Hello dear friends!
I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. We had a wonderful time filled with friends and family, most importantly our Katie who has missed more holidays with us than she has been present for due to her European travels and heavy social calendar ;). We were so happy to be all together and very grateful for our blessings.
I know that Advent began Sunday but I have such a hard time “getting into” it when it’s so close to my favorite fall holiday. I know it’s silly but it still feels autumnal to me which is very different than an Advent feel.
It’s all about the feels.
Well today is December 1st and despite the balmy temperatures (58 degrees!) I’m feeling like Advent is upon us. I had the foresight to have the wreath and our magnet calendar in place for Sunday, but last night the kids marched up the treacherous attic stairs and brought down some of the Christmas decorations. They then proceeded to “decorate” the house which left this type A, control freak, slightly OCD mom in a sweating panic. I waited until they went to bed before I changed it all, and thankfully no one seemed to notice. I’m sure there is a lesson in there for someone.
This morning I unveiled an Advent project calendar that I made. It was a complete copy job of Dawn’s 2014 calendar which I had saved in my files as a potential idea for a coming year. Fortunately my children are grown up enough that I have a little more freedom to get things done than I have had in years past when I’ve had babies and toddlers all over the place. Wonderful years to be sure, I often miss them, but not always so conducive to craft projects and outings.
Dawn’s Advent calendars are always very inspiring and she puts a huge amount of thought and work into making these memorable for her boys (see this year’s model here) and her themes often revolve around nature. She’s very good at incorporating her love for nature study into her seasonal observances. My little effort is slightly different and more geared to our family and the level of busy we have in this house. Everyone is different.
Forgive the darkness of the picture. The calendar is hanging in our guest room which is darkish. It’s where my dad will be staying over Christmas so hopefully he can get involved in the fun.
Those pockets are library pockets with adhesive backs that I purchased on Amazon. It was cheaper to buy the hundred pack so I am set for a few more Advents to come. Actually I am a huge fan of library pockets and have already stuck them in my commonplace, planner, Christmas journal, purse notebook and in a few of the kid’s notebooks.
I know, I’m a stationery supply weirdo.
I stuck 25 pockets on to red poster board (I used my extrabucks at CVS, do you love extrabucks? I love extrabucks) and a sheet of vintage looking stickers from our local scrapbook store. Into each pocket will go a craft, activity or an act of kindness for the kids to do.
For example today we will be making Christmas cards. I save the Christmas cards from the previous year and we cut them up and make new ones. Sometimes we send them to a local nursing home, or the Franciscan Friars. Last year we sent them to a police precinct to thank them for their hard work and sacrifice (if you recall two young NYPD officers were ambushed and killed last autumn).
I’ve filled the pockets up until Sunday, the rest of this week being easy for Dave and Erin to execute because I will be away on a business trip this weekend. One day calls upon them to do one nice thing for each of their siblings ~ we will see how that works out. :0
I have already made up cards for certain days, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception card says we will go to Mass and have a special treat, December 14th is the beginning of the Ember days so we will make treats for the birds, December 13th we will be having a fun lunch with friends (they don’t know that yet so it will be a surprise). I’m going to include a visit to a local nursery, a nature walk (before this oddly warm weather ends), ornament making, tree trimming and visiting. Lots of story books and songs are on the agenda as well. The list is at yet in my head and will make it’s way into my planner on the plane tomorrow. I find plane rides conducive to list making. And drinking.
I will add cards to the calendar the night before or a few days at a time depending on the weather, my energy level, my work schedule and everyone’s mood. People tend to get testy when there is too much on the schedule.
I used the stickers to decorate the pockets and, like Dawn, I used the reusable stickers to decorate the cards. I am now a little addicted to the Eyelike sticker books and they may find their way under the tree for a few people. Very high quality and cheerful. A great value.
I am calling this our project and activity calendar since we use our magnetic calendar for our religious observnace and discussion. I purchased this calendar ten years ago and don’t regret it for a minute. It was pricey but I will probably be using it with my grandchildren, it’s that well made and we also have a festive chocolate calendar from Aldis. The problem now is keeping track of whose turn it is to “do” each calendar each day. In the interests of peace I have declared the magnet one goes youngest to oldest, the chocolate one is oldest to youngest and the project one I pull out to avoid any squabbling (squabbling? at the Barrett home? you’re kidding?)
I would love to see any homemade Advent projects you have going on now. I am sadly craft deficient so my only hope is to
totally copy be inspired by others.
I will be checking in again soon, in the meantime have a wonderful day!
This is a beautiful post, and I am beyond honored to think I had a small part in it. I love your ideas – I’ll be making notes myself for next year. 🙂
Thank you so much, Mary Ellen … wish you and your dear family a Blessed Advent! <3