GIANT TOBLERONE TEAMWORK & OUTDOOR ARTIST ADVENTURING.

IMG_5124.JPGFor todays festive adventuring we decided we were going to become outdoor artists specialising in sculpture and portrait painting.
What better way to try our hand at sculpture than involving an essential of christmas…Toblerone….but on a giant scale πŸ™‚
Our aim was to take our prebuilt 8ft chocolate bar to the top of a hill as a team building exercise for the kids…they built it, they carried it and they tussled with it in the wind until we were 4 triangles down and a roll of tin foil lighter! (Which we did retrieve)
We then headed to the beach for the afternoon laden with paintbrushes and paint, we had a quick stop off at The Works for an easel & an artist pad…(Β£9.99 for the easel but money well spent as it folds down flat for the car and will be used again & again in future adventures….perfect for the mountains!)

Here’s how we got on…

We used sheets of cardboard to make our triangles which we then wrapped in paper ready to paint brown..IMG_5138.JPGwe attached our triangles to a piece of board (an old cupboard backing) using a glue gun and duct tape. Once secured we painted brown and wrapped a few triangles in tin foil…

IMG_5139.JPGso we were ready! We woke up to a cloud of misty rain and wind but decided to brave it and headed out with our Toblerone in tow..

IMG_5121.JPGThe big kids bonded with no option whilst carrying the bar whilst the smaller kids carried their own triangles..

IMG_5122.JPGIt took us 20 minutes to reach the top of the hill, we had a few cross words which were amusing to watch happening underneath a giant chocolate bar but ample giggles as the wind nearly took them off a few times πŸ™‚
But we made it and worked up a big appetite…

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We kicked about up the top pleased at ourselves for our chocolately achievement whilst the wind battered us and the rain came in..

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IMG_5127.JPG…before deciding to head back down whilst we still had a few triangles left..

IMG_5128.JPGwith a good bit of excercise partaken in our sculputre mission we took our Toblerone back home and grabbed some paint supplies and a flask of hot chocolate and headed to the beach for some seaside chippies, some sea air and a spot of portrait painting…
With a quick stop off in town we picked up some squirty cream for our hot chocolate and a nice sturdy easel to stop our art blowing away from The Works.

IMG_5136.JPGand after a car journey of bickering we set about painting each other in a good light….in fact it was a beautiful light as the sun went down πŸ˜‰

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IMG_5130.JPGMila painted Eden..

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IMG_5131.JPGwith the rosiest cheeks…

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IMG_5133.JPGshe was a very proud artist πŸ™‚

IMG_5135.JPGthey all did a fab job and produced some beautiful original works that will hang well on the wall and last a lifetime in the memory bank…

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FESTIVE CRACKER HUNT & SPROUT POTTING

IMG_0027.JPGwe headed to the woods for a festive picnic, some cracker hunting, a spot of sprout potting & some whipping up of some reindeer food..
Here’s how we got on…

IMG_0023.JPGwe took with us a few boxes of crackers…

IMG_0024.JPGand a festive tipple! It is Christmas after all..

IMG_0026.JPGwe took with us a cake which we covered with carrots that were to be left for the woodland reindeer to feast on…

IMG_0028.JPGthe kids enjoyed milk and cookies whilst I disappeared to hide the crackers..

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IMG_0022.PNGand then they were off!!

IMG_0032.JPGthey had to find four crackers each before returning to the table so everybody got a chance..

IMG_0033.JPGthey all gathered in a pulling frenzy!

IMG_0034.JPGand we read the jokes..

