Friday, 3 November 2017

Staying sane in the run up to Christmas - Echo Dot giveaway


Half term is over - the countdown has begun.  Anthony announced this week - it's seven weeks till Christmas.  And like every year, I'm not ready.  But I've got some ideas to help me.

There's always lots to do and honestly every year it just happens - which is great but a bit daunting. As with many families who have autistic kids there's a lot of planning and preparation that goes into Christmas.  It's all too easy for our boys to become overwhelmed with everything that's going on. I try to be fairly relaxed about it and go with whatever they need but it's always going to be a busy time.

There's all the present buying, the wrapping, secret stashing, the shopping and cooking for Christmas dinner whilst making sure we have something David will eat too.  And the list goes on.  This year I've a few tricks up my sleeve and I'm sharing one with you in a giveaway.


1. Video from Santa
What's that got to do with making my life easier?  Ahh, well, the good people at PNP, that's the Portable North Pole, send my kids their own video from Father Christmas which includes a task for them. That's right, Santa himself tells my kids to be good and help their siblings and even help me during the run-up till Christmas.

What better way to make my life easier than focusing my kids on being good.  David's still pre verbal and won't really understand a video call from Santa, but the other two definitely do.  Two out of three kids helping or trying to be extra good ain't bad and if they aren't annoying David too then this can make the world of difference to me.



2. Slipper shoes
Over the next six weeks and particularly in the last run up to the big day, I'll be in and out of the house like next doors cat with delivery boxes and shopping.  I'll fill goodness knows how many bin bags preparing dinner and snacks and put what must be tonnes of packing into recycling boxes.

Half of this will need to be done after the kids have gone to bed.  I'll be in and out of the loft looking for decorations various and that tree ornament that 'we always have.'  Then there's the trudging back into the loft or garage to hide various gifts.

The key to the above - a fantastic pair of bootie slipper shoes like these from Hunkemoller.  A sole along the bottom means you nip outside to the bin as often as you need and not get them wet underneath.  They keep you warm and safe in the loft and cosy when finally sitting down to wrap those gifts.



3.  My ultimate tip - Alexa
We've got an Echo Dot in the kitchen.  When we first got it I didn't think I'd use it much.  I was wrong. The Echo Dot is voice-controlled disc that uses Amazon's Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms etc. Here's a couple of festive phrases I've been practising.
  • Alexa set first timer for 3 1/2 hours (for the turkey on Christmas day), then I'll set several other timers for everything else in line. I honestly don't know how anything got cooked for the right length of time before I had Alexa.
  • Alexa order... well who knows.. because I'll need to order a last minute gift from Amazon without a doubt
  • Alexa, play Michael Buble (for me to do a dance).  Alexa, play Can't Stop the Feeling from Trolls (for me and the kids to dance together).
  • Alexa, how cold is it today (run and change the heating for the day and then because Anthony wants to know..) Alexa, how cold is it in Russia?
  • Alexa, where is Father Christmas?
And that's just a starter.  I've also found if the kids have lots of questions and I'm swamped, they can talk directly to Alexa for a while. I know, terrible mother.  But please don't let that put you off.   Alexa is brilliant for my autistic kids.

Anthony in particular loves lists and Alexa is a great help when it comes to interesting facts and figures for him as all I end up doing is googling the answers anyway.   She is a databank of information and will answer him over and over again no matter how often he asks.  And keeping Anthony calm helps keep me calm.  I love having Alexa around to help so much, I'm giving one away.

WIN YOUR OWN ALEXA ECHO DOT FOR CHRISTMAS

If you'd like to win your own Alexa on an Echo Dot - please take part in my giveaway.  
It's not sponsored, I just love having an Alexa so much I'm willing to share 
her with you - just in time for Christmas.  Enter below.

Conditions: UK  Residents only. Entrants must be aged over 18.  Entry is via Rafflecopter.  Entries can be made up until midnight on the1st December 2017.  One winner will be chosen from all the entries at random the day after closing.  The winner will be contacted within two days of the closing date and have one week to respond.  The Prize is one Echo Dot as pictured in top photo.  No cash alternative. 


I was sent a pair of Hunkemoller slippers for purposes of review.  
As always my views and comments and independent and I only include products or services I like. 

You Baby Me Mummy

74 comments:

  1. Taking a relaxing bath - I don't allow myself to do that these days - I just jump in, get washed and jump out again! I should really allow myself to lie back and relax in the bath!

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  2. Make plans for the Christmas period. Especially plan and know what you are doing on Christmas eve, Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year’s Eve.

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  3. Walking - since losing our dog a few weeks ago, I have lost interest in walking - BUT we are getting a new pup next month so I know she will motivate me to start walking again!

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  4. Simple, do plenty of preparation.

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  5. Plan, get help then relax and enjoy the season.

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  6. To remember it will never be perfect but to relax and enjoy it!

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  7. It's only two days you can & will get through this

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  8. This is an amazing giveaway! Christmas is always more idealistic than in reality and thats from before and after kids hahah! I'm such a sucker for gifts but once its over I get a massive crash and then I'm sad for ages!!
    Thank you for sharing this amazing giveaway with us at #TriumphantTales. Good luck to all the entrants and I hope to see you back next week!

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  9. I always do my christmas shopping in November sale and enjoy december with kids, we do loads of crafts, baking and daily walks in december. x

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  10. Make sure you and your family enjoy yourselves

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  11. Get through christmas with.. restraint!

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  12. Exercising - my son is autistic and really enjoys activities, he takes part in skiing and enjoys multisport too

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  13. My son is probably a little too young to understand the concept of Christmas and I think going to see Santa would scare him to death, so the idea of a video from Father Christmas is a much better idea! Genius!

