Red and White

I chose red and white for our decorating theme this year.

Last year it was red, gold and green. So since I didn't have alot of white stuff yet, we got to make several different kinds of ornaments for the tree.
The boys had lots of fun doing SALT dough ornaments. I used a recipe from my mom's collection.
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cup boiling water
3 1/2 - 4 cups flour
it suggested blending the salt to powder in a blender, but I didn't want to take the time to do that. Add salt to boiling water and cool to room temp. Add flour and knead til smooth ad workable. And you can seperate it into small batches and add food coloring (gel I think). But I just wanted white. Or you can leave them white and then paint them, which is what we will be doing with the christmas trees we cut out. We used star cookie cutters. Some didn't turn out because we didn't make the hole to hang them as ornaments big enuf. So we'll have to do better next year.

I also made several kinds of paper ornaments. I couldn't get the boys to help much with those though, so I didn't get many done, but just enuf that our tree looks good this year :)

I picked the red and white for 2 reasons.
1) because THOMAS LOVES the candy canes.
and 2) to help me remember the scripture in Isaiah 1:18
though our sins be scarlet they can be white as snow

Christ centered Christmas

Using several different hands on/interactive nativities and activities for the boys to do is how I have been able to keep our tradition of a Christ Centered Christmas. It helps me have a wonderful spirit and attitude this time of year.

This year I got out a "new" nativity that the boys are enjoying.
It's a traditional German Christmas Pyramid. I am glad that my parents thought to get one just for me, when we lived overseas.

On the top are the angels with trumpets to announce the christ child. The middle tier has the shepherds and their flock. The bottom has the 3 wisemen and the poor donkey, with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in the center.
It's supposed to work with candles all around the base. The heat from the candles would rise and make the carousel turn. When I was young, we lived in Germany, and my family used several different kinds of candles for celebrating the advent, but when we had a candle wreath catch fire, we decided that we no longer needed to use the candles, just to be safe :)

I got this Fisher Price Nativity when Thomas was 2. I like that they can touch it and interact with it. Last year I had lots of issues with baby Jesus being treated poorly and thrown around the room, but this year, they are doing really well with it.

We watched the Animated Nativity (from Living scriptures) for our Family Home Evening last week. As each new character was being introduced, they boys automatically associated them with the toy nativity characters. Their favorite this year is the donkey. The toy donkey has a cart with food. So when Joespeh put some saddle bag type thing over the donkey's back and started to lead the way to Bethlehem in the movie, Grayson was concerend "where is his cart and his food, Mama?" Thomas hopped out of his chair and pushed the angel on the top of the stable when the angel appeared to the shepherds in the show. And I haven't been able to get the 3 Wisemen set of the toys (they cost another $25) - so when the wisemen came, the boys were not as connected to this part of the story. But we did make a big deal out of the gifts that they brought, and explained that it's great when we give gifts to others as well, and they liked that.

Christmas Bedtime stories

We are really enjoying a new tradition this year.
I took all of the christmas books I have collected over the past couple of years, and I wrapped them up, and put them under the tree. The boys take turns picking one book each night. They get to unwrap it and we read it for their bedtime story. I had 12 books already, and I have ordered 4 more from Scholastic thru Thomas's school. They haven't arrived yet, so we are down to our last book tonight (for now).
I decided to start on Dec 1. eventhough we didn't have 24 books, cuz I figure we can just reread them for a while, cuz honestly these stories are all so great!
You may recall that we do not do santa at our house. So a few of the books are just generic "christmasy", but most of them are retellings of the Nativity. I LOVE hearing Grayson talk about "baby Jesus", as we meet him in each story. :)


snail mail...

Last year I decided I didn't want to send christmas cards, just to save myself the hassle and pressure.
This year, I WANT to send christmas cards, and I feel the pressure to do it, but being a card maker, I feel anxiety that I have to make cards that have to be amazing and perfect. Today was supposed to be my card making day, and I got a start on them, but just wasn't happy with anything I came up with.
So hopefully before this christmas season is over, I will have found just the right combo, and get my cards sent out.


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!

around 3:30ish the itty bitty, teensie weensie, tiny snow started to fall.

By dark, we got a cute little SKIFF of white. It makes everything look completely Christmasy!

I enjoyed watching it come down, all bundled up in a blanket, near my fireplace, listening to Pandora internet radio play nonstop christmas music.

Hurray! It's December!

the start of Dec. means for me - "Journal Your Chistmas" - a fabulous online class to help me scrapbook, keep memories, and make the most out of my christmas season. Last year was my first try - after signing up for the class, it's a lifetime "membership", and I now look forward to doing it year after year.

I will be doing the same thing I did last year. I will blog each day, then later when I have the time, I will create a christmas scrapbook to include all the thoughts, pictures and precious memories.