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Adding to the Season with Doings [Activity Advent Calendar]

Last year, something that began simply, with little planning, using paper, scissors and colour pencils, created what became the activity advent calendar. Made up of ideas that our little family brainstormed during a drive, we created the most wonderful December leading up to Christmas.

The activity advent calendar was born, and we loved it so much, we’re doing it again this year.

I love the idea of an advent calendar that adds to the season through doings. In a time that is already hyper stimulated with stuff, this is a beautiful way to feel joy in giving/making/doing things together as a family, for others, and spreading joy in activity; an activity advent calendar.

Inspired by this idea, I have lovingly made some Christmas Village theme calendars that are available to buy through my shop, but it’s also something that you could easily do using materials you can find at home.

Inside every card, space to write a daily activity that the whole family can look forward to completing, either at random order, or you can choose to (secretly) number them by date too, if there are specific ones you want to complete on certain days.

With last year’s activity advent calendar, the kids absolutely loved knowing that each day there was an activity lined up for the day, and they are already asking when we’re starting the calendar this year. Below, some activity ideas, and if you have some fun ones too, leave a comment below.

  1. Put up the tree.
  2. Make a holiday wreath.
  3. Have a sleep over under the tree (a great one for Christmas Eve).
  4. Make a blanket fort.
  5. Christmas theme books reading night.
  6. Collect food to donate to your local food bank.
  7. Have a snowman pancake breakfast.
  8. Make a bird feeder.
  9. Make paper snowflakes.
  10. Build a snowman.
  11. Go ice skating.
  12. Build gingerbread house (real or cardboard).
  13. Make Christmas Cards.
  14. Christmas Movie Night (pick per family member too!)
  15. Make Ugly Christmas Sweaters.
  16. Fill each other’s stockings.
  17. Make lanterns.
  18. Go for a lantern walk.
  19. Check out neighbourhood Christmas decorations.
  20. Hot Chocolate Night.
  21. Make a special ornament.
  22. Bake cookies/cake and share with loved ones.
  23. Go to Tobogganing.
  24. Decorate gingerbread cookies/house.
  25. Leave a letter to your favourite Christmas decorated house.
  26. Write a letter to Santa.
  27. Go to Candy Cane Lane.
  28. Have a candle light dinner.

I invite you to join me in counting down to Christmas in such a lovely way, using hashtag #oureverydaysadventcalendar as we count down to the most wonderful time of the year starting Dec 1!

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[DIY Nature Inspired Christmas Decor Roundup]

I can feel it in cool air outside, in my spirit, that energy that the most wonderful time of the year brings, and if you’re anything like me, that brings with it an urge to nest and cozy up the home in the most wonderful of ways.

I always go to nature and simplicity for my inspiration. What is available to us during a walk with my kids. What is available in our craft materials shelf. What inspiration are we getting from the nature around us. What is something we can create that is beautiful, and that we can later compost and return to the earth with little impact to her.

And so, it leads me to this blog. A few nature inspired and easy Christmas DIYs we have completed over the years.

And sometimes, frosting the tips of a pine cone is just enough too.

I hope these provide some inspiration for your holidays decor.

Gabriela

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DIY Fall Garden Wreath

For the gardener, for the flower lover, finding ways to extend the season of being outside with the plants is always a welcome activity.

After the reward of the blooming season, there is still joy in preparing the soil and the spaces for the season to come, but the pleasure in knowing that nothing is wasted, sigh, the life of the flowers extends.

In gardening zone 3 where I live, there are a few particular flower types that are both abundant in the landscape, and dry oh so beautifully in the fall; masterwort, meadowsweet, queen of the prairie and hydrangeas.

There is a beautiful acquaintance that happens with the garden in the practice of making fall wreaths. Knowing which flowers don’t wilt, but rather dry beautifully. What plant to prune that won’t affect the spring growth. The shape and colour of a plant past it’s bloom peak. The whole experience is just wonderful.

