Countdown to Valentine’s

I try to plan out fun things for my family to do for most holidays. Sometimes things just don’t work out or things come up and change our plans, but I usually try to get something lined up anyway.

For the days leading up to Valentine’s day, I wanted to have something heart or love related for each day.

Here’s the tentative plan:

February 1: Make Heart Shaped Rock Candy

February 2: Groundhog day craft

February 3: Build toothpick and heart candy shapes

February 4: Make strawberry cookies

February 5: Heart-shaped cinnamon rolls for breakfast

February 6: Charlie Brown Valentine dinner and a movie

February 7: Make Valentine cards for grandparents

February 8: Heart Oreo Truffles

February 9: Make a pie with Maw Maw

February 10: Valentine tic-tac-toe snack

February 11: Make Valentine slime

February 12: Make friend Valentines

February 13: Make Daddy Valentines

February 14: Valentine Dinner and gifts

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Unique Gift

Back in October, when we went to the Chattanooga Aquarium my husband fell in love with the jellyfish exhibit. He mentioned that he would like jellyfish for Christmas. I was then on a mission to find him some for Christmas.

I asked everyone I knew if they knew where to get them.  Finally, after a quick internet search, I found a company that had exactly what I wanted.

Jellyfish Art is a company that sells everything you need to get started with jellyfish ownership. They have a detailed instruction book and several You Tube videos to help along the way. They also have an Arrive Alive Guarantee that ensures the jellyfish will be alive and living for at least 10 days after they are delivered.

 

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I ordered the aquarium about a week and a half before Christmas Eve. It came with everything needed for quick setup (except spring water). The instruction book said that we had to wait two weeks before redeeming the jellyfish in order to have the proper environment for them. I hadn’t known this when I placed my order. I took our water to the local pet store to be tested and it was perfect! I sent an email redeeming the jellyfish. The company informed me that because I wasn’t waiting the two weeks, the Arrive Alive Guarantee would be voided. Since our water was perfect, I decided to proceed. I hid all of this in my big girls’ bathroom, knowing my husband would never go in there.

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On Christmas morning, he was quite surprised.

The jellies have since been relocated into our bedroom. They are so relaxing to watch.

I feed them with a pipette and watch them eat. A few minutes later, the food has moved into their clover-shaped stomachs. It is all very intriguing. The aquarium has different color lights and a remote. It’s fun to see the jellyfish in different colors.

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This is a unique gift that was such a pleasure to give. If you are looking for something for someone who has everything, a jellyfish might just be a great choice!

 

Charlie Brown Christmas Dinner and a Movie

My children and husband had never seen Charlie Brown’s Christmas. I bought the movie and planned one of our Advent activities to be dinner and a movie so we could fully enjoy the experience together.

I found a roll of Charlie Brown wrapping paper at Dollar Tree. I decorated the table with that and the new nativity set I convinced my husband I “needed” for Christmas.

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I made chicken with Peanut sauce, Pig Pen’s not that dirty rice, pigs in Linus’ blanket, and Peppermint Patty brownies.

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The children did truly enjoy the explanation of each dish. After dinner, we watched the movie. I have to admit that for many years I have felt like Charlie Brown. This year, I decided that I was going to let the world do its thing with Christmas and that I would do mine. I have enjoyed it more than I have in years. I still haven’t gotten everything done and still feel stress, but it’s way less than Christmas passed.

If you’re wondering what Christmas is really all about, Linus explains it best.

 

Linus’ King James version scripture reading from Luke 2: 8-14, read:

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

 

More Advent Ideas

Each day of Advent we do our reading and one of the children gets a treat. Some of the days have an additional treat to do as a family. Some of the examples include:

*picking up Starbucks and driving around to look at lights

*making a gingerbread house

*Charlie Brown Christmas dinner and a movie

*making treats for our teachers

* watching a Christmas movie

*going to a Christmas concert

Some of the gifts that I give them are:

*pajamas

*Christmas movie

*hand sanitizer with a cute holder

* Christmas ornament relating to each one’s birthday party from the year

*one gift specifically for them

They each look forward to when it’s their turn.

It does take some planning and there have been moments of selfishness that have made me think about calling the whole thing off. I tried to turn those moments into learning experiences instead of punishing everyone. They turned into talks about people who are less fortunate, the meaning of the season, and the fact that Advent (just like Christmas) isn’t about “things”.  It’s about a the birth of a baby sent to save the world.

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Grinch’s Grow Your Heart Breakfast

This morning, I put together this little breakfast. I love the Grinch Grow Your Heart program and all that it represents. If you aren’t familiar with it, it basically is a program that encourages good deeds around Christmas-time and then gives books to underprivileged children. It’s super easy! Just go to their website and put in the three good deeds that your child did and submit it. Random House books then will give a child a book.

