Christmas crafts

Finally a chance to sit down at the computer. I am so happy that it is finally my weekend! The weather this week has really got us thinking about how Canadian we are – who else checks the current road conditions and current weather statements before getting out of the bed in the morning? It was a nice change to not have to clean my car off this morning before work.

Leah learning all about snow shovelling

I didn’t make it to work on Saturday because of snow and road conditions, this unexpected day off thrilled the girls to bits. We spent the morning making an excellent toboggan run in the back yard, followed by a walking trip to the park, where the girls discovered bigger hills and that snow makes the slides a lot shorter.

In the last week or two the weather has gotten colder and snowier. It is hard to spend as much time outside as we do in the summer, so I have been setting up more indoor projects.

Before the real snow came, I made some simple homemade snow for the girls. It is made with 1/2 cup hair conditioner and 2 cups baking soda. It has an endothermic reactions so it really feels like snow, and it packs and kind of rolls up like snow too.

Ava playing the in fake snow
Leah playing in the fake snow

Leah and I made some paper snowflakes to hang in our front hall. These are one of my favourite crafts. They look awesome and really don’t take that much work to make. Link (http://www.craft-craft.net/christmas-ornament-paper-snowflake-tutorial.html) The only thing I change – and it’s merely for ease and time – instead of glue I use staples.

Leah and I making paper snow flakes
Finished!
Snowflakes hanging in the hall

We got the tree up! The girls love helping me dig out all the decorations and put everything on. It is one of my favourite things to share with the girls. I remember going out with my mom to harvest all the evergreen for wreaths, swags, and garlands and the house would be filled with the fresh smells of pine, cedar, and fir.

Starting to get the lights on the tree
All done!

The one other project we did in the last couple weeks was making borax snowflakes. Theses were a simple craft that we could do all together and watch as the crystals formed on the pipe cleaner. I mixed 1/3 cup of borax to 2 cups of water, I tried boiled water and just the hottest water out of the tap and both worked effectively, I found the tap water to work a bit faster.

Pipe cleaner snowflakes
Snowflakes soaking in the borax
Snowflake in the tree!

Its the final week before Christmas! I have sugar cookies to decorate and presents to wrap. I can’t wait to see their smiling faces with the surprises that will be under the tree. I’m hoping to attempt a Buche de Noel. There is a recipe on Pinterest that has been catching my eye for a year or so and perhaps its time to try. The next time I get around to updating this, it will probably be after Christmas and probably after New Years. So I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and all the best in the New Year!

Leah rolling out sugar cookies

 

 

 

 

Saying Goodbye to Fall.

Well, November disappeared in a hurry. I still can’t believe how nice the weather has been. We spent as much time as we could outside. Leah and Ava really love the trees we have in back yard. Playing in the giant leaf piles we make is so much fun. With the cold weather coming, there are frozen puddles about and the kids love playing with the ice.

Leah playing in the leaves
Leah and Ava in the leaves
Ava rediscovering ice.

In the last couple of weeks we have made some crafts for Christmas. Pinterest is very inspiring; however, we end up with so many little projects and its hard to decide which ones to keep. The kids and I love stretching our crafting skills as each project brings a new challenge. I love the hand print art the best, watching their little hands grow every year. Time goes by just too quickly.  We started working on a new craft for the grandparents for christmas. I can’t give away too many secrets but there are some pictures of before its completed.

Hand print Cardinals
Christmas craft in the making
Christmas craft in the making

We have been rather under the weather the last couple of weeks, so we have been taking it slower. Leah was so sick that her giant stuffed Nessie suffered a flu explosion and never really smelled the same. It was old and looking rather torn so I made her a new one with a slightly modified pattern. Hopefully this one will last a bit longer.

Leah and her new Loch Ness Monster.

Our family grew a little bit this month, we got a new dog! His name is Hawk.  He really enjoys playing with the kids and Ginger.

Hawk
Leah and Hawk playing in the back yard

I got a a couple of christmas photos of the girls this week. I can’t believe that December is here! Time to get that Christmas tree up soon!

Leah and Ava all ready for Christmas.
Santa’s little elves

October in our house

Thanksgiving has come and gone, so has Halloween. I have been very busy  the last few weeks with Thanksgiving prep, costumes to make, and candy to gather. In the last bit of nice weather I got all the spring bulbs in the ground, and started tucking in the plants for the winter. There are a few things left to do, so I hope the warmish weather holds out just a little bit longer.

We had our usual Thanksgiving traditions this year with a visit to The Rockton Worlds Fair, followed by a very hearty meal prepared by my father and Nick.

My mom and I take the kids to the fair for the day while the men stay home to cook. Leah and Ava take in as much as possible, however the rides still seem to be the biggest hit. I have been going to the fair for as long as I can remember. My mom and I have volunteered in the Ag Alive tent for many years helping with the Cambridge Spinners and Weavers booth. Ava loves the horses and chicks the best and Leah seems to be more fond of the cows.

Ava and the chick
Playing the corn pit in the Ag alive tent at the Rockton Fair

Leah built up the courage to pet a ball python, turns out she really likes snakes as well.

Leah and the Ball Python

After our busy day we headed home. I made three different desserts this year. A sweet potato pound cake, an apple pie and a pumpkin pie.

Apple pie, Pumpkin pie and Sweet potato pound cake

Then it was time to get ready for Halloween.  It all started with a visit to Shantz Family Farm in Mannheim, http://shantzfarm.ca  We picked up some pumpkins and gourds for decorations.

Pumpkin picking at Shantz Family Farm

Thanks to Pinterest, I have discovered that there are so many different ways to carve a pumpkin. I tend to use a drill as my primary tool in carving now. We created two fun pumpkins and two scary faces.

Pumpkin Carving

The kids were too excited to take a nice picture of costumes together. Leah was Elsa and Ava was a ladybug.

All dressed up and ready to go

Nick was able to get a few days off the first week of November, so we headed to one of our favourite travel spots, Kingston ON. We stay with Nick’s Aunt, and visit with his grandfather.

Playing the organ at their great grandfather’s house

We spent a fair bit of time there over the years and have developed many favourite places to eat and see. It is wonderful to head back year after year and have it stay mostly the same. We had perfect weather for the time of year we were there, and enjoyed walking along the waterfront and playing in one of the lovely large parks that is there.

All the girls playing at the park
Leah at the park
Ava playing at the park
Walk home through the warm fall day, surrounded by beautiful fall colour
Arie den Otter surrounded by Nick and his great granddaughters.
Leah and I sitting by the lake on a stunning November day.

We had dinner at one of our favourite places, The Kingston Brew pub (http://www.kingstonbrewing.ca), and lunch at another, Atomica(http://www.atomica.ca). As well as a stop at Pan Chancho’s(http://www.panchancho.com) Nick and I have been eating at these places for 10 years now and they never really change. The food is always fantastic, the atmosphere is charming, with a mix of “did I really just overhear that?” and above all it brings back so many happy memories.

 

Well here it is November already! I suppose that Christmas will come sooner than I am ready for it. My closet is slowly filling with little gifts and crafts to finish assembling.  I have already heard a little bit of Christmas music and seen some windows in some shops preparing for the rush of holiday shoppers. I always hope to avoid the last minute rush, but there is always one thing or another that gets forgotten until the last moment.