Christmas Traditions: Breakfast (and a Recipe)

For the first 33 years of my life I went to my grandfather’s house each Christmas morning for breakfast with my family. My parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all gathered together to enjoy breakfast, fellowship, and gifts. I have so many fond memories of those Christmas mornings. My grandfather passed away a few years ago and that first Christmas morning was bittersweet. I missed my grandfather dearly and it seemed so strange not to be there for Christmas morning. However, we started our own Christmas tradition as a family.

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I honestly do not remember what exactly we ate for breakfast when I was a young child, but for all of the Christmas mornings that I could remember we had sausage, eggs, bacon, and most importantly ‘cat head’ cheese biscuits. For those of you that are not from Eastern North Carolina, I want to clarify that a cat head cheese biscuit got its name from the size of the biscuit not the contents. These are large round biscuits filled with gooey melted cheese, like the ones on our plates in the picture at the top of this post.

While I still miss my grandfather, we have settled into a new family tradition that incorporates some of the old tradition and makes it our own.  When I was younger my grandparents house was only a few minutes from my home, but by the time I had my own children we were living almost 45 minutes away which made for a rushed morning to get there in time for breakfast. Now we have a slow relaxed morning before heading off to visit with family for lunch.

We get up Christmas morning and myself or my husband put an egg casserole and some homemade frozen cheese biscuits into the oven. The children can enjoy looking at their gifts, we can read the Christmas story from Luke, and then enjoy breakfast together around our kitchen table. The time together and the slower pace is nice. By choosing foods that can be prepped ahead of time we are able to have a nice yummy breakfast with minimal effort on Christmas morning. This helps me to be able to focus on my family and not spend my morning cooking and cleaning.  I have included my breakfast casserole recipe below in case you are looking for a simple breakfast idea for Christmas morning.

I hope that my children grow up with as many fond memories of Christmas as I have from my childhood. While it is sometimes fun to change things up and there should be no pressure to keep doing things that aren’t working for our family, traditions can be a great way to build family unity and memories. I would love to hear about your favorite family traditions or how you have incorporated old traditions into new ones as family dynamics have changed over the years.

Christmas Morning Egg Casserole

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When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag 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.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate 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!

Amazon is doing it again! $5 off $20 Book Purchase. Use Code GIFTBOOK18. If you aren’t sure what book to buy you might want to check out this new book by Sally Clarkson that is on pre-order right now: Girls’ Club.

Exciting news from All About Learning Press this week! They are coming out with a full color edition of levels 1-4 All About Reading and to celebrate they are hosting a $1,000 giveaway! We use All About Spelling and are hoping to use All About Reading next year with my son who will be in Kindergarten.

My Snowman Paul is Free on Kindle and many others in the series are less than $1.

 

 

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Crafting with Noodles!

We had some fun with noodles this past week and I wanted to share in case you were looking for a fun easy activity to do with your children. I did this activity with my four year old in mind but my ten year old joined in and had lots of fun as well.

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I chose this activity in part because we had all of the supplies on hand and it would be easy for the four year old to do with minimal help. He loves anything that involves paint and had been wanting to make some decorations to go on the small Christmas tree in his room.

First we chose our paint colors. Since we were looking for a Christmas theme we did red, green, and white. We split the noodles into three bags and put a squirt of paint into each bag (one red, one green, one white). Then, close the bags up and gently move the noodles around in the paint until they are fully covered. Next, spread the noodles on a cookie sheet to dry. We chose to cover the cookie sheet in parchment paper for easy clean up, but old newspaper would work as well.

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It took a couple hours for them to be fully dry. If you have little ones that take a nap or rest in the afternoon you can paint the noodles in the morning and let them know they can finish their project after rest time as an incentive.

Once the noodles are dry you can get creative with them. We were stringing them to make a garland for my son’s Christmas tree. He wanted to do a simple green, red, white pattern. I tied the first one onto the end of the string to keep the others from falling off and then let him go to work. He enjoyed stringing them on but did get a little bored towards the end, so I agreed to help him string them as long as he was giving me the colors in the pattern.  When he was done, I tied the last noodle to the other end of the string and we had a garland for his tree. He wrapped it around his tree and was quite pleased with this work.

While we did Christmas tree garland, you could also use these to decorate a mantle or window, small sections of yarn to make necklaces or bracelets, or have them removable to practice a variety of patterns or color recognition. If you have extra painted noodles left over just stick them in a Ziploc bag until you are ready to do another activity.

