Monday, December 1, 2008

The Beautifulest Christmas Tree Ever

We woke up this morning to this...

Yippee! I just love the snow! What a way to welcome December!!!

Last night, a branch had fallen out of our Cottonwood. So, our daughter, fresh off of our Christmas Tree hunt, decided that this fallen branch would work for a reenactment of our tree hunt. We dragged that branch all over our backyard, pretending that we were trekking through the Christmas Tree Farm. Then, she decided that the "Christmas Tree" needed to be decorated. We used bungee cords to attach the branch to our backyard bench. Then, she raided her outdoor toy box looking for anything that had a handle she could hang on the branches. The above picture is her finished product. I just love the big hippety-hop ball at the very top.

Here are some close-ups of her holiday work of art. I wonder what the neighbors are thinking!!!

When she was finished, she declared, "This is the Beautifulest Christmas Tree ever!" She was so proud of her backyard tree. I am proud of her creativity. I love to see her use her imagination so creatively!
On a different note, you may have noticed that I learned how to change the template of my blog to something other that what Blogger offers. I'm feelin' mighty festive here on my blog! I got the template from this site. It was super easy to do and free too. Gotta love that!

We started the rest of our Christmas countdown activities today. Along with lighting the Advent wreath, we are reading from The Advent book, a wonderfully illustrated book by Jack and Kathy Stockman. It mimics the advent calendars where you open a door each day to reveal a prize. Behind each of the 25 doors in the book, there is a picture and part of the Christmas story.

We're also removing links from a paper chain and then counting how many are left until Christmas.

The last two activities that we are doing nightly are ones that my daughter and I made together. My mom gave us a kit for a Christmas countdown calendar. We used all the supplies from the kit but we made our own design. We didn't like the original plan that came with the kit. I'm happy with how it turned out. Sometimes kits can be great because everything you need is right there.

Inside of each day's pocket is a piece of scrapbook paper. On it, I have (or soon will) write an activity to do for the night. Most of the activities will be things that we would be doing anyways. For instance, I am saving some of my Christmas decorating to put as an activity. One night, the kids will get to help put out the nativity. On another night, we'll decorate the tree. On another, we'll bring out the basket of Christmas books. I think that this will be an activity that we'll all enjoy. Hopefully, it will become a yearly tradition.
The last thing that we're doing each night is Christmas Countdown Blocks. I took two square blocks of wood and my daughter and I wrapped them in wrapping paper. Then we took green and red cards and put number stickers on them. Every night after counting how many links are left until Christmas, my daughter will have to find the digits that make up that number. This is a skill that she needs to work on anyways.

If you try this activity, there is a trick to it. Both blocks need the numbers 0, 1, and 2. This is necessary for making numbers like 22 or 10. Every number that you make will need at least one of these digits as you're counting down. The remaining numbers get divided between the two blocks. However, when I was doing it, I finished and had one number left off. I could not figure out what the problem was. I knew that I had seen these in the store, so I knew there was a way to do it. I scoured the Internet and finally figured it out. 9 and 6 are only one number... you just flip it upside down for the one you want. So, on one block we have 0, 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6(or 9). On the other, we have 0, 1, 2, 3, 7, and 8. That's the trick to figuring it out!

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