Thursday, September 27, 2007

Back from Back to School Night

A long day. Work was surprisingly busy for a minimum day, then off to Rainer's well-baby check (dude is 22 lbs.!) then back to school, with Rainer in tow, for Back to School night (he snuggled into me and slept in the sling the whole time). Now I'm tired and no lunches are made. Oh well. Tomorrow is Friday.
Some thoughts:
  • I'm thinking about Christmas crafting: patchwork towels, zippered pouches for people, maybe some toys for the boys. But first, Dieter's Halloween costume is hanging over me: have got to get on that, and I will be so relieved when it's done and he's cute in it.
  • Have you seen Burda Style? Free patterns online. So cool. I want to make this dress.
  • We're a year behind on Grey's Anatomy since we don't have TV (we Netflix them). We just started season 3 and it's lackluster. I wonder if the show ran its course in seasons 1 and 2?
  • What I really want to watch, if it only would come out on DVD, is season 3 and 4 of Project Runway. LOVE that show.
  • I'm thinking about advent calendar gifts. I want to get away from plastic trinkets. Any cool suggestions?


Carrie said...

That scrawny newborn is 22lbs! I can't believe it. I'm going to have to bring him a special gift for heeding my whispered murmurings to gain weight.

Kimberly said...

Hmm, I'm contemplating the advent calender trinkets too...we've done quartz and other rocks in the past and beads for their creations...I'll keep could always needle felt some mushrooms! is the link

Gift of Green said...

Kimberly and Mary Beth - please report to my house immediately so that you can spend all your free time (not!) showing how to make advent calender trinkets and tea towels. Thank you!

Kimberly said...

So guess what ... a wonderful fellow Flickr user and blogger Grace (of blog Amazing Grace) left a whole bunch of ideas on my Flickr post.. so I'll cut and paste

*Coupons for outings (visiting Christmas lights, carriage ride, other holiday traditions of your family's)
*Tickets to see the Nutcracker or other holiday play
*Popcorn (we found red and green popcorn kernels last year) for a special movie night (i.e. Charlie Brown Xmas)
*scavenger hunt or treasure map for an object too large to fit
*ornament on the day you put up your tree
*cookie cutter or sprinkles on the day you make cookies
*supplies for a holiday craft (like making ornamnents or simple gifts)
*crystals or beautiful stones
*seeds for planting
*holiday or winter book
*we have a tradition of wearing new pajamas on Xmas Eve, so we started making those be for the last day of the calendar
*money to put into the Salvation Army bucket (accompanied by an illustration of the bucket)
*pencils made out of twigs
*lip balm
*hair ties
*one puzzle piece a day, leading up to a completed puzzle
*one bead a day, leading up to stringing a necklace or bracelet
*collectible coins
*dress up item
*candle and candle decorating wax or paints (can be found at craft stores or online through places like Hearthsong)
*supplies for making holiday cards, gift tags, or wrapping paper (such as construction paper, glitter paint or pens, a large roll of kraft paper, rubber stamps, etc.)
*an item to add to something your child or family collects (a piece to a collectible nativity set, Playmobil pieces, an Ostheimer figure, another toy that your child has a collection of, etc.)
*play silks -- mini or regular (A Toy Garden carries several sizes as well as some of the other ideas listed here, like the twig pencils and the candle decorating wax)
*if you knit or sew, you could make a small toy, like a knitted stuffed animal or some doll clothes
*coloring book & fresh set of crayons
*pieces of wool felt for your child to cut up and make things with -- perhaps with some dolly pegs (old fashioned clothespins) and some other little bits of yarn and trims to make little people
*finger puppets
*something that comes as a set divided out over several days (for example a tea set, a set of nesting bowls, a matryoshka, etc.)
*"found" objects from nature (pinecones, acorns)
*origami animals or origami paper & instructions for older children
*one year I got a beautiful & inexpensive little etched glass votive candle holder for my daughter with an evergreen-scented candle, and she loves getting it out of our Christmas things every year for the bathroom.

You can see that the possibilities are practically endless, but it can also get really expensive if you aren't careful. I usually sit down with a calendar in late November (this'll be our 5th year to do this, so I feel pretty experienced at it, lol) and figure out which days, according to my husband's schedule, we will be doing family outings, and then build things around it. I try to have everything stashed by Dec. 1 (for the most part) so that it won't be stressful trying to get something together the night before. The more you can incorporate things your family would already be doing into it, the better (less stressful for you), and it also helps to instill a real sense of tradition in your children.

For example, we would probably buy our children a new holiday or winter book each year, anyway, so it becomes part of the calendar. Maybe your kids need new slippers this year, so you just add them to the calendar instead of giving them unceremoniously. We seldom watch TV or movies here, so watching the Charlie Brown Xmas special with popcorn is a real treat. (We actually bought it for about $15 at a discount retailer so that we could do it on our own time and also avoid commercials. But they do only get to watch it that once.) On the day of the Solstice, we try not to give anything "consumer" -- we usually do a craft from nature on that day, like pine cone or pine needle crafts. Putting a dollar into the Salvation Army bucket at the grocery store is one of the highlights for my daughter!

So, if you are careful, plan ahead, and portion things out over the 24 days, you can do it for a nominal amount of money, not set a precedent for it being a big greed festival, and really use it to engender family togetherness and traditions, while joyfully anticipating Christmas (it really helps to spread out the Christmas season ... then the day of Christmas doesn't feel so anti-climactic.)
Thank you Grace!

Christy said...

My goodness! That is a wonderful list of ideas for an advent calendar. I finally bought an advent calendar at a thrift shop (for .25) and can't wait to put it together. I'll definitely be using some of those ideas. :)

taimarie said...

What great ideas! I am really loving your blog, thanks for the comment on mine. It's nice to "meet" you.