Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December!

December 1st, the day the kids have been waiting for with eager anticipation! As we do every year, the kids each got a little chocolate advent calendar. It's a countdown of sorts, with one little treat per day, until the 24th. 

In addition, I usually also craft individual calendars for each child every year, and fill them with little toys and trinkets, but this year I was just too pressed for time. You can see some of the ones from previous years here, here, and here

This year, instead, we bought ready filled Playmobil advent calendars for the kids, which they have had once before and absolutely loved, so I knew this wouldn't be a letdown for them. Between the cost for craft materials and items to stuff all the calendars with, these actually also came out cheaper, so it was a win-win in a pinch. I do intent to make next year's myself again just to keep the tradition going.

Indeed, the kids were thrilled. Solomon's is dinosaur themed, Isaac and John asked for the same knight-themed one (even though there were two different ones), Miriam got a pony stable, and Becky the Christmas post office. Since we don't like Santa, I am going to tell her the dude in red is the mailman. 

Am I the only homeschool mom who would just as soon take off the whole time between Thanksgiving and New Year's? It's been a struggle to keep ourselves motivated when there are so many fun Christmas things to do, and only so little time. We are just squeezing in the basics and enjoying extra family fun. 

This year, we got a pass to cut a tree in Tonto National Forest, so hopefully we will be doing that (and then decorating the tree) this weekend or early next week. Today, I think we are going to make a gingerbread house. Trader Joe's has kits with all natural candies that are free of artificial food colors.

Happy Christmas Season, everyone! :)


  1. That's so funny about Santa. My littlest three have no idea who santa is, so we walked into Lowes one day and there was a HUGE blowup santa on display when you first walked in, and they ran over to it (because they've never seen a blow up figure so big) and Evan yelled, "AHHHH, a GIANT" and then Daniel said, "WHHOA, it's Christmas Man" was really funny, some older couple was laughing at them, but I thought it was great that none of them said, "Yay, it's Santa" :)

    Oh....and I too have the hardest time between Thanksgiving and New years. SO TOUGH!

  2. I homeschooled for 18 years. I was never successful at keeping a schedule between Thanksgiving and New Year's. (btw - They don't do so well in the schools either. Breaks for play practices, extra crafts, field trips, parties, and excited kids meant a bare bones schedule even in a classroom. )

    Around Thanksgiving I would begin some modifications of our homeschool schedule. We usually had more trips, cooking, crafts and such. By the 2nd week of Dec. we would do a bit of math and reading and that was about it. Many times I would have a special unit study on an interesting topic that didn't require a lot of extra work - on my part or the kids. Later in high school when I had just two teens still home and we were doing ATI curriculum then we would just do a bit of math and our Wisdom Book. It was enough.

    Bible was still done daily.

    But I also homeschooled through the summer on a slightly less rigid schedule so that we could take December off - plus a few other breaks during the year.

  3. We don't have thanksgiving in Australia but the time leading up to christmas is hard to school during. The schools let out for summer holidays begining of the third week of december, but most homeschoolers I know stop school around the first week, I know I won't be doing any schoolwork after the first of december! It's fair enough too, primary schoolers do little more than games and parties and christmas stuff those two weeks, and grades 10-12 are let out in october and november, which means grades 8 and 9 are the only ones doing any schoolwork really those two weeks anyway.

  4. Good cover with Santa. How do you eventually plan to explain to them about him, if you haven't already?

    My mom always banned chocolate advent calendars in the house because she felt the chocolate distracted from the Nativity story- even if the calendar in question was religious-themed and even if I got chocolate at Christmas anyway. So I am totally envying your kids here, ha ha.

  5. I can't quit laughing about the dude in the red "mailman" and Nicole's comment. Nicole, I can literally picture that scene in my head. My husband and I laughed forever about this. I think I know which Santa you are talking about at Lowes. It is like the one for $300. Btw, who would actually put that tacky thing in their yard. If I am ever blessed with children I don't plan on telling them about Santa either. I share both of your views about this.

    I love the calendars as well. I will add this to my list of things to buy in the future!


