At 3 1/2 Clinton is understanding more and more about this crazy world that surrounds him. As I watch him fully grasp concepts and ideas, I find it increasingly important to focus on the concepts and ideas that we value in our home.
And one thing we value is the meaning of Christmas. Clinton knows full and well that Christmas means Santa and snow...and TOYS! Every day for the past few weeks he has woken up, looked out the window, and been disappointed there is no snow...he seems to think snow = Christmas...and Christmas = toys.
Anyway, as I've watched him focus more and more on the idea of toys and gifts, I've felt more and more of an urgent need to focus on the MEANING of Christmas. I started looking for some way to accomplish this. I found a number of ideas, and finally settled on this one.
I found this book, The Advent Jesse Tree, on Amazon. I liked it because it's a book we can use year after year, as it follows the 25 days of December vs. a true advent calendar which changes annually. I also liked it because each day consists of a Bible scripture, a children's devotional, an adult devotional, and a symbol. And I liked it because not every day is about the story of Jesus' birth...in fact, it covers the main stories throughout the Old Testament leading up to Jesus' birth. The point is to show that everything leading up to that point was actually designed to lead up to just that point in time.
This discussion questions may still be a bit much for Clinton, although after reading through the book I think he'll understand quite a bit of it. I think it also helps the little ones that a symbol is given to each day.
The book asks that you use the given symbol for each day to create an ornament that goes on a dedicated tree. I decided my Applesauce Cinnamon ornaments would do just the trick. I went through the list of symbols and found simple patterns for each on the web. I printed and cut them out. (If you'd like to use my file of symbol patterns, shoot us an email at email@example.com and I'll send them to you!)
In order to do all the symbols, it really does take two batches of the dough. They do better if they're not too thin and you really would have to make them quite thin to get all the symbols out of one batch.
Once the dough was mixed up and rolled out, I started cutting out my symbols. I just laid the patterns on top and cut out with a sharp ended knife.
Patterns/symbols that I felt would benefit from some dimension, I cut apart and cut out separate pieces that could be stacked and glued together once they were baked.
Other symbols were perfectly fine as just a "silhouette".
After I cut them all out, I baked them according to the tutorial. (This is not my best batch. I did them a little thin and let them cook overnight...which meant they didn't get flipped often enough...Oopsie.)
I found this set of 3 baskets on Clearance this week at JoAnn's for $8.97. I knew these would work perfectly for how I wanted to organize my project.
I used the smallest basket to hold all the ornaments. I used the medium basket to hold all of our Bible story books that I found around the house. I thought it might be interesting to have some different ways of telling the stories. And I used the big one for all of our art supplies. In my basket I have pom poms, ribbon, yarn, craft buttons, a sample set of glitter, a sample set of sequins, google eyes, rick rack, paints, paint brushes, Mod Podge, and some plastic containers for Mod Podge and paints.
I then cleared off some space on the buffet in the dining room for my baskets. My plan is to do a devotional each day. Then we will decorate the corresponding ornament for that day. And as soon as I get my smaller tree out of the garage, I'm going to set it up in the dining room and it will be designated just for our Advent ornaments. For Heidi Sage, I'm printing the symbols on paper and let her color, paint, or glue them as she pleases. At 38 weeks pregnant, I just didn't have it in me to make two sets of ornaments. (If you'd like the file of printable ornaments, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you the file.)
I also bought this nativity scene toy for the kids and I to play with. I'm planning on getting it out at the beginning of December and placing it with our Christmas books. That way as we're reading the stories, we can play along with the toy.
At the very latest, I should be home from the hospital on December 1...so this should all work out just fine. We'll see....I'm just hoping Baby #3 is as good of a baby as 1 and 2 were!
Ready for the Reason!