Friday, December 7, 2012

Life with Aria: A crafty holiday

It is that time of the season again, when stores bombard us with advertisements about the latest and greatest items that we simply cannot live without, when our society somehow simultaneously expresses the values of love and consumerism.  If you cannot tell I'm a little ambivalent about this season.  I love the emphasis on family and friends, but I could do without the rampart consumerism.  Don't get me wrong, I love picking out or making gifts for my loved ones and I love supporting local, small, or handmade companies.  But it sometimes feels like the really important stuff can get pushed out of the picture. least in mainstream media.  Thankfully, in our homes, I think most of us are pretty good about keeping family and friends in the forefront. 

Last year, was the first year that I organized an advent calendar for Aria. We don't emphasize it as a religious activity as much a family activity that prioritizes all the stuff that I want Aria to appreciate and value about our family and our social responsibilities to the wider world.  Some of the ideas are very simple and are meant to ensure that we spend quality time together.  Others are more complex and impart ideas about how important it is that we give back to the community. 

I shared my activities in my last post, but I thought I'd share a photo post of what we've been up to this week.
Aria remembered doing the advent calendar last year and was super excited to wake up to find this year's advent calendar in place. 
Aria showing off a snowflake she made for Day 1.  We are a crafty family and Aria loves being able to create.  She really took to this project and crafted up several snowflakes.  I enjoy sharing my love of crafting with her.
Last year we made watercolor gift tags.  For Day 2 we repeated this activity but this time I let Aria help me decide on the shape.  She decided that hearts were appropriate.
Day 3 was growing our own snowflakes.  Last year we tried to make candy sugar on sticks.  It was a miserable failure but we still had fun.  Since she is older now, I decided to try out borax.  It worked beautifully and crystals were growing within hours of mixing up the solution.  Recipe: Add 3 tablespoons of Borax for every 1 cup of boiling water.  Food coloring is optional.  ;)  We used pipe cleaners as the base of our snowflakes, tied a string to them, and suspended them into the solution.
Day 4, we made woven ornaments ala The Crafty Crow.  It was a pretty simple project but Aria needed a little assistance for the first few.  I think this would be perfect for 5-8 year old children.
Day 5 we made chocolate covered spoons for her teachers.  Bonus of course was taste testing a spoon.  I covered the spoons in chocolate but I let Aria dip them into the assorted toppings (marshmallows, sprinkles, and crushed peppermints).
Day 6 was putting up our lawn ornament Christmas tree.  Heh.  Sorry, family joke.  Our tree is a fake that is potted in an ornate plastic stand.  It literally looks like it was intended to be a lawn ornament.  Aria loved putting up both the ornaments she made last year as well as the woven ornaments she made this year.
A nifty little collage of our advent calendar days! 
What has your family been up so far?  We'd love to hear!


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