Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas wrap up

Im done :)

No, dont be silly this isnt for me!! Its rudolphs and Santas ;)

Its 10pm Christmas Eve, and I only have one layer of jelly left to make!

Oh yes, there are tonnes of things I shoulda/coulda/woulda, but I am content to let them be for another year.
Today we:
Made Gingerbread trees to decorate for our family tomorrow ( of what was left of the mixture after two cheeky cherubs found it)

Decorate those gorgeous trees (again, finding Amahli with her stash of stolen smarties meant some trees are a little less decorated)

Made a traditional Australian dessert, The Pavlova ( and yet again, I spent more time chasing children from stealing the decorations. Jared was hell bent on eating a whole punnet of strawberries before I got to them, Jumeirah took a liking to blackberries and Amahli just kept eating the cream...)

Had some last minute playtime in some water with frozen coloured stars I made weeks ago and forgot about... Amahli loved it!

And tonight, watching Elf with my littles and hubbin, I took a moment to be thankful for the huge blessing that each of them is to me.

Thankyou, for reading and sticking with my little blog. I have been challenged and inspired by so many of you to keep going, and I thank those of you who have gone on to do some of these activities with your own kids. I love hearing about it!
Im signing off for a week to give this little brain of mine a break but I'll be back on Monday the 3rd NEXT YEAR!!!

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a safe and happy new year :)



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas eve eve lightbulb moment

I had one of those moments today.. you know the ones, where everything lines up perfectly to give you a glimpse of something extra special in an otherwise ordinary situation... I took the kids to the shops today to see Santa. Was a nuts choice in every way, the shops were madness, the kids were a bit freaked out by the crowds, Amahli cried from the moment we got out of the car till the moment we got back IN the car, Santa line was crazy.... But worst of all was the ridiculous amount of "bad form people" madly trying to finish off Christmas....

The mother who yells at her kid to smile for the Santa photo or " ALL THE TOYS ARE GOING BACK!"
The mother who is literally dragging her kids by the shirt as shes in a rush and cant stop to let him look at the nativity scene.
The kids who are crying as they are tired of shopping but mum is hell bent on getting them " just one last thing".
The person in front of me who spent $670 on "last minute things" for her TWO ( yup just TWO) kids..

Christmas seems to have gotten out of control.

I came home, tired and a bit disillusioned over what Christmas has become to our world. I want so much for my kids to get the real meaning of Christmas and to be able to celebrate without being overwhelmed with the push to get get get. I want them to know that the whole point of Christmas is the quiet, unassuming but HUGE event that was Jesus birth and what that means to them. Jared and Amahli got out of the car, hand in hand, and tottered off to play. Jumeirah I found about 15 minutes later with this little scene.

Its a very precious tiny nativity set I was given about 15 years ago from a very special preschool child. She had set it up and was replaying a simple version of the first Christmas.

(Although the angel did give baby Jesus a lap around the block on the back of her wings... ) She was totally engrossed, totally in the moment of creating a beautiful, simple scene. And then, all the characters, including donkey, camel and sheep, lay flat on their faces, "bowing down" to this tiny baby.

And she turns to me and says " Cos thats what it should be."

And Im grounded, floored, and happy, because I know she gets it :)

And so for the rest of the day, we did simple things together. Amahli helped ( I say helped in the loosest possible way but she had fun) make the peppermint bark, Jumeirah supervised the making of peanut toffee, and I tried to take a family photo ( hopeless little rats wouldnt play nice).

Lucky you, I will be back to finish off before Christmas :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas gifting

We had a large case of the crazies today.. three children, high as kites for THE ENTIRE DAY.
I have no idea what I fed them to create such skyrocketing but they were feral with hysteria most of the day....
For the few moments that they were reasonably down to earth, I got them out some things to create to give as presents from themselves. Christmas has become so much abotu what you get, my kids are forever being asked "Whats Santa bringing you?" but I want them to experience the pure joy of giving as well.

