Makaton Monday ~ How Many (Sleeps)?

Its time of year again and I can well imagine that most children have asked THE question by now… How many sleeps is it till Christmas?

I have to admit that we’ve been in countdown for lasts few months! Wriggler gets soooooo excited and has done since he was Bruisers age (3). Bruiser on the other hand doesn’t really realise whats happening yet (we don’t think). We keep talking about it and mentioning that is Christmas soon. When he has seen toys in the shops and asks to take them home, we tell him we will put them on his christmas list. He’s shown his understanding of this very recently, we he sees toys he likes now, he says ‘me det it mismas?’.

Christmas preparations are taking place at school too, we’ve recently had a letter saying that Bruiser is going to be a sheep in his nativity. That I cannot wait to see 😀

Todays sign is relatively new to Bruiser. Although its one we use a lot when we are counting with him. It’s not one we have seen him use as yet. I hope that in the coming weeks with Wriggler now using it too, he will use it himself. He copies everything Wriggler does, and Wriggler asks EVERY DAY how many sleeps it is to christmas.

The question I have for the Makaton Charity is; which sign would be the most appropriate to use for ‘sleeps’? ‘To Sleep’ ‘Day’ ‘Night’ or is there another sign?

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HOW MANY

HOW MANY

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Bruiser signing 'How Many'

Bruiser signing ‘How Many’

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Looking for some Christmas Signs? Visit the Makaton website where you can find all the Christmas Vocabulary and more, including The First Christmas Story and Christmas Cards.

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Sign/Symbol used with the kind permission of the © The Makaton Charity 2012

For any help or advice in respect of Makaton, please contact the Makaton Charity directly.

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MAKATON MONDAY

Baking our Christmas Cake

The other week me, Wriggler and Bruiser baked this years Christmas cake. This was the second time id baked the cake. In previous years, my Mum had always took great pleasure in baking us our yearly christmas cake but. last year I decided that I would use my Mums Christmas Cake recipe and give it a go for myself. It was a great success.

This year I wanted to get the boys involved just like my Mum did with me and my Brothers when we were children.

Both Wriggler and Bruiser love to bake and help cook so it didn’t surprise me that they were both very eager to get stuck in. In fact they took over, I barely got chance to do any of it myself!

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First of all we got the butter and sugar creamed together. Then the boys took turns to add a little spiced flour then a little egg and other liquid ingredients until they were all mixed in.

Bruiser got stuck in scraping the mixture from the sides of the bowl (taking great care not to get even a tiny bit of mixture on his fingers) before they added the fruit, one spoonful at a time;

Once all the ingredients were added, it was time to each give the mixture a hand-stir while we made our christmas wishes. This was a tradition that my Mum always did. Id always thought it was a lovely idea so this year for the first time we did it too. 

That was it, the mixture was added to the cake tin and left to slowly bake in the oven…. All that was left was to well, clean the utensils 😉

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While the cake matures in the coming weeks, we just need to decide how we want to decorate the cake. Last year we did Snowmen and a Christmas Tree. But, this year Wriggler has some great ideas, so watch this space!

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My Favorite Christmas Stories

Everyone loves a good Christmas Story. They give you a warm excited glow inside that makes you feel Christmassy. You cant beat a cosy winters night in, in front of the box. Watching a Christmas film. The light of the tree the only light in the room. 😉

A lot of people recently have been sharing their favorite Christmas films and stories so I decided that I would share mine too.

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First in the list is an old old favorite and probably the 1st Christmas film that I fell in love with.

Its a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart & Donna Reed

Its a Wonderful Life

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Another old favorite…

A Christms Carol, starring Alister Simm.

Wriggler came home from school other night saying ‘they had had a pantomime in school about this horrible man that got turned nice because of these ghosts’. He absolutely loved it!  #atimelessclassic

A Christmas Carol

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I think this next film is the probably a favorite Christmas film of all the adults today, that grew up in the 70’s and 80’s.

Santa Claus The Movie, starring Dudley Moore & John Lithgow

Santa Claus The Movie

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Who doesn’t love this next one…

The Snowman

This story for me is another #timelessclassic. Wriggler equally loves this every year. We’ve even had the book from the library on many occasion.

We cant wait to see the new story on Christmas Eve this year, The Snowman and The Snowdog. A perfect bedtime story me thinks.

