Want a hit of cricket?

Cricket may well be a summer sport, but Tinkles apparently knows and enjoys the game – maybe they just play indoors at the North Pole! And let’s face it, Christmas in Australia does include cricket between backyard and beach matches and the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, so why shouldn’t our Christmas elves join in?!

Christmas elf batting at cricket

Tinkles and Tooth Elf are batting, and the babies are bowling and wicket keeping! Good to see them all playing active games today.

Both my younger children are in cricket teams this summer so they were quite pleased to find Tinkles, Tooth Elf and some others having a hit in front of the windows in the family room.

Christmas elf batting at cricket

Tinkles looks happy to bat, and I love the concentration from the Christmas-dressed baby as she wicket keeps!

 

Invitation to make gingerbread

Even without a crystal ball, I think I can see some cooking in my future today!

It was easy to find Tinkles this morning as she was in the middle of the kitchen bench, on a chopping board and a request to make some gingerbread people. She’d even managed to get out some Santa and person biscuit cutters for us!

Tinkles colouring in Santa!

Tinkles is artistic! Or at least she is careful and colours between the lines nicely 🙂

Christmas elf colouring in a Love Santa picture

Tinkles was discovered this morning colouring in a Love Santa colouring sheets! She has done some beautiful shading so far, with just part of the S in Santa to go before finishing off Santa’s face.

Probably just as well Baby Elf is in her high chair rather than in reach of those pens…

I wonder if Tinkles was colouring in to relax and be mindful or if she was a bit tired and just happy to sit quietly after her trip with Australia Post yesterday.

 

Love Santa offers Christmas activities and crafts to download for free

 

Whose bum? at Christmas ~ Christmas book review

Whose bum? at Christmas Cover of whose bum at Christmas

by Heath McKenzie
Illustrated by Ada Grey
Lake Press, Melbourne, 2019

Age group: 2 to 5 year olds
Format: 14 page board book with lift the flaps

Doing some Christmas shopping recently and I came across this cheeky little book which we’re giving to our young nephew. It was first published this August so it is quite a new Christmas book.

The story

It’s a board book so not much of a story other than trying to predict who owns the bum sticking out from the flap.

My review

My nine year old read this to her brother and I last night, and we all laughed!

Sure the kids found it a little easy to guess whose bum it was on most pages, other than the names (I mean it is a bit hard to know which reindeer is which from their bum and they expected the snowman was actually Frosty).

Inner page of whose bum at Christmas showing an elf

I like that each bum is sticking out from something different, be it a fridge, a gift or a Christmas pudding! And the kids just kept giggling at the bums, of course!

Inner page of whose bum at Christmas showing a reindeer

The pages are thick and sturdy so can cope with little fingers turning and opening the flaps, but the flaps themselves are obviously not as thick as a full board book so make a judgement on the child’s ability to treat books gently, or not!

 

Would I recommend it? It’s a bit cheeky, but that’s what makes it fun! SO yes I recommend it for little people, but perhaps put it away for visitors without a sense of humour!

A different way to arrive!

This morning, the kids looked unsuccessfully for Tinkles but finally found a note near Baby Elf in her cradle beside the Christmas tree…

Baby elf in cradle beside a Christmas tree with a note from Tinkles

The note told the children that if all went well, Tinkles may be somewhere unusual this morning as she was trying a different mode of travel today.

Tinkles' note "I'm heading off to teh North Pole now. I'm trying a different way to get back in the morning (I hope it works!) so I may be somewhere unexpected when you get up..."

The note from Tinkles was “I’m heading off to the North Pole now. I’m trying a different way to get back in the morning (I hope it works!) so I may be somewhere unexpected when you get up…”

Puzzled, the kids ate their breakfast and wondered where Tinkles could possibly be.  They realised Tinkles didn’t come via the chimney or Christmas tree, and suddenly thought more mundane and raced each other the the letterbox!

CHristmas elf hanging out of a letterbox

Poor Tinkles appeared to have got stuck in the flap of the letterbox, or maybe she didn’t like the idea of falling down into the letterbox?

 

Elves in a sleigh!

I’m not sure if the elves travelled back to the North Pole last night in a sleigh pulled by a boomer, but it is certainly where we found Tinkles and Baby Elf this morning!

Christmas elf and baby elf is Santa;s sleigh pulled by a boomer

The boomer usually sits on our mantlepiece but we hadn’t seen the sleigh before today! I think the sleigh can stay with the boomer up there now though…

 

If an elf visits your house, where did you find him or her this morning?

Making Christmas green…

I am feeling inspired by Santa’s supermarket recycling trip, so I have been thinking of ways we can all be a bit greener this Christmas…

Have you made any changes to your Christmas so this year is more environmentally friendly? Have some of your relatives or guests resisted any changes towards a greener Christmas?

