Monday, December 29, 2014

Snapshots Of The Season

Sharing a few pictures of the past month or so during this week of Christmas joy...

























































Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014



From our home to yours...
Blessings of Christmas Joy.
Enjoy the season with those you love.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas From Madison And Rhett

Follow this link to YouTube to see Madison and Rhett sing their newest Christmas duet!




                     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGF_1fhoRkM 

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 24

Number 24...Track Santa And Enjoy!




It is Christmas Eve!!!! The big day is here. We will spend it tracking Santa on Norad, relaxing by the tree, getting Christmas Eve dinner ready, watching Christmas movies, lighting our Christmas Eve candle, exchanging our family gifts, and attending Christmas Eve Mass. However you are celebrating, know that you are prepared and you have created the most magical Christmas season possible for your family. Relax and enjoy. Live in the moment. Breathe. And enjoy. Merry Christmas, my friends. Blessings for a wonderful Christmas with those you love.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 23

Number 23...Have A Cup Of Tea And Sit By The Tree





Well, it is almost here. And guess what? You are ready, right? The presents are wrapped, the cookies are baked, the cards are mailed, the outfits are ready. What is left to do? Relax. Enjoy. Sip tea or coffee by the tree. Watch a Christmas movie. Again. And just be. This is it...the most magical time of the year. And you are ready. Take it all in, my friends. You deserve it. : )

Monday, December 22, 2014

24 Things To DO Until Christmas Comes...Number 22

Number 21...Quick Clean The House Together




This may not be a exciting as the others, but trust me...it is necessary, and you will be so glad when it is done. I like to have everyone pitch in and give the house a good cleaning right before Christmas. I don't know why, but it just makes me feel better knowing the house is clean and all ready for the big day. So put on some Christmas music...really loud...and get to it! And then celebrate with pizza and a movie night when you are done. : )

Sunday, December 21, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 21

Have A Family Baking Day


 
 
Chocolate Chip, M&M, Peanut Blossom, Chocolate Crinkle, and Snickerdoodle. : )



Baking together at Christmastime...is there anything better? We reserve the last Saturday before Christmas as our baking day. Because I planned ahead and got all my supplies in early,...remember that?!...we are ready to go. I like to have each member of the family choose one type of cookie they would like, and we spend the day baking. And sampling. And baking. We play music and bake and eat and make memories. And that is good. : )

Saturday, December 20, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 20

Number 20...Do Your Grocery Shopping And Stock Up


 
 
The meals are planned, the list is made...now is the time to make the last grocery shopping trip before Christmas! I like to get my shopping done and get all my supplies and ingredients in and put away by December 20th. That way, I have the peaceful feeling that comes from knowing we are all set. No running to the store at the last minute and no fighting crowds. In addition to my Christmas menu items, I also stock up on household supplies. I make every effort to avoid shopping between Christmas and New Years Day. That way, we can relax and enjoy the entire week together. Some of the things I stock up on are pictured above...Paper towels, napkins, toilet tissue, paper plates, paper cups, laundry and dishwasher detergent, and plastic silverware .(One thing I forgot to add to the picture is soap.) So make your list and check it twice...and get shopping! 



Friday, December 19, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 19

Number 19...Make Snack Mix And Deliver It To Friends


 
 


One thing we love to do this time of year is ride around and look at the Christmas lights. We began doing this when Madison was a baby, and continue to this day. We recently decided that is the perfect time to deliver some Christmas cheer to some of the special people in our lives. We make a big batch of Puppy Chow, pack it in cute Christmas containers, and deliver some Christmas love to some of our friends. It doesn't take much to let special people know you care about them. Just another way to make Christmas memories as well as make others happy. : )


 


 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 18

Number 18...Plan the Christmas Menu


 
 