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What fun and simple crafts have you been doing with your children?

 

Supplies:

A variety of  washable paints

Ziploc Bags (1 for each color of paint)

Noodles (can be different kinds but need to have a hole in the middle)

Yarn or String

 

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag 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, including Amazon affiliate 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!

Amazon is doing it again! $5 off $20 Book Purchase. Use Code GIFTBOOK18. If you aren’t sure what book to buy you might want to check out this new book by Sally Clarkson that is on pre-order right now: Girls’ Club.

Exciting news from All About Learning Press this week! They are coming out with a full color edition of levels 1-4 All About Reading and to celebrate they are hosting a $1,000 giveaway! We use All About Spelling and are hoping to use All About Reading next year with my son who will be in Kindergarten.

My Snowman Paul is Free on Kindle and many others in the series are less than $1.

 

Be Still and Be Present: Week 3

Joy

 

Some weeks ‘Be Still’ is much harder than others. It felt like last week was a lot of ‘go, go, go’.  It was a really busy week for us as a family, with our business, and our church volunteer obligations. However, I’m pleased to say that my goal of being still didn’t just ‘disappear’ out the window as it has in the past when things got too busy. Using the app on my phone to do my devotional and spare minutes here and there to be intentional about prayer meant that I was able to spend some time focused on Jesus each day.

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Sometimes I think God uses a variety of ways to reinforce that which he is teaching us. This week he used the lesson I was teaching to our middle school students to reinforce that focuses on Jesus in this season is the key to true joy. When I focus on myself and what I want or need it is easy to be disappointed. Maybe we didn’t get to do some fun activity I wanted to do, maybe I’m not going on a cool vacation like my friends, maybe money is tight and I don’t put everything under the tree that I would have wanted. If I am focused on me those things are disappointing and frustrating, but if I turn my focus to Jesus it is much easier to be joyful over what I do have, eternal life, because he came as a baby to grow up and die for my sins. When our focus is on what we have because of Jesus the joy flows naturally. It may not erase all of our problems but it will bring joy to our hearts.

Over the past couple of weeks we have focused on peace but this week I want to focus on joy! John 15:11 tells is that our joy may be full in Him and I want us to hold on to that promise this week and focus on Jesus and the joy he brings. You may still have sadness or grief in your life, there still may be stress and frustration, but if we focus on Him there will also be great joy.

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

John 15:11

 

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We had a lot of fun this week as I was intentional about ‘being present’. Some things were small and some a bit more time consuming but all time well spent. We had the privilege of stopping at two large light displays this week on our way home from a field trip. The first one we rode though and enjoyed but the second one you can get out and walk through. The baby was asleep so it was just me and my three older children. We all enjoyed it, but the excitement that my four year old had for the experience was amazing. I have seen these lights every year for the past 12 years and while I always enjoy them I had forgotten just how amazing they are to those that are not familiar with them. My four year old had forgotten being able to walk through them last year and was absolutely enthralled, running for display to display squealing with joy. Looking at those lights through his eyes brought me to a new appreciation of that great display and I loved making those memories with the children.

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I mentioned last week that my four year old wanted to do a puppet show. I had planned on printing out puppets and doing a show with him. I found these cute printable Christmas puppets and we colored them but then he and his siblings decided to change things up a bit. They ended up using some nativity masks that we have and doing a show together depicting the nativity story. It was cute and hilarious.

Another fun and easy project that we did this week was making Christmas tree garland out of noodles and paint. It was so easy because we simply put noodles and paint into ziploc bags to cover them, let the paint dry on the noodles, and then the children could put them onto a long string to make a garland. Check the blog later this week for a quick tutorial of this fun activity.

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I used to have grand plans and dreams of us baking and creating our own gingerbread house.  I’ve come to realize that in this stage of our lives that just is not going to happen. My oldest has an intolerance for food dye and so we cannot use most commercial kits. Some years I get a chance to go to Trader Joe’s and pick up a kit that he can eat but with the closest one being two hours away that does not always happen. Luckily I have found a variety of tutorials for cute little graham cracker nativity scenes that are lots of fun, easy to make, and I can accommodate his food restrictions. This is one of the family activities that I hope to do this week. I will link to a couple of different ideas for these in the resources below.

