Monday, December 1, 2008

The Joy of the Season!

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You know you don't need to go out and do something expensive to enjoy the Christmas season or have fun with the family.

We love doing things together but money is not always readily available, everyone knows that nowadays you have to keep a tight hold on your budget, though I have to say going to the gas station today and filling up my Durango for only $30 made me so giddy I wanted to kiss the man behind me. I didn't...which I'm sure is a good thing lest I be arrested for public something or other.

But just like we went for the hike at the mountains yesterday, on Saturday we spent a full day having fun and enjoying each other's company and doing things other than sitting at the computer desk playing games.

We started out by decorating for the holidays, we finished the tree and put up a few other things around the house while sipping on home made hot cocoa with tons of marshmallows, whipped cream and sprinklings of cinnamon.

Then after dinner we sat around the table with warm out of the oven gooey cookies and drew pictures of Christmas to put up on the wall. Yes, we did. Not just the kids, but mommy and daddy got in on it too, there were crayons and colored pencils being passed around, there was laughter and silly moments and snowmen and christmas trees and santa's galore.

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We had fun drawing and coloring and putting them up on the wall, meanwhile it got dark outside so we jumped in the car around 8pm and went for a drive around the base to see all the Christmas decorations.

The kids were in the backseat, freshly bathed, pj's and slippers on and blankies in hand, ooohhhing and aaahhhing over the dozens of shiny lights, the spinning carousels, the reindeer and trains and angels everywhere. It was such a fun thing to do and by the time we returned home, we snuggled on the couch and with popcorn in hand we watched "The Polar Express".

It was one of those amazing nights where everyone gets in to bed with a smile on their face and it's even better when you hear the kids say "that was the best day ever".

We've been trying to teach them about Christmas and the reason for the holiday, what it means, what it signifies and how Santa Claus came into play. So Curt sat Nicholas on his lap last night and started telling him about Kris Kringle and how it all began and then moved on to the lists that Santa has for the naughty and nice kids. Watching Nicholas' expression was the funniest thing ever, especially when at one point Curt asked if he had been good this year LOL


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He has a list with the names of all the kids in the world, it shows who has been naughty and who has been nice.

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Were you naughty or nice this year?

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Nicholas "I was naughty a little, but mostly nice I think" LOL

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I just love that last one, their smiles just melt my heart.

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I finally finished the Advent Calendar, my poor little fingers hurt from all the stitching but it's so worth it to see the kids faces. Now if you've seen the pattern I used, they were supposed to be all red, red buttons and red thread, but I wanted to be different and asked the kids to decide on the colors, well....I ended up with a colorful Advent Calendar, there's green, red, gold and brown threads. The best part? They're filled with Hershey Kisses, two in each for the kids.

But we're not stopping there, every day we will do something together.

December 1 - Watch "Shrek the Halls" together (btw click here for a list of ALL the Christmas movies on tv this month)
December 2 - Read "Christmas Day" a poem by John Tyler
December 3 - Play "Pin the Nose on Frosty" game
December 4 - Talk about the Nativity
December 5 - Make Paper Snowflakes
December 6 - Goody Plates - baking cookies for the kids to take to the teachers
December 7 - Read a Christmas Book
December 8 - Listen to Christmas music, eat cookies
December 9 - Make a gingerbread house
December 10 - Learn about Portuguese Christmas Traditions
December 11 - Go to the school Christmas show
December 12 - Start a puzzle...something with a winter scene or Christmas
December 13 - Make Christmas cards to mail out
December 14 - Make a Christmas tree mobile
December 15 - Have a special breakfast....homemade cinnamon rolls
December 16 - Watch Winnie the Pooh and Christmas too on ABC
December 17 - Family Game Night (play a board game)
December 18 - Read Luke from the Bible and talk about Christ's birth
December 19 - Wrap presents together
December 20 - Bake sugar cookies and decorate them
December 21 - Listen to The Cinnamon Bear
December 22 - Pick a new ornament for the tree
December 23 - Take a drive to see the Christmas lights
December 24 - Read "Twas the Night Before Christmas"
December 25 - Christmas Tree pancakes

What about you? Do you have an Advent Calendar, did you make it yourself? What kind of goodies do you have in there and how do you plan to countdown to Christmas day. I want to hear all about it :)

Right now, I have to get on out of here and check on my Saucy Meatloaf, I'll have the recipe up on the food blog later. Have a great night everyone!

