Louisa Claire

Family

Easy Advent ideas for the disorganised mum (who want to make Christmas meaningful for their kids).

last minute advent ideas, advent activities for kids, Every year I find myself filled with good intentions about advent and every year I am scrambling at the last minute. Sound familiar?

Before I became a mum the best advice I got about Christmas with kids is that Christmas morning is too late to be talking about the meaning of it. So I stepped into parenting knowing that it was going to be important that we take time in December to slow down and make Christmas a meaningful experience…. but I didn’t really known how to do that! Over the years I’ve wondered if my kids have been too young to really “get it” but I’ve treated this time as practice so that its a priority and a tradition for us when the kids are old enough to understand more. I really don’t think kids are ever too young to be included in family activities anyway!

So, this post is for all the other well-intentioned by slightly shambolic mums out there, and because its for shambolic mums by a shambolic mum I’m only posting today, the 1st day of Advent!

I don’t recommend doing all of these things {we won’t be} but maybe a couple of them will suit your style. Ive tried to include low prep, low cost, simple activities that you can do in the spur of the moment.

The most important thing to do is forget about Pinterest like perfection and just start with something that reflects the values and traditions that matter to your family.

 

And never fear, I’m making it super easy for us!

Some of the things I want to install in my children at Christmas are a sense of wonder, a commitment to generosity and knowledge of the Biblical Christmas story. These are themes that come through in this post and can be added to by other values that you might want to pass on to your children.

 

1. Advent Activities – printable download.

This printable is made up of 8-13 different activities to do with your kids in Dec – simply cut each one up and fold along the dotted lines into a mini-envelope which you can seal with a sticker or just sticky tape and voila! You now have a bunch of mystery Christmas activities to do with your kids throughout the next couple of weeks. (note: there may be some that will only be able to be done on a particular day so just make a little note of that on the outside of the envelope for your reference)

My suggestion is to get a box or paper bag and put the activities in there – you don’t even have to use them all – just do them on the days that you have the time, energy and mental space. You could include some of the other suggestions in this post in the box/bag and incorporate them into this – my kind graphic designer has included a couple of blanks into the template for you to make up your own.

Download for mums with Babies (up to 2yrs)

Download for mums with older kids (written with kids aged 2-6 in mind but will work with kids slightly older and slightly younger than that too).

If you have a baby and older kids then select the older kids download as your bub can just join in with that.

 

2. Read some Christmas books throughout December.

These books can reflect the way that your family celebrates Christmas and I’d encourage you, even if you are not religious, to include one story that tells your kids about the Christian tradition of Christmas. This is just a way to educate and enlighten them about what different people believe and where Christmas came from.

These are a few of the books I’ve recently bought that focus on the story of Jesus’ birth at Christmas as they are possibly the harder ones to track down.

Song of the Stars by well known Children’s author and illustrator team Sally Lloyd-Jone and Alison Jay. This isn’t the direct Christmas story but rather a Christmas-themed story that is quite beautiful and would be engaging for slightly older children.

Song of the stars, Allison Jay books, Christmas books for kids

The following are books that we’ve got for our children aged 1, 3 and 5.5.

Book Tabs: Baby Jesus (this is particularly a good one for the boys)

Christmas Story for babies

 

Some other good ones are:

My Very First Christmas Story Sticker Book

Jesus is Born – I Can Read, Beginners Bible

The Shepherds and Me and The Baby Jesus Story books your kids can colour in.

Jesus is God’s Son

 

3. Start a Family Tradition

If you haven’t yet got a family tradition then now is the time to start one – especially if you are a little more of a free-flowing family who could get caught out if not prepared. Ours is that on the first Sunday in December we invite our family and friends around to help us put up the Christmas tree. We’ve been doing it for 7 years now and I love it. Not only does it mean that our Christmas tree actually gets put up more than a week before Christmas, it’s a great way to get my head into the right place for Christmas. If we weren’t hadn’t been planning to have the party today then I wouldn’t be in the Christmas headspace yet and none of these other things would be happening including me writing this blog post!

Other family traditions I have heard of

- new pyjamas on Christmas Eve

- birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas morning

- Kmart wishing tree

What family traditions do you have that a family could easily do?

 

4. Easy craft ideas

- Ok folks, just google ‘Christmas colouring in’ or ‘nativity colouring in‘ print and you are done. Simple and the kids will love it. If you want more elaborate craft activities I have to be honest, I am not the person for you!

 

Are you a last-minute mum like me or have you been super organised for Advent?

Now a favour – if you know a disorganised mum who would find these ideas helpful then please share this post with her. Together we can make Christmas meaningful for our kids, simply.

 


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Did somebody say Fiesta?

The Architect and I have a little birthday tradition. Each year on the night before the kids birthdays we eat the same meal we had the night before each of the children were born. It started as a simple way to reflect back on that moment in time and has become a really fun family tradition – a simple but sentimental way to share with them the story of their birth and reminisce on what was happening on the “night before”.

With all three kids I kind of knew by dinner time that we were about to be “on” and so each of the night-before dinners were spent with me getting up to move, rock and breathe through the early contractions. The night before Bliss was born we had Thai takeaway – I was more than a week overdue so Mum and went on a mammoth walk to get things moving and picked up take away on the way home. The night before Bear was born I was even more overdue than I had been with Bliss and we were completely over takeaway so, knowing I was booked in for an induction the next morning (which I didn’t end up needing) we just had what we had on hand – spaghetti (which we interpret more broadly as Italian). The night before Bluey was born I was still heavily in denial that he was coming but thankfully (because it’s a fave of mine) it was Taco night!