Giving more sustainable options…

  1. Choose the item with least packaging whenever possible
  2. Be more creative with wrapping gifts, like using
    1. using kids’ artwork
    2. reusing wrapping paper from last year – and if you tie gifts with ribbons instead of using sticky tape, reuse of paper is even easier!
    3. use gift bags as more people are likely to reuse them
    4. cloth bags that can then be reused as shopping or storage bags
    5. practical items, for example tea-towels, tablecloths, and even hankies can wrap around gifts. This works especially well when the wrapping can be part of the gift, like a tea towel around a kitchen item or a sarong around some beach items.
    6. boxes (remember even Santa collects old boxes!) without or with any decorations on them.
  3. Save Christmas cards you receive, cut off the back half where someone has written and use the front half as a card or gift tag
  4. Avoid gifts that people won’t appreciate or use as that is just a waste of resources and encourages a materialistic attitude. Much better to give something you know they want or something very practical, or even better, for someone ‘with everything’, why not think about giving an activity or even a charity gift (like Oxfam gifts to struggling farmers and girls unable to go to school)?
  5. When choosing wrapping paper and cards, look for more eco-friendly options like being made from recycled or sustainably grown paper and without foil and glitter. If you scrunch a piece of wrapping paper and it stay scrunched, that generally means it can be recycled – if it unfolds itself, it is likely to contain non-recyclable elements.
  6. Shop locally as much as possible to reduce the transport miles of your Christmas tree, decorations, gifts and so forth
  7. Give sustainable lifestyle gifts like reusable produce bags, beeswax wraps, keeper cups, metal clothes pegs, shampoo bars and bamboo toothbrushes – these may be things people will try if given one but be too nervous to buy one for themselves

Bags, fabric and tins are simple ways to reduce wrapping paper waste this Christmas

Decorating sustainably

  1. If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure it gets chopped up afterwards and used as mulch rather than thrown into a tip or landfill. {Note if you do have a real tree, make sure you add water to it everyday to reduce the risk of fire}
    Even better, there are a couple of places that rent out real Christmas trees! You hire the tree for December, care for it and then they collect it and replant it – how’s that for eco-friendly! I haven’t one of these near me but it is a lovely idea.
    At one time, I did have a Christmas tree in a pot that came inside each summer to be decorated, but it got too big! Another year part of a gum tree fell in our yar so we used the fallen branch as our Christmas tree – I loved the Aussie feel that year!
  2. Reuse your decorations each year – if you prefer a different theme or style each year, consider having two or three sets and rotating them or swapping sets with a couple of friends. If you really don’t want to use the decorations again or just have too many, make sure you give them to someone who will – try op shops, kinders, school, community houses, food kitchens and homeless shelters.
  3. Choose the ‘better’ decoration when selecting new ornaments – for example, select metal and glass ornaments over plastic ones, look for recycled materials, and choose ones that will last (both in terms of quality and style)
  4. If making some decorations yourself, try using existing materials instead of buying new – there are some amazing creations to be made out of old magazines and newspaper for instance, and paper chains made out of junk mail or old Christmas wrappings is pretty and cheap!
  5. Instead of plastic centrepieces and bits of glitter, why not use some real greenery? Some gum leaves add a muted colour and lovely smell, and you can add in some rosemary, lavender or citrus leaves so contrast, too. For variety, you can even use potted plants (herbs plants are a great choice for scent and size) amongst the leaves, or instead of a horizontal display. The bonus is that any herbs can be picked from the centrepiece to be used as seasonings, too!

Recycled materials can make beautiful decorations to add Christmas cheer without harming our planet

General Christmas actions to help the environment

  1. Take our own shopping bags when we go to the shops – and definitely refuse to accept any plastic bags from the shops
  2. Plan to use any left overs so there is less food waste. In my family, we have the roasts for lunch and then left over meat and salad for dinner which reduces waste but also takes a lot less work for everyone!
  3. Avoid disposable things like paper plates, paper serviettes and plastic cutlery – if everyone pitches in, washing up the dishes isn’t too hard to manage
  4. Avoid bonbons with plastic nonsense inside – you can get or make bonbons without plastic items or with better quality items instead of just throwing out lots of little gimmicks. Better yet, get some reusable bon bons and really reduce the waste this Christmas
  5. Only leave out healthy snacks for the reindeer and boomers – glitter is awful for the environment and the animals so avoid that, but if you leave out carrots and grass or oats any left behind by the animals can be composted or thrown in the garden
  6. Buy food from eco-friendly places wherever possible – farmers markets are a great source of veggies for example

 

Tinkles has a baby elf!

We have a baby elf in the house!

Baby Christmas elf in a cradle with a bottle and dummy

The children looked around the house for Tinkles this morning, then found her in front of her door. Only, this time Tinkles was not alone! Inside a cradle beside the Christmas tree, we spotted a baby elf!

