Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve Party

Last year we planned our at-home "party". Other year's we just winged it, which usually meant I slept through a movie and tried to wake up to watch the ball drop. This year, I'm recycling a lot of what we did last year, like lighting a candle for each remaining hour at the beginning of our celebration. We blow one out on the hour until midnight. The games were fun and the activities are great to build on, they were goal oriented or reflected on the passing year. I also found a new game or two to add to the mix. My favorite one is Volley Balloon. I found it on the Family Fun website. That's where I found quite a few games last year too

I hope you kick off the New Year in a fun and meaningful way with the ones you love!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Next Year's Ornaments

I promise this will be the last post on ornaments for at least 11 months! But I've planned next year's ornaments. We'll paint the original wooden shapes I bought this year. I found them when I was cleaning up the wrapping station. So maybe some good will come from this year's frustration, I'll be more organized next year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hubby's Ornament

This year even my hubby made an ornament. In fact, we gave them to our family and neighbors this year to wish them a merry Christmas. I guess the idea of an ornament was mine, the design was Monica's and hubby programed the machine and did all the work. I don't think he has ever been so excited about giving gifts to his extended family and friends.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ornaments, Take Two

It's took us an unusually long time to complete this year's ornaments. As I wrote about earlier, we tried the dried apples that turned brown. So I decided to try something different. I had a few cute paper ornament ideas, but I was concerned about their ability to stay cute for years. Trying to find another idea just added to my already frazzled Christmas preparations, emphasizing my step backward in being organized and prepared for the holiday.

I finally decided to get wooden, pre-cut shapes from the craft store. We had done these a couple of years ago, but they were cute and the kiddos had fun making them. Unfortunately, when I had an hour to paint them, I couldn't find them!

After another errand, we picked up more and the kiddos chose their own shapes. Two or three days before Christmas, we finally finished our ornaments. How sad that I can't even remember which day. I'm glad we had a good time and have ornaments for 2009! I'm planning our ornaments now for next year to save precious time next year :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Drawer #24

Can you believe it's Christmas Eve already? I always say Christmas is my favorite holiday, but actually its Christmas Eve. Its the celebration (and food) of Christmas at the height of the excitement and anticipation! And for our family, the focus is on the Savior.

Today's drawer is the same as it is every Christmas Eve, "Christmas pageant". That is actually just part of our Christmas Eve tradition. We start off with an early dinner. This year we're trying something different. Our neighbor provided us with a beautiful roast and everyone chose a side dish to go with it. The meal is a little random, but its good to have everyone involved. Next, we watch "Forgotten Carols", and then perform our pageant. We finish off the night by sprinkling reindeer food in the front yard, drinking cocoa and putting cookies on a plate for Santa, we include some carrots for the reindeer too to go along with the oats sprinkled in the front yard. Each person chooses a cookie to leave for Santa. Sometimes we open a present from a grandparent, but not always.

I hope you have enjoyed our advent drawer tradition with us. Have a merry and joyful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Drawer #23

Today's drawer is "Temple lights". The temple is lit up every year with an amazing number of lights. They also have nightly concerts. This year we're bringing cocoa to drink as we walk around enjoying the lights and the feeling of Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Drawer #22

Today's drawer is "Gifts to Jesus". Every December we have a Family Home Evening lesson about gifts. We end the lesson by reading last year's gifts to Jesus. I encourage the kiddos to choose a gift they want to work on until next Christmas, write it on a piece of paper and put it in the Christmas Jar. We leave the jar out all year and make time to read through the gifts a few times throughout the year, to keep us motivated on working on them.

I was very happy with how well I did on last year's gift. I chose to write in my journal every week. I don't quite get to it daily, but I do it most days a week; and I've built journal time into our nightly routine, so the kiddos are writing in their journals most nights too!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Drawer #21

Today's drawer is our annual Christmas feast with our totally awesome neighbor! Every year, she spoils us with good food, generous gifts and most of all, her wonderful company. She is such a good example of generosity, that the kids decided to shower her with 12 days of gifts. We've exercised our creative muscles trying to come up with just the right ones. Saturday's might have been the most creative. We cut out cool paper snowflakes and taped them all over her front screen when she was gone.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Drawer #20

Today's drawer activity is non-"Christmas"y. We are having Ben's birthday dinner. I think it's important to give those people whose birthdays are around Christmas a birthday celebration, not just a combo birthday/Christmas gift.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Paper Plate Snowmen

We went back to our paper plate ways and whipped up these cute snowmen.

We used paper plates (obviously), construction paper, an assortment of scrap booking shapes, and I pulled out some my button stash. Once again, the outcome was extremely varied from person to person!

Drawer #19

Today's drawer says "Christmas Lights". Tonight after it gets dark, we'll take a walk around the neighborhood and admire the sights of the season!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Drawer #18

Today's drawer is another word game! It's from Activity Village again. Here's the link if you need it. They also had an easier one on their site under Christmas puzzles.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Drawer #17

Today's drawer contains a word game. How many words can you make from the letters in "Christmas Spirit"? One of my kiddos suggested it when I was asking for opinions and suggestions. I'll let you know how we do in the next few days!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


We did make ornaments on Sunday. I'm not thrilled with how they turned out. I had heard they will last for years, and we'll keep the ones that didn't break. Some of them have too much cinnamon and cover the star in the middle. While we were making them, we talked about how the star in the apple reminds us of the new star on Christmas Eve and the light of Christ.

