Santaland Field Trip

Have I ever told you how afraid my son iswas of Santa? That is the first picture we have of the two of them together, it’s kinda self explanitory. I waited 4 years to get another picture and thanks to Macy’s, their inviting Santaland and a fantastic group of Seattle area bloggers it was worth the wait. 

When I got the invite from Jenny  to head downtown for some kid centered holiday cheer I couldn’t wait and I was praying he’d be ready. And he was!  My daughter, not so much. She was so upset she couldn’t even watch her brother sit on Santa’s lap. She screamed ” Bubba, no ho ho ho, no ho ho!” until I turned her to face the reindeer .

Chillin' with Comet

I gave my attention back to my son just in time to hear him tell Santa he wants a discountinued lego set for Christmas ( seriously ?! What’s wrong with the 300 easy to find ones ? Good thing he asked Santa for it  right?). Little missy  did sit with the whole group of mamas, but only because letting go of me was worse than getting close to Santa. I suspect we’ll get a pic of her on his lap come 2015.

Clockwise from bottom left – Me and little missy, Marie from Make and Takes,Tammy from Tammy’s Two Cents, Jenny from Jenny On The Spot , Kat from Mama’s Losin It, and Mandy from The Haps!  Lousie from Mom Start, and Lyndsey from The Stationery Place.

 As a blogger I have no staff room and  no after work happy hours so getting to hang out with some like minded local bloggers and their kids was a treat for me too.  Some of these women like Marie and Jenny have been friends of mine for a while but we often only see each other at blog conferences on the other side of the country. It took our kids and Santa to bring us together. The other mamas are bloggers I follow on Twitter and read their blogs ( I have read Kat and Mandy for ages!) but seeing them and their ridiculously cute offspring in person reminds me that mom bloggers really are fun, busy, awesome ( stylish!) moms. 

After hitting up a busy coffee shop with kids, strollers ,moms chatting non stop and many looks that could kill (especially when I started nursing my 18 month old, hipsters aren’t all pro extended nursing I guess) we hit the carousel.

She loved it.  I am still dizzy.

I hope you have a chance this holiday season to make new friends, see old ones, and get very dizzy while listening to your kids giggle in unison . Cause it’s rad.

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Disclosure : This event was sponsored by Macy’s , this post was not. As always I only work with companies professionally that I would recommend personally.

It’s Christmas, David! – Review & Giveaway

It’s Christmas, David! by David Shannon.

Being a kid is hard. Being a kid waiting for Christmas to come is even harder and David Shannon remembers what it was like. As parents we try so hard to teach appreciation, gratefulness and patience but it’s so hard to be any of those things when you are little and very very excited! In this book we follow David as he gets scolded for trying to grab Christmas cookies, for peeking at gifts, and my son’s favorite naughty behavior, writing his name in the snow…with pee.  Over the years I have had readers say that they aren’t a fan of the original No! David because they worried it would spark naughty ideas but that is not what these books do. Young kids have a very natural sense of what is right and wrong and they are laughing because they know what he is doing is wrong and even David knows that he has messed up, as he fears Santa will leave him nothing but coal. Of course we all know that David is not a bad kid ( Are there bad kids? I don’t think so! ) and his heart is in the right place even if sometimes he makes bad choices. Both my kids loved this book and I loved the underlying message to parents that being a kid is tough especially when parents are busy.

Now here is the best part! This book was supplied to me by Scholastic Book Club to review and is featiured in their December Book Club fliers ( so if you get them look out for it! ) and they are also giving me one to give away.  Hooray!

To enter for a chance to win your own copy of It’s Christmas, David! by David Shannon all you need to do is leave a comment on this post  telling me the title of your all time favorite book.

The giveaway will close  Sunday December 4th 2011 at 10pm PST.  The winner will be chosen by random.org and please only one entry per person.

COMMENTS CLOSED

Disclosure : I was not paid for this review although I did get to choose the book I recieved free to keep and giveaway. All opinions are mine .

Santa’s Workshop Pretend Play

christmas pretend play

I love having a project set up for my son when he gets home from school before he gets involved in his own play . Yesterday he arrived home to this simple Santa’s Workshop set up. This wasn’t a long afternoon of play , but it was 30 minutes of smiles and giggles and pretending he was an elf! He also did some crafting, some deep thinking , reading,  a little writing and of course imaginative play. Remember that your set up need not be worthy of a Broadway production, just good enough to support play.

  1. Gather your materials. I made 3 stations in this workshop a building station, a toy testing station and a wrap station.  My materials included paper bag, glue ( I switched it to a glue stick), scissors, wrapping paper, construction paper, markers , plain paper , a clip board and some toys.
  2. For the Duplo Building Station I used black construction paper down the middle of the table to act as a conveyer belt, made simple buildings with the duplo and provided duplicate blocks in containers for my son to build. There is actually a really great lesson in duplication here. Following directions is an important skill and lego type toys are a great way to work on the skills non verbally.
  3. The Wrap Station is our craft component – I provided glue, scissors, markers , snowflake confetti, wraping paper scraps to cut and glue and paper bags.
  4. The Toy Testing Station had some reading for him to do , and questions to answer after he tested the toy. I snuck some circle drawing in too!
  5. Think he was excited to see it? He said to me ” Do I really get to pretend to be an elf? Really?”
  6. Getting into the elf character .Building the duplo !
  7. Making the gift bags.
  8. All wrapped up.
  9. Off to test a toy.
  10. Test results.
  11. Happy, busy and at the North Pole … at least in his imagination!

