Sunday, 29 November 2015

Christmas in a Jar

Christmas is different with kids.

And by different I mean better… looking back on Christmas in my 20’s it was kind of a strange time…no kids running around, not so many pressies to open (and they were generally a bit wack…) no one knowing what to get anyone else, driving a lot from one parents house to the next, making sure we saw all the family…

I much prefer it now, with the excitement from the kids Christmas is simply more fun, more exciting and … yep more expensive.

With sooo much choice out there these days it can absolutely do your head in trying to get ‘just the right thing’. To help combat the expense, (and to reduce the amount of wack presents) our family have a solution. Every year the family tries to come up with a genius new way to not spend much on the adults (it is all about the kids after all). We have had secret santa’s with a price limit, swap a present, pick one name out of a hat and buy one semi decent thing for them…..But this year my mum has come up with ‘Christmas in a Jar’.

So we will be involving the kids with this one too. Everyone fills a jar (with whatever…) and wraps it up so you can’t see what’s in it, still to be decided how we are going to choose who gets what, may be a lucky dip type scenario.

So I have been researching a little to see what’s out there, and there are some really creative and ingenious ideas (gotta love pinterest!), which I thought I would share as I am going to also do some of these for people I would like to thank for the year, but have limited funds to spend on such as my daughters school teacher, daycare teachers – who are fabulous, friends etc.

So here are some of the top runners…

 Cupcake in a Jar - yum! You can find the instructions here - But basically you make some cupcakes, cut them in half, stuff them in the jar with some icing...easy peasy and looks so cute. My daughter could make these for her teacher! 

 Being a Baileys fan I love this one! Hot choc powder, marshmellows, baileys...done! You could also do a kid friendly one with a choc dipped spoon instead of the Baileys

Handmade snow globes! This will be a present from the kids to their Nana I think! Instructions are here

Similar to the Baileys one this looks and would taste delicious! Ingredients are here

This is a cute idea to give someone to do with their kids before xmas, making the cookies for Santa, you could pretty much use any basic biscuit ingredients

Presented so beautifully this makes for a very treaty gift - sugar scrub for your body which apparently tightens and treats your skin...the recipe is here

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Fresh Eyes, Love, Laughter and Fun - What being a Grandparent means

Fresh Eyes, Love, Laughter and Fun

A mother becomes a true grandmother the day she stops noticing the terrible things her children do because she is so enchanted with the wonderful things her grandchildren do. ~Lois Wyse

I’ve travelled the road of “stay at home mum” with two toddlers. I’ve also run full steam along  the road of “working mum”, with two school aged children, a dog, two cats, two guinea pigs, a mouse and a lamb………all things I’m sure a lot of mums and dads can relate to!  All up, a busy life! 

Now, I’m a “stay at home grandmother”, Janny.  To my delight, my grandkids love calling me Janny or Jan Jan and even my children have taken to calling me Janny.  The name was chosen because of my attitude to becoming a grandparent……”not ready yet guys!!   I’m still feeling too young to be called Nana or Granma” but I love the name Janny, and how it sounds when the grandchildren talk to me. 
Looking back at watching my children grow, I realize that those years past by all too quickly.  Life was a blur, the children were constantly changing bringing new challenges nearly every day.
Mornings were a juggling act, and as for the rest of the day…..I’m sure I don’t need to spend much time on describing this part of parenting!

 Now, I’m a grandmother!!!!  And the point is?   The point is……. when I hear the reminiscent cliché ……….  “And I wouldn’t change a thing” I wonder how someone could look back over their parenting life and be so sure that they got every little bit of being a parent so right.  I know I didn’t.  As a parent, we are learning every day along with the children and some days all the loving, laughing and fun times are forgotten while you battle with a toddler screaming loud enough to deafen you. 

So, yes there are few things I would change if given the chance but the one that is most strong in my mind is spending more “kid time” with my children.  By kid time, I mean being a child with your child.  Now that I’m a grandparent, I love to act quirky and childish……silly even.  Why is it you have to wait until your body is starting to crack up to be a kid again.  Being a kid to me is …Saying silly stuff (something that comes a bit too naturally to me!), playing mud pies and getting dirty rolling down a hill.  Yes, I have rolled down a hill with one of my grandsons and he laughed and laughed and thought it was hilarious to see his Janny clumsily bumping her way thru the grass, down the slope. 
When I had my first child at 20 years old, I think I was still growing up myself. 

I was too busy learning to be a mum to be a real “kid” with my children.  I had the physical ability, but I missed seeing some of little things that children give, that I see now as a grandmother.  My granddaughter and I have an awesome bond that started as soon as she was born.  Even before she could crawl, I was on the floor next to her, talking and playing at her level.  I’ve tried to keep that up all thru her years, but as she gets older and faster, I’m getting slower, and some of the more rough and physical stuff is becoming less.  However I can still pretend to be a dog with her and give horsey rides even if they are much shorter now. 

I think parents get glimpses of these special moments but need to be reminded to take a break and to be able to step out of their fast, chaotic routines.  Even, for just a short period, to see things thru the eyes of a grandparent and become a kid again.  Remember when, as a parent, you took a night away without the kids and the awesome feeling of love and joy you got from coming home to excited open arms …………

That is what being a grandparent is like! 

It’s, fresh eyes, love, laughter and wonderful childish fun.  

Written by Janice MacKenzie
Mum of two, Janny of four