Christmas is obviously a very busy time for Chris and this year is no exception. Thankfully, there are some talks and activities that he is able to reuse with different groups. An old favourite illustration of his is to prepare some chocolate covered Brussels sprouts. He offers these delicious chocolate truffles to some poor unsuspecting person, to much hilarity when the green truth is revealed inside! Last weekend I helped him to prepare a batch of Brussels sprout truffles for a service he was doing for the Brownies. Both Daniel and Joshua, upon seeing these chocolates on the side, were desperate to try one. I explained to Daniel what they were and he quickly changed his mind. Joshua, however, did not understand and was insistent that he wanted to try one. In the end, we let him. I managed to capture his changing reactions on camera – from delight that he had one, through to confusion as to why it was green, through to utter dismay that we had given him something he was clearly not expecting. Immediately after the final picture was taken, he dropped the chocolate onto the floor in disgust.
10 Dec 2013 Leave a Comment
This afternoon we visited Father Christmas again, this time at Longdown Activity Farm. We really enjoyed visiting the Longdown Christmas Barn last year and this year we took Nanny along with us.
When we first arrived, the children were given the opportunity to hold a chick. Despite visiting the farm many times over the last year and being offered the chance to hold one, today was the first time that Daniel was actually brave enough to hold one by himself. This lasted for about a minute but then, just I was getting my camera out, the chick started to flap its wings and Daniel decided he had had enough.
After a long time with the chicks, we then walked through the barn to see some of the other animals. As well as the animals and a nativity scene, there was also a little area where the children could dress up in shepherd costumes. Neither Daniel or Joshua wanted to do this. We then queued up next to the rather noisy turkey to await our turn in Santa’s Grotto.
Inside the Grotto, Joshua turned uncharacteristically shy. I had to sit on the sofa with the boys and Joshua hid his face from Father Christmas. Daniel chatted away happily to him, though, telling him that he had been good and what he and Joshua wanted for Christmas. The boys were then given a present – a toy tractor for Daniel and a Toy Story colouring set for Joshua.
Once again we enjoyed our visit to Longdown Christmas Barn and we are already looking forward to the farm opening again for its 2014 season – we took advantage of the opportunity to purchase our 2014 season tickets today – can’t wait!
09 Dec 2013 Leave a Comment
This morning we went to Little Owls at the Countryside Education Trust for a morning of Festive Fun. As the children arrived they were given a Christmas card template to colour in. Then, once everyone had arrived, we moved outside to the forest. Our first task was to look for Rudolph who had gone missing somewhere in the woods. By following the reindeer ‘footprints’ we found Rudolph who rewarded the children with chocolate decorations that were hanging from his antlers.
Once back inside, the children made miniature Christmas pudding sweets. They made these by mixing crushed Oreo cookies with Philadelphia cheese. They then decorated them with melted white chocolate and sugar holly leaf and berry cake decorations. The children were also given nets to make little snowman boxes in which they could put their Christmas pudding sweets.
Once they had made their Christmas pudding sweets, the children joined in with a couple of party games such as musical reindeer statues and pass the parcel. Daniel won the musical reindeer statues game by being the quickest to stop and make a reindeer pose when the music stopped. He won a little miniature pinball game which he loves! Joshua enjoyed joining in with reindeer musical statues although he failed to grasp that he needed to stop dancing when the music stopped.
It was a lovely morning at Little Owls and another great opportunity to get out into the forest with the children.
08 Dec 2013 Leave a Comment
This weekend I have made a cookie Christmas tree using a set of cookie cutters from Lakeland. I am certainly not an accomplished baker but I have to say that I was really pleased with the way this turned out. It is very easy to make if a little time consuming because you keep needing to leave things for an hour or so before you can move onto the next stage. I will confess that the children haven’t been involved in helping me with this creation although it would have been very easy to involve them. They would love making up the cookie mixture, rolling out the dough and the icing, cutting shapes, and painting the jam glue onto the cookies before sticking the icing on top. With such an effective result, I’m sure I’ll be making more cookie Christmas trees in future years and I hope that the children will get stuck in with me. Whatever happens, I’m sure they’ll enjoy eating it!
06 Dec 2013 Leave a Comment
Joshua has had the sides of his cotbed removed this week so he is now in a big boy bed! It has not been an entirely smooth transition but then, that doesn’t surprise me with Joshua. Although he loves the bed, he also loves his newfound freedom! Let’s hope he’ll soon come to love sleep just as much as his mummy and daddy and big brother.
03 Dec 2013 Leave a Comment
Daniel came home today with a fantastic pre-school craft. Their topic this week is the Nativity, and today’s craft was one that I had never seen before, at least not in this context.
At Easter time, children are often busy making edible nests with shredded wheat and chocolate and putting chocolate eggs in them. At pre-school today, the children used the same idea to make a chocolate and shredded wheat manger in a paper case. They then put a jelly baby in their manger and covered it with a small square of white icing as a blanket.
I thought this craft was a lovely idea and although I was, at first, a little unsure about the concept of eating the baby Jesus, Chris reminded me that this is sort of what we do at Communion so it must be ok!