Monthly Archives: November 2010

Christmas Time is Here!

Oh Boy! Oh Boy!! Oh Boy!!  Christmas time is here!!  Christmas music playing and filling the air!  Christmas cheer spreading across everyone’s faces!  I love it when I see red and green every where!!  Christmas makes me feel good allllll over!!!

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, my family and I created our Advent wreath!  It really turned out beautiful!  The beeswax Advent candle kit arrived and was easy to make.  The kids really got into it.  Mark even enjoyed making a candle!!  This may be an annual thing at the Dettra house!

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Beeswax has been the source of candle making since the Egyptians.  They burn without any black smoke or soot.  They are natural and odorless.  Did you know that the early church only allowed beeswax candles burned in the building? The wax had to be 100% virgin beeswax (no additives).  One reason is because it represented Christ being born of a virgin and the other reason, the soot from other candles covered the paintings and other church artifacts.  Neat little tidbit of information, huh?

Before we began our Advent wreath making, I collected pieces of holly.  We have two holly trees on our property.  One is just outside my bedroom window.  Holly is a natural habitat for birds.  The thorny leaves add protection and they love to eat the berries.  Needless to say, I love to be in my room with the window open so I can hear the birds.  Ahhhhh such a heavenly sound!!  Holly is the traditional wreath materials.  It has the symbols of thorns, evergreen, and red..ring any bells???  Also, holly is a symbol of truth!  100_1533

Do you feel like you are in history class??

I also collected cedar clippings.  I love the smell and of course cedar is an evergreen.  Evergreens are used to symbolize the eternal life  Christ gives us.  Cool, huh?

Okay, so we began to assemble our wreath.  Mark made the base for me.  He is so handy!  The kids had a blast! And I believe it turned out great!!

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I supervised!


Isn’t it absolutely beautiful??


We celebrated our first candle lighting and we felt so blessed.  It is really neat to see everyone get into the spirit of Christmas!!

Enjoy your Monday!  God bless..

Advent 2010 Week 1

Oh, I had such a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Got to spend time with family and friends I haven’t seen in.. well. a whole year!!!  Isn’t it sad how we let life get in the way of spending time together???  I must say, I feel a new year’s resolution coming forth on that idea!!  Needless to say, the food was absolutely delicious and I literally stuffed myself!!  I refrained from eating turkey and ham; but, my aunt’s dressing is a whole other story!! It is to die for!!

Now onward to why you are really here!!

Now remember, in the Dettra household we are creating a “Pioneer” themed Advent.  Everything we are doing has been founded in the pioneer days of American history.  I will give you a history of where and why certain activities were done.  I hope you enjoy these activities and trust we, Dettras, are doing them right along with you.  I will post pictures to show you our progress.  I hope you will do the same!  I would love to see what you are doing!!

Let’s begin!!

In the pioneer days, gifts were obviously homemade but also had a purpose.  Our ancestors used materials they already possessed or from God’s natural bounty.  Purchases like oranges were bought in well advance and shipped from coastal states..and I know you are today.  But, there wasn’t a local Wal-Mart on every corner back then and most families sacrificed just to have a single orange.

The whole Christmas gift-giving took off in the mid 1800’s for America.  The movement “out west” brought Christmas to the prairie lands and further westward.  Many American’s from the German decent brought along the Christmas tree tradition.  Nuts and dried fruits were hung on the tree.  Gingerbread cookies were also baked, decorated and adorned on the trees.  Glass ornaments were made popular in the 1920’s thru the 1940’s.

Okay, so are you ready to really begin???

I have collected Christmas baskets from yard sales and thrift stores for quite some time now.  Each of us will pick out two baskets to fill for someone special.  The various gifts we will be making will be placed into the basket and by Christmas, it will be filled and given.  Doing this will keep the spirit of giving from the heart close to mind.


Bible Verse: Matthew 24:44

Discussion: God prepared for Christ’s birth.  Now it is our turn to prepare for Jesus’ second coming.  Discuss the importance of salvation and being God’s witness to others.

Activity: From an assortment of baskets each person will pick at least one.  Make a gift tag from brown paper bags or card stock and place it on the handle.  Explain we will be filling the basket with unique homemade gifts. End with a blessing over each basket and for each recipient.


Bible Verse:  Matthew 13:1-15

Discussion:  Talk about the seeds and the farmers.  How different was their planting techniques?  Which one is the best way to plant?  Why did Jesus talk about seeds and farmers?


1.  Make your own suet bird feeder. Instructions are found here.  OR

2.  Make bird seed sachets…like for a wedding…

3.  Add a card with Matthew 13:1-15 printed on it… or simply say, “Plant God’s seeds:  Matthew 13:1-15” on it.

4.  End in prayer. Place in basket.


Bible Verse:  Psalm 122:6-8

Discussion:  What if you replaced the “Jerusalem” with your basket recipient’s name and “home” for “citadels” in Psalm 122:6-8?  What would that mean for your special someone?

Activity:  Write a Christmas blessing or letter  for your special someone using Psalm 122:6-8. End in Prayer. Place letter in basket.


Bible Verse:  Luke 3:22, Gen. 8:6-17

Discussion:  The dove represents the Holy Spirit in Luke 3:22.  It also symbolizes peace in Gen 8:6-17.

Activity:  Make fabric or felt dove ornaments.  End in Prayer.  Place ornament in basket.


