Christmas at our house isn't about elves that spy on you or flying reindeer. It's not about a fat guy coming down the chimney leaving lots of toys in exchange for good behavior and cookies with milk. Our Christmas is a huge celebration of Jesus. We celebrate Jesus' birth, His life, and the death on the cross for which He was born. We want our kids to know that we owe everything to Him and without Jesus there would be no reason for the season. Yes, we decorate for Christmas and our kids do get presents (more than they need really). As they get older, we do fight the "greed monster" this time of year as they make their wish list. Ultimately, we want them to learn more about the blessing of giving than getting. We want our kids to know that we give because we've been given soooo much because of Jesus. I hope your Christmas season will be filled with the real star of Christmas and that just like the wise men long ago, you will continue to seek Jesus and worship Him.
Mom made extra dough for yeast rolls on Thanksgiving. So today we took a little out rolled out individual pizza crust, grilled them in a skillet, topped them and baked them in the oven. My yeast roll crust was topped with gravy for the sauce, turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. Yum! It's like all of Thanksgiving in one bite. A good way to use leftovers in my opinion.
We feel so blessed to have had my parents and my sister and her family here for Thanksgiving this year. It was our first time to host my side of the family for Thanksgiving. I was thankful the food was good and I didn't ruin the turkey and Stanley was thankful he didn't have to drive home afterward. The boys were thrilled to have cousins to play with. With love we give thanks for our family this Thanksgiving.
We usually try to take one holiday at a time around here. We've been busy getting ready for Thanksgiving this week, but soon after the turkey's gone Advent season begins. Why not make an advent calendar with the kids as a project while they're out of school and begging for something to do? Advent is the beginning of the Christmas season and means "coming or arrival" of our newborn King Jesus. Last year we made our advent calendar from a make-your-own box of boxes from Hobby Lobby. We decorated with colorful scrapbook paper and numbers printed from the computer. On the back of the drawer we printed out a nativity picture from the computer and cut it out to fit over the boxes so that as we turn the boxes around each day it makes the picture. We fill our boxes with scripture and a small trinket or candy that goes along with the Christmas story. This year I found a wonderful website that has tons of free downloads and ideas for celebrating the advent season with your family. Here are some ideas of things to put in your advent boxes to teach about Jesus from TeachingMom.com
Here is a list of small gifts you can give as you countdown to Advent:
1. Quarter--A quarter! That equals 25 cents. But 25 also stands for the number of days till Christmas, when God gave us His best present. Jesus told about one woman's gift and the way she gave it. Read: Mark 12:41-44
2. Grape Gum or Candy--Grapes make jelly and juice, raisins and wine. But Jesus didn't need grapes to perform His first miracle. Read: John 2:1-10
3. Smiley Face--Here's a smile! A smile usually expresses happiness. Jesus gave us many instructions to keep us happy. Read: Matthew 5:1-12.
4. Swedish Fish candy--Well, if you were surprised to find these fish, wait till you read the story today! Others were surprised to find fish, too. Read: Luke 5:4-7.
5. Birthday Candle--As you know, we are getting ready to celebrate Jesus' birthday. However, Jesus talked about something else that is related to this candle. Light! Read: Matthew 5:14-16.
6. Small Bell--You could make some noise with this. But it would not have bothered a certain man--until he met Jesus. Read: Mark 7:31-37.
7. Goldfish Crackers--These would not go very far if you were really hungry! But Jesus could make much out of little. Surely He knew how to multiply! Read: Matthew 14:13-21.
8. Cotton Balls--These cotton balls would be helpful in a thunder storm, wouldn't they? We could use them for ear plugs to muffle the loud noises that thunder makes. But we know someone who doesn't need cotton. Jesus can control the weather. Read: Matthew 8:23-27.
9. Piece of Map--People needing to use the other parts of this map are in trouble! Don't you get lost today! Read: John 14:1-6.
10. Soap--Do you like to wash? Behind your ears? Washing turned out to be a happy time for a man who met Jesus. Read: John 9:1-7.
11. Heart Candy or Sticker--Hearts. Wordlessly, they speak of love, don't they? Jesus spoke some commands about love. Read: Matthew 25:17-41.