Materials
● pruners
● gardening wire
● a wreath/embroidery/any kind of hoop
● plants from your yard

  1. Group your plants by type and start creating bunches. The bigger the bunch, the more full your wreath will be.
  2. Secure the first bunch onto the hoop by wrapping gardening wire around the stems, leaving one of the wire ends uncut.
  3. Overlap the next bunch to cover the stem of the previous one, wrap wire tight three times, and repeat. Remember to leave the wire end uncut, you’re using one continuous piece of wire to secure the whole wreath.
  4. When attaching the last bunch, tuck the stems underneath the first bunch and secure.
  5. Using the lose wire end of the first bunch, secure and attach to the last.

It’s one the easiest things to do to mark the fall season, and to know that it was made from all the work you put into your summer garden makes it even more satisfying. Believe me that once you make one, you will be making many.

It looks beautiful displayed on the front entrance, inside the house, as a centre piece for a Thanksgiving dinner, and would even make a most beautiful and thoughtful gift.

And so I encourage you to go out and get to know your fall garden, the opportunity for beauty is endless.

Gabriela

If you are inspired to make a fall garden wreath after reading this, please make sure to tag me @our_everydays on instagram or use hasthtag #oureverydayswreaths so that I can see your beautiful creations.

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Family Room DIY Built-Ins [feeling like super woman]

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It seems like a very long time ago that I drew this and the vision for our family room was conceptualized. After weeks and weeks, it’s finally complete and seeing a drawing and a vision come to life has been SO wonderful.

We have renovated many spaces in our home now, but this particular built-in was my project. Aside from a few little things my husband helped me with, I built most of this on my own. The doors, the shelves, the electric fireplace encasing, the plexiglass door, installed hinges, used power tools, probably smelled and ate a lot of saw dust, but my goodness, I’m so proud of my handy woman work and feel so totally badass!

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The transformation of this space, well, we all just love it so much and fits our little family so well. After a full day of play and toys all over the couch and floor, to family movie nights, to a corner desk space for me to write, to a space for quiet nights cozying up with my Adam with a romantic touch of a new-to-us electric fireplace, to a space for game nights with our family and friends; I’m so pleased.

We’ve only just recently finished this room, and it feels like it’s always been like this, which to me is the feeling of finding that perfect harmony to a room. Not just aesthetically, but for what it functions as, for the people who live in this space.

On the shelves, a lot of pieces that I have collected from years travelling, and getting to display them makes me happy. An ode to the years I’ve lived, with inspiration for the years to come.

Room by room, year over year, we have been renovating our home. We’ve come a long way, and though there are less rooms and spaces to renovate with the years we are here, it’s a wonderful journey to living in the space that as a family we have dreamed about.

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Super Easy Kid Friendly DIY Lanterns [making our own winter festivals]

You know that scene from the movie Tangled, where Rapunzel and Ryder sit on a boat and watch lanterns in the sky? Yeah, that is my dream.

There is just something magical about lanterns, and so yesterday afternoon, we made lanterns to have our own little winter festival in our backyard.

Using materials that we had around the house; recycling bags as aprons, cupcake cups as paint holders, and recycled glass jars as our lantern, we improvised to make something beautiful. My favorite kind of craft.

Materials:

 – Glass Jars (empty jam/pickle/tomato sauce jars)

–  Acrylic paint and brushes

– Tea Light Candles

– Pipe Cleaners

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It’s mesmerizing to watch them craft. Both so different in their approach.

Penelope is very focused; careful about where her colors are, and covers large areas before she switches colors to paint again.

My sweet Oliver is more playful. Sometimes painting the glass, sometimes painting his hand, and just happy to be experiencing the activity.

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They covered the surface of the glass, and once it dried, I secure some pipe cleaners around the mouth of the jar to create a handle.

While they sang happy birthday (which they do every time they see a candle lately haha) I added a tea light candle into the jars. And Voila! Beautiful lanterns!

