Three Kings Day or Twelfth Night Celebrations

Growing up in Eastern North Carolina our annual Christmas celebrations culminated on December 25th.  In our family, we typically kept our tree up until around New Years Day. Then packed everything away. However, traditionally December 25th was the start of Christmas and not the end of Christmas. When you think of the ’12 Days of Christmas’ song, December 25th was only the beginning of those twelve days.  While I was in high school and college I began to work with a missions organization and take trips down to Pedrias Negras, Mexico. During some of these trips I happened to be in Mexico for ‘El Dia De Los Reyes’ or Three Kings Day. It was such a fun celebration with yummy food. Add to that a college roommate whose family celebrated the holiday and I was officially hooked. While it does not hold the importance of December 25th in our celebrations, it is a holiday that we enjoy.

20171204_190501
Three Kings Day Cake baked by my daughter for our 4-H project.

Fast forward a few years and my husband and I had become involved in activities at a local historical site. They had an event called ‘Twelfth Night’ that sounded like fun so we decided to check it out. I was surprised by the similarities between ‘Three Kings Day’ and ‘Twelfth Night’.  Depending on who is celebrating and what historical information you are looking at, it appears that ‘Twelfth Night’ could have been celebrated on January 5th or the 6th.  Three Kings Day is on January 6th. Both holidays are celebrated with a special cake. ‘Three Kings Day’ cake is called ‘Rosca de Reyes’ and is a ring shaped cake with lots of dried fruit. It also contains a special baby doll representative of Baby Jesus hidden inside of the cake. The person who finds the baby was to host the next party on February 2nd.  Twelfth Night Cake is a sweeter more European style cake but also involves things hidden with-in the cake. There is a bean and a pea hidden in the ‘Twelfth Night’ cake. The man and woman who finds those become King and Queen for the night.

While we know that the wise men or kings probably did not find Jesus until several years after he was born, this is the day that many churches celebrate them finding the Baby Jesus. In honor of that, some cultures which celebrate ‘Three Kings Day’ have a tradition of having children put out shoes with hay for the camels and waking up to find treats in them.

In our family, we typically enjoy Rosca De Reyes and talk about the Wise Men that found Jesus. We use this as a time to wrap up our holiday celebrations and enjoy a bit of Mexican culture. It is a great time to do a hymn study on ‘We Three Kings‘ or a simple Bible study about what we know about the men who came to worship Christ.

I have included some resources and information below, as well as a couple of recipes to get you started. Has your family ever celebrated either one of these holidays? Do you enjoy learning more about other cultures and their special days?

 

Recipes:

Martha Washington’s Twelfth Night Cake

Rosca de Reyes

 

Resources:

Dia de Los Reyes

Three Kings Day

Twelfth Night

 

Deals and Freebies:

Apologia is having a huge store wide stock up sale! Great time to buy if you want to change curriculum for next year or if you are looking to switch things up this semester.

Apologia stock up.jpg

Free Daily Writing Prompts for Elementary or Teens Write Shop is offering free daily writing prompts to help make teaching writing just a little easier.

Write Shop is also having some great sales and giveaways for their 17th birthday this month! 17% off and a free gift when you use code 17years.

Schoolhouse Teachers is having a huge Jan. Sale. A full annual membership for only $90 for your whole family. I have a complete review of this program coming on Monday but we are excited to be using a preschool class for Benjamin, several resources to help in our history, and possibly one of the health classes for the older children.

january schoolhouse sale

Struggling with memorizing those multiplication tables? Educents has Times Tales almost half off right now! They also have the complete learn to read Hooked on Phonics set at over half off right now. This is a slightly newer version than what we used but Hooked on Phonics was the program that finally taught my daughter to read.

get-active-inside2-2

Also check our free resource library with history freebies, recipes, and more!

