Thanksgiving envy.

November 26, 2009

Well…. it’s the 4th Thursday in November. Thanksgiving Day in the USA

A day that encourages families and friends to reflect on the past.

A yearly reminder of a countries history.

A looking back at a working example of opposing cultures caring for each other.

A chance for  family and friends to be overtly thankful.

I am sure it’s not all turkey and corn cobs.

I am sure some do it begrudgingly rather than thankfully.

I would sure like to join in an all American thanksgiving celebration before I’m done.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

Photo from treehugger.

P.s Check out treehugger for a great story about the turkey who was too ugly to eat! …… I think it would make a great kids book.


1. “Glad you’re here” by Making Lemonade. Image theirs.

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I am very sad that we don’t celebrate thanksgiving in Australia. This however gives me the opportunity to think thankfully at Christmas time.

Here are some simple ideas from around the blog world, that can be incorporated in your Christmas celebrations particularly in regards to the table.

Some are beautifully quirky, some ingenious, some worthy of a yearly repeat, some child friendly and some all of the above. Let me know if you get inspired and use some, it’s great to hear from you.

"The Giving Plate" by Adventures of an Orthodox  Mom. Image from there. .

“The Giving Plate” by Adventures of an Orthodox Mom. Image from there.

"Conversation Plates" by Together Counts Blog. Idea and image sourced there.

“Conversation Plates” by Together Counts Blog. Idea and image sourced there.

DIY minimalistic cultery holder. Image and instructions from A Birds Leap.

DIY minimalistic cultery holder. Image and instructions from A Birds Leap.


A sock for your cutlery. Image from Pinterest.

Single place cards. Image from Pinterest.

Single place cards. Image from Pinterest.

Gold Spray painted animals (or possibly nativity characters) with paper luggage tags attached. Image from Style Me Pretty.

Gold Spray painted animals (or possibly nativity characters) with paper luggage tags attached. Image from Style Me Pretty.

Another beautifully simple idea from Style Me Pretty. Image theirs.

Another beautifully simple idea from Style Me Pretty. Image theirs.

Carnival Straws on Bottled drinks with tags. Source: Ruffled.

Carnival Straws on Bottled drinks with tags. Source: Ruffled.

Would work just as well on green leaves. Image from Once wed.

Would work just as well on green leaves. Image from Once wed.

Gratitude Rolls by Beauty and Bedlam. Image theirs.

Gratitude Rolls by Beauty and Bedlam. Image theirs.

SImple sensorial details. Image from Vintage House.

SImple sensorial details. Image from Vintage House.

What I want for Christmas is thanksfulness! Source: The cottage at 341 south.

What I want for Christmas is thanksfulness! Source: The cottage at 341 south.

Kraft Paper table of thanks. Image from Art Bar Blog

Kraft Paper table of thanks. Image from Art Bar Blog

Fruity Place markers. Image from Style Me Pretty.

Fruity Place markers. Image from Style Me Pretty.

THe Thankful Tree. Idea and image from Kids Activities Blog.

THe Thankful Tree. Idea and image from Kids Activities Blog.

Or if you prefer pears..... This idea and image from The Knot.

Or if you prefer pears….. This idea and image from The Knot.

Fairy Lights in jars. Image from Making Lemonade.

Fairy Lights in jars. Image from Making Lemonade.

.... and if you just don't know where to start because Finishing School wasn't part of yours (or my) education.... Layouts. Source: daniellemj-workspace

…. and if you just don’t know where to start because Finishing School wasn’t part of yours (or my) education…. Layouts. Source: daniellemj-workspace

Alternatively..... Image from Antiquaria Vintage.

Alternatively….. Image from Antiquaria Vintage.

Advent 2009

December 1, 2009

December 1 


LUKE 1: 1-4

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled (or been surely believed) among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.


  • talk about the things we are certain of
  • eat a baked meal together (each helping to prepare something) -we actually went out for breakfast together, and I prepared dinner for the boy half ….. and the girls……our community group. I had thai takeaway with the girls half of group. Thankfully Dec 1 doesn’t always fall on community group night!

  • decorate the Christmas tree

the girls and there friend Edwina did a beautiful job (while I cooked dinner) and only one ornament was lost in the process.


December 2
Luke 1:5-7
In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.
  • write a letter or draw a picture for the oldest member of the family (for us it’s Great grandpa in England….. he is 94)

-we did this at the pool between lessons. He will be so chuffed to get 5 letters and a drawing for Christmas)

  • send it for Christmas ……. I’ll do this tomorrow or the next day!


December 3
Luke 1:8-17 (Read by 9 year old)
Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth (from his mother’s womb). Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”


  • give the girls their Christmas Angel for the year (each year we give them an angel ornament or decoration of an angel)
  • tell each of the girls how they are a joy and delight to us….and what things we have noticed about them that we think would make them great in the eyes of the Lord. (we had a guest for dinner and she participated in this too. I love this activity because it gives me a chance to reflect on how the girls are uniquely gifted, and to tell them.)


