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!!!

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