Mauryn: Fall/Christmas 2010

favorite foods: macaroni and cheese, m&m's, chicken nuggets, apples, oranges, applesauce

favorite songs: any song she makes up, songs from sunday school

favorite books: angelina ballerina, fancy nancy, pinkalicious

favorite movies: tinkerbell, tangled, little mermaid

favorite tv shows: angelina ballerina, clifford, curious george, word world, zoboomafoo

favorite games: candyland, royal toad, crazy 8's

favorite toys: bitty twins and bitty baby, polly pockets, fashion friends

favorite activity with mom: bake and read stories

favorite activity with dad: read stories

favorite school subject: play with toys

favorite Christmas songs: away in the manger, the angels sing

favorite Christmas gifts: roaring springs pass, fashion friends, bitty swing, matching pajamas for her and her bitty baby, leapster game

favorite Christmas movie: santa claus, rudolph

favorite ornament: bell angel

favorite decoration: stockings

favorite Christmas cookie: roll out sugar cookies

what filled your stocking: chapstick, lip gloss, m&m's, gum, hair clips, a polly pocket, a tiny my little pony, toothbrush

did you believe in santa: yes, although you did not want to sit visit him.  you would talk about him and call him st. nick.

Morgan: Fall/Christmas 2010

favorite foods: taco hotdish, bubble pizza, grandma's cinnamon rolls, mashed potatoes

favorite songs: taylor swift's new cd, dynamite

favorite books: erin hunter's warrior cat series

favorite movies: ramona and beezus, another cinderella story, princess protection program

favorite tv shows: icarly, that's so raven, jonas LA, hannah montana

favorite games: sorry revenge, apples to apples, wits and wagers, pretty much any card game

favorite toys: ds, word illuminated, 20 questions, ipod

favorite activity with mom: baking

favorite activity with dad: skiing

favorite school subject: reading

favorite Christmas song: his favorite christmas story

favorite Christmas gifts: hair straightener, blow dryer, mani/pedi gift certficate, roaring springs pass, apples to apples, ds and wii game {pretty much all her gifts!}

favorite Christmas movie: sound of music

favorite ornament: big red ball from homeschool party

favorite decoration: little christmas bear from a friend

favorite Christmas cookie: roll out sugar cookies

what filled your stocking: nail polish, hair glitter, nerds, gum, prewrap, brush, toothbrush, ipod holder

did you believe in santa: no but played along for your brother and sister

favorites of 2010: taking 2nd place in bars at state, trip to MN, derek and leslie's wedding, trip to Bass Lake

Landon: Fall/Christmas 2010

favorite foods: cheeseburgers, bagels, apples, oranges

favorite songs: dynamite, i gotta feeling {chipmunk version}, sold

favorite books: arthur, magic tree house, chronicles of narnia

favorite movies: incredibles, toy story, astro boy

favorite tv shows: cyberchase, electric company, zoboomafoo, word girl

favorite games: sorry revenge, speed, go fish, pretty much any card game, mexican train

favorite toys: legos, buzz lightyear, woody, football, basketball, baseball

favorite activity with mom: baking

favorite activity with dad: go to the dairy farm

favorite school subject: math

favorite Christmas songs: jingle bells, o come all ye faithful, away in the manger, hark the herald angels sing

favorite Christmas gifts: bounce back, roaring springs pass, legos, erector set

favorite Christmas movie: charlie browns christmas, how the grinch stole christmas

favorite ornament: denver broncos

favorite decoration: stockings

favorite Christmas cookie: roll out sugar cookies

what filled your stocking: gum, twix candy bars, legos, balls and "bullets" for nerf gun, leapster game, toothbrush

did you believe in santa: yes, although you did not want to visit him.  you continually called him st. nick through this season after hearing the story of st. nicholas


Advent: Reflections and Hints

The gifts are unwrapped and put away, the stockings hang empty, and the treats are almost gone {or will soon be thrown out}. The only reminders of the advent and Christmas season are the trees still up with ornaments and lights, the nativity scenes around the house, and the tiny baby Jesus dolls under the kids' trees.

I appreciate all the comments and questions about our advent activities this year.  I thought I would address some of the questions here as well as reflect on our advent season.

~ I decided that this year after advent was over I was going to create a blurb book of our activities so we can go back each year and remember how we celebrated advent.  I am going to go back and make a book of last years advent blog posts as well.  I think these will be so fun to look at year after year.

~  The planning for next year starts now.... not really but sort of.  If I find an activity in a magazine that I think I want to use next year I take the page from the magazine and put it in my file.  If I find something on line that I would like to use next year, I either jot it down in my notes if it is self explanatory but if it is something more in depth I book mark it and put it in a folder labeled advent activities.

~  I do start the actual planning and gathering of supplies in late October or early November.  This gives me plenty of time to organize, gather supplies, find bible verses, and plan for each day.

