Vanilla Biscuits, Christmas Decorating & Charcoal Drawings

When the girls finished school on Friday, the weather wasn’t wonderful, so we had a cosy afternoon in the house. We made some vanilla cookies using a new rolling pin my mum gave me. It has a Christmas print carved into it. It showed up on the uncooked dough, but seemed to vanish when it rose in the oven 😊 The girls liked the novelty of using it though. I sprinkled the cookies with sugar while they were still hot. I was feeling too lazy to make icing, but the girls liked them just as much anyway 😊 The girls insisted on getting our Christmas cookie cutters out too. Christmas always comes early in our house. I liked the fact they started making their own Santa cookies, adding dough beards and hats 😊 I always like seeing their creativity and the ideas they come up with on their own. They claimed their Santa cookies as soon as they came out of the oven 😊

We put up the Christmas tree and decorations. It might be my favourite rainy day activity 😊 I did the lights and then let the girls put all the decorations on the tree. We have a train that runs on tracks around the base of the tree. I still don’t know how to set it up, so the girls took care of it and had so much fun putting toy figures in it to travel around the Christmas tree. We finished our Christmassy day with homemade pizza and Home Alone 😊 The colourful lights always cheer me up and it was such a contrast to the gloominess outside 😊

On Saturday, we went to Montalto. I took the girls to the big adventure playground and brought some hot chocolate and marshmallows in a flask to warm them up in between. My dad met us there a while later and we went for a walk around the lake. We visited the witch’s house and had a leftover pizza picnic 😊 Afterwards, we called into the Christmas shop and my dad treated us to a decoration each. The girls picked out a reindeer and snowball to add to our tree 😊 The café was so busy, so we went to a local hotel instead and got some coffee. They had all their Christmas decorations up. The girls said hi to their pretend Santa 😊 We went for a short walk to the little island they’ve created for wedding photos. The girls liked exploring and crossing the little bridge. We called over to my mum’s after and she surprised us with ice-cream 😊

While we were at Montalto, I collected some leaves for a craft project on Sunday. The girls had to lay out canvas, leaves, petals or berries and then wax paper on top. They used a rock to hammer the leaves. It transfers the pigment to the material. After some experimentation, we learned that waxy leaves work best. We’re going to come back to it next weekend with more leaves and berries 😊 Some of the colours did transfer, but I’d like to experiment with more vivid colours too.

We did a charcoal craft next. The girls just had to colour in a piece of paper black with charcoal. They got more on their hands than they did on the page 😊 Then they had to use the erasers that came with it to rub out white parts to make pictures. They gave up on that after a while and made handprints and fingerprints on them instead. I let them get on with it but the clean-up was grim 😊 They enjoyed the process, which I guess is the point in the art box, so it was worth doing anyway.

Afterwards, I made a new hot chocolate recipe I found in a magazine. It makes a dark, spiced hot chocolate, which the girls, of course, didn’t like 😊 They tried it though. It was quite bitter even for me, but I still like to try new things and the chocolate shavings on top sweetened it a bit. They had cinnamon sticks stirrers too. It reminded me about a hot chocolate I make sometimes with chilli and melted chocolate in it. It feels like the season to bring it out again 😊 We did a 200 piece jigsaw puzzle while we had our drinks and just enjoyed hibernating.

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