IMG_0035.JPGsome of us wore hats…and others didn’t πŸ™‚

IMG_0037.JPGwe then gathered up our sprouts for a game of sprout potting

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IMG_0040.JPGwhich eventually turned into a game of muddy sprout paintball type human target practice..it got messy

IMG_0041.JPGand there were casualties πŸ™‚
After our game we calmed down with some sedate reindeer food making..we mixed porridge oats with glitter

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IMG_0043.JPGand we popped it all into an air tight container ready to sprinkle Christmas Eve

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CHOCOLATE CRISPY CAKE FESTIVE WREATH

We decided to make a yummy edible wreath from chocolate crispy cakes!
Here’s how we did it…

We used
1/4 box of cornflakes
2 bars of milk chocolate
Additional sweeties for decoration
Ribbon to hang
Greaseproof paper

IMG_5064.JPGwe cut out a round of greaseproof paper and placed it on a tray (our tray was a pizza baking tray)

IMG_5063.JPGplace a bowl in the middle of the paper..

IMG_5062.JPGwe then melted our ️️chocolate by placing it in a pan over simmering water

IMG_5061.JPGonce melted we stirred in the cornflakes and scooped them onto our greaseproof paper

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IMG_5059.JPGwe added our sweeties to make our holly berries and leaves

IMG_5058.JPGand we placed it in the fridge to set

IMG_5057.JPGonce it had hardened up we carefully took it off the greaseproof paper and tied ribbon to hang..

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ADVENT ADVENTURING/ FESTIVE WREATH & FOREST TREE DECORATING

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We were set a challenge to make a festive wreath by our friends over at ‘Mum in the Mad house’….so we accepted….
We’ve never made a real wreath as an activity before so thought we’d give it a crack…..the perfect opportunity for an adventure.
We decided to head to the forest for a festive afternoon to search out the ideal tree to decorate for our appreciation of the Christmas trees home and to leave the woods nice and sparkly for the Christmas reindeer that supposedly practice their night flight there…
We took some decorations and some garden wire, cutters, ribbon & Poundland battery operated fairy lights to make our wreaths.
Here’s how we got on…

IMG_9958.JPGwe headed into the Forest of Dean with our basket in tow

IMG_9960.JPGand we found a tree…a beautiful tree..

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IMG_9952.JPGthe tree looked fab and shall remain there until after Christmas when the flight reindeer finish practicing and we return to de-decorate it.
We then headed to the lake to find a spot to make our wreaths picking up pine branches as we went…and pine cones too

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….everyone collected

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IMG_9956.JPGthe lake was beautiful and we took time to reflect

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Then into our wreaths,
The picnic tables were frosty but we set up on one..

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Mila had other ideas…because she’s 5

IMG_9955.JPG we used garden wire to bind together our pine sprigs

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IMG_9942.JPGNoah bashed..

IMG_9944-0.JPGwe finished by tying ribbon on..

IMG_9940-0.JPGand Dad helped add the lights.

IMG_9939.JPGit turned out fab!!

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IMG_9961.JPGwith the light fading we headed home..

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IMG_9932.JPGand Noah carried the wreath with a helping hand.

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Thank you Mum in the Mad House, we enjoyed our challenge and our memories hang nicely on the door.

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NORTH POLE GET ALONG POLE

IMG_9786.JPGAfter arguing, griping, groaning, picking, prodding, sniping & bickering with each other for 24 hours I decided it was about time the kids learnt a few lessons in getting along, teamwork, helping hands & working together.
We achieved this with a carpet role tube we had found discarded on the roadside for the bin men to collect.
So the preteens set about transforming the tube into a North Pole sign….mutually agreed.
IMG_9798.JPGThey covered the tube with white paper and strips of red paper..IMG_9799.JPGthey used a piece of card to make The North Pole arrow..
Finally we used an old mirror ball which we taped to the top..

IMG_9797.JPGWith our pole made we set out to find somewhere to stand it…it was their mission to use teamwork to carry it together.
So we headed to a hill in the middle of the forest.
Here’s how we got on…

IMG_9796.JPGMila was responsible for carrying the sigh that we’d attach to the pole.

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IMG_9791.JPGthey worked well together and collapsed in a heap at the top.
They took turns choosing a spot to place the pole…

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IMG_9793.JPGand finally they agreed on a spot..mutually

IMG_9792.JPGwe spent some time absorbing the falling sun

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IMG_9788.JPGbefore we headed back down…using teamwork….

IMG_9781.JPGno arguments….