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

 
Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up
 

Advertisements

2018 A ‘Purposeful’ Year

January 1st is a time when many people evaluate the year behind them and make goals or resolutions for the year ahead. There are many ways of doing this but several years ago I started doing the ‘word for the year’ idea. While some years I’ve done better than others I have found it to be a really good fit for me personally. It gives me focus and guides me without making me feel like a failure if I don’t meet certain specific guidelines.

This year my word of the year is ‘Purposeful’. I spent quite a bit of time over the last few weeks praying and thinking about choosing my word. I knew that I wanted to be very aware of how I was spending my time and using what was given to me in both time and resources to live well with-in the will of God.

To accompany my word I have chosen Proverbs 19:21 as my scripture for the year.   “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 NIV

I want to make sure that no matter what my plans and desires, I am focusing on the Lord’s purpose for my days. Sometime I think that for me it is easier for me to do that on a large scale than a smaller daily scale. I want to go into each day focusing on doing whatever it is that the Lord wishes of me that day. Some days that may be focusing on my home or the children’s schoolwork. Some day I may need to lay aside those carefully crafted plans to focus on other needs in our family, church, or community.

What do I think being ‘purposeful’ will look like in a practical daily sense? I intend to prioritize my prayer and quiet time as well as our family devotions. If I am ‘purposing’ to follow God’s will I have to make sure that I am spending time with him daily so that I may clearly see his will. I intend to evaluate how we are using our time to make sure that we are using it effectively. This doesn’t’ mean that every moment has to be busy and productive but that we are not wasting our time. Sitting quietly and reading a book with my children may not sound productive but it is certainly purposeful.  I intend to be purposeful about reading one book per month. I also want to be purposeful about eating well. I am not looking to diet but want to continue and increase our focus on eating well as a family.

I’ve included links to a few of the resources I intend to use to help me with being more ‘purposeful’ this year below. I would love to know if you have a ‘word’ of the year for 2018.

Resources:

Quiet Time Challenge (Not Consumed): I need to be purposeful with my time with God and I’m hoping this free challenge will help get me back on track. If you need further resources for quiet time she has some great ones in her store.

Finding Selah: This is the first of 12 books that I plan to read (1 per month) and I’m hoping to help find that intentional peace and rest.

Simple Sermon Notes Journal I am hoping this helps keep me focused on Sunday mornings (especially when I’m balancing a new born in a couple months) and helps me to be Purposeful in my walk with God.

Which Planner is the Best One?: Taking the time to plan (while be open to God’s leading) should help me be more purposeful in my use of time.

Deals and Freebies!

Free Daily Writing Prompts for Elementary or Teens Write Shop is offering free daily writing prompts to help make teaching writing just a little easier.

Write Shop is also having some great sales and giveaways for their 17th birthday this month!

Apologia is having a huge store wide stock up sale! Great time to buy if you want to change curriculum for next year or if you are looking to switch things up this semester.

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is also getting ready to have a big sale! Stay Tuned for more information.

25660376_10156079425496204_8412852717444324116_n

Also check our free resource library with history freebies, recipes, and more!

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

New Years Traditions and Freebies

While in many ways each day is a new start, the New Year feels like such a fresh and clean slate. I love the feeling that I have a new start and a chance to recommit and refocus on what is important. People celebrate the New Year in a myriad of ways and our celebrations have changed over the years.

20161231_200404.jpg   20161231_201914

For the last several years we have found a set of traditions that works well for us during this time of having younger children. While there were years that I would stay up and ring in the New Year at midnight, now I prefer to be asleep at midnight. We have a little town not very far from us that does a ‘Chinese Dragon Run’ each year on New Year’s Eve. They do one early running at about 8 pm and then a later one. This works well for us because we can go at 8pm and be safely off the road before 9pm. The kids really enjoy the music, the noise, and of course the brightly colored dragon. Legend has it that touching the dragon brings good luck in the new year.  The kids know it is just a story but we all have fun trying to touch the dragon.  You may have noticed that food seems to be woven heavily into our traditions, there is no exception here. We enjoy a steaming cup of hot cocoa each New Year’s Eve as we wait for the dragon.

