Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 24

The fairy's last morning with us sees her bringing the kids' Christmas Eve boxes, which have got new jammies, new mugs with sachets of hot chocolate in them, pots of sparkly reindeer food, Santa keys, snowglobes, and new bubble bath/sponge sets for this evening. They usually have a cookie mix in too but the boys have made so many Xmas treats the past few days we're a bit surrounded by them!
Moppet just has the jammies this year :)

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Puffy snow paint play and Grinch Whobilation Day

It's been a pretty quiet week with one thing and another, but first up we finished off our snow paint (half PVA glue and half shaving foam) pictures by gluing collage on the top. Squidge really loved mixing and using the snow paint, we'll definitely be doing it again.

Sprout has been playing more on his Minecraft server this week, and looking very festive while doing so :D

Meanwhile Squidge has got into Geomag again, and is mostly building people (this is his model of me and him).

There was some gingerbread decorating, starting with this gingerbread skeleton (the sweets are the vertebrae he says)... 

...and continuing with our annual gingerbread house decorating session...

...culminating in this beauty here :) I finally gave up on the annoying royal icing, having broken my whisk, and used buttercream instead, which I'll now be doing every year while wondering why I hadn't changed sooner!

We also made these marshmallow Rudolphs (compared with the link, we just used normal chocolate to melt, writing icing for eyes, and red M&Ms for noses). We could only find sour cream and onion pretzels so they tasted a bit unusual, but they were a hit with the boys anyway!

The end of the week saw our home ed trip to the pantomime, Cinderella at the Regent Theatre. The boys had both been very excited, and had watched lots of cBeebies pantos on YouTube in the run up. In the event they only stayed for the first half, but enjoyed what they saw!

They enjoyed walking back through town afterwards too as it was looking very Christmassy, and they had a couple of rides on the carousel.

Finally, we've designated the last Sunday before Christmas each year to be Grinch Whobilation Day! The preparations went somewhat awry: Green Grinchy cookies lost their colour when cooked (I blame the natural green food colouring which was all I could find); And we tried to make Grinchy popcorn, but instead almost started a fire! If you do try the recipe, I recommend not putting it in the oven at the end.)
Not to be discouraged, I made this cake (inspired by this one)... 

...and served it along with popcorn (mixed with a bit of green food colouring and sprinkled with green salt), green M&Ms...

 and Grinchy ice cream floats (limeade, a drop of green food colouring, and a scoop of ice cream)...

 ...while we watched, oddly enough, The Grinch film. 
And *now* we're feeling Christmassy!

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 23

After a busy night of baking, the fairy had these fairy-sized cookies ready for the boys :)

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 22

Clearly very excited about Christmas, the fairy had wrapped herself up :)

Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 21

Woe! The fairy has a cold, has tucked herself under a blanket and has honey and oranges on hand!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 20

The fairy had a surprise for them on Minecraft this morning: a giant diamond fairy wand!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 19

The fairy had felt artistic in the night and had drawn the boys a picture of Santa, plus left the crayons out so they could create some art of their own :)

Monday, 17 December 2012

Chasing shadows, moonlight mystery

We started off the week decorating some new plates (I've had a case of 'the drops' the past couple of weeks, so we thought we'd replace all the broken ones with some personalised by the kids!)
This is Sprout's apple tree one...

...and Squidge's depicting him and Moppet :)

We went for a Christmas meal out/gift exchange with extended family, and the boys loved the new playground at the restaurant.

Back at home, Gruff helped Squidge make some Rudolph cookies out of gingerbread men (apparently Rudolph is grumpy this year!)

Moppet found a new favourite lunch - pepperami and mature cheddar :)

Sprout really started to master the pedal-go...

...while Squidge added a cheery summery fresco with window crayons.

They were excited to get the glitter out to make these lolly stick snowflakes (seriously, still finding glitter!)...

...and we continued to glitter in a Christmas bath - we'd put a Christmas picture on the side of the bath with bath crayons, and popped in a glittery Dragon's Egg bath bomb (which smelt beautiful!)

