Stockings are Hung

The stockings are hung. . . . or not.  Christmas can be stressful when you have a small house and a large family!  Keep reading for a few of the ways I’ve learned to make my Christmas easier.

 

stockings are hung

 

1- We don’t have a Christmas tree.  Well at least not inside!  We do buy a potted tree every year.  It sits on our porch and the kids can put some homemade ornaments on it if they wish but nothing that will harm the animals or the animals can harm.  Then, after Christmas we go and plant the tree somewhere on our property.  This gives us the bonus of watching our tree grow and increasing the trees on our property.  Think wind break!

2-  The stockings are hung. . . . not.  We don’t have anywhere to hang our stockings.  I do have super cute stockings that my mom has knit for all of our children(as well as myself, my husband, my brothers, my cousins, etc).  I do get them out and we do have stockings for Christmas, but they don’t appear out of their storage tub until Christmas Eve.

3-  I’m not a huge decorator.  Like I’m horrible at it really.  But we try to do some small things to help the children have fun and feel that they’ve accomplished something.  Some years we make paper snowflakes and hang them from the curtain rods.  Some years we make paper chains and hang them from the banister or curtain rods.  One year we did nativities out of paper and posted them on our windows.

4-  We always do Christmas cookies!!  It’s so much fun to make cut out sugar cookies and decorate them.  Yes it makes a mess.  Yes it’s hectic.  But really it only involves two rooms(hopefully) and the mess is easily cleaned but the memories last forever.

 

stockings are hung

 

5- We are big on traditions.  We always have chili on Christmas Eve.  My parents started this when I was small and I’ve kept it alive in my own family.  We always have cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning with hot cocoa.  Once upon a time when I was growing up this was donuts(store bought- such a treat) but as our family is large that’s not feasible.

Other traditions involve opening our stockings before breakfast but after chores and after reading the Christmas story.  The stockings are hung might sound better but they look pretty setting on our window shelf just the same!  Then comes breakfast.  Yummy!  Then a time to enjoy and play with anything from our stockings.  Next comes lunch.  After lunch is when we take turns one at a time opening one present.  That way everyone sees what’s received and it makes it last ALL afternoon!  Supper is small and snacky normally.

We like to watch Christmas movies!  Watching Christmas movies starts right after Thanksgiving.  The kids and I love it!  Some of them we watch with daddy and some without.  He’s not a fan of all of them.

 

stockings are hung

 

 

6-  Christmas presents remain in hiding until Christmas morning.  Or to be truthful whatever time on Christmas Eve I finish wrapping them and putting them under our window shelf.  Due to space in the house our presents tend to remain in the garage or locked in a trunk until just a few days before Christmas.  Then they come in the house and I work on wrapping them when the kids are asleep at night.  But they still remain hidden out of view until the appropriate time.  We have inside animals and young curious kiddos that I don’t want to tempt!

Do you have any ideas for celebrating holidays in small spaces?  Any special traditions you want to share that your family does each year?  I’d love to hear them!!

 

Merry Christmas From Odyssey Adventure Club

Merry Christmas From Odyssey Adventure Club!!

 
 
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Tired of the Christmas shopping, the baking and sugar overload, the Christmas festivities that keep you away from your family during the season? Take time special time to spend with your loved ones and invest in your community—with Focus on the Family’s help!

You can download a fun gift to give to your friends, family, and community! Each Christmas stocking stuffer card directs you to a special place to hear an Adventures in Odyssey Christmas episode. Plus, you’ll be able to read a special excerpt from Imagination Station #12, “Danger on a Silent Night.” Sign up here to download the free cards.

Plus stop by this page for a slew of crafts, recipes, and stories to share with your family during this special time of year!

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If you’re still looking for one last gift to give your kids this year, give the gift of the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC). It offers safe and free content for everyone in your family, including an Advent calendar, a broadcast download with tips to create a memorable Christmas, AIO cutouts, and Christmas stocking stuffer cards. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:

  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas.
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users.
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes.
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more.

 

Merry Christmas From Odyssey Adventure Club

To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit www.oaclub.org, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

But most of all Merry Christmas from Odyssey Adventure Club and from us the bloggers who love to share the fun with you.  I know my kids are loving these episodes and it has given us something great to listen to when it’s so yucky and rainy out.  That’s right, rain, not snow this Christmas season.   We’re still holding out hope for snow soon!

Take over the Holidays with OAC!

Holiday to-do lists often become longer and longer as we get closer to Christmas. From holiday parties to host, Christmas pajamas to coordinate, family pictures, gifts to buy, travel plans to finalize, and more, the joy of the season can often be lost in the midst of the hustle and bustle.  Take over the holidays with OAC!  Put them at the top of all the lists of things to buy for family and make sure to use them to help keep the kids occupied while you’re completing your other to do lists!

 

Take over the holidays with OAC
 

Adventures in Odyssey and Odyssey Adventure Club have you covered. Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer, authors of Everyday Confetti, share ideas and tips for simplifying and taking the stress out of the holidays. Pointing to the real reason for the season, they offer ideas to help you keep Christ at the center. Click here for a free broadcast download to learn how to simplify and de-stress your holiday season.

Speaking of de-stressing, let me help you out with your last-minute gift shopping. One of my top recommendations: the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC) because it offers free content for everyone, including an Advent calendar, a broadcast download with tips to create a memorable Christmas, AIO cutouts and Christmas stocking stuffer cards. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:

  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas.
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users.
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes.
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more.

