Wednesday, December 1, 2010

advent calendars!!!!

I had high hopes of creating a wonderful advent calendar for my girls this year but once again the time has snuck by and it is December 1st already. I have big plans for the one I want to make and most of the supplies to do it...perhaps I'll make it a New Years Resolution to actually make it next year.

I just came across THIS IDEA and it is so amazing!!! It will be easy to put together and has such a wonderful family time feel to it which is what Christmas is all about for me. Time to slow down, bake and make gifts, spend time together preparing for the holidays and this little advent calendar will be the perfect addition for us...even if I make it tonight and it is a day late; that just means twice the fun tomorrow :)

Here are some other great advent ideas if you haven't made your yet or you want to get the jump on next year now...or even if you are like me and just a little behind the game :)

If you have an abunence of toilet paper rolls around your house you would still have time for one of these by Maya Made.

Are you a scrapbooker? Want to put some supplies to use? Try THIS ONE or THIS ONE from an old Starbucks tree I think and another one HERE and HERE.

Do you sew? Try THIS ONE or this IDEA and change the gifts for kids of course :) HERE is one that even I could sew and this cute MITTEN one too, and one made with little SACKS just like Santa brings his gifts in :) This BIRDIE one is so "tweet"

If you want something REALLY SIMPLE try this ONE

Prefer to make them with your kids? Try a Bubble Wrap Calendar or THIS ONE or make a SANTA ONE Kids can make THIS ONE from RECYCLABLES

This one is great if you have more then one child to help make it ot it will keep your one child busy for a LONG time :)

And you can't forget the tried and true Paper Chains

What one will you make or do you have one already?

Off I go to get started before rest time is over! Thank goodness I happen to have an abundance of matchboxes waiting for the perfect activity to come along!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Finds and First Snow

Remember these?
This is a reproduction of the one I remember as a child as it was made in 1988. We picked this up yesterday just in time for Friday finds :) It's been a busy week so we haven't had much time to thrift :( but I can't wait to get some peanuts and give it a try. It's soaking in the sink to remove all the bits of peanuts still on it. We will be sure to post how our peanut butter turns out after we give it a try.

As well yesterday we got our first snow of the season. Here in the Vancouver this is strange although we have had our fair share the past few years. I love the snow, I just don't like the cold that comes along with it, but pretty, big, falling flakes are lots of fun and of course so is making snowangels and building snowmen.

OOppps...Sierra tried to put her snowball on for the head all by herself and it dropped on her and went down her jacket...that was the end of her fun... she wanted to go in and get off all the "cold, itchy, scratchy stuff off"!
Our snowman, sporting a camouflage of leaves, with eyes and mouth of Black Eyed Susan Seeds and a Lavender stalk for his nose as we were ill prepared for the proper snowman making rocks and carrot nose :) Hope you are having fun in the snow!

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Fall Crafts

This past week week we spent a bit of time decorating for this fall season before Christmas is in full swing upon how it creeps up oh so fast! Fall is my favourite season. (But Ohhhhh how I love the Christmas holidays and sooo look forward to being able to enjoy the holiday season this year)

I love the colours as all the leaves magically change to their shades or yellows, oranges and reds. It is the one thing I miss living here on the West coast. Our falls are not like they used to be on the East coast...but they are beautiful here too in a different way and definitely a lot more GREEN:)

To bring some of the fall colours inside we made this banner: (the pumpkin, spider and pressed leaves the girls made at daycare)

We took our inspiration from this tutorial by MayaMade but we strung fall coloured pompoms and added egg carton acorns which in my head sounded like a great idea but not quite so thrilled with how they turned out. The girls both had lots of fun painting our newspaper leaves :)

And our finished project looks pretty good, even despite our egg carton acorns looking more like miniature houses! I would LOVE to make some of these felted acorns in the future but for right now I was happy to get our banner made and up.

Also this week we used up some play dough which was on it's last life and they had a fantastic time creating leaf creatures with play dough, cookie cutters, googly eyes, shells, rocks, seaglass and even some glass decorative blobs. They had sooo much fun with this, it kept them busy for close to an hour!
Happy fall everyone!

Friday finds are back...even if late

We have just returned from a weekend on the island visiting daddy as he is working there until Christmas. It was a rainy weekend, and the house he is renting has a tenant downstairs. We discovered that the pitter patter of our childrens feet sound more like elephants stomping then butterflies fluttering so we tried to stay out as much as possible...Thus leaving me lots of time to hit the thrift stores and craft fairs.

Treasures from the first thrifting trip...

Do you remember this magnetic pin the tail on the donkey and the magnetic castle set?

The poor boy is missing his arms but other then that it is all in amazing shape. And who could resist these wonderful vintage Christmas ornaments. Some were made in West Germany and the others in Poland. Our Christmas colours are red and gold but I have an idea for some of these beauties.

And on the next day these...
Even at $6.50 (for the bag) these Ostheimer's were a steal. The Pied Piper has had his foot repaired but that doesn't bother me. He will just be used for story time anyway. The ducks/geese and the rooster will find there way into the ever growing stash of wooden goodies from shops like
and many more wonderful shops on Etsy. I often see these Ostheimer toys on blogs and think they are so amazing. I was ecstatic to find them in a thrift store but in all honesty, the handmade ones are much more amazing!!!