December 4 (yet undone)

Luke 1:18-25

Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”

Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple.When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

When his time of service was completed, he returned home. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

  • Play a game of charades with lolly pops in our mouths (tonight we ate dinner in 7 minutes flat so that the big girls could get to LIVE OUT LOUD with a friend and their youth group. We will have to catch up….. I try not to stress too much about catch-ups because December is crazy and life is a little out of the ordinary. Right!)


December 5 (yet undone…… mmmmm) The day was crazy, taking us to no less than 6 different destination. Tomorrow will be quieter. Please?

Luke 1:26-28
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
  • the package contains a highly flavoured favoured lolly. Mentos (Yum)
  • plan Christmas dinner for tomorrow night (I actually extracted this activity before they saw it. There is always great disappointment when the opportuity to cook/help with dinner prep is taken from them)

    December 6 (tomorrow will be a big night of catch-up)

    Luke 1:29-33
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

  • Eat a traditional Christmas dinner with the family. (all do something to prepare or contribute)
  • Look at the different names Jesus is given in the bible, find them and talk about what they mean

( This was a great activity. One of our girls even recalled some of the incorrect names the disciples had given Jesus as he made his way to the cross. I am constantly amazed at how much they pick-up and retain. One of our daughters started listing off the many names she has….. and Daddy added a few more….. some she was happy to include on her list, and others…. not so much)


    December 7 (the big night of catch-up over a Traditional Christmas dinner…. but without any helpers. I may include some dinner help individually to make up for it)

    Luke 1: 34-37

    “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

    The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called (so the child to be born will be called holy) the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

    “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.


    *Make, with things around the house a baby bed in preparation of the baby

    (This activity was included especially for 3 year old who loves babies and doesn’t really keep up with some of the others. I also love an empty bed awaiting the arrival of a baby….. it adds to the tension)


    December 8 (again put on hold until tomorrow night because we eat with our Community group and have a friend for the afternoon. It will be all the better tomorrow because we can have a girlie sing and dance while Daddy has a serious meeting. He doesn’t really enjoy this one! Will have to wait another night for the dress-up and sing…. lovely unexpected dinner guest stayed until bedtime….. We did get to play our long awaited game of charades though. Our friends Kat and Charles and their little Saige dropped in this afternoon and charades was enjoyed by all.)

    Luke 1:38-45

    “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

    At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”


    *Dress up as angels (optional) and dance and sing Christmas carols.

    *Watch “King of Christmas” by Colin Buchanan


    December 9 (Read this morning at breakfast by 9 year old)

    Luke 1:46-56

    And Mary said:
    “My soul glorifies the Lord
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
    for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
    From now on all generations will call me blessed,
    for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
    His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
    He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
    He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
    He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
    He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
    to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    even as he said to our fathers.”
    Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.



  • Go around the table and everyone says two things that God has done for them or through them or with them this past year.
  • Pray about these things together. ( this one went down a treat with everyone being fantastically reflective on the ways God had blessed them in the last year…. some good things and some good from previous bad, and some hard things. Even 3 year old got into this one recalling freely some of her insights on what God had done and praying about them. Very cute and encouraging to hear the thankful prayers of your children.)


December 10 (Our baby sitter read the reading for us tonight…. thanks Leanne….. and then Tim and I went to dinner together. Very nice. You will notice this package is a little puffy… yes?? …it had candy canes.)

Luke 1:57-66

When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.

On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”

They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”

Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God. The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.


  • Go for a family walk….talk about what you would like to be when you grow up, especially given the gifts God has given you. ( we will do this tomorrow night as we walk to ‘sing-a-long’ carols at school) 11 year old asked me what I wanted to do when I grow up…. fair question really. I said ‘Be older’ and she said ‘No you don’t’… which is true. I will need to come up with some better ideas for tomorrow night. Any suggestions?


December 11

Luke 1:67-80

His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come and has redeemed his people.
He has raised up a horn
(symbolizing strength)of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.


  • Have creamed horns for desert (we couldn’t find any that didn’t break the budget… so we had chocolate eclairs (for strength)
  • talk through some of the big concepts in this passage that we have questions about ( I was struck by the gentleness and lightness in the explanation of what Jesus had come to do in the last half of the section. Tim talked with the girls about the great hope that John the Baptist was to his father and Israel and us, and how her was ‘only’ the one who pointed toward Jesus.)

We didn’t all go to the ‘sing-a-long carols at school in the end.3 year old hadn’t had a sleep (and …yes…. all that means!) and 9 and 11 year old were not keen at all. I had had it, so Tim and 6 year old (who has been talking about it ever since she found out about it) went alone. So, the family walk and discussion about futures….. is for the future.


December 12 (Will do tomorrow. Today had friends to play for one, a party for two and a basketball game to watch for 6…. ooh and I wrapped some Christmas presents!) Did it 18th December. Better late than never

Luke 2:1-3

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.


