Advent Mania

I’ve been reading so many fun blogs about different advent traditions (I’ll link up to my favorites at the bottom of this post) and it’s gotten me thinking of the intricate advent extravaganza we have going on over here. It’s something that’s grown over the 11 years we’ve had kids…starting off small and getting bigger with every new kid we add into the mix.

But one thing is sure…we start off with the same advent calendar drawers that I think I picked up from Costco a long time ago.
advent calendar

It opens up…
advent

to showcase a bunch of painted drawers. Ah! So cute and happy!
advent calendar

In those drawers I put a piece of candy for each kid in a random drawer. I also tuck away pieces of paper throughout the boxes, with little instructions on them. Things like–

* let’s all sing your favorite christmas carol!
* let’s learn about a new christmas song! (this year, we’ve read about where ‘Silent Night’, ‘Carol of the Bells’, and ‘O Holy Night’ originated from, and how long people have been singing them)
* let’s read a christmas book (from our stash of christmas books from my mom…thanks gamma!)
* let’s play a family game!
* let’s act out the Nativity!
* let’s make and decorate sugar cookies!
* let’s drink some deluxe hot chocolate!

advent calendar

The kids take turns picking a drawer to open, and each get one piece of candy if they find it, or share a piece of candy if they’ve already found one. We usually only do one activity, the first one that’s found, and save the rest for the other nights.

I love doing this with our family, in the glow of the christmas tree lights. And other than the organization of making sure I’m prepared for the different activities, I don’t have to spend a dime! The bite sized candy comes right out of the halloween stash that’s still lingering, and everything else is stuff we have around here. Although I do look for new games to play as a family when I notice clearance or great deals (Sears just has…is still having???…a wonderful sale on board games) and save them up for the advent season…but I don’t count that as spending anything because I’ve already spent it well before now. (See how awesome my budgeting skillz are?!)

Here are a few other fun ideas from the blogosphere:

The Happy Living Blog with an assorted compilation of advent calendar ideas from different companies.
Betz White with pictures of the cutest homemade advent calendar idea ever, from one of the cutest felted wool craftswomen ever!
Soule Mama with her adorable stocking advent extravaganza!
Kerflop has a cute envelope advent calendar going on.

Snow? What snow?

In anticipation of the snowstorm on it’s way here tomorrow, I’m going deep undercover and pretending it’s summer again. Pretty sad, considering it’s not ever officially winter yet…but I’m a cold weather wimp. So, I’m reminiscing about the trip to Minnesota I took with my kids, my mom, and my sister’s 4 kids.

Warm weather + cold lake = happiness!

Good day:

Great day:

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