My Favorite Time of the Year Checklist

It’s HERE!!! I am SO Happy that it is Fall. We’re six days into my favorite two month stretch of the year. I’m writing this while sitting on my couch in the den, underneath a fabulous old quilt from Collin’s mom, fire going in the fireplace and a cup of steaming hot coffee laced with peppermint cream by my side. Collin came home from a Men’s Supper at church last night with Pumpkin, Eggnog, and Peppermint Mocha creamer. He got it from the store, not the Men’s Supper . 😉 Seriously made my night. I went to bed looking forward to waking up to this morning’s coffee. It is a lovely, lovely Fall Saturday morning. It’s 9:30. This time next week we will have already had the first two Christmas sessions. That will be an equally lovely day…just in a different way. A Crazy Busy kind of way. I’m glad we have this Saturday before the insanity of next weekend is upon us. I LOVE the insanity. But I love the quietness of sitting by the fire with my coffee, too. 🙂

I am super excited about the fun that’s stretching before us. I wanted to get it all out there in a blog post to hold me accountable for all of the fun things that I want to do with my family. So I can come back and check them off of the list at the end of the season. See, I’m REALLY bad about not following through with the goals I set. I figure if it’s here on the blog maybe I’ll actually do it. I started school with Mak on August 1st so that I could take the entire month of December off. So many times I have all of these great intentions for fun things to do but then the season is gone before I know it and we haven’t done half of the things I had planned. I want this time of year to be lazy…but I don’t want to waste time on things that don’t matter, you know? I want the tv OFF. Completely. I do want to watch a ton of Christmas movies while snuggled on the couch with Collin and the kids, but all of the other junk can go.

I want to do a Thankful Tree with the kids. Actually, we have already started that one. YAY for getting started on a goal! That’s the first step, right? Remember our Jesse Tree that we did last year? Well, that starts right after Thanksgiving. I decided to go ahead and put our “tree” (branch) on the wall and make it a Thankful Tree until it becomes the Jesse Tree. Yesterday we learned about Acrostic poems for Mak’s Creative Writing/Language Arts. So as our assignment I had each kid pick a family member to write an Acrostic poem about. That was fun. My kids are hilarious. Those became our first leaves on the Thankful Tree and each day we will add a new Thankful leaf. Mak’s will have to be in sentence form because that is what I’m working on most with him. The kid is an amazing writer when it’s his idea but when I simply give him a word and tell him to make up a sentence he can’t do it. Takes him forever and there’s a ton of frustration on both our parts. Hopefully this will help. Clara Beth will just have to write a one or two word thing on her leaf because what I’m working on with her is handwriting. Collin and I will have leaves to write on daily, too. I’m super excited about what they come up with!

As I mentioned before, I’m also excited about The Jesse Tree. I blogged about The Jesse Tree last year in December so if you want more information there are some posts in the blog archives. Just search “Jesse Tree” at the bottom of the blog. We all learned so much from this and I can’t wait to do it again this year. Basically, it is a tree branch decorated with symbols representing the stories of people in Jesus’ family tree. In Isaiah 11:1 we read, “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Jesse was the father of David, Israel’s greatest king. And it was from David’s lineage that Jesus came. That’s where the idea of using a Jesse Tree to celebrate Advent came from. Before a symbol is hung on the branch, a Bible passage or a story from a story Bible is read. It starts the day after Thanksgiving so you have plenty of time to get your stuff together if you want to do it. I highly recommend this one!!

I want to see a BAZILLION lights this year. I’m obsessed with lights as you might be able to tell from our Christmas Limited Edition choice for this year. 🙂 I want to do the Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks and that thing at James Island. Does anyone have more info about that? We’ve never done it but I know the kids would love it. I want to take walks after dark in our neighborhood looking at lights. I hope we freeze our tooshies off. I want to drive through every neighborhood in Florence looking at lights. I want to decorate the playroom for the kids with hundreds of tacky colored lights.

My Picture Tree!!! This is another tradition that we started last year and I can’t wait to get this year’s up. I take images from the past year, have them printed in black and white and hang them on the tree with ribbon. After the tree comes down I put all of the photos in an album and we have a book of our year as a family. I’m in the process of getting our photos together right now. It’s been a GREAT year and I’m loving reliving it through photos. =)

I want to take the kids to a tree farm to cut down our own real live tree. We’ve never done this before. Do you know of a good one?

I want to bake a ton of cookies with Mak and CB from scratch. And not worry about all of the flour and sugar messes. I’m such a control freak when it comes to the kids helping me in the kitchen. I’m determined to get better about this.

I would LOVE to take the kids caroling somewhere. I know, you think I’m a great big dork. I don’t care. And I would love to do it in a big group because, well, the Lord did NOT bless the Smith family with pretty voices. We love to make a joyful noise but people do not love hearing us. Plus, wouldn’t that be fun to do in a group?! Anybody with me???

I want to adopt a family in need. Great Day, the Lord has blessed us incredibly and I take so many things for granted. Have you heard of The Parking Lot Mission here in Florence? Look it up on facebook. WOW. There are INCREDIBLE needs to be met right here in Florence. Just a few streets away from us. I REALLY encourage you to look it up and take part in it. God is doing HUGE things here.

I want to read a ton of really great Christmas stories. I want to take the kids to see The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at The Florence Little Theater. I want to drink a whole lotta hot chocolate with marshmallows and candy canes. I want to have a candlelit dinner with Collin in the backyard beside a fire pit after the kids go to bed one night. I want to get a fire pit.

I know there are plenty more things I want to do, but this is a good start. And it’s here on the blog so I have to do it now, right? Seriously, there’s a lot of stuff I mentioned that I think would be really great with a big group of people. If you’d like to join us on ANY of it, please let me know! And, by the way, the photos of Mak and CB in this post were taken at this huge party that we went to out in the country. It was SO much fun. And you know how I hate a post without pictures, so there you have it. Happy Weekend, Y’all!

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  • Casey OttNovember 7, 2010 - 3:21 pm

    Wow, you are a great mama!! It amazes me all the creative ideas you have for your kids and family. If you decide to go to James Island, let me know. Maybe we could meet ya? Oh, and I haven’t forgotten about our portraits. I like one and Stew likes another so we are trying to decide which one!! Of course I LOVE them all but the ONE for the house is the one I’m talking about 🙂ReplyCancel

  • SusanneNovember 8, 2010 - 3:56 pm

    I love your list! And lights. And The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. And cookies. And caroling. And everything else about this upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas season! Thanks for giving me the “warm fuzzies” with this post!!ReplyCancel

  • HaleyNovember 8, 2010 - 7:54 pm

    Rutledge and I are in on Christmas Caroling!
    And…there used to be a Christmas Tree Farm near Latta that you could cut your own tree.ReplyCancel

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