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Advent activities – Week Three

The last week of school was a busy time
Baking and cake decorating
Sewing, knitting and crocheting
Ironing new patches on very old jeans
Reading Christmas books
Playing with friends
Building with Lego
Sledging in the wonderful foot-deep snow on the hill outside
And wondering whether Christmas will actually be spent where we intended…

Christmas cake shared with dear friends…

…who brought us this lovely gift

First gift from Froglet opened
Second gift adorning the shelf
in a beautiful bag he decorated himself at school

“We three kings of Orient are
With our psychedelic camels we travel afar…

…Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Foll’wing a felted star!”
Didn’t Froglet do a lovely job on those camels?
Wooden shapes from the DIY store which he coloured with felt-tip pens and glitter glue.
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Advent activities – Week Two

Froglet’s wrapping paper made at school…
“Mummy, it has to go on the wall, Miss said so!”

Scones, strawberry and rhubarb jam…
with our advent “wreath” behind them…

We give thanks to Ikea for the flat-packed gingerbread house…
and to God for the fun we had decorating it…

A reindeer with handprint antlers to adorn the front door…
although he seems to prefer the floor…

Toilet roll snowflakes, painted pearl and white, strung together for a garland…
much prettier than our blinds outside…

Waldorf-style shepherds…
with misshapen sheep…

And we still have time to hide in boxes too!


Advent activities – Week One

Advent calendar finished and hung up…
Tree decorated with unbreakable baubles, to the great delight of one small girl…

Some Christmas cards made…

New Jesse tree acquired (last year’s died) and Holy Family settled beneath it…

Great concentration is required for making jingle bell necklaces…

Pipe-cleaner, beads and bells for a lovely jingle bell bracelet/tree ornament!

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Advent activities list

Did you know Orthodox Advent has already started? For the Eastern churches (including Byzantine Catholics and perhaps others I don’t know of), Advent is a time of fasting similar to Lent. A bit different to what we’re used to here, and Priest’s Wife over at Fear Not Little Flock has a rather lovely post about how she intends to celebrate it, following the Proverbs 31 model. Check it out! 🙂

Here in the more Western tradition, I have finally organised my advent activities list. Not quite the same as last year’s, and I think it’s a slightly different set of Bible verses each day too, as there seem to be different variants of the Jesse Tree. (You can see the set we used last year here) The verses are not related to the activities in the slightest this year however!

Update: I’ve linked each week to the post showing (some of) those activities now that we’ve done them. This post is also linked to ABC&123’s Show&Tell series – for lots of other great Advent/Christmas/general activities, check out their site!

First week of Advent
Sunday 28/11: Put up Christmas tree (no reading)
29/11: Make Christmas cards (no reading)
30/11: Get out Jesse tree, Christmas bookshelf and red postbox*; read a Christmas story (no reading)
1/12: Make Xmas cake (Creation: Gen 1:1-31; 2:1-4)
2/12: Learn Jingle bells (Adam and Eve: Gen 2: 7-9, 18-24)
3/12: Make jingle bell bracelets (Adam and Eve cont.: Gen 3:1-7, 23-34)
Saturday 4/12: Make stable and Waldorf-style Holy family (Noah: bits of Gen 6 and 7)

Second week of Advent
Sunday 5/12: Bake scones, have cream tea (Abraham: Gen 12:1-3)
6/12: New Christmas book about St Nicholas (Isaac: Gen 22:1-14)
7/12: Candlelight dinner (Jacob: Gen 25:1-34, 28:10-15)
8/12: Public holiday – Make gingerbread house (Joseph: Gen 37:23-28, 45:3-15)
9/12: Learn Away in a manger; Reindeer paper plate craft (Moses: Ex 2:1-10)
10/12: Make toilet roll snowflakes (Samuel; 1 Sam 3:1-18)
Saturday 11/12: Make Waldorf shepherds, sheep and angel (Jesse: 1 Sam 16:1-13)

Third week of Advent
Sunday 12/12: Make felted star, eat gingerbread house (David: 1 Sam 17:12-51)
13/12: Buy gift from World Vision (Solomon: 1 Kings 3:5-14, 16-28)
14/12: Learn the Holly and the Ivy (Joseph: Matt 1:18-25)
15/12: Paint a Christmas tree or possibly some holly (Mary: Luke 1:26-38)
16/12: Open red postbox, hang up cards; make ironing-bead ornaments (John the Baptist: Mark 1:1-8)
17/12: Take Christmas card to school, eat mince pies (Jesus is Wisdom: Ecclesiasticus 24:2, Wisdom 8:1)
Saturday 18/12: Make Waldorf wise men, centurion, star, camels (Jesus is Lord: Ex 3:2, 20:1)

Fourth week of Advent
Sunday 19/12: Toast crumpets, play Christmas tree game (Jesus is Key of David: Isaiah 22:22)
20/12 Make felt crowns, hang stockings** (Jesus is King of the Gentiles: Psalm 2:7-8, Eph 2:14-20)
21/12: Play out nativity story with Waldorf figures, celebrate Christmas (Jesus is Emmanuel: Isaiah 7:14, 33:22)

* the Red Postbox, constructed out of an old nappy (diaper) box, red paint and some cotton-wool “snow”, is where we keep Christmas cards that arrive so we can open lots and hang them all up on the same day. It’s a tradition I carried over from my own childhood. I don’t expect to get very many this year because we are absolutely rubbish at sending any out ourselves!
** A few days early, yes, but we will be away visiting relatives over the actual Christmas period so we are having our own celebration at home and with friends first using our own traditions.

