Advent Calendars -- Start of Advent

December first is the start of Advent this year. It seems fitting since most Advent calendars start on the first. But this year, the first is also the first Sunday in Advent when you light the first candle of the Advent wreath. I personally love Advent. It is a time to prepare. The church uses the color purple for Advent. We are preparing for the coming of Christ. Now my parents gave us a beautiful wooden Advent calendar a couple of years ago. The only problem is we have to fill it each year. This year I decided to go with a crafty theme. I always try to focus it on the nativity to make sure the true meaning is getting through to Hazel and that it is not about gifts and commercialism.

This year I am organizing a huge event at my church for next Saturday. It is called a Night in Bethlehem. We will have a live nativity (with real sheep) as well as a marketplace full of crafts for kids to make to see what it was like in Biblical time. My focus this week will mostly be on this, but I will be trying to get some posts up. Anyway, I needed to find some peg dolls for one of the crafts and discovered Casey's Wood Products. They have very reasonable prices for wood products and you can buy the wood projects by the individual. I bought some nativity figures for Hazel. I am using these this year in her Advent calendar with a few other added crafts.
I am going to let her decorate them if she wants to. However for the first I found this great miniature Advent wreath craft. I wanted to use purple candles so they would be like the ones we have in our big wreath, so I "painted" some white birthday candles with melted crayons. I saw how to do it on Catholic Icing: Make Pink and Purple Advent Candles.

The best part is that we had all the supplies at home. I invaded Steve's tool room for the nuts and of course the recycling bin for a lid.  I am going to let Hazel make it tomorrow. I just put it together for a quick picture.

Since the first candle is for hope, we will make a hope craft on the second day. For her  calendar I printed out the themes my church uses and put one in on each Sunday (or Monday for the first one) so we will have ornaments for each theme. Love and Peace are easy ones to find. We actually have a peace dove ornament that we made from salt clay a couple of years ago and I made a quick beaded heart ornament when Hazel was making beaded candy canes.

The hope and joy ornaments will be a bit harder. I picked up a joy rubber stamp at Joann the other day for $1. I may do some clay ornaments similar to what we did for our Christmas in Kenya craft with the stamp. For hope I am thinking about doing something like this snowball ornament on Just Crafty Enough but use the word hope instead of joy. I have some letter stickers and may try them instead of vinyl. I also love the idea of twig ornaments that you can see on First Home Love Life. If you want other ideas for ornaments and Christmas decorations you can see what I have pinned in my Christmas board.

Now for Hazel's Advent calendar I try to make the gifts tell the story of Christmas. I always start with an angel, so I bought some angel peg dolls. This is what will be in her door for the 3rd. We will make an angel from it and share it with you. The fourth will be the Mary figure (alternative craft at First School) and the fifth will be Joseph. Then on the sixth we will do another angel craft. I think we will be doing the Easy Paperclip Angel Ornament from Crafty Journal. Steve promised to bring home the paperclips for me since he has some at work and not at his desk at home. If you want other ideas for angel crafts, I have an Angels board. (I started this board when we were participating in an angel swap for inspiration.) I should also mention Activity Village has some alternative crafts for the entire Nativity including a nativity mobile.

For the next day we will do a donkey craft. Even though a donkey is not mentioned in the Bible it is in so many of the stories, that I like to include it. I bought these clothespins at Casey's Wood Products, but Oriental Trading also has a similar donkey craft. After the donkey we will do the star and then the sheep and shepherds. Then we will do the camels and wisemen. We will also make a popsicle stick manger. Finally on the 23rd we will make one of the simple nativity ornaments I have pinned and the 24th she will get the "manger" which Casey's Wood Products called the bathtub since they did not have any mangers left, I bought something that would work.

That is our plan for this year's Advent calendar. Another idea I had was inspired by the Christ the Savior is Born Advent Calendar on Sunlit Pages. I went through our old Christmas cards and used a fancy punch to punch out nice pictures and/or words. I took a picture of four that could be used to represent the Advent themes. The idea was to put numbers on the back and add strings and hang them in similar fashion to her Advent calendar. You would get a nice picture for each day.  Perhaps that will get done next year.

For today, this is all we are going to share. If you want more ideas for Advent calendars please check out my pins in my Advent board. There are many various ideas there! I would love to hear what you do for Advent. Happy Advent!!