We are also going to spend some time this week making cards together to give to friends and neighbors. I have already sent out our ‘official’ Christmas cards but I know it will be fun for us to share homemade cards with some people that are close to us and a good time for us to spend crafting together. We can all work on them and spend some time talking and listening to Christmas music while we work.

How are doing with this challenge? I would love to hear about the progress you are making or the challenges that you are having so that I can try to help you overcome those. I pray that this challenge is bringing you closer to God and your family.

 

Be Present Resources:

Edible Nativity Scene

Another Simple Version

Gingerbread Nativity

Hands on As We Grow (If you have young kids and struggle to come up with easy activities to do with them, this maybe a great resource for you. She has some free challenges, e-books, and a membership plan full of great activities that are easy to implement.)

 

 

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Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag 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, including Amazon affiliate 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!

Amazon is doing it again! $5 off $20 Book Purchase. Use Code GIFTBOOK18. If you aren’t sure what book to buy you might want to check out this new book by Sally Clarkson that is on pre-order right now: Girls’ Club.

Exciting news from All About Learning Press this week! They are coming out with a full color edition of levels 1-4 All About Reading and to celebrate they are hosting a $1,000 giveaway! We use All About Spelling and are hoping to use All About Reading next year with my son who will be in Kindergarten.

My Snowman Paul is Free on Kindle and many others in the series are less than $1.

Christmas Traditions: Cousins and Cookies

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Christmas elicits so many emotions, both positive and negative.  Our goal as family during this season is to create many fun memories without going overboard and adding to the stress and overwhelm; all the while keeping our eyes on Jesus. Our family culture values time spent together and with those we love and we especially tend to gravitate towards that during the holiday season.

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Two years ago we decided that we wanted to do something fun with my children and my cousins’ children. We didn’t set out to start a tradition, just give the kids a chance to play and us a chance to visit and enjoy each other’s company. However, we did it again this year and decided that it was so much fun it needs to be an annual tradition.

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Most of our family lives with-in about a 45 minute radius of each other but we also have a cousin and her precious son that are many hours away. We try to schedule the cookie party when everyone can come but that is not always an option. If all of our little ones can make it we have eight children four and under. This can make for an exciting but messy event.

We always get together at Thanksgiving and Christmas for dinner and visiting but we really wanted an event that focused on the children and let them play and have a good time together. I originally thought about having them bake cookies together but quickly decided that might be a bit too much. If you have older children or fewer children, baking cookies might be a lot of fun. I let my four year old and ten year old help me bake the cookies the day before and my ten year old make the homemade icing.

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On the day of the cookie party everyone gathered at my mom’s house, (hers is closer to most of the family). First we let the children play outside and burn off a little energy. Then we brought them inside and let each of them choose one of our cream cheese cut out cookies to decorate. We had paper plates to put them on, plastic knives to spread the icing, and a variety of sprinkles and colored sugar to finish them off. My son is allergic to food dye so we made most of our own using India Tree natural colors.

Once they decorated their cookies they either ate their cookies or decorated other cookies for the adults in the room. It was really messy, there was probably some double dipping, but they had so much fun. There were smiles and giggles and lots of proud faces showing off their creations.

 

 

We did a quick craft using foam shapes and stickers, thanks to an inexpensive kit from Hobby Lobby.  Then we finished up the party with pizza and fruit. It was several hours well spent making memories. Aside from making the cookies the day before (and you could buy them in you wanted) there was very little preparation time and the only costs were the food and the $5 I spent on the craft kit. Sometimes it can feel like you spend so much time and energy on something and it is over in no time and not really worth this hassle, this event felt very low stress and my son is still talking about it over a week later.

You might not have a gaggle of young cousins that need to get together but this party could easily be adapted for different groups. You could invite friends, neighbors, or even a Sunday School class to attend your party. If you have older children, the children could actually bake the cookies and maybe even donate some of them to a local nursing home or fire department. When the children are a little older (i.e. have a bit longer attention spans), I want to add reading the book The Gift of the Christmas Cookie to the tradition. I already read it at home but thought it would be a little too much for the youngest ones to sit through.

I hope I have inspired you to add a cookie party to your list of fun Christmas traditions. If you have tried something similar or have other fun traditions that you would like to share with us please let us know in the comments. Stay tuned next week for more on another Christmas tradition, my daughter’s Christmas tea.

 

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag 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, including Amazon affiliate 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!

Amazon is doing it again! $5 off $20 Book Purchase. Use Code GIFTBOOK18. If you aren’t sure what book to buy you might want to check out this new book by Sally Clarkson that is on pre-order right now: Girls’ Club.

