Archive for Christmas

Hidden Art Friday

wpid-img_20151126_103709295.jpgHope you had a great Thanksgiving!  Since we’ll be moving soon, we’re skipping the traditional Christmas decorating this year.  I wanted to do a little something, and this button tree ornament was a cute and easy craft with supplies I had on hand and hadn’t packed up yet.  I decided to try sewing the buttons instead of glueing them, but only my 8 and 6 year old “got” it.  I ended up having the little girls point to where they wanted the buttons to go, then I sewed them on.  And since I didn’t do a Real Housewives post this week, check out my cluttered kitchen counter!  Legos, the fish we’re fishsitting for the neighbor, markers, toys, things wrapped up in tissue paper that I need to box up for the move, and I’m pretty sure there’s a water bottle or two up there, too.

wpid-img_20151126_103203475.jpgDo you have leftover turkey that you’re needing to use up?  Since we got invited over to feast with friends after I’d started thawing my own turkey, we had our turkey on Monday and did turkey tortilla soup and turkey pot pie the next couple of days.

And don’t forget that we have a whole pinboard of Christmas ideas on our pinterest account.  We’ll be adding more ideas throughout the next few weeks!


Have a great weekend!

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Hidden Art Friday

christmas pants

Christmas pajamas–done!  The girls picked out the flannel on their own this year.  It is getting easier to make four sets of these, as the mistakes you make on the first pair are fixed on subsequent pairs.  I even used these directions for super seams, so they look pretty on the inside, too.

Are you traveling with your kids this month?  We’re leaving next week and will be flying AND driving hundreds of miles over the next few weeks.  In addition to packing cold weather gear (my SoCal kids haven’t used their coats, boots, snow pants, hats, or mittens since last Christmas in the Midwest!), I’m restocking my “bag of tricks” and loading up my ipod and nook.  If you’re doing the same thing, don’t forget my road trip survival tips post (written in the summer but also applicable to our airplane rides in the winter) and my list of great audiobooks for road trips, followed by Anna’s road trip suggestions.  And please do share in the comments if you have any particularly successful tips that the rest of us facing travel with kids need to know about!

Nancy Wilson had a great reminder that the goal of this season should be joy as we anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ birth.  If we’re not doing it with joy, maybe we shouldn’t be doing it at all.

When Anna shared some of her family’s favorite fairy stories, our dear friend Christina asked us to post on fairy tales.  We’ve discussed the topic a bit with each other, so don’t fear that we’ve forgotten about it, but in the meantime, I remembered that Auntie Leila wrote about fairy tales a few years ago, and I generally agree with her philosophy of literature.



Christmas posts from last year:

Anna discusses how her family handles Santa.

Emily shares how she’s trying to cultivate generosity in her kids at Christmastime.

Our theme week on Christmas presents: Anna’s take | Emily’s take


Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

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Our Favorite Christmas Stories

I’m super excited to be sharing some of our family’s favorite Christmas books! Like Emily’s family, our Christmas stuff comes out the day after Thanksgiving. For us, this means the artificial tree and all the wreaths from non-alive materials (allergies!), as well as all of our favorite books. I have been collecting Christmas books for many years, and each year I buy one or two more to add to our collection. This year, maybe I’ll add some from Emily’s list!

Where do I even begin? I guess with our favorite, The Night Before Christmas.

Growing up, my family had a tradition of reading this wonderful poem on Christmas Eve, and we have continued that with our kids. I love this book so much that we have collected several versions, including one illustrated by Jan Brett.

The Nutcracker is another classic tale that we have several versions of, one with pictures by Roberto Innocenti and another with illustrations by Maurice Sendack. (Warning: this is not a story for the faint of heart, or those who have nightmares!)

Another of our favorites is Turkey for Christmas, by Marguerite de Angeli, a sweet tale of a poor family who has to choose between giving presents and having a turkey for Christmas dinner. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree is another wonderful story about a mom and child waiting for dad to come home.

For the littler set, we love Snowmen at Night, Bear Snores On, and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

This year, I’ve already picked up two new books, but haven’t showed them to the kids yet: The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, and a collection of Christmas tales by George MacDonald. I am especially looking forward to the George MacDonald stories.

What are your favorite Christmas stories? I’d love to have ideas for next year!

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Favorite Christmas Books

It’s December already!  This week, Anna and I will be sharing our families’ favorite Christmas books.  At our house, Christmas stuff comes out of the day after Thanksgiving–we go cut our tree, pull out ornaments, decorations, and the Christmas china, and reacquaint ourselves with our Christmas books.  Here’s what we’ll be reading over the next few weeks:

Our family loves Ezra Jack Keats (of The Snowy Day fame), and The Little Drummer Boy is a wonderfully illustrated book to the words of the Christmas carol.

The next few books are by my all-time favorite illustrator of children’s books, Tasha Tudor:

For those who have loved Corgiville Fair and The Great Corgiville Kidnapping, Tudor revisits the charming animal village for an old-fashioned Christmas celebration in Corgiville Christmas.

After a friend showed me her copy of this Christmas anthology, I scoured used bookstores until I found Take Joy! last year and gave it to the kids for Christmas.  We’re excited to add these stories, carols, and poems to our Christmas traditions.

A Time to Keep is not just a Christmas book–it actually pictures holiday celebrations from all throughout the year–but the Christmas pages alone could be pored over for hours.  I love this book as much now as when I received it almost three decades ago.

My parents still have our childhood favorite Christmas books at their house, for all the grandkids to enjoy, and one of my favorite stories from their collection has been reprinted in color:

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree is not exactly classic literature, just a cute little story about a Christmas tree that keeps getting chopped and finds its way into several homes down to the little mice who are grateful to have a tree “just like Mr. Willowby.”

Our family also has a tradition of reading the Christmas chapters from the Little House books as well as reading the Christmas story aloud from the Bible on Christmas Eve.  What are your family’s favorite Christmas books?


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