Note: Advent ideas at the end.
Well friends, this is no longer a late Sunday post or even a late Monday. It is Tuesday( a late Tuesday even) and I am playing catch up. I thought when NaNoWriMo ended I could easily get back to normal…but no…..advent/ holiday cheer hit me like a brick. Even having all the decorations up before December first did not give us a big enough head start. So this post and Monday’s post are late and it will be okay. Bear with me :). I’ve fallen asleep the last two nights while uploading pictures…pitiful I know.
Thanksgiving went well. It was thrown together at the last minute since we didn’t know if my Dad-in-law would be in the hospital or home. We had plenty to eat and great fellowship. We were most thankful that Chris’ Dad got to come home. Please keep him in your prayers. He’s still not well.
I’ve come to love some of the differences in Chris’ family compared to mine. Everyone is quieter and we watch a lot of t.v. there. I come from a talkative bunch on both sides and they love to play games. It’s nice to have some solitude and to enjoy the backwoods at Chris’ parents. Chris found out that his old room is actually “OUR” room now…according to me.
Chris showed Michael and me a tall tree that he could leap over when he was a kid…..because it wasn’t so tall then. The tree in the pic below was planted about twenty years ago. How neat!
Michael and I enjoyed climbing this tree below.
Aunt Cherrie a.k.a Aunt Ri is a great tickle monster. Her hubby, Chris’ oldest brother Wesley is beside her. He goes to Afghanistan in the near future. We will all miss him.
Aunt Stella and Uncle Thomas (Thomas is the next to oldest brother) are admiring the snow people ornaments I made them. We were just missing Brian, Chris’ next brother who is not much older than us. Chris (my hubby) is the youngest of four boys and guess what….there are no grand-daughters. Michael is the youngest of five grandsons.
My guys being macho. Chris taught Michael how to shoot a BB gun. I admit that I was very nervous.
Michael didn’t get much practice before Aunt Ri’s nephew came over to play. Uncle Thomas and Chris took the time to repair a very old remote control car. They are both savvy with computers and wires n such…..so they Frankenstein-ed it I guess.
My Mom in law helping Michael decorate a gingerbread tree.
The results: voila! Note: I ended up finishing it with her because another kid came over to play and Michael lost all interest. Those tiny balls of candy were irritating or maybe my hands were just slippery.
This part is really cool so I hope you’re still reading ;). Chris told me the story of when his parents first bought the land and his dad carved their initials in a tree. So we embarked on a mission to find that special tree….back in the thick woods.
We were SO excited to find it. The initials are huge but they’re hard to make out. They say “MD” picture of a heart “PD”.
Look closely. This part is “MD”. My Dad in law used a hammer to carve this.
This is the heart.
“PD”. Did you see it? What a legacy! I hope to print these out for Christmas. It’ll make a great gift :).
Chris and I found our own tree nearby. We found another family member’s carving done when they were a kid. It was an embarrassing discovery for them though. Oops :(. We wrote ours above so I guess it cancels theirs out.
When we got home we bought a LIVE Christmas tree. The guys wanted a real tree. Upon bringing it home, I remembered why I wanted a fake tree. I am allergic. I’ve had a headache every day. Maybe we will all remember next year.
Michael and I decorating the tree.
Chris and Michael decorating. Critters ate holes in our salt dough ornaments. Only a few survived :(. We will make more this year, Lord willing. Isn’t it great how the deer head looks through the tree? You might be a redneck if…
I was most excited about my centerpiece for the table. At Chris’ folks’ I spent some time watching the Cardinals with his Dad…..actual Cardinals…..the birds…not the team. Hence, the idea.
I got the greenery and fake flowers at the Dollar Tree…also the glass vase. I took a branch from the Christmas tree and real cranberries and put them in the vase with water. I got the cardinal salt shakers and white cloth mats at Walmart…also the napkins. Chris thinks I’m silly. When I looked at my work I squealed. It looked like a blanket of snow on my table.
Gum Drop, Gingerbread, and later chocolate Peppermint candles help balance out the evergreen smell.
Here is a hint of what’s to come next Sunday. We had an interesting time taking our Christmas photos at the park…with the WHOLE family ;). Doesn’t the kitty look cute trying on his hat?
The stockings are hung :).
December 2nd I threw an advent calendar together. I think it turned out good. Each day has a joke and a Christmas activity written on a piece of paper. We also have an advent book that came in Thriving Family magazine. Each night we read a verse and an excerpt about one of God’s names (or characteristics I should say…like Prince of Peace etc…). It has object lessons too.
Michael and I made the deer, Rudolph. Chris didn’t let the nose stay there :(. The Santa hat was as far as he would let us go.
Sunday morning our church lit the first advent candle. Our Pastor preached about hope, and of course Jesus Christ is our hope. We no longer wait for the hope of a first advent. Christ has come already as savior. His second coming will be much different. He came first as a baby but he returns as a warrior King riding a white horse. He is humble and merciful yet also strong and righteous. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, come!
My family in front of the Crismon tree at church. Each ornament (Crismon) represents something Biblical.
Here is our advent ideas. I’m only writing the ones you can use too. Some activities can be repeated.
- Family pictures for Christmas cards
- Advent celebrations at church (hanging of the greens, church musical, etc…)
- Make gingerbread creations (Nativity, houses, trains, and so on)- in our case we used graham crackers
- Decorate a cardboard house with lights and the works (we haven’t found a big enough box for this yet)
- Read a Christmas book (The Christmas Box, The Gift of the Magi, and The Christmas Candle are wonderful)
- Watch a Christmas Movie
- Make Tickets to use for a magic ride to see lights. Popcorn and Hot chocolate included.
- See the Guardians. We don’t do Santa or the Easter Bunny but honestly the movie looks funny so we want to see it.
- Christmas parade
- Christmas Concert with army band. This one’s free so I’m excited. Maybe you could catch your high school band’s concert?
- Make Christmas cookies for the Nursing Home staff & write Christmas cards for staff and residents. We usually just give them to the residents that we play Bingo with.
- Decorate cone Christmas trees (ice cream cone, green frosting, M& M’s?)
- Make mini Christmas pizzas with cookie cutters
- Make yarn card holders/ centerpieces. In my last Christmas post I had directions for these. My Grandma taught me.
- Christmas party- we have one with Sunday School but may have a small family party too. Ideas for the small party include: singing carols, dancing to Christmas music, playing minute to win it games, and having grinch punch :).
- See the Nutcracker for a Mother-Son date.
- Go to the mall and eat. Enjoy window shopping.
- Decorate cookies again but for the neighbors and Chris’ office.
- Read THE Christmas story in Luke or Matthew.
- Watch The Nativity.
- Go see a live Nativity. Last year, we went to one that took us through Bethlehem and then out to the manger. It also went to the cross and the gospel was presented afterwards. It was all done in a corn maze. Michael said it was magic.
- Make Cookies in a jar and Rice Krispy snowmen
- Candle lit dinner with soft music in the background. Eat something fancy?
- Make Salt dough ornaments (this isn’t on our list but we’re doing this for our homeschool craft).
God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover