Friday, 31 December 2010

What we heard this Christmas.....

L has been saying and singing some super cute things and I just wanted to record them before I forget...

There was a man on Christmas Day and Santa was his name-O! S-A- auntie-O!

I hope our Santa is small so he can fit down our chimney!

Last night both my husband and my mom were out (which is a very rare occurrence)so I put L to bed and as I was about to kiss her good night she said "Mommy what are you going to do now? Talk to yourself?"

Jingle bells, Jingle bells jingle all the way oh what fun it is to ride on a one horse slope and hay!

Daddy-L what would you like for Christmas this year? 
L-A present.
D-What kind of present?
L-One with paper on it.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas and Last Week of Advent activities

Our last week of advent calendar activities.  Phew!  L was on Christmas holidays this week.  In a way I miss the days when it was just L and I doing lots of Montessori activities and crafts so this past week was really nice.

Day 20
"Sing Christmas carols"
We had friends over in the afternoon and had a great singalong with all of the instruments.  My friend is a wonderful singer and it was so much fun with her singing harmonies to our favorite carols.  In the evening we had another family singalong.

Day 21
"Make puppets from the Nutcracker"
We have a very condensed story version of the Nutcracker which we have been reading and have also been listening to the music from the ballet.  I printed out the puppets from here.  L was so excited and colored, cut and taped them all with almost no help from me. (I did get to color one or two of the puppets : )
Amazingly we watched the whole ballet on Youtube performed by the Royal Ballet in London.  I couldn't believe L sat and watched the whole thing.  It was also enjoyable for me as I've never actually seen it!  I've always been playing in the pit orchestra!!
After watching we put on the puppet show with me singing all of the parts.  Too much fun!  Next year we will definitely go and see it live.

 Day 22
"Make Christmas ornaments"
We made salt dough ornaments for all of the family as presents from L.  She used our Christmas cookie cutters and once they had baked for a couple of hours she painted them and then wrapped them all up.  She will hand them out to everyone on Christmas day.
 Day 23
"Look in the bathroom"
I just couldn't resist getting these little fairy clothes pins from the dollar store.  I know they're not very Christmasy but they're sooo cute!  We're big into fairies at our house right now.
 Day 24
"Go to Mommy and Daddy's bedroom"
Today was very special because Daddy got home really early from work and was able to do L's activity with her.  I found a discounted Christmas package of Wiki Sticks last year and saved them for this very occasion.
Well that's it folks.  We're packing up and heading off to a beautiful resort and spa for the next couple of days(thanks Dad!) and then going up to the Mountain to go skiing. 
Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season with their families and I'm looking forward to reading all about it!
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Third week advent calendar activities

We had a great week of advent calendar activities!

Day 13
"make gingerbread cookies"
We took these to L's sing along at her school.
 Day 14
"Make raping paper"
I used a simple spelling on the little card so L could read it herself.  A simple idea of just painting the edges of the cookie cutters with acrylic paint.  We used this to wrap her teachers gifts.
 Day 15
"Get Christmas books from the library"
We got two cracking books. One called The Gift of Christmas which is about the experience of Christmas through all of the senses with beautiful pictures.  The other is a super I Spy Merry Christmas book also with amazing pictures.

Day 16
"Make reindeer food"
I found the "recipe" for this magic reindeer food here.
It was a great practical life activity.  We used layers of oatmeal, green and red sprinkles(which my mom had left over from when I was a kid!!)and white sugar.  L was adamant that the sugar was salt because sugar is brown not white!  I realised she's never seen white sugar before!!!
 The card says
Sprinkle on your lawn at night,
The moon will make it sparkle bright
As Santa's reindeer fly and roam,
This will guide them to your home.

The tricky bit will be trying to convince L she only needs to sprinkle a tiny bit and not the whole jar!!
 Day 17
"Look under the bed"

Day 18
"Make Christmas fairies"
We made these cute little fairies using coffee filters.  L has a story about a Christmas fairy in one of her Christmas books so she loved doing this.  They stayed on the tree only long enough for the picture to be taken and then after making one for Granny they were all flying around the house to the music from The Nutcracker Suite.  We turned off all of the lights and just had the twinkling Christmas lights.  It was magical.
 It's funny how great experiences just happen.  I'd planned on these only being Christmas ornaments but we had a blast flying them all around and playing with them.  I even found a wonderful Fairy song to play on the Penny Whistle!
(Since posting this I found some tiny glow sticks and taped them inside the fairies.  They almost came alive as they glowed dancing through the air.  We are going to make them again in the summer to dance at night in the garden!)
 Day 19
"Decorate the Christmas cake"
We've had these decorations since I was a girl as well as the time honored tradition of putting chocolate sprinkles after the reindeer.  My parents ended up having to get another one after my sister and I had had one too many fights over who got to do the "poo" honor!
This was L's first year and it was wonderful to be able to pass on the tradition!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Christmas Ornaments

After seeing this super cute idea over at By Hook and Thread I knew I could make some sweet Christmas ornaments for L's teachers.
I was pretty ambitious and I have to say the tiny needle felting is hard!
Here are the results.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Winter scene and Christmas Needle Felting