Exciting news from All About Learning Press this week! They are coming out with a full color edition of levels 1-4 All About Reading and to celebrate they are hosting a $1,000 giveaway! We use All About Spelling and are hoping to use All About Reading next year with my son who will be in Kindergarten.

My Snowman Paul is Free on Kindle and many others in the sries are less than $1.

Be Still and Be Present Week 2

Isaiah 96

My goal is to be honest with you guys even when it’s hard. It is fun to show you the neat crafts we find or the fun books we read, it isn’t as easy to tell you about how I failed. However, I think it is important that you know and remember that we are all human and imperfect and that we just need to keep trying and moving forward. I had some successes and some failures this past week.

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I feel really good about my consistency doing my Bible study. It may not have been a full 30 minutes each day but I did spend time in the Word and in prayer each day last week. I want to keep moving forward and studying. I found this week that I had to get creative a few days. If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen that I was doing my ‘Be Still’ time one day with a sleeping baby in my arms. I have been working through a devotional in the YouVersion App and I could easily do that and spend some time in prayer while I held the baby. That app also works really well for those mornings that I wake up before the children. If I get out of bed, they sense it and start getting up but I can use my phone in bed and read scripture and devotionals and then have my prayer time.

This week I want to continue to work through the Advent devotional that I’m doing in YouVersion. I also want to continue my focus on peace but this week looking at Isaiah 9:6, which tells us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  I created a very simple coloring sheet of  of the names that are included in Isaiah 9:6. It is available to download for free at the end of this post.

This is where my real honesty comes in, I went to bed last Monday and realized I had been running around so hard that I never actually sat down and did what I had planned for ‘Be Present’. Often when I mess up a challenge of activity like that it is really tempting to feel like I failed and just give up. I can’t pretend that it did not cross my mind, but I knew that this was important and that I really wanted to develop these habits in my life. I resolved to not give up, not feel defeated, and just keep moving forward. Throughout the rest of the week we had a great time with various activities. We spent some time one night riding around looking at Christmas lights. It was so simple, we just detoured off of our normal route home from serving at the church and rode around a couple of neighborhoods that are known for having great decorations. We all looked at the lights and talked about our favorites.

Another morning I combined breakfast with our ‘Be Present’ time by bringing breakfast into the living room and reading fun Christmas books while we ate breakfast. It was so simple but so fun that we did it again later in the week. All I did was serve apple breakfast cake that I pulled out of the freezer (low prep and low mess) with a bit of hot apple cider. I even pulled the baby’s high chair into the living room and let him happily munch on his breakfast. While they ate, I read our Bible selections for the day and then a family favorite, Cranberry Christmas.  This activity was truly so easy and so enjoyed that I plan on trying to do it at least once a week.

Cranberry Christmas

As I sat down Sunday evening to plan out the week I was thinking about activities that would fit well into our schedule and be enjoyable for our family. Once activity that I know I want to include is a puppet show with my four year old. He has been asking to do a puppet show with popsicle stick puppets and paper.  We have all of the materials so it will only cost me ‘time’ which is what I’m trying to freely give.  I did not get a chance to color a picture with my daughter this past week so it is a top priority this week because she enjoys it so much. My twelve year old has been learning to play the guitar and I want to spend some time with him one day listening to him play and talking about what he wants to learn because that has become a passion for him.  I also think it will be fun for all of us to do a Lego challenge one day. I’m planning on writing different holiday themed items on slips of paper and putting them in a jar or basket. Then I can pull one out and everyone will have 5 minutes to create the item on the slip of paper.

If you didn’t join us last week, be sure to check out the week one post to get your free planning printables. You can jump right in and join us this week, do not worry that you did not start ‘on time’. Simply start when you can and keep going. Our goal is to make this a long term habit. I truly want to hear what you are studying in the Bible this week and what fun activities you have planned with your children.

 

Prince of Peace (Free coloring sheet. Please download and use for yourself or your family. If you wish to share this with anyone outside of your household please share the link to this post for them to download it for themselves.)

 

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When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag 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.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate 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.

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women (review)

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If you have a teenage daughter, this review of Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women by Zondervan is for you! This beautiful hardcover devotional book is as powerful on the inside as it is beautiful on the outside and I am excited to share this resource with you.

