Friday, November 30, 2012

Advent Calendar

I wanted to do some sort of Advent Calendar this year to count our way down to Christmas.  After perusing Pinterest (for hours, LOL), I decided I wanted to make mine activity based.  I began working months ago on coming up with a list of activities, some pretty in depth and some extremely simple.  I printed them out onto red card stock.  I then set out to make my own decorative envelopes to put them in.

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I had a stash of Christmas scrapbooking papers left over from my scrapbooking years, so I pulled out 5-6 coordinating sheets.  I wasn't sure what to use as the actual envelopes.  I came up with the idea to cut standard envelopes in half (after sealing them closed).  This gave me perfectly sized, inexpensive envelopes.  I covered my envelopes in scrapbook paper and numbered them (my numbers were from a scrapbook paper that I cut apart).  

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I went through the calendar and added activities that were date specific.  I also tried to put simpler activities on Sundays, since we're usually so busy that day.  I also used scriptures from this site, and added one to each day.

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Here is a list of the activities I have listed for ours:
(I also have several snow related ones (snowball fight, make snowman, go sledding) that I will add in place of some of these - if we get any snow in the next month).

  1. Choose Secret Santas
  2. Visit Bethlehem Marketplace
  3. Make Paper Snowflakes
  4. Watch a Christmas movie and eat popcorn
  5. Make a Christmas craft
  6. Play a game
  7. Go on a Christmas Hike (this one will depend on weather)
  8. Do an act of service for someone in need
  9. Watch Elf
  10. Make Hot Chocolate
  11. Make a homemade gift for someone
  12. Make Truffles
  13. Make a Christmas ornament
  14. Go shopping for your Secret Santa
  15. Make a gingerbread house
  16. Have a family camp out in front of the Christmas tree
  17. Go Caroling
  18. Make Sugar Cookies
  19. Decorate Cookies
  20. Go to mall and see Santa
  21. Plan and act out the Christmas story (& video it!)
  22. Make cookies and deliver to neighbors
  23. Go see Christmas lights
  24. Watch a Christmas movie and eat caramel corn

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A few fall pictures ....

I guess if I blog every day for a month, the unintended consequence is not blogging the next month!  I haven't been taking a lot of pictures lately.  In fact, I didn't even take my camera with me to Thanksgiving this year.  I do have a few shots, though of fall.

Some pictures from our corn maze/hayride night at church:
Corn maze.The hayride makes him a little nervous!!
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Carving pumpkins:
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Enjoy your day with family and friends, giving thanks for all the blessings He has bestowed upon you!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

Set in the decade following WWII, Snow Falling on Cedars takes place on San Piedro Island off the coast of Washington.   The island has a large population of Japanese immigrants who were taken to internment camps during the war.  The story deals with the great prejudice leveled against these residents of the island.

Kabuo Miyamoto is a first generation American veteran who is on trial for murder. Although the police have some circumstantial evidence,  the strongest evidence they have against him is the fact that he is Japanese.  Ishmael Chambers is the owner of the newspaper and uncovers evidence that could possibly free Kabuo, but his past with Kabuo's wife, Hatsue, makes it difficult for him to know what to do.   Does he do what he knows is right?  Or does he let the prejudice from the loss of Hatsue's love and his arm fighting against the Japanese keep him from doing what he knows he should?

This story jumps between the trial, the days leading up to the murder, and the teen years of the main characters.   Although this seems like it might get confusing, the author moves seamlessly between the different time periods. 

The book does contain several pretty graphic sex scenes.  If these bother you, then you can skip ahead and not really miss much of the story.  I would be reluctant to turn the book over to a teen, though, even though I think they could gain much from the story.

The story highlights a dark time in the history of our country that, although we all know about, we really don't talk about much.  This time period in our history was, of course, very similar to the days and months surrounding 9/11.  I clearly remember similar sentiments expressed towards Muslims in our country during that time (and still today).   Thankfully, we as a country didn't repeat the mistakes of our past and give in to the fear.   Many individuals, though, do still live lives full of prejudice and fear.   Just because their faces were Japanese  didn't make them killers and spies.  And today, just because someone is of Arabic descent doesn't make them a terrorist.  

We all see the world through our own eyes, which is heavily influenced by our culture.  It is so easy to view a different culture as not just different, but wrong.  Although we might not fully understand another culture, I do think we can try to understand that a culture in and of itself is not right or wrong.  We need to not paint the world with such a wide brush.  We need to find common ground with one another and embrace the differences.   We need to not let our prejudices blind us to the truth.

 (4/5)

First Line: The accused man, Kabuo Miyamoto, sat proudly upright with a rigid grace, his palms placed softly on the defendant's table - the posture of a man who has detached himself insofar as this is possible at his own trial.

Last Line:  Ishmael gave himself to the writing of it, and as he did so he understood this, too: that accident ruled every corner of the universe except the chambers of the human heart.

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