2015: The Year of New Adventures

As Christmas and the end of the year approach, I find myself looking back in wonder at every new adventure my family has had this year. It’s been a big one, and to say we’re tired is an understatement. However, it’s a pleasant tiredness, the way you feel after a full day spent in the garden; we’re weary, but we can see how far we’ve come, and it’s satisfying.

Active Mums Kids

One of the biggest changes around here would have to be Tiny turning five and starting school. After a rough first day, my biggest his found his rhythm and absolutely loves school. He started the year not being interested in writing or reading, and is now often found with his head in a chapter book, reading quietly to himself. He’s made some lovely wee friends and likes to come home and share what he’s learned with his little brother which is so sweet to see.

Reading at 5 Pickle also had a big year, finally starting kindergarten. He would go every day if he could, but has just three sessions a week; his friendships have been developing over the year and while he’s not as talkative as his big brother, he’s very good at articulating his ideas and games to others.

Kindy Kids

Both boys are currently Avengers-obsessed, and Pickle has joined his brother in thinking Lego is the best toy ever. They play together so beautifully, and Tall and I often remark how we feel a bit redundant because they don’t need or want us to play with them anymore!

Pickle and AvengersBoys playing

Pickle and I had the pleasure of attending very good friends’ wedding in Fiji, which was amaaaaaazing, and as a family we embarked on a tiki tour from Dunedin to Taranaki and back again in the last school holidays. Tall’s sister welcomed a gorgeous baby boy into the world, I got to get my rock on at Rod Stewart and Fleetwood Mac concerts, and my braces finally came off.

Fleetwood Mac Dunedin

I’m sure there’s been many more highlights, and there has been some sadness, but mostly, 2015 has been a good year, and I’m looking forward to more fun times in 2016.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas, surrounded by people you love, and a marvellous start to 2016 xxxxxxxxx

 

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Elf on the Shelf 2015

It’s the first of December, which means that the Christmas fun is officially allowed to begin. I put up the tree on November 30th and let the boys loose decorating it * ; Tall was horrified to find that we’d broken the rules and put it up before it was even December. The horror!

Christmas Tree 2015

The way I see it, December 1st is exciting enough as it is.

The boys get to open the first doors on the chocolate advent calendars Grandma likes to buy them each year, plus this year they’ll have the added fun of a Lego advent calendar too. Last year, I made my own, but this year, I’ve gone for the easy option of one already sorted.

Elf on the Shelf 2015

There’s also the return of Fernando, our delightful elf who models excellent behaviour for my impressionable young souls. For the past few years, I’ve kept his shenanigans very calm and tame, mainly because I’m trying to encourage goodness in my own kidlets. However, I think this year I might throw in a couple of slightly cheeky (not naughty) moves, just for giggles. Both boys would appreciate that now, without thinking too much about it.

I’m also really hoping Fernando will help curb the beastly habits they’ve both picked up involving fingers and noses…

* I even resisted the urge to do any rearranging or discarding of random decorations; they did a really great job! There are a couple of “clusters” (as per the image above), but not many!

Christmas 2014

The last time my entire family was together for Christmas, I was pregnant with Pickle and suffering debilitating hyperemesis gravidarum. I barely ate a thing, didn’t partake in any celebratory bubbles, and was asleep on the couch by 3pm.

Three years later, and it was a different story. I ate my body weight in ham, drank more than enough champagne, and didn’t sink tiredly in to bed until past 10pm.

Plus I had two little boys excited to see what Santa had left for them, and that, combined with seeing my nieces and nephew, made Christmas 2014 a hands-down favourite.

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‘Send Us Christmas’ Swap

Last year, I took part in a bloggy Advent swap which was great fun, so when I saw my sender Kimberley was hosting a ‘Send Us Christmas’ swap, I signed up straight away. The premise was simple: send items that fit into a 1L container, including a Christmas decoration, a favourite Christmas recipe, and something handmade.

I was paired with Michell, and had fun stalking her blog to find out a little more about her. Michell quilts, and I’m always terrified of making things for people who can really craft, but I was pleased with the little decoration I ended up stitching for her. It’s always risky but fun choosing things for someone you don’t know, but I figure that if I send things I’d like to receive, I’m fairly safe.

