Archive | November, 2012

Christmas Traditions: Behold the Lamb of God CD (better yet, go to the concert!)

30 Nov

I love Christmas music…like love, love, love Christmas music. Some folks don’t allow themselves the joy of listening to Christmas music until December 1. I feel like post-Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to break out the Christmas albums! After all, Christmas only comes around once a year, and I need as much time as possible to sing and shout the Christmas tunes.

I wanted to share my family’s favorite Christmas album with you. We love it so much that it’s a part of our DECORATE the Christmas Tree and Decorate Christmas Cookies tradition. It’s called, Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson. In my current circles, knowledge of artist Andrew Peterson and his AMAZING Christmas album is quite common. We do live in Music City, after all. In the event that you have no idea who Andrew Peterson is or know nothing about his Christmas album, I wanted to write a short post about it. 🙂

If you’re looking for familiar Christmas carols set to modern-day tunes, Behold the Lamb of God isn’t that. However, it is an engaging story set to masterful melodies and definitely worthy of a listening. The engaging story that is told is the story of God, His creation, the fall of His creation, and the redemption of His creation through the birth of His son, Jesus. Jesus is the Lamb of God to behold and is the main theme of Scripture and Behold the Lamb of God. As you listen to the 12 songs on the album, you will find yourself journeying through all of the Bible, from beginning to end. From the days of Moses and the exodus, to the Passover, the Promise Land, the days of the Kings and rebellion against God, to the Exile, all are present in the music. One of my favorites is the song “Matthew’s Begats,” which is Peterson’s clever, brilliant linking of the Old Testament to the New Testament through the lineage passage (which we all usually skip over, right?!!?) at the beginning of Matthew’s gospel. He literally sings every name in the family tree of Jesus; it’s brilliant! (Watch and listen here on YouTube.) The culmination of the album (and in Scripture!) is Song 11 when Christ is born, “the Lamb of God who came to take away our son.”

As a mother, I also love Song 8, “Labor of Love,” Mary’s song. It captures the intensity of childbirth and the miraculous event that was transpiring in a raw, realistic manner. I had never thought of Mary enduring childbirth, the agony, pain and joy of it all. This song captures that brilliantly. The song begins, “It was not a Silent Night. There was blood on the ground. You could hear a woman cry in the alley way that night in the streets of David’s town.” My favorite line–what lyrical genius–“He [Joseph] held her and her prayed. Shafts of moonlight on his face, but the baby in her womb He was the maker of the moon. He was the author of the faith that could make the mountains move…” Can you imagine, Mothers, giving birth to the Son of God? Wow. You can watch a video here of Jill Phillips’ performance @ the Ryman in 2004 during the Behold the Lamb of God concert.

This Christmas make Behold the Lamb of God a part of the rhythm and routine of your family’s Christmas celebration. You can buy the MP3 Download on Amazon. Better yet, go to the LIVE Concert in your area. Visit Andrew Peterson’s website here for locations and dates. The concert is SO GOOD; attending it is one of our family’s traditions. We’re excited to have our oldest 2 sons go with us this year!

Christmas Traditions: Decorating the tree AND Christmas cookies (and a yummy recipe!)

30 Nov


IMG_6901This tradition we stumbled upon as a family.(Isn’t that the best kind?!?!) We did this for the first time several years ago when our boys were just old enough to begin helping put up our Christmas tree. The marriage of these 2 things worked well. I would like to say that their marriage was a well-thought out, planned-weeks-in-advance, Hallmark moment, but it wasn’t. 🙂 We did it, it worked well, so we’ve been doing it ever since. What are these 2 things that I’m referring to!?!?!? Well, it’s our DECORATING extravaganza: we decorate our Christmas tree AND decorate Christmas cookies (aka Sugar Cookies) all in one evening. We crank up the Behold the Lamb of God album and get to work! This is one simultaneous, chaotic, but oh-so-fun extravaganza in the Mosley home. 🙂

First, the boys unbox the Christmas tree and help Dad put up the tree. While they’re busy building the tree and unboxing the ornaments, I’m in the kitchen prepping the Christmas Cookies to be cut, baked and iced by the boys. Below is the Christmas Cookie recipe that I use. I got it from my dear friend, Julie. She makes the cookies frequently for potlucks at church. They.are.amazing. I was finally wise enough to think to ask her for the recipe. Enjoy the Christmas Cookie and Icing recipes below. You, too, may want to try a DECORATING extravaganza at your home this Christmas.


Yummy Sugar Cookies

my dear friend, Julie’s great-grandmother’s recipe

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
4 T milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter*
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

 *Julie’s original recipe calls for 1 cup shortening. I didn’t have any, so I used 1 cup butter instead. The substitution worked fine.

1) Mix flour, powder, soda and salt.

2) Cut in butter/shortening.

3) Beat eggs, add sugar, vanilla and milk and add this all into the flour mix. (It works best to refrigerate the dough minimally for several hours. I make my dough one day ahead and chill overnight. After chilling for several hours to overnight, I remove dough and let chill slightly. This makes step #4 a little easier.)

4) Roll out dough and use your favorite cookie cutters!

5) Bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 min.



Son #2 caught red-handed stealing the yumminess from our icing bowls.

Sugar Cookie Icing
You can use store bought or make your own! It’s basically just a mixture of powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. If you’re like me, you need exact measurements. 🙂 Here’s an exact one from my other friend, Julie:

3 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. milk (approximately)
1 tsp. almond OR lemon OR vanilla extract

You basically just play with these 3 ingredients until you get the consistency that you want. If glaze is too runny, add more powdered sugar. If glaze is too stiff, add more milk. After I get the consistency I want, I divide into smaller bowls and add food coloring. I like Wilton’s the best! I used a 40% off coupon @ Michael’s to buy the Wilton set. 🙂

IMG_6893This is a “real life” picture for you. 🙂 I wanted you to see the messiness and chaos that this tradition brings. I choose to embrace the craziness and home-destruction that comes with it because it’s so worth it. 🙂 PLUS, I wanted you to see our real lives. See? My house is a mess and not perfectly in order (and isn’t most days!) By only seeing snippets of peoples lives via blogs, it’s easy to assume that they have it all together. I don’t, friends and never want anyone to think that.  🙂 So, embrace the chaos of crafts, cooking and baking with your kiddos and have some fun! They’ll soon be gone from the nest, and we will have all the time in the world to keep a tidy, neat house then, right?!?!

Additional Advent resources (and a favorite book!)

30 Nov

You may be familiar with the 18th century hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” I think of the words in the final stanza often, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love….” This is so true of my heart at Christmas (and throughout the year. I’ll just be really honest! 🙂 ). With the competing voices that bombard me at Christmas and the busyness of parties, gatherings & other GOOD things, I need something daily to cause my mind, heart, soul to refocus on Christ. This is why I need Advent readings and Advent calendars. If not, my heart will wander the entire month of December, and I will miss meditating on the miracle, joy and wonder of Christ and Christmas. If you see the value in traditions and celebrating Advent, yet Advent calendars aren’t your thing, no worries! I have some additional Advent resources to share!

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus (Nancy Guthrie, editor)-This treasure of a book is a collection of 22 sermons or writings from 22 different pastors, theologians, writers living and dead (Augustine, Martin Luther, Francis Schaeffer, Charles Spurgeon, John MacArthur, Joni Eareckson Tada, J.I. Packer, Alistair Begg, Ray Ortlund, Jr. to name a few). The sermons and writings were collected and edited by Nancy Guthrie, a wonderful writer, teacher and mother, who lost 2 children before their first birthdays to Zellweger syndrome, a rare congenital disorder. (I highly recommend her writings on grief, hope, sorrow, which were such an encouragement to me during a time of loss our family experienced almost 4 years ago; I’ll write more about that later.) The writings in the book are arranged chronologically according to the events of the Christmas story. Our church used this book last year, and I loved the discipline of a daily reading preparing my heart daily to reflect on the glory, wonder, majesty, hope and joy of Christ becoming flesh and dwelling among us. This is one of my favorite Advent books. It’s currently half price @ Amazon! If you enjoy this book, you might also check our her similar work Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter and use it during the weeks leading up to Easter.

