Plans for 2021

New year ahead, new plans! I know it is such a cliché to make resolutions and fresh starts, but this year I am really geared up for change.

One of the things I would like is to be more organised and to make time to do the things I really enjoy doing. I bought myself a planner which I am really excited to start using. It is a Clever Fox Planner and has all sorts inside to help with achieving goals and dreams and how to be more productive. I feel this will really help me to realise what I really want in life and help with personal growth.

I am wanting to get back into being more creative and making time for that. I started doing paintings a couple of years ago which I enjoyed but I have found that parenting young children does make hobbies harder to carry out. This year I am hoping to set out times to do these activities.

A couple of paintings I did in 2018

I got a sewing machine earlier this year and would like to start putting that to use also! So hopefully 2021 will see a few new creative creations!

We don’t currently have a garden but do have a small patio. Our names are on the waiting list for allotments but it could be a 2 year wait! I am planning to grow as much as I can on the patio and be as inventive as possible. My husband gifted me with a subscription of Kitchen Garden magazine in the spring which has lots of great advice and also comes with 3 packets of seed with each addition. I have been collecting these and look forward to being able to use them.

This calendar came with one of my magazines. I am going to start jotting down birthdays so that I am organised.

In the kitchen I hope to learn more new recipes and make better packed lunches for my husband to take to work.

I mentioned in a previous post about trying to be more minimalist. This is something I definitely want to carry on with and I hope to regularly assess my possessions and decide if they are truly needed. Myself and my husband had quite a minimalist Christmas in terms of gifts as we only received a few presents, much of which were of benefit to us and obviously we are very grateful for any gift we receive.

Another of 2021’s plans is to live more environmentally friendly and in particular we want to reduce our use of plastic. The plan is to build up on storage jars and start using the local zero waste food shop.

Also I want to be able to create good experiences for my children this year and continue trying to be the best Mum that I can for my daughter and son. Another focus will be my husband, making sure that we spend quality time together and hopefully we’ll be able to have a few meals out and theatre trips later in the year.

I have lots more plans and ideas but will save those for other posts! And also I would like to be able to blog more frequently with exciting blog content. I wish all my readers a Happy New Year.

Katie

Thoughts on Christmas 2020

It was my first Christmas as a family of 4. My 9 month old got to experience Christmas for the first time and my 3 year old daughter enjoyed her 4th Christmas.

The highlights for the day were spending time together in our family unit, enjoying good food and seeing the children open their presents.

We didn’t go overboard on gifts – ‘Father Christmas’ brought some practical items such as soap, toothpaste, plasters and baby grows! He also brought some small toys, games and books. The children had a gift under the tree from us and then several other gifts from family members. It is very kind of people to give gifts no matter how big or small and whether they are handmade or shop bought.

It is nice to give gifts but I think too much focus is about presents at Christmas. It is definitely exciting for children to get presents. However, I realised today that I perhaps need to change the way I get across the message of Christmas to my children.

In the lead up to Christmas we listened to carols, read Bible stories and acted out the Nativity. I felt that when it got to Christmas day that the true meaning was lost underneath all of the presents. Next year we hope to be able to go to Church on Christmas morning.

Next Christmas I hope to focus more on the Christmas story and the true meaning of Christmas. I am also not going to ask my children what they want for Christmas and try not to focus so much on presents and whether there is enough etc. Often less is more and I would like my children to appreciate that and learn to be grateful for what they do have. I am not against giving gifts at all, I just don’t want it to be the main thing at Christmas!

Food was one of the main aspects of today. We enjoyed roast duck, vegetables, roast potatoes and parsnips, chestnuts, stuffing and pigs in blankets. Dessert was a chocolate sponge and thick cream. I didn’t make anything from scratch today as I didn’t want to be in the kitchen all day and wanted to spend time with my husband and children. As my children get older I do want to make more Christmas foods from scratch such as Christmas pudding, cake and other festive foods.

Today was spent relaxing with my family and I really enjoyed having a quiet Christmas. We watched some telly, played with toys and games, had video calls and phone calls with family members and ate lovely food.

I enjoyed being surrounded by handmade decorations and liked the minimal effect of having few decorations.

