Merry Christmas 2017!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! 

I hope you have enjoyed our 24 advent activities this festive season, and I hope you are all having a wonderful day celebrating with family and friends!

Joy to the world
The Lord has come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing!


{2018 Advent Activities} Dec 24th - Open our Christmas Eve box & attend Christmas Carols at Church

One sleep to go!

Today the girl's were given their Christmas Eve box! I bought this crate at Kmart for about $12 a few years ago - I love it! We had our Christmas Carols at church tonight, so we gave it to them during the day. 

Inside we have:
 - a toy each
- a Santa hat each 
- a bag of M&M's to share
- mini bags of microwave popcorn 
- a packet of lollies
- some candy canes
- Christmas Pez to share
- A Kinder Surprise for Miss M (her favourite!)
- their last advent book (which they'd opened before I grabbed a pic!) 

I did originally have their Christmas PJ's but I wanted them to be able to wear them all month long, so they received them on Dec 1st, and I forgot to add in our Christmas DVD - today we watched Shrek the Halls! They loved it! 

Tonight we also attended Christmas carols at our church! 

After carols, the girl's fell fast asleep on the drive home, so I could get to work putting the presents under the tree, and filling their stockings! 

We usually try and limit gifts and stick to a budget - this is everything the girl's are receiving plus the joint present of an easel. Brendan and my presents for each other are also under the tree. They have something to read, wear, do, play with, share etc. Because Miss M's birthday is right before Christmas, we feel like they receive a lot of gifts in December! 

The tree with the lights on!

The stockings are filled!

Here's what Miss M is receiving in her stocking (Miss O has the same except for the stationery and she has a few less chocolates). 
 - a ball
 - personalised stickers
 - Santa chocolates
 - candy canes
 - a cute donut stationery pack
- M&M's
- a sweet wooden doll 
- flash cards
- chocolate money (a tradition from when I was a child!)
- a mini Nutella jar (just because it's cute!)
- 2 Christmas chocolates 
- a Christmas pen
- a nail polish shaped like an ice cream
- a reindeer lip gloss

We have our food ready for Santa and his reindeer - cookies, milk & a fruit mince pie, and a carrot & 'reindeer food' (oats and glitter) for the reindeer. 

Our advent book

Elf on the shelf

Today was Jingle's last day! He's had a fun 24 days roaming around our house! Today he was caught digging into the snack box! He obviously needs some food for the road. See you next year Jingles! 

This post concludes our advent activities for 2017! We've had a lot of fun, and I've loved bringing the magic of Christmas to my two little girls! Tomorrow we are having breakfast with my parents, and then lunch with Brendan's side of the family, and then Boxing Day is my brother's birthday, so the celebrations continue! I hope you've enjoyed the series, and I hope your December has been wonderful too! Have a fantastic Christmas with family & friends tomorrow, and I hope it is a very special and blessed time! 

{2018 Advent Activities} Dec 23rd - Bake Gingerbread Men

Today's advent activity - to bake gingerbread men!

This activity is one I love to do each Christmas as it reminds me of making them in my childhood. 

Here's the recipe I use (which is just typed up in my recipe folder). Just make sure you don't cook for 20 mins as they will burn - set the timer for 10 mins, and then add 5 mins if they still aren't cooked but don't wait until they are brown to take them out! Also, don't add 2 tablespoons of ginger if you only want a mild ginger taste, start with 1 tab and increase to be safe. 

There are a few ingredients, but fairly common pantry staples: 

I followed the method, and they worked out perfectly to roll. Miss M enjoyed using the gingerbread man cutter to cut them out! 

So many gingerbread men! 

Once out of the oven and cooled, I set up this Christmas plate for Miss M to decorate them -  a gingerbread man, white icing, m&m's and some Christmas sprinkles (candy canes & mini gingerbread men). 

So cute! 

I also decorated some using a snaplock bag as a piping bag filled with white icing (just made with icing sugar and a dash of milk), and some red and green m&m's. Yum!

Also today, we had my side of the family's Christmas! 

