1. I made an Advent calendar for Evelyn using an old mini muffin tin (saw the idea on Etsy). I liked using the tin because I knew it was something that I could easily take apart at the end of Advent. Since our storage space in the condo can be limited, all of our Christmas decorations and anything related to Christmas, must fit in two plastic bins (with the exception of our Advent wreath and door wreath). If the bins get too full, I have to make decisions about what we can keep and what we must give away. To avoid having to take a yearly inventory, I try to keep some space in the boxes! Anyway, knowing that I could make an Advent calendar that I wouldn't have to store was VERY appealing! Also, I couldn't beat the cost... I used things I already had in the house, so I didn't spend a dime on making it!
I made circles using leftover scrapbook paper and attached numbers to each circle. On the back side of each circle I wrote one letter. There were 24 circles in all, so I was able to spell out, "Have a very Merry Christmas!" I then attached magnetic strips to each circle using non-permanent double sided tape, so we could switch the magnet to the opposite side when we turned the circle over. The magnetic strips were from old "Office" themed magnets that I gave Joe as a stocking stuffer one year. Because the magnets were just short words or phrases, they really didn't even have to be cut up! The only drawback was that they weren't the strongest of magnets, so when I stuck the laminated circles to the tin, some would slide down, creating a domino effect for the whole column. Next year, I will probably buy stronger magnets! I then wrote 24 statements (mostly tasks or activities) on strips of computer paper and rolled each strip up. I placed one in each compartment of the tin and covered it up with the magnetic circle.
Evelyn loved pulling a magnet off each day and carrying around the new strip of paper. We usually let her pull one off in the morning before Joe went to work. I would take the liberty of pulling the magnet off one side and turning the circle to the opposite side, exposing the letter. Someday, when Evelyn can read, it will be fun for her to turn the circles and try to figure out what the secret message will spell out before Christmas. This year, it was just nice to read the new letter to her daily. She was able to identify "E" by the end of Advent. Here are some pictures of the "no frills" Advent calendar!
2. I made a pseudo Advent calendar for Joe. It was a wonderful task! At the beginning of the Advent season, I wrote down 25 statements about my husband (things I love about Joe, thoughts about our marriage, happy memories, etc.). I wrote one statement on each strip of paper and kept them hidden away. Each day I would sneak one strip in his lunch bag or under his pillow (if I remembered)! It was a nice little surprise for Joe and it was a fantastic way for me to brighten his day or bring additional peace and joy into our home as we prepared our hearts for Jesus. I pray that I can keep this little tradition up in the years to come; I'm so blessed to have Joe for a husband and I want him to know how truly grateful I am to have him in my life.
You are probably wondering what some of the activities or tasks were on Evelyn's Advent calendar. So here's a look back at some of our favorite days of Advent (when we actually took pictures).
|Getting our Christmas Tree at Sprouffske Farm|
|Zoolights at Point Defiance with the Skillman's|
|Watching Santa swim with the sharks!|
|Zoolights: Evelyn and Gus Skillman|
|Decorating the house for Christmas: Finished product|
|Singing Christmas Carols...after lunch!|