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Today’s advent calendar activity was baking our first ever batch of gingerbread people cookies together.  We woke up to a dreary, rainy day, so it couldn’t have been more perfect {rainy days always make me want to bake}.  We got out of bed, ate a quick breakfast, and set straight to work making our gingerbread dough using this recipe {but subbed pure date syrup for molasses, pure unrefined coconut sugar for the brown sugar, and used all wholewheat flour}.  With it tucked safely in the fridge to chill, we headed downstairs to stomp and play in the rain before coming back up to roll, cut, and bake our gingerbread people.  They turned out so great, and let me tell you, we have had more than our far share of healthier cookie fails!  {Somehow replacing sugar with honey or pure maple syrup and cutting the amount in half doesn’t equal cookies that actually have a real cookie texture?!  Hmm.  Weird. ☺   Thankfully I’m now willing to use pure date sugar or coconut sugar for special baking projects… Much better results!}  

 

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Christmas Tree Photo Scavenger Hunt | Mama Papa Bubba

A couple of days ago Gracen sort of randomly brought up the backyard photo scavenger hunt we’d done just before leaving Canada this past summer, and talked about how much fun she’d had doing it.  Being an overseas living kiddo, she knows that many things simply have to wait until our next summer at home, and so she requested that we do another when we arrive back in BC in 6 or so months.  Of course I happily agreed, but while she was having her daily quiet playtime, I decided that we really didn’t have to wait.  Sure, there’s not a ton of nature in Kuwait {especially where we live}, but that doesn’t mean we that we can’t hunt for other things!  At first, I thought we’d just do a general hunt around the apartment, but as I passed our {very eclectic} little tree bursting with ornaments, I thought why not do a Christmas tree photo scavenger hunt?!

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So that’s just what we did.  While she played independently in her room, I took several photos of the unique and interesting ornaments on our tree using the square photo option.

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Then, later that night I put all of the photos into one Pages document and added a ‘Christmas Tree Scavenger Hunt’ title and some cute clipart.

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Then I printed it off, placed the paper on a clipboard, and set it out on the table with a marker for her to find in the morning.

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As expected, she found it immediately after waking up and promptly marched down to my bedroom and asked, ‘Is that thing on the table a scavenger hunt, BUT FOR THE TREE?!’  {Sure is, darling.}

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After we’d both cleaned our rooms and she’d soaked in a bath with decongesting essential oils {stay away, sickness – we leave to Germany in less than a week!}, she got started.

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At first, she told me that this scavenger hunt was very easy for her because she is an expert on our Christmas tree, but it turned out to be more challenging than initially expected.  While she did find some right off the bat, many took some serious searching.  After taking a break, eating some breakfast, and then going back for round 2, she did eventually find everything she was looking for – whew! ☺

 

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This morning Miss G woke up to discover a jingle bell on a red satin ribbon and this little note in her snowman advent calendar.  She was beyond excited.

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After last’s year’s Polar Express viewing party success, I quickly decided that gathering with friends to watch the movie each December would make for a great yearly tradition, and it seems that Grae agreed fully as she spent most of the day bouncing off of the walls {and furniture} of our apartment in anticipation.

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By the time I was up and out of bed, she was in a pair of new Christmas jammies and bopping around the house ‘making sure it looked Christmassy enough’.

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Since the gathering wasn’t until the afternoon, we spent a chunk of our morning finishing off the Frozen-inspired coffee filter snowflakes we started yesterday and hung them on the windows when done.  Unfortunately, a few paper snowflakes didn’t quite have the power to turn {a very beige} Mahboula into a winter wonderland, but it was a step in the right direction. ☺

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Afterwards, we pulled out a stash of printable Polar Express tickets we had left over from last year and quickly put together a few Polar Express-inspired bells.

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With plenty of time to spare, Miss G pulled out our Christmas-themed play dough set and played for a while before setting up her cozy spot on the floor of our living room.

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Finally, her friends arrived!  As they did, she very proudly gave each person a ticket to board the Polar Express and a bag of popcorn to enjoy while watching the show.  

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Part way through the movie, Gracen handed out some snowmen milk bottles we’d made earlier in the day and Brad ordered some pizza to be delivered for the end of the show.  After a slice of pizza, our guests headed out and our second annual Polar Express viewing party came to a close.  It was a good day.

