In many countries around the world, folks celebrate Three Kings Day on January 6. Also called Epiphany, this holiday is the celebration of the Wise Men’s visit to baby Jesus after a long journey following a star.
Did you know that the 12 Days of Christmas starts on December 26 and lasts until January 6 when people celebrate Epiphany? It’s true! For many families, the Christmas celebration doesn’t end until Three Kings Day.
Why did Christians start celebrating Epiphany in the first place?
Well, back in the olden days, Christians wanted to remember the story of Jesus’ miraculous birth and what it meant to each one personally. To make Christmas more special, they spent the season of Advent fasting and praying. It became a time of spiritual preparation to go deeper with the Lord.
The fasting ended with the feast of Christmas, special church services were held and people rested from their work. The 12 days between Christmas and Epiphany were filled with saints’ days so it was eventually thought of as 12 Days of Christmas followed by Epiphany, another day to have a special service and celebrate.
Here are the saints celebrated by the Catholic Church between Christmas and Epiphany. The Protestant Church doesn’t celebrate holidays for the saints.
One of my favorite bites at any Chinese restaurant is the Crab Rangoon. I know it’s not “authentic Chinese food” but I love it. When I found a recipe called Crab Rangoon Dip, I was intrigued.
Fast forward a few weeks and it’s almost time for the Annual Church Christmas Party. The adults all get dressed up, bring fancy food to the buffet, play games, take pictures, and enjoy one another’s company. My husband and I have come to this event joyfully every year for 20 years. This year I thought, “What could be fancier than hot Crab Rangoon Dip with Toast Points?” I’m glad I did. Judging from the empty dishes we brought home, I wasn’t the only one who was glad.
There was one problem though. My son’s fiancé is allergic to cream cheese and that’s a main component in Crab Rangoon. I’ve learned about a great substitute cheese which she can handle. It’s not as tangy as cream cheese, not quite as firm but it works well in every recipe I used it. It’s marscapone cheese.
As you look over the ingredients you may be tempted to elect the simpler pre-shredded packages of Monterey Jack Cheese or Parmesan Cheese but it does make a difference. My dip was smooth and creamy, as it should be. The processing of shredded cheeses causes the dip to be a little grainy. It’s not that appealing to me so I always try to avoid that.
Another cost savings tactic is to buy “crab meat” or “lump crab meat”. They both will work but you need to go through that meat very very very carefully to remove all the shells and cartilage. Nothing will ruin you dip faster than having to pick those out while your eating it.
My local grocery store has a wonderful bakery where they offer sour dough bread made in round loaves and sliced thin. It’s perfect for this recipe. I cut the bottom crust off each slice of bread then cut the slices in a starburst pattern which yielded eight triangles per slice.
Try the recipe yourself. You’ll love it!
What makes a birthday special for the birthday person?
What makes a birthday special for party guests and family?
We enjoy picking our favorite foods for dinner, giving presents, and throwing a party with games and laughter.
In our house, we also like to play the Encouragement Game at birthdays.
What is the Encouragement Game?
The Encouragement Game is focused on just one person at a time. Everyone else in the room shares things they appreciate and admire about the that person. It is so uplifting for the one being encouraged. And for those being encouraged, it makes us feel valuable and loved.
We like to focus on Jesus on His Birthday! It's such a privilege to remind Jesus of Who He is and all that He means to us!
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16 NASB).
We praise Him because He created all things that exist whether we can see them or not! Jesus not only created all things; He is in charge of all things! Jesus is our Creator-King!
The First Celebration
Do you have a little astronaut running around your house or a star gazer who pours over astronomy books?
Are you wondering what to get your little astronomer for Christmas?
I have some great ideas for you.
These are some fun gifts that any little space lover will find delightful.
The Uncle Goose blocks are simple wooden blocks with painted planets, moon phases, or constellations painted on, but they are so much more! There is so much information on them! For anyone who is really interested in space science, it will be a blessing!
In addition, I have seen little star gazers flip over the inflatable planets. You can hang them from the ceiling or toss them around. Hours of fun will ensue and the whole family will end up wanting to play with the inflatable solar system.
Finally, you have to have something with a motor. How about a motorized solar system with planets spinning around the sun.
One of these gifts is sure to be a hit with your little astronaut. They are all available at Amazon. Just click on the link or the photos below to learn more about them and how to order them.
Oh, and Happy Christmas Shopping!
