Advent Calendar with a Twist

After you read this post today you may think I only do craft projects that involve paper bags. Not so. But I can’t prove that today. Usually my paper bag crafts are my spur of the moment ideas and the bags are the only materials around.

Last year the kids and I made a paper bag Christmas tree which they partially decorated using markers. Here’s the way our advent tree works. On December 1 they receive a paper ornament which states something we will be doing, watching, or making that deals with Christmas. One of the boys gets to glue it onto our tree. The next day the other one gets to glue it on. On certain days they receive their ornament before school while other days they receive their ornament after school (it depends if I have my act together or not). Here’s a picture of the finished project.

advent treeHere’s a close up of some of the ornaments.  Some days they would receive one ornament while on other days they would receive a bonus one.

There is a small part of me that cringes when these are glued onto the tree every which way. I do have to tell myself that having symmetry in this craft is not the purpose. But oh how I sometimes try to make suggestions of where the ornament could be placed.

This year I’ve made a tentative list of activities for our family. Some will change based on schedules and weather but it’s a start:

  • Wed Dec 1 – Watch The Grinch
  • Thurs Dec 2 – Make Christmas cards for Omi & Opa (great grandparents)
  • Fri Dec 3 – Choose Angels from Angel tree
  • Sat Dec 4- Andrew’s Christmas program
  • Sun Dec 5-Shop for Angels
  • Mon Dec 6 – Have hot chocolate & marshmellows
  • Tues Dec 7 – Watch Frosty’s Winter Wonderland
  • Wed Dec 8 – Turn in Angel gifts & get cookie at mall
  • Thurs Dec 9 – Watch Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  • Fri Dec 10- get tree?
  • Sat Dec 11-Photo with Santa at school
  • Sun Dec 12-make snow globes
  • Mon Dec 13-Assign & Hang Stockings
  • Tues Dec 14-drive around and look at lights
  • Wed Dec 15-?
  • Thurs Dec 16- Andrew’s school Christmas party
  • Fri Dec 17-Alex’s school Christmas party
  • Sat Dec 18-Frisco downtown – Santa parachutes in?
  • Sun Dec 19-wrap some presents
  • Mon Dec 20-Go see Northpark train display?
  • Tues Dec 21-Make Christmas cookies
  • Wed Dec 22-Aunt Amanda, Uncle Ryan, and Gramma & Grampa arrive
  • Thurs Dec 23-Aunt Kelly & Uncle Ben arrive
  • Fri Dec 24-go to ICE! display in Grapevine
  • Sat Dec 25 – Christmas

Do you have any unique ways your family celebrates the holidays?

I Wouldn’t Do That

Picture the scene:

*A horse show at City Park Stables

*A beautiful fall day with the sun shining and a cool breeze

*6 eager observers of the horse show (2 parents, 3 children, & 1 grampa)

After only being at the event 15 minutes the following conversation can be heard:

Alex (8): “Let’s jump to Mt. Everest.”

Andrew (5): “Okay. Let’s jump.”

Parent looking at a muddy ditch: “Please don’t go through there.”

Boys: “Let’s go.”

Parent: “Please don’t go through there you might get dirty.”

Boys: “Let’s go.”


Andrew's dirty legs from horse show

1 very unhappy 5 year old who is screaming and crying

2 picture happy parents”Hold still, let me take a picture of your leg”
very understanding parents

1 laughing older brother

1 clueless baby sister

& 1 grampa shaking his head

‘Twas the Night of Thanksgiving

‘Twas the night of Thanksgiving,
but I just couldn’t sleep…
I tried counting backwards,
I tried counting sheep.
The leftovers beckoned…the dark meat and white,
but I fought the temptation with all of my might.
Tossing and turning with anticipation,
the thought of a snack became infatuation.
So, I raced to the kitchen, flung open the door
and gazed at the fridge, full of goodies galore.
I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,
stuffing with gravy, green beans and tomatoes.
I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,
till all of a sudden, I rose off the ground.
I crashed through the ceiling, floating into the sky
with a mouthful of pudding and a handful of pie
But, I managed to yell as I soared past the trees…
Happy eating to all — pass the cranberries, please.

Poem by C.J.Beaman

Comments to Liven up your Turkey Dinner

I read these and laughed.
It makes me think this might be what the Griswalds Thanksgiving might be like.
1. Load your plate up high, then take it to the kitchen, toss it all in the blender, and take your “shake” back to the table. Announce that it’s the new Thanksgiving Weight Loss Shake.
2. When everyone goes around to say what they are Thankful for, say, “I’m thankful I didn’t get caught” and refuse to say anything else.
3. Bring a date that only talks about the tragic and abusive conditions known to exist at turkey farms.
4. During mid-meal turn to mom and say, “See mom, I told you they wouldn’t notice that the Turkey was past expiration date. You were worried for nothing.”

