Wednesday, December 30, 2009

SAHM Survival Pack

I’ve been thinking for a while about doing a giveaway with a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM) Survival Pack. The giveaway is now scheduled for the week of February 1st through 5th. To get ready for this giveaway, I will be writing each week about one or two items that will be included in this survival pack. Please help me by leaving comments to suggest other items for this pack. If you are a follower of Of Such is the Kingdom, each comment during this series will be counted as an entry to win the SAHM Survival Pack (with the first comment of this blog being the #1 entry and the last comment on February 5th being the last entry).

To begin the SAHM Survival Pack fun, I’ll just share three links to blogs I’ve already written about things that I couldn’t live without as a SAHM. Remember, each of these will be included in the Pack that is given away in February.

  • Spirulina--a wonderful algae that can be taken like a supplement. I can now report that neither my husband nor I have had to treat a serious cold since taking Spirulina!
  • Baggies--I use them for everything; I’m sure you do too!
  • Grapefruit Seed Crush--I now use this to sanitize and to treat all kinds of infections.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgement and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6 and 7
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Funny Girls

I usually don't post pics of my kids on this site, but I couldn't resist posting this one! Something new I'm learning this Christmas (don't ask me why I haven't noticed it before!): there is a wonderfully sweet, almost painfully beautiful, joy in watching my kids be silly and enjoy life. Happy week of Jesus's birth, everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Tree Magnets

This year for little gifts for the extended family we're giving tins of assorted homemade cookies. To decorate the outside, we used green, red, and yellow craft foam. After I bought the package of plain foam, I saw Wal-mart actually has sets with the Christmas trees and sticker ornaments that you can buy. We just cut out our own trees and ornaments. After we were done glueing on the red balls and stars, we stuck a sticker magnet strip to the back and connected the magnets to the tins. They make a very simple but cute gift!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Philosophy of Parenting at Christmas

It's been a while since I've waxed eloquent on parenting. Now's a great time to do it because this may be the last quiet hour before the holiday madness begins. (Insert deep, soothing breath.)
Let me just begin by confessing that I have COMPLETELY failed this season to put Jesus first.
I know this because:
1. I have yelled at my kids at least once every day.
2. I have made 15 batches of yummy cookies (what mom of 3 can do this and keep her sanity?)
3. I have wrapped, decorated, entertained, blogged, cleaned, and done laundry on a regular basis.
4. MOST of my holiday chores are already done.
Do I believe that numbers 2-4 can be done without number 1? Yes, but. (It is incredibly rare.)
I want to prioritize rightly this Christmas.
As moms, our first and foremost job is to put Jesus first. We are told that all other things will follow this. ALL other things--all important other things. Lord, help me learn!
"Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:31-34
We could think of it this way:
"At Christmastime do not worry, saying, 'What will I give for gifts?' or 'How will I make this the best Christmas ever for my kids?' or 'What if my house is not perfectly clean and decorated?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows what you need for Christmas. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things..."
So (if I may preach to myself a bit) Momma of precious little ones, seek Jesus and His kingdom first, and let Him prioritize your holidays!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blog Giveaway Results

And the winner is...


Thank you (thank you, thank you!) to all who participated! Be on the lookout for giveaways in the future. The one I'm contemplating for next time is a "Young Mom's Survival Pack." (Details to follow in 2010!)

Oilcloth Bag Giveaway

Check out this rbt bag that I'm giving away below! Scroll down or click here and comment to win!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blog Giveaway-Closed

Today's giveaway is this AWESOME oilcloth bag from rbt bags! Check out more about Rachel and her bags here and on her website. Oilcloth is so very practical and every bag at rbt bags is a beautiful, colorful print. This makes a very stylish way to carry around all those necessities of motherhood!

I'll be letting choose a winner, so the more times you comment, the greater chance you have to win. Here are the requirements for comments:

1. First, you must follow my blog. Become a follower, and leave a comment telling me that you are. If you're already a follower, please leave a comment telling me so.
2. Visit rbt bags and look at their featured items . Leave a separate comment telling me what you like from their store.
3. Leave a separate comment telling me what you find is a must-have in your childcare bag. I'll be glad for the recommendations and advice!

This Giveaway will close on Wednesday, December 16th at 7:59PM EST.

