It’s almost Christmas!

It’s so close! Yay! The kids are getting so spoiled this year. We definitely went over board. It was hard not to when we are spending money that is actually earned, and not just lent. I hope they have a wonderful christmas.

On Christmas Eve we are having Bryan’s parents come out, and stay to open presents. They will leave for Bryan’s brother’s house, and my parents are coming out for Christmas Day dinner. We’ve spent the weekend in lethbridge hanging out with my sister and parents, getting ready for all of this Christmas eating.

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On Friday we had our branch Christmas party. Santa came at the end, and it was fun to get pictures. Jackson was shy! But did tell him everything he wants. Katie got nervous and reverted back to not talking well, but tried to get her list out. Zoey didn’t cry! So it was a success in my books.

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We have been continuing on with our service count down. Here’s what we’ve been up to this week.
Day 15- katie gave a Christmas card and gift certificate to her speech therapist
Day 16- left a thank you note for the garbage men
Day 17- kids delivered treats to daddy’s work. Jackson helped make ginger snap cookies for branch Christmas party.
Day 18- made candy canes with notes that read ” merry Christmas” on them, and the kids tapes them to drivers side windows on cars (with painters tape)

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Day 19- Jackson took a Christmas card to his class assistant. Katie said thank you for lunch without any prompting
Day 20- we got dinner for grandma and grandpa Schaalje. Jackson helped us deliver some Christmas cards to family
Day 21- took all of the stuff we’ve been collecting to donate
Day 22- kids helped me clean the house. They also helped me cut out a TON of sugar cookies.

This week I made cloud dough for the kids. It is super fun (and messy). Just combine 1 cup of baby oil with 8 cups of flour.

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Jackson had his winter concert for school. They sang Mr.Sun and a snowflake song. He was awesome. He got dressed by himself that morning and made sure he looked really nice.

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We also had fun just playing at home. (Don’t you love having sword fights with the rolls left from wrapping paper?)

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Daily Service

I am so glad we decided to do a service advent calendar this year. I have come to realize at the end of each day that I almost always have something extra to write down from what I had planned. I am amazed to see how much service we offer without even realizing it. In particular, I am impressed with how much my kids help me. They do just little things like helping me decorate cookies, or jackson making lunch for himself.

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Here’s what we’ve been up to this past week

Day 8- invited new friends over to play and made cookie dough to freeze and give out to others
Day 9- katie and jackson helped me bring in groceries and put them away
Day 10- kids made cards for their teachers (jackson: kindergarten teacher, katie: art teachers) and gave them Christmas gifts
Day 11- kids helped pack up food from the pantry and take it into the food bank to donate. I took food and disposable plates, cups, etc, to a friend who had a death in the family
Day 12- picked out old toys to donate, and the kids helped me make dinner
Day 13- Jackson and katie helped me put dishes away and helped decorate a ginger bread house
Day 14- kids handed out nuts and bolts (that katie helped me make) to families we go to church with. Jackson and Katie decorated cake balls for me this afternoon

And here’s what else we’ve been up to this week.

Katie had her last art class for the year

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Katie helped me make nuts and bolts while zoey cheered us on. They are the cutest little helpers!

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I helped the kids make a snowman one afternoon while zoey napped. Jackson and Katie had picked out a snowman kit with some money grandpa Schaalje gave them to spend while we were in kalispell last weekend. It was really cute! And now I don’t have to worry about searching for things to make snowman eyes and mouths.
It was well above freezing the day we made the snowman. It made the snow stick together awesome! But by the next morning out frosty had pretty much melted away. ( I’m sure he’ll be back again some day)

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Zoey brought me a bowl of marshmallows one night. She had gone through the cupboards and got the container out, found the marshmallows and filled it up by herself, all without my knowledge. I think it was a peace offering for her spaz attack that morning.

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After church I decided to dip the cake balls i’d formed yesterday. The kids wanted to help. So, to avoid mega chocolate mess I let them put sprinkles on the top.

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I hope everyone is enjoying this Christmas season as much as we are.

Decorating

Last week we got the tree up and decorated for family home evening.
I love how excited the kids get! They are one thing that make this season so special to me. Watching their wonder and awe, and their sweet little hearts doing nice things for others.

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A week ago I wrote about how I planned to do a service advent calendar with the kids this season. Here’s what I came up with…

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Each envelope is blank, and at the end of each day I write down how we have served others. I have an idea sheet so I don’t have to think of something fresh each day, but this way we can be flexible when our day may not go as planned. Here’s what we’ve been up to
Day 1- katie drew a christmas picture and folded it up with a loonie (dollar) and gave it to a cashier. I made dinner for a family who is having a rough time.

