25k programmes are designed to build you up gradually, minute by minute, not drop you in the deep end with a 30 minute run. I trusted in the programme and believed in myself. If I had a bad run, I wouldn’t beat myself up- a bad run is better than no run. If I didn’t feel ready to move on to the next week, I would repeat the week. By recognising your progress and believing in yourself, you can do it!

I finished the Couch 2 5k plan this week and I have already set myself a new goal- a 10k run in two months. Watch this space!

Would you like to take up jogging, but have a question? Or, are you a already a runner and have a comment or tip? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks to Kelly from This Aint the Lyceum for hosting 7 Quick Takes. For more quick takes, head on over there!

A 1 Year Old’s Schedule: Eat, Sleep, Play, Repeat

eat sleep play repeat sample schedule 12 month 1 year old talking about family blogEver wondered what a one year old does all day? Here’s a typical day for Teresa. She’s just turned 12 months old and has always had a baby-led schedule!

7:30        I wake up, usually in my cot, ready to start the day

8              Breakfast time talking about familyDaddy gives me milk while he has his breakfast. I nibble his toast, Weetabix or fruit too, depending on how hungry I am. Then Mummy changes me and dresses me for the day

10           If the weather is good, we sometimes walk to Mass. I fall asleep in my pram. Otherwise, we play at home. I am good at independent play in the mornings. I also like to crawl about, pull myself onto my feet and flick through some of my favourite books. This is when Mummy gets jobs done, like tidying up, doing the laundry and sometimes cooking the dinner in advance, if she’s really organised!

11           Milk time again! I often have a little snack too, especially if I didn’t eat much at breakfast.

11:30     If we stayed home, I tend to have a nap now, and wake up just in time for lunch! If I have already had a nap, I play play play!

1              Lunchtime! Mummy sings grace, which makes me smile. Sometimes I put my hands together. I am a pescatarian, which means I eat fish but I don’t eat meat, just like my Mummy. Now that I have 7 teeth, I usually have what she’s having; salmon, broccoli and cous-cous, Spanish omelette, vegetables…. I like to be able to feed myself, so finger food is the best! I have a little drink of water with my lunch, and sip it throughout the afternoon. I like to have fruit for dessert too. My favourite fruit are blueberries, grapes and apple slices. They make good snacks too.

2              We are often out and about in the afternoon. Sometimes we run errands, and sometimes we meet Daddy during his lunch break. It is nice to see him during the day, and sometimes he shares a little bit of his lunch with me!

3:30        Nap time again! I sometimes nap in my pram, but prefer to nap in Mummy’s bed. She is studying and has a lot of books to read, so I snuggle next to her.

annabel karmel sweetcorn fritter talking about family blog5:30        Dinner time. I eat what Mummy and Daddy are eating… tuna pasta (I like a bit of garlic bread too!), lentils, fish fingers, vegetables and a few chips. My new favourite food is Annabel Karmel’s sweetcorn fritters. After dinner, we say our prayers together.

6:30        I play with Daddy. He is so much fun! We build blocks, roll a ball back and forth, go through my activity book, ride on my pink horse. We also do walking practise! I can’t wait to get moving on my own! I usually have a bath in the evening too.

7:30        I have my last milk feed of the day. I have been drinking cow’s milk for a month and I love it! I am usually in my pyjamas at this stage. If I have lots of energy, I play a bit longer and sometimes have an extra drop of milk

8              It’s almost bed time. Recently, Daddy has been reading me bedtime stories. I like to help by turning the pages.

8:45        Off to the land of nod. I dream about the adventures tomorrow will bring!

7QTs: Discoveries

7qt discoveries

Happy Friday! I am linking up with Kelly from This Aint the Lyceum again, for seven quick takes on the past week. This week has been a week of discovery on many fronts so, here we go……

 
WP_20150505_0011. Seedlings: This week-end was a bank holiday weekend in Ireland. We went away for a few days and when we got back, I was shocked to discover that the seeds I had sown in an early-morning gardening episode one morning have actually sprung up! A lovely welcome home!

ssm posters2. No posters: These were another surprise that greeted me on my return! I’ve mentioned we’re having a referendum on the redefinition of marriage in Ireland on 22nd May. I hadn’t seen many ‘no’ posters on my travels, but on my return, they were all over town.

3. Novena: On the subject of the referendum, a novena has been organised to pray for the cause of marriage and family. It will begin on 13th May and finish the day before the referendum. Please pray!

4. Toddler hacks: I was feeling a bit under the weather this week, and serendipitously, an email arrived in my inbox: 40 ways to entertain your toddler while lying down. Perfect!

5. Bloglovin: I finally discovered it. Its great! How ever did I follow blogs without it?


focus-banner-for-web6: Catholic Answers Focus: 
love Catholic Answers, a daily apologetics radio show hosted by Patrick Madrid, and often listen to podcasts when I am on the go. This week I finally subscribed and what a goldmine of podcasts I discovered! Definitely worth a look.

7: Thriftin’ again: Last week I was thrilled with a few books that I picked up in my local charity shop. I headed back this week, with an upcycling project in mind. I bought a kitchen chair for €15. Hopefully, I’ll have it upcycled by next week. Watch this space!

For more 7QTs, head on over to This Aint the Lyceum