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  14. Just try to relax and enjoy yourself! Eat healthy and go for a nice long walk :)

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  15. Try not to be bothered by little things and put some smoothing music on x

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  16. Try not to get too stressed out and enjoy every moment ��

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  17. Be Prepared,Write a list get dried goods & orders in early.When you know everything is under control. Chocolates,Drink 🍸,TV & feet up.

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  18. Prepare early so you can worry less when everyone else is running around like headless chickens!

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  19. A relaxing bath if I could possibly find time, without the worry of falling asleep in it

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  20. Give everyone vouchers and regularly top up your glass 🤣Xx

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  21. Be organised in advance

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  22. I'm always a last minute shopper, wrapper and always end up really stressed, a few years ago I did the park vouchers which was a great help, I will be saving with them again next year xxx

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  23. Get the family to help and get presents early to avoid the crowds.

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  24. buy gifts throughout the year and prepare as much in advance as possible

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  25. Planning don't leave it all to the last minute
    Ask for help ie if family are coming -ask them to bake cook etc
    There's no shame in sharing the load

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  26. Plan in advance and get gifts when on offer x

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  27. Plan ahead and space out christmas shopping over a few pay days

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  28. Prepare as much as you can beforehand whilst reminding yourself that you can only do what you can do

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  29. Some of the general stress is just about getting everything done. If you do want the whole traditional Christmas thing - in terms of organising food, house, presents, cooking etc. The main thing is being organised. So write a few lists - they make things easier. Also do what you can in advance. Sort the presents side in early December. Same with any decorations and the tree. Don't worry unduly about having the place spotless - it'll all be trashed the minute a few presents are unwrapped anyway. Get the food in two days before Christmas and do as much chopping, stuffing, and cooking as you can on Christmas Eve. That way even if you are running the show on the big day there is still a chance you'll actually get to relax and enjoy bits of it too and it won't be all work.

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  30. Planning is key, accept help & delegate. I always take christmas eve off work to organise everything

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  31. Many long and luxuriating baths. Failing that lots of alcohol tends to get me through. Not at the same time though. Well, maybe a glass of wine whilst immersed in bubbles!

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  32. Making sure there are some relaxing days in between during the Christmas break!

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  33. It sounds like I need an Echo Dot to keep me organized! And if it can read off recipes so I don't get food or smudges on my recipes all the better. I like to plan ahead as much as possible, but hey life happens!

    Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

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  34. Hide in the shed at the bottom of the garden with a box of mince pies until it's all over.

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  35. take a step at a time and enjoy what you do, don't get involved with the bi panicks

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  36. Thank you for a great giveaway, I have a daughter with mental health issues, and for us, not expecting anything, no preconceptions, and just taking each day as it comes is the best tip I can give. Enjoy the smallest of things xxx

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  37. Start the shopping early and jut go with the flow on the day

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  38. Don't invite or accept invitations from anyone you don't like!!!

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  39. I love the slipper socks, I wish I had a pair for everyday lol.
    #TriumphantTales

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  40. Plan and organise as much as you can as far in advance as you can.

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  41. Don't forget to have fun, that's what its all about!

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  42. To just enjoy it and share the workload

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  43. Try to organise as early as possible

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  44. Try and prepare as much stuff as possible beforehand especially Xmas dinner stuff and try to take 2mins to breathe.

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  45. I always try and prepare as much as I can for christmas lunch in the days before - so that I can enjoy the day too without having to spend all day cooking.

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  46. Just go with the flow, relax and enjoy the joy on your kddies faces :)

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  47. Go with the flow! It doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful - it's all about being together after all

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  48. Enjoy and do as much as you can in advance!

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  49. enjoy it - it shouldnt be a task to get through christmas! if it has to be something to have to get through, something is wrong -so what if you burn the turkey or even forget to get it out of the freezer, have a sandwich!!! if relatives dont behave tell them to go home and have a big glass of wine and play with the kids its one day, have fun !

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  50. Buy Christmas presents throughout the year and don't go mad on too much food as so much ends up in the bin. Write a shopping list and stick to it.

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  51. Don't build it up to totally unreasonable expectations!

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  52. Plan everything, but also be prepared to go with it and not stress if things don't go to plan!

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  53. plan ahead, and guess what im all done wrapped and ready for Santa coming xx

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  54. Be prepared and shop in advance!

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  55. dont stress. it one day. why spends months getting stressed over a day?

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  56. Always plan ahead and wrap gifts as soon as you get them - to save time when things get a bit 'hairy'.

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  57. Make sure you don't invite strangers or anyone who makes your child feel uncomfortable x

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  58. I think preparation, list making and budgeting are the key to a stress free Christmas.

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  59. Deep breaths and go for it , right a list and get family to help

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  60. Start early... I buy present throughout the year (spreads the cost but within the interest charges) and don't go overboard... It's only one day - do you really need THAT MUCH food?

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  61. Do a spreadsheet of all of the gifts you want to buy. Then mark them off as you go along. Oh, and have fun!!

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  62. Keep your glass full and prepare veg for dinner Xmas eve x

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  63. Lower those expectations and be realistic !!

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  64. Try to stick to routine and discuss changes to the 'normal schedule' earlier on in the year in preparation. There is a lot of pressure these days to do so much at Christmas but I find it's nice to just do a few things and try not to have the Fear of Missing Out!

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I read all your comments and appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me and our readers. I welcome any feedback on my posts and you can always contact me directly. Thank you.

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