99: LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar 2015

It’s that time of year, again! Get the all new LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar for 2015! You do not want to be left out in the cold when this sells out.

This is the brand new 2015 version!

  • Open a window every day to reveal 24 different LEGO Star Wars themed gifts; features 5 minifigures and 2 holiday-themed Droids
  • Vehicles include Jabba’s Sail Barge, Sand crawler, Star Destroyer, Millennium Falcon, AT-AT, A-wing Starfighter and a sleigh
  • Also features an Ewok weapon rack, catapult, gun turret, blaster rack and Hoth command post
  • Play out fun LEGO Star Wars scenes on the fold-out playmat
  • Makes a great festive gift for humans and Sith Lords everywhere

Our family has enjoyed the LEGO Advent Calendars for many years. With 2 children, we decided that the kid with an even birthday gets the even numbers, the odd birthday with the odd. That has served us well! The great thing about the number 24 is it has a lot of factors! The tricky bit might be if you have 5, 7, or 9 kids, and at that point, you might just want to buy 2 calendars or offer special incentives to claim the remainder days.

If you start preparing for Christmas gradually now,
you will be able to relax and enjoy the holidays!

In case LEGO Star Wars isn’t your thing, here are a few different themed calendars:

Christmas 2015: Let’s get ready!

We’re ramping up for an all new 100-day countdown to Christmas! Lots of great ideas and hot items to discover this year!

This list is hand-picked by me. Every day will feature quality content, not a bunch of spammy links, so bookmark this site and share with your friends!

What’s hot this year? Star Wars, LEGO, board games, Frozen, robots, quadcopters, science, gender neutral, cooking, knitting, and general geekery!

I love to read your comments, so please feel free to add what you like about an activity or item and give your recommendations!

If we start preparing for Christmas now, we will be able to relax and enjoy the festivities with our friends and family instead of out shopping or in the kitchen.

13: Bracelets for Opera and Ballet Lovers

If you are a personal friend of mine, you know that I love opera! I know this is all about Christmas with Kids, but let’s face it, many of us are looking for the perfect gift for our parent, spouse, sibling, or grown child here!

This first gift is a great way to commemorate your daughter’s first opera experience!

Check out this wonderful spiral chart from Cindy Battisti about Donizetti’s opera “The Elixir of Love.”

The Elixir of Love bracelet spiral chart

What girl wouldn’t want a beautiful Queen of the Night bracelet in a box with a pair of tickets to see The Magic Flute? I know that I’d love this! Check out all of these lovely bracelets!

This jewelry artist specializes in bracelets that the tell the story of an opera or ballet through symbolic beads and charms. They are very clever and beautiful. I really like that they can help you remember plot details. and it’s a great way to recall and celebrate favorite performances and events.

Did your daughter just sing her first operatic role at college this semester? Celebrate that with an opera bracelet!

Did your young ballerina dance in The Nutcracker this Christmas? There’s a Nutcracker bracelet for that! If she’s too young, get one for yourself to commemorate the event!

Please visit Cindy’s Facebook Page and her website for more information!

If you are a fan of The Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD Series, join my Facebook group! That’s where I met Cindy!

 

 

30: The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition

We’ve all seen this little guy and wondered, “What’s the deal with The Elf on the Shelf?”

I’ve had a lot of friends adopt this new Christmas tradition and they all seem to be having a lot of fun with it! Some family members take turns hiding the elf around the house each day during Advent and letting the others find it, then hide it, again. If you have time, another hilarious activity is to pose the elf getting into Christmas mischief and mishaps around the house or classroom every day!

There is a whole line of related products and a variety of elves available:

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition with Blue Eyed North Pole
The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition with Brown Eyed North Pole Elf,brown skin, black hair
The Elf on the Shelf – Girl Elf Edition with North Pole Blue Eyed Girl Elf and Girl-character themed Storybook

The Claus Couture Elf on the Shelf Skirt Collector’s Edition 2012
The Claus Couture Scout Elf Skirt
The Elf on the Shelf Girl Plushee Pal – Light
Elf on the Shelf: An Elf’s Story Elf Figurines, Set of 4
Elf on the Shelf: An Elf’s Story Santa Figurine
Elf on the Shelf: An Elf’s Story Sound Book

Baby Elf on the Shelf in Bag
The Elf on the Shelf: Activity Book – Great for teachers!
An Elf’s Story DVD

77: LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar 2011

 You will not want to miss out on this. It’s very hard to find! Luckily, we purchased ours at the LEGO Store in Orlando last month.

I think the highlight of this Advent calendar is the Yoda Santa Claus! Yep. Your Star Wars fans, young and old, will love this Christmas activity!

Click here to order yours today!

97: Sing in a Christmas Celebration!

