Friday, December 19, 2014

My Favorite Christmas Books {For the Young and More Mature}

We are a homeschooling family so one of the best resources we have is books. We all have library cards. I also have a home library. It isn't very big but it suits our family. My boys love going into the classroom and grabbing a basket of books to read. Bear likes to read to the other two boys. He is just learning to read so this is such a huge step for him. It builds his confidence as his little brothers wait for him to tell them a story. 

Here is a list of some favorite Christmas/Winter themed books in our home:

We love Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping The Greatest Gift. We have been using it for our Advent book this year. The boys love it. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for something to do as a family to celebrate the Christmas season and keep the focus on Christ. 

What is your favorite Christmas book??

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Best Way To Spread Christmas Cheer {My Favorite Christmas Movies}

I thought I would share some of my favorite Christmas movies with my readers today. I absolutely love this time of year. Everyone is in the Christmas spirit. Houses are decked out with lights and decorations. The music....yes, the music is just the best. But, the one thing that puts me in the Christmas spirit is watching Christmas movies.

Here is a list of my most favorite Christmas movies:

All of the classics plus some funny ones in between. My hubby's favorite is A Christmas Story. I mean, what guy doesn't love a movie about a BB gun? Haha! My children's favorite is The Grinch. My personal favorite is White Christmas. I love the songs and dancing. Although, Elf is a very close second. That movie just makes me laugh every single time.

One movie that we do not watch in my house is Polar Express. I find it very creepy and so does my husband. It is so strange and has some semi-scary scenes that are not very kid-friendly. Just my opinion though. I know it is a popular movie. Just not in my house. LOL!

What is your favorite Christmas movie??

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 {Review} Review

Where has been all my life? As a second year homeschooling mom I need all of the help I can get. When I was asked to review this website I was a little apprehensive. My children are younger and we don't do a lot of online schooling because they don't know how to use the computer. But, after exploring the website for the past few weeks and letting my oldest two sons use it, I really like it a lot. I received the Yearly Membership for this review.

Here is an introduction so you can see for yourself what this is all about is an online learning program for all ages. From Pre-K to high school, there is something for everyone. Here are the categories you can choose from with a paid subscription:
  • Teachers
  • Pre-K/Elementary
  • Middle/High school
  • Dailies
  • Course Offerings
Since I am a homeschooling mom I started with the teachers section. This was such a wonderful resource for me. It is filled with archived lessons from different courses. There are lists of books to read aloud to your students, video math lessons for all ages, lapbooking how-to's, and so much more. I am enjoying this section very much. It has helped me with ideas for my students as well as helped me to learn a few things myself. 

Next, I went on to the Pre-k/elementary section since those are the ages of my students. My oldest son, "Bear", is six and in between Kindergarten and 1st grade (you know us homeschoolers don't really have "grades"). My middle son, "Ducky", is four and in Pre-k. The classes offered here are way more than I could ever have imagined. My oldest son loved the art classes. He would draw all day if I let him. Ducky loved the Bug Science class. He loves bugs (his fourth birthday party was a bug party). I did have to help them both with the computer but once I got them on the page they were off on their own. 

There are SO many topics covered on to even list here. Some of my family's favorites were:

  • Art Techniques
  • Bug Science
  • Sewing (okay, this was just me)
  • Schoolhouse Preschool (for Ducky)
  • Geology
  • Charlotte Mason Preschool (we use a CM approach to homeschooling)
  • Lapbooking
  • American History: Colonization (we live in a very historic town) Review

Okay, I will admit I only looked at the Middle/High School section. But, it was well worth it. I plan to use some of the courses myself. Haha. The courses that got my attention were ASL Adventure, Sewing, Classical History, Creative Writing, and Home Economics. I spent a bit of time exploring each of these courses and they are very well put together. I can't wait to start some of them soon (while on Christmas break!). Review

The has a category called "Dailies". It contains that days courses and classes. It has everything from ABC with ME to copywork, to math. I checked this section each day to see new things that were posted. I enjoyed discovering what new things the writers posted. 

For the grown-ups there are several great resources:

  • Homesteading
  • Whole Foods Cooking
  • Monthly Reading Lists
  • Monthly Menu
  • Charlotte Mason Homeschooling
  • Back issues of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (digital edition)
  • Schoolhouse Planners
Speaking of planners, there are a few to choose from. I have purchased these in the past and they are so wonderful. These are the downloadable versions but they are worth it. The different planners are: the Schoolhouse Planner, the Special Learners Planner, Primary Planner, Intermediate Planner, and the High School Planner. If you become a member you can get the planners with your paid subscription. 