  6. We do Advent calendars too and usually try to make them each year. We did our best to avoid the whole Santa Claus thing every year but finally decided, why not tell the kids the truth instead of just saying, "We don't do that".

    Now we tell them that "Santa Claus" is a fictional character (much like a tooth frog is a fictional character) but is based on a real person who lived a long time ago. Nicholas was a devout Christian who took to heart Jesus' words and works, sold his inheritance and devoted his life to helping others and going about doing good. He was very respected and loved which is why his memory still lives on today even though it has been blown up into something he wasn't.

    So, now that my kids are older and know the story behind "Santa Claus", it isn't a big deal to eat a piece of candy that happens to have him on it.

  7. Hello, Mrs. Anderson. I am new to blogging and a friend suggested I read your blog. I am happy to see other Christ-followers on the internet because there are just too few of us.

    I totally agree that Santa is bad. I once heard someone say that when they learned Santa was a lie, they just assumed that Jesus was a lie, too. I would never want that to happen to a child, and so I will never talk about Santa when I have children.

  8. I too am laughing about the "mailman." I'm also getting a mental picture of you and your kiddies walking into a store when they have a Santa. I can just hear Becky, "Look mom, why is the mailman here at Whole Foods? Why is there a line to see the mailman? Did he bring all the children's Christmas cards to the grocery store?" Too funny.

  9. Anna is really so cute ! Her hair seems fairer than her sisters', I wonder how she looks like when she is older. You are so lucky to have wonderful children, your life seems to be so happy :)

    About Santa, I may not believe in God, I'm not really into the Santa Claus thing. In my country, we have 3 different imaginary characters for 3 holidays (namely, Santa Claus, then, er, Saint Nicolas (Don't know the translation in English, I think Santa's name comes from it, but in Belgium they are really two different characters), and the Easter Bells. How funny is it, bells flying in the sky and throwing chocolate eggs in gardens? I like it over Easter Bunny.

    I like those stories now that I'm an adult, because they are about giving, loving children and sharing, but I was devastated when I learnt they were false as a child. I was like 8 years old, so quite old already, but I felt betrayed, and sad. I'm still mad at the person who told me.

    (Please note that this DID NOT make me an atheist, did not make me stop believing in God : I have always been so)

  10. The "mailman"...hehehe!

    Your children look absolutely delighted with their advent calendars!

    Happy decorating! :)

  11. I'm surprised that you allow your children to learn about dinosaurs. They go against the scripture, specifically the creation as told in Genesis. Are your kids confused about it?

  12. Just in case you were wondering...

    I went to Publix to grocery shop yesterday. My little Noah takes a pacifier and I had left it at home. I almost got a pacifier from the shelf to keep him from screaming the whole trip. When I remembered the "Riskyway" ordeal, I thought better of it. I don't want to spend Christmas in jail, now do I??

  13. Last year we got our tree from Tonto National Forest... It was so memorable! I am sure you will all enjoy it very much... Stay warm and enjoy all the memories with eachother!

  14. There is a book about dinosaurs at$12). answersingenesis also has books about dinosaurs. We get their newsletter- Answersupdate. I heard the Creation Museum in Kentucky has a display that shows man and dinosaurs living at the same time. Young dinosaurs were probably on Noah's Ark. They are building a replica of the ark! We never did Santa with our children. We never did advent calendars. We don't have statues of Mary-nativity scenes-we grew up Catholic and were married in the Baptist church(still attend a Baptist church). We no longer have a Christmas tree(Jeremiah 10). I see the Feast of Tabernacles as the time of Jesus' birth according to Scripture-Luke 1 KJ and I Chron.24:10 KJ(John the Baptist was conceived after his father's eighth course and Jesus was born about 6 months after John was). On Christmas day we have a turkey dinner-everyone is off of work and this time of year my husband gives gift cards for the grandchildren. We went to a Messianic congregation years ago but this info can be googled. -Taryn

  15. Oh, that is so fun. I'm not entirely sure what an advent calendar is but it's neat to have a fun countdown and a surprise every day.


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