We ventured to the Museum today to go and view a special little exhibition, to which our daughter contributed. Maddy's Girl Scout Group recently made a gingerbread house and today, along with some others they were on display to the public.
There was a wonderful assortment of Christmas crafts along with beautiful gingerbread houses - none more beautiful than Maddy's though!
Whilst at the museum we also took part in a craft activity - making Christmas hats. Mr B got drawn in to helping out Joshy - whilst Maddy happily drew a snowman using oil pastels for the first time. I think she appreciated how well they blended togetherand I may have to invest in some for her for Christmas now.
It was a lovely day and there was even a rare moment of me being on the other side of the camera with my children (which reminds me I HAVE to get my hair cut soon!)
It took just a mere 10 minutes before Maddy mentioned to me that our elf looks nothing like the 'Elf on the Shelf' that they have in her classroom at school, but it does look surprisingly like the dolls that I make!
So I had to come up with a plan - I reacted quickly to her statements and reminded her that Elves are just like people - and we come in all shapes, colours and sizes and then ushered her off to bed.
In the morning, I emailed her (very sweet and accommodating teacher) and asked her if I could pop in whilst the kiddies were out of the classroom and also explained I needed a photo of her elf (Fuzzy) She obliged and at 11am I snuck into Maddy's school - elf and camera in hand and explained the story to her teacher.
I snapped this photo of the two (now BFF) Elves and snuck out. The following morning Maddy found Tricia (our elf) with a letter.
The look of shock on her face as Daddy read the letter to her, was priceless and she carefully folded the letter up and put it in her school bag to take to show her teacher.
She came and sat down beside me later that day and said 'Mum, I spoke with Tricia and said sorry to her that I didn't believe she was a proper elf. I think its REALLY COOL she had a playdate with Fuzzy!!!!'
After the kiddies were in their PJ's tonight a package arrived on our doorstep.
The kiddies eagerly opened it and Daddy read them the enclosed letter.
It seems Santa had sent them an Elf - not just any Elf but an Elf that spends the days observing them and then at night when they go to bed, she travels back to the North Pole and lets Santa know of that days happenings.
I had seen these elves in the store before and in all honesty they freaked me out a little :o) Mads has a bit of a sensitive streak for scary looking toys (and don't even mention the watch-monkey on Toy Story 3 to Josh!!) so I thought it best that I not buy the Elf in the store that looks like it may have the nickname Hatchet Harry and make a softer version.
She was name Tricia by Maddy (no idea where that came from!) and she is currently sitting above the fireplace. Each morning she will come back to visit us again and appear in a different vantage point (having reported back to Santa that night) I have a feeling we are going to have some fun with this little elf!
Yesterday marked the start of Advent (and also my Auntie Cally's Birthday - Happy Birthday Cally!) With the kids getting older and more aware of the marketing of toys which deluges us at this time of year, I wanted to try and bring some focus back on Advent and the importance of the non-material things.
The best family traditions I can remember are about the time we spent together and things that we did year after year. I look back now and am hugely thankful of the traditions that my own parents did for us that use to bring that extra element of excitement or togetherness at Christmas.
There are the traditions like Dad actually physically turning off the gas supply to the gas fire in the lounge and moving it on Christmas eve to expose the chimney, thus giving Santa extra easy access. In later years I remember the tradition Mum started of picking up enormous donna kebabs for everyone on her way home from work on Christmas Eve, believe me, they were amazing!
I remember the smell each year from the umpteen Christmas Cakes my Mum used to make. The *big* oven was always lit through this marathon session (something which didn't happen very often) and what seemed like days of baking followed which filled the house with wonderful aromas which still make me think of Christmas.
So it was with all of this in mind and the fact that I am now mothering a 6 (almost 7) year old and a 4 (almost 5) year old that I wanted each day of advent to be a chance to build some extra family time and really underline what Christmas is about. I have mapped out each day until Christmas with a family activity and weekly outings to donate/buy for a charity. I want Maddy and Josh to understand that we are super lucky and giving back is something we need to be purposeful about.
I also want to underline why this time of year is so important for our family in terms of our faith and I am hoping that each activity we undertake as a family will help to underline that.
Photo above is from our 'Elf on the Shelf' unveiling tonight...aka Day 2 of advent, will post pics tomorrow!
Thanksgiving was wonderful, a well needed rest for all of us. I cooked an English roast dinner (yorkshire pud and all) and the kids stayed in their jammies all day. I even whipped up a vat of mulled wine which kept me rather happy throughout the cooking process!
On Thanksgiving morning I picked up a copy of the local paper and was able to leisurely check out all the black friday deals in the evening when the kiddies had gone to bed. My plan of attack was devised and I ended up heading out at 4.45am on Black Friday to scoop a few bargains. (this is super exciting stuff for me I tell you!)
I love bargain shopping, it gets me stupidly excited and bargain shopping before the sun has even come up is even more exciting. I checked into all the stores I visited via Facebook, so Jay could keep up with my whereabouts (ha! he only just got up when I returned at 7.30am!) and I had a blast!
So, my Black Friday shopping combined with my bargain shopping over the last few months has meant that I am now pretty much sorted for Christmas. The kiddies are most definetly sorted and I know I will probably end up putting some of their items away for their birthdays in February and March.
Now just the Christmas menus to plan and shop for and we are done!
A photo of Josh and *his* cat Rudi who is far from put-off by Josh's admiration of him, he laps it up and follows Josh to bed each night!