Advent Wrap Up

I am very disappointed in myself for not keeping up with these posts. I’d done so well in November that I thought surely I’d keep up in December, but I underestimated the time consumption of making presents and spending time with family. I just did not have the time to compose a decent post, and being the perfectionist I am (Really. I am!) I couldn’t do a half-done job. Of course, here I am doing one anyway, but only because I feel like I have to wrap things up somehow or I’ll never post again because of some inner guilt for not finishing what I started. Yes, that’s how neurotic I am. Don’t tell me you’re not the same. 😉

Okay, so here’s what we actually ended up doing for days 14-24:

14- Hot Chocolate and a movie
This was actually done by my aunt-in-law (is that a word?) because the kids stayed the night with her and I didn’t pick them up until dinner time. I was sad to miss out on the hot chocolate, but N had already given them some a few days before, so the newness had worn off and I figured it was the easiest way to get it done. I assume they enjoyed it. I know they enjoyed watching all the holiday movies throughout December (we watched quite a few).

15- Make cookies and treats for friends and neighbors
We baked oatmeal cookies (MIL’s yummy recipe) and N made Chex mix with them. They had fun pouring in ingredients, turning on the mixer, licking the beaters (probably their most favorite part), making dough balls (we made sure they washed their hands before!), and eating the finished products. They especially love Chex Mix. I may or may not have let them have it for breakfast a couple of times. Shhh. Don’t tell the Parenting Police!

16- Make present for Daddy
This day was a BUSY one, but we still managed to fit in our Advent Activity! In the morning we went to visit friends to make cookies again (so that I would have my camera this time). We took our oatmeal cookies and Chex Mix as a gift to them, since it would be the last time we would visit them before Christmas (we did see them at the AMAMOM Christmas Party the next day, though). The kids had fun once again. It was nice having a relaxed day and letting the kids just play. On the way home I actually managed to keep them awake (it’s a 45 minute drive and that is the FIRST time I’ve kept them awake the whole way home). It might have had something to do with stopping at McDonald’s and feeding them in the car while playing Christmas music on the radio and having them play their new tambourine and harmonica (gifts from E & N).

Lucas playing his harmonica. Didn't get a good pic of Kyla playing her tambourine, but they both LOVED their presents!

Anyway, we needed to have something to make for Daddy and I had not been inspired until that morning. So we stopped at Hobby Lobby on the way home and got the makings for scented candles. I know what you’re thinking. Hot wax and two year olds?! Are you insane!!! Well, yes. But not in this instance. We got wax crystals, which can simply be poured as-is into a jar, add a wick and voila! You’ve got a candle. I let them pick out a color (each) and a scent (each). Kyla picked pink and Gingerbread and Maple. Lucas picked green and Granny Smith Apple. When we got home I put them down for a nap and told them we would make the candles when they woke up.

While they slept, I read up on wax crystals (okay, here’s where I confess that I had no idea I didn’t need to heat up the crystals to make the candles. But lucky me I picked something easier than I thought!). Then I set out all the materials we would need so that when they got up we could get to work. I let them pour some crystals into a ziplock bag, then drop in some scent. I closed the bags and told them to shake them up. I did have to help a little, of course. Then we poured the scented crystals into the jars I’d gotten and I gave them each a wick to stick in the middle of the crystals.

It was only AFTER we’d put the wax crystals in that I thought about having them decorate the jars. Doh! But I was brave and decided we’d do it anyway. I got out some of our tempera paint and let them pick a color (red for Kyla, white for Lucas) and painted their hands (just the fingers for Lucas). Then they wrapped their hands around the jars in an attempt to make a hand print. It really ended up looking more like white and red blobs. Oh, well. We tried. After washing their hands I hid the candles in my sewing room so they could dry for a few days.

I’m sad to say I have no pictures of this process. I was too busy making sure we didn’t end up with wax crystals all over the kitchen. They’re kind of like wet sand. They stick to everything and make a real mess. Thankfully, they didn’t do too badly on the mess department. Sometimes I wish I could download the pictures of memories I have stored in my brain. Those pictures are always well lit and in perfect focus. 😉

17- Make a video
Talk about high hopes! I came up with this activity based on the fun we had recording the kids jumping on the bed singing “I’m a Lego” back in November. Sadly, it just did not work as a planned activity. I did get quite a bit of video, but they weren’t nearly as cute as they were that day or when the camera is turned off. I tried to get them to sing some of the Christmas songs they love to sing (Frosty the Snowman and Rudolf are two favorites, as well as Happy Elf by Harry Connick Jr.). But they would just sit there and mumble the words instead of being cute. Very annoying. Also, when I tried to upload the video footage so I could try to edit it together and make something halfway decent, my memory was full and I had to move more pictures to my external hard drive. I’ve yet to try downloading again. Just haven’t had time. *sigh*

18- Look at lights
After baths this night, we had the kids get into their PJs, packed up some hot chocolate, and headed over to a neighborhood that was recommended to me by some FB friends. This is an upscale neighborhood that must have some incentive for decorating for the holidays because just about every house was lit up. Not only that, but everyone in a 10 mile radius knew about the neighborhood and decided to go that night too. We crept along, oohing and ahhing over the different decorations. The kids really did seem to have a good time spotting Santa, Frosty, Rudolf, and other familiar characters. It’s a tradition I definitely hope to keep.

