Elf Antics – Week 1

8 Dec IMG_1716

Ollie was a greater hit than anticipated! He arrived on the evening of December 1st. Unfortunately I was not at the family’s home the evening he arrived to see the excitement  :( But I did get to hear all about it!  He arrived on December 1st in the evening in a box with a letter from Santa. IMG_1642 (1)

 

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Mom put the box in the freezer (neat idea I found online) as elf is coming from the north pole after all (the boys are observant and did notice it was cold). Mom put the box on the doorstep and knocked on the door, making it away before the 5-year-old twins could see her. The boys were excited and puzzled to find a box the them and their sister.

The funny part? Dad wasn’t clued in and said “Lets wait until Christmas to open it.” Mom let the boys open it and one of the boys said something about the magic dust, ‘where is it?’ ‘Oh, there it is’ he says as there was glitter that had fallen from a piece of tissue paper (totally not planned). Apparently due to advertising the boys have seen “Elf on a shelf” online, so the other twin said ‘oh, it’s elf on a shelf’

The next morning the boys looked everywhere for elf and couldn’t find him. When they sat down at breakfast they found Ollie hanging from the chandelier, how fun!  They were quite amused by this. When they came home that afternoon the boys told me all about elf, as of course I naturally had no idea about what this unexpected visitor was doing at their home😉

 

One boys said, ‘He is alive’ ‘Can you believe it, he really is alive.?!’ I read the letter and read them the part about talking to elf or writing to him, one boy went right to writing him a letter. Which by the way, I only know what a few words are and he refuses to tell us what it says.

Here are some pictures of Ollies first week. Hope you enjoy!

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For his first day he was hanging around from the chandelier. The boys were so

amused that he had moved from his shelf near the tv. See the note?

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Besides the word red (which was asked to be spelled, I have no idea

what this note says!) I even asked and the writer refused to tell

me what it says. I’ll share with you how I remedy this later

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Sledding down banister

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For this one, one of the twins had Maw Maw get out of bed and get dressed

to come see! He also reminded Paw Paw that Elf must not be touched.

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Toilet paper snowman (they were especially amused by the writing on the mirror)

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Getting into the Cheerios

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He has some on his face🙂

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Reading to Toys

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Brushing teeth. The boys thought it was funny he made such a mess!

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Sitting in wreath with note (Have a good day at school)

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I also found some fun rhymes that can be added easily any day with Elf

and gingerbread note cards for a personal note.

These should make some days easy planning!

gingerbread man blank note

Printable Elf Poems

And to show that things get messy before they were neat…

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It’s all part of the creative process🙂

What’s been your favorite Elf antic so far? We’d all like to hear in the comments below!

Nanny G

Elf Preperation

2 Dec IMG_1641

Happy December!

 

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Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I had a full day celebrating, enjoying great company and wonderful food!

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I’m a planner by nature, Elf’s visit has been thought out in detail. It was so much fun to imagine what and where ‘Oliver Sugar’ will be each day in December around the house.  I started the process by going online and searching images and blogs about Elves that have visited other homes. I compiled all I found on my Elf Pinterest board . Pinterest is great for those of you who haven’t ventured there yet.

Elf has been around since 2005 and is really catching on (likely in part to children talking with one another about it, but also..its so much fun)! The basic idea is that Santa sends an elf to stay with your family for the month of December to keep an eye on the kids for Santa. He gets into some silly antics! He/She goes to the North Pole each night to help Santa in his workshop and returns to your home by morning. Elf moves each day and part of the fun is discovering where he/she will be, as well as what elf was doing while you were sleeping.

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The pinterest board has links that have many ideas (often many ideas through one link). I’ve learned through experience that I pin some things on my board for the link and some for the cover picture. The latter being  the case for most of my Elf on a shelf board. (I didn’t want to continue re-clicking the links to see all the the ideas. This way I can easily scroll through my board to see the ideas).

After I found the best of the best from my searching, I compiled a list of everything I needed to do to get elf ready for his arrival (see list directly below, which I’ll expand on). What’s fun about Elf is that one can make him/her as simple and easy as they’d like, or can get really involved (I tend to be in the later camp😉 ). See my pdf links below for my lists and ideas.

