Monday, December 27, 2010

Great Advent Ideas!

A friend from Edson sent me these great Advent ideas from a book entitled "Celebrate Christmas" 'and the Beautiful Traditions of Advent'. I thought I'd post them for you in case you want to file them away as ideas for future years :) Thanks Marilyn!

1) The Blessing Box
To remind your family how blessed they are make a box and pick a needy family or individual to give this to just before Christmas. Offerings of things they can give or things they can do or money to put in and as it is (maybe at family dinner time) that member shares how he has been blessed and how he wants to share that with others.
2) The Chrismon tree. This is a combination of the words Christ and monogram. Decorate a tree with monograms (symbols) of Jesus Christ. Find all His names - Good Shepherd (make a shepherd's crook), Light of the World (candle), Alpha and Omega ( 1st and last letters of the Greek alphabet). Make these out of cardboard and decorate and then hang on your tree - hand made or other. This helps to center our focus on the the true importance of Christ's coming.
3) Gathering Straws for the Manger - to prepare your hearts for the coming of Jesus. Set aside a bunch of straws to be given to members of your family as rewards for their individual good deeds and acts of service to one another. The straws should be added to the empty manger one at a time in anticipations of the placement of the baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. This simple symbolic gesture will help maintain an attitude of eager expectation in your hearts each day of the Advent season.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Scrapbook layout - Hanging Out

Here are two more Studio J layouts that I made. I was only going to make one layout with these pictures but the nature of the pictures just worked better with two layouts. I love that about Studio J - it was so easy to create another layout with the same paper pack! I knew it would coordinate and it only took minutes because I already had a lot of the thought work done. Also, because digital pages take next to no space in my album, I don't worry about adding more pages to it!

Jeremy's (and my Mom's) Birthday!

Jeremy had been asking for a "hockey stick" for weeks and threw a little tantrum when he saw one in a store and I wouldn't buy it. He didn't know that Nathan and Noelle had already bought one for him for his birthday! He was super excited!

We celebrated Jeremy's and my Mom's birthday a week early when they were still here at the end of October. I made a farm cake for Jeremy - it was a lot of fun! I baked the chocolate cake in two loaf pans and then assembled it all on a tin foil covered cookie sheet. I just spread white icing on the tray and covered it with yellow and green tinted coconut. The barn and silo weren't too much harder (thanks Dad for helping assemble it!) and Mom made butterscotch haystack cookies for the haystacks! The barn animals and tractors came from Jeremy's existing farm tub. Jeremy had a great time "playing farm" and didn't really want to eat it!

I have to admit that Mom did get the raw end of the deal for her cake - I used some left over pieces but didn't have enough icing left so I couldn't ice the whole thing. It was pretty special to have them here though and be able to celebrate with them!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Niagara Falls!

picture taken from "Journey Beneath the Falls"

We went to visit Niagara Falls at the end of October with my Mom and Dad. Daniel wasn't able to come because he had class but the rest of us had a great time. Niagara Falls is truly awe-inspiring. We had a beautiful, clear fall day to walk along the falls, eat our picnic lunch and enjoy the view.

We also took in Journey Beneath the Falls (picture #4) where you go down an elevator and then walk through the tunnel to view the falls from the front and behind. The sound and spray of the water is amazing. Noelle and Jeremy did not enjoy this part of the day!

Nathan, Grandma and Grandpa also enjoyed Niagara's Fury, a 20 minute 4-D production where you feel like you are actually seeing, hearing and experiencing the Falls, they actually got wet. I think Nathan was the most excited!

Niagara Falls is only about an hour and a half to a two hour drive away from our house, depending on traffic and we didn't explore any of the townsite or see any of the other attractions so I hope we have the opportunity to go back again! I have also been told that Niagara on the Lake is beautiful in the summer.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Advent Calendar

It doesn't look a lot like Christmas outside but the calendar says it is December and time once again to celebrate Christmas festivities. In our family, December 1 means starting to prepare our minds and hearts to celebrate Jesus' birth with a daily Advent calendar and Bible reading. Our Advent calendar has little pockets with felt ornaments in them and this year I also put little notes in each one with the name of a Christmas book or puzzle or colouring book! When we opened our Christmas decoration boxes a couple of weeks ago I squirreled away most of the Christmas story books, puzzles etc collected over the years and didn't let my kids see them. Now we can take one out a day and enjoy them together. I would love to hear about any things you do with your family to make Advent special - please post a comment and share!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First Snow!

Our first snowfall of 2010! Now this was all the snow we got on Saturday and it was basically gone by suppertime but for three kids from Alberta it has been much anticipated. All three of them bundled up and had a great time playing outside. The snow was pretty wet so it stuck together really well. Unfortunatley for Nathan, Noelle and Jeremy did not want to have a snowball fight. He might have to wait for the uncles at Christmas! Notice Jeremy is wearing his rubber boots - I still haven't gotten out his winter boots yet. Soon though!