Friday, December 5, 2014

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

We've been doing a little decorating this week. Cruz is old enough now to really get in to it and he's been a big help.  Here's a little of what we've done so far-

A few years ago I started the tradition of letting the boys have their own tree to decorate and put in their room.  Most of their decorations are things they hand made.  I keep the "ornaments" each year and then add to them.  My guys like doing crafty things so making ornaments each year is fun for them. We make a paper chain to put on the tree and then I let them put the ornaments wherever they want.  It's funny to see three or four ornaments hanging on the same branch but that's how they did it so I leave it alone. 
hanging their ornaments

In addition to decorating their own tree I also let them dress themselves that day.  This is what I got.

This one makes me laugh.  After I took the first picture Ben looked over at Cruz and saw how he was standing.  He then "posed" like his big brother.  He does EVERYTHING Cruz does!  I just had to take another photo of them standing like that. ha

and here's their tree in their bedroom.  They have enjoyed getting in the bed at night and watching the lights.

We brought back an "Elf on the Shelf" from the States and are trying it out this year.  We are not going by the book, but instead I am making up my own version.  Our elf (who the boys named Jingles) hides every night and the boys have to find him in the mornings.  He brings them a special surprise every day.  Unlike the traditional elf our boys get to hold ours and play with him all day. He doesn't report back to Santa each night so my boys don't have to worry about their behavior but he does strongly encourage them each day to use good manners.  Trying to teach manners to my boys is hard work but I am determined that they will have them!!!  So far it's been fun but it's a lot of extra work on this already tired mama.  I drew up a calendar and wrote down things for the elf to do everyday.  That way I can hopefully stay on top of things. 

Here's the first mornings surprise.  The boys had no idea what was waiting for them when they woke up.  It was definitely a surprise for them to find an elf.  Our elf leaves a letter everyday.  The first letter told about himself and explained what to expect in the coming weeks.  He left an elf coloring sheet, new crayons, and a new Christmas movie for the boys.

my little guys got busy coloring while I cooked breakfast

A fun Christmas themed breakfast we had.  We'll be doing these again I am sure. 

I just love doing food art for my boys.  It makes them so happy and makes me smile to see their joy.

I threw this one in just for fun.  My little OCD boy had lined up all his cars and trucks that morning.  He does this regularly.

Another fun meal we've had this week.  Grilled cheese sandwiches and these banana and strawberry "candy canes".  How fun is that!  You just slice them and line them up.  Easy and delicious.

We put  up our large tree also.  I did most of that work and the boys just supervised. 

the boys with our tree and Jingles

Every year we get a new family ornament.  This is our ornament for 2014.  My mother-in-law gave it to me before we returned from the States.   

I also love this new ornament we brought back from the States.

Just for fun I posted a photo of this ornament on our facebook wall the other day.  It's from our first Christmas together.  I love looking back at all of the ornaments I have collected when I put up my tree each year.  Many of them are from the travels we have made over the years.  It's fun to reminisce about old times and laugh about memories we have made together.

Here's Jingles hiding one night in an empty planter we have.  He left his letter and surprise inside it.

new ornaments for the boys to make

I loved this manger scene we saw at a local restaurant in Jocotan.  Mary was pregnant here so I am assuming they will change her at Christmas and add a baby to the scene.

Here's another treat that Jingles left for the boys.  This days theme was all about stars.  We had instructions to read Matthew 2:1-12.  They had a wise-men color sheet to color and some stars to paint. 

Here's Jingles with his letter, brushes, and yellow paint.

fun times!

We added the stars to their bedroom door.  I drew that nativity scene two years ago and Cruz colored it.  I plan to use it each year at Christmas.  I also added the color sheets they have been doing this week.  Next week we'll have an angel themed day.  They'll make an angel craft and color an angel coloring sheet for their door.  It will go with the scripture in Luke 2 that we'll read to them.

Another fun surprise they got on our star themed day was these yellow star shaped jello jigglers.  It gave us a chance to review the Bible story over our meal. 

And lastly here's a peak at our kitchen table.  I made a Christmas banner to hang on the wall.   Our decorations are simple but cheery.  It's so fun having little ones at Christmas to help make the season bright.   I wouldn't trade these years for anything in this world.  These are precious times!

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