They were happy to paint on tree shapes to add to the christmas wrapping.

Jareds even had lights!

We started our thumbprint Christmas cards..

Amahli was also pretty thrilled with the addition to the Christmas rice: letters. For each letter she found, we worked together to find something that started with that letter. Jared too, got pretty involved with this one :)

Jumeirah had asked for canvassess to create some more Kandinsky style paintings, and also she got busy this morning making thumbprint Christmas tree cards. ( will show finished products tomorrow).

And for those of you who were worried about the disasterous dresses from yesterday??? I fixed em. I fixed em good :)

Tomorrow will be the last bloggy day for the year!!! Its Christmas Eve Eve!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas dresses

One of our gorgeous Christmas Baubles we made last week :)

I blame my mother for tonights Christmas disasters.. hopefully they will look better on than they do right now.... Growing up, my mum made my sister and I matching dresses every year for Christmas. Sometimes the fabric was different colours, but we always matched in style. I thought it would be fun to carry on this tradition with my own two girls by doing to same thing.
So, about a month ago, I trotted off to Spotlight and found the most gorgeous fabrics, one in green and one in red. Similar, but different.

About three weeks ago, I found a great pattern online,(Indietutes) printed it out, and had it all ready to go. (go check out this tute, its really easy to follow)
Last night, with now only 4 days to go, I decided to begin this project.

Didnt have enough fabric to cut a front and a back in the right size for Jumeirah. Spent 2 hours trying in vain to make it work. Somehow, at 11pm, I did something sort of right and then cut it. Went to bed, freaking out about how I just ruined such gorgeous material.....

Tonight I have:
Become best friends with my Quick Unpick

Taught myself to make bias binding my own style. i.e. not by cutting the fabric on the bias. That would be too sensible.

I taught myself this after I completely failed at Amahli's straps for her dress. And no, Im not changing it now!

Swore at fabric that really did nothing wrong. Was very tempted to wake them both up at almost midnight to try them on :) ( I didnt, but it was close) And finally, finished two dresses that may or may not have worked and will have to see in the morning... These are the final results.

Really, the pattern and tutorial was really easy and clear. Im just incredibly hopeless at sewing :)
Here too, is the little buddy doll I made for Jared. Hes really cute, you just have to ignore what looks like two bad scars from mole removals on his face... his eyes were so low I had to redo them. Twice :)
Hes currently still pantless, because I cant find a saftey pin the thread his elastic in. It will be fixed tomorrow!!
And here is the eclipse in Australia... nothing too spectacular as we had sea mist to contend with but I was pretty awed by the fact that my American buddies we check it out too :) One of those " we see the same moon" moments :)

Anybody else crafting RIGHT before christmas???

Monday, December 20, 2010

letter from Santa

She may be bright and nothing much gets past her but she TOTALLY was in awe when she recieved this email from Santa :) Jared and Tim got one too ;)

Jumeirahs Santa Email Video

We arent sure whether Amahli has made the nice list yet.. will let you know if hers arrives :)

Make one yourself! Make a little Christmas magic :)

And whilst I am copping out and blogging the easy way today, check out this video too..

Digital Nativity Story

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas tree dipping

All three kids are asleep right now... its the middle of the day and normally only littlest miss conks out. But today, the weather is gloomy but hot, and its so draining. Plus, we did heaps yesterday.. running around, finishing the last of the shopping ( which I have actually done about 5 times now) going for icecream...
So today, its quiet activities and loungey tired kids. Craft today was also a simple, quiet and really fun.

Paper towel dipping

Now this craft can be messy. But if you do it in an organised ( read anal) way, it does work really well for kids of all ages from about 3 up ( unless you are really game).
To start with, you need the best paper towel money can buy. In Australia, its VIVA. If you cant find a really absorbent paper towel, dont do this craft as its really dissapointing when it doesnt work.
So, not really listening to my own advice, I bought a generic brand of paper towel. And whilst I did manage to do this craft, it didnt work as well as I wanted it to.