~  A great place to get craft supplies is through Oriental Trading Company.  It is often times cheaper to buy their packaged crafts then to try and purchase the supplies to do it on your own.  This year I split most of the crafts with a few other families so it was pretty inexpensive.  Almost all our crafts were $1 or less per child.

~  Another great place to look for craft activities is in the dollar section at Michaels.  I found quite a few of our craft activities or supplies there.  I stocked up on some of those dollar crafts to have as extra "just in case" type of activities.

~  My kids could hardly wait to read our devotional each day.  This series of advent books is awesome.  There is a great life lesson each day as well as the story.  

~  The activities can be simple.  They can be things you would normally do during Christmas or things you would like to do but don't always make time for because it is such a busy season.  The advent calendar ensures that I am intentional with my kids about the true meaning of Christmas, that we slow down and enjoy the season, and that we make time to do things in our community that we enjoy during the season.

~ Morgan's favorite advent activities: going to the nutcracker, making teacher gifts, and baking day

~  Mauryn's favorite advent activities: making baby Jesus, making teacher gifts, the homeschool party, and the hot chocolate stand

~ Advent is a time my kids look forward to each year.  They anxiously await the first of December to arrive so we can start our calendar.  Morgan, at age 11, looks forward to advent as much as her brother and sister.  Even activities I think are too simplistic or would be "boring" for her, she always seems to enjoy.

~  I do repeat some activities/crafts from year to year.  I do not invent 25 new things.  I try to mix things up from year to year.  I keep in some of our favorites and add in a few new things.  It makes my job planning a bit easier and the kids don't seem to mind a bit if we repeat something.  If we do repeat an activity I might try to change something about how we do it.  For example, last year the kids made stars using popsicle sticks or felt to sew and this year they painted a star.

~ I usually have a plan in my head of our day.  I learned, many times, that our days did not often go as I had planned.  I really worked on finding the joy in advent and not being stressed or frustrated with our day not going according to plan.  I learned to "punt" more this year and be okay with it.  I let the kids create on their own... giving them the guidelines for a craft at times and letting them take the lead.  I loved getting to see their little minds at work and seeing how each child tackled a project.

Thank you to those who have read and commented.  I hope you enjoyed this journey with us through the season of advent!


100 Joys Project - Part 3

I am linking up again with my friend Sarah for her 100 joys project.  You can read my first two parts here and here.

Joy is:

60.  eating cookies.
 61.  having neighbors who have become our family.
 62.  my boy wearing a glove on his hand to help him to stop sucking his thumb.
 63.  peppermint cake balls. please and thank you.
 64, 65, & 66.  a hot cup of candy cane lane tea in a cup my kids created and wrote a message for me.
 67.  my baby using a decorating tube as a microphone.
 68, 69, & 70.  playing Just Dance on the wii - laughing, singing, laughing, dancing, and laughing some more.

 71.  lefse.
 72.  my baby twirling in her pretty dress by the tree.
 73.  watching my boy read.
 74.  family movie night... including the dogs.
 75.  watching my kids snuggle together during their camp out.
 76.  celebrating Jesus' birthday!
 77.  Mauryn dressing her baby in an outfit similar to hers
 78 & 79.  getting results of Mauryn sleep study and knowing their is a solution.
80.  the way Mauryn says things like alligator for elevator or when she tells us things like "oh yeah baby", "sweet", "i nailed it", "oh rats" or her latest "don't even fink about it"
81.  playing hide and seek
 82.  having four of our teen girls for a Christmas break sleepover.
 83.  watching my kids open their gifts and seeing their excitement
84 & 85.  surprise guests showing up at our door on Christmas day night and launching candy {with a balloon launcher} into our house and yard.  my kids LOVED it!


Sleep Study Results

On Wednesday Mauryn and I met with her ENT to get the results from her sleep study.  Her sleep study showed that Mauryn does have sleep apnea.  She has 5 episodes an hour with up to 7 episodes when she is in REM sleep.  Her apnea is not severe but moderate enough that she falls into the guidelines to have her tonsils and adnoids removed to help improve her sleep.  

This Wednesday, little Miss Mauryn will be having surgery.  We have set out her favorite movies and went to the store to stock up on popsicles and ice cream.  Last week we went to visit Build a Bear to pick a new friend to take to the hospital {she was worried about taking her babies with her to the hospital... it was so sweet}.

Mauryn choose to make Clarice the reindeer
 stuffing Clarice
 clarice is finished
 now its time to give her a bath

I am not sure what Wednesday will hold but so far Mauryn has been very calm and matter of fact about her surgery.  We haven't seen too much drama yet, and I am very thankful!

We would appreciate any prayers for Mauryn going into surgery on Wednesday, for her recovery, and that she doesn't get sick before her surgery so it can happen as scheduled.  Mauryn started getting a bit of a cold on Thursday.  She has a runny nose and a little cough but isn't acting sick but I am not sure if that would be enough to keep her from surgery.  She has a few days to rest up and get well.


