Tuesday, November 22

25 Days of Christmas - Advent Activities

After some Googling, researching, brainstorming and help from friends, I have compiled our list of advent activities.  We hung our advent stockings last weekend and the boys are very excited for next week when we get started on the events.  The activities are things the boys will enjoy, but most focus on giving. 

In no particular order...

Lighting of the Christmas Tree at the library
Make Christmas Cookies
Go through DVDs.  Donate to Kim S.
Take cookies to the Fire Station
Fill a Christmas stocking for Ms. Catherine. Deliver without her knowing it was you.
Make a card and give a gift to the Mailman
Take a plate of cookies to the librarians
Drink hot cocoa and read Christmas story books by the tree
Sleep by the Christmas Tree
Deliver Cookies/Treats to Neighbors
Take a donation of dog food & old towels/blankets to an animal shelter
Read the Christmas story in Luke 1:26-38, 2:1-21.
Make something or send a letter to brighten someone’s day.
Write a note to daddy a letter describing the 10 things you love most about him.
Look up Samaritan’s Purse and make a donation.
Hot Cocoa and Christmas lights around town
Share a compliment with everyone you meet today
Shop for gifts for Toys for Tots
Paint/decorate ornaments for the senior home
Take ornaments to the senior home
Make the crayon letter for your teacher
Board games, popcorn & Christmas music
Christmas performance for Payton’s school
Kobylak Wigilia Christmas Eve Dinner

Saturday, November 19

The Season of Giving: Need Your Help!

Over the past few Christmas seasons, Matt and I have worked hard to remind the boys that the Christmas season is a time to GIVE and focus on FAMILY, LOVE and CHRIST.  Not the "getting" and not Santa.

We do this in several ways.  We participate in Operation Christmas Child, we donate our outgrown coats and clothes, we adopt a family or child off a Christmas Tree, we make donations to local food banks and we donate toys the boys don't need anymore.

In addition to those activities, we have our 25 days of Christmas advent countdown.  In the past these activities have been more fun things - less giving oriented.  This year, I want to tie in a few more activities that inspire the giving atmosphere.  But I'm stumped!  I can't come up with more than 5 or 6 that I have. :/

Can you help?  What are some things you do? Or some ideas you have that would be appropriate for a 4 year old and an 8 year old?  (I'm not willing to take them to a soup kitchen just yet.)  Activities could take as little as 5 minutes and as long as an hour or two.  I'm open to just about anything!! 

Adjustments All Around

So much going on in our lives!

Matt has been home for more than 45 days now.  We're still adjusting...I think we'll continue to for sometime.  I learned to live alone and handle schedules, cleaning, working and cleaning how it worked for me and the boys.  Matt learned to be self-sufficient and not have to think about others' schedules and needs.  Now, Matt is back to work, so we're having to work around several different schedules.  It's taking time, a few disagreements, and lots of compromise, but we're getting there. 

Payton is doing SO well at his new school!  He's happy most days and has made some great friends.  He has learned some new social skills and is fitting in really well.  The academics are at his level and he's being challenged in most subjects.

He is also taking karate twice a week.  He is doing better than we could have imagined and loves the instructor.  His perfectionist nature is allowing him to memorize and master his skills.  He's not allowing his gross-motor issues get in the way.  He's pushing through and making the best of it, even if it requires him to work hard.

Maxwell has learned to read in the last month too!  He's sounding out 3-4 letter words and can read a full "beginning reader" book.  He's so happy!  Next time you see him, ask him to read a word for you!

We're getting ready for the holidays around here.  It's our favorite time of the year and I can't wait for the joy, the celebrations and the time with family.

We pray you are all doing well and hope to see many of you this upcoming season. 

Monday, November 7

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

I have a few recipes that are my "go to" recipes for when I can't think of what else to make or when we have activities that leave our schedule short of time.  One of the family's favorite is Crockpot Salsa Chicken.  I don't have exact measurements because it changes depending on what I have in the fridge and pantry.  Here is about how it goes down:

Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless) - 3 breasts feeds the 4 of us plus leaves us enough for a second meal
Salsa, 1/2 a jar
Canned or fresh corn, 1 can or 2-3 ears worth
Black beans, low sodium, rinsed and drained
1/2 a packet of fajita or taco mix

Place the chicken in the crockpot.  Sprinkle seasoning package on top.  Pour the salsa, corn and blackbeans on top and cover.  Cook on high for 4-6 or low for 6-8.  Shred the chicken in the crockpot using two forks or tongs.  It should shred easily.  Allow to soak in the juice for another 20-30 minutes.

Serve over rice.  Or use to make burritos.  Or use for quesadillas.  It's good LOTS of ways!!

Add it to your menu and let me know which way you prefer it!