We are a week away! Time to get serious. ; ) This is one of my very favorites...I love planning the menu for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We all discuss what we will have, when we will eat,  and when we will be attending Mass. Then I sit down with my binder and a cup of cranberry tea and get to work. I plan for Christmas Eve first, then Christmas Day...including breakfast and dinner. Lately, we have had our large meal on Christmas Eve, and have a lighter meal Christmas Day. We usually have ham dinner on Christmas Eve, then I plan for ham sandwiches on Christmas Day. This year, we are trying something new. We are having our big meal on the night of the 23rd. Different, I know...But we have no plans for that night, and I thought that way, Christmas Eve will be much more relaxed and less stressful. That day is our very favorite day of the year. We didn't want to be rushed cooking and cleaning and getting ready for Mass. I am planning on a simple Stromboli and salad before Mass, and then some yummy cheesecake for dessert after.  Christmas Day will be ham sandwiches on fresh rolls and some pasta salad. We stay home, and I have found through the years, that the kids would much rather play with their new things than sit down to a large meal. Someday that will change, but for now, it works for us. : ) So whatever your plans, you will find things run smoothly when you plan ahead. : )

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 17

Number 17...Get Christmas Clothes Ready





One way to assure that Christmas will run smoothly is to plan ahead. It is getting close, so now is the time to check everyone's Christmas outfit. In addition to setting out mine and Steve's, I like to check each child's outfit and make sure it is clean, pressed, and ready to wear. I also ask the older girls about shoes, scarves and coats. It makes it so much easier on Christmas Eve if I know everyone's outfit is ready to wear. One less thing to stress about on that happiest day of the year. : )

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 16

Number 16...Make Dinner Special


 
 
 


There is no denying this time of year is busy. It can be easy to let things like family dinner time go. I like to keep our family dinner time consistent through the busy season to offer some degree of comfort among the chaos. One way to do that is by planning easy meals. Now is not the time to try a brand new, Pinterest inspired meal with crazy ingredients. Rather, it is easier and just as special to stick with tried and true favorites that can be easily made and enjoyed. One of our favorites this time of year is good old grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. Serve this meal on lovely Christmas dishes with a festive piece of chocolate on the side and make some fun holiday memories for your family. And make one less trip through that McDonald's drive thru. Not that we don't do that from time to time! : )

Monday, December 15, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 15

Number 15...Have A Fire


 
 
 
 
 
We love to light a fire on a cold December day. There is something about sitting around the fire reading or just visiting that makes everything seem so very cozy. If you don't have a fireplace, no worries. One of Flynn's very favorite things to do is watch the fire on the DVD we have. Really. It is so realistic and relaxing! I found it on Amazon. So this Christmas, take some time to gather around the fire and enjoy the season together. : )

Sunday, December 14, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 14

Number 14...Write Out Christmas Cards Together






I love Christmas cards. I love sending them. I love receiving them. I love to watch families grow year after year. I have always loved getting my cards, setting up my table, pouring a cup of tea, and writing out our family cards. Once we began homeschooling, I realized that it is even more special when the kids help me with them. Sometimes they put the return labels on, or even address a few.  It is just another chance to spend time together during this most special season. So this year, why not make an afternoon of it...put on some Christmas music and write out your cards together? : )

Saturday, December 13, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 13

Number 13...Play Christmas Games




Family games are always fun, but family games at Christmas? The best. These are our favorite Christmas games...and we play them all the time! I like to keep them out so that we remember to grab them and play them often. My favorite is the Rudolph Memory Game...Flynn is so good at it. Me? Not so much! They are all available at Amazon. Enjoy!

Friday, December 12, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 12

Number 12...Get Your Baking Supplies Ready


 
 
Baking together is a wonderful way to make memories this time of year. I like to have all my supplies ready and organized in the pantry so we are all set to go! Some things you may want to stock up on...flour, sugar, brown sugar, Crisco, vanilla extract, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, salt, cocoa, and sprinkles. Anything else? Let me know! And enjoy baking with your family. : )

Thursday, December 11, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 11

Number 11...Light A Christmas Candle


 
 
 
 
 
Anyone that knows me, knows of my love for candles. Yankee Candles to be exact. I love to burn candles all year long, but candles during the Christmas season? Perfection. I love the simplicity of having a candle burning during the day, filling the house with the unmistakable scents of Christmas. I love burning a candle during the long, dark evenings as well. It makes the house so cozy. First thing in the morning, I plug in the tree, turn on the music, and light the candle. That way, when my family wakes up, they are greeted with the sights, sounds, and scents of the season. Just one way to let them know I love them. : ) So whatever candles are your favorites, stock up and get lighting. Your family will be glad you did. Oh...and that Home For The Holidays candle? I have burned that in our home at Christmas for years and years. My children say the smell of it will forever remind them of home. Their home. At Christmas. : )

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 10

Number 10...Gather Your Wrapping Supplies


 
 