We stay close by with family that evening, typically going to bed shortly after we get home. The next day we ring in the New Year at the river enjoying the beach. While it may be chilly (I’ve seen it below freezing up to the high 60s so you never really know around here.) we enjoy the beautiful views and some time spent together as a family. Once again, food plays a key role in our celebrations. We enjoy black eyed peas, collards or some other greens, fresh yeast rolls, some kind of meat and lots of sweet tea. Traditionally, the rolls, greens, and black eyed peas were eaten for luck and wealth in the coming year. While we are clear that ‘every good gift comes from God’, it is a fun and tasty tradition.

20170101_110353

We take some time that day to talk as a family about how the past year went, and what we hope to accomplish in the year ahead. It is a great time of reflection and planning. We also typically have the children fill out information sheets about themselves. I keep these in a file and it is nice to be able to look back from year to year and see how things have changed. Sometimes we do these on New Years Day and sometimes I wait until we start back to school.

All in all, we have a fairly low key but fun time as a family. We have simple but delicious food and a few fun activities that tie it all together. A chance to reflect and dream about about the future. I would love to know how you celebrate New Year’s. Do you stay up to ring in the New Year? Go somewhere special or stay home? Maybe you have some favorite foods that you enjoy? I know that different parts of the United States have different traditional foods for the day.

FREE New Years Resources:

New Years Eve Reflections from Purposeful Homemaking (This one looks back on 2017 and plans for 2018 great to do with each member of the family).

New Years Pack (Preschool/early elementary)

New Years Coloring

New Years Bible Printables

New Year Interview

New Years Easy Readers

New Years Printable Party Hats

New Years Creative Writing

Time Capsule Questions

Color By Number

Family Goal Setting Worksheet

Also check our free resource library with history freebies, recipes, and more!

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Apologia is having a huge store wide stock up sale! Great time to buy if you want to change curriculum for next year or if you are looking to switch things up this semester.

Apologia stock up.jpg

IEW has some great freebies each day in their 12 Days of Christmas! (no purchase necessary)

Stay tuned to our Facebook page tomorrow for deals from Amazon’s Digital Day! They are supposed to have some great deals on digital products like ebooks for those new kindles!

digital day

Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up

12 Days of Christmas or Relax and Enjoy!

20171214_103947

In some ways it is very hard to believe that Christmas is only a couple days away.  It feels like December has flown by. We have had lots of great times baking cookies, reading  Christmas books, enjoying hot cider and cocoa, and doing ‘Christmas School’.  This week we enjoyed  some beautiful Christmas lights. There is a street in our town that goes all out with Christmas balls and other decorations. Luckily for us, our friends live on that street, so we parked in their yard and took a walk to enjoy the Christmas lights.

We have also enjoyed giving back a little this year. We participated in Wreaths Across America with our AHG and Trail Life Troops, we did some fun things with Lightem’ Up, volunteered with our local historical site, the kids did the Detective Givemore Freebie and enjoyed implementing those ideas as well. We bought and wrapped Christmas gifts, we have participated in various church services (including the 3 year old singing ‘Away in a Manger’ with his class), mailed the Christmas cards, and decorated the tree. We even made a bit of Christmas art including painting poinsettas and some fun Christmas themed chalk pastels.

However, like many years before this there are other things I meant to get done. The kids really wanted to do a gingerbread house, there are some Christmas movies we have not yet watched, and a some other fun bucket list activities that we have not yet completed.  I doubt I am the only one in this situation. If you find yourself stressed because you have not checked off everything you wanted to accomplish, I want to remind you to relax and enjoy Christmas.

First, Christmas is about the birth of Christ and not all the other fun and busy stuff. This doesn’t mean those other things are bad, but if you find yourself overwhelmed let them go and focus on Jesus and family.  As a mom, it is so easy to let myself get wrapped up in the preparations and details. I forget to focus on the worship and wonder. Let go of the added expectations and the stress over what didn’t get done.  Spending time worshiping HIM this season is more important than those little details.

