Each year I am on the hunt for a new Christmas album.

This one is beautiful.

The itunes download includes a 45 minute burning log video to sit beside as you listen.

Cute.

Enjoy.

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DIY Advent Calendar by Design Sponge. Image sourced from there.

Meredith’s got a fabulous idea for fantasticly simple bible content here. Love it especially this close to Dec 1.

Cathy gives insightful day by day content here. 

Nicole….shares some great ideas here.

If you know what you want each day to hold, but need a little visual inspiration, have a look at my pinterest board here. 

This year I have an unusual plan which focus’s on letters….. we will see how that goes.

To see what we have done in previous years look here and here and here.

I just realised that our advent events for 2012 are not collated….. so I will get onto that.

Enjoy, and let me know if you come across anything inspiring.

.....week 3 Advent 2012

…..week 3 Advent 2012

16: Sunday

Activity: Serve lunch to NTE mission team and church. 14year old, 9 year old, Tim and I did this one. 6 year old did her best to not need much supervision. A few other families from church helped as well. All in all pretty successful. (12 year old had a birthday party so was unable to participate.)

Had a bible verse planned but didn’t read it.

Extra Joy: Tim and the girls went to the local coffee shops Christmas party. I was all talked out and couldn’t face another conversation so stayed at home.

17: Monday

Activity: Dinner with Cousins. Really, really fun. With almost 3 teens (taking up much space) we are moving into a new phase of fun. Great fun joking about which mediocre superpower we would want…… which super power we think would be not very useful to us.

…..and how much enjoying movies can cost us.

I am loving this new phase of life with no bottoms to wipe or children to hand feed. Wasn’t sure I’d make it…. but we have. Hang in there if you’re not there yet. Older kids can be very funny and helpful and entertaining.

18: Tuesday too pooped for anything. Didn’t do the things planned.

…. a great post by Jodi of  ‘Sewfearless’ came into my inbox today, and it really rang true this year. Have a read if you feel like you are failing Christmas. We don’t even have a family photo all together that would have made a great Christmas card.

19: Wednesday Last day of school YAAAAAY

Activity:

Dinner with family friends (planned). Great to get to know friends better and better.

Had a reading but didn’t read it.

20: Thursday

Had things planned but ended up at the pool with school friends and families… Great time. Had other activities planned and readings to read, but didn’t do them.

21: Friday

Didn’t do our reading for advent, although we had planned to, just enjoyed each others company….. over the activity.

Activity: Watch a christmas DVD We all enjoyed Arthur Christmas.

Pleasantly surprised by the number of nativities! The Salvo's playing carols in a front yard, kids busking for charity.....even an ice-cream van!

Pleasantly surprised by the number of nativities! The Salvo’s playing carols in a front yard, kids busking for charity…..even an ice-cream van!

22: Saturday

Last minute christmas shopping and packing for holidays.

Extra Joy: We did surprise the girls today, giving them a set amount of money to spend at our favourite book shop in the city. What a great treat it is to have kids who love reading. Tim and I even indulged in some holiday reading.

Did our activity though…..

Activity: Go and see the Local Christmas Lights.

Red tail-lights in the local Christmas Light traffic jam.

Red tail-lights in the local Christmas Light traffic jam.

Not really being very faithful with our advent this year. I am thinking a ‘non-christmas’ month of readings and activities may be a good idea. We have loved being together though and spending time with friends. I guess it’s good to embrace the moment and not be a control freak!

Some people take their Christmas lights very seriously.

Some people take their Christmas lights very seriously.

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Week 2 Advent 2012.

9: Sunday: Catch-up time

Reading: Luke 1: 26-56

Activity: Talk through the different names given to Jesus. Make a Christmas ball  for our tree with the names of Jesus in it. Planned but not done.

Think about someone in our lives that serves us and make them a Christmas ball. (planned but not done)

Charades with lolly pops in our mouths Funny …as always. Made up 2 new categories. “Youtube” and “Theatre” Great fun.

Baked dinner...... potatoes!

Baked dinner…… potatoes!

10: Monday

Reading: Luke 1: 57-66

Activity: Talk through the passage. Eat a baked dinner together. Took advantage of a coolish day to add this one in. I like to have one in December if we can.

After much concentration the village is made.

After much concentration the village is made.

Build a lego village together. Super fun. I lashed out and bought a fabulous Christmas set of lego for the family to enjoy each year. It lights up and makes the cutest village scene. The relevance was tenuous….. but was a nod to the community that Elizabeth and Zechariah were part of when John was born.

Half of our family enjoy written instructions.

Half of our family enjoy written instructions.