  • look at an atlas and find the places this passage is talking about and see what we can find out about the people mentioned (We actually looked at “The Roman News” a favourite book of our resident historian 9 year old. It told us that Caesar Augustus put on Gladitaor fights for the people so that they would like him…. my girls really didn’t nuderstand this. “Wouldn’t that make you not like him?)
  • discuss where you would like to go in the world… and why (11 year old wanted to go to London especially to see Kings Cross Station. She has been told by a school friend that between platforms 9 and 10 there is a 1/2 trolley  protruding from the wall, and you can put you things in there and pretend you are going to Hogwarts….. via Platform 9 3/4 . If you don’t understand, you need to read Harry Potter. 9 year old wants to go to America, because she just wants to! 6 year old first said Dubbo…. and really couldn’t get any further …. (not to self MUST WIDEN HER CONCEPT OF THE WORLD) … so she could see Aunty Sarah and Uncle Andrew. Can’t argue with that. 3 year old was in bed. Tim wanted to go to London as well, because he misses it. I wanted to go somewhere it was snowing, for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Maybe Finland or Sweden.


December 13 (Still behind!) Done on catch up 18th.

Luke 2:4-5

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.


  • talk around the table about what we hope for when/if we get married…. or what we are thankful for if we are. ( Highlight :6 year old’s only requirement was that he has a little love in his heart. Far enough too.)


December 14 (Still, still behind! ) Mostly done 17th

Luke 2:6-7

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.


  • Put a baby in the pre-prepared bed under the chimney/ designated spot crib still babyless as 3 year old was in bed for the catch-up . Will do in the morning.
  • Read “The best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson (started) read aloud on the 16th


  • December 15 ( I am hoping for a big catch-up tomorrow afternoon and evening….. school will be finished and a lot of extra activities with it. Yay!) Caught up on the 18th

We had our Christmas celebration for Community group tonight. A fantastic time.

Before we went we made mini Christmas pudding’s from king of Christmas DVD,  for the girls teachers. This activity had lots of bowl and spoon licking! I hope the teachers enjoy them as much as the girls enjoyed making them and testing them.

Luke 2:8-9

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.


  • put the enclosed ornament on the tree (a little angel)
  • draw frightening angels (this always leads to great discussion about whether the angels were frightening or the situation was terrifying) (This got a little silly this year!)

(2 great quotes tonight. 11 year old: My angel has 6 packs. Me: 6 packs of what?  (refering to his abdomen). The second was…… 9 year old: He had BAD written on his shirt and bones in his shoes. You can’t get more terrifying than that! Me: LOL.

  • Read “Jesus Christmas Party” by Nicholas Allan (this is a great story… told from the inn keepers point of view. It’s a bit like “We are going on a bear hunt” in it’s repetitive , sound effects (we add these) kind of style.)


December 16 ( No we haven’t given up…. but we are not keeping up. How are you all going?) Finished reading “The best Christmas Pageant” tonight…. with tears. We love this story! And it’s really fun and entertaining to read aloud.

Luke 2:10-14

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ (the anointed one/ Messiah)  the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.”


  • talk about what ” peace on earth to men on who his favour rests”


December 17 ( The question has now become…. How far behind can a family get on an advent calendar and still remain hopeful that they will catch up? Perhaps next year I will make the readings more random, so if we miss a night we can just miss a night. Although I think in our case this would mean we would miss a lot!)

Luke 2:15

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”


  • go back and re-read all that you have read so far.


December 18 (we did some catch up tonight…. not all but some. I have filled in any interesting details above)

Luke 2:16-20

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


  • Discuss the reasons why the shepherds were glorifying and praising God about the things that they had been told.


December 19 (tonight we had dinner with some wonderful friends that we have known since uni…. it was lovely to see them. Our kids were pretty crusty after a full day of “Last minute Christmas Marketing” and other activites. We didn’t do any advent today, but were blessed in other ways.

We did look at the Christmas lights on our way home. This is always fun. We will have to go back and do this so that we can spend more time at our favourite houses. I may even do a separate post about this. Some people around us love the Christmas lights thing. I don’t quite get it. Reminds me of Chevy Chase and electricity bills.)

Luke 2:21

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.


  • Go for a drive/walk and check out the Christmas lights


December 20 ( Not tonight…. we are having a sleep over. Cousins. Can’t think of a batter way to enjoy the holidays. We also had some friends from Yapoon QLD visit and have dinner with us. To tell you the truth…. the day has been so busy, I haven’t even thought about advent activities until now. )

Luke 2:22-24

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”( as in Exodus 13:2 and 12), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”( like in Leviticus 12:8)


  • Make doves or pigeons to hang on the door frame (maybe something like these)
  • Talk about sacrifices and offerings in the bible


December 21 (not many days left to catch up. I am trying not to get despondent.)

Luke 2:25-32

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”


  • Talk about the many promises God has made to his people.


December 22 (not done and even posting is late… I have really dropped the ball this year!)

Luke 2:33-35

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”


December 23 (yet to be done)

Luke 2:36-38

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.


  • Read Jerusalem’s Widow by Nicole Starling
  • Pray for those we know who would like the blessing of a child


December 24 (Crazy Decembers might have lead us to start a new tradition. Advent that lasts until New Year… if it needs to. Ours needs to this year. How did yours go?)

Luke 2:39-40

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.


  • Pray that when we grow up/older we will be like Jesus. Filled with God’s grace and wisdom.