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Day 2- the kids picked out old books to donate to the library and we donated them when we were there for reading time. Jackson made lunch for all of us by himself.
Day 3- the kids drew pictures to include with Christmas cards for their cousins who live in the states.
Day 4- jackson helped make a tie for a friend getting baptized. Katie folded laundry without complaint.

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Day 5- jackson wrote a Christmas card for his bus driver and I included a $5 gift card to Tim Hortons.
Day 6- Jackson and katie helped hold Zoeys hand and keep an eye on her while we were shopping (since she refused to sit in the cart)
Day 7- wrote a thank you and merry Christmas note to housekeeping (we’d been in a hotel this weekend)

While we were away this past weekend (Christmas shopping in kalispell), we got some stocking hangers. Oh, I just love my fireplace and mantel! But I still need some help decorating it. I just love the stocking hangers though!

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Santa Letters

Last night the kids wrote their Santa letters.

For jackson he told me what he wanted to say and I wrote it all down for him to copy. He did an awesome job! But he got tired so I’d give him a break and help him once in a while.

Jackson wants a red light sabre that lights up, a darth vader coatume, a Star Wars movie, a slurpee maker and a surprise present. I do t know where his obsession with Star Wars has come from since he hasn’t ever even seen one of the movies!

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Katie hasn’t told me anything she wants when I ask her other than a crown. So I thought getting a good list out of her was great. And I love that she wants to share so much with her brother! Whether that happens in real life is yet to be determined.

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Jackson and katie helped me with Zoeys list. But zoey did get to “draw” her own picture for Santa.

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Now I need to find some envelopes so we can mail them 🙂

Happy December 1st!

I love the Christmas season! Tonight for Family home evening we will finally be decorating the tree and getting all of our Christmas stuff out. I can’t wait!!!
This year for our count down to Christmas I decided to do something a little different than in the past. This year I am doing a service advent calendar with the kids. I am super excited! I have a list of ideas, but really, I just want to make sure the kids provide some act of service each day. And at the end of the day we can write what we have done on our count down calendar (which I will be making this afternoon).
We are starting off strong today. I found out this morning that the husband of a lady I visit with at the bus stop has had a rough weekend, so she has too. She is just pregnant and feeling awful, but now her husband has had his teeth knocked out by a chain at work and the tips of 3 of his fingers cut off by their snowblower. I am going to let the kids surprise them with dinner tonight. Katie was able to pick out a prize at the dollar store today because she hasn’t wet the bed in a week!!! (Yay!!!!!) as we were leaving she handed the salesman a Christmas picture she had made and we had folded up with a loonie (dollar) in it.
I am so excited to do this. I hope it will really help keep Christ in our Christmas this year. He gave everything for us, and I love that during this season we can remember him and show our gratitude by similarly giving what we can to others.

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Here are just a few of our service ideas:
– donating books to the library
– picking out old toys to donate
– leaving notes and/or gift cards for people like the mail man and garbage guys
– donating food to the food bank
– making kits to keep in our car to hand out to the homeless
– making cookies for neighbours
– leaving friendly notes on people’s cars
– inviting new friends over to play
– making dinner for someone
– donating to the Salvation Army bins
– making gifts for teacher

I would love more ideas, so please let me know if you have any.

Happy Birthday Grandpa Burrows

I love being back close to family. I do not love the cold. And I do miss my indy friends. But family is so, so special to me. And to be with them for little celebrations, like birthdays, means the world to me.
Yesterday was grandpa burrows’ birthday. He came out to our house with grandma. It was so nice to spend the day with them. The kids helped me make a banner for him, wrap his gift and decorate his cake. And then we took him and grandma out to dinner.

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Yesterday our library group rented out the arena that is only about a block from our house. It was perfect because Bryan took the car, so we could walk. The kids just ran around and got out energy for an hour. There is one thing I LOVE about this community, and it is all the programs for the kids, and most are free.

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Katie had art class again today. I love Wednesdays.

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I have also started a beginners crochet class on Wednesday evenings. Tonight will be our second meeting. I’m excited to feel like I am contributing in some way to both our family and the community. And it’s nice to meet new people.

We have our tree up, thanks to grandma Nancy, but haven’t decorated it yet. The kids love the lights! I am so excited for Christmas (even if I haven’t bought a single gift yet).