Monday, December 22, 2014

Lights, gingerbread train, A Christmas Orange, and class parties

This is our favorite house to drive by in our neighborhood! I wonder how long it takes to set up something like this? Do people do this on their own or with hired help? Either way, we sure like to look at it!

For our Family Home Evening activity last Monday, which was also our Advent Calendar activity for the day, we decorated a gingerbread train. 

 I guess I should say Scott and the kids decorated the train; I took pictures and tidied up the kitchen from dinner while they worked on it. Each of the kids took turns decorating, and I put Nora to bed after she 'helped' attach a couple of things because she kept getting mad when it wasn't her turn, and she was eating all the candy :). I think next year we'll just get graham crackers, frosting and some candies, which would cost the same as a kit, and then the kids can each decorate their own.
 I can tell from this picture below that it was also taken on a Monday night because of all the unfolded laundry. Monday is laundry day and a general cleaning-and-get-the-house-back-in-order day from our weekend.
 Here I am cleaning up in my cozy BYU pjs :). I get new pjs every year for christmas but I always go back to my old favorites, even though they're worn a bit thin and I have some holes in my sweatshirt :). I like the feel of the old, worn thin clothes; they're so soft and comfy.
 We brought a bag of oranges with a copy of  the story 'A Christmas Orange' to the women I visit teach. This story is one of our favorites. I'll include the text at the end of this post.
 I am the room mom for Charles' third grade class and this Friday we had our Winterfest party at school. It's an hour long and I created an online signup for parents so they mostly took care of the food and drinks, and then I also had each child bring in a new or like-new book from home that was wrapped, and we read a Left and Right and left story, "Twas the Night Right Before Christmas' and they passed their book along as they sat in a circle, handing it one spot to the right or left depending on the story. This game would also be good for a white elephant type gift exchange. You can find a copy of that story here

 I also brought in an easy craft for the kids. They made a Christmas Tree ornament using red and white beads and white pipe cleaner. This was the same craft we did at our Ward Christmas party a couple weeks prior and I copied :).

 Desi took this picture of Nora at our neighborhood Christmas party, which I did a post on last week. I love the Rudolph nose!
 Cute picture of Annabelle holding her friend Lexi's dog.

A Christmas Orange

Ben lived in an orphanage with nine other children. They didn't have very many nice things – only a few toys that were very old and one blanket for each of their beds – and oftentimes there was very little to eat. Ben's favorite time of year was Christmas. At Christmastime there always seemed to be more food to eat, and the streets were filled with happy people singing carols and ringing bells. But Ben's favorite thing about Christmas was getting out the old wooden Nativity. Ben loved the Wise Men with their fine clothes and the shepherds' sheep, but most of all he loved the faces of Mary and Joseph as they looked at the baby Jesus. They were humble and filled with peace and love for this beautiful baby.

Another favorite thing for all the children at the orphanage was the Christmas orange they received on Christmas Eve. The children would save the oranges for several days so they could enjoy the feel and smell of them. Then they would break them open and enjoy the sweetness of the treat they had waited for all year long.

On Christmas Day, Ben broke one of the orphanage rules. He was sent to his bed, and his precious orange was taken away. That night he sat very lonely on his bed and cried as he said a little prayer to say he was sorry. In the darkness he lay crying quietly, and then he felt a soft small hand touch his shoulder. Something was quickly put into his hand. As Ben opened his hand he found an orange – a beautiful Christmas orange like none other he had ever received, for it was made up of nine sections from nine other Christmas oranges. Ben felt the peace and love that shone in the faces of the little Mary and Joseph in the Nativity.

May we all share a part of ourselves this wonderful Christmas season! 

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