Advent Calendars

Growing up every year my mom bought us grocery store Advent calendars… the little cardboard ones where you get to open a door and have a little (cardboard tasting) chocolate every day.

There are a lot of fabulous Advent calendars out there, all of them seem to have one fatal flaw though: they don’t begin when Advent begins!

This bothered me and I searched for one that I loved that we could use for all of Advent but couldn’t find anything I really liked. So of course,  since I had nothing better to do I stayed up way too late before Advent started and made this:

*disclaimer* I don’t think this was my idea. I’m pretty sure I saw someone else do this or something really similar last year but I can’t for the life of me remember where. 

I went to Micheal’s and found these little tins:

(take a 40 or 50% off coupon, they are crazy expensive!!)

I found them in the wedding section, they are for putting your favors in. I printed the numbers on pretty paper and glued them into the inside.

Then I glued a magnet to the back. I just bought a big sheet of magnets and cut them to fit the back. Then I stuck them all to a cookie sheet.

Here is the other cookie sheet:



This is an old picture, it has a path and a few other details now. (And this was just for the picture, they won’t get the Mary, Joseph, or baby Jesus until the 3 days before Christmas)
 
I wanted to make a nativity one and have something added to the nativity every day but I ran out of ideas/time around 16 things. Hopefully next year I will be able to add more. For the days I didn’t have a nativity figure for there was a couple candies, a special book or activity inside the tin.

Each figure is made of fimo and has a little piece of magnet on the back so it sticks to the cookie sheet. They are hanging on my wall with pretty Christmas ribbon.

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Simple Woman’s Daybook: December 13th- Happy feast of St. Lucy!

Outside my window… it is *cold* but clear and sunny. The perfect kind of day to let the sunshine in and catch up on weekend laundry.

I am thinking…
that I made the right decision. I had a friend ask me to put some of my newborn photographs in a local doctor’s office (where she works), which would have given me tons of new clients but after praying about it I need to be focusing on my family right now. Mary and I are going to start doing school more in January and I really feel like God is asking me to focus on my family.

I am thankful for… family time. Our evening routine of Jesse tree, Advent story book, Christmas books, and prayers is such a nice way to end our days.

From the learning rooms… My daughter has discovered work sheets and *loves* them. We have been

From the kitchen… Cookies! Mary and I baked 9 dozen chocolate crackle cookies this weekend for a cookie swap I did with some friends. It was so much fun to get out and spend an evening eating good food and visiting with good friends.

I am wearing… my jammies. It’s only 9am and Luke isn’t up yet. 😉

I am creating… too many things to list. I still have a whole pile of Christmas projects to get done, I need at least 4 more hours in a day. I just ordered fabric for Mary’s new quilt but I have to prioritize and get Christmas done first, I might need Nathaniel to hide it from me…

I am going… to our parish confession service tonight all by myself. I’m looking forward to some time to pray quietly, I certainly don’t get the chance with the kids on Sundays!

I am reading… a book that came highly recommended from a friend. I’ll blog about it if I enjoy it as much as she did.

I am hoping… we can have a Christmas season that has been as peaceful as our Advent. I’m looking forward to having so much time with my husband home, hopefully we can sneak out for a date or two!

I am hearing… Vroom! Vroom! Vroom! Luke is awake now, that boy spends his entire day playing with trucks or cars. He’s a boy all right!

Around the house…
Lots of Christmas artwork. I absolutely love having Mary’s artwork on the windows and walls and fridge.

One of my favorite things… Luke saying “Oh man, oh man, oh man!” When I tell him he can’t do something. So freaking cute!

Also… I got my Christmas present from my hubby early. I had to pitch in my birthday money but it was worth it. Eeee!

A few plans for the rest of the week: We have a busy week!
Tuesday- playdate
Wednesday- Christmas carnival
Thursday- Christmas lights sleigh ride
Friday- playdate

Here is picture for thought I am sharing…

I bet you didn’t know that gnomes and a lizard brought baby Jesus presents too did you? Our little people Nativity set has been played with a lot. 😉

Yarn Along

I’ve been meaning to join up with Ginny’s Yarn Along posts forever but never seem to get around to it. This morning when I was tidying up I noticed my books and knitting together and was inspired!

I’ve been reading Ginny’s blog forever, since Mary was a baby I’m pretty sure, she is so inspiring.

