The Elf on the Shelf : A Christmas Tradition

We're baaaack here  at the Big Apple and my kids are absolutely loving the COLD (hmm not so much me but I'm good!). We are spending the holidays here and this year we introduced the kids to the "ELF ON THE SHELF". Apparently it's a popular tool here to instil discipline in a fun way. 

This is how it works: 

The "Elf in the Shelf" includes a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopts a scout elf and gives it a name, the scout elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day's adventures. Each morning, the scout elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun. Children love to wake up and race around the house looking for their scout elf each morning. 

The Elf on the Shelf comes with this book which explains how to go about this tradition. It is a cleverly rhymed book telling the story of Santa's scout elves, who are sent to be Santa's eyes and ears inside each home. The first step is to actually give a name to your elf. Henri wanted "George" but Sofia insisted on "Michael". To be fair to both, we decided to give our little elf buddy "Michael George". There were certain rules with MG (Michael George) such as you cannot touch him to move him, you can talk to him but he will never talk back, etc. And so this tiny elf kept us company the next few days until Christmas Day. Every night he would go back to the North Pole and report to Santa about how Henri and Sofia were. Each morning the kids would wake up all excited to find where MG is. Here are some of the fun spots he perched on...

The internet gives a whole lot of ideas of where and what to do with the elf on the shelf as well. Here are some witty ones which gave me funny ideas for next year;  *taken from various mommy websites. Maybe I'll document what we do for next year...

 Woohoo! Let is snow!

 Cookie Butter, anyone?

 So clever! My fave I think! Hahaha!

 Snow angel in the kitchen

You can be fun and creative with your little elf buddy and the biggest and most important thing is that it keeps the kids at their best behaviour because they know that he reports back Santa to the North Pole every night and at lightning speed is back again at home in the morning. His last day will be the night before Christmas before he leaves and makes his final assessment with Santa to determine whether a kid is on the nice or naughty list.

Henri and Sofia both made it to the NICE list this year and thus received what they wanted from Santa on Christmas Day.

Sofia got her Barbie doll set and Henri got his helicopter :)

What's your Christmas tradition? Share away! Merry Christmas once again and enjoy the rest of the holidays!


Mommy Pattie


MINDFUL ART : How to ZEN Doodle!

I have been completely obsessed lately with DOODLING. This is not the ordinary type of doodling one is familiar with but it is an artform called ZEN Doodling which uses the so-called ZENTANGLE Method. It is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.
Almost anyone can use it to create beautiful images. It increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well being. The Zentangle Method is enjoyed all over this world across a wide range of skills, interests and ages.
The founders believed that life is an art form and that the Zentangle Method is an elegant metaphor for deliberate artistry in life.

How Zentangle Got its Start

One day, Maria told Rick what she experienced as she drew background patterns on a manuscript she was creating. She described her feelings of timelessness, freedom and well-being and complete focus on what she was doing with no thought or worry about anything else. 

"You're describing meditation," Rick said.

Rick and Maria wondered if they could create a simple system so others might enjoy a similar experience. And so began the journey towards discovering this simple and elegant system called the Zentangle Method.

Little did they know then that it would grow this quickly and touch as many lives in as many ways as it has.

Zentangle Theory

The Zentangle Method is simple to understand and easy to enjoy — even if you are convinced you are not an artist. It is both profound and uplifting,

Anything is Possible One Stroke at a Time

At first glance, a Zentangle creation can seem intricate and complicated. But, when you learn how it is done, you realize how simple it is . . . sort of like learning the secret behind a magic trick. Then, when you create a piece of Zentangle art, you realize how fun and engrossing the process itself is.
We love presenting to a class or seminar full of people who are convinced they can't draw the Zentangle art we show them. Then, within 15 minutes, they have easily accomplished what they thought was impossible. This is one of our favorite Zentangle moments, because then we ask, "What else do you know that you can't do?" You can transfer that insight and experience of success and accomplishment to any life experience. Something may look complicated, but you now know that you can do it, one simple stroke at a time.

Deliberate Stroke

In our Zentangle way, you draw each stroke consciously and deliberately. We are always making "strokes" (thoughts, words, deeds) in our life. By practicing the Zentangle Method's suggestion to make each stroke deliberate, you understand how those apparently small and insignificant "strokes" of our moment to moment lives contribute to an overall life pattern. This is another reason that we say that life is an artform and everyone is an artist. Indeed, everyone draws.

