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    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    Advent Activity Calendar

    Last year I posted some blogs about some of our different Advent Activities, but I never posted about the actual calendar we've created.  So... here it is.  I'm still not 100% happy with the little gift sacks, but I'm not sure how else to do it, yet.  I'm thinking about sewing pockets to a piece of felt, but I'm not that confident, yet, with my sewing machine.
    Anyway, our Advent Activity Calendar.  I had read a couple of years ago about a family who did different activities each day of December.  I liked this a lot better than meaningless toys or more candy.  So last November, I created two pages of lists of different activities.  Then I handed each boy (my two readers) a list and a highlighter.  One boy had a blue pen, the other had a pink one.  After they had marked which activities sounded fun, they switched lists.  Then, I took the lists and added all the activities that were purple (pink+blue=purple) to a "Master List" of activities.  Some of the examples on our list are:
    Watch "Elf" 
    Drive through the Park to see the Christmas Lights
    Donate to the Food Pantry
    Make a Gingerbread House
    Decorate paper Christmas trees with glitter paint/glue
    Shop for the Angel Tree
    Watch a Christmas Parade
    Write a Christmas story as a family
    Bake cookies
    Make a popcorn garland for the birds
    Do a puzzle by the Christmas tree
    Make paper snowflakes
    Enjoy a candle-lit dinner with our real china and "fake" wine
    Enjoy home-made hot chocolate with home-made marshmallows
    Read the birth of Jesus from the Bible before opening presents
    Go ice skating
    Watch "It's Christmas, Charlie Brown"

    There are others on the list, too, but you need to use your own imagination! The last two years, I've sat down with the calendar and planned out the activities.  I write the list down on a blank calendar, so I can plan ahead.  I'd hate for the kids to pull out "Donate Angel Tree Gift" before we've "Shopped for Angel Tree".  Also, this year, we'll be doing a little traveling the weekend before Christmas, so I had to plan activities that can be done at my in-laws.  I also look up local events/activities and add them to the list.  One item we have is to bake cookies and take to friends.  We'll do that on a Bible Study day, this year, and take the cookies with us to Bible Study.
    A lot of the activities are planned for evenings, with my husband, of course.  But some of the activities (like some of the craft projects) are planned for days when he might have Praise Band practice or his Accountability Group meeting.  The Saturday and Sunday events are usually the first to get planned, as they are the "big" ones.
    So, this is what our family does for Advent.  The kids really enjoy helping to pick out the activities  and they look forward to pulling the card from each gift bag each morning.  I printed the activities on a label template and then laminated them, so they will last.  I have a feeling we will continue to add/change activities as the kids get older, too.

    I hope and pray you have a very blessed Advent.  I pray your heart is ready for Christmas and that the excitement stays with you all year!

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Homemade Cocoa Marshmallows and S'mores.

    This last weekend, we made another batch of marshmallows.  Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I didn't haven enough light karo syrup, so used some dark syrup, too.  I was afraid the marshmallows wouldn't turn out white, but Ryan suggested we add some cocoa powder to the powdered sugar mixture.  Okay - GREAT IDEA!  They were so yummy.  We even cut some big for s'mores.  Did I mention they were yummy? :)


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    Saturday, October 6, 2012

    Small Wonders at the Corn Maze

    Small Wonders had a field trip to a local Corn Maze.  We are so blessed with such a great preschool program and teachers.  The boys were invited to come along, too, so we all loaded up and headed out to get lost in the corn! 

    Allison is looking at the map on the postcard. 

    Ryan, Turner and a friend, Perry. 

    4 boys.

    Allison, the hog!

    About the mid-way point of the maze, there's a bridge that takes you up and over.  The kids loved looking out over the whole maze!  I can't believe I didn't take a picture from up there!

    The boys and Perry.  We are in the same Sunday school class and small group as Perry's parents.  We really love that family! 

    At certain points they had questions you could answer, multiple choice.  Each choice had a different direction to go.  The boys loved this!
    Mrs. Carol in the front car, and Allison in the third!

    Allison and Leslie - they've been together for both years at PreK. 
    The Three Amigos.  They were all in the same class last year, too!  So cute!  Allison, Taylor, and Leslie.

    Turner loved the corn box - instead of a sand box. 

    Allison and Taylor!

    Thank you, Mrs. Carol and Mrs. Gwen for such a fun preschool class!! 

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    Apple Days

    When we got home from Silver Dollar City, Aunt Lisa and Annika and Mira were at our house!  The next morning, we worked on making apple sauce and apple chips.  The kids all had a blast peeling and slicing the apples.  Allison never left the table.  I think she peeled 50 apples by herself.  The apple sauce is soooo good! 

    Mira wasn't quite strong enough to do the peelers, so she just ate the apples!
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    Silver Dollar City

    Last week we headed out to Silver Dollar City for Ryan's birthday.  Of course, Ryan - the goofy, full-of-personality, camera-shy kid isn't in any of these pictures! 

    Andy and Allison watching the stunt show.  The green shirt is Ryan!

    Part of the show. 

    The show was very entertaining!  It's too bad I didn't get a picture of the guy whose butt was on fire!

    We met up with some good friends at SDC!  Allison really likes Maddy, and thankfully Maddy was blessed with a lot of patience!

    Grace and Allison.

    Grace helping Allison.

    Turner - finally where he belongs! Ha ha!
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    Tuesday, August 14, 2012

    Last day with friends!

    We stopped by our neighbors' house today to say good-bye. We thought it would be great to take a picture of all the kiddos. How did we do? Haha!
    We sure are going to miss them!