When I started reviewing this book, I was looking at it from the perspective of the mother of a ten year old daughter. As I read the devotional I came to two conclusions. My first conclusion was that this was a well done devotional that would be great for a mother and teenage daughter to work through together. The second, was that my daughter was not quite ready for some of the content and so I am putting it up for a year or two before we work through it together.

The devotional is laid out with 365 devotions to take you through the entire year.  Each day consists of a small scripture verse, a devotional thought, and a bit of journaling space at the bottom of the page for your notes and thoughts.  While I wish that the scripture verses had been longer to give more context, that is easily remedied by reading the scripture in your Bible.

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One thing I really like is that many of the devotions go in a series by following through an entire story of scripture. For example, one series is from day 213 to day 227. On those days the reading is in 1 Samuel chapter 25 focusing on Abigail who was Nabal’s wife. I love how it focused on various women in the Bible to help a teenage girl see how God used women and continues to use women to do amazing things for the kingdom of God. I think it handled subject of women in ministry well by explaining that each person can use their gifts even if not behind a pulpit.

You may be wondering why if I enjoyed it so much I put it aside for another year or two before going through it with my daughter. I should mention that my daughter is still a bit younger than the recommended age but I was hoping she was ready. However, since it does address the topic of sex and adultery in several of the devotions I did not feel my daughter was ready for this book yet.  The topics were handled well and appropriately but I would not recommend them for a girl who did not yet know about sex unless you were going to read it with them and were ready to have that conversation and offer explanations.

Overall, I do recommend Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women for teenage girls. It is simple enough for them to do on their own but I think it would be a great mother-daughter devotional time. You can sit down for a few minutes each day with a warm drink and read through it together; drawing closer to each other as you draw near to God. I encourage you to check out the other Review Crew reviews below to see how they used the devotional and what those with older girls felt about the devotional.

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women {Zondervan Review}Crew Disclaimer

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag 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, including Amazon affiliate 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.

 

Be Still and Be Present: Week 1

peace

 

 

 

Welcome to week one of the ‘Be Still and Be Present’ challenge. I am so excited for us to take this journey together. I didn’t do this challenge because I have it all together, but because I felt that I needed to work on these things as well. I am excited to see what God can do in my heart and my life through this challenge. I will be praying each day for all of you that are participating with me in the challenge.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

‘Be Still’

This week I chose John 14:27 as my focus verse. Many times throughout the Bible we hear about God’s peace. I want to remember that God is not a God of overwhelm and rest in his peace this week. My goal is to memorize this verse by the end of the week and use it to remind myself when the season gets hectic.

In addition to my focus verse, I am going to be working my way through the advent reading plan from Not Consumed and coloring or journaling either in the Max Lucado Christmas Coloring book or in my Beautiful Word Coloring Bible. You can use whatever Bible or materials you have available to complete this challenge. I choose to use a coloring Bible because the act of coloring the pictures and words helps me to slow my brain down and really focus on God’s word. If I am just reading and trying to sit quietly, my brain has a tendency to wander. I found my coloring book (and one for my 10 year old) at Ollies for only .99. If you do not have an Ollies there are some other options on Amazon.  Another good free option for your study plan is to use these Names of Jesus printables and verses and study through the various Biblical names of Jesus.

Another resource that I want to share with you are Bible apps. If you do not have a Bible or if you find it more convenient to read from your phone or device the  YouVersion Bible App is a great free app. It offers a wide variety of translations which can be very beneficial when you are studying a particular passage of scripture. While I find that I focus best while I am coloring or journaling, I know others that like to listen to the Bible while they are driving or maybe while out in nature or taking a walk. The Daily Audio Bible App is only .99 for Kindle and free for Android. This app reads through the Bible in a year.

‘Be Present’

I often hear people talking about how important family is during the holiday season, but I know that in reality I often neglect the focused time with my family because of the hustle and bustle. We spend lots of time together doing school, going from place to place, crossing tasks of the to-do list, but we don’t always slow down and just spend time together. I encourage you to spend at least 30 minutes a day being present with those that mean the most to you. Some of you will need to spend that time focused on your children, others may feel you have been neglecting time with your husband. I am hoping to be more mindful of time with both my children and my husband over the next month.

