Advent Week 1: Hope

Week 1 Hope

Advent sneaks up on me every single year, but especially this year because Thanksgiving was so late! I stuffed my face with turkey and pie and turn around and BAM! Advent is staring me in the face! Advent is my favorite season of the year. No, not the Christmas season, but ADVENT. Advent is the four Sundays prior to Christmas where we prepare our hearts for the coming birth of Christ.

The United Methodist Church (and other denominations) light candles on an Advent wreath each week prior to Christmas Eve and a white “Christ” candle in the middle on Christmas Eve. I know that not all traditions do an advent wreath, so I explain about the wreath and have some beautiful candle-lit pictures.
Celebrating Advent at Home: The Advent Wreath
The United Methodist Church puts out a Advent Worship at Home for families to light the candles and celebrate each week just as the church does, but I found myself needing to adjust it quite a bit for my family with such young kids. So I thought I would share my adaptation of the church’s home worship.

Advent Week 1: Hope

First Reader: This is the first Sunday in Advent. Today, we light one purple candle. This is the candle of hope. Advent is a time of waiting and hoping. We wait for the day when we celebrate again the birth of Jesus. We hope that everyone will come to know and worship God.

(Light the first purple candle)

Second Reader:  When we look at the first candle, we remember God’s promise.  God promised to send a someone to save the people. God fulfills his promises and takes care of his people. God brings peace and all of this gives us hope. Again we wait excitedly for the birth of baby Jesus.

Sing: Oh Come Let us Adore Him
Matt Redman- Oh Come Let us Adore Him (video with lyrics from youtube)

Read Jeremiah 33:14-16
The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill my gracious promise with the people of Israel and Judah. 15 In those days and at that time, I will raise up a righteous branch from David’s line, who will do what is just and right in the land. 16 In those days, Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is what he will be called: The Lord Is Our Righteousness.

Prayer: Dear God: Thank you for your son, Jesus. Thank you for the words of Jeremiah, the prophet, that remind us that you are the source of our hope. Help us to live each day with hope and to share hope with everyone around us. AMEN.

Most of this comes straight from the Advent Home Worship. I re-worded and re-wrote a few things so that my smaller kids could understand it better. I also left out the discussion and shortened a few other parts. Definitely check out the one made by the United Methodist Church!
Advent Worship at Home

Don’t feel bad if you don’t get to this on Sundays. Just try and do it sometime during that week. My parents did this with us every year growing up and it is one of my most powerful memories. I hope that these help you and your family enjoy the Advent season together and keep Christ in the center!

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4th of July Fun!

Family tie dye

I hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th weekend! We had a wonderful few days spending time with family. I think that’s why I love the July 4th holiday so much. It’s often spent with family doing fun stuff outside, maybe at the park, or the beach, or hanging out at Grandma’s. I love family time!

Anyways. Every year my little (not so little anymore, I guess!) gets matching shirts for the 4th of July. Oftentimes we go to Old Navy and get their famous “flag shirts” with the year and everything, but we haven’t had much luck getting them in EVERYONE’S size in the same color. This year, that was the case. After wandering the store for too long with three kiddos, I loudly declared my disgust and announced that I would make my own shirts! (and promptly left the store as I realized that not only had the kids lost it, at this point, but so had I).

I have had an itch to tie dye thanks to my doula client turned good friend, so I decided to take the plunge. (more on my tie dying friend later) Let’s do a red, white and blue SWIRL! I got very excited! I bought Tulip powder dye in blue and red, and what I felt like was a million shirts. (In fact it was shirts for my family and for my brother’s family, because what’s more fun than tie dying with your awesome sister-in-law!) It was our first time, and let me just say we are total tie dye NOOBS!

Anyways, here is an action shot of our tie dye shirt making adventure. We didn’t let them sit long enough before we rinsed them so they faded more than I wanted to, but I know better for next time.

swirl

Now, that is what you call tie dye perfection!

 

This is also why I am not writing this as a DIY. I have no business writing a tie dye DIY (I giggle because it rhymes!), BUT my good friend and tie dye guru has agreed to write the “Tie Dye DIY” guest post! YAY! I will let you guys know when that is happening and link it on this page as well.

So we survived the tie dye project, learned from our mistakes and my family and I still got our matching shirts and the tradition was saved! Plus, seriously, we are adorable in matching shirts. Here is the final product! The husband and Baby G modeling the shirts for us. I’m not gonna lie, I love this picture of my husband!

Daddy and Baby G

Daddy and Baby G sitting together at our 4th of July picnic, showing off Mommy’s amazing tie dye shirts.

In addition to our matching shirts tradition, we always pack a picnic lunch and spend the day at a local park where there are lots of fun booths, kids games and FOOD! We wait until the kids are so exhausted that they have totally lost it, we pack up in a hurry and go home. (No seriously, every year we wait just a little too long to leave) We let the kids rest (and pray they nap) and grill a whole bunch of meat and veggies (LOVE me some grilled zucchini). We then frantically eat our meal, worried that we will miss the fireworks, rush around, and always get to the park in plenty of time. Yup, that’s how it goes! I pray the kids remember the picnic and the fireworks and not the tantrums and rushing around! Ah, traditions!

Do you have a fun family tradition for the 4th of July? I love hearing about what other families do to celebrate! Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

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4th of July Fun Bags

July 4th table

Besides the awesome shirts, how did we celebrate the 4th of July? Well, I went a little crazy and decorated and made some fun little kits for the older two kids. I got coordinating red, white and blue table decorations, along with some American flags for a centerpiece.

For breakfast we had vanilla yogurt with cut up strawberries and blueberries. The hubby and Sissy made them into American flags, but I couldn’t convince Big Boy to mix his fruit and yogurt, silly kid!

4th of July Breakfast

I also got them red bags full of fun outdoor activities. Each bag contained:
1. Giant bubble wand
2. A Kite (Cinderella for Sissy, and Planes for Big Boy)
2. Red, white and blue glow sticks
3. American flag bandanna
4. 7-ct set of sidewalk chalk
5. 2 beaded necklaces (one red, one blue)
6. Velcro throw and catch game

These bags were so simple to throw together and SUPER cheap. I’m not gonna lie, when I got it all together and gave them to my kids, I pretty much felt like mother of the year! They had so much fun with it all! We spent the day at a local park with friends and they flew their kites until they broke. They blew bubbles until they were all gone, and played catch until some got hit in the head a cried (I can neither confirm or deny this actually happened)

july 4th bubbles

Sissy enjoying her bubble wand. They made huge bubbles, which was “so awesome!”

 

I am usually not one to go crazy with any holiday, but for around $20, the smiles on their faces and all the fun they had, was totally worth it. It was really fun to celebrate together as a family and enjoy being together. So often my husband and I get bogged down in the “raising” part of parenting and forget to enjoy being with the kids. I know I need reminding that parenting is not just disciplining and saying “no”, but also having fun, letting them stay up late occasionally and getting dirty (we just won’t tell Dad!)

kite flying

Flying kites with Daddy was their favorite part. Probably the best $1.37 (x2) I ever spent!

I hope you found some inspiration for your next family celebration or 4th of July. I can’t wait to do something like this again! I am already thinking about the next event coming up. I’m thinking a back-to-school fun bag! Maybe I’ll share about that one too (if it actually happens!)

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