Mūsu Ziemassvētku apsveikumi/ Our Christmas Cards

DSC_3602aŠobrīd, kad ir pabeigti 50 Laura Ziemassvētku apsveikumi un daži Markusa, šķiet, ka šogad laikam tiešām ir pēdējais gads, kad mēs gatavojam pašgatavotus apsveikumus visiem draugiem un skolotājām. Laurim palikusi vēl puse, kas jāpagūs sarakstīt un nosūtīt līdz piektdienai, kad ir pēdējā skolas diena. Protams, ka man patīk kopā ar bērniem veidot šos apsveikumus, bet reizēm vajag tik daudz pacietības un pieņemšanas, un akceptēšanas, un viņu ideju uzklausīšanas, un… Šobrīd vienkārši jūtos nogurusi, bet laimīga, ka mēs to darām un gandrīz jau esam izdarījuši.

Šogad Ziemassvētku apsveikumu tēma ir “Eglītes skujas, bumbas un zvaigznes”.

DSC_3596aToday, when we finished 50 Lauris’s Christmas cards and some Markus’s, I feel that this is a last year when we are making home-made Christmas cards. I am exhausted and Lauris still needs to finish writing and get them ready till Friday, when is the last day of this term and school breaks down for Christmas Holidays. Of course, I am usually passionate about crafting with my children, but just now I feel it is getting too much and it is so hard to be patience, accept their ideas, their point of view and listen to them, and… Right now I fell overtired from this all, but deep in my heart happy too. We are nearly finished and I need admit, it was great time with boys.

This year’s Christmas cards theme is “Christmas tree branches, baubles and stars”.

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DSC_3312aLaura Ziemassvētku apsveikumi draugiem/ Lauris’s Christmas cards to friends

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DSC_3588aŠādi izskatījās Laura apsveikumi skolotājām/ Cards for Lauris’s Teachers

DSC_3592aArī Markus pagatavoja dažus apsveikumus/Markus was also very busy making cards

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Paštaisīti Ziemassvētku rotājumi/ Home-made Christmas decoration

DSC_3237aSen jau man bija iecere par bērnu aktivitāšu organizēšanu savā mājā bet vienmēr atradās atrunas un bailes/nedrošība par neizdošanos. Tomēr jau novembrī izlēmu lauzt ledu (kurš vēl šogad nav bijis šeit) un izsūtīju draugu ģimenēm ielūgumus. Mana iecere bija veidot kopā Ziemassvētku dekorācija, kuras būtu vienkārši pagatavojamas un drošas pat mazākajiem dalībniekiem- veidojamās masas sastāvdaļas: soda, kartupeļu ciete un ūdens. Ja arī Jūs vēlaties pamēģināt, recepte noskatīta šeit.

Svētdienas rītā, kad visi tikāmies, mēs  gan paši gatavojām veidojamo masu, gan arī dekorējām ar spīguļiem jau iepriekš sagatavotas sodas veidojamās masas dekorācijas.

Man pašai šis rīts ļoti patika un, kaut arī svētdienas pēcpusdienā jutos pārgurusi, tomēr priecīga, ka lauzu savu nedrošību un pārvarēj sevi, lai šoreiz radoši būtu kopā ar draugiem. Noteikti ceru, ka būs vēl šādas reizes, kad ielūgšu draugus nākt ciemos un darboties kopā ar dažādiem mākslas materiāliem. Man tā patīk redzēt, ka bērni apsēžas un tad ar savām mazajām roķelēm rada.

DSC_3202aQuite long ago I had an idea to host toddler/children workshop at our house but always didn’t feel enough confident to realise it. This time I decided to break an ice and sent out invitations to friend’s families. My idea was to make together Christmas decorations that would be safe and easy-to-make even for the smallest children. That means just natural/edible play dough: soda, cornflour and water. If you want to try it, I borrowed the recipe from here.
On Sunday morning, when everyone was invited, we  decorated already made soda dough decorations with glitter and also made decorations from scratch. I was very pleased about morning workshop and so happy to see our friends around to be busy and create. Even when I felt exhausted that afternoon, I thought- for sure it wasn’t the last art and crafts workshop at our home. I am still happy that I broke my lack of confidence and did it, but more of all I understood that I really love watching how children create with their little hands and big ideas. 

