Christmas activities

Eleventh of December, counting down!

Exactly two weeks to Christmas Day and we’re opening the flaps on day eleven in our advent calendars. Have you managed to open each flap on the correct day so far? We have, but it has been close a couple of times when we’ve been out.

Ornament calendar

Well, we’ve had a Lego City snowman and a Lego Friends snowman, so who is surprised to find a press out ornament snowman? Snow and snowmen have become so entrenched in Christmas imagery, but it still feels irrelevant as we don’t have a snowman at Christmas in Australia!

Snowman cardboard ornament

Lego City

Today my son got to make a small train for his advent calendar…

Lego bullet train

Lego Friends

Again, this ornament feels over sized, but it is a cute lantern that took a little work to put together. The single leaf on top is unusual, but my daughter took a spare flower from day six to make it complete.

Lego Friends lantern

Christmas book

Snowman, skiing, throwing snow – they are seem to go together so reading The Angry Birds Christmas book by lantern near a snowman seems appropriate!

Advent countdown reaches double digits!

Day ten – reaching double digits is important for kids so why not for a Christmas countdown!

Ornament calendar

As a white cat looks at the wreath on a door, we created our own Christmas wreath to hang on the tree. The bow is large so the wreath felt a little unbalanced, and like it is facing the wrong way, but it hangs nicely and adds more colour to the tree.

green wreath with red ribbon from the advent calendar

Lego City

I can’t say we’re sure what we found behind today’s calendar flap – a ball with two stands or two goal posts perhaps? What do you think it is meant to be?

Lego ball and stands

Lego Friends

In the  Friends ornament collection, we added a candle tonight. It felt very large as we made it – especially with the scale of Lego things we’re used to – but it was simple to create and would look ok on a Christmas tree.

Lego candle ornament

 

Christmas book

We are looking forward to some fun with he rhymes and pictures as we read A very pirate Christmas tonight. Let’s hope someone can rescue Santa in time to save Christmas!

Day nine of advent calendars

The weekend is drawing to a close but the advent calendars are still going strong!

Ornament calendar

The calendar added an angel to our tree today, and revealed a picture of an angel atop a snow covered tree.

collage of angel press out decoration from advent calendar

Lego City

Getting into the Christmas theme today, the Lego City calendar produced a light stand with mistletoe. Putting the mistletoe together was a little different – the leaves sit in a small hole in the flowers’stalk, and the the stalk can be fitted into other Lego pieces as usual.

Lego work woman and snowman near lamp

Lego Friends

My daughter loved the rocking reindeer that she found behind flap number nine of the her Friends calendar tonight.

Lego rocking horse ornament

Christmas book

And tonight, we are going to be reading Bubbay – the first book we reviewed on Love Santa and very Australian. We can look at the pictures, think about the Dreamtime and talk about appreciating what we have.

Seventh day of advent calendars

Friday night and opening advent calendar flaps is a nice way to star the weekend so we opened the flaps a little earlier this evening just for fun!

Ornament calendar

Today’s ornament is some holly – this one doesn’t work quite as well with the perpendicular pieces but it is certainly part of Christmas traditions. The image behind the holly was a fox looking at a snow covered bush.

holly for day seven in advent calednar

Lego City

The Lego City calendar had a woman behind flap seven; she is rugged up in a scarf and comes with a shovel (for moving snow perhaps, or just for a general work site?)

Lego woman with shovel

Lego Friends

In the past, Lego characters have had a little camera to hold so this one felt really big and cumbersome in my hands once it was made by my daughter tonight.

Lego purple and white camera ornament

Christmas book

Tonight, we are going back to the Aussie theme and reading Emily’s Bush Christmas followed by the Christmas Wombat (it’s Friday so we’ve added a second book!)

Christmas calendars, day six

Day six – it may be quite (very!) warm in many parts of Australia today, but all our advent calendars are focussing on cold weather for day six!

Ornament calendar

I think this is a very pretty ornament – the subtle purples on the blue and white gives it a sense of depth and cold that adds to the realism of our snowflake.

Cardboard nowflake Christmas decoration hanging on a tree and being pressed out of a book

Lego City

Yesterday was the Lego Friends snowman, and today is Lego City‘s turn, complete with a hot chocolate.

Lego snowman with huskie and sled in the background

Lego Friends

And today’s Lego ornament is a stocking, complete with mistletoe.

Lego stocking ornament

Christmas book

Tonight we will be reading a bit of applause for Mrs Clause, although I’m not sure I need any reminders about how many jobs are still on my to do list! Of course, I’m pleased to say we will happily help Mrs Claus with the pile of Santa letters she needs to write!

Christmas countdown – day five

Following on from finding Tinkles on the footy, today’s calendars aren’t really every Christmassy – at least not for those of us living in Australia without penguins and snow in December!

Ornament calendar

The picture today is a cute penguin giving her baby penguin a Christmas gift, and the ornament itself is a penguin!

