A Crafty Christmas with Yellowmoon

Everyone loves to get crafty especially at Christmas. My house becomes inundated with little homemade gifts that the children make at school. It’s a struggle to push the boys to do crafting with me now as they are getting older, the eldest spends most of his time in his bedroom doing his homework and the middle one is always on Minecraft but the youngest has found a new love of art and loves to make things.

Every Christmas I like to sit around the table with my boys and make decorations, this year we tried our hand at salt dough decorations and they loved it, I really enjoy the time with them even if it is a short time before they rush off to their own activities.

We was recently sent a crafty box from Yellow Moon, Joseph has become aware of the packaging now and when the postman delivers our little gifts he quickly knows whats going to be inside, the excitement is too much as he rips off the distinguished yellow and blue tape off of the box and opens it with a gasp as he looks inside.

We was sent:

  • Finger Lights (pack of 4)      £2.49
  • Christmas Foam Glitter Stickers (pack of 120)     £2.99
  • Santa’s Workshop Kits (pack of 2)      £3.95
  • Christmas Self Inking Stampers (pack of 10)     £2.99
  • Jumbo Paint pad – red     £2.55 -washable paint, ideal for all crafts
  • Snow Pals Mugs (pack of 3)     £2.95
  • Wooden House Boxes (box of 4)     £3.95
  • ‘Merry Christmas’ Pop up Cards (pack of 8)     £1.99

I knew straight away that the finger lights would be a firm favourite as the boys rip away the packaging and sort out between them what colours are whose. They come in 4 colours, red, white, green and blue. These little finger lights are ideal for this time of year when your out walking in the early evening, the boys put on a little light show as they walk to the shops and back. Each little light has an elastic strap attached to it so that it stays securely on the finger. Batteries are included and each finger light has an on/off button.

Oliver loved the Santa’s Workshop Kits made from foam. They were easy to make just by pushing in sides together so that the notches met up, once all the side were securely in place all you have to do is decorate it with the self-adhesive foam stickers. Oliver is 3 years old and really enjoyed this activity, we made the first one together and the second one he done himself. He managed to peel away the paper backing from the stickers with ease and he chose where to place them on the house, he is very proud of his little workshop and it has been placed under the tree for everyone to see. Each house comes with all of the templates needed to make the 3d workshop, the templates slot in easily making it a simple craft activity for all to enjoy.

The snow pals mugs have been added to our kitchen cupboards and I am under instruction not to touch them as they belong to the boys. The youngest claimed the blue polar bear one, the middle boys chose the red penguin as he loves penguins, leaving the purple snow leopard mug for Jak. They are an ideal size for the little ones and would make lovely little gifts for the Santa Stockings. The plastic mugs are bright and colourful and very cute.

ahhh!

ahhh!

The next item in the Yellow Moon craft box was the pop up Christmas cards, they come in a pack of 8 with envelopes. The boys enjoyed colouring in the cards in colours of their choice. Everyone likes to recieve home made cards, so much more thought and time goes into drawing your own cards. The boys have made cards for their Grandparents.

DSC_0908 DSC_0907 (1) DSC_0920

The youngest boy had lots of fun colouring in the Wooden House boxes, he couldn’t get over the fact that when the lid was moved to one side it revealed a hidden little hole a perfect little place to hide some treats. Each little trinket box is made from natural wood and can be decorated with deco pens, felts or stickers. We used Deco sparkle pens and they dried really quickly, which is ideal for little hands that want to touch all the time. Oliver wants to give his little decorated houses to his friends at school, I’m not sure he will give away some treats with it too.

The Christmas Stamper come in 2 assorted ink colours – red and green and 10 festive designs. The designs include, Santa, reindeer, snowman, elf, robin, star, gingerbread man, penguin, penguin and a tree. The stampers are ideal for giving wrapping paper, gift cards and labels a personal festive touch. We used ours on our gift tags for the presents.

IMG_20141218_212025

How cute are these!

