This year, our Christmas Countdown is threefold. Each day in December leading up to Christmas we have (and will continue) to:

1. Place a cotton ball on Santa’s beard. (This is where you can get the Santa’s Beard Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar Free Printable we’re using.)

Santa Beard Christmas Countdown

(It’s a great visual representation of how long we have left to wait.)

2. Take a wrapped Christmas book from the Santa sack, open it, and read it.

Sack o' Christmas Books

(We’re honing our unwrapping skills. We’re gonna kill it on Christmas.)

(Also, if you want to know what we’ve been reading, you can see the list here on Amazon.)

3. Open a packet containing a piece of chocolate for each child and a slip of paper with an activity printed on it.

Christmas Countdown Packet

We eat the chocolate. We read the paper. We do what the paper says. For example:

Make sugar cone Christmas trees - and eat them!

Julia's Sugar Cone Tree

Jack decorates his tree

Icing is the best part!

More sprinkles


Lucy's Sugar Cone Tree

I actually had the countdown prepped BEFORE December this year. I’ve never been so prepared! I think it’s all that time I’m not spending on Facebook. Or out in the world, in general. I’ve sort of been hiding out, I guess. That’s something I’m hoping to change.

Lucy is 6!

by Leslie

She woke up to balloons.

Lucy is 6!

And birthday greetings.

Happy Birthday, Lucy!

“I have so many special things,” she smiled.

"I have so many special things!"

After a day at school and piano class, we celebrated with cake.

Blowing out the candle

And a round of her new HedBanz Game.

Playing Hedbanz

It was a happy birthday for my sweet girl.

My six year old

The world is a better place with her in it.

I made inside and out rainbow cupcakes for her to share with her friends at school. These are the prettiest three.

Lucy's 6th birthday cupcakes

Let us assume the rest look as good as this, if not better!

This is the one I took a bite of –

Inside Lucy's 6th birthday cupcakes

– for quality control purposes and also so you could see what the inside of the cupcakes look like.

We’ve been having Family Game Night every other week since the start of the year and it’s been a whole lot of fun.

Family Game Night

We kicked it off with a new edition of a classic game: Clue. Lucy won, so she got to pick the game for the next game night.

Week 2: Wits and Wagers Party and Blokus. Lucy won, again. On both counts. And it’s not like we were letting her!

Week 3: Another classic. Mousetrap. Grandma & Phoebe won.

Week 4: Uno. Lucy won, of course.

Week 5: Wits and Wagers Party, again. And I won, with the help of my supportive sidekick, Jackson.

Week Six: Our new favorite game. (It’s the one in the picture.) Ticket To Ride. Lucy won – on game night as well as three out of the next five times we played!

Week Seven: Clue. Because Lucy never tires of Clue. Grandma won – on her first guess! So, we played again and I won, but Grandma gets to choose the next game.

Do you have any suggestions?

My kiddos.

Smiling Jack

Jack and Jules

Lucy and Julia

Bee, running

Julia and Lucy and Jack

Dave and Jack

Lemme have that camera, mom.


Jack and the cat

Jack pushing the wagon

Phoebe pulling Jack in the wagon