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room (Nancy Guthrie)-This is another book written by Nancy Guthrie which can be used during this season of Advent. I have not read it or used it in our home and have just recently learned about it. However, if it’s anything like any of Guthrie’s previous works, it will be a helpful tool to focus your heart on Christ by reflecting on passages from His Word. From what I read, it appears to be written in a manner allowing it to be used together as a family and even has accompanying study questions for elementary to high school aged kiddos. This book is a 4 for 3 book on Amazon! Buy 3 participating books or items and get the 4th FREE!

Redeemer Church

Fellowship Passages @ Redeemer Church-At our church, we have a weekly passage from Scripture that we read repeatedly and meditate on throughout the week and discuss in our weekly Community Groups. We call the week’s passage the Fellowship Passage. Throughout the next 4 weeks, the 4 Fellowship Passages will be from Luke 1 and 2 preparing our hearts, minds and soul for Christmas. If you’d like to join us in reading and meditating on these passages, you can find them here.

Merry Christmas! May your heart dwell richly on Christ and His Word this Christmas.

Christmas Traditions: Is your Advent Calendar ready? If not, I’m here to help!

28 Nov

Our Noel Piper Advent Calendar (Remember, I BOUGHT this one! I’m not that crafty! ha!)

Have you been googling “Advent Calendars” or perusing everyone’s ideas on Pinterest because you were wanting to start one this year? You may be thinking, “Well, it’s November 28, which means I have 2 more days to get this Advent Calendar made. In other words, that is too daunting of a task. I’ll do it next year.” Let me guess, last year you said, “I’ll do it next year,” and you haven’t made one yet. Or, are you’re lamenting the fact that you didn’t get to make your Advent Calendar made over the Thanksgiving holidays? No, I’m not a mind reader or psychic. I just know these things…because that’s how my mind works. So, lament no longer; it’s not too late! Here are simple steps to get your Advent Calendar made for this year!


There is still time! You can do it!

DIY: Noel Piper Advent Calendar-You can make the Noel Piper Advent Calendar in a few easy steps:

1) First, download the script from the Noel Piper Advent Calendar on her blog here. In the script you will learn what objects/images you’ll need for your calendar.

2) Second, decide how you’ll layout your calendar and your images/objects for your Advent Calendar.

  • Option A: You can download the patterns from the HeartFELT version of the Noel Piper calendar on her site. Isn’t that so awesome of her to have her felt patterns for the Advent Calendar available FREE?!?!?Or, you can buy her complete Advent Calendar on her Etsy shop.
  • Option B: Make your own. THINK SIMPLE! If you’re not up for making the felt set, you can print images of each needed item on Google Images. Use a poster board, divide the board into a stable scene on the top 2/3 of the posterboard with 25 different sections on the bottom 1/3 of the poster board. Or, get your kiddos involved! Have them help you make the different 25 ornaments needed. Look at my picture of our Noel Piper Advent Calendar above to get an idea of how you can lay it out on a poster board, burlap, etc.

DIY: The Advent Jesse Tree-You can make the Advent Jesse Tree in a few easy steps:

1) First, buy the The Advent Jesse Tree book now so that you’ll have it shipped to you by Saturday. 🙂

2) Second, download my document: Advent Jesse Tree ornaments, which lists all of the ornaments that you’ll need for your Advent Jesse Tree.

3) Make your ornaments! You have several options:

  • Option A: Ann Vos Kamp, who blogs at A Holy Experience, gave away a free Advent Jesse Tree devotion on her blog last year if you subscribe to her blog. I’m assuming that you can still do that. She has printable pictures of each ornament.
  • Option B: Use Google Images, old magazines, have your children draw pictures, get creative!

4) Find something to hang your ornaments on. We use a mini Christmas tree. I have friends who use a tree limb in a jar/flower pot. Again, get creative!

Our Advent Jesse Tree…waiting patiently to be adorned with ornaments!


Question: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. This old adage is true of a DIY Advent Calendar. Take it one ornament at a time. 🙂 Here are some practical steps that you can take to be well on your way to having your own Advent Calendar this year!

