Thursday, December 12, 2013

Day 11 - Bath time.

After yesterday's snowball fight, the elves needed to clean up. This one was a bit tricky. I wasn't sure if I should do it with just Clyde. But I knew the kids would be full of questions: "Where is Ginger? Why didn't she come today?" Then I remembered that the kids had those little bathtubs! It is a bit like a Cialis commercial, but the elves both had towels on, so I think I definitely stayed in the G rated arena.

I actually forgot to add the little hair wraps, but I did them really quick for the photo, then threw them away. Only took 3 squares of t.p. each. Don't rip them apart. Three connected squares of t.p. made the perfect hair wraps for the elves.

Their towels are just felt. I'm so glad I bought so many colors. Pink for Ginger and blue for Clyde. :)

Day 10 - Snow forts.

What a mess! Ginger was teaching Clyde how to build a snow fort, but then they ended up getting into a snow ball fight.

They made quite a mess on the kitchen counter! :D

Clyde hit Ginger's hat, but Ginger got Clyde in the face!

The kids wanted to eat the marshmallows! I bought one bag of the Jumbo marshmallows, but I probably should have bought two bags. One bag of minis was plenty, though. I had more than half a bag left over of the minis after dumping a bunch all over the counter and in their snow forts.

The one stuck on Clyde's face and the one stuck on Ginger's hat are both half marshmallows. I bit it in half, licked the inside to make it even stickier, and stuck it on. Just a warning though, the one on Ginger's hat was hard to remove and clean up. The marshmallow stuck to the felt really well! The one on Clyde's face came off easily and any extra bits washed right off with a wet paper towel. So, my recommendation is "yes" for the face or any part of the plastic head, but  "no" on the felt hat or body. The "dust" from the marshmallows came off really easy, so don't worry about that. :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Day 9 - Sack Race

Matthew was very worried this morning! He couldn't find Clyde! Dan got up and helped him look all around to find our little elf. They slowly worked their way through the house and checked under and over and around each little thing. Then... Yay!!! Matthew found him! And a few other friends. :)

I didn't think he was too hidden, but I guess Matthew didn't think to look behind the couch. We have a nice walkway space between the couch and the wall and I thought it would be a good spot to have a sack race, because it would be out of the way. But I also thought it would be pretty easy to spot. He was quite relieved to see that Clyde hadn't abandoned us.

The sack race was fun and easy. I got the idea here. She weighed down her sacks with candy canes, but I didn't need to weigh mine down. I guess it depends on the toys you use.

BIG WARNING! If you are planning to do this one, please, please, please, get your sacks ready when the kids aren't home! The sound the bags make when you fold them is ridiculously loud! Thankfully, my kids are really deep sleepers, but I was worried with every crinkle! Also, it's kinda hard to do. The bags will rip a little, but that's no big deal. The rips will get rolled under and not show when you are done rolling. Each bag was rolled to a slightly different height to accommodate the size of the "person" inside it. You can't see him from this angle, but there is a tiny Bigfoot in the back and his bag had to be rolled down quite a bit.

The sock monkeys made another appearance. I knew they'd be a great addition to this year. :) I love how Clyde's position seems to show a bit of desperation! But Ginger is just breezing to the end.

Day 8 - Ginger!

This morning, there was quite a surprise in our house! Clyde showed up with a friend! A girl elf!

His note said, "My friend Ginger wanted to visit your new house. I thought this car was perfect for a tour." 

When we packed up in Flagstaff, I specifically labeled the box with the Barbie car in it. Yesterday, I hunted it down and opened it. It had the kids slippers in it too, so there was a legitimate reason to open it. ;) Katie found her Barbie car and placed it nicely in her room. After she fell asleep, I tiptoed in there and stole it. :D

The kids have been hoping that we could get a girl elf, too. I secretly bought her last year after Christmas when all the Elf on the Shelf stuff was on clearance at Barnes & Noble. I haven't decided yet what kind of shenanigans these two will get into together, but it definitely won't be "Wrecking Ball" style! I love all the fun, naughty elf scenes that other bloggers put together, (especially at Lil Blue Boo, so, SO funny!), but ours will stay G rated. Back to Lil Blue Boo, she even used felt to make him a little outfit! I told you felt could be useful! ;) 

I decided to name the girl elf myself. I wanted her to have a Christmas-y name. I went back and forth on a few, but settled on Ginger. It's a real name, a spice that is associated with Christmas, and not a word I would use a lot, e.g. Cookie or Peppermint. I think it suits her quite well!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Day 7 - Ornaments

Last year, I started, I mean CLYDE started, the tradition of making Christmas ornaments with the kids' Christmas lists on them. It's a really cute way of preserving the memory of what they liked each year. I think they will be especially cute when the kids are grown.

