{The Countdown is On}

happy december 1st!
anyone else amazed as i am how fast this year has flown?
they say time flies when you're having fun right?:)

i have always wanted some type of advent countdown calendar.
and now i have one!:)
it is rough and simple
but the girls (daddy too) are all excited and so am i.

 are you peeking at paint colors and Christmas decorations??? be patient..soon!!!:)

riley was first to pick this morning.
had to hang it kind of high to keep toddler hands away.

first thing in the morning sleepy look

i found the little bags at hobby lobby.
$2.99 for a pack of 12 (then i used a 40% coupon!).
i was just about to buy stick on numbers and a circle punch to decorate the front when riley found a sheet of scrapbook paper that already had all the numbers written on it...
for 49 cents.

it still needs a few finishing touches.
i need to cut my left over string now that i am sure of the height.
i would love something rectangular to go over top and a little "somethin somethin" to hide my quick release tabs. (don't you love those things!?) maybe target will have a small ornament that will fit just right over the top of each one.

next i am going to print some old Christmas photos to hang underneath like i did with the halloween pictures. they will love that.

there are tons of places to find great countdown activities out there in blog land.
here is our list. i haven't filled all the envelopes yet because i need to figure out what activities will work better for which nights. some are definitely better suited for the weekend.:)

family game night by the fire with hot chocolate
candlelit bubble bath for the girls
surprise a neighbor with an act of kindness
pick a family from the random acts of Christmas list (through our radio station)
wii or just dance party night
make and hang ornaments for the birds and squirrels at the park
go out for ice cream
make a Christmas craft (2)
choose an angel from the angel tree
at home spa pedicures
Christmas portraits, visit santa and dinner at the mall
gingerbread houses
make a holiday dessert
make fancy snowflakes to decorate the windows
breakfast for dinner in our pj's
make blessed to bless bags
Christmas movie with popcorn
root beer floats
make Christmas cards for family and friends
bake cookies and share with friends
make a Christmas ornament
drive around to see Christmas lights with hot chocolate
game night by the fire with apple cider

i also put a bible verse on the back of each card for the girls to look up and read at dinner.

i tried to keep a balance on our list between plain ol' fun things and things that focus on others and giving. funny...when i told the girls about this idea janey said, "whatever each night has can it be "blank" with hot chocolate??!!:) "

we are also remembering to keep the real meaning of Christmas in our holiday by reading our devotions each night and lighting our advent wreath. dave also found this neat calendar. we hung it on the kitchen cabinet and have been reading it every morning and night. i love it and so do the girls.

so, do you have a countdown calendar?
how are you keeping meaning in your holiday?
i would love to hear your ideas:)

{thankful for}
1. a simple, inexpensive project...completed
2. family time
3. kindness from strangers
4. uplifitng friends
5. Christmas candles

have a happy day,


  1. Looks good...tie a little bow with long ends out of the jute to hang over the hooks, or tie ribbon with the jute in a bow.

  2. How cute is your advent calendar...and so inexpensive! That's awesome! We have never had an advent calendar...I never had one growing up either. In the past we have made the countdown chains...and last year we counted down the days on our chalkboard.

    I love the command strips...although last night we were hanging canvas pictures in Brady's room...and we had to remove one and start over...and it took a big chunk of new paint off the wall. I couldn't believe it! I painted over it today...no biggie.

    Brady and I do Operation Christmas child every year together...and this year we adopted a family from Brady's school for Christmas.

    Your livingroom looks so warm and cozy...I see you have the musical Hallmark snowman and dog....Brady loves that thing!

  3. you did a fabulous job! you even preprinted your activities.. i am always furiously scribbling a the last minute.. :) happy first advent day to you!! :)

  4. What a great little advent! I change my plan every year! I love the idea of adding a bible verse to look up and read! I wonder if I can swing that since the month has already begun!?! I am so behind! ;) I need to click on that link and see the calendar you found... ;) Blessings for a beautiful Christmas season! ;)

  5. very cute. I am doing 3 countdowns this year. I've wanted to do one like you've mentioned but life was crazy and I didn't have time to plan it all so we might get there next year

  6. I like your little bags and sweet tags.

    That calendar Dave found is neat too. I think I'll print that one up.

    This is the first year since I've been a mom that we havent' done a special countdown. I just haven't take that leap into the season yet. Perhaps once the tree goes up I'll feel a little more in the spirit.

  7. Love the new song on your blog! I love your Advent countdown calendar too. It's so cute. I love how simple you said it was to make. I am feeling like a loser. Each year I have said we will do one, and we still haven't. Is it too late for me to get one?! Sometimes I give up on things b/c I think Boyd would just mess them up.....his little hands like to touch and mess with everything. :) Love your thankful list today. You inspire me!

  8. I love this advent. And I love how each day is time with your family. I need to do that a little more this season.
    And I'm a believer in command strips. Favorite thing ever for walls!

  9. So cute Cindy!!

    Love the balancebetween getting and giving! It's so hard to keep that balance up isn't it?

  10. Simple rocks! I love what you have made and it is such a great reminder of what brings happiness to our families - it's not being perfect or fancy - it's about making memories together. Great ideas to keep the real meaning of Christmas as the focus too. I am off to look at that calendar.

    p.s. I always bring a coupon to HL and once my husband laughed at me because I used it on an item that was $2.99. He told me the toner and paper to print it out cost more than the savings! Still woth it to me!

  11. well, a surf thru blogland this evening is making me feel completely insufficient, I just don't have our christmas in full swing just yet and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS IDEA!!! Everything about it is complete perfection, from the design to the construction to the messages inside - complete perfection - well done, friend!! I would need to construct one of these NOW and then pack it away all set and ready to go for next year ;-)

  12. Cindy — it looks so darling and so easy, and right now, I'm all about easy ... well, that and NO egg nog!

    Thanks for the well wishes this morning :)

  13. Hi Cindy,

    That is the BEST advent countdown calendar idea I've ever seen. I'm doing it next year for sure! I love the little bags that hold the cards. I love your sweet ideas inside! I love that is so much about spending time together. That's what they want! My girls would love those ideas!!!

    I love how it decorates the room too! And ohhh, the calendar link I just printed; we're doing that for sure. Maybe work it into breakfast...

    Cindy, looks like you have made the 'countdown' so much fun! It's the best being able to be 'home' and not torn with working too especially this time of year, isn't it?

    Love seeing your ideas! Merry December Cindy!

  14. Your calendar looks great. I love all the activities you came up with. I'll be stealing a few of those. I just put ours up last night...yes...where does the time go.

  15. I absolutely love this idea!!!!
    Our sons are all grown , but I still want to do it.
    have a pretty day!

  16. LOVE your advent calendar! As soon as Nutcracker is over I hope to do more family holiday things together. This week and last week we just have no time to be Christmasy at home. :(

  17. Cindy you are such a kind sweet person and instilling some really wonderful things into your already kind hearted children :)
    Merry Christmas 2011