Sharing Saturday 13-46

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Thank you to everyone who shared with us last week! We had so many wonderful ideas shared. If you have not had a chance to visit them all I hope you will. I shared a few of the Thanksgiving posts on Thanksgiving. If you missed them you may want to check them out. Our top clicked for last week were Thanksgiving ones and it was a tie, so I am not going to share them here. However I spent the day decorating our house for Christmas, so I am giving you some Christmas features. Here they are.

1) From Racheous Lovable Learning: Christmas Fine Motor Playdough

2) From How Wee Learn: Christmas Sensory Bin and a Sticky Tree

3) From Crystal's Tiny Treasures: Wooden Fingerprint Ornaments

4) From Buggy and Buddy: Christmas Light Chalk Stencil Art for Kids

5) From Growing Book by Book: Elf on the Shelf Ideas- Read Books!


For some reason I couldn't get this picture last week, but got it now. Sorry!
From Happy Hooligans: Button Christmas Tree Ornaments

  7) I cannot get a picture for this one, but you should check it out!
From The Connection We Share: Experiential Christmas Advent Calendars

Thank you to everyone who shared last week!! I hope you will join us and share again!! If you are featured here, please feel free to grab a featured button to display proudly on your blog. 


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This week we shared some cranberry decorations, our final Native American Cinderella, some more Thanksgiving books and crafts, a look at Native Americans with crafts and books--especially Squanto and the Wampanoag, a Thanksgiving Round-Up from last week while I spent time with my family!

Now for This Week's Party  
A Few Simple Guidelines:
1)  Please follow Crafty Moms Share via GFC (or one of the other ways that work for you).  

2)  Link any kid-friendly, child-centered post. Please no etsy shops or giveaways, etc.  Remember to link to your actual post. 

3) Post the newly updated button on your sidebar or somewhere on your blog to help spread the word.

4) I would love it if you would follow me on FacebookGoogle+, and Pinterest 
 Disclaimer: By sharing here, you are giving Crafty Moms Share permission to use your photos for features and to pin your craft at Pinterest

Family Time--Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is many things to me. One of my favorite parts of the day is that I get to gather with most of my immediate family. (My sister and nephew that are in North Carolina usually do not join us for Thanksgiving.) As an important family time, I will not be doing much for a post today as I want to have as much time with my greatest blessing. I am very thankful for Steven and Hazel as well as my parents and sisters and nephew. I am thankful for all my wonderful friends who are always there when I need them. And I am very thankful for you, my followers. So as we take time today to stop our normally busy lives, I hope you will enjoy some time with your family--even if you are not celebrating Thanksgiving. 

If you are looking for ideas for Thanksgiving:

Check out my Thanksgiving Pinterest Board, my Native American/Squanto post, More Thanksgiving Books and a Simple Craft, my Cranberries post, my Thanksgiving Craft Round-up of Past and Present Crafts, and my Thanksgiving Book Round-up with a Craft

Also here are a few more Thanksgiving posts shared this week at Sharing Saturday!! (Yes, from how to roast a turkey to cutting practice and so many books and crafts!!) There are more wonderful posts shared there as well which are always so inspiring!! I hope you will stop by and check some out.

1) From Little Bins for Little Hands: Bear Says Thank Sensory Bin

2) From Gift of Curiosity: Books about Thanksgiving

3) From Robyn's View: Kitchen Basics 101: How To Roast a Turkey

4) From Green Owl Art: Doily Turkey 

5) From Mama to 5 Blessings: Paper Plate Pilgrims

6) From Makeovers and Motherhood: Thanksgiving Cutting Practice Sheets 

7) From Where Imagination Grows: Toilet Paper Roll Turkey Craft 

8) From We Made That: Thanksgiving Boat Craft

9) From We Made That: Pumpkin Pie Parfait

For those looking ahead to Christmas, I have started an Advent Pinterst Board.

An interesting article to read about America before Columbus can be found here (pdf download). You will learn much about Native American accomplishments and the "uncivilized" people as Columbus and the many people who came to the "New World" after him. It is very eye opening. Why am I mentioning Columbus on Thanksgiving? Because if it was not for his discovery of the "New World", the first Thanksgiving probably would not have happened. 

I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving!! I hope you enjoy your family time!!