He leaves all the supplies for kids to make the ornaments and a little note telling them what to do. He actually leaves a note everyday, but I don't always post them on here. The ribbon he left to string the ornaments with happens to match the sweater he was wearing the other day. ;) What a wonderful little coincidence!

The best part about these ornaments is that it finally got my kids to sit down and write out their Christmas lists. I had been nagging them to do it for days! Then Clyde asks them to and they sit right down and do it!

Here is a pic of last year's ornament next to this year's ornament on the tree.

Merry Christmas!

Day 6 - Monkeying Around

Clyde showed up this morning with some friends! He and these monkeys were hanging out on my banana stand. Little stinkers! ;)

Back in Flagstaff, I found these adorable Christmas Sock Monkeys and I knew I had to use them somehow in this year's Elf on the Shelf adventures. They actually worked out perfectly, because Katie and Matthew had been asking Clyde if he could bring them plush versions of Elf on the Shelf so they would have something to snuggle with at night. And those things are like $13 a piece, when I got these guys for $6 or $7 a piece.

The kids were excited! They were dying to get their hands on them, but didn't want to ruin Clyde's magic by taking them. He left them at their bedroom doors when he went back to the North Pole.  ;)

If you'll notice, Clyde has some cute, little monkey ears of his own. When stocking up on Christmas craft supplies at Michael's before we moved, (there isn't a Michael's here! SOB!), I got a bunch of felt sheets.

I don't know what I'll use it all for yet, but I realized that I could potentially make all sorts of accessories for the elf with just felt! For the ears, I chose a few shades of brown that seemed most monkey-ish to me. 

Then I just free-hand cut out an outer ear and inner ear shape for each side of Clyde's head. I glued them together with felt glue, but I'm sure any liquid glue would work. I just happened to have felt glue from a Halloween craft. 

And I simply taped them on to Clyde with a small loop of scotch tape. If you are worried about the tape sticking, you could probably hot glue them on and then just pop the glue off the next day.

I tried it out in Flagstaff first. :) 

I have to say, it's much easier to take decent pictures here. The lighting is so much better! I think there are a few factors at play. #1 The sun isn't as harsh at sea level as it is at 7,000 ft. #2 This house has many more windows and white walls, which allows for a more diffuse, softer light. I can take pictures of the elf in place, where he shows up and they turn out great! Not so much last year. I had to wait for the right time of day and try several different angles. Or move lamps around. It was a huge pain!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Day 5 - Dashing through the snow!

Okay, okay, there isn't any snow, but sledding is still fun! I have this cute little sled that I painted years ago. I should make some more. They make great Christmas-time knick knacks.I was hoping to put him on the sled on the stairs, but the elves don't sit too well. And I didn't want the kids to find him crashed off the sled at the bottom of the stairs. That wouldn't be a happy elf memory! So, just by the T.V. it is!

In case you can't tell, Instagram is my new favorite thing. It's not new, but using it to display elf pictures is new to me and fun. You can find a bunch of other people's Elf on the Shelf pictures by searching the hashtag #elfontheshelf. It's faster than pinterest. No repeats. Not a link to a list of ideas, just a stream of pictures of elves.  

I also love the filters. You never know which one will make your picture look really good. It's fun to experiment.

Today was the kids' first day at their new schools. So the Hubs and I headed to the beach! Hee hee hee! Okay, it was deathly freezing. I was seriously worried about my fingers, (I now keep gloves in my purse). But I got some really nice photos! That makes it worth it, right?

Day 4 - Ugly Christmas Sweater! (And chocolate!)

You doesn't love a good Christmas sweater?! Clyde found an awesome one! (At Fred Meyer. It was a Christmas ornament, but I thought it looked delightfully elf-sized!)

Yesterday, after church, we went to the Outlet mall in Lincoln City. Jillian and I both needed winter coats. She found a good one. I didn't. Anyways, as we wandered through the all the stores, we found a pretty cool kitchen store. It has all sorts of useful gadgets, useless gadgets, and things I never knew existed, but now I absolute NEED! They also had free samples of chocolate covered pretzels, so it's the kids favorite new store. Actually, I thought the kids would hate the kitchen store and I would have approximately 7.8 seconds to look around before they whined us out of there. But the useless gadgets enthralled them and I had all the time in the world to look around!

Besides the free samples and useless gadgets, the cheapo advent calendars with the crappy chocolates inside caught Matthew's eye. He asked in the sweetest, little voice if I could please get him one. I had been looking for a nice permanent one with the little drawers, but I haven't found one I like, yet. By the time we left the store, I had forgotten. But later that night, the hubs and I were killing time at the laundromat, (we had to buy a washer and dryer set for the new house and they haven't been delivered yet), and decided we needed donuts. To the grocery store! The grocery store had a display of cheapo advent calendars and I thought I'd get them and have Clyde deliver them to the kids. (A day late, but who cares? CHOCOLATE!!!!)

