I have just joined the gym. The best and most realistic time for me to work out is in the morning while the kids are still asleep. So, I’ve started going to the 5:45 a.m. Spinning class, along with the rest of the crazy people in this town. You have to pre-sign up for the class since it’s always packed and there’s usually a fight for bikes. I hate being in the front near the instructor but that’s where I was stuck today. The only good thing about it was that it made me work harder since she was practically staring at me. Signing up for the class the day before also holds me accountable to getting out of the bed when the alarm rings rather than hitting “snooze”. I don’t like working out in the afternoon or night….rather, I like doing it first thing in the morning so I can come home and take my shower and be done with my workout for the day. Anyway, I hope to be a few pounds lighter by the end of next week. And, no, I’m not posting my progress, Crissy.
My college roommate, Libby, called me this afternoon to discuss something about Advent. She gave me a good idea to try to find a container of some sort that would be able to house all the trinkets for the Advent activity I posted earlier. On my way to pick up Andrew from school, I decided to drive-thru Starbucks and get my usual White Chocolate Mocha since I had a few minutes to spare. That’s when I spotted “IT”. There in the window was a container shaped like a tree with 24 small drawers to hold items (originally the drawers held small bite-sized chocolates from the company but this was just a display model with no candy or bar-code or packaging). I asked the lady how much it cost and that I wanted to purchase one. The manager soon came to the window after searching to let me know they were sold out but THAT I COULD HAVE THE DISPLAY MODEL since all he was gonna do was toss it in the trash after the holidays ended. So, I got one for free! Thanks, Starbucks! Thanks, Libby, for the great idea….now if only you could get the same deal.
I’ve posted about this tree before. It sits in my mother’s front yard and the kids love to climb it. It will be one of those activities they will always remember when going to their grandmother’s house. Here is a picture of my two boys with their cousin, my sister’s daughter. This picture was taken last week during Thanksgiving, almost a year after the first picture was taken in the highlighted post.
Want a creative way to celebrate Advent with your children? I got this idea last year from my friend Amy H. I wanted to post it again so, if you chose to do it, you’d have time to gather the materials. I want to do it but we’ll see if I make it happen.
LIST OF GIFTS:(LISTED IN THE ORDER THEY ARE USED)
2. Grape gum (or candy)
3. Smiley sticker
4. Gummy fish
5. birthday candle
7. fish crackers
8. Cotton balls
9. piece of a map
11. Heart sticker
13. Packet of salt
18. Christmas carol
19. Small rock
20. Crumpled foil
21. Mustard seed
23. Small scrap of woolly material
24. Blue marble
25. Picture of a baby.
- Dec 1 – A quarter! That equals 25 cents. But 25 also stands for the number of days till Christmas, when God gave us His best present. Jesus told about one woman’s gift and the way she gave it. Read: Mark 12:41-44
- Dec 2 – Grape Gum! Grapes make jelly and juice, raisins and wine. But Jesus didn’t need grapes to perform His first miracle. Read: John 2:1-10
- Dec 3 – Here’s a smile! A smile usually expresses happiness. Jesus gave us many instructions to keep us happy. Read: Matthew 5:1-12.
- Dec 4 – Fish! Well, if you were surprised to find these fish, wait till you read the story today! Others were surprised to find fish, too. Read: Luke 5:4-7
- Dec 5 – A birthday candle? As you know, we are getting ready to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. However, Jesus talked about something else that is related to this candle. Light! Read: Matthew 5:14-16
- Dec 6 – You could make some noise with this. But it would not have bothered a certain man–until he met Jesus. Read: Mark 7:31-37
- Dec 7 – These would not go very far if you were really hungry! But Jesus could make much out of little. Surely He knew how to multiply! Read: Matthew 14:13-21
- Dec 8 – These cotton balls would be helpful in a thunder storm, wouldn’t they? We could use them for ear plugs to muffle the loud noises that thunder makes. But we know someone who doesn’t need cotton. Jesus can control the weather. Read: Matthew 8:23-27
- Dec 9 – People needing to use the other parts of this map are in trouble! Don’t you get lost today! Read: John 14:1-6
- Dec 10 – It’s soap. Do you like to wash? Behind your ears? Washing turned out to be a happy time for a man who met Jesus. Read: John 9:1-7
- Dec 11 – Hearts. Wordlessly, they speak of love, don’t they? Jesus spoke some commands about love. Read: Matthew 25:17-41
- Dec 12 – We use the cross as a symbol, representing Jesus. Do you know why? Read: Phillipians 2:1-11
- Dec 13 – Ordinary salt. Yes, Jesus related salt to us and our behavior. He also gave us some advice. Read: Matthew 5:14 and Colossians 4:6. (Notice that pepper is not recommended!).
- Dec 14 – Don’t try to eat this! It’s sand. It reminds us that Jesus knows something about architecture, about buildings–and building lives. See His instructions: Matthew 7:24-29.
Dec 15 – Flowers are pretty, aren’t they? Jesus used flowers to teach us a reassuring lesson. Read: Matthew 6:28-34.
- Dec 16 – Raisins! Many children are given raisins instead of candy for a snack. That’s because they are a health-promoting and delicious fruit. Jesus told us how we can produce good fruit. Read: John 15:1-5.
- Dec 17 – Jesus told a story about seeds that man planted. Then He explained it, revealing its deep meaning. Read: Matthew 13:3-8 and Matthew 13:18-23.
- Dec 18 -Christmas is just about a week away. And here is an appropriate song. Sing it loudly! Read: Psalms 100.
- Dec 19 – A hard stone! Can you change this stone into a piece of bread? Do you think Jesus could? Jesus was asked to do just that. Do know how He handled it? Read: Matthew 4:1-4.
- Dec 20 – Try to smooth out this piece of aluminum foil and use it as a mirror. It’s hard to see your reflection plainly, isn’t it? Many circumstances are hard to understand, but someday everything will be clear. Read: 1 Corinthians 13:12.
- Dec 21 – The mustard seed is the smallest there is! When it sprouts, it grows into one of the largest plants! See what Jesus said. Read: Matthew 17:20.
- Dec 22 – We’ve learned that the cross represents Christ, but do you know what the dove stands for? Read: Matthew 3:13-17.
- Dec 23 – The threads that compose this fabric came from the wool of a sheep. Jesus called Himself the good shepherd. Do you know who His sheep are? Read: John 10:7-18.
- Dec 24 – A marble! Do you know what is sometimes called the “Big Blue Marble”? The world. God made the world for us. What does God continue doing to the world? And who is the world? Read: John 3:16.
- Dec 25 – Isn’t this baby cute? When he was born, he made a whole family happy. Jesus was born a baby, too. He came to make the whole world happy. Read: Luke 2:1-20. Enjoy your celebration today. Continue to learn about Jesus–and love Him forever!
If the above is too involved for you, try one of these simple ideas:
1. Count-The-Days Cookies – Make, or buy plain cookies and number 1 to 24 with icing. Once the icing is dry, wrap and place in freezer. Take a cookie out each day until Christmas.
2. Countdown Chain – Make a simple paper link chain special by numbering the strips from 1 to 24. Write a special message or event on each link before you stick them together in order.
3. Candy Calendar – For an easy to make advent countdown, tape a piece of hard candy to each block on a wall calendar.
YES, I know….Luke will be two years old in just two more weeks but he has been addicted to his paci since the day he was born. After taking him to the pediatrician last week with his ear infection, I was reminded that the paci contributes to the pressure and fluid buildup in the ear and it would be a good idea to toss it ASAP. So, I decided to wait the week of Thanksgiving to do it so to keep my extended family from being miserable in case there would be screaming and tantrums galore. Guess what!?!?!?!? We had our PACI PARTY today. I snipped the tips of all four pacis (not in front of him, mind you) and then, when he asked for one, I handed it to him and he simply looked at it, put it in his mouth, smiled, removed it, and said, “Broken, Mama.” I pointed to the trash can and he just walked over to it and tossed them all in together. I was amazed at how easy that was. He asked for his paci a few times this afternoon but I reminded him that they were broken and in the trash can. He was ok with that! Then, at bedtime, he asked for one again. I gave him a broken one (don’t worry, I washed it) and he just cupped it in his hand and fell asleep. Wish I had done this sooner. Here is a picture of Luke tossing his paci into the trash can.
Mitch and I just finished watching the movie, AMAZING GRACE. It was really good.
We’ve only been living in this house for nine months but already the carpets are stained and worn. I’m not a big fan of carpet, especially when small children are living in the house, but it’s what is in place at the moment. Although this is life for me right now, I am sometimes embarrassed at the condition of the carpets when we have company over just because the stains are huge and cover an extremely wide area. Not to mention that, during our LIFE group each week, most of the people who come over have small babies and put them on the floor to sit and crawl. In my mind, to ease the burden of housework, I am reminded of the words of friend Jill Hooper, “THIS IS NORMAL!”. So, imagine my delight today when my sweet friend, Melissa, loaned me her Hoover Steam Vac! Mitch and I had so much fun vacuuming tonight! The carpets are now shampooed (well, at least one room is….one down and many more to go) and the house is smelling quite clean (I love the smell of Pine-Sol). However, I’m sure I’ll need to borrow the steam vac many more times if nine months time did that much damage.
We have had a delicious meal with Mitch’s side of the family and with mine. Andrew made Christmas cards with his cousin Emma and Emily. We’ve eaten, played cards, watched football, picked up pecans outside, played on the porch, shopped, painted Christmas cards (click here for the instructions to our Santa card), slept late (huh? what’s that?), and had some great conversation. Just a few pictures from our time together.
Luke ran a fever for three days and has since been screaming. I’ve given him Motrin, baths, my time, and love…nothing is working. He acts out his frustration through pain by screaming, pinching me, biting things, hitting furniture, and throwing toys and his limbs about. I think it’s an ear infection but we’ll find out soon…we are heading to the doctor in 30 minutes. Here’s a picture of him 24 hours before the fever hit.
The two little ones napped at the same time today so I had some sweet quiet time with my oldest, Andrew. I can quickly get selfish with this time and inwardly crave this moment for “me”, wishing Andrew would just take a nap…but that’s a battle I don’t like to fight. Plus, spending time with him is far more important than laundry, dishes, toilet cleaning, or posting to my blog.
I was inspired today as I listened to Barbara Curtis at our MOPS meeting. She gave some great practical activities to do with you child everyday…so we came home and put them into practice. Here, Andrew is learning how the suction of a dropper works while enjoying the blue colored water. He worked left to right as he transferred the water from bowl to cup. He really enjoyed this. Later, I mixed some rice and macaroni in a bowl and had him take a large spoon, scoop up the mix and see if he could transfer it to another bowl without spilling any of it. The whole time he transferred, he whispered, “Don’t spill it, don’t spill it, don’t spill it“. Barbara said this is a good activity to envoke focus and concentration. It worked!
Later, I remembered an idea that my friend, Melissa, mentioned to me of decorating a small birdhouse with outside materials….so we got busy on that activity as well. First, we went outside to gather “nature” materials. Here, Andrew is squatting on the ground collecting acorns, leaves, and sticks. We came back inside where Andrew painted the birdhouse and then began gluing (with my help on the hot glue gun) all of his items to it.
Here is the final result. Cute, don’t ‘cha think?