Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Category Archives: Chrismas

When I find a Bible verse that I especially like or one that speaks to me, I like to write it down for future reference. I keep a few on my work desk for reference and I have some bound that I keep in my purse to help me kids memorize verses. The problem is, my index cards in my purse are always buried or falling out everywhere. I really like having verses handy but haven’t found a great way to organize them and to make it less messy.

This fall, we’ve been focused on organizing our life. Everything is taking a hit and being organized from our financial to our over all house. I’m very proud of us even though I feel like we’ve got a long way to go! One of the biggest things is getting rid of some of the clutter and extra stuff. I’ve been sorting and resorting through kids clothes. Re-thinking our kitchen dishes, do we really need 3 full plate sets?

While cleaning I came upon my old business card holder. Now this was an essential piece of work equipment when I was the director of nursing. I always had my business cards handy was pawning them off to everyone in hopes of strumming up some business for the small skilled facility. Since leaving that job, I’ve not really had a use for it. As I pulled out the old business card and my heartache for a job I poured my heart and soul into. My mind went to my Bible verses and I came up with this idea. A way to keep my verses handy with less clutter.


Business Card Bible Verses

I simply cut down index cards to the size of business cards. Then I wrote my verses onto the cards. Presto! I now have an easily portable Bible verses.


I’m planning on using this one for myself, but it would be a great gift for someone. If you give it as a gift you can add a sticky note with a personal message attached to the inside cover or add it in replacement of a Bible verse. Other ways you could use this idea as a gift by writing daily affirmations, things you respect/like about the person, famous quotes, etc.

It’s now the day after Christmas (when I’m writing this, probably a couple of days after by the time I post it). All the presents are opened with gifts strewn throughout the house. The kids played so hard yesterday, they fell asleep within minutes. The only thing left undone was the pumpkin pie wasn’t cut and eaten. So, now, we have a great dessert following dinner tonight.

Sitting watching my kids laying on the floor in their new sleeping bags watching a movie, I’m contemplating what actually makes a successful Christmas. Is it getting everything on your list? Is it family time? Is it the Christmas Ham/Duck/Turkey? Is it watching your favorite Christmas show? How about navigating family events without major confrontations?

I would say all of this is nice and comforting. However, for me, a successful Christmas includes several things. First and for most is taking time to thank God for all his gifts. Gifts of grace, forgiveness, and salvation. Plenty of family time. I and my husband was off for Christmas Eve and I’m off today. We’ve made and decorated Christmas cookies, completed art projects, talked about the reason for the season, and did “nothing” together. Third part of a successful Christmas is gift exchange. To me there’s something about watching a very excited son/daughter opening up  his/her present and finding exactly what they wanted. For me its the giving of presents that is exciting, not the receiving. Although, I did get almost everything on my list and am very grateful.

Was this year a successful Christmas? Absolutely!

Here’s a few pictures of our activities over the holidays:


Wreath cookies/treats made for our family Christmas


Christmas cookies decorated on Christmas Eve. The kids picked one each to leave for Santa. They had a blast but I quickly realized with all the candy options Santa was going to have a sugar high!


I apparently had a sweet tooth because I made these Vegan and allergy-free cookies a week before Christmas


Since my son has multiple severe food allergies, I make the kids’ chocolate goodies. Each of the kids got one bag of chocolate in their stockings.


I was home from work with the kids the day after Christmas and we made these little trees as an art project. Never mind my inability to create two trees the same, they loved the craft. It was a good reminder that I must be better at doing crafts with them more!

How was your Christmas? Was it a success? What makes your Christmas a success?

My husband is from a large family, there’s 8 siblings. Now that we’re all adults, that’s 8 siblings and their families. That’s a lot of people! Especially considering I’m one of three and the only one married with kids. Buying gifts for everyone quickly can become extremely expensive. This year we did a white elephant gift for the older the kids and adults and a name exchange for the littlest kids. Even though the gifts were technically covered, I wanted to do something for each sibling. The problem? It needed to be nice but cheap.

So, I started thinking about little gift baskets I could easily put together. The women’s were the quickest to come up with but the men’s were by far the easiest to do. The trick to the baskets was thinking about each person and their likes/dislikes and personality. In my case, I wanted to have each one essentially the same so that I wouldn’t have to label each one and worry about getting the right basket to the right person. Essentially, I wanted to say, “Merry Christmas! Pick a basket”. So, I thought of generalizations for each one and went with that. I was lucky because all of the girls like girly things and the men all (except one brother-in-law) like beer.

So here’s the baskets with a list of what I put in each. I tried to get everything discounted or on sale. The women’s baskets I purchased almost everything on black Friday. The men’s baskets I purchased everything at Sam’s club which made it cheaper than buying it somewhere else.


Man’s Basket

2 winter selection beers

1 bag of nuts

2 jerky sticks


Woman’s Basket

1 Bubble Bath

1 pair of colorful socks

1 candle

1 lotion

As you can see I kept them pretty simple. I do have one brother-n-law that doesn’t drink alcohol. So in his I replaced the two beers with ice teas. I was also thinking this basket could be easily down with soda and candy bars. Or if the person is into the movies you could do a movie themed one with microwave popcorn, movie theater candy and movie tickets. If you weren’t a budget, you could use more expensive items too.

Have you done or are you doing anything DIY for Christmas presents this year? Have you in the past? If so, what did you do? Were they a success or would you do something different?


I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree tops glisten
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

We are on the verge of our first snow! The kids are really excited. I had to run out and buy them some snow boots last night. The fun part is that this isn’t just the first snow, but its a huge snow. Huge storm with 10 inches and a blizzard warning.This means one, we will have a white Christmas (yay!) and two maybe a snow day tomorrow. Well, for the kids. Since I work from home, there won’t be any snow days for me.

