I can’t believe how fast Christmas came and went. We spent Christmas in Texas this year, and we had such a good time. We always do though, so not really news there. For Christmas morning, the girls and I planned a special show for them to perform for their Grandmama and Auntia (auntie + tia) Suzi. The show included some of their piano pieces, hip hop dance numbers, mixed in with some readings of the Christmas story from Luke 2. Ben also led a short time of family worship and a story from our advent book. Then, Papi Claus came back into town and did all the handing out of the presents. Papi Claus is full of jokes so everyone was laughing all morning. After all the present opening, the girls naturally wanted to play with them, so they went outside to ride the scooters they were given from their Auntia Suzi. Glow didn’t get one, since she will just get the three-wheel scooter we already had at home, so she watched from the sidelines.
Ben and I prepared Christmas dinner while we watched the Spurs game, and the girls just had fun with their Grandmama and Auntia. It was such a laid back day and everyone stayed in their pajamas. Actually, the girls stayed in pajamas most of the time we were in Texas, and they are so cute all matchy-matchy. Ben’s mom had these all laid out for them when we got there, and they were so excited about matching.
This is the second year we had Papi Claus (this is from last year’s), and it’s always hilarious, and this is the first time we prepared a Christmas show. I think it would be fun to have the girls do a Christmas show yearly, so hopefully next year we can do another. Ben’s mom doesn’t have a piano, but this roll-out piano we borrowed from their piano teacher came in handy. I want to try and include some sort of puppet show in next year’s, but we will see what the girls want to do. They always have their own plans when it comes to this stuff. I think it would be a fun tradition to do, until they don’t want to do it anymore (who knows when that will be?!). What are some of your Christmas Day traditions?
Things have been quiet here as we have been really enjoying our family time in Texas, and honestly, blogging is the last thing on my mind (I’m still sharing here instagram if you want to follow along). I did want to pop in here to greet everyone a Happy New Year though! Next week, things will be back to normal in this space as I get back into the swing of life again too. I’m dreading that week back in homeschooling, but life goes on, and so we have to suck it up and go on with it. Until then, enjoy the rest of your holiday vacation, and we will be doing the same. Happy New Year friends!
This is how we put together the castle for Soul’s princess party. Ben created the frame by using PVC pipes we already had. I simply covered it with my massive roll of craft paper (I use it for so many things!) and affixed it on with packaging tape. I cut out the two, top front panels in the shape of a tower, and then I painted on a brick pattern all throughout the exterior (excluding the back and right side) and interior.
I originally wanted to make it out of cardboard boxes (inspired by this) and make them slot together, similar to the cardboard dollhouse, but we didn’t have boxes large enough. Also, I was too pressed for time to figure that out (that’s what happens when I have two December birthdays to prepare for on top of Christmas!). I told Ben what I was visualizing and I let him come up with the frame. Thus, he came up with the skeleton, and I added the meat. We like to tag team on projects like that often. Usually though, I do the skeleton and he adds the substance, but this time it was at the other way around. *high-five Ben!*
I did see this cool medieval castle playhouse, and this coloring castle, or this life-size fairy castle, or even this discovery play castle. In the end though, none of them were quite large enough to have them have a party inside the castle, so we made our own. But I just came across this carriage, and had I seen that early enough, I might have gotten that to add to our castle. Everything worked out wonderfully and if you saw her party post, you know Soul loved her castle! The only bummer part is that when I moved my fiddle leaf fig tree, I didn’t realize there was sitting water in the saucer. I’m guessing somehow it leaked out because there was a big puddle on the wood floor, which I didn’t see until after the party was over, and well now, we have a a couple really warped planks. Oye vey!
Last year, she requested a “fancy party,” so that’s what we did and Ben was the butler. I thought for sure she would want a hotel birthday since that’s what all her sisters got this year, but she said she just wanted to go to a hotel to swim and not sleep there. Then, since she had a swim class scheduled on her birthday, she said she didn’t need a hotel. HA! So the request changed to a princess party at home.
While Ben was chauffeuring the girls to classes and errands during the day, I was able to put the meat on the castle’s bones, so to speak, as well as prepare the party table. Soul saw the castle’s frame in the morning, but when they’d pop in and out throughout the day, Soul could see her princess dreams come to life; it was neat to see her light up with excitement. Ben even took her to a local bakery to pick out a cake, so she was quite happy to be in charge of that. She picked one that looked fit for royalty!
It was just a small list of princesses invited… her sisters and a neighborhood friend. Soul was dubbed Princess Soul-fia by True (that was very clever of her), and wore this dress. Brave was Merida and Glow was the Swan Princess, and both chose to wear Misha Lulu dresses we already had (okay, I gave Glow two choices and she picked this one). True was Queen Elsa and wore the Elsa costume we had. Their friend came over decked out in beautiful sequined dress, and Ben and I had five little princesses to attend to.
They participated in a couple crafts, played some games that True and Brave made, sang Disney Princess songs, and we served them dinner. And of course, when fancy glassware is involved, there must be a toast. Soul was itching to open up her presents; we got her two coloring books, and the sisters made a whole lot of handmade presents. Then last, but certainly not least, came the moment she was waiting for… cake! We had a couple rounds of singing and then the girls had a few rounds of cake.
It was a delightful evening being able to spoil one of our little princesses. Her glee all day long made Ben and I so happy. I can’t believe she’s 5! We love this feisty girl of ours. If you want to see how we did the castle frame, I’ll have another post for you soon.
I’m not very good at doing an advent calendar or countdown. Every year, I make an attempt and make something for it, but most days, I end up dropping the ball on it. We’ve made this tear-off calendar in the past, but doing a daily thing is hard (at least for us). I didn’t plan to do one this year at all, but Ben took the initiative and got the book Prepare Him Room and has leading our family worship a few times a week in preparation for the arrival of Christmas. Whew! A 2-3 times a week is much easier to handle than the pressure of doing an activity everyday, and this way, we are able to really reflect on why we celebrate Christmas.
The first project in the book was to make an advent wreath, but we didn’t follow their directions exactly. Instead, I went to Lowes and picked up discarded Christmas tree branches, and wrapped them into a wreath with floral wire. Then, I inserted four wooden candle holders into the wreath and secured them on with more floral wire. Voila! It’s also a nice centerpiece to our dining table.
Are you pretty good at advent activities? Or are you not so good like me?