Thursday, December 4, 2014

Giant Nativity Poster ADVENT REVEAL idea

First, second, third, fourth day of December.  The countdown is on and I still need to finish a few things everything.   Christmas for our family is about traditions.  The advent and Christmas countdown is a tradition that we make new each year.   We have had almost every advent theme one could imagine.  I am overly excited about this little idea I had for this year's countdown:  Nativity Poster Reveal.

Basically, I hung a large poster on the wall.  I covered it with index cards and numbered the cards.  Each day, the boys will remove the numbered card to reveal part of the picture.  At the end, the entire picture will be unveiled.

To make your own giant advent poster:

1) Hang a large poster on the wall (bigger is more festive and exciting) 

2) Cover the entire poster with index cards.  Use different colors to change it up if you prefer!

3) Number the cards 


4) Start peeling back the cards on December 1st!

 "Welllll, the first card didn't reveal much..."

And the next day...

And the next!

Until it's Christmas Day!

This idea is a fun and easy one!  It can also be a super special and beautiful project if you want to go all out, making fancy pants numbers, etc.  I kept it basic, but there are so many directions to take this idea!  

I also surprised the boys with the original Advent.  These are nearly exactly the type I had when I was growing up!  Each door opens up to a message.  No chocolate, no surprise, just the simplicity of the Christmas story told day by day.


I hid them in their "mailboxes" to surprise them when they got home from school.

Sometimes our Christmas countdowns include fun activities we are going to do in December.  This year, I just made a little TO DO wish list instead.  We'll skim through the list and pick out our top choices as the month progresses. 

I have an entire collection of ADVENT ideas from Christmases past:

Here are some of the themes and ideas:

and more!

One last thing!
My sweet advent candle that I found 
while doing some downtown shopping this year.

And the countdown continues.
Happy 25 days of December.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Our Thanksgiving under the Arizona sun: a story of family and celebration

We spent this year's Thanksgiving in classic gathered-family fashion.  Our family road tripped down to Arizona, away from the autumn atmosphere and into the Phoenix sunshine.

 Our family 5 poured into my cousin's home sweet home for a few days.   Josh and Jessica were the MOST gracious and hospitable hosts.  I enjoy learning tips along this journey of life from different people.  I want to learn to welcome people into my home the same way that my cousins, Josh and Jessica do.  Their ease, love, and warmth made our stay at their house amazing.  We had hot tea and french pressed coffee waiting for us with a hot breakfast every morning!  The days were filled with fun until well beyond sundown.

  Thank you guys!  It truly was a memorable and special vacation.  We love you!

Christmas trees, cactus, and palm trees!  
This holiday kickoff was quite a bit different than this one!  

A whole lotta cousins under the tree giant.

Thanksgiving DAY!

I started off my Thanksgiving morning 
with a run under the beautiful Phoenix sun! 

Josh taught Kotah all about prepping a turkey, which made Kotah's day!  Josh is SO patient and good with the little people.

Thanksgiving Dinner was spent at my grandparent's Phoenix condo. 

 My Grandma has always created legendary holiday feasts and I was so excited to be there this year.   All of our family there worked hard together to give us a beautiful meal.  A big thank you to each of you!

My family makes kick ass food!  Every single bite was incredible and I want more right now. Sighhhhhh


Dig in!

Grandpa and the grandkids in a serious Checker match.

This little one captured my heart in a really big way.
a lot.
She is the most adorable baby!

Sweetheart Jasmin.

Me n' my Grandma!

My aunt sent us home with fresh, homemade, apple goodies and more from her garden.  Those apple chips are so good!

Our Thanksgiving Thursday was a blessed day, surrounded by family who we don't get to see nearly enough.  

We continued with our R & R vacation, and stayed in Phoenix for nearly a week.   We spent a lot of time at my cousin's house, which was a giant fun house for all the kids.

Titus and baby Isis are favorite friends.


Jess and I celebrating all the delicious pie with a sweat-sparkling workout!

One of my favorite nights was a big night out 
with our big family group 
to a western outside steak and burger restaurant.

The kids gathered wood for the fire 
to roast marshmallows for s'mores 
and we listened to country music all night long.

 We spent another night out with all the cousins, visiting a huge LEGO city display and ice skating on the not-ice rink in Arizona.

My LEGO crazy kids with cousin Sarah

Tavius and Jasmin, 
my little cousins!

Meanwhile, in the Tempe Marketplace we run into a lot of my cousin's ads. 
 She creates and designs this stuff.  
It's no big deal, right?! ;) 

Later that night, my cousin Sarah, 
took us out to show us city life in Phoenix.  
She really is the coolest person I know.
For real. 
Her life is like a movie.

Here is a glance at her loft:

We took the city light rail downtown to dine at the best spots!

Sushi appetizer stop
at Nobuo 

And dinner at the famous Pizza Bianco.
It was a night to remember.

Also, while in the valley, we caught up with old childhood friends who we haven't seen for YEARS. 

 It was a blessing for our hearts to meet with them again.
Meeting Clayton's family was a joy.  
Their oldest daughter is SO unique, confident, and hilarious.
I can't believe we are all grown up with families now...

And one of my dearest childhood best friends, 
We were inseparable when we were little
 and nothing has changed.  
Goodness, how I miss her!

We can't wait to spend more time with Kristen and her husband 
and their adorable little girl.


The Grand Finale of our vacation was the big KICK OFF to Christmas this year!
We went to see the Trans Siberia Orchestra in concert.

Cameron thought it was bright and loud.  
The other two thought it was pretty darn cool.
 I just love "On This Night, on this night, on this very special night"

Let's do this!

Candle dipping in Flagstaff on the way home, while Mama shopped. ;)

The boys were deeply fascinated with all the cactus in Phoenix.  Our Arizona family taught the boys everything there is to know about this unique desert life.  We stopped for a little cactus-viewing hike on the way out of town.

Titus was our cactus boy.  He wanted to stop and observe every one.

These past few years, our Thanksgiving holidays have been R&R getaways.  This Phoenix getaway had tiny moments of tranquility in the desert, mixed in with big moments of the loud, happy, movement of family gathering and kids living free.  It's a comforting thing to just be and to let life happen, watching one exciting second, to the next, as memories are being created in real time.

Be blessed always!

MOORE Thanksgiving Getaways:

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