27 November 2014

Creating our advent calendar

This year instead of buying one of those licensed advent calendars filled with cheap chocolate from the supermarket, I wanted to create a calendar filled with special outings, craft activities, treats and other fun things the girls could do together. I also wanted to avoid them fighting over who was getting the chocolate from the calendar. Which then would make me feeling guilty for not buying two calendars!

I originally thought of making my own advent calendar, but when I weighed up the cost to buy all the pieces I needed I found it cheaper to buy one instead. So off I went in search for the perfect advent calendar. 

The calendar I was searching for had to be festive, have little pockets that could be filled with treats or notes, and something that was long lasting, so we could use it over and over again. We found this cute little Christmas tree in Myer, which the girls love and can't wait for it to be pinned up Monday. 

To get you in the Christmas spirit, I've jotted down 25 ideas that we've come up with to fill the little pockets of our advent calendar.

  1. Write a letter to Santa {Its never too late - here you can email the Jolly Old Fella or complete a letter online!}
  2. Spend the day Christmas shopping
  3. Play Christmas carols on the iPod, keyboard and have a sing-a-long
  4. Wrap up Christmas presents
  5. Buy an ornament from the Christmas shop {Our girls love the Christmas store at Myer}
  6. {Special Outing} - Catch the train into the city to see Christmas tree in Martin Place and visit Santa’s Cave
  7. Pick out the Christmas tree & decorate it {We buy a freshly cut tree from the local RFS, who receive the proceeds}
  8. Make & decorate a gingerbread house
  9. Create a Christmas ornament out of craft
  10. Watch a Christmas movie with a hot chocolate
  11. Create Christmas cards & wrapping paper for the grandparents presents
  12. Get a photo taken with Santa
  13. Make & decorate gingerbread men
  14. {Special Outing} - Watch the Christmas Carols 
  15. Make a sign for Santa and post out the front of the house
  16. {Treat} Christmas stamps (from art shop)
  17. Borrow Christmas book from the library
  18. Write and handout Christmas cards 
  19. Put on a Christmas puppet show
  20. Send a letter to a friend to wish them a Merry Christmas
  21. Skype with a friend to wish them a Merry Christmas
  22. {Treat} Christmas stickers
  23. Make some Christmas craft
  24. Go and see the Christmas lights and displays    
  25. {Treat} Candy cane   

Hubby & I have been coming up with ideas for the calendar while the girls are in bed, so not to ruin the surprise! We hope they enjoy it.

Do you use an advent calendar?

Do you make your own or buy a licensed calendar from the store?

What ideas have you included in yours?

13 November 2014

Making time count

I've been a little quiet on the craft front this year. Popette was my crafty little sidekick (get it) and loved getting her elbows deep into the gloopy glue, pom poms and pipe cleaners. She loved it when I came up with something fun to make, and couldn't wait for her little sister to have a nap so we could make "something special" together. Those days are unfortunately, not behind us, because I know she'll want to make something in a heartbeat if I ask her, just not as frequent as they once were.

Popette making the masking tape mummy

Now that she's at school the only time we have left for making craft is after school or on the weekends. Most afternoons are busy with keyboard practice, keyboard lessons, reading home readers and sight words, doing the grocery shopping, or taking the girls on a play date or to the park. I'm so tired by the end of the day, so don't really feel like pulling out all the craft stuff. That time together is something I miss with my big girl.

Cherub is slowly showing more interest in craft, but prefers painting or drawing. My 3 year old seems to have the attention span of a 2 year old at the moment and only lasts 2 to 3 minutes at any one thing. Today she went from wanting to do drawing, to blowing bubbles, playing in the sandpit to playing dress-ups and dancing within 5 minutes (ok it was probably longer), some days I can't keep up with her or the housework.

Popette used to be much better at sitting down and entertaining herself for longer periods then Cherub. I used to not feel so guilty if I had to spend an hour or so getting some cleaning done as she was happily playing. With Cherub on the hand, it's totally different. I seem to spend a lot of time cleaning and tidying the house these days. There's the odd day, when I think stuff it and couldn't be bothered doing any cleaning, but then I end up with a bigger mess that takes twice as long to clean up the next day. So I feel guilty again for not spending enough time with her.

Cherub painting her dinosaur mask

I miss that time when I would just sit and play with her, or we'd paint or create something together, and I didn't worry as much about the housework.

I remember writing once "I'd rather spend time with my daughter playing or watching her play, then stress about the cleaning", but two mess-making daughters later my opinion has changed ever so slowly.

I guess I need to make time for what's important. While having food in the fridge, clean clothes, and a clean-ish house is important, being in the moment with my two girls is also something that's important to me.

Having fun creating with me is something I want my girls to remember when they are older, and not of a Mum who was too busy tidying the house and couldn't make time for them.

What do you need make more time for?

03 November 2014

Spending time with my favourite people

It always makes me happy when I spend time with my favourite people. Like yesterday, in the morning we went to a birthday party for one of Popette's friends. It was held at a miniature train yard in the lower mountains. The girls had lots of fun riding trains, playing with friends and stuffing away the food.

Popette was quite proud of her attempt at stuffing eating 6 small-ish meringues, as well as a cupcake, watermelon, chips, mini quiches in the two and a bit hours we were there. I had visions of her throwing it up on some poor person on the train, or worse in our car. Thankfully it stayed down! She even managed to eat lunch and an ice block and chocolate later on....I know, what were we thinking giving her more sugar!

In the afternoon Hubby and I took the girls for a drive up to Katoomba. We visited a hardware store (our favourite type of store), then drove up to Echo Point to see the Three Sisters (which thankfully are still standing!). While taking in the gorgeous view we ate our ice creams, and explained to Popette what the Three Sisters are and spotted the walkers on the little bridge.

Ice cream, ice cream we will all scream for ice cream!

I love the mountains. Its so beautiful don't you think?

How do you spend time with your favourite people?