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Tuesday 29 December 2015

52 Weeks: Week 51

Week 51: Los Angeles

We're almost to the end of the year. Can you believe that there are only a few days left of 2015?

We've been away on vacation in Southern California since the girl's Winter break started last week and I've gotten a little behind with blogging. Time to catch up starting with last week's installment of my 52 week project.

We started our vacation with a few days in Los Angeles. I'll have a few dedicated posts coming soon about places we visited, but for week 51 I'm sharing our stay at the Ace Hotel in Downtown LA.

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Elf on the Shelf 2015: Week 3

I can't believe that three weeks with Elfie Pokie Nokie in our home has gone by already.

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

Day 15
It looks like Elfie decided to do a little cooking on Lola's play stove. I wonder if he realizes the stove isn't real. His saucepan was empty so I guess so. Maybe elves eat imaginary food. 

52 Weeks: Week 50

Week 50: Karate Belt Test

This past week both Ava and Lola took karate belt tests - and passed!

I'm so proud of my little karate kids! Ava is now an orange belt and Lola is now a yellow belt.

Here's a look at my karate kids in action...

Monday 21 December 2015

Holiday Circle of Lights

Saturday night we took the girls to go see a beautiful Christmas light display - at a cemetery!

I know, I know... It sounds kind of morbid and such an odd place to have a Christmas light display, but trust me, it was absolutely beautiful.

Sunday 20 December 2015

Visiting Santa 2015

Last weekend we spent a day in the city doing a little festive sight seeing. First up we visited the Fairmont Hotel to see the Giant Gingerbread House and then the Westin St Francis Hotel to see the Sugar Castle. You can see them both here

Our next stop was Macy's to go see Santa and tell him our Christmas wishes

Saturday 19 December 2015

Gingerbread House & Sugar Castle

Last Sunday we spent the day in the city taking in the sights of Christmas. I always love how festive San Francisco feels at this time of year. The city is filled with Christmas cheer with festive street lighting, Christmas trees, ice skating rinks, ornate decorations in windows and lobbies, and crowds of holiday shoppers and tourists.

We made sure to visit all of our favorite holiday spots: the giant gingerbread house at the Fairmont Hotel, the sugar castle at the Westin St Francis, Union Square and, of course, Santa at Santaland in Macy's.

Here's a look at the giant gingerbread house and the sugar castle...

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Elf on the Shelf 2015: Week 2

Another week with Elfie Pokie Nokie, our Elf on the Shelf, has gone by.

Here's a look at what he has been up to...

Day 8
Uh oh! It looks like Elfie got into the Halloween candy... again! He does this at some point every year and for some reason it's always Lola's Halloween bucket that he chooses. Lola was not impressed. Mathilde, however, thought it was pretty funny. She has a pointy red Hanna Andersson hat that we refer to as her "naughty hat" as she seems to do extra cheeky things when she wears it. When she saw the mess that Elfie Pokie Nokie had made with the candy she sat next to him, pointed at his head and said "hat" while nodding knowingly. It wasn't Elfie's fault, it was the "naughty hat"! On a side note, I didn't notice until after I'd cleaned up Elfie's mess that there was a smear across my camera lens - hence the bad photos.

Monday 14 December 2015

52 Weeks: Week 49

Week 49: Jack London Square Tree Lighting

I'm a little behind with my weekly post so this one is almost two weeks old. Oops!

A few Fridays back the girls and I got into the Christmas spirit by attending the annual Christmas tree lighting festivities at Oakland's Jack London Square.

We arrived a little late thanks to BART delays leaving us waiting on the platform for quite some time in Berkeley, but the girls enjoyed the night even though we missed the official "lights on" moment.

Thursday 10 December 2015

Hand Print Christmas Trees

Christmas is always such a busy time for crafts in our home. One of the kids' favorite holiday crafts is making painted hand print pictures. In the past they've made Santa hand prints and reindeer hand prints. This year they wanted to make something different so we decided to go for Christmas tree hand prints.

Making festive hand print pictures may be fun but it can also be pretty messy work, especially when there are toddlers involved. Trust me, there was about as much paint on Mathilde's t-shirt when we were done as there was on her actual hand print Christmas tree! Luckily we have method 4x concentrated laundry detergent to keep everything nice and clean once we're finished with all that messy paint.