We went to a few craft fairs as well and got a couple small items to start our Christmas gift giving. We'll be buying handmade or making most of our gifts this about you? Both girls got their faces painted by Sparkles the clown but could I get a decent picture of both of way...
Since we had little sunshine during this trip we also checked out a new indoor playground and both girls had a blast! Here Aayla is plowing her way through the pillars.

Sierra learning to slide down the firemans pole as we wait for the ferry to go home. Bye Bye daddy, see you next Friday!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall fun

Today we got out the hotplate which we haven't used in a long time but Sierra just loves it so I think when life settles we will do a lot more with it. It's simple to use and doesn't get too hot. I recommend finding one with a temperature dial and keep it LOW. This obviously needs a lot of supervision and Aayla is not at the point to use it yet, but Sierra used it when she was 3 so it really depends on your child.

Simple turn on the hotplate, place a piece of waxed paper over it, use the crayons directly on the wax paper and watch the heat melt the crayons. It's lots of fun to use. Here Sierra is making her jack o lantern by colouring the background in with the long side of a crayon in various shades of orange. She then drew on her facial features with a black crayon and Voila a wonderful jack o lantern for your window. These looks so great when the light shines through them and what a wonderful way to recycle those old bits of crayons no one wants to use anymore :)

With all the packing to get out of the store and with our last day at the daycare fast approaching on October 30th, you might say we've been busy. I have never been surrounded by so many boxes... we are basically living in a storage unit at the moment but I can now start to see the light at the end of the tunnel...all this craziness will be over and a simpler life will emerge :)

Daddy is working on the island for Oct, Nov and Dec so we are happy when he comes home for the weekends. We have been so busy that we haven't had much time to see each other this weekend. We spent all day yesterday working but today despite the rain and odd jobs that needed to be completed, we managed to get some pumpkins finally.

Every year we go to a small farm just 5 minutes away called Rondriso Farms. You can visit their website here. They are a small family farm with a variety of pumpkins, squash, and potatoes for sale, and they don't have all the hype surrounding them like Richmond Country Farms , Hazelmere Pumpkin Patch or Aldor Acres. I have been to all those pumpkin patches in the past with daycare and each is a bit different and fun in their own way. Some of them are very big events to attend!!! For us, we like Rondriso. It's close, it's small, and it has the best pumpkins for the best price when you go to the field and get your own. It was too wet and muddy at the pumpkin patch for us (me) as it poured all morning but at the first glimmer of sunshine we headed over and just got a few pumpkins from their market area. We'll save our carving until Halloween morning but we got some mini pumpkins which we had some fun with tonight.

These are very easy to make. All you need are a few simple supplies.
  • Mini pumpkins or this could be a "little" mess alternative for regular pumpkins too
  • Sewing pins, super tacky glue sticks or hot glue gun
  • Various collage items. We used some left over felt shapes/scraps, sequins, colourful buttons, feathers, Halloween foamies, beads and fake flower pieces.
We used sewing pins which had a small round decorative top and with supervision Sierra did an excellent job. She used the pins carefully all by herself and had a great time adding on all of her collage items to her pumpkins. We opted to give Aayla only the super tacky glue stick, and used the occasional dab of the glue gun for heavy pieces we couldn't stick on with a pin.

Have a great evening everyone. I have another post coming tomorrow hopefully with a fun craft/game for Halloween...right after my camera battery charges :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

A new beginning

No I am not pregnant, my family tree is complete!

Where to start??? It's been a long, rough, crazy, extremely busy, actually way too busy life this past few years. Running our 2 childcare centres, creating and teaching the Early Childhood Education program at a local college, the birth of our 2 girls now almost 3 and 4, caring for our childrens special needs, starting a store, closing a store, selling off the childcare business...I am soooOOoo excited to say that shortly we will begining a journey towards a simpler life.

In July we decided to close the store. This past Saturday was the last day of operation and now we are busy counting inventory and figuring how to get rid of the left over stock... Retail is a crazy business. I've been self employed for most of my life but retail...what was I thinking. It was even more work then the year I spent creating an Early Childhood Education program and teaching it and that was a crazy year! I am happy to say that we came to our senses and realized we wanted, needed, deserved more out of life, and more importantly so do our children.

We though that closing the store would give us enough time to focus on our childcare centre and our family, but after re-evaluating what we want for our family...we decided to sell the childcare centre as well.... mid-life crisis some might say??? But personally, I see it as an eye opening revealtion. I now (well lets say in November) I get to take on the best job in the whole world...I get to be a stay at home mom!!! I get to teach them and to be taught by them, I get to create more for them, with them and together for others. I look forward to all the things I currently hate like cooking and cleaning as there isn't enough time in the day. I feverishly take every spare moment I have right now and head to the thrift store to look for jars so I can attempt to learn to can. ( I managed to squeeze in one batch of blackberry jam and it was yummy so I am off to a good start.) It's amazing how the most mundane tasks yesterday seem like such a joyful journey forthcoming... I can't wait!

Thank you to those who still follow my neglected blog... bare with me another month as we get all our loose ends tied up. I can't wait to get back into blogland. Though I haven't posted on my own, I have spent many hours reading all of yours after a long day of work and a good cup of tea. I have so many ideas I want to post, activities to do, dreams to share, questions to ponder...oh how exciting to see the end...the new beginning...of our simpler life coimng to fruition :) See you soon!