Deliberate Focus

As you make a deliberate pen stroke on your Zentangle tile without concerning yourself of what it will look like when you are done, that very act of putting your pen to paper focuses your attention in a special way. As your eye follows your pen strokes your attention shifts to a state that allows fresh thoughts, new perspectives, and creative insights to flow unhindered by anxiety or effort.

No Eraser

There is no eraser in life and there is no eraser in a Zentangle Kit. However, in creating Zentangle art (and in living life), you will discover that apparent mistakes can be foundations for new patterns and take you in unexpected and exciting new directions.

Unknown Outcomes

Unlike much art, or most activities, you start out intentionally not knowing what your Zentangle creation will look like. The Zentangle Method allows you to discover new possibilities that you might not have anticipated when you began. We can most always tell when we've preplanned a specific outcome when using our Zentangle Method. It almost always looks forced and stiff.

No Predetermined Solution

With no predetermined correct answer, the Zentangle method offers both a freedom and a challenge. Unlike crossword, jigsaw, or Sudoku puzzles, there is no one predetermined solution. You cannot fail to create Zentangle art. At first this freedom might be a bit unnerving, as many of us have been trained to look for the one perfect solution. Soon however, this becomes a freeing and uplifting experience as you realize you can create never-ending, ever-changing "solutions" in your Zentangle creations.

Elegance of Limits

In seeming contradiction the limits established by a Zentangle string frees up your creativity. As you use the Zentangle Method, you'll understand.


You always succeed when you create Zentangle art because you always create a pattern. A Zentangle creation is meant to be nonrepresentative with no up or down. Since it is not a picture of something, you have no worries about whether you can draw a hand, or a duck. You always succeed in creating a pattern in a Zentangle way.


A Zentangle tile is 3 1/2 inches (89 mm) square. A Zentangle tile is designed to be completed in one sitting. Keep some Zentangle tiles in your pocket or purse. You can finish one in as little as 15 minutes. You get an immediate sense of accomplishment by completing your work of art. Of course, you can spend as much time as you like on a tile. Time melts as you focus on and enjoy your penstrokes.


The Zentangle Method's non-verbal language of patterns and proportions can open doors to insights which seemed locked before. Creating in a Zentangle way opens those doors, not because they were locked, but because those doors swing on non-verbal hinges. When you create in a Zentangle way you can enter a state of relaxed focus in which intuitive insights flow freely. Get inspirations, ideas and answers unhindered by expectations or worries.

High Quality

Out of respect for yourself and your craft, we always encourage people to use the best tools and materials possible. We designed our Zentangle Kit with that in mind.


Like a Japanese Tea Ceremony, when you create Zentangle art you also create a personal environment. You can use our Zentangle approach as a tool to deliberately focus your thoughts.

So what are you waiting for? EXPLORE, EXPERIMENT and ENJOY this wonderful and uplifting method and artform.

This type of artwork develops your creativity because of the freedom it provides (remember there is no correct pattern!). It also provides a lot of benefits (taken from a research study about it) such as: *take a deep breath because this is a handful* : 
  • Relaxation
  • Simple and quick access to mindfulness
  • Non-verbal journalling
  • Insomnia (Improved sleep by creating Zentangle art before bedtime)
  • Self-esteem
  • Inspiration
  • Panic attacks (For fear of flying, creating Zentangle art during takeoff and landing)
  • Modify behavior
  • Being part of a supportive and fun community
  • Create beautiful works of art
  • Nurture and develop creative abilities
  • Relieve stress
  • Improve eye/hand coordination
  • Develop/rehabilitate fine motor skills
  • Team building and group focus
  • Therapy
  • Anger management
  • Addiction therapy tool
  • Diet aide
  • Early artist development and appreciation
  • Increase attention span and ability to concentrate
  • Home schooling
  • Brainstorming
  • Problem Solving
  • Design inspiration
  • Stretching and warm-up for artists

My son H enjoying and exploring through art

So what are you waiting for? EXPLORE, EMPOWER and ENJOY! Share your art with me, yes? You can tag me in FB or IG @sliceofpattie #sliceofpattie #zendoodlewithme It should be fun! :) 

Mommy Pats