Wednesday, December 19, 2012

20 Reasons for Blogging Break

My heart is so sad that it has taken me days to be able to sit down and try to get out my feelings.  There is no way to even try to understand how one person can do something that causes so much pain across a nation, across the whole world.

I read somewhere the other day that what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School was very sad, but definitely not the saddest thing that has happened in America.  When I look at my sweet little boys, I could not disagree more.  As a Mom and as a former 2nd Grade Teacher, for me Friday was the saddest day ever.  I know that kids are safer at school than in a car.  I know that kids are more likely to be struck by lightning than to be killed at school.  I know all of these things.   But to think that the target of one person's rage was specifically directed at the most innocent, beautiful members of society, our children, is the saddest thing I can imagine.  

Every time I have tucked my boys into their cozy beds, I have prayed for those 20 families who have an empty bed in their house.

Every time I have placed a neatly wrapped gift under the Christmas tree, I have cried for those 20 families who have presents under their tree for their precious child who does not get to open them.

Every time I have made a school lunch, I have mourned those 20 empty lunch boxes.

Every time I have strapped my boys into their car seats, I have ached over those 20 car seats that no longer have a passenger in them.

And every time I have picked up my boys from school, I have sighed a breath of relief to see their smiling faces, and I have wiped away my tears for those 20 families who do not get to do that anymore.

Every minute of every day since Friday, I have ached for those 20 families, as well as the families of the adults.  I cannot even begin to imagine the deep, dark hurt that they feel.  And I cannot imagine moving on with life as normal in my home or on my blog without stopping to acknowledge them.  My heart is broken for those families.  

I am grateful beyond words to be "Mommy" to our four beautiful boys.  I honestly never really felt like I had found my calling in life until the day that our 1st son was born.  Every moment we have with our kids is a blessing, one that sadly can be taken from us at any time.  To show my deep appreciation for these beautiful blessings that I have to enjoy, I am stepping away from my blog until after the holidays to soak up and enjoy every single moment that I am so grateful to have with our boys.

I wish you are very Merry Christmas- full of love, laughter, and appreciation for our most precious gifts.  I know that my most precious gifts are not waiting for me under the Christmas tree.  They are right in front of my eyes, and they are getting all of my time and attention this holiday season.  

xoxo,
Laurie 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Recycled Baby Food Jar Advent Calendar

I cannot believe we're already into December!  

Last year I used my BIG chalkboard to create our Advent Calendar.  As much as I love my big awesome chalkboard {I've blogged about it here and here too} I wanted to switch things up this Christmas and use my new hutch for our Advent Calendar. 


With a baby boy devouring baby food all of a sudden, I figured that I would take advantage of it and use some of these adorable glass baby food jars for our Advent Calendar this year.  Yes, I know that they make plastic containers and even squeezable containers, but I love the old fashioned glass jars.  Honestly, I like to make baby food myself because it's super fresh and cheaper than buying it, but I needed the jars for this project :)

Here's what I used...

-24 glass baby food jars {because we never end up opening the 25th one since it's Christmas and we're busy celebrating and enjoying the day, with plenty of other things to open that day!}

-Red and white baker's twine

-Light green spray paint

-White paint 

-White card stock paper that I painted with chalkboard paint

-Mod Podge

-2 inch circle punch

-Chalk Ink pen

After cleaning out the jars, removing the labels and drying the jars, I squeezed in about a tablespoon or so of white paint and swirled it and shook it around to lightly coat the inside of each jar.  I set them all out on the lawn on a cookie sheet for about a day to dry.  Meanwhile, I spray painted the lids light green.  They dried quickly, so I brought them inside and hot glued on some red & white bakers twine around the outer rim.  For the labels, I took a regular piece of white card stock, painted it with 2 coats of chalkboard paint, and let it dry.  Once dry, I used a 2 inch circle punch to make 24 circles.  I applied the chalkboard labels to the jars using a thin coat of Mod Podge on the back {I actually tried hot glue first, but it looked bumpy and didn't hold the paper well on the glass}.  Once the labels dried on the jars, I used a blue Chalk Ink pen from Michael's to write the numbers 1-24 on the jars.  

So, what do I put in the jars?

I *try* not to let my boys eat too much candy and sweets, so I fill up our Advent Calendar with fun memory making things on most days and just give a little bit of candy on the days when I'm lacking motivation for an activity.  I also don't fill up every day's jar all at the beginning of the month.  I do it a few days at a time so I can see if the upcoming activities I have planned in my mind will actually work with our schedule/time that day...  like if I want to decorate sugar cookies, I need to plan it for a day that we'll actually have enough time to sit down and do it.  

Here's some of the activities that I'll fill the jars with...

-Write Santa a letter {This is tomorrow's activity... running a little late, but excited to get it done so we can stop talking about all of our "wants" and focus on enjoying the season}

-Open Christmas pajamas 
{They usually do this on Dec. 1st, but I'm still waiting for one pair of their pjs to arrive!} 

-Unwrap a Christmas book to read {I'll do this for a few of the nights}

-Family Christmas Movie Night in your Christmas pjs 
{This will be done a few times too, like on Friday nights}

-Decorate sugar cookies

-Make gingerbread cookies

-Wear Santa hats and deliver baked goods to neighbors

-Drive around to look at Christmas lights and pick our favorites to drop off a treat on their porch {We'll do this a few times too}

-Decorate gingerbread houses

- Sing Christmas songs around the piano with hot chocolate and cookies

- Go to Jungle Bells at the Nighttime Zoo

-Christmas craft {We'll do a few of those}

-Make cinnamon applesauce ornaments 

-Make Christmas cards for Grandparents and Teachers

 - Small candy treat {A few jars will have that}

What about you?  
Do you plan out the whole month ahead of time, or fill them in as you go?  

We love Christmas, and I love doing an Advent "Countdown" Calendar because it really helps us to have a plan of what we want to do before the whole month passes us by.  I hope your Christmas season is off to a great start!  xoxo

I'm sharing my Recycled Baby Food Jar Advent Calendar at some of my favorite party places.




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