Saturday, November 29, 2008

Counting down til Christmas...

So, the Advent season starts tomorrow, and I'm really excited about sharing this time with Elle this year, especially since she can understand a lot more about Christmas than in years past. I made a little advent calendar a few days ago and I can't wait to get started! Basically, each little day's bag contains an activity to do with Elle, a short prayer/devotion, and a treat (stickers, a piece of candy, etc.). I also plan to read her a stories each day from a few books (A Story a Day til Christmas, volumes 1-3) my mom sent me that we used when my siblings and I were little, and of course, light the advent wreath while we do the prayer/devotion. I think traditions are so important to creating family memories, and I hope that this will help Elle understand Christmas a little more (that it's not just about presents!). I know that I don't remember many of the gifts I received as a child, but I do remember so many of the traditions we did as a family each year and that's what made holidays so special. Anyway, here's what I'm using for our advent calendar (I'm going to hang them on the mantle on a ribbon, using mini-clothespins):

And if you want some ideas for your own family, here's are list of activities (there's more than 25, so we'll be doing more than 1 some days, or I may switch a few around depending on our schedule):

Decorate the Christmas tree.

Go visit Santa Claus at the mall.

Have breakfast for dinner (pancakes in Christmas and/or Mickey shapes).

Have hot chocolate with all the fixings (maybe make homemade marshmallows).

Wrap a toy and take it to a charity Christmas tree.

Make handmade gift tags, wrapping paper, or cards for relatives.

Christmas party with Elle’s friends—We’ll bring things to donate to charity and wrap and give out presents to Elle’s friends.

Bake sugar cookies together.

Decorate sugar cookies and share some with neighborhood friends.

Help Elle go through toys to give away to charity.

Build a fire and drink cider or boiled custard.

Drive around and look at the Christmas lights.

Making paper snowflakes and color or draw Christmas pictures.

Make a gingerbread house.

Paint Christmas ornaments or Christmas decorations.

Watch a Christmas movie with popcorn.

Look at pictures from last Christmas and talk about all the relatives Elle will see (maybe make flashcards or memory game with family members’ pictures)

Have a fondue night! Chocolate and/or cheese dipped goodies.

Play a game together as a family.

Go to the library and pick out Christmas books to read during Advent.

Have an indoor picnic in front of the Christmas tree.

Have a family dance party—Dance like crazy to Christmas music!

Do a kind deed as a family (maybe bring someone dinner?).

Build a fort and read Christmas stories by flashlight.

Have a tea party.

Go to Kazoing (or some other indoor play place) and have dinner at Chik-fil-A.

Make handprint or footprint reindeer

Make marshmallow snowmen.

Go to the dollar store and let Elle pick out a gift for mommy, daddy, Lauren, and herself.

Christmas Eve Celebration!

Happy Thanksgiving a few days late!

Kyle's work schedule prevented us from making it back to Georgia for the holiday weekend, so we had a very nice, peaceful and relaxing Thanksgiving here in Louisville with just the 4 of us. I'm so thankful for my wonderful little family! And the weather was even nice enough for us to take a long walk in the afternoon. Elle, however, was not as fond of Thanksgiving and would not even try any of my home-cooked macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, or turkey, and instead, ate only a few store-bought rolls. Two-year-olds! Anyway, here are some glimpses into our day:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Some activities....

...we've been doing to stay busy during this winter weather (seriously, we've already had snow here!).

Lots of painting (I'll put up more of our painting adventures later):

We started with sponge painting, but with a two-year-old, it always turns into fingerpainting!

And, if you've ever wondered where Lauren is during all of this
(this is why I couldn't live without all my slings/wraps/other carriers!):

Having fun with our new parachute from Nana:

Making nature bracelets:

Making noodle pictures (okay, mostly eating the noodles!):

Trying to entertain baby Lauren (she's been a little fussier lately!):

Putting our "babies" and Minnie Mouse in the sling:

Just being cute (another adorable dress from Elle's godfather, Ryan!):

Having Minnie Mouse picnics:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Elle's 2nd Birthday Party

Yes, we're a month late in celebrating, but the birthday girl didn't seem to mind too much! Her party was filled with lots of good memories and all her favorite things:

The party was, of course, Minnie Mouse-themed, so all
5 of her Minnie Mouses and 1 Mickey Mouse joined the fun!

We had Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cupcakes and all the kids wore
Mickey Mouse ears (Elle wore her personalized Minnie ears from Disney World!)

All Elle's friends were there (and this isn't even all of them!).

We decorated with Mickey stickers.

We danced and played Ring Around the Rosie.

Elle opened presents.

And when it was all over, Elle refused to take a nap, so she fell asleep at the table!
I think she had a good time!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Creative Week and Beautiful Weather

There are a lot of pictures in this post--sorry!  We've had a great week so far, lots of creativity and time outside, especially since we're having spring break in November here.  It's been in the 70's the past few days, so I've been trying to get in as much park time and as many messy projects in as possible!  Here are some photos of our adventures:

And all the trees at Cherokee Park here in Louisville are beautiful, even if the weather doesn't make it feel like fall!

Saturday, November 1, 2008