December 18, 2011

Roscoe's 3rd Birthday (Yeah, I'm REALLY behind!)

I just realized I never put up pics from Roscoe's birthday parties (yes, TWO of them...).  We had family and adopted aunties and uncles over on a Sunday afternoon for a 
Robot Party 
(a well-timed themed as the Backyardigan's episode with Robot Roscoe is now a HUGE favorite of his!  We probably watch it three times a week, at least!)
 My first attempt at making cake pops.  
Definitely NOT as easy as some tutorials on line make it sound!  
My cake was WAY too moist.  I added too much icing.
But they were well appreciated!
 Cute and free cake toppers from Smitten Blog Designs.

 I used lots of tinfoil, empty cans, and tinfoil plates for decorating.
And the cute circle background... I made that!  Pretty proud about how cute it was!
And so EASY!
I cut out circles of the same size in the colors I wanted for the party theme.  And then... wait for it...
Sew through a circle, and then keep running the machine, and then feed through another circle, and so on until its the length you want!
 The spread.
You can't really see, but I labeled all the food with run Robot-esque names.

And then, Roscoe had a couple buddies over the next day, for what I thought could have potentially been a very tiring party but wasn't :)
Ball Party!

 Marshmallows dipped in orange-colored chocolate and dipped in sprinkles.
Again, so EASY and very popular!
We ate lunch, had cake, opened gifts and then had free play.  Because, really, no three year old boys I know really want to sit down and do a craft or have a structured party.  It was LOVELY.

People kept asking what to get Ross for a gift and I just kept on saying, well, he likes balls.  Anything that can roll in our house becomes a ball, and anything that does not roll becomes a stick with which said "ball" can be whacked!

He had a great time at both parties, and I had a great time planning them!  Check out my Pinterest board!

End of November Already? E-book review of "Truth in the Tinsel"

It was my birthday on Wednesday, and one of the things I love about having a birthday at the end of November is that as soon as its done, I feel as though I have permission to start celebrating the Christmas season!  Now, I'm not a fake tree person, so I always wait a bit before I set up the tree and decorate it (otherwise it would be drier than the Okanagan in August by the time Christmas day actually comes around), but I do like to bust out the Christmas music, the Christmas baking and the Christmas boxes full of Christmas decor.  

This year I'm most excited about celebrating the advent season with my family.  I have very vivid and fond memories of exploring the season of advent with my family.  My mom, especially, always tried to help us stay focused on the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, rather than on the presents and festivities and programs.  One of the best resources my mom used to guide our times in exploring the true story of Christmas was a book from Focus on the Family (I'll include the title of this later, if I can figure it out!).

Buy Truth in the Tinsel here!
This year I'm really excited to use a resource that's brand new, an e-book by a bloggy friend from Atlanta, Amanda White called "Truth in the Tinsel".  First of all, can I say how much I love the title and design of the book?!!  I've never, ever read an e-book before, let alone reviewed one on my blog, and I can't be more thrilled than to share this book with you!  

In Amanda's own words, "This is an adventure for families to learn the story together. It’s an experience with the greatest story every written and the greatest gift ever given—God’s own Son, Jesus the Christ!"  This e-book guides families with preschool through early elementary aged children through the use of a "traditional" advent calendar.   
BUT... instead of getting a chocolate everyday (as if my kids need more candy!), they receive a clue,  
which leads them to the Bible, 
which leads them to creating a craft that highlights a truth about Christmas, 
which leads them to discovering the miracle of 
Jesus being born as a baby,  
which leads them to hearing about 
just how much  
God loves them! 
In the e-book Amanda lays everything out in a simple and accessible way from supply lists (based on supplies that most families already have laying around their homes), to abbreviated plans for busy families, to templates, discussion guides, extra activities and step by step instructions on how to create each ornament.  And I have to say, in looking through each day and what ornaments Amanda has suggested doing, I am super excited about some of them, as they are projects that were on my to-craft list for my kids and I!

Best of all, "Truth in the Tinsel" is only $4.99! 
Less than you'd spend on a grande white peppermint mocha, or a box of Christmas oranges!
Plus, if you purchase it on November 25, its only $2.99.

The little Baby is no longer in the manger but alive and sitting on a throne—waiting to have a relationship with you and your children. Help your children get to know Him this Christmas!  Amanda White, Truth in the Tinsel

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December ADVENTure

So, I've been trying to work through Truth in the Tinsel with my kids this month, and I have come to the conclusion, that I am not able to do a craft everyday with both my children.  I really wanted to do each craft with both kids, but with Aria being in school for most of the day, by the time she's home, it is definitely NOT optimal crafting time for Roscoe.  So that's been a challenge.  But what we have done, we've loved.  And I'm okay with not doing each day, even though I'd love to.  

 I do see this becoming something that we do every year though.  So we've set aside a specific little tree to fill with our advent ornaments, and I've been putting together a "calendar" of the supplies needed, so that when we do manage to sit down to do a craft, its already there, waiting to be used!

I used the graphics that were provided in the Truth and the Tinsel e-book, and just drew them on the front of some large manila envelopes, one for each day.  Then I whole punched the envelopes, and connected them with a circle clip (not sure what their "official" name is!).
  Then in each envelope I stuffed in the supplies needed for that particular ornament; enough for two kids.  Well, actually, I've been including enough for four, so that next year when I pull it out, it'll be already prepped!  Aren't I clever?  Or rather, I know that we might actually do more of them next year, if I don't have to think about prepping them!
This has been a great way for us to spend time throughout our week reflecting on the truth of Christmas.  Its been especially great for my three-year old as we've been talking a lot about baby Jesus, and helping him grow in relationship and familiarity with Jesus.

And to add to the craziness that is my Christmas season as a mother, pastor's wife, and children's ministry director (among other things) I've decided to throw a Birthday Party for Jesus on Friday at our house as a fun way to get some friends together for a play date and a Christmas party.  My kids are super excited and I've been having lots of fun building a Pinterest board full of ideas!  I know a lot of people throw a similar-themed party this time of year to draw the focus back to Jesus for their kids, and its become a beloved tradition.  So I'm looking forward to that.

Merry Christmas!

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