Advent Calendar Activity :: Day 6


Get a Christmas tree.

It was unbelievably cold on Friday and the last thing I wanted to do was stand outside picking a Christmas tree, and we usually actually take a ridiculous amount of time to decide, but this was what we did anyway. We always go to a local shop in downtown Ann Arbor called Downtown Home and Garden. I love this store so much, and they have a sweet selection of trees. In the bitter cold, I was determined that we were going to make a fast selection. Lucky for me, the store made it easy. This year, they had a new (to them – and to us) variety, called a Nordman Fir – a beautiful conical tree with excellent needle retention; that’s what we went with, and I love it!

But the real fun of this activity was what the owner of the shop had brought in as a surprise for customers:

baby farm animals!

baby farm animals!

Look at those adorable animals!! I was dying. Goats, sheep, an alpaca, a baby donkey, and something called a zebu – a little water buffalo. They were so, so sweet.

Tiny Dancer with the animals

Tiny Dancer chatting up the alpaca

I had desperate thoughts of absconding with one of the fiber-bearing animals, but I refrained.

Little Buddha charming the alpaca

Little Buddha charming the alpaca

Little Buddha checking out the alpaca's teeth

Little Buddha checking out the alpaca’s teeth

look at that face!!

look at that face!!

Last year, after we got our tree, we went across the street to Sweetwater’s Cafe for a couple of slices of chocolate cake. For Little Buddha, one good experience is always the making of a new tradition, so of course we followed up our tree-buying, store-browsing, animal-petting experience with our new chocolate cake tradition.

It was a great afternoon!

This activity is part of this year’s Advent Activity Calendar. You can find more Advent activities by searching the category “Advent Activity Calendar,” or by referring to the page “Advent Activity Calendar,” where I have tried to catalogue all the activities from 2009 until now.

Advent Calendar Activity Day 3 :: Make (and drink) hot cocoa (don’t forget the marshmallows!)

hot cocoa with marshmallows and sprinkles

hot cocoa with marshmallows and sprinkles

This activity makes an appearance every year, and I always include the part about not forgetting the marshmallows because the first year we did this, I didn’t have any marshmallows in the house, and the whole activity was almost a bust because of it.
Day 2 :: Advent
naked hot chocolate – no marshmallows, no whipped cream

Well, thank goodness I photo-documented everything that year, because that was the only reason I remembered to have marshmallows on-hand the second year. And I’m happy to say I haven’t forgotten since!

hot cocoa with marshmallows and sprinkles

hot cocoa with marshmallows and sprinkles

I was bummed that I didn’t have any candy canes around this time – I like to put them in the cocoa as stir sticks. I added some Christmas sprinkles, though, which seemed to make the first cocoa of the season extra-special. In fact, the boys couldn’t quit thanking me and telling me how generous I was. Win!

Advent Calendar Activity Day 2 :: Have a Wii game night


The boys have been begging for me to play video games with them. I really don’t like to play video games – if I’m going to be sitting on the couch in the living room, I’d just as soon be knitting (or spinning). I’m happy to watch them play, I just don’t really want to put my knitting down and play myself. But they really wanted it, and it seemed like a fun way to spend a little time together. They were SO happy to find this activity in their second Smitten.

It turns out that it is really hard for me not to multi-task, and playing video games with kids really does require focusing on just the one thing. It’s sad to me that I find it so hard these days to only do one thing at a time, so this was a good exercise for me, and the boys certainly did enjoy it (we played Wii Party). I had fun, too. (well, except for the fact that I’m the worst gamer ever)

Advent Activity Calendar

One of my most popular posts, on here, on flickr, and on Pinterest, is my mosaic of our 2009 Advent Activity Calendar.

Advent 2009

I’ve continued the tradition of an Advent Activity Calendar each year (the boys wouldn’t let me stop at this point if I tried!), and I try very hard to document each year, so that I can remember the following year what works and what doesn’t. I haven’t always done a great job with the documentation (2011 I only managed to document the first 10 days or so), and I haven’t always managed to tag or categorize my posts appropriately. But because I know there are people out there who come looking for ideas about this sort of thing, I’ve consolidated what I do have in one place, creating an Advent Activity Calendar page here on the blog. I hope it’s helpful! I will continue to try to tag old posts accurately as well. For now, there are maybe 15 posts categorized under Advent Activity Calendar.

I am so SO glad I went to the trouble last year of knitting a Smitten Advent Calendar! It feels great not to have to make a new one each year, and I was so happy to hang this one up last night.
knitted :: Smitten Advent Garland

Of course, as you know, I did knit another Smitten Garland this year, for my dear friend Deborah.
Smitten :: done #knitting #mittens #smitten #adventcalendar
I had originally planned to knit a little bit on it all year, so that I wouldn’t end up knitting 24 little mittens all in a row. But in the end, that’s what I did, because that’s what I do. I got them in the mail to her on Wednesday, mailed 2-day Priority, confident they would reach her on Saturday so she could hang them in time for Advent. Sadness of sadness, though, the postal worker wouldn’t leave them without a signature when Deborah wasn’t there to receive them (even though I did not select the signature requirement). I am so bummed. But I expect they will get to her safe and sound tomorrow, and now every Advent after this she will be able to hang them on time!