Monday, 24 December 2012

December 24th

Today we decorated the Christmas tree (yes we really leave it this late :) ), made a Christingle and read this book before bed time:
We had some very excited children tonight who have left carrots, a mince pie and a glass of sherry. Let's find out if they have been good!!!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

December 23rd

Today we took the girls to see Father Christmas via steam train ( There was no parking in the station carpark but there was plenty on roads near by! The station was busy with a small cafe and a sleigh to pose for photos. Soon it was turn for our ride which took a small time before we arrived at our station to get off to meet Father Christmas. E was a little worried as she thought she was going on the Polar Express! We then had to wait for about 20 minutes in a queue with a brass band playing carols. Father Christmas was Ok - - nothing special though but the girls enjoyed it and liked their gifts of teddies and a jigsaw. 

Then we came home and read which was bit disappointing too! It hadn't the humour of the originals.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

December 11th

Today we made paper chains (although I did cheat and buy pre-cut ones from Hobby Craft - simple and looks great).

We read this book:

Lilly is getting ready for Christmas by making paper chains, cards, decorating the tree and each time she makes a special one for her toy Blue Kangaroo. He wants to give her something and gets some help from the big man.

Monday, 10 December 2012

December 10th

Today we wrote and posted Christmas cards. The girls designed their cards and had them printed with these people.

We then read The Jolly Christmas Postman which has lots of surprises in envelopes and is based on his journey visiting nursery rhyme characters. It really is a lovely book but we are on our second copy as we lost all the things inside the book so it is one I have put away to look at together only!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

December 9th

Today I went to buy some new Pekins (as I have killed 2 of mine :( ) and then we stopped back at Ickworth (a National Trust house) where the girls enjoyed their Christmas crafts (you did have to pay extra) and visiting Father Christmas who was fab! They made crackers, a paper box and a folded paper heart decoration.

Then we came home and made Christmas tree biscuits. We followed this
Nigella Lawson recipe:
We needed:
175g soft unsalted butter

200g caster sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

400g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

First we pre-heated oven to 180c. Then we creamed the butter and caster sugar together until pale and then we beat in the eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. The dry ingredients were added to the butter and eggs, and mixed gently. The dough was wrapped in clingfilm and put to rest in the fridge for at least an hour. Then we rolled the dough out between clingfilm sheets to a thickness of about half cm. We then cut into shapes using a Christmas tree cutter and were placed on a limed baking sheet. We then pressed a smartie in to each branch of the tree.

We then baked for 8 - 12 Min's, by which time they will be lightly golden around the edges. WE removed from the oven and we left to cool down for a minutes on the baking tray before putting them on a cooling rack.

If I were to do this again I might add the smarties after cooking with a dot of icing as the oven heat faded the smarties.

We also read this book which told the story of a girl who lost her toy with her friend Ernest who tries to put it right. Then they spread seasonal goodwill by inviting friends and neighbours around to celebrate Christmas.  It is one of those books where the pictures speak more than the words.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

December 8th

Today we made a snow globe and it actually worked. We choose a Christmas Cake decoration from John Lewis and with super glue I glued it to the lid of a jamjar. After it had dried I filled up the jamjar with water, a few drops of glycerin and some glitter. I also sealed up the lid with glue from a gluegun.

 We also enjoyed reading the lovely book by the authors of the Gruffalo. Stickman has adventures which send him far from home (the girls love joining in with repeating phrases) before being repatriated by Father Christmas.

Friday, 7 December 2012

December 7th

Today we made a borax snowflake. First we cut and folded a pipe cleaner (as pale as possible) into a snowflake shape and then attached a string to the middle.

Then we made the borax solution (I bought borax from Amazon). First we added boiling water to a pot and added 3 tablespoons of borax per each cup of water. Then we added blue food colouring.

We hung the pipe cleaner snowflake into the jar with the pencil resting on top of the jar making sure it was completely submerged. Then we left it overnight and the next day we had a lovely snowflake!

 We also read this lovely simple story about a girl who visits the snow queen. It is beautifully illustrated with simple retro pictures.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

December 6th

Today was St. Nicholas day so the girls woke to chocolate coins in their shoes. We also looked at this website: and then we made bread (like we did last year)

except this year we coloured the dough for his hat.

We also read this story - a nice tale about being generous to all at Christmas. I love the detail in the illustrations. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

December 5th

Today's challenge was slightly messy one and we made bird food. We used  bird seed (bought from the market in central Cambridge), raisins, peanuts, lard, yogurt pot and string.

We made a small hole in the bottom of a yogurt pot and threaded string through the hole, leaving enough string it could be tied to a tree.  We let the lard to warm up to room temperature and then cut it up into small pieces in a mixing bowl. We added the other ingredients to the bowl and mixed them together with your finger tips until the fat held it all together. We filled the yogurt pots with bird cake mixture and put them in the fridge to set for an hour or so.

We also read this book which is about an owl who visits Jesus guided by a star.  I love the pictures which are beautifully clear and simple.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

December 4th

Today's challenge was to set up our Playmobile Nativity scene.

We also read this story which a take on the Nativity story from the perspective of a donkey which has been left behind.

Monday, 3 December 2012

December 3rd

 Today the girls wrote letters to Father Christmas. On the lists were a beautiful dress, nail vanish, craft things, make up and music!

We also read this fab book. I love the grumpy take on Father Christmas. E hadn't come across a comic style book before and so it was good to discuss features of it.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

December 2nd

 For our advent activity we made tissue paper lanterns by decorating jam jars with tissue paper, sequins and a tealight. We used PVA glue to stick the things on and then I also coated the outside with glue to make it shiny. The girls loved them and we ate tea to candlelight.

 We read this story. It is from a traditional Swedish story retold by

For snack I and E make pepparkakor (a yummy ginger Christmas biscuit in Scandinavia).

For the biscuits
60g (2oz) butter
75g (2¾oz) soft light-brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 tbsp black treacle
2-4 tbsp milk
225g (8oz) plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer. Add the spices, orange zest and treacle and beat again, then add 2 tbsp of the milk. With the beater on a low speed add the flour and bicarb. Now scrape the dough off your beaters and, using your hands, bring the dough together into a ball, using more milk if you need to; don't let the dough become sticky. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for an hour.
Lightly flour your surface and roll out the dough 3mm thick. Cut out your shapes and put them on to two lightly buttered baking-sheets. Gather the remaining dough into a ball, roll out again and keep cutting until it has all been used. Put the sheets in the fridge for about 45 minutes and heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Cook the biscuits for 12 minutes. They should start to feel hard round the edges as they cool and eventually become really hard – they need to have a nice 'snap'.  (recipe from the telegraph)

We decorated with simple icing.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Dec 1st - lights

 Today's story was the Tale of Three Trees - a story that links the birth, life and death of Jesus and also teaches that God's plan may be different to our own!

Then we took the girls to the Winter Lights at Anglesey Abbey - although I completely forgot how to shot in the dark :(. It was amazing - with trees light up with different coloured spot lights and magical candles on trees that reminded me of a fairy grotto. It is bookable so well worth looking at whether they have tickets left (NT members also need to pay).