We hosted it from 2pm out at our new place, and I enjoyed putting together (with the help of my Mum!) a huge table of savoury crackers, cheeses and dips, and a whole range of sweet food, using a all of my Christmas baking over the last month. 

We ate (a lot), gave Secret Santa gifts (we went with 2 presents, one funny and one serious with a $10 limit for both), the kids had lots of fun with the new water play activities Brendan had bought our girl's, and we played some board games before we headed into town for our town's Carols by Candlelight! 

Our advent book

Elf on the shelf

Jingles has drunk all our orange juice, and didn't even hide the evidence!


{2018 Advent Activities} Dec 22nd - Have a bath with red & green glowsticks

Today's advent activity is to have a bath with red and green glowsticks! 

This was really fun for the girl's, but is hard to photograph! 

I found a $2 packet of glowsticks at The Reject Shop but it didn't have as many red and green glowsticks in it, so we chucked the blue, purple and yellow in too!

We had fun making them into circles, bangles, glasses, long worms etc, and it added something different to our normal bathtime! 

I'd suggest picking a night where the kids have a later bath so it's darker (we normally do around 6-6:30pm and in summer it wasn't that dark) but they still enjoyed it! 

(And for anyone wondering, I checked each glowstick before I chucked it in the bath to make sure the stuff inside wouldn't come out - I think it's just a matter of common sense really, but it was all good!)

Our advent book

Elf on the shelf

Jingles thinks he's one of the girl's baby dolls! 


{2018 Advent Activities} Dec 21st - Go Christmas light looking

Today's advent activity was to go Christmas light looking!

We all jumped in the ute tonight and the girl's absolutely loved seeing all the houses lit up around town! There were some amazing displays, and incredible effort made on some of the houses! We don't do Christmas lights yet but I would like to next year, as the kid's really love it, and I think it's really pretty too!  

We also finished watching Carols in the Domain today, which we'd taped last Sunday night. I love to watch it each year, so much joy!

Our advent book

Elf on the shelf 

Elf has had fun dressing up in the toyroom!


{2018 Advent Activities} Dec 20th - Make Christmas fudge

How good is chocolate fudge?! I'm a sucker for fudge, any flavour really, and every Easter when we visit Mt Tamborine, I always treat myself to some fudge from some of their amazing fudge shops. 

It's a great Christmas treat too, and so easy to make! Here's the recipe I use, which is one I typed up for my recipe folder over 10 years ago. You can also find amazing recipes for the Thermomix, but I thought I'd use this conventional method for a change! 

You only need 3 ingredients - butter, condensed milk & cooking chocolate (or Cadbury chocolate - both work well!) 

Follow the method above - the condensed milk heated before adding the rest makes it fudgier I think (and actually, you can make caramel by heating condensed milk!) 

Once it was done, I added 2 drops of doTERRA peppermint oil (which is safe to eat) to make it more Christmassy (you definitely don't need more than 2 drops!) and I crushed up some peppermint candy canes for the top. 

Refridgerate or freeze for half a day before cutting, and overnight is best - you can also freeze it to eat at a later date (we are saving most of this for Christmas Day! It is so delicious - my hubby even enjoyed it and he doesn't have a sweet tooth!

Our advent book

Elf on the shelf 

Jingles was taking a dip in the sink of the girl's IKEA kitchen in the toyroom! 


{2018 Advent Activities} Dec 19th - Perform a random act of kindness

Today's advent activity is another one to promote giving & Christmas kindness! 

We purchased a block of Smarties chocolate (so yummy!) and wrapped it up with a card letting the person know that they've received a random act of kindness, but not saying who the giver is! We then dropped it off at one of our neighbours houses. 

It's so important to me to promote kindness in my kids, and at a time of year when there's lots of receiving (especially for Miss M as her birthday was only 5 days ago!) it's so nice to give as well. Hopefully the receiver enjoys their small gift! 

Advent Book

Elf on the Shelf

Jingles either thinks we won't find him today, or he's put himself in jail. Either way, it gave the girl's a laugh!

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