This weekend was a whirlwind of Christmas festivity. In fact, the week leading up to it was a whirlwind of its' own.
Anne Hope and I hosted a "Gingerbread Friends" preschool. The kids put together a fun book to learn their 5 senses. After searching all over the house for 5 cut out gingerbread friends they decorated them to make a mini book:
I Smell My Gingerbread Man. (gingerbread flavored pudding paint to scratch and sniff)
I Hear My Gingerbread Man. (bells tied around his neck)
I See My Gingerbread Man. (googly eyes and flashy sequence)
I Feel My Gingerbread Man. (outfits made of felt squares)
I Taste My Gingerbread Man. (mini candy canes glued all over)
We also decorated gingerbread cookies and made gingerbread play dough.
In the evening the kids met their sweet new sitter for a night of crafts, books, games and giggles while Kevin and I drove to GR for a wedding. We left the wedding before the reception to finish the set up for Saturday's exciting gift gallery.
Friday also marked Kevin's first snowfall at Hope. A significant event in the life of a plow driver/shoveler!
We were up and at'em early to be sure the Gift Gallery signs were on their corners and the vendors were able to set up their booths. I thought the event was a great success. Although the quarters were a bit cramped in our cozy school, we were pleased with the turn out for this first annual. I especially enjoyed visiting with many crafty friends and SHOPPING! I have fallen for the creativity of some new friends (Pretty Little Things & Eco Buns) & appreciated seeing some "old" faves (Bloem and Grow & "Bow"tiful Girls)!
Kevin hauled the kids around to be sure they had a great Saturday too. They visited the holiday fair, to make a craft of their own and munch on homemade baked goods, before heading back to GR to spend the evening celebrating Christmas with our extended family at the traditional Christmas gathering.
Footloose and kid free, Kevin and I spent part of the evening setting up photo stops and decorations for our church's Birthday Party for Jesus. This event was in the planning for months and something I was excited to be part of. Since I enjoy decorating, set up scenes, and taking pictures I was the photo stop designer. Together we painted a manger, pitched the straw, and wrapped our babe in swaddling cloth on Saturday night before heading home to our quiet house.
Happy Sinterklaas Day. Our family celebrates our Dutch heritage on December 6th by setting out our wooden shoes to be filled with small treats, toys & fruit.
Sunday, the bulk of the set up for the party happened between 12-5. Things went smoothly and the party turned out as planned. Here are a few pictures of the kids in the a few of the photo stops we set up. The party also included a gigantic birthday cake - yum! An entertaining ventriloquist. A room full of crafts to assemble. And many rooms full of winter themed games and prizes.
After all the planning, chasing, and craziness of the weekend we ended the party last night in the room they called "The Silent Night of Worship." We were there with just our dear friends and their 2 young children. As we sat quietly a guitar softly played Away in a Manager. Actors playing Mary and Joseph silently acted out the scene - the scene of the real reason for the season. As the music ended Mary quietly whispered, happy birthday Jesus. And in that moment I was reminded again that this is what it is really all about. It was just what I needed to help me refocus and move on to the rest of December. And while there are no pictures of that moment, it is the image from this weekend that I will hold on to.
What a fantastic, fun-filled three days. We pulled it all off, with a lot of help from our friends. Thanks to Jodi, Courtney, and Mom for all the help with the kids. The Cherry Lane Board for all the help with the Gift Gallery. Kevin for all the chasing and direction following. And Katie for all the blog help!