Sunday, December 21, 2014

To be continued?

I'm way behind on these advent posts.  And I feel like they are possibly the most boring blog posts ever to be written.  I may not finish sharing them all.

Perhaps I need to make a resolution to be a better blogger in 2015??

Friday, December 19, 2014

December 13: Drive around and look at Christmas lights

Again, no pictures.

The plan was to drive to Peoria to see their Holiday Lights display.  But then we heard that on the weekends people were sometimes waiting in line for HOURS just get into the park and see the disply.  Considering that it would take three hours of driving time just to get there and back, we didn't figure it was worth that much time in the car.

Instead, we found a local park that had a newly set up display of lights.  We drove through, the girls oohed and awed at the lights, Santa met us at the end with candy canes, and then we went home.

December 12: Christmas Party

Tonight we had our small group Christmas party.  And a group of people from our church were hosting a babysitting night to raise money for an upcoming mission trip.  It worked out perfectly for us...all of our small group could send their kids to the babysitting night allowing us to have a kids free party!

So the girls went to their "party" with the babysitters, while Daniel and I joined our friends for a fun night celebrating Christmas.

It was a good time, but I failed at taking any pictures at all.

December 11: Sing Christmas Carols

The idea for this night was for me to play the piano, and everyone else could sing a long.  Sounds like a nice Christmas-y thing to do with our musical family, right?

Yeah, it really wasn't a hit.  Isla danced around a little, but Audrey didn't really want to sing.

Then I thought Audrey could play the piano while we sang, since she has learned how to play a few Christmas songs this year.  But then Audrey messed up on one of her songs, and our little perfectionist got upset.  And that was the end of the Shelton family Christmas carol night.

Maybe we will try again next year.  Or maybe not!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December 10: Snowball Fight!

We didn't have real snow, but we made our own with rolled up socks and wads of paper.  The girls thought it was great fun!

(Notice Isla's leg!  Her boot was removed the day before, and her leg is pretty much all better now!  She is walking with a  little limp, which is supposed to be normal.  It is SO nice to have both of her legs back in working function!!)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 9: Picnic Dinner by the Christmas Tree

Tonight we had a picnic dinner in front of the Christmas tree.  We did this last year, and I made a Christmas themed meal as our dinner.  Simplicity seems to be the theme for our advent celebrations this year.  We just simply spread a blanket on the floor by the Christmas tree and ate our dinner on it.  It's fun for the girls either way.

(I may do a whole post on our Christmas trees.  But this is the one that holds all of our sentimental and handmade ornaments.  I let the girls decorate it all by themselves this year.  Can you tell?  I think Isla was determined to make sure every single bottom branch all the way around the tree had an ornament hanging on it!!)

December 8: Drink Hot Chocolate

For an after school snack today, the girls got to drink hot chocolate...with marshmallows!  Except their hot chocolate was more like lukewarm chocolate, because they really don't like it when it is hot.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December 7: Write a Christmas Story

Audrey is learning about how to write stories at school.  She is also learning about writing sentences and sounding out words.  So I thought we could make our advent activity a little educational this time, and put all those things together to write a Christmas story book.

At school, Audrey has learned that stories need to have a beginning, middle and end.  So we talked about what kind of Christmas story we could write and decided on opening presents.  They also encourage the kindergartners at school to use brave spelling, which means to try to sound out words and write down whatever letters they think might be in the word.  The goal is for the kids to attempt to spell words on their own, not necessarily to spell them correctly.  So I helped Audrey sound out the words, and she wrote them all with her brave spelling by herself.  Here is her book!
Translation:  What I want for Christmas.  She also labeled all the pictures (I guess that is something else they learn at school?):  star, Christmas tree, presents, and carpet.

Translation:  I saw presents.

Translation:  I opened my presents.

Translation:  I saw a Glitter Glider Castle.  (this is the main thing on Audrey's Christmas wish list, and we did buy it for her, so I think she will be excited to see her story come true!)

Isla also made a book  of her own.   Her pages are a bit more random.  

The person in the above picture is Doc McStuffins.  Isla drew the head, then she wanted me to draw her body, then Isla colored her.

Isla also wanted me to draw a Christmas tree on this page.

December 6: Make a Gingerbread House

I bought a premade gingerbread house for the girls to decorate.  Someday it might be fun to make one from scratch, but then again, maybe not.  It is so very easy to buy one (pre assembled!) in a box.  I didn't even get any extra candy or anything to decorate our house.  We just used exactly what was in the box and kept it simple.  I let the girls decorate it however they wanted, so we definitely weren't striving for perfection!

