You might remember last week I posted about our homemade Advent calendar? Well, we kicked it off on Saturday and so far it has been a great success! Except for yesterday when the extreme cold cancelled our winter woods walk, the days have worked out mostly as planned.
As I described in my earlier post, I am hanging just one week's worth of tags at a time (this gives me a chance to determine what we can and can't do), but since I have most of the ideas written down now, I thought I'd share them here ~ just in case an idea jingles a bell with you. ;)
Now, some of the activities are just for the older two (like Book Group for instance) in which case, I've made up a little something for Earlybird to do with Nana at home.
*Brief note: Now that it's published I see this list looks HUGE, lol, but really each idea is simple and mostly home-centric. My goal is a quiet, happy Christmas for my family ~ a time of memorable, meaningful comforts and joys! I hope some little thing here might be helpful to you and yours. :)
And now on to the list ...
* We'll spend a day making gifts for family and friends. This year, my friend Lisa shared a new idea with me - lovely little glass magnets. They're really easy to do so the boys should be able to make many in one day. (I'll be posting the craft instructions later this week.)
* One night we'll visit ZooLights with Nana and Papa! (A local zoo turns itself into a winter wonderland of twinkling lights at this time of year. We've never been, but I hear its beautiful and great fun!)
* One morning, we'll go on a winter woods walk. We'll gather natural materials like pinecones and evergreen boughs to use at home for decorations. We'll also cut branches of forsythia to bring inside and "force" in a vase of water - hopefully for Christmas bloom.
* One day we'll attend a Holiday Cocoa Storytime with our homeschooling group! Each child will bring his or her favorite winter holiday story to share. Stories will be read by the mums as the kids sip hot cocoa and munch on all kinds of goodies.
* We'll explore the science and folklore of the Winter Solstice at Nature Club one day! Our leader (one of our homeschooling mums) will explain the solstice to the children and then lead them through a candle lighting ceremony. Then we'll take a walk through the woods to find winter, and return to solstice cupcakes, hot cocoa and an Odds Bodkins tale from The Evergreens: Gentle Tales of Nature. The kids will all go home with a mistletoe craft!
*On the actual Solstice (Decemer 22) we'll decorate our spruce tree with homemade goodies for our birds and squirrels. We'll watch Little Bear's Winter Tales (which includes a story about a tree for the snow angels) and drink "snow cocoa." (White hot chocolate with a bit of orange.) We'll also make bark rubbings of our tree and write about it all in our nature notebooks.
* One day the older boys will go to Nana's to decorate a gingerbread house! At home, EB and I will have some online gingerbread fun and when brothers come home, the bedrooms will be made up with Christmas flannels and there will be white lights around the windows!
* On December 14th, we'll celebrate Earlybird's 6th birthday! (We'll also call Papa to wish him a Happy Birthday too!) Daddy will bring home EB's favorite pizza for supper and I'll make a vanilla cake with buttercream frosting and snowflake sprinkles (natural ones he can have!). Early in the day EB will receive a new paint set and we'll all paint together that afternoon. (From these paintings we'll make gift tags.)
* One day will be a Polar Express Day! We'll read the book at breakfast (a Christmas favorite!) and then bring up the Polar Express train set from out of storage. We'll set it up by the tree. After lunch we'll watch the movie curled up with hot-hot-hot-hot chocolate. :)
* One Sunday we'll attend a Caroling Christmas Party with our Parish! We'll bundle up and head over late in the afternoon. A hayride will take us caroling and then we'll return to church for pizza, cookies, ornament-making and a holiday movie!
* On the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12th), we'll read The Legend of the Poinsettia and make Aztec hot chocolate for tea. (Cinnamon pita chips, too!)
*We'll attend our Homeschool Games Day and bring Merry Christmas Bingo to share with the group. We'll bring cookies to share, too. (At home, Earlybird and Nana will make salt-dough ornaments to bake and paint.)
*We'll attend our Homeschool Book Group one day and pick out a few new Christmas books at the library before we head out. At home, Nana and EB will make crafty ornaments together for a large paper tree that we'll hang on the wall. (I got this idea from Marianne at Learning2Love!)
* One night we'll go on a Night-Lights drive! We'll all bundle up (the boys in their pj's, coats and and boots) and we'll drive them around the neighborhood to view all the pretty lights. I'll fill the boys' small thermal cups with cocoa they can sip along the way, and we'll listen to Christmas music as we drive.
* One day we'll visit a real barn to wish our favorite farm animals a happy Christmas. While we're there, we'll talk about how cold and uncomfortable a barn would be for a baby. Before we leave we'll buy some homemade pies for our freezer, and when we get home we'll use the pictures we took at the farm to write about our visit.
* One Saturday morning, we'll stop in at a local Starbucks for a special "holiday"drink from the menu (decaf or otherwise child-friendly). Meanwhile EB and Daddy will go to social skills group and come home to homemade cocoa together - and Daddy will surprise EB with special marshmallows he can have! Home altogether in the afternoon, we'll pop popcorn and watch videos of old-fashioned Christmas specials.
*One day we'll celebrate angels! We'll read a special book or two about angels ~ then we'll make an angel-bell ornament. Later we'll watch It's a Wonderful Life and enjoy some yummy angel kisses.
* We'll plan a merry Christmas for our kitties! First we'll read a few favorite books "to" the cats (if they're willing) ~ Cat in the Manger, A Pussycat's Christmas, Santa's Snow Cat, and The Christmas Cat. Later we'll make some felt-catnip toys as presents for Midget, Penny and Pooch.
* One afternoon we'll watch Take Peace: A Corgi Cottage Christmas with Tasha Tudor. We'll talk about how her Christmas in the country is different from (and similar to) ours. We'll read A Corgiville Christmas, and then, after sunset, Daddy will have a special surprise in our garden.
*One day Nana will come over to make her special fudge with the boys. We'll decorate little tins with stickers and labels and fill them up for family and friends. After we're done we'll serve Nana some Christmas tea and eat up all the "crumbles" of leftover fudge!
* On December 25th ~ Merry Christmas! We'll welcome home our whole family today! We'll also find a shining star hanging over our nativitiy set and the best surprise of all just inside. :)
Well, as always, thanks for stopping by ~ and if anyone has an idea they'd like to share ~ well, I'm all ears! What comforts and joys does your family enjoy at this time of year? One can never have too many ideas to choose from ... because the beautiful thing about Christmas is, there's always next year!
Keep warm and well, everyone!