Normally Advent starts on December 1. But we are going to Japan in December, so we started the day after Thanksgiving in order to get the full number of days in before we leave.
Clarissa and I did Truth in the Tinsel together last year. She was really just learning how to hold a pen at the time and mostly ate her crayons. But I read the Scripture to her anyway. It’s never too early to plant seeds right?
I decided to do printable ornaments again this year. She really enjoys coloring. I wasn’t sure that her little two year old self would have the attention span for a story and full craft each day for 24 days. Plus, let’s be real, I don’t want her to play with scissors and glue everyday at this point either.
The first day, she saw me cut her ornament off the paper so she asked for scissors. Honestly, the first couple of days she did a few obligatory marker strokes on her paper before she asked for her scissors. She wanted to do our daily activities because it was the only time she was allowed to play with scissors.
But as the week has progressed she has started asking for “Mary” and forgetting to ask for scissors. We have studied a few different things this week and Mary has been in most of the stories.
The thing I like about Truth in the Tinsel is that over the course of 24 days, Clarissa will learn all of the pieces of the real story of Christmas. She will learn them in chunks that are small enough for her to understand each lesson. But it all adds up to one big story. I love that.
There is scripture reading for each day, but honestly I haven’t been reading it straight from the Bible like I did last year. Our favorite Bible is The Jesus Storybook Bible but it doesn’t do scripture like a traditional Bible. It has the main passages as stories. So this week, the individual lessons haven’t fit into stories in the book. I used a page from God Gave Us Christmas to talk about Jesus being the Light of the World. We read pages from The Christmas Story to talk about Mary, Gabriel, and Joseph. I did finally get the Beginner’s Bible from the library this week. That helped with Elizabeth and Zechariah.
Another piece of our daily routine is the Lifesong for Orphans Advent Calendar. This is probably more for me, but she has started asking for “boy” each day as well. She can recognize her numbers 1-10 at this point, so she gets to find the number for each day. Each day has a specific donation idea. For example, pay 15 cents for each hot drink consumed that day or pay four dollars if you have a roof over your head. The most interesting was to pay 2 cents for each pair of shoes in your house. We went on a shoe hunt. I was so humbled. We have 62 pairs of shoes in our house! Over 50 of them belong to Clarissa. We have been so blessed with hand-me-downs that we have never bought a pair of shoes for her. Of course, she had to try several of them on. Multiple times. A few days in a row. But it definitely reminded me of God’s provision. I wonder what our total will be at the end of the month?
The other part I like about this calendar is the prayer focus. Each day has a specific need to pray for in a specific country. Today we prayed for the Lifesong workers in Ukraine to have wisdom, strength, and provision as they mentor the children in their care. That really hit home for me since I actually went on a mission trip to orphanages in Ukraine over Christmas break in 2005. So I got out the photo album and tried to explain orphans to Clarissa. I’m not really sure she got it, but that’s okay.
Today we also decorated a gingerbread house. I decided to give myself some grace this year and buy a gingerbread house kit from the PX. I tried making one from scratch last year and it didn’t turn out very well. I mean, it was delicious, but the frosting wasn’t right and the whole thing literally fell apart. My Korean oven is tiny and cooks different than my oven back home. I decided that it would be way better to just buy a kit. And for $15, it probably is about the same price as buying all of the ingredients and candy.
Tim picked our kit up from the PX on his way home from work last night. Clarissa kept asking for “Santa” because there is a small Santa on the box. But we told her no last night because we didn’t think she would last for the assembling and decorating of the gingerbread house before bedtime.
This morning, I decided that four hours before naptime would be plenty of time. I was surprised when I opened the box and realized that the house came preassembled. All we had to do was decorate it. Which was genius! I don’t think that Clarissa’s two year old attention span would have lasted for me to assemble the house and then decorate it.
First, she wanted to play with Santa. She said she wanted to eat him, which I gave her permission to do. She said he was “yummy” but then put him down next to “his house.” We talked about what she wanted the house to look like. I put frosting on the roof. Clarissa wanted Santa’s name on his house. And her name too. We had a door on the front and three windows on the back. Then, we opened the candy. She got frustrated at first because the candy was rolling off the top. She spoke in a very stern voice and said, “you able go time out!” I added more frosting to the roof. Problem solved.
She wanted to eat the house when we finished. I told her we had to wait until Daddy got home from work. She was very surprised when I put the completed house on top of the refrigerator. I think she thought that she would be able to play with it all day.
Tim thought the house looked great. So we decided to have some for dessert. We demolished it. Or inhaled it. Whatever you prefer. Needless to say, it was delicious. And it’s gone.