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Monday, 31 December 2012

Christmas Round-Up

I just wanted to share a few pictures of our more recent Christmas activity's.

I changed out our Small World Box, to make a Christmas Sensory Box.
I first got this out for a play date with our friends little boy (2.5), they enjoyed finding 'treasure' the best of which was 3 chocolate Santa lolly pops! After a few minutes play did get a little rough though, snatching & swinging beads around etc. This also happened the second time we got this box out.

We had some fun making code trees. We re-used some cones that we had previously been used to make a rocket, I think they are from knitting machine yarn?

We painted them green, then once dry glued on sequins etc to decorate them. I really like these & will be putting them away to bring out next year.

We had a go at making mini ginger bread houses. We used the included icing to stick them together which held for about 2 minutes before falling apart. So after several failed attempts we settled with the pic we had and went on to eat them!

Next year I think I will go with a big kit & use melted sugar to stick it together the night before. Then let the boys decorate one side each.

We also made some mince pies, the boys love spooning the mince meat (I still find it a strange name given that it contains no meat) & cutting the pastry shapes out. Oh and they enjoy eating them as well!

On Christmas Eve I made the boys a 'Christmas lunch' using the cookie cutters that we bought for our salt dough decorations to cut out the sandwiches. This left quite a lot of waste sandwich so that was my lunch!

The boys received a lovely little tike's kitchen from Nanny, they actually had it a few days early while she was staying with us. We are so glad we didn't leave building it until Christmas Eve as it took 3 hours, even with an electric screwdriver!

The boys were very lucky as Daddy bought them a My 1st Scalextric which I think might have been more for him LOL

We had a fantastic Christmas, made all the better by all the other bloggers & pintrest giving us lots of ideas. I would like to wish you & your family's a very happy new year, may 2013 be kind to us all.

x Jo x

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Christmas Work Sheets

I know its a bit late however I really wanted to share these fab worksheets that I found over on one of my favourite blogs Confessions of a Homeschooler. Erica has some great ideas and an amazing printable pre-school curriculum which we will be doing bits & pieces from in the new year.

I admire people who choose to home school their children, as I know that I would lack the patience among many other skills that would be required. I'm also not sure that my boys would take to it very well, especially Joseph (4) as he tends to work better with his teachers than he does at home. So even though both boys attend both Nursery & Pre-School once I decided that it would benefit both boys to have some structured activity's when at home, geared towards learning.

As Josephs concentration has improved a bit recently I decided to re-try him on some work books that we got from some pre-school magazines. He really likes the stickers & engages with the well known characters. I do struggle with encouraging him to try the writing (tracing over the dotted lines etc) & often get "Mummy do it".

In the new year we are going to start with a letter of the week/fortnight using the Confessions of a Homeschooler printables, As a start I  printed off some sheets from Erica's Christmas Packs for the boys to use in the lead up to Christmas.


We started off with her Do-A-Dot pages, Erica uses Do-A-Dot markers which can be bought from Amazon US & also Amazon UK, however they work out pricey over here. So you can also use bingo markers or we used our ELC Easy Painters.

Once again Daniel (2.5) took to this activity better than Joseph, being more calm & precise, where as Joseph started off colouring with his & when asked to do one dot at a time started wildly stamping & drowning the page! 

Next we had our first go at cutting practise. Joseph has used scissors at home before but not often as Daniel would want to join in & he was previously to young. He does however use them lots at pre-school & his art work often is embellished with cuts or cut in half. With Daniel joining him at pre-school in the new year, I figured now was time to trust him with some scissors!

Daniels hands are quite small (as are his feet) for his age & he struggled to open the scissors but he had lots of fun, just needed help from me. 

I picked up our safety scissors in the Disney Store sale a couple of years ago for 10p each, and they have a cute Winnie The Pooh cap.

Cutting is obviously Josephs forte, as he managed the curve with out to much trouble & even went back over to neaten it up. He also managed the zig zag well but struggled more with the last line.


Both boys enjoyed Erica's work sheets & I look forward to doing more with them in the new year.

x Jo x

Friday, 21 December 2012

Saltdough Decorations

We decided to have another go at some salt dough after we first tried it for some Halloween bat decorations. So I bought some Christmas cookie cutters, as our current ones we use for play dough were a bit small. We made Christmas Trees, Snowmen & Gingerbread Men. We used this recipe from The Imagination Tree, but I have also got this microwave recipe pinned for future use.
 When making our bat decorations we found that salt dough sticks more than play dough, so we rolled out on banking paper to make it easier to lift the shapes off (lots of flour also helps). Before baking i used a drinking straw to make holes at the top of each one.

