Monday, December 6, 2010

On Santa's Knee

Happy Feast of Saint Nicholas!

We aren't doing anything out of the ordinary today. The kids got a little something yesterday for the feast of Saint Nicholas. Their German cousins had already gotten their treats, so we made an exception. Dad was home and we wanted him to be there. Each child was given a new book.

After Mass, brunch and Mia's choir practise, we went to one of our favorite stay-cation destinations: Heritage Park. We learn something new every time we are there. Did you know that it was the Germans who had the first artificial Christmas tree? We learned that yesterday. They had a trivia quiz at the park. You had to go to various buildings to answer questions, collect check-marks and ultimately recieve your prize for participating; a candy cane. It was fun and educatiional.

Afterwards, we visited and pet Santa's reindeer and then went to visit Santa. Did I ever mention that my kids have never sat on Santa's knee. It isn't a tradition in Germany. Saint Nicholas comes on December 6th and the Christkind (Christ Child) comes on the 24th. In the years we have lived in Canada, we have never gone to sit on Santa's knee. The malls always have such long line-ups and they want you to buy pictures. So we avoided it until now. Yesterday we could sit the children on Santa's knee, snap a picture ourselves and then go on about our business. So that is what we did. Unfortunately, Paddy was sleeping the whole time we were at the park, so he didn't sit on Santa's knee or see the reindeer. Suse's Kinder Coat and my Ergo Carrier sure come in handy. I felt sorry for those littles in their strollers. They looked so cold. The wind was really sharp.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Home-made Christmas Ornaments

We made some home-made Christmas ornaments. It started off being just one for my grandma. She puts family pictures of her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids on her tree. Not all of us can be there for the holidays, you see. The whole family is spread out across the country. Well, to make a long story short, we got our family pictures in the mail and I was inspired. Our family had them done recently for the church directory. So here is the ornament that we (my daughter and I) made for her great-grandma...
and this one is the version we are sending the aunties...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Homemade Gifts - Totes

I love making Christmas presents. If it were up to me, all Christmas presents would be homemade. I hate the commercialism around Christmas time. Not to mention the fact that homemade gifts show that you truly care. You wouldn't spend hours of your precious time making gifts if you didn't truly love or care about the recipient, would you? I try to instill the art of homemade gift giving into the hearts of my children. Each year I ask them what they would like to make for their sibblings within their realm of talents. Of course, the aspirations are beyond their scope of talent or our purse strings, but I love hearing the ideas. I then funnel their ideas into conceivable and do-able present ideas. The two oldest are pretty proficient on the sewing machine. Last year, there was an apron and a few pillow cases sewn and a few treasure boxes made.

This year I quilted tote bags for my German niece and nephew. I used paper foundation piecing for the first time. I used their initials, M & L for the front and a star for the back. I added coordinating borders, machine quilted, added a lining and then straps. I think they turned out pretty good.
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