Purchase elf

Hack Elf

Name elf

Arrival Mode

Letter from Santa   LetterfromSanta

Elf Rules 

Elf Antics ElfAntics

Reasons Elf didn’t move Elfdidntmovebecause

Departure note/gift 

Purchase Elf

Elf can be purchased online or at some bookstores.  After purchasing elf and hacking him, I’m puzzled why he isn’t made with bendable arms/legs. After some more searching,  I’d likely go with this collection of Elves in the future. From what I understand, they come with bendable arms and legs…plus they come with other accessories as part of their arrival kit. I’ve never seen one in person but they look superior in workmanship than the traditional elf on a shelf. Plus they are only a few dollars more than the elf on a shelf version. Apparently they have local stores, so I plan to take a look and see them in person sometime! The only downside I can think of with these elves is that they have a fabric face rather than a plastic one (This could make certain antics more challenging or impossible).

Hack Elf

The elf hack (or surgery as I like to call it) is not necessary but will make it possible for your elf to stay in different positions. Elf is made out of felt and has floppy arms and legs. When he arrived I frowned after taking him out of the box (despite the fact of seeing him online and others describing how floppy he was, actually seeing and experiencing him in person was, disappointing). Its odd to me that he’s $30 dollars and there is not much to him (I suspect the book that comes with him costs much more than the elf himself).

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Interested in a hack tutorial? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll write a blog post about it.🙂

Name Elf

I knew with time the right name would come to me. I started with a list of names (Zippy, Blitz, Elfie, Ralph, Louie, Jingle, Jangle), Then it hit me one day. MawMaw calls the children pet names (said with the best New Orleans accent of course🙂 ) ‘Sugar Bugger’ ‘Sugar Lovie Dovie’ ‘Sugar Plum.’ Why not call the Elf Sugar? Then the Scholastic books arrived from school, and I was drawn to the story ‘The Littlest Elf.’ In the book the elf’s name is Oliver. So the name Oliver Sugar was born. His nicknames are Sugar, Ollie or Ollie Sugar. 

As with every aspect of Elf, his name and how it is chosen is as unique as each family. Some choose to write something in the letter from Santa about allowing the children to name the elf.

For this family, we decided the adults would name the elf and introduce him to the family already named (less argument over choosing one name, and the bonus of a name we enjoy saying everyday)

Arrival Mode

There are many ways your elf can arrive to your home. The most common way I found was in a box at your front door. Subsequent years Elf seems to arrive in different ways. Many put a letter from Santa in the box explaining why Elf is here and the rules surrounding his stay. I’ve seen him arriving subsequent years in a small toy car with other characters or in a sleigh near the front door with a trail of magic (glitter) dust behind him (with a sign saying: ‘I’m back!’), and arriving in a parachute or hot air balloon.

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Santa Letter

The box elf arrives in to your home often contains a letter from Santa. In all my searches, I found these three to be the best overall  nice printable letter, great letter & blog, and this one (Letters are on the bottom of each blog post page). I’d recommend looking at these letter to see the different aspects and rules in each one has as well at the values each family would like to instill. The religious letters which talk about forgiveness and not having the naughty and nice list were neat perspectives. Worth a thought of including some of these if they are important to you and your family.

Here is an example of a letter I put together for the children (link below)

LetterfromSanta

Along the ideas of choosing to have Santa part of your tradition…I ran across this wonderful letter a mother wrote her daughter about the Truth of Santa and thought it was such a magnificent way to do so! If your on the fence about adding the belief in Santa to your tradition I’d encourage you to give her blog post and letter a read. The time a child would believe in Santa is such a short time frame and really allows them to use their imagination (and you to enjoy the wonder along with them)!

Elf Rules

From my research, it seems most families have elf be the eyes and ears for Santa in December. Many elves are reporting back to Santa each evening to determine on whether they will be on the naughty or nice list. While I do like to encourage children to make great choices, it seems odd to only encourage that for one month. Children should be given gifts regardless of behavior (unconditional love) and not be threatened with empty words (I mean who really don’t give a gift to a child if they are able to?) Elf apparently flies back to the North Pole each evening to help Santa and then is back  by morning, appearing somewhere new around the house. Most elves are not to be touched at all or they’ll lose their magic dust and won’t move the next day. They also don’t move is there was behavior that was not so great.

