Advent Calendar and Activities

30 11 2010

Inspired by several advent calendars on the web (several on The Crafty Crow, and in particular this one from The Artful Parent), I decided to make one for us.  I wanted one that could be re-used though, plus I have fabric and an inclination to sew things so this is what I did:


It didn’t come out quite like I had in mind but I’m happy with it nonetheless.  The ornaments are 2 layers of felt and are all attached by snaps, which I have lots of and need to use up.  BB and I decorated the round ones with glitter glue, and the rest are supposed to be a string of lights. 

Now I am working on a list of activities, and each day, BB will have to find the date (good practice identifying numbers!) and on the back will be our activity for the day.  I’m doing them just on little dot stickers:


This is my list, which is a working document.  I decided against putting them all up at once, because some, like taking a winter hike, will be weather dependent, and others, like driving at night to see the lights, will be dependent on someone not waking up so early he barely lasts till sunset. 

Advent activities:

  1. Put up decorations
  2. Park avenue holiday open house, 5pm onward
  3. Make a garland
  4. Christmas party
  5. Set up our tree.
  6. Decorate our own wrapping paper.
  7. Candlelight night in Pittsford 4pm onwards
  8. Make pinecone ornaments for the birds and hang outside.
  9. Bake gingerbread house.
  10. .  Assemble and decorate gingerbread house.
  11. .  Holly Trolley
  12. . Make Christmas gifts.
  13. . Write a letter to Santa.
  14. . Decorate ornaments.
  15. . Decorate and sew pillows as gifts (using Pentel fabric crayons).
  16. . Make snowflake window decorations.
  17. . Make candy cane playdough.
  18. . Go for a winter nature hike.
  19. . Play games and drink hot chocolate.
  20. . Bake Christmas cookies.
  21. . Invite a couple friends over to decorate cookies.
  22. . Make popcorn and watch a Christmas movie together.
  23. . Go for a drive to look at Christmas lights.
  24. . Christmas Eve Service
  25. . Make pumpkin waffles with whipped cream for Christmas breakfast.
  • Head to the library to pick out some Christmas books.
  • Build a nativity set. 
  • Bake gingerbread men
  • Take donation to Lollypop Farms (humane society)
  • Buy a toy for a toy drive. 

I put up just a few activities to get us started tomorrow, and then I’ll be working on the list as we go and putting up more activities on the tree.  I would really like to do more activities that focus on giving to others, as well as those that help understand the meaning of Christmas, which I have done a terrible job of so far.  We read a story by Frank McCourt called Angela and the Baby Jesus, and now BB is asking all these random questions like “Why didn’t the baby Jesus have a blanket?  Will baby Jesus be coming here for his birthday?”  Um, what?  In general I am not very good at explaining things on a three-year-old’s level and this one is really tricky.  If anyone knows some good books, by all means, let me know!  I love the idea of activities for every day, because it really emphasizes presence over presents.  If you haven’t seen it before, check out Advent Conspiracy; I think it’s one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard:

Link to video because I can’t figure out how to embed! Gah!

Fall Crafts

28 11 2010

With the leaves gone from the trees and the snow starting to fall, we are officially moving into winter, and I’m putting away our fall decorations.  I have never been one to decorate for seasons, but I have to admit that it was fun to come up with these projects and the house looks nice with them up, so we’ll probably do similar activities in the future.  Our first project we started in October and finally finished about a month later.  It was a three-part activity:


First, we colored coffee filters with fall-colored watercolors.  Then, later (much, much later, weeks, maybe?), we cut up the coffee filters to to make our “dry leaves”.  I thought it would be good cutting practice for BB, but he was really struggling with it and got bored quickly, so I did a lot of the cutting myself.  Then our dry leaves got to hang out for a while until we finally got to the last part, making a tree on contact paper:


That part was easy and BB really got into it.  I cut out a tree trunk, placed it on the sticky side of contact paper, and we added our leaves.  The end result was a very cheerful window hanging!

I saw various leaf garlands floating around the internet and decided to give it a try.  We picked up leaves on a walk around the neighborhood and I ironed them in between wax paper (more ironing than I’ve done in months), which flattened them and theoretically gave them a bit of a protective coating.  Then I braided some yarn and BB and I stuck the leaves into the braid and secured them with a dab of glue.  All in all, it was a TON of work.  Braiding yards of yarn is not as easy as it sounds, and hot glue would have been much better, but not with a 3 year old around.  Also, the leaves were really brittle, so it was hard for him to do without breaking them.  So, not a really fun kid project, but I really liked how it looks. 


Last but not least, we made these goofy little turkeys for thanksgiving. 


BB named his “Gus the firefly” and his eyes repeatedly fell off (he has one eye missing here). 

I am hoping to be more intentional (and organized) about the projects we do from now on so in true Type A form, I am making a list.  Haha!  We’ll see how that goes.  It can’t be much worse than our random approach these last few months!

The trouble with slacking off on the blog…

21 11 2010

…is that I have no idea how to succinctly recap what’s been going on.  So I will use a slew of pictures.  Ready?  Since the end of KCWC we have:

Learned to walk!


Sewed a few things (yes, I finally tried a 90 minute shirt!  More on that later.):


Made cute food:


Enjoyed fall, it was too brief:


Gone to visit my parents in scenic Delaware:


Flown to California to visit the other side of the family, just in time for Halloween:


Visited Disneyland:


And turned 1!


So, you can see it’s been a busy time for us!  I can’t believe my baby is one already, I mean, it just blows me away.  We had a blast celebrating with family out in the land of warmth and sunshine.  It was hard to come back, but that’s life.  I’m making a concerted effort to get more organized, so whether that will lead to peace of mind and oodles of free time to craft and blog, or if I will spend all my free time organizing, time will tell.  I have some projects that I’ve been wanting to post but haven’t had time, and blogging tends to be a good kind of vicious cycle where I feel more motivated to finish projects so I have something to post.  I have just now caught up on the blogs I follow, and (fingers crossed) I am looking forward to getting back to posting more regularly!  (Famous last words, right?  Especially before the holidays, yikes.  Well, bring on the madness!)