Mantle Scavenger Hunt

I wanted to decorate for Thanksgiving but didn’t want to spend any money. I had bought some things for Halloween (which I justified since we started decorating for Halloween in August). Since the Thanksgiving season is only for a few weeks I decided I would be finding the decorations around my house. So…I went on a scavenger hunt in the house. I was looking for things that were brown, orange, dark yellow, and empty frames. I filled 2 of the frames with orange flowered fabric I’ve had for years while the other 2 have a printed out turkey and the words “gobble gobble” in them.

Thanksgiving Mantel

I decided to take the black frame and stamp the beginning story of Thanksgiving inside it. I used my handy dandy IKEA roll of paper and just stamped the first few pages of a children’s Thanksgiving book. The words are not even and are a little rough looking. I think it makes it look a bit old which I like. This is by far my favorite thing on my mantle.

Thanksgiving Stamping

This side table is the first thing you see when you come in our door so I decided to jazz it up a bit. The stuffed turkey was a gift from my mom several years ago. The “Give Thanks” sign was made yesterday using left over scrapbook paper and burlap. It’s not quite what I envisioned but since it was free I really can’t complain.

Thanksgiving Front Room

The Thanksgiving word collage was a free printable I got from Craftily Ever After. I just adore this site. There are so many other printables and craft ideas. Go over and take a look – I know you will be glad you did.

Thanksgiving printable.Do you have any favorite Thanksgiving decorations?

Thanksgiving Dinner Conversation Starters

We always have family dinners because I think it’s an important as a family but also because I love to hear what my kids say (most of the time).

For example, tonight my husband yawned and said, ” I’m pooped.”

Our 8 year old promptly said, “You mean you pooped in your pants. Gross. You stink.”

That kind of conversation while I’m eating I could probably do without.

I did however find some Thanksgiving Dinner Conversation Starters on the Skip to My Lou website. These would be lots of fun if you are having a dinner with a few generations. I’ve already printed off a copy and put them in my bag for next Thursday. Get ready to share mom and dad 🙂

Gloria’s…it’s no Panchos

I love Mexican food.

I could eat salsa for days.

I got together with several friends the other night for a “Ladies Night.”

Every time I say “Ladies Night” I hear Kool & the Gang in my head.

Take a moment and boogie on down

Kool & the gang – ladies night
Uploaded by la_shivi. – See the latest featured music videos.

I love going out with girl friends to eat, chat, and laugh. Since I don’t work anymore (I know, I know, I work in the home…yadda yadda), I miss adult conversations and time with friends. So the other night a group of us ate at Gloria’s in Frisco. We laughed so much and got caught up with each other lives. The food was great. I had the Carne de Res Asada Salvatex (grilled steak with an enchilada, black beans, and rice).  The salsa was amazing.

But……it’s no Panchos!

I can hear the groans now from everyone but I am standing firm on this one.

I grew up in New Orleans and one of the places my parents took us all the time was Pancho’s.  I practically grew up on their cheese enchiladas, tamales, and tacos. And to top it all off…the sopapillas. At the end of the meal, right before you pay your bill of $15 for a family of 28, you get sopapillas. It’s heaven in a basket. Drizzle a little honey on those puppies and you’re good to go.

You can’t talk Pancho’s without mentioning the pinatas. They were everywhere in the restaurant. Every month our Pancho’s would give away a huge pinata correlating to the month. One year my sister won Novembers’ 4 ft. turkey pinata. For some reason, it hung in our laundry room for well over a year. It gave quite a fright when you walked into the room with the lights off.

And don’t forget about the video game – Pole Position – near the restaurant door. I can still hear the starting beeps of the game. We were like a pack of wolves around my dad – hungry for quarters.

Our family loves it so much I guarantee Pancho’s will be an eating destination once everyone flies in for Christmas.

So remember if you’re ever in the mood for amazing Mexican food and a true Mexican atmosphere, go to Gloria’s but remember…it’s no Pancho’s!

Talkin’ Turkey

With the upcoming holidays I find my kids increasingly thinking about what they can get – i.e. video games or enormous toys. Therefore they have not set foot in a toy store since August and I hoard all toy catalogs that come to the house. I’ve been trying to really make it a point in the last year or two to help them think of others and be thankful for what they have.

Last year I made “Tom the Turkey” to help remind us that we are indeed lucky in many ways. I made Tom out of brown bags from the grocery store (yes I know cloth bags are important but sometimes you just need to have the brown bags for projects). Then I cut out feathers from construction paper that we had.

After dinner, everyone gets a feather and writes down what they are thankful for that day. Then we use a glue stick to put the feathers up. The boys seem to really enjoy this activity and won’t let us leave the table without filling out our feathers.

I included a picture of Tom from last year since this year’s turkey has tons of feathers covering his face.

thanksgiving turkey

A sampling of feathers from this year:

From the 8 year old:

I am thankful for….our car…having enough food on the table…going to Gramma & Grampa’s house for Thanksgiving….the Saints winning the Super Bowl.

From the 5 year old:

I am thankful for….Jesus & God…..the shepherd watching over me….going to Gramma & Grampa’s…..eating turkey (in reality he won’t touch the turkey or mashed potatoes with a 10 foot pole….Wyoming and Montana.

What can I say… the boy loves geography.