It's that time of year where Moms everywhere shop, wrap, bake, shop, wrap, and bake with occasional breaks for coffee or chai tea.
After 33 years of Mommying, 5 children, 3 grandchildren, and numerous friends and family to shop for, I have developed my own system of Christmas shopping.
My Christmas shopping system was developed and refined all the years I shopped for Daddy. He would give me money and I would get gifts from him for the whole family. Plus I had my own shopping. I had to streamline.
I start early in the fall, thinking about Christmas gifts and trying to notice what everyone I love is enjoying or needing. If I see something that I know someone will LOVE, I pick it up and save it for Christmas.
If I see something that would make a great Christmas present, but not sure for who, I will buy it if the price is cheap and put it in my gift drawer.
Then I go through my Christmas shopping process:
I do a lot, but not all of my shopping online. Okay, let's start with the lists.
It's almost Christmas!
Do you have a girl on your list and your not sure what to get for her yet?
I have some great ideas for you. They are fun, wholesome, and will lead to afternoons of fun.
With four daughters who are all very different, I know what girls like. Here are some gifts that will be a hit with girls of various ages. I hope this will help you in your Christmas shopping or at least inspire you in a new direction.
When I give gifts, I want to inspire people to love Jesus and reflect the joy He brings. These are not "Christian" gifts, but they are wholesome and fun!
So check out the gifts below. You can buy them all on Amazon. Just click on the links.
From our home to yours, we wish you the merriest of Christmases.
Our family loves to snuggle up together and read Christmas picture books.
After all, who can resist a picture book, especially if it's about Jesus' birthday.
There is something magical about reading aloud together. It calms everyone down and bonds the reader with the listeners in a precious way.
We have collected Christmas picture books over the years and even now, I am adding to the collection for the grandchildren.
All of these Christmas picture books are inspirational and sweet.
The focus on the magic of Christmas: a baby in the manger who didn't belong here because He created the world He came to out of deep love for the people living in it. Some of the books focus on kindness and hospitality--2 important aspects of Christmas for our family.
Reading Christmas picture books aloud can be a meaningful Christmas tradition in your home. Why not start that tradition this year with these amazing Christmas picture books.
At Powerline Productions, we have so many gifts that will make your loved ones happy. From picture book and cookbooks to unit studies and Bible studies, there's something for everyone!
Little children love our I See Colors series of picture book with bright happy photos combined with engaging text. They will learn their colors without realizing it!
Everyone loves our cookbooks. Along with a quick tour of exciting places or times, you get easy-to-make recipes to make history and geography come alive in your home school.
Bible studies are a great way to give a meaningful gift while investing in a loved one's future. Check out our Real Men, Ladies, and God's Girls studies that make Scripture practical and applicable to daily life.
Of couse, there's so much more! Let me introduce you to some great gift ideas that won't break the bank.
After all, who says Christmas shopping needs to be expensive.
Celebrate Christmas in Germany Unit Study is a way to experience a more meaningful Christmas while learning and having fun! Travel to Germany with me and discover so many of the festive Christmas German traditions we have adopted as our own. We will explore cities, castles, churches, the Black forest, and a Christmas museum.
Each day will start with reading one of Grimm’s fairy tales, followed by a Bible passage. The devotion ties the fairy tale and Bible passage together.
Reading time is followed by learning about a different topic every day ranging from Christmas markets or Advent to St. Boniface or bears. Hands-on learning fun follows! Crafting, mapping, baking, cooking, drawing, and planning will keep children happy while they learn at the same time.
Are you ready to visit Germany for Christmas?
Learn more about Celebrate Christmas in Germany here.
You can purchase Celebrate Christmas in Germany Unit Study at Amazon.
Celebrate Christmas in Germany Unit Study E-book is available for purchase at PayHip and TeachersPayTeachers.
Have a festive, fun Christmas.
God bless you!
Nothing says Christmas like curling up under a blanket and watching a Christmas movie.
I want to share our family's favorite Christmas movies with you.
We have seen many of these movies over and over again through the years. Some are inspirational and some are hilarious fun!
All are packed with festive holiday cheer and music that makes the troubles of the world seem distant for a short time.
As Christmas rolls around again year after year, we find ourselves wanting to see these old favorites once again.
So, pop the popcorn, heat up the hot chocolate, and get ready to hear about some wonderful Christmas movies that the whole family will enjoy!
Can you get ready for Christmas and homeschool at the same time?
