Final Christmas memories post for the year

Now that I’m home and have internet connection I can write the remainder of the posts I have to write for last year and such.


One thing I discovered after Sam died is an appalling tendency in my photo taking to concentrate on the kids, and not get pictures of the adults as much.  I’m trying to fix that trend, so I made sure to get at least one picture of each adult.



The most hilarious present was for Princess.  Her Nana had put all of her presents in one big bag almost the size of her.  So after she’d emptied it out, she spent the rest of the morning hiding in the bag and then popping out to surprise us.  It was quite fun.



Oh, and I love this shot of the tossled bed head as she went through her stocking and discovered her ornament from Santa, a nativity picture.  Isn’t that just the sweetest?

Local Christmas memories

With all of the grandparents and aunts and uncles in short driving range we get to celebrate 3 Christmases.  At the time of this writing we’ve had 2 of them (with my family and our own celebration).

So, I give you photo evidence of the chaos that ensued, and Aunt Tara was kind enough to take pictures that day, so I’m actually in pictures!


The highlight for the kids was seeing Aunt Jenn open the presents for “Baby C” as they are eagerly awaiting the birth of a new cousin.  The most amusing part for the adults was watching my Mom eagerly wait for everyone to open their presents so she could remember what she got them.


I love that the kids were so excited about what they were giving other people.  They were very impatient for me to open my presents from them, and it was fun to open them and see.



Princess was super proud of finding a nativity night light for me, “It’s special because it has baby Jesus.”



We got a lot of laughs out of Mom’s wrapping this year, she decided to use newspapers to continue an old family tradition, but since she didn’t get the newspaper she was limited to what came in the mail.  So, I got a young black man on one of my presents, Princess had guns from Academy………..  Not that our unique brand of wrapping is much better……..


I hope everyone had a good Christmas, I’m about to leave for Dallas to see Jeff’s side of the family.

Christmas story bracelet

Little Wonder Days did this adorable bracelet for her kids for Christmas, and I loved the idea and knew I had to use it for my Sunday School class.  She used beads she had on hand, but since I only had various shades of red and clear beads I had to go out and buy mine, so it’s slightly different than hers.




White- for the angel who came to Zechariah and told him his wife would have a baby.

Blue- for Mary who believed what the angel told her and trusted God.

Brown- for Joseph who was going to divorce Mary, but stopped when an angel told him to trust Mary.

Grey- for the donkey Mary rode to Bethlehem because of the Roman decree.

Gold bell- for Jesus, the bell rings to remind us to tell everyone of the Good News, and it’s gold because Jesus will wear a gold crown.

Star- for the star that appeared above Jesus.

White- for the angel that appeared to the shepherds to tell them of Jesus’ birth.

Green- for the shepherds who ran to see the newborn babe.

Light purple- for the magi who traveled so far to see the baby Jesus.

Yellow, purple, and red- for the gifts the magi brought.  Gifts fit for a king.


Merry Christmas to all of you, I’ve no guarantee I’ll be posting again until after Christmas, I have a wonderful Merry Christmas post I’d like to write, but I don’t guarantee it.

So, just in case:


Merry Christmas to all!

When Santa Lost his Ho Ho Ho!



When Santa Lost his Ho Ho Ho! is a seriously cute book about Santa not being able to laugh.  Santa and all the elves spend days trying to figure it out, and the letters start pouring in from worried little kids.  Finally one child saves the day in a most adorable way.





After reading a book like this what can you do, but write a letter to Santa?  Now I need to make sure they get mailed………


The boys predictable wanted Imaginenext toys, their absolute favorite right now, and Princess wants Barbie.

They all tried to cheer poor Santa up with humorous pictures, and I think they would have done a pretty good job if the guy had lost his “ho ho ho.”



And then we proceeded to decorate our presents.  This year rather than paint and then wrap, I opted to wrap them and then let them stamp with red and green stamp pads.  Then we went through my scrapbook papers and cut them up and glued away.  Next step to teach them about ribbons!



Oh and here’s some proof that all is not always well in our household, I don’t remember what made him mad, but boy was he mad about something.

learning laboratory at mama smiles

Family Christmas Tree

I was going to include a picture of this book cover, but the image from Amazon was horrid.

Family Christmas Tree– Basically this story uses a family talking about getting their tree to cover different traditions and how our tradition of a Christmas tree came about.


Of course, I read it to them because I knew we were decorating our own tree that afternoon (sneaky me).


No amazingly great pictures because my camera battery was dying.  Superman is the one with the moose.  He was so happy to find that moose in the box of Christmas stuff where it accidentally got packed last year.


When do you get your Christmas tree?  I like to get ours the day after Thanksgiving, but circumstances conspired against me this year and we had to wait a few days.

