Elf on the Shelf Inspiration!

A couple years ago, our two oldest were gifted an elf on the shelf. For those who are unfamiliar, the elf (aka creepy, dead-eyed, stick-thin plastic and fabric doll) comes to keep tabs on the members on the house by day and travels to the North Pole at night to report to Santa. Nobody can touch the elf or (s)he loses its magic and needs to recuperate in the North Pole for a few days. (Oh, am I hoping for someone to touch him this year!!).  Every day, the elf is watching from a new vantage point…at least this was the initial idea. Cute, right? Well…..

Somewhere along the way, Elf on the Shelf went berserk and started doing crazy things, sometimes naughty, and/or providing things for excited-for-Christmas kids to do. Every. Single. Day. For 24 days. 

I’m sorry to say we fell into the trap of doing fun things with our elf (which Moose named Chunky) the first year. Now we are on year 3, and to be honest, it’s getting a wee bit daunting to come up with things for this stuffed toy to do. Our space is VERY limited so many of the ideas I’ve seen can’t really work with us, so we’ve had to get pretty creative. I thought I’d put some of the shenanigans Chunky has done in the last 3 years here in case someone is looking for yet another exciting idea for their own elf to do. Please, PLEASE add any outside the box ideas in the comments…its only the sixth day and I’m grasping this year. I have a few more things planned (including the Christmas Eve box that Chunky always brings before leaving until next year, and the letter with a map of a route to take to look for Christmas lights in our jammies after bathtime one night), but more ideas are more than welcome! 

Anyway, here are some of the silly things our elf has gotten into! Hope it can inspire any elf owners out there! 

Chunky somehow managed to get new pairs of mittens inside of a balloons! How delightful (this is what they are waking up to. I’m waking up to horrendously sore fingers from messing with these balloons)

He braved the chilly night air to surprise the kiddos with some outdoor decorations! Wow, that elf is selfless!

Felt scraps cut into geometric shapes make for fun creative play! Ahhh, what a fun way to use up scraps.

Chunky has some sick obsession with underpants. Here is an underpants swing/hammock. Moose had a chat with the elf about the fact that there was a shortage of underpants pranks thus far this year.

We don’t typically have sugary cereal so 2 years ago, they were totally convinced that these were ‘elf cheerios’. #momwin

Baking adventures are always a great hit! If you’re going to bake with them anyway, have the elf bring the ingredients. Everyone wins!

Slap some food colouring in the milk for a crazy morning surprise! Frankly, it looks disgusting but they LOVE it. We did green Year 1 and purple Year 2…

This one I have seen before…turning everyone into Rudolph (this was year 1. For year 2, we added moustaches)

Another year 1 online find: candy cane zip line! This one was done in haste when the whole family had a stomach virus and sick-as-a-dog Mum had to do something last minute.

Always include an elf in the bathroom day!

Because clearly I’m not busy enough, I helped Chunky write a book for Moose and tiny Baby Bird during Year 1. We still read it often.

Styrofoam balls in the living room. This was an all-out riot! Nobody was injured, they practiced their hand-eye coordination?? Maybe??

Oh yay. Something for Mum to scrub off the mirror. 😐

Teeny tiny pancakes for breakfast. Cute but time consuming!! They ate every bite though.

This one I’ve seen a hundred times. Year 2 excitement when Moose and Bird were in love with the Minions.

If you feel like wasting lots and lots of wrapping paper…have at ‘er!

Yes, Chunky got all crafty and crocheted them dolls last year. Year 1, he made them hats.

Again with the undies…flying from the ceiling fan.

Decorating with Post-it notes…not just for office pranks anymore! (Although lots fell off the wall)

Snap, Crackle, Chunky? Took them ages to find him!

Cans of stuff they won’t eat make a cool drum set!

Oh Chunky, it’s called ROCK climbing, not SOCK climbing! A good way to replace socks, mitts, etc…let the blasted elf bring them!

Itty bitty doughnuts (aka Cheerios in icing sugar, cinnamon, chocolate and sprinkles)

Store-bought gingerbread house/family/train/whatever kits! Easy, they love it. 
Some other things we’ve done and o can’t find the pics:

-Scavenger hunt for Christmas ornaments that have been hidden

-Various craft kits

– elf colours (or if mum/dad is too lazy or strapped for time, scribbles) in Christmas colouring book and puts completed pages all over the house

-crayons and blow dryer on canvas craft

-string lights in the kids’ bedrooms

-writing letters to Santa: paper, crayons, stickers, etc put into mailbox to use 

-elf takes selfies with sleeping family members and prints off pics (or just sets wallpaper on tablet/phone)

-elf goes onto the ‘elf yourself’ app and makes a video of the whole family dressed as elves. 

There are so many more! As I get time, I’ll add more! Please let me know your awesome ideas! I need more!!

Alright, time to sleep before they come charging out of bed, searching for Chunky!


An Apple (or so) a Day…

I DID say that I’d include crafty business and recipes, right? Well here’s a recipe-ish sorta thing. My obligations have been fulfilled!

I’ve established that fall is pretty awesome in my books. One of our favourite fall traditions is, (much like most others I know), apple picking! The kids love apples any time but especially enjoy it when they’ve picked their very own!

Sprout especially enjoyed her first apple picking trip. 

Since we have bags and bags of apples right now, we are using them in every way possible. Cakes, pie, tarts, sauce and more lend themselves to this delicious time of year. Unfortunately, this creates so much apple peel waste and frankly, our composter could use a little more variety than bags and bags of apple peels.

Being one who doesn’t like to waste, I decided to try something tonight…baked apple peel chips! They are super easy to get ready, they are made of scraps destined for the compost pile otherwise and they taste delicious! I count that as a major win! Plus the kiddos can help make these. I’m foreseeing this being a constant in our house for the next few apple-y weeks!

The premise is pretty simple. Take your peels, toss with a little oil (I just used vegetable oil), sugar and cinnamon (bothe to taste) and bake until curled and crispy. Here’s a breakdown of what we did!

Preheat the oven to 410 degrees (an arbitrary number…I’m sure 400 would also work. I like to cook by the seat of my pants!)

Doesn’t look all that a-peel-ing, does it?

1) Take your peels and put them in a freezer bag. Add 1-2 Tbsp oil, 1-2tsp white sugar and 1/2tsp cinnamon (more if you wish). Close the bag and shake (or get a trusty helper to do it for you).

Shake it! One of my best sous chefs busy at work! 

Lay the peels flat on a baking sheet in a single layer. (I used foil because my baking sheets are all stained and I honestly haven’t tried all the Pinterest ideas to clean said sheets. One day.)

Lookin’ shiny! We used a combination of Gala, Yellow Delicious and Jonagold apples for our skins! 

Bake 10-15 minutes, checking carefully after 10 minutes because, as I found out, thinner pieces burn easily. I flipped ours after 8 minutes. Take out of the oven, sprinkle with more sugar, rock salt and cinnamon as desired.

Try not to taste test yet! Some will still be a little soft. Let them cool and harden. It’ll be so worth it! 

This is the only evidence I have of these crispy bites of delicious before they were all devoured. Yum. 

My plan was to prepare some caramel apple dip to go with them but they disappeared too fast! Even my poor little guy with tonsillitis braved eating them. Next time there will be dip!


Preheat oven to 400

Apple Peels

1-2 Tbsp oil

1-2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp or more cinnamon

Put all ingredients in a freezer bag and shake together. Dump out on a baking sheet into a single layer and bake for 10-15min or until browned and curled at the edges. Flip halfway.

Remove from oven and let cool and crisp up. Remove from baking pan and store (or just devour).

Now for another apple picking trip!