Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our 2011 Family Advent Calendar Day 1: Painting Ornaments

I had grand plans of putting together our advent calendar this fall.  Ya know, in order to be "ahead of the game" and on top of things?  That didn't happen.  :)  I should have known.  He he he.  Such is life these days.  I finished our advent calendar in the same way I did LAST YEAR...around midnight the night before...and probably even later if I'm being honest.  I'm just glad I made it in the nick of time!  Here's a little sneak peek for tomorrow...the bell will be moved to the number 2 drawer, and in it will be a mini Twix and the promise of making snowflakes.  If you are interested, there are some really cool ideas for snowflakes HERE.

Life has been full lately, and the blogorama ding dong hasn't been getting much attention lately.  How do Moms out there do it all...and then find the time to document it all on their blog?  I'm so curious...'cause this Mama definitely is not one!  That's okay.  I mean, I'm okay with it.  The simple life seems to suit us well.

The tail end of this year is flying by...full speed ahead.  It's hard to believe December has arrived.  I hope you are all enjoying the precious moments each day brings your way.  

Alright, just to blow your mind, this advent calendar used to look like this.


Yikes, were you blinded?  Although it's not perfect, I think it looks a lot better now.
I think Cooper might have liked it better before.  What can ya do?!
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .


-finding it in Mom's old snowman stash...her snowmen collection is so yesterday!

-having a spray painting party in Mom and Dad's backyard late summer/early fall

-being so indecisive as to what to do with many ideas

-using my new baker's twine and alphabet rolling stamp

-waiting until the last minute to finish it...having to just finish it with what I had and not being satisfied...of course!

-COOPER GRABBING MY RED INK PAD WITH HIS ENTIRE HAND AND THINKING IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO STAMP RED INK ALL OVER THE BLANK WHITE ADVENT CALENDAR...and then subsequently all over his hands, pants, and the carpet...yes this happened

-how horrible he felt when he realized what had happened, and how horrible I felt after reacting so emotionally (because I was exhausted and stressed out) and seeing his pain

-the way B remained totally calm and level up the red mess

-the sweet moment with Cooper when I helped him understand that NOTHING is more important to me than thing, no project, no perfect outcome...and that mistakes happen...all the time...and it's no big deal...and that I loved him to pieces and couldn't wait to finish it up for him to enjoy...and for his sense of relief and smile

-having to spray paint (again) half of the drawers in the freezing cold outside on top of cardboard on the frozen grass...not on top of a dropcloth on the deck that would leave a white line around it when finished...not like I did it a few days earlier...and still having red bleed through...not from Cooper and the ink, but from the intense red paint that originally adorned it...that paint was intense!!!

-the yummy, comforting cup of chai tea (with caffeine) I made myself with my new $2.99 IKEA milk frother at about stay up as long as I needed

-the Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel that distracted them!

-the sense of relief when I finished in the wee hours of the morn...even though not feeling like it was at all how I had hoped it to turn out
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

Cooper was so excited in the morning.  He had forgotten all about the advent calendar.  When he opened drawer number 1, he found a red wrapped Lindt chocolate ball (one of his faves) and an activity card.  Our first activity for December was painting wooden ornaments.  Something artsy fartsy.  They were leftover from years ago when my Daddio cut out a whole bunch for me to Mod Podge and paint.  Yay for free supplies.  Ever since I pulled out the Christmas bins, Cooper spied those blank wooden ornaments and was so excited to paint them.  Today was the day!

We set up the tripod.  Excuse our imperfections.  We like to keep it real around here. This is our living room...these are the frames and mirror that drive me crazy...this is our lack of accessorizing...this is our big black hole of a tv...this is our garland plug in cord hanging off the side of the mantle...this is our khaki castle...this is our home.  We are thankful.

Look at this sweet I so lucky or what?  

We painted a stocking and a candy cane.  Cooper painted the stocking on his own, and I helped with the candy cane.  Perfect favorite!

Cooper took a nap and woke up ready for drawer number 2.  He was a little devastated when I told him that he had to wait until tomorrow, and that it was one drawer a day.  We made up for it by doing some more painting.

There are just a million fun ways to celebrate Christmas with an advent calendar.  I can see us enjoying all sorts of advent calendars and activities in the years to come.  Instead of opening a present each day (something I thought would be fun...or at least opening a box each day with something inside (scripture, activity, special little something, treat, etc.), I saved a few small boxes for some special gifts along the Christmas socks, Christmas pjs, and the like, and those will be set next to the advent calendar on days when they would be appropriate.

What are your favorite advent activities to enjoy this time of year?  I'd love to hear.  I'll try to list more as we partake.  Some of the many activities to look forward to didn't even make it into our advent calendar, as I wasn't sure when we'd get to them.   I have a feeling those drawers might get a few more activities added to them as we make "definitive" room for them in our schedule.

Big Christmas hugs to you and your familyl...enjoy this season...and continue to ponder and receive all that He has done for us with the precious gift of Jesus Christ.


  1. I loved your advent calendar from last year Holly and this one is just as amazing! Beautiful transformation! I love how you always include your son in your projects! You are such a wonderful mommy!

  2. Beautiful! So fun ... maybe someday before all my kids are too big, I'll do a little something like this. A girl can hope, right? (I like your revamped white look tons better!)

    And you are such a wonderful mommy .... love, love, love the peek into your time with Cooper. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Holly I can't believe how you transformed this advent box! It is delightful and such a treat for any child to open! Enjoyed hearing of the process..such an exciting time for the children, mine enjoy the making and decorating even more than the chocolates!!!! Which is saying something!!! Enjoy!

  4. Holly,

    Happy New Year! I found your blog, and this entry in particular, via a search for advent calendars (I know, my timing's a bit off).

    I adore your calendar, and the fact that you take the time to include activities with your sweet son instead of just sweets or toys. Very cool.

    One thing though, please don't *ever* apologize for anything about your home or the way it looks. Khaki castle, visible cords, so what?? This is your family's home, and I can see that love resides there. :)

    I grew up in a home where almost all our furniture was secondhand before that was fashionable. Some of it was hand-me-downs from friends and neighbors, which was particularly embarrassing to my mom, but we needed the help and she was smart enough to accept it. Nothing matched, not styles, colors, eras - nothing. One of the pieces of "art" that hung on the wall for decades was a photograph of a painting, as cheap as you can get, in an equally cheap frame. It cost 69 cents at Woolworth's in San Francisco in 1949 when my brother bought it for Mother's Day. Today that picture hangs in my house.

    What I remember from my childhood is the love, closeness, laughter and good times the four of us had, not what our house looked like. It was always clean and tidy (okay, mostly always!), friends were welcome, and we made gobs of precious memories. I know I've gone on way too long, but I felt moved to write because you're obviously such a caring, involved mom who's doing what's important, so please, don't worry about the unimportant stuff!



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