Secondly, we always hear the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ and we tend to think about the days before Christmas. In our culture today, Christmas is often considered ‘over’ on December 26th. However, traditionally the twelve days started on Christmas and ended with another celebration on Twelfth Night or Three Kings Day. I don’t say that to imply that you need to spend those twelve days frantically filled with Christmas activities, but if you haven’t’ done some of the things you planned to do, simply enjoy Christmas and then do some of those activities in the days after Christmas.  For our family this year, that will involve a gingerbread house, a trip to a Christmas light show (which thankfully is open until New Years) and some Christmas movies. If you had great intentions for getting that craft done, but never had time or baking those cookies use those days after Christmas to continue enjoying the season and celebration.

I pray that you have an enjoyable Christmas and that you are able to take the time to truly relax and enjoy it. I’ll be taking a few days off of the blog to focus on my family. When I return I’ll tell you more about our New Years traditions, Three Kings Day/ Twelfth Night, and our plans for the rest of the school year.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Friday Freebies and Deals

Educents has some great deals on digital items that you can have delivered to your inbox in time for Christmas is you got behind and don’t want to fight the crowds. Minecraft, coding and more.

Homeschool Buyers Co-op also has many digital options on sale right now. Music lessons, digital reading, and more.

My Snowman Paul  is free on Kindle (as of posting Amazon changes prices frequently so always double check before purchase).

snowman

Need a good way to organize all of these great printables and have access to them when you need them? Try a free Dropbox Plan.

Amazon Prime 30 day FREE trial. If you do not yet have Amazon Prime this is a great time to try it for free for 30 days! Get your Christmas shopping done with free shipping, enjoy Christmas music and more.

Apologia is running some great sales and specials.

The Green Ember is only $2.99 on Kindle or Free with a KindleUnlimited Trial

$10 Sign-Up Bonus for Ibotta and they are doing some major savings and rebates starting today. Great way to save money on the things you are already buying.

$40 off your first HelloFresh Box

If you are looking for some maps to help extend your geography check out these from Knowledge Quest Map Trek (including a free sampler).

Homeschool Buyers Co-Op is offering a great deal on Discovery Education Streaming right now.

Two Free Audio Books with an Audible Trial and if you aren’t sure what to start with I’d suggest checking out the Green Ember or The Penderwicks for good family choices.

Also check our free resource library with history freebies, recipes, and four Christmas freebies!

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Detective Givemore and Christmas and Holiday Freebies

 

kid-act-like-detective-vector-illustrations_QkH0o-_L

I hope everyone is doing well. This is just a quick note to remind you about all of the freebies in our free resource library and to let you know that we have just added a new one.  We have our monthly history resources, several fun recipes, a meal plan, a lesson plan template and lots more. For Christmas we have a planning guide, a giving guide (to help your children give back to others), and a fun bucket list.

Today, I’ve added a fun giving freebie, ‘ Detective Givemore’. This one is a code sheet to help them have fun while giving to others around them. It was designed with the spirit of giving in mind and is not Christmas specific so while we will use it at Christmas, it can be used any time of year. I tried to choose tasks that were fairly simple and did not require a lot of materials.

To get access to all of the great freebies, simply sign up below and you will get an e-mail with the password to the resource library. In addition, you will get an e-mail every other week keeping you up to date on new freebies and blog posts. I promise I won’t fill your inboxes with tons of e-mails and you can unsubscribe at any time. I pray these resources are a blessing to your family.

