Tag Archives: Christmas

Preparing for Christmas ~ book reviews

Both of these books are available from New Growth Press.

A Better December: Proverbs to Brighten Christmas by Steven Estes

Many of us know just how insightful the book of Proverbs in the Bible is to our daily lives. But have you ever thought about how much it applies to the holiday season? to Christmas time? 

Me, either. But Steven Estes did. And his humorous application of the Proverbs to the holidays is a joyous read. This is a short 80-ish page read and is broken into chapters focusing on things like gifts, children, longings, others, and disappointment. Each of the chapters seems to be right on target for so many of us as the holidays can 

If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed by the holidays, the commercialism, and the “stuff”, take a peek at this book. The insights will help you grab hold of what is important, what is necessary, and the joy that should be fueling our holidays. As we are brought into “Someone greater than Solomon is here”, the beauty of the plan of God is revealed and Jesus is introduced. This easy to understand transition is the perfect way to introduce Jesus to those who don’t yet know him. 

The pen-and-ink drawings that add whimsicality to the book. This neat little book would be a great one to share with others this holiday season.

Prepare Him Room by Marty Machowski

Are you looking for a series of family devotionals to guide you through the season approaching Christmas? Some folks call this time Advent. I didn’t grow up using that term and we don’t use it with the girls but the time approaching Christmas is still a time that hearts tend to be open to hearing more about our Savior. This book is a series of family devotionals for the 4 weeks of Advent to celebrate the birth of Jesus. 

Broken into 4 weeks, this series of studies looks at the prophecies the foretold Christ’s coming and the fulfillment of those prophecies. Each week has three family devotionals and a chapter of a Bartimaeus story that unfolds one week at a time, concluding in week 4. Each family devotional includes a list of supplies needed (so you can be prepared ahead of time), a warm-up activity, reading the prophecy scripture, and a written out series of thoughts about the prophecy. Another section is titled Talk About It and it related to the scripture read. There is at least one carol included in each devotional for some singing and you can get a companion CD if you wish. Then there is a family activity to close the devotional. 

The time required for each devotional will vary depending on if you choose to use all of the activities and how much discussion you include. You may even wish to include a significant amount more scripture to really bring the impact of the message home to your family. In this case, you will need to go digging and that will take some additional time but I find that when we open up that kind of discussion with the girls, we all learn a whole lot more and can understand scripture more. 

This is a simple way to add some meaningful Bible time to you holidays.

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A Holiday Thank You Note

A Holiday Thank You

Thank you. 

Thank you to everyone who took the time to put something up outside your home to share the joy of the season.

It doesn’t matter if you just put up a single strand of lights or just a few candy canes that could only be seen during the day. It doesn’t matter if you were the brightest house in the nation (really, that house the won The Great Light Fight was right here in our city and it was BRIGHT!!!) or the one that felt dwarfed by what others did around you.

Each thing you put up brightened someone’s day or night. It brought smiles, even if you didn’t see them. It helped someone find a bit of joy.

Perhaps that joy came just when it was needed most or perhaps it topped off the best day of the year. Perhaps it was seen by someone traveling across the city or across the state. Maybe even across the country.

Whatever it was and however it occurred, your efforts made a difference and I want to say thank you.

We don’t always recognize that what we do for ourselves can affect others but your holiday decorations? They did. And I just want to say a great big huge





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Gingerbread Village Creation

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Each year, we make a gingerbread village in some way or form. This year, we were blessed by a sweet lady at church who gave us a kit for a gingerbread village. We had so much fun putting it together. There were five little houses so each of us made one. Here is our finished village.

Gingerbread Village

We have been using some links and activities from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. This site is one we have been using for several year and have found a whole lot of wonderful resources on. The Christmas Corner on SchoolhouseTeachers is a great page where all the resources on the site that relate to Christmas are all listed together with a link to the class page. This makes access really easy. When I look on The Christmas Corner for gingerbread, here is what I found:

  • Christmas And Gingerbread from Adventures with Books: This resource lists a number of books related to gingerbread and gives activities with links for them.
  • Christmas Architecture from Introduction to Architecture: This resource is a lesson from the Architecture class. There is information about the architecture of building a gingerbread house, links to videos and competitions with gingerbread, and the challenge of baking and building your own gingerbread house.
  • There are a couple of resource pages found in the daily writing and the spelling courses.


When I did a search on SchoolhouseTeachers for gingerbread, I came up with even more!

  • Additional Holidays has an activity for December with a gingerbread house. It includes a printable with some facts, hints, and a gingerbread house picture.
  • In Hands-On Design Fun, there is a lesson on moving pictures in books that uses The Gingerbread Man story. It looks like a fun lesson that I am going to have Miss J try out.
  • Preschool In A Box has a gingerbread theme in lesson 12. There are several gingerbread related activities that week.

We will make gingerbread cookies after we go to the store this week. We don’t have any molasses at the moment. And we are going to go through several of these activities. They will be lots of fun and make our gingerbread village building into a fun unit.

Experiential learning is lots of fun! Enjoy it!

