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Tuesday 23 December 2014

Elf on the Shelf: Week 3

Another week of December has gone by and that means another week of Elfie Pokie Nokie hanging around in our home. Here's a look at what he got up to over the past week...

On the fifteenth day Elfie got a little tangled in Christmas lights. We found him sitting next to our tree wrapped in a spare set of lights that I'd yet to hang on the tree.

Sunday 21 December 2014

Alameda Christmas Tree Lane

A few weekends back we took a stroll down Alameda's "Christmas Tree Lane".

The 3200 block of Thompson Ave in Alameda is one of the East Bay's best spots to check out houses decked out for the holidays. Almost every house on this section of the street is covered in lights with displays covering the front lawn.

Many of the houses have a particular theme and feature beloved characters both from Christmas stories and popular movies. There are snowmen, reindeer, Santa, elves, candy canes, and characters from Marvel comics, Peanuts, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Grinch who stole Christmas and Frozen. Snoopy, Jack Skellington and Elsa all on one street? Lola was in heaven!

Here's a look at some of my favourite displays on the street.

Gingerbread House & Sugar Tree

Last weekend I took the girls into the city to visit two of San Francisco's finest hotels and their festive Christmas displays: the Giant Gingerbread House at the Fairmont Hotel and the Sugar Tree at the Westin St Francis Hotel.

Visiting these two amazing confectionery pieces makes up two of the vouchers on our advent calendar and it has become a tradition for us to visit them every year.

Nevada City Victorian Christmas 2014

Last Sunday we traveled to Nevada City high in the Sierra Nevada ranges to attend the Victorian Christmas Festival.

Every year Nevada City plays hosts to thousands of visitors who flock to the beautiful little gold rush town for the festival. The town's many Victorian era buildings and the surrounding pine forests, make the perfect backdrop for the event.

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Elf on the Shelf: Week 2

Another week of December has gone by and that means another week of Elfie Pokie Nokie hanging around our home. Here's a look at what he got up to during week two...

On the eighth day Elfie got into the Halloween bucket again. Lola has been reminiscing about Elfie making a mess with the Halloween candy last year so she was pretty excited to see that he was up to his old hi-jinx again. That is until she noticed that it was her Halloween bucket and he'd eaten a Snickers bar, two Easter eggs and a lollipop! Elfie Pokie Nokie has not been in Lola's good books ever since! I'm sure he'll make up for it in some way.

Monday 15 December 2014

The Little Ice Rink

This post is sponsored by The Little Ice Rink. All opinions are my own.

Last Sunday was our day of wintry fun. We started the day with a trip to the "snow" at the annual Snow? In Berkeley? festival (which you can see here), then spent the afternoon ice skating at The Little Rink in Alameda.

The Little Rink is located at Alameda's South Shore Center and is a great spot to spend the afternoon.
We skated for just over an hour as the sun began to set and it was perfect. Ava is our little skater girl and despite the fact that she hasn't had lessons in a year and a half she took to the ice like a pro. Within no time she was showing off with one foot glides and attempting spins. Lola is still a little nervous on the ice and needed help but I could see her confidence growing as she skated.

Thursday 11 December 2014

Snow Day in Berkeley

Last weekend we pretended that we get real Winters here in the Bay Area and spent a day playing in the snow and ice. We spent Sunday morning making a snowman and having snowball fights, and the afternoon ice skating at an outdoor rink. A perfect day of Winter fun - without having to actually experience Winter!

I'll be sharing our ice skating fun soon but first let's have a look at our morning of fun in the snow...

Monday 8 December 2014

Peter Rabbit Organics Giveaway

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Peter Rabbit Organics. All opinions are my own.

Mathilde has been eating solids for over two months now. Twice a day, lunch and dinner, my hungry little piggy guzzles down a bowl of mushy food. Apples, custard, rice cereal, pumpkin, peas, kale... we're yet to find a single thing she won't eat!

Elf on the Shelf: Week 1

Elfie Pokie Nokie, our Elf on the Shelf, is back in our home again for the holiday season.

Just like last year he's been moving around the apartment and doing all sorts of different activities. I've got to admit that he has been a little lazy at times. So far there have been three days when the girls have woken to find him still in the same spot as the day before, but he has made up for it by flying back to the North Pole to visit Santa and coming back to a different position while we've been out during the day. The first time this happened he left a note saying it was due to the rain but we've come to the conclusion that maybe it has something to do with me being up throughout the night feeding Mathilde. He can't move around when Mathilde and I are still up, can he?

Anyway, here's a look at what Elfie Pokie Nokie has been up to the first week of December...

On the first day Elfie appeared along with the advent calendar just like he usually does. He fits nicely into the big pocket for day 25. This is always his starting and ending point in our home.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Our Little Christmas Tree

As if visiting Santa on Friday night wasn't exciting enough, we upped the Christmas spirit on Saturday by taking the girls to choose a Christmas tree.

The past few years we've visited a Christmas tree farm and cut our own tree. This year we kept things simpler and visited a nearby Christmas tree lot and bought a pre-cut tree. 

Visiting Santa at Macy's

Friday's advent voucher was the one that the girls' look forward to the most out of the whole calendar: the voucher to visit Santa at Macy's.

We headed into the city in the evening after Ava's skateboarding class and the girls couldn't wait to see Santa. As usual Ava and Lola were a little nervous when it actually came time to go talk to Santa but Mathilde was pretty intrigued and happy to go sit on his lap. The big girls warmed to him pretty quickly and in no time they were telling him about all the things they'd like for Christmas: a tv, puppies, American Girl accessories, a computer, a chess set...

Thursday 4 December 2014

Clay Leaf Ornaments

Autumn is almost over but here in the Bay Area it's finally in full swing. The trees are golden, the sidewalks are covered in leaves and the cooler, rainy weather is finally upon us.

Autumn is my favourite season for being creative. Actually, it's my favourite season in general. I really enjoy creating crafts with Autumn leaves and I'm lucky that I have two little helpers who are just as keen. Ava and Lola love to collect colourful leaves as we walk to and from school and they're always excited to make something with them - although admittedly most do end up crushed in the bottom of the stroller!

Most of the crafts we make with leaves are temporary. At some point down the track the leaves get crumbled and whatever we've made ends up in the trash. I thought it would be nice to make something with leaves that lasts a little longer, so inspired by the nature impressions in clay that we made over the Summer (which you can see here on Popsugar) we got to work pressing leaves into clay.

The girls and I have worked on all sorts of leaf crafts in the past but this one has to be my favourite.
I'm really happy with how well they turned out. They really do look like leaves. I hung them up in the living room for Thanksgiving but I'm actually thinking of just leaving them up as they look so pretty.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Letters to Santa

December is Christmas crazy all month long in our home. The advent calendar goes up on December 1st and every day the girls find a voucher for Christmas activities. Vouchers for ice skating, choosing a tree, Christmas crafts, Christmas movies, visiting Santa...

Every year the first activity in the advent calendar is the same: writing a letter to Santa.

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