I've mentioned some of the things we are doing this Christmas season HERE and HERE. So not only are we doing a daily Advent Calendar and the Elf on the Shelf, but I've decided to add a Countdown to Christmas chain. I have a scripture written on each chain and when we pull off the day's chain, we read the scripture. This isn't really any extra work since we read scriptures nightly as a family. Now before we read our nightly scriptures, we read the Christmas verse from our scripture chain. We talk about it a little to keep Christ in the forefront of our minds this Christmas season.
I got the scriptures from "The Things I Love" blog found HERE or HERE.
Christmas time can get real busy real quick and this year is no exception for us. Not only are we still doing our advent calendar but we've also added the Elf on the Shelf into our Christmas traditions. You can read all about that HERE. We are using the same advent calendar we received in 2010 thanks to my mother in law. She gave us a mini muffin tin with magnetic numbers to cover up each hole.
I have it set up in the kitchen and each morning, or right after school (depending on how busy we are) the kids take off that day's number and read the little slip of paper inside. I add the paper each day, pretty much making up activities as I go along. Most are easy like "Mom reads a Christmas book while you sip hot cocoa". Some just say what we are already planning to do that day, like "attend the church Christmas party". And some days there will be a treat such as a small toy or something sweet to eat.
And if this wasn't enough, we've also been doing a scripture chain. More about that tomorrow.
Do you have an advent calendar? There are so many cute ideas on Pinterest and some of them can get pretty elaborate. So even while this is yet another thing to do each day this Christmas season, I am still trying to keep it pretty simple. Most of the advent activities are simply spending quality time with my kids which you can never get too much of.
This month I'll be co-hosting the Tips and Tricks Linky party hosted by Stringtown Home. Each week will be a different theme and this week's theme is "Handmade Gifts". So if you are still in need of some gift ideas for family, friends, co-workers, teachers, or whoever.... be sure to check out all the links below.
When you link up, your link will appear on all the blogs listed below. That's what's so great about co-hosts, more exposure for your posts.
Every link will be shared on the cohosting blogs, our Facebook pages, and pinned to Pinterest!
Make sure you follow the cohosts (below), so that you can see your shout outs….
We finally got an Elf on the Shelf. I love doing fun things with my kids, being clever and creative so I've thought about doing the Elf on the Shelf thing for a few years. However, the Spencinator never believed in Santa Claus and made this known to Sweetie Pie at an early age. So doing the Elf on the Shelf would have been pointless for kids that didn't believe. It wasn't until the Babes came along that Sweetie Pie who wanted to believe, started believing. However, with three kids, life gets crazier and I wasn't sure I wanted to add the extra work of the Elf on the Shelf. Don't get me wrong, I loved the idea of hiding the elf and creating little scenes for the elf, but I was also busier with three kids so I decided not to buy it. However, if someone else bought it for me, I would be happy to manage the Elf's escapades. My mom bought us one and when we went to my parent's house for Thanksgiving, we made the exchange. So our elf made her grand arrival the day after Thanksgiving.
When the kids woke up and came downstairs for breakfast they found her.
There was a note tucked under her arm that read:
Good morning kids!
I'm here to visit you.
I've hidden a present too.
Love, Your Special Elf
They ran around the house in search of the present. Inside was the Elf on the Shelf book and some Dear Santa letters so the girls could let Santa know what they want for Christmas. Since the Spencinator doesn't believe in Santa, he's my helper in hiding the elf and the fun and games are for the girls. Although I didn't tell him when the elf was arriving, just that we were getting one, so he was surprised Friday morning too.
The book says to name your elf and Sweetie Pie decided to call her "Lily". The other kids agreed, so Lily it is. She hung from the ceiling fan all day and when it was time for us to go home, I conveniently forgot something and went back in the house to retrieve the elf. So when the kids woke up at our home Saturday morning, she was waiting for them.
The kids were wondering if she would make it to our house or stay at Grandma's house. Looks like our elf's magical powers can find the kids no matter what house they are at.
On Day 3, the kids found her before church on Sunday morning. Sweetie Pie started our Christmas decorating and set up the Nativity.
The elf had a note which read: "Remember the true meaning of Christmas". I think on Sundays, our elf will do something a little spiritual, while all the rest of the days she'll get into mischief.