Later in the week I made them reindeer sandwiches (chocolate pretzels for antlers, raisins for eyes, and little Reese's peanut butter cups for noses), which they adored!

They'd been keen to do some more things with snow spray since the fairy's escapades with it, so we masked off some star and snowflake shapes on some jars, sprayed on the snow, and added a couple of jewelled tealights. Pretty!

Ice cream cone Christmas trees were lots of fun too...

...and the final result :)

As well as the gaming day meet up that they love, and a couple of indoor meet ups with friends, we also had possibly *the coldest* day in the park with friends. I was very glad of having Moppet in her sling keeping me warm!

Squidge and I kept warm chasing our shadows too, he kept trying to hide his shadow in mine :)

Sprout and Squidge have spent lots of time snuggled up watching videos together and helping each other with various games. Makes me so happy to watch!

Squidge is fascinated with motorbikes at the moment, and loves hearing about how his great grandpa used to race them and won medals. He's making do with this ride at the moment :)

We also had fun this weekend making this star Santa

...and some of these plastic cup snowmen, which were Squidge's favourite :)

Aside from that this week, Squidge has been enjoying going out for car rides after dark, both to look for houses with cool Christmas lights, and also to watch the moon and stars, He's fascinated with how the moon seems to move in the sky relative to where you are, and relative to the clouds, and with how its shape changes daily. He and Sprout have been looking on the internet at dark skies, and we're planning a trip away from light pollution to go and see some proper stars!
Sprout meanwhile is still engrossed in his Addictaball, and is enjoying Nerd cubed videos more than any other.He's alos been reflecting on being seven pretty soon, and has been telling us the things he thinks will change (the things he likes watching) and the things he thinks will stay the same no matter how old he is (the people he loves). That made my week :)

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 17

The fairy had had a very busy night. She'd got out Squidge's castle, made herself armour out of foil (including a shield, wing armour, and a hilt for her wand!), and was laying siege to the three-headed dragon by firing chocolate drops from a lolly stick catapult.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 16

The Christmas Fairy had had an all night Star Wars film marathon, had made herself a Leia costume out of toilet paper and a shoelace, and was reenacting a scene with R2-D2 :)

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 15

A message from the fairy this morning: a great big "Hello!" along with the kids' names and big kisses all in snow spray. She'd left the rest of the can for them to have some fun with too :)

Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 14

A fairy treasure hunt awaited the boys this morning, at the end of which they found the fairy with two little Lego sets for them to build :)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 13

This morning the Christmas Fairy was found having a tinsel bath, wearing a rubber ring and enjoying the company of her little light up duck :)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 12

Dashing through the snoooow,
On a one-puppy open sleeeeeigh,
Through the lounge we gooooo,
With candy canes for the boys todaaaay!
Fairy wands they shiiine,
Making spirits briiiight,
What fun it is to ride a sleigh
Through cotton balls toniiiight!!!!!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 11

The fairy was catching her own breakfast with a candy cane fishing rod this morning, and had a whole pot of goldfish crackers to show for her efforts. Yum!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 10

She'd treated the boys to a breakfast picnic, complete with little candy cane place card holders :)

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 9

This morning the Christmas Fairy was found hanging from the lights, decorating - she clearly thought it wasn't festive enough in here and had been upping the tinsel levels!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Christmas Fairy 2012 - Day 8

This morning the Christmas Fairy was found fast asleep on the Mario Kart wheel. The boys pressed replay and saw her win the race :)

Friday, 7 December 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

We started last weekend off with a trip to Foxfield Railway for the Santa Train, which was completely brilliant, all the volunteers there made it so magical for the children, the train ride was fun, and the refreshments and gifts were fantastic. Santa was lovely, and Squidge (who normally hates costumed characters) even got excited about the Fox mascot as long as it was on the opposite side of the window!

We stayed for lunch in the railway cafe after (which was also lovely) while the boys chatted about Christmas and Advent and Santa, and Moppet gurgled at all the volunteers. It was a magical start to Advent :)

Back at home Sprout and Squidge decided they wanted to decorate the tree themselves this year...

...while later on Squidge took inspiration from our masking tape town from last week and went to town with geometric patterns.