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Elf on the Shelf 2015: Week 1

Elfie Pokie Nokie has been back in our home since the beginning of December and he's already been getting up to all sorts of mischief. The girls are so excited to see what he's doing when they wake up each morning.

Here's a look at his first week in our home this year...

Day 1
Usually Elfie Pokie Nokie begins his stay in our home by appearing in the advent calendar. This year I was a little bit slack and didn't have the advent calendar up in time so he decided to be true to his name and was an elf on a shelf. Or cabinet, rather. Close enough! Also, how cute is that family portrait Ava painted when she was six? I must commission her to paint a new one with Mathilde included!

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Puff Pastry Pizza Scrolls with Bertolli Riserva

Our after school schedule gets pretty hectic around here. Between swim team/class and karate class, Ava and Lola have something on every day after school. Swim team three times a week for Ava, swim classes twice a week for Lola, and karate class twice a week for both. They're definitely busy girls, and that makes me a busy mum!

With all of that physical activity after school it's important that the girls have something good to eat to fuel their bodies. They tend to eat a lot of fruit and dairy after school, but sometimes they need something a little more substantial, especially considering that swimming coincides with their regular dinner time.

I'm always on the look out for quick and simple foods that I can make for the girls. Something that will give them a boost of energy and act sort of like a mini dinner to tide them over until we get home. It needs to be delicious, not too heavy, and, most importantly for me, easy to make with little effort.

Thanks to Bertolli Riserva I'm sharing a recipe for a super simple snack that is really fast to make, tastes delicious and fills kids up just the right amount. Adults too! Puff Pastry Pizza Scrolls are so easy. Only four or five ingredients are needed and they're done in around 20 minutes. Oh, and they taste good. So good!

Monday 7 December 2015

Win Christmas Giveaway

Snuggling up by a toasty fire with peppermint hot chocolate in hand while the kids open gifts and the snow continues swirling by outside isn't exactly how Christmas morning goes for everyone. The "happiest time of year" can be a huge stressor and disappointment if you can't afford presents for loved ones, let alone new clothes or something to eat — Which is exactly why I teamed up with 8 other bloggers to bring Christmas to the door of one lucky family! We want you to enjoy your time with loved ones this Christmas, not worry about disappointment. Keep reading to learn all about the great goodies we have in this easy-to-enter giveaway. Good Luck!

Sunday 6 December 2015

Berkeley Snow Day 2015

Today we had snow!

Well, kind of. We had snow that very quickly turned to slush thanks to the fact that we also had rain. Snow and rain - two rare things in the Bay Area! Ok, so unlike the rain, the snow wasn't actually real, but it was still fun none the less.

Today was the annual Berkeley Snow Day in the Gourmet Ghetto. The girls look forward to this day every December. This year's snow day was a little wetter than the last three that we've been too, but the kids couldn't care less. We all come home drenched right through our clothes but happy to have had our fun in the snow.

Friday 4 December 2015

Our Christmas Cards 2015

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Minted. All opinions are my own.

I'm so excited to share this year's Christmas cards with you. This year I made our cards with Minted and I'm so happy with how they turned out. Aren't they gorgeous?

When it comes to making Christmas cards, there are so many companies out there to choose from that it can be a little overwhelming. I found myself looking at so many different webpages and different styles of cards, but I kept coming back to Minted. Their designs just clicked with me. Modern yet classic. Festive but not fussy. Hand drawn designs, bold colors, letterpress and foil details, original designs by independent artists... All of these details spoke to me and I knew that Minted was the one.

Thursday 3 December 2015

52 Weeks: Week 48

Week 48: Sunsets

This week's installment of my 52 Week Project is a little different. Instead of sharing what the kids have been up to I'm sharing sunsets. And oh boy, are they beautiful.

We're lucky enough to live in an apartment building with a roof deck that overlooks the San Francisco Bay. On evenings when we're not busy with swim classes, the girls and I head up to the roof to watch the sunset. It's always pretty, but lately the sunsets have been just spectacular.

Over the past week (plus a little bit as I just had to share one from the previous week) we've been blessed with a variety of amazing sunsets. Some evenings have been foggy diffusing the sun's glow across the sky. Some evenings have been perfectly clear with not a cloud in the sky resulting in a perfect ombre from blue to orange. Other evenings have ended with the sky full of cotton candy pink clouds. The one thing in common is that they've all been stunning.

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