Resource Library

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Our Holiday Baking Traditions and Ideas

20171126_171712.jpg

When I think about the holidays, I have many memories of family events, fun activities, and church services. Baking and cooking in the kitchen are among some of my fondest memories. I remember making cut-out sugar cookies each year with my mama. Some years my cousins or friends would join in the fun. I also remember that each year my grandmother would get together with her sisters and they would spend a day baking all different kinds of cookies to have throughout the holiday season. They had so much fun together that day and we kids enjoyed sampling all of their hard work.  I’ve been baking with my children for years and while we bake all year long it seems we do even more baking near the holidays as we prepare to give baked goods as gifts and to feast and enjoy.  This year we even started a new tradition of decorating cookies with my cousins and their little ones. We had five children 3 and under (and two more that couldn’t’ make it this year) and they had so much fun putting icing and sugar on the cookies. It was messy and a bit crazy but so much fun and so many memories were made.

Sometimes we hesitate to get into the kitchen and bake because we are worried our kids are too young, it will be too big of a mess, the cookies won’t turn out right, or we feel there are so many other things to do and it is just one more thing on an ever growing to-do list.  I really want to encourage you to take the time to make those memories, but I also want to give you permission to do what works for you. We most frequently bake our cookies from scratch and even the little ones help mix and pour. It helps with fine motor skills and the bigger children work on math as they do measuring and fractions. However, sometimes you just buy the Betty Crocker mix and make the cookies. If baking with your little ones seems like just too much, start by baking them yourselves and letting them help decorate. In our house we have one who can’t tolerate food dyes, so we use India Tree Natural Colors to make icings or colored sugar (simply take regular table sugar and mix in a few drops of coloring) to decorate.

If you want to have cookies ready to go for fun events, tea times, unexpected company, or other events you can make extra cookie dough and freeze the dough in a log or in balls and have it ready to go next time you need cookies. This helps limit the mess and save some time while still letting you use whatever homemade recipe you love. There are some recipes that do not freeze well but most basic chocolate chip, sugar cookies, shortbread, or gingerbread cookies do well in the freezer.

20171204_190501
Three Kings Day Cake baked by my daughter for our 4-H project.

Another fun idea is to invite some friends over for a cookie party. You can either have everyone bake  different kind of cookie at home and bring some to share or have everyone bring the ingredients and recipe for their favorite cookies and you can work together to bake the different types of cookies. Then each family can take some home or you can share them with neighbors, public service workers, or a nursing home.

Some of my favorites growing up were sugar cookies and chocolate chip. However, there are so many yummy varieties. I’ve included some of my favorite recipes for cookies that we use around Christmas as well as some favorites of friends of mine that celebrate Hanukkah. No matter what you celebrate baking together can create fond memories and delicious treats.

If you want a good book to go along with your cookie party and help you to focus on the story of Christmas, I recommend The Gift of the Christmas Cookie. It is a sweet and touching book that helps us remember what Christmas is all about. Our plan is to bake cookies next week and then enjoy reading the book while we sample some cookies and milk. Another fun choice is to read Cranberry Christmas and then bake the cranberry cookies from the recipe at the end of the book.

Cranberry Christmas

Cookie Recipes to Try:

Some of these were recommended by friends, some I found and wanted to try and some are family recipes that we have been using for years.

Hanukkah:

Honey-Nut Rugelach Cookies ( My friend made these for an international event we did this week and they were so very yummy!)

Stained Glass Cookies

Jelly Doughnuts (so not technically a cookie but a nice sweet treat)

 

Christmas and Generic Cookie Recipes:

Almond-Maple Short Bread (These are on my list to try this year)

Cream Cheese Cutout Cookies (these are the ones we made growing up)

Mama Grace Tea Cakes(my grandmothers recipe)

Granny’s Oatmeal Lace Cookies My husband’s grandmother’s recipe that she passed down to me.)

Also check our free resource library for two new Christmas freebies, Christmas Traditions and a Christmas Bucket List.

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

 

Which Planner is the Best One?

calendar

Which planner is the best one can be a loaded question. I have friends that love their planners and spent a great deal of time finding the perfect fit. There is the Happy Planner, Erin Condren, and The Old Schoolhouse Digital Planner.   There are hundreds of different planners out there and this time of year it seems they are being featured in e-mails everyday and are all over the stores as folks get ready for the new year. Everyone has different needs and I don’t think there is a one size fits all solution to planners but I’ll share what has been working really well for me over the last several years. This plan has really helped me to move passed the frazzled and forgetting stage that I was in from lack of planning.