IMG_9779.JPGand getting along as we went πŸ™‚

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They worked well together and a good amount of calm was restored between them….everyone should own a get along pole….

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TOILET TISSUE CHRISTMAS WREATH

IMG_9703.JPGWe’ve seen a lot of pretty Christmas wreaths around at the moment and decided we wanted to make our own pretty one. We particularly liked the rag roll ones but had no rags to hand so used an alternative….tissue paper! Good old loo roll!
We used 28 sheets off of a roll, some loom bands to tie, a cardboard ring & ribbon to hang. Literally it cost us pennies.
Here’s how we did it..
First we cut a circle of card..IMG_9641.JPGwe then wrapped each segment of tissue around the card and secured it with a loom band. (You could use elastic bands)

IMG_9642.JPGwe did this until the ring was covered..

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IMG_9657-0.JPGfinally we tied on some ribbon to hang.

IMG_9661.JPGwe thought it turned out really pretty!

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GINGERBREAD HOUSES, SANTA HUNTING & XMAS TREE HOT CHOCOLATE.

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Our adventure started off with a Gingerbread house kit that we found after halloween in Tesco for Β£1.50 & a large box we had from the delivery of a new kitchen appliance…
We decorated our gingerbread house during the week and used our box to make a giant gingerbread house..

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IMG_4840-0.JPGwith our gingerbread houses, some hot chocolate, sprinkles and cream, we headed to the woods..

IMG_4837.JPGwe whipped up our cream with a splash of green food colouring..

IMG_4838.JPGwe added our sprinkle decorations to our hot chocolate Christmas trees…we used whipped cream that didn’t stand up very well, you could use normal squirty cream for snow covered trees and use sprinkles and strawberry laces for the decorations..

IMG_4832.JPGthey went down a treat..

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Noah decided to have his in the gingerbread house..

IMG_4855.JPGat this point the 9 & 10 year old were arguing and bickering and finding fault with each other so much that they were pointed in the direction of the car to watch from afar so that the little ones could enjoy the trip without having focus constantly taken away :-/
So, as the smaller ones enjoyed their drinks I set about hiding hanging chocolate Santas in the trees…

IMG_4835.JPGand they set about finding them..

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IMG_4851.JPGwith their Santas found we left them to play and explore whilst us olds drank our hot chocolates πŸ™‚

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IMG_4849.JPGthen it was time to dig into our gingerbread house!

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IMG_4845.JPGa quick last minute search for any last Santas and once we were happy we’d discovered them all we headed back to the car…

But we missed one which I took just for me πŸ˜‰

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OPENING THE FIRST ADVENT WINDOW

IMG_4787.JPGThe kids can’t wait to open their advent calendars, hung on the wall and idolised over for a week before advent and counting down the days til the first window can be torn at….
We decided that we wanted to make the first day of advent a little special and to give the kids a little bit of thinking time to help them gain a little appreciation of the things we have.
So we head out to find a beautiful spot to watch the day begin as we open our first window…..come rain, shine, frost or snow, our tradition is to start our advent being thankful for all that surrounds us.

Last year was a cold, frosty but beautiful morning as we pulled ourselves out of bed, filled a flask and headed for the hills under predawn moonlight..

This certainly beat sitting on the sofa and tearing at 1st window of December…

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IMG_4765.JPGWe drank hot chocolate as the day began and ate our chocolate in the company of a beautiful morning πŸ™‚

CHRISTMAS EVE PJ’S

IMG_9317.JPGWe made our own Christmas Eve jarmie tops, we used a packet of (felty type) dishcloths from Poundland and some white tshirts, we cut out our designs and glued them to the tshirts using all purpose glue suitable for fabric. We finished with googly eyes and some fur from an old teddy for Santas beard. You could use felt from a craft shop and fabric glue but this works just as well and was super cheap πŸ™‚ (not sure how they will fair in the wash but for under a Β£5 for all materials for all 3 it doesn’t really matter because they were completely made with love)
Here’s how it went…

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The kids loved their PJ and were proud of what they had made πŸ™‚

ELFINAS ANTICS.. OUR CHRISTMAS WOODLAND ELF.

