Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Goldfish Mandala

This past weekend was incredibly rainy here in the Bay Area, and the kids and I found ourselves stuck inside for the most part. With such limited space in our apartment, the girls tend to get cabin fever when they're stuck inside for extended periods of time, so I made sure to keep them occupied with lots of fun activities. We baked cookies, we drew pictures, we made jigsaw puzzles, we built forts out of blankets and pillows, we played restaurants with wooden food, and yes, there was plenty of TV and computer games. Lots and lots of rainy day fun. However, the stand out activity for both the girls and I, was when we decided to play with our food! Yes - playing with our food!

We always have a pack or two of Goldfish crackers on hand in the kitchen as they happen to be one of the girls' favorite snacks. This time we happened to have the Colors variety of Goldfish, and as I was getting a pack for the kids to snack on it struck me that these colorful little treats might make for an amazing art work. We've made stop motion animation with Goldfish before (which you can see here) but this time a mandala made with varying colors jumped into my mind. The kids loved this idea and right away they got to work creating. 

Ava and Lola emptied their Goldfish crackers into a bowl while I laid down a large piece of white card as a back drop. After discussing what they would like their mandala to look like the girls got to work.

They started off working from the center of the mandala, adding one row at a time. The girls worked together so well deciding which color to use, which direction the crackers should point, how the colors should alternate... It was so nice to see them working together as a team and making decisions together.

The girls really put a lot of effort into making their mandala as neat as possible. I was a little worried at first that there may be arguments over one bumping the other, or maybe Lola not making her parts quite as neat as Ava would like, but they were so keen to make their mandala look great that they helped each other out when needed.

Of course, there were a few snack breaks while they worked!

Back to work!

 Once the mandala was finished, Ava decided to add a few extra touches on the sides.

The girls were really happy with how it turned out and so am I. It's amazing how something as simple as Goldfish crackers placed in circles can have such an impact.

The girls were keen to animate their mandala, so with a few adjustments, we made a few rows of Goldfish crackers change direction and created a simple GIF.

Such a fun and creative way to play with your food! And the best bit? The girls got to eat all of it when they were done!

Make sure to check out the Goldfish Tales webpage here to find out how you can get creative with Goldfish for a chance to win big. Submit your own Goldfish stop motion animation and you could win $5,000. How cool is that?

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

Happy new year everyone! I hope that 2017 is off to a good start for you. We've had a quiet start to the new year with grey days spent at home, but I'm hoping that this year will be a year of amazing adventures for our family. It's also going to be the year of catching up (and staying caught up!) with my blog as my travel posts have been a little neglected as of late. So expect to see lots of travel posts in the coming months as I catch up - and hopefully from new adventures too!

Speaking of new adventures, today I'm sharing our last adventure of 2016; our day trip to Fitzgerald Marine Reserve just south of San Francisco.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Christmas in San Francisco

One last Christmas post to finish the year...

The week before Christmas the girls were on Winter break from school, so we decided to take advantage of their free time and get into the Christmas spirit by heading into the city to visit a few of our favorite festive places. 

Our first destination of the day was the Fairmont Hotel and the giant gingerbread house. To get there we caught the cable car up California Street. We don't take the cable car all that often, but when we do we almost always take the California Street line. It's just as fun as taking the more popular Powell Street lines, but without the huge lines of tourists. We always get an outside seat (or inside if we want) and the views up and down California Street are pretty amazing. That's one hell of a steep street! I always feel like the California Street line is almost like a local secret! It's definitely not as well known with tourists and, even better, the conductor usually doesn't charge up when he sees me holding out our Clipper cards to pay fare. Shh... 

Friday, 30 December 2016

Elf on the Shelf: Week 4

Christmas is over for another year but I still have a few Christmas themed posts to share with you. First up is the last week of Elfie Pokie Nokie's adventures in our home.

Here's a look at what he got up to in those last few days before Christmas...

Day 22
We already know that Elfie likes to try out other holidays and celebrations (we've found him getting into the girls' Halloween buckets before and playing dreidel for Hannukah) but this time we found him playing with left over party props from Lola's rainbow unicorn themed birthday party. For Lola's party (which was back in October) I made a unicorn pinata and the girls loved it so much they wanted to keep it. The broke it open ever so carefully - or as carefully as you can when hitting something with a stick! - and then Ava taped it back up again. She made a little mess with the tape so she wrapped the unicorns "wound" with a bandanna bandage. Elfie used the bandanna to his advantage and tied it around his waist so he could sit comfortably on the unicorn. Looks like a comfy spot, and let's face it, who would pass up the chance to ride a unicorn?

Monday, 26 December 2016

Christmas Day 2016

Christmas has been and gone for another year. Did you celebrate yesterday? After spending the past two Christmases travelling we decided to keep things a little more quiet this year and spend Christmas at home. 

Christmas morning the girls woke up early, as I'm sure every other kid did, and after nursing Mathilde we made our way into the living room to see if Santa had visited over night. The first thing the kids saw were sparkly footprints in the hallway. Looks like Santa visited!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Tilden Park Carousel

It's Christmas Eve! Can you believe it?

I feel like this whole month has just flown by and we haven't had a chance to do as much festive stuff as we had hoped - sick kids make it tricky to get out and about. The girls have been off school this past week so we managed to fit in a few days of Christmas fun - before the next kid sickness hit. It's been a bad month for sick kids in our home.

Wednesday night we jumped in a Zipcar and headed up into the Berkeley Hills to visit the Tilden Park Carousel. We've been to the carousel several time during the day but never before at night. In the lead up to Christmas each year the carousel is open in the evening for rides under the twinkling Christmas lights. A festive display of lights and inflatables surrounds the carousel building and on certain nights Santa even makes an appearance. It's a fun Berkeley Christmas institution that we haven't taken part in until now.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Elf on the Shelf: Week 3

We've been pretty busy around here preparing for Christmas and it seems that Elfie Pokie Nokie, our Elf on the Shelf, has been just as busy. 

This week has seen Elfie try his hand at ballet, playing with toys, eating tasty cookies, getting a little wrapped up in the bathroom, and just hanging around. Here's a look...

Day 15
In past years we've found Elfie practicing ballet with Barbies from the Nutcracker, but this year it looks like he decided to take it a step further and dress up himself! That Barbie dress is a perfect fit! The tights are a little long though! Sugar Plum Fairy Barbie seems pretty happy with Elfie's effort.

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