For my charges impulse control can be a challenge and likely impossible for the boys not to touch Elf. We have decided what works for us is to allow the children to touch elf upon finding him and then putting him up in his ‘home’ spot, likely next to the tv (which is up out of reach).  The children will have to leave him alone during the day or he may not move the next day.

There should be much thought and careful consideration as to how to introduce Elf to your family. He/She should emcompass the beliefs and values you’d like your children to have. Each elf is as unique as the family they visit, make it fun!

Elf Antics

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Now that everything else is done… on to the fun part! I have so many ideas for elf, enough for at least two years of Decembers. I’ve decided the easiest way is to make a calendar, like this one (picture of calendar below) and have everything already prepared. I’ve attached a pdf of a master list I compiled, if lists are your thing. I have an easy and involved list (for those nights/mornings when something quick works best). I’ll post a weekly blog post with pictures of what Sugar has been up to this week.

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Here is a link with all the antics (enough for over 2 years!)

Reasons Elf Didn’t Move

There will be days/nights when Elf may not move. I’ve found some fun ideas for those days when you weren’t able to get it all together, or the kids behavior just didn’t match up with expectations. I’ve attached a pdf Elfdidntmovebecause for a list I made from this and this post.

Phew, you catch all that?! This is a long post (obviously), as I wanted this to be an all inclusive post so that you can know what you are getting into. Research is fun for me, so I’ve taken the work out of it for you by giving you a overall idea and plan for Elf. Have questions or ideas? As always I appreciate the dialog and ideas you put in the comment section below (I’ll do my best to check comments often this month, so you’ll have a reliable source during the hustle bustle of the month for any questions you may have.)

I anticipate the fun and wonder Ollie will bring this month.

See you soon!

Nanny G

 

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p.s. anyone know how to post a picture of a pdf to post in my blog?

Sugar the Elf

19 Nov Elf after surgery

 

 

 

Elf after

 

 

Hello blog followers! Its been a long time since I’ve posted and much has happened since my last post. I’m writing to you from the sunny south this time and have enjoyed my time here (sunshine’s always a good thing in my book). Decided on reviving my long neglected blog with Elf on a Shelf this year.

I’ve considered having an elf visit a home for quite some time and this year I’m in luck! Sugar the Elf will be visiting the charges I care for and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this process. It’s not official that his name will be Sugar but I’ll call him that for now until he has his official name.

I’m excited to be sharing my adventures with you from this very fun and busy household. As always, I appreciate comments on what you’d like to see here.

I’ve scoured the internet for the best ideas on everything elf and look forward to sharing a full post with you the week after Thanksgiving on how I worked through the process of getting him ready for his month visit. I’ve ‘hacked’ him, or as I like to say given him surgery, thought of tons of ideas, have a long list of to-do’s, written a rough draft of a letter from Santa (no joke, at least enough for 2 Christmas seasons thanks to Pinterest). Leave comments below on what you’d like to see in this post and I’ll do my best to include what you’d like to see. What would be the most fun and helpful for you to prepare your Elf visit? Here is Sugar before ‘surgery’

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Elf before ‘hack’

I’m excited to be back and look forward to hearing from you all. What’s new in your lives? Have you ever done Elf on the shelf? If you have I’d love links/comments to your favorite ideas!

Thanksgiving is one week away, can you believe it?! Where did 2015 go?

Nanny G

 

“That is why I love you all the way to 64!”

20 May

Mack is learning what numbers mean and today while putting sunscreen on his face he worried about me getting sunscreen in his eyes (hasn’t happened yet but seriously why are children suddenly so squirrely when you apply sunscreen? Is it the anticipation of going outside to play perhaps?). I let him know I would be careful and that if he held still it would make it easier for me to not get it into his eyes. That’s when he proclaimed “That’s why I love you all the way to 64!” Well, I’m not sure exactly what that means, but his tone of voice and big smile let me know that this meant quite a bit!

The boys have grown so much over the past year. Year, did I just say that? I sure did, can’t believe a year has gone by so quickly! They have grown up so much and continue to amaze me each day.

We had so much fun this week. We made paper bag puppets, checked out some fun books, and gave mom her mother’s day gift. All these will be posts for a later time in more detail but for now I wanted to get some of my thoughts down.