I had to add my new favourite mug in there too. I love to drink my coffee or tea out of a good heavy pottery mug and Nathaniel’s cousin makes the most beautiful pottery pieces. She had a table at our Farmer’s Market craft fair and I couldn’t resist getting a mug. I love the little ladybug thumb rest. So cute!

I’m working on knitting a pair of mittens for Mary right now. I love knitting things for her because small things come together so fast!

There hasn’t been much time for reading, I have too many Christmas projects to finish up start… I have managed to squeeze in a few minutes to start Mother Angelica’s biography though and wow… she is an amazing lady!

Jesse Tree Link Up

My wonderful sil is hosting a Jesse Tree Link Up on her blog Through the Thorns to the Stars. We have been loving our Jesse tree this year, Mary is really old enough to take in the bible stories and we have had some very interesting discussions… “but Mommy, why did God make the world round?” “Why did they have to blow trumpets to make the wall come down, why couldn’t they use saxaphones?”

Here is a picture of our Jesse tree as it looks right now:

Oh my daughter is *so* type A… just like her mother. We let her choose where to put the ornaments and this is what we have so far. After this picture was taken she was all “stop! The burning bush is crooked! Take another one after I fix it!” Last year all the ornaments were spread out over the tree like a normal Christmas tree… I don’t know what we are going to do in four days when she doesn’t have any points left. We’ll see!

New books! (alternately titled: I ♥ BookCloseOuts.com!!)

 There was an exciting surprise for me when I went to open the door for my husband when he got home from work tonight. There was a big box sitting on my front step! I love packages!! The UPS guy must have dropped it off when we were all napping.

In the box was my recent order from BookCloseOuts.com:

(again with the awful photos… I had to be secretive!)

I somehow forgot to add the Crippled Lamb DVD into the picture, we got that as well.

With the exception of Bear’s New Friend all of the books are hardcover with dust jackets. They were having a sale and offerning free shipping on a $35 or greater spend so I paid less than $50 for all of these.

I have been dying to read Mother Angelica’s biography for awhile and it was a serious steal at $1.99!

Have you read any books by Karma Wilson? Any of the Bear books are awesome, we got Bear’s New Friend because they had it but I ordered Mortimer’s Christmas Manger (one of my top 10 favourite Christmas books) from another site as well.

St. George and the Dragon is a great book. It’s a little above my kid’s level right now but the illustrations are beautiful and it was a super deal.

I love Tomie DePaola and bookcloseouts has quite a few of his books, The Song of St. Francis and Pascual and the Kitchen Angels were on sale so we got those.

Fairyopolis is based on the Cicely Mary Baker’s flower fairies. It’s a really neat book, it will probably have to live in my book drawer for a little while but I know Mary will love it.

Angela and the Baby Jesus is a welcome addition to our Christmas library, it’s a heartwarming story.

And last but not least… Fairy Tale Knits! Just what I needed… more projects to add to my ever growing list. I really want to knit the red riding hood cape in here, I think Mary would love it!!

So that is my plug for http://www.BookCloseOuts.com… their stock is constantly changing and it can be a pain to search for books but you can get some super deals!!

St. Nicholas Day 2010!

Have I mentioned lately  how much I love Advent? Unfortunately the first Sunday of Advent found me in bed with a nasty case of strep throat but I’m much better now and we are thoroughly enjoying our traditions.

I have used my Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions book for inspiration for our celebrations. Can I just say how much I love this book? I use it all year round and she shares some of the most delightful traditions.

Here are the goodies St. Nicholas dropped off. We baked him cookies and the kids each left a carrot in their shoe for his horse. 🙂

*please excuse the awful pictures, I couldn’t take them until everyone was in bed so it was dark…*

Each child gets new slippers, a book, and a present. Mary is getting The Saint Who Became Santa Claus and Luke is getting St. Nicholas: The real story of the Christmas Legend. There is also chocolate coins, an orange, and a candy cane for both of them… I have a feeling that along with our honey cakes my kids will be having candy for breakfast!

This is something I meant to have done for the first week of Advent by being sick kind of put it on hold. I don’t remember where I saw the idea for a play Advent wreath but I thought it was a great one! It was interesting to make, I sewed the wreath and candle holes and then stuffed it with wool so it is a tad lumpy in places but I don’t think they will mind too much.

I have a few crafts and colouring pages set up for tomorrow, it is going to be a great day!
Happy Feast of St. Nicholas!!