Unfortunately we had to do away with our nature table while our house is on the market : (
I did manage to make this magical little winter scene though.  I hoped to make so many more things for it but just haven't had the time yet.
I saw these awesome paper trees on a blog somewhere and can't for the life of me remember where.  The idea came from Martha Stewart though.  Here is the tutorial.  I used the skewer for the one in the middle and the rest I just glued the pieces together.
The snow is made from quilt batting.
A lot of my needle felting this Christmas has been inspired and some downright copied from the amazing fibre artist Daria Ivovsky.  She is truly amazing!
I originally made this mother and daughter as gifts but when I finished I just couldn't part with them.
This cute little bendy Christmas elf was made for my sister.  She's currently hanging on L's advent calendar.

When I saw the gorgeous ballerina on Daria's Flicker page I knew I wanted to attempt one for a little friend of ours who loves dancing!
You can bend her in all sorts of positions.
I've also been doing some teeny tiny needle felting which I will post about tomorrow : )

Counting down with candles

I saw so many wonderful Christmas ideas on the Internet last year and marked some of them to try this year.
One of my favorites was an idea I saw on The Wonder Years.  She used her birthday ring to count down twelve days before Christmas.
I decided to use that idea but to count down all the days from the 1st of December.  Every night at dinner we light the correct number of candles and then go around the table and say what we are grateful for.
L loves this new tradition and always starts off the gratitude.  I'm amazed and touched by some of the things she comes up with.

We're eagerly anticipating when all of the candles are lit, even the special one in the middle!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Our second week of advent calendar activities

Wow things have been pretty hectic around here the last little while.  It took me a while to be able to even remember what we did this past week!  We have our house on the market and have an offer accepted on another house so it's all systems go around here.
We have been able to make time for our Christmas activities thankfully although they have to be carefully tidied up and put away as soon as we're finished : )

Day 6
"make Christmas cards"
I saw this super cute idea on Chasing Cheerios last year and wanted to use it for our Christmas cards this year.  I painted L's hand and the little trooper did about 25 of these!!

 Day 7
"Look on the stool in the bathroom"
Cute puzzle from the dollar store(Mommy needed a break!)
 Day 8
"Look on doll's bed"
Making Christmas tree ice cubes for our drinks at dinner.
 Day 9
"make Christmas presents"
This is another idea I saw last year on Chasing Cheerios.  She made these pipe cleaner snowflakes and soaked them in a borax and water solution over night forming beautiful crystals.  I didn't want to use borax so I found another site on the Internet saying to use Epsom salts instead.  I made the snowflakes(L was more interested in making letters and spelling peoples names out of the pipe cleaners)and put them in the Epsom salt solution over night but sadly I had no luck.  Has anyone else tried this with a non-toxic substance with positive results?
 Day 10
"make a candle holder"
We actually prepared this while it was still snowy.  L collected some greenery from outside and then arranged them in the bunt pan.
 She then covered them with water and we put it in the freezer and we forgot about it until day 10.
 We ran the bunt pan under some warm water until the ice came out and then put it outside with a candle in the middle.  It turned out so beautifully and the picture really doesn't do it justice.  If it was colder here I would love do have one for each day of our advent calendar.  I saw this idea somewhere on the Internet last year and have seen different ones popping up all over the blogshpere this year.  They are gorgeous.
 Day 11
"See the Christmas lights and make pizza with E and S"
On Saturday night we had friends over and Daddy made his special pizza.  We all braved the rain and cold to see the "magical woods" in our town all lit up like a fairy wonderland.  Santa was even there!  A very special night for everyone.
 Day 12
On this day L actually had cute little Christmas tree hair ties in her calendar pocket but these were to wear on our trip to the mainland to see Grandpa.  We also went to see the gingerbread house competition which was amazing.  This little gnome wonderland won first place.  It was unbelievable!

Phew we made it through another week!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Our first week of advent calendar activities

This year I've decided to do our advent calendar a bit differently.  Instead of putting things in the pockets now that L can read some things I put in little messages.

Day 1
"Go to pig pillow"
On her pig pillow she found a little wooden snowman all painted up and one for her to paint.
 Day 2
"Make snowflakes"
L needed some help with these or she would have cut her snowflakes to bits!  We also did a snowflake matching activity from last year that was way to easy for her this year.
 Day 3
"Go to the mat"
On the mat she found this "growing" Rudolph.  Super exciting! It's twice that size now.
 Day 4
"Put up Christmas tree"
We ended up getting a tree from a fundraiser at L's school.  It's absolutely massive and takes up a quarter of our living room!  L had so much fun putting all of the ornaments on the same branch.
Here is a picture of some of the carnage!
Day 5
"Make snowman pancakes"
Yummy wholewheat pancakes with blueberries!
I'm loving reading about everyone's advent activities across the blogsphere!  Check out this cool mailbox idea over at Walk Beside Me.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Birthday Follow Up

In an earlier birthday post I talked about how in lieu of presents I asked all of L's friends to bring a donation to the food bank.  I still wanted something for L to have to remind her of her party and her friends so I came up with this idea....