First, I want to clarify that I am talking specifically about my personal planner not our homeschool lesson plans which I keep separately on the computer (my template is located in our free resource library). I needed a planner to keep up with where we need to be and my long list of to-do items. I have tried several different planners but found that I would forget to have them with me when I needed to schedule things and my husband never knew what was supposed to be happening. I needed something that was easy to transport and easy for my husband to see.

Like most people today, my phone goes with me most everywhere I go and it comes ready with Google Calendar. I have found that a shared google calendar is the best way for me to track appointments, events, deadlines and other important dates. Some e-mail services will even link to the calendar and auto-populate dates.  I even use it to remind me to bring things on a certain day or to make phone calls. This solved a big problem in our family. Since my calendar is almost always with me and my husband can also use the calendar we don’t double book our days.

20171129_154712

While google calendar solved my calendar problems, I didn’t want to put my long list of to-do items on it everyday and there were other times I needed to take notes and have information that didn’t conveniently fit into the calendar. In our house the solution to this is called, “the brain” because it functions better than my brain to help me remember things.  It is simply a small lined journal that I keep to write notes and make daily to-do lists. At first I just used it front to back but I did find that at times there were pages I needed to be able to reference more often so this year I added inexpensive sticky tabs to give myself sections.

 

I set up the bulk as a section for my daily lists, but I also had sections for blog planning, and one for each of the organizations (4-H, Trail Life and American Heritage Girls that our family participates and helps in planning). This allows me to more readily find the annual plans or event notes for an organization while still allowing me my normal daily lists. It also keeps it very simple and easy to use. The tabs I chose can also be moved around if I figure out that the sections are not working like I originally planned.

The last component of our planning is a large monthly calendar (or for a more colorful option check out this one) that hangs in the laundry room. Any important family dates go onto that calendar each month so that the children can see what is happening and have a way to track things. I simply look at my google calendar and write down any applicable events. As they get older they are experimenting with their own calendars and planning, but this gives them a central place to see what is happening that week and month.

The fancy planners with lots of features work best for some people but if you are feeling overwhelmed or don’t feel like you are keeping up with everything that you need to keep up with, I recommend giving this method a try.

New Year’s day is often a time for setting new goals and planning, but you can start anytime with this method. Since the google calendar is free and always there and the lined journal doesn’t have dates you can start at the beginning any day you are ready.

For myself and my family, planning and having things on an easily accessible calendar has made our days more smooth. We are much less likely to double book or forget about an obligation. It also makes it easier to look at our schedules and make sure we have enough “white space” to account for much needed down time and those unexpected things like illness, car trouble, etc that always seem to happen (we are still working on leaving margin, if that is an issue for you I recommend the book The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst). I’d say that the best one is the one that works for you and you are willing to actually use.

I need to tell you about this awesome sale that starts today at The Old Schoolhouse. This bundle is incredibly discounted and this week only when you purchase one you get a second free set to give to a friend. This would make a great gift for a new home school mom, a mom going through a tough time or just someone who you want to bless this year!.

24254768_128112294552486_4359055302921038667_o

Friday Deals and Freebies

Gifts that make kids smile

Educents has some great sales on educational gifts, toys and even a minecraft coding program that is on sale for $49 (down from $249)

My Snowman Paul  is free on Kindle (as of posting Amazon changes prices frequently so always double check before purchase).

snowman

Masterbooks is having a sale this week as well. Prices are discounted 20-30% and with code MerryChristmas you can get an additional 20% discount. We love their math program and use America’s Story to supplement our US History.

Need a good way to organize all of these great printables and have access to them when you need them? Try a free Dropbox Plan.

Amazon Prime 30 day FREE trial. If you do not yet have Amazon Prime this is a great time to try it for free for 30 days! Get your Christmas shopping done with free shipping, enjoy Christmas music and more.

Apologia is running a $5 shipping special and other sales throughout the month.

The Green Ember is only $2.99 on Kindle or Free with a KindleUnlimited Trial

$10 Sign-Up Bonus for Ibotta and they are doing some major savings and rebates starting today. Great way to save money on the things you are already buying.

$40 off your first HelloFresh Box

If you are looking for some maps to help extend your geography check out these from Knowledge Quest Map Trek (including a free sampler).

Homeschool Buyers Co-Op is offering a great deal on Discovery Education Streaming right now. 60% off and bonus Smart Points redeemable for other products. We have used this in the past and enjoyed it.

Two Free Audio Books with an Audible Trial and if you aren’t sure what to start with I’d suggest checking out the Green Ember or The Penderwicks for good family choices.

Also check our free resource library for two new Christmas freebies, Christmas Traditions and a Christmas Bucket List. We have also just this week added a planning guide for helping children focus on giving to others.

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Twelve Christmas Adventures

A couple years ago I was thoroughly done with all of the stuff and clutter that had accumulated and Christmas was fast approaching. We used that as motivation to declutter and give away unneeded and unused clothes and toys to those that could use them. However, I didn’t want to be right back where we started after the holidays. I also wanted to be sure that I was sticking to our budget, especially with a new baby due that spring.  That year we gave the children what we called the ‘Twelve Christmas Adventures’. It was a set of ‘coupons’ that explained that we were giving them one adventure for each month of the year. It was a great experience that added lots of time well spent and no clutter to our home. It also allowed us to spread out the expense over the entire year.

We did a variety of different adventures that varied in time and expense but you could easily do ones that were only local day trips and free to little expense. We did have to adapt a few of them for various reasons throughout the year but we did twelve adventures and had a great time as a family.

We did a couple of things that were overnight trips for our family. Our very first adventure was an overnight trip to Raleigh to see a children’s play. The children really enjoyed the play and still talk about it several years later. Our next adventure was a trip to our local bird park. Since we have annual passes to our local aquarium and this is part of our reciprocal membership, our only expense was the gas it took to drive to the park. We even included grandparents and a great-grandmother on this trip which was a great way to spend time with family. The children loved the park, especially feeding the flamingos. Our Aquarium membership is  $145 for two years and includes admission to three aquariums, the zoo, and the bird park in our state, 10% off additional purchases and lots of free and discount tickets to other museums, aquariums, and zoos. We feel that it is a great value for the money.

Knowing I was due with our third child that year in April, we planned a very low key trip to the fireman’s museum in our town for that month. This way we still got an adventure but it was easier to manage. Over the course of the year we did things like a camping trip (this can be to a park, campground, or even your own backyard), a family hike, and a ball game (again it can be as simple as a local high school or if you are close by it might be a professional game). If you are looking for discounted tickets to events and attractions near you check out Groupon, they sometimes have some great deals. This can be a great way to come up with ideas you might not have thought of, or just to get a discount at  the places you are already interested in.

These adventures could be free things like taking a picnic from home and enjoying it at a local park, going on a nature hike, finding somewhere fun to spread out a blanket and look at the stars. During the summer you could make ice cream sundaes and eat them on the beach or at a lake. The important thing with this plan is that you are finding fun ways to spend time together as family.

There are many different ways to present this idea to your children. Ours love opening gifts, so we did an envelope to both of them that explained that we would be doing twelve trips or adventures and then had a paper about each one wrapped in a separate box. They divided up the boxes and opened them to find out what awaited them over the coming year. If you want to get away from a lot of different boxes, you could easily explain it all in one card or box. You could even spread it out and have them open a box each month instead of all on Christmas Day.

If you are looking for other ideas check out our Clutter Free Christmas Ideas and stay tuned tomorrow for our post on sales and deals on home school and children’s gifts over the holiday weekend.

Also check our free resource library for two new Christmas freebies, Christmas Traditions and a Christmas Bucket List.

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.