Monday, 23 November 2009

Advent is coming!

Advent ~ 4th Sunday before December 25
(the Sunday between November 27 and December 3 inclusive.)

Our Advent Traditions ~

Advent Morning devotions : We use the Jesse tree devotions here. However, I personally do not think all of the devotions are age appropriate for my children, so some of them I change or miss out altogether.
The decorations I sewed or needle felted & some my girls made.

Our Advent Calendar ~ This year we will be using this calendar.

And this book

Our Advent Wreath ~
The advent wreath is full of symbolism, which makes rich learning for children & adults alike.
The growing light heralds the growing anticipation of the birth of Jesus Christ who is 'The light of the world' John 8:12.
The circle demonstrates that God & His love has no beginning & no end. The evergreen, everlasting life.
The colour of the candles has its own significance. Three purple (the colour of royalty - used as it is the season of the coming of our King) and one rose (the joy candle.)The fifth candle is a white candle~ the Christ candle and is placed in the centre of the wreath and lit on Christmas day to celebrate the miracle of Jesus birth.

Play Christmas music

Begin our Christmas Journals We began these on Stir Up Sunday.
You can see my girls journals in this post. They decorated the outside with old Christmas cards & recorded Stir Up Sunday.
They will add drawings of advent happenings, photos & other memorabilia. Makes a lovely keepsake for them.
My own Christmas journal is one I started when Elianna was a baby. I love to look back over each year's happenings & my thoughts.

My Christmas devotional reading
This year I will be reading A Child in Winter: Advent, Epiphany, Christmas with Caryll Houselander

Be Christmas Angels: Each person has a secret partner, for whom they do secret acts of kindness, throughout Advent.
Straw for the baby Jesus. For each kind deed throughout advent, you may add a piece of straw to the baby Jesus’ crib

‘Happy Advent’ cake ~
This dark chocolate Bundt cake is a chocolate-lover's dream. This is a delicious and intensely chocolate cake, especially if you use a high-quality or Dutch-process cocoa.
• 8 ounces butter (2 sticks)
• 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa, such as Valrhona or high-quality, such as Scharffen Berger*
• 3/4 cup water
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 cup sour cream
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 2 large eggs
• 2 cups all-purpose flour, stir before measuring
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt

Grease and flour a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to GM 4
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; add cocoa, stirring until smooth. Whisk in the water and remove from heat. To the warm cocoa mixture, add the sugar, sour cream, 1 tablespoon vanilla, and eggs; whisk until smooth. In another bowl combine the flour, soda, and salt. Add all at once to the first mixture, whisking until well blended.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch and has slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan. Cool in pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Carefully loosen the cake with a knife and invert onto a large plate.
Serves 10 to 12.
*If you're using a standard baking cocoa (not Dutch-process or high-quality) add 1/2 teaspoon more of baking soda to the dry ingredients.

Begin our Nativity scene. Animals, Mary & Joseph, shepherds & finally, on The Epiphany, the Wise Men. We use a porcelain set that I purchased for my first Christmas as a married lady with a home of her own : )

Bring out our play Nativity set. This is the set the girls play with. It is just wonderful! Beautifully made & great for play.

Make Christmas cards
Make Christmas gifts More about these two in a future post.

Bake cookies *Lots* of cookies : )

Bundle up in P.J’s & snowsuits, jump in the car with a flask of hot chocolate & go for a drive to see all the christmas lights This is usually on Elianna's birthday, but will be a different date this year, due to an extra special birthday ; )

Buy & decorate our christmas tree Oh! i love this traditon!

Go for a woodland walk to collect holly,pine cones, boughs, etc to decorate our home.

Make applesauce ornaments

Bake a gingerbread house

Snuggle up under the quilt to watch Polar Express with cookies, hot chocolate & a roaring fire.

• 4 cups whole milk
• 4 cups half-and-half
• 1 pound white chocolate, chopped
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 8 to 10 vanilla beans
In a saucepan on medium heat, heat the milk and half-and-half to just below the simmering point. Remove the pan from the heat and add the white chocolate. When the chocolate is melted, add the vanilla and whisk vigorously. Reheat very gently and serve with a vanilla bean stirrer in each cup.
(Serves 8-10. From The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)

Have a ‘Cocoa story time’
~ Have an afternoon of Christmas stories, cookies & cocoa

On the Solstice, decorate our garden with goodies for the birds

Attend the Carol service at church

I will be writing a post soon about our school time during advent.


Jen said...

Wow, Lynn! Can I come to your house for all of this :D What a wonderful Advent plan. I really liked so many of your ideas (loved the idea of adding straw to the manger) and the Advent books are a lovely touch. I can't wait to see a picture of your xmas wreath and am wondering if Elianna is a xmas baby? My Gran who just passed away on Sat morning was a Christmas Eve baby and that was so very special.

Thanks for the continued inspiration!

Lynn said...

you are always welcome, Jen : )
Elianna's birthday is at the begining of December.
A Christmas eve birthday - how wonderful! Christmas is such a wonderful time to have a newborn ~ *wistful sigh*

Hannah said...

Your advent plans sound lovely!
I love the idea of a happy advent cake - any excuse for baking a cake appeals to me :o)

Lynn said...

we are on the same wave length, Hannah ; )

Melissa said...

I love your Advent traditions! Sounds like so much fun. I am definitely planning on trying the white hot chocolate!

Blessings for your Christmas season,

Lynn said...

thank you Melissa!