Of course you can. You can schedule everything perfectly and have the perfect balance of school, fun, and preparation. OR…
You can combine Christmas adventures and preparations as one big learning experience.
How We Did It
Before the children got to high school, we always scheduled our subjects to take a break during December, except for math. We always worked on math at least 4 days of week during December except for Christmas week.
What did we do for school those weeks you ask?
Well, we learned about Christmas in other places or read favorite books aloud that led us on learning adventures. We also prepared for Christmas. We signed and addressed Christmas cards, decorated the house for Christmas inside and outside, caroled, attended Christmas events, participated in Christmas dramas, made gifts, shopped, wrapped gifts, mailed gifts, and did lots of baking.
Sometimes we enjoyed Christmas-focused unit studies that included reading, crafts, field trips, as well as Christmas preparations and fun.
It's time to shop for Christmas. Do you have any little lambs on your shopping list?
A classic well-written, beautifully illustrated picture book is more than just a wonderful present, it's an investment in a child's future.
You see, lovely books stir up a love of reading in children. Cuddling on the lap of a parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle builds tender memories that lead to years of reading enjoyment.
Reading picture books together is not just great for intellectual growth, but it helps to form emotional bonds between the reader and the listener. Years of reading excellent classic books is the most effective way to raise a reader.
So this year, invest in a little loved one's future by giving the gift of reading with a classic picture books. I am sharing with you so of my all time favorite picture books. Each one would make a great gift. Or give two or three!
Veterans Day is set aside for Americans to say, "Thank you" to the soldiers, sailors, and pilots who have risked their lives defending America. It means so much to most veterans to have Americans appreciate their service to our nation.
Growing up, Daddy always flew the American Flag on Veterans Day, just as he did on Fourth of July and Memorial Day. I always felt proud to be an American when I saw our flag waving from the front porch.
However, sometimes as a child I got confused between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. If it confuses you, here is the difference. Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who have given their lives for our country. Veterans Day is a day to honor all those who have served the country in war and peace. We honor ALL veterans.
You can talk to your children about Veterans Day and explain why we celebrate. You can do something special for veterans that you know (see ideas below). You can hang the flag together and learn the proper way to hang it and take it down.
American USA Flag Etiquette
Tips for Hanging a Flag on Your House
You can download color pages for Veterans Day that your children can color.
Veterans Day Coloring Pages
Veterans Day Color Page from Crayola
USA Printables: Veterans Day
You can also tell them how Veterans Day came to be.
Summer is a great time to relax.
The weather is warm, the skies are blue, and sunshine is smiling on everything.
Summer is the perfect time to curl up with a book or have an Anne of Green Gables movie marathon.
Nothing relaxes me more than lying on a beach chair listening to the waves crash on the shore. Soon, I am far away in a happy places. Oops! I hope someone is watching my kids!
Summer is a great time to make memories.
We love to swim in the pool, play games, craft, scrapbook, enjoy museums, and visit amusement parks in the summer. Afternoons at the playground or discovering where a dirt road leads are fun, too!
Summer is a great time to learn.
We always take a break from formal schooling in the summer, but learning continues on. After all, we live a lifestyle of learning as homeschooling families. There is always something to discover and investigate!
With all of this in mind, here are some happy ideas to celebrate summer, make memories, learn new things, and have a blast this summer!
Growing up, Daddy always carved a watermelon basket for our summer parties while Momma whipped up yummy food.
"It can't be too hard," I thought, deciding to tackle the family tradition.
Don't look too closely at these photos because they are nothing like Daddy's clean straight lines. Here is my watermelon basket and it wasn't too difficult.
I will walk you through the process step-by-step.
You will need:
1 Large Watermelon
1 Large Watermelon
1 Large Honeydew
1 Sharp Working Space
1 Melon Ball Maker
1 Large Mixing Bowl
1 Large Working Space
Your first job will be to cut off most of the top half of the watermelon leaving a wide handle in the center. (See the photo below)
Next, make melon balls from the pieces you cut off from the watermelon and add them to the mixing bowl.
Move on to making melon balls from the rest of the watermelon until it is empty, adding them to your bowl. Scrape the insides of the watermelon so it is smooth.
Make melon balls from the cantaloupe and honeydew, adding them to the mixing bowl. Mix all the fruit together so there is a pretty color mix.
Add the melon balls to the empty watermelon basket and it is ready to serve.
That's it! It's easier than you thought, isn't it? It makes a great centerpiece for a summer party, BBQ, or outside picnic.
Happy Summer Hospitality!