It is never too early to gather your wrapping supplies together. I keep mine in a box in the storage area, and pull them out early in the month to take stock of what I need. I buy my paper from Current, and it is the best!!! I like to stock up during their sale in January, so I usually have more than enough come December. Also be sure to have plenty of bows, ribbon, bags, tags, and tape. Lots and lots of tape. : ) We like to wrap together as a family during a Sunday afternoon, and then separate each group of gifts into piles according to what goes to whom...what gets mailed and what gets delivered. It is a fun way to spend time together, as well as accomplish a big project. Afterward, we celebrate by getting pizza for dinner! : )

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 9

Number 9...Bake Cupcakes


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Is there anything more fun than baking during the Christmas season? I like to whip up a surprise batch of Christmas cupcakes with the kids just for that reason. Just for fun. Grab a box mix...yes, a box mix...and get baking. Baking together is fun, and your little ones will remember it forever. Plus...dessert?!? Come on, why not? : )

Monday, December 8, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 8

Number 8...Create A Coloring Center


 
 
You are never too old to color, right? This time of year, I like to set out some new, sharp crayons with a few cute Christmas coloring and activity books so that the kids...and I...remember to spend some time coloring together. This season passes so quickly, and if these things are shoved in a drawer, I would no doubt pull them out sometime in February and wonder why we didn't use them. Just an extra activity to do together during these cozy days inside. : )

Sunday, December 7, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 7

Number 7...Create A Cocoa Station




 
 
On the first cold day of the season, I set up a hot cocoa station in the kitchen. It is simple...some plastic containers filled with cocoa, marshmallows, candy canes, and Hershey Kisses. I added some big mugs I found at Walmart and a few cute spoons. Now, anyone can help himself or herself to some yummy cocoa at any time. It is just a simple touch to make the season even more fun. : )

Saturday, December 6, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 6

Number 6...Treat Your Kids To Christmas Shirts


 
 
Every year, I get each of  the kids a new Christmas shirt. I used to do it so they had something to wear on red and green day at school, and now that we homeschool, everyday can be red and green day! The kids act surprised every year to find a new shirt on their bed...and that is part of the fun. : ) This year, I got their shirts from Life is Good. In the past, I have found some cute ones at Old Navy as well. This year, I decided to get Flynn jammies instead. She seems to wear them all day. : ) So why not start a new tradition and pick up some cute Christmas shirts for your little elves?  You may even want to get one for yourself too!: )

Friday, December 5, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 5

Number 5...Play Christmas Music


 
 
 
 
 
We play Christmas music all day long this time of year. It just makes everything so much more fun! We have Pandora Radio on our television, and have several different Christmas stations to choose from. We also play old Christmas music like the Hilary Duff CD Madison has had forever. Christmas music is so special, and makes this season even more magical. First thing in the morning, plug in the tree and turn on some Christmas music. Let the sounds of the season fill your heart and your home. : )

Thursday, December 4, 2014

24 Things To Do Until Christmas Comes...Number 4

Number 4...Watch Christmas Movies




This is our Christmas Movie Basket. We have more in the cupboard, and I switch them out as we watch them through the season.  Some of these movies are brand new, and some are over eighteen years old! Some are actually videos! But they all hold a special place in our hearts. Every year, as we unpack them from the box and put them in the basket, we talk about our favorites and plan when we will watch them. That Disney Sing Along Songs video? My Grandma Mildred got that for Madison for her first birthday! I remember sitting on the sofa with Madison in her jammies as she drank from her bottle watching it over and over. And we still watch it now.
We try to watch one every evening before bed as a family. If we don't make an effort, we realize the season will pass us by and we will miss making these memories together. Here are a few of our favorites...


This is perhaps my favorite of all time. All these classics together! I just saw this at Walmart the other night.


And these...newly released classics on DVD. If you haven't seen them, you must. You will love them. Promise. I found them on Amazon.


This is another old favorite, newly released on DVD.


These two. Oh, even though most of my kids are older now, we still adore these. Mine are on video, but they have DVDs on Amazon. Christmas Eve on Sesame Street is from when I was little!


And Flynn asked that her two new favorites be included...and I must say...they are adorable!


So, make some cocoa and sit down together for an hour or so as a family and watch a movie or two. Make some memories. You will be glad you did. : )