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Christmas planning

I know Christmas is still a long way off, but we’re not American so no Thanksgiving – the Swiss have been having small harvest celebrations for several weeks now, they seem to stagger them so everyone can go to everyone else’s village celebrations – and Switzerland doesn’t really do Halloween as such (they save the dressing-up for Carnival time in February) and so Advent and Christmas are the Next Big Thing.

For Froglet’s Advent bags this year I’ve bought some of those little cylindrical plastic beads that you make a picture with and then iron together, and I will do some designs for small baubles to make with them, probably while Nutmeg sleeps after lunch.

I have also got a 10-week preparation list from Planning with Kids, where there is going to be more about it each week so do click through!

  • 10 Weeks To Go – Review Christmas budget
  • 9 Weeks To Go – Start making the family Christmas cards
  • 8 Weeks To Go – Make food packs to donate
  • 7 Weeks To Go – Christmas present ideas (ones that are easy to pack)
  • 6 Weeks To Go – Help my kids organise a mini fundraiser
  • 5 Weeks To Go – Finish Christmas tags and handmade gifts
  • 4 Weeks To Go – Handmade Christmas decorations
  • 3 Weeks To Go – Cooking Christmas treats
  • 2 Weeks To Go – Make arrangements for the house
  • 1 Week To Go – Christmas celebration with family before we go

I have to say I am very intrigued to find out what some of them will be (a mini-fundraiser for what?), and intend to use the list as a basis for making my own plans. I’m cutting out the fundraiser as my eldest is currently 5, but it’s an interesting thought for future years. And we wouldn’t know who to give food packets to so unless we manage to find out before Christmas, that’s getting replaced with Christmas parcels to send to Eastern Europe.

Here (for my own benefit more than anyone else’s) are the posts I made concerning Advent and preparing for Christmas last year: (this one has links in it to the Jesse Tree stuff)

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Lent Bible readings for kids

Haven’t had chance to blog for a while. Life takes over…

Nonetheless, I wanted to write a bit abut what we’re doing for Lent. We haven’t given anything up (although I am working on giving up shouting at the children!) but rather we have picked something up: Bible reading. I’ve never felt like Froglet could really follow the Bible itself, although of course we have Bible story books. But since we enjoyed having daily readings over Advent, I thought we’d have daily readings for Lent too. These are (mostly) from the Gospel of Luke. I tried to pick stories and things Jesus did rather than too many of the straight teachings, because Froglet is, after all, only four. On Sundays we’re reading the bits where Jesus talked about his death. We have a great illustrated book that was also mine as a child, published by Ladybird, and called The Easter Story. Froglet loves it. As he already knows about the death and resurrection, I thought it was worth showing him that Jesus knew this was coming. But you could easily just leave out the Sunday readings (or replace them), as they aren’t in chronological order with the rest anyway.

We are reading these out of a copy of the Good News Bible which was mine when I was small – it has more pictures than my NIV, although not many, and the wording is a bit simpler.

Today (Wednesday) is day 25. Sundays aren’t counted in the 40 days of Lent so I haven’t numbered them.

