Christmas Past

As last year I ran out of time to post our Christmas crafts and posted them far too late to be useful for anyone.  I’m not always the most organised of people despite the very best of intentions so all of these things can be done very quickly and very last minute.  That’s how we roll over at Frog Goose & Bear.  As last year’s Christmas posts have been getting a good viewing with almost a thousand hits a day on my blog at the moment (that’s double the usual!) I thought it might be handy to combine all of last year’s Christmas posts into one….
BON BONS (aka CHRISTMAS CRACKERS):



CHOCOLATE BARK:



the one on the left being the Christmas one with crushed candy canes.  
This post, although an Easter post, contains the link to the recipes for each of them or you can go 
straight here for the recipe we used 2 years ago for Christmas cocoa in a jar.





These are all fun activities to do with your kids.

Stay tuned for even more Christmas crafting this year!

What Christmas creativeness have you been up to?

Handmade Christmas Cards

This year’s Christmas cards are made.  I can’t seem to get away from the fabric covered card.  I love them.  Simple, yet stylish and I find them very addictive to make!  I have updated the instructions on how to make them here if you’d like to give them a go.

As well as the ‘Made ‘n’ Thornbury’ market on the Friday night just gone, I will be selling my cards, as well as my paper garlands and clay decorations at the Wale St Primary Christmas Market in Thornbury this coming Tuesday from 6.30 – 9pm.  Love to see you!

A per usual if I have any left over, they’ll be my Christmas cards for this year.

Do you make your own Christmas cards?  Do you bother with Christmas cards at all?  

The Advent Calendar

Every year I plan to write a post on advent calendars and each year, time runs out on me.  This year, however I managed to get in just before the beginning of December which means you’ll still have time to do this quick and easy, no time to get fancy, advent calendar if you feel so inclined.

Just some seed packet sized envelopes, some string and some small pegs, along with some stamps to decorate.  Fun for the kids to be involved in too.


For the last few years we’ve been reading a part of the Christmas story each day and then collating them on a piece of paper so that we can see the story evolve.  It gets longer each day until we have the whole Christmas story at the end. We use the following adaptation, paraphrased into language kids will understand, by my beautiful friend Jane: 

1. The angel Gabriel took a message to Mary: Don’t be afraid!  God is pleased with you, and you will have a son.  His name will be Jesus.

2. The angel visited Joseph in a dream.  He said: when the baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

3. The angel told Mary that her son would be great, called the Son of the Most High.  God will make him a king and give him a throne and he will rule forever.

4. Mary & Joseph were engaged to be married and waiting for baby Jesus to be born.  The Roman Caesar said “everyone must be counted…”

5.  Everyone had to go to his own town, where he had been born to register.  So, Joseph took Mary on a long trip, from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be counted.

6.  When Mary & Joseph got to Bethlehem they looked & looked for somewhere  to stay.  All the houses were full so a kind man let them stay in his shed.

7.  In that shed, in Bethlehem , the time came for Mary to have her baby, & so there he was born: the Lord Jesus.  And his little cot was a manger.

8.  Just then, an angel came to visit the shepherds in a paddock near the shed where Jesus was born.

9.  The angels told the shepherds: “Don’t be scared.  I’ve got good news & it’s for everyone in the world…”

10.  The angels’ good news was: “Today in Bethlehem, the town of David, a saviour has been born; he is Christ the Lord”.

11.  Then the angel said: “You will find the baby wrapped in cloths & lying in a manger”.

12.  Suddenly, there were hundreds of angels in the sky praising God, above the shepherds & their sheep.

13.  The angels sang: “Glory to God in the Highest & Peace on Earth to People who Please God”.

14.  After the angels had gone back to heaven, the shepherds decided to go to Bethlehem & see the new baby.

15.  The shepherds went quickly & found Mary, Joseph & baby Jesus in the hay in Bethlehem.

16.  The shepherds told Mary & Joseph all about the angels & what they had said about the new baby Jesus.

17.  Everyone who heard the shepherds story were surprised and amazed!

18.  Mary kept thinking about everything the shepherds said and wondered what it meant.

19.  The shepherds went back to their sheep; praising God because of everything they’d heard and seen.

20.  Jesus also has the name “Immanuel” which means “God is with us”.

21.  Some wise men from the east saw a big star & knew it would lead them to the new baby Jesus.

22.  The wise men followed the star all the way to Bethlehem where it shone over the stable where Mary, Joseph & Jesus were.