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Decorētas burciņas/ Decorated Jam Jars

DSC_3115Jau otro gadu Lauris piedalās skolas decorēto burciņu konkursā, kura ideja ir mājās izdekorēt ievārījuma burciņu un piepildīt to ar saldumiem, uzlīmēm, matu gumijām vai mazām dāvaniņām. Pēc tam šīs burciņas tiek ziedotas skolai, lai tiktu pārdotas skolas Ziemassvētku eglītē un tādejādi iegūta nauda skolas attīstībai. Tā kā tas ir konkurss, tad tiek izraudzītas arī labā un radošāk noformētās burciņa. Vērtēšanuuzņemas vecāku padome, bet apbalvojumu nelielas dāvaniņas veidā pasniedz skolas direktors pēdējā svētku līnijā pirms Ziemassvētku brīvlaika.

Pagājušo gadu Lauris uzvarēja (24 īpaši mirkļi līdz Ziemassvētkiem, Nr7). Nezinu gan, pateicoties kurai burciņai, bet šogad āķis ir lūpā un viņš atkal grib uzvarēt. Mēģināju gan skaidrot, ka tas īsti nav īstais mērķis burciņu dekorēšanai un ka nevajadzētu koncentrēties uz uzvaru, bet gan darba izpildi, prieku gatavot, tomēr joprojām neesmu īsti pārliecināta, ka arī Lauris man piekrīt.

DSC_3117Second year in a row Lauris take a part in Jam Jar Competition: Let’s get decorating. The idea is to decorate jam jar and fill up with sweets, stickers, hair bands, small toys etc. They will be sold at the School’s Christmas fair and will help to raise funds for the school. The jars will be also judged by school parent association and winners will get small present from school’s Head at the last assemble.

Last year Lauris was won competition (24 Special Moments til Christmas, Nr7), therefore this year his challenge is to be a winner again. I tried to explain that it is not main target for jam jar decorating activity at home but I am still not 100% sure that he agrees with me.

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Adventa laiks/ Advent

Ziemassvētku gaidīšanas laiks ir sācies. No vienas puses, laiks, kad tā gribas pieklust, koncentrēties uz ģimenes iekšējo ritmu un nepazust mārketinga trakumā, bet, no otras puses, arī nemazinās padarāmi darbiņi, lai Ziemassvētkus sagaidītu.

Christmas waiting time or Advent has begun. On the one hand, it is a time when I want to get quieter, focus on the family and don’t loose in the marketing madness, but, on the other hand, there are still many Christmas preparation jobs to be done.

Tāpēc man patīk plānot un ievērot plānu šajā laikā. To paveikt palīdz arī dažādi Adventa kalendāri un dienu skaitīšanas metodes. Interneta resursi ir pārbagāti ar idejām, tomēr šoreiz es vēlējos ieteikt ieskatīties kādā interesantā Ziemassvētku gaidīšanas projektā, ko ir izveidojusi mana blogeru pasaules draudzene Liene no Amerikas, kura starpcitu, ir latviete, bet dzimusi, augusi, dzīvo Amerikā. Par viņas ģimenes ikdienu un svētkiem var lasīt blogā Femme au foyer, kā arīdzan sekot līdzi Lienes ierakstiem “24 Days of a Baltic Christmas“, kas iepazīstinās ar Baltijas valstu Ziemassvētku ēdieniem, rokdarbiem un tradīcijām!

Therefore I am a person- planer. I like to do planing and stick with it. That is a way how I get organized and stay calm. Advent calendars or Christmas countdown helps me a lot. Of course, you can find many brilliant ideas and inspirations on Internet,  but today I would like to recommend to check out Liene’s bog Femme au foyer and her daily countdown posts “24 Days of a Baltic Christmas“. Liene is America’s Latvian, who is born and lives in America, but in her heart is truly Latvian. “24 Days of a Baltic Christmas” will present Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian Christmas food, crafts and traditions. 