Little one is not so little any more. His favorite word it “no!” and “right now!’ Gentle reminders of ‘more please’ rather than ‘right now!’ are a daily occurrence. He is becoming independent and learning just how powerful words are.

Here is a sneak peek at a puppet we made. Find out what he and his friends are in the next post

What am I?

What am I?

Hope you have sunshine where you are!

Nanny G

“Hey little lady, can you get my frisbee?”

21 Mar

Oh, kids. They truly say the most interesting things at times don’t they?! Hence the reason my days are so full of fun, smiles, and laughter, and sometimes challenges (which I enjoy, as there is never a dull moment with two busy boys!)

The title of this post is what Mack said atop his play structure to the “little lady” up on her  balcony from a home behind us. It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud! Tried to get it again naturally on video, but to no avail. Etched in my memory for sure🙂  Thankfully the “little lady” from next door did not hear his plea (although at some point I am sure we will have our frisbee back).

It has been months since I have written on this blog and g-ma kindly reminded me of this a few weeks back. Now that I have a decent sized screen, compared to the 10.1 inch netbook I was using previously, I hope I am more consistent in my posts for g-ma, aunties, uncles, mom, dad, and all you wonderful followers.🙂

Much has happened in the past few months. Little One, is not so little any more. He is climbing, and saying many new words. Also amazing me daily with his comprehension of more complex things.

Both boys are great lovers of books and are always thrilled going together for a trip to the library. This has been a joy of mine to see their love of books, for it is in books that we learn and new worlds open up to us.

Machine books

Will be back again by early next week with some new updates!

take care,

Nanny G

p.s. For the record, she was a little lady. Adorable for sure, but not sure she would want to be told she was little.

 

“Look at prikes peak”

30 Oct

Today I had a lovely time with the boys at the park. Mack pipes up while I was pushing him in the swing. “Look at prikes peak, its beautiful.” (Incase you are new here and were wondering, he is 5 years old.) Took me a moment to realize he meant pikes peak. He noted that there was snow up on the mountain (although what he was pointing to was not pikes peak, I believe). The sun was out and it was about 68 today, big change from the snow we had last week.

Today we made two batches of play dough and a volcano with the leftover play dough we made priorly. (Post to come soon of the volcano fun!) Mack enjoyed pouring the vinegar into the volcano and watch the lava come down the sides.

Little one enjoyed the park as well. He squealed with delight and the excitement he felt could hardly be contained in his little body, when he saw a train go by at the park. He was pointing and dancing and then looking at me as if to say, do you see that?! He also delighted and noticed each airplane that went overhead.

Mack also received a new pair of shoes today. To say he is a shoe fanatic is an understatement. Doesn’t matter whose they are, it’s always ‘shoe, shoe’ and he tries them on. He very much enjoyed walking in his new shoes.

There was a moment this evening that we explored in the yard together. He discovered a small bit of water in a container in the yard and enjoyed putting leaves and grass in it. Always makes me stop and see the wonder in the small things when a child does this.

It was a lovely sunny day here in Colorado, with a beautiful sunset.

Nanny G

Kool-aide twist

28 Oct

I have seen and done the shaving cream and paint idea with Mack several times. Have never tried it with Little One because he is still putting things in his mouth. Plus, I have never liked the smell of shaving cream. (If anyone has found one that smells decent, please let me know!)

Came up with my own twist to this one that even little one can do. You will need Kool-aide (non sweetened) and whipping cream. I just purchased the already made kind in the squirt can but one could make their own as well. Simply squirt little piles of whipped cream  and sprinkle with kool-aide.

This worked great for Little One. He was a little leery of the idea initially but then really had some fun with it! As observed from prior behavior he did try the mixture. Didn’t care too much for it though🙂 I am guessing the kool-aide has a bitter flavor to it.

 

 

Enjoy!

Think outside the box,

Nanny G

 

Wacky Wednesday-Pipe Cleaners

25 Oct

Last week I left you with the challenge of pipe cleaners. What did you come up with, can’t wait to see!

Here is what Mack, Little one and I came up with

Create a design and blow bubbles with them

Get a colander and let them have some fun!

This kept them preoccupied for about 30 minutes the first time🙂

Also there were enough pipes and holes that they shared splendidly!

