Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Traditions........I LOVE them! I didn't realize that I loved them so much until I moved to the USA and discovered/started to make some really fun ones. I had some Christmas traditions growing up that I looked forward to each year,like opening one present on Christmas eve, leaving cookies and carrots for Santa and the reindeer,singing Christmas carols as we walked up the stairs to be, and following the "Santa string" leading to the presents in the morning..........in the USA though, there seems to be traditions everywhere and I am in LOVE!

Some of the traditions that we have started (or are going to start)with our family are:

*Channing and I make Gingerbread Men to hang on our tree - last year, they lasted until a few days before Christmas until we noticed legs and arms missing off them :-)

*We were given this lovely Advent calender that was handmade by my sister-in-law. Jody.........I LOVE it and Channing loved moving the little snowman - this year I know he'll be REALLY into it.

*We also make or buy a new ornament each year for the boys so they will have it as keepsakes when they grow up.

*The boys and Daddy go and choose a tree.

*We always open a Christmas PJ present from Mike's Mom on Christmas Eve - they are always snuggle and very cozy to wake up in!

* Last year we started leaving the cookies and Milk out for Santa and the carrots and water for the reindeer.

*We had most of the boys presents under the tree (most of which are from US - we only have a few things from Santa).....but the "big thing" was found by following the Santa string.

*This year we are going to start the "elf on the shelf" tradition - I was given it as a gift last year and can't wait :-)

*We're also going to have a little fun and "elf" some people (more about that tomorrow!).

So...........onto the "main part" of the post. This year, I would like to start another tradition and I hope you'll join in the fun. I didn't know if I could pull this one together as I've been pretty sick this week with some weird chest infection....however - somehow I made it! I made a series of cards with each day leading up to Christmas. Each card has the book (or two) title that we'll read that day and what activity we'll do (some days a craft, some days a cooking project and other days a "family thing"). I may be a little ambitious but we'll see. I hope to write a post each evening showing our day's adventures (again, this may be a bit ambitious but we'll go with the flow). I am really hoping to make lasting memories with my family this Christmas :-) What fun traditions do you have?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey hat

We needed something to keep us busy....so I whipped up these little turkey hat/headbands for the boys.

Here's how:
Cut some brown construction paper into strips.
Staple two pieces together and then measure your child's head. Staple the other side in place.

Add a face, beak and wattle and google eyes to the front and some colored "feathers" to the back.
Poor Sully is getting over Roseola (he has the rash part) and was not too thrilled with the hat.........Hopefully he'll give it another try at our feast tomorrow - Happy Thanksgiving everyone :-) Hope you enjoy the day with treasured people that you love !
I have MANY, MANY things to be Thankful for!!

What's cooking Wednesday

Pumpkin Roll

You guys are in for a REAL treat today! In Australia, we don't really eat pumpkin as a dessert (we make soup with it and sometimes scones but that's about as far as it goes).........so when I first came to the USA, I was quite hesitant to try a dessert that featured PUMPKIN!!! One of the first things I tasted with pumpkin in it was my sister in law's (Paula) PUMPKIN ROLL.

Each year, Paula and her mom join with some ladies from a church and they make HUNDREDS of these things to sell (they get $9 a roll for them!). Once I took one bite, I was a massive fan.....seriously, I have tasted quite a few pumpkin rolls over the last 6 years, but NONE can compare (even the ones at my favorite restaurant are not as good!).

Paula and her mom came to my house on Saturday and we made 12 of them (only one is in my fridge or they would all be eaten!)........I'm thinking of sending one home with each of our student home boys for Christmas. Here is the recipe:

You need:

(for the roll)

3 eggs

2/3 C pumpkin

1C sugar

1tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3/4 C flour

Beat eggs and add pumpkin. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until smooth.

Line a jelly roll pan with foil and grease with butter (make sure you get right into the corners).

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes (after about 7, turn your pans and rotate them).

When they're done, flip them onto a paper towel that has been generously coasted with sugar (this is so the cake doesn't stick). Roll it up and put on a cooking rack to cool completely.


