Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sharpie Pen Plate Decorating

Stuck for a last minute gift idea?  These are so easy to make, they need no step by step instructions.

I brought 4 white mugs from the Dollar Value Store.  Decorated them with a sharpie pen and then baked them in the oven at 150 degrees for half an hour. 

Great idea for an under $10 gift, or for that person who has everything.  I love them.

Activity Advent Calander - Day 17

Today we decorated plates as gifts.  They will go to the hubby.  I brought the plates from Dollar Value for $2 each and the kids decorated with Sharpie pens.  They then went into the oven for half an hour at 150 degrees.  Nice easy present!

Sprat was determined to get a helicopter, aeroplane and a tractor on his plate. 
Danger Mouse surprised me.  He is drawing forms of cars and tractors, and I thought that's what he would go for.  But instead he drew a 'Circle Rainbow'.
And The Girl of course drew scribbles ... all over the plate, herself and the bench top!  Next time I must put newspaper down - this stuff is hard to remove from the bench top.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Activity Advent Calandar - Day 13

The activity today was to decorate ice cream cone Christmas trees.  What a sugar high after they ate them.  Good fun though, and totally worth the mad behaviour afterwards!

I made a simple buttercream icing and tinted it green.

I 'glued' an ice cream cone to a plain biscuit using the buttercream, and then covered the cone in icing.

I provided the kids with a small bowl each filled with a selection of sprinkles and small pebbles and let them go for it.

The boys were quite focused on their decorating.

The Girl not so much.

Then the eating and sugar high began.  Good fun.

Kiwi Christmas Decoration Swap

I have received the rest of my decorations from the Kiwi Christmas Decoration Swap.  My tree is looking very happy with itself.

Santa from Amanda

Christmas Strawberry from Ariana
Button Wreath from Amie

I am definately taking part again next year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bakers Delight Christmas Treats

It's that time of year.  Everyday is crazy busy with Christmas breakups, shopping, organising and creating Christmas spirit.  Good time to take a few days away right.  The hubby and I snuck away to Taupo for 3 nights - it was wonderful.

The last few years we have tried to take a holiday alone together (yes, leaving behind the kids) in November.  Its a tradition we want to keep - it gives us quality bonding time together before the silly season, and before we take a family holiday.  We can say goodbye to all the stresses of the year and take a bit of time to refresh together before the new year.   We reassess that we are on the right track with the kids, and with each other, spend time reflecting on the year past and spend time talking about the year to come.

Its a special time we spend together.  Therefore it requires some special treats.  Going on holiday requires treats - its the holiday rule.  And being close to Christmas, the treats are aplenty.  This is where Bakers Delight stepped in, in providing us with with some small muffin sized Christmas cakes (and a large one, which has been put aside for Christmas).  I LOVE Christmas cake.  Matt, sadly, not so much.  But he devoured these.  They were beautifully moist, perfectly spiced and had a great texture.  The muffin sized cakes were the perfect size to take away with us, without having to lug around a massive slab of cake.  They'd be perfect to take on a family camping trip.  All in all we were pretty impressed.  I hear they make some pretty good Christmas Mince Tarts if making your own is not your thing.  Much nicer than buying the mass produced tarts you can get in the supermarket. 

So I did spend three days eating Christmas cake.  Thanks Bakers Delight.  Along with mountain biking, prawn fishing, jet boating, mini golf, Cliffhanging, shopping and spending lots of time hanging with my special man.  The perfect pre-Christmas treat that we are looking forward to doing again next year. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Activity Advent Calandar - Day 5

Gingerbread men decorating!  I used the recipe previously posted here.  Sprat is so proud he wants to take his to school tomorrow to show his teacher.  Love.

The Girl didn't do much decorating.  She did do a lot of M&M eating though.  Look at the grubby little thing - sign of a happy busy child when they are grubby like this .... well, that's my story and I am sticking with it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Activity Advent Calandar - Day 4

Today's advent activity was to make Fluffy Stuff Snow.  This was fun - it smelt yummy and felt amazing - so much so the kids were occupied with it for a good hour at least.