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More winter theme DIYs below:

DIY Mini Pine Branch Wreaths [Creating Tangible Memories ]

DIY Easy Paper Snowflakes [Holiday Decor Inspiration]

DIY Lanterns

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Flower Crowns and Smoky Days

It’s been a smoky couple of days in the city. The smoke from the forest fires in the province that neighbors us has blown over, and I’m sad for the circumstances, but trying to find the silver lining.

At a new moon circle I attended last week, the ceremony started off with the burning of sage. I’m learning that smoke, or smudging, has been used by many cultures throughout history to cleanse one’s aura and clear one’s space.

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Ironically, our city has been filled with smoke for the past couple of days, and I’m trying to view it as a cleanse. A cleanse of our souls and our aura, and when the smoke passes, everything will be clearer and we’ll appreciate more just how beautiful the air is when it’s clean, and how lucky we are to be able to enjoy it. A beautiful and important lesson that life is giving us.

Yesterday afternoon, the smoke was not as intense, and we spent it in our backyard.

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Our little backyard oasis; how much I love it. It’s not very big. We have a pergola in the middle of it that takes up quite a bit of the footprint, there is a mixture of grass and stone surfaces, and a deck that needs to be redone; still, there is something special about that space. From the color of the grass in the afternoons, to the angle of the sun as it sets, to the way it feels like it’s in the middle of the country in it’s privacy.

I picked flowers, and roughly braided a flower crown that we all took turns to wear. The flowers were yellow, my favorite color, and they very much complimented the sun that we were finally been able to enjoy after a few days.

Later in the day, our day was very different, it was hard.

My Penelope, overtired from an active day in which she skipped her nap – a transition she’s going through right now – had a long and tearful (from my side too) meltdown. She cried and screamed for things she wanted, and when she had them, screamed because she didn’t. I sat by her side when she needed me, and left when she asked me to. After what felt like a really long time, she calmed down, and while still whimpering, asked for her milk and colcha (blankie in spanish).

We were laying on her bed, her little body cuddled into mine, and after a few minutes of silence, she turned her face towards mine and whispered in my ear-  “I love you so much”.

It was her way of saying “I’m sorry”, and I was sorry too. My eyes teared up, I told her I loved her so much, and then she told me about bears and caves, and how dinosaurs lay eggs that hatch into giant T-Rexes.

The smoke had passed.

And still, at one point that day, while sitting on my lap, with my arms wrapped around each of them, they shared a bowl of raisins. We cuddled, we laughed, and did nothing more than sit there with each other. If you know me, you know that moments like those fill my heart in ways I cannot explain.

Happy Friday xo

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DIY Backyard Bouquets [ simple and beautiful kids activity]

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It’s been raining a lot the past couple of weeks, and you can tell the plants are happy for it.

Every year around this time, our backyard flowers begin to bloom, and making backyard bouquets is something I have fallen in love with. I am so grateful for the previous owners of our home – a couple who you could tell loved their yard – who laid down such a great foundation for our little backyard oasis.

As a lover of the simple things, making backyard bouquets is something that makes me so happy, and the kids have learnt to love it too.

Materials:

  • Pruners
  • Glass Jar – I collect old jam/pickle/tomato jars for this exact reason 🙂
  • Water
  • Plants from your backyard, or area near your house like a field/park.
    *Make sure you’re allowed to prune plants from public areas before you do*

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Wearing their diapers and underwear, the perfect attire for a summer night in the backyard, we spend about 10 minutes creating our little piece of nature art.

I prune the flowers, and cut as many leaves from the stems as possible. If the leaves get stuck to each other when they are trying to put the flowers in the jar, the activity quickly becomes very frustrating for them and it will be over very soon – I’ve done it before haha.

Watching the process is wonderful.

Penelope is very proud of her arrangements, and in a very endearing way, is almost too protective of “her” project, which sometimes leads to her not wanting Oliver to even come close to her flowers. I love her sense of ownership in her craft though.

My Oliver is happy to watch and learn, and slowly learns to be gentle with the flowers as he caresses them while simultaneously saying “niiiiiceeee, niiiicceee”. He follows me and pretends to prune branches that he can reach, and whenever he gets close, tries to steal the pruners from me, ha.

