Saturday, November 26, 2011

Advent Calendar

* I really wish I was able to arrange the pictures I had the way they were visioned in my head but I am not so good with the technical part of the blog... sad, I know :)


I have been so excited about starting different Christmas traditions now that we have our own family. Of course I want to continue some of the traditions that Hubs and I had when we were growing up with our families, but I am so happy to be starting some of our own. It makes me feel like we are grown ups :)

I am thrilled about our Advent calendar. I have been working hard on getting it ready.

A month or so ago I did some web surfing to look at different advent calendar ideas. There are SO many cute ones out there. My sister in law does a really cute one too. I finally came across one that I LOVED! Of course I am changing it a bit to fit our family, but so glad someone came up with the idea.

Some of the ideas I saw you had to have a little piece of chocolate or a little trinket for the 25 days. At first I thought, OK I can make small sugar cookies and those could be the little 'gift' because there was no way I was going to give my 20 month olds a piece of chocolate a day. Then I laughed and said NO way am I going to give them a cookie a day either. Then I thought about the trinkets. First who needs more trinkets haha. I didn't think it would be fair for the boys to take turns getting a trinket. They are only 20 months.. they don't get it. Then I thought, well, the boys love trains, I could buy one little train for each day and the boys could share it (and then it could go with a train track that I was (am) thinking about getting them for Christmas). I kept thinking and I thought that if I did that I would then have to think of something different for the next year... and we are going to have more babes so I would have to either find something they all like or I would have to start buying more than one trinket at a time...them Christmas gifts...I DON'T THINK SO!! Talk about spending money we don't have.

The calendar I came across is a family event. There is no taking turns, no choosing who is going to get the treat, just all family. So when I came across idea I fell in love!

We are doing a Book Advent Calendar.

Every night we will open the appropriate gift wrapped book and read it together as a family. I know that the boys won't necessarily sit through all of the books that I have chosen, I know that they are honestly a bit too young for this, but I want to start the tradition right away. I figure if I don't start it right away I would put it off until I forgot.

The bonus is that I have more than 25 Christmas/winter books already in my attic from when I was teaching and a handful that my cousin gave the boys last year for Christmas so I don't actually HAVE to spend any money at all. Of course I'm going to. haha. I only have 3 true meaning of Christmas books. One of them is way too long that we are not going to use it, so I definitely want to buy 1 or 2 more Christian books.

Most of the books that I have will be used for years and years to come but some will have to be traded out for 'big kid' books eventually.

The book pictures aren't posted in any order. Actually I didn't even pay much attention when I wrapped and numbered them. I decided that I wanted to be as surprised as everyone else in the family. However, I did pick a special book for the first night and a special book for the last night.

The Story of Christmas by Patricia A. Pingry is the book that I chose for the first night. I wanted to start us off the right way. The boys have actually read this book a bunch. This is one of the books that my cousin gave them last year for Christmas and it's been out since then. However, I think it will have a little bit more of a special meaning after this.
I chose the Bible as the book for the last day to read. Hub's family always reads the Christmas story on Christmas Eve before they open presents ... since we open presents on Christmas day I wanted to save it for the 25th.
I got 24 out of the 25 books wrapped. Can you believe that!?! I ran out of wrapping paper with only 1 book left to be wrapped. UGH :) I have to get to the store to get some more of the brown paper so that I can wrap the last book (#23) and get them put on our stairs before December 1st.

I linked all the titles up to Amazon even though I didn't get a single one from there.

The Story of Christmas by Patricia A. Pingry
This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer retold by Dennis R. Shealy
Christmas Troll by Jan Brett
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
Bear's First Christmas by Robert Kinerk
Santa Knows by Cynthia & Greg Leitich Smith
Santasaurus by Niamh Sharkey
Christmas for the Snowmen by Wolfram Hanel
A Magical Christmas by Claire Freedman
Merry Un Christmas by Mike Reiss
The Christmas Penguin by Mary Packard
Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold & Vivian Walsh
Froggy's Best Christmas by Jonathan London
Frosty the Snowman by Jack Rollins & Steve Nelson
One Winter's Day by M. Christina Butler
One Snowy Night by M. Christina Butler
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
The Holy Bible - Matthew 1:18-25

I have a few others on the side just incase I decide to switch some out. I am also going to see if I can find any more board books or true meaning of Christmas books when I go shopping this weekend. If I do I will switch out some of the longer books for them.

I am really looking forward to this. I hope it's something that the boys (and any other babes we have join our family) might carry on one day.

Once I get all the books placed on our stairs I will take one last picture and make a special posting about it :)

I am SO excited about this!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I can't believe Thanksgiving has already passed. This year is flying by.

To get the boys ready for Thanksgiving I made them these cute turkey shirts. When I was looking around on blogs for holiday crafts I accidentally came across this shirt. Sadly I don't remember where I found it. I saw it a few weeks ago and just bookmarked it in the back of my forgetful brain. I am thankful I didn't forget about it.

I actually saw a couple different versions of this shirt. This is what I put together after getting great ideas from others.

I had the boys let me trace their hands on a piece of white paper. I cut out their hands and used them as tracers to make the felt handprints.

I didn't actually get pictures of the boys showing off their shirts :( but I did manage to get(not so good) pictures of them after Thanksgiving dinner.

G loves his cousins! Well both boys do, but you can just see the love on his face as he's running to 'tackle' one of the girls who was laying down after the big turkey dinner.
M looking around for one of his cousins. She had gone upstairs and leaned over the balcony to yell down at him earlier and whenever he didn't see her he would look up and call her name.

If the girls weren't right there with them the boys would look around and start yelling their names. They are SO smitten!

G with his 'Woof Woof'.

M with his cousin B.
G with his cousin J.
M trying to sneak under the chair to turn on the little TV that my aunt tried to hide back there.
Daddy got over there before he could reach it again and decided to swing him around.
I know this is a horribly fuzzy picture, but I just LOVE how it shows how much fun M is having being swung around by his Daddy.

After dinner when everyone was stuffed and didn't really want to move anymore my Uncle went down to his basement to pull out some of his Hess truck collection pieces. The boys had a BLAST playing with them. The boys Grandpa gave them Hess trucks last year for Christmas and we put them up in our attic (for the time being). I had just said a week or so ago to the Hubs that we should get them down because of how much the boys love trucks, planes, trains, well really any mode of transportation. After seeing how much fun the boys had with them at my Aunt and Uncles we will HAVE to get up into the attic quick! M played with them for about 4 minutes, but G played with them for a good solid half hour.

Don't mind the pant-less baby. :) I had just changed their diapers and couldn't sit on the floor any longer ... I put their pants back on them a few minutes later. .. or maybe it was 30 minutes later when G was done playing with the trucks as intensely as he started.