The decoration was designed and stitched by me (yes, really!), and I made the little rose studs as well as the paua necklace. I love my alphabet stamps from Pop Roc Parties so much, and it was nice to use them to send Michell some of my favourite peppermint tea leaves.

Send Us Christmas Swap Send Us Christmas Swap Send Us Christmas Swap Send Us Christmas Swap Send Us Christmas SwapMichell’s parcel arrived the day I posted mine, and I couldn’t wait until Christmas to rip into it. However, I have managed to hide the Jaffas from myself my children, which is kinda like saving the whole parcel until Christmas Day, right? I love the cheerful little elf, and the green mini utensils (which are likely to be stolen by my teeniest one, who just loves to raid my kitchen drawers!).

Send Us Christmas Swap Send Us Christmas Swap Send Us Christmas SwapThanks so much, Michell! And Kimberley, for organising a great swap xx

It’s Almost Elf on the Shelf Time!

Our elf, Fernando, is no doubt packing his bag, tidying his room and searching for his passport, in preparation for his journey from the North Pole to our home.

The first of December, when Fernando arrives, will be exciting for our boys. I’m feeling a little unprepared, as I have only just started thinking about how he will appear, and what he will do for 24 days.

I’m thinking Fernando might be inside our gorgeous Needle & Nail mailbox when he arrives. At the moment, the mailbox sits atop Pickle’s dresser, so it will be a double-surprise for my weenies to see it by the front door or perhaps on our hall table, the red flag up so they know there’s something inside.

Last year, Tiny’s favourite Fernando-ventures were the simplest ones, like the elf sleeping in one of my shoes, or riding the rocking horse, or dyeing the milk blue (not Tall’s favourite, however!). His memory is too good for us to recycle too many ideas from last Christmas, but I’m thinking we can possibly reuse some of the ideas from the year before.

We’ll also be ensuring Fernando sticks to his role-modelling of good behaviour, rather than getting up to mischief. I think Tiny is of an age where he would find cheeky behaviour hilarious, but Pickle…..yeah, he might need a bit more modelling first!

I’ve noticed ideas appearing on Pinterest, and have been adding the occasional picture to my Elf on the Shelf board; feel free to share any other ideas!

Elf on the Shelf 2013 Elf on the Shelf 2013 Elfie Selfies 2013Elf8 Elf2In 2013, a group of us shared and inspired on Instagram with #kiwielfontheshelf – if you have an Elf and you’re on IG, why not join the fun this year?

Advent Swap 2013: Days 20-25

This post is brought to you from the food-drunk haze that is Boxing Day. The weather outside is frightful, the littlest ones are playing with their new toys, and the man of the house is watching cricket. We had a great day with family yesterday, and we’re all a little bit tired today; I can imagine similar scenes are being played out in homes all across the country.

Here are the final gifts I received from Kimberley as part of Advent Swap 2013. I’m thrilled with everything I received, and wish I could give Kimberley a big hug; she put so much time and effort into finding the perfect treats, and I hope she enjoyed her Christmas day.

Day 20 Day 21 Day 22 Day 23 Day 24 Day 25Huge thanks to Kimberley for such wonderful gifts, and to Cat and Miriam for organising Advent Swap 2013. I will definitely be signing up again next year, and think you should too!

Advent Swap 2013: Days 1-5Advent Swap 2013: Days 6-12
Advent Swap 2013: Days 13-19

You can see what I sent my recipient, Treena-Marie, here.

Advent Swap 2013

Festive Fun with Fernando

It’s hard to believe that Fernando’s time with us is already up. This was the last morning of racing downstairs to look for ‘Nando (or, “Nah-nooo!” as Pickle calls him); last year I worried about whether Tiny would be upset that he was gone on Christmas morning, but the excitement of presents overshadowed all else.

I’ve learned something important this time around: the ideas that I thought were the simplest, or lamest, or most last minute, were the ones Tiny loved the best.

EOTS5 photo(13) photo(7) EOTS6My favourite? The elfie selfies. Tiny’s favourite? Fernando riding the bird in his room. He took such a long time to find him that morning, despite us having discussed various hiding places in his room the night before.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and a great start to 2014. Travel safe, and have fun xoxo