Overall I think it is lovely being able to celebrate Christmas. I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas. Mine was definitely a thought provoking one which has made me think about Christmases to come.

This Year’s Christmas Decorations

This year there is quite a homemade theme for the Christmas decorations. There are lots of handmade crafts on display.

Last year I made a Nativity set from some air dry clay and then painted it with acrylic paints. I made them up myself and wanted them to have a fun and child friendly appealing look to them. I created Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, 3 wise men, 2 shepherds and a sheep. I have displayed these on some crocheted mats which I inherited – they were made by my Grandma.

The Christmas cards are displayed on the sideboard behind the Nativity and also on the bookcase. It is lovely being able to display cards from family and friends.

The Christmas tree, which I have previously written about is a real potted tree on a small table which has been decorated with handmade baubles and also a few special baubles that we have collected or been gifted.

I hope you enjoy looking through the photos of my modest Christmas decorations and handmade creations.

Handmade Chocolate Gifts

I enjoy making gifts for people and find that it is often easier to make something than to choose a gift to buy.

I decided to make a few decorated chocolate slabs and chocolate letters as Christmas gifts. Great for people who you don’t know what to buy for and those who don’t want extra items that they don’t know where to put or what to do with! I find food gifts to be ideal!

I have seen decorated chocolate slabs in shops and decided I could make some myself! I feel that even though I haven’t spent a lot of money on making these I have spent time and effort into creating them. Giving gifts shouldn’t be about how much money we spend but more about the fact that we have thought about that individual – a kind gesture to show we care.

I bought milk, white and dark chocolate and a variety of toppings to decorate. I have made some chocolate letters for some of the children in my family – the initial of their names.

Basically I melted chocolate and then spread it onto paper in the shape required (greaseproof paper is best but I didn’t have any so used wrapping paper)!. Then I decorated it with chocolate chips, dried fruits and marshmallows and then drizzled on chocolate.

I used hazelnuts and almonds also for the chocolate slabs.

Once these were set I put them onto a piece of cardboard and carefully wrapped with tissue paper and then with bubble wrap ready to be packaged and posted.

These chocolate gifts are also great to make with children. There are endless options of toppings and they make very pretty and tasty gifts!

Thanks for reading,

Katie

Crafts and Cake

Today I managed to make a few more decorations for the tree. I saw the idea in a magazine for wool wrapped Christmas shapes – I thought it was a great idea as all I needed was some yarn and some card! I drew my own shapes on card that was waiting to be recycled, I cut them out and then just wrapped the yarn around until I was happy with them. I strung on some loops and hung them on the tree!

I really enjoy making decorative crafts. Shop bought decorations can be expensive it’s great to know you can make some at home using things you already have. As you know from previous posts, my craft supply is limited and I am just trying to make what I can from it! I like being surrounded by handmade items and I really hope to do more arts and crafting in the new year.

This afternoon I made a bundt cake. I found a recipe for a mixed spice and honey cake and decided I would use my bundt tin to bake it in. I really like mixed spice especially at this time of year. The cake baked really well and I glazed it with cinnamon icing for extra flavour! I know it’s not a very exciting cake to look at and looks quite small too but it tastes delicious and I prefer quality over quantity!

Hope you’ve had a good Monday
Katie

This Week in Photos

Yesterday we bought our Christmas tree, a small potted tree to go on top of the table in the living room. We decorated it with multicoloured lights and all of the homemade tree hangings that we made. We will add more decorations later but so far are enjoying the handcrafted items.

We don’t have lots of Christmas decorations but are hoping to put a few more up over the next week, so hopefully there will be another blog post on this! Having a Christmas tree with lights makes the flat feel cosy and warm. Also the smell of tree is so festive!

Having the tree on a table is ideal as is it our if my 9 month old son’s reach! We can all enjoy the tree without it being pulled at or decorations taken off!

Elsewhere, this is what we have been eating this week…

The Christmas biscuits that we made had mixed spice in – the recipe made a lot of dough so I have that in the freezer for when we next want some biscuits.

We have enjoyed a variety of meals this week including a few that I didn’t get photographed. As usual we try to eat as much home made food as possible and try to eat a variety of different foods.

We took a short walk one evening to look at some Christmas lights which was lovely.

Looking at the lights with my son in the baby carrier

We have spent most of the week indoors playing – lots of role play and Playmobil!

