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93 Days to Christmas

I have my gift closet set up already, although it’s the space on the top of the wardrobe, not a closet and this is the first year it’s not brimming over with bargains picked up through out the year.
I’ve been a bit relaxed about Christmas organisation this year, which is another reason why I’m setting myself the challenge to spend half as much as I usually do. Because I haven’t been spreading the cost over the year, it has the potential to become even more expensive so I’m being strict with myself.
I WILL NOT let Christmas take over my rational thoughts.
I will enjoy the whole holiday season, including all the planning, which, lets face it, is one of my favourite parts but I WILL do it within budget.
There, I feel better and stronger the more I say it!
93 days people…..only 93!

94 Days to Christmas

I’m not going to be able to use the print out from today’s tip. It’s a gift ideas planner and the point of it is to play close attention to friends and family and note things like sizes, colours and preferences.

We don’t live near any of my family and only live close to a small amount of Ant’s family so I can’t really take note of anything when I only see them all a few times a year!

It’s a good idea though and I’d definately use it if I lived closer to everyone.
As it is, I’ll steer clear of presents that I need to know specifics for, such as clothes. I like my presents to be surprises so I stay away from having to ask any questions that could give it away!

95 Days to Christmas

Today’s task is to create a master gift list.
Mine’s already done. I just copied the page on my spreadsheet from last year, and the year before, and the year before that!
I kept the gift lists from the past three years so I don’t give any duplicate gifts 🙂
The fun part now is doing lots of surfing to find just the right gift for each person!

96 Days to Christmas

It’s time to focus on family values and remember what’s important at Christmas.
I, like nearly everyone, I assume, spend too much at Christmas. Things that seem hugely important and a must have, before the day, pale into insignificance afterwards and I usually start wishing I hadn’t spent so much.

I’m on a mission this year to spend as little as possible, while still having a wonderful time with my husband and children.

When I was looking for things to do for our 2 week activity plan in the summer, I realised how much money had been wasted last Christmas.
I bought the kids loads of presents because I remember the feeling, when I was a child, of opening the door and seeing the huge pile. I want them to feel the same every year but instead of buying expensive presents that get forgotten about and left in the toy box for the rest of the year, I’m going to buy lots of cheap presents that need us to help/play with them so they get a huge pile and we get to spend some lovely time together 🙂

I’m also going to be looking for the perfect home made gift for family members, that looks professional and costs as little as possible!

If you have any ideas, please feel free to share 🙂

97 Days to Christmas

My holiday planning centre is in my bedroom. I use boxes on the top of the wardrobe to keep the presents in as I buy them and I use the bed to do all the wrapping 🙂
I’ve not been as organised this year as I usually am but I have a few presents stashed away up there,
I need to check my spreadsheet to see what gift wrapping items I put away when I bought sale items in January. I seem to remember I got some bargains and I don’t think I need to buy cards this year.
I do need to stock up on sellotape, that I know for sure because kids can not resist sellotape and they’ve nearly used all mine up!
Do you have a designated planning centre?

99/98 Days to Christmas

I missed yesterdays email because it didn’t get to my inbox until late so I’m now checking the site directly. Yesterday’s tip was to make a Christmas Planner.
I like the idea of having a big, ring bound book with a Christmassey decorated cover but in reality, I know I wouldn’t use it daily to get organised because I prefer to type than to use a pen!
So I have my excel sheet all ready to go with a column each for Name, Item, Price and Link to item if I’m buying it online…..who am I kidding, of course I’ll be buying online!

Today’s tip is to plan your budget. We’re on a tight budget this year so I need to find some lovely home made gifts that don’t cost the earth to make.
Sometimes you think making your own is going to be cheaper but when you add up the cost for all the supplies, it can get more expensive so be sure to check out the price per unit if you’re going to make your own.

Check out the 101 Days to Christmas site for helpful links 🙂

100 days to Christmas

Today’s tip from 101 Days to Christmas is to set up a family calendar.

