It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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So, we have been a bit absent AGAIN! The past few weeks have been crazy. There has been a bit of a play dough factory going on in our apartment with Kids Craft Kuwait orders plus we took part in the The English School (TES) Winter Wonderland bazaar a couple of weekends ago. We have also been dealing with two bouts of chicken pox! Oscar first caught it a couple of weeks ago from school. Luckily he had it very mild and didn’t suffer much at all. The only thing was, he had to stay off school for 10 days until they cleared. And as he didn’t feel sick in himself, those 10 days were hard for us both! He was bored and I forgot how hard it was having both of them at home all day! It was lovely having the extra time with him but also at the same time his behaviour was rather off from being bored, i’m guessing so it was tiring! He went back into school last week and then Millie came up with spots! Sadly, she has had a bad case of it with lots of vomiting, upset tummy and lots and lots of spots! She barely slept for 4 days and was off her food and milk for 5 days! She seems to be on the mend now and is much more herself but i’ll be glad to see the back of this chicken pox!!

Oscar and my husband had a long weekend from school this weekend but with Millie having the chicken pox and feeling poorly we didn’t get up to much. We headed to the US Embassy Yard Sale and picked up a few books and toys for the kids and we also bought a car! It was a really good deal (I hope!) and i’m hoping once I get confident with Kuwait roads and with driving itself, then it will give me a bit more freedom and means I don’t have to rely on my husband or taxis to get me to places! I probably won’t be driving until the new year as i’ve got to get my licence sorted but i’ll probably need that time to pluck up the courage and confidence to drive here! I’m hoping by in the new year it means the school runs are easier, and I can get out to parks or to the Hilton with Millie in the mornings whilst Oscar is in school and we can go for playdates in the afternoons when Oscar finishes school. Watch this space…eek!

During the long weekend we headed out to Lulu in Qurain to do our weekly food shop and to my excitement (sad I know!) most of the Christmas food goodies are in! They have all the delicious UK chocolates like Thorntons, tins of Roses, Quality Street, Miniature Heroes etc, selection boxes, advent calendars, tubes of kids chocolates, candy canes and lots of yummy biscuits! Some of the prices aren’t too bad but some of course are complete robbery compared to what you would pay in the UK! But, needs must for some things! They also had Coles Christmas Puddings and Chocolate Puddings near the bakery section but for 4-6KD per pudding, I think i’ll be giving that one a miss! Upstairs they also have all their usual decorations, wrapping paper and lights….but also this year this have CRACKERS!! Crackers that are actually a decent price compared to some shops in Kuwait! I remember last year one shop selling crackers for 25KD?! Who would pay that, seriously?! Anyway, the ones in Lulu were around 4KD a box, some a little higher. They also had single pet crackers for those dog and cat lovers out there! We bought some Christmas goodies but not as much as we normally do as we won’t be in Kuwait on Christmas but we want the goodies for the lead up to Christmas and of course over New Year.

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Gingerbread Men Recipe

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gingerbreadmenOver the weekend whilst Daddy was at his work’s Christmas party, me and O decided to have some festive fun ourselves – we made and decorated some gingerbread men biscuits! Our recipe made more than 20 gingerbread men and we have 2 left I think! We definitely be making some more on Christmas Eve as a Christmas activity – it filled the apartment with that beautiful warming ginger and baking smell and I will need to more stuff my face with during the Christmas holidays!

O loved measuring out the ingredients and mixing everything together, and of course using the gingerbread man cutter to cut his gingerbread men out. We placed them in the oven just before his nap which gave them enough time to bake and cool ready to decorate when he woke up. ย The best part for O without a doubt was the decorating part. He loved using the icing tube (with my help) and sticking on his sweets to decorate his gingerbread men.

Ingredients:

350g plain flour

1-2 tsp ground ginger

100g butter or margarine

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

175g light brown sugar (we used half white and half dark sugar as we didn’t have any light brown sugar in)

1 egg

4 tbsp golden syrup

Decorations – smarties, m&ms, jelly sweets

Icing – we used a Silver Spoon white icing pen available in the baking sections in some supermarkets (Lulu’s, Sultan Center)

What we did:

  • Place the flour, ginger and bicarbonate soda into a bowl.
  • Rub in the butter.
  • Add the sugar and stir in the egg and syrup to form a dough.
  • Roll out to about 5mm thick and cut out the gingerbread men.
  • Bake at 190 degrees (gas mark 5) on greased baking trays for 10-15 ย minutes until golden brown.
  • Once cooled start the decorating!

*Remember to spread the gingerbread men out on the baking trays as they will get bigger and spread as they bake.

* This recipe makes about 20 gingerbread men.