Santa Book

How Santa Really Works by Alan Snow is a great book to go along with this activity. The book is styled as an expose about how Santa and his many many elves get all the work for Christmas done. I will caution you now that this is a long book, with even longer asides. I made my son head up to bed with me and the book early inorder to get it read and still have time to chat about it after. I love the “insider” feel about this book and so did my son. There were many asides thta made both of us giggle especially the comment about how many requests Santa gets for ponies each year. I loved that it encouraged kids to write to Santa but I have to say I sorta miss that it didn’t include much about magic. Still I can’t tell you how much my son loved this book ( I knew he would) and how impressed I was when he asked me if I thought this was how it worked. That opened a great discussion about how we imagine the North Pole and how stories andmovies are just one person’s imagination and no one knows the truth . This is a completely secular view of Christmas too so if you are looking for a religious book this is not for you but you can try these ones.

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DIY Advent Calendar- Made From Wipes Lids

I love advent calendars and there are so many great ones out there. I have been dreaming of making this advent calendar  since about February- and it took me about that long to get all the lids from baby wipe containers I needed.  What I love about it is that I control what’s in it. As Halloween reminded me my kids and artificial flavors/ colors are just not a good mix. I love treats and enjoy sharing them with my kids but a calendar like this where you control the treat is the best way to go for us. Be sure not to miss my screw ups so you can learn from them!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 24 or 25 ( depending on if you include 25 in your calendar – I do) flip top wipes lids. Lots of things have these lids all mine came from baby wipes. You will also need spray paint for the lids- Make sure it is for PLASTIC. I grabbed mine in a rush and the red was good for plastic the white…not so much. I had some flaking already. The paint made for plastic should be a ok. Also a drop cloth, canvas or a poster paper, ribbon, christmas themed card stock, glitter number stickers, white card stock, hot glue , fine tiped pen, pinking sheers, plain paper.
  2. Start by spray painting your lids, I did the inside then the outside.  Let dry.
  3. Spray paint your poster if it’s not the color you want it to be or like me just want it to be extra pretty.
  4. Now make the numbers. I cut one piece of christmas themed card stock per flip top and one smaller piece of white card stock, and put the number stickers on. I used an extra lid to make sure it would cover the brand on the top.
  5. I laid the paper numbers out before gluing them on. You may notice I ran out of the number 2. I was so careful to make sure I had enough number 1s … so I ran back to the store. I wanted this to look whimsical and home made so I didn’t use a ruler, I just eyeballed everything.
  6. Some of the lids still had the sticky residue from where they were attached to their plastic container which was great for spacing them out. Many still needed to be hot glued on.
  7. I glued the paper on with hot glue, regular white glue just didn’t work. 
  8. Make a bow by tying two loops together ( think tying your shoes with bunny ears) hot glue the ends to the back. Sorry about the dark photos I have a 16 month old who thinks we are 2 parts of one person and needs to be attached at all times, I had to maximize the happy seperation time to the fullest.
  9. Now time to write out all the activities I balanced them out with lots of activities like an indoor snowball fight, cutting our own Christmas Tree and setting out our nativity scene as well as a few candy canes, small toys and baking cookies. I also put some giving back like choosing a toy for toys for tots, and canned food for our local food bank.
  10. I cut each sentance out with pinking sheers and popped them in the doors.
  11. Hang Up. As you can see I have a 25 door on ours, many people do not add actual Christmas Day. I did because last year my son opened his 24th door and proclaimed it to be Christmas and while it didn’t take too long to explain the confusion he was genuinely disapointed. So I added one to open on Christmas Day too.

I hope you like this, even if you don’t please lie to me. I have been bursting at the seams to make this and share it with you all, and finally I had enough time to manage! Back to stuff for the kids to make and learn tomorrow !

Grandad and Gingerbread 2010

Last year my son and my dad made a gingerbread house for fun and this year they cemented it as a tradition for years to come. It’s so important to have  traditions and special events only for certain special people in your children’s lives. I am not surprised at all that I was exiled upstairs to nurse and have some alone time with my daughter while he made the house with my parents.  I didn’t mind one bit. I hope your holiday season is filled with special events likes these.

You will need an over excited child, a more than willing to let said child eat far too much candy grandparent and another lenient grand parent to take the photos. Oh and a pre made ginger bread house, and extra candies that were suppose to be for the house but you suspect may just be for your kid.

Before they cracked open the house  I put my son  to work sorting the chocolate rocks for the path, and after they were done decorating my dad commented on how when he started a pattern with the candies  my son kept it going. There was learning in this activity for sure , not to mention fire motor exercise too picking up and placing the candies. Honestly though I couldn’t care less about the learning because that is not what this activity was about. It was about strengthening family bonds, creating tradition and making memories that will last longer than any craft or project, even cool ones with glitter.