Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well, we're about to head off on our family holiday for Christmas. It's our turn to do all the visiting this year! 

I had so hoped to post more about our Christmas and Advent activities and all of the fun wrapping I've been doing... I've been making wrappings as drawstring re-usable / re-giftable bags and must say I got through about half of the gifts before realising that (due to serious time restrictions ;) I had to finish the rest with paper (brown paper with string or gorgeous red ribbons). Ah well :) Half is better than nothing. Sorry there are no pix.

I just want to wish everyone out there in the great big blogland of Montessori Mama's and Waldorf Steiner Mama's and fabulous crafty Mama's everywhere a great Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you soon... I'll be back in 2009 with a few changes :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The organic licorice factory

When we went to visit some friends after Hug's birthday (yup, I'm still stuck in a backlog of photos :) we had the fabulous opportunity to visit the Southern Hemisphere's only organic licorice factory

Housed in this old Flour Mill. I'm so loving the building.

Glorious & what amazing weather!

We ate yummy food in the cafe, listened to awesome live music, bonded with old-friends much missed and got to see inside the factory too! They also make organic chocolate nuts and things like that and that's what is happening here in these beautiful brass bowls.

We also got to try our hand at *vertical licorice bowling* but I didn't get any good photo's and it's hard to describe what it was... but it did involve throwing a huge wad of licorice up into a shute and hoping to knock down bowling pins on its way down. T and Hug were crowned the 'Vertical Licorice Bowling Champions' of the day & won a bag of licorice - I can't say that's an award they're likely to win too many times in their lives :)

I loved that my boys decided they liked licorice & we got to taste some organic Spelt licorice which we all loved & have been delighted to find we can buy it closer to home too. It's a real treat around here now after this fun day!

Hug's birthday gifts

I never got around to posting about Hug's actual birthday gifts - just his Space party. Because the party was a rather big event I kept the gifts sweet but simple. Even the wrapping...

Newspaper & re-used ribbon and some special blue and gold paper. Frugal and I think it looked beautiful. When he woke up I told him that he had to look for his presents so he searched every room high and low before making it to the kitchen where they were simply sitting on the table!

Hug excitedly bringing the gifts back to our bed for the official opening.

Lovely got a present to. A favourite book

These Lyra water-colour paints are so beautiful. Really well priced & the colours are so vivid. I couldn't recommend them more.

This brilliant fold-out fire-engines book. 

And le piece de resistance... A wooden builders kit. I can't find a google link to it or anything quite like it at the moment but is a timber case with lots of real wooden tools in it. I think it's meant to be for ages 8+ but it will only for supervised use at the moment.

Hug showing Lovely what everything is... sweet.

My little biggest is 5! wow.

Followed by a yummy pancake breakfast. Love it :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Playdough Candy Canes!

I knew that the boys would be having some little friends over this afternoon so I left a message from Santa in our beautiful new advent calender this morning letting them know that we would be making Playdough Candy Canes! I got the idea here at Just for Fun but used the *perfect* playdough recipe from My Montessori Journey (I've never made such great playdough, you've got to check it out - plus, she adds glitter and scents and it works!). 

Anyway, I made 2 batches - 1 white with a lot of Spearmint essential oil (I had planned to buy some peppermint essence from the baking department but my store didn't have any & then I found this spearmint oil in the bathroom - which I thought was fine seeing that it's not going to be eaten) in it & silver glitter.

The red has a *lot* of red food colouring in it - like almost a full bottle! - and red glitter. The boys helped with adding the glitter and the colour and oil & the stirring. 

When it was made and while the boys were sleeping/resting, just for fun, I made separate portions & bagged them up with a name tag each & put them under the tree for the children to find. It was a sweet surprise :)

Roll out a red snake and a white snake and then roll them together to merge the colours. Give it all a bit of a twist and another quick roll and...


I put them in the oven on low heat but our oven is playing up & kept turning itself off & I've never baked playdough before so I don't think it's really worked... might pop them back in later & hopefully by tomorrow morning we'll have some new ornaments for the tree!

Oogly-boogly-eyed Santa

Another Christmas-themed activity we've been working on here, with playdough. I hadn't made any new playdough when I first put this together so we used our Halloween (not quite ;) orange playdough

Usually we have a *lot* of playdough equipment out (different animal cutters etc) but I got really lucky at the thrift store last week with a bag of brilliant themed cutters for $1 so I put everything else away to keep it simple and more focused. Love it! There was a rabbit and a pumpkin - alas too late for Halloween - and a birthday cake and these Christmas ones. 

There is enough on the tray for both children to work together - stamping out the shapes & adding the oogly-boogly eyes if they want to. Cute, huh!

A Christmasy change!

I have changed a few of our Montessori activities to give them a Christmas feel.

Actually, this is a new one I put together last night when I was cleaning up. I found these little wooden bits & made some simple glitter numbers. This work is for Lovely as I think he's ready to start recognising the written numbers. These glitter babies are a bit small for tracing like you would with the real sandpaper numbers but I think they're a good start for us.

A threading activity. I took out all of the other colours & added white wool (with sticky tape on the ends to make it easier to thread with).

This beading activity is a new one anyway but I took out the other colours also & exchanged the straws for pipe-cleaners. The boys have both enjoyed this actually, especially using the little pegs.


The special things that boys get to do with their daddy while mama is out :)

The farewell roadtrip

Having posted recently about the boys penchant for building trucks inside and the packing a away of the cot I had to post this photo when I came across it! 

Monday, December 8, 2008

A bucket of pegs

Okay, so *our* Montessori work is really Montessori-inspired-work. I have no training & no actual Montessori equipment so it's really just based on what I have read & the other Montessori mama blogs that inspire me & ideas that I think fit. Montessori purists may think I'm a bit crazy for what I call Montessori but it's (kinda) working for us ;)

Anyways, we started running out of pegs on the line so I bought some more... but they didn't make it to the line. Instead they ended up getting teamed with this blueberry bucket. A sorting game! 

I think that pegging is a great activity for building up the muscles needed for writing and for hand/eye coordination.

And pattern work

And hat making!

This activity has continued to keep them interested and is now a permanent on the shelf so I still have to double-peg on the line ;)

Please excuse the quality of these photo but it was early & the light was a bit low for Hug's camera. He's kindly sharing his with me after mine got full of sand. Woops :(

Lovely little hands scrubbing

Even though he's been in his own big bed since he turned 2, we still had Lovely's cot up until recently. We finally took it down to take it to the local baby store to see if we could sell it on consignment. But it needed a wash first!

Fill a bucket with warm soapy water & practise sponge squeezing

cleaning with the sponge

and scrubbing with a nailbrush

voila! A clean cot ready to say goodbye :)

The Garbage Truck Recycling Game

This was a fun game that we played. My boys (like most I'm sure) love it when the garbage truck comes & Hug often insists the the loungeroom turns into a garbage truck zone. This particular day I didn't want it inside so I suggested that our daybed could be the truck.

This is the front of the garbage truck. Hug often uses the large rounds from our TreeBlocks as steering wheels. We have a collection of clean recycling that I keep for craft so I got that out & let them at it! 

Here the plastics have been sorted into a *plastics area*

Paper and cardboard

I had these 'returned' to me: "Mama, the lids must be removed before you put bottles in the recycling!" :)

And here is Lovely as the jump-on-jump-off garbage guy helper. 

I just loved how much fun they had but also watching how much they knew about recycling and sorting. A great play /real-life learning combo! Who knows how to categorise this type of thing ;)

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