I finally finished the list of daily activities for our advent calendar (only a week into December!). It had been on my list of things to do for quite some time, but December snuck up so quickly and has been such a whirlwind! This year's updated calendar is my attempt to turn our attention back to the Savior throughout the season. Each day has a scripture and follows the Christmas story, one small detail at a time. I purposefully made each detail quite small and simple such that I could elaborate or not, depending on the mood. If Sam is receptive and interested, we can talk more about it, if not we move straight on to the activity! So, each day also has an activity, something Christmas-y but simple, something we can do together, but that won't throw my day off if I haven't planned for it:) Though I am keeping a master list printed out for myself so I can glance a day or two ahead. I don't want that Israeli dinner one sneaking up on me!
Since I'm not tech-saavy enough to know how to attach a file or make it available online, I'm just going to paste our 25 days in the comments section and if you're interested you can see it there. Our family is LDS so the scriptures and thoughts are from that perspective, but I think the activities would be fun for anyone celebrating Christmas. Regardless of how you're spending these chilly winter days I hope you're finding time for a little quiet, a little cozy, and a little peaceful contemplation.
This past weekend was the semi-annual conference for our church. It's a worldwide thing where speakers talk about all sorts of things from personal spirituality to raising a family, and people from Ghana to San Francisco watch the broadcast. We watched it streaming on our computer at home. With two little ones, staying at home in our PJs was the sanest and comfiest option.
In college my roommates and I had a tradition of having a potluck breakfast and inviting all our friends and neighbors over for one of the morning sessions. We always made my roommate's grandma's breakfast casserole and assigned things like fruit, bagels, OJ etc. to other people to bring. Then we all sat around in our pajamas and ate breakfast while listening to the speakers.
In a nostalgic moment I decided to make this baked oatmeal recipe I found on Bloom. I changed it up a little, and if I do it again I think I'll add about a half a cup or so of water since I used whole, rolled oats rather than quick oats like the recipe called for. But it was tasty and satisfying and filled the house with a delicious cinnamon-y smell. I do so love traditions, perhaps this baked oatmeal will have to become our traditional conference breakfast. Sam, our resident oatmeal-a-holic gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up, or rather, he consumed the entire bowl almost without pausing for breath, which I took to mean that he really, really liked it.
FYI: My adapted version is in my Plan to Eat account if you're on there and want to check it out.
Before Vivian was even born I had plans to make her a special dress for the day she received her baby blessing at church. I got a pattern and laboriously cut out all the little pieces. I normally sew the same way I cook; I take a little inspiration from a pattern or recipe, but mostly make it up as I go along. But with this dress I wanted it to be just right so I was determined to be very careful and deliberate about each step along the way. However, when it came to the actual sewing I only got about two steps into the directions when it became very clear that something was wrong- the bodice looked closer to my size than a newborn's. Okay, truth be told I did do a little bit of winging it; I skipped the whole interfacing bit. Turns out that was sort of important...
So, rather than tear all my hair out trying to follow the cryptic instructions and piece together the million bitty pieces, I just made up my own pattern (there was a wee bit of hair pulling as I tried to tape back together one of the pattern pieces that Sam decided to modify with some scissors, but it all worked out in the end). It felt good to be doing it my way; it went faster and was a much more pleasant experience, even if it wasn't "perfect." About a year ago I was all geared up to take a sewing class and then it just didn't happen. Maybe this fall or winter I finally will.
You can't really tell from the outside, but the inside is a dead giveaway that someone who really has no idea what they're doing made it. But I just figure those are the marks of love. Hopefully Vivian will look at it some day and realize that my desire to make something special for her was greater than my skill, but I just went for it anyway.
There is something so sweet and pure about a little girl. I loved seeing her in this pretty, sweet and simple dress. I didn't want anything too frilly or over-the-top, but rather something that let her own sweetness shine through.
In my characteristic, labor-saving way, I used some vintage linens that were already trimmed with that crocheted edge. Then I just incorporated it into the pattern and cut the pieces accordingly. Much easier than sewing the trim on myself, or heavens, crocheting it myself!
The lace on the bonnet and neckline was purchased, but I thought it fit in well enough with the rest.
The blessing is a really neat time because generally the baby's father gives it. He holds the baby while standing in a circle of brothers, fathers, uncles, friends etc. There's something special about the baby blessing being a gift that the father can give when so much of a newborn's life is focused on the mother and vice versa. It's also wonderful to see the combination of strength and tenderness that is a circle of men blessing a tiny baby. Vivian was a peach and fell asleep just before it was time to bless her and stayed angelically (and reverently) asleep throughout the affair. I'll write about it in her baby book for her to read when she's a little older.