Squanto, Pilgrims and Thanksgiving

Now I will admit that I am so fascinated by Native American culture. I don't know if it is the drop or so Native American blood I have in me--my grandfather always said someone along the way married a Native American (well he used Indian), but I don't know much more than that. My sister however does and she found out recently that our Native American ancestor answered Lincoln's first call for soldiers for the Civil War. I love to learn about the way different tribes live(d) and hear the stories. I love them so much I took a class on Native American Culture in college. Anyway, I guess I'm working on passing on my love to Hazel.

We have been reading many books about Native Americans--Wampanoags in particular--as well as much on Squanto. I have learned so much that I never learned in school. Now with many things in history, there are different versions in the books as well as on-line. Here is what seems to be the most widely viewed. Tisquantum or Squanto was a member of the Patuxet Tribe and  was kidnapped at age 12 by Europeans led by Captain Thomas Hunt. Squanto and his fellow braves were taken to Malaga, Spain and sold as slaves. Squanto however was bought by monks who believed God had other plans for Squanto. He spent five years with the monks and learned their language and their religion.  Then the monks sent him to England so he could eventually go home on a ship there. More ships sailed to the New World from England than Spain. They arranged for him to live with a merchant, John Slany, and his family. He learned English there and was amazed by the large city of London. About five years after arriving in England, Squanto was able to go home on John Smith's (of Pocahontas fame) ship led by Captain Thomas Dermer. Squanto had known Captain Smith and Captain Dermer from trading with them as a boy. Squanto was able to translate for the English when they came to Native Americans and thus was useful and worked for his journey.

Source: By The German Kali Works, 
New York [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Upon arriving home, Squanto saw that the Patuxet village was deserted. The fields were untended and not even dog barked to greet him. He walked to a nearby village of the Wampanoags and discovered that his tribe had been wiped out by an illness. He lived with the Wampanoags for a bit, but eventually went to live on his own in the woods. One day Samoset came to visit him. Samoset was sagamore of an Eastern Abenaki tribe that resided in what is now Maine. He was visiting Massasoit, the chief of the Wampanoags. Samoset had learned broken English from the fishermen and traders he met. (Source) Samoset was the first Native American to approach the Pilgrims in Plymouth. He went to get Squanto since Squanto's English was better. 
Samoset greeting the Pilgrims
Squanto was amazed at the changes to his village when he saw the Pilgrims and what they had done. He was happy to see life back in his village. Samoset and Squanto helped Governor Carver and Chief Massasoit reach a Peace Treaty. This treaty lasted for over fifty years until Massasoit died. They agreed to help one another and not to fight each other. Squanto stayed and taught the Pilgrims how to grow the native crops like corn, where and how to fish, which native berries were safe and good and other important things. Governor Bradford is quoted as to have said that Squanto "...was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation."(Source)  In Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas, there is a similar quote from Governor Bradford. This book really focuses on the religious side of things. Apparently from several sources Squanto truly converted to believing in the European God. Squanto lived with the Pilgrims until he died. Some sources believe that the Wampanoags may have poisoned him. (Sources: The books shown above and Wikipedia)

To go with learning about the Native Americans in the Thanksgiving story, we made a simple Native American craft for our Thanksgiving table. We followed the instructions in Kathy Ross' book, Crafts for Thanksgiving. We used a paper towel roll and construction paper to make Native American headdress napkin rings.


We also made a strawberry corn bread. The recipe came from Thanksgiving Crafts by Judith Hoffman Corwin. The introduction to the recipe discussed how the Native Americans had thanksgiving festivals. This recipe might be used for a strawberry festival. Hazel did not like the bread, Steve did and I thought it was all right. I of course made it gluten free. It was made with frozen strawberries (but thawed) and I used the entire bag instead of measuring them out. I am glad I did because it had very little liquid in the recipe.

For more Native American posts check out Pocahontas, The Wampanoag Tribe, A Native American Cinderella (includes two books and a craft), Native American Cinderella 2 (two more similar stories), and The Turkey Girl, a Zuni version of Cinderella.

More Thanksgiving Books & Crafts

Today I am going to share an easy Thanksgiving craft and several great Thanksgiving books we have been enjoying. We will start with the books. 

Fairy Tales in a Different Culture: The Turkey Girl

For our final Native American Cinderella tale, I am sharing a Zuni version called The Turkey Girl retold by Penny Pollock. Now this story is a bit of a stretch to be a Cinderella tale, but I have seen it on various lists of types of Cinderella tales, so I am sharing it. First a bit about the Zuni people.

