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Archive for December, 2014

The Vicar is out at Midnight Communion, aided by The Shropshire Lad, who has stayed for Christmas. The small(ish) boys are asleep (I think) upstairs. The Queen has gone to the midnight service for the first time – a couple of other teens from church are also joining her for the first time. My parents are staying and headed for bed. All is quiet and the fire is still hot. Time to wish you all a Merry Christmas – may you know God’s truth and grace – and see his glory – now and in the coming year.

Grace and truth

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Do you have a child with a smart phone or tablet? Are they reluctant to remove their eyes from the tiny screen because someone is droning nasally on YouTube about Minecraft? Do they fail to hear calls for meals or run away from table too early in order to play Angry Birds? Let me share with you an app I came across recently that has aided our parenting and helped us to ease the Queen (aged 13, now a proud possessor of a smart phone on a super cheap but strangely comprehensive contract) into learning some self control:

DinnerTime

Seriously, I cannot recommend this free app highly enough. It works by allowing you to control your child’s smartphone or tablet from your own phone. It’s available from Google Play, the Apple App Store and the Amazon App Store. We have the Queen’s set to switch off at bedtime and we can summon her to the table at the touch of a screen. She doesn’t mind, and it can be quite funny to see how quickly she appears once I’ve used the ‘Take a Break’ function.

Of course, I want her to develop self control, but I never had the challenge of having to switch off my phone at night when I was 13. It was bad enough trying not to read under the covers. So this app enables us to help her let go of the phone without having to physically remove it from her grasp. If you are buying a device for a child this Christmas, you could install DinnerTime (or DinnerTime Plus for even more functionality) before the child has it and then bedtime screen battles will not even begin. I have mentioned DinnerTime to other parents and to a headteacher recently, and there seemed to be some keen interest. Perhaps it will help you or someone you know who’s battling in this area. It’s been a blessing to us.

A great weapon in the battle of the screens

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This is a brilliant recipe that I mean to post every Christmas but then decide I can’t because I don’t have a photo. Anyway this year I still don’t have a picture of the salad, but here’s the recipe anyway. It is perfect for Boxing Day with cold turkey and ham, and a great way of using up the end of a jar of cranberry sauce or some extra sprouts.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

1/4 red cabbage
1 celery stick (with leaves)
6-8 Brussel sprouts
1 small eating apple
1 carrot
75g/3 oz mixed nuts or walnuts/pecans
Stilton (optional – for a full meal of a salad)

Dressing: Mix together 3 tbspn vegetable oil, 2 tbspn cranberry sauce & 3 tbspn orange juice

Shred cabbage, apple, celery & sprouts in food processor or finely slice, grate the carrot (I use my processor for this too). Roughly chop the nuts by hand – the processor blitzes them too fine I find. Mix with the dressing and crumble stilton on top, if using. Feel vaguely healthy and like you’ve neutralised some of the Christmas cake and sherry.

No salad picture, so here’s some festive fairylights instead

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Shared by a friend earlier, this is from A Charlie Brown Christmas and was made nearly 50 years ago. Good stuff never grows old. I’ve not read a Peanuts cartoon for years (my parents had loads of the books when I was growing up) but this has made me want to revisit them.

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