As a result, I'm a little behind with my Christmas preparations this year but am on my way to catching up. Here's what we've been up to so far...
Yesterday a friend and I took our girls to visit the Smith & Caughey Santa's Grotto. Each year they base the theme on a children's Christmas book. Last year was Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas.
This years theme was Russell's Christmas Magic.
Maddy dressed in her new Christmas dress for the special trip to visit Santa.
Her super sweet outfit is from Etsy - her gorgeous Christmas print dress is from Valeriya and her Christmas necklace is from Daizy Bugz.
We got to Smith & Caughey right on opening time at 9.30am and there was already a queue to pay and ride the elevator to the Grotto on the sixth floor but it moved pretty quickly.
Having a snack while waiting to pay to visit Santa
It is $12 per child to visit the Smith & Caughey Santa's Grotto which I thought was excellent value for money. $12 included a walk through the Christmas Wonderland which is just magical,
a visit with Santa and a 5x7 printed photo of you and Santa, a commemorative Christmas decoration and a goodie bag of perfume samples for Mum. (Mine included Chloe, Bvlgari and Dolce & Gabbana).
If you've been in previous years you'll be happy to know that they have changed the layout of things a little this year to help accommodate all of the visitors and stagger the amount of people in the Grotto at any one time. It helped a little - our wait to see Santa was about 45 minutes but the time passed quite quickly and the line was always slowly moving forward. They have also water coolers dotted around and air conditioning in parts which was helpful but man is it still hot up there!
Once you finish at the Santa's Grotto you can head downstairs to view the display windows on Queen Street (my camera battery died at this point). Follow the story from window to window and answer three questions to enter to win a $25,000 prize package. We had to head back home at this point but if that's not enough and you wanted to stay longer, you can head back upstairs to Bite Cafe for a Santa's Snack Box and don't forget the great shopping to be had in store too.
The girls absolutely loved it and we look forward to visiting again next year.
I finally finished the Christmas gifts for Maddy's creche class and teachers. For all her little friends at creche I made each child a little bag of Reindeer Food to give out on the last day of class.
It was so cheap and easy - it only cost around 0.50 cents per child using a small bag of oats and candy canes from the supermarket and glitter, sequins and bags from the $2 Shop. The printables are from Amandas Partys To Go and are free! The poem reads:
Sprinkle these oats to light the way
For Santa's reindeer and their magic sleigh
The twinkling dust helps Santa know
To be sure and visit the house below
Isn't that so sweet?
Maddy has eight creche teachers so they each get a wee box of Lindt with a Sambellina Christmas gift tag attached. The sweet gift box is from the $2 Shop.
I came across these gorgeous Petunias in Palmers the other day which reminded me of Candy Canes so in between coughing fits I also managed to plant out our pots at the front door.
And a little bit of Christmas crafting - Maddy picked up a pine cone on a morning walk along the beach last week and we brought it home to paint and hang on our Christmas tree. There is so much paint on it that it's still drying in the hot water cupboard :) I remember doing this when I was at Kindy and still have one of the pine cones I painted when I was 3 which hangs on our tree every year.
I love the tongue sticking out in concentration
Spotlight also has some great craft kits in stock at the moment. They are too old for Maddy but they had a super special on them the other day (I think they were about $3 each) so I grabbed two to pop away until she is a little bigger.
I also came across these fantastic Christmas activity books the other day, Doodle On! Christmas Doodles.
This heavy duty spiral bound book includes over 160 pages of imaginative activities including "Decorate the Christmas tree! Put something special at the very top" and "Hurray! It's started snowing. Fill the sky with snowflakes". There are so many activities in this book that it will last for many Christmases to come.
I think that about covers things for now but we have plenty of events and activities planned over the next few weeks that I'll back to share with you soon. I hope you're all enjoying your lead up to Christmas. I'd love to hear what you've all been up to and what you have planned. Penny x