 

Take over the Holidays with OAC

To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit www.oaclub.org, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Check out these other gift ideas:

For our kids we try to always buy them something that will help them learn.  This year we are giving them games to help them learn geography!  You can find several good ones on Amazon.  One that we purchased is Geography Bingo.  We also got a Fifty States game to help them with our more local geography as well.

We also love to read in our family and each of the kids gets at least one book.  What books or series depends on what age level our children are, but some we’ve loved are the I Can Read books that are (we adore Veggie Tales).  They’re great for the beginning reader and can double as school reading books as well since I know there is nothing controversial in them.

Don’t forget about some good solid Bible teaching for kids too.  Make sure that each child has an age appropriate Bible.  Last year we also introduced devotionals for kids to our gang of kids!

Hope these have helped and I look forward to hearing what you decided to go with for gifts this year!

A Christmas Story for Kids #hsreviews

As part of the TOS Review Crew, we recently received a new book to read and review.  It’s a great new Christmas story for kids.  David Nicholson has reintroduced such a sweet story entitled If He Had Not Come.  The Christmas story for kids was originally written by Nan F. Weeks, this is the first time in 55 years that it is back in print for children to enjoy!

 

Christmas Book Review
I don’t know about your family, but we try to focus Christmas on Christ and His birth and not about Santa Clause, reindeer, or Christmas trees.  We do still give the kids presents, but our main focus is on the reason for the season.  I have found it hard at times to find good books to read to the kids that are at “kid” level.  I don’t want to dig deep into theology with them everytime we open up a storybook.  I’d like to have some sweet stories that are Christ and Christmas centered to read before bed that don’t bring on debates.  

We have found this in our new Christmas story for kids.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  This book can lead to some really deep conversations.  It can really make both the child and the parent think when they’re reading.  What if Jesus had not come?  What if He had not been born?  

The book itself is a hardback children’s book.  It is geared for ages 6 and up.  And again, as I do with every review, I seem to have a different set of ages to tell you.  I read the book to all of my kids.  Ages 17 months through 9 years.  All except for the baby, who had busy things to be doing, sat still and listened intently.  I have two others besides the baby who are under age 6.  They are 4 and 3 and did seem to understand most of the story as well as have some questions to ask.  Do I think they understand fully?  No, I don’t think they fully get what the book is about.  But I do think that it is a good idea to start reading this book to children younger than 6.  They’ll glean bits and pieces from it.  And family time is always important.  If nothing else they will have memories of sitting with their family before bedtime reading a story.  And those are lasting memories.

 

Christmas Book Review
If you are thinking of purchasing the book it is available in two forms.  You can order both hardcover(as we received) or ebook.  I’m one of those that likes to feel a book and have it in my hands so I tend to go with physical books still but I know many people who love ebooks.  The hardcover version is available for purchase for $18.95 while the ebook is $3.99.  

I know even among Christians there are differing opinions with how lightly we should speak the name of God.  I know there will be some people who do not feel this is reverent enough, or Scripture based enough.  But, for me, this is perfect for children.  Yes, you as the parent have a responsibility to teach them of God and the Bible, but reading this Christmas story for kids to your child is not going to give them the wrong ideas about Christ, but rather in my opinion get them to think more on their own lives and what is important.  And as the book states it will give them a glimpse of what life would be like If He Had Not Come.

Interested in learning more about this book and what other reviewers might have thought?  Simply go to the Main TOS Crew blog page and click on read more reviews.  You’ll find a wealth of them and they are all over this one children’s book so you are bound to find lots of different takes on it.  You can also find the book on facebook.  

 

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Win 1 of 2 Christmas Rose iPad Bundles @Litfuse #giveaway

Join best-selling, award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher for an Amish Christmas to remember. Filled with heart-twisting moments amid the sweet anticipation of love, Christmas at Rose Hill Farm will charm readers into the holiday spirit.

Have you ever wanted something special for Christmas?  Why not enter to win a Christmas Rose iPad Bundle!?  I do no have an iPad but it would definitely be a wonderful surprise for me to win one for Christmas!  You could be the lucky winner of 1 of 2 Christmas Rose iPad Bundles if you enter below!

Would you keep your copy of the iPad bundles or give it away?

Suzanne is hosting a “Christmas Rose” iPad bundle giveaway and a nation-wide Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch in November. Enter the giveaway below and sign up to host a brunch HERE.

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TWO grand prize winners will receive:

  • An iPad
  • A Rose-patterned iPad case
  • A Rose-patterned phone case (for any model phone)
  • A Christmas wreath
  • A set of Christmas hand-towels
  • Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Five second place winners will receive:

  • Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 28th. All winners will be announced September 29th at Suzanne’s blog.



rosehill-brunchbuttonHost a Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch! This fall Suzanne is inviting book clubs across the nation to throw a Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch. Sign up here between now and September 29. If you’re selected as one of the 50 hosts, you’ll receive a copy of the book plus two other Revell titles (give them away as party prizes or door prizes or keep them for yourself), a complete party kit, and a discount code to purchase copies of Christmas at Rose Hill Farm for your book club at a discount. Suzanne is also encouraging each book club brunch to collect non-perishable items for their local community shelter. She will be making a donation to her favorite charity (helping abused women and children) for every brunch that meets their goal. Click here for more details and to SIGN UP!


Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne’s blog on the 29th to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)