Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014: Days 12, 13, 14 and 16 through 23

Howdy!  It looks like I'll be posting the rest of our advent activities before Christmas after all ;)  Here's a recap of what we've been up to...I call it Christmas countdown roundup - in pictures with a few words added in.

Day 12 ~ Sleigh ride in the village

...plus a sleepover in Harry's room.

Day 13 ~ Parent's day at dance class AND hot chocolate and Christmas movies


Day 14

This afternoon Ella and Harrison went with their Grandma to a kids' Christmas party.  Ben and I went grocery shopping, so there are no pics.  The kids did, however, come home with loads of Christmas artwork and tree ornaments.

Day 16 ~ Homemade Christmas tree ornaments

Day 17 ~ Ella's school Christmas concert

Day 18 ~ Shopping to pick out food for the foodbank...I did this myself because the kids were sick :(

Day 19 ~ The initial plan was to build snowmen and go toboganning, but due to the rapidly melting snow we made some more Christmas crafts - foam train and cupcake house!

Day 20 ~ Visit to the tree farm for a scavenger hunt and to pick out (and cut down) our Christmas tree.

Loving the mini hill and all the animals...

Not impressed...

We all just stood back and watched while Dad brought the tree back to the van...

Day 21 ~ Setting up our tree & Adam's family Christmas party.  Adam ended up taking the boys while I stayed home with a still sick Ella...therefore there are no pictures from the party.  We do have a couple pics of our tree which turned out to be MUCH bigger than we thought it was before bringing it in the house.  We had to take it down and scale it back a bit.

Ben LOVES our million dollar tree stand...

Terrible pictures, but all I could manage while someone was tugging on my arm and legs...

Day 22 ~ Santa picture!...yes, those are my legs.

Day 23 ~ Playdate with our friend Claire...no pictures...today I was just lazy.  I will say, the costumes those girls (and Harrison) came up with today were worth their own blog post.

There we have it...all caught up.  I'm not sure what I was thinking trying to write a post for each day of December.  LOL.  Happy Christmas eve eve!

Thanks for reading :D

Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014: Day Fifteen

No, you didn't miss 3 days of our advent activities - days 12, 13 and 14 are currently stranded on my camera's memory card.  So, now for day 15!
A few years ago (before the blog), I attempted (and failed... miserably) to make a gingerbread house that was NOT pre-assembled.  It completely caved in and caused me hours of frustration (that was before I learned that 'giving up' was an option).  I still covered it in icing and candy and ate it - don't get me wrong - but it was still pretty annoying.  I swore never again, but then someone gave us one (LOL) and so I was forced to assemble my second gingerbread house.  Somehow, it went up without a hitch. 
The kids LOVE decorating the gingerbread houses, although, there was a ton of whining about not being able to eat the candies as they were decorating (how do they think it will get decorated if they eat all the candy??!!).
We're not sure what is happening in this picture, but I'm sure it has something to do with Harrison inspecting the candy from his dish.  He was pretty attached to the blue gumball.


And here is our finished product.  Ella and Harrison were each assigned one side of the roof, one of the side walls and either the front or the back wall.  Next year, when Ben is able to help out a bit, we may need to invest in a gingerbread mansion or one with a garage, so he has a space to decorate too.

 Thanks for reading :D

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014: Day Eleven

Day 11 is brought to you by gingerbread cookies.  As expected, I didn't have enough time (before Ella got home from school) to bake ALL the cookies (as I type this, there is still a bowl of gingerbread cookie batter in my fridge...maybe tomorrow's the day?).  I did, however, manage to bake enough so the kids could each decorate some. 

This year we had some candy eyes left over from the Halloween cookies, so the kids were excited to use those on their gingerbread men.  Aside from the eyes, the most popular decorating item this year were the chocolate chips.  One of Harrison's cookies was so full of chocolate chips that they were stacked three high. 

Of course they had to sample one immediately after decorating...couldn't even let the icing harden.  At least they get it honestly! 

Thanks for reading :D

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014: Day Ten

Tonight we went to the annual Kids' Christmas Party at Adam's school.  The organizer really outdid herself this year!  There were stations set up for the kids to do colouring pages, make a snowman craft (using marshmallows!!), make reindeer food, beading with pipe cleaners and, of course, the ever-popular gym mats...or death traps as I like to call them. 
The gym mats always steal the show, and we may be purchasing a trampoline in the summer (NO). 

Santa made the rounds this year too.  He said hi to all the kids and asked what they wanted for Christmas.  He seemed a little confused when Ella told him she wanted a laundry basket (side note:  Ella actually talked to him!!), but promised her it could be done.

We couldn't leave before getting the kids picture taken at the amazing photo booth prop.  This picture may become my new Facebook cover photo. 

The boys managed to fall asleep on the way home, but Ella was wide awake until well past her bedtime.  Someone is really excited about all the Christmassy fun she's been having!

Thanks for reading :D

Christmas Countdown 2014: Day Nine

Today we made our most exciting Christmas decorations yet - Christmas wreaths!  I had the idea to let Ella and Harrison each make a wreath for their bedroom doors, so I grabbed a couple plain wreaths from Michaels and some random decorations (not to mention a kajillion borrowed decorations from Nan).  They were both excited to make something they could put in their room.

I set all the decorations out in front of them and they got to decide what should go on their wreaths.  After they chose a few special items, I had them set everything around the wreath in the EXACT spot they wanted it to be.  I then used hot glue to attach everything (except the garland and beads).  You could use wire or ribbon to tie all the ornaments on, but my timeline only allowed me to use hot glue.  :D

And here are the finished products:

I'm already thinking these would be cute gifts to make for special people next year.  I'll add it to my list!
Thanks for reading :D

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014: Day Eight

Our original plan for today was Christmas carol karaoke.  We have a sweet Christmas microphone from last year (complete with an elf voice) and a lovely selection of kids Christmas CD's.  That plan kind of fell through, so we made a batch of Christmas cookies instead.  This is often our back-up plan.

Harrison was so lucky to do all the measuring and stirring himself - without having to take turns with Ella.  He learned how to turn the mixer on and off and was surprised that it was 'too loud for his ears'.  He especially enjoyed using the whisk to combine the dry ingredients.  When I told him he had to do it gently, he barely even moved the whisk around.  In the end I helped him out with that one.

We made a batch of Oatmeal Cranberry cookies (our first time making this recipe) and they were delish!  Here's what I can remember of the recipe (yes, that's how I roll):

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups oats

  1. Mix butter and both sugars together on low speed for 1 minute and then on medium speed for 1 minute.  Add egg and vanilla and mix for an additional minute until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and cinnamon.  Whisk to combine.
  3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix on medium until combined.  Stir in cranberries and oats.
  4. Bake at 350 for 7 to 10 minutes...depending on your oven and cookie size.  Ours baked for 12 minutes.

Thanks for reading :D

Christmas Countdown 2014: Day Seven

I guess you'll have to think of today as a 'wordless-ish Sunday'.  The kids went to the Santa Claus parade today, but I stayed home with Ben while he napped.  From their faces in this picture and the handfuls of candy they brought home, I'd say they had a jolly good time.

Thanks for reading :D

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