1) Set small goals-I have 3 small children at home, so I know that I would NEVER START making 25 ornaments if I knew I had to get it done in the next 72 hours. That task seems too overwhelming. The good news is that you DON’T have to make 25 ornaments in 72 hours. Why not just try to make the first 6 ornaments between now and Saturday? After all, you only need ornament #1 by Saturday! Once you get the first 6 done, set your goal to make the next 6 before December 6, the following 6 by December 12, and the last 7 by December 18. Or, if that’s too overwhelming, you simply only have to stay ONE DAY ahead! Do ornament #2 on Saturday before you’ll need it Sunday. Or, have your kids have “Advent Craft Time” each day starting Saturday. Have them make the ornament the morning that you’ll need it,  and then it’s ready to use that night! YOU CAN DO IT! YOU CAN DO IT!

2) Involve your children-My sons LOVE art projects! If I gave them the types of ornaments needed and gave them a half hour each day over the next 72 hours, they would have all 25 ornaments made! They wouldn’t be perfectly neat and tidy ornaments. They may not even look anything LIKE the object they’re supposed to be. However, you would have your 25 ornaments done, and you would have children who are EAGER to do the Advent Calendar each night because they have a stake, a vested interest in it. After all, they made the ornaments!

3) Just do it! No, this is not a Nike commercial! I’m still talking about the Advent calendars! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Advent Calendars. They are used by God in my own heart to focus me DAILY on the meaning of Christmas. As I said earlier, so many other competing voices vie for my attention during the Christmas season (and many of them GOOD things!). I love that the Advent Calendars in our home re-focus my heart, mind, soul on Christ. My heart is prone to wander; I need our Advent Calendars at Christmas. So, if you’ve been toying with the idea of starting this wonderful tradition in your home this year–JUST DO IT! Your calendar doesn’t have to be cute, perfect and beautiful BEFORE  YOU or IN ORDER TO start. Just start!! You won’t regret it! You won’t regret the time you spend together as a family at Christmas. You won’t regret the time you spend together around God’s Word at Christmas. (Have I convinced you yet?!?!) I see the difference, the eternal fruit of Advent Calendars in our home; you will too! Go for it!

Come back and let me know how you’re enjoying your Advent Calendar!

Christmas Traditions: Christmas books we love

27 Nov

I am such a believer in books as tradition. In fact, I wrote a whole post about it…and how you can make books a tradition in your home! These are some of our favorite Christmas books, as well as a few new ones that we’re trying this year.  What I love about the books below is that they focus on the true meaning of Christmas–Jesus! With all of the competing voices SCREAMING at us during Christmas, my husband and I want to focus our family on Christ at Christmas, and these books have helped us with that. I hope these are helpful.

Christmas Came For Easter (Sharon Brunner)- This short, beautiful book helps the children understand the bridge between Christmas and Easter. As a parent, I LOVE having this book to read with my boys. It is so wonderful to celebrate Christ becoming flesh, living among us, coming to earth. The greatest celebration, though, is His perfect life lived and sacrifice as the penalty for our sins. There had to be Christmas because there would be Easter. This is a wonderful, kid-friendly way to delve the plumes of this wonderful reality with your children. This is an Amazon 4-for-3 book, so buy 3 participating 4-for-3 books and get the 4th free!

One Shining Star: A Christmas Counting Book (Anne Kennedy)-Between 18 and 24 months, my oldest son had 3 books that he wanted read to him every day before naptime. This book was one of them. No, he didn’t care if it was before or after Christmas. 🙂 The story goes from 1 to 10 with different elements of the Christmas story. I have this book memorized. 🙂 There are such sweet memories attached to it.

Who is Coming to Our House? (Joseph Slate)-This book is a delight! It’s written from the perspective of the animals in the stable. 🙂 They’re wondering who’s coming to their house…and what a joy when it’s Jesus!

Come and See: A Christmas Story (Monica Mayper)-I love the simplicity of this book. I love that each character is repeating the refrain, “Come and See!” Can you imagine beholding Jesus?!?!? Wow!