This time does not have to be an elaborate activity, costs lots of money, or even be something new and exciting. The goal is simply to spend time being fully present with those you love. My daughter and I recently started working through a Christmas coloring book together. We can sit at the kitchen table and spend 15 or 20 minutes coloring and chatting together. This is relaxing for me and it is encouraging for her.  You could take a walk with your children or your husband, build Legos with your children, color a picture, or make a Christmas craft.  One of our favorite ways to connect is to pour mugs of hot cider or cocoa and gather on the couch for me to read a book. We also enjoy playing ‘Would You Rather ‘ type games.

I have included a downloadable sheet that will allow you to plan each week’s devotional time and your ‘Be Present’ activities as well as a sheet where you can check them off as you complete each day. Some of you may prefer to take each day as it comes, especially with the ‘Be Present’ activities and if that works for you that it totally fine. In my life I have found that having it planned out makes it more likely that it will actually happen so I plan to sit down each week and plan out a flexible list of activities.

Please share with me in the comments some fun activities or great devotional tools that you have and I look forward to hearing how this challenge is effecting your life.

Be Still and Be Present planning

Be Present Check List

Be Still Check List

 

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Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag 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, including Amazon affiliate 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.

December Hymn Study: O Holy Night

O Holy Night

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

December is one of my favorite times of the ‘musical year’. I dearly love Christmas carols and the joy and hope that they bring to my heart. They are such a wonderful reminder of the love of Jesus. I love that I often hear them in places where you do not normally hear Christian music and I pray that they touch the hearts of those around me.

When I chose the song, ‘O Holy Night’ to study I had no idea what the story behind the hymn was or why it was written. It is an interesting story as it was written by a man who later walked away from the church and the music composed by a Jewish man who did not believe in Jesus. O Holy Night was embraced by the church in Ireland when introduced in 1847. Shortly thereafter, the church’s opinion changed and the song was denounced, before regaining popularity a decade later in the United States.

In addition to being able to read the story behind the hymn this month, I found a short YouTube video that shared the story. There are so many different versions of this song so I included links to a few below, including a fun Celtic version.  As you take time to listen to the music this month I encourage you to take a few minutes and just sit and reflect on that night. The night that in many ways was just an ordinary night but that was also one of the most extraordinary nights in history.

I broke up the copy work into six days instead of five because the lyrics to this song are a little longer than many of our hymns. In addition to our normal listening and copy work, I think that this free Christmas Star art lesson is going to be a great addition to our study. When I hear the words to O Holy Night it reminds me of the star that shone so bright that night.

Resources

Sheet Music

YouTube (Celtic)

YouTube Performance w/ Orchestra

YouTube (with Lyrics)

Story Behind the Hymn (Video)

Story Behind the Hymn

Download Your Freebies Below!

Hymn Study Fact Sheet

O Holy Night (December Copywork)

 

 

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag 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, including Amazon affiliate 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!

 

FREE Fall in Love with Science e-book from Apologia

Alice in Wonderland on Audible for less than $1!!

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Writing About Books: Book Reports and Beyond from Write Shop!

Be Still and Be Present: A December Challenge

Be Still

 

As I was thinking over Thanksgiving about what I wanted to the next month to look like in our lives, I knew that I wanted to be very intentional but also not overwhelming. This time of year can get to be very busy with schooling, holiday festivities, running a business, family events, and just day to day life. I spent some time in prayer trying to determine what the next month should look like and determined that my two focuses would be ‘Be Still’ and ‘Be Present’.

As  busy moms some of you are thinking that you can’t be still because you have children to chase or if you are like me, you can’t be still or you will fall asleep. However, I’m not talking about physically being still (though we all need that sometimes too). Mentally and spiritually we need to stop and be still so that we can spend time with God and feel his peace this season. Isaiah 9:6 tells us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is not the prince of chaos or overwhelm. I know how difficult it can be to find time in your day to ‘Be Still’ but I truly believe that if we purpose to spend just 30 minutes a day devoted to our relationship with him it can transform us.

For some of you, that 30 minutes might be first thing in the morning before your children wake up. That does not work for me because my children always sense if I get up early and with-in just a couple of minutes they are up. However, I have found that once I get up I can get the older children working on chores and the younger children occupied and take five to ten minutes and do a short devotional to help get my mind focused on God’s word. Then in the evenings once everyone is in bed or in the afternoons during quiet time, I can spend a little more time in worship and prayer. No matter what time of day, I encourage you to carve out thirty minutes with-in your day to focus on Jesus.

