Friday, December 13, 2013

Week 18 ~ Gingerbread, Charity, and Advent

In My Life ~ I have always loved Advent more than Christmas day (at least since becoming an adult). I love all of the preparations for Christmas ~ baking, reading Christmas books, Christmas movies, picking different charities to teach the kids about, looking for Christmas lights, and decking the halls. We are deep into our Advent traditions this week. On a whim, I decided to add a new Advent tradition. I saw on the web the idea of using the three wise men in a similar way to the Elf on the Shelf. I never cared much for the Elf on the Shelf. The way I understand it was that the Elf was always watching over the kids and reporting back to Santa about who was naughty and who was nice. It seemed like putting the emphasis of the season in the wrong place. I don't want my kids focusing on being good for the sake of what material gifts they will receive or that Santa Claus is the main reason for them to behave. So, I decided to use the wise men. They move around the house on their search for our Nativity. They will search until January 6. Along the way, they are finding activities/charity work that we are doing that day, or a particular cleaning project that needs doing. Occasionally they will find a tiny gift or sweet for the children because serving others brings much sweetness to our lives. 
Clockwise ~ on the telescope (looking at the night sky with Daddy), in the freezer (helping Mommy make breakfast), searching in a bowl (a small set of art magnets were found), and with gift wrap (preparing to wrap gifts for their dance teachers).

This week we completed four of our charities for this season. We attended the Return to Bethlehem. It is a wonderful reenactment that we enjoy attending every year. There are beggars (actors) spread throughout the walking tour and you add dollars to their baskets. All of the money goes to our local homeless shelter.

We also turned in a new book for children that each child had previously picked off of the library giving tree.

The kids were excited when our Advent book was The Dog Who Found Christmas. They knew that book meant that our activity would be going to take gifts to the no kill shelter and visit the dogs. The shelter let us feed some of the dogs and do a little bit of training. The kids fell in love with bloodhound puppies that we hope will find a good home some day soon.

Lastly, we dropped off food at the large food bank collection tree at the mall.

The gingerbread houses at the Grove Park Inn. We love to go see the gingerbread house contest winners every year. This year was special because our son, Tim, and his friends at the brain injured day program entered the contest with their own gingerbread house. They did not win, but their house was displayed in the inn. Below were some of our favorites.

Here is the gingerbread house that Tim's group entered.

We are busy getting each of our subjects to a good resting place. We wrapped up history, music and science this week. We were supposed to be done with this quarter today, but we are still wrapping up geography, spelling, math, art and our homeschool clubs (Lego and American Girl Doll). We plan to be ready for our break next Wednesday. Literature will be ongoing since it is our Advent books at the moment.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. What a beautiful post! I love the idea of the three wise men. I, like you, never liked the Elf on the Shelf but wanted to do something similar. This is perfect! Thank you.

  2. What a wonderful idea with the Wise Men!! Sounds like you've had a very busy week again. We're trying to clean up and get ready for hubby who arrives home tomorrow for two weeks. We've been very busy indeed! Tell Tim that his gingerbread house is wonderful!! I really enjoyed seeing it!

  3. Reading your posts always makes me feel so peaceful. What lovely activities you are doing and all centred around others. You're right, thinking about others does bring a little sweetness into our lives and that is my prayer for you this Christmas - lots of sweetness. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family.

  4. That's a great gingerbread house your son helped make!

  5. The wisemen are a great idea! I love all the charity work you did this season. Those gingerbread houses are wonderful and it is cool that your son worked on one of them.

    It's a great picture of the three kids too and you can tell which one dances :)

  6. I really like the gingerbread houses; thanks for sharing!

  7. I love the replacement of Elf in a Shelf with the three wise men we are going to copy you! However, we are going to print out Luke 2 and cut it out verse by verse and have the wiseman finding them and then put it together like a puzzle. LOVE the 3 wiseman idea!!!! Merry Christmas

  8. That's a great gingerbread house the boys made - even if it didn't win.