Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, friends!
Another fresh new year is here, another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear.
To love, and laugh, and give!
   William Arthur Ward

I Will Honour Christmas In My Heart…

christmas in my heart.jpg

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.

Charles Dickens

To my very dear readers; I wish you a very merry Christmas, and a peaceful new year.

Nature-Themed Advent Calendar 24th December

Today’s reading

Luke 2: 7-20 ESV

And Mary gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 

 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Today’s activity

Today is often a busy day for mothers; food to prepare, last minute wrapping, excited little people to keep busy. If at all possible, find time for a brisk walk in your favourite nature spot, to rid the wiggles from little bodies and rejuvenate older bodies!

This evening, just before bedtime, take your children outside to enjoy the wonder of the night-time sky. Remember the Magi who followed the most famous star of all to Bethlehem.

365 Starry Nights says this:

“Was there a real Christmas star, and if so, what was it? There have been many theories. Guy Otterwele has a nice discussion of the possibilities in his book The Astronomical Companion. Jesus was probably born sometime between 7 and 4 B.C. During this period a splendid candidate for the Star of Bethlehem was the conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars in February of 6 B.C. An equally dramatic grouping of the three planets occurs only once every 800 years. the prospect of the planets blazing and dancing together on the western horizon might have seemed an omen of a great event.”

Do try to find a few moments to write a memory from today, in your mother’s advent journal. It will be a treasure for years to come.

Thank you for joining me for my nature-themed advent calendar. If you would like some more ideas to carry you through Christmastide, Exploring Nature With Children has a whole chapter devoted to The Twelve Days Of Christmas.

May I take the opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a very merry Christmas and a peaceful new year x

Nature-Themed Advent Calendar 23rd December

Today’s reading

Luke 2:4-6 ESV 

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.

Today’s activity

Give your child a surprise tonight: after they are bathed and in their pyjamas, instead of reading a story, bundle them up in their snowsuit or warm coat, and mittens and bonnet, then take them for a drive around your neighbourhood to see all the festive lights and dressed-up homes.

Only two more sleeps!

See you tomorrow for more advent fun.

The 12 Days of Christmas: Exploring Nature With Children

The Twelve Days Of Christmas.jpg

Next week will be the Twelve Days of Christmas in Exploring Nature With Children

Use the chapter to make the most of your time in nature and with each other.

“Tweet of the Day has been entertaining early morning listeners to the Radio 4 schedule every day since 2013, but this Christmas we will delight in an avian offering of the well known song Twelve Days of Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas so the song goes, a true love sent a partridge in a pear tree. As actress Alison Steadman suggests as ground birds, partridges are not known for their amorous arboreal perching. Why a partridge in a tree could have many meanings, but given the song is of possible French origin, the French or red-legged partridge seems an ideal candidate as sitter in a pear tree.”

Nature-Themed Advent Calendar 22nd December

Today’s Reading

Micah 5:2 ESV

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.

Today’s Activity

Light some candles, gather up the eiderdowns, make hot chocolate, and crack open the Christmas sweets whilst you cuddle up together with your child this afternoon, and enjoy a Christmas movie together.

Some of our favourites:

See you tomorrow for more advent fun.

Nature-Themed Advent Calendar 21st December

Today’s Reading

Luke 2:1-3 ESV

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town.

Today’s Activity

This week’s theme in Exploring Nature With Children is the winter solstice, which occurs today! This day marks the turning point, and the days begin to grow longer again and the nights shorter; we are on our way back to summer!

Take a walk with your child, to your favourite nature spot, and discuss the changes in the light and the weather, plus the reason behind the solstice, at a level appropriate for your child. Enjoy the Solstice together.

We always like to strew seeds for the birds, and put suet ball feeders in the trees when we visit our special nature spot.

See you tomorrow for more advent fun.

Nature-Themed Advent Calendar 20th December

Today’s Reading

Luke 1:80 ESV

And the child John grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

Today’s Activity

Take some time today to have a peaceful hour amongst the potential busyness of the Advent season.

Make a warm mulled drink that the whole family can enjoy, cosy up with your nature journals and journaling supplies by a window, and simply sketch what you see outside.

Mulled Apple Juice ~ Our family favourite

  • Gently warm a bottle of apple juice on the stove top, adding in a cinnamon stick, a couple of cloves, and some strips of orange peel. (You can also squeeze in a little of the orange juice for extra flavour.)