Cardboard penguin hanging on a Christmas tree

Lego City

My son built the sled easily enough, but we’re not sure of the white pieces alongside it – I think it is meant to be a snow covered ramp but it is too small for the sled to run down so an not sure of the ramp’s purpose! Maybe someone better used to snow and sleds will know…

Lego sled and ramp

Lego Friends

My daughter put together the snowman ornament tonight. The nose is cute and a bit soft and bendy! But overall this is not the best looking Lego snowman – we saw better ones in the 2017 City calendar, the 2015 Friends calendar, the 2016 Friends calendar and my favourite is probably the 2015 City snowman or maybe the 2017 Friends snowman from Christmas Eve.

By the way, like the press out advent calendar, these ornaments do not come with the means to actually hang them so, if using this calendar, you will need to get some string or ribbon to hang the ornaments – we’re still working on where we’ll will hang them…

Lego snowman ornament

Christmas book

Peppa’s Christmas Post is our Christmas book for tonight so we can talk about letters and helping our families when they need it.

Advent calendar day four…

Day four, so we’re getting into the routine of opening our advent calendars, making things and then reading our Christmas book. It is a lot of fun and I love the family time it is creating for us.

Is your family enjoying the Christmas traditions in your home?

Ornament calendar

In today’s calendar, we had to form the sleigh – this was more complex than the other ornaments we’ve made as it has four pieces. I also liked having two strings to hang it with so I could balance it between two branches.

Santa's sleigh Christmas ornament

Lego City

Behind the forth flap, my son found a dog (one of the beautiful Lego huskies), a plate and a chicken leg. It is a little strange and had nothing to stick together at all (the chicken doesn’t even attach to the plate as we expected!)

Lego huskie beside a white dish holding a chicken leg

Lego Friends

My daughter is very pleased to have a fireplace with a stocking and a nutcracker! To be honest, while building it we weren’t sure what was sitting beside the fire but looking at it from a little distance it became more obvious we had made a nutcracker!

Lego Friends fireplace and nutcracker

Christmas book

Tonight’s book is Aussie Jingle Bells  which goes nicely with our new sleigh ornament, and could be pulled along by our new huskie!

 

Day three in our countdown

It may be Monday, but the excitement of opening another flap in an advent calendar is strong!

Ornament calendar

We pressed out a Christmas tree ornament tonight, to see Santa and the elves decorating their Christmas tree!


Christmas tree ornament hanging in a Christmas tree

Lego City

A little red racing car popped out of the advent calendar today, explaining the racing track on the scene layout!

Lego racing car

Lego Friends

Today we found a set of golden bells in the advent calendar – and made a discovery. Everything in this year’s Friends advent calendar is an ornament to hang on a tree or around a room – it looks like there will be no characters, no Santa and no theme.

In past years, the advent calendar has produced characters and props that fill in a scene and that the children enjoy playing with. True, this year’s box didn’t have a scene which was a bit of a clue that we missed, but we truly did not expect 24 ornaments. Even the first couple of days, with the larger than expected scale of the heart and guitar didn’t make us expect something different, but today it clicked. The box says ‘Build your happy holidays’and ’24 gifts’ so we assumed it would be like previous year calendars. Looking online, the official description does state ‘build a new decoration for your house or Christmas tree’ so that is up front but we didn’t get ours online. It also confirms there will be no Lego people included but there are ‘decorations to represent each of the 5 friends from Heartlake City’.

Ornaments are nice and we will find a way to make this special for my daughter, but I am very disappointed with the Friends advent calendar changing like this. It doesn’t help that we couldn’t quite complete the bells – the holly leaves can’t attach to the top of the bells without a connector piece (which luckily we have enough Lego in the house we could rectify it but we shouldn’t have needed to.)

Lego Christmas bells

I do like the bottom of the bells though as the dangling donger does add a realism to the bells. And it does hang nicely:

Lego Christmas bells hanging on a Christmas tree

Christmas book

The magic little Christmas tree is the next book we will read in our book countdown to Christmas – it is a cute little book and goes nicely with our Christmas tree ornament obviously!

Advent calendar day two…

Onto day two of the Christmas countdown – the excitement is building which is not so productive on a Sunday night, but still enjoying it!

Ornament calendar

Ringing in Christmas! The hidden picture for day two was Merrit and a green-clad elf friend ringing traditional church bells, while we made a bell ornament.

Press out ornament advent calendar day two

Lego City

While there are a number of Lego City kits based on police and ‘baddies’, it still surprises me to find a thief in advent calendars, especially on day two! It did not worry my son in the slightest and he is happily planning this thief joining his other Lego thieves and baddies after Christmas (we keep the advent calendar Lego together for Christmas).

Lego thief and spaceship

Lego Friends

Day two and the Lego friends calendar produced a suspiciously large guitar! We’ve had guitars in advent calendars before, but this one is bigger than the Lego characters so I’m not sure who is meant to play it!

Lego guitar and heart on an advent calendar

Christmas book

With Tinkles arriving yesterday, a Christmas elf story was a must read today! We have selected The Christmas Elf as our book tonight.

December is here!

Welcome to December, and the start of 2018 advent calendars!

Love Santa December count down

This year, we are effectively doing four calendars each day!

What? Why? you ask… let me answer!

