Family Advent Activities and Links

Night Before Advent Party

We’ve celebrated Advent in various ways over the years. We’ve taken part in Ann VosKamp’s Night Before Advent Party found @ A Holy Experience. If you follow the link, you’ll not only be inspired by the beautiful words that focus your heart on the coming of the Lord, but also find more links to free printables for all the material needed to hold your own Advent party with your family.

 

Advent Acts of Kindness

We’ve hung socks stuffed with treats and activities that stir a spirit of generosity in our children. Click this link and you’ll find all the instructions (and links) to hand paint Christmas jammies and surprise the neighbourhood with random acts of kindness.

 

advent-002

The Dawning of Indestructible Joy

This year, we are working through The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, by John Piper and hanging the Advent Socks. The cute advent tags each hold a Scripture verse and are a free printable at Passionate Penny Pincher.

How does your family celebrate Advent and prepare for Christmas?

 

Parts of Speech BINGO free download

I haven’t posted a child friendly activity for quite some time. Writing, homeschooling, and the usual mom tasks have absorbed all my energy. But this week, I created a game that I’d like to share with you as a FREE download.

All three of my children are learning about the various parts of speech. After completing their regular school, they are not interested in additional review to help solidify the parts of speech in their brains. To make practise a little more fun, I made this BINGO game that my grade 3, grade 4 and grade 7 student can play together.

The PDF download includes bingo cards for three players, easy instructions, and a master list of words.

We played one game today and the kids immediately asked to play another. The youngest even said, “We should play this every day!”

Yes, that’s what I want: a love for learning.

Download your FREE PDF printable of the game today by clicking the link below. I hope your kids love it!

parts-of-speech-bingo

Stacey

 

 

 

More Oatmeal. We can’t get enough!

My faithful readers know that our family eats a lot of oatmeal. It’s good for you. Inexpensive. Easy.

All high on this mom’s checklist.

We usually make crock pot oatmeal, which consists of 1 cup of steel-cut oats plus 5.5 cups of water cooked on the low setting overnight in the crock pot. In the morning the kids doctor up the oatmeal as they see fit (i.e. add peanut butter and brown sugar).

This past week, we have had a lot of fun making overnight oatmeal in the refrigerator. I found this idea at the Green Plate Rule. (I’d link to it, but the website has been down these last few days.)

It’s easy. This is our altered version of the green plate recipe.

All you need is a mason jar and:

  • 3/4 cup of milk (almond or coconut milk is acceptable)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, not quick cooking
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. raisins
  • 1/2 of an apple, chopped into small bits

Put all the ingredients into the jar, shake the jar, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning microwave it for one minute. Delicious!

IMG_00000489

The kids enjoy mixing their own ingredients and playing around with the recipe. They’ve most recently fallen back into adding peanut butter and brown sugar to the jars. Old habits die hard, I guess.

I LOVE the apple cinnamon combo. As you can see, I forgot to put the raisins in this bowl, which I regretted. It’s better with raisins 🙂

IMG_00000491

Kate and I cut the recipe in half, but the boys eat the full amount. None of the measurements are a hard and fast rule. Play around and see what you like. I can’t wait to try it with peaches.

Makeover your Pumpkin Spice Latte

 

pumpkin_latte_nutrition

I LOVE Pumpkin Spice Latte’s from Starbucks. I mean really, really love them. But the price is out-of-this-world-crazy-expensive for a cup of coffee. Therefore, I limit my Starbucks to birthdays, date nights, and gift cards (hint hint).

On the search to re-create this tasty fall beverage, I found this recipe on Stephanie O’Dea’s website. I have linked to her MANY times. The only thing I love more than a Pumpkin Spice Latte is my crock pot. The following recipe is from her post on October 19th, 2008. I have doubled and tripled this recipe to serve the beverage to a crowd. I usually make it in a saucepan if Kevin and I are the only two enjoying the treat. And, for you calorie counters, you can skip the whip cream and use fat free milk and it is just as yummy!

The Ingredients.

adapted from Taste of Home’s Halloween 2008 edition, as seen on Stephanie O’Dea’s website.

–2 cups milk (I used 1%)
–2 T canned pumpkin (or pumpkin puree)
–2 T white sugar
–2 T vanilla (not a typo. it asks for tablespoons)
–1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice OR: 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp cloves, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, and a teeny tiny pinch of ground ginger
–1/2 cup brewed espresso or 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee

–garnish with whipped cream (optional)

The Directions.