23.  The wise men were excited to see the star because they knew that it pointed to the king of the Jews, baby Jesus, just like the prophets  had said.

24.  The wise men went into the stable to see Jesus and worship him.  They brought gifts for him of gold, frankincense & mhyrr.  Precious gifts for the new king.
There is a wonderful array of homemade advent calendar ideas across blogland.  I have made a collection of my favourites over here on pinterest if you are looking for ideas.

Do you have an advent calendar at your house?  Is it a special part of your own childhood memory of Christmas?  Or is just another thing to do at this craaaazy busy time of year?!

Ready to Rummage

Frog Goose and Bear will once again be having a stall at the Melbourne Suitcase Rummage at the Thornbury Theatre tomorrow from 11 – 4 if you happen to be in the area.  I’d love to say hi!  I’ll be selling lots of fabric covered Christmas cards, clay birdies and rainbow garlands.

Along with my gorgeous friend Candy who makes the coolest magnets around!

At the last suitcase rummage I was lucky enough to have a stall next to a gorgeous young gal who made soy candles in all kinds of funky containers.  I was inspired and we have been making some of our own.  Head over to Kidspot Village Voices for FGB’s next eggshell craft instalment!

Have you ever been to a suitcase rummage? 

Christmas Boxes

Yes, I’m writing a post about Christmas and it is only October.  Never fear, I am not one of those people who is super organised and has my Christmas presents sorted.  Far from it!  I’ll start thinking about that in a couple of months time and kick myself again that I didn’t start getting organised back in October!

I’m always looking for ways that I can help my children look a little beyond themselves and be a little more aware of those who do not share the privileges they do. It started the year that I attempted to buy a gift from the Kmart Wishing Tree when Goose was younger and she had a meltdown over the fact that we were not buying the same gift for her also.  It was a foreign concept that she just did not understand.  I felt that things needed to change.  

I thought I’d share with you something that the children and I did for the first time last year.  We put together a Christmas Box for Operation Christmas Child.  Run by international aid organisation, Samaritan’s Pursethe idea is to collect small presents that will fit inside a shoe box and they are sent overseas to those who would otherwise not be receiving a gift for Christmas. 
The photo below is what we sent last year for a girl aged 2-4.  Can you tell that this box was put together with the help of my pink obsessed 3 year old?


They provide the box for you and you choose the gender and age group that your gifts would suit and purchase (or make your own) one or more gifts from the following categories:

- something to love
- something for school
- something to wear
-something to play with
- something for personal hygiene
- something special
They are all relatively inexpensive things and we even made a few ourselves, such as the drawstring bag and fabric covered hairties.  Their website is very informative and will let you know all that you need to know. 

Something that I think is quite special is that they also give you the chance to follow where your box is sent.  There are some beautiful videos on their website of children receiving their gifts also.

If you’d like to put together a box or 2, you’ve got until the 25th of October to get them in for this year.  You can check here for your nearest collection point if you live in Australia or New Zealand.

I’d love to hear of any ways you get the message of the joy of giving, instead of receiving, across to your kids at Christmas time or any time of the year really, as quite frankly mine need a good dose!

Some Time Out…

We have just come back from a glorious 9 days in Broome, WA.  Along with my sister Lou and her family, my Dad, his partner and my little bro, we enjoyed a real holiday.  One where you actually relax and feel like you’ve had a break.  Cannot remember the last time we had one of those.  I had a thousand things to write, but once again I’m just too tired and staying up way too late and really must head to bed if I have any hope of adjusting back to Melbourne time.  Here are some family snaps…
 


How did you enjoy your school holidays?

Have you ever been lucky enough to spend some time in Broome?

Whiskers & Fluffy

Meet our new pets.  Fluffy & Whiskers.
Ignore the giant bruise on Bear’s forehead (he ran into a pole in the playground) the toothpaste still around his mouth and the broccoli gone to seed in the background. 

Then go on and ignore Frog’s unbrushed hair with the newly self acquired fringe* (It was just in the way Mummy so I cut it off) and the unmown lawn in the background. Ignore the fact that their mother gets a hive-like rash on her arm every time she touches the lovely new pets.  Instead let’s focus on the smiles on their faces and the enjoyment they are getting from cuddling the cute little creatures and the fact that we’ll no longer need to mow our lawn as the guinea pigs are doing it for us!  

