Ultimate advent activity list 2015 17

Christmas, we love it.  But as much as I love Christmas and the build up to it, it is important to me to focus on my family and not just on the commercial aspect of just Christmas Day.  Part of the way we do this is by having advent activities that we do.  It helps me to focus on my family each day in this busy busy period of the year.   So here is our ultimate advent activity list for 2015.

Ultimate advent activities

Tips for keeping your home warm over winter

Tips for keeping your home warm over winter 14

Our energy bills are the second only to our mortgage, so it pays for me to work at ways to reduce them or at least keep them in check.  But I don’t want to be the only one doing it,  I also want to encourage the kids to work at reducing the bills and educate them as to why it is important that we save energy.

11 more Poppy crafts for Remembrance Day 13

Last year we visited the poppy installation at the Tower of London, which really got the boys interested in Poppies and their significance.  Also Maxi has been studying the first world war in topic this term, so poppy crafts for remembrance have been at the forefront of our mind.

11 poppy crafts for remembrance day

Firework crafts and treats roundup

20 Firework crafts and treats roundup 16

With Halloween getting bigger and bigger each year, bonfire night just creeps up on me.  This year I am prepared and have a round up of some super fireworks crafts and treats to get you in the mood.  There is something wonderful about coloured art on black paper and beautiful colours against the night sky that makes fireworks so spectacular for both children and adults alike.

Gaming terminology guide for parents 19

What can I say, my boys are nine and ten now and they are both gaming obsessed.  They love their Xbox and also saved up this year for a Wii U.  So I have to make it my business to keep up to date on what is going on in their gaming worlds!  GAME are aware that parents can get confused about all things gaming, so they have asked Gamer Claus to help out parents this Christmas.

Gaming terminology guide for parents

Pipecleaner Firework Prints 15

We love Bonfire night and fireworks and I need little excuse to get the paint out!  So we have had a go at pipe cleaner printing and making fireworks on black paper as they look so effective.  These Pipe cleaner firework prints are easy to do and look great too.

DIY Recycled Plastic Bottle Poppy Craft 11

We love making flowers here in The Mad House and at this time of the year our minds turn to the poppy and remembrance.  I love to use the time that we craft as a family to talk about things and making a poppy craft with the boys always gives me the opportunity to discuss the need for remembrance day and the this year Maxi has been studying world war one, so was really interested.  We really enjoyed making these DIY recycled plastic bottle poppy flowers.

DIY Recycled Plastic Bottle Poppy Craft

Halloween crafts and ideas

Halloween crafts for kids 1

I really do not need any excuse to craft, but if you are looking for one it can not have escaped your attention that it is nearly Halloween.  For me it is a great reason to get making and baking with the boys and we start to decorate the Mad House with all our home made decorations from early October!  If you are looking for inspiration, then I have this super roundup for you of our Halloween crafts for kids.  These are the Halloween things that we have made over the years, so there will be something for all ages and abilities.

Tomato and courgette bruschetta – cooking with kids 10

This is one of those recipes, that isnt really a recipe as much as the fact we had grown tomatoes and yellow courgettes this h=year in our garden and wanted to use them up before we went on holiday.  So we experimented and it turned out amazingly well.

At what age should you kids be sleeping through the night? 11

From the moment my babies were born the first question I was asked was “Are they sleeping through the night?”.  Well the fact was my boys never slept for more than 4 hours at a time until they were eleven months old and I thought that I was the exception and that babies were supposed to sleep, you must have heard the sleep like a baby quote and thought that is was a good thing!  So at what age should kids be sleeping though the night?  

Pumpkin paper plate weaving

Pumpkin paper plate weaving 14

Are you feeling all autumnal yet?  We certainly are.  We picked the last two butternut squash from our garden this week and are enjoying lots of pumpkin soup.  We are also still in the mood for pumpkin craft and I had some orange yarn left over from our pumpkin paper plate lacing craft, so we came up with a variation on our Sunflower paper plate weaving, Pumpkin paper plate weaving.

How to tighten your budget without impacting upon family life 10

As a family, we’re always trying to save as much as we can. We can’t necessarily afford to put a great deal aside each month, but it’s always so reassuring to have a little bit put away for things like holidays, days out, and, of course, Christmas and Birthdays. But, with the children growing up quicker than I ever thought possible, and things like university, moving out and, dare I say it, weddings, looming ever closer on the horizon, I’m trying to find ways in which we can cut back and save more.

Simple jar lanterns for Halloween

Simple jar lanterns for Halloween 12

I love decorating seasonally and also with the dark nights, I am a big fan of using light to decorate too.  Last year we made some super simple jar lanterns for Halloween and we decided to add to them this year.  These Halloween lanterns are really easy to make Look great too and are a fantastic way to reuse any old jars that you may have.

Haunted Gingerbread House – Cooking with kids 20

One of our annual traditions is making a Gingerbread House at Christmas and decorating it.  It is such a fun activity and we decided that doing it only once a year was not on and a poor use of our mould, so we decided that for the next year we are going to make a seasonal house and this is our haunted gingerbread house.  We had so much fun making and decorating it.

Haunted gingerbread house

Star Wars Books for Kids

Fab Star Wars Books for kids 1

I have talked before that it can sometimes be frustrating as a parent when you want to instil a love of books and reading in your kids and they are reluctant readers.    Over my years as a parent I have struggled to reconcile the fact that Maxi is not a book worm like I am and that Mini has become.  However, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t read,  just that he reads in different ways.  I have also learned that I need to find something that engages him and with the new Star Wars movie coming out later this year these Star Wars books really did.

The UK’s Best Festive Cake – Christmas Tree Cupcakes 16

I love baking and cooking with the boys.  It is something I did with my Mum and I am sure that she did with hers too.  I have had them in the kitchen with me since they could sit in a high chair and we always have lots of fun baking.  I especially love baking and making with them at Christmas.  Just take a look at these fabulous Christmas tree cupcakes that Mini made and decorated.  Another one of our annual traditions is making our not to gingery gingerbread, which we use to make Gingerbread houses and reindeer cookies.

Firework Art – Cable tie firework sculptures 19

Do you love fireworks?  I have such fond memories of the annual firework displays that used to take place on the stray each November 5th when I was growing up.  Cold toes, hot chocolate from the flask and sparklers in gloved hands.  I remember  looking at the sky in awe at the beautiful bright bursts of colour and them making the fact that I was cold so worthwhile.  We loved making these zip tie (cable tie) firework sculptures, just look how beautiful they are and they were super fun to make too.

Firework Art - Zip tie firework sculptures

How to make craft stick fairy doors 15

One of the great things about children is their imagination.  How stones become treasure, dandelion clocks are fairy wishes and every rainbow has a pot of cold at the end.  So we decided to make some craft stick fairy doors to welcome the fairies in to our garden this summer.