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.


Monday, 19 December 2016

Christmas Tree Farm Visit 2016

Can you believe that Christmas is less than a week away? Eek!

We've been getting into the Christmas spirit little by little this year. I had planned to have a super festive month in the lead up to the big day, but with Ava being so sick (a week of croup followed by a week of pneumonia) and all the running around that comes with this time of year, things haven't been as festive as I would have liked. But we do have a Christmas tree so that's a great start, right?


This year we visited a Christmas tree farm and cut down our own tree. We had to put it off a few times due to heavy rain and Ava being unwell, but we finally got there last Sunday. In the past we've headed north to Sebastapol to visit a Christmas tree farm, but this year we decided to stay local to the East Bay and visited Castro Valley Christmas Tree Farm just a half hour drive south of Berkeley.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Elf on the Shelf: Week 2

Another week with Elfie Pokie Nokie in our home has gone by. 

Here's a look at what he got up to this past week...

Day 8
Elfie Pokie Nokie spent day 8 in our home just hanging around - literally! We have air plants in glass planters hanging in our dining room window. One of them died so I took it out and Elfie obviously decided he would take its place. He doesn't look at all comfortable but he spent the whole day there so it mustn't have been too bad.
  

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Holiday Reading with Kindle for Kids

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Amazon. All photos and opinions are my own.

Can you believe that the holidays are almost here? I must admit that I'm in disbelief that the kids will be finishing up school for the Winter Break at the end of this week. Of course, the kids are super excited about it. Two weeks off school with their favorite holiday right in the middle - what could be better than that?

This year we don't have any major travel plans for the Winter Break but we will be making the most of the time off with local day trips and adventures. We'll also be making sure to spend plenty of quiet time relaxing. Things can get pretty chaotic at this time of year and we've also been dealing with a few illnesses over the past few weeks, so some much deserved rest and relaxation is definitely on the cards. For everyone! 

When it comes to relaxing, there are few things that could be better than finding a cozy spot and getting comfortable with a good book. This is true for the kids as well as us adults. Ava, in particular, is an avid reader and spends a lot of her spare time curled up with a favorite book, whether it be in her bed, on the couch, in a blanket fort, or under a tree in a park on a nice day.


Saturday, 10 December 2016

Our Christmas Cards 2016

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Minted and contains affiliate links. All photos and opinions are my own.

It's finally starting to feel like Christmas around here. We may not have a tree yet, or any decorations up, but I did send our Christmas cards out yesterday! 

This year, like last year, I printed our Christmas cards with Minted. I was so happy with the quality of our cards last year and the variety of the designs available that I just couldn't go past Minted when it came to making this year's cards. I am so happy with how they turned out!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Elf on the Shelf: Week 1

Elfie Pokie Nokie, our Elf on the Shelf has been back in our home for the past week now, and, as usual, he has been getting up to all sorts of mischief. Here's a look at what he has been up to over the past week...

Day 1
Elfie arrived from the North Pole for his annual stay in our home on December 1st. As always, he arrived with our advent calendar. No crazy antics for the first day, but the girls were happy to see him back in his regular spot. He blends in quite nicely, don't you think?


Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Berkeley Snow Day 2016

This past Sunday we spent a day in the snow - without even leaving Berkeley!

It may not actually snow here in the Bay Area, but each December Berkeley's kids (big and small) can spend a few hours playing in the snow right here in our very own backyard thanks to our annual snow day event, Snow? In Berkeley?.


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