This week Jean-Jean, the classroom’s Elf on the Shelf, made an appearance. As per tradition, I read the story about the elf to the children on Monday and some children in the class shared stories about the elves that are visiting their home.
Each morning I place the elf in a different place, often linked to what the children are currently doing in class. I remind the children that they are not to touch the elf as he will lose his magic and return to the North Pole. Those children who have an elf at home already know about this admonition.
As always, there are children who don’t believe – which is okay. However, there were some children this year who decided to touch the elf in order to test whether he was magic or not. So Jean-Jean was put away much to the dismay of some of the children. Hopefully the class, as a whole, will learn the lesson to follow the instruction given and not spoil the experience for others.
Do you have an Elf on the Shelf who visits your home or work space?
This weekend I did something that I haven’t done in a few years: I sat at the dining room table with my daughters while working on a project. My youngest started bullet journaling earlier this year and I loved how she has created her own planner with a creative flair. The concept of journaling appeals to me as each planner I have tried does not quite suit my needs.
My intention had been to start my own bullet journal in the beginning of 2020 and have been watching plenty of YouTube videos for inspiration. Last week, however, I decided to begin for this month – why wait? So on Saturday I picked up my pencil and started planning my first ever page. The music was playing and my girls were chatting to me. There was a very festive air around the table while we were drawing and counting.
I love the way my first pages turned out. And even though I made errors, I see these as being a part of the journaling experience. The bonus? It was definitely spending time with my teenage girls, listening to their choice of music and swapping anecdotes. We were all smiling the entire time. 😀
There were so many things that made me smile this week. Besides being Christmas – a holiday during which I spend time with my family – it is also my birthday. The reason for my long-lasting smile this week is my family. Not only did my husband and children spend time with me over Christmas, but they also spent the day with me on my birthday.
Christmas began as it always does: with me spending some time on the sofa reading before my family awakes. I always enjoy this time in front of the Christmas tree. After sending Christmas messages to my family in South Africa, I relaxed a little with my current read. This year I decided to get brunch ready before waking up my husband and children. The kids are older now so they are not impatient to open the gifts. We spent a lovely time at the table chatting and catching up with our son who is visiting for a couple of weeks.
After brunch, we got ready for opening the gifts. We normally spend quite a bit of time doing this as we open the gifts one at a time and discuss what has been given. We always have a number of laughs – and this year was no different. This year I got everyone a couple of Christmas socks. Of course these were pulled on quickly to show a little Christmas spirit. I am sure the socks will be worn during the year and I will be seeing them in the wash. If not, I am sure they will be brought out again in December in the lead-up to Christmas. After gift opening, we relaxed a little and read. No-one was up to playing board games and we decided we would watch a movie after supper. We did so, and it was the end to a perfect day.
My smile continued two days later with my birthday. When I woke up, I read the messages that friends and family had sent me from all over the world. Then, of course, I spend a little time reading. Then it was time to get ready for lunch. As is tradition, my family and I went out to a buffet lunch to celebrate me being a year older. Upon entering, we were impressed with the effort the restaurant had made this year with the decorations.
The food was also delicious this year. Last year we were disappointed as some of the dishes were dry. This year, overcooked meat was not an issue. Eating out with my family and chatting with them was the best gift they could have given me. I really appreciate that they spent the time with me, especially now that they are older.
After lunch, we went to the cinema to watch Mary Poppins Returns. We had to see this show en famille as all three children had watched the movie with Julie Andrews repeatedly when they were young. They knew the songs – and even some lines! The 4pm show was popular and many families were waiting in line to enter the cinema. There were even some older people waiting in line – curious, I am sure, to see what Disney had done in this sequel of a well-loved film.
My day ended perfectly with a gift from my children – a gift w hich shows that they listen to me and know so well what I would enjoy. We watched Crazy Rich Asians togetheron Christmas Eve and I had said I needed to read the stories because I loved the film so much. Et viola! My first reads for 2019 are now waiting for me next to my bed. Today I hope to complete my current read so that I can begin this trilogy soon – though some more family time and smiles are prepared for the next couple of days.
I hope you enjoyed your Holidays as much as I did. It was definitely something to smile about!
