Thursday, December 1, 2011

a little more Christmas craftiness

For years I have wanted to make an advent calendar for my family.  Its kind of dumb - over the years I've made probably 6 or 7 of them for gifts for friends, but never made one for my own kids.  Finally this year was the year.
I debated over many different ideas in my mind, a lot of which were more creative and unique, but I finally settled on the standard hanging felt pocket variety.  The same type I have made many times before.  And I'm pretty happy with it.  And the kids are pretty thrilled.
It is stuffed with ornaments for our Jesse Tree.  What is a Jesse Tree?  You'll have to wait a little to find out about that one.... this post is going to be too short to explain that (It's my bedtime).
Regardless of their enthusiasm for the new advent calendar, the did not want to relinquish the traditional advent paper chain of activities.  We've done this for probably 8 or so years now, maybe more, so it needs to keep happening.  So we have both.
 The paper chain has our daily activity and the hanging one holds the ornaments - works great.
Speaking of our daily activities, today is Dec. 1 - which means our first activity....  I'm sad to say we are already behind on day one.  Sheesh.  Between Maddy's soccer tryouts and the Casa G guys coming over, it didn't happen.  Not a good start.

On the other hand, we are having a very good finish to the craft sale creations.  Last night a few fellow Youth Worlders came over and helped to craft and package stuff.  
 We got a ton of stuff done and now I'm feeling great about this whole sale.  I still have more to do, and I will definitely be working up until the 12th hour, but at least there is plenty to sell.  It was great just hanging out with wonderful women too.
We packaged the caramel chocolate pretzel rods and chocolate covered apricots:
 Finished the snowman ornament kits:
 Packaged the Hot Chocolate on a Stick (or spoon).  
 These are yummy.  It is basically melted chocolate mixed with cocoa, sugar, etc. and molded.  Then I dipped them into melted chocolate and did four types:  plain, toffee (dipped into toffee bits that I made), cayenne (added a little to the main mix too) and crushed up candy canes (sometimes it is good to have a few that are broken!).  You just heat up a mug of milk, stick this puppy in it, stir and voilá, very tasty hot chocolate!  I got the labels here but kind of made up my own recipe based on a few different places.
We packaged the candy coal:
 It is homemade candy that looks just like coal.  It is pretty cool and the kids love it.  I did two other batches too, but unfortunately the black food coloring that I bought here (I was impressed I even found such a thing here) was pretty lousy.... so it is going in the "ready for when we need a sugar high" bin.  No, we don't actually have one of those, and I should probably just throw it out, but my frugal (aka cheap) side is currently winning out.
And we also got those dog-walking bags stuff with plastic bags:
 There were some other projects that were done as well, but I haven't gotten around to photographing them yet.  All in time.

Just a little side note:  Today apparently (nobody told us) was Have Your Office/Work Quito Day Party. There were several places that were decorated with the blue and red (representing the colors of Quito's flag) and music was going on everywhere.  We have a business right next door to us.  They started their festivities around 10:30 this morning and ended about an hour ago.  That was almost 12 hours of music and partying in a row!  Wow!
Part of the time they were gone on a chiva.
That is the view from our front window - the top left is our driveway covering and the black is our fence/gate.  Through there you can see the chiva.  A chiva is a sort of bus that people usually stand in, have music blasting, and dance around in while it drives around all over.  They are out occasionally throughout the year, but the are everywhere in December.  Mia is going to a part on Saturday and gets to ride one with a bunch of her friends. 
Anyway, Quito day is actually on the 6th, so I'm not sure what the deal is.... but it seemed like all the parties were today.  Tomorrow the kids' Spanish classes are putting on celebrations and performances.  Lucy and Cade's group (Kindergarten through 3rd grade) is from 8:00 - 10:00; Mia's (4th through 6th) is at 10:00 - 12:00, there is a special lunch at noon, then a dog show (yes, a dog show - I'll be getting pictures of that, to be sure), and then Maddy's group from 2:00 - 3:30.  So apparently I will be at school all day long.
I'm tired already.

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