2TBS butter

8oz cream cheese

3/4 tsp vanilla

1C powdered sugar

Cream butter and cream cheese, add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Unroll the cake, spread the filling and then roll up again.

Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator. You can also wrap it in foil as well and then keep in the freezer until you need it (Trust me, you will be making dozens of these things once people taste them).................I'm thinking about making and selling them so I can get a blog face lift!
** Update** I AM getting a blog makeover!!! Blogging Bella is going to do it for me - I am SO super excited!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving shape task cards

I made these basic shapes task cards for Channing. These are the actual cards and then I enlarged the pieces, laminated them and cut them out. The idea is that Channing looks at the cards and makes his own copy of the picture using the bigger pieces.

If you'd like to do this activity, click here (the shape cards and bigger pieces will come up to print).If you blog about it, please link back to me :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Indian corn craft

We made an Indian corn craft today using foam, glue and fruit loops (easy!).

I cut the corn shape out and Channing used Q-tips to stick the fruit loops on the "cob".

We then added the husk and stuck it all of a piece of black foam. I thought it turned out really cute :-) Sippy cup central has a great corn weaving activity and Moo moo's and tutus has a great popcorn corn idea.......check them out!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What's Cooking Wednesday

(Not) Fried Ice cream

With 16 people in our house, someone is always having a birthday. When it's birthday time, the boys get to choose their favorite meal for me to cook and they get to eat it on the "birthday plate". Quite often, the meal of choice is enchiladas (I'll share my recipe next week) and for dessert, (not fried) ice cream. Here's how you can make it,

You need:

A tub or 2 (depending on people count) of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream

3 cups Corn flakes

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

1 tsp Cinnamon

1TBS butter

To Make it:

1. Let the ice cream sit out for about 15 minutes to get soft.

2. Put the cornflakes in a zip lock bag, make sure all the air is out before closing and then crush them up (I used a rolling pin to do this).

3. Put the crushed cornflakes, sugar, cinnamon and butter in a bowl and toss to mix.

4. Pour cornflake mixture onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes (it will smell delicious!),

6. While it's cooking, you can fix the ice cream in one of two ways........a) the method I use (due to the act there is 16 people) spread 1 of the tubs of ice cream in a baking dish or b) make big balls of ice cream using an ice cream scoop (I would do this if I had less people to feed). Once you've done this, put the ice cream back in the freezer to harden up.

7. Take cornflakes out of the oven and let it cool for about 10-15 minutes.

8. Either roll (if you made the balls) or sprinkle 1/2 the cornflake mixture over the dish of ice cream. If you used the dish method, you will now want to add your second tub of ice cream over the top of the crushed cornflakes and sprinkle the other half of the cornflakes on top of this layer.

9. Drizzle chocolate syrup and honey over the top.

10. Return to freezer and take out about 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pluck the feathers

Turkey game
Here is a really cute game that I saw on this blog. You lay the turkey down with feathers on the board and give your child some tweezers and a little bowl or basket. Time them for one minute (or less with older kids) and see how many feathers they can "pluck"..........try again to see if you can pluck more than last time :-)

There was no printable for this game so I made one so Channing and I could play. Channig thought this was FANTASTIC! He loved trying "pluck" the feathers. At first, he only got 3 feathers in one minute but by the third try, he had a bowlful.

He started throwing the fathers and watching them fall, so we both tried it and counted how many second it took to reach the ground..........we must have done this for at least 15 minutes.

The graphics I used for the printable are designed by Dianne J. Hook and are copyright. I have used them with permission from DJ inkers.Thanks guys!

I am going to link this to ABC and 123.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving placemat

Each year, we have a big Thanksgiving feast with the boys in our student home before they leave for 10 days break. Last year we all collected leaves and used my cricut to make placemats for the feast. This year, the leaves are already off the tree and are all crunchy! Channing and I decided to make one out of stamps and construction paper instead.

First we stamped on some white paper the letters to spell "thanks".

Then we glued them on colored paper and onto a sheet of bright yellow paper.

We made a turkey and added things we're thankful to God for. Channing said "Mummy, Daddy, Sully, food and play-doh" (Note that "Mummy" is written the Aussie way).

We then laminated it and are all set for our Student Home Thanksgiving Feast!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A fall treat!

Pumpkin soup

One of my favorite things about Australia is the winter pumpkin soup! It is served with warm crusty bread at many a cafe. My mum makes a great one and while I cannot get mine to taste exactly like hers, here's my recipe (please note that it is addicting and you WILL crave it!)

1 large Japanese pumpkin (or butternut squash if you can't find it)

4 Large potatoes

4 large carrots

I large onion

1 large can chicken broth

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tsp curry powder (or more if you like it)


1tsp sour cream and cut chives for each bowl

1. Cut up and cook pumpkin, potatoes, carrots and onion in chicken broth. Simmer for about 40 mins.

2. Puree and then stir in cream (DO NOT BOIL CREAM).

3. Stir in curry powder to taste.

4. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and chives.

I also usually make some fresh bread to go along with it.........delicious!

Stay tuned tomorrow for a Thanksgiving game called "Table of Thanks" - it will fast become a favorite :-)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Take Time to Craft Tuesday

Turkey clip pocket

This weekend, I made Channing and Sully this little turkey clothespin game. Here's how I did it.

1. Cut out 3 turkey shapes (use felt and a stiff fabric padding inside). Do the same for 3 circle shapes. Also cut the beak, eyes and wattle

2. Stitch the facial features onto 1 turkey cutout (I also used 2 buttons for the eyes).

3. Holding the 3 turkey cut out pieces together, blanket stitch around them.
4. Blanket stitch around the 3 circle pieces.

5. Put the circle pieces over the bottom half on the BACK of the turkey (this will make the pocket.

6. Blanket stitch 3/4 of the way around both pieces, leaving the top part open.

Now your turkey is ready.

I painted some wooden clothespins and numbered them for Channing to clip around the turkey.

You can also store the clothespins in the pocket!

Channing loves it!

The Tale of Thanskgiving

As I mentioned in a post from a few days ago, being Australian, I had no idea what/who Thanksgiving was. When I found out, I LOVED it right away and got to work finding out as much as I could about this time of celebration. At the time I was teaching a 1st/2nd grade class and came across a book the Mrs. Flannigan at Little Giraffes had done with her class.

Channing and I read "The story of Thanksgiving" by Nacy J. Skarmeas. It's a cute little books that simply tells the story........we loved it! We have a lot of books in this series and they are all good.

Here is our version of the Thanksgiving Story. I made it with my class each year until I stopped teaching. It's such a cute keepsake! I was so excited to make it with Channing this year. Here are the pages.

Channing loved making it and I'm sure we'll be reading it many times over the next few weeks. I have a ton of pics of him actually "making" each page but my post would be super long, so I decided not to add them.

I am linking this project to StArt ,ABCand 123 ,Kids get crafty and Best toys for toddlers.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy 3rd birthday Channing!

Channing turned 3 on Saturday. I can't believe it! While I was putting together some photos of him for his "party", I was amazed at how much he's grown up this year.........it happens so fast and right before your eyes. I keep getting told (especially on the hard days when behaviors are at their worst) "don't blink or you'll miss it!". I know it's probably true based on how quickly this little guy is growing up.

We had a small family get together to celebrate the occasion and Channing wanted a robot cake. I was disappointed that I didn't get a chance to do everything that I had wanted to get done (like make him a birthday hat ) but here are some snaps of the momentous occasion:

Mike started a new tradition with Channing this year. They put up a tent (inside since it's so cold outside) and slept in it. Channing LOVED it and has actually slept in it the last few nights.

He got a pillow pet from his Grammy and Grampy which was an instant hit. The robot cake...........and cupcakes.

There's lots of air in those lungs! Do you notice the candy missing from the front of the cake...........no, it wasn't the kids! It was the grandparents!!!!

We're glad you had a super day mate............we know God has AMAZING plans for you and we can't wait to see what he has in store for you. You continually make us laugh with your quick wit and funny jokes and we can already see some super leadership skills forming.You are such a blessing and a gift!! WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!