While waiting for my family to awake, I am sitting on the sofa reading and enjoying some quiet time in front of the tree. As I look at what is in front of me, I look forward to the opening of gifts. Not because I want to receive things, but because I enjoy the family camaraderie and the look on my family’s faces when they open a gift that they will enjoy. We have experienced some wonderful laughter in these moments, as well as some tears. I love Christmas for the family time that we spend together – a time that begins with brunch and then the opening of gifts.
So I wait until all my family are ready. And while I wait I immerse myself in my current read. I look forward to to a relaxing day, even though I will be making Christmas dinner. As it is just the five of us, it is not stressful at all.
Last night our Christmas tree was finally put up. All the children were home: our son is visiting from Vancouver, my youngest had completed and submitted all of her assignments, and no children were out with their friends. Christmas music was playing in the background as the siblings chose their favourite decorations and adorned our small tree. I love seeing them work together on a task and hope that during their lifetimes they will have the opportunity to do so often.
Our tree is up and a few gifts have been placed under the tree. Tonight on Christmas Eve, our traditional family time will begin in earnest as we focus on ourselves and the love we feel for one another. I leave you with one of my favourite Christmas songs, Oh Holy Night:
If you celebrate Christmas, I wish you a peaceful and joyful day with your family. God bless.
If we were having coffee, I would whisper my greeting to you. The school term ended with me feeling absolutely exhausted, and my voice all croaky. I was fighting illness for the entire week as I pushed through the days to get all that I needed to do done. There were so many little things that I wanted to complete before we broke off for Winter break so that I could start afresh on 7 January when school begins again in the new year. I was happy when on Friday I closed the door to my classroom and and set off for home with my goal achieved.
If we were having coffee, I would excuse myself for coughing. I cannot believe that I am sick when Christmas, and my birthday, are so near. I am hoping that the aching throat will not linger. I believe rest will be the key to my healing quickly. I have not gone to my exercise classes since Monday and I think my body will be grateful for the break. I just need to be careful, though, that I do not overeat and thus put on all the weight that I have fought so hard to lose during the year.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that all my gifts are bought and wrapped, and that tomorrow morning – early – I will do the last of my grocery shopping for the big day. Tomorrow I will also clean our home and the children will put the tree up in the afternoon as well. Yes, the tree is not yet up! My daughters were waiting for their brother to arrive so that they could put the tree up together. They love the fun of putting decorating the living area and, now that they are all older, the time when they are all together is more difficult to achieve.
If were were having coffee, I would tell you that I have a number of books to review so in the next few days you will see reviews of some excellent books in my feed. Two of them will be released at the end of this year. Keep a lookout for them – especially if you enjoy historical fiction, or psychological thrillers.
If we were having coffee, I would wish you a wonderful time with your family over the next few days – whether you celebrate Christmas or not. We will be spending it together en famille – it is definitely a day that I look forward to.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am counting down the days to Christmas with many other people all over the world. Christmas is my favourite holiday. I love the decorations. And I love the days that my family and I spend enclosed in our home together. Christmas has come to mean quality time which we spend together with no interruptions from the outside world.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have begun my shopping for the big day. I have bought most of the gifts, and have started squirrelling away treats for the family as well. I am hoping to get everything bought by the end of this coming week – with the exception of the fresh fruit and vegetables. I do not enjoy the crowds in the shops leading up to Christmas and do my best to avoid malls. In addition, I will be working right up to the weekend before Christmas so getting things done early, means less stress for me.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Christmas preparations have started in my class as well. Decorating will begin next week, but we have already written letters to Santa. As I work with grade 1s in a French Immersion setting, I created the letter with them in class. The children then chose which sentences they wanted to write. Not all children in my class celebrate the advent of Santa. Those children I asked to write a letter to their parents. The children who celebrate Hanukkah, made reference to this celebration in their letter.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am feeling very tired and am looking forward to the winter break. In the meantime, I will continue with the preparations for my favourite holiday of the year.
The last 2 weeks have been filled with Family Moments. We have eaten dinners and lunch together; celebrated Christmas and New Year’s Day as a family. We have watched DVDs sitting together on the sofa, and sat at the dining table to play board games. We laughed, we shared stories, and we spent plenty of time together.