Merry Christmas and Happy Giveaways!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Four Things I Love About Christmas

I love the nativity and the fact that the King and Sustainer of the Universe came to earth as a tiny humble babe. I also love teaching our children with the nativity and the fun and beauty they bring to the story.
I love Christmas food! Even a fruit tray can be fun at Christmas. This one has green apples, green pears, mandarin oranges, cranberries, and a little fruit-by-the-foot for the bow. I took it for the boy's school Christmas party.
I love fires and snuggling up with my family while it's cold outside!
And I love decorating for Christmas! This is our family room tree with all of our kids' ornaments and the ornaments from when we were kids.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Handprint Wreaths

There's something about a child's handprint that is dear to every mother's heart (maybe even those we clean off windows and walls!). Perhaps it's the fact that children's hands grow and change so quickly! These wreaths memorialize your child's handprint from the current Christmas. This would work with as many or as few hands as you would like to use. For ours, I used all three children's hands on each wreath. Each child's hands are in a different color.

For this project you'll need: white paper, finger paint in Christmas colors, green card stock, hole punch, ribbon, and a jingle bell (opt.)

Have each child put their handprints on the white paper in roughly a circle. I did my oldest two children's handprints first then filled in with the baby's hands.

Clean up the children and let them go play.

Cut around the handprints on both the outside and inside of the white circle.

Tape or glue the white circle onto the green card stock and cut around the outside of the circle on the green card stock.

Punch two holes at the top of the wreath, thread ribbon through, and tie into a bow. Include a jingle bell if desired.

And there you have it! Last year we made ten of these at one time (LOTS of messy hands!) and then took them around to our neighbors and friends a week before Christmas with batches of whole wheat pancake mix. The kids loved "handing" off their wreaths to their buddies. They were so proud! Merry Christmas!

Linked to Kid Friendly Friday, Finer Things Friday, and Frugal Friday

Christmas Cookies

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the annual "take the neighbors something homemade" tradition. Last year we made hand-print wreaths (come back tomorrow for those pics) but this year it was COOKIES, COOKIES, COOKIES (and cranberry squares)! None of our cookies were the "Wow, that's too beautiful to eat!" kind, but they are all favorite recipes and hopefully no one will notice the lack of beautiful icing because they'll be too busy enjoying them!

The kids helped make the Yellow Cake Oatmeal cookies and they balled and dunked almost ALL of the Snickerdoodles. They never tire of pouring in ingredients and stirring. After two double batches of cookies, though, they were ready to go play, and to be honest, I was ready to let them! They also helped bag the cookies and they'll help with the delivering tonight.

I wish I could share a bag of cookies with everyone who reads this, but since I can't make EVERYONE cookies, I can at least share with you the recipes we used.

Cranberry Squares 1 1/2 c. sugar, 1 t. almond extract, 2 large eggs, 2 c. fresh cranberries, 3/4 c. unsalted butter, melted slightly and cooled, 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, 1/2 c. chopped pecans Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat sugar and eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until thickened; add butter and almond extract, beating well. Add flour to sugar mixture, beating well. Stir in cranberries and pecans. Pour batter into buttered 9-in. square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. Cut into squares. Freezes well.

Snickerdoodles 1 cup shortening, 1 1/2 cups white sugar, 2 eggs, 2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons white sugar, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a large bowl, mix together the shortening and 1 1/2 cups of white sugar until smooth. Stir in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each. Combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; stir into the batter until blended. Roll the dough into balls the size of small walnuts. Roll in a mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Granny’s Oatmeal Drop Cookies Boil together for 5 minutes: 1 ½ cup sugar, ¼-1/2 cup cocoa, 1/3 – ½ cup shortening/margerine/oil, ½ cup milk, 1 tsp salt Remove from heat. Immediately add: 3 cups oatmeal, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla, 1/3- ½ cup peanut butter Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and let cool and harden

Yellow Cake Oatmeal Cookies 1 package yellow cake mix, 2 large eggs, 2 cups quick-cooking oats, 1 cup chopped pecans (opt), 1 cup sugar, 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup oil Combine first 3 ingredients. Combine oil and eggs. Add oil and eggs to first 3 ingredients. Stir in pecans and vanilla. Cook at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Jacob’s M & M Chocolate Chip Cookies 1 cup butter, softened, 1 cup granulated sugar,1 cup brown sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla, 2 ½ cups uncooked quick-cooking oats,2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup M & Ms Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until blended. Pulse oats in a food processor to a fine powder. Combine oats, flour, and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in chocolate chunks, grated chocolate bars, and pecans. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 10 to 14 minutes.

