Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Counting Down to Christmas: Days 1 to 9

This year for December I have three advents/countdowns going on. The first is our Christmas Book Countdown, which is super simple especially after all the wrapping is done. The second is a tree shaped advent calendar. This was supposed to be the only other advent but I couldn't commit activities to any days. I like to have a to do list, but I hate having them slotted into specific days. I tried. I spent almost a whole evening trying to plan out a different simple activity each day and I couldn't. A couple of them were based on a whole slew of factors that I wouldn't know until closer to the date, some depended on Chris' work schedule, and some depended on my level of 'give-a-shit' for a particular day. I was ready to pull my hair out so I called it quits and put a treat in each of the tree shaped advent calendars little cups and made a separate calendar of activities that I could rearrange to my heart's content. It was just easier to have three separate countdowns.

So here are the many ways we've been counting down to the BIG day - Christmas Day!

Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
I wasn't sure if Aria would leave the wrapped Christmas books alone so I lined them up numerically in a box by the tree. I got a special roll of paper and printed off fancy labels for them and everything. Two mini shots of vodka from the hot cocoa bar later and they were ready to go!
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Her first book was The Jolly Christmas Postman, which she loved. Getting to pull extras from pockets is a total toddler hit.

Here is her Christmas Tree Advent Calendar! I got the idea from Adventures in Tullyland. It is super simple and yet lots of fun. My one snaffu was that I needed mini cups and my mini cups had a lip around the bottom, which made it too far from the cork board to push a tack in place. So, I cut off the lip so the bottom was flush instead of raised. The other mini cup snaffu was that I couldn't put my hand to the bottom to push the tack in properly. My solution was sticking a piece of double sided tape to my finger and then sticking the tack to the tape. That allowed me to push the tacks in no problem.
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
I filled each up with two pieces of chocolate...you know, one for mom...and sealed them with tissue paper and a rubber band.
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
At first Aria tried to pull the tissue paper toward her but that just made the whole thing slide down the wall, so she has learned how to poke into the paper now and can get her treat out in three seconds or less.

Our activity for the first day was pulling out the Nativity. It is one of my favourite Christmas pieces and it is something I put out as a child too. My neighbor growing up, whom I was so close to I called grandma, took a trip to Israel and brought it back for us. It is beautiful and I was super excited to have Aria help put it under the tree this year.
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Apart from trying to ride the camel she did a great job. She gently took each from dad and set it on the floor. Then after the stable was placed under the tree she brought each over and placed them in and around it. She even put baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph inside the stable along with the animals without any input.
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014

Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Book number two was Llama Llama Holiday Drama, which received a lukewarm reception.

Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Working on her poke.

Our activity for the second day was a family walk.
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Aria walked the whole way until we hit the welcome area at the front of the park, and it only rained on us a little bit!
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014

Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Book number three was Olive, the Other Reindeer, which only clicked that it was a play on 'all of the other reindeer' when I was getting ready to read it to Aria and spoke the title out loud. One of those 'oooohhhhhhhhhhhh' moments. I kind of hate the illustrations, but cute story.

Our activity for the third day was a Christmas movie and snack.
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
I pulled up a Mickey Christmas something or other on Netflix and baked up some chocolate chip cookies. Aria ended up making the world's biggest mess with her cookie, which is why we always get a sugar cookie when we go to Publix because chocolate is a pain in the buns.

Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Book number four was The Wild Christmas Reindeer, which Aria and I both enjoyed. Aria is loving reindeer right now.

Our activity for the fourth day was mommy & mini Christmas nails.
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
I tend to match my nails with her toes, but I thought I'd give painting her finger nails another try too. Half of them were gone by bath time. So maybe not just yet.
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014

p.s. I didn't bother taking a picture of her opening her Christmas Tree Advent treat each day since it is basically the same exact picture. In case you were wondering where those went.

Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Book number five was Clifford's Christmas Presents, which scored huge with Aria. It has lift flaps, enough said right?

Our activity for the fifth day was building a gingerbread house.
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Also known as try not to let your toddler eat ALL the candy.
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Look at that gorgeous house. It is a wonder why neither Chris nor I ever pursued arts.

Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Book number six was The Snowbelly Family of Chillyville Inn, which Aria didn't even care to read through once. Not her favourite book of the lot for certain.

Our activity for the sixth day was St. Nicholas Day shoes.
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
We actually ran out of time for the intended activity, but the last minute celebration of shoe treats and St. Nicholas was the perfect activity to take its place.
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Aria certainly wasn't complaining.

Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Book number 7 was Reindeer Christmas, which has been one of my personal favourites. It is simple and sweet and I like to ask Aria to point out mice and candy canes.

Our activity for the seventh day was a flour fight. If you don't have snow to play around in you have to be just a little bit more creative. I am still finding flour in my ears though.
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014

Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Book number eight was Christmas Around the World: A Pop-up Book, which is not at all toddler safe. It is gorgeous, but definitely something to have up on a shelf. The text is miniscule, I can't imagine it would even interest older children. But, we flipped through the pop ups and Aria liked that and now it is up high and out of reach.

Our activity for the eighth day was Christmas crafting, but I won't spoil the surprise for those that will receive it in the mail this holiday.
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014


Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Book number 9 was The Poky Little Puppy's First Christmas, which we read over and over and over. She loved it. This one and Clifford's Christmas Presents have made it into the solid top two.

Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014
Notice that the 'star' on top of the tree has been broken into? Somebody decided to cheat the system, but unfortunately for her the 'star' was just for show and didn't have a single treat in it. Cheating doesn't pay. Life lessons.

Our activity for the ninth day was dinner by the Christmas tree. I also put in Jingle All The Way because we are seriously lacking in Christmas movies, while Chris and I played Christmas 'headbands' but without the actual game.
Sweet Turtle Soup: Christmas Advents 2014

Merry 15 more days until Christmas!

pst...some affiliate links above.

linking up with:
Our Pretty Little Girls

http://sweet-turtle-soup.blogspot.com/2014/12/holiday-home-tour-link-up-annoucement.html

23 comments:

  1. So many fun books! You're really beefing up the collection this year. And a flour fight!? Such genius. A mess. But genius.

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  2. I love the llama llama books and your gingerbread house is awesome..... And my two year old kept trying to eat all the candy until we had to toss it!

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  3. Oh my goodness, I really love your tree. That is a super fun cute idea. I saw a corner of it in another post but seeing the whole thing, so neat. Love the books, love the activities and the gingerbread house turned out great. So much fun going on at your house.

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  4. Hahaha!!! Love the "give a shit" comment! I definitely have those days...where I don't! Or I try and realize it's going to be an epic fail, ha! I see that happening with a gingerbread house. It would definitely be all me and no Wyatt. Love all the fun activities you have going on! And I'm definitely keeping a running list of your books...maybe for next year. Can I just say, I'm super jealous how I see all these cute little girls being interested in these fun activities! I hope stella plays along with me, ha!

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  5. Love all the books! Great idea!!!

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  6. That's a beautiful nativity scene! Liam has lived lenty with ours and is always so gentle. Baby Jesus went missing for a few hours yesterday; but luckily I found him at the bottom of the toy car bin!

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  7. That tree advent calender is seriously fabulous, regardless of what was inside! You are a fantastic Momma and I completely agree with you. I can't commit to certain things all the time either, which is why we don't even have an advent calender just a list of things we "hope" to do. You make me feel like a slacker because you've done so much already!!!

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  8. You guys do the COOLEST things to celebrate all the holidays.
    I'm dying over your Tree Advent Calendar, and I'm storing that idea away for next year.
    The flour fight?! I freaking love it. It's supposed to be kind of rainy here (misting), so we might have to attempt that fun idea another time.

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  9. You are so awesome with all the fun activities! I totally forgot about the Jolly Christmas Postman. That was one of my fave books!

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  10. You are always so creative with all of your countdowns! Halloween, Christmas...great job! So will she get all new books next year? How many Christmas books are there?!

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  11. I am LOVING the advent tree countdown and plan to make one for C next Christmas. ADORABLE!

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  12. Cheating doesn't pay - hahahaha! That cracked me up. I really like that idea for an advent calendar. I tried planning an activity for every day, but that didn't pan out - too much to do! I like the book a day, you and Elizabeth are doing too. Our library is rather lacking in Christmas kid books, so unfortunately, that was a no go. And OH the flour fight! Sounds like a ton of fun, but messy. Great before and after pictures :)

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  13. I love the tree advent! So clever. And I am with you...I wanted to an advent with activities...but then I started stressing that factors would come into play and not allow us to do that activity for the day and then I would have one upset four year old on my hands! But, next year we are definitely doing some kind of advent! Thanks for sharing. And all of your pictures are adorable as always!!

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  14. You are seriously amazing. I think you are my new mommy role model. This is so impressive. We just did one advent with activities, but obviously I put WAY less thought into the whole process. Some of our activities are pretty lame (drink hot chocolate! watch a Christmas movie! read a book!) and they can be moved around to my heart's content if needed (Mac won't know). We've also missed a few days already and he's none the wiser. :)

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  15. I love the advent calendar you made with the cups! So clever! And I love all of your fun activities! You have some great books too...a lot that are in our basket but a few I hadn't heard of so I added them to my list! Awesome ideas. Your nativity is beautiful! :)

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  16. Courtney, you're such an over-achiever. You make me want to be your daughter so I can have all the fun in the world! :) Love all your activities! I want to hear more about this flour fight!!

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  17. Wow, I'm so impressed! I feel like quite the slacker with just the candy calendars. :-) You are so creative and sweet for doing these wonderful traditions with your daughter!

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  18. That tree looks sooo cute and I love that park so pretty

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  19. that tree advent calendar is darling! i love how you can easily make it yourself and add however you want as well. the book idea is genius really!

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  20. That tree cup treat thing is a great idea! I like the candy or activities. I definatly want to do something more like an activity countdown next year with the books too. The flour fight - hilarious!!! Did you wear black on purpose to make a point?! You crack me up but I LOVE it! Yay for the gingerbread house. We did a gingerbread man yesterday and she hardly ate anything but the icing. We'll see how it goes this weekend with the house. :) Love her book collection this year too!

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  21. Life lesson... cheating doesn't pay... haha! I love all the activities you are doing! I figure once Annabelle is older and understands a little more about the season I'll do more fun activities. Your nativity set is so nice, what a wonderful gift! Thanks for linking up!

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  22. This is such a fantastic Post! You have brilliant ideas, and how sweet is Aria! I love the books, and the activities, and especially that advent calendar! The flour fight looked like fun too! :)

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  23. So many sweet ideas here! These are memories that she's going to treasure forever :)

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