It is hard to believe that a whole year has passed by. 2016 is soon to be a distant memory and a new year 2017 is a new march into the unknown.
Toy Infinity started in January this year, and has admittedly faltered in places due to health issues, but I am starting 2017 with new goals. So am I happy with what I have achieved this year? Ultimately yes!
Over 110 blog posts written, videos made with my son who has enjoyed learning stop motion animation with me on our You Tube channel. Over 700 followers on Twitter. I haven’t concentrated on any other social media platform as much as Twitter – that is a goal for this year. My first sponsored blog posts – something I would love to build on.
Above all though I have enjoyed it. I have enjoyed the writing and the planning and having something to show for it at the end.
More reviews. I have a list of toys and activities to write about.
Build my website visits and perfect my SEO on each post.
Get involved in more linkys.
More videos. My son has a list of Lego sets we need to film.
Achieve 1000 followers on Twitter.
Achieve more with Instagram.
Stick to my blog post plan for activity ideas.
Do all this and have baby number three.
Wish me luck! We’ll compare what I do achieve with this post next December.
Lego can be a very expensive present, some of the sets are three figures. However there is a way to make affordable Lego.
Not every set needs to be bought brand new. Think about it, how many sets have you bought that get made then put back in the box and left on the shelf? You can buy the bigger, more amazing sets second hand. We have bought countless Lego sets through Gumtree. Large sets like the fire station for around £20.
Missing Lego Parts
Worst case? Missing pieces? You can buy them through the Lego bricks and pieces team (although not until the New Year their missing parts service has closed to orders for the rest of 2016). Brickshop also specialise in replacement bricks.
If the instruction booklets are missing you can download them here.
If you have unused sets why not sell them on EBay or Gumtree and put the money towards that cracking new set? It all helps make Lego more affordable. Just be honest about missing pieces and ripped instruction books. If you keep the original boxes that adds value to your set but buyers don’t mind if it comes in lidded plastic storage boxes.
Finally, Lego recently announced a 5% price in increase in January 2017 so if you are planning to spend your Christmas money on a new set it might be worth spending it before the end of December.
Toy Infinity loves Lego, and 2017 has some amazing Lego reviews and videos lined up. If you get some Lego this year have fun building!
I never imagined how many goes it would take to get a Christmas Eve photo under the tree that wasn’t a disaster zone. It’s not too much to ask for two children to look the same way, smile, not pull a stupid face, resist poking/punching or irritating each other. Every year I remember why I usually have a glass or two of mulled wine first. This year I can’t drink. I’m not sure how I’ll do it to be honest lol.
I’ve started dropping hints already. One photo after the party. Something to send the grandparents and put on Facebook. It will take two minutes. Except it won’t: it will take at least 15 and most of my camera battery. I will either use a threat of the naughty step (which doesn’t work) or bribery with chocolate (better results – positive parenting…)
I’m even letting them choose their clothes. That’s supposed to be an incentive. Apparently, it’s not. This is one Christmas tradition that they would like to disappear. The New Year memory jar is much more popular.
So if you see a fairly nice photo of someone’s kids on Facebook click like because it has probably cost them some sanity and ended in a vow of never again.
Like most bright ideas the Elf on a shelf can either be brilliant or end up being the biggest bane of your life ever. Here’s how to make the Elf as painless as possible.
Don’t try and recreate Pinterest, unless you have a never ending budget for little props and added extras.
Keep it simple. Use toys already lying around, or anything in the house.
Try and make them laugh. Using pants always achieves this.
It’s not a who can do it best competition, it’s only a 30 second window first thing in the morning, I guarantee he’ll be ignored for the rest of the day.
Watch for the inevitable Facebook posts on how brilliant the Elf is in certain houses. Try your best to remember it’s not a competition….
Bringing gifts from the pound shop on one or two days out of the whole advent is very popular (and cheap). Things like candy canes are good ideas or Christmas selfie props.
Prepare yourself for him being knocked over at least once, and the resulting tears (can be yours).
Most importantly, don’t forget him lol.
Easy Elf on a Shelf Ideas
Playing games with other toys (preferably with toys that can sit up unaided!)
Pulling an old Christmas cracker from last year with a plush friend.
Use string to hang from one side of the room to the other and suspend him from it.
Pants. All over the Christmas tree, anyone’s but mine any how.
An Elf breakfast. Think the film, and pile loads of sweets in a bowl. The added advantage is you can eat them afterwards!
Reading books. Especially if you pick their favourite stories.
Paper snowflakes. Little bit of work but all for the price of a couple of sheets of A4.
Download free colouring sheets as presents from him. For 15 minutes peace leave instructions for a colouring competition he’ll judge with a small prize the next morning.
If you don’t mind mess the flour Angel scenario is always popular.
Christmas cards. They can send Christmas cards you know.
Whether you have an Elf or you don’t, look on it as a bit of festive fun. It really shouldn’t make your life more difficult, and let’s be honest your children aren’t going to complain about a less than professional set up.
Story time happens at least every night at bedtime. More often if it’s a rainy day or the word bored is mentioned. Books are probably the most important things we have in this house. This list are their favourite Christmas stories. I’ve linked to them on Amazon so you can take a look at them (affiliate links).
Santa is Coming to Wales
So this one isn’t much good if you don’t live in Wales but we love this one. So many places are name checked in it on Santa’s journey around Wales delivering presents. It surprised me how many they recognised. The one place not mentioned that you might expect it to be is Cardiff! Rest assured they point this out every time we read it. There are a lot of other titles like Santa is Coming to North Wales and Santa is Coming to Cardiff so you can maybe find a book that covers your area in more detail.
Not the most cheery festive story about a young homeless boy and his little bit of Christmas tree but it makes a nice change to stories about stockings and presents under the tree. My favourite part is the art work it is gorgeous. It has a nice ending that does leave you with the feel good factor.
Available at Amazon.
On This Special Night
An animal orientated introduction to the nativity story. Instead of shepherds and Kings the animals follow the bright star. Both of mine loved this as 2-3 year olds and it caught their attention a lot more than any talk of the real nativity story. The pictures are beautiful and softly drawn giving it an old fashioned feel. Admittedly at 8 my son refuses to read this story anymore but my 4 year old still loves it.
Not widely available anymore but some copies from 1p at Amazon
The Empty Stocking
The story of two twin sisters one naughty and one good. It has a nice ending and it’s one of my favourites. The illustrations are brilliant and the description of Santa in the house is very detailed and I love that about it, gives him a bit more character. It is one of my favourite modern Christmas stories.
Available at Amazon.
The Night Before Christmas
The ultimate Christmas story. We read this every Christmas Eve. The words flow so easily and it is one of those rhyming stories that will never sound old fashioned. We have a new version with some really nice illustrations. To me Christmas Eve is all about biscuits, hot chocolate and this book.
This is our version but there are a lot of different versions available.
Don’t forget you don’t have to buy books, it is always worth a visit to your local library and borrowing some for December.
I hope you like our list of favourite Christmas stories on our book shelf. We add to it every year with a new story around the theme of Christmas. Comment below with your favourites and suggestions.