Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas!

"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons."
Galatians 4:4-5




Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmasing

A friend had a craft birthday party for her little one a few days back--I loved these Christmas trees so much, that I stole my daughter's tree for our living room! 
Wrap a piece of craft paper into a cone shape, tape and cut off bottom to make it flat.
Then go crazy with decorating--pom poms, glitter glue, ribbon and more!
Last weekend we were privileged to catch the boat parade in our downtown. It was awesome! Some of the boats even had little shows on board! The lights in the foreground are all the kids who bought light sabers playing joyously with them.

We made cinnamon ornaments for a fish craft for our aquarium class. This is inspired me and now we have a whole set on the tree.
Mix equal amounts cinnamon 
(cheap dollar store cinnamon is a great way to go with this--each regular sized bottle holds about a cup and makes a lot of ornaments!)
and applesauce
add a little glue 
and some glitter if you like
Then roll out dough flat, using extra cinnamon if still sticky.
Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and then carefully transfer to a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 200 for a 1 1/2 hours-2 hours.
Enjoy the whiff of cinnamon as you pass your tree!

Needing a little Christmas cheer in the morning or at snack time? Shake some Christmas sprinkles on your Greek yogurt and add a soft brown sugar cookie.
Instant Christmas cheer.

And what of school these days?
I realized that doing school right up to the 21st was a little bit insane, seeing as how I still need to buy and/or wrap so many gifts as well as deliver gifts and make and deliver bread for neighborhood gifts...you get the picture.
So we're focusing on Christmas this week.
Today was the history of Christmas trees. 
We started with a little bit of Christmas tree art--four Saxon math sheets cut up and scattered on a rough sketch of a Christmas tree. Each child picked up a question, answered it and then colored the bit of tree underneath that question. It worked well--the kids got a little math in and we have a pretty Christmas tree on our school table.
After that, we learned the history of the Christmas tree (briefly):
*Ancient peoples recognized the life and beauty of the evergreen during winter by cutting branches and  decorating their houses, often attributing magical powers to the evergreens.
* Evergreens were used in Roman celebration of Winter Solstice celebrations to honor the god Saturn.
* When Christmas was introduced, many Christian leaders adopted the Christmas tree as a Christian symbol of the season.
* Saint Boniface is credited with using an evergreen to help convert British peoples in the 700s.
* Martin Luther is credited with lighting up an evergreen tree with candles to show his family the beauties of the starts twinkling through the trees.
*Queen Caroline and her husband Prince Albert had their family picture painted in front of their Christmas tree. This picture was distributed in the newspaper during the 1820s and the Christmas tree quickly became in vogue.
*Though the Puritans protested celebrating Christmas with something so paganized as an evergreen tree, Christmas trees eventually caught on in the American household as well.
*The evergreen is a symbol of God's faithfulness to us even during the bleak times.
In our household, the Christmas tree is a way to celebrate Jesus well in this season.

We finished up our lesson on Christmas trees by singing O Christmas Tree
and hanging our cinnamon applesauce ornaments on our family room tree.
Have a very Merry Christmas-time!




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas...

"A Star shall come out of Jacob;
A Scepter shall rise out of Israel"
Numbers 24:17b
even Balaam foretold it...



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Recipes

Decorating, check
Buying presents, check. (only a few more to go)
Wrapping presents, check.
Cleaning, check (until tomorrow at least).
What's left? Ah, yes! The food!
This year I'll be looking back to last year's lists of ten for some great recipes:

10 Holiday Sides-- This list has some of my favorite casserole sides, my favorite roll recipe, and a few salads. Looking back at it, I'm thinking, have I really not made corn casserole since last Christmas!! I'll be making that one soon.






10 Savory Appetizers--Party food central! Old favorites like taco dip and potato skins are right here waiting for you along with a fancy bacon wrapped dates recipe and something I'm making soon, a Cheesy Ham Braid.






10 Christmas Cookie Recipes--I've saved the best for last. These work as festive family night entertainment, gifts for the neighbors, contributions for Christmas parties, and just plain yummy snacks. The Thin Mint Cookies are probably my favorite, but this post has the recipe for my breakfast cookies, which to be honest I can eat by the bagful.





2012 Christmas Menu--I focus on the crowd pleasers and individual requests, and usually everyone comes away happy! This menu has a ham braid (very impressive looking), baked vegetables and of course, a chocolate cake!







