Counting Down to Christmas with an Advent Calendar

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Is it Christmas yet? With children you hear this all the time. To make counting down to Christmas fun have an Advent calendar. I have six Advent calendars around the house. 

   Christmas Advent Calendar

I may have gone overboard but hear me out.

Here are my reasons for multiple Advent calendars:

  • I have three sons.
  • They each get to do two advent calendars a day.
  • Three calendars have a piece of candy or small present in each day’s pocket.
  • The other three were activity calendars. They required moving a marker to the next day or placing a small ornament on the calendar tree.

My boys rotate which two they do each day. If you only have one Advent calendar and more than one child, they only get to enjoy the calendar every other day (bummer!). I recommend an even number of calendars for each child.

Christmas Advent Calendar

 

The daily routine of looking to see what treat, small present, little note, or new activity is always fun and something kids look forward to.

 

Advent calendars can be purchased at local stores or you can make one. Do you have a favorite way to count down to Christmas? How many Advent calendars do you have?


Halloween Dinner

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Halloween time is special and that calls for a special meal near this sweet holiday. On my menu is Monster Meatloaf, deviled eggs, salad, drink of poison, and dessert. It is a fun meal to be crazy. Here’s the menu I served.

Menu:

Special Halloween Menu

Broiled Monster Feet:

Meatloaf Feet

Use your favorite meat loaf recipe and shape the meatloaf into two feet. To do this I half the meat mixture so the feet will be the same size. Make a good size ball and flatten some for the sole of the foot. Next get another good size ball and press against the back of the main foot and set upright to form the ankle. Then make four (more or less depending on your monster) small balls for the toes. Last, press almond halves or slices into the toes for toenails. Bake as per your recipe.

Boiled Dinosaur Eggs:

Dinosaur Eggs

 

 

To make boiled dinosaur eggs, take hard boiled eggs with a little pepper or paprika sprinkled on top. Place on a bed of spinach.

 

 

Eyes of Newt:

Newt's Eyes

 

To make these, take a tortilla and spread evenly with cream cheese mixed with spices.  Then roll the tortilla up and slice in into about a half-inch thick pieces. Place on their side and put a black olive on top with a pimento in the middle of the olive.


Tossed Creepy Critters
:

Critter Salad

 

 

Use a mixture of spring greens that look like grass. Add carrots, celery, mushrooms, broccoli, and anything else you like. Make the pieces large enough to be easily seen.

 

 

Decorative Halloween Bowl

 

 

 

Place your food in decorative Halloween bowls, if you have them. If not, an orange or black bowl will do.

 

 

 

 

 

Cooked Meatloaf Feet

 

 

Add ketchup to the finished monster feet before serving. (Yuk!)

 

 

 

Poisoned Kool Aid

Serve green Kool Aid and call it slime or ooze. Or server water with a little food coloring and say it might be poison. I used beakers and flasks. (Keep them guessing, I always say).

The book in this picture will be featured in a future blog post.

 

 

Halloween Tablescape

This meal doesn’t have to be only for kids. Be creative with your menu. I suggest serving this meal on any night other than Halloween as the kids will be only thinking of candy. Halloween night serve a light, quick meal so as not to interfere with the main event, Trick-or-Treating.

 

What creepy menu items would you serve?


Sand Bucket List Update

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Photo Credit: LongBeachIslandSummers.com

 

Summer is half over, if you have children in school. How is your Sand Bucket List of things to do this summer filling up? I’ve accomplished a few things on my list.

 

  • Had lunch with different friends. I so enjoy catching up and seeing how God is working in their lives.
  • Had lunch with my husband, twice! Yea, for me. (Sometimes he thinks he is at the bottom of my list). 
  • Have gone to see my parents every other weekend. Making time for your parents is something we should all do more often. 
  • Read the Hunger Games. Oh, was it good! Then I read Catching Fire, book 2 of the Hunger Games series. Now, I’m waiting for the third book from the library. Also read Calling Invisible Womenby Jeanne Ray.
  • Painted our front door. (Here’s my discussion on painting the door).
  • Had a U.S. map mounted and framed for the hall.
  • Painted our bedroom closet. And went through all the clothes, shoes, and junk in the closet. Gave away many unused items. 
  • Working on a family tree decoration for the hall (also, more on that in future post). 
  • Sewed a couple origami bags I saw on Pinterest. 
  • Decorated my washer and dryer (see  earlier post).
  • Spent time in my craft room getting inspired.
  • Planning a vacation to Colorado for later this month.

 I’ve made a dent in this summer list but, it’s not over yet. Summer is a great time to enjoy every moment with your family and friends.

 What plans to you have for the rest of your summer?


My Sand Bucket List

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Sand Bucket List

You’ve probably heard of a Bucket List. I have a summer to-do list that I call my Sand Bucket List. Each summer, I make a list of things I want to do, see, learn, or visit. 

When the summer is over, I always think, “Where did the summer go and what did I do?” With my Sand Bucket List, I can see all the things that I have done, seen, learned or visited. This reminds me that I’ve accomplished quite a bit. I did NOT waste my summer. 

This  summer my list contains more than twenty specific items. Here are a few of them:

  • Lunch with my husband
  • Go see my parents, often
  • Read Hunger Games
  • Paint the front door
  • Scrapbook photos from 2011
  • Vacation in Colorado
  • Lunch with various friends
  • Make Christmas ornaments
  • Organize and clean the garage
  • Plant flowers
  • Write more blog posts

My list goes on and on, but I won’t bore you with the rest of it. I may not do everything on the entire list, but having a list gives me a place to start and helps me make the most of my summer. You can make the most of your summer by planning now what you’d like to do until school starts for the kids. What is something on your Sand Bucket List?


I Love Scrapbooking

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Some of my scrapbook albums by year.

WARNING: What you are about to read can be very contagious and addictive! I heart scrapbooking! I caught this bug several years ago. It can only be cured by placing your memories in albums and leafing through them at later times to enjoy. Because I take pleasure in this pastime, I figured that one day my kids might want their own scrapbooks to enjoy.

 I have an album for each calendar year, the date is embossed on the spine of each scrapbook, these are my albums. I also have an album for each child. When making copies of photos I make an extra copy of a few photos throughout the year that I would like to put in that child’s album. For example: to record a birthday party, I may take five pages to document the event. But in the child’s album, I only put three or four photos from the big day. This let’s each of my kids have a scrapbook that is strictly theirs. They can write in, look through, touch, explore, and one day take it with them to remember their childhood. I let them decorate their album with stickers and write what they want to. This also gives a history of my child’s handwriting and creativity at each stage of their life. (They don’t write in my album.)

 It isn’t always easy to keep these albums up-to-date but I try. When there is a snow day, an unplanned free day, or a day when I just need to get away, I retreat to my albums. When working on them, I get a chance to reminisce and reflect on what a great family God has blessed me with. Good luck on this infectious disease.

Do you scrapbook?  How do you document each year?