Thursday, 29 December 2011

And so the day itself (s)...

 Probably fair to say that this was the Year of the Lego- a Hillside Creator House, a Fire Station and Vehicles, a Creator Car and some Airfix for the older ones, a Lego game and some Fireman Sam toys (preloved- as I don't like to buy new palstic- lego aside!!) for the little one.
 Mr Snowman was tucked inside SJs stocking- although he is owed a hat and his scarf was completed on Boxing Day! I ran out of time and motivation!!!!
 Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall arrived in my stocking!!! Really enjoyed his last series and would like to have this as a target for more of our eating plan this year...
And finally the present that has been most fought over!!! Officially bought for TP (but I knew SJ would love it too)- preloved (following my avoidance of 'new' plastic rule) and apparently the best- as well as being far bigger than I imagined- fortunately has two planes to go with it- so IF they want to co-operate and play nicely it is possible!! However led to a little wrangling on Christmas Day and led to DS1 spending some quiet time with Daddy in his bedroom- building lego- which probably ended up being a reward!! Finished the day with The Gruffalos Child- which was just as gorgeous and magical as last years Gruffalo- I have hopes of them doing Stickman next year (my favourite)!!
Boxing Day was also a quiet day with the addition of my parents, a little bit of colouring and crafting- mosaic pictures and sticker scenes. The next couple of days we have spent quietly gardening (burning tree cuttings which were overshadowing the veg patch- we ahve woodland behind us so fight a constant battle with encroachment- especially brambles and self setting Mountain Ash) visiting the park to let off steam and a run around Rufford Park.

Last few advent activities.....

 Tissue paper crafting always goes down well with the big two- tis a slight shame that in a 'Christmas Kit' complete with reindeers and robins and angels that they haven't adapted the colours accordingly- rather than sending the standard colour selection- thus Rudolphs bottom took all of the brown that they sent- and the angels wings took all of the white- which leaves us a Robin and a Snowman to do in Yellow and Blue!!
 SJ built a Gingerbread House Kit- which required a fair amount of concentration and patience and probably looks better than it tasted (but thats not his fault).
FIs patchwork angel- due to colour problems mentioned above.

A quiet last couple of days prior to Christmas Day- a couple of activity taster sessions at the local leisure centre and then some quiet DVD watching- hangover from holiday and in anticipation of a few days of broken routine. Managed to persuade TP to have a little nap everyday- which was quite an achievement- especially desired as we were going to a Christmas Eve family party............

Friday, 23 December 2011

Beautiful Lapland!

 Wow- what can I say......the Barclaycard advert comes to mind (probably ancient as I don't really see many)- but Lapland (Finland)- priceless! Magical, Narnia in the LW &W, snow dripping from pine trees, powdery snow, faces on children as each wonder unfurls............
 A visit to Santa almost on the Russian border- a tiny cottage in the middle of nowhere- where they tobogganed then had hot cranberry juice and visited the man. He was very respectful of other cultures- he visits 'where he is invited' and gave away enough hint of trade secret to make sure that a wavering 7 year old truly believed ( we believe Santa as a deliverer of presents from family- not the giver). TP wouldn't initially go to him- but later siddled up for a quiet chat and I managed to get a photo.
 Snow was amazing- they played for hours- toboganning, snowballing, snowmen, snow caves, just rolling about in it................. the Arctic Suits that the hotel provided were fabulous- everyone remained toasty warm for hours.
Yet another trip up and down the toboggan slope......

I think we will do another Winter Holiday at some point- we love Snow!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Activity Kits- a learning opportunity!

 A photo of the Daddy initiated wreath hanging on the front door. Now slowly shedding rose hips......but still looks delightful!
Another handmade offering- made from a Baker Ross Kit. This year I am really learning a few lessons about 'kits' - the kinds that work and the kinds that DONT and end up with madly frustrated mummy and upset child ( ie most 3D type kits that expect to balance and stick together with plain PVA glue- especially anything foam- which I do try to avoid as I intrinsically don't really like the stuff- but the odd one slips in......)- like todays kits that just fell apart and ended up thrown in the bin grrrrrrrr. I think I have gone a bit mad in buying kits in sales in the past- and this year we are actually getting around to using some. Now I have to admit that I have just bought a load of Autumn kits in the BR sale- ready for next autumn- blush, blush- but at least I know they will work....... Another admission is that I bought colouring in Christmas Cards for the children to do this year- and when it came around to sending the cards off I hadn't allowed enough time- next years resolution- if doing own cards- need to start early in November- trouble is it feels too ridiculously early in November and being open to ridicule............ Anyway I have had a good sort out and have pulled out the most bulky ones to try to prioritise doing this year. Have also rationalised the Used Christmas Card store (we had around 100ish)- there is a limit to how many cards we will possibly cut down for other projects and the crafty drawers were exploding...........

Anyway bags are 95% packed, paperwork nearly sorted- nearly ready to go- which is good as I am feeling quite irrationally stressed at the moment................

Friday, 9 December 2011

Activity Advent

 Living life- the older two decided to take on responsibility for making lunch on a daddy day- this was the end result. Sandwiches and a pepper salad and baked apples as pudding- apparently the kitchen was a sight to behold and they ahhhhmmm tidied?? but the teamwork was amazing and they are still talking about the baked apple days later......
 Also on a daddy day...... a weekend day trip to an NT property. They had to make a choice between an Edwardian Christmas (Kedleston) or Make do and Mend (Hardwick)- so off to Hardwick they went and came back with various decorations. However these really reminded me of my childhood (crafting in my house was a strictly cheap and cheerful- therefore recycling christmas cards was fine- except in those days it wasn't 'recycling' it was thrift!!) I remember my older brothers making huge dodecahedrons- trying to outdo each other and that we used to have them hanging from the roof.
Yesterdays activity was pompom raindeer- both done entirely independently following the instructions- very interesting FI followed instructions, SJ did his own thing....?female/male characteristics?? SJ is in the background on Education City- which he has a bit of a love/hate relationship with- I do slightly understand this- this years activities does see a lot of the 'literacy' focused on spellings- which I guess I am not too fussed around. However he did impress me on his speed improvement with basic sums- an activity that he struggled with perhaps six weeks ago- he was completing with laid back ease- I guess that is the real value of these things- the ability to make a slightly more detached (objective??) assessment of their progress?

Well, high on todays priorities is going to fetch our tickets and Euros- as our holiday is now zooming up at a frightening rate- really need to sort myself out and maybe even make a start on packing!!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Time is 'a flying

 Gosh mine just love cardboard modelling- I swear they would be quite happy to recieve the contents of our recycling bin plus a few rolls of sellotape and a couple of glue sticks for Christmas! The train was a joint project of the older two and took two hours (absolute concentration!!)- not necessarily appreciateable in this picture- but the detail was fantastic.
Little mans 'workbook'- he was so pleased when I pulled out something specifically for him when the others were doing their quiet activities. We had realised that he is actually quite deft (for age) at cutting out and he is really enjoying working his way through this book "Cutting and Pasting".
Advent activities are going quite well- I need to walk around with the camera and collect a few photos- Daddy did a wreath -collecting items on a wintery walk- which is now hung next to the front door. They have also done sewn and stuffed tree decorations, mince pies- Daddy has indeed set high standards for the first six days of December (I have just done a mega stretch at work) and today I have failed to match up (my activity was watching a christmas DVD- well I was half conscious- but it was a nice one- "The Tale of Jack Frost").
Anyway- should leave it at this and go and do some other tasks on my 'to do' list- like actually putting the advent activities into the pocket calendar!