There are lots of activities that you can print out and do on the website. My children love the Bingo game. It has a bunch of different good deeds that they can mark off. Some of them are: call or spend time with your grandparents, make a card for your teacher, play with someone who seems lonely, help make dinner, clean your room, plus many more.

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I made bacon hearts, heart-shaped cinnamon rolls, strawberry milkshakes. I also served green grapes and watermelon.

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I printed out the Bingo game and we talked about what they were going to do.

This is a fun little activity that helps the children be motivated to do kind things and that benefits others in more ways than one.

I hope you’re having a nice start to your holiday season!

Christmas Countdown

December 1 is right around the corner. We usually start our Advent readings on that day. We also will start the Grow Your Heart challenge again this year. December always feels so full of activity. Since December is so busy, I thought I would re-post a few things from last year to give anyone out there a head start in getting ready.

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What we do for Advent

Grow Your Heart

Teacher Gifts

Snowmen Oreo Balls

I have a few new things planned for this December that I hope to get to share with you.

 

Thanksgiving {Free Printable}

We’re counting down to Thanksgiving around here. Last night at dinner, we each shared one thing for which we have to be thankful. We have a book we write them in, but I created a free printable that I think would be great to use daily or at Thanksgiving dinner. I put mine in a frame and put out a wet erase marker. I was surprised and delighted to see that almost everyone who visits our home has written something on it, and I didn’t even have to ask them to do it.

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thanksgiving-card

It’s my hope that this Thanksgiving season will truly be filled with more gratitude and thanksgiving for all the blessings we’ve been given!

Grateful

In 23 days we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. The actual day of Thanksgiving is usually a very hectic one for my family. We usually go to both sides of the family for lunch then dinner. I always have high hopes that we can truly think of the many, many things for which we have to be thankful, but on the actual day it seems too busy to have time for reflection.

I am hopeful that I can make the days leading up to Thanksgiving a more reflective time. We have a book that I keep at the table during November that we each write something that we are grateful for.

image.jpeg I also would love to think of a way to make some little gifts for people we are grateful to have in our lives. I just got a Cricut. I haven’t had a single moment to play with it, but watch out when I do! Hopefully, I’ll make some cute things to give to our friends and family.

Spooky Shindig Scavenger Hunt

We are hosting our annual Halloween party tonight.

I love Halloween and I love games! This little scavenger hunt would make a great ice-breaker or just a fun game in general. The mission is to run around and find the people who fit the description.  When the description is met, the person writes his/her initials by the number. You should make a rule, based on how many people are at your party, about how many times a person can be used. I hope if you are having a Halloween party or Spooky Shindig soon that you have a marvelous time!

SPOOKY SHINDIG SCAVENGER HUNT

  1. SOMEONE WHO WATCHED ALL OR ALMOST ALL OF THE “NIGHTMARE OF ELM STREET MOVIES”
  2. SOMEONE WHO IS AFRAID OF CLOWNS
  3. SOMEONE WHO HAS DRESSED UP AS DRACULA OR A VAMPIRE BEFORE
  4. SOMEONE WHO HAS FACE PAINT MAKEUP ON NOW
  5. A PERSON WHO IS DRESSED UP LIKE A DISNEY CHARACTER
  6. A PERSON WHO LOVES CANDY CORN
  7. A PERSON WHO DOES NOT LIKE TOOTSIE ROLLS
  8. A PERSON WHO HAS ALREADY CARVED A PUMPKIN THIS SEASON
  9. SOMEONE WHO HAS DRESSED UP LIKE A TV CHARACTER BEFORE
  10. SOMEONE WHO THINKS NOTHING IS SCARIER THAN THE UPCOMING ELECTION
  11. SOMEONE DRESSED LIKE A COMIC BOOK CHARACTER
  12. SOMEONE WHO MADE THEIR COSTUME
  13. THE PERSON WHOSE COSTUME YOU LIKE BEST
  14. A PERSON WHOSE FAVORITE HOLIDAY IS HALLOWEEN
  15. A PERSON WHO JUST DECIDED ON A COSTUME TODAY
  16. A PERSON WHO HAS DRESSED UP AS A HISTORICAL CHARACTER BEFORE
  17. A PERSON WHO IS AFRAID OF SPIDERS
  18. A PERSON WHO BELIEVES IN GHOSTS
  19. A PERSON WHO LOVES TO BE SCARED
  20. A PERSON WHO LOOKS UNDER HIS/HER BED OR IN THE CLOSET BEFORE GETTING IN BED
  21. A PERSON WHO HAS HAD A PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE THIS SEASON
  22. SOMEONE WHO LOVES GRAVEYARDS
  23. A PERSON WHO CAN SHOW YOU ONE MOVE FROM “THRILLER”
  24. A PERSON WHO CAN TELL YOU WHAT COLOR MICHEAL JACKSON’S EYES TURN AT THE END OF “THRILLER”