Saturday, January 18, 2014

Christmas 2013 Recap

Ever since Andre and I started dating all the way back in 2003 Christmas has always seemed like a little bit of a juggling act. Balancing the Us with Them. I remember our first Christmas which seemed like a race versus a celebration. A feat of time management and making sure that we made sure to visit everyone, making them happy and pushing us to the side. I was miserable that year. All I remember was visiting from beginning to end, and sitting in the car.

Since that year I have been trying to find more of a balance. Making sure that our family unit had time to develop our own memories and traditions, while still making sure that we take time to visit and create memories with our extended families. I think every year we're getting closer and closer, and this past year when looking back I think of the travelling and visiting, but also the fun, excitement, and quiet moments we were able to spend as a family of three at home together.

So here is a recap of Christmas 2013!

The last few years Andre's parents have preferred not to travel, not that I can blame them both being over 80! So that means that on Christmas Eve we go up to visit and celebrate with them. The last two years we have gone up in the mid afternoon and had dinner together, but this year we decided to do lunch instead so we would have more time for visiting, and not have to rush out the door so we could get Emilie to bed at a reasonable hour.

I don't know about Andre, but I liked this MUCH better!

 I wish that this one was clearer, but I'm still learning how to use my DSLR, and Emilie moves too much. She had gotten a box set of Dora videos from her Nana and Grandpa and she loved them so much. She started chanting "Dora, Dora!" which sounds more like "Dara, Dara!" and running around.

We had an early dinner/late lunch with Andre's parents, did some visiting and then were on our way home. To tell you the truth I was so excited to be at home on Christmas Eve evening. We've never had a relaxing evening at home on Christmas Eve just the three of us. It's always the rush out the door to get our cranky, overtired toddler home to bed.

One tradition that we started this year was to let Emilie open one Christmas gift on Christmas Eve. We wrapped up a new movie, Christmas pj's and a new cozy blanket for her and this was the gift she unwrapped. She loved her new Santa jammies and immediately stripped off her clothes so she could change. I had figured she would do this so I had washed everything before wrapping it up.

That night the three of us just snuggled together and watched Bubble Guppies before she went to bed. It was the perfect thing before all the toy assembling "fun" began!

Emilie decided Santa needed some candies as well as chocolate cookies.

Santa came!

Our tree all ready for Christmas morning.

Christmas morning we slept in until around 7:30 which was great because Andre and I were so tired after wrapping some last minute gifts. Emilie loved going through her stocking and playing with her new Princesses in their castle.

There had been one gift that Andre and I were so excited to get her. Emilie has been obsessed with her infant car seat for months. It had been in storage in our basement, but Emilie would see it and want it upstairs so her babies could go "shopping" so it would end up in our living room, and our living room is not that big. It would drive Andre and I banana's so we decided to get her a baby car seat made just for her babies.

It even comes complete with a three point harness so her babies can be buckled up and safe just like Emilie is in her own car seat. For $12 this was one of the cheapest gifts that we purchased and one of her favourites. Another favourite was a $10 Aquadoodle accessory kit that she plays with several times a week. Sometimes you don't have to break the bank to make your toddler happy.

We had some breakfast at home and then it was off to my parents house to open even more gifts and see what Santa had left at their house.

Enjoying her new Dara chair that Santa brought while checking out her stocking.

My mom always makes bacon and eggs for breakfast on Christmas morning so Emilie decided that she needed some more food!

Our afternoon was pretty quiet since Emilie decided to give Andre and I a Christmas gift and actually have a good nap that afternoon. It was such a treat to shower and get ready all on my own without my little helper.

We always have Christmas dinner at my parents house and this year was no exception. Emilie looked so pretty in her little jumper. She had nicknamed it her "Christmas dress" and she looked so cute it in.

Emilie and her Pepere before dinner.

True to form Emilie crashed around 6:30 and we came home and put her to bed. I think two days in a row of gifts and visiting is our little girls maximum and she let us know!

