Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas! 
We are thinking of all you dear friends and family around the world, especially in Canada and Holland. Missing you and wishing you much joy and happiness!
Love from Matt, Catherine, Kees and Jimmy.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Baking

I'm no great baker but I like to do a few things for Christmas. We've been baking up lots of treats and sweating it out around the oven. It's so hot lately! Typical Christmas weather, hot and sultry with the clouds sulking and holding out on rain.

I must've cut out a hundred of these little stars. Phew!

Fruit mince pies were a big hit - especially with the flies as you can see.

A little something for my dear husband - Thermomix "Luigi's 40 Second Biscuits" made with pistachios. They did take about that without the children's "help".

The teeny stars - they took lots of time but they're so cute!

Candy Cane Day

The kids were very excited when their Advent stocking for the day said "Candy Cane Day"!

First we did a very simple (a bit boring) experiment where we soaked the candy canes in water to see what happened. They dissolved and the water turned pink.

Next we watched this interesting video about how candy canes are made. We watched it several times and the kids enjoyed it.

After that, we smashed up some candy canes in a bag with a meat mallet, then put the crumbles into star shapes which we baked in the oven. I think we left them in too long....

...but it was fun. We hung them on the tree and they looked quite nice, but in the humidity they melted and dripped everywhere which attracted lots of ants.

And we hardly ate any because I've grown very suspicious of red colouring and it's influence on children's behaviour! Sorry kids!

Elf Mischief

In my explorations of Christmas activities on Pinterest (fun!) I came across "The Elf on the Shelf" and ordered one immediately! He is so cute, so mischievous and so lovable. I love his cupie-doll face, with such a winning smile. I must admit, it is hard thinking up new ideas for Alfie each night, but it's definitely worth it and I've copied lots of other people's!

Here are a few favourites:

toilet papering the tree;

replacing carefully hung stockings with undies;

a trail of lolly wrappers leading to...

a lollipop thief;

and a very tired Alfie next to Jimmy's bed in the morning.

Gingerbread Houses

Our kind friend and neighbour, Nora, knows how to put on a party! After enjoying Coco's third birthday, the children all received a gingerbread house kit instead of the usual party bag. Great idea, Nora. We had a fun day building ... and eating...these yummy houses. I didn't harbour expectations of success, but they actually worked well! I think having the air conditioner on helped!

(I believe the kits were from Ikea.)

More Adventing...Christmas Wreath

Today we made a truly Australian wreath which we all love.

It is made of Bottle-Brush, whose weeping branches lent themselves beautifully to being woven.
We simply wound them around a coat-hanger we'd bent into a circle. It was very pleasant to sit outside in the breeze, under the Bottle-Brush tree, making something pretty with my boys.

I especially enjoyed watching their concentration as they persisted with threading baubles and tying knots. Jimmy created his own extension activity: decorating Matt's trailer for him.

Another lovely plant for our Australian Christmas is the Beach Cherry, a pretty little bush with gorgeous red sweet-tasting berries. Ours has been fruiting well all December and we've been enjoying the little treats hidden in its branches.

Wishing you many sweet treats!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gingerbread House Graph

Here's a nice little morning which carries on the gingerbread theme for Advent. First we read Hansel and Gretel, not really a Christmas story, but hey, it's the gingerbread house part we're after. 

Then we did this fun activity . You print off the sheets, decorate the gingerbread houses with Fruit Loops, then graph them. Then eat them. Gasp! My kids have been starting every day with sweets and then managing to squeeze several more in between then and bedtime. I am trying not to panic ;0)

Adventing Along...

 Felt and button trees

 Christmas activity books

Glitter pine cones

See you soon!


And so! To some more Adventing! This time, gingerbread.

Tamara's veeerrry sticky pepparkarkor dough became transformed through our artistry.....

into deliciously varied gingerbread people!

I think you can guess whose is whose!

Just like the wily old fox, we gobbled them up.

Then we played this fun gingerbread man game!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Advent Activities are Underway!

 Advent has begun and the stockings are hung, with a little surprise hidden in each one!

Here are some of our activities. I will endeavour to keep up with blogging these through the Advent period, but if you would like some more activity ideas, check here on my Pinterest Christmas board. I am trying to embrace our Summer Christmas, so you definitely won't find any snowmen, but there are a few starfish, shells, cocktail umbrellas and gum leaves in there! Karen is a lovely lady who is also striving to create an authentic Summer/Australian Christmas and she has some beautiful ideas here. Anyway....

 Christmas tree Maths: you can do this as a winning game or just for fun. Also great for fine motor skills.

Christmas Tree playdough - a winner!
 I get so much pleasure from observing the concentration and creativity going on here.

 A slightly nasty-looking creation inspired by the playdough tree...ouch...

 Kinda cool though  ;0)

Back soon with more Advent activities!