Matthew woke me up the next morning with the widest of eyes!

M: "Remember that thing with the numbers and the chocolate?"

Me: "What?" (It's good to fake ignorance to help the magic. ;) )

M: "That thing with the chocolate at the kitchen store that I asked you to get me."

Me: "Oh yeah, sorry bud! I forgot to get it for you."

M: "Now, you don't have to! Clyde got some for us!"

Me: "What?! Really?! Cool!!"

Happiness all around. :)

Day 3 - Christmas Flair!

So, as promised, Clyde decorated his own tree. The kids forgot that he had little ornaments for each of them. :) I forgot that I had thrown away the tinsel last year after Christmas. Which stunk a little, because I like to cover Clyde in it. Elves can be messy!  ;) Just a good reminder to check to make sure you have everything you need earlier in the day.

I ended up just sticking a bow on his head and calling it a night. 

I'm still working on the exact list for this year, because I keep thinking of, or finding, great new ideas and then I change my mind and move the schedule all around. I think I'll just post what I have and if I do something different, who cares! The list isn't a contract, just ideas. It's all for fun! :)

Day 2 - Hauling tree

During the move, some of the older boxes that we never unpacked while living in Flagstaff ended up in the kids' rooms. Therefore, they found some old toys they hadn't seen in awhile. Among them were some Tonka trucks and Clyde decided to use one to bring his Christmas tree out.

The kids had been having a lot of fun cruising around the empty living room with these trucks. And I was inspired to use one for Clyde. It was the perfect size! His tree fit in the back and Clyde could "stand" next to it. It worked great! Except Matthew was sad that he couldn't play with his truck for a day. 

I got this tree, (on sale), at Michael's last year. The kids love Clyde's tree! They kept asking if we could decorate it while I was adding decorations to our tree. I told them that Clyde would do his tree on his own. 

P. S. Here's an awesome sunset over the ocean shot, the view from our new living room. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Day 1 - Familiar spot, fun treat

HE'S HERE!!! Elf season is upon us!!!

And I almost missed it! That's right, me, the one who actually has a blog about Elf on the Shelf, almost completely forgot about it! After spending the whole day in the kitchen cooking for Thanksgiving, I went to bed early. I was exhausted. I have been exhausted almost everyday for two weeks. You see, we just moved 1,200 miles. It was a very quick move, too! Started packing our old house on a Saturday, the movers loaded up the van on the following Wednesday, we drove through three states and landed at our new house on the next Saturday. Spent two nights sleeping on the floor. Unpacked, unpacked, and unpacked some more. Then Thanksgiving. I needed some sleep.

Many people decide to start Elf on the Shelf on December 1st even though the official story says that the elves arrive in their families' homes on the day after Thanksgiving. And after this busy Thanksgiving, I definitely understand why starting on Dec 1st is better. But when we started a few years ago, we followed the book. So, we still follow the book.

Thankfully, when my husband came to bed, I woke up. And I remembered about our elf! Day 1 is always easy. Our little Clyde always appears in the dining room. Usually on the dining room light, but that wouldn't work with the one in our new house. So, he chose to sit on the table instead. He's such a nice, little elf! He even brought us breakfast. :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lists, lists, lists

I'm a list person. Grocery lists, Christmas lists, fat lists, skinny lists, lists who climb on rocks. So now that Halloween is over and we're all done gorging on our kids' candy, it's time to make our Elf on the Shelf list. So far I have three lists: 1) 2012's plan. (<-- link to printable document) 2) 2012's reality. 3) 2013's plan. This year's plan is still under construction. There are too many great ideas out there!

The big plan last year was to have our elf bring a daily activity for the kids. I thought I had the perfect plan. But the kids got sick, then I got sick, and we got almost a foot of snow, and flying monkeys. Oh wait! Not that last one. Anyways, the magic of the internet saved my butt when I was so sick that I could barely get my aforementioned butt out of bed. There are so many fun/silly ways to pose your elf. And the kids loved them! They also loved most of the activities. Okay, yes, some of the activities bombed. Lesson learned. On to 2013!

I decided that an activity is not necessary everyday. Seriously, the holidays are busy enough. The elf doing funny things brings so much joy on it's own, adding an activity every single day just complicates things. Definitely keeping the favorites, though. Like making the Christmas list ornaments, creating pine cone bird feeders, decorating gingerbread houses, the elf sized paper chain countdown to Christmas, and baking cookies for the neighbors.

I hope to get the 2013 list done in a day or two. I will post it on here as a document so you can print it out for yourself. (Once I figure out how to do it again.) I will also be creating some tutorials for cute accessories for your elf.  Then all the planning is done for you! Okay, not all the planning. You still have to track down Grandma's recipe for green bean-sweet potato-turkey-gravy-cotton candy casserole. And you have to figure out who gets to move up to the grown-up table. Or who will get banished to the kiddie table. Don't think you can do it to cousin Mabel, again. She still hasn't forgiven you for last year! Do you know how hard it is to get cranberry sauce out of white cashmere?!

