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DIY Advent Candles and Wreath

Light the way to Christmas!

Light the way to Christmas!

Have you ever heard of Advent candles? The idea is to light one new candle every Sunday all the way to Christmas. Different Christian traditions use Advent candles differently. Sometimes the candles are blue and white, sometimes purple and pink, or sometimes red and green. This is what the candles mean:

  1. Hope/Prophecy
  2. Love/Bethlehem/Preparation
  3. Joy/Shepherds (This candle is usually pink)
  4. Peace/Angels
  5. Christmas Eve/Christmas/Christ (this candle is optional, and is usually white)

I really wanted to create a traditional Advent wreath for my family to use at the dinner table this December, but I didn’t want to spend any money. The whole point of The Advent Conspiracy is to spend time with your family making memories, instead of spending dollars on cheap junk from China.

So I decided to be creative and see what we had laying around the house.

What I came up with was jam jars, beans, and brown paper bags. You probably have those things at your house too!  If you’ve got twenty minutes (and the vacuum handy), this is a fun project with kids. You can be as secular or religious as you want. Unleash your creativity and have fun.

Simply fill the jars with pasta, beans or lentils. Then cut out a symbol for each week out of your brown grocery bags, and tape the paper labels to the outside of the jars. I wrapped my jars with clear packing tape to make sure the labels stayed put.

A layer of glue on the top will help prevent spills.

A layer of glue on the top will help prevent spills.

The candles on their own are really pretty. If this is as far as you want to go with this project, that’s dandy.


But if you want to create an actual wreath, that’s easy to do too (if you’ve got the greenery). Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have every type of Christmas tree imaginable growing in our backyard. All I had to do was head to outside.

A $2.30 wreathe frame and some backyard greenery

A $2.30 wreathe frame and some backyard greenery.

Winding cedar into the frame.

Winding cedar into the frame. (Note: I should have bought florist wire but I forgot.)

Add a tray for the bottom so my dining room table doesn't get scratched.

A tray for the bottom so my dining room table doesn’t get scratched.

Last step, add the Advent candles!

Last step, add the Advent candles!

My plan is to eat dinner in our dining room every Sunday night, all the way to Christmas. Each Sunday we will light a new candle and talk about what they mean to us. We are using Hope, Love, Joy, Peace, and Christmas Eve as our themes.

A last thought is to not get hung up on the candle colors. If you don’t have the “right” colors, don’t worry about it. This can be a special family tradition no matter what.

Conspire for something better than a Black Friday Deal


Happy November 29th! Did you survive Thanksgiving? Good, now brace yourself for Christmas.

Hmmm… That doesn’t seem quite right. Maybe we all (me included) need to think bigger.

Here’s one of my all-time favorite YouTube videos and it’s about The Advent Conspiracy. Regardless of your religious persuasion, I hope you’ll find something meaningful in its message.

The season of Advent is about preparing for new beginnings. It’s about preparing for the transforming power of love. It’s about having hope, joy, peace and love in the middle of the darkest time of the year.

You don’t need to be in the mall today. You could be baking cookies with your kids, going for a walk with your husband, or caring for yourself and taking a nap.

December 1st is when Advent starts, and it doesn’t need to start with your wallet.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now, especially since I’m as guilty as anyone! But this December, I’m going to strive to do better. I hope you’ll join me.

Stay tuned, for fun ideas to come!

DIY Turkey Name-cards


My daughter brought home a super cute turkey name-card from preschool. As soon as I saw it, I immediately wanted to make my own flock.


Now that I’ve recreated one of these squawkers, I realize that this project involves a lot of patience. The pieces are so small that it’s probably best suited for Kindergarten on up. But the end result is awesome. You can write a name on the back of the paper, and then the turkeys serve as functional table decorations for Thanksgiving.

Here’s what you do:


  • Tootsie Roll Pops
  • fall leaves (fake or real)
  • yellow felt
  • eyes
  • paper
  • glue
  • wood hearts
  • wood circular beads


The Tootsie Roll Pop goes head down on the wooden heart.

The Tootsie Roll Pops go head down on the wooden hearts.

Let the faces dry flat before you but them on their home bird.

Let the faces dry flat before you put them on their home bird.

The leaf becomes the turkey's tail feathers.

The leaves become the turkeys’ tail feathers. You can also use artificial flowers.

The head threads through the sucker stick. Then you add the paper and you're done!

The heads thread through the sucker sticks. The paper goes on top, and you’re done!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Beeswax Candles Rock!

DIY Christmas Idea for Little Hands

DIY Christmas Idea for Little Hands

Longtime readers of Teaching My Baby to Read will know that I LOVE making beeswax candles with my kids. It’s one of our favorite fall traditions. (Here’s a post from the archives.)


We usually order the Holiday Beeswax Candle Rolling Craft Kit
on Amazon, but you can also order it straight from Hearth Song.

Beeswax sheets are very forgiving. It’s really hard to mess up, and even if something turns out ugly, it’s still a candle.

Jenna has been rolling candles since she was 20 months old. Now she’s four, and her candles are looking a lot better.


Candle making is a fun activity for kids because for twenty bucks you end up with decent presents for children to make and give the adults in their lives. Unlike many kiddie projects, these gifts are decorative and usable.

I’ll end this post with a great quote I heard for the first time today:

Light a candle instead of curse the darkness.

That’s a great thing to remember in the depth of a Puget Sound November.