Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent 2011: Introduction & Instructions

We start our Names of Jesus Advent tomorrow going through the 25 days leading up to celebrating the birth of Christ. I thought I'd journal our countdown here and on Facebook as well. 

Here's our introduction:

In every age and every culture names are important. Parents often struggle to select just the right name to give their child. It is more than just a label of identification.

In Biblical times, a name had a significant meaning--often denoting a characteristic or something related to the history of the person or his time. Sometimes a new name was given to indicate a change of character or a major event in one's history.

To begin this unit, look up some of the Biblical people who had their names changed. Why did they change? Did they change names on their own or were they given a new name by someone else? Was their new name a good one? Did they live up to their name?

Throughout the Old and New Testaments, it is possible to find more than 100 names and titles for Jesus Christ. No other person is history has had as many names or titles. Why so many names for Jesus? Perhaps it is because a name is descriptive but it is also restrictive. A name or title has a self-imposed limitation and no one could begin to describe or define Jesus. His glory and His greatness defy description and definition!

I had someone ask, so here's how I made the ornaments. Click on any picture to enlarge. Front pictures and inspiration courtesy of Bible Story Printables

6 sheets of fabric paper
25 small ribbons strips to hang on the tree- 6.5" long by .25" wide - matched to the felt backing
25 large ribbon strips for stuffing - 2" by 18". I accordion folded it in 1" folded squares.
25 squares of Christmas fabric- cut with pinking sheers to a 1/4' border around the scripture backs
6 sheets of craft felt from Michael's- 2 in each color, red, green and yellow

Pinking sheers
Sewing machine - or needle and thread
Straight pins
Sewing scissors


1. Using the colored versions of the ornaments, print them on fabric paper and cut them out. I get mine from Joann Fabrics.

2. Take a cut out ornament, and trace the shape on to card stock. Using double stick tape on the felt as the template, cut out the felt backs. Using pinking sheers, cut to the outside of the line. (When the tape started losing it's stickiness, just slap on another layer)

3. I made a spreadsheet of the Days in order with the Bible reference and complete scripture. Then I mail merged that in to a set of labels with 3" by 2.25" margins.

UPDATE 12/30/11. You can now download the resulting labels from the mail merged spreadsheet directly by clicking on the highlighted word spreadsheet above.

Screenshot of spreadsheet

4. Print the 24 scripture backs on the fabric paper. Last name of Jesus, which is Jesus on the December 25th, we'll be reading from Luke 2:4-14. They have Matthew 1:21 as their reference.

Screen shot of Ornament labels

5. Using the scripture references, take the Christmas fabric and pinking sheer to the outside for a frame. This wasn't initially part of my process, but I thought it lacked something so I added a bit of color.

I also decided to match up the back and front colors better once I saw this pic

6. Take to the sewing machine, the cut out back and sew a square framing around the scripture. Then, lining the ornament pieces up back to back, slide the smaller ribbon in between where it appears to be coming from the hanger.


7. Start sewing around the frame of the front ornament until you get 3/4 of the way, the 9 o'clock position, around the ornament.

Finished backs:

I'm still deciding where and how to arrange them since I want to hang one a day. More Pinterest hopping is necessary to decide, I'm sure ;-)

There are SO many great Advent ideas out there: Nativity people, Jesse Tree, Truth in the Tinsel, Christmas around the World, Symbols of Christmas and of course the 12 Days of Christmas. So much fun for years to come :-)) I've also found several books to read along the way, coloring pages, games and Preschool Nativity Packs to do as well!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

All About Reading

Freely Educate is giving away full set of All About Reading's Level One
to one of you!

The winner's package will include:
All About Reading Level One Kit:
Level 1 Teacher's Manual
 Level 1 Student Packet
Run, Bug, Run!
The Runt Pig
Cobweb the Cat

 The Deluxe Reading Interactive Kit:
 Letter Tiles with Magnets
The Basic Phonograms CD
Divider Cards
Reading Review Box
Reading Tote Bag
Star Stickers

It's a $157 value, they also do the All About Spelling curriculum.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

2011 Advent Activities

  Last year after Christmas a friend posted about an advent calendar she used with her kiddos. I bought one super cheap after Christmas and unpacked it today while we were assembling the Christmas tree. I think Munckin will have fun playing with the nativity ornaments while mommy talks about their part in the birth of Jesus. 

In my Pinterest wondering, I kept seeing nativity ideas. I created my Happy Birthday Jesus board and off I went collecting. I'm definitely a gatherer. I was just talking to my husband today about knowing when is enough. So, today I started doing! The graham cracker nativity in lieu of a gingerbread house ( I used to do gingerbread houses from scratch every year at Christmastime before I was diagnosed with Celiac) has to be my favorite activity :-)

These ornaments from Bible Story Printables have 25 names of Jesus and are just so pretty! I printed off a full color copy on to my fabric paper. I cut them out and pinking sheered some Christmas colored felt I bought this morning to back it. Then, I printed off the corresponding scripture references from Easy Fun School, with the number of day in order. They have activity and discussion questions as well to back up this lesson depending on the age of your child. I plan to attach the Day, Chapter/ verse and Scripture information to the back of each ornament. I'll stuff them, sew and attach a ribbon to hang from our Christmas tree.

Munckin will have the same ornaments in the black and white version to color and then we'll also do a paper chain as we go along in Christmas colors to add to our living room decorations.

I'm so excited to be walking through the names of Jesus as a family as we prepare our hearts to celebrate our Savior's birth!!

UPDATE 11.30.11: I completed the ornaments last night and posted a tutorial today on how I made them

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Week 12: Thanksgiving Fun

I picked Munchkin's favorite fun activities only to do this week :-) We are only going to do one theme a week through the first of January to prepare our hearts for including Jesus in our celebrations.

We read our Thanksgiving books all week long :-)

Window clings. Can't beat this for the half hour of fun and the half off price at Hobby Lobby.

I have found some great toddler apps for the iphone. Munchkin can now get the phone out of sleep mode all on his own, score :-)

Sorting pumpkins. Mold and pumpkins also from HL:

Turkey foam craft courtesy of the dollar spot at Target:

Thanksgiving frame craft from Oriental Trading Company:

What we are thankful for Bible alphabet style. I slid in some letter fun, I just can't help myself :-)

Paper thankfulness chain:

There are sooo many great Thanksgiving printables out there. This week we used the ones provided from Our Little Monkeys. Munchkin would have kept going if I had printed off more. You can see him clapping in one of the pictures.

These cornucopia puzzle pieces are numbered. I asked him to hand me a certain number. We went in reverse order and I placed them together.

 Sorting and talking about the people and food during Thanksgiving:

Letter match up with our letter tiles. The beginning sound activity I provided the correct ones and told him why the phonetic sound we emphasized.

Coloring our Thankful verses:

He would use markers every day....
 Dry erase time

Fall leaves changing colors, there's even a nip in the air this morning on Thanksgiving down here in Texas.

Munckin reading "The Story" to Doodlebug, two of the most amazing blessings that I am so thankful to God for allowing to be our children: