Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve: Organizing life after Christmas

I love Christmas time but I also love cleaning up after Christmas.  Some of you out there are thinking that I am crazy but while putting away Christmas decorations and finding new places for all the new gadgets and toys, Jon and I tend to re-organize our house.  Sometimes this means completely rearranging furniture in rooms or just cleaning out various spaces around the house.
I love the way organizing our house gives us a clean start into the New Year.  A clean start is also the reason we all make New Year's resolutions.  We want to organize our entire life for a clean start this coming year as well.  Jon and I have been reflecting as we clean house about what we want to change in ourselves this coming year.  Our resolutions are made and we are excited to greet the year.  2012 will bring new additions to our family in the form of a new brother in law and a new baby in our house.  In whatever happens this year, I wish you the happiest of New Years!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Homemade Marshmallows

Yesterday Buddy, Sweetpea, and I made homemade marshmallows for the first time.  We had a great time making them though Buddy and Sweetpea primarily measured ingredients.  I laughed at the idea of homemade marshmallows at first but they really do taste so much better.  It takes time to set up but they enjoyed licking the marshmallow creme off the beaters while they were waiting.
We used the star cookie cutter to cut out our marshmallows and they were awesome in hot chocolate!  I think these marshmallows would be fun as a small gift for people or even just as a treat for your family to munch on.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Making Christmas Memories

One of my favorite things about Christmas are the traditions and memories that are made!  One of our family traditions has been to make and decorate sugar cookies.  Buddy and Sweetpea had a blast this year and enjoyed every step.  Sweetpea's favorite part though had to be adding sprinkles to the cookies and I'm still sweeping up the little ball sprinkles!

  Buddy's finished cookies
 Sweetpea's finished cookies

Tonight, we tried a new Christmas activity and made a family gingerbread train!  Buddy and Sweetpea were enthralled through the whole process and, I have to admit, they snuck a lot of candy to eat.  It was a lot of fun and they are proud of their train!

 Gotta love the gingerbread conductor!

This is one of the reasons that Christmas is a favorite season!  I love all the memories that we take time to make and the joy of my children.  I hope Buddy and Sweetpea remember these days as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Crafts

The Amazing Mess has great ideas for Christmas crafts to do with young children.  This is the beginning to her series 12 Days of Christmas Carols and Crafts from last year.  I saved several of the ideas to use this year with Buddy and Sweetpea. 

2 Teaching Mommies posted a Christmas Tree preschool pack.  There are really fun learning activities with a Christmas focus.

Little Blots of Faith has a sensory Baby in the Manger craft.  I hope to be able to make this with Sweetpea since she'll have to handle things like sandpaper as we work. 

I hope you have fun making Christmas crafts with your children!   I know Buddy and Sweetpea are going to have fun as well.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Enjoying Life

Today I had a list of errands I wanted to run and things I wanted to accomplish.  Then it began to snow, which for where we live is really awesome!  Instead of staying out running around, Sweetpea, Buddy, and I came home.  During nap time, I was beginning to stress about all the things that need to be done this Christmas season and made list after list. 
I promised Buddy we would play in the snow when he woke up so we all bundled up and went outside.  That's when I started to relax and enjoy that moment!  We ended up having a great rest of the evening as a family.  Jon surprised Buddy and Sweetpea with new fleece blankets and we had hot chocolate stirred with candy canes and s'mores for dessert.  Suddenly, my list of things to accomplish didn't seem so important and I soaked in the smiles and laughter.  Even spilled hot chocolate was okay because everyone was having a good time!  I hope we have lots more time this Christmas season to have moments like this.

Hot chocolate and candy canes...yummy!


Enjoying every last drop!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Calendars

I've been wanting an advent calendar for our family but have not been able to find exactly what I was looking for in stores.  So I finally made our own out of felt.  Overall, I was ultimately pleased with the way it turned out.  It isn't perfect but it is ours and I'm looking forward to putting it to use.  Inside each pocket is the daily reading from I Can Teach My Child and scattered throughout on selected days, I've added special things to do like "Bake Christmas Cookies" and "Drink Hot Chocolate". 
I hope this helps keep our focus on the true meaning of Christmas!

We also made the advent chain from Spell Out Loud.  Buddy and Sweetpea had a blast helping me glue the chain together.  This is a little simpler for Sweetpea to take apart and is more of a visual countdown for both of them.    The Scripture verses are a little longer but that is okay since we are working on.
getting Sweetpea to sit still through longer readings.

If you are looking for another advent chain Spell Out Loud also has a Names of Jesus chain that I hope to use one year in the future. 

No matter what your family does this month, I hope that as we enter into December, that our focus remains on Jesus as the reason that we celebrate!  Merry Christmas!