It was a cool idea, but to get the apple dry enough to not rot, the peels are pretty brown. I'm hoping to have time to come up with something else to commemorate Christmas 2009. I've seen some cool paper ornaments, but I don't think those will hold up too well from year to year. Any ideas?

Drawer #16

Today should be the last day that's crazy busy with non-Christmas stuff, so in the drawer is Reese's bells. That should be it for the chocolate unless I run out of other ideas to fill the drawers. I think I have them all covered except one.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Drawer #15

Today's drawer said "Christmas Maze". I went back to the Activity Village website to print them out. They have different levels of difficulty, so there is something for most ages.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Drawer #14

Today's drawer is chocolate! The kids are excited when they find a sweet treat, but I prefer the activities. Today is the last day for one of my kiddos to finish a big project so time will be short. I can't wait until they are on break so we can watch the 40 or so Christmas movies I've been wanting to watch with them!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Drawer #13

Can you believe Christmas is only 12 days away? Today's drawer is "making Christmas ornaments". My mom bought me an ornament every year. We continued the tradition for us and our children. I made some of our early ornaments, then bought them for several years. The last few years we started having everyone make their own. We've used a few kits and tried several other things. Some have held up better than others. We'll see how this year's do. I'll post pictures tomorrow :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Drawer #12

Today is a party! Our Ward (or church congregation) is having it's annual Christmas party. I love parties! I've always dreamed of being the type to throw fun parties. While I can pull together a pretty cool children's birthday party and I've been known to hold the occasional baby shower, I haven't thrown a full blown party party. The number one reason is the whole time thing. I think it's so sad that we as a society are so busy that we have trouble making time to spend time with our friends. I don't know about you, but spending a little time with friends is a big stress reducer which I don't do very often because I'm too stressed. Do you see the vicious cycle here? Which brings me back to why I love a party. I'm hoping tonight will reset my stress point (that and finally getting my Christmas cards out) and I will be able to take a deep breath and enjoy the season more fully.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mystery Christmas Drawing Game

We played the game from yesterday and had a bunch of fun.

The kiddos wanted to draw something else, but I didn't have anything else planned.

This would make a great Family Home Evening activity! It was pretty funny to see how everyone's pictures turned out.

Drawer #11

The paper in today's drawer says "Read the Christmas Blizzard". This is my absolute favorite silly Christmas story! (Not to be confused with all my other heart touching favorites.) I should get extra copies, so my kiddos can take one with them when they are adults. They definitely aren't taking mine!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Drawer #10

In today's drawer is a paper that says "Christmas Drawing Game". I found this game at I changed the name, so no one will know what to expect. After dinner, I'll have everyone gather around the table with a pencil and a piece of paper. They will close their eyes and I will tell them the following steps.

Draw three circles on top of each other, starting with a small circle at the top and getting bigger each time.

Draw three buttons down the middle of the middle circle.

Draw two eyes, a carrot nose and a mouth on the top circle.

Add a hat.

Add to stick arms and hands to either side of the middle circle.

Draw a broom in one of the stick hands.

Then they will open their eyes and see how their snowman came out!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Drawer #9

In today's drawer, we find "Christmas Crossword Puzzle". I found this puzzle at It's a good level of difficulty for grade school ages.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Drawer #8

Today's drawer is candy again. I vote all meetings that interfere in my Christmas celebration should be canceled in the month of December. Oh well, since that won't happen we will enjoy our candy and continue to work on the jigsaw puzzle. The kiddos decided the round one I pictured in yesterday's post was too hard, so we started working on the other Christmas puzzle we have.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Drawer #7

Today's drawer contains a Christmas puzzle. I couldn't exactly fit the whole puzzle in that little drawer, so it's just a piece of paper that says "Christmas Puzzle". We've had this puzzle for years, but last year was the first year we actually put it together, instead of just using it for a decoration. Since it's 500 pieces, I don't expect to finish it today. It's something we'll enjoy over the next few days.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Drawer #6

Today's drawer is "Christmas Devotional". This is an annual event that occurs the first Sunday of every December. It is broadcast at 6pm MST, check your local listings or go to this link for a podcast,6609,4617-1-81-1801,00.html

I love the stories and the music. Every year, this devotional sets our minds and hearts on the truly important things of the Christmas season; the birth of Christ, love for mankind, and joyful hearts! May you enjoy the true spirit of Christmas!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Drawer #5

With shopping and parties, today's drawer once again holds chocolate goodness! Rolo's this time. Enjoy your Saturday!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Drawer #4

Today's drawer is paper snowflakes. We found some cool patterns last year and have the snowflakes hanging from our railing. Here's a link for even more cool patterns

I can't wait til tonight to cut and hang up more!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Drawer #3

Today's drawer is Christmas Word Search. Here's a site that has several puzzles, mazes and word searches
Other places on the site have coloring pages, crafts, and even an advent calendar. Now to get the kiddos to finish their book reports so they have time to do a word search! Why do book reports have to be due in December anyway?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'm done!

I took my last test for my nutrition class today! It's funny how exciting it is to start a class at the beginning of the semester and by the end of the semester, I just want to be done. There are a few assignments left to be graded, but I'm fairly confident I pulled off an A!

Drawer #2

Today's a crazy busy day with carpools and book reports, so we falling back on the old standby - Candy! I'm sure we'll do this one a few times this month.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Drawer #1

December 1st marks the first day to open a drawer from the advent box. Today's is making paper chains! One of the kiddos is anxiously awaiting their turn to open the drawer this morning, and we will make the chains this afternoon. I have the construction paper strips pre-cut to save time for homework!


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