Hello blog! We are currently getting settled into our new normal and our new routine with 2 kiddos. We've had a crazy few weeks learning our new normal, visiting family, introducing the kiddos to a lot of new things, celebrating my birthday, and trying to figure out this parenting thing. The kids are adjusting to us more and more each day and we're starting to settle in. I can't share a whole lot of stories about them and I can't share any pictures, but I thought I would give you a peek into things right now and share what we're doing for Advent.
Since we got the kiddos right before Thanksgiving, we had to figure out pretty quickly how we wanted to handle Christmas (preparation, decorations, presents, etc.). Since our oldest is 4, he already knows about Santa Claus and talks about him allllll the time, especially since we decorated our tree. So we talk about Santa, but also wanted to find a way to make sure we're helping focus on Jesus this season as well and bring the focus to Him and His coming.
I had scoured Pinterest for advent ideas for kids. I liked the idea of the Jesse Tree, but thought it might be a little over their heads and seemed like a lot of preparation to do it how I would want to. But I kept looking and was determined to try it... until I found an advent reading plan based on the Jesus Storybook Bible and I was sold. We already have a copy of it that was gifted to us and we had been reading through it some at bedtime, but this was an intentional way to read through the stories each day. We've used this Bible some and one of the things I love about it is that every story from the beginning to the end ties the Bible story to Jesus and his coming. And someone figured out that there are 24 chapters from the beginning through the telling of Christ's birth, so it makes it easy to read one each day leading up to Christmas.
Since we were asked about 10 times a day when Santa was going to come (or if he was coming today) I thought the first thing was to get an advent calendar going. Again, I looked all over Pinterest and decided to try to make a Happy Birthday Jesus Cake Calendar. The only ones I could find that were printable had the numbers all out of order to find them, but since we are working on counting and learning the right order of numbers, I figured one that actually went in order was better... and it's easier to see how many days are left. So this is my version I put together during naptime one day
Nothing fancy, but it's an easy visual for them. We hung it up on the door to the kids' bedroom and every night we read our story and then mark off the day.
One of the best parts of the post with the reading plan were all of the additional links including this post that has a hands on activity for every story in the Jesus Storybook Bible. So cool! The kids love to color and do projects, so I wanted to try to incorporate as many as we could into this month and that way we talk about the story while we make the craft and then again later with David when we read the story. Several of the activities on that post are too advanced for our kiddos (or they wouldn't find as fun), but they were a great starting place for me. So I've used some and then searched Pinterest (yeah again) for ideas for the other ones.
Here are a few of the things we've made:
For the creation story, I used these printable coloring sheets. There is one for each day of creation and inside the number is a picture of what God created that day (so inside Day 1 is a picture of light/dark and so on). They colored a lot and got tired of coloring toward the end, but it was a great way to talk about the numbers and they did a good job remembering what God made each day.
For the story of the Garden and Adam and Eve, we made snakes out of pipe cleaners and followed the idea of having them hold them as we read the story and hold up the snake anytime we said the word "snake" in the story.
When we talked about Noah, I found a rainbow craft idea on Pinterest. They love to glue so we glued cotton balls onto half a paper plate for the cloud and then glued on strips of paper for the colors. I gave them each their colors and told them which order they went in, so they had to find the right color when I read it.
We skipped a few days over the weekend since we were busy with other things, but yesterday we talked about God sending the Ram to Abraham to save Isaac, so we made a ram. This site had the printable sheet and we colored them and then glued cotton balls on for the fur.
We've had a lot of fun working through these projects and still have several to go! It's been a fun way to prepare for Jesus' birthday and talk about Bible stories.