19- Wrap presents
Okay, so the kids didn’t really WRAP the presents. I did that. But I did have them decorate the paper. N and I have used plain white paper to wrap our presents for years (long before the kids came along) and simply decorated them ourselves. It became more personal and we didn’t have to have paper for various occasions. I would cut off the paper needed for a particular present, then set it in front of the kids and tell them who it was for. With crayons in hand, they decorated the paper. Sort of. Kyla did more coloring than Lucas and after a while even that was minimal.

Once I got the last of the presents that were ready wrapped and the kids put them under the tree I decided to put them in separate rooms so they I could wrap the presents they’d gotten each other. Big mistake. Big. Huge. (quick– name that quote!) I had Kyla in their bedroom and Lucas in the play room. I left Kyla to color her wrapping paper while I went to help Lucas wrap his present for Kyla. Just as I pulled some tape off the roll, Lucas made a run for it! I chased him shouting “No! Stop! Don’t go in there!” but to no avail. He reached the bedroom and shouted “Dinosaur!” just as I snatched him and ran him back to the play room. I guess he might have thought he was in trouble (what with the shouting and me dumping him on the floor unceremoniously, then promptly bolting back to the other room) so he sat there and cried while I quickly wrapped the present (like I could erase it from his memory if I got it done faster or something). Once he calmed down (and I’d finished wrapping his present to Kyla) he started stomping around the house saying “Dinosaur roar, roar, ROAR!” I snapped and said “If you don’t want to make me mad, you will STOP talking about it and pretend you never saw it!” I guess I might have, maybe scared him a little. He never spoke another word about it. Yeah, I’m a real winner of a parent. Where’s my trophy?

20- none (was supposed to be gingerbread houses) 😦
I intended to do this activity with my SIL and her son. This was the first day she would be in town and I planned to go to see her at MIL’s house while N and MIL were at work. Only, I kept forgetting to get the stuff for it. So I ran to the grocery store before we went over to MIL’s house. Only, I still forgot to get the stuff. Yeah, another winning moment for me. So this one didn’t get done. And I feel like a bad mom. I know, it’s only one little thing and they didn’t even care. Heck, they got to eat the chocolate from the “pocket,” so they were content. They have no idea what a gingerbread house even IS or that they would have had way more candy to choose from if they’d been given the chance. Maybe next year.

21- Make footprint reindeer and 22- Make cards for friends and family
N took the kids to visit SIL at MIL’s house while I stayed home and cleaned the kitchen in anticipation of our oven and cook top install (yes, we had new kitchen appliances installed 3 days before Christmas. We’re risk takers, what can I say!) and waited for my mom to arrive. He left them with MIL and met my mom and me at dinner with my family to celebrate my grandparents’ 65th anniversary. So they weren’t around long enough to get this done.

But we did make cards the next day, and I had them make footprint reindeer on those! Yes, I can be clever from time to time. And okay, so they each only made ONE card (they said it was for Grandma, since she was sitting right there while they made them) and rather than dip their feet in paint I just traced around their foot then added antlers, eyes, and a nose. But at least we did it!

23- Make reindeer food
I looked up “recipes” for reindeer food and most required glitter. Something I am not brave enough to have in my house just yet. They all required oats, which I did have (thank you, oatmeal cookies!) and sprinkles (also in house), and various other ingredients as well. So I decided that our reindeer would eat a mixture of oats, red sprinkles (only kind we had), and raisins. Not sure why I added the raisins, but it seemed like it needed something. We mixed up the concoction in a bowl, then poured it into a ziplock to be ready for Christmas Eve.

24- Read Night Before Christmas

Yep. We read it. Not much else to say about this, really. We also sprinkled the reindeer food out on the front lawn (didn’t want the dogs to eat it in the back yard).

Sprinkling reindeer food on the lawn.

So there you have it, folks. My attempt to bring some holiday cheer and excitement to my two 2.5 year olds. I think it worked. They seemed to really be into Christmas this year. They might not fully understand the reason behind all the excitement, but they definitely had a good time. Next year will be interesting. I’ll change up our activities, of course. And I might leave out the candy. It seemed to me they didn’t really care so much about what the paper said as they did about eating the chocolate. I’ll have to reevaluate when I know how their personalities have developed over the course of the next year. I do look forward to keeping the Advent Calendar a part of our Christmas traditions, though.

Stay tuned for more Christmas posts in the next few days. You didn’t think I was done, did you?! Silly you.


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Filed under Advent, family, friends, fun, Parenting, toddlers

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