The crazy life of the ClarkClan. Living a life of grace through Jesus Christ.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gingerbread Houses

One of our best Christmas activities this year was making “gingerbread” houses out of graham crackers. We went over to a friends house armed with graham crackers and lots of candy. She provided frosting bags with royal icing and even more candy. We put everything on the table and said, “Have at it.”

The creations that everyone came up with are amazing. We ranged in ages from 8 to 20. The boys did big, spread out creations built on top of boxes. The girls kept them smaller, but no less detailed. I was awed by the creativity that showed in all the houses.

Gingerbread houses creating

Gingerbread displays

Gingerbread Sarahs house Collage

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Eve, Eve!

It’s Christmas Eve, Eve! Or so my kids tell me every year on December 23rd. They learned this from watching the movie Eloise at Christmas Time. It has become a tradition to celebrate Christmas Eve, Eve. We do not actually do anything special except to say it to each other over and over. I think it is fascinating listening to what my kids pick up on in movies and books and this is one phrase that has stuck year after year.

So, for our Christmas Eve, Eve, we had a very busy day. We went to Sunday School and church. Then we had Christmas program practice. Then I did just a bit of shopping. Then it was time to go Christmas Caroling. This is a yearly tradition and much looked forward to. We gather at church, then car pool to various houses of older church members.

This year we had 27 people caroling. It was so much fun. The kids have a great time together, the adults laugh and joke. But what really makes it all worthwhile are the smiles on the faces of the people while we sing.

Another activity Ben and Rebekah engaged in this afternoon took a bit of imagination. For the next week, they are sharing their big sister’s room while their cousins are here. They sleep across the room from each other, Rebekah on a cot and Ben on a sleeping mat on the floor. They decided to use empty wrapping paper tubes and tape them together to make a long tube that will reach from one bed to the other. This way they can talk without disturbing Sarah. At least, that was the plan. Reality is that they both whisper a little too loudly, but they are so very proud of their “machine” to be able to talk to each other quietly.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Time Difference and Communication

Having a sister who lives half a world away from you is hard. But, I have found that there are advantages to being 17 hours apart. When I wake up too early and can’t go back to sleep, I can message my sister. It is late evening for her and she is usually on her computer before going to bed. We can then chat a little before she goes to bed and I have to get up and get ready for the day.

The same goes for phone calls, too. My sister will call me when she gets up in the morning. It is about 2:00 in the afternoon for me. It gives me a nice break in the middle of the day to stop and chat for a little bit.

The technology available to be able to communicate quickly and easily is wonderful. I love that I can just grab my phone and quickly send a message. If she has time to answer she will, if not she will answer when she can.

We communicate in some manner almost everyday. I am so very thankful for the technology that makes communication with my sister easy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Advent Traditions


December is a month full of traditions and memories. In our family, we celebrate Advent, which starts on a Sunday four weeks before Christmas. What excitement for the kids as they go to church and see the first advent candle lit. They know that Christmas is coming soon. At home, we daily light our family Advent wreath while we are doing our devotions.

Each morning to begin school, we take our usual worship time and make it a time of Advent preparation. We light the Advent wreath, one new candle each week. Then we sing an Advent hymn out of our hymnal. I like to go over the words and phrases of the hymns with my kids to make sure they understand the meaning of each hymn. Then we say our prayers. The last part is a very special book called The Advent Book.

The Advent Book was given to us in December of 2003 by a wonderful friend. Since that time, not an Advent season has gone by that we have not used this wonderful, memory making resource. The book is a thick, hardcover book with very sturdy pages. Each page is beautifully decorated with a scene of a door. The doors are all different, some red, some wooden, some single, some double, some that look like castle doors. Behind each door is a wonderful picture and words of the Christmas story.

I love the way the entire Christmas story is told, with no embellishment. The illustrations are stunning. After 9 years of using this book, my kids look forward to a certain door because the picture behind that door is so beautiful. It has truly become a wonderful Advent tradition. I am thinking I should order four of these books to save for when my children grow up, get married and have families of their own to carry the tradition on.