The Christmas Glitter Foam Stickers come in 8 different colours and 16 assorted designs, they are ideal for Christmas crafting and card decorations. The colours are nice and bright and the stickers come in all different sizes. One thing about using glitter for decorations is that the glitter comes loose and stays all over the house but with these stickers I found that the glitter pretty much stayed on and even after handling them and the boys using them to stick on their pictures I haven’t been covered in glitter.

DSC_0919

Beautiful and bright

DSC_0918

Oliver’s Christmas Glittery tree

All of the items were wrapped and delivered in a secure box. Yellowmoon is an online shop that offers a wide range of arts and crafts, party bag fillers and toys for all ages.

 

We was sent a box of crafts for the purpose of this review

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestTumblrStumbleUponRedditLinkedInShare

My Trendy little Crombie boy

I have a passion for clothes but don’t often get time to wear lovely outfits as i spend all my time at work or indoors with my boys, so I am over the moon that my passion has been passed on down to my children especially Joseph. He is 7 years old and loves to dress up, his favourite item of clothes to wear are bow ties and trilby hats. He has the most amazing pair of silver trousers that he adores but he is growing out of them and we are currently on the look out for a new pair.

I recently bought the boys some new winter coats, although Joseph is a boy and 7 years old he loves to choose his own clothes. He’s not keen on tops with logos, he likes patterned material and he prefers to wear clothes that are that little bit different to his friends. We looked on River Island’s website and he immediately was drawn to a Boys grey wool texture crombie coat, costing £45 I thought it was a good price to pay for a coat.

 

Joseph definitely has an eye for trendy clothes. The coat has leather detailed trim around the collar and on the pockets and a skull and cross bone lining, making it really appealing to the younger children.

Once the coat arrived I was a little disheartened as it wasn’t as thick as i thought it would be, but that didn’t affect Joseph’s love for it. He put it on straight away and walked around the living room putting on a fashion show for us.

I must say he looks rather dapper in it!

DSC_0263

My little crombie boy

IMG_20141206_143022

looking rather trendy

Joseph’s teamed up his coat with a Trilby hat, both bought from H&M.

The coat is three-quarter length single breasted, done up with three buttons. It has 2 flapped hip pockets and a centre vent in the back. It’s soft wool makes it comfortable to wear.

I think Joseph looks über cool in his coat and I myself absolutely adore it too!

What do you think?

 

Waitrose Christmas Dinner Calculator

Have you ever ordered a joint online and come stuck when it arrives at the size of it?

I am terrible when it comes to weights and measures and roughly guess the amount of food i need for a meal, often guessing wrong resulting too little meat and a Kilimanjaro amount of vegetables. The worst time is at Christmas, I always over buy and by the looks of everyone’s trolleys in the supermarket, so does everyone else. We all want our Christmas dinner to be the best yet, I don’t know about you but I find shopping for it stressful. I struggle with how much to buy and end up with a fridge/freezer crammed with over sized food and we don’t end up using half of it. Christmas can be a stressful time, buying presents, having the family over and cooking dinner. I find it hard planning a meal for 5 so cooking for more must be a tribulation.

Waitrose have come to the rescue with a tool that can help! The Christmas planner tool.

You simply select the total number of people who will be sitting down for dinner, by sliding across to the number of people who you want. The tool will then suggest the quantities that you will need to buy for your dinner. You can select from 2 -25 people

Screenshot (37)

 

I looked at the quantity of food for 4 people and 5 as I have 2 young children who will not eat a huge amount of food.

Once you have a better idea of the quantity of food that you will need all you have to do is click on the icon next to the food and it takes you through to the Waitrose Christmas shop where you can buy the food from.

Screenshot (38)

 

The food that is available on the Christmas calculator to help you create the perfect meal is:

Turkey

Bread sauce

Brussel Sprouts

Potatoes

Red cabbage

Roasting vegetables

Gravy

Stuffing

Cranberry sauce

Sausages and bacon

Going by the quantities that were suggested to me, I ordered the food to be delivered to our house so I could cook a Roast for the family. I didn’t order the red cabbage as my boys are not too keen on it and it was too early to order the Turkey so I ordered a leg of lamb instead. I measured out all of the food going by what the calculator had suggested and it was perfect, we did have some left overs (but hey, we all want to eat some later on don’t we?)

