25 Days of Christmas

 

It seems this time of year you see a lot of fun things to do all month long to help kids enjoy the season.  It can be overwhelming.  Even the simple ideas are more than I care to do!  However, this is MY favorite season so I’ve started trying my hand doing the same.   Feel free to add you my ideas to your pile of ideas you collect when trolling the internet.

We just have one “special” thing for the day.  Most of the time it is super simple, as you will see.  Each night I look at what we have going on the next day and then I decide what our special activity will be.  This helps relieve some stress of having to plan too far in advance and then having it fall through.  I write our activity on a piece of paper, put it in a gift bag, and set it on the table.

Normally I start off December with the first few verses of Luke 2.  I post it on the wall.  Then periodically through out the month we will read more of the story and post it on the wall.  This way we get at least five days to stop and remind ourselves the real reason for celebrating Christmas.

There are some things that we will always do, like our annual Christmas cookie making day with the cousins and Guster’s birthday and birthday party.   We let each kid go Christmas shopping along with one of us to pick out what they want to get each other.   One day is going to the library and reading books (bonus if they are Christmas).

There are some bigger activities.  We like going to Bass Pro Shop to see the Christmas village and get a picture with Santa.  Or going to see some gingerbread displays or seeing a Christmas play.  These bigger activities depend on what is happening in a particular year.

Other traditions we have are looking at Christmas lights, watching a Christmas movie, and sleeping by the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.  Typically something will come up that fills in voids, like going to cousin’s violin concert or maybe a Christmas party.

Today was our first snow fall since Thanksgiving.  I knew it was suppose to snow (even though only a dusting) so I planned for a paper snowflake day and then we taped them to the window.

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We also have a day (or two) of making cookies or some goodies at home too.

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There are always loads of things to do when you start looking.  There are still some things on my list for another year, like seeing a live nativity and going ice skating.  I try not to do it all, just enjoy the moment. Don’t try to force any magic.  It will be magical just because it is Christmas time.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

Proud to be an American

This is a departure from how I normally do my blog, but bare with me.  It is, after all, July 4th!

Happy Independence Day to the USA! 

We started off the morning with pancakes and listening to patriotic music on youtube.  My favorite is still Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA“.    Here’s the chorus:

I’m proud to be an American
where at least I know I’m free,
And I won’t forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

I am an American, but I wasn’t born here and spent most of my growing up years in Asia.  This helped greatly to widen my worldview, but I also didn’t understand what it really means to be an American.  The country I grew up in was great and I don’t think everyone should want to be an American.  I hope that each is proud of their own country.

Since I am an American I have endeavored the last few years to understand what that means.  This is taking the form of relearning USA history and learning what are American liberties.   It has also taken the form of understanding why it is tradition to put your hand over your heart during the Nation Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance.  When I was in fourth grade I did live in America and every single day of school one student was called to the principals office to lead the Pledge of Allegiance over the intercom.  I remember my turn!  When did this stop?  Why did this stop?  I want to give a shout out to my friends who own an ice cream shop in Laveen,Arizona.  During the month of July they give a free cone to every kid who comes in and recites the Pledge of Allegiance.  For those who don’t know it or have forgotten:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all

Increasing I’ve noticed the majority of people do not put their hand over their heart during the Nation Anthem anymore.  Why is that?  I looked up the United States Flag Code.*   This states that all persons (those in uniform have other policies) should “stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart” during the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance.  Why show respect to a flag?  To a piece of material?  It is a symbol of the USA.  No matter my opinion of a current president, or those in government positions, or policies and current USA events I can stand behind the United States of America as a country.  It is still a great place to live.

I love the celebrations of July 4th and how, at least for one day, we are unified.  Tomorrow we can pick up our torches of political differences to push for the United States of America we believe will continue to be great.  Have a fun and safe day!

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*It is code, not law.  Therefore there is no penalty for not following the code.

Merry Christmas 2013

One of the favorite of our December activities has been the nativity story.  I printed off a copy of Luke 2 and cut up the passage into five sections as well as John 3:16.  They eagerly looked forward to the day they would get the next installment of the story and wanted me to read from the beginning each time.

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After we had finished the story I had pictures for them to color and then told them the rest of the story with the magi.

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Hope you all have a Merry Christmas as you enjoy each other and remember the birth of our Savior.

Better To Give Than Receive

This is our first year to have the girls “buy” presents for their siblings.  I have  wanted to do this before but never got around to it, until this year when Kiki started talking about what she wanted to get everyone else.

I took each girl out separately to go shopping and also a treat since we do not get out one on one very often.  I had so much fun spending time with them and seeing their individual personalities.

They enjoyed picking out gifts, but even more I think they are enjoying telling the others they will be excited by the surprise.

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Delicious Tradition

What is it about Christmas time that makes one want to bake (and eat) lots of cookies?  This new concept was introduced to me after I married into my hubby’s family.   Now, ten years later, we not only making cookies together with the cousins,

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but we also take another day to make our own!

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