Friday, 19 December 2014

Miss C's Second Christmas #FlashbackFriday

Christmas 2010 was Miss C's second Christmas. She was one and a half, walking and in to everything.

She loved Christmas day. She wasn't sure what all the presents were about but she loved ripping the wrapping paper off the gifts and inspecting the boxes before moving on to the next present.

Her favourite part was the Christmas dinner. We had roast chicken with lots of veg, Yorkshire puds and gravy. She loved the crackers and wearing her Christmas cracker crown.

This time next week, Miss C will have celebrated her 6th Christmas. I'm pretty certain she'll be more in to the presents and playing than wearing the Christmas cracker crown.

My Three and Me

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Keeping the Magic of Christmas Alive

Z is getting close to that age where I'm sure he is going to start asking questions about Santa. In fact, sometimes I'm sure he knows the truth but doesn't say anything so he doesn't spoil the magic for Miss C. She definitely believes. She's at a great age!

I guess Z being the youngest in his year where the children, in some cases, are coming up on age 9 when he's only 7 and a half, he is going to hear doubts and rumours that will make him wonder. This is why I love finding ways to keep the magic of Christmas alive. They aren't children for long so I want to make sure their time as children is cherished, memorable and filled with innocence and magic.

Just the other day, I came down from the loft after finding our little toy reindeer who came last year to watch Miss C and took him to her. I said, "look who I found knocking on the window to get in! It's Santa's reindeer again!" She was loving it! He now sleeps with her and she gave him a little massage the other day so he can tell Santa just how well Miss C looked after him.

On Saturday, Santa delivered the letters to the children. Miss C opened hers first and I read it to her. She was amazed at how much Santa knew about her and very excited to hear what her special present was going to be. Z opened his when he came home from Karate. He read it out to us and we could hear the tone of his voice changing from excitement to amazement to excitement again. He couldn't believe Santa knew who his best friend was and what they wanted for Christmas. These letters from Lapland Mailroom are fantastic!

We went to visit Santa on Saturday at a local Christmas market. Z didn't want to go in at first but he did eventually come in. He spoke to Santa about football and his favourite players but I could tell he wasn't sure about this person sitting in front of him. I could see his doubt. That's when I thought about the film Santa Paws we watched recently and Santa talking about "Santa helpers" who help spread the Christmas cheer to all the boys and girls because the real Santa is so busy. I reminded Z of the film and he seemed to take in what I was saying.

We love the Portable North Pole videos for the kids. Again, Miss C is always blown away by these and she gets so nervous waiting to see if she is on the nice list. Z enjoys them too and I think he prefers watching Santa this way than meeting a Santa helper in person.

Christmas Eve is such an exciting time in our house. We make reindeer dust to throw out in to the garden so the reindeer know where to land. We use the Santa tracker app as Z loves countries so this is a really fun activity for him. Lastly we make sure we leave something yummy for Santa and his reindeer. This year I've booked a treat for the kids at a local cookery school. On Christmas Eve, they are going to make some treats for Santa that they can bring home and place on our gorgeous decorated Christmas plate I ordered from a small business called Handmade by Debs. I can't wait to see all the treats on Santa and Rudolph's plate.

These are just some of the little things that we like to do for the kids to keep the magic and spirit of Christmas alive. After all, it isn't just about getting presents but being able to see the sparkle in their eyes as the magic fills their imaginations.

What ways do you keep the magic of Christmas alive in your house?

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Introducing Children to Mexican Food

I grew up in Spain and in Mexico which meant, from a young age, I was used to eating different varieties of food which included some really spicy stuff! I'll never forget being around age 3 and eating huge prawns with lemon that I had to peel myself or really hot curries that would blow my head off now but didn't phase me at the time.

When we lived in Mexico, we used to visit a restaurant called Don Taco where they served up the most amazing soft flour tortilla tacos. I used to get spicy beef, in a wrap, with a squeeze of lime juice. My Sister would have Tacos al Pastor; pork meat in a variety of spices and herbs, cooked in the same way Donner meat is cooked for a kebab. They both tasted amazing. I'm not a fan of things like salsa and guacamole but my Sister and my Mum would fill their tacos up with them. This is Mexican food at its best.

We used to travel most weekends to the coast of Mexico. The city centre is incredible but it is a busy city and there isn't much in the way of greenery. We used to head over to Acapulco and eat in some of the best restaurants serving the best Mexican food. If I could go back there tomorrow, I'd be on the first flight there. I'd love to take Husband to visit the city where I grew up, the beautiful Acapulco or Cancun and the gorgeous Blue Diamond Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen. It would be the perfect place for us to spend our ten year wedding anniversary in 2016.