IMG_20141207_163802

Our Sunday dinner consisted of 525g potatoes, 250g carrots, 300g stuffing, 12 sausages, 250g brocolli, 250g brussel sprouts and a small leg of lamb. I found the tool to be really helpful as i would normally over buy. Most of the food are sold in a larger quantity than what the calculator had suggested to me, so I bought nearest to the quantity. For example the potatoes were sold as a 1kg bag so once i was ready to cook them all i did was weigh them out to the suggested amount and placed the rest into the freezer for another dinner.

I found the calculator very helpful and would be nice to see it as an everyday addition to the website.

DSC_0814

We cracked open a bottle of L’Artisan Chardonnay to drink with our meal, the fine fruit masked with an overt oak character makes this drink a superb accomplishment to eat with poultry or fish. It has a crisp and aromatic taste, best served chilled. The wine is from a Chrismas Favourite case perfectly selected to drink over Christmas from Waitrose.

We was provided with a voucher for waitrose for the purpose of this review, all words are my own.

The Gingerbread house that Mummy built!

Over the past few days I have been working hard in the kitchen creating a gingerbread house for the boys to devour. I must admit it wasn’t as easy as i initially thought it would be! It’s easy to look at something on the web or in a book and say ‘I can do that!’ but I may say i hit a bit of trouble when my house fell down and crumbled.

My first attempt was abysmal, I baked the gingerbread too thick and although it tasted lush it was more of a cake texture than it was a biscuit and it fell down as it wasn’t sturdy enough. I tried to keep it together by using books and cocktail sticks to keep it up, but it didn’t bear well and collapsed.

IMG_20141130_102714

 

On my second attempt I added treacle to the recipe and rolled out the dough thinly (about a £1 coin), this seemed to work!

PhotoGrid_1417902828947 (1)

RECIPE:

250g butter (stork)

200g muscovado sugar (i used dark and light)

620g plain flour

4 tbsp golden syrup

2 tbsp treacle

3 tsp ground ginger

2tsp bicarbonate of soda

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven at 200c

Melt the butter, sugar, syrup and treacle in a pan over a low heat. Set aside to cool

Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger in a bowl.

Add in the melted butter and combine until a stiff dough texture

Leave wrapped up in cling film in the fridge over night

There are many templates out there that you can download and print off, take a look at shelter recipe. I found it easier to just judge it by myself, just by drawing onto some baking paper. You will have to trim off the edges once baked anyway.

Make sure that you do 2 of each template; 2 sides, 2 roofs and a front and back (front will be the same size as the back but will have a door and windows cut out.

You will also need:

Royal Icing-for piping, sticking and decoration

A selection of sweets – Giant chocolate buttons for the roof, chocolate fingers for the sides, jelly beans, skittles, strawberry laces.

When you are ready to cook your gingerbread templates, place a couple of boiled sweets in the window areas, these will melt in the oven and give the windows a colourful window look to them.

Once all of the house pieces were cooked I left them over night as they become crisper and more solid. Before erecting the house, I piped icing onto a board where i wanted the side and front of the house to be. I then placed the pieces together by holding onto them for a minute or so, the icing hardens quickly. Build the house up, piece by piece making sure that each piece is stuck together with the icing. The roof was the last piece to go on.

Each sweet/chocolate needs to be stuck in place onto the biscuit with the icing.

IMG_20141202_200448 IMG_20141206_205153

Have fun with your decoration, get creative and go as mad as you want!

My boys couldn’t wait to pull it apart and taste it, on the other hand i sat back and cried as my first gingerbread house was attacked and pulled down like a lion attacking a gazelle, my boys were certainly hungry for the sweet taste of gingerbread!

IMG_20141206_205354

Oh the sweet taste!