✨Last year we discovered an elf.
We’d headed to the woods to decorate some Christmas hanging biscuits to hang in the trees for the woodland animal to nibble on.
We heard about how Christmas sleigh pulling reindeer practice their flight skills in the woodland in the run up to their big job for Santa on Christmas Eve….they are very elusive but we thought we’d go and see if we could catch a glimpse…
We decorated our biscuitsIMG_4684.JPGand hung them in the trees for the elusive reindeers..

IMG_4685.JPGand although we didn’t catch a glimpse of the Christmas reindeer we did find some sparkly poo which we were convinced was evidence that the reindeer had been there! (I mixed plasterscine with glitter and dropped it whilst the kids weren’t looking..shhhh)

IMG_4680.JPGand then we found her!

IMG_4619.JPGAN ELF SAT IN THE TREE…

IMG_4683.JPGwe reached her down and took her home….we knew nothing about her, where she had come from and what she was doing in the woods…..but we were soon to find out…

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IMG_4679.JPGThe next day we visited Santa at Clearwell caves and as we were leaving his grotto we noticed a present under his tree addressed to ‘Mila’ (left there secretly by me!)

IMG_4674.JPGwe took the present home with us and opened it..

IMG_4676.JPGit contained a wishes jar to fill with festive wishes..and a letter from the North Pole explaining that the elf was a Christmas woodland elf and had been in the woods helping the sleigh reindeers practise for Christmas Eve when they got disturbed….The elf had got left behind!

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IMG_4673.JPGthe elf would be staying with us until the reindeers returned on Christmas Eve.
AND THATS HOW IT ALL BEGAN πŸ™‚
We soon found out that the elf was called ELFINA after we awoke one morning to discover she was crafty elf..

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IMG_4614.JPGWe arrived home one day to find she had transformed the bathroom into a Christmas grotto!

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IMG_4647.JPGshe even turned the breakfast milk into a yummy hot chocolate treat..

IMG_4623-0.JPGwe think they must have been missing her at the North Pole because we stumbled upon a ‘LOST’ poster whilst we were out walking..

IMG_4625.JPGand then one night a very interesting thing appeared under the Christmas tree! It was a North Portal…

IMG_4627.JPGit turned out that the portal was a direct link of communication between the North Pole & Elfina..

IMG_4643.JPGwe awoke one morning to find the beacon of light inside…a light to guide Santa to Elfina on Christmas Eve and take her home..

IMG_4628.JPGElfina made herself at home in the meantime..

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IMG_4629.JPGshe even issued he kids with a behavioural notice one morning

IMG_4621.JPGand gave them a warning that they may get coal…..which they did

IMG_4622.JPGwe found her at the beach one day with a thinking bottle for us..(This was on the anniversary of the death of a sibling)

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IMG_4672.JPGand we found her on Milas coat peg at school!

IMG_4633.JPGshe had lots of festive fun with us and was quite pesky but lovable

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IMG_4632.JPGshe even got others involved in her peskiness…

IMG_4620.JPGwe woke up Christmas Day to discover Elfina and had gone and only the Portal remained…but she had left us a very special package

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But it wasn’t the last we saw of Elfina, she regularly pops back during the year, appearing and disappearing in the blink of an eye…she came at Easter..

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IMG_4687-0.JPGshe visited whilst I was in hospital

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IMG_4613.JPGand she pops back leaving presents every now and them…she left ballet shoes

IMG_4688.JPGone night she even appeared with a pack of cards from the North Pole with Milas design on it! (I photocopied a drawing she had made after she went to bed)

IMG_4604.JPGshe fleets in and out of our home..
✨We woke up today and she was perched on a tree in the garden which was full of Ferrero Rocher!

IMG_4669.JPGβœ¨πŸ’–πŸŽ„β„οΈIt’s lovely having Elfina around…
✨You can follow more of her adventures & antics with us along with bucket loads of childhood magic on facebook…please come and see us!https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725