The Zuni live in New Mexico and have been there for 3,000 to 4,000 years (according to archeologists' estimations). Their reservation is about 450,000 acres. They are farmers of maize (corn) and wheat. They also now engage in jewelry making as an important income to the Zuni people. The traditional Zuni life is a matrilineal line. They have very specific groups and order for religion and life. Zunis still practice their own religion and beliefs. They are very artistic and express their beliefs in their art. The Zuni language is believed to be more than 7,000 years old.
Source: By Kmusser (Self-made using the National Atlas.)
 [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Zuni live in pueblo style of houses. Pueblos are built of clay and often are built into the ground or on top of one another. Here is a picture I found of a Zuni Pueblo. (Sources: The Pueblo of Zuni, Zuni Indians, Wikipedia)
Source: Timothy H. O'Sullivan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Now onto our story. In the author's note it is mentioned that Frank Hamilton Cushing included this tale in his collection of Zuni folktales. Cushing traveled to New Mexico in 1879 to study the Zuni. He admired them so much that he became a member of the tribe and lived with them.

A young orphan girl lived  in the shadow of Thunder Mountain and nestled against the edge of the pueblo village, Matsaki. She was very poor and herded turkeys for a living. The wealthy families of Matsaki valued the turkey tail feathers for decorating prayer sticks and ceremonial masks. They paid the young girl with corn and cast-off clothes and called her the Turkey Girl.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Her days started at dawn when she led the villagers' turkeys to the flat-topped mesa of Thunder Mountain to graze. Then at sunset she led the turkeys back to their stockade of cedar sticks. The turkeys were her only friends. The humans did not talk to her even when she went to the spring to get water and saw others there.   
One night while at the spring, a herald-priest announced from one of the flat housetops that a Dance of the Sacred Bird would be held in Hawikuh in four days time. The Turkey Girl caught the excitement and imagined herself dancing with others. She could not stop dreaming of the dance and told the turkeys all about her dreams. On the day of the dance, the villagers left at dawn for Hawikuh. The Turkey Girl was left with the turkeys and her normal day, however she had tears running down her cheeks. While walking along the birds cause a commotion and get her attention. Then a huge turkey stepped forward and begins to talk to her and tells her she shall go to the dance. Then he tells her the turkeys will take care of her tattered clothes if she goes into the pen with them.

In their pen the turkeys break into song and dance and clean the girl. Then they have her undress. Swaying up and down the turkeys tread and tap new life into her clothes. They sing while they work.  Soon she is dressed in a white doeskin dress belted with red and yellow cloth. They give her rare shells and beautiful moccasins. Next the turkeys cough up jewels that the people have dropped on the ground over the years.  Then the turkeys give her one condition--she must not forget them and will show this by returning to them before Sun-Father returns to his sacred place and while she is gone to leave their pen unlocked so if she does not return before night they will be free.

She rushes off to the dance feeling beautiful and special. When she arrives the dancing has already started. She hears music from drums, flutes, turtle rattles and notched sticks. The musicians miss a beat when they see the beautiful stranger.  She joins the dance and has a wonderful time. The braves want to dance near her. As the sun's rays began to go down, she thinks when the music dies I will leave, but with each break the music started right back up and she continued to dance. As darkness approaches she thinks of leaving, but a brave brushes against her and she wonders why she will leave for turkeys. Then as night sets in she remembers the kindness of the turkeys and she runs home to their pen. She however is too late. The turkeys had waited for the sun to set but  left Matsaki forever. She is full of sorrow and even more so when she sees her dress was back to rags. She understands she has lost her turkey friends forever.

From this day on the turkeys have lived apart from their tall brothers for the Turkey Girl had not kept her word.

Join us later this week for more on Native Americans!! Also visit last week's fairy tales for other Native American versions of Cinderella.

More to Thanksgiving: Cranberries

I feel like so much of Thanksgiving is focused on the meal. We tend to forget the real reason for Thanksgiving. Most of us are no longer farmers and you can get just about anything you want to eat at any time of the year nowadays. I am going to take some time this week to look at things other than turkey and the pilgrims. Today's topic is still food, but it is one that is truly from Thanksgiving and Massachusetts. It is cranberries. We are going to look beyond using them for sauce (although I do love making a whole berry sauce each year).  Hazel and I started with a book called Cranberries by William Jaspersohn. Now Hazel loves cranberries or at least dried cranberries, cranberry sauce and cranberry baked goods. She is not completely fond of cranberry juice, but will drink one of the cran-other fruit juices, so I picked up this book for that reason. Also when I was researching one of my favorite topics--Native Americans, I found some neat decorations using cranberries.