P.S. I'm a vegetarian, but the rest of my family isn't. It was my decision for me, I'm not going to make everyone else convert, too. You may think that makes Thanksgiving hard, but not really. I'll cook a delicious turkey for everyone else. (Not a nasty Tofurkey!) But all the sides will be vegetarian. Pinterest is FULL of delicious, vegetarian Thanksgiving dishes. It's no problem at all!

P.P.S. Follow my Kristin-mas Pinterest board!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

2012 Elf on the Shelf Round-up

32 Elf on the Shelf Ideas

There were 32 days of Elf on the Shelf last year. (It fluctuates each year due to Thanksgiving not being a fixed date.) This is the round-up of all the posts I did last year all in one place. And the links to the full posts. I'll have the plan for 2013 ready soon with a downloadable and printable schedule.

32 days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas. 

Day 1: Elf's arrival. Our elf shows up on our dining room light each year. This year he brought a North Pole breakfast with him, (powdered sugar donut holes).

Day 2: Making ornaments. Our elf brought a clear ornament for each child and told them to write their Christmas lists on the scroll paper he left for them. Then they put the scroll in the ornament and hung it on the tree.

Day 3: Hiking through the candy cane forest. He told the kids to go on a hike and collect pine cones. (Secretly, the pine cones were for the next day's craft).

Day 4: Bird feeders. He put out peanut butter and sunflower seeds and told the kids to make bird feeders with the pine cones they collected the day before.

Day 5: Popsicle stick crafts. Jumbo craft sticks, some craft paint, and googly eyes. Ta dah! The kids LOVED making these. They each made several.

Day 6: Sick day. The kids had been sick, Clyde must have caught the sniffles, too.

Day 7: Candy Land.  Hanging out with his friends, playing one the favorite board games of elves. Duh! It's about candy!

Day 8: Letters to Santa. Time to send your Christmas list to the big guy up North.

Day 9: Nutcracker.  Go see the classic ballet. (Or just watch it on Netflix, if everyone is still feeling kinda cruddy).

Day 10: Christmas music dance party. Christmas music is one of the best parts of the holiday season. "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."

Day 11: Reading a story. Elves are such nice guys or gals. They like to read to the other stuff animals and toys.

Day 12: Taking a shower. He accidentally stepped in reindeer poo. He needed to bathe.

Day 13: In an elf sleeping bag. Elves can be confused by some human traditions. He thought the stocking was a sleeping bag.

Day 14: Rocket ship. They definitely don't have giant blenders like this at the North Pole. Clyde thought it was a rocket ship! No smoothies today. :)

Day 15: New friend. An adorable penguin was without a home and Clyde asked if he could come live with us. :)

Day 16: A little elf pampering. I popped some plain popcorn to make strings for the tree, but our silly elf thought it was a spa! Maybe popcorn baths are how the elves stay so young looking year after year.

Day 17: Making gingerbread houses. Clyde brought us three gingerbread house kits for the kids to put together and decorate. He also brought his own little gingerbread house that he made.

Day 18: Two weeks til Christmas. Paper chains are a classic Christmas decoration. Clyde made his own tiny one to count down to the Big Day! The kids checked each day to see if he had taken one off each night.

Day 19: Making crayons for neighbor gifts. It's a fun project and definitely a great gift for younger children.

Day 20: Making cookies for neighbors. Who doesn't love free cookies?! :)

Day 21: ELF!!! Must watch this movie at least three times during the holiday season!

Day 22: Snow. We were buried in snow! Clyde thought it would be fun to bring some inside.

Day 23: Funny looking stockings. I hope he got these out of the clean laundry!

Day 24: Elf houses. I'm pretty sure real elf houses are a little bigger. But the kids loved these bird houses to paint.

Day 25: Pancakes. Everyone loves pancakes! My kids love getting tiny ones on their plates. Clyde enjoyed his "tall" stack of elf-sized pancakes.

Day 26: Elf portraits. Clyde got a little "cheeky"!

Day 27: Elf Christmas tree. Clyde brought and decorated his own elf-sized Christmas tree. It's a little messy. Silly elf!

Day 28: Rice Krispie Treat time! Classic Christmas time treat. And don't feed Rudolph marshmallows!

Day 29: Hot cocoa. Clyde left us some fun snowman marshmallows to put in our hot chocolate.

Day 30: Magic reindeer food. A special treat for the reindeer. Mix it up and spread it in your yard.

Day 31: Cookies for Santa. Gotta do it! Gotta leave cookies for Santa. You could do store bought, but the kids always have fun decorating homemade ones.

Day 32: Clyde's last day. He was up in the light again. And he left a little gift for each of the children.