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Can You Feel It? – Christmas Is Coming ~ Christmas Around The World review

Christmas Around The World giveaway

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I don’t know about you but I can feel it creeping ever closer, sneaking up on me. Christmas is coming and I love it, though it would be nice if Texas would begin to feel a little more Christmasy. But as December approaches, I begin to look for studies and activities to change up our routine a bit. It is hard to stay focused on the normal things when very little around you seems to be normal.

Because of this we have done various things through the past few year to make December a fun year. Some of our studies?

But absolutely one of our favorite things to do is to study the various holiday traditions of other cultures and countries. We have been blessed to get this neat study to take a look at and review titled Christmas Around the World. This unit study has been created by Awe Filled Homemaker.

When you purchase this electronic product, you get an immediate download so you can get started right away. Other than the purchase, you will need paper to print the activities on, a computer to view the parts to read on (if you aren’t printing them), and basic supplies like pencils, crayons, or colored pencils.

The PDF file comes in full-color and is over 70 pages of information, activities and images to ignite the imagination and interest of your students. You can print the pages in black-and-white and they do just fine, especially if you are viewing it in color on a tablet or computer for the flags and fun images. I printed it as a booklet, two pages per side, and double sided. It took half as much paper and still allows plenty of room for my girls (ages 8, 11, and 13) to write.

In this study, you will cover holiday traditions and activities from 21 countries. There are also sections devoted to Advent, St. Nicholas, and the Birth of Christ. Each of the 24 days of study include a three-page set up. Page one is the written information. Page two has some questions to answer and a sentence for the student to complete. Page three is an activity for the student to do, right there on the page, related to the reading. For example, in South Korea they traditionally have a Christmas cake. The activity page has a cake for the student to decorate.

This study will work well for elementary aged students just as it is. For middle school students, they would easily be able to complete it on their own and if you supplement an activity or two, it would be a very rich study. For high school, they could do as the middle school students do, or perhaps, they could be the teachers for the younger students with this study. This is actually what I am considering for my 8th grader – having her find corresponding stories from our holiday book stash or borrowing from the library to go along with each day’s study and being in charge or presenting it each day.

We will probably also enrich the study with a hands-on component for each country, as my girls are very much hands-on learners. We will print a map for each girl to mark the countries on it as we study them, because it is really important for us to know where places are in the world. It helps us to relate. So Christmas Around the World will form the basis of our work and be a large part of it. In fact, this e-product has saved me tons of time in research and correlation of materials. I am really excited to go through this with the girls and traveling the world.

Christmas Around the World is a fun, simple study that you can keep simple or enrich and enhance in a number of ways. If you are looking for something highly effective at keeping some fun in your holiday while continuing on in your schooling this holiday season, this Christmas unit study fits the bill.

And now – win your own copy of this Christmas study. Just click on the word Entry below to be taken to the Giveaway Tools entry page for this giveaway. And don’t forget to share!


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River of Lights


We were treated to a visit to Albuquerque’s River of Lights this year. It was absolutely breath-taking in so many ways. The sheer number of lights was amazing but the delicate lines and shapes they were able to create with the lights was unbelievable.

Millions of lights lit up the night and smiles were seen on every face. With family surrounding us, we explored and enjoyed. From life-sized dinos to delicate butterflies that flew out of flowers, it was a night filled with wonder. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip and the lights were so very special.

My phone camera is not very good so these pictures do not do justice to the beauty of the light filled night. Just the same, here are just a few of the many, many wonderful scenes we were able to view.

What a wonderful night it was for all of us.

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God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen – hymn

MERRY CHRISTMAS! May you be blessed with a lovely day worshipping God and remembering Christ our Savior.

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traditional English carol
music and lyrics: unknown

1 God rest ye merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day;
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray.


O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

2 In Bethlehem, in Israel,
This blessèd Babe was born,
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessèd morn;
The which His mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn.


3 From God our heavenly Father
A blessèd angel came;
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same;
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name.


4 Fear not, then, said the angel,
Let nothing you affright
This day is born a Savior
Of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan’s power and might.


5 The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoicèd much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind,
And went to Bethl’em straightaway
This blessèd Babe to find.


6 But when to Bethlehem they came
Where our dear Savior lay,
They found Him in a manger
Where oxen feed on hay;
His mother Mary kneeling
Unto the Lord did pray.


7 Now to the Lord sing praises
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All others doth deface.


8 God bless the ruler of this house,
And send him long to reign,
And many a merry Christmas
May live to see again;
Among your friends and kindred
That live both far and near—

That God send you a happy new year,
Happy new year,
And God send you a happy new year.




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The Nutcracker Ballet


Two of the giggly girls were selected to dance roles in The Nutcracker ballet when it was performed locally. Miss J performed an angel role and Miss L performed a soldier role. While it was  a lot of work over several months, they enjoyed the opportunity immensely. The final performance was wonderful and the experience of working with a professional company made it invaluable. Miss L wants even more to grow up to be a ballerina now.

Since the local symphony only performs The Nutcracker Ballet every two years, it will be a while before the girls have a chance to audition once more. I am glad they can savor the experience for a while and be proud of the work they put in.

Here are a few of the dress rehearsal shots of the girls in costume.




We will watch a DVD of The Nutcracker tonight and enjoy all of the dancing and costumes.

Merry Christmas Eve!


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