Because of my love for all things spicy and exotic, I wanted to introduce these foods in to Z and Miss C's diet from a young age. By a year old, they were eating dishes like paella, Spanish chicken, chicken curry and, one of my favourite dishes, fajitas!

The kids love fajita night in our house. Usually I'll make them with chicken, onion and peppers but sometimes I'll add in prawns or steak. They all taste delicious! I tend to buy a pre-packed fajita mix but you can easily make your own mix if you prefer. Fajita mix is made with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, 2 teaspoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of white sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne powder and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin. You simply stir all of the ingredients together in a bowl and add them to the pot when you are frying your meat and onion. The kids love to add a small amount of mayonnaise and cheese to their fajitas. They have yet to try my Mum's guacamole recipe but I've heard it is really good and that's coming from my Mexican relatives.

Another favourite Mexican dish is enchiladas and nachos. Traditionally enchiladas are made with a meat, bean and vegetable mixture which you fill a tortilla with, wrap it securely and place it in an oven dish. Then you cover the tortillas with a tomato sauce, chili, sour cream and grated cheese. Again, I'm not a fan of things like sour cream so I tend to make up a chicken and vegetable mix, add in some shop bought enchilada sauce and then fill the tortillas up with the mixture. I'll serve them with salad and rice or nachos. Husband and the kids love nachos with plenty of salsa, sour cream and melted cheese. I'm glad my avoidance of these types of sauces hasn't put the kids off trying them! They also love a hot chili con carne!

One of the best memories I have of Mexico and the delicious food is eating churros with hot chocolate sauce. Churros are like long doughnuts, sweet with cinnamon and sugar. I mean, they aren't exactly healthy as desserts go since they are deep fried and then rolled in the sugar and cinnamon but they are really yummy. When we went to Spain a few years ago, the kids loved them for breakfast with a cup of hot chocolate to dip them in.

I love that my children enjoy eating different cuisines from different countries. They would eat a curry or spicy stew over fish and chips any day of the week. It's definitely never too early to introduce children to Mexican food or any kind of spicy food!

Have you ever been to Mexico? Do you enjoy Mexican food? What other exotic or spicy dishes do you and your children enjoy?

Featured post

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Give It Up For Christmas

Our house is so excited for Christmas.

The tree is up, the advent calenders are being opened every day and the cards are filling up every available surface.

The kids can't wait for Santa to arrive. They haven't asked for much; they never do. They have a few things they'd quite like but mostly they are excited to spend time as a family and they can't wait to go out for Christmas dinner. It's such a magical feeling, seeing your children excited for Christmas.

Last week, during a lecture at college, my lecturer said, "it is scary to think that 1 in 5 children in our region are living in poverty. And in our county it's something like 1 in 3!"

One in three children. Scotland. It just doesn't seem real. That means that for every three children in Miss C or Z's class, one of them could be living in circumstances that mean they are living in poverty. It's a wake up call to say the very least. It actually makes me want to cry.

Every family should be able to enjoy Christmas but with stats like these, whilst we're excited for our Christmas day, knowing we'll have presents to open, a hot meal for dinner....a warm house, there are parents out there trying to think of ways to tell their children that they won't be getting presents from Santa because the reality is, they simply can't afford it.

The aim of the charity With Kids, with help from Mantra, a Glasgow based content agency, is to help those families who need it most. With Kids are helping provide support to families all over Scotland. Like any charity though, they can only do it with support of donations. This is where the initiative Give it up For Christmas comes in.

The idea is simple. They are asking  people, who are in a position to do so, to give up one thing at Christmas time, whether that be a bottle of wine, sending cards or having Brussels sprouts with the roast dinner and using the money they would have spent as a donation to the initiative. The money donated will be used to buy a stocking filler, pay for heating the home or even a roast dinner.

What one thing could you give up this Christmas to help a charity, whether it be With Kids or a similar local initiative to you? We will be making a donation to the charity along with donations of food items to the school who are collecting for the local food banks.

If you'd like to donate to With Kids, this is their JustGiving page or you can text GIUP995 to 70070 to donate £5. They are aiming to raise £5000.00.

Monday, 15 December 2014

A Letter to Santa from Miss C - 2014

Dear Santa,

I have been a good girl this year. For Christmas I would like:
  1. A robotic dog that listens to me
  2. Playmobil
  3. Frozen toys
  4. Sylvanian Families
  5. A surprise!
Love from Miss C x

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