Here is the finished product!

Isla really got into decorating. Audrey was done after a few minutes, but Isla was determined to put every piece of candy on the house.

December 5: Buy a New Ornament

Daniel had missed out on all the advent fun so far, so I sent him out with the girls on a mission to let them each pick out one new Christmas ornament for our day 5 activity.  Both Audrey and Isla have a special box where they get to keep their "own" ornaments.  Growing up, we always got to have our own box of ornaments, and I remember it fondly.  I thought it would be fun to let the girls pick their own ornament to add to their box this year!

They went to Hobby Lobby, because they have a huge selection of ornaments for fairly cheap.  I was kind of surprised by what the girls ended up choosing for themselves!

Isla picked this window ornament.  She was amazed by it because it has a mirror on it.  She also refuses to hang it on the tree.  She wants to keep it in her room instead.

Audrey picked out this fancy leopard print dress ornament.  I was surprised that she didn't pick something pink!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

December 4: Peter Pan Live

This one really didn't have anything to do with Christmas, but it was something that I knew the girls would enjoy.

We watched Peter Pan Live on NBC.

My girls love Peter Pan (the stage musical, not so much the Disney movie).  They saw it at the Muni once, and they love all of the songs.  Isla, especially, has always loved Peter Pan.

All day long, they kept talking about watching Peter Pan Live.  If I said something about watching Peter Pan, they were both quick to correct me that we were watching "Peter Pan LIVE."  The "live" part was important to them, even though they didn't really understand what it meant.

I didn't let them stay up to watch the whole show, but they did enjoy the hour and a half that I let them watch.  It was on Hulu the next day, so then they got to finish the whole movie.

December 3: Angel Tree

I made it two whole days into my advent calendar blogging, and then I missed three days.  I'm so good at this.  =)

To catch up...

On December 3, our activity was to pick out ornaments from the Angel Tree at Isla's school.  Each of the girls got to pick one.  The ornaments had a number on it, then we had to go to the office and find out what we were supposed to buy with our number, something from a needy kid's wish list.  Then we will buy those items, wrap them up, return them to school and they will be given to kids in need this Christmas.  I want my kids to embrace the idea that it is better to give than to receive.  They don't quite get that idea yet, but hopefully someday it will sink in if we continue to emphasize the joy and importance of giving to others.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December 2: Christmas Dance Party

For today's Advent activity, we had a Christmas dance party.  This was an easy one with no prep involved.  Perfect for a night when I taught until 7:00 and Daniel had a 7:00 meeting.

I had some glow sticks that I bought a long time ago at the Dollar store, so I got them out to surprise the girls.  The glow sticks ended up not working very well, but the girls still liked them.

We turned off all the lights in the house except the Christmas tree, turned up the music and had fun dancing.  For about 15 minutes, until I insisted that our dance party must end due to bedtime.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1: Play a Christmas Game

It's December 1...time to break out our Advent calendar!  I'm going to try to blog about each day this year to help revive this little blog of mine.

On each day in December leading up to Christmas, everyone gets a little piece of candy and then there is a Christmas themed activity for us all to do that day.  I made a new calendar last year using a shoe organizer, and it was so easy to make and so easy to set up each year!

December is such a crazy month and adding activities to each day sometimes seems a little crazy.  There are definitely days when it is really stressful to try to fit in an extra Christmas activity.  There are also days when the activity doesn't go as planned, or when two little girls don't have a good attitude about the activity.  However, there are other days, when everything does go as planned.  And we all have fun and enjoy celebrating Christmas together.  By the end of the month, the good days always outweigh the bad.  And so I keep doing it every year!

It's going to be a little trickier this year, as Audrey is now in school all day, every day.  I teach piano three afternoons a week after school, which only leaves us with a little bit of time for dinner, bath and bedtime.  Our free time is much more limited than it ever has been, but I am determine that we can make it work!  And keep the stress level to a minimum, if possible.

So tonight, we played a Christmas game.  My girls love to play any kind of board game, so I knew this would be a crowd pleaser.  I found this nativity dice game on pinterest and printed it for us to play.  It was a hit!!

And for fun, here's a throwback to the first year we did an Advent calendar in 2010.  Look at that little Audrey!