I am so excited to continue using with my children. They love to learn and using the computer is a good leaning experience as well. You can also use on the go. As long as you have internet access or WiFi you can use it on any device. 

You can visit them on other social media websites as well: Review is having a huge sale right now and through Christmas Day at 11:59pm ET. 

40% off the monthly membership ($7.77/month) or 50% off the Yearly Membership ($64.26/year). Homeschool families who join at this rate will keep it forever as long as they maintain a continuous membership. 

This is an amazing deal. The printables alone are worth every penny. If you have the money in your budget, I highly recommend getting your membership now. I already have a yearly membership and plan on keeping it up every year. Review
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Unwrapping The Greatest Gift {Christmas Post}

Ann Voskamp is a Christian author that I have loved for years. This year she wrote a new book for the Advent season. It's called Unwrapping The Greatest Gift. It's a family devotion-style book that also goes along with the Jesse Tree concept. I was looking for something new and different to do with the boys this year to incorporate more of Jesus into Christmas. I wanted more of His presence and less focus on actual presents. 

Unwrapping The Greatest Gift has been such a blessing and we are only on day 9. The pictures are so beautiful. The writing is so poetic and comes from the heart. I can actually feel what Ann Voskamp was feeling as she wrote it. There is an adult version of this book called The Greatest Gift. I also have this book and have really enjoyed following along with my children's book. The Greatest Gift is a much more in-depth study of the Advent. 

The two books go hand in hand and compliment one another very well. Ann Voscamp has a website called A Holy Experience. You can go there are download and print all of the Jesse Tree ornaments as well as read about her other books. She is an incredible woman that I would LOVE to meet one day. Her family looks so sweet. 

She also has a facebook page located HERE. Each day she writes a little about the Advent from her book and it is so encouraging to my soul. 

Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think. 

We have also used Truth In The Tinsel in the past. We liked it a lot but I needed something different this year. TITT is a wonderful program. It is downloadable and printable. It's also very affordable. 

You can purchase Truth In The Tinsel HERE for only $7.99. 

You can purchase Unwrapping The Greatest Gift HERE for $14.99.

You can purchase The Greatest Gift HERE for $12.64.

Another thing my family does is the "Advent Angel". She is named Mary (by Bear) and is the angel from the top of our Christmas tree. She brings us a new bible verse each day of the Advent. You can get printable bible verses for Advent on pinterest or simply by googling. She is so cute and has a quilted gown and her arms are made from small tree branches. 

We don't do "Santa and Elves". My kids are not being left out by not believing in Santa. We just believe in not lying to our children. Plus, the "Elf On The Shelf" is just creepy and annoying. Frankly, I don't have time to move him around every night and clean up his "messes". No thanks. My kids would be totally freaked out at the notion that an elf was wondering around the house at night while they slept. Yeah...that wouldn't go over very well. 

One more thing about the "Elf On The Shelf". I have no problem (because it's none of my business) with people who do this. My husband and I have made the decision not to bribe our kids into good behavior. That is basically what that Elf does. "Be good or you won't get any presents". That is not what I want to teach my children. I want them to know about Jesus. They know who Santa is and think of him as any Disney character...fake. 

May you have a blessed Christmas this year. Focus more on Jesus and lavishing in His wonderful love for you and your family. 

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday- 12/8/14

For more Happy Homemaker Monday please visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM

Happy Monday everyone! We had a wonderful weekend. My husband is starting a new job soon (we have been praying about this for a loooong time now). So, he took an extra day off on Friday. We got most of our Christmas shopping done. I signed and addressed all of my Christmas cards and we finished decorating the house. Sunday was so wonderful. We went to church and then came home to watch football and relax. I actually fell asleep in the recliner while the baby took a nap. We had homemade chicken and dumplings for dinner. I love Sunday's!

The Weather Outside:::
It is VERY cold here in Va. It is cloudy with a chance of rain...or just cloudy. Not sure. Too cold to do anything. 

On The Breakfast Plate This Morning:::
Cereal and French bread with honey butter. was good. 

As I Look Outside My Window:::
Cloudy and dreary looking. No one is outside because it's too cold. I do see a few leaves still clinging to the trees. They are waiting to fall until after Christmas...haha. 

Right Now I Am:::
Writing some articles to be turned in today to my editors. I am also enjoying the quiet while the baby is sleeping. I am watching Food Network and getting excited about my Christmas meal. 