18 comments:

Jen said...

we are so much alike...i think we were separated at birth, i made meatloaf tonight and decorated our tree yesterday....i'm making an advent calender with miller....enjoy your night with family.

Ambitious Redhead said...

It sounds like you all had a wonderful time! I love the pictures!! Thanks for sharing.

Christina said...

This sounds like the most wonderful day. I really enjoyed reading this post and looking at the pictures. The tree is so warm and inviting. What a great way to encourage others to spend family time without having to spend money.

meili_lo said...

when i was young, my family used to drive our city to watch christmas decors and lights too..oh how i miss those moments! here in China, decors go up around Dec 20 :(

anyway, saw u in Mari's blog and i'm inviting you to my newest blog, ANYTHING.SOMETHING.EVERYTHING. here's the link, would really be glad to hear from you...

http://any-some-every-thing.blogspot.com/

thanks!

Mari said...

I love those pictures of your men - so cute! Your tree looks great too. I'm impressed by your plans for the month!

Susanne said...

Your tree is beautiful, Sandra. All that white really is gorgeous. What lovely family memories you are making with your kids!

momof4as said...

Wow, I got all cozy just reading that post! I agree that it is great you are teaching your kids the real meaning of Christmas. Cute picture of your husband and Nicholas... have a wonderful holiday season, you've gotten off to a great start!

Heather

Posh And Trendy Living Frugal said...

I loved your post.. the pic's were great and it was so much fun reading what all you did and have planned.. it makes me miss having kids at home.

The Bookworm said...

That sounds a wonderful day! And I love the way your Advent calendar came out :).

I bought a new wooden Advent calendar this year, with tiny drawers for each day and a nativity scene on top (picture on my blog here). I just managed to squeeze three chocolates into each drawer. We also have an Advent wreath - we light that and say a prayer, then eat the chocolates.

Other pre-Christmas plans and traditions ... we celebrate St. Nicholas day (December 6th) by putting out shoes the night before and filling them with chocolate money. This year I am also going to add a tree ornament for each girl, and then we will put up the tree on the 6th. We have a small pre-Christmas party with two neighbour families planned - something else that has become a tradition over the last couple of years - and on Christmas Eve we always go to see the Christmas display at a large shopping mall near here. It is nice to go when the crazy business is over, and we treat ourselves to pancakes or ice cream in a store restaurant that overlooks the Christmas display.

As dh is Jewish we also celebrate Hannukah, which overlaps with Christmas this year, so we have lots to look forward to!

Cheri said...

That is such a cute pic of Curt and Nicholas!
Sounds like you have some exciting plans for the rest of the month!

Renee said...

Great pictures of your guys! Thanks for the heads up on the programs for the season. I am thoroughly enjoying all the holiday shows.

What a wonderful month of fun, family and holiday goodies! I've already posted about some of our holiday traditions but we're doing a holiday chain (red/green construction paper) for our advent calendar and each day we'll be doing a family activity too.

Hope you all have a wonderful and blessed holiday season!

CompleteLee Blogger said...

Love your calendar ideas. Looks like you are doing a great job promoting family togetherness and the true meaning of Christmas.

We have a cloth advent calendar that I had growing up that depicts the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" scene. Below the scene are 24 pockets and each day you move the little mouse (which apparently WAS stirring) to the next pocket.

We also do a Christmas scripture, story, and song together everyday as an advent activity. I am sharing those daily on my blog right now.

All My Blessings said...

The pictures of your son and husband are heart warming. Your tree is beautiful. I love decorating and I am the only one who likes it so I'm doing it myself. That's ok, I just love it...Kae

Kirstin said...

How fun! I don't have an advent calendar...i found a fun one through our MOPs group years ago but lost it and just haven't gotten back into it.

I love your plans for each day of the month. the girls and I were just talking about making cookies. we're leaving for a week on Saturday but when we get back, we plan to make some cookies and fudge. Yummy!!

Amy said...

Hi sweet Sandra :D

I read this yesterday and loved the time you got to spend with your honey and kids... Loved getting a peak into some of your families traditions... really really such a sweet time!

Hugs.. Amy

Amy said...

And your advent is adorable!! Maybe next year for me... you inspire me, girl!

Farm Fresh Jessica said...

beautiful tree--love the header--Cute advent calendar. I have an advent calendar we do too; I made it but didn't sew it!

Steph at Problem Solvin' Mom said...

Your advent calendar is lovely, and I love your activity list!