Goals For 2013

Last year, on this date, I posted my goals for 2012. Looking back over that list I was really pleased with how I did.
I find that "resolutions" always seem to carry a lot of pressure, and I've just always felt are quite throw away and not very serious.
Goals, aspirations, ambitions, targets, objectives, whatever you choose to call them, are now going to play a big part in my life at the start of a new year. Sometimes life can become to routine, too similar and it can become quite frustrating. I rarely get time to be me, to switch off from being mummy, even as I write this, at 10:30 on Wednesday, my shoulders are tense and my ears pricked up waiting for Harry to wake up.
My craft projects, which I completed last year gave me a release. I was Lauren as I pinned the cushion together, as I sewed the binding onto the binding, and as I cut out every 2p sized circle of felt for our Christmas trees.
As I attempted to make sausage rolls, mince pies and Salmon quiche I was excited at the end result, achieving something I had always wanted to, even though it's only food and not a make or break promotion with a big company.
I digress.
So, 2013 will involve simple yet achievable goals.

For years, since I have attempted and failed at a photo a day project.
I'm not giving up in my quest to one day succeed with this task. So for 2013 I will try once more BUT I won't put pressure on myself to upload everyday, or set up another blog. The logical way of doing it seems to be the same way Lucy (Dear Beautiful) runs her project, that being an "Our Week In Photos" style set up. I see this as being a relaxed yet organised and structured way to do the project.
So once again: Complete a 365 Project.

I'd like to keep up with the craft work I have started and  would like to make a lot more, for us and other people. Homemade gifts seem to really be appreciated by our mum's at least so I will make a real effort to make birthday and Christmas gifts. I'd also like to concentrate on decorating and updating our bedroom. I want to do this as much as I can by making things myself with photo items, cushions, wall art and other decorative items.
Keep up with crafts: redecorate bedroom using items made by me and make presents for birthdays and Christmas.

Following on from last year, I would still like to make my own jam and chutney. This may even link well with my second goal of homemade presents. A hamper of jams and chutney made by my own fair hands, what a lovely present that would be.
Make chutney and jams.

To get me out of the house, away from being mummy/wife for just an hour, I would really love to learn a new skill, or at least attempt one. I won't even put pressure on myself to join the college or similar, even a one off workshop would count.
Learn a new skill and/or attend a workshop.

I also want to set myself some short term goals too. Whereas with the others I have all year to do them but with these I am only giving myself until the end of April.

Go for a walk (not including the walk to Preschool) once a week.
Take the boys to the park twice a month (might not sound like much but it's a big step for me as I have a real phobia of the park)


It's Never Too Late...

...to buy new decorations for the tree.
Despite Christmas almost being over we visited the garden centre again today so I could purchase a new bauble for Harry. Yesterday Charles decided to grab Harrys little snowglobe from the tree and pass it to Harry. It was all done innocently of course, he was trying to show Harry how beautiful the snowglobe was but predictably the snowglobe ended up smashed and left a lovely watery glittery mess on our sofa!
I was quite upset as this was Harry's first personal bauble, and my mum bought it for him to celebrate his first Christmas, so I immediately wanted to find a replacement, even if it wasn't going to be identical.
Typically all of the "Harry's" had gone and despite there being other personalised baubles around, none featured his name or even his initial.
I wasn't leaving the garden centre without a replacement of some kind for the smashed bauble and fell in love with an adorable donkey standing on a bauble.
I decided that I would use lead piping I had at home to write Harry's name on the bauble.
I also fell in love with a really cute Reindeer holding on to a glittery W. I am a sucker for anything with our surname initial so had to by it.
Both look very at home on our beautiful tree.



Trying To Feel Christmassy

I started my Christmas shopping at the end of October. Being a housewife it's a case of buy presents as soon as you have the money.
Obviously this is good as it means I don't have to run to my husband and ask him nicely for money so I can buy him some presents, but it also means that come December, I have hardly any shopping to do and therefore feel a tiny bit deprived of Christmas spirit.

We all spent the first half of December ill in someway and with my husband working a lot, including weekends, it feels as though we haven't had much time to do anything fun and Christmas related as a family.
We have made cards, gift tags, pictures and a few decorations but I felt we were missing out on things outside of the house.

Yesterday {Wednesday) Charles had his Christmas party at Preschool and Father Christmas visited, due to this we decided to not take him and Harry to a Grotto this year. We want to avoid him seeing too many Father Christmasses so he doesn't ask questions as to why some of them sound or look different, and lets face it, Harry is hardly missing out as he doesn't understand it all yet.

For the last 15 minutes the preschool children sang for the parents, we thought this would be Christmas themed but it wasn't so much as Charles was upset as he thought he would be singing on the stage but instead was just sat on a chair, as a result he decided to not sing at all.
As I drove us all home I thought that this was my opportunity to now do something with the boys which involved Christmas.
I dropped my husband off and simply went to a local garden centre to look at their lights. We were there for around half an hour if not more, even though the display was only small but I was mesmerised by the beautiful decorations, mostly looking at some wondering how Kirsty Allsopp I could recreate it.

