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.
I love Christmas Music!
In fact, Christmas music is one of the highlights of the holiday season for me. I make playlists for the car, the house, and parties.
You will notice that I have very eclectic taste from classical music to the latest Christmas song from Kari Jobe.
Amy Grant is one of my favorites. No one sings Christmas songs like Amy. Unless, of course, it's Twila Paris or Julie Andrews
Trans-Siberian Orchestra is another favorite. I have several of their albums.
Here is my Christmas playlist. This is the music we will listen to on Christmas morning this year.
It is a combination of worshipful music and Christmas classics.
Notice there are 3 different versions of Canon in D. I just can't help it! I love that song! I also love some not-so-well-know songs like "Wandering Pilgrim" and "C'mon Ring Those Bells."
How about you? What are your favorite Christmas songs? Please comment below.
Merry Musical Christmas!
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!
All the Gospels in the New Testament devote several chapters to the last week of Jesus’ life.
After all, there was so much going on that final week when Jesus took the sins of the whole world on Himself and died for us.
Satan thought he won, but he lost! Jesus rose from the dead on the third day!
When Holy Week and Easter roll around, I want my children to learn about and celebrate everything!
Besides being real history, this week is foundational for our faith in Jesus.
So, let me give you a birds’ eye view of the last week of Jesus life and ways to celebrate with your family.
Dinner at Simon's House
Starting on Saturday, Jesus dined with Simon the Leper in Bethany. Bethany was where Lazarus, whom he had just raised from the dead, and his sisters Mary and Martha lived. Anyway, while Martha served, Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus feet and wiped them with her hair. Jesus said that she had anointed Him for burial and commended her.
Family Fun: Give one another foot rubs
(Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, John 12:1-9)
Triumphal Arrival in Jerusalem
On Sunday, Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. The people were so excited, they worshipped Him, as well as spreading cloaks and palm branches on the ground for Him to ride over.
Family Fun: Dress up and act out the Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem
(Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, John 12:12-19)
In my family, we love to celebrate with food. At Valentine's Day, we enjoy setting a fancy table accented with pink and red hearts. We love planning festive menus for breakfast or lunch or dinner.
Here are some menu ideas if you would like to celebrate St. Valentine's Day with food.
Heart-Shaped Waffles with Strawberries & Whipped Cream
Heart-Shaped Chocolate Pancakes with Syrup
Bowl of Raspberries & Pears
Heart-Shaped Ham Sandwiches
Pink Milk (put a few drops of food coloring in your milk)
Cranberry Juice mixed with Club Soda
Heart-Shaped Tea Sandwiches
Scones with Raspberry Jam
I tried to make St. Valentine's Day special for our family while the children were growing up. We ate dinner together with the good china on a lace tablecloth. We celebrated love!
I loved exchanging little Valentine's Day cards when I was a little girl. As I grew into teenage years, I never seemed to have a sweetie when the day rolled around, so I felt lonely and depressed without a true love to celebrate with. When I became a Christian, I investigated to discover the true story of St. Valentine, a Christian pastor in Rome.
You can read "St. Valentine, The Real Story" here from CBN.
When I had my own family, I decided to celebrate love, the true love that comes from Jesus. That's the kind of love that St. Valentine had for his beloved flock. And after all, the day's named after him.
Because of the way our culture sees St. Valentine's Day, I wanted to reach out to singles, too. We have included many single guys and ladies in our festivities. Although messages from the world creep in, I have tried to make St. Valentine's Day a family celebration because we all need the perfect love that comes from the Lord. Reaching out to people has helped us to show God's love to others.