She is very cute and even has a milk bottle and dummy in the cradle with her 🙂

My daughter absolutely loves babies so she is beside herself with excitement to find there is now a baby elf in our house (I have to clarify that it is a baby elf as we already have a number of her babies living with us!) She is also happy to find the baby elf on the day she transitions to a new school – I suspect Tinkles chose today to give her a confidence boost so thank you Tinkles 🙂

 

Snowman visiting from the North Pole

Oh dear, I don’t think went well for the snowman Tinkles invited to our house overnight…

Christmas elf with a bowl of water containing two eyes and a carrot nose

8 December, Christmas elf and advent calendar catch up

We did of course have our usual search for Tinkle this morning, just to find her in the lounge room trying to sneak a peek at tonight’s advent calendar items! I just didn’t get it posted this morning because, well, it’s Sunday and a bit of variety is a good thing, right?

Not only is her hand instead the Harry Potter Lego advent calendar, but we can see the flap for day 8 in the City Lego advent calendar has also been pushed in a bit – cheeky elf tried peeking at both calendars!

Lego advent calendars for 2019

Although I haven’t done daily posts this year, we do have two Lego advent calendars on the go – my daughter has the Harry Potter one this year (the Friends one seems to be hit and miss so we may as try something exciting!) while my son has the City calendar (which he is happy with but also a little jealous to not get the Harry Potter version!)

Lego Harry Potter advent calendar, set 75964

This set is exciting as it’s new and different, and because it is a character and book/movie series my kids enjoy (as far as they have got anyway – we limit them to those we feel they are old enough for so they only know the first three books/movies).

The scene is obviously the great hall at Hogwarts.

Day one was a harry mini fig, followed by Professor McGonagall on day 6. Hogwarts Express (the train) was behind flap two, and I even got to make that one.

My daughter was thrilled to get two Christmas trees on day 3 and then a fancier Christmas tree on day 4 as well! This advent calendar is making her much happier than the Friends calendars so it was a good choice for this year.

The Gryffindor flag pole is nice and I love the bench as it truly invokes images of the students gathering in the Hogwarts great hall. Harry and the Professor sitting there with goblets in hand also reminded me of drinking butter beer in the  Three Broomsticks Inn!

Note the Slytherian flags are actually from day 9 as Tinkles was in the way to my daughter getting out the day 8 item! We just swapped for today!

Lego City advent calendar, set 60235

Like most years, the City calendar has a winter and snow theme – it would be nice to see that changed up a bit next year but I’m not holing my breath!

This calendar has also had two mini figs so far – a boy wearing a propeller cap and a man in a parka with a broom for clearing away snow. The first day revealed a snow plough and the second day was a catapult.

On day four, we discovered a structure that the catapult can, if aimed well, can throw a snow ball – as per previous years, this may be something that makes more sense to those living in snowy climates than it does to us! My son thought he got a strange Christmas tree on day five, but it was more of a log with an axe and chopping stump.

The Christmas tree was on day six and today he made some presents to go under the tree.

 

How do you make a gingerbread house?

Tinkles had the idea of making a gingerbread house today, which is a lovely idea, but in trying to make one before us we can see her ideas are not quite the same as ours…

Christmas elf preparing to build a gingerbread house

Well, it is logical to use ginger and bread to make gingerbread, but not quite the reality! And in building our house we do use drills and screwdrivers, amongst other tools, so getting them out also makes some sense, but not what I usually use for preparing anything edible!

And having got out some tools and ingredients, I think it became a little difficult for Tinkles so she adjusted her note to us and stopped making her house…

christmas elf holding a note about starting to build a gingerbread house

Has your elf been a bit literal or logical with anything in your house?

Santa baby ~ Christmas book review

Santa Baby Cover of Baby Santa

by Smriti Prasadam-Halls
Illustrated by Ada Grey

Bloomsbury Childrens Books, United Kingdom, 2015

Age group: 2 to 5 year olds
Format: 32 page hardcover picture book

This book combines my love of books and my daughter’s obsessions with babies, so it was bound to be a favourite in our house!

The story

Santa’s young son and his young reindeer friend, Roo, are disappointed at not joining Santa on his big Christmas Eve trip.

My review

I fond the premise of this book cute – namely that Santa has a baby and Roo is a baby reindeer – presumably Rudolph‘s baby although this is not said or hinted at.

So Baby Santa is disappointed at not being old enough to go out in Santa’s sleigh and has to wave goodbye as Santa takes off with a sleigh full of gifts. It amused me that Santa sent the baby (really a young child!) to bed as you can’t get any gifts unless you get to sleep!

Inner pages of Baby Santa

They find some gifts, think Santa left them behind, so take off in their mini sleigh. After a couple of distractions (typical of a toddler or young child!), they get into trouble and {spoiler alert!} are rescued by Santa. As an adult I predicted who the left behind presents would belong to, but young readers will be surprised and amazed at the twist it gives to the story!

Inner pages of Baby SantaThe illustrations are clear and cute, the story is nicely paced and easily understood by young readers. My nine year old enjoyed reading it out loud – the only word she stumbled over was ’twas 🙂 – and loved the story itself.

 

Would I recommend it? Yes I do recommend it! Santa Baby is a lovely little story and young children will find lots they can relate to, with a bit of dreamed off excitement thrown in!

 

 

 

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