Here's the recap of the Christmas countdown activities we enjoyed this past week. See the countdown explanation here, the Week 1 summary here, or the Week 2 summary here.
Day 15: Hot cocoa with homemade marshmallows. Check the bottom of this post for my own Dairy Free Hot Cocoa recipe. Yummy. I also made these homemade marshmallows from Urban Poser. It would have been a good idea to have a candy thermometer, but I wanted to try the recipe anyway. Oops... I over cooked the honey syrup a little, so my marshmallows were a little dark and slightly "brown" tasting, but still good. I also loaded the whipped marshmallow creaminess into a pastry bag and piped it out in long rows on a sheet of parchment paper, then chilled it for a couple hours before snipping into mini marshmallows. Super easy and cute. Hot cocoa + marshmallows = YUMMMMMMM.
Day 16: Watch a Christmas movie. This one was for the grown-ups, but that didn't stop us from watching a kid's movie. M chose Prep & Landing/Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice. (2 short films I have on DVD) It took us about 45 minutes to watch both parts, and then of course we had to watch the "totally tinsel" bonus features: hysterical "elf" versions of TV commercials and cast interviews. I personally wouldn't recommend this cartoon for really young children, but we thought it was pretty cute. You can watch the trailers here and here.
Day 17: Mess-free fingerpainting activity. I got the idea for this on Pinterest (where else!?). I wanted to do more of a transparent consistency (a simplified version of this), but couldn't find my food coloring! So, I started with a squirt of hair gel (to make things goopy), then added some red, green, and yellow fingerpaint, then added some sprinkles for texture. Next time we do this activity, I'll skip the sprinkles and gel and just do the paints - or, find the food coloring and do the activity more like the original idea. Anyway, Ry Guy had fun with it! We'll definitely be doing more variations of this one in the future.
Day 18: Play "stuff the stocking". This was an easy game that Ry Guy really enjoyed. I gathered about 15 objects of different sizes, shapes and texture, and stuffed them into a Christmas stocking. Then, we took the objects out and named them, then put them back in one at a time until Ry got bored with it. A good 15 minutes of entertainment there, though. Next year, we'll try having him reach in without looking and try to guess what the object is before pulling it out.
Day 19: Make cookies for the neighbors. In the past, I've done cookies or quick bread or goodie trays. But, last year I decided to do cookie dough instead and it was a big hit. People get so over sugared around the holidays between parties and family get together. It can get a little overwhelming. So, we decided to bless our neighbors with a package of frozen cookie dough balls that they can thaw and bake at their convenience. This year, I created a new recipe, Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Pecan cookies. I may have to find a name that's less of a mouthful. They smell like toffee and got RAVE reviews from M and one of my neighbors who couldn't wait to indulge! Check back for the full recipe post coming soon.
Day 20: Shop for stocking stuffers. I had most of M's and Ry's stocking stuffers already, but I needed to get a few things for my other family members since we'll be doing stockings with them. Wow is all I can say. Traffic is crazy... so many people! Now I remember why we try to avoid shopping in stores between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yikes.
Day 21: Read the Christmas story in the Bible. So we remember what Christmas is truly about, we read Matthew 1:18-2:12 and Luke 1:26-2:20. Familiar words, but what a great reminder! God is WITH us!!