So, the cleaning's boring but the fun stuff:
- We definitely enjoyed using Jotham's Journey for our Advent reading this year. I think we'll use Bartholomew's Passage next year.
- Our other Advent "thing" this year was I used an advent calendar that has a little drawer for each day and put 2 slips of paper in each drawer (starting once we got back from my parents' house so it wasn't the full 25 days). One slip of paper had a family member or friend to pray for that day and the other had an activity to do that day. They included little things like "Let's have hot chocolate and marshmallows" and silly things like "Let's have an indoor snowball fight" (we used big marshmallows, they LOVED it! Little Bit especially thought it was the best thing EVER!!!), "giving" things like hiding dollar bills in the toy section at the dollar store for other children to find (they LOVED LOVED LOVED this one!) and putting money in the Salvation army bucket . . . it was a big hit! We've decided we'll make a jar (or something) of similar slips of paper and each Sunday we'll draw one slip of paper that is something we'll try to do sometime that week. We talked about the fact that sometimes we might have to "re-draw" (if we choose "let's go wade in the creek" in Feb. it's not gonna happen!) and there might be some weeks when other things are going on that I just have to say "not this week", but overall I think it will be a good way to "force" me to make time for fun stuff that I always think sounds great, but never remember to actually DO it.
- Wednesday was cookie-making day. Rodney ended up needing to work, so it was just "us girls" so we scaled back the original plans, but we did make 3 kinds of cookies and had fun doing it.
- Christmas eve continues to be a favorite tradition-filled evening at our house. We open a few, very specific, presents: Mama makes Christmas nightgowns for all 3 girls each year and sends them home with me ahead of time so we have them for Christmas eve (originally, when the big girls were little, I'd just buy them Christmas pajamas, but a few . . .3, I think?. . . years ago I asked Mom if she wanted to make them nightgowns that year (it's impossible to BUY children's nightgowns that aren't made of icky synthetic fabrics and soaked in nasty chemicals, I wanted nice, comfy, non-chemical-soaked, flannel, so that meant handmade) the girls LOVED LOVED LOVED having nightgowns, so that piece of the tradition has continued as well. I also get them some Christmas- themed DVDs, books, or games that they open on Christmas eve. So we had a nice evening watching movies, and reading books.
This is our first year celebrating Hanukkah. I was excited to find a menorah AND candles for it and also a dreidel at Goodwill, so we were all set. Hanukkah started at sundown on Tuesday, so starting Tuesday evening we lit the menorah. Biblical Holidays includes suggested readings for each night that include a few Bible verses and then commentary on those verses. In the interest of short attention spans, especially from Little Bit, and general busyness, We opted to just read the Bible verses this year. We also read the Hanukkah story (about the Macabees) a couple times during the week. We weren't able to do as much with traditional foods as the girls would have liked, when I'm madly cleaning for Christmas and making way too many cookies and such, I don't have time to attempt latkes from scratch for the first time LOL. But we did try to have some-what traditional foods. I decided perogies were a good option since we like to make them with sauteed onions in the frying pan rather than boiling them. And we got frozen latkes and made them one night. We also had jelly donuts (store-bought, I didn't try making them) a couple times. Now that Christmas is over, I think we might try the latkes from scratch since we have tonight and tomorrow night still.
The game of Dreidel has been a big hit. Even Little Bit is enjoying it. The first night we used a small bag of chocolate coins we have, but then we decided on Hershey Kisses instead, they're more fun to eat later LOL. Especially since we got the cherry ones and dark chocolate mint ones. So we've played Dreidel for at least a little while most evenings.
So those were some highlights from our week. I'll do a separate post about Christmas, I think dh has the pictures on his computer.