This will make enough for 2 people to have a big mug with a bit leftover. If you are having friends over, adjust the recipe accordingly. I used a 4-quart crock pot, but as small as a 1.5 quart will work with these amounts.

Add the coffee/espresso and milk to the crock pot. Whisk in the pumpkin, spices, sugar, and vanilla.

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours if everything is cold. Whisk again.

Ladle into mugs, and garnish with whipped cream and additional cinnamon. I added a cinnamon stick to be fancy.

Enjoy!

Slumber Party Solutions

When Kaitlyn turned 9 she celebrated with a sleepover party. I searched Pinterest and Google Images looking for party ideas that would help me hold onto some sense of sanity while nine giggling girls descended upon our home. This blog post is a collection of the games and ideas that helped make the party a success (in the eyes of both Mother and Daughter).

Kate created her own goodie bags:

IMG_00000280-1

She decorated plain bags found at the dollar store, making sure each guest could easily see their name on the bag front. Then we decided what each party girl needed for a successful sleepover.

IMG_00000279

A flashlight, chap stick, tooth-brush, sleep mask, and the morning’s breakfast – cereal, juice, bowl and spoon.

Kate placed everything but the cereal into each bag. As her guests arrived they found their bag on the table and added their choice of cereal from the selection available.

IMG_00000281-1

Next, each girl signed our party rules:

IMG_00000282-1

Sleepover party rules

The party stays downstairs (unless a parent calls the group upstairs).

Party guests use only kind words.

11:30 QUIET

Your cereal and juice are for breakfast .

Save the flashlight for a game later tonight. If you choose to use yours beforehand, batteries will NOT be replaced.

No phone calls after bed, no unsupervised kitchen use, no computer use. Disobeying these rules might result in being sent home.

After signing the party pledge they chose a pillowcase and descended into the basement to decorate their pillowcase with provided fabric markers.

IMG_00000284

We played an assortment of games:

  • Spin the nail polish: Sit in a circle and the birthday girl spins a bottle of nail polish. Whoever the top is pointing at must paint one fingernail (or toenail) that color, and then spin a different colored bottle. Keep playing until all fingers or toes are painted.
  • Who’s in Whose Sleeping Bag?: One player (guesser) leaves the room. The rest of the girls lay out all the sleeping bags. Each girl hides inside a different sleeping bag, (not their own!). The guesser returns and pokes a bag and asks one question of the hider. The hider tries to disguise their voice while answering. The guesser tries to guess who is inside the sleeping bag. The guesser has three turns. The first person poked is the new guesser for the next round.
  • Hunt at Dusk: As soon as the sun set the girls hunted through the backyard by flashlight looking for 40 small chocolate bars hidden. Once all 40 were found they came inside to eat the treats.

IMG_00000318

Somewhere in the middle of all the fun we needed to sing happy birthday and eat some cake. But instead of cake, we served a donut tower. Easy for the party guests to pull apart and take downstairs and enjoy.

IMG_00000286-1

The night was topped off with popcorn and a movie.

A success!!!

Cardboard Creations, Part 3: Life Size Angry Bird Game

Who has the coolest dad in the neighbourhood? Kate, Jon and Nick! He built this giant sling shot to compliment their cardboard box creations. First, the sling shot…

He made a box from wood.

photo (3)

He supported a post in the centre.

photo (4)

He made “football uprights.” (He tells me this phrase will mean something to anyone who likes football. Means nothing to me!)

photo (6)

He used leftover material and two bungee cords to create the launcher.

photo (5)

The only thing left to add – is cardboard.

Kate and Ian sketched out several designs for the cardboard boxes, then, we played!!

IMG_00000177

Cardboard Creations, part two

This pile of cardboard became the Jolly Midd-Weeks, a pirate ship destined for adventure.

100_2236

100_2237

The poles came from Fabricland and became a mast for the sail. The long cardboard pieces were wrapped around a box and taped at the ends to form the canoe shape of the boat.

100_2247

They designed the sail and used string to attach it to the mast.

100_2248

100_2251

They painted the boat orange, drew on the lines to create the look of wood.

100_2252

While the big kids built a boat, the little ones made hats and swords.

100_2244

100_2245

100_2253

What a great week-long project!