The book talks about the white blooms of the cranberry plants and how they reminded the pilgrims of cranes. They named them "crane-berries" which has been shortened to cranberries. In August the cranberries are a waxy green and in September they begin to turn red. The book also goes through the two ways of picking the cranberries depending on what will happen with the cranberries. It then goes through the whole process of packaging them.

Now according to an article in Better Homes and Gardens (November 2013, page 172),  cranberries are loaded with nutrition from vitamin C to antioxidants and other health benefits. They quote one study showing that people who drank two glasses of low-sugar cranberry juice a day had significant drop in their blood pressure. They also can ward off urinary-tract infections, gum disease and stomach ulcers. 

We decided to make a few cranberry decorations. The first we found at Ocean Spray's website. They have many crafts there that use their cranberries. We decided to do a simple one with a paper plate. We used white glue to glue the cranberries on and I have to say, it is not holding well. I would use tacky glue instead.

The second thing we did was great for a centerpiece. I found the idea on Many Hoops. Many Hoops is wonderful resource for Thanksgiving. It is a website devoted to uniting America and getting past our horrible history. It is a project that was run by two women: one a descendent of the pilgrims and the other a Native American. This is the simple idea of using candles and cranberries. Their glass dish looks so much better than our dish.

Of course there is also the other favorite of stringing popcorn and cranberries for the Christmas tree. Another great idea was shared at Sharing Saturday by Little Bins for Little Hands called Fine Motor Skills with Cranberries. She has many wonderful tools to use with the cranberries. What a fun way to play and bring Thanksgiving to her child.

So go get healthy and have some cranberries and maybe try a few of the great decorations out there. I hope you will join us tomorrow for our final Native American Cinderella tale. This one is from the Zuni Tribe. If you missed the last ones there have been two weeks of four similar tales from various Native American tribes and you can find them here and here. Later this week we will look at Squanto as well as other Native American crafts and history as well.

Sharing Saturday 13-45

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Thank you to everyone who shared with us last week!! There were some amazing and inspiring things shared. I haven't seen all of them, but have enjoyed the ones I have gotten to so far. I hope you have had a chance to check them all out and leave some comment love for each other! Now onto our features.
From Gift of Curiosity: 20+ Turkey Crafts & Activities

With Thanksgiving next week, I decided to feature some of the Thanksgiving lessons, crafts and decorations shared. We had so many wonderful Thanksgiving ideas shared. I picked only a few of them. If you are looking for a lesson, craft or decoration, make sure to go back and check the rest of them.

1) From Thank You Honey: Tiny Turkey's

2) From Green Owl Art: Corn Cob Doll

3) From Sugar Aunts: Cardboard Tube Turkey Juice Box Cover

4) From There's Just One Mommy: Candy Corn Turkey

5) From 3 Boys and a Dog: Thanksgiving Printables: Reading Flashcards 

6 & 7) From Bible Fun for Kids: Thanksgiving with Preschool 

8) From  Kims Kandy Kreations: Turkey Napkin Place Card Printable

9) From EduArt 4 Kids: Thanksgiving Crafts: Awesome Turkeys and Indian Pottery (Sorry I couldn't take a picture from the site.)

Thank you to everyone who shared last week!! I hope you will join us and share again!! If you are featured here, please feel free to grab a featured button to display proudly on your blog. 


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This week we shared two more Native American Cinderella tales, our exploration of Thailand with Around the World in 12 Dishes, a round-up of Thanksgiving books we enjoy and a thankful corn craft, and a wonderful flamingo book for Flamingo Friday.

Next week I will be focusing on Advent, so if you have any Advent calendars, wreaths, etc. please share them so I can feature them!!

Now for This Week's Party  
A Few Simple Guidelines:
1)  Please follow Crafty Moms Share via GFC (or one of the other ways that work for you).  

2)  Link any kid-friendly, child-centered post. Please no etsy shops or giveaways, etc.  Remember to link to your actual post. 

3) Post the newly updated button on your sidebar or somewhere on your blog to help spread the word.

4) I would love it if you would follow me on FacebookGoogle+, and Pinterest 
 Disclaimer: By sharing here, you are giving Crafty Moms Share permission to use your photos for features and to pin your craft at Pinterest