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The last film in my list is quite a modern film in comparison. But, equally heart warming and magical.

The Polar Express, starring the voice of Tom Hanks.

I love this film! It makes me want to be a kid again and go on this adventure. Wriggler loved this when he saw it for the first time 2yrs ago. We still had it in the sky planner for months after Christmas!

The Polar Express

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Have I missed any?

What are your favorite Christmas Stories? What are your Children’s?

Share them here.

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I’ve already Sky+’d all these films for next week 😉

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Happy Months (Mince Pies)

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Christmas preparations are well under way now. Think its time I made my first lot of Mince Pie’s… or Happy Months as they were called when I was growing up.

(There is a tradition that says for each mince pie eaten over the festive period one will get a happy month in the following year)… best get eating 🙂

Last year, I used my Mum’s last ever jar of homemade Mincemeat. My Brother has carried on that tradition so this years, will made using my Brothers Mincemeat.

Happy Month Mince Pie’s

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Ingredients

(makes 8oz of pastry which makes approx 12-15 mince pies… want more, simply double the ingredients!)

8oz Self Raising Flour

4oz Butter

1oz Sugar

75ml of cold water

(my Mum always insisted on SF flour and not plain. She said it made a softer thicker pastry that melted in your mouth… she was right :))

What else

A jar of Mincemeat

1 egg beaten with a splash of milk to coat the top of the pies

A sprinkling of sugar

A little water to stick the tops on the pies

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Rub together the butter and flour and sugar in a bowl to make fine crumbs.

pastry crumbs

pastry crumbs

Add the water and sir in with a knife until you have a dough that isn’t too sticky or too crumbly.

Pastry dough

Pastry dough

Roll out the pastry on a flat surface and using the pastry cutter (i use the largest one). You will need 12-15 of the largest circles and 12-15 of the medium sized ones to top your pies.

Rolled and cut pastry cases

Rolled and cut pastry cases

Add the pastry circles to your baking tray, then add a generous amount of mincemeat to each of the pastry cases.

generously filled pastry cases

generously filled pastry cases

Next, use a little water and using your fingers cover one side of the pastry case tops and then stick them down onto the mincemeat filled pastry cases. Be sure to press down round the edge to make sure they stick together well.  Then, using your fingers again, dip them into the egg and milk mix and cover the tops of the pies evenly and sprinkle with sugar. Im quite generous with the sugar as it makes the tops of the bun quite crunchy. Once done, use some baking scissors and snip twice on the tops of the pies.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven for 15-20 mins or until golden on top! Then leave to cool on a wire rack.

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

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Give them a go, they’re quick and simple to make and they taste delicious!

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Getting Ready for Christmas

I love this time of year. Everyone is getting ready for Christmas. Christmas songs are playing in the shops, the Coca Cola Christmas Truck has been on TV, the little ones are enjoying their advent chocolate in a morning. Nativity plays are imminent, if you haven’t already seen them.

It’s safe to say that the excitement is most definitely building in our house.

This weekend we will be getting ready for Christmas. For our family, the main decorating and big tree is done by the ‘Christmas Fairies and Elves’ while we sleep in the night 😉 and the little trees are for the boys to decorate as they wish. They usually keep the little ones in their bedroom.

All these preparations though are making me look back at our ‘getting ready for Christmas’ photos from years gone by.

Wriggler in his 1st Santa hat

Wriggler in his 1st Santa hat

King Wriggler in his 1st Nativity

King Wriggler in his 1st Nativity

1st time Wriggler decorated his own little Christmas Tree

1st time Wriggler decorated his own little Christmas Tree

Wriggler loves wrapping himself up in all the Tinsel

Wriggler loves wrapping himself up in all the Tinsel

Baking 'Happy Months'

Baking ‘Happy Months’

Bruiser in his 1st Santa hat

Bruiser in his 1st Santa hat

Bruiser's 1st Advent Calendar

Bruiser’s 1st Advent Calendar

Meeting Father Christmas

Meeting Father Christmas

Wriggler getting Christmas Crafty

Wriggler getting Christmas Crafty

Wriggler decorating his tree

Wriggler decorating his tree

Angel Bruiser in his 1st Nativity

Angel Bruiser in his 1st Nativity

Watching their personal messages from Father Christmas

Watching their personal messages from Father Christmas

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How do you get ready for Christmas? Do you have any little traditions?

I can’t wait now 🙂

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