Extra Joy: Making got intense….left to me and 14 year old. Tim tool the others for a late night scooter in their PJ’s

11: Tuesday didn’t happen…. too many comings and goings.

12: Wednesday (did Tuesdays)

Reading: Luke 1: 67-80 

Activity: Christmas Ball snakes. We ate a jelly snake (representing sin) each. Talked about how sin often comes in very attractive packaging, and how once forgiven (eaten) we have a fresh start (empty glass ball)

Extra Joy: The girls all started inventing advent calendar ideas, including 24 walks, ‘jenga’ advent, 24 travel days…. and the list went on.

Extra Extra Joy: Lead by 6 year old each of the girls gave us a ‘Tell and Show’ (You must tell before you show) Lots of fun.

13: Thursday didn’t happen

Goodbye Mrs Sinclair.

Goodbye Mrs Sinclair.

14: Friday activities planned but spent the evenings farewelling special friends. Firstly Mrs Sinclair a kinder/Y1 teacher who three of my four girls had….9 year old for 2 years….. She is off to be the Principal at Tempe. Lucky you. Very sad.

Like one big family.

Like one big family.

Then goodbye to our lovely friends Klint and Kirsty. Off back to Brisbane after being an enormous encouragement to us (and others I am sure) being some of the first Joshua Tree members. Sadly our involvement in The Joshua Tree has ended but many fabulous friendships remain. I’m sure we will see you again soon.

I love this photo. Looks like 6 year old is pushing us all over!

15: Saturday again we had activities planned but December got the better of us.

Room make-overing (more on this later), birthday party craft (this too) and Summer Hill Church’s Twilight Markets to raise money for tear.

I sat with the youth kids and wrapped presents (badly) for donations. They made about $40 and had a ball.

Hopefully this coming week we can show a bit more commitment to the cause of advent ….. although giving it up to love and serve our community and each other has great value I think.

How is your advent tracking?

 

 

 

Advent 2012……. part b

December 9, 2012

Activity for Day 1 Decorate the house for Christmas....

Activity for Day 1
Decorate the house for Christmas…. Put up the tree.

1: Saturday Reading: Luke 1: 1-4

Activity: Put up the Christmas tree. Fun, fun, fun….we excused Dad and the girls and I had a great time.

Extra Joy: Bought ‘Christmas Lights’ by Coldplay on itunes.

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…. set up the “Little People” nativity.

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….angel ornaments from past years.

2: Sunday Reading: Luke 1: 5-16

Activity: Gave the girls their angels. Not the planned activity…but the activity really was a personal one, so I reshuffled so we could continue even with a lunch guest.

Extra Joy: Had lunch with one of the Sunday School teachers (Stef) and played some games and chatted.

 

Activity: Give girls their angels for this year.

Activity: Give girls their angels for this year. Loved these Oxfam recycled paper angels.

3: Sunday (same day) Reading: Luke 1:17-25

Activity: Tell the girls what a joy and delight to us they are.

Extra Joy: We then encouraged the girls to tell each other the same thing. Risky…..yes…. but went amazingly well. Lots of laughs and smiles.

4. Monday: School Presentation day and family dinner out ….no advent tonight

5: Tuesday: Had a friend Brian from Church for dinner. 12 year old was rushing out soon after 14 year old arrived home ……so no advent today….. but had a lovely time.

6: Wednesday: Reading: Luke 1:26-28

Activity : Make ‘rememberalls’ of the girls great grandparents. That means an ornament for our tree to remind us of family members who have gone before us. We talked this through and will make them later once I get all the supplies.

(This was the missed activity from day 2.  In past years we have all written a letter to the oldest member of the family. This year the oldest family member is my grandma at 94, but as she suffers from dementia we are going to make her a decoration for her tree instead.)

…. will show the photos as they come.

8: Thursday: …. no advent planned

9: Friday No activity planned. ….. but did buy ‘The first Noel’  by TobyMac (featuring Owl City). The girls have been singing it almost continually since.

10: Saturday: A funny all over the place day (again). No advent….. but saw some lovely friends.

More next week…..

How is your advent going?

Advent 2012……. part a

December 1, 2012

Advent 2012

Advent 2012.

Well…. it’s here. The first of December and the kids are super excited about the calendar this year.

Since last advent we have moved house…. so no fireplace to form the backdrop to our countdown. We even had to rearrange the lounge room last weekend to make space for the Christmas tree!

As I was preparing this past week, Tim said he had just this year realised, that I was going to do ‘this advent thing’ every year. He then said he was glad. We don’t have that many traditions that are just for our little family.