I set up a little fabric painting station and had all of her guests paint a little square of fabric with fabric paint.
 Here they all are drying.
 Then my lovely Mom sewed them onto a piece of fleece to make a birthday memory blanket/quilt.

My Mom recently had a birthday as well.  For her gift I contacted all of our family and her friends and asked them to write down a few fond memories they have of times with my Mom.  I put them all in this decorated jar added some electric candles to make it glow and wrote "Mom's Memory Jar" on the lid.
She had a wonderful and touching time sitting by the fire reading and reminiscing! 

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Winter Wonderland

It seems like it was only a couple of weeks ago that I was posting about the beauty of Autumn and cleaning up the garden.  Oh wait it was only a couple of weeks ago!!!

Now we've been blessed with this!

We woke up a few mornings ago to a gorgeous winter wonderland. My husband and daughter were ecstatic as they are both total snow bunnies. I like it for a while and then want my nice mild west coast weather back : )

Daddy and L have made the most of our unusual snowfall by making cute little snowmen and women and doing lots of tobogganing.

Now I'm really in the mood to start my Christmas crafting!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Gnome Board Game

L loves to read but is not that keen on reading books.  I came up with the idea of making a little playscape for her gnome children but make it in the format of a board game. 
How it works is each player picks a gnome and then takes turns picking a card and reading it.

The cards have directions for the gnomes such as "Take a nap in the cave" or "Get the fishing rod.  Catch a fish".

The winner is the first gnome to collect a fish, stone and flower although winning is not really the point of the game.  The little fish are needle felted with a small piece of paper clip needle felted inside that way the gnomes can  actually catch the fish with the tiny fishing rod which has a magnet glued to the end of the string.
They especially like to catch the fish while standing on the bridge.
All of the flowers except two are glued down along with the bridge and river but the other things are stored in a little draw string bag when not in use.  That way she can change up the board however she likes.
This game has been brilliant and we all love playing it.  At first I'd planned to keep the cards in order as we picked them but now that L knows what they say she just rifles through until she finds the one she wants her gnome to do.
As L's reading vocabulary expands I'll change the cards to keep her challenged.

Friday, 19 November 2010


I'm taking a Montessori parenting class with Cynthia Dyer who writes the blogs A Montessori Musing Place and The Montessori Child at Home.  It is so enlightening and thought provoking and has really helped me to think about some of my actions and the way I deal with certain situations.

Last week we talked about observing your child in the home.  This is something I've done since day one with L(mostly because I'm obsessed!).  We talked about how you need to sit back and just watch.  Not intrude and also to let your child make mistakes.  This was a hard thing for me to learn but over the past couple of years I think I've mostly gotten the hang of it.

The other morning I had the opportunity to observe my daughter in her Montessori classroom for the first time.  I had some idea of what to expect by just watching her behavior when I drop her off.  Turns out it is the same while she's inside the classroom as well.  My daughter who at home is bright, focused, outgoing and social turned into this child who was well I guess the best word would be stunned.
I've always known L was an observer, a child who will sit back and process her environment and the situation before acting but in the classroom she seems to have taken it to an extreme.  I wrote on my observation sheet that L looks stunned and distracted, waiting for others to show her what to do and not taking her own initiative.  She did have a moment of intense concentration while doing the binomial cube which is a new work for her.
As I mentioned this did not come as a surprise to me.  I find it more curious I guess than anything else.  I know it will take her a lot of time to adapt to her new situation but it was almost like watching another child.

Speaking of another child.  It's seems that L has just  processed all of the different types of behaviors she observed from the other children in her class and is now trying out some of the more questionable ones at home.  This has been a real challenge this past week.  My sweet, mostly co-operative little girl has turned into Miss whiny contrary Mary.  She's been having tantrums, being rude and generally disagreeable with almost everything.  My husband and I seem to have two different approaches to her new behavior.  He's says we need to "discipline" her and I am trying to be patient yet firm and follow what I've learned in the parenting classes of being consistent and using natural and logical consequences.
Yesterday and this morning have been much better so I'm hoping she's starting to realise that we don't tolerate certain types of behavior in our house.

Ahh the joys of parenting!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Cleaning up the garden

I don't know if it's having a child at the right age, all of the Waldorf blogs I've read or living here but this is the first year that I've actually sat back and marveled at the absolute beauty of the changing seasons. 
I noticed all of the buds, bulbs sprouting up, birds, bees and insects of spring. 
The lovely warm weather, smell of fresh cut grass and lush green leaves of summer and now the gorgeous canvas of golds, reds, oranges and yellow that fall has given us.

We have been anticipating the raking up of all the fallen leaves and it was finally dry enough to get outside and rake!!
 L really enjoyed helping with every step
 with a little bit of fun along the way!
We even made a lovely elf leaf crown like the ones from Twig and Toadstool although the leaves were so wet it didn't last long!
This is the first year I'm actually looking forward to the delights that the winter season will bring!
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