Noticed when doing this the difference between the two kids. Mack holds the pipe cleaners towards the bottom and Little one holds them towards the top. Little one is learning he has better control when holding them towards the bottom. Fun to watch his eye hand coordination at work as well as his brain🙂

Mack came up with the idea to make arches with them!

We also made the shapes of flowers and animals, which I didn’t take pictures of.

I am certain there are many more ideas and as we come up with more, I will add them!

Hope that was as much fun for you as it was for us!

What ideas did you come up with this week? Appreciate if you leave your ideas in the comments below to share with all of us!

This weeks challenge

Find two opportunities for RAC’s (random acts of kindness). Purchase someones coffee, leave a random encouraging note, open the door for someone. Be creative and see what you come up with!

Smiles,

Nanny G

As a side note: Some of these ideas I spotted on Pinterest. The links did not work when I clicked them.

Trip Tuesday-Park

25 Oct

We went to one of our favorite parks and the trip was a success. Sure there wern’t huge moments of amazement but an uneventful trip to the park with an 18mo old and 5 year old is a success in my book!

There is a fun red tunnel slide on the hillside and ample room to run in the grass and on various equipment. This time we took the little scooters (for lack of a better term I use the word scooter. the kiddos can sit on them and use their feet to make the device go). This proved a hit because the sidewalks are slightly elevated and Mack was able to get some speed going but yet be safe by not having to steep of a hill. This kept him busy most of our stay there.

Little one enjoyed watching his brother, chasing after him and screeching with delight, but absolutely refused to ride his scooter. He also enjoyed climbing the stairs to the jungle gym as well as sliding down the slide. It was a short visit to the park, 30 minutes in all. Both were happy and didn’t give a big fuss when leaving as we were going home to meet mom and dad!

 

Have you gone on a fun outing lately (please share in the comments below!)?

be active,

Nanny G

“There is a baby sleeping and it is, like my brother”

25 Oct

 

I hear pitter patter of little feet going past the room I am in towards the bathroom. Mack’s little voice pipes up (in all seriousness)”And actually, would you please be quiet? Because there is a baby sleeping and it is, like, my bother.” I burst out laughing (best laugh I have had in weeks) as I am rocking his brother to sleep. There is no way I could have contained this laughter, you would be laughing as well if you could have heard the tone of his voice as he said it. He was speaking to the man working on the tile and as the older brother wanted to make sure this gentleman understood his brother was sleeping. This sure made my job easier!

Earlier that morning we were playing in the playroom and Mack was having a challenging time sharing with his brother. Here is the conversation that ensued:

Me: ‘Sometimes we have to share our space and things even when we don’t want to. But, there are times we can have things to ourselves. When your brother is sleeping is a great time you can have your things to yourself.’

A bit of time passes…

Me: ‘I am the oldest in my family and I shared sometimes, even when I didn’t want to.’

A thoughtful look comes across Mack’s face and he earnestly asks

Mack: ‘Sarah, did you get Fruster..ratted sometimes?”

Me: ‘Yes, sometimes I did get frustrated’

I really enjoy how Mack is putting things together that he knows such as that I would get frustrated just like him. Also the bigger words he is using in context are enjoyable to hear.

We also painted pumpkins today. Mack has been pretty adamant about doing things on his own without me so I assumed this might be the case and gave him his paints and pumpkin. It was his pumpkin and if he wanted to share he would let me know. He was painting along and then suddenly said “Actually, I would like you to paint with me” I gladly obliged.

We then looked at some pictures of pumpkins with faces and he determined that some of them looked scary. I had the idea to paint an example on paper of what we could do to the next pumpkin. He was more than happy to paint a happy face with me on the next pumpkin. Here is our two-sided boy-girl pumpkin.

Little one continues using new sounds and is really trying to communicate the word banana. I had given him some banana on his tray and set the rest on the counter. He points his little index finger at the counter and says ‘blah, blah.’  That same day as daddy was leaving for work instead of saying the usual ‘da da,’ he pipes up ‘daddy, daddy.’ He is becoming more toddler like every day. Looking back on pictures of him his baby face has certainly gone away and he very much looks more like a toddler.

Make good memories and savor them!

Nanny G

p.s. had some technical difficulities with my posts recently. Appreciate your patience with me uploading them🙂

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