Advent: Day 25

This day is always a little bittersweet.  It is so exciting for Christmas to be here but also a little sad that this season is over.  I am thankful we had the time to slow down and focus on the season but the days still go by too quickly.

Activities:  open gifts

 celebrate Jesus' birthday... have a party with cupcakes and singing

Bible Verses:  John 3:16-18
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Luke 2:1-20
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Merry Christmas

For to us a child is born, 
   to us a son is given, 
   and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called 
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Just a little video of Mauryn sharing her Christmas verse.  
Wishing you and your families a very Merry Chrismtas.


The Arrival

He looks like anything but a king.  His face is prunish and red.  His cry, though strong and healthy is still  the helpless piercing cry of a baby.  And he is absolutely dependent upon Mary fro his well-being.

Majesty in the midst of the mundane.  Holiness in the filth of sheep manure and sweat. Divinity entering the world on the floor of a stable, through the womb of a teenager and in the presence of a carpenter.

She touches the face of the infant - God.  How long was your journey!

This baby had overlooked the universe. These rags keeping him warm were the robes of eternity.  His golden throne room had been abandoned in favor of a dirty sheep pen. And worshiping angels had been replaced with kind but bewildered shepherds.

Meanwhile, the city hums.  The merchants unaware that God has visited their planet.  The innkeeper would never believe that he had just sent God into the cold.  And the people would scoff at anyone who told them the Messiah lay in the arms of a teenager on the outskirts of their village.  They were all too busy to consider the possibility.

Those who missed His Majesty's arrival that night missed it not because of evil acts or malice; no, they missed it because they simply weren't looking.

Little has changed in the last two thousand years, has it?

** an excerpt from the chapter The Arrival in the book God Came Near by Max Lucado


Advent: Day 24

Lego Calendar: 

Activities:  make lefse
 go to the candlelight service at church
 open gifts under the bonus room tree {any gifts the kids receive from extended family or friends}
 put on new Christmas pajamas, watch the movie the Santa Claus and camp out by the bonus room tree

Bible Verses: Matthew 1:18-25
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”).
 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Luke 1:57-80
When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.
 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
   because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a horn
 of salvation for us
   in the house of his servant David
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
 salvation from our enemies
   and from the hand of all who hate us—
to show mercy to our ancestors
   and to remember his holy covenant,
 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
   and to enable us to serve him without fear
 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
   for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
   through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
   by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
   and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.


Advent: Day 23

Lego Calendar:

Activities:  paint wooden stars

i love how this simple activity shows each of my kids' individuality. 

once they dried i put them up on our mantel... a perfect addition

 assemble and decorate a gingerbread house... try not to eat all the candy before putting it on the house

Bible Verses: Hebrews 12:1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Luke 1:26-56
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.  Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

And Mary said:
   “My soul glorifies the Lord
 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
   of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
   holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
   from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
   he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
   but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
   but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
   remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
   just as he promised our ancestors.”

 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Good Old Saint Nick

Growing up, I think we had the perfect blend of Santa with the celebration of Jesus' birth.

Each year on Christmas Eve, shortly before dinner Santa would arrive carrying a black bag containing one toy per child.  Santa would hand out the toys and then make his way into our living room.  He would sit near the nativity scene and read the Christmas story from the bible.  Santa emphasized that Jesus was the real reason we celebrated Christmas.  We would sing Christmas carols ranging from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to Silent Night.

Some of my most treasured memories of childhood are of Christmas Eve.
When grandchildren entered the family, the tradition of Santa arriving on Christmas Eve continued for quite a few years.  In the same fashion Santa {same santa as when i was a child} would arrive shortly before dinner,
read the christmas story, sing carols, and hand out gifts.
I am not sure Morgan remembers this Christmas when Santa came to grandma's house but I loved seeing that tradition come full circle.

If you have read my blog in the past or even throughout this month you know that the emphasis in our home is on the birth of Jesus but our kids do believe in Santa.  They receive one gift from Santa on Christmas Day.  It is a tradition I wanted to continue because the spirit of St. Nicholas was giving and loving.  We did read about St. Nicholas this year and I find it quite funny that my two littlest ones now refer to Santa as Saint Nicholas.

When we still lived in Minnesota, our small town had a wonderful winter festival.  The kids could come and meet Santa. There were no long lines and it was quick and easy.  Since we moved I have not wanted to brave the mall for pictures with Santa and my kids have not asked to visit him so we have skipped it.

Last weekend Morgan had a Christmas party for her gymnastics team. Her coaches dressed up as Santa and Santa's elf.  I couldn't miss an opportunity to snap a Santa picture.  They were such good sports to let all the kids line up for pictures.

coach eduard as santa
morgan with her coaches
landon getting his turn
sassy being herself!

What are some of your favorite childhood memories of Christmas??