I found the instructions to make the Fluffy Stuff Snow here.  I added a heap of glitter to make it nice and sparkly.

There was no hesitation from any of the children to get in and get mucky.  The Girl liked the sensory experience of rubbing it on her face, and crumbling it between her fingers.

The boys liked mushing it up into big mounds and seeing who could create the biggest 'snowball'.

The Girl of course ended up with it everywhere, which is all part of the fun.  As we finished, and I helped the boys clean up, she disappeared.  I followed the trail of little white footprints to her bedroom to find her snuggled up in bed asleep, covered in dried Fluffy Snow .... where she is still sleeping now.  Bath time in the morning I think.

Fluffy Stuff Snow is definitely a heap of fun.  Its able to be moulded or crumbled, smells amazing and feels lovely when its being mixed up.  We are absolutely going to add this to our list of messy play things.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Activity Advent Calandar - Day 3

Our activity today was to take funny photos wearing Santa hats.  Such an easy activity and the kids had a ball as I focused my attention on each of them individually.

Such fun building precious memories in the simplest of moments.

My crazy lovable kids xx

Kiwi Christmas Decoration Swap - Decoration 1

I received my first decoration in the mail over the weekend from the Kiwi Christmas Decoration Swap.  This little cutie was sent by Dione from Sew Funky, the awesome host of the Kiwi Christmas Decoration Swap.

Last day for postage is today, so I am hoping I get some more excitement in the mail this week!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Activity Advent Calandar

I love that its the 1st December today.  It means all our Christmas decorations went up, and we were able to start both our Book Advent and our Activity Advent Calandar.

Last year I made a gorgeous Christmas Stocking Advent Calandar.  I filled it with chocolate treats, but this year wanted to try different Christmas activities.  The children receive so much at Christmas time, and I really want to instill in them the joy of giving, along with the fun that can be had from different activites.  I think it will help in the anticipation of the big day as well. 

We opened the first one today, which was to put up the Christmas decorations, and Sprat asked me where the treats were ..... I have no doubt he'll get the hang of it after a few days.

The hubby and I had fun thinking up ideas of things we can do with the kids.  I wrote them all into a December calandar so I know what is coming up each day and can be organised.   I then printed off some labels from here, wrote them all out and put them into date order into the stockings.

Our list, in order, is:
  1. Decorate the Christmas Tree
  2. Have a Christmas bath, complete with glo sticks, carols playing, bubbles, candles and red and green body soap
  3. Take funny photos wearing Santa Hats and get printed
  4. Make Fluffy Stuff Snow (instructions here)
  5. Make and decorate Gingerbread men
  6. Do some Christmas colouring in
  7. Treats (the kids are going away to their Grandparents for a special weekend away)
  8. Movie night at Grandma and Poppas (The Polar Express)
  9. Treats (the kids are away)
  10. Treats (the kids are away)
  11. Make Reindeer Food (instructions here)
  12. Have dessert for dinner
  13. Decorate Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees
  14. Go on a Candy Cane Hunt
  15. Go to Santa's Grotto and get a photo with Santa
  16. Go to Auckland to see Poppa J and Nanna
  17. Decorate plates with sharpies, bake and re-gift
  18. Make a purchase for the Kmart Wishing Tree
  19. Make shortbread and deliver to the neighbours
  20. Buy petfood and take to the SPCA (animals need Christmas dinner too!)
  21. Drive to Harrowfield to see the Christmas lights
  22. Skype date with Nanna Julie
  23. Have a picnic dinner by the light of the Christmas tree lights
  24. Put out milk, cookies and reindeer food for Santa
We also did our first Book Advent tonight.  I took ages explaining to the kids that only one person could choose and open a book each night, and we are going from youngest to oldest.  The Girl went first, and she loved it - she is currently asleep clutching her book.  She doesn't usually stick around long for book reading, but tonight she was glued to the book.  I think the process of unwrapping the book drew her in - I hope it goes smoothly tomorrow night when its Danger Mouses turn.  The boys only had a tiny grizzle about not being able to pick and open a book as well, but they handled it way better than I expected. 