Decorate a Christmas Tree

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xmastreeLast week we made this very easy Christmas Tree craft. O loved getting to explore our crafts drawers and choosing what materials to use to decorate our Christmas Trees! It required very little set-up and O loved having free choice of all the different crafts materials and decorations we have. He managed to make four trees and would of carried on making more if I had cut more out! This is easily an activity that could be set up for some quiet time too as it’s easy for children to follow and do themselves without a lot of adult supervision. O’s trees are currently hanging on his bedroom with his Christmas Wreath.

What we used:

Green Card or Paper

Glue

Scissors

Decorations – we used sequin stars, pom poms, thin gold string, pipe cleaners, foam stars and different coloured buttons.

What we did:

  • I carefully cut out four christmas tree templates from the green card whilst O chose what decorations he wanted to use from our crafts boxes
  • I showed O how to squeeze the glue onto his Christmas Tree.
  • Then O began choosing and sticking down his decorations.

Paper Plate Christmas Wreath

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xmaswreathLast week we decided to make a Christmas Wreath that we can hang on O’s bedroom door over the festive period. I had planned on using some green tissue paper and practice screwing the tissue paper into small balls and sticking them on but realised my green tissue paper supply had ran out! With having already gotten the other supplies ready I desperately looked around for some other material we could use when I remembered that we still had this green shredded crepe paper style material that we used in a mini-beasts sensory box a couple of months ago. It turned out quite well and O enjoyed sorting the shredded paper out into smaller piles ready to stick on. For the ‘berries’ on the wreath we used some left over Christmas decoration string beads that I cut into single beads for O to stick on.

What we used:

Paper plate

Green paint

Paintbrush

Scissors

Green shredded tissue paper/crepe paper, from 100 fils shop in Souk Salmiya

Red beads, from Carrefour at the Avenues (Christmas Decorations section)

Glue

What we did:

  • I cut the middle of the paper plate out using scissors, leaving the outside of the plate – shaped like a wreath.
  • I mixed a bit of glue into the green paint and O painted his paper plate wreath.
  • O then started sticking down the green shredded crepe/tissue paper and glueing down the small red beads.
  • Once it was dry we hung it on O’s bedroom door.

Paper Roll Reindeer

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reindeerThis is such a lovely yet easy craft to do around this time of year and also a wonderful keepsake to remember how small your child’s hands were. It would be lovely to make each Christmas and watch how you child’s hands grow each year.

Remember to write the year on the back of your reindeer so you can remember how old your child was when their hands were this tiny…..they won’t be this small for long!

What you need:

Toilet/Paper Roll

Brown paint

Red pom pom (or something similar in red for the nose)

Googly eyes

A piece of plain card

What we did:

  • O covered his paper roll in brown paint.
  • I painted O’s hands with brown paint and made two handprints on the card for the antlers.
  • Once the paint was dry I helped O stick on his googly eyes and red pom pom for the nose.
  • I cut out O’s handprint antlers and made about a 1-2cm cut down the top of both sides of the paper roll and slotted the handprint cut outs in.

*If you don’t want to paint your child’s hands to make the handprints then you could draw around them on some brown card or even white card and get them to paint it with some brown paint.

Christmas Sensory Box

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sensoryxmas copyI love sensory boxes and really enjoy making them for O as well as watching and joining him exploring them. I saw the idea for a Christmas Sensory box from the Pinterested Parentย and knew I just had to make one for O to explore!

We were at the Avenues over the weekend getting O’s hair cut and thought I could get my Christmas decorations for the sensory box whilst we were there. Carrefour have a great selection of decorations at really reasonable prices – most single pieces and tinsel are 200-300 fils each plus they had boxes of different sized and coloured baubles on offer – about 400 fils for the larger ones that are in our sensory box and even less for the smaller baubles. I set the box up during O’s nap on Saturday and watched in delight as he noticed the box on his craft table when he woke up. He dived right in and was pulling out different decorations explaining the shape or colour of them. But his favourite bit was the shiny red tinsel and he kept pulling it out and wrapping it around his neck saying ‘It’s cold! Scarf!’.

Not only are sensory boxes or bins fun and visually appealing and can be easily changed depending on the time of year, topic or texture you want to explore. ย They also have so many benefits:

  • Fine motor skills – picking up objects, scooping, pouring, using tweezers to pick things up
  • Mathematics – counting objects, colours, shapes, matching, measuring, estimating, patterns, sorting etc
  • Emotional benefits – calming, soothing, relaxing, building confidence and independence
  • Exploration – textures, colours, sizes, materials etc
  • Language – naming and reinforcing the names of different objects, colours and shapes

You can use sensory bins in so many ways and children can explore them alone, with friends or with an adult. You can play ‘I Spy’, ask them to find a certain coloured object, name the different colours they can see, explain the different textures (soft, rough, hard, dry, wet, fluffy), you can sort the objects into colours, sizes or shapes, and you could even tell a story with the different objects. And the great thing about this sensory box is I can leave it out for O to explore when he feels like for the next couple of weeks and over the Christmas period and then I plan on bagging them up and pulling them out again next Christmas time.