Sunday, November 30, 2008


Today marks the first Sunday of Advent. We follow the tradition of Advent in our home. My parents celebrated it with me and my sibling since we were really small. I appreciate it so much more as an adult. In this day and age of Christmas being such a commercialized holiday, Advent is a beautiful celebration that redirects our attention on the meaning behind Christmas.

While searching online, I found a site called Following the Star. It is an online devotional for Advent. Each day's reading includes 5 parts:

  1. Presence of God
  2. The Word of God
  3. Devotion
  4. Conversation with God
  5. Benediction

Each section is really small so a huge amount of time does not need to be invested in it. I am going to try to follow this every day of Advent. It is not age-appropriate for my small children but for me, it will be a time of redirecting my focus so I don't get caught up in the hustle and bustle of December. (Yikes, I can't believe December starts tomorrow!)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Oh, Christmas Tree!

We have a family tradition of going to the Christmas Tree Farm with some dear friends of ours. We have several local tree farms to choose from so the location isn't the tradition but the friends and tree are. We have been doing this for nearly 10 years.

In years past, we haven't planned ahead very well and both families end up scrambling to clear schedules to find a mutual time that works. Not this year. We set this tree excursion up weeks ago. It was so nice to have it already planned and on the calendar.

We have never gone in November before but that's what worked, so we went with it. I'm glad we did. The weather was glorious! Usually, we trek through mud and slush with the wind blowing through our layers of clothing and chilling us to our bones. Not this year. The weather was perfect. The kids were well behaved...all 5 of them from the two families combined. Because we had planned ahead, we also planned enough time afterwards to go out to lunch together and try a new restaurant.

Oh, what a lesson to learn from this. A little planning truly does go a long way!

Good times! Now the Christmas season has truly begun.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday!

Today, I learned all about Black Friday. I don't have much experience in this area. As much as I love a good deal, I hate crowds even more. Unfortunately, we had to take our vehicle in to Sears. So while we were there, waiting for it to be fixed, we thought we would check out the sales. It was impossible to move the cart through the store. I felt like I was in some sort of demented department store scavenger hunt. We left with nothing but a fixed car.
On the way home, I decided to stop with my daughter at Kohl's. I had seen their ad and there were a couple of items that were amazing prices for things that I was already looking for. Well, that was a bad idea. Their sale ended at 1:00 PM and we were there shortly after noon. The lines were unbelievable as people tried to get in line to make sure their purchase was rung up before the sale ended. The people that were waiting to check out had to be there for hours! The lines at both check-out areas meandered all the way from the front of the store to the back! I looked at the line and thought, "you have got to be kidding me!" Needless to say, we left with nothing. After we got home, I hopped online and found that most of Kohl's "door buster" sales were available through their website. While they only lasted until 1:00 PM in the stores, they lasted until 4:00 PM online. I got everything but one thing that I had hoped to get in the store. And, I did it all in the comfort of my own home...that's my kind of Black Friday!!!
Never again will I venture out on the day that should be spent with family relaxing and digesting all the delicious food from yesterday.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am so thankful! I have so many things in my life for which I am grateful. Today is the official day to declare that greatfulness. What a great holiday... a holiday of thanks!

Our family has been keeping a "Thankful Tree." It is filled with statements of what we are thankful for. It has been a constant reminder for our family to keep an attitude of gratitude. One of the best effects of having this tree on our kitchen table has been the fact that it is a visual reminder for our daughter. On numerous occasions, the tree would catch her attention and she would turn to me and say, "Mom, what are you thankful for today?" Now, that's a lesson to learn every day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Time Crafts

We had a craft marathon today. I had only planned to do one craft today but my daughter was up and wide awake at 6:30 this morning. I figured we'd take the opportunity to do a messy craft while her brother was still sleeping.

Hands and feet were dipped in paints and turkeys were made. She had three of these turkeys made before we had even eaten breakfast!!! I learned a little about being flexible with my "schedule" of how I think our day should go.

Now, both sets of grandparents get their own footprint/fingerprint turkey for Thanksgiving. One, of course, is going to stay here with us. When the baby woke up, he was enthralled with the turkeys. His big sister has tried for weeks to get him to say, "gobble, gobble, gobble" and he finally did it! Her turkey craft was what he would point to each time he made the sound. His big sister was really proud!

Later in the afternoon, we decided to do an art project that both kiddos could do. We finger painted. This one is the 4 year old's...

Blogger turned the picture but if you tip your head, it says "MOM" and "DAD." Here is the 17 month old's...

I think he had more paint on his face than there was on the paper. I learned today that my little guy likes the taste of finger paint!!! He also loves taking the globs of finger paint and flinging them around the!

After the little guy went down for his nap, his sister said that she didn't think the hand print feathers really look like feathers. So, we got out some feathers and made another turkey. For this one's body, she traced her shoe on brown paper and I cut it out. Then she drew feet on it and glued feathers all around. I love how it turned out.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Art with Pattern Blocks

I had to work this morning and my mom came over and watched the kids for me. I had a couple of errands to run and she was willing to spend a little more time with the grand kids so that I could get a few things done after work. One thing I had to do was stop at a store. This store happens to be right next to the thrift store, so she suggested that I stop in there. (She knows how difficult it is to peruse the thrift store with kids along.)

I bought nothing but things for the kids. I got some brand new teacher's supplies. One of the things I got was a set of wooden pattern blocks. We did a few matching activities and shape activities with them. However, my 4 year old LOVED building with them.

Here is a picture of my favorite. It's called me and my brother in the forest...

This one is a funny person...

What is the triangle in the center of his body, I ask. A bellybutton, of course! I am so proud of her. She did these completely on her own. I love how she worked so diligently on them turning each shape until it created a picture.

As we were working with the pattern blocks, we talked a lot about the shapes. For the life of me, I could not remember the name of the red one that looks like a triangle with it's top cut off. My hubby figured out what it was... a trapezoid! Yep, I remember now. Geometry was a LONG time ago.