 

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Sick Kid Sensory Soup | Mama Papa Bubba

While Grae and I both seem to be extremely good at avoiding the terrible sicknesses that circle through our groups of friends, today she woke up with a runny, but congested nose.  Since we prefer to do things the natural way in our house, the first inkling of a cold means a day filled with non-stop fruits and veggies, and extra powerful green smoothie, and a garlic-filled dinner.  …Plus some sick kid sensory soup as of today – hah! (more…)

December Beach Day

Though I truly do miss the rain, cold, and snow of back home this time of year, I really can’t complain about spending December days at the beach in 24 degree weather.  Today’s adventure included a coffee pit stop first thing, a visit to the playground with friends, stories of the sea cuddled up in front of the sea, loads of sand art, and a warm milk for Miss G on the way home.  A lovely morning, to say the least.   (more…)

Fun Stocking Stuffers for Little Ones | Mama Papa Bubba

Growing up, we didn’t do stockings at Christmastime.  Don’t get me wrong – we always had more than enough of everything and my parents worked extremely hard to make the holidays beyond special for us.  Stockings just weren’t our jam. (more…)

Squishy Snowman Sensory Bag | Mama Papa Bubba

Today’s advent activity card invited Miss G and I to create a squishy snowman sensory bag, so that’s just what we did.  Creating this adorable little guy is actually an idea I came up with back in October when I saw these sensory bags with slimy eyes, so I’ve been anxious waiting for quite a long time now and luckily Grae seems to share in my excitement when it comes to all things play-related.

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To get started, we pulled out our collection of craft foam and prepared a few snowman parts.  Gracen worked on the eyes, while I prepared a carrot nose and some hat pieces.  Using our cool temp glue gun, Miss G adhered our hat’s yellow ‘ribbon’ and holly, and then we set off to find a few more supplies.

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Included was some clear packing tape, white glitter, silver snowflake confetti, cheap clear hair gel,  water, our foam parts, five buttons, and a zip-close sandwich bag {plus some white tempera paint we decided not to use after some initial testing}.

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After taping around the three sides of our sandwich bag, I folded down the top of the bag and Miss G scooped in some clear hair gel, poured in a little bit of water, and added some glitter and confetti.  {For this part, measurements really aren’t important – just find a texture your little one enjoys.}  

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When she had added what she wanted to add, we zipped up the bag and she gently mushed the ‘ingredients’ together. 

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As soon as she started playing with the bag, she noticed that the contents felt cold, which prompted this little experiment with testing the temperature out using different body parts.

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After she’d completed her temperature testing, we carefully opened the bag in order to add our foam eyes, foam nose, and 5 red buttons.  When we had them in there, we did our best to remove as much of the air as possible before zipping the bag closed once again and sealing the opening with another strip of packing tape.

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Next, Grae added a big strip of glue using our glue gun to the top of the bag and we stuck the snowman’s hat on.

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After giving the glue just a couple of moments to set, our snowman was ready to play with!

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While she found it quite challenging at first, Grae persevered and eventually figured out what worked and what didn’t really work when trying to move the parts of his face. 

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And with a lot of determination, she eventually had him how she wanted him.

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His sparkles looked so pretty on our white table that we decided we wanted to see what they’d look like with the sun shining through the bag.  Using a couple of big rolls of packing tape, we adhered him to a window, and Miss G played with him there for a while – moving his parts until she had them as she wanted, then squishing up the bag and starting over again.

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Eventually, after lots of play with her hands, Miss G decided to explore him with her feet like the funny little thing that she is – hah!  When she was done, we popped him into the freezer for 40 minutes or so while we ate lunch, and then Grae played with her icy cold snowman sensory bag during quiet playtime.  ☺

 

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When you’re from Canada, Christmas equals cold, crisp air and snow-covered streets {or at least tons of rain and regular frosts if you’re from Vancouver}.  Needless to say, that’s not the kind of weather we’re currently experiencing here in Kuwait.  In fact, I’m fairly certain that this is the warmest December we’ve experienced in our six years here.  Normally by this time of year, we’re wearing down vests and shivering during our afternoons in the courtyard, but this year it’s regularly been 21 to 24 ºC for the majority of the day, which makes getting into the holiday season sort of tricky.  Don’t get me wrong – we’re certainly trying.  Our advent calendar activities have been helping us along, but it wasn’t until today that I think it finally sunk in… Christmas is coming!

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