The Eighth Day of Advent

The second week of Advent is here! Today the Fab Five built bags 13 & 14 of Lego Hogwarts Castle…it’s really starting to take shape!

My wine was a new one to me…a Chenin Blanc from South Africa:

My brooch for the day was a sprig of mistletoe from Erstwilder:

The Seventh Day of Advent

It’s hard to believe that today is the final day of the first week Advent…it always flies by so quickly! The Fab Five built bags 10-12 of Lego Hogwarts Castle. It’s nice to have extra time on the weekends to make up for the fact that there are more bags of parts than days of Advent!

Since it is the end of the first week of Advent, here’s a closer look at some of my favorite details from the set so far:

Tonight’s wine was a Rosé from Chilé:

And I wore my holly brooch from Erstwilder to St. Charles, MO, where we attended the Christmas Traditions festival:

A Markel Family St. Nicholas Day

Time for another installment of “A Markel Family Holiday!” St. Nicholas Day has always been one of favorite days in Advent, so I thought I’d share what we do to make it special.

The day always begins with stockings. We keep it simple…chocolate coins, oranges, and a new ornament for each child to hang on the tree. They’ve each received an ornament every year since their births, so they will have a nice collection to start their own trees when they have homes of their own someday!

We always read Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend from CPH. It’s a fantastic book!

And of course we do our Jesse Tree reading for the day. This year, the commemoration for St. Nicholas fell on the day we read about Jacob:

In the afternoon, we decorate the tree. I put it up and hung the lights almost a month ago, but we always wait for St. Nicholas Day for the addition of the ornaments.

We enjoy hot wassail while we decorate:

Some years, I make a special dinner. This year, we tried a Turkish fish stew and flat bread, to honor the area of the world from which St. Nicholas comes.

And of course we have evening prayers by the light of the Advent wreath.

I really love this holiday, and the special ways we celebrate it!

The Sixth Day of Advent

The ninth bag of pieces for Lego Hogwarts Castle included the introduction of some stained glass!

Tonight I had a really good wine…a Shiraz from South Africa. Shiraz is my favorite wine, so I was really pleased with this selection!

Since today is St. Nicholas Day, I thought a present brooch would be appropriate, and this particular pieces was even a free gift-with-purchase from Erstwilder! (Wearing it on a red shirt may have been a mistake, though!)

The Fifth Day of Advent

Tonight the Fab Five started the second instruction book of Lego Hogwarts Castle with the eighth bag of pieces.

I had a Chardonnay from Australia…I’m not a huge fan of white wines, but I like this kind pretty well.

For today’s brooch, I went with an Erstwilder snowflake, placed on a “sausage dogs” scarf, also from Erstwilder:

We’re looking forward to St. Nicholas Day tomorrow!

The Fourth Day of Advent

Wednesdays are also busy for us between catechesis for Chickadee in the late afternoon and the Advent midweek service at church in the evening, so today was another day for building just one bag of Lego Hogwarts Castle. Bag seven also marked the end of the first of four instruction books, but the Fab Five are certainly not a quarter of the way done with the set yet!

Finally, a red! Tonight’s wine was a Tempranillo from Spain, and I really enjoyed it.

My brooch for the day was a retro Christmas ornament which matches my kitschy Christmas tree print skirts from The Oblong Box Shop.

The Third Day of Advent

Today the children built the sixth bag of the Lego Hogwarts Castle. Tuesdays are a busy for us, because we have choir in the evening, so it makes sense that it was a day to build only a single bag.

Tonight I tried a Rosé Merlot from France…I didn’t even know that was a thing!

And my brooch for today was another Erstwilder piece…a lovely pair of ice skates with baubles that jingle a bit…I’m looking forward to wearing this one all winter long!

The Second Day of Advent

On the second day of Advent, the Fab Five built bags four and five of the Lego Hogwarts Castle set:

Today’s wine was a Sauvignon Blanc from Chilé:

And I wore a Christmas basset hound brooch on a shirt that bears a striking resemblance to a candy cane!

The First Day of Advent

Advent has always been a big deal in our home. Hanging an ornament on the Jesse Tree each day, reading special stories, opening the doors on Lego Advents calendars that don’t always match up with the actual number of days in the season (although this year they do!), lighting an increasing number of candles in the Advent wreath during evening prayers are all things we look forward to. But this year, I added a few extra special things in!

The children are going to build the big Lego Hogwarts Castle throughout the days of Advent this month (to go along with their Lego Harry Potter Advent calendars). I got this idea from a friend last year, and we were able to afford the mammoth set this spring, which I’ve been saving just for this season. They will be building between one and three of the 37 bags each day of Advent (they started with bags one through three today), and the castle will be complete on Christmas Eve. I can’t wait to see it come together!

I also bought Advent calendars from Aldi for Ryan and me this year. Ryan’s is a cheese variety, and I will be trying a new type of wine each night. I haven’t had my own Advent calendar since I was in high school and sold chocolate Advent calendars for German Club! Tonight I enjoyed Rosé-Brut from Spain:

And, as long as I’m keeping a record of our Advent activities this year, I’m also going to track the Christmas brooches I wear. I probably won’t wear one every day, but I intend to wear them as often as possible!

I’m really excited that we have something new to do to help make this season of anticipation extra special this year!