Advent Fun 2013

Advent 2013

I have purposely documented our daily Advent fun together this year on Instagram!  The secret reason I did this wasn’t really to share, but to keep myself accountable!  I am not always the best with follow-through on long term projects, like Advent.  My daily photos helped remind me and kept me from slacking off.

Since we traveled this year, I closed up our Advent activities on Dec. 19, so we doubled up some things that were intended to last longer. Dec. 19 ended up being a pretty crazy day and at the last minute I decided to pack up the very last Advent bag and bring it with us on our trip.  We opened the final bag on Christmas Day and read our Christmas Eve and Day Jesse Tree devotions together.

We used the brown bag set up this year and in the bags I kept ~ Jesse Tree ornament, Christmas ABC, and the Christmas joke.

Each school day the kids also got a new Christmas sensory bin surprise, and we also did our Birth of Jesus study for 7 of the school days. It was a low stress year, easy to do each day and for the most part, I kept my attitude in check.  I am mostly thrilled that the kids learned a lot, the Birth of Jesus study was reason for that!

Here’s a peek into Advent 2013 , thanks to Instagram!

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Resources we enjoyed this year…

A Stress-free Advent Experience

{disclaimer: affiliate links are used in this post}

Advent is a special time for many families and the choices of how to celebrate and make this time meaningful are bursting up all over the internet as December 1st approaches. I shared our free Jesse Tree collection a couple of weeks ago, which is a great option for those of you looking for meaningful but simple.

We have used Truth in the Tinsel for the past two years and loved it. If you are looking for something new and haven’t done Truth in the Tinsel yet with your little ones, I highly recommend it!


Knowing my drop-out tendencies from years past, I knew I needed to prepare in advance and have a simple system.  This is the set up we used for the past two years, which has worked beautifully!  I even saved the bags and laminated numbers so it’s even easier now to set up!


I got 24 brown paper bags, and put the supplies for each day {the small specific ones from Truth in the Tinsel} in each bag. Last year we used both Truth in the Tinsel and our Jesse Tree, so both were in each bag!  I used the printable numbers from this site, and laminated them so I could use them again next year.  I hung the bags up with thumb tacks on my bulletin board strips that we normally display the kids’ school work on.   It was a great way to remind me each day, and also to keep the kids excited!

Looking for simple but not into the Jesse Tree plan I shared?  You might like using just the printable ornaments for Truth in the Tinsel, they can be colored instead of putting together a craft each day!  Last year we did this and pulled out our crafts from the previous year each day.


I saw an awesome idea shared recently, from Educating Laytons here.  Stef used Lego pieces to create Lego pieces to go along with Truth in the Tinsel!  If you have Lego fans, go check out her awesome ideas!

I have Truth in the Tinsel board where I pin helpful posts I find, as well as posts from our blog featuring us in action!

Here’s Amanda’s Truth in the Tinsel Pinterest board to see even more ideas!  There’s also a Facebook page!

As December 1 gets closer and closer, I remember my motto for all of our Christmas fun activities ~ Mommy’s ATTITUDE matters way more than the ACTIVITIES.  This one simple phrase has really helped me stay focused on what really matters. In years past I would get totally stressed out and barely enjoy the moments I had worked so hard to prepare for my children. These past couple of years have been more peaceful and fun and for that I am thankful!

Jesse Tree Printables

Jesse Tree Resources

Are you looking for something…

simple to prepare,

easy to remember each day,

and FREE

to do with your kids to help focus on the true meaning of CHRISTmas?

Our Jesse Tree printable activities and eBook are just that!  Some years I love to go all out, and others I need easy and simple.  This will be a simple year for us since we will be traveling for Christmas.

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links used in this post}

Just decide which of the 3 resources you plan to use {you don’t have to use all 3 but you can} and prepare now so you won’t be overwhelmed closer to December 1st!

