Here we are one week into December and I haven't posted one single thing that we are doing to celebrate the Christmas season! I set a goal for myself this year to have all of my Christmas shopping done before December 1st so that I could spend the entire month doing special things with the girls and avoid the Christmas crazy frenzy that can so easily sneak up on me during this time of year.
By the last week of November, I had made my list and checked it twice and all of my holiday shopping was DONE. I highly recommend that everyone try this at least once. No crowded malls or crazy traffic to endure. And I am loving the slow pace I've been able to take with the girls just enjoying the Christmas spirit and focusing on the real reason we celebrate.
This year we started a new tradition by celebrating advent with a Jesse Tree.
Each night we have a family devotion about a different part of God's plan for His people leading up to the birth of Christ. The concept of the Jesse Tree is based on Isaiah 11:1, and the prophecy that the Savior would come from "the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit."
We gave Anna Cate and Caroline a new Bible on December 1st and have been using it to read our stories from each night.
(I love love love this children's Bible. If anybody is looking for a good one, this it it. It paraphrases scripture for little minds better than any others out there that I have found and the illustrations are beautiful and very engaging without looking too cartoonish. )
After Will reads us the story for the evening, Anna Cate gets to hang an ornament on the Jesse Tree. I found the tree at Goodwill for 50 cents and we are making up the ornaments as we go along. Maybe next year I'll be better prepared!
It is by far my most favorite part of each day. After the girls have been bathed and are all warm and sweet smelling in their little footy pajamas, we all curl up together on the sofa and listen to Will read. Anna Cate is a hoot because each night she asks us if we can read Jonah. She has seen the whale ornament and really really wants to hang it on the tree. I don't think we get to Jonah until Dec. 21!
Instead of the traditional advent calendar, we are using some garland I made several years ago with scrap booking paper. Each morning Anna Cate gets to open a new envelope and inside is a little note with something special we get to do for the day.
My goal was to blog everyday in December to share each day's activity. Ha! Instead, maybe we'll just hit the highlights each week.
We had a fireside picnic in the den, while playing our first board game as a family. All I can say is maybe we need to give "Chutes and Ladders" another year before attempting that again. ;)
Caroline getting to eat her first "snack." A baby rice cake. Must be good, just look at that face!
Anna Cate and I made special shirts for the girls to wear when we went to pick out our Christmas tree.
While I sewed two of these...
She sewed this. A reindeer face, an acorn, a bottle nipple, and some fuzz. Nice.
One afternoon, we made gifts for the birds in our yard using pinecones, peanut butter, and birdseed. We hung them outside of our kitchen window so we could watch them while we eat our meals, but so far we have seen no birds enjoying their Christmas goodies.
Caroline taking a little snooze while Anna Cate worked on her bird feeder.
My sweet Aunt brought these pancake molds to the girls and we were going to make them Saturday morning for breakfast before heading out to get our tree.
Unfortunately, they didn't turn out as cute as the ones on the package. Lesson learned: Never tell a two year old she is getting reindeer pancakes until AFTER you have tested it first to make sure it works!
I tried preparing her before she sat down at the table that they didn't work very well, but that we would try to make them again soon. Of course there was no reasoning with her.
"I want the reindeer pancake Mama" she cried over and over and over again when I put this down at her place.
Will finally blurted out, "That IS a reindeer, he just got hit by Santa's sleigh."
Nice Will, really nice.
That explanation hushed her up though and she happily ate her breakfast.
On Sunday afternoon we decorated our tree.
along with the rest of the house.
Anna Cate's most favorite holiday decoration this year has been the nativity scene.
Each morning she gets baby Jesus out of his manger and proceeds to wrap him up in her doll blankets. Apparently he is crying because he is cold and her job ALL DAY LONG is to rock him and keep him warm. The first thing she asks Will when he comes home from work is if he will build us a fire so she can warm the baby Jesus. Oh my oh my oh my. I'm trying to keep a vigil eye on his whereabouts because I really don't want to be having to buy a new baby Jesus when she looses this one.
We'll continue to document our little adventures maybe I'll find time before another week goes by to share all we've been doing!