The Countdown to Christmas ~ 3 ways we are preparing for Christmas

Happy 1st of December!!!  The countdown to Christmas has now officially begun!  It is now time to get your head out from under the tinsel  and start enjoying the festive season!  This year we are preparing for Christmas in 3 ways and none of them have anything to do with facing shopping centres or making present lists!

1. The Advent Calendar.  You could just go and buy a chocolate box variety Advent Calendar and dig out a chocolate each morning as you countdown to Christmas but  for us this is a time to share, reflect, enjoy each others company, to learn, to play, to cook…..TOGETHER.  So we are doing an “Activity Advent Calendar”.  

This year I have decided to once and for all buy an advent calendar that we can use every year!  This gorgeous creation is by Lily and George and is available from Lime Tree Kids. It was just too divine to pass up and a steal at $34.95.  Inside each little stocking  I am placing a daily activity card.   I have downloaded and printed the FREE advent activity cards from the ever talented Bianca at A Little Delightful.  They are thoughtful, gorgeous and perfect for the age of my little ones.  I love that they include a few blank ones to add your own activity.  Along with the activity I will occasionally have a little treat that goes with the activity.  

2. The “Elf On The Shelf”  He is all about returning some of the magic, surprise, awe and wonder to Christmas.  He will be arriving THIS WEEK and making mischief at night!  The next morning we will find a clue about what he has been up to while we have been sleeping! He will aslo be reporting back to Santa about who is being “Naughty or Nice” I am hoping to also link this up to our “Advent Activity Calendar” Check out the “Elf on the Shelf” HERE

You can also find this great “Elf on The Shelf” downloadable calendar at THE PARTY DRESS.

So how do you link the elf to the advent calendar? For example; 4th December – Advent Activity – “Bake Some Christmas cookies” (Treat in the stocking – cookie cutters) The night before the elf gets into the cooking fever and leaves out the flour in a mess on the bench! This is planned for a Sunday so we can take the cookies to share at Kindy on Monday!

7th December – Christmas Movie Night – (Treat – Christmas DVD) – Delivered by the elf who is placed near the tv with a small cupcake container filled with popcorn and the remote!

I finish work on Friday!!!!  So our calendar will be hung on Friday night and our elf will be making his grand entrance on Saturday morning for his “Elfy Breakfast“!!!

The third way we are preaparing for christmas is the reason for the season.

3. Truth in the Tinsel.  This is an e-book designed for “little hands”  each day there is a clue, a scripture reading, an ornament to make and much more!  It is all designed to help teach little ones the real meaning of Christmas!  Read all about it HERE

Ok so that is a lot but we will all be on holidays and each activity will not take more than half an hour!  We may not do all 3 three things every day and we have a few beach mini breaks in the coming weeks aswell! I am going to keep track of everything using the Christmas Calendar from A Little Delightful pictured above.  Yes Bianca has thought of everything!  Can you tell I am more than a little excited about Christmas???

So how do you countdown to Christmas? 

Smile, Say….REINDEER!

Having a Christmas photo taken is a Christmas tradition in our house!  Every year I dress the kids up in their Christmas outfits and take a photo for a Christmas Card to be sent to the relatives and friends near and far!  Looking back at the last four years of Christmas Cards I cn’t believe how much they have grown and our life has changed!

Master O's First Christmas ~ Dressed as an elf!

Master O is almost two and that smile says it all ~ CHEEKY!

About to receive the best present of all ~ A new baby sister!

and then there were two!

Lucky for me their Christmas outfits from 2010 still fit!  So today I am going to TRY and get a 2011 photo!  There will be wriggling, fussing, bribing and begging but all in the name of  capturing a precious moment this Christmas!

Do you take a Christmas Photo?

My Little Drummer Boys

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I choose today

There are Reindeer Crackles and angel wings to be made.  Christmas cards to be written, Santa photos taken, christmas presents bought, but today….

I choose today to breathe.  I need to, to survive.  To just take it slow. Well at least slower. To savour some extra time at Kindy instead of rushing off to accomplish my to do list.  The to do list will hapen every day, kindy days are numbered.

I choose today to read.  Outside.  In the breeze, under the mulberry tree with Little  Miss A.  Because the christmas cards to people I have not spoken to all year are not as important as having a limited moment with my girl without her brother interrupting.

I choose today to sit down to drink my coffee instead of taking it on the run with me.  I will savour every mouthful as I sit and watch them play outside.  I will leave the computer off and talk to those that I love “in real life”.

I am not sure why or how but I really need to have “a day” of less.  My mind will wander and I will begin to stress and plan and list but I choose today to really try to see and listen and be still.  I choose today to start stressing less and enjoying more.  To plan less and dream more.  Will it be easier said then done?

Chocolate Reindeer Crackles!

I was running out of Christmas snack ideas!  Every year come November the endless run of Christmas concerts, picnincs and parties begin!  with the words “Bring a Plate” written accross most invitations, I was beginning to run out of Christmas food ideas!  This little guy was a creation for the Kindy Christmas Picnic.  Something chocolatey, delicious, easy to make and fun!

Combine 4 cups rice bubbles, 2 tablespoons cocoa, icing sugar and 250g melted copha in a bowl and stir until throurughly mixed!  I leave the coconut (that is usually in the recipe) out!

Spoon into patty cake papers.  Push two pretzels into the top as reindeer antlers.

Add some “MnM” or “Smartie” eyes and nose! Refrigerate and then EAT!

These were as delicious as they were cute and oh so easy!  You could make this one or two days ahead of time and refrigerate but any longer and the “MnM’s” start to loose colour!

So what is your favourite Christmas Treat Recipe?

