Making a Pig’s ear of things

Well the Christmas season is now well and truly upon us. For those of us with kids, that means trying to avoid any toy shop advert in the company of the little ones, constant threats of “Santa is watching, you know!” and the letters from the school inviting you to their Christmas Fair, or your child’s Christmas Concert. I kid of course (or do I?)

As much as I love Christmas, there seems to be a never ending line of people trying to part you from your money. This post is not about that though, so you can breathe a sigh of relief.

This coming Tuesday is Little Lady’s Christmas concert. Last year she was an elf and looked fab in her little costume. This year however, she and 9 others in her class are pigs! Forgive me for sounding a bit dubious, and I am trying to reserve judgement until after I have seen the show/production(?), but I am not sure what part a herd of pigs played in the birth of Jesus.

Anyway, she needed a pig costume. The larger supermarkets all stocked the usual Nativity Character costumes but none of them seemed to have thought “I know what’s missing here……pigs!” Apparently there were a few pig costumes on the net and one lonely one in the local fancy dress shop! But that was it.

Thankfully I had a stash of pink fleece in the attic and set about making Little Lady’s costume. We borrowed a pig mask (which turned out to be rather scary!) from a friend who needed to borrow a pair of Angel wings for her little one. Fair swap. Although the pig mask is definitely going back after the concert!

Out of the fleece I made a pink onesie and was going to use velcro as a closure. Little Lady tried it on and immediately demanded to know where the hood was. So I added a hood. Then I couldn’t find any velcro in the attic. (I’m sure I have some but where???) By this point I had already received the second letter home “Don’t forget to send your child’s costume in by tomorrow ready for the dress rehearsals” Oops bad mammy! So at 6.30 in the morning I was attaching buttons to the front of the onesie. Little lady loves it and it looks okay. The hood is now (after putting in the buttonholes) slightly off centre but no one seems to have noticed yet apart from me. So maybe I won’t mention it.

Want to see it?

Scary Pig

Scary Pig

Please excuse the washing on the radiator. I mean we are all friends here aren’t we? *blushes*

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End of term

Well it’s mid July and that can only mean one thing – end of school for the summer. And guess what? It is actually feeling like summer. The sun has been out for about 2 weeks now I think. End of term is very busy for teachers and pupils and while I am neither this last week has been so busy with sports day, summer fair and last day sadness for little lady.

These days it seems to be the norm to give a gift to your child’s teacher as a thank you. I am not really sure why, it was never done when I was in school (oh dear I think I just turned into my mother!!). Last year, little lady had one teacher and 2 teaching assistants in the nursery class. I bought inexpensive (read cheap) mugs from a supermarket, prettied them up with hand knitted mug cosies, added 2 sachets of hot chocolate and a mini whisk. They seemed to go down very well but I didn’t feel like I could do the same again this year. I don’t really want to be *that* mum at school so I needed a new idea. A quick search on the Internet turned up quite a lot of (American) blogs telling me that teachers do not want mugs, chocolate or sweets! WHAT??? Really?? A frantic text to my teacher friend revealed that she loves being given any (or all 😉 ) of those three, as do the other teachers in her school. Still I was feeling slightly unnerved.

I eventually decided (using my fantastic knowledge of teachers haha!) that little lady’s teacher and TA would love a nice notebook. Teachers use them all the time. Don’t they?? I bought 2 inexpensive notebooks and a pack of spotty pens. Wouldn’t have minded them myself if I’m honest. I covered the notebooks with fabric and little lady wrote a little thank you note on the first page of each. Once done though, I felt it looked a bit cheap – it was only a notebook and pen after all – so I made a little bag for the notebooks to go in.

The result:

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(Picture taken about 11.45pm the night before they had to go into school)

I am pleased to say I had a very lovely message on Facebook thanking me for the gifts so I think it’s fair to say they liked them. Next year however, I will be more organised. I promise.

Waste

Lately the issue of waste and the environment has been at the forefront of my mind. I have slowly been taking stock of our lives and living habits to see where we can cut back on waste.

One morning while doing the mundane (and mostly thankless) task of making packed lunches I realised that I could cut a lot of waste here and I was quite shocked.

This is what little lady’s lunches normally look like (with some variations).

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Little lady also takes fruit separately, which she eats at break time.

Where can I make changes? Straight away I can lose the foil. I mean her sandwiches are in a lunch box, in a bag! Seems a bit ridiculous to wrap them in foil too!

So foil gone. What’s next? Little lady’s treat. Her treat varies depending what niceties are on offer when we go shopping. These particular treats are individually wrapped but come in a box, in a plastic wrapper. Lots of packaging, and therefore waste there. With a bit of forethought and 20 minutes spent in the kitchen while baby D was having his nap and she now has home made (freezable) treats. I cut the welshcakes into little stars rather than the traditional circles so that they fit in her lunch box. We also stumbled across these fine(!) gadgets 2 for £1 in the pound shop, which makes her sandwiches a little bit nicer now they are naked (well we think so)

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I do like her lunch to be relatively good for her so I always try to add a cheese stick. There are again individually wrapped (easy for lunches) but in a packet. The individual wrapper goes in the bin at school so technically it doesn’t affect my waste but that’s not really the point here. We are still producing waste no matter where it is disposed of. This was the item that made me feel a little bit silly. I thought about how to reduce the packaging for a while before realising IT IS CHEESE!!!! I honestly can’t believe I have been buying these as well as the block of cheese that is a staple in our shopping. Just goes to show that marketing works. The individually wrapped cheeses “perfect for lunch boxes” fooled me for quite a while. Well no more. Today I cut my own cheese sticks from the block in the fridge. Less packaging and a slightly sheepish mammy!

So what does little lady’s lunch box look like now?

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Some naked homemade jam sandwiches, a home made treat, cheese cut from the block and a yoghurt.

Any ideas on what to do about the yoghurt? I am still quite stuck on that one so for now the long yoghurts will stay.