Thursday, December 26, 2013

How the Grinch Saved Christmas

I was convinced that Christmas was going to be ruined.  We found out with one week to go that our two oldest children couldn’t make it home.  Their new jobs, and starving college student budgets led them to the decision to stay put and earn all the $ holiday hours working that they could get.  So for the first time in 23 years I didn’t have my whole family at home with me.  My heart was heavy and tight.  I felt like the Grinch.

My inspiration for Christmas I found in a magazine.  It made me nervous, yet I was eager to try.  My husband and I have long felt that experiences are what you remember and not gifts.  So every year our Christmas has a different theme…  Disney, Danish, Pioneer, Give-Away, etc.  This year’s theme was,  ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas!’  So I became the Grinch.

We forced our children to set through the classic cartoon version a few days before and both my husband and I read the story to our younger girls a couple of times during the month of December.  Christmas Eve came with the accustomed Pajama’s and Ornaments. 

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Would have loved Grinch PJ’s, but the stores were all out.  We were able to get the kids different Grinch Character Ornaments.

Christmas Eve was fantastically traditional as we sat through readings of the Nativity and ‘The Cremation of Sam Magee?’  And why that poem is traditional is an entirely different post.

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The kids helped put out their stockings, label their chairs, and leave a treat for Santa and his reindeer.

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Our Home felt Magical.

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Then the kids when to bed and the Grinch came to visit.

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So when the kids arose Christmas morning they found everything Christmas gone.  EVERYTHING!  Including our outdoor lights.

They were not too happy.

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They let us know they were not liking this experience.

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But Hope was Not Entirely Lost!  They found 7 bags and this note by the fireplace.

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To:  The Who’s named FawnDear’s Herd

He stuffed Christmas in bags.  Oh, that Grinch, very nimbly, stuffed all the bags, one by one, up your chimbley!   He took every present you wrapped up with glee.  And yes, he himself, took your Christmas tree!   You must help him to realize that Christmas means more,      than presents, and wrappings and things from a store.  Let’s help his small heart to not be so darn tight,    by giving some cheer to some homeless in plight.    So off to Seattle, you must travel right now.   I know you are asking, what, who, when, and HOW?   Find seven poor people whose budgets are tight,   and give them a bag full of goodies they’ll like.    That ought to do it, his heart will grow quick.  Scurry back home, and you may meet St. Nick.Max_the_Reindeer_Dog_by_bechedor79

Sincerely,  Max

 

In the bags we found chap stick, gloves, McDonalds gift cards, A Candy Cane, Chocolate Santa, tissue and a Picture of Christ.  To the bags we added hand warmers, bottled water and a fresh orange.  Then we left for Seattle. 

Here is where nerves kicked in.  I was nervous,  I’m a lousy judge of people, and my thoughts drifted to all the horrible new stories you seldom hear on the news.  What would we find, how would people react?

I was shocked by how many homeless there were.  Bundled up in Sleeping bags, blankets and tarps.  Within minutes our bags were gone.  And even those we didn’t have enough for wished us a Merry Christmas and God’s blessing.  They were so grateful for our meager little bags.  Our hearts all grew!  Little 8 year old Hope said, “We should do this every year and not because of the Grinch.  We should just do it because.”  I agreed with her. 

All too soon our trip was done as we headed back to our empty home.  And you know if that was the end of my day I felt richly blessed, but it wasn’t.

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Back at home we found our Christmas Activity Elves on the couch with another letter that read.’

‘Thank you for thinking of other poor folks.  See it wasn’t that hard, and you didn’t  choke.    You shared your hearts, found some Christmas Love… brought Holiday cheer and blessings from above.   The Grinch’s heart grew and your holiday’s back.  But the Sneak, hid those goodies he stuffed in his sack.   In the back yard, look by the gate,  for he left part of his load there, for Goodness Sake!   Your gifts to each other that were covered with bows, are hidden in baskets under some clothes.   The presents from Santa are somewhere quite warm,  near the furnace, don’t worry – They came to no harm.  Under the porch three items are near,  a Manger of Straw, and two white reindeer.   Someone strong like the Grinch should be able to shift,    two bookcases near the window to find some more gifts.         Merry Christmas.

So Christmas came back.  The kids loved searching for all the places that the Grinch hid their presents.  We were finding them well into the evening. 

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And when the neighbor boy stopped by to play in the afternoon.  Guess what?  My girls didn’t regale him with what Santa brought for Christmas.  Instead they told him about their amazing experience with The Grinch.

And to make it a near perfect Christmas we Skyped with my boys!  I love the Grinch.