Jesse Tree Calendar Connections are simple printable calendar cards that need to be printed, laminated {if possible} and cut out.  Each day you add one to your calendar and read the corresponding fact card.


Jesse Tree Printable Ornaments need to be pre printed, laminated, & cut out.  Then you will need to punch a hole and add a string or something to hang the ornament.  A tiny bit more prep work, but can be done early so all you do each day is add the ornament to your Jesse Tree.Jesse Tree Ornaments[4]

The Jesse Tree eBook is coordinated with the Calendar Cards, you can easily read the text portion from the eBook as you put up your calendar card and/or printable ornament each day! You can even JUST use the eBook, which means NO prep required!  Just download the PDF file to your device and read from it each day!


Not sure how to put pdf files on your device?  Here’s a post about that on my blog!

Personally, we will be using all three, I think.  Or at least the ornaments and the eBook.  I have all of them prepared from last year so it should be easy for us!

If you are looking for something more elaborate and also focused on Christ, I highly recommend Truth in the Tinsel. We have used it and will certainly use it again, just not this year since we are traveling and I know my limits on daily crafts!  See how we organized our daily crafts when we did it here.


See our Christmas Pinterest board for more fun Christmas ideas!

Christmas Theme Pinterest Board

Jesse Tree Ornaments

I have been busy printing my Jesse Tree Calendar cards and getting things ready to begin with my kids today {we are starting tonight} and getting my Jesse Tree eBook ready on my iPad so I can easily access it throughout the month,  This year I didn’t even print the info cards, I am just using the images and using the eBook to read the facts from, which also has my Bible so I can jump to the scripture references easily also!

Yesterday a reader sent me a really sweet thank you email and also shared a photo of her mini ornaments that she made from cutting out the images from the cards!  I thought this was a fabulous and simple to create idea so I made a set of ornaments in case any of you feel like printing quickly to begin tonight {or start when you can and add the ones you missed {since today is Dec. 1}. I am printing and laminating my own right now!

Jesse Tree Ornaments

I am going to offer these for free here in this post this year and next year they will be a part of the eBook bundle for sale, so be sure to download them if you think you might want them even for next year!

Download Jesse Tree Ornaments here!

In case you missed the Jesse Tree Calendar Connections and eBook, click the buttons below to grab those too!

Jesse Tree Calendar Connections The Jesse Tree eBook

Special Note ~ I have gotten several emails from readers asking why they haven’t received their free eBook.  The freebies are for my newsletter subscribers, not RSS blog feed subscribers, there is a difference and you can read that here.  The RSS email comes via Feedburner and is JUST my blog posts.  The newsletter comes via MadMimi and contains special announcements, post summaries, upcoming posts,  special freebies and more!

If you have signed up for the newsletter {check this link and be sure that is the form you signed up in} and you still haven’t received any newsletters from me, first check your spam, then email me with the email you used to sign up and I can search and find out what’s going on!

Hope that helps clear up any confusion!

Jesse Tree eBook

The Jesse Tree eBook

Our Let’s Explore ebooks take the awesome Calendar Connections themes that Shannon has developed, and turns them into full size files to be used as eBooks. You can read them on your computer, your iPad, or any device that supports PDF files. Yes, you can even print them full size! Remember, I have a tutorial for using these on your iPad here {the format is the same as the Easy Readers}. We both have iPads so that what we will be using them on. Each eBook page has a number, which correlates with the order in the Jesse Tree Calendar Connections cards.

Jesse Tree Calendar Connections

BUT, you don’t have to use this eBook with the CC cards, it can stand alone as a simple way to learn about a particular topic. The series is created with 3rd-6th graders in mind, but it isn’t limited to those grades. It is a great way to explore a topic across grade levels within your homeschool!

Here’s a peek…

The Jesse Tree eBook 1 The Jesse Tree eBook 2

Download your FREE Jesse Tree eBook here!

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We also have Jesse Tree Printable Ornaments available!

Jesse Tree Ornaments