IMG_20141206_205441

Just one lick mum, please

Within seconds it was being devoured

Within seconds it was being devoured

I am very pleased at how my house turned out and can’t wait to make another one, I found it quite therapeutic and really enjoyed baking and creating it.

I was invited along by Tribal media to build a gingerbread house and enter it into Shelters : The great gingerbread house sale More info here Why don’t you join in to?

gingerbread-blogger-180

Shelters Gingerbread House Sale

BAKE IT, BUILD IT, SELL IT

This Christmas Day, thousands of children in Britain will wake up homeless. You can make a difference. All you have to do is bake, build and sell a delicious gingerbread house to raise money for Shelter. Parents up and down the country are being asked to gather their little ones to put their baking expertise to the test creating gingerbread houses, which are then being sold at their schools/clubs/nurseries.

Shelter are asking for help from you to raise awareness of the homelessness by creating a gingerbread masterpiece, inspiring others and raising money for the charity by selling it on, auctioning it, holding a gingerbread house party or just by voting for your favourite creation on the shelter website

Shelter will even provide the recipe and templates to help you. Get your school involved for a chance to win for the school.

Once you have created your gingerbread house, just upload it on to the website for a chance to win some prizes. The prizes are given out in 4 categories: The under 11’s, The under 11’s class, The over 12’s and the Over 12’s class.

Here is our entry

PhotoGrid_1417902828947 (1)

About Shelter:

4 million families could be one paycheck away from losing their homes. In the UK, it is reported that a family lose their home every 11 minutes. Shelter is a charity that campaign for housing rights and against homelessness. They provide practical housing advice and support online, in person and over the phone – from dealing with mortgage arrears through to helping people find a place to stay. Most importantly, they
campaign to tackle the root causes of the housing crisis, which affecting more families each and every day. Last year alone, not only did they manage to re-home those unfortunate enough to find themselves on the streets, they managed to get legislation signed off that will impact masses of families throughout the UK. For example, they secured concessions to bedroom tax for foster carers and families of armed forces personnel and severely disabled children. They also won legislation giving renters the right to complain when things go wrong, not to mention the eviction of rogue landlords. When things go wrong, it’s easy to bury your head in the sand. Shelter exists to provide specialist, free, confidential advice and solutions to keep families from ending up on the streets.

To donate to the charity Shelter please visit their page here  http://www.shelter.org.uk/gingerbreadhouse

No payment has been received for this post, this is my entry into the competition

Salt Dough Santa Handprint Decoration

Do you like making your own christmas decorations at home?

Why not try this Santa hand print made from salt dough.

DSC_0805

If you’re like me then you may have tons of home-made christmas decorations in the loft that have been made by the children at home or in their classroom at school, I have paper ones, felt ones and card ones but i do not have any salt dough ones. I don’t like to throw any of the decorations that the boys bring home as most of the time they have a photograph of them on it, a piece of writing or a handprint. Every year along with the shop bough decorations out come the home-made ones too, I love looking back and remembering when they brought them home with a big smile on their face, proudly showing me what they have made.

I have never used salt dough before (we are big fans of play dough) so after scrolling through the internet i found a recipe from Red Ted Art, she has a page set up of 30+ salt dough crafts for christmas.

RECIPE:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of water
  • I added glitter into my dough, but it’s not needed

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, if you want to add colouring add it into the water as you mix it into the flour and salt. Add the water a little at a time as you may not need it all.

Now you are ready to create some masterpieces!

