Life’s been incredibly busy, which explains the recent onslaught of photos (rather than words) of my kids that are incredibly interesting if you answer to the name of Grandma. Otherwise, not so much. Our family has lots of exciting things unfolding in our lives (no, I’m not pregnant), and I hope to go into more detail soon.
In the meantime, here’s a look at what we’ve been up to during the first two weeks of Advent:
Many of the posts reference family traditions like the handprint angels we make every year (we added Rudolph to the mix this year). Madeline is also already talking about making Jesus’ birthday cake with her Nana. And we always celebrate the St. Nicholas Feast Day on December 6th. This past weekend our stockings were hanging above the chimney with care with hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there (He didn’t disappoint and left small trinkets for the girls).
For example, on the first day of Advent, we talked about angels and made these cute, little guys (pictured above), adapted from this craft idea. On the third day, we baked our first set of cookies for “C.” On the “D” day we listened to Little Drummer Boy and read the Ezra Jack Keats board book. We made gingerbread cookies and sang “Gloria” for “G” this week. You can do as much or as little as you want, but I’m trying to have at least one book to read for each day as well as a small craft or activity. There are tons of ideas for crafts, activities, and other ways to celebrate the Advent and Christmas season over at O Divine Night. Download the Advent Alphabet links here.
Merry Christmas, Strega Nona! by Tomie dePaola
“Why the Chimes Rang” from William Bennett’s The Children’s Book of Faith
We read this on “B” day since “B” is for bells. I’m a big fan of Bennett’s children’s book series. The illustrious Michael Hague provides the art for all of the books, which are filled with meaningful, engaging stories by myriad authors. The stories teach children about virtue, faith, patriotism, and what it means to be a hero. Both The Children’s Book of Faith and The Children’s Book of Virtues make great baptismal or First Communion gifts.
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
We don’t only eat those minty candy canes because they taste yummy as this Christmas tale reminds us. This book explains the origin of the candy cane from a religious perspective.
On this Special Night by Claire Freedman
This book’s breathtakingly beautiful illustrations are a visual feast. My girls love the depictions of the gentle farm animals who are following a star on “this special night” – the night our Savior was born.
Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus! Pictures by Ken Munowitz/text by Charles L. Mee, Jr.
This book is sadly out of print, but I remember loving it as a child and now enjoy reading it to my children. Madeline wants to act out the book on Christmas Eve for the extended family and has cast herself as Mary, Daddy as Joseph, Rae as an angel, me as the narrator, and M.E. as Baby Jesus.
The Last Straw by Frederick Thury
I’m getting a little ahead of myself here because this book is really an Epiphany tale about an old, prideful camel named Hoshmakaka who learns a lesson in humility as he carries a heavy load of gifts to the Christ Child. Madeline just saw the image of the book cover and said, “Oooooo. That’s my favorite Christmas book.” Mother tested, kid approved.
Next year I plan on using Elizabeth Foss’s Literature Unit for Advent and Christmas, so I’ll be adding a slew of books to my wish list. (Yes, I’m already thinking about next Advent. That’s what Type Aers – as in anal – do.)
We’ll also be making some breakfast foods like muffins and breads (and maybe scones; you know how I can’t get enough of those things) to bring to my Mom and Dad’s since they’ll be hosting tons of family there this year. (It’s the least I can do to help Mom out who’s still recovering from her summer surgery).
I always let Madeline have a say when we’re picking out goodies to bake, and she really wants to make these Santa Hats so we’ll be giving them a try, too. (I haven’t had as much luck with meringue in the past, but I’m up for a new challenge in the kitchen. I’m crazy.)
To counter all these sweets, I’m keeping our lunch and dinner menus healthy and light and am making lots of soups and salads. (I recently raided the freezer and stripped it of all the Thanksgiving leftovers to make a hearty “stoup.”)
How about you? How’s Advent coming along? I’d love to hear about any traditions you might have to celebrate this special season.