There are some free calendars to print out on the site but I’d rather have my calendar online.
I set up a Christmas calendar on Windows Live Calendar and it can be shared with anyone you choose 🙂

I’m going to add the school dates and planned events I know about already, for instance, we always go to my Mum’s for Boxing Day tea.
Since moving to Lincoln, I miss seeing my family on Christmas Day so we visit every Boxing Day.
Aiden alternates between home and his Dad’s for Christmas. If he’s at home, we take him to his Dad’s on Boxing Day so he can spend the rest of the holidays with him and if he’s at his Dad’s for Christmas, he comes home on Boxing Day.
This year he’s at home 🙂 so we’ll go to tea at my Mum’s with all the family and leave Aiden there when we come home.
The girls may or may not decide to stay. We’ll sort that out at the time!

So my first task to get organised is done and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s email to see what we have to do!

101 Days to Christmas

Ant’s probably not going to thank me for this post but I can’t help it….. It’s 101 days to Christmas and I can’t wait till it gets here 🙂

Last year I signed up to get daily emails from 101 Days to Christmas to help me get organised. I forgot about them until I got one the other day saying the daily emails would start again on 15th September and now I’m all excited!
If I remember correctly, I think it’s an American site so some of the emails don’t really apply to us, for example, it gives advice about Thanksgiving but I just skipped the ones I didn’t need.

I need to get my excel sheet uploaded to my Skydrive account (new laptop and no Excel….thank Microsoft for office online!) and start choosing presents for our huge families.
It takes ages to choose for everyone and it’s a job I look forward to every year 🙂
I’ve had the same sheet since 2008 so I have a record of what I’ve bought everyone since then. It helps make sure I don’t get the same presents for people!

I really want to get started on my excel sheet but it’s gone 10pm and I haven’t done the packed lunches, set the table for breakfast or sorted the kitchen after dinner because I started with a headache around 5pm.
I now have to do all that in the morning so I can go get some sleep now and hope the headache goes away.
Thankfully, it isn’t a migraine but it’s still quite painful so I’ll say goodnight 🙂


Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009

I was very organised this Christmas, more so than any other Christmas and I loved it!
I’m already planning for next Christmas and I bought the first Christmas present a few days ago.
I also got some bargains…… 3 rolls of wrapping paper that had been reduced to 50p per roll for 10 meters. A box of 12 Christmas crackers for £1.50. 3 extra large gift bags, the kind the kids put out on Christmas Eve for Santa to fill with presents. They were only 40p each. They’re usually 80p each or 2 for £1.50. This year it cost me £2.30 for 3 bags and I’ve got next years for only £1.20

So, back to this Christmas.

We decorated the tree and put the garlands up on the first Saturday in December.
We always let the kids decorate the tree. It always looks full of tinsel and ornaments and usually looks a little lopsided, but we never change it. We’re not bothered how it looks, we just love watching the children getting excited about Christmas when the tree decorating starts.

Child decorating Christmas tree

We put the usual angel on top but the last week, Ella came home from nursery with an angel she’d made so we put that one on the tree instead.
The children all put their own ornaments on the tree. Ever since Aiden’s first Christmas, I’d bought him a tree decoration every year and carried on the tradition with KayCee and Ella so they’ve all got their own tin that holds their own tree ornaments. They love putting them on the tree.

Christmas activities

We had the children home for 2 weekends at the beginning of December (they usually go to Aiden’s Dad’s on weekends) because Aiden had Chloe and Stuart’s birthday parties to go to.
We took advantage of this extra free time and did loads of Christmas activities with the kids.

Aiden, KayCee and Ella each made pastry and made mince pies, lemon curd tarts, and jam tarts.
While Aiden was at one of his parties, KayCee, Ella and I decorated some jars with brown, green and red paper. We cut diamond shapes in the paper then wrapped it around the jars. We put a tea light in each then went out and collected some greenery to put on the window sill with the jars. They looked wonderful when Ant lit them. We found out, though, that we needed jars with wider necks because the tea lights kept going out!
We didn’t bother lighting them after that day, but they still looked lovely in the window.

Ella and Kaycee also made some paper chain decorations. KayCee couldn’t wet them enough to make them stick so we got Ella to stick her tongue out and we wiped the paper chains on her tongue to get them wet, (she’s going through the dribbling stage!). We found it very funny!

Wrapping presents

They all loved wrapping up Christmas presents for Daddy and they used loads of ribbons and bows. The presents looked lovely.