Later in the week we printed off these three anamorphic optical illusions, which blew their minds!

Squidge spent lots of time with his Thomas and Friends Make and Do Book, which was his present from Santa at Foxfield, and he used it to make this Sir Topham Hat (although we had to substitute a foam ball for what should have been an egg, so he looks somewhat Simpsons-y!)

As well as the Minecraft paper snowflakes we made the other day, we made lots of different colour snowflakes too...

Squidge has found a new enthusiasm for all things marble run...

...while Moppet watches him and tries to join in.

We made some snow dough (from the Imagination tree blog) which was a big hit! We made about three times their recipe, and added an igloo, a polar bear and some Hello Kittys (what can I say, we don't have many polar animal toys!), and the boys built snowmen and snowballs... and discovered what an interesting effect this stuff makes on black furniture o_O

They also tried out some tape resist painting, I taped some snowflake shapes on a big canvas, which they then painted blue...

...then Squidge took the tape off, used handprints to make a tree, thumbprints for tree lights, and a footprint for a reindeer face. We thought it turned out really well!

Thoroughly into the festive craft groove by then, Squidge and I made these cardboard roll snowmen, with the excellent idea Squidge had of using some of our paper chain strips for their hats!

When we were shopping Squidge saw some Peppa Pig Muddy Puddle cake mix that he loved the look of, so in true children-making-buns fashion we spent longer making them than it took them to snaffle them down :)

We'd also been keen to make these melting snowman biscuits, but I saw this kit and figured once I'd bought ingredients and icing pens etc the kit would actually work out cheaper. The boys found this one *a lot* of fun, and here are the results (minus a couple that Moppet grabbed before we got to the decorating stage!)

One (extremely cold) evening we got out the sparklers that we hadn't used on Guy Fawkes. It felt unusually festive!

The boys had been excited about Rise of the Guardians coming out, and as I was booking I was happily surprised to see that Newbies showings had come back to our local Odeon, so I didn't need to worry about Moppet making a bit of noise - sooooo much more relaxing! The film was absolutely magical, and... *drumroll*... both Sprout and Squidge happily stayed through the whole thing. Now that is a seal of approval! 
Afterwards they raced each other in the arcade.

Back at home Squidge and I tried out this handprint snowman bauble craft, which he was really pleased with. I think for future reference it might work better with a matte bauble as the paint peeled off this shiny one quite easily once it was dry. 

While he had painty hands we also made these cute handprint Santa Christmas cards inspired by this...

...then we cleaned up and made these gorgeous little gift tags from the cardboard that's rolled up inside wrapping paper, and little scraps of festive fabric that I had lying around.

Sprout had requested *more more more* decorations too, so as well as lots of colourful shiny paper chains I saw these and thought they'd make a nice addition to our decorations. 

Also in a bit of random festiveness, I picked up a couple of shot glasses made from candy canes. I sh*t ye not. What kind of crazy Christmas genius thought of these??? So anyway the boys had them with chocolate milkshake in. Awesome.

We've watched rather a lot of Christmas films this week too: ElfArthur ChristmasThe SnowmanThe Grinch, and less festively the two volumes of Pixar Shorts (Squidge's favourite of which is Your Friend the Rat, while I love La Luna, Day and Night, Dug's Special Mission, Partly Cloudy...)
Squidge has been exploring the Lego website a bit more, his current favourites being the Hero Factory creator and the Duplo building games, plus he saw Sprout playing Factory Balls and has been engrossed in the puzzles ever since. I saw Angry Birds Star Wars mentioned by someone too, and was pretty sure he'd love it, so I downloaded it and he's been playing that too.
Sprout meanwhile has discovered Spore, and has been engrossed in creating and tweaking creatures to see the effects on what they do and how they survive. There have been rather a lot of eyes on legs and tusks on bums :) On Minecraft he's enjoying the Christmas Festivities mod we installed. He's also been watching this video of bears catching salmon, plus other similar ones, after a convoluted conversation that started I-can't-remember-where.

18 days until Christmas and lots of fun things still left to do!!!