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Toodles,

FawnDear

Monday, January 28, 2013

14 Days of Valentine Love

February is fast approaching and I thought I’d share our plans for Valentines Day.  Maybe, I should clarify.  14 Days of Valentines.  This isn’t your typical candy heart variety of Valentines.  It’s 14 activities that you can do with your family to promote love and appreciation.  The older our kids get the more we realize that it’s not the gifts or handouts they remember but the experiences.  So here are some hands-on Valentine fun – In random order.

Day 1:  Set up a Valentine Station like this one by RibbonWoodCottage. 

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You could even have pre-addressed cards to grandparents, cousins, and far-away friends.  Then, when-ever someone get’s a hankering to spread some love, everything is ready to go.

Day 2: Surprise someone with a Paper Heart Attack.  The non-lethal kind where you cut out and decorate paper hearts and then go stick them to a friendly someone’s door, like this one over at A Mom Knows.

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Day 3:  Have Dinner by Candlelight.  Pull out your fine china, dress up the table and have dinner by candlelight.

Day 4: Go on a Heart Walk.  I love this idea.  Go on a walk and look for heart shaped rocks like all of these people over HERE.

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Find that local rocky beach or river walk and see how easy it is to find these rocks of love.  The point being is that when you look for love, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you find it.  That and walking is good for your heart too.

Day 5:  Plant a Giving Tree.  Read ‘The Giving Tree’ by Shel SilverStein.

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I love this book.  It’s so appropriate for Valentines Day too.  Follow-up your read by planting an apple seed and placing it in a sunny window. Potato Wings tells you how over here at Instructables.

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Day 6:  Make Valentines for all your friends at school or work.  Don’t wait until the night before.  Start now.  Pinterest and Blogland are covered with so many fun and easy ideas for making valentines I’ll leave this one open for you to research.  I did find these goofy ones you could give co-workers over HERE. 

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Day 7:  Valentine Movie Marathon.  Watch your favorite movies about Love.  Here are some of our family’s favorites. 

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The Princess Bride, Up, Wall-E, Ever After, Stardust, Shrek, Anastasia, Rapunzel, Lady and the Tramp, Enchanted, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, etc. 

Day 8:  Don’t Eat Cupid.  This is a fun version of the Don’t Eat Santa game.  Sugardoodle has a version and instructions HERE.

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Day 9:  Have Secret Cupid Come. 

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I loved this idea over at How Does She.  Print up some hearts and hand them out to your family.  How Does she has some fun ideas of secret service you can give each other.  Love it.

Day 10:  Bake Heart Shaped Cookies.  It’s time to head for the kitchen.  Bake your favorite sugar cookie, decorate them and share with your neighbors.

Day 11:  Decorate Valentine Shirts for the family.  Here are a couple of cute ideas.  For the Girls you can check out Adoily-able t-shirt over at Spoonful HERE.

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And not to forget the boys, BeDifferentActNormal has some fun ideas HERE.

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Day 12:  Valentine Theater.  Dress up for an evening at the live theater.  Live theater performed in your very own home, that is. Starring your family.

Make this cute Valentine Theater found Here.

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You may want to pre-make this one.  Then have your kids help make some valentine puppets like these found HERE.

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You may want to make them a bit smaller than explained in this post, but I love the idea.  Then let the kids plan a puppet show and put it on for the family.

Day 13:  Love Potion Number 9

Mommy by Day, Crafter By Night has 14 Day’s of Valentine Printables.  I happen to love her day 4 HERE.

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To include the family in the Activity.  Have them help make these potions.  Another fun idea would be to have them make a berry smoothie with their favorite red berries.

Day 14:  Make a 14 little booklet like this one.   Make one for each member of the family.   I stuck to 14 pages because we have a large herd.  Just use Cardstock and Ring Clips.

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Again, involve the whole family.  Supply stickers, decorative paper, glue sticks and colored pens and have them write/decorate something they love about each other in that persons specific book. 

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Craftster had some cute ideas of what to put in the book.  Check them out HERE. 

Other ideas include: 

Have a Valentine’s day Tea with heart shaped sandwiches and scones. 

Make Friendship Bracelets. 

Leave Secret Admirer notes to your local service providers thanking them for the admirable way they do their job.

Sing Sweetheart songs at your local nursing home.

Listen to Love Songs All Day

Paint your Fingernails for the Heart Holiday.

Push back the furniture and ballroom dance to love songs. 

And so much more.

Just Remember this year and Always.  Love is spelled T-I-M-E!

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You can find this download HERE.

Tootles, FawnDear

P.S.  Special Thanks to my Prince Erik who started this whole  14 day idea years ago.  See HERE.

Linking to…

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