26 December 2013

Activity Advent 2013 Roundup


This marks the end of our first time doing the Activity Advent and it was SO much fun. I hope the kid wants to do it again next year!



So what would I do differently next year? There would be way less ornament-making days; it served us well this year because we did not have our tree or ornaments out of storage (we are moving!) but next year many/all of them will be replaced with other activities. One thing we missed was a snow activity. Maybe snowshoeing or tubing or tobogganing? If you have any ideas I hope you will share them below.

24 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #24: Open a Present!



Guess what we are doing right now ... it's game-time!

Check out all the Activity Advent entries so far here.

23 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #23: Go to the German Christmas Market


Check out all our other Activity Advent entries here.

22 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #22: Christmas Camp-out



This will be the 3rd year running on this tradition ... we set up a mattress on the living room floor for a family evening of Christmas movies, popcorn, and falling asleep by the tree lights (well this year, that would be a branch of a tree).

Check out all our other Activity Advent entries here.

21 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #21: Make Star Wars Paper Snowflakes


Get your own downloadable templates here. And check out our other Activity Advent entries here.

20 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #20: Cafe Crawl


Think Pub Crawl ... for 9 year olds. Meet up with friends. Hit the first cafe. Check out the Christmas tree display at the Fours Seasons Hotel downtown. Hit another cafe. Run around the Gingerbread House display at the Hyatt downtown and sing Christmas carols along the way. Then a 3rd cafe. If we'd planned it right we would have also taken in the vintage Christmas window displays at Canada Place too, but it was closed by the time we got there. Do over, next year.

Check out all our other Activity Advent entries here.

19 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #19: Make Orange Ornaments


The easiest ornaments we've made yet. We popped the orange slices in the oven at the lowest setting for 4 hours, flipping them once half way through. They aren't completely dry which is likely why the colour is still so delicious. I got this tip from here.

These are the last to go on our Christmas Branch; we are finally ready for Santa. Check out all our other Activity Advent entries here.

18 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #18: Choose your Favourite Restaurant



"A Legendary Burger with Triple-O Sauce ... and a chocolate milkshake" ... coming right up!

Check out all our other Activity Advent entries here.

Ottawa 2013: The Museum Tour


I've been SO busy that it's taken me this long to post photos but last month the family met up with the Ontario grandparents in our nation's capital, for 9 great days. We stayed in a beautiful rental, just across the river, which meant many shared home cooked meals and much time just hanging out and visiting. 


I also worked a lot but I'm trying to forget about that. For touristy fun we hit as many museums as we could. Starting with the Royal Canadian Mint.



Wow, $750,000 worth of gold is HEAVY!


This is a really interesting tour. Worth booking ahead of time.


Then there was the Canadian War Museum on Remembrance Day. This photo goes against every peace-loving bone in my body but it's also kind of adorable. 


Best part ... the flash mob choir performance especially for November 11th.

Then there was the Aviation and Space Museum. Spud made a family connection here; his great grandpa was on the team building this plane during the WWII.


Spud also went into space.



Wow. This is Canadian.



And then there are the Parliament Buildings, of course. 


Why does my 9 year old look like he's the same height as me?


Here we are enjoying the first snow of the year.



Here's the Senate ...


And the library ...


And the view from the Peace Tower.


Feels like Hogwarts.



Other highlights include The National Gallery.





The telephone poles outside the gallery are adorned with the entrance stickers you get when you pay to get in. An art installation in the making.



The Museum of Civilization has been on my list since it opened in the 80s. Naturally this was a big tick. Every province and territory is covered and here are some stunners representing our home province ... two Bill Reid sculptures ...



... oh and happy-cute grandparent alert ...



The kids section was fantastic too.



And one of my tops was the Nature Museum. We don't seem to have any photos of that. But that one is at the top of my list for a re-visit if/when we find ourselves back in Ottawa.


Photo Credits: Ed Boucher, Adrian Mandy and myself.

17 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #17: Buy a Toy for a Child in Need




Check out all our other Activity Advent entries here.

16 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #16: Do an Act of Service


Well, I lucked out on this one! Instead of me reading Harry Potter to Spud tonight ... he read it to me.

Check out all our other Activity Advent entries here.

15 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #15: Make Christmas Cards




Yes, I bought a kit for this activity. Judge if you must. I couldn't resist. It was very cute. And the boy is having the time of his life this Sunday morning sticking stickers and drawing inside each one. He has a list of more than 25 people including teachers, so this activity may go on for a few days.

Check out all our other Activity Advent entries here.