So we are doing the Lego City calendar and Friends Lego Advent calendars again because my kids love them and I appreciate getting a quality item each day rather than chocolate or rubbishy toys.

On top of that, we are doing an ornament advent calendar and a Christmas book calendar.

Each day we will share what we find inside the three calendars and which book we will read.

Ornament Calendar Day One & a Christmas read

The ornament calendar actually includes a lovely story inside it so we read it tonight instead of an actual book!

The calendar is a set of cardboard ornaments that you create after popping them out of the booklet. Once you pop out the ornament pieces, you can see a picture behind it so there are two surprises each day!

press out pieces all in place at the star of teh advent calendar count down

Our first ornament is a bauble, based on two pieces. The pieces are thick and sturdy, and can be placed back into the booklet if you wanted to store them for next year. Fitting them together is fairly easy, but the slots are shaped to give a firm fit that stays together.

Press out advent calendar - day one star in a tree

It’s worth noting that the ornaments have a little hole for threading something through to enable hanging, but you have to find the something yourself. I used green sewing thread so it is close to invisible when we hung the ornament, but there was a bit of scrambling for something as I hadn’t thought ahead for it!

So then we read the story, Wrapping up for Christmas. With my daughter’s love of babies satisfied and seeing Santa take presents in his sleigh, we enjoyed seeing how an elf and Santa dealt with a simple mistake in a positive way – a great start to our Christmas reading!

Lego City Day One

It’s not a very Christmassy start, but the City calendar had a spaceship behind the first flap. A spaceship or rocket was also in the 2015 (a spacecraft) and 2015 (two rockets) Lego City advent calendars.

Lego spaceship on a red background

Lego Friends Day One

Lego advent calendar red heart

And my daughter was surprised to find a large red love heart as her first advent calendar item this year. It is red, true, and Christmas is a time for showing love but it really felt like this was better suited for Valentines Day than 1 December… But it is cute and has a star so we’re happy with the start of our advent calendars.

 

Advent calendars start this weekend!

Saturday is the 1st of December and that means it is only 5 days until we start our Christmas countdowns!

How are you going to count down the days of December this year? There are many types of advent calendars, including more adult focused ones these days, but here is a sneak peek at the Lego City and Lego Friends calendars for 2018…

Images of the 2018 Lego City and Lego Friends advent calendar boxes

 

And the opened calendars themselves:

count down part of the Lego Friends advent calendar box for 2018

Lego Friends countdown 2018

count down part of the Lego Friends advent calendar box for 2018

Lego City Advent Countdown

A chocolate Christmas igloo!

What on Earth is a chocolate igloo, let alone a Christmas chocolate igloo, you may well ask!

Obviously, it is an igloo made out of chocolate, and decorated for Christmas!

two views of a chocolate igloo

Making an igloo from chocolate…

So a friend came across a Cadbury competition where you needed to create a Christmas house from chocolate. As lovers of both Christmas and chocolate, we couldn’t resist and set a time to create our chocolate house.

As we sat there with our mounds of chocolate (four 350g blocks and a 250g block of chocolate, plus some white chocolate melts and lollies), we had the idea of making an igloo from individual pieces of chocolate instead of just sticking together big blocks. Let’s face it, Santa lives at the North Pole so a Christmas igloo seems reasonable – and slabs of gingerbread to make a house is one thing, but a gingerbread igloo wasn’t going to happen!

Of course, making an igloo took more than the 40 minutes estimated for a Cadbury Christmas house!

We broke blocks of chocolate into pieces then formed the igloo using more chocolate as the mortar. It was our first time building an igloo so we made the first rows a bit too upright (ie we should have started the inwards slant sooner) but it worked out in the end.

We went with a flat roof as we weren’t sure we had enough chocolate left nor confident of our engineering skills to get it to curve the whole way in 🙂 But the flat rood made adding a chimney easier!

Adding decorations was easier – melted white chocolate for snow, cut up snakes to make a wreath, sour straps to make garlands of tinsel, cut up jelly lollies to make lights and some milk bottles to be the penguins at the door. And we mustn’t forget Freddo was inside the chocolate igloo (who else could live inside a chocolate building?)

Why a frog in an igloo?

Ok, there aren’t a lot of frogs roaming around the North Pole waiting for Santa to drop in, but Freddo is made of chocolate and seemed the right resident for the house!

Freddo Frog sindie a chocolate igloo decorated for Christmas

Seeing Freddo inside the igloo, my eight year old decided there was a story behind the frog. She wrote a lovely story about a little frog who ended up at the North Pole and built himself an igloo to live in.

It was also my daughter who thought of the penguins – I was thinking of milk bottles at the front door to suit the old milk deliveries but she saw them as penguins which was a much better idea! A little black icing to make eyes, and Freddo had some company!

Alternative Christmas houses

So, that is our Christmas chocolate igloo – what do you think? It won;t win any architect awards, but I think it is fun and a very good first igloo building attempt! Maybe you can try making a chocolate Christmas igloo – if you do, we’d love to see photos!

What other alternative Christmas houses have you seen or created?

chocolate igloo in a snow storm!

Freddo stuck in his chocolate Christmas igloo in a snow storm!

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