Hope you have all had a lovely week

Katie

New Blog Name

I decided to change the name of my blog to refresh it and better suit where I am in my life at the moment.

My blog was originally the life of a housewife blog – I started it 2 months into my marriage – I had a lot of focus on cleaning schedules, cooking and baking, DIY/decorating and gardening.

Since having children my role has changed slightly and I am now not just a housewife but a busy stay at home Mum with lots of my own hobbies and interests.

Whilst my blog posts are similar to when I began I feel I am at a different stage of my life so wanted a new blog name to suit that.

I have named the blog Katie’s at Home because I spend most of my time at home and a lot of my blog posts are about different activities in the home and family life. There is something about the word home that makes one think warm thoughts – cosiness, happiness, comfort, a safe haven.

I hope that my blogs about home life are interesting to read and I look forward to writing many more posts in the future.

Thank you for following my blogging journey.

Katie

A Busy Monday

I have been coming up with a rough daily schedule and planning a few activities for my 3 year old. I find planning is key to provide variety in the day, giving us new things to do. The plan is to get craft supplies ready for the specific activity so it all ready to go!

Today I decided we would dye an old muslin cloth to become a superhero cape for my daughter. I was inspired by a science book my daughter has and that suggested using beetroot as a dye. I didn’t have any beetroot so had a quick search online and decided to use turmeric to make a natural dye. I tied some bobbles into the cloth to give a tie dye effect. I had no idea how well it would work but my daughter and I are quite pleased with the results and are just waiting for it to dry so it can be used as a cape!

We also did another quick Christmas craft using toilet roll tubes, crepe paper, twine and Christmas stickers. I got the supplies ready first so that it would be a quick focussed activity. This was an easy one for my daughter to do – she was able to paint glue all over the tube and roll it up in the crepe paper herself. She also positioned the stickers.

I have been keeping on top of housework better by setting time limits and deadlines in the day of when to get things done. For example I do jobs after getting ready until 9am and then this afternoon I set a half an hour timer after lunch and got as much done as I could during this time. Setting these timings help my daughter to understand when I am doing jobs so she knows that she is able to play independently and she knows I will be able to play afterwards.

I have also written my weekly meal plan and I am looking forward to cooking a Pork and Apple Casserole tonight.

Sunday Treats

Today was a lovely relaxing day spent at home. I started the day by making blueberry pancakes for breakfast which were enjoyed by all the family. I topped the pancakes with honey and bananas.

Later this morning I made a batch of lemon muffins with my daughter. These were really light and fluffy with a lovely flavour.

I really enjoy being able to cook and bake, making lovely things for all the family to eat.

I hope you have all had a restful Sunday.

This Week So Far

In The Kitchen

I set out a meal plan for the week, so far I have cooked Chicken Noodle Soup, Steak Pie and Tomato and Pepper Pasta Bake. I really enjoying cooking and providing homemade meals for my family.

On Sunday we baked some lemon cookies which were really tasty and then yesterday we made Christmas cake muffins which are delicious, just like mini versions of Christmas cake (without the marzipan or icing)

I also made a quick soup for lunch this week, this was just made using what I had in the fridge. The soup was potato, sweet potato and swede. A great way to get in a vegetable portion at lunchtime! Those vegetables worked together well and gave the soup a great texture.

Out and About

We haven’t been out a lot this week, as I sit here writing this it is pouring with rain and blustery. The weather has been cold and dull. We had one sunny day so managed to get out for a little walk along the seafront which was lovely for getting a bit of fresh air.

Crafts

I haven’t done much crafting at all this week but did make this Christmas cracker from a recycled tea box! I am quite happy with how it looks! It is a favourite tea of my husband’s. I think it will look good on the tree.

Schedules and Planning

I began making lists and plans earlier in the week but still need to finalise schedules and routines. I have nearly finished writing my Christmas cards and I am also writing a Christmas letter to hopefully email to family. (I would have printed these to put in the cards but it saves on paper and ink to just email). The Christmas letter will just be a little bit about us as a family and what we have been doing this year.

I spend most of my time playing and caring children. This afternoon we are watching a Christmas film whilst the weather is so dreary.

Hope you have all been having a good week