If you don’t have flowers in your backyard, pruning different types of green leaf branches can create a wonderful bouquet. We are lucky to live in Alberta where there are so many different types plants; a quick walk around your neighborhood let’s you see so many different shapes, textures and shades of green. A “green” bouquet can be just as colorful and beautiful.

The most beautiful part of these bouquets is, of course, seeing Penelope and Oliver continue to love and find wonder in doing the simplest of things.

And at the end, a beautiful bouquet to keep brightening our days.

xo

Gabriela

Similar nature inspired DIYS:

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DIY Branch & Macrame Plant Wall Hanging

Last week when working on our yard, we trimmed a few of our trees, and I couldn’t bring myself to throw away this branch.

It’s not the first time this happens.

Something about branches, seems to me anyway, often asks to be transformed. Maybe it’s the artist in me, and if not, finding potential and beauty in the raw is a good thing, I think.

An old branch. A little string. A little macrame. A long pothos plant I already had. Some picture hooks, and a branch that was otherwise going to be thrown away, allowed for something so beautiful.

A lesson for our everydays.

Materials

  • And old branch
  • Macrame String
  • Picture hanging set
  • An S hook
  • A vine plant
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Our Christmas Tree Ornaments [Part 3] DIY Mini Stick Tree Ornaments




It’s less than a week ’till Christmas, and the hustle and bustle of the season is in full swing. Whether you have had your shopping done since mid year, or still have a few more things to get,  you may still need a few ideas on what you could give a loved one.

If you’re still looking for that idea, I share this DIY that makes for a super cute, special, handmade, and thoughtful gift!

How I did this?

Using some of the sticks the kids collect from outside, I cut a few pieces into different sizes to form the shape of a Christmas tree and secured them onto a stir stick using a hot glue gun. Once it was dry, I painted it with a light coat of white pain, and glued a few small jingle bells we bought at our local dollar store. Add a ribbon to the top, and you have the cutest mini Christmas tree that you can gift to someone special this season.

I hope this gives you any last minute inspiration you were looking for, but if you need more, two other ideas below!

More Nature Inspired Christmas DIYs

Macrame Stars * Picture Ornament * Paper Snowflake * Mini Wreaths

DIY Mini Christmas Tree Rustic Stick Ornaments Our Everydays DIYblog Mom Blogger (5)
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Our Christmas Tree Ornaments [Part 2] DIY Nature Inspired Tree Ornaments




OUR EVERYDAYS BLOG Nature Inspired Christmas Ornaments

I am so so so in love with how this ornament turned out! Not only is it super easy to do, it’s so personal and such a beautiful way to display your family pictures on your Christmas tree.

Materials you’ll need

  • Pine Greens ( DIY steps to cover some white here.)
  • Berries
  • Sticks
  • Jingle bells from local craft or dollar store
  • Glue Gun
  • Picture you want to use
  1. Begin by cutting your stick into six equal pieces, each about 2″ long, and glue the ends together using a hot glue gun to form hexagon shape.
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2. Using a hot glue gun, secure some pine greens to the bottom of shape. I love the contrast of green and white, it makes it look so wintery. To cover your greens in white DIY steps here.

3. Grab some berries and jingle bells, and secure onto the middle of branches.

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4. Place your ornament on top of your picture, draw outline and cut out shape. Add glue to edges of paper and glue onto wooden shape, and add string loop to the back for hanging.

I absolutely love how easy, and how beautiful this ornament was to make! If you don’t want to use a picture, another variation you can do is to wrap the shape with some string to form a dream catcher pattern (image below). I didn’t print my picture on super thick paper, so when it’s on the tree, the pictures really shine when  back lit by the lights on the tree.

More Nature Inspired Christmas DIYs

Macrame Stars * Mini Pine Tree * Mini Wreaths * Paper Snowflakes

A versatile, beautiful, and easy to personalize DIY. If you try it, tag me at @our_everydays on instagram so I can see what you came up with.

I hope you found some inspiration here. Thank you for reading! xo

More DIY Ornaments here

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