Ahhh feeling the Christmas spirit already.  Loving it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

White Chocolate Rocky Road

This is such a great twist on the original Rocky Road, and it looks so pretty!  It would make a beautiful edible gift for Christmas.

1 cup of pink and white marshmallows
1 cup of Pascall Swirls
3/4 cup of dried cranberries (or strawberries)
1/2 cup pistachios
500 grams white chocolate

Line a square or rectangle baking tin with baking paper (I used a square 22cm x 22cm tin).  Cut all the marshmallows in half, and toss together with the cranberries and pistachios.  Place ingredients into the bottom of the tin.

Chop the chocolate and place into a double boiler.  Melt gently until smooth.

Pour melted chocolate over dry ingredients in tin, give it a gentle mix and smooth the surface with a spatula.

Refrigerate until set.  To cut, use a hot knife.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

DIY Lego Table

What Lego loving child doesn't need one of these?  Or their Lego loving parents for that matter?...  I saw a small DIY Lego table on Pinterest (here) a while back and knew something like this would get used ALOT in my house.  Of course with 3 children I needed something bigger though.  I had an old laminate coffee table that I brought when I first went flatting too many years ago to count now.  I was planning on giving it away.  I am so glad of my hoarding issues sometimes, as it was perfect for this project.  The kids are loving it, and I hope it solves my problem of having Lego spread in all corners of my house.

Want to make your own? You will need:
  • An old coffee table
  • Sandpaper or a sanding mouse
  • Filling putty (if you are fussy)
  • Primer (talk to your paint specialist about the table you are using and they will let you know what you need)
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Lego mats
  • Glue (I just used liberal amounts of PVA)
So my humble old coffee table started its life like this.

I didn't take photos of the process, but its really simple.

Being a laminate table,  I brought a special primer for glossy surfaces.  If your table is laminate you must use the correct primer.  Using the right primer there is no need to sand down the laminate surface (unless your husband intervenes like mine did).

I applied two coats of primer, giving it a light sand between coats.  Read and follow the instructions on your primer on drying times etc.

I then gave it its first coat of paint.  This is when my darling hubby came along and intervened.  There were a few small bubbles on the surface of the table where over the years its had things spilt on it and the MDF underneath had expanded.  I figured these were not bad enough to worry about and would be under the Lego mat anyway, but the hubby had different ideas. 

He chiseled them off, sanded them back, put putty in them and then totally re sanded the whole surface till flat. 

Back to me again.  I then gave it two more coats of paint, again giving it a light sand between coats.  And again read your paint instructions on drying time.

Once it was fully dry, I measured and positioned my Lego mats onto the table, applied masses of glue and glued them on.  I piled heavy books onto the mats and left it to dry overnight.

It was really simple to make.  The only time consuming thing was waiting for the paint to dry overnight between coats.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kiwi Christmas Decoration Swap

I am taking part this year in the Kiwi Christmas Ornament Swap.  Decorations need to be posted by December 3rd, and I am finished to ready to post - a whole week early!!! (for those that know me will know what an achievment that is.  In the dictionary, the word Procrastination should have my name written next to it).  Checking the mail this week is going to super exciting as I wait to receive my exchange decorations and I will blog about them as I receive them.

I hope my little Snowmen past the test and make the recipients happy.  They are hand stitched with love as I still haven't found the foot to my sewing machine since shifting ...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Tradition - Book Advent

Im starting a new Christmas Tradition with the children this year - a Book Advent.  This idea has been floating around Pinterest for a while and I've been organised enough this year to pull it off.

Basically the idea is to take 24 Christmas books and wrap them all up.  Starting from 1 December your children choose one book a night, each night, leading to Christmas Day. 

I raided our massive book collection and managed to come up with 18 Christmas stories.  I then selected 6 of the childrens favourite stories to mix in amongst the Christmas books to make 24.  To avoid any arguments, which are sure to happen if I don't do this, the picking starts in order from youngest to oldest and rotating each night that way.

I also think for Christmas Eve I might sneak a new Christmas book in with the last book as an extra special treat. 

I am so excited about this!  We love to read at bedtime in our house and I couldn't think of a tradition that would be more perfect for our children.