Just hear those sleigh bells jinglin’…   5 comments

Merry Christmas from the Stewarts!

Merry Christmas from the Stewarts!

This weekend, we spent a wonderful morning with our circle of friends friends visiting Halton District’s Christmas Town. While it was quite pricey ($80 for our family of 5), the company made the trip more than worthwhile, and the money all goes to a good cause (Halton Conservation works to protect the watershed and provides wildlife education at schools).
We were a wee bit leary about how the kids would handle the 45 minute drive up to Mountsberg, but it was a breeze. We left just when the twins were due for their nap, and with a full belly and clean pants, they slept the whole ride. Bridget kept up a lovely “stream of conciousness” conversation with us during the journey, and it made the trip pass more quickly. After we arrived at the main Conservation House and checked in, we did some fun Christmas colouring in prep for our “two-horse open sleigh ride” off to Santa’s Workshop. It was a gorgeous day, and we had a great time singing Christmas carols and looking for flying reindeer “in training” on the trip out through the conservation lands. Looking at these pictures, I’m not sure how Daddy ended up with all the kids, and I with the camera, but I somehow think I might have had the better deal, eh?
The sleigh ride to see Santa's Workshop

The sleigh ride to see Santa's Workshop

  Once we arrived, we spent some time looking around at all the little “village” had to offer – some really cute little displays of Christmas lore, crafts, cookie decorating, and most excitingly – Santa’s cottage! While we weren’t supposed to be able to take our stroller with us on the sleigh ride, our awesome tour guide elf took pity on our “twin-sanity” and with the help our our good strong buddy Jeremy, we had hauled the folded beast onto the wagon before the driver even noticed. And thank goodness! Trying to carry the wiggly wee ones around the snowy village with nowhere safe to put them down would have been torture! But as always, our trusty Bumbleride stepped up to the snowy, bumpy woodland conditions and handled beautifully over the rough terrain. And aren’t we glad now that we bought the little zip-on “boots” for the stroller! Once we were inside, Santa was just lovely, and spent lots of time with each our the three kids. He and Mrs. Claus made a fuss over the babies, and were patient as we set up our Christmas photo. In the end, it even turned out pretty well!

Mrs Claus greets us outside Santa's cottage

Mrs Claus greets us outside Santa's cottage

B tells Santa what Taylor wants for Xmas ("a ball")
B tells Santa what Taylor wants for Xmas (“a ball”)
All the girls facing the camera - and of course, no flash!!
All the girls facing the camera – and of course, no flash!! 
After seeing Santa, I think the cookie decorating was Bridget’s favorite part. B is so excited to do any type of baking or decorating… I think she will be quite artistic, just like her NannyBird and Gramama. We did some lovely crafts involving pipe cleaners and beads, and Bridget was able to do it “all by MY-SELF”, which was very important at this stage as it was noon and we were becoming more than a little peave-ish. Sometimes it takes all you have just to stay patient! But we managed to get her maneuvered through the crafts with a minimal (not none, but at least as little as possible!) tear count, and then we were off to explore outside again!
B decorates her Xmas cookie
B decorates her Xmas cookie


The finished product
The finished product
Stringing beads for the snowflake craft
Stringing beads for the snowflake craft
Bridget and Samantha always have a lovely time together. They have these adorable little conversations about … well, anything that strikes their fancy, and they can disappear into their own little make-believe world for hours. Samantha is the first little girl B has really shown this kind of kinship to, so it is lovely to watch them play together. We found this lovely old cutter out beside the Elves’ Toy Shop, and Samantha had a great time showing Bridget how Santa was going to drive it. Afterwards, Samantha’s dad Jeremy managed to coax a little smile out of B for a little 3/5ths family photo. 
"Ho ho ho, Merry Xmas!"

“Ho ho ho, Merry Xmas!”


"Remember when it was just us 3, Mommy?"
“Remember when it was just us 3, Mommy?”

After almost an hour at the site, we headed back to the main building for some lunch (which B wouldn’t eat, as she was now too tired and hungry to think straight) and a play in the “Elf Academy”, where they had set up little stations where you could practice your ‘elf skills’. Bridget especially loved the toy building station, and tinkered there for some time. We then did some elf dress-ups, coloured an elf hat (complete with pointy ears) and made some reindeer food.

If you haven’t done this little craft, you should as its delightful! To make ‘Reindeer Food’, pour out some oats (or flaked oatmeal), carrot bits (if its not too long until Christmas), and some sparkles for your child to pick from. Have the child combine them in proportions they think are appropriate, then tie up in a fabric circle (or dump into a small paper lunch bag) and decorate! On Christmas Eve, have your child take the ‘Reindeer Food’ outside to the lawn and sprinkle it there, as a treat for their favorite reindeer. If you are really quick, you can sneak out on Christmas Morning, scrape up most of the food, and leave a little old-fashioned sleighbell in its place. Let the child ‘discover’ the missing food/dropped bell, and tell them that it must have fallen off their favorite reindeer’s harness! B carried her bell around for weeks last year. Nanny had written little tiny names and dates on the bells, so we could use them as ornaments this year. We hope to make it a yearly tradition, at least until the magic bubble of Christmas belief has been broken. 

The craziness of "Elf Academy"
The craziness of “Elf Academy”
B works to build some toys
B works to build some toys


 In the end, it was a great day. Bridget slept well after all that fresh air, and we had a lovely time with our friends. And I think the babies were happy to take it all in, but you can never quite tell with babies. Christmas season is officially in full swing at our house now!

Our fearless band of friends
Our fearless band of friends

5 responses to “Just hear those sleigh bells jinglin’…

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  1. Oh what a lovely time you all had! We went to a local petting zoo and Santa was there. My toddler was terrified of him so we couldn’t get any pictures. You have a beautiful family!

  2. Thanks, Kim! Last year was a bust with Santa for our family too – but I think we all need to have at least one “crying Santa” picture!

  3. What a great time! It looks like you all had a blast…but cold. Brrrrr….

  4. Dashing through the snow in a two horse open sleigh, O’re the fields we go ,laughing all the way….well there certainly were bright spirits showing in the photos….our snow is all gone now, but I hope we get some closer to Christmas. You all look like an illustration out of a Christmas book!

  5. Pingback: Something old, something new… « Twinside Out: When twins make it "three under three"

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