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Ten Top Teacher Gifts This Christmas

I only have one week of work left!  Luckily Master O has two weeks of Kindy left so I have a bit of time up my sleeve to get started on a gift for his wonderful KIndy teachers!  There is nothing like receiving a handmade gift from a student as you know how much thought and love has gone into it!   

Most of these gifts are simple, some are personalised and all of them are ideas you can make at home with your child!  A gift for that hardworking teacher so they  know just how much they are appreciated!  

For all the details on these ideas and to see where all this celverness came from check out my Pinterest board.

Or check out this post on TEACHER GIFTS


Tina Gray {dot} Me

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Give me some colour….Things I Know

A change is a good as a holiday, isn’t it?  Our living room desperately needs a holiday!  It is bland, cold and unwelcoming.  It actually does not look much different to when we moved in!  It is white, beige and well not much else!  It truly needs an injection of colour!  But what colour… THINGS I KNOW ABOUT COLOUR

I know that yellow is……sunny, bright, welcoming and maybe a little too girly?

I know that Tiffany blue is smart, elegant but maybe a bit formal for a family home?

I know that pink is bright, lively but maybe too feminine?

I know that this mix of blue and beige is inviting, informal, homely

and this is sophisticated but welcoming and PERFECT!
What do you know?  Is this the right colour scheme for our home?


What Lies Ahead…Wordless Wednesday

If only I could have seen his face.

The excitement, the awe and wonder, the fun and axihilaration, of what lies ahead.

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Dressing with your salad? Why I would choose to buy my fashion with my groceries.

Selling fashion in supermarkets is not a new thing.  Stores in the United States and UK have been doing it for years and finally the trend has caught on in Australia.  Last month Coles introduced “MIX” a “fast, affordable and everyday” fashion range into their supermarkets.  Naturally this concept has been embraced by many an Aussie Mum, including me!  So why would I forgoe the fashion chains and shop at the grocery store?

1. Its Convenient.  I work, I mother, I run a household, I do kindy drop off, I blog.  Somewhere in there I find time to do the groceries.  Grocery shopping is generally done childless.  A whole hour of just me, a list and a wonky trolley.  Now I can throw in a new top complete with matching pants and shoes into my trolley as I consider what we are having for dinner tonight.  One car trip, one car park, one time dedicated to shopping.  Extended store hours mean I can pop in for a new outfit at a time that suits me. Oh and perhaps the hubby won’t notice the purchases if they are hidden amongst the bread and milk?

2. It’s Affordable.  I am afraid my days of spending a couple of hundred on an outfit were farewelled  at the birth suite.  We are on a budget.  A tight budget.  This is where “Mix Apparel” has really got it covered.  The clothes are good quality.  The most expensive item is $39. Generally you are looking at between $12 and $25.  They are desinged to be MIX and matched further adding to its practicality and budget sense.  

3. It’s On Trend.  Think nautical, think maxi dresses, think 50’s style polka dot swimwear.  It can be cheap but if it doesnt look good whats the point?  The current range MIX’es effortfless practicality with style.  Casual to cocktail.  If you have seen it in your high end retail fashion stores, chances are MIX has done it too.  But for quarter of the price.  The range also includes menswear, shoes and accessories. 

$19 ~ Side Rhinestone Flip Flop

$25 ~ Smocked Maxi Dress

$15 ~ Sleeveless Mix Ruffle Top

The MIX range is “fast fashion” meaning it changes every two weeks, so if you see something whilst browsing online be sure to grab it quickly before it’s gone!

So…would you buy your fashion with your groceries?

 Have you checked out the “MIX” range at your local Coles?

 Oh and hands off that maxi dress, it’s all mine!

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An “Elfy” Breakfast.

Our little “Elf on the Shelf” will be appearing this week for the first time in our house!  To celebrate his arrival we will be having an “Elfy Breakfast”.  

Last year one of my favourite bloggers

Jessica from Little Pumpkin Grace hosted a “North Pole Breakfast”  

Isn’t it just absolutely divine!

I have been counting down the days until we could have a “Christmassy Breakfast” of our own!  So our little elf will be leaving these delicious treats for us to celebrate his arrival!

Some snowman pancakes!  So cute and yet so easy!  Pancakes are always a hit on our household!

Reindeer cookies!  Take your usual cookie mix and add pretzel antlers and MnM eyes and nose!

and wash it all down with some make yourself hot chocolate?

I can’t wait to start making some of our very own Christmas traditions this year with the arrival of that very cheeky elf!

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The Elf on The Shelf ~ A Joyful Christmas Tradition

The Elf on The Shelf is a Christmas Tradition.  I could give you a long winded explanantion about him but basically, this cheeky little elf appears in children’s homes in the lead up to Christmas.  He finds himself some adventures, always leaving a little clue as to what he has been up to while the children are sleeping.  Some clever “Elf on The Shelf” participants even leave notes, photographs, emails and videos all igniting the joy and wonder of Christmas.  

Of course you can buy the authentic “Elf on The Shelf” which comes packaged with a story about the little guy. Or you could just do what I do and just buy your own little elf from a dollar store!

Not all elves have to be cheeky!  Some may do good deeds, or imitate parts of the nativity story, or just leave little notes encouraging children to do good deeds.  It is you elf and your family!  Oh and don’t forget to give him/her a name!  Here’s what some cheeky elves have been up to! 

Paint your childs nose red in the night!

A fishing elf with a candy cane fishing rod

All wrapped up!

Reading a "toy story"

Baking reindeer cookies

A few drinks and games with the boys

Vanity elf has replaced all the family pictures with pictures of himself!

Ready for some Christmas shopping? This elf is in Mummy's Bag!


A slipper race!

Attempting to be crafty!

Hanging by a thread!

To view these clever Mummy created ideas and many, many more elf ideas check out  

Tina Gray {dot} Me

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