Then we painted them, we started off using some new glitter paints I'd bought but they were a bit transparent so I ended up adding some of our usual water based paint to the glitter paint, which worked quite well. As with most craft activity's Joseph (4) lost interest after a couple, but Daniel (2.5) would have sat there painting for ages, he is also a lot cleaner & more careful!

 The tree with the cut out in the centre wasn't very strong as the 2 that we made both broke :-(
I placed them on plastic to dry as previous crafts have been ruined by bits of newspaper stuck to them! We let them dry for an hour or so then painted the backs. 

The next day we added sequins & other bits we found, and also eyes for the snowmen & gingerbread man.  I then threaded ribbon through the top so that they can be hung up. I used a permanent marker to write on the back of some to use as teacher gifts & for the grandparents.

x Jo x

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Christmas Fun Bath

After being inspired by the Christmas week over on Bath Activities For Kids, I decided to have ago at our first fun bath. I bought a large (a3) sheet of green craft foam from a local stationary shop  & then used some other bits I already had. I managed to cut both trees from the large sheet. I also had some plastic silver spots that I picked up from the Children's Scrapstore a while ago, its a great charity that provides a wide selection of items to groups that can be recycled to use for crafting & occasionally offer outreach programs to the public.


 I found the cute Christmas ducks 4 for £1 in a charity shop.

I also used green food colouring in the water, this is the effect a whole bottle had! I wish I had chosen the red as at least that wouldn't have looked like wee! As other bloggers have reported it didn't stain the kids, the bath or the tiles, however our clear bath mats are now a funny shade of pale green! Please use food colouring with caution.

I set the bath up for the boys Daddy was supposed to be distracting them downstairs but that didn't last long! By the time I had finished they were so excited & were banging on the door to see. 

 They had lots of fun in the bath, decorating the trees, the presents, seeing if it would stick to them.

Using a tree as a surf board for a duck!
This as the final display, including a robot :-) It was a huge success I expect we will repeat it several times in the lead up to Christmas & will be trying out some other bath ideas in the new year.

x Jo x

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Simple Santa Hats

While tea was cooking the other day I decided to do a quick Christmas craft with the boys. I quickly grabbed some cotton wool balls from the bathroom & some thick red paper. I managed to cut 2 hats from an A3 sized sheet.
We used glue sticks to glue on our cotton wool (I find that prit sticks are the best & worth the extra money).

We then thought that they needed jazzing up a bit so I had a rummage & found some metallic confetti, the kind you can put in cards or one tables etc. We used snowflakes & red stars.

This was a nice little craft that was quick with out too much mess, just right to pass the 15 mins or so before tea was ready, & they are now up decorating our art wall.

x Jo x

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Festive Sewing ...

As things are starting to feel a bit festive around here, I thought I would share some of my Christmas makes. I love sewing dresses more than any of my other makes, possibly as having 2 boys, it means that I get to make something pretty!

I'm really pleased with this pinafore dress is 100% cotton flannel, I love how the print is festive but not so much that it cant be worn after Christmas. It also has cute heart shaped buttons, that I found in my local haberdashery shop.

Pinafore dress - Age 1-2

I found these super cute Riley Blake Christmas squares at Prints To Polka Dots, one of my favourite online fabric shops. It was great that I could order 1 or 2 squares of each rather than having to buy a whole charm pack. They also sell all there fabric by the 'fat quater' which is great for small projects.

Patchwork Christmas T-Shirt - 9-12 mths
As well as using my machine I also enjoy hand applique, He was made using felt with a fleece scarf. I imported the carrot button from China, which I think finishes him off nicely.

Snowman Applique T-Shirt - 6-9 mths
 I also make a lot of bandanna dribble bibs which were one of my first sewing projects, since getting my own machine. I used these bibs all the time when Daniel was little as he was a real dribbler & always had wet t-shirts until I discovered these bibs. 

Festive Dribble Bibs - One Size
At time of writing all the above items are available for sale via my Facebook page, my ready made clothing & accessories can be found HERE & ready made bandanna bibs can be found HERE

x  Jo x