Family Activities Day 25- Day 15
We have an Advent Calendar I sewed together for the kids last Christmas. I'm NOT a seamstress by any means of the word, just self taught from books and tutes on other blogs. I won't pretend our Advent calendar is the cutest (or has the straightest lines) out there but the kids seem to enjoy that I created for them - knots showing and all! <3
I won't do a tutorial on how I made our calendar because it's only beautiful to us ha ha ;) I will tell you if you're new to sewing and crafting with fabric like I am- just buy the wool felt and have fun with it! The wool felt doesn't fray like other fabrics. I just bought the wool felt in different colors to match my idea and then drew the squares and numbers by tracing and drew the little reindeer and tree shapes out and attached with stitch witch and sewed the edges.
In each pocket on the calendar I have slips of paper, on those slips of paper are fun activities, family nights, sweets, or holiday events for us to enjoy as a family. The kids really enjoy these small treats each year and it gets us in the mood for a family oriented holiday season!
I'm obviously late getting the blog posts going for this year since we're already ten days into the month but I still wanted to share our ideas and activities in case someone else out there could enjoy them with thier own family!
I'll list what we've done so far and then hopefully find time to post the rest of our calendar frequently throughout the season to share with you!
So far this year in our countdown to Christmas we've enjoyed:
Day 25- We decorated the house together. This is the first year that my mom has lived with us so going through our family's things AND her things together made it even more fun. My kids laugh and call my mom's inlaw suite the "Winter Wonderland!" Growing up, she was amazing during the holidays about decorating and bringing the holiday spirit into our home. There was always Christmas music playing and the house would stay decorated in snowmen, miniature houses & shops, and other Christmas cheer from the day after Thanksgiving until the New Year. I'm so pleased she's continuing it this year and that my children can enjoy it the entire season!
Day 24- My dear husband treated us to dinner out at our favorite hamburger restaraunt, Red Robin. Our actual Advent calender activity for the day was our local Christmas Parade. After some farm incidents we were too late to find parking ANYWHERE in our downtown area. Instead of having three sad kids, my husband decided to take us to dinner. It was still a wonderful, fun Christmas activity AND I didn't have to cook or do dishes! :)
Day 23- Family Sweets- I found the kids some adorable Hot Cocoa mix packets at Target and put them together with some Cookies n' Cream chocolates. Not EVERY Advent day has to be difficult. Something as simple as a sweet treat, especially when they don't get them often, is just as exciting. I believe it's simply looking forward to the surprise of what the day brings and knowing I took a little extra time thinking of them!
Day 21- Baking Christmas Cookies! We always carry food to our Christmas parties (for Day 6's Advent Activity) so the Day before usually is a Cookie or Desert baking day. This year that falls on this day, Day 5. We made the most DELICIOUS cookies from a recipe I found...of course...on Pinterest! Let me just tell you it was AMAZING! All of the moms raved over the recipe as did my family. YUMMY! If you're going to give a new cookie recipe a whirl this year, THIS is the one! The cookies were Chocolate Chip & Cranberry and I blogged about them here.
Day 20- Christmas Party! We homeschool and are so very blessed to be members of a local homeschool co-op. Our co-op celebrates each year together with a Christmas party. This year, it fell on our Day 6. It is ALWAYS a blessing, no matter where we have the party, to fellowship, eat, and enjoy the priorities of the season with our like-minded friends. This year was even more fun as we held the party at a local roller skating rink. Moms and kids alike had a fantastic time!
Day 19- Day 7 happened to fall on a Friday night. If you haven't read my post about our Friday Night tradition, we make sure to spend each Friday evening together as a family with as little meal and clean-up time taken out of it as possible. We always enjoy DiGornio pizzas (much less expensive than carry out or delivery) with a fun snack (often cookies made quickly from refrigerated dough) and we enjoy a Family movie together. It's a tradition I pray we stick with even as the kids continue to get older. For this movie night I decided I wanted to make it just a little more fun and create Grinch Drinks for everyone to go with thier snacks for the movie! It was super simple and easy but the kids (and my mother) enjoyed it so much! I found the idea on Pinterest as well as several other ideas for our Advent activities this year. Here is the link.
Day 18- Family Campout (indoors!) My kids still love to hang out with us and they REALLY love to do things outside of the norm. As much as I dread sleeping on the couch ;), it makes them happy so one night of the Advent calendar is always spent "camping out" together in our living room AND staying up as late as they'd like, as long as they stay in the living room with us. It usually involves a movie, lots of giggling, and talks we wouldn't normally have. It also usually includes mom and/or dad being the first to fall asleep and being teased the next day! :)
Day 17- Jelly Belly jellybeans! :) I told you it's not extravagent or difficult! :) We love JB's and very seldom get them. This time of year, fun sweet treats are easy to find with all of the stocking stuffers out in the stores. I often will go through the stores a few days after Thanksgiving and pick up Advent items off of the stocking filler rows. Again, it's inexpensive but a fun little treat to look forward to.
Day 16- Christmas Movie Night! This night is a special movie night of a Christmas movie that we watch all together. Probably should be a classic but it's not. This year we watched, "Santa Paws 2" together! I surprised the kids and picked it up while I was out doing some shopping and we all sat and watched it together! Great little, feel good family movie! I recommend it for any families with kids :).
Day 15- Today (well today when I wrote the post anyway) we had a North Pole Breakfast! It was yet another idea I found on the amazing Pinterest website. I made my usual pancakes for the kids, then used sliced strawberries and canned whip cream to create "Santa" cakes! I used chocolate chips for his eyes and the very tips of the strawberries for his jolly red nose. The canned whipped cream created his fuzzy hat border and tip and his fluffy, white beard. Even my 11 year old son (who I thought might think he's too old for this) thought they were pretty cool! :) With that we had some Hot Cocoa from my amazing Keurig (I don't know what I did before my dear hubby bought this convenient machine for me!) and sat down to eat with some Christmas music! Another perk? The chickens LOVED thier bowl of scraps including egg shells and strawberries!
We hope you've enjoyed sharing our Advent Calendar & Holiday Activities with us! We have many more activities to come as we enjoy the holidays and pray to spend the time loving each other and celebrating our family and praising our Lord Jesus Christ! Please check back later for more Christmas Calendar Countdown Days and other ideas to add to your family's holiday. Starting new traditions and maintaining them strengthen the family and leave your children with memories they can always cherish! Many blessings from our home to yours!