24Days

DSC_3101Arī mūsu mājās ir tapis pašdarināts ģimenes aktivitāšu Adventa kalendārs. Jau trešo gadu ievērojam tradīciju, veidojam paši un gandrīz arī katru dienu paveicam ieplānoto. Šogad vienīgā atšķirība, ka kalendŗa teksts ir angliski, lai veicinātu Laura lasītprasmi. Vien jācer, ka nākamgad varēsim atgriesties pie latviskās versijas un Lauris arī pats to izlasīs. Iepriekšējo gadu Adventa kalenārus varat apskatīt šeit -24 īpaši mirkļi līdz Ziemassvētkiem Nr1 un šeit -Ziemassvētku gaidīšanas laiks.

Last days in November we also worked on our family Advent calendar. Make our own Advent calendar is already tradition for the third year, and helps us (specially-me) to  be more organized and don’t forget to do Christmas activities with children. This year, the only difference is that calendar is written in English to help Lauris with reading skills. Hopefully,  next year we will be able to return to the Latvian version and Lauris will do reading in Latvian too. If you want to check the previous year Advent calendars, they are here 2013 and here 2012 

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Laura Dzimšanas dienas ballīte/ Lauris’s Birthday Party

DSC_2839bPirmo reizi mūžā mēs svinējām Dzimšanas dienu pirms īstās Dzimšanas dienas. Tā kā Lauris izvēlējās nākamajā nedēļas nogalē apciemot vecvecākus un Latviju, tad iznāca, ka Dzimšanas diena kopā ar draugiem bija jāsvin iepriekšējā nedēļas nogalē. Lai būtu vēl dīvaināk- sestdienā plkst.10:30. Tomēr tas itin nemaz netraucēja ierasties visiem 14 ielūgtajiem puikām plus dažiem Markusa draugiem un vienai meitenei. Kā redzat, puiku skaitu esmu ielāgojusi, jo jau visu nedēļu tam garīgi gatavojos. Puikas ir puikas, un, paldies Dievam, ka viņi ir tieši tādi – aktīvi, droši, pārliecināti, dauzonīgi, kareivīgi, skaļi, jautri un reizē arī bezgala mīļi. Laura draugi tiešām ir tieši tik superīgi un dažādi.

For the first time in my live, we celebrated the birthday before the real date. The reason is that Lauris chose to visit his grandparents and Latvia on next weekend, when we could possibly celebrate his Birthday. Therefore we celebrated Lauris’s Birthday with his friends on a weekend before and even more strange –  on Saturday morning at 10:30am. However, it wasn’t a problem for guests – 14 boys plus a few Markus’s friends and one girl. As you can see, on the number of the boys I am clear as I mentally preprepared myself all week before the party. Thanks God, boys are boys. They are exactly what I expected- active, confident, fast, loud, full of fun, and at the same time absolutely lovely, too. Lauris’s friends really are so super and so different.

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Transformera ballīte / Transformer Party

DSC_2598Bērnu Dzimšanas dienas ballītes ir gan prieks, gan rūpes. Kad bērni ir mazi, ir daudz vieglāk jauki svinēt ģimenes lokā, bet, bērnam pieaugot, pieaug arī vēlme savā Dzimšanas dienā uzaicināt ciemos draugus un jautri pavadīt laiku kopā.

Jau otro gadu Lauris izvēlās supervaroņu ballītes. Pagājušogad tas bija Spiderman (Zirnekļacilvēks), šogad – Lauris vēlējās pārģērbties par Transformeri, un tā arī ballīte ieguva savu tēmu.

