Monday, December 5, 2011

Celebrating Second Advent

On Second Advent we remember Mary and Joseph and journey with them to Bethlehem. See Bethlehem with the long street leading up to it? Maybe Mary and Joseph were the last people to make it to Bethlehem that night.

The little donkey was with Mary and Joseph.  When Mary was too tired to take another step, she rode the donkey.  But riding a donkey with a large tummy is also tiring. So she walked and she rode. Here is the candle for the prophets and the candle for the Holy Family.  If we blow the candles out, the light changes and fills the whole room with God's light. 

Joining the Holy Family on the road to Bethlehem.
I made the panels last year by cutting felt and glueing it to canvas boards.
I love the simplicity of the Godly Play Advent stories.  They can be told all at once or in four segments like I am doing this year with my children. These stories make the Advent journey to Christmas tangible for children (and adults!) by giving a clear focus to each Advent Sunday, but also leaving room to "wonder".

In addition to our Godly Play devotional, we did some baking.  I have to admit that I am not a natural baker and didn't do much of it until I had kids.  A beloved German Christmas carol of ours is called "In der Weihnachtsbäckerei" ("In the Christmas Bakery") and our small apartment turned into this.  The second line of the song talks about the big mess that ensues and we had that as well!

We started by sculpting Marzipan animals from the book, Backen mit Kindern by Dr. Oetker, who is the German Betty Crocker.  We made mice, hedgehogs and hamsters (we have a pet hamster!) by mixing marzipan with an almost equal amount of powdered sugar and making a dough with it.

For the mice and hamsters, we used almonds for the ears, candy for the eyes and gummi strings for the tails.  To make the hedgehogs, we dipped the bodies in chocolate and then put almonds in the chocolate before it dried.  Thanks, Dr. Oetker!

And then we made gingerbread cookies! Actually, we made the dough beforehand, because it has to sit in the refridgerator for a while. I used this great recipe from the Food Network. 

Decorating is the most fun!
And like last week, just so you don't think we're the Brady Bunch or that I am Wonder Mom, all of this happened with Brother and Sister getting into multiple arguments and Mommy almost pulling her hair out. Then, our pet hamster, Hammy, got out of her cage for over an hour, which sent both children into hysterics. (We live in an older building that has holes in the wall in which Hammy could set herself free.) After taking a moment to ask for God's help with both our attitudes and finding Hammy, we developed a new game to encourage both kids to be proactive about thinking of the other and then set a "trap" of sorts to lure Hammy back with her favorite treats. Then we read a chapter of Barbara Robinson's The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and laughed our heads off.  Yes, prayer and laughter are the best medicines!  Finally, Hammy decided to come back to the easy life and there was much rejoicing. : )

Happy Second Advent!

Linked to Monday Madness at Let Kids Create and Art4LittleHands


  1. I bet that book Backen mit Kindern is wonderful! I think I'm going to purchase it. When I was in high school taking German, my aunt gave me a wonderful German cookbook that I still cherish. So many wonderful recipes. My high school German is a bit rusty but perhaps this book will help me bring some of it back!

    I've often wondered about sculpting with marzipan, but since it's not used much here in the U.S., I couldn't find any information about it. I think my daughter would love making marzipan animals, so will follow your suggestion about mixing equal parts of powdered sugar with marzipan (or could I use almond paste if I can't find marzipan?) Perhaps she can make some hedgehogs as a surprise for her hedgehog loving brother!


  2. You should definitely get it, Cheryl! There are so many great recipes and ideas. (Some of the ingredients listed, though, are brand names of Dr.Oetker that you won't find in a dictionary, so just ask if you are baffled about something.) Marzipan sculpting is a lot of fun. Just use as much powdered sugar as the marzipan will take. It should be a little like play-dough.

  3. What lovely ideas. My kids would love the Marzipan as well. Thanks for sharing on Monday Madness.