Advent Calendar 2016

Hey, friends!  Tomorrow is December 1st, can you believe it???

Here are a couple of pics of our advent calendar for this year.  This has become a tradition for us, and although I **thought** maybe my kids were too old for this, they insisted on it!!  We love to celebrate the coming of Christmas in this way.

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(Ha – I guess as the kids get bigger the advent calendar does, too!)

This year, like previous years, there is either a small gift, candy, or and activity to do in each of the bags.  See this post if you want more info on that and some other advent calendar ideas we’ve done in the past!

The white bags I bought at Michael’s and I simply used a chalkboard paint marker to dress them up.  Then I chalked the numbers on them – sooo simple!!  I used a store-bought chalkboard banner and christmas-y mini clothes pins that I bought on clearance last year for the finishing details.  The bags are clipped and/or taped to a twine rope that is hung on the wall with 3M removable hooks.

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The kids can’t wait to get started tomorrow!!

Happy December!

December 2014!

Christmas is two days away!

Today we are finishing up our preparations… wrapping the last of the gifts, making the last of the cookies (peanut butter balls), and all that good stuff.

Here’s what we’ve been up to this month:

We’ve had a rough December in terms of busy-ness and sicknesses, so we’re also doing a lot of resting, too!  This weekend we took it easy and pretty much watched Christmas movies all weekend.

It was a good weekend – probably because I had zero expectations of it.

Unlike last weekend.  One of our advent activities was to pick out a child to sponsor through ICCM.  We’ve been wanting to do this for a while and I thought it would be a great way to celebrate Christ’s birth.  It didn’t go at all like I’d planned.  (ooh – those expectations we have in our heads are so sneaky!)  I guess I thought it would be a truly meaningful family moment – and it was anything but.  We still did it, but the kids were being silly and totally not taking it seriously.  It made me angry and one of them was in time-out before it was over.

And today the littlest had a doctor’s appointment – diagnosis cold with a side of ear infection.  Not exactly how I’d expected to spend today.  But more snuggling and resting is okay, too.

In the midst of all this I thought of the Christmas devotion I’d done at MOPS a couple of years ago.  And realized I needed to hear it again.

Maybe you do, too.  Here’s the good part:

 Are you trying for the perfect Christmas? And don’t get me wrong – I get caught up in it, too! But God keeps reminding me that the only perfection I’ll find on Earth – the only perfection that you’ll find – is in Jesus. He was, and still is, the perfect gift and the reason we celebrate!

Jesus was referred to in the Bible as “Immanuel”, which means “God with us”. God gave us His son as a gift – the gift of His presence in human form. He is present (no pun intended) with us at all times.

Jesus, the Messiah, was born in a dirty stable when people were expecting a King with all the trappings.

But God is more concerned about what people need rather than what they expect. And He is not afraid to come into the mess of our lives – our dirty stables.

Despite your efforts to create the perfect Christmas, what kind of messes do you have in your life?

The good news is that God’s perfect gift is still available to you. Immanuel – God with us. Isn’t it amazing? The God of the universe is willing to give up the majesty of heaven to be with us in our dirty stable. And he is big enough to deal with whatever mess we’ve made – but not too big to care about it!!

So what do you need this Christmas? Instead of chasing after the perfect Christmas, I challenge you to chase after the “perfect gift” – Jesus. He is, in fact, regardless of his birth in a dirty stable, all the things that Isaiah prophesied.

Do you need guidance on how to get out of your mess? Well, Jesus is the wonderful counselor.

Do you need peace to get through? Jesus is the Prince of Peace

Do you need the impossible to happen? Jesus is the mighty God.

Do you need hope? Well, Jesus is also the Savior and light of this world. He is the way, the truth, and the life.

All you need to do is not miss it.

(here’s the original post, if you want to read all of it)

Merry Christmas, friends!  Praying for all of us that we don’t miss Jesus this Christmas.  

 

 

what’s up – Easter 2013 version

Hubby has been traveling for work for two weeks.

Computer wouldn’t turn on for about 7 of those days.  Ugh.

Also,

kids’ school spaghetti dinner

piano lesson

potluck

3 church meetings

2 playdates

2 car appointments

3 doctor / dentist appointments

1 child needing to get blood drawn

dog grooming

another child with an essay due

youth group

Maundy Thursday activities

IQ testing for my youngest to help a Master’s student

and that’s only the out-of-the-ordinary stuff!

phew – no wonder I haven’t blogged at all!

Happy Belated Easter! 

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(how pathetic is it that this is the only pic I got of the kids all together in their Easter outfits??)

 

I was also prepping for an upcoming ***no kids*** trip to Key Largo, Florida, by doing some thrift shopping.

Got some new-to-me clothes for our trip for great prices AND I scored these:

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That is an awesome Star Wars pop-up book in near-perfect condition for $1.99!

And a Thirty-One skirt purse in excellent condition that I got for… drum roll, please …. $4.59!

 

Gotta love thrifting!

What’s up with you?

 

Holiday Prep

The problem with having a blog is that there is this pressure to have something profound to say.

Unfortunately I’ve got nothin’.

So I’ll leave you with some glimpses of what I’ve been up to lately.  Prepping for Christmas by making some handmade gifts.  I’m including links, of course, to the sites where I got the original ideas!

This is an anniversary ornament I made last year for a friend of mine that incorporated her wedding invitation.  I’m making another this year for a special couple for Christmas!  I got the inspiration and instructions here.

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Working on a memorial pendant for my mom that has my Dad’s handwriting on it.  This is my first try… not happy with it because it isn’t smooth enough so I’ll be trying another version today.  Will keep you updated!

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Crocheting up a storm for gifts.  Ruffly scarves (instructions here) and owl hats.

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!!!!Spoiler alert!!!! 

Gifties for friends – fuzzy socks and nail polish.  Aren’t these the cutest?  Free printable tags here.

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And last, but not least, just in case you’ve started thinking I’m one of those women who have it all together – crafting handmade gifts, perfectly well-behaved children, and a picture-perfect home – well, think again.  Those of you who know me well know that cleaning is always last on my list!

This is what my living room looks like this morning:

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Yes, yes, those are dirty clothes on the floor, a mound of knotted yarn under the tree, and books, legos, movies, a tape measure, blankies, and shoes that have not found their true home yet.

Maybe I’d better get off the computer.  😉

 

 

 

Advent Calendar Ideas

This week I will be working on this year’s advent calendar for the kiddos.  Can’t believe it’s almost December already!

Hope you all had lovely Thanksgiving celebrations!

Here are a couple of handmade advent calendars we’ve done in past years:

::Christmas Tree Advent::

::Clothespin Advent::

We will be using the Clothespin Advent Calendar again this year… but with a couple of new twists!

Instead of paper bags, I will be using toilet paper tubes, decorated for Christmas and used as gift boxes!  (see this tutorial).

I try to have a good mix of both goodies and activities for the kids to do.  I found this fabulous printable list of advent activities that is going to be perfect.  Not to mention it’s going to save me some time and energy!

{By the way, both of those blogs are wonderful – I am a regular reader of both and I’m so thankful for awesome bloggers who are willing to share their great ideas!}