DSC_0794

The boys made many tree decorations but the one that we are going to share today is the hand print santa. I found out about this idea whilst roaming through the internet and thought that it was really cute and would make lovely gift ideas to the Grandparents/family

  • Roll out your dough to about 0.5 mm thick
  • Make sure that is big enough to place your hand onto
  • Press your hand firmly down onto the dough, so that there is a clear hand impression
  • Cut around the hand print, leaving a 0.5mm border all the way round
  • Make a hole at the bottom of the hand so that you can thread through some cotton once its hardened
  • Place into an oven to bake for about 1-2 hours on a low heat, 100 farenheit. Keep checking on the decorations, making sure they don’t burn.
  • Take out of the oven and leave to cool.
  • Once cooled, your santa is now ready to paint
  • Paint the whole of the decoration with white paint, leave to dry. Use some good quality paint as i found using the cheaper option paint, it flaked on the dough.
  • Paint the face pink
  • Using a black marker pen, draw in the outline of the santa hat and face, Write down the year and name of the child’s hand print
  • I used red felt pen to colour in the hat and nose
  • Now you can thread through some cotton or lace.

IMG_20141127_200422

Your personalised santa christmas tree decoration is ready to be proudly placed onto the tree.

 

Settling into Nursery

Oliver is now 3 years old and just over a month ago he started in the school nursery, where he attends every afternoon from 12:20-3:20.

We talked about him starting all over the summer and when September arrived and his older brothers were going to school every day he couldn’t understand why he wasn’t going, after 5 weeks he had his first day. We had bought all of his school uniform at the end of the summer at the same time as when i bought his siblings, he had it all folded and stored on the bottom shelf of his wardrobe just waiting for him to wear it.

Oliver is quite small for his age and is still wearing age 18-24 months clothes, so we had to search around for navy bottoms and jumper to fit him, also we ordered his white polo shirt online in his size. They fit him perfectly and he is so proud to be wearing a uniform. He even has a school wooly hat that once belonged to his older brother, that he runs round the house in the morning looking for before we head off to the childminders house.

He was excited on his first day, I met him and his childminder at the school gates during my lunch time so that i would be able to help settle him in. He was jumping around and full of beans at the gates but as soon as we started to walk along with the other parents and children towards the nursery door he began to hide behind my legs and be a bit clingy. As we entered through the Nursery doors we walked along the corridor looking for his coat peg, he quickly found it as it had a picture fo him above it. He found this funny as he could not remember his teachers taking the photograph on the home visit back in September. He seamed to be eager at this point to get through thr main doors into the Nursery but as we got among the other parents and children he became a little overwhelmed by all the other people around, maybe he thought that he would be the only child starting as he kept looking at all the other children. I walked him into the Nursery room and the first thing he said was that he wanted to go to the toilet, we was pointed into the right direction and off he went. I quickly noted that Oliver was smaller than the other children, which isn’t a surprise as so are his older brother with their class mates. I showed him where to was his hands and he no trouble reaching forward to turn on the taps at the sink.

I told him that Mummy would have to go and that he should go and find some friends to play with, we walked over to the other children. Some were playing on the floor with some building bricks. Oliver seemed a bit anxious and was getting a bit upset, I asked him what was wrong and he told me that he wanted to go on the bikes outside. His teacher told him that the outside area only opened up once all the adults had gone and the main front door was closed, he seemed to chear up a bit at this. I bent down to give him a big hug and explained that all the adults had to and leave the children with their teachers and go, he gave me a big hug and a squeeze. He told me he would be a good boy.

His first day was good but for the rest of the week he was a bit upset about going, I think it all got a bit too much for him. He is still quite young, only turning three at the end of July. He is struggling with not having a nap every day, as before he started nursery he had about an hours sleep at aroung midday. I have tried to introduce bedtime a little earlier now, which he is happy to go to his bed and puts himself a sleep.

Oliver has been going to School Nursery for 6 weeks now and has settled in really well, abit too much probably as I have been told he needs to slow down inside and stop running around. Oh dear! He likes to go to every area and try and fit all of the activiities in, He is over his shyness and had made lots of friends. He comes hime every day telling me about what songs he has sung, what toys he played with and who his friends are.

It is so cute seeing him run along the road to see his friends, shouting out their names. He has a favourite teacher and always talks about her.

He knows all of his numbers up to 20 by sight, knows his alphabet and sounds, can write his name, draw people and knows his shapes and colours.

I am so pleased he has settled in well and that he loves to learn.

 

Are you going through a similar experience? How has your toddler coped?