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Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Johnson Cottage

One of my children's favorite things about Christmas is our special Christmas weekend we spend together. In the past years, we've taken the kids out of school on Friday, and then spent the next day or two packed with Christmas activities. This year was a little different, and not as busy as the years past. Unfortunately, I was sick the weekend we chose to do it, so that changed the whole thing. It was still very special, but a little less busy, and more relaxing. Not really a bad thing, if you ask me.

We started our trip to the cottage by doing the traditional thing, opening a gift. The kids each got a new Christmas movie. Ariel received the new Veggie Tales movie, "It's a Meaningful Life." Gabriel got an older Veggie Tales Christmas movie, "The Toy that Saved Christmas." And Zechariah opened a new Hermie Christmas movie, "Fruitcake Christmas." Throughout the next two days we took turns watching their movies. By the end, we knew that Christmas was not about the gifts, and it was not about having fruitcake to eat, and it was not about being famous. Christmas is all about JESUS!

Over the past couple weeks, I had been reading aloud to everyone Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." We finished the last chapters of the book together and watched the George C. Scott version of the movie. It is my favorite one because it follows the book so accurately. If you haven't seen it yet, I would highly recommend it!

After a full night of sleep, uncomfortably on the couches smushed together, we awoke to some very delicious breakfast apple pizza. It's a favorite of mine that my mom made for Christmas breakfast when I was younger.

Titus spent the next couple of hours proving what a wonderful father and husband he is. I required some sleep, so Titus baked cookies with all three of the children. It was quite a nice treat to lay on the couch and hear my husband working patiently with the kids in the other room. They made some delicious jello cookies together, and even rolled them into different shapes. I loved that they didn't even try to make them Christmas cookies, just whatever cookie cutter they liked best. Gabe used the alphabet cutters to spell the word "MATH".

jello Christmas cookiesI awoke to these two cookies waiting for me. I loved that Titus made them especially with me in mind.

You can see the various shapes that the kids chose to do!

After the cookie mess was all cleaned up, we got to work on some very fun Christmas crafts. Each of the kids made a snowflake ornament to give away.

Popsicle stick snowflake Christmas ornament Titus and I worked on some ornaments I was making for my friends Christmas gift bags. I love how each of them turned out. I think the reindeer is my favorite since Titus made it.

Ariel is very talented and wanted to make a penguin ornament. I copied someone else's idea to make my ornaments, but Ariel made her penguin using her own ideas. It turned out so cute, I think!

The next crafty activity on our list was gingerbread houses. Ariel says that this is always her favorite part of the cottage. Zechariah got to make a house for the very first time. He was a lot of fun to work with, except for the fact he tried to keep eating the candy as it was going on the house.

Zechariah's house... with my help!

gingerbread house with graham crackers icing
Ariel made her house entirely by herself. She was very proud of her results!

gingerbread house graham cracker icing candy
Titus helped Gabe build his house, but Gabriel was the sole decorator.

gingerbread house graham cracker icing candyAll the houses turned out great! We love to be creative and use as many different kinds of candy as we can!

We all shared Gabe's favorite dinner of chicken noodle soup while we watched "The Nativity Story" together. I love to watch this movie. It's so good! After the movie was over, we decided we needed to read the story for ourselves. We added a little bit of a twist, by acting it out at the same time. Ariel read for us Luke chapter 2, while each of us took turns acting. Sadly, Gabe fell asleep at the end of the movie, and was too tired to be awakened for our play.

The first time we read the story, I played Mary and Zechariah was baby Jesus. Notice Valentine is sitting there pretending to be a stable animal too!

I love this! Ariel jumped into the part of an angel while Titus grabbed a mop to be a shepherd.

We had to go through the story one more time so Ariel could play the part of Mary. She seemed to really enjoy riding on her donkey to get to Bethlehem.

They are worshipping the baby "pillow" Jesus. Zech was done acting!

It was a perfect end to our time at the Johnson cottage. We always enjoyed spending time in each other company and this is always a highlight of our year.

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