For each person this time may be spent a little differently. It should always include prayer and Bible reading, but some of you may also wish to include worship through song, journaling, or an additional devotional reading. Each week I will share with you some Bible verses that I am using for the week as my focus. You can choose to join me in using those verses or use whatever devotional or reading that you feel works best for you. I know many of you have Advent reading plans and other devotionals that you are currently using. I pray that as we take 30 minutes each day to ‘Be Still’ it will change our outlook and focus throughout the day and help us remember to be a shining light for the whole world to see.

I also really want to work on ‘Be Present’. It is so easy in the hustle and bustle of the season to spend lots of time with our family and friends but not ever really ‘Be Present’ with them. I can get so focused on checking the boxes and crossing things off of my list that I lose sight of the value of time spent enjoying my children and husband. My goal and challenge this month is to spend at least 30 minutes a day fully present with my children and doing something enjoyable with them. As a homeschool mom I spend most of my days with my children, but often we are busy doing schoolwork, chores, or other tasks and forget to stop and just enjoy each other. Those 30 minutes do not have to be anything complicated. It might be going outside and pushing them in the swing, taking a walk, building Legos, or painting a picture. It might be drinking hot cocoa and reading a fun book or playing a board game. Just make sure that you are fully present with them and enjoying quality time making memories.

Each Monday, I will send out an email sharing some Bible verses and devotional ideas that you can use as well as some fun free or super inexpensive ideas for being present with your family. I hope that these email serve both to give you ideas and as a gentle reminder to ‘Be Still’ and ‘Be Present’. If you forget one day or life gets busy, remember that each day is a fresh start.  I hope you will join me in this challenge. You can sign up below to get my weekly emails for the month of December. Please feel free to share this with anyone that you think might benefit from the challenge.

Sign-Up Here For Be Still and Be Present Weekly Emails

 

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag 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, including Amazon affiliate 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.

My Review Year in Review

I was filling out a survey a couple of weeks ago and it asked how many products I had reviewed for the Schoolhouse Review Crew in 2018. I was shocked when I counted up and realized I had reviewed over different 50 products. Some of those I loved and we are still using. Others were not a great fit for our family but I am thankful that I had the opportunity to share each of them with you, my readers.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

When I thought back on the products that I loved the most I truly had a hard time deciding. There were so many great products to chose from. The books from Great Waters Press were certainly in my top ten for ones that were helpful to me as a mom. We all had lots of fun with the history activities from Homeschool in the Woods. Audio dramas and books are a source of both education and fun for our family so both Heirloom Audio and the Brinkman Adventures gave us hours of family entertainment.

When it comes to full curriculum that we found to be most beneficial I can say that Apologia was a big hit. We love how thorough and in-depth the science is while still being engaging and having lots of hands on opportunities.

I thought it would be interesting to ask my children which of the review products   that they liked best.  When pressed to choose one my oldest son, age 12, said that his favorite was Kids E-mail but he also really enjoyed Forensic Faith, Brinkman Adventures, Guitar 360, and Heirloom Audio.

My daughter chose Princess Cut as her very favorite review product. We watched it once as a family but she has watched it several times since then.  Kids E-mail came in a close second for her as she enjoys using her e-mail to keep in contact with a variety of friends and family members. She also enjoyed learning to write in cursive using Cursive Logic. Like my son she enjoyed Forensic Faith and Brinkman Adventures. If I let her I think she might give us a list that included much of what we reviewed, but I told her she was supposed to be choosing her favorites.

My four year old was not involved in as many reviews as a preschooler but we did review several products that were appropriate for him. He decided that he most enjoyed Zirrly beads. He also loved and still asks to use Planet 316 Story Bible App and Starfall.com. We liked Pencil Grip markers so much that I have ordered him the paint sticks for Christmas (but shhh don’t’ spoil the surprise and tell him).

I’ve listed our very favorite choices here but feel like I’ve left many really great programs out because we were blessed to try so many great products this year. You can check out all of my reviews and see what products your family might enjoy. The Review Crew also has a great post coming soon to share the products that we voted as our favorites in various categories. I’d love for you to tell me in the comments which program you would like to try or share a program you think we should review.  I have one more review coming next week and then I will be taking a break for about a month before we get started with a new list in 2019!

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag 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, including Amazon affiliate 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.

FINAL WEEK for the Schoolhouse Teachers sale!

2018-fall-harvest-special-meme-lastcall

YWAM has a special 50% off collection on some really great biographies now through December 15th!

Amazon has some great Cyber Monday Week all week long! Including some great deals on Kindles.

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.