Not surprisingly, my consistency in having a fun treat or activity each day of Advent was far from perfect, but better than last year. More importantly, by God’s grace, the observation of Advent interested and thrilled the children.
Here are some of our treats:
The hanging of stockings and drinking of hot chocolate. Good simple fun.
A Santa Parade. Our local fire department has a Santa ride on a fire truck and collect food and toys. Did I mention they throw tons of Candy?
The chirren decorated their little Christmas tree. It looked quite smashing, in my humble opinion.
Snowy Powdered Donuts and Chocolate Milk for Breakfast a couple of days.
Advent Sunday Gifts. For example, a Veggie Tales movie, “Tale of Jonah” (a friend gave it to me because she received it free with another movie she purchased!).
On the 7th, we made birthday cards for Andre, which was just plain great. We also were working on Andre’s requested birthday meal. However, his birthday dinner turned into a real flop. I was making gumbo and his fave cupcakes (yellow cake with milk chocolate frosting). I guess I got REALLY caught up in making the birthday cards, because as I was heating up the stock to add the roux, the pot was apparently upset about my inattentiveness and just blew its lid. Literally. It was like a mini explosion! Thankfully, the glass lid did not break and no one was near the pot at the time. I cringe to think what that hot broth flying all over the kitchen would have done to my precious children. Praise be to God that we are all safe. More good news: Out of almost two gallons of stock, I was able to save 6 cups. I said “good,” not “great.”
Poor Andre. He really is one of those people who like to be treated special on his birthday. And what is worse is that… well, you’ll read about that in a moment (if you stick with me).
Then we made Candy Cane Reindeer. I thought it was great! The kids expressed that the activity was far too short and Sissy added that she still needed to work with her hands a bit more. If only cleaning a toilet was a treat!
As Daddy’s birthday party was rescheduled due to exploding pots, we decided that we would celebrate on Wednesday, which is typically game night and the big kids have no tests on Thursday. The Advent treat was to Decorate Dad’s cupcakes. Ummm, that didn’t work out. As I was preparing the batter and breaking eggs in the mix, I picked a stinker! I know, I know! Crack eggs in a separate bowl to check them, THEN pour them in the batter. In my defense, every other egg in the egg carton (3 of them!) was perfectly fine!!! Apparently, I’m really good at picking the “bad” ones. Which is why I am always afraid to take the front item in the store! Which brings me to the fact that when I had to buy new lights for the tree (see story below), I took the second box in line (avoiding the front box like the plague), and guess what?!? One quarter of one string of lights don’t work. Murphy’s law? Maybe! I am just glad I know the Lord God Almighty uses it for my good. From the big things I can’t control to the little things I think I can control (which I cannot). Otherwise I might “lose it.”
Anywise, I made a cookie cake for Andre because I thought the kids’ hearts might break if Dad did not have a cake. He doesn’t really like cookie cake, but at that point, it wasn’t for him. :-/ And what’s worse, because of Christmas preparations, I completely forgot about the cupcakes! But I’ll make them for MY birthday that’s coming up (despite the fact they are not my fave).
We made pretzel candies. A really fun and simple activity. And the small ones can enjoy the fruit of their labors quickly – so quickly in fact, that there were barely any to store (of the children’s handiwork). One drawback: it took far longer than I had planned. Now I think it, many of the projects did. Except the reindeer. I LOVED the reindeer night!
We made Marshmallow Snowmen and that was super fun!
Those young frozen rebels caused all sorts of angst – they were not your typical merry sort. I think they were hyped up on HFCS. The kids had a real fun time with this easy activity! Who would have known!
The chirren colored Advent and Nativity pictures.
Another Advent Sunday gift was from my mom for my children. My Mom has always told me and each of my siblings that we are her favorite __________ (fill in with “oldest daughter,” “youngest daughter,” or “son” – my brother is the REAL favorite, but me and my lil ditter are OK with that. And before he has the opportunity to protest in a comment, let me explain what kind of son he was: This boy would sit in the lap of my mother, and pet her face, and cuddle all close to her and coo, “I wish everyday was mother’s day.” See. It’s inevitable that he should be the fave. How do you compete with material like that?). To continue MY story, my sweet mommy sent me these little ornaments with a boy or girl in their Christmas jammies holding a sign that says “Oldest (mom’s favorite)” or “Youngest (mom’s favorite).” That was really fun and I like sharing the tradition. Although, I don’t necessarily say that. My favorite thing to say to them is, “I love you! You make my heart merry” (which I sometimes think that they think I mean, “Mary!” Funny.)!
We did not do an Advent activity on several days. I found that on Fridays and Sundays an activity is difficult to accomplish — especially because we have Family Date Night on Fridays and usually a big Sabbath Supper on Sunday. I think I will be using “King’s Treats” (a kiss or peanut butter cup) – but give it to them in the morning to make it funner.
We tried on several occasions to decorate our Christmas tree, but the star topper broke (or was broken by a child who shall remain nameless), and then the strings of light refused to consistently maintain their Christmas glow (I won’t disclose how many times I put on and took off lights because I really hoped they might stay on once they “warmed” up, or got positioned a certain way.). I am happy to report that we made it through, finally. And I just discovered I took NO photos of the tree! Yikes! What’s wrong with me?!? Wait! Christmas morning photos will save me. “We” also forgot to hang candy canes on the tree. Which is supposedly a family tradition. And which was supposed to be an Advent treat…
On the 15th, there was No Official Advent Treat – because I had part of my toenail removed, then was out of commission and medicated. However, Dad let them play Lego Indiana Jones and have a cereal supper. I definitely think that counts as an Advent treat, even if it wasn’t in the date’s little pocket!
The next day, there was no activity but they did get a King’s Treat. My toe was feeling much better in the evening! YAY!
Another Advent Sunday treat was a little crocheted whale (the only project I completed in its entirety). It was a hit, mostly. But I must admit, I was so glad we were not having a handmade Christmas, after all (Thanks to the extreme generosity of my mommy and Andre’s parents!)!!!
And honestly, I think that hits the highlights of our preparations for Christmas. We continued with the Advent family devotions regularly – but still not every single day. The devotions were really neat and were set forth in a very plain and helpful manner for the kids. We had some good discussions. And we sang — my personal fave.
I pray that these preparations have helped us look forward to celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ even better this year, and that Christmas would be exceedingly joyful for us.
I also look towards a day where we are able to truly celebrate each day of the 12 days of Christmas! But baby steps, right?