The Legend Of” books (The Legend of the Candy Cane, Christmas Tree, St. Nicholas)-I love this series of books! As with most things, the origin of objects, traditions, etc. are usually lost over time. I love that these books do an excellent job of unearthing where certain Christmas “staples” originate. Did you know that St. Nicholas was a real person!?!? Do you know what the colors of the candy cane represent? Do you know where the tradition of the Christmas tree started? If not, you should read these books! 🙂

The Best Thing About Christmas (Christine Tangvald)-If you’ve never read any of the Happy Day books, I encourage you to check them out! They’re written from a Christian perspective. They have some GREAT books on the various holidays (We love their Halloween book, Let’s Shine Jesus Light on Halloween). This book is wonderful as it focuses on the greatest thing about Christmas–Jesus! 🙂 This is an Amazon 4-for-3 book, so buy 3 participating 4-for-3 books and get the 4th free!

Pine Tree Parable (Liz Curtis Higgs)-
If you haven’t read any of the 4 books in Liz Curtis Higgs’ Parable Series, you should! 🙂 This one is set on a Christmas tree farm and has a beautiful Christmas message.

Jesus, Me, and My Christmas Tree (Crystal Bowman)-I love all of Crystal Bowman’s books! This is another fun book that unearths the origin of the Christmas tree…in a fun, fun way! This is an Amazon 4-for-3 book, so buy 3 participating 4-for-3 books and get the 4th free!

A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)-Focus on the Family Radio Theater Series We LOVE the Focus on the Family Radio Theater audiobooks. (The Chronicles of Narnia is our favorite!!!) These audiobooks are not someone reading the book–BORING! They are fully, dramatized versions of the book; each character has a different actor/actress. It’s amazing! If you’re audiobook fans, check out this version of the Dickens classic.

We read the Little Creatures version above of the Dickens classic last year. I loved that the story and message was clearly conveyed, but it was also in a concise form so that I could read it to the boys in one sitting.

New books that we hope to read this Christmas

Jotham’s Journey (Arnold Ytreeide)-A friend suggested this book to us. The story is about Jotham, a 10 year old boy, who ends up finding a baby named Jesus as he is looking for his family.

Song of the Stars (Sally Lloyd-Jones)- This book is written by the author of one of our favorite Children’s Bibles (click here to read my post about our favorite Children’s Bibles!), The Jesus Storybook Bible. I love her writing! Can’t wait to read this!!

The Little Drummer Boy (Ezra Jack Keats)-I love this story AND I love Ezra Jack Keats. Why is it that I’ve never read this book?!?!!?

The Crippled Lamb (Max Lucado)-I’m probably the last person on the planet to read this book! I’ve heard of it for years, but we’ve never read it! I found it recently at Goodwill (score!). I’m looking forward to reading it with my boys!

My CC Pep Talk: Thoughts & Encouragement at the CC halfway mark

27 Nov

Disclaimer: I’m an open book. If you were to ask me, well, pretty much anything, I’ll give you an honest answer. Despite growing up in the South, where indirectly communicating is an art form, I am quite the direct communicator. 🙂 My husband loves this about me, thankfully! (no lie!). Because I don’t have it all together and never want to give my readers that idea, here’s an honest, transparent post. Hopefully, we’ll still be friends. 🙂 Pretty please!??! 🙂

My director (who is FABULOUS!!!) sent an email to the tutors before Thanksgiving. She said that on the CC Director’s portal she had read from other Directors that many tutors and families were experiencing burnout and fatigue at this point in the semester. Her email was encouraging to me–not that I was happy that others were struggling–but it encouraged me to know that I’m not alone in my fatigue. 🙂 Just as my Director encouraged us tutors to not give up, I also wanted to pass along that encouragement to us CC moms, too. Know that all of us are experiencing fatigue at the half way point in the semester…and that it’s totally normal. 🙂 My goal is to encourage you that you’re NOT ALONE and to encourage you to PERSEVERE. 🙂

After almost 12 weeks of our first year with CC, I have learned that I need to give myself more grace. 🙂 I have high (my husband would say UNREALISTIC. 🙂 ) expectations of what I will do with my boys each week of CC. As the weeks have gone by this semester, I have learned that I need to scale back my expectations for myself and my boys. As I’ve scaled back my expectations for myself and my boys, our times together have been more enjoyable. 🙂 I think one of my curses as a homeschooling mom is that I always wonder if I’m doing enough. I always tell myself that I should be doing more. These thoughts sneak into my mind related to our CC Memory Work and related activities each week. In actuality, the Memory Work that our children learn from week to week is A LOT, so if I do nothing but review the Memory Work with them during the week then I am actually doing a lot.

I’ve come up with my own CC Pep Talk that I give to myself over and over. So, if you were a fly on the wall, you might overhear me giving myself this Pep Talk…uhm…daily. 🙂  Hopefully in the midst of the fatigue (that is TOTALLY NORMAL in the middle of a school year), my CC Pep Talk will help and encourage you as well:

1) My kids’ memories are better than mine. They are actually recalling SO MUCH MORE than I realize just from listening to the cds. Their brains are young and more malleable than mine, so just because I don’t remember the Major Groups of Invertebrates doesn’t mean that they don’t. 🙂

2) CC is cyclical in their curriculum. We’ll be doing Cycle 1 again in 3 years, so if they don’t remember something this year, they’ll have the opportunity to learn it again then. Not that I shouldn’t put forth the effort to help them by reviewing at home, but it helps me breathe easier to know that they’ll have this again.

3) Memorizing the information doesn’t mean fully understanding every detail. I want my boys to understand everything about the information that they’re memorizing, but that’s impossible. So, why am I pushing them myself to try to acquire all of it right now?!?!? Anything that I help them learn that they didn’t know previously, that’s a plus, right?!?!?

4) By memorizing the Grammar, I’m helping them understand and make sense of history and our world. There is a method to the madness that is the classical model of education. 🙂 Helping them understand the grammar (aka ‘vocabulary’) of history and our world will help them in the future…and also now. For example, my son while looking at one of his baseball cards earlier in the week said, “Mom, this guy started playing baseball 2 years after Gandhi was assassinated.” I asked, “1950?” He said, “Yup.” The grammar that they are learning is giving them the foundation to analyze, think, reason. What a gift for them! 🙂

So, if you’re tired like I am, let’s all together push through and persevere through our final CC weeks of this semester. Then, let’s do well to rest up, recover and rejuvenate over the Christmas break. The Lord knew we needed rest; that’s why He commanded it. 🙂 (And a brief moment of CC review–Which of the 10 Commandments is that!?!?! ha!) So, if you’re like me–doubting my efforts, thinking that I always should be doing more–take a deep breath with me, give yourself an extra measure of grace (after all, our Heavenly Father does this for us daily!), and enjoy learning with your kiddos this week.

Photo credit:FamilyEducation

This article was submitted to Half a Hundred Acre Wood’s Classical Conversations Blog Carnival for December. Visit the Blog Carnival for other great CC resources. 🙂

Christmas Traditions: Our Two Advent Calendars

27 Nov

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is an Advent Calendar. I just set up both of ours today, and I CAN’T WAIT!!! Yes, you read that correctly, we have TWO Advent Calendars! Go here to my previous post to read more about the 2 of them. Saturday, December 1 is quickly approaching! If you have an Advent Calendar in your home, you know that is Day 1 on your calendars! We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Advent Calendars around the Mosley home. We have chosen to use two different ones that both have one purpose-leading our family to exalt, worship Christ each day of the Advent season.

Here’s a brief synopsis of both:

Advent Calendar #1: The Noel Piper Advent Calendar-In her book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions, Noel Piper talks about an Advent Calendar that they used in their home. At the time of my reading the book, it was available to purchase from Desiring God. So, I ordered it. We LOVE it, and this will be our 6th year to use it! This particular Advent calendar focuses solely on the Christmas story from the 4 gospels. It is repetitive. You read the same script every day, adding a new line (and new piece of the Advent calendar) each day. I LOVE that! So, by the end of Christmas, my boys have the script memorized! We used this as early as 6 months with our oldest son! I would say this is age appropriate for 6 months to Adults.

Advent Calendar #2: The Advent Jesse Tree-I was first introduced to this Advent Calendar about 5 years ago. This particular Advent Calendar is unique in that it tells the entire story of the Bible; the Advent journey begins in Genesis and goes through the end of the Bible! If you’re looking for greater understanding of how Jesus is seen in the Old Testament and the significance of His coming to earth at Christmas, this one is for you! The book has a section for Children and a section for Adults with each day’s devotion. We have used this as young as age 2 with our sons. Obviously, we adapted the length of our devotion with our boys to make them age appropriate. I would say this is appropriate for ages 2 or 3 and up to adults.

Brain-stretching, body movin’ Christmas ideas for kids (Part 2!)

23 Nov

Call me crazy…but I am always searching for toys/games/activities for my boys @ Christmas and birthdays that stretch their wee little brains and keep their tiny bodies moving! 🙂 Earlier in the week I wrote a LENGTHY list of such things that we enjoy at the Mosley home.

Today while perusing one of my favorite blogs, Orange Marmalade, she, too, had a very similar list on her blog of what she calls “non-electric holiday ideas.” She has GUESS WHO? on her list, too!! Seriously, it’s such a fun game (and currently 40% off at Amazon! You should totally buy it! It’s such a fun game, but I digress….) She also created a list last year of “non-electric holiday ideas” by ages. Here are those:

Birth to 2 years
3 years to 6 years
6 years to 9 years

You should also subscribe to her blog while you’re visiting her site. She has a wealth of knowledge to share regarding rich, quality, read-over-and-over again children’s literature. Orange Marmalade is definitely one of my favorite blogs for that very reason. Not only does she list out books that she recommends, but she gives you detailed, extensive summaries of each book and whyshe recommends them. 🙂 Definitely peruse her blog before heading to your library. Your kids will thank you, and you’ll thank Jill @ Orange Marmalade. There is nothing WORSE than reading low-quality, poorly written children’s literature to your kiddos. I was at the point of almost turning in our library cards several years ago until someone turned me on to a certain book (that I’ll be blogging about soon!!!) that made me reconsider. I was letting my boys pick out books, and whoa, there are some real duds out there. If you’re at that point, start reading Orange Marmalade. You’ll reconsider turning in your library card, too.

Would love to hear from YOU, my faithful readers! Do you have any brain-streching, body-movin’ gift ideas for kiddos that you can share!?!?! I would love, love, love to hear about them!

Groupon deal: $20 at Toys R Us for only $10 (can be used on Black Friday!)

22 Nov

Don’t you just LOVE Groupon?!?!!? If you’re not familiar with Groupon, it is an online website that sells featured items/goods/services each day at a discounted price. I was excited to read on Monday Saving Mom that there currently is a Groupon for $20 worth of products at Toys R Us/Babies R Us for $10! Once purchased, you can use the Groupon on Black Friday starting at 5:00pm. The Groupon voucher expires Christmas Eve (12/24/12). So, this is a great way to get Christmas gifts half price!  Click here to go snag this great deal!

Buying Gift Cards for Christmas? Earn some bonus $$

22 Nov

We buy multiple gift cards for Christmas gifts. Kroger carries most of the gift cards that we purchase, so we buy them there; this is the reason why. 🙂 Kroger has a promotion each Thanksgiving/Christmas season that gives you 4x Fuel Points for each gift card purchase. So, if you buy a $25 gift card, you get 100 fuel points. 100 fuel points=10 cents off at the pump. Kroger now lets you accumulate up to 2000 points for $2/off per gallon! So, as we’re buying Christmas gifts, we’re also saving money on gas. 🙂 Win-Win!

Other gift card promotions that I’ve heard about:
Chili’s–10% off gift cards when you purchase $100 or more
Logan’s-$10 Logan Bucks for every $25 gift card purchase (BLACK FRIDAY only)
Outback-$20 Bonus card for every $100 gift card purchase (November 1-December 31)
Carraba’s-$20 Bonus card for every $100 gift card purchase (November 1-December 31)
Texas de Brazil-$10 Bonus with $60 gift card purchase (for a total of $70) or $25 Bonus with $100 gift card purchase (for a total of $125)

Happy shopping!