Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Books

Besides reading the Nativity story in the Bible Nativity, we love reading lots of other Christmas books. We've gotten quite a collection over the years and are still growing more.

Last year we checked out and loved Amahl and the Night Visitors.  That's definitely one I want in our collection. Of course part of my love for that book (besides it being a great story) is my memories of my brother playing the part of Amahl way back when in Madison.

This year we read This Way to Christmas by Ruth Sawyer and really like it too. We read a chapter each day and the kids loved hearing the stories within the story.

We also really enjoy our children's classic Christmas story book- which has stories like The Nutcracker, the Littlest Angel, the Match Girl, ...

I still get teary eyed each time we read The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree- which is set in NC at Grandfather Mountain and includes Tweetsie Railroad. We just went to Grandfather and Tweetsie last summer so the kids remember.


We had a wonderful Christmas. I'll write more later but wanted to post some pics now:

Children's Christmas play at Trinity- K was one "handsome"  sheep

Star Wars fan!

Boys' gift to Daddy- handwritten copy of Christmas story from Luke 2

K &C gave T & C karate uniforms (they thought of that on their own- so sweet!)

T thought of this too- putting on every piece of clothing he got for Christmas!

K sporting the super scarf Uncle B made him

T trying out his Cars bubble bath!

Christmas afternoon football- Go Army!

Christmas dinner tradition- cornish game hen

T listening to brothers say what they're giving Jesus for Christmas before enjoying Happy Birthday Jesus cupcakes!

more of our super scarves from Uncle B

beautiful afternoon at our favorite park: Sherwood Gardens

Friday, December 16, 2011

More Christmas Pics

Thanksgiving visit with Nana, Papa, and good NC friends

Christmas presents with Nana and Papa

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Celebrating Christmas!

We had a terrific Christmas celebration with Nana and Papa over Thanksgiving weekend- we went to a Christmas tree farm and picked a tree, decorated the tree, opened gifts, sang Christmas carols, went to Mount Vernon's Christmas. Since then we've been enjoying egg nog & Christmas carols, Polar Express with hot hot chocolate, handprint Christmas tree crafts, tons of baking,  reading Christmas books, choir practice, ... I've also been reading posts like The Christmas Conundrum and Whose Birthday is it?  which started me thinking and can we make our celebration of Christmas more a celebration of Christ? we love our Jesse tree ornaments and singing the 12 days of Christmas each night with our advent calendar. (After each gift, the kids shout the "hidden meaning" and at the end eat their yummy tiny chocolate. I wasn't planning on those chocolate calendars this year-I saved our Halloween candy and planned on using this calendar.  But in Fayetteville our neighbor always got them for the kids, and when we saw it at Aldi's, K's eyes lit up so I had to fork out the dollar to continue that tradition.

Jesse tree quilt

hand print Christmas trees

decorating Christmas tree- James always hangs the angel on top last

Thanks Nana & Papa for the handsome sweaters and pretty dress!

What's Polar Express without hot chocolate?

We've really enjoyed the activities on Focus on the Family's advent calendar. We also had a wonderful birthday party for Jesus where we picked out toys to pass along to others. Freecycle was wonderful for passing along the toys. We gave a few toys to people who work with autistic children, a family whose dad is unemployed because of PTSD- I say all this not to toot our own horn but because there are so many people out there with so little and it's so good for kids to learn the joy of sharing. 

The kids loved picking out gifts for Operation Christmas Child. This year we took them to Chick-Fil-A and enjoyed free chicken sandwiches when we dropped them off. 

the kids have been earning (and finding around the house) money to buy rabbits from  Gospel for Asia 
When the kids came home from church with Christmas cupcakes, we had another Happy Birthday family party- you can never say it enough can you? This time we counted our money and ordered rabbits and Bibles. 

I think Advent Conspiracy website says it well:  It is not enough to say no to the way Christmas is celebrated by many; we need to say yes to a different way of celebrating. 
We will continue some of our traditions, continue to tweak others, and invent (borrow) others that add to our celebrating the birth of Christ!  More to come ...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Overindulgence, too ambitious, ... over zealous Sunday

I'm not sure what the right title is but I definitely overdid it. It all started so innocently. After a good church service, Sunday afternoon seemed like the perfect time for Christmas baking. The boys have super cute Christmas aprons (thanks Janelle) We could take some cookies to our neighbors. KG was taking a nap. James took T to Giant. Well I kept seeing yummy recipes and before you knew it we were baking a pumpkin pie and in the middle of 7 other recipes. If they didn't taste so yummy, I would have said we could have filmed "cooking gone bad." Well bad isn't the right word- just too much! 

So many lessons learned Sunday- (for cooking and for life)
-do a few things well (instead of lots of things okay)
-have a plan
-stick to the plan
-there is such a thing as too much of even a good thing
-I don't have to make everything that looks good on pinterest!
-read the directions

here's some of the recipes we used- I wouldn't recommend making them all the same day!

Didn't Make

why I won't make chex mix in the microwave again (or try to bake it at 350 with my pumpkin pie!)

we did end with a good family devotion- how do you get to heaven?

Christmas bark- yummy!

one cute Christmas wreath