You also need food colouring or waterclour ink. (food colouring is what we used)
Each colour we put into the paint tray, ready to be dipped into. I only added a little bit of water as I wanted the colours really vibrant.

As this was going to be a Christmas craft, I cut the paper towel into tree shapes before we folded it. ( See here for another version of this paper dipping craft without the christmas bit)
Then, I got Jumeirah to fold the tree as best she could into a square shape and then dip each corner into a different colour ink.

Once dipped, turn the square around so that the ink runs all over the paper. Once this is done, carefully open the paper towel up. ( this is probably an adult part, especially if you didnt listen and bought cheap paper towel :). This is where you need to be strong)

And there you have a gorgeous tree!
Lay it on some old paper, ( newspaper will do) to dry completely. Then, you can hang them, use them as wrapping paper decorations.. whatever you like :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas tree decorating ( a mini version)

Why is it always the simplest things I set up in a moments notice that my kids love so much more than the craft I slave over????

Yesterday, we took a trip to the craft shop, just Jared, Amahli and me. We had to get some things to make Jumeirahs teacher a Christmas pressie and it had to be done by Wednesday ( thus the lack of blog yesterday.. sorry). The materials for the angel were all on special so it didnt cost me much at all but some time and patience. ( both of which I am lacking but dug deep to complete the mission :) )

On the way out of the craft shop, Jared stopped at the mini Christmas trees and asked if we could have one for our table. Sadly, the big one isnt up yet.. we normally wait until after Jumeirahs birthday, then wait a bit more, a bit more, then panic cos its not up still, then do it. Think we are about half way through this process currently. And so, seeing they were half price, I was struck with an idea.
Amahli had gotten stuck way back in the christmas decorations and came finally down to meet me with her own basket someone had kindly given her( thanks very much) full of christmas things.
And so, I culled some and bought half of them, all at half price, plus Jareds tree. It cost my a total of $5.25.
And we took it home and set up this little table activity.

Half done angel...
Now, I dont know about you, but the tree is one of the most exciting things about getting ready for Christmas. Until you have kids. Then it becomes one of the biggest annual disasters you'll ever have.
Tree: notorious for eye gouging, leg scratching and is generally taller than your living room roof.
Christmas decos: often are a hundred years old, made of fine glass and shatter when squeezed by chubby 2 yr old hands.
Tinsel: shreds itself all over the floor even before its made it to the tree. Also makes a great pulley for a quick 4 yr old christmas tree dismantle. And dont even get me started on lights......
Today, I had one tiny tree, NO tinsel, NO lights, 30 decorations all made from felt or plastic, and TWO very happy children.

They spent ages tressing that little tree, discussing what should go where, how to hang things, working together. Jared was so proud of himself for completing it. Amahli was more content in DE tressing it and was just as proud when she had finished.

It made no mess, caused no fights and took me less than 5 minutes to set and and pack away...think I can get away with only having this one up this year????? Lets see :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

DIY gorgeous christmas baubles

Over the weekend, I had NO parties for work ( Im a Body Shop Party chick by trade, I party for a living :) ) and so Jumeirah was keen to do something for Christmas with me. And seeing as my brain is still leaking ridiculous amounts of Christmas craft ideas, I was more than happy to oblige :) We took a trip to the craft shop and found some clear, glass baubles for about $2.50 for a set of 4, and I figured we would decorate them somehow. I have seen a few websites where they are painted but I thought maybe we would paint the INSIDE of them rather than the outside.

And so, we took off the cap and squeezed paint into them, starting with two colours per bauble. She then, slowly tipped the bauble around so the paint would swirl around and coat the inside.

This has got to be the prettiest, most mesmorizing craft I had done in a while... they were absolutely beautiful to watch. All three kids had a go, and then I had to try and black and white one, and then Jumeirah HAD to try just a few more combinations... we then tipped them upside down to dry and drain out the excess paint.

They turned out so beautiful.. now all I need is our tree up and we can hang them!