Advent Calendar part 2


We’ve completed the first few days of our Advent project.  The kids happily search through the Christmas tree to find the day’s activity and box.  It’s a bit of a challenge because some of the numbers are on there as words, and they don’t know all of their number words yet.  So, this has been great practice.


Day 13- Solomon, God said Solomon’s wisdom would be greater than the sands on the shore.  Make “sand pudding.”  I don’t have any extras with this one because I have no movie or book in particular for it at this time.



Day 14- Elijah, God kept his prophet safe even when all else seemed to be against him, and Elijah was able to show others the mighty wonders of God because of this.  Same for this one, for some reason there’s not a lot of movies about Elijah, which is a shame because he has some great stories.



Day 15- Esther, God used Esther to keep His people safe so that His BIG Plan could go forward.  Make the princess pretty using markers and glitter and whatever else you have.  Watch the Veggietales: Duke and the Great Pie War.  If my kids had an amazing attention span and were older we could watch “One Night with the King.”  I highly recommend that movie if you have any interest in Old Testament history, or want to watch a true romantic movie.  It is wonderfully made.



Day 16- Nehemiah, God used Nehemiah to bring His people back to Israel, so eventually His Promised One would be born where God promised.  Build a wall like Nehemiah did, try to keep others from knocking it down.  Again no movie, another sorely under represented figure in animation and books.



Day 17- Zechariah and Elizabeth- play charades.  I also loved the idea from over at Fantastic Five of making edible peanut butter and HONEY play dough (get it because John ate honey), but since I’m making this for others as well I didn’t want to include something their kid might potentially be allergic to.



Day 18- Mary and Joseph, got told Mary and Joseph beforehand about Jesus’ coming.  Create a song of praise like Mary did to God.  As a side note I opted to go with the traditional colors for the Nativity figures and just paint them solid.  Therefore Mary is blue for purity and mercy, Joseph is brown for humility.  Many thanks to Nicole from Tired, Need Sleep for helping me figure that out.



Day 19- Journey to Bethlehem– play the game.  We’ll also read “Donkey’s Dream,” a very cute story that is beautifully illustrated about the donkey carrying Mary to Bethlehem.  He dreams he is carrying many different things that are all names for Jesus or come from Catholic imagery (this is my memory from reading it last year, it’s not one I’ve read zillions of times).


Day 20-Shepherds, while reading the story eat your candy canes that look like shepherd’s crooks.  I painted the shepherd figures green for their traditional color, but couldn’t find what it is supposed to represent.  Any ideas people? Any Godly Play people know?  Maybe life or growing?  I’m planning to read Crippled Lamb, if I can find my copy.  I think it might technically be my Mom’s……..  So maybe at her house.



Day 21-Magi, the magi are painted yellow to represent wisdom or preciousness (maybe, anybody know for sure?).  I included popsicle sticks to make a star and decorate it to hang on the tree.  I’m thinking of teaching the boys how to make this, because I’m a glutton for punishment.



Day 22- Simeon and Anna, I love this part of the story and it is so rarely included when we teach it.  We tell about the shepherds and the magi, but we leave out these two simple people who waited their whole lives.  In that vein we will each have a cookie place in front of us and have to wait 5 minutes to show us how hard it is to wait like Simeon and Anna did.



Day 23- Flight to Egypt, Dixie cups in a Pringles can.  I’ve made my kids eat a lot of Pringles recently.  The cups are to stack to make a pyramid.  How big of a pyramid can you make?


Here is part 1 of the Advent project

Here are the updated Advent printables (including a master list of what to do each day).


I meant to get this up before December 1, but I quite literally finished all of these on December 1, and I already had posts scheduled and I haven’t had time to sit down and write until now………  All right, I’m off to start school for the day.  We’ve already gotten our Advent acitivity for today done.  I quite literally got out of bed and they pounced on me saying, “We have to find the 5!”


We PlayKatie's Nesting Spot

Christmas traditions: buying presents for your sibling



For the past several years we’ve had a Christmas tradition of taking one kid out at a time to do their Christmas shopping.  We make a fun outing of it, letting them choose a place to eat, and getting things they usually don’t (desert).



This year we’ve done our shopping early, because Jeff took Batman to work and he got his shopping done the other two desperately had to do that as well.  But Jeff got sick, so he couldn’t do that, instead I took Superman and Princess out on the same day, but different times.



It’s fun because you get to see their different personalities as they choose for different people.  They all have a plan and are quite sure they know what they want to do.  I don’t always understand their plans, but it is interesting to see for me.





We do the same thing for birthdays, and I love to see how much they love each other.  These past few weeks I have been so thankful to see how well they play together.  It’s really helped that it’s cooled down and they can go spend hours outside.  I do mean hours.  My neighbors must think I’m crazy, my kids are always in the front yard playing.  What is it about front yards?