Again, I say, Merry Christmas! And Happy Cookie baking!

Linked to Things I Love Thursday.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Blog Giveaway Results

And the winner is...


Thank you (thank you, thank you!) to all who participated, and please join me for next week's giveaway of a beautiful rbt oilcloth bag!

CD Giveaway!

Go here and comment to win the 3 CDs pictured above. They are a great way to teach kids scripture and catechism!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Blog Giveaway-Closed

In the long awaited, first ever Of Such is the Kingdom Blog Giveaway, I am very excited to be able to offer the 3 CD set of Songs for Saplings "Questions With Answers!" (As mentioned before in this blog.) Each song takes one or more of the Children's Westminster Shorter Catechism questions and sets it beautifully to music--music that both children and adults can enjoy, I might add. These songs are constantly playing in our van now, and it is wonderful (truly wonderful!) to hear my kids beginning to sing along. This 3 CD set is normally $30, but because of a 25% Christmas discount, they are now only $21! You can listen to whole songs from the CDs at their site, so hop on over and order a few sets for Christmas presents!

I'll be letting choose a winner, so the more times you comment, the greater chance you have to win. Here are the requirements for comments:

1. First, you must follow my blog. Become a follower, and leave a comment telling me that you are.
2. Visit Songs for Saplings and listen to a song. Leave a separate comment telling me that you've done this. And no, I can't check to see if you did, but you'll be glad you did, I promise! The songs are catchy and you'll love 'em!
3. Leave a separate comment telling me your kids' favorite music these days and/or your kids' favorite way to learn scripture. I'll be glad for the recommendations and advice!

This Giveaway will close on Wednesday, December 9th at 7:59PM EST.

Merry Christmas and Happy Giveaways!
(Stay tuned for next Monday's giveaway. Check out what I'll be giving away here.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

What God Wants for Christmas and the Jesus Storybook Bible

Have you heard of What God Wants for Christmas? This is an excellent way to celebrate advent for families! This will be our second year to go through it after receiving it for Christmas a few years ago. The set comes with a book with seven stories corresponding with seven boxes to open and a nativity scene. Children open each box to find the characters of the Christmas story. Each rhyming story builds the child's anticipation for what God really wants for Christmas, which is "in" the last box. The last box holds a mirror for the child to see him/herself. This concept might have to be explained to younger children (my children always say, "Nothing!" when they open the seventh box), but the message is good and giving oneself to God whole-heartedly is a message we all need to hear at Christmas and all year!
The "God wants you" message is Biblical and needs to be heard, but it would be good for me to follow up with a review of The Jesus Storybook Bible because it is totally focused on Him. The subtitle is "Every story whispers His name." It is another great way to celebrate advent (but don't stop there, of course!). This well-written children's Bible focuses on how the whole Bible is really about Jesus, and each OT story ends with a summary of just how that particular Biblical event looks toward the coming of Jesus. Check out the website for videos of each of the stories--you can watch one free there every week!
These are two "Finer Things" so this is linked with Finer Things Friday.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Another Homemade Kids' Meal

A while back, I blogged about the kids' meals I made for my kids on a long-distance trip. I've made them for my kids several times since then and they are always a big hit! (And healthy, inexpensive things that my kids love are definitely things that I love!)
I didn't add a toy to these particular meals, but they did have a sugar treat, which to my kids, is almost as good as a toy anyway. The tortillas that are laying sideways so that you can't see them are cut in the letters for each child's name; the star on the top is also cut out of tortilla. The rest of the kids' meal includes: mandarin oranges, mini applesauce muffin, mozzarella cheese pieces, celery, carrot, nuts, and a 3 Musketeers.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving's over and I'm definitely getting into the Christmas spirit. This is one of our trees (I know, we're a little Christmas crazy around here!); the other tree has all of our kid/home made ornaments.
This tree is entered into the Christmas Tree Contest at Mama Buzz.