 This is the time of year I love snow. I love a white Christmas. For whatever reason, snow makes it Christmas. I think it stems back to when I was a child. Back when snow was magical and brought Santa and his Reindeer. I remember the smell of soup on the wood burning stove. I can still feel the heat that came off that stove. It’s a special heat, I’ve not found a heat quite like the heat from that old stove. The heat would engulf you like a giant blanket; giving you the warmth of your mother’s arms. A Christmas snow takes me back to when life was easy and fun. Back to a time when there was still some magic in the world and peace was as easy as snuggling up with a blanket and teddy bear.

Oh, yes, Christmas snow is so refreshing. It adds a bit of spark to the holidays. So, for me, I’m excited to be celebrating an amazing holiday of grace and love surrounded by white, glistening treetops. I can’t wait to see the excitement in my children’s eyes when they see the snow!

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all
Your Christmases be white

My two year-old son came home with homework last weekend. Yup, a two year-old with home work from daycare. Seem weird to you? It was weird for me too. However, I was grateful for it as it gave us a craft to do. The homework was quite simple, a stocking drawn on a white piece of paper. The directions to decorate the stocking. Seeing the assignment it reminded me when I was in elementary school and we made the red construction paper stockings with the cotton puffs on the top. We used glitter to decorate the stocking part and cotton puffs along the top.

So my daughter could also participate, my husband drew her a stocking. I’d purchased what I’d thought was plain glitter which turned out to be glitter glue. This made it much easier for the kids and gave them more control over the actual decorating. Unfortunately, it took a bit of my control away. I’d planned on marking out the design with glue and then letting the kiddos put the glitter on. The result was clumps of glitter in spots and some areas with absolutely nothing. They had a blast and I loved the end project.

Since completing this, I plan on doing many more glue/glitter art projects in the future!

A few pictures


First step: glue on the puff balls



Second Step: Add Glitter


This year, as with every year, I have a lot to be thankful for. I have those typical things that we all are thankful for: great family, healthy kids, house, plenty of food, employment, and such. This year, I have spent a good amount of thinking what I’m most thankful for. Here is my list of 5 things I’m thankful for:

1) I am thankful for my scattered shoes throughout the house because it means my daughter admires me and wants to be like me. She tries on all of my high heels leaves the discarded ones surrounding the closet and then walks around in her chosen pair. As I pick them up or trip on them, I’m reminded that I’m lucky to be the mom to a very great little girl.

2) I am thankful for my sassy two and four year-old because it means they are growing up and trying out decision-making. It’s a challenge at times to hear “no”, “I don’t like it”, “I don’t wanna…”, but ultimately this is such an important phase for them to go through. To learn how to negotiate relationships and make decisions is essential for when they become adults. I am thankful for the opportunity to help them learn how to do both of these.

3) I am thankful for the constant rotating piles of laundry between folded, ready to put away, and ready to be washed because it means I’ve been granted the gift of a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. If I didn’t have the laundry back-up, I either wouldn’t have my family or have the all more important family time.

4) A busy holiday season because it reminds me that we are very blessed with family and friends. Although the holidays can seem extra busy and extra stressful, I am thankful for this time. It gives me time to spend with extended family and friends. It provides me with time to express my gratefulness to them for their love and friendship.

5) My broken snowman because it reminds me to look at the world like a child. Children are amazing little creatures. Everything can be transformed into a game. Their imagination is endless which is exactly how my snowman was broken. I watch them learn and play and feel very blessed to have them but I also am reminded to relax a bit and to play some myself.

This year is the first year I’ve thought much about doing the Elf on the Shelf. I’m not thinking about it for the reason of conning my kids into behaving rather for building a new tradition and adding some more magic to the holiday season. I love traditions and that magical feeling I remember associated with Christmas. I remember the excitement building once December 1st arrived and I knew it was only weeks before the BIG day was here.  As the days and weeks went by, my excitement grew until it was barely contained Christmas Eve.

Growing up, we didn’t have a whole lot in the way of traditions. The few I remember mostly revolved around the actual Christmas Eve and Day. Very little tradition included the days building up to the holiday. In general, beside my internal excitement, my parents did very little to build-up to this momentous holiday. I can’t help but to wonder how much more special the holiday would’ve been if there were traditions that occur throughout the holiday season.

Now as I raise my own children, I want to have traditions built into their memories. I want those traditions specifically to revolve around holidays. Most importantly, I want them to add to the excitement of the holiday. I want them to have positive memories that make them feel nostalgic when they’re in their 30’s and raising their own kids.

Current traditions in our house: Thanksgiving we stay at home and have our own dinner. I shop Black Friday sales starting at Midnight then the day after Thanksgiving we travel to my husband’s family. We stay one night and return on Saturday. Our Christmas tree goes up either on Saturday or Sunday. This year we are returning to the Festival of Lights on Sunday (I’m planning this to be an annual event again). The month of December mostly just includes taking the kids Christmas shopping, watching every Christmas special we can, and seeing Santa at the zoo. For actual Christmas, we go to Christmas Eve services and the kids can open 1 present Christmas Eve, Santa comes, and we open the presents in the morning. Stockings have an orange and apple in the bottom for breakfast. Then we will go visit my mom on Christmas Day. Of course, both Christmas and Thanksgiving includes a huge meal.

So, Elf on the Shelf, or no? Do you do it and if so, do your kids get into it? What other traditions make your holidays special?