Monday, December 5, 2011

This Christmas...

What else do I want to do this Christmas season?

Well, if you read last years post about how I wanted Christmas to be different, I addressed the opening gifts Christmas morning chaos that we had experienced in the past. I took over playing Santa last year and all was well. Not because it was me handing out the gifts. I think we just really need one cook in the kitchen so to speak. And that cook could not be an impatient child. So, this year, more of the same. I don't mind being Santa again, crawling all over the floor, looking for the next gift. We'll call it exercise.

I would also like to make all of the ornaments that I give out this year. I usually make some.I've gotten into the habit of making my husband an ornament each year. I've already made ones for the boys. They are snowman heads made out of their Grandmother's wool sweater. The rest of the ornaments will probably be cross stitch. I love to cross stitch (sometimes I wonder what would happen if I ever gave my fingers a rest). Maybe after Christmas I'll post pictures of what I made.

I also wanted to get the major Christmas shopping done as close to the beginning of December as possible. I ordered my last gift this morning. Hot dog! I still need to get stocking stuffers, no big deal. ( I lie. We take stockings pretty seriously around here. They overflow into grocery bags. They're to heavy to hang on the mantel. Candy, toiletries, books, toys, fruit, nuts, ornaments, kitchen gadgets....One year I got a new toilet brush in my stocking.)

And, again, like last year, I want to take it slow this Christmas. Not just Christmas Day. I'd like these next few weeks to be enjoyable, not stressful. Everything went beautifully last Christmas Day, this year I'm branching out a little further. Since the shopping is done and can be checked off the list, I'm going to spend a day planning meals, figuring out guests, times and dates for get-togethers, scheduling everything form school parties to ornament making to gift wrapping to cookie baking. My hope is that once Nathanael begins his Christmas break, I'm done! I want to spend that time with my family, soaking them all up. Why? Because my parents leave for Florida on the 27th, Nathanael goes back to school January 3rd and Dave will no longer be taking long weekends off . 

This probably all sounds like what I want for Christmas is a whopping case of OCD. Maybe so. We'll call it Organized Christmas Disorder.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Snowflake Queen

What do you do on a snow day with an old, hand knitted wool sweater and a bunch of even older buttons?
You make a Snowflake Queen! (Duh!)

My mother-in-law gave me this sweater that someone washed in hot water and shrunk. She also sent me a bunch of old buttons she found packed away. My fingers have been busy ever since. I've already made my boys a couple of Christmas ornaments out of the sweater. You'll have to take my word for it that they are cute. 


Let it snow! (Seriously, let it snow. Or she's not going to be very happy.)

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Advent Calendar

Since I wrote about  my advent calendar, I thought I'd post some pictures of my creation. I made this awhile ago, maybe five years ago. Every time I pull it out of it's box I am re-impressed with my advent calendar. I'm not bragging (I hope). I am just truly impressed with the final outcome that is my advent calendar. I remember having an idea in my head of exactly what I wanted. And I would have been more than happy to buy it if I had seen it out there. I never did, so one year I decided to make my own.

I wanted it to be BIG. BIG. My calendar measures 45" long by 32" wide. I also wanted it to have pockets, big enough for me to put whatever I wanted in them depending on my theme for the year. These pockets measure 5" square. I wanted each pocket to have a different image on it and I needed to be able to remove the number on each pocket. I can't remember how long it took to make this, but I'm sure it's not as long as it seems. I remember taking the little pockets to work with me to work on during slow times (I worked in a fabric store). And, I remember sitting on my sofa in the evenings, watching TV and stitching on the pockets and the backing. Yes, it is 100% hand stitched.

I used to think that maybe I would make ornaments that match what's in the pocket. (Whatever!) I also thought about offering it for sale. For a lot of money. (There's not enough money!) In the end, this wasn't made for any other reason than I wanted something for my family to pull out every December. Something to look forward to. Something to eventually pass on to my kids. Just for us. I love advent calendars (I even made one for the month of October). I'm sure this isn't the last one that I'll make. Wouldn't it be cool to have an advent calendar in every room of the house!!!

With out further ado, my advent calendar...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Is Here

Yesterday, the last day of November, we awoke to a Marshmallow World (cue Bing). Our first real snow of the season and it was our first snow day, too. The way it should be, in my opinion. I think snow days are like found money and should be treated as such. Do what you want with it, it's a gift!

And, now, in the blink of an eye, it's December. Bring on Christmas! Actually, in my house, Christmas has been here, but now it's official. The first pocket on the Advent calendar has been emptied. It has begun!

So, this morning I found myself thinking about how I'd like this month to play out. I had already decided to do something different with the Advent calendar. Usually, there is one piece of candy in each pocket, and each day someone gets a piece of candy from that day's pocket. In the past, if the kids didn't like the candy in their day, they dug around in the other pockets and made an exchange. This year I decided to put three little, bite-sized candies in each pocket. I told everyone that when it is their day to pick, they need to decide with whom and how to share their treats. I'm leaving the who and how up to them. I would just like them to learn to enjoy giving and sharing. So far so good. Asher had today, and he gave a piece to his brother (with whom he had been fighting this morning). My heart swelled!

Other things I'd like to do? Well, I'd also like to make talking about the Christmas story a part of every day this year. From beginning (prophesies and promises), to angel-visits (Mary, Joseph, shepherds), to Happy Birthday! I am going to start tonight, at dinner. I've printed out a few verses from the Old Testament to read to the boys. There is plenty for us to chew on with these few verses that I think I'll take a few nights to talk about them. I would also like to read Luke 2:1-20 to them every night until Christmas. I want this to become second nature to them.

Why? Well, you see, they have a mom who is crazy about Christmas. The snow, the colors, the images, the stories, the food, the songs, the movies, the cookies, the giving, the receiving.... I loooooove Christmas-time. I also love Jesus. Much more than Christmas-time, as a matter of fact. I don't want my boys to confuse anything, about me and my beliefs or about Christmas and Jesus. The best part about Christmas is that we get to celebrate that Jesus was born. The rest is decorating and baking and crafting. It's stuff I love to do, eat, listen to, look at, sing, give, unwrap, and so on, and so on.

I hope my boys will always love this time of year. I hope they will always have wonderful memories every time December rolls around. I hope that they will be able to share some of things we do today, with their families someday. I also hope, more than anything else, that the common, thread, theme, song and thought will be Jesus.

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