Laiks un telpa ir tik, cik ir, arī man, tāpēc tika pasūtīts kafejnīcas galdiņš ar tur paredzētajām izklaidēm – picas gatavošana un spēļu laukums, bet mēs varējām radoši izpausties, sagatavojot dekorācijas un padarot ballīti kaut nedaudz personiskāku- Transformatorisku. :)

DSC_2771aChildren Birthday parties are lots of fun and lots of troubles, too. When children are small, it is much easier to celebrate Birthdays in family, but as the child grows, they want to invite their friends and enjoy party together.

Already second year Lauris chose Superheroes Party. Last year it was Spiderman, this year Lauris wanted to dress up as Transformer, and the party got its theme.

Time and space are as much as it is for everyone, also for me. We decided  to go easier way- order party venue with attractions and party food. I liked that there is pizza making activity, what has two bonus- children have an activity together and also they get a main course. We also were able to be creative in preparing the decorations and make party more personalized, more Transformerish. :)

Ielūgumi/ Invitation

Ielūgumi šoreiz tika pagatavoti ļoti vienkārši- izprintēta Transformera figūra uz cietāka un nedaudz spīdīga papīra. Ielūgumu sagatave šeit – Invitation.

Invitation were very easy. I printed Transformer picture on silver and gold card. Printable: Invitation

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Galda dekorācijas- fotorāmji/ Table decorations – Photo frames

Ieraudzīju Poundland baltus, lētus plastmas foto rāmjus un radās ideja par galda dekorācijām. Rāmji tika nokrāsoti ar pūšamo krāsu un galdu rotāja Laura Dzimšanas dienu bildes no pirmās līdz piektajai, kā arī lielāks rāmis tika izmantots kā ielūgums svinēt. Fotorāmji ar bildēm noderēja arī kā sarunas temats pauzītē ie galda, kamēr gaidījām picas pagatavošanu.

 Weeks ago I spot cheap but gorgeous shape photo frames at Poundland. I knew I will use them, and Lauris’s party was right time. We sprayed them blue with spray paint and used them as table decorations for Lauris’s Birthday photos from First till Fifth. Bigger frame used as Welcome sign. These pictures were also very useful while we waited pizza making activity. We looked at them and talk about the age and how Lauris looked like at that time.

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Kūku dekorācijas/ Cupcake toppers

Mazo kūku dekorācijas tika izprintētas uz papīra, izgriesti apļi un aizmugurē tika pielīmēti zobu bakstāmie. Viegls un ātrs veids, kā padarīt parastas kūciņas par tematiskām. cake_toppers –  var izprintēt sagatavi.

Cupcake toppers are easy and quick way how to make usual cupcakes into special Transformer cupcakes. Printable: cake_toppers.

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Dzimšanas dienas kūka/ Birthday cake

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Pateicības kartiņas/Thank you cards

Tā kā tradicionāli Anglijā katrs viesis saņem pateicības dāvaniņu pēc Dzimšanas dienas svinībām, tad šoreiz arī uztaisījām tematiskas pateicības kartiņas (Thank you). Vairāk par Bērnu Dzimšanas dienas ballītēm Anglijā šeit.

Traditionally in England all Birthday Party guests are getting Thank you  bags. We made also Transformer Thank you cards. Printable:Thank you

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Children Activities About Country – Latvia

DSC_2989aStarp Lāčplēša dienu un Latvijas Valsts svētkiem gribēju dalīties ar 5 idejām, kā un ko mācīt ar Latviju angliski runājošiem 5-10 gadus veciem bērniem. Šīs idejas ir arī aprobētas praksē. Bērnu vienīgās zināšanas par Latviju bija, ka es esmu no šīs valsts un ka tā ir Eiropas valsts. Bez tā, ka var pastāstīt dažus faktus par Latviju un vajag mūsu zemi parādīt kartē, man gribējās arī kādas radošākas aktivitātes, lai kaut nedaudz personiskas pieredzes iegūtu ik bērns.

Between 11th November (Lāčplēša diena in Latvia) and The Latvian Independence Day on 18th November I am inspired to share 5 ideas on how and what to speak to 5-10 years old about Latvia.  These ideas have been delivered in practise, and children enjoyed them, learnt about Latvia a lots.  Before that children just knew that I am from Latvia and that is one of the European countries.  I wanted add their understanding through some creative activities. 