I decided to ramp things up this year and make it his birthday party theme so we celebrated with a Fiesta party complete with a Taco lunch, a pinata and the best little Sombrero cookies you can imagine! In my usual way, it was a pretty low key affair but lots of fun – a day spent worrying less about being picture perfect and more about making memories.

Many thanks to my good friend Heather from Teacup Ballet for taking these pics for me…

 

Jude's 1st Birthday 3

Jude's 1st Birthday 26

Jude's 1st Birthday 8

Jude's 1st Birthday 11

Jude's 1st Birthday 17

Jude's 1st Birthday 34

Jude's 1st Birthday 22

Jude's 1st Birthday 46

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Sunday 20th October

On Sunday 20th October my little boy reached a milestone that brought tears to my eyes.
13 days after his 3rd birthday he said his name for the first time.

{photo credit: Chris Allsop Photography}

The improvements in his speech has been phenomenal over the past few months and his language development has exploded but still he has resisted saying, or even
trying to say, his name.

Not any more – he will proudly, and easily, say it these days.

I am so very proud of him.


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Do you advocate for your children, and for your family?

Over the past few months we have been on a steep learning curve as parents, hobbling along with little sleep and increasingly frayed nerves. I was blessed to spend three weeks in Sydney over the school holidays in Sydney and step back into my safe, loving family home. That might sound a bit over the top but when you take into account that on my second night there I found myself collapsed in the hall a mess of hysterical sobbing so dramatic that I think my dad worried that someone had died and that I left 3 weeks later having not done a load of washing or making a single meal you will appreciate that I was feeling well and truly spoiled!

Most of this recent journey center on my oldest boy as he navigates the sometimes wonky path of toddlerhood. I could write a series of posts call “When your toddler doesn’t…” and then fill in the blanks with eat, sleep and talk. (It was the ongoing lack of sleep ~ his, and subsequently our whole households ~ that led to the aforementioned hysterical breakdown!)

Through it all it’s become clear to me that it’s so important to advocate for your child, and for your family. This is what I know…

  • Don’t just accept a referral or a waiting list or a ‘no’!
  • Look into who are the best care providers you can access – word of mouth is crucial unless your Doctor really knows the specialist they are referring you to.
  • Listen to your instinct and trust that you know your child, and your family, better than someone who has taken a 10 minute case history.
  • If you don’t feel listened to or if something doesn’t’ feel right then find someone else – doctors can be incredible but sometimes they aren’t. It took me seeing 3 speech therapists to find the right one for Bear and even then her receptionist initially told me that her books were closed but I sent her an email and she took us on. She is amazing and my Bear is blossoming as a result!
  • Talk to your doctors about what help you can access and ask questions of friends and fellow parents. The GP we see is great but he didn’t tell me about the EPC plan we could access for Bear – that was something I discovered by accident (though he was fab at getting it sorted for us and bulk billed his time for setting it up) and helps us out with the cost of it.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask silly questions or to go back to see someone a second time – there are no silly questions and often, no one ‘right’ answer.
  • Never be afraid to make an appointment – you can always cancel it closer to the time if the situation has resolved itself. I booked an appt with the paed last week for one thing and when the time came to see her today I had a list of other things to discuss and was so grateful we were booked in.

I’ve been holding off sharing Bear’s journey because I didn’t know where it was going to land us and despite being only 2, it’s his life and his story and I would like to respect that. However, we are at a point now where I feel what we have been through might help other parents and families with the same questions that we had and so here we are. (Just to skip to the ending, Bear has a speech disorder with no specific name nor cause but it means he is unable to move his top and bottom jaw independently. As a result he is unable to make certain sounds and thus say certain letters. This has led to a significant speech delay, a language delay (who knew – those are not the same thing!) and an understanding delay. In March he was at best 20% intelligible and rarely used words to communicate. After only a few months of working on it ~ once we found a good speech therapist ~ he is closer to 90% intelligible and talks readily.  There is no global disorder or delay diagnosis or concern with him.)

Phew! So that’s us….how have you been?

 

 


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Dear Seasoned Mummies…I need your help.

In 6 short sleeps my baby girl starts school.

I’ve got so many emotions and thoughts rattling around my exhausted body that I can’t begin to make head nor tail of them.

I am still not sure how the time has flown so fast. Where does it go???

On the one hand I know she is ready (and I know I am ready!)

On the other hand, I am not sure I am ready for 5 days week. In fact, I am completely freaking out about it.

Surely she is still only two and a half. Surely?!?

I can’t allow my brain to go where it wants to go – have I done enough for her? been enough for her? given her enough of me? I know I haven’t been perfect, but I’ve done my best and I love her to pieces. I hope and pray that it’s been enough.

I look at this baby face and I know that it’s too late to go back, nothing can be re-done…all we have is now.

Bliss_fun
 

And now, she’s my big girl. and a gorgeous one at that.

She has grown up so much these holidays that it takes my breath away.

I am really going to miss her.

5 days a week seems like a LOT at the moment, though I would happily go for 2-3 days (as I think would she).

starting school, family traditions and starting school

So please Mummies, I need your help.

I’m looking for suggestions about different family traditions you have yourself or know of for both the start of school generally and starting school for the first time.

I would like to start next week with something special, something we can build on – another brick in the foundation of our family life – and I love some suggestions on what that could be!

thanks in advance,

love from a very tired mummy.

 

 


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The Things Childhoods Are Made Of…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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