Day 1: John the Baptist – Lk 3:2-22
Day 2: In the desert – Lk 4:1-15
Day 3: Nazareth – Lk 4: 16-30
Day 4: Lk 4: 31-44
1st Sunday: Who am I – Lk 9: 18-27
5: Calling the disciples – Mtt 4:18-22 and Lk 5:27-31
6: Skin-disease – Lk 5:12-16
7: Paralysis – Lk 5: 17-26
8: The Sabbath – Lk 6: 1-11
9: The Apostles – Lk 6: 12-19
10: Love your enemies – Lk 6: 27-36
2nd Sunday: The transfiguration – Lk 9: 37-43
11: The house on the rock – Lk 6:46-49
12: The Roman officer – Lk 7: 1-10
13: Raising the dead – Lk 7:11-23
14: Forgiving sins – Lk 7:36-50
15: The parable of the sower – Lk 8:4-15
16: The storm – Lk 8:22-25
3rd Sunday: Predicting Jesus’ death – Lk 18: 31-34
17: Jairus’ daughter – Lk 8:40-56
18: Feeding the 5000 – Lk 9:10-17
19: The boy with an evil spirit – Lk 9: 37-43
20: Sending out the 72 – Lk 10:1-11, 16-20
21: The Samaritan woman – Lk 10:25-37
22: Martha – Lk 10: 38-42
4th Sunday: The tenants in the vineyard – Lk 20:9-18
23: Prayer – Lk 11:1-13
24: Don’t worry – Lk 12:13-31
25: Healing on the Sabbath – Lk 13:10-17, 14:1-6
26: The lost sheep – Lk 15: 1-7
27: The lost coin – Lk 15:8-10
28: The lost son – Lk 15:11-32
5th Sunday: the rich man and Lazarus – Lk 16:19-31
29: Forgiveness – Lk 17:3-4
30: Healing the ten lepers – Lk 17:11-19
31: Always pray – Lk 18:1-8
32: Pharisee and tax collector – Lk 18:9-14
33: Children – Lk 18:15-17
34: Rich man / widow – Lk 18:18-27, 21:1-4
Palm Sunday: Entering Jerusalem – Lk 19:28-40
35: The blind beggar – Lk 18:35-43
36: Zacchaeus – Lk 19:1-10
37: Parable of the talents – Lk 19:11-26
38: Passover meal – Lk 22:1-23, 31-34
39 (Good Friday): Arrest and death – Lk 23 (I will use the afore-mentioned book here)
40: Burial – Lk 23:50-56
Easter Sunday: the Resurrection – Lk 24 (book again)

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Advent week 3

December 13th: Today’s activity is meant to be a visit to the Christmas market in our village, but due to the pox we probably shouldn’t be going out. This morning we caught up on Jesse Tree ornaments, and after lunch we will hang them all up and read the appropriate passages again as we do so. No church today, again due to the chickenpox.

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Second Week of Advent

December 6th, second Sunday of Advent. We’re supposed to be making angels but have skipped it due to not finishing the trees yet. But St Nicolas came today and brought a Wii Fit Plus (just the CD-rom, as we already have the basic Wii Fit), which everyone was very pleased about. We particularly like the game where you flap your arms to fly like a bird. I found a whole new set of muscles in my arms!

December 7th. Today Froglet’s nursery is being visited by the saint too. He usually brings such items as satsumas, peanuts and cookies (I think I’ve mentioned this before)

December 8th. The Ten commandments are today’s Jesse Tree reading. Time to learn a new memory verse (the last one was Genesis 1:1) – obey your mother and father!

December 9th The Engineer is ill this week so not much is happening. We will have to catch up on making the Jesse Tree ornaments this weekend, but are still having the readings every day. Froglet is very much enjoying them although I think he often doesn’t understand.

December 12th. We have chickenpox! But that is not stopping us in the slightest as Froglet only has it mildly. The Engineer helped me paint the kids’ hands and feet to make hand-foot angels which we were supposed to do ages ago and didn’t get round to. I still have to cut them out and stick them together.

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Advent week 1

Please forgive the lack of photos. Our old computer died and the new one is a Mac… needless to say, I have not yet worked out how to move the photos onto it from the camera, or how to find them once they have been moved, let alone put them on the blog! A task to add to this weekend’s list.

November 29th, first Sunday of Advent, we put up our tree. Nice and high so Nutmeg can’t get at it! Although the baubles are mostly child-safe (papier-maché). Froglet helped decorate the lower branches, while Nutmeg tried to eat everything within reach.

November 30th, first Monday of Advent, we started the Jesse Tree. There are some nice family devotions over at We have brought the potted kumquat tree in off the balcony to use as the Tree. It’s a bit big for the table but otherwise perfect. Kumquats do badly on their own stock so they tend to be grafted onto some other citrus fruit tree – meaning that there is a clear stump with the kumquat branch growing from it. Almost ideal for a Jesse Tree… of course Christ was not grafted onto Jesse’s stock, but we gentiles are grafted into His family!

December 1st. No activity because Froglet goes to nursery all day on Tuesdays, which wears him out. We just did the reading, having coloured in the bauble the previous day. And I hung up his advent calendar. Photos may follow…

December 2nd. The story of Noah. Froglet is mildly obsessed with floods. Every time it rains he asks if there will be one (the last one we saw was the summer before his birth!) so he’s fascinated by Noah. I make sure to stress God’s promise that no flood will ever wipe out humanity again! We also tried to make Christmas cards by painting paper and then using a cardboard comb to make designs in it. Not hugely successful so we settled for painting on the table, drawing in it with our fingers and making prints from that instead.

December 3rd. Today’s activity is one from my to-do list (over there in the sidebar): paper plate Christmas trees. What with waiting for the paint to dry and Froglet not feeling like doing crafts, we haven’t managed to finish these yet!

December 4th – finish trees *cough* or not.

December 5th. Story of Isaac. Not a very pleasant story! I have another post on this coming.

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