Telling the Nativity Story with Lolly Stick Puppets

Talitha was ill and grumpy most of the day yesterday. Ill and grumpy in a way only a two-and-a-half-year-old can be. She spent quite a lot of it sitting on the couch and admonishing the cat not to look at her. Still, she lit up when I suggested we make something. “Make something”, “paint something”, “bake something” – I can count on these for a brightening of just about any mood. I’d picked up some lolly sticks over the weekend so I thought – puppets? It made sense to do the Nativity since we’re having lots of chats about Christmas…

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Make an Advent Calendar from Toilet Rolls

I got all excited about making an Advent Calendar when I read this post by Along Came Cherry. I was totally going to follow her idea except I realised that I didn’t have any tissue paper. This meant I wouldn’t be able to place the rolls horizontally and forward facing so Talitha could burst the fronts. Wanting to use only what I already had, I ended up with something quite different – pockets! I’m really happy with the result. Here’s what I used: 13 toilet roll tubes tape green gift wrap (to cover the tubes) gold gift wrap (for the…

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25 Advent Activities for Children

I didn’t bother with an Advent calendar last year as Advent isn’t something I grew up with and I didn’t think Talitha would get much out of it at eighteen months. This year at two-and-a-half, though – oh my, it’s guaranteed to be great fun. I considered getting her the usual chocolate calendar but decided against it for a few reasons: 1. We’re going to lots of Christmas things – there’ll be ample opportunity for her to get a fix there, 2. It’ll be more fun to focus on doing and giving than on simply getting, 3. She’s at an…

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It’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas…already

The Christmas thing seems to be happening for us so much earlier this year. Usually I’d blame it on commercialism and certainly it was weird walking into The Co-operative today and seeing all the merry banners. However, other markers are ushering us into the season sooner than I expected. In an attempt to make this the year I don’t get ulcers stressing over last minute Christmas presents and the state of our bank account, I’ve been shopping gradually and putting things aside. Talitha’s presents are all done now, except for the stocking fillers, which we’re saying are from Santa. Which…

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Perspective

It’s been a while since I’ve been here. Christmas is a busy time and my parents were staying with us but that’s not why I went silent. Like many prone to moods they don’t feel in control of, it’s easy for me to get too self-reflective at the end of the year. So I drafted five or six posts and hit “delete” instead of “publish”. Everything I wrote looked pathetic or false on the screen. In real life, I joked with Laurence about being slightly unhinged. Quietly, I wondered if I was becoming unwell again. I wasn’t. Instead, I’ve been…

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“Did Jesus lie in a manger?”: reflecting on 2 years of blogging

“Did Jesus really lie in a manger?” My friend put the question out there and let it hang for a bit. “Because it’s basically a cot, isn’t it?” she smiled. Three of us sat with cups of tea and our five children with whom we probably all sleep or have slept with at some point. I suddenly saw my nativity set in a whole new light. We agreed it seemed unlikely that he wouldn’t have slept beside his mother. I look at the figurines I bought before I had Talitha. They now look strange to me. This mainly boils down…

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Baby’s first overseas holiday

So we’re finally back from our month-long holiday in Trinidad and Tobago. As evidenced by how quiet it’s been on Circus Queen, I got a little distracted. Talitha is now an airplane flying badass. We flew from Gatwick to Tobago, Tobago to Trinidad, Trinidad to Tobago, Tobago to Trinidad again, Trinidad to Tobago again, then Tobago back to Gatwick. Phew! We actually survived all that. As everyone assured me we would. To those who made it sound like the flight out there wouldn’t be so difficult, I’m glad I didn’t believe you. At the same time, I wouldn’t go as…

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