14 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #14: Bake Cookies for Friends



Sunday is the last day of curling for the year so we thought it might be a good day to bring cookies for the coach and Spud's curling buddies. We made shortbread curling houses with crusting butter cream icing.

Check out all our other Activity Advent entries here.

13 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #13: Play Holiday Charades


Hey check out all our other Activity Advent entries here.

12 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #12: Make a Holiday Pillow Case


White pillow case and some fabric markers ... and you are good to go! This one includes "wii 3 kings", "a partridge in a pear tree", a poor house with a "cold baby outside", silver bells, 3 caroling bells, a manger alone in the distance, and a lake with 3 ships ... among others ... If we carry this tradition on, he has the other side to decorate next year.

Check out all our other Activity Advent entries here.

11 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #11: Make Mini Presents


Look at the tiny presents for our Christmas Branch! Brown paper, some packing foam, white, silver, and gold Sharpies, and some bakers twine. Done.

Still wondering why we have a Christmas Branch? See the first post here. Also, check out all our Activity Advent entries here.

10 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #10: Wear Holiday Socks



The much anticipated Winter Concert is this evening. Seems like a good day to break the school uniform rules a bit to don a pair of subtly holiday-ish socks. I thought our little rule-follower might balk at the idea but alas he surprised me. Clearly anything Christmas trumps all.

Check out all our Activity Advent entries here.

09 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #9: Make Wassail


Today we made everyday, ordinary mugs temporarily Christmas-like with some stickers and filled them with warm, spiced apple cider. Liquid happy. Hubs and I will likely try a spiked version of this as well, before the holiday festivities are over.

See more Activity Advent action here.

08 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #8: Make Cinnamon Ornaments




Our home smells amazing right now! Just 3 ingredients; cloves, cinnamon, and apple sauce went into these sweet smelling ornaments. The how-to is here.

Oh, and wondering why we have a Christmas Branch? See the first post here. Also, check out all our Activity Advent entries, here.

07 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #7: Go Ice Skating



Hey, check out all our Activity Advent entries here.

Our Activity Advent Tree



It took us a little while to get the envelopes up and visible. Day 7! You know, we were out of town last weekend ... and well ... you know ... we were busy. But better late than never!



Check out all our Activity Advent entries so far, here.

06 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #6: String Cranberries



We've done this before ... highly recommend using a giant blunt needle. Easy to thread. Fewer tears due to accidental stabbings.

Wondering why we have a Christmas Branch? See the first post here. Check out all our Activity Advent Entries so far, here.

05 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #5: Chenille Snowflake Ornaments


The Christmas Branch is looking a little Christmass-y-er today!

Wondering why we have a Christmas Branch? See the first post here. Check out all our Activity Advent Entries so far, here.

04 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #4: Christmas Light Ceremony




We were thrilled to be invited for the Canuck Place Children's Hospice Annual House Lighting Ceremony again this year. Caroling, cozy beverages, crafts, Canucks players, rubbing elbows with a courageous community of people who take care of families dealing with the toughest situations life can dole out, general warm fuzzy holiday feelings, and of course tens of thousands of beautiful sparkling lights. Inspired to put Canuck Place on your charitable list this year? Or perhaps a children's hospice in your neck of the woods? Think about it.

Check out all our Activity Advent Entries so far, here.

03 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #3: Read a Christmas Story


First, a treasure hunt. Then some quiet time on the couch, enjoying a Christmas classic.

Check out all the Activity Advent Entries so far, here.

02 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #2: Branch Hunting



No Christmas tree for us this year. (Check out Day #1 to find out why.) Instead we are going to decorate a Christmas Branch. And we are pretty happy about it. But first, to find the perfect branch! Next, find some pinecones to decorate with. We had less luck with the latter. But I've got other decorating ideas up my sleeve, so don't you worry.

Check out all the Activity Advent entries so far here.

01 December 2013

Activity Advent Day #1: Santa Letter

Inspired by an ├╝ber-creative, former colleague I've been stalking on Facebook since she moved back to Australia, I've put together an Activity Advent Calendar. Thanks Teesha! I'll post each day's activity here.



The timing of this inspiration was perfect as it arrived around the time we decided to not unpack all our Christmas gear this year. You see, we're moving. Quite shortly after Christmas. So instead of unpacking a bunch of stuff only to pack it all up again, with a million other things, approximately, we thought "hey, let's see if we can celebrate Christmas without all our usual trinkets". The kid has bought into the idea all together. And Hubs is all over it too.

The first hurdle to jump? Advent. Because we normally use the same 2 re-usable advent calendars. But they are buried deeply in our storage with no chance of seeing daylight this year. And so the Activity Advent was born, in our household.

Check out all the Activity Advent Entries so far, here.