Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Elf on the Shelf: Year Three

Coconut E. Butterfly is back for a third year of pre-Christmas fun. (If you missed it, here is where you can read about year 1 and year 2.) I was really, really on the ball this year, so I made a list of possible hiding places for each day in December leading up to Christmas. This may sound silly, but it made my life a lot easier. Each evening, instead of scrambling to come up with a new hiding spot for Coco, I just consulted my list and picked a choice that I was feeling up for that night. If I was extra tired I just went with something simple.

I compiled my list using suggestions from these two sites:  ABC WOTV4 and Jenna's Journey -- along with a few random Pinterest ideas and some ideas of my own. In all, I have listed 24 ideas, complete with photos so you can see how they turned out. All of them are what I consider to be cute, fun, and most important -- appropriate for young kids!

Believe it or not, one of the most time-consuming set-ups was the tea party. I had to scrounge throughout the house for a few days in order to find the tea pot and party treats, while Mia was at school and Logan was otherwise occupied. I never did locate any of the tea cups, but I did come across some other cups so it worked out in the end. Mia was actually quite impressed, enthusing, "Coco found all of this?!" Yeah, he's pretty magical, that elf of ours.

Another "problem" that I encountered was that I couldn't locate my spool of fishing line. For the string of gumdrops, falling "snow" cotton balls, SuperElf, and the zip line, I substituted dental floss (as I had previously mentioned in this post.) It worked great!

Here are a  few more lessons that I learned from Coco's adventures in 2013:
#1 My kids will NOT drink green milk. Mia insisted that Coco had made it "sour" and refused to touch it.

#2 You can quickly make your own SuperElf cape with some felt, scissors, 2 print-outs of the Superman logo, and glue dots.

#3 Letting the elf make a snowflake out of Q-tips in the master bathroom (where they are normally stored) meant that excited children would be trooping into the bathroom while Mommy was in the shower. After that, he only hung out in the other bathrooms. I do like to steal moments of privacy, you know!

#4 There is no legitimate way to spell out "Santa Claus say hi" with Scrabble tiles. It is necessary to make one of the players cheat somewhat and place "hi" so it isn't connected to the other words.

#5 If your elf is going to land his paper airplane on the ceiling fan, you may want to dust it first. Otherwise, you are posting pics on the blogosphere for all the other mommies to judge.

#6 The kids did not believe that Coco roasted his marshmallow with that battery operated candle. Not for one second. They totally knew he used the actual candle, located behind him. Luckily, they did not question how he lit it. Also, Brett commented that he didn't know he "was such a little pyro." Really, I did not think that this would be the one everyone would pick apart, but now you know.

#7 Elf donuts: so cute! I made these on the same night we had done gingerbread houses (out of graham crackers) so I already had royal icing at hand. Again, I was a bit disappointed that the kids didn't believe that Coco really had donuts. Mia announced that they were just Cheerios, but that didn't stop them from happily eating three each.

#8 Fishing for Goldfish crackers was cute. I wondered if I should have put them in a bowl instead of the sink so that they weren't wasted, but I decided it was okay since it was just 7 of the baby sized crackers.

#9 It required a little bit of tape to get the elf secured to the candy cane for ziplining. This bothered me ever so slightly, but they kids did not notice or care.

#10 A small amount of cotton batting + a rubber band = a quick, easy Santa beard.

#11 Brett has always wanted Coco to ride the dog. I was really proud of my idea to finally make this work! I stuck the elf into her collar while she was lying down next to an end table, and quickly snapped some photos while he was still propped up. Then, I copied the files, shrunk them down, pasted them into word, and printed them out. I left some white trim around the edges because it reminded me of Polaroids. (I couldn't get them square without taking time to mess around with the sizing more, something that I wasn't willing to do, so this had to be good enough!) Then, I set the "photos" in Coco's lap and propped him up against the camera bag so that the kids could find the evidence in the morning. Perfection! The whole family was excited (with the possible exception of Ritzy -- she seemed to wonder what I was up to.)

{Day 1: He's back!}

{Day 2: Clean up, clean up...}

{Day 3: Getting crafty with the Q-tips}

{Day 4: Coloring inside the lines}

{Day 5: Movie night, complete with popcorn!}

{Day 6: Making a mini paper chain}

{Day 7: A friendly game of Scrabble with a stuffed dog, not pictured}

{Day 8: Reading to some pals}

{Day 9: Donuts for breakfast!}

{Day 10: Crash landing?}

{Day 11: Goody, goody gumdrops for our tree}

{Day 12: Playing with Logan's RC car}

{Day 13: Chillin' in the fridge, with that "sour" green milk}

{Day 14: World's shortest Santa impersonator?}

{Day 15: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!}

{Day 16: Look! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's SuperElf!}

{Day 17: Gone fishin'}

{Day 18: Squeaky clean Coco}

{Day 19: We don't own a Barbie convertible, but this Harley is just the right size.}

{Day 20: All he needs are graham crackers and chocolate.}

{Day 21: We do, however, have a Barbie jet ski!}

{Day 22: The magic of photography saves the day.}

{Day 23: Tea is served. (At last!)}

{Day 24: Mission Elf-Possible! The grand finale this year? Coco ziplining on a candy cane!}

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