Our family time was extended as we went shopping together on 26 December. It was extremely cold outside but that did not deter us from going out together and getting the few things we wanted on the Boxing Day sales. My birthday the next day was another opportunity for us to exclude others from our circle.
This week I am grateful for the time that I had over the Holiday period to spend with my family. Each year I savour these moments as we are not bothered by deadlines and working schedules.
What have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you to come in from out of the cold. We did have a white Christmas as my daughter wished for. But there was no packing snow – and it was too cold to go outside! Instead we stayed inside and spent wonderful family time together. The Christmas period is always a special time for me as my husband, children and I spend quality time together with no outside distractions. We are not working and have no deadlines to follow. It is a wonderful time to chill together and just be a family.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Christmas Eve I made a simple supper. My family love spaghettini with a simple basic tomato sauce. It normally takes me about 30 – 45 minutes to make from scratch. After eating we moved to the sofa to commence our annual tradition. This year my daughters are old enough to watch films containing sexual and violent content. As a result, we decided to watch Game of Thrones. I had bought the seasons we were missing, and we began our watch-fest from Season 1. Rewatching the first seasons has not only allowed my daughters to watch from the beginning, but has also helped us remember the finer details of the story.
Christmas Day shone brightly – even though it was cold outside. As usual, I was the first one up. I do not mind this as I take the time to settle myself on the sofa and read a little after placing the gifts under the tree. When everyone was awake, we opened our gifts. We took our time and, even though there are only 5 of us, opening gifts took over 2 hours. We love this time together as we laugh, admire our gifts, and thank one another for the thoughtful things we have made or bought for each other.
Our gift opening is always followed by brunch then tea in front of the TV. In the late afternoon we stopped watching our show as I began cooking dinner and the family showered and dressed. My nephew always comes over for an early dinner and to spend some time with us. Dinner was what I usually make on Christmas Day – roast chicken, fried rice, and vegetables. After supper and a dessert of strawberries, whipped cream, and ice-cream, we took out Trivial Pursuit.
My eldest daughter’s Christmas wish this year was to play a board game. For the family this Christmas, I had decided to buy one of my favourite board games – Trivial Pursuit. When at university, I used to play this game often with my friends. The memories of these times were in my mind when I picked up the game while Christmas shopping. I had hoped my family would love the game as much as I did. After dinner on Christmas Day, we opened up the new game and played. And we had so much fun! We guessed, we laughed, we were stunned by answers, and we all enjoyed the game – even my husband who is not much of a board games person. I think this game will come out of the closet often.
Boxing Day, the 26th December, dawned and we stepped out to do some shopping. The wind chill was -26c and the wind burned our cheeks. We walked briskly to our destinations and noticed that there were not many people out on the street. The snow cracked beneath our feet as we walked and we kept our faces down. My husband did not get what he wanted (the badminton racket he had been eyeing was bought by someone else who got there before him!) but I found what I needed: two – not one – pairs. of winter boots. One pair is perfect for snowy and slushy days; the other is good for cold days that are snow-free. My girls found some things that they wanted as well – and we could not resist a trip to the book store. A good day shopping ended with us sitting on the sofa sipping warm drinks and watching our TV series.
The final highlight of the week was my birthday. I began the day with a visit to the hairdresser. I decided to spoil myself and colour my hair. The hairdresser suggested highlights and I went for it. My hair looks a little different now and it is something that I still need to get used to. My family loved my hair and I asked for a picture to be taken at the restaurant we went to for lunch. Eating out on my birthday is another annual family tradition – and one that I love. It does make the day special especially as we do not go out too often. After our meal, we walked about the mall for a while. We could not stroll a bit outside as we usually do because the temperatures were too low. We did not mind as we wanted to get back home, have some tea, and watch more Game of Thrones.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have had a wonderful week. I have enjoyed the family time and the break from the responsibilities of work. Today I have started getting back into my routine with a Zumba class. Slowly over the next week, I will get back into the rest of my routine – and of course finish watching our chosen TV series for this break.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you to stay warm and enjoy any celebrations you may be planning for the New Year.