I love The Artful Parent. The blog is inspiring, well written, and full of ideas. In fact, when I find myself unsure of what to do with The Boy, art wise, I’m always sure to find something fun on The Artful Parent’s blog.

Here is the link: http://artfulparent.typepad.com/

Last year I was smitten with her blog post A Christmas Tree Advent Calendar: http://artfulparent.typepad.com/artfulparent/2010/11/a-christmas-tree-advent-calendar.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheArtfulParent+%28The+Artful+Parent%29

Little B and I had so much creating our own advent activity tree that we vowed we’d do it again this year. I kept all the little circle ornaments so that we could reuse some of the ideas, if we so liked. When I told B what our art project for the day would be he was super excited. His favorite part was truly looking over and remembering all the fun things we did last year.

Although the ornaments on the blog are numbered, Little B likes an element of surprise to most things. He would absolutely love it if I threw him a surprise birthday party. He hints at it every year. Either way, we kept the ornaments unnumbered and B was able to randomly choose an activity each day.

With Daddy Brooks being deployed this year for some of our Activity Tree things, we decided that if B pulls off an ornament that would be best shared with our favorite Big Brooks, that we’ll then reattach the ornament and pick a new one for the day.

So after much painting, much reminiscing, and much laughter, B finished his tree and we worked on the little round ornaments.

Here are our activities for this Christmas season (and in no particular order, since we’ll be pulling these randomly):

1. Make snacks for Santa’s reindeer (B swears we’ll have to do this one towards the end because he refuses to feed Santa’s reindeer stale snacks – on a side note, we are super excited to make more mouse cookies for Santa this year)

2. Make homemade wrapping paper

3. Be a secret Santa for someone (B already has a special someone picked out)

4. Watch a Christmas movie with cocoa, homemade popcorn, and lots of blankets and pillows

5. Make candy cane reindeer for B to give to his friends

6. Make peanut butter and bird seed covered pinecones for our feathered friends

7. Create a time capsule ornament (one of our favorite ornaments that we made last year- the ornament was all about B in 2010)

8. Attend a local theater production or ballet that is Christmas related

9. Clear out bedroom of gently used toys, clothes, and winter gear to donate to charity (this year, we are going to volunteer with the Salvation Army as bell ringers as well)

10. Make a homemade gingerbread house, and some gingerbread men too!

11. Make a dangling snowman for the back door

12. Go to BLORA and see the lights!

13. Go for a walk to see the lights our neighbors have put up

14. Decorate Christmas cookies or make homemade fudge

15. Tell Christmas stories by the tree and reread favorite Christmas classics

16. Write a letter to Santa and mail; also visit Santa’s “representative” at the local mall

17. Make homemade salt dough ornaments, and send some to grandparents, and great grands.

18. Make a handprint Santa, ornament or just art piece

19. Make tons and tons of paper snowflakes to decorate with (one of B’s all time favorite winter activities)

20.Create a glue snowman tree ornament

21. Make cinnamon applesauce glue ornaments

22. Go ice skating, and invite some friends to tag along

23. Have a Christmas themed scavenger hunt

24. Make homemade gifts for each other


We are truly excited about our activity tree! The best part will be sharing many of these activities with Big Brooks when he gets back. We’re holding off on decorating and stringing lights until Brooks gets home, so in a very real sense he’s bringing the holidays with him and we will patiently await his arrival. We’re just so thankful he’ll be here with us. We don’t take it for granted, not one bitg, especially since we know so many families whose husband’s won’t be home this Christmas season. We will definitely be thinking of them as Christmas approaches.

I’ve also begun compiling a list of Christmas related outings and activities to keep us right near busy most days leading up to the big day. Really and truly, this is surely the best time of the year. I’ll post that list on the blog tomorrow.

As for the rest of our day, we had plenty of fun. I was able to speak to Brooks for a good bit today, which was nice since today was our anniversary. We tried to find Nya a boxer friend but didn’t make out in that regard. The poor thing has been having a rough time the past few days wanting to play, and as much as we play with her, she needs a boxer companion to play with her. She has tried to get Little Man to box, but ends up tipping him over and then Little Man gets upset and barks at her. We took her for a nice long walk tonight, after it grew dark, so we could admire any Christmas lights. I carried Little Man in a blanket, since we feared the walk would be too long for him. And we were lucky enough to admire many decorated Christmas trees through the windows of our neighbors homes. We love seeing how different each one is, as if they are telling a story about the home’s occupants.

We also played a fun game with The Boy’s nerf gun and a bull’s eye game that I found for clearance at the Hobby Lobby. B made it look easy, easily shooting the correct marks. Me? Not so much. Most of my darts went exactly where I wasn’t intending them to go, but boy did we have fun.

We also bake up some yummy cookies, made hot cocoa, and watched Homeward Bound. That movie always makes me cry. Cookie recipe, courtesy of The Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/02/thick-chewy-oatmeal-raisin-cookies/

Even without Brooks being here, it was certainly an amazing ten year anniversary. I am incredibly blessed to have at the very least spent it with one of my Brooks’s, and can’t wait to celebrate with Brooks when he comes home.

As always, life remains sweet, regardless of the circumstances.