Christmas present
They also did a great job at writing their Christmas cards. This was the first Christmas that KayCee was able to write her own name and copy other names. She wrote all her own Christmas cards.

We watched some Christmas movies, drank hot chocolate with marshmallows and generally had a wonderful time together.


I got a cold on the second week the kids were home and Ant was taken back into hospital with chest pains that week (he was in the hospital in November after having a heart attack on his dad’s birthday) so that week was quite hard on me.
The kids missed Daddy. I missed Daddy but couldn’t go and see him as much as I wanted to because I was ill.

Thankfully, the children all entertained themselves on Saturday and by Sunday I was feeling a lot better.
Ant came home on Saturday and we all went to Nanny’s Christmas party on Sunday.
We all love going to Nanny’s at Christmas. We don’t get to see much of Ant’s side of the family throughout the year so it’s great to get together, exchange gifts and enjoy all the delicious food Nanny always does.

More illness

The following weekend I went to Derbyshire with the kids because I’d made a birthday cake for Lilly and a christening cake for Lucas.
I took the cake round to Stacy’s when I got there Friday night and found them all poorly so the party was cancelled.

I met my beautiful new nephew for the first time and got to have a snuggle then I went to our Jays, where I was staying for the weekend.
While there, my throat started hurting when I swallowed. I figured it was probably due to the cold I’d just had and thought it would probably be gone by the morning.

Next morning it was extremely painful and my voice was very croaky.
I went to our Stacy’s for some lunch and a piece of the cake I’d made. I must say, it was very tasty! then I went round to Jeff’s for the rest of the day.

We had a Chinese at our Jay’s that evening, but I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I usually would because of the throat infection.
It was getting harder to talk and I was dreading the night ahead because I knew I wasn’t going to get much sleep. The pain kept waking me the night before.


I was supposed to be going to Lucas’ christening on Sunday but when I got up Sunday morning, my voice had totally gone and I felt terrible.
At Jeff’s, Rachel was there and I mouthed to her that I was really sorry, but I wasn’t able to go to the christening because I was too ill.
She liked the cake I’d made so I was very pleased about that. It was the first christening cake I’d made and I was quite proud of it!

I spent the day at Jeff’s and looked forward to going home that afternoon. It snowed quite a lot and I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to get home. Jeff said not to worry and he got us home safely.
I was very disappointed at missing the christening. I was upset that my weekend with my family had been ruined because of illness.


Thankfully, I was better by Christmas Eve and we had a wonderful day together.
It was our turn to have Aiden for Christmas. I was really happy to have all my children around me. I don’t like it when Aiden’s not with us for Christmas although I know it’s only fair he gets to spend some Christmases with his dad. It’s important for both of them because they’re very close.

We didn’t do anything special, just enjoyed being together.
In the evening, they had a bath then went back downstairs. Daddy gave them each a Christmas Eve present and they were really excited because they could open them straight away! They all had a new pair of Christmas pajamas and they looked lovely in them.

We then put the carrot out for Rudolph and a mince pie and glass of milk for Santa. We went outside so they could sprinkle the reindeer dust over the lawn to make sure the reindeer knew where to come.

Santa's hand picking up a cookie
They all slept in the same room, just like I used to do with John, James, and Stacy when we were younger.
I read, ‘The Night Before Christmas’ to them and we sang some Christmas songs before they went to sleep.
Ant and I spent a lovely relaxed evening watching tv and drinking Baileys.

Christmas Day

Next morning, I woke around 6 and Ant got up about half past. After our coffee, he went to wake the children, who were still fast asleep! They opened the presents out of their stockings while upstairs then came down to open their other presents.
I helped Ella, Ant helped KayCee and Aiden didn’t need help!

It was wonderful to see them so happy. I just love Christmas and dread them growing up.
We had a lovely Christmas dinner then we spent the afternoon playing with new toys. KayCee, Ella and I made perfume with KayCee’s perfume maker.
Ant and Aiden did something with Aiden’s weather station (have no idea what lol), then Ant watched some of his ‘Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy’ DVD that I bought him.

I then made a buffet tea and Grandad, Kellyann, Jervais and Jerome came round just after 4 pm.
We had a great time. We put some Christmas music on and the kids showed them what they’d had for Christmas.

It was finally time for bed, after what had been a very long but wonderful day 🙂