12. Small Cross--We use the cross as a symbol, representing Jesus. Do you know why? Read: Phillipians 2:1-11.
13. Packet of Salt--Ordinary salt. Yes, Jesus related salt to us and our behavior. He also gave us some advice. Read: Matthew 5:14 and Colossians 4:6. (Notice that He doesn't recommend pepper!).
14. Sand--Don't try to eat this! It's sand. It reminds us that Jesus knows something about architecture, about buildings--and building lives. See His instructions: Matthew 7:24-29.
15. Silk Flowers--Flowers are pretty, aren't they? Jesus used flowers to teach us a reassuring lesson. Read: Matthew 6:28-34.
16. Raisins--Raisins! Many children are given raisins instead of candy for a snack. That's because they are a health-promoting and delicious fruit. Jesus told us how we can produce good fruit. Read: John 15:1-5.
17. Seeds--Jesus told a story about seeds that man planted. Then He explained it, revealing its deep meaning. Read: Matthew 13:3-8 and Matthew 13:18-23.
18. Christmas Carol--Christmas is just about a week away. And here is an appropriate song. Sing it loudly! Read: Psalms 100.
19. Rock--A hard stone! Can you change this stone into a piece of bread? Do you think Jesus could? Jesus was asked to do just that. Do know how He handled it? Read: Matthew 4:1-4.
20. Crumpled Foil--Try to smooth out this piece of aluminum foil and use it as a mirror. It's hard to see your reflection plainly, isn't it? Many circumstances are hard to understand, but someday everything will be clear. Read: 1 Corinthians 13:12.
21. Mustard Seed (or packet of mustard)--The mustard seed is the smallest there is! When it sprouts, it grows into one of the largest plants! See what Jesus said. Read: Matthew 17:20.
22. Dove--We've learned that the cross represents Christ, but do you know what the dove stands for? Read: Matthew 3:13-17.
23. Scrap of Wool Material--The threads that compose this fabric came from the wool of a sheep. Jesus called Himself the good shepherd. Do you know who His sheep are? Read: John 10:7-18.
25. Picture of Baby--Isn't this baby cute? When he was born, he made a whole family happy. Jesus was born a baby, too. He came to make the whole world happy. Read: Luke 2:1-20. Enjoy your celebration today. Continue to learn about Jesus--and love Him forever! *This comes from www.daniellesplace.com (among other places on the web)
You can also get scripture references for each day, learn about the history of Advent, and read a bunch of ideas for calendars, wreaths, paper chains, and more on this website. If you're not into the whole box, gift of the day idea you could use a wreath or small Christmas tree decorated with cutouts of pictures from old Christmas cards to tell the Christmas story through pictures. Whatever you choose, remember to celebrate JESUS as the real reason for the season!
This Thanksgiving we will have a new something for our house to be thankful for. Stanley found this old door and enlisted help from friends at church to build a base for it out of scrap angle-iron metal and cut the door to fit the frame. He painted the base antique bronze and cleaned the door and then ordered glass to fit on top. It turned out to be a beautiful addition to our home. It's so us - old and new, recycled, full of history. Best of all I can't wait to have friends and family gather around it for a meal. My parents and sister's family are all coming for Thanksgiving and it will be great for a feast. Thank you Stanley!
Cooler weather has finally reached the deep south. I said cooler (than 90) not cold (it's still in the 70's). Thanks to Pinterest, I've been motivated to do a little decorating for Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday!
Also finally made new curtains for the master bath window.
We had the Dorrell family come for a visit as they were passing through this week and the kids LOVED having friends to play with. They were so sad when they had to leave. I didn't make many pictures but this one just says it all. Elijah really enjoyed playing in our dirt pile under the swing set. So much fun!!! Come back to see us soon!
Last weekend our more adventurous younger son dislocated his elbow. This resulted in a trip to urgent care where they promptly popped it back into joint and rewarded him with a Popsicle and a certificate for a free beta fish from the Pet Shop. Yeah. The free fish turned into a $25 trip to the pet store for a tank, all the supplies and of course, a fish for big brother as well. So far so good. The red one got named "Cherry" because it's red, and big brother named his "Hairy" because it rhymes.
Thank you to Zoar Baptist Church for providing a church-wide effort to reach out to the community in such a family friendly way. We enjoyed the Harvest Festival last night with our boys and had a great time.