Monday, (day 4) the kids will wake to find her hiding out in the Christmas tree. Can you see her?
She is holding a note that reads, "I've hidden 2 ornaments in the play room. Hee Hee"
It's been fun to hid the elf and watch the kids find her each morning. I think I'm just as excited to hid her as the kids are to find her. What a fun tradition we've started.
If you're looking for Elf on the Shelf ideas you can check our some HERE and HERE.
And if you want to know "The Ugly Truth about the Elf on the Shelf" you can read this funny blog post by EverythingMom HERE.
I'm going to post the rest of our elf's adventures here too, so check back each day to see what she's up to....
Day 5 (Tuesday Dec 3rd), the kids will wake to find that she is riding a zip line to the Christmas tree. This elf is pretty daring, I hope she doesn't get hurt. (could that be some foreshadowing?)
Day 6 (Wednesday Dec 4th), the elf's adventuresome ways have gotten her into trouble. She's had a skiing accident. I used some little clear hair bands to attach popsicle sticks skis to her feet. A white piece of molding acted as the ski slope and some cotton balls created the snow. I wrapped her arm in toilet paper to create the cast/sling.
Day 7 (Thursday Dec 5th). The elf has fallen into the bin of blocks. The dolls come to her rescue.
Although from this angle, it almost looks like they are pushing her in.
Day 8 (Friday, Dec 7th). Lily takes it easy and enjoys a game of Tic Tac Toe with Mr. Potato Head.
Day 9 (Saturday, Dec 8th). It's story time with Lily the Elf.
Stay tuned for more adventures with Lily the Elf....
disclosure: this post contains links to amazon.com
Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving full of too much good food and even more good memories with family and friends. Being thankful and counting our blessings is something that should be a part of our lives each and every day.
Call me corny, but I love a play on words. So when I rearranged a few things in the playroom and living room the other day, I decided to display our wooden abacus on the window sill.
And since it's a counting tool, I thought it would be cute to embellish it with some vinyl that says, "Count Your Blessings".
Here's Sweetie Pie showing off a pattern she made with the abacus. Like I said I "thought" it would be cute to add some vinyl like this to the abacus. And I really want to do this, but until I get around to it, this photo-shopped picture will have to do.
This is my last week co-hosting this blog hop. It's been so much fun. I love all the ideas/crafts and projects that have been linked up. We've had over 200 each week. Thanks to all who have stopped by to link up and to check out the links. And now it's time for the party....
In the USA, this is the week set aside to be extra thankful ...and eat lots of turkey! What are you thankful for? Welcome to Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop #49. Wow. Almost a year of hops is completed. Last week's party was highly attended. Here are some of our viewer's favorites: MOST VIEWED
Last week for Family Home Evening we had a very simple lesson about thinking good thoughts. Most of my lessons for FHE are short and simple. With a toddler, I can't do anything too lengthy, and with a son with Asperger's I like to make accommodations for him since he doesn't like making crafts or playing games (competition is a real challenge for him). So working together for a common goal and letting the girls do the crafty part at the end of our lessons has worked out good.
Anyway, back to last weeks lesson. I got the idea from HERE. It's an eight week series of lessons to teach children how to live the Gospel from head to toe. It's based on the song Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (a great song for toddlers). We started with the first lesson that focuses on the head, specifically thinking good thoughts. I plan to go through all the lessons but not in a row since we'll do some special Thanksgiving and Christmas FHE's in between.
"Head and shoulders, knees and toes
Knees and toes, knees and toes
Head and shoulders, knees and toes
Eyes, ears, mouth and nose."
Then we talked about what's in our head. My son quickly answered, "thoughts". So we talked about how we should think about Heavenly Father and Jesus every day. We should think about what they want us to do. We should try to have good thoughts in our heads and when a bad thought comes in, to throw it away.
I read the scripture from Alma 37:36, which states:
"Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever. "
For the activity, I had prepared a jar with a head taped onto it to represent our head.
I had 10 strips of paper with thoughts (good and bad) on them.
The kids took turns picking a slip of paper and reading it. We decided if it was a good thought, something that we wanted in our head, then we put it into the jar. If it was a bad thought we threw it aside. The kids had fun with the throwing part. This simple activity got everyone involved and having fun.
As for a treat afterwards, we made heads out of a scoop of ice cream, a cone for a hat and some chocolate chip eyes. The kids added some gel icing to make a mouth and to decorate the hat.
Going into a store, you would think it's almost Christmas. Christmas decorations and gifts have been in the store for over a month and there is even a station on the radio here in PA that has started playing Christmas music 24/7. And yes, I have started my Christmas shopping and while I love the holiday, I also love Thanksgiving and don't want to skip over that. But lets back up even more and do one last Halloween post.
The Spencinator had a fun "Fall Festival" in school, it was held the day after Halloween, November 1st. I think it was just a chance for the kids to dress up and have some treats. Other parents used this as a time to celebrate Halloween too and made Halloween themed treats like these pumpkin rice krispie treats...
...and some dip served in a Frankenstein pumpkin complete with bolts and all.
The kids were asked to dress up as their favorite book character or historical figure.
Even the teacher dressed up, blue hair and all:
The Spencinator chose to dress as Harry Potter since he's been reading those books lately. So here's our $1 Harry Potter costume.
He wore a white shirt and tie, we borrowed the scarf from our neighbor, I used eyeliner to make the scar and we got the glasses from the dollar store.
As you can see, the glasses originally started out as part of a clown costume. They came with really thick lenses to make things look funny and a red nose. We just popped out the lenses and didn't use the nose. Actually the Babes ripped the nose in half, good thing we didn't need it. And that's how we turned some dollar store clown glasses into Harry Potter glasses. This was an easy, cheap and fun costume to make.
Yesterday's Blog Hop was a success. If you missed it, go back and check out all the great ideas/crafts/projects that were linked up - you won't be disappointed.
Moving Mommy has nominated me for the Sunshine Award. Stop by her blog and read more about her HERE.
Sunshine Award Rules
1. Thank and recognize your nominating blogger
2. Give 11 random facts about yourself
3. Answer the 11 questions given by your nominating blogger
4. Nominate 11 bloggers (cannot be your nominating blogger)
5. Post 11 questions for your nominees
11 Facts about Me
1. Beside wanting a pony when I was a little girl, I also wanted a pet monkey.
2. My favorite season is fall, I love the beautiful colors and getting to wear warmer clothes.
3. Sweat pants and sweaters was my go to outfit in college - I've never been one for fashion.
4. I used to work for Hershey foods BC(before children)
5. I love chocolate with a side of chocolate ice cream.
6. I have a degree in biochemistry and love doing 'experiments' with my kids.
7. I have one sibling, a younger sister.
8. I've lived on the east coast my whole life.
9. I've visited several countries in Europe during a trip in High School.
10. I had never gone out west until I met my husband.
11. I love being a stay at home mom.
Questions from Moving Mommy
1. How long have you been blogging?
about 2 years
2. What is your favorite hobby?
doing fun activities/crafts/experiments with my kids
3. What is your favorite thing to write about?
kid activities and organization
4. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I live in PA and like it here. It's close to 1/2 of our family, but if I had to choose another state, maybe Idaho so we'd be closer to the other 1/2 of our family
5. What is your ideal vacation spot?
Disney cruise ship - I've been to Disney and I've been on a cruise, it might be fun to combine them, with the kids of course
6. What is your greatest accomplishment?
my marriage and family
7. What’s worse, laundry or dishes?
dishes, I actually don't mind doing laundry
8. Do you have a TV show that you watch but don’t like to admit? Which one?
I don't watch much TV and I'm not afraid to admit what I do watch: White Collar, Doc Martin, and Downton Abbey.
9. Sweet or salty?
Definitely sweet. I'm a huge chocaholic.
10. What state or country if you aren’t in the US do you live in?
11. Snow, do you love it or hate it?
loved it as a kid, but hate it now that I have to drive in it.
My 11 Questions to the Nominees - Moving Mommy had some great questions so I'm re-asking a bunch of hers.
1. How long have you been blogging?
2. What is your favorite hobby?
3. What is your favorite thing to write about?
4. Do you live close to family?
5. What is your favorite thing to do on vacation?
6. What is the hardest thing you've ever done?
7. What’s your favorite time of day?
8. If you could write a book, what would it be about?
9. What do you consider yourself an expert in?
10. Favorite place to visit?
11. Funniest thing you heard recently.