So….. bring on the manic month of December….. and we will keep reminding ourselves that Christmas is all about Jesus! We will be using the Luke readings we used a couple of years ago…. and some of the activities that really worked. I have included some new activities as well this year. The contents of the glass balls give a hint to what we might be doing. Can you guess any?

Are you adventing this year? I would love to hear your plans.

A string of advent balls.

A string of advent balls.

 

 

Rocks for advent? all the details by clicking on the photo.

Some of you may have noticed a new page below my header…. and not a moment too soon. (like everything I do).

I have collated our advent calendar activities, readings and adventures for you to share and use.

We went with the ‘December is very busy’ approach and although we had a parcel for each day in December we planned from the start to open more than one each day and include some of our communities activities within the calendar.

It worked pretty well…..and included NO LOLLIES but ROCKS!

More advent ideas can be found here if this one doesn’t float your boat.

Yes! This is the week to be finalising your advent plans, if you haven’t already.

Painted rocks for advent.

Lots and Lots of Advent Ideas. Click on the image to take you straight through to Pinterest. I love this one. So simple, inexpensive and beautiful.

As requested by Meredith, How pinteresting are Advent Calendars?

What a  great time to start thinking about and through the sorts of activities you want to do to keep your Christmas all about Jesus.

The collection has not just visually great ideas but suggested activities and readings.

If you are interested in what our family have done over the last few years your can see it here for 2009 and here for 2010.

Last years advent can be found here in reverse…..I need to fix that!

Who know’s what we will do this year?

If you know of any others, or I haven’t included something you would recommend or have tried, please let me know……

….also please let me know if you would like me to collate a special grouping of things you are interested in. It is an interactive series.

I hope you enjoy this one, and I look forward to hearing your plans and comments.

Advent (18- 25)

December 29, 2011

Day 18: Jewel

Day 18:

Stone: Blue Jewel.

Image from the Book Depository.

Activity: Read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson.

We opened the stone and talked about how precious we are to God…. Not just pure but a beautiful jewel. Due to the change of terrain due to the move, we didn’t read the book, but will take it on holidays with us (if we can find it)

Day 19: Music note.

Day 19: Star.

Day 19: Praying.

Day 19:

Stone: Music, Star, Praying Eyes.

Bible Reading: Luke 1-2: 1-21

Activity: Play charades with lolly pops in our mouths.

Opened the stones and chatted about there meaning. This passage is a long one…. which I was really looking forward to, as it’s the passage we have read the last couple of years. We didn’t read it, but relied on our memories to place the stones images. Examples included Mary’s song, the star the shepherds saw and followed and Zachariah’s prayer.

Image from Games Paradise.

Day 20: House...or Stable.

Day 20:

Stone: House/Stable

Bible Reading: Matthew 7: 24

Activity: Use the stones to tell the story of the wise and foolish builders. Discuss.

Play Settlers of Catan. 

Yes, from here on we opened the stones and not much more. We will take Settler on holidays and have a few games, I am sure.

Day 21: Angel.

Day 21:

Stone: Angel

Bible Reading: Read Mark 4:1-20

Activity: Talk about how the shepherds listened to the angel who was bringing God’s message.

Unwrapped the stone only and remembered the angels role in the Christmas story.

 

Day 22: Heart.

Day 22:

Stone: Heart

Bible Readings: Isaiah 26:4, Isaiah 44:8, 1 Peter 2

Activity: Talk through the concepts in these passages using the rocks as visual help.

Unwrapped the stone, and talked about how the Christmas story is one of God’s amazing love for his world.

Day 23:………………………..

Day 24:…………………………

Day 25:…………………………… The girls annual Christmas angel was part of their stocking today.

Advent (Day 7-17)

December 18, 2011

Day 8 : Kings Crown.

Day 8:

Stone: King’s crown.

Bible reading and memory verse. Deuteronomy 32:4

Activity: Draw, colour or construct memory verse.

I will proclaim the name of the LORD. 
   Oh, praise the greatness of our God! 
 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, 
   and all his ways are just. 

We didn’t end up drawing or colouring…but just learning it.

Day 9: ………………………

Day 10: Torch.

Day 10: World.

Day 10: Black stone.

Day 10: White Stone.

Day 10:

Stone: Torch, World, Black Rock, White Rock 

Bible reading: John 1: 1-34

There was no activity planned, but we used the rocks we have so far unwrapped to ‘illustrate’ the reading as Tim read.

 Day 11:……………….

Day 12: ………………….

Day 13:…………………….

Day 14: ……………….

Day 15: ………………..
Day 16: ………………..
Day 17: ………………..
* yep…this last week has been busy……and has just become even busier as we are going to be moving house between Christmas and New Year! Ahhhh….. Really glad we had low expectations for this years advent.