Dec 28, 2013

Christmas Recap

So here's a little Christmas recap from the month of December. We started counting down the days with our Advent Calendar which was a major success I would say. The girls loved opening the bags each morning. And we looked forward to our "activities" each day. I think we successfully took advantage of the Christmas season by keeping our Christmas traditions and making memories with the girls.

I didn't get pictures of everything we did. But here's some of the good ones.

The Christmas Parade

The Nutcracker

**The Nutcracker ended up being their favorite activity we did for the whole month.

Family Movie Night

We actually had a few family movie nights. We watched The Polar Express and Barbie Nutcracker. Fun times.
Stasiya enjoyed the hot chocolate.
All the lovies watched the movie too.

Festival of Trees

The girls standing behind their favorite tree.

And a couple of my favorite trees. A Winter Wonderland. And Wicked.

Baking/Decorating Sugar Cookies

 Because I don't make cookies very often. It ended up being a hot mess in my kitchen.

And I only got 5 ugly cookies the first time around.

After freezing my dough, they turned out much better.

The girls really enjoyed decorating them.

Drive around and see Christmas Lights

Here's a few little randoms...

Marc's funny end of the year work outfits.

Enjoying a sunny December day at the park.

A playdate

Decorate a Gingerbread House

Christmas Eve

All dressed up for Christmas Eve Service

Enjoyed a pretty little table.

The girls enjoyed opening up 1 present each - new pajamas.

Christmas Day

I would say they had a great Christmas!

Baby dolls, goldieblox, and dollhouses. Oh my!

We hope you had a very merry Christmas!

Dec 22, 2013

My new favorite Christmas music

I stumbled across some new Christmas music on youtube the other day that I've really been enjoying.

Here's the little drummer boy.

And click here for Carol of the Bells. Yes. I'm sold.

Then I came across these guys which are almost even better.

The Piano Guys - Angels We Have Heard on High

They also have a really cool cello version of Carol of the Bells.

And here's another one of my favorites - O Come Emmanual

Seriously - you'll want to just keep listening to it. I think I need their CD too. But watching them is almost better. What do you think?

Dec 21, 2013

Taylee's K4 Christmas Performance

Yesterday we were invited into Taylee's k4 classroom for a little Christmas performance and party. Her class learned several songs and performed them for the parents. It was really cute and I got it all on video. You can check their songs here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or watch the videos below.

Taylee's friend Lane. 

Nov 23, 2013

Celebrating Christmas the whole month of December

So I decided to do a little something different this year to countdown the days of Christmas. The past couple of years we have gotten little chocolate advent calendars from Trader Joe's that have been great. But I was thinking about spreading out the Christmas presents throughout the month of December instead of giving the girls everything all at once. They will still get grandparents gifts the day of and a few things from us as well, but I wanted to make the whole month of December special by creating fun memories, keeping traditions, and helping the girls get in the Christmas spirit. Plus, by putting certain dates/activities on the calendar, it will guarantee we do it. Otherwise, we might not fit it in, which is what happened last year.

I remember seeing this image last Christmas season and it stuck with me, so I knew I wanted to do something with paper bags.

I also knew that I wanted to make Jesus and His birth our focus. A friend recommended the devotional book The Advent Jesse Tree . I ran out of time this year to get the book (maybe next year), instead I used this list to base our bible reading off of each day. The idea is to read the scripture each day before opening the bag. And to follow the story of Jesus' birth in chronological order.

Here's a peak of the bags once I finished.

I used red paper bags instead of white and hand painted numbers onto each of them. Then I wrote out each scripture reference on strips of paper and glued it to the corresponding bag. It sounds like more work than it actually was. Not pictured is the pretty mint green masking tape I used to close the bag.

The hardest part was brainstorming 24 different "things".

A peek at my brainstorming

And scheduling our different activities. (Why did this picture upload crooked???)

So, here's what I came up with. For the gifts I tried to buy a few things at the dollar store or BOGO free type items along with a few other nicer things like the books and lovies. I listed the GIFTS and ACTIVITIES so you could see how they fall. Plus, I listed "tradition" if this is something we do on a yearly basis or something I would like to make a tradition going forward.

1. GIFT - Felt Nativity set with Nativity stickers (thanks to my Mom!!)

2. GIFT - new coloring books 

3. GIFT - God Gave Us Christmas book

4. GIFT - A new Daisy & Dolphin 
(two lovies the girls have wanted for a while)

5. GIFT - their own pack of Raspberry Vanilla Cupcake Gum
 (a new sugar-free flavor from Orbit!)

6. ACTIVITY - go to the Christmas Party at church

7. ACTIVITY - go to the Christmas Parade downtown - tradition

8. ACTIVITY - go see the live Nativity - tradition

9. GIFT - new set of coloring pencils

11. GIFT - 2 new nail polishes - pink and sparkly glitter pink
Of course we will have to have a little mani/pedi too!

12. GIFT - small pack of Jellybeans for each of them
(the girls have been fascinated by jellybeans after reading these books)

13. ACTIVITY - Family movie night
I'm thinking Polar Express in our pajamas complete with popcorn and hot chocolate. Can you believe we've never done this before?? I'm really looking forward to it!tradition

14. ACTIVITY - go to the Festival of Trees downtown - tradition

15. GIFT - Ornaments
Each year we give the girls a new ornament. This year Marc and I picked them out together on a weekend getaway to Helen, Georgia. It will be fun to get them on the tree with plenty of time to enjoy them. Plus, they will serve as a good memory of that trip together. - tradition

16. ACTIVITY - baking sugar cookies using our Christmas cookie cutters - tradition

17. GIFT - new lip gloss for each of them

18. ACTIVITY - go see the Roper Mountain Lights display - tradition

19. GIFT - Hello Kitty and My Little Pony stickers (thanks to my mom!!)

20. GIFT - Mint M&M's

21. ACTIVITY - Ice Skating - a Family Adventure
Originally I was thinking we would go to the outdoor rink, but I don't think they are having one this year. I think we can still do this (and on the first day of winter!) at the indoor rink.

22. ACTIVITY - Mimi & Pappy Arrive. 

23. ACTIVITY - Decorate a Gingerbread House - tradition

24. ... This is the only day I don't have something specific planned - we have our normal family traditions like going to church, etc. but I'm not sure what else we will do.

I couldn't hang the bags on the wall as shown in the first picture because I knew the girls would get into them. So I put them on top of our kitchen cabinets. They fit perfectly up there. And add some fun festive color too.

I am super excited about our advent calendar. I think the girls will really enjoy opening their bag each day. Plus, it will make us more intentional during the month of December to read the Christmas story and make/keep family traditions. 

I hope you are inspired to make your own traditions this years and be specific about making family memories during this busy season. It's not too late to make your own advent calendar. 

Nov 11, 2013

the CAT house

Today we went to the CAT house - or otherwise known as Creating Artists for Tomorrow. The most incredible place that I never knew existed until a few months ago even though I have driven by it almost every day and it is less that a mile from my house which never happens. (how's that for a run on sentence??) They offer a wide variety of art classes, camps, etc. for kids, which I can't wait to enroll Taylee in as she has specifically asked to go to "coloring and crafting school." My girl.

During the school year they have table time for toddlers/preschool aged kids in the mornings. Different stations are set up with different activities and crafts. It's almost like heaven for me except its a lot of work too. Anything goes. I love the freedom to create and just be without rules. Can I paint on the wall? Yes. Can I paint on the floors (hardwood floors mind you)? Yes. Can I paint the stairs and windows and doors and siding and trees and bushes and berries and any other available surface? Yes. Love. Also, both my girls enjoy going which is always an added bonus.

The end.