Saturday, December 8, 2012

I must die

"Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin." Romans 6:6

"Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Galatians 5:24

"I die daily..." 1 Corinthians 15:31

"I have been crucified with Christ..." Galatians 2:20

Great Christmas Gifts for Kids

Not finished with your shopping yet? Great! I have some awesome ideas for your kiddos right here. And one of the best parts about it is that you don't have to leave your seat to purchase them.
First up is something that I've mentioned many times on Of Such is the Kingdom. These are, in my opinion, the best scripture memorization music out there--Songs for Saplings cds could make great stocking stuffers. For us, they're serving as cousin gifts. (Shh! Don't tell!)
My favorite of their cds is the 123 cd, but I have to say that the catechism question and answer cds (with scripture proofs in each song) are amazing! In fact, while you're at the site, you better just buy all their cds. When my order came, I had an extra cd in my pack as a thank you gift from Songs for Saplings. Sweet!
I'll share a secret with you--our kids are getting events as their "big present" from us. This just kind of fell together by accident. The oldest is getting a night out with momma, best friend and best friend's mom. We're all going to a Secret Keeper Girl Pajama Party Tour event. I'm pretty excited about having help encouraging my daughter to be modest and Godly in the way she portrays herself as a young lady. We'll all go out to eat together before the event. And in honor of it, the oldest is getting these adorable owl pajamas and slippers to match from Target.
The oldest is also getting a whole lot of girly stuff (i.e. tiny curling iron, lip gloss, smelly lotion, etc) in a pretty little jewelry box. She's going to love it!
The credit for the idea for the boy's gift goes to a good friend of mine. All I did was copy her gift for her son exactly. She had talked to a nearby baseball coach about giving batting lessons to her son. And for the gift part, she filled a bat bag with new baseball gear. When she shared this great idea, I immediately asked her if those batting lessons could be "one on two" and set out to purchase the same kind of gift for the boy. He'll love getting to hang out with a buddy, learn how to bat better and have a new batting helmet, bag and bat!
The boy is also looking forward to a trip with his Grandad to Legoland. When the grandkids reach seven, my dad has decided that he'll use some of his frequent flyer points to take them to the destination of their choice. The boy has asked for Legoland. He's so excited that almost his entire Christmas list revolves around this trip. 
his spelling makes my mother-heart melt
The camera, sunglasses, iPod and suitcase are all in preparation for that trip with Grandad.
For the youngest, I picked out the prettiest, fru-fru-iest dress I could find when Penny's was having their Black Friday sale. It is purple and has flowers and ruffles and sparkles and streamers and all the things that make the youngest feel her very best. Her event is to wear her beautiful dress out on a date with Daddy. I can't wait to help her get ready and see her face as she feels like the prettiest and most special daughter there ever was. : )
The youngest is also to the stage where she loves to "read" with me. I'll point out a word like "the" and every time I come to that word, she'll read it. We're running out of little words that she can handle, so I thought these "Ready to Read" Olivia the Pig books would be great.
Many of the books have those picture words--where every time the book mentions the word "house" it will have a picture of a house. That way the youngest can help me read. And really, she's not too far away from being truly ready to read and able to handle these books by herself. Along with a set of these, she's getting a backpack Olivia the Pig. 

So there you have some of our Christmas gift ideas. 
What are your children getting for Christmas this year? What is your family giving this year?









Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Decorating

living room deco
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

tree in kids' room

family room tree


Our neighborhood has an incredible light display just down the road--this is a teeny part of it. It's a blessing to be able to walk through it each year, enjoy the lights and see so many hearing the Gospel story through the advent. 
I think a large part of Christmas 
is reminding us Christians
that
we have so much to
celebrate!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

(Mostly) Paper Christmas Ornaments



If you have some paper and feel a bit of Christmas creativity, you've come to the right place! Here are some great (mostly) paper ornaments I've found around the web:
1. Made from 20 2" circles, this little paper ornament is neat and and unique.
2. These Recycled Flowerball Ornaments are being sold for $4 a piece at cb2. (I think that with a look or 2 we could probably figure out how to make them ourselves.)
3. Find step by step directions for these relatively easy Paper Bauble Ornamentshere. It's really just a matter of cutting, stapling and giving some touches of glue. I think my 8yo would love to try this one.
4. I am in love with this beautiful Quilled Snowflake ornament. It's amazing! And completely made of paper and glue. You can use a quilling tool or just a large needle. 
5. This Lacy Paper Snowflake is easier than it looks. It's all about making a few cuts, rolling some of the pieces and taping. 
6. German Paper Stars are a very impressive feat. They don't look difficult, really, just tedious and time-consuming. The result is worth it, though!
7. Paper Stars are something I remember making in elementary school. Here they are popping up with greater sophistication! Use them as table decoration or hang them on the tree with a bit of ribbon.
8. These Confetti Paper Ornaments are made from folded magazine pages. They are sold here for $21-$30.
9. These Art Ornaments are a great way to preserve and display your child's art work!
10. I love how simple these Paper Flower Ornaments are! Simple and beautiful.
11. A few balloons, a little string, and some glue can come together to make something quite beautiful in these Snowy Balloon Ornaments.
12. These Fabric Ornaments are a simple way to cover a foam ball.
13. For a modern and fun star ornament, try these Spiky Star Ornaments! The hardest part looks like rolling the paper, but even that looks very do-able.
Merry Christmas and happy crafting!