Bible Verse:  Psalm 37:4

Discussion:  If we enjoy God, He will bless us.  Let’s remind others to enjoy God more than gifts this Christmas. In what ways can we show God we enjoy Him?

Activity:  Make paper heart decorations.  On the strips write Psalm 37:4. End in prayer and place in basket.


Bible Verse:  Luke 1:26-33

Discussion:  The Angel visits Mary.  Why is the angel important to the Bible story?

Activity:  Make a clothespin angel.   End in prayer and put in basket.

Each Thursday, I will post the following week’s Advent activities!  Enjoy your weekend!  God bless…

Pioneer Advent Week 1

This year, Advent begins on November 28.  The at-home candle ceremony brings Advent out of the walls of a church building and within your home bringing along the opportunity to talk about its meaning and significance.  The church ceremony may not truly explain in detail the why’s many young children need.  Plus, when you practice the Advent ceremony at home you are starting a tradition of bringing Christ into your Christmas season.

The first week of Advent focuses on God’s preparation for the birth of Christ as well as the second coming.  God used prophets to tell about Christ’s birth.  He hand picked parents for Jesus.  He planned the place, the time, and shining of a star.  He has also taken the time to plan the second coming of Jesus.  Just open the book of Revelation and you will find his plan for the second coming.

The First Sunday Advent Ceremony

At our house, we gather around the table prior to dinner.  The ending prayer will also bless the meal…

1.  Isaiah:  who was he?  what is the significance of the Book of Isaiah?

2.  Read Isaiah 2:1-5

3.  Discuss the passage.  What does it mean?

4.  Light the first candle.

5.  Sing a hymn.  May I suggest “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

6.  Prayer

I am so sorry this post is so late…I was in the middle when my dear friend called.  Her mother just passed away.  I left to be by her side.  Today is bitter sweet.. her father passed a year ago and today was their wedding anniversary.  Don’t you know that he welcomed his bride into heaven saying, “Happy Anniversary, Dear.”  God is so good!  Please keep my friend in your prayers.

I will post the full week’s Advent activities on Friday.  I’ll see you then… God bless!

Advent Wreath 2010

Pioneer Advent Wreath

While thinking about the Pioneer days of old and how our resourceful ancestors must have created their Advent wreaths. Here’s the thing about Advent wreaths…. they can be as elaborate or as simple as you need them to be for your family’s needs. Keeping in mind the whole “pioneer” theme, the Advent wreath display will be from all natural materials and using items we already have on hand.

The Wreath or Base

  1. Take a walk with the family. The goal is to collect pine cones, evergreen pieces, colorful leaves, rocks, acorns, and just about anything that catches your eyes to put in your wreath.
  2. Use your existing Advent wreath holder and a circular platter, plate, or bowl, create your Advent wreath by placing the collected items around the base and covering it.
  3. If you do not own an Advent wreath holder, simply fill a large bowl with sand or dirt and arrange your collected nature items on top of the soil.

The Candles

There are 4-5 candles involved in the Advent Wreath. Depending upon your tradition or denomination, you may have 3-4 purple candles, 1 pink candle, and one white candle. See the information in the “What does the Advent Wreath represent” section for further details.

  1. Use existing Advent candles from last year.
  2. Make Beeswax candles. You can purchase beeswax sheets from a craft store or from Amazon sells an advent beeswax kit for $12.50 + shipping.

Putting It Together

Here are some examples for what your Advent Wreath could look like:

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Here’s an instructional video about making beeswax candles.  It looks pretty easy.  I got our Amazon Advent Kit in the mail last week.  I can’t wait to see how it turns out!!

What Does the Advent Wreath Represent?

The most common symbol of the Advent season is the Advent Wreath.  It can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be, but it will have 4 candles around the perimeter and if you choose, one in the center. The four candles represent the four Sundays or weeks of Advent and the center one is known as the Christ candle.

On the first Sunday, the first candle is lit and each Sunday following you will light the previous Sunday’s candle(s) along with the current Sunday’s.  The Christ candle is lit on Christmas Eve. The colors and the names of the candles may differ by Christian denominations.

Regarding the colors I have found 4 variations:

  • Four white candles and one red as the Christ candle
  • Four red and a white Christ candle
  • Four purple and a white Christ candle (these are the colors I use)
  • Three purple,  a pink (for the 3rd Sunday), and a white Christ candle

The candle names also vary but the one I have found in the majority is :

  • First Sunday:  The prophecy candle, with a theme of planning
  • Second Sunday:  The Bethlehem candle, with a theme of preparation
  • Third Sunday:  The Shepherd’s candle with a theme of sharing
  • Fourth Sunday:  The Angles’ candle with the theme of joy.

Think of the Sundays in these terms:  God planned for Christmas, then the prophets announced his plan, He made preparations centered in Bethlehem, the shepherds shared what they had seen and heard, and the angels announce,  “Joy!” To simplify:  We plan for Christmas, prepare for it, share it, and rejoice in it!

Our wreath becomes the centerpiece for our table.  It becomes a nightly tradition to openly discuss Advent and the celebration of Christ’s birth.  We have scripture readings and a small devotion each night.

Come back tomorrow for the activities we will be doing for the first week of the Pioneer Advent!!  Remember the first Sunday is November 28, 2010.  Enjoy your Tuesday and God Bless..