I chose to buy the boys a decoration for the tree each. As a special gift just for the sake of it but also to say sorry for hardly putting any effort in this year.
I take comfort in knowing that next year will be the first year Harry will understand about the Father Christmas tradition so it will be my chance to redeem myself.





The Waiting Place



Charles Sings Jingle Bells!

It's only fun to ride one horse....wayhey!


Future Radio Presenter

At 3 years old he's already a pro at using a mixing desk and with timing. Daddy is very proud.


There's This Boy...

There's this boy, blonde hair, blue eyes, cute turned up nose and pouty lips. I first met him 17 months and 3 days ago.
He stole a part of my heart that I didn't even know was there for the taking. I thought another boy had all of it, and that it wasn't big enough for another to come along and have a piece too.

I adore this boy. Everything about him. Just thinking of him makes me go a little silly and gives me butterflies.

But part of me feels sad. Sad for this boy. Sad because the first few months he was in my life are now a blur. Everything felt so crazy and there was so much going on. Although he completed our family and was able to slot in perfectly, I had this feeling the whole time that he wasn't meant to be.
I still get that feeling, like he's going to be taken away from me.
I can't do anything to bring those days back. If I could I would. I would embrace them and soak them in.
I would do a better job.

Sometimes I feel sad for this boy because I compare him a lot to his older brother.
I know it's a natural thing to do but he's his own person, and I shouldn't do it.
I constantly worry about his speech. He says a few things, but his brother was saying a lot more when he was his age.
I blame myself for that, because I forget I need to teach him, and I don't have as much time as I did with his brother.
Yet this boy has the best ROAR you've ever heard. And says "tickle tickle" in the cutest way.

He's happy, he smiles a lot (although he also has one of the loudest screams ever) and is very sociable.
He is also the best dancer I have ever seen. He will dance to anything, even the sound of the sewing machine. He has the most fantastic rhythm and knows how to move every part of his body.
At the same time, he's a real mummies boy and would happily spend all day using me as a dummy and a drink if he could.

There's this boy who makes me so happy just by looking at me. Just by giving me a simple cuddle sometimes whilst he's in the middle of playing tells me he loves me and that he still needs me, and hasn't forgotten about me.

Sometimes he looks at me, or does something which makes him sound or look identical to his brother and I just melt. I realise how lucky I am to have these two people in my life.
Two the same, yet two so different.

There's this boy who has made my biggest boy so happy. He screams in delight and excitement when we collect his bigger brother from preschool. They sometimes cuddle and end up in a heap on the preschool floor, laughing.
He searches for his brother as soon as he wakes up in the morning.
They are best friends, and make each other so happy.

There's this boy who I don't talk about enough, and I don't create special time for. But I will change that.
I'm making a promise to this boy that I will change and make and effort to do proper things in the afternoon. Like swimming, walks and dare I say it, go to the park.

There's this boy who means the world to me. And although this may come across like he is my favourite, he isn't, I love both of my boys equally, but I feel I have a lot of making up to do.

There's this boy.
Called Harry.
And he is amazing.



Easy Mince Pie Rolls {Recipe}

A few years ago I embarked on the challenge to be the perfect Christmas housewife and decided I had to make homemade mince pies.
I didn't really eat mince pies before, well I did but they had to be hot with lots of extra thick cream. But I'd seen a recipe from Kirstie Allsopp and as she is one of my idols I had to give it a go.

I failed.
The pastry didn't cook well and it all ended up a big soggy yukky mess.
And so I gave up.

Then this year I decided I couldn't let pastry get the better of me, and successfully made Sausage Rolls.
Well, I thought, if I can make sausage rolls then I can make mince pies.
And two days ago as the ingredients were dropped off by my jolly Sainsburys driver I set about completing my perfect Christmas housewife challenge.

You need:
Puff Pastry (I used a block)
Flour for sprinkling
Egg wash

I decided to keep it simple and basically wanted to follow the same process as the sausage rolls.
Rather than the sheets of pastry I had a block of puff pastry (this wasn't what I ordered but this is what Sainsburys had substituted me with) so I first cut it in half, put some flour on my work top and rolled the pastry into a rectangle.
I then spooned mincemeat along the top of the pastry (leaving a cm gap from the edge to make it easy to roll) and then rolled the pastry up, leaving an inch at the bottom of the rectangle, brush on some egg and then fold and press so that the pastry sticks together.
Flatten the roll slightly and brush along the top with egg wash. I used a fork to do this and scored the pastry slightly.
Once this is done then slice the roll into portions. I got around 6 pieces from the roll. Then put the mince pie rolls onto a baking tray (I lined my tray with greaseproof paper which worked really well)
Place in a preheated oven (200 degrees) for around 20-25 minutes.

Serve hot or leave to cool.

With the other pastry I decided to experiment and made squares, in one corner put a couple of teaspoons of mincemeat and then folded the other corner over, almost like an apple turnover/Samosa. These were obviously equally as yummy, and probably a little easier to eat as they were easy to hold and didn't have as much of the mincemeat pouring out.

Christmas Housewife Challenge: PASSED

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