Andre and I left everything in the living room that night and just sat back and watched a holiday movie that night. It was a great way to end a chaotic day!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Winter at home activities and December Kiwi Crate review

Quite recently we had a cold snap. Not as cold as some places in Canada (as us Ontarians were reminded over and over) but cold for us. For us this meant that if we didn't have to leave our nice warm house we just didn't. This also meant that on my day off I had to think of what I was going to do to keep little Miss Emilie and myself occupied for the entire day. Not so bad when she was consistently napping for at least an hour and half to two hours every afternoon, but harder on those more frequent days when she decides she doesn't need a nap (hahahaha).

It was so cold here (-40 with the windchill) that the condensation on the inside of our windows FROZE. Craziness.

This particularly arctic day just happened to be a day that Andre wasn't home during this split shift at work so it was just Emilie and I for the day. I decided that we would bake some cookies in the morning. I had done some cleaning and purging of our cupboards the week before and discovered a dry cookie mix that needed to be used up before it expired, so I thought Emilie and I could bake some cookies. She loves to help me bake, so she loved this activity.

Later that afternoon after her hour of calling for me repeatedly while telling me she's not tired nap, I decided to bust out December's Kiwi Crate. After talking to a friend about how she liked Kiwi Crate with her kids, I decided to bite the bullet and get a 6 month subscription for Emilie back in October. We have loved it so far, but this month proved to be a little "old" for Emilie. I knew that this was bound to happen since all of the activities are for ages 3+, but we had lucked out with the previous two boxes. 

The theme of this month was "Polar Expedition". For anyone that has never heard of Kiwi Crate before it is a subscription box that is delivered to your home every month filled with 2 crafts with a theme every month. All of the crafts come with everything that you need. You do not need to purchase anything. I love this since I get to do something fun with Emilie but do not need to think of anything!

The first activity in the box was a ball toss game. Emilie wanted nothing to do with sewing up the mittens even though she had been getting some practice with her animal boards lately. So I ended up doing this. She did love putting all the velcro dots on the ball and making up the little "paws" on the mittens. This activity was definitely more Emilie friendly and she still plays with this almost two weeks later.

The second activity in the box was homemade window clings. I had received an e-mail from Kiwi Crate before getting the box in the mail so I knew that some other users had some issues with the materials for this craft. Even after being prepared with paper clips to unclog the paint and kneading the paint and glue before using them, the paint was still clogging repeatedly, and at one point the top popped off and paint went everywhere. I was not impressed. We did end up getting two clings complete though, one together, and one that I made on my own.
After drying the window clings out of reach of little hands for 24 hours, they were complete, and Emilie decided that they should go in her playroom.

Two out of the last three boxes have come with a little "bonus" activity along with some ideas in their monthly magazine. This month was a little snowflake cookie cutter that she loves to use with her play dough.

Overall Decembers box was not my favourite, but Emilie still had a lot of fun working with all of the different materials and it was nice to have some new activities to do while we were home bound. I can't wait to see what surprises will be in our January box!

If you are thinking of making an order, you are welcome to use my referral code for $10 off your order:

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year, New(ish) Projects!

With the beginning of a new year comes the motivation to get things done, a sense of I CAN DO IT. If you're anything like me, that quickly passes, you don't get anything done, and then six months later you kick yourself for not crossing anything off that ever growing to-do list.

Every year I promise myself that this new year will be different, and then a friend shared a link for another blog, Apartment Therapy . They are doing what they call "The January Cure". Basically every day during the month of January she assigns a project to complete to get the ball rolling on all those things that you were meaning to tackle during the month, and a few other more practical little things. It all started on January 2nd, so you still have time to sign up for yourself and have each daily assignment sent directly to your inbox! For the first assignment, and more information, you can go here.

The first assignment was an inventory of sorts of all the little things that you need to get done around the house. I'm ashamed to admit that my list was a page and a half long. It includes everything from touching up some trim paint, and hanging some pictures, to finally painting the basement stairway. All things that are totally doable. So after January is finished I have a whole list of things to work on this year. I can't wait to start crossing things off that list!