In other matters, Frog Goose & Bear will have a suitcase or three at the Melbourne Suitcase Rummage this Sunday the 23rd of September from 11-4 in the ballroom at the Thornbury Theatre in High St Thornbury.  It has a focus on vintage, upcycled & handmade goods and I have no idea what to expect, but I think it sounds like lots of fun! 

Have you been to a suitcase rummage?  

What pets do you have at your house?  

Are you allergic to your children’s pets?

* aka ‘bangs’ for you readers from the US.

Growing Sprouts

We make our own alfalfa sprouts quite regularly in our house.  But this time, I thought we’d try something different and purchased a mixed sprout packet.  Here’s the method that we use, if you’d like to give it a try.  It is very simple and takes only a couple of days to have your own homegrown sprouts.  Sprout seeds can be purchased from your local plant nursery or health food shop.


INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Put sprout seeds into the jar and cover them with 1-2cm of cool water.  


2. Cover the top of the jar with a piece of tulle and secure with rubber band.


3. Allow the seeds to soak overnight, then gently drain off the water. 
 It is important to drain the water off using the tulle as a seive to keep the seeds moist but not covered in water.  You might need to hold the tulle in place as you drain as the rubberband has a tendency to slip off if you are not quite gentle enough.

4.  For the next few days, rinse the seeds in the morning and evening by covering the seeds with some water, swishing the seeds around, and draining them straight away. 


5.  Repeat until sprouts are ready to eat. Usually 4-6 days depending on season. The hotter the weather, the quicker they’ll grow.  



Some people suggest that you need to store the jar away from direct sunlight as you grow them, but I have always grown mine on the window sill and I’ve never had a problem.

Once grown, your sprouts should last at least 2 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.
We used these mixed sprouts in a salad and although Granny loved them, they were not a particular hit with the kids.  The kids do love alfalfa sprouts though (or ‘worms’ as they are affecionately known here) and they are a common ingredient in sandwiches here. 
 Alfalfa sprouts are grown using the exact same method above and even if you don’t like to eat them, I highly recommend it as a fun experiment to do with the kids.
You could make your own egg creatures with alfalfa sprouts.

You could make your own sprout growing kits as Christmas gifts.  
We made sprout growing kits as a MOPS activity earlier in the year also.

You could even put a mini sprout making kit inside a bon-bon/cracker like we did last year.

Do you grow your own sprouts?

How do you eat them?  

My personal favourite for a healthy snack is kavili or toast with cream cheese and flavoured tuna with alfalfa on top.

To Market, To market…

I just can’t seem to help myself when it comes to markets at the moment…

 I have no time whatsoever to be doing things like this, but they’re so much fun and quite frankly I give so much of my life for others I need something just for me sometimes!

Here’s a sneak peak of just a few of the things that you can expect to see at Pascoe Vale Community Facility tomorrow night from 6.30 – 8.30 if you happen to be in the area… The lovely Brenda of Mira Narnie will be there too!
How do you like my new little tags?  You can get some of your own on etsy.  I got mine made by the lovely Michelle from Inked Papers.  She was very lovely to work with.
Frog, Goose & Bear will also be having a suitcase or three at the upcoming Suitcase Rummage at the Thornbury Theatre next Sunday 23rd Sep.


Do you have your own labels?  
Even though you only make for friends and family or the occasional market?  

What do you do that you really have no time for, but you make the time because it energises you?





P.S.  I will get around to that etsy store one day… one day… Just for fun.  I just need to find some time to take a few pics and upload all the details… but in the meantime if there is anything that you particularly fancy and you’re not in the Melbourne area, let me know and I’d be happy to send it to you!

Guest Posting – Upcycled Tshirt Scarf Tutorial

You might remember that I posted some pics of my upcycled tshirt scarf last month.  
Here are those pics again… 

…but this time if you’d like to know how to make one, with an old tshirt and a pair of fabric scissors (seriously!) you can head on over to the home of my friend Jane of Mama Pea Pod where I’m guest posting today with a full step by step tutorial on how to make this quick and easy scarf.  Mama Pea Pod is a lovely space in blogland and Jane writes some wonderful posts on kids and play and getting kids outdoors. I’d highly recommend a visit! This post was written as part of her new series focusing on time out for Mums…

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