Monday, December 19, 2011

The Week Ahead

I just cannot believe this is the last week before Christmas! December has flown by. Naturally, my first instinct is to pack this week full with tons of crafts, lots of baking, and a dozen other things....but I know from experience that that will just make for a frazzled mom who can't wait for Christmas to be over.

Instead, difficult as it may be, I am forcing myself to pick and choose from my list- to decide what is reasonable to accomplish this week while still allowing plenty of time to sit by the fire and read Christmas stories, play a game or two with the kids, and take a walk (or three) in the woods. And maybe, just maybe, a few stolen minutes here and there to just sit and take it all in. Too much rushing is not conducive to getting in the Christmas spirit.

So this week...

We have to make cookies of course. I have committed to making jeweled coconut thumbprints and peanut butter mice cookies.We will also make cut-out sugar cookies Christmas Eve afternoon for ourselves and Santa.

On the solstice,  I plan on making a lemon "sun" coffee cake to celebrate the gradually lengthening days. We will also decorate a tree for the birds on this day, and possibly drive around after sunset to look for Christmas lights.

If there's time, I'd love to make fudge or some other kind of candy. But only if the mood strikes and there's time. Fudge can be made after Christmas just as well, I must remind myself.

Of course, we will be playing lots of Christmas carols and wrapping gifts. I have had to relax my standards a ton with the gift wrapping. Now I just let the kids wrap gifts, regardless of their (decidedly severe) lack of skill in this area.  I have decided that a perfectly wrapped gift is just not important to me, as long as it isn't hanging too much out of the paper. Horrors, I know! But it really simplifies life. I sometimes even write a little note on the tag, specifying which child wrapped the gift. That way, the recipient can't blame me for the roll-and- a- half of tape my three year old put on it.

 We have to make gingerbread houses. Nothing fancy here, I just picked up a kit at the store. I was lucky enough this year to find a kit with four miniature houses, so everyone can have their own. Gingerbread house decorating has causes many disagreements, to put it mildly, at our house! I am happy to have each child have their own. Or I was, until Grandma showed up today with a single large gingerbread house, bringing our total number to five. Five gingerbread houses to decorate...oh, dear.

We have a few gifts to finish. We are making a memory game for Daddy, and Grace is working on catnip mice for the cat's Christmas gift.

If there's time, I have a few crafts I'd like to squeeze in with the kids, but again I am trying to remind myself that simpler is better.

We will watch The Polar Express one night, probably while eating dinner.

And on Christmas Eve we will bake our cut-out sugar cookies, finish up the wrapping, order take-out Chinese, and get the kids to bed early! We have a tradition, after the kids are in bed, of putting on TNT's A Christmas Story 24 hour marathon while wrapping, setting things up, and drinking eggnog (with just a little peppermint schnapps added).

I am sharing a photo here of our advent candles, including the fourth and final one- which we just lit last night! This is a super easy set-up. Just a shallow wooden tray, four glass votive holders, a few springs of holly leaves bought at Michael's craft store, and of course, the candles themselves. We did the first three weeks with white candles, the fourth and final week in red.

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