Map of Latvia

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Information
Due to the climatic position, Latvia has four typical seasons – summer, autumn, winter, and spring. Winter usually is snowy in Latvia. Spring of Latvia comes often with a thorough flood; the Latvian rivers go out of their banks. The Latvian summer lasts from June to September. They are sunny, sometimes the temperature reaches + 35 degrees (Celsius). Autumn of Latvia is especially gorgeous. The leaves of trees are coloured pink and yellow, the large forests entertain your eyes with its coloured variety, but migratory birds flock together as they need to hurry to warmer places.DSC_0996

You’ll Need
• Watercolour paper
• Watercolour paint
• Brushes
Map template
• 4 season pictures- seasons

 

1.Show children Latvia nature pictures and tell differences between seasons.

2. Trace the map shape of Latvia on the sheet of watercolour paper.

3.Encourage children to divide map in 4 parts – one for each season- and paint in the map of Latvia with watercolours.

4. When watercolour painting is dried you can optionally trace shape of map with black pen.

 

Arm Band/Bracelet

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Information
Per Latvian law The Latvian national flag is carmine red with white horizontal stripe.[2] The colour on the flag is sometimes referred to as Latvian red. The red colour of the Latvian flag is a particularly dark shade, which is composed of brown and purple. The flag’s colour proportions are 2:1:2

Flag of Latvia

 You’ll Need

DSC_0991• Latvia flag colour strings
• Wooden bead

1st version:

  1. Make a plate in 2 colours- 2 dark red and 1 white as flag colours.
  2. Add some wooden beads if children want.

2nd version:
Follow Double knot bracelet  instruction (bracelet) and use half red and half white for strings.

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Stone Painting

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Information
Latvia has 500 kilometres of beach along the Baltic Sea, modern port cities, fantastic resort cities, old fishing villages, quiet, secluded and even unruly pockets of nature. Some areas of coastline are covered with stones and some – just light sands for many km.

DSC_2990You’ll Need

• smooth beach stones/pebbles
• paint (optional- acrylic)
• paint brushes

1.Tell children about Baltic Sea and lovely beaches with sands and also stones. You can even show some pictures to make it more clear.

2. Choose a base-colour for the stone.
3. When the rocks were dry, select the colours for the detail painting.
4. Ask children which colour they’d like to start with and while they’re painting, have them think about what colour they’d like to add next. This way, the paint goes on in layers and don’t mix. Sometimes it is good idea just offer the colours one at the time.
5. Continue until the children have added as many colours as they please.

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Latvian Food tasting activity

 Information

The main targets of activity are discover new tastes and learn about Latvian food traditions. As well there is possibility to talk with children about need in variety of foodstuff.

You’ll Need

  •  Latvian Food Tasting Sheet – Food-tasting
  • Pens
  • Served food pieces (a list which I used):
    Rye bread
    Latvian traditional cheese
    Latvian crisps
    Cranberries in Powdered Sugar
    Milk sweet
    Latvian marshmallows

 

  1. Prepare tasting plates.
  2. Introduce with activity and familiarize Latvian Food Tasting sheets.
  3. Ask children to choose a foodstuff piece for tasting and rate each in the tasting sheet.
  4. Encourage children verbally express their opinion after rating. Discuss other Latvian food traditions. What do children know about them?

 

Game “Take a Step Forward”

Information

Activity idea is to familiarize useful Latvian words and phrases.

You’ll Need

  • Word and phrase cards -cards
  • An open space (a corridor, large room or outdoors)

1. Hand out the word cards at random, one to each child. Tell them to keep it to themselves and not to show it to anyone else.
2. Ask children line up beside each other.
3. Tell the children that you are going to read out a word or phrase. Every time when they hear their word, they should take a step forward. Otherwise, they should stay where they are and not move.
4. Variation: read in English.


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