Do you like to sing? Do your kids like to sing? Now is the time to get involved in choral organizations if you want to be a part of their annual Christmas programs. There are many opportunities to sing during the Christmas season. If you don’t have a church home, now is a great time to “church shop” if being a part of a music ministry is important to you and your kids. If you do have a church home, find out when the choir meets and go give it a try! In my experience, choir folks are some of the friendliest people in church and love to have a good time together! For kids, it’s a great opportunity to work as a team. Singing in a choir builds self-confidence and is a very positive experience for all participants!

Find a program that meets your scheduling needs, because this is supposed to be fun and bring joy, not drudgery and complications!

Psalm 100  says “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” or “Shout for joy to the Lord!” Excellence is important (Psalm 33:3,) but only comes through experience. So, get out there and spread the Good News this Christmas!

29: Outdoor Decorations

It’s Thanksgiving week and for many of us that also means it’s the week to do a little outdoor decorating. We also put our tree up during the Thanksgiving week, typically the Saturday after Turkey Day.

Today, the kids and I got out the reindeer that go in the yard and put them together. We still can’t decide if we want them in the front yard where the neighbors will enjoy them, or the backyard where we will enjoy them. We have a large oak tree in the front/side yard and I’m considering getting some of those large-scale lit ornaments to hang from it, but I haven’t really done any research on seeing what kind of elaborate electrical configuration that might require. I like all the lights, but am not a big fan of all of the extension cords running everywhere.

Tomorrow, I plan on putting the wreaths on our front doors. Our wreath hangers have jingle bells on them, so it will really start sounding like the holidays every time we open the door!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

34: Food Allergy Awareness

Any kind of holiday or occasion involving food is a high alert time for food allergies. Near and dear to my heart is the issue of food allergies. Our daughter and my brother have life-threatening food allergies that require planning, research, and prevention. The key to success in not having an emergency room visit, or worse, is to plan your food. Pack snacks, safe desserts, and other food options if you are uncertain about the ingredients or preparation conditions of food you will encounter.

Here are some potentially deadly items for peanut- and nut-allergic people:

  • pies (a pumpkin pie might seem okay, but it might use pecan flour in the crust!)
  • anything prepared in a kitchen containing nuts or peanuts (past and present)
  • processed baked goods
  • all bakery items
  • anything on a buffet where a nut item is also located (cross-contamination)

At parties with lots of holiday foods, make sure you only drink from your glass. Again, cross-contamination is possible and occurs in drinks. Eat using only your utensils from your plate. If it is possible to go first in a buffet situation, do that and try not to make a second pass. Cross-contamination covers a picked-over buffet.

Remember to make sure your Epi-Pens are current. If you need a refill, take care of it. While you’re doing that, review all of your labeling and contact information on emergency medicines and update it. We keep our Epi-Pens in a red, insulated bag that has been clearly labeled with Sharpie with our contact information and medical information. Inside that bag, we also keep Benadryl Strips and an Albuterol inhaler. The Epi-Pens are also in their own plastic duo-case that is also labeled very clearly.

If you are hosting an children’s event, please have your food clearly labeled and any nut items out of reach of small children, in particular. Children under 3 years of age should not have any peanut or nut items at all, so keep that in mind, too.

In the past, I think of Christmas with nut goodies of all kinds playing major roles, but now it’s a little different. Making safe desserts to give and take has become a tradition in its own right.

Have a safe Christmas this year!

36: Wish Lists

Handmade wish lists have a certain charm and appeal that you won’t see anywhere else, so hang on to these! Make copies before you mail them to Santa!

Great advances have been made in online wish lists. There is something for everyone!

The Amazon Wish List is our top pick. Our favorite feature is that you can’t see what has been purchased from your list, but other users only see what is available to be purchased on your list. The purchased items remain a surprise! This feature can be activated for 30 days before all important occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.)

Wish list websites

Photo courtesy of Karyn Sig. Wish List courtesy of her daughter!

37: Go on a Date (with your child!)

We’ve started a Mommy-Daughter date night in our family once a week after choir rehearsal. I pickup my daughter from choir and we have dinner together with lots of talking, then we go to a bookstore, then home. This has been a really wonderful thing for us as she gets older (9) and needs to have some one-on-one time with her mom. We make lists, have some “girl talk,” giggle and laugh, and sometimes even grab some Starbucks hot chocolate to finish the night off.

Today, I had a date with my son. We took a walk outside, watched a construction site, and shared a basket of fish and chips for lunch. We had a great time, and he got some time alone with his mom.

The kids love going on their “dates” and so do I!

Here are a few ideas for your date with your child:

  • Baking cookies
  • Christmas shopping
  • Wrapping gifts
  • Volunteering
  • Bowling
  • Dinner
  • Dessert
  • Coffee/Cocoa/Tea and Bookstore
  • Walk

I don’t recommend movies for dates because there is no interaction. If you do choose a movie, include time after the movie to talk about the movie together. Have fun with it, and post your kid “date” idea in the comments!