As I Look Around The House:::
My Christmas tree is lit up with colorful lights and beautiful non-breakable ornaments. The dog is sleeping on top of a quilt next to me. The big boys are playing on electronics (which they rarely get to use). The crock pot has dinner going and there are a few dishes in the sink. 

On Today's To Do List:::
Laundry- wash, fold, and put away
Dishes- Just a few from lunch and more later after dinner
Tidy up- We do a 10 minute tidy for each room in the house
Bathrooms- toilets, counters, sinks, floors, and tub (Hubby did the shower on Saturday)
Homeschool- Catching up after a couple of slack weeks
Write and Submit Articles- I have two articles due today. Yikes! Not to worry...I have already started on them. 

Currently Reading:::
A Common Life: The Wedding Story by Jan Karon (book #6)

On The TV Today:::
No idea. Hopefully, a Christmas movie.

On The Menu This Week:::
Monday- leftover chicken and dumplings with French bread
Tuesday- Chili hamburger macaroni and cheese
Wednesday- Ranch chicken, pasta, and a veggie
Thursday- Breakfast for dinner
Friday- ?
Saturday- not sure big boys are in a Christmas play at church!!

What I Am Creating At The Moment:::
Memories with my family. I do not have any projects at the moment so that I can focus more on being present with my family during this wonderful time of the year. I want my children to remember what Christmas is really all about...Jesus and love, and family. 

New Recipe I Tried Or Want To Try:::
The chicken and dumplings I mentioned above. I used the new Campbell's Soups For Easy Cooking (in a box). It was so delicious and easy. 

Favorite Photo From The Camera:::

This pic is from the archives. I have been reminiscing about
my sweet baby. He is almost 2 years old and I miss this so much.

Prayers, Inspirational Quotes, Devotionals:::
Father in Heaven, Bend Your ear to hear our prayers. Let us remember Jesus during this wonderful time of year and always. Let us not get wrapped up in the material things that come with the Christmas season but remember You and Your wonderful gift of baby Jesus. Thank You for Your love and mercy. Thank You for Your grace and forgiveness. Bless those who do not have a family to love them and send them people to care for them. In Your Holy Name I Pray, Amen. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday- 12/1/2014

For more Happy Homemaker Monday please visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM

Hi everyone! Happy December! Thanks for stopping by today. I am a little late getting this up but nevertheless, here it is. I have been under the weather today so everything feels like it's in slow motion. Haha. 

The Weather Outside Is:::
It was 70 degrees here today after a cold weekend. Not sure what the weather is supposed the rest of the week but we will take any good weather we can get. 

On The Breakfast Plate This Morning:::
A bowl of frosted shredded wheat and coffee with lots of salted caramel mocha creamer. 

As I Look Outside My Window:::
It is dark now's black with a few twinkling stars in the sky. Our house is lit up for Christmas so it's  beautiful. 

Right Now I Am:::
I am watching the Elf movie. It's my favorite funny Christmas movie! 

As I Look Around The House:::
All of the dishes are done from dinner. There is a basket of unfolded clean laundry in the living room floor but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Other than that, not too much going on. 

On Today's To Do List:::
We started our Advent activities this morning. We are using Ann Voscamp's book Unwrapping The Greatest Gift as well as our Advent Angel. We have had tons of fun and it's only been one day. 
We caught up with homeschooling as well. We took a small break last week for Thanksgiving. 
I did my normal housework but not much more than that. Like I said...under the weather. 

Currently Reading:::
Finishing up a Mitford book as well as Unwrapping The Greatest Gift (Voscamp) and The Greatest Gift (Voscamp). 

On The TV Today:::
The Elf movie...yay! Also, watching the news in between commercials. 

On The Menu This Week:::
Monday- beefy mac and cheese with buttermilk biscuits
Tuesday- some sort of chicken...haven't figured it out yet
Wednesday- breakfast for dinner
Thursday- ?
Friday- ?
Saturday- ?

What I Am Creating At The Moment:::
Nothing. No time. 

New Recipe I Tried Or Want To Try This Week:::
I made a pumpkin cheesecake. I got the recipe from pinterest and it's the Cheesecake Factory's copycat recipe. It was so delicious! I added salted caramel to the top as well as cinnamon whipped cream. 

Favorite Photo From The Camera:::

Prayers, Inspirational Quotes, or Devotionals:::

Have a wonderful rest of the week everyone!