Category Archives: Holiday

In Awe of Christmas

My girls are in awe of Christmas this year.  They are eagerly waiting on Christmas Day, but then again what kid isn’t?  Mine however aren’t dreaming of what Santa will bring them or that cool new toy that they circled in the JCPenney’s catalog scanned at Toy R’ Us..  Why?  Are we one of those families that ignores him? That spoils the fun for our kids?  No.

Santa will visit our girls.  Just like in A Visit from St. Nicholas (or as many of us know it The Night Before Christmas), their stockings will be hung by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicholas will soon be there.  Those hopes really won’t be fostered until just before bedtime on Christmas Eve though.

You see, as of right now our girls have no idea that “Santa” actually visits them.  They know nothing of a naughty or nice list or letters mailed to the big guy so that their every wish may be fulfilled.  When people ask them, “Are you ready for Santa?” or “What’s Santa going to bring you?,” they just stare back at them. To them Santa is no different than Dora or Princess Sofia… well except that he’s a boy with a beard.  So yeah, they are ready for Santa about as much as they are ready to watch Princess Sofia on Disney Channel.  We see him out and about. We see him on commercials. We recognize that he is a part of Christmas… he’s just not OUR Christmas.

Do Michael Luke and I think he is bad?  No!  Do we judge you for showering your kids with gifts through the alias of Santa?  No!  I’m just sharing with you how we choose to celebrate Christmas.  Do I think my girls will look back and think they missed out? No, Christmas is a big deal to them!  Choosing to celebrate this way is easy now since they are still toddlers, and we imagine as they get older and their friends start talking more and more about Santa, it will become more of a challenge for us.

christmas tree 2011

Christmas for my girls is about celebrating the birth of Jesus.  We have been in full party planning mode preparing for the big celebration on Christmas day.  Our house is decorated for the big event. The menu is being planned.  There will be birthday cake, special meals, and presents.  Of course, Esther has wondered who will eat first since Jesus isn’t actually here to eat his slice first.  Maybe I should let her have the honor.

Almost everyday at nap time my girls request that I read the Christmas story.  We have heard about the birth of Jesus from third person, from a lamb, an ox, and who knows what else?  Playtime sometimes revolves around them pretending to be Mary and Joseph and their teddy bears playing the role of Jesus. I have been given the role of the shepherd watching over my flock (of clothes) in my bedroom.  Go figure.

Presents are given because of the wonderful gift that God gave us through his son Jesus.  The girls expect nothing but are learning to be joyful givers and that “every good and perfect gift comes from above.” Today they each go shopping for one item for each other, even though their list for each other is probably half a mile long.  We would have done it sooner, but it’s really going to be a stretch to keep their lips sealed on what they chose until Christmas day.  We will see how that goes!

The girls have learned several Christmas carols like “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” and “Jingle Bells,” but they can’t tell you the words to “Santa Clause is Coming to Town.”  I’m not saying they won’t ever learn it or that I forbid them from listening to it.  I’m not going to be the mom that gets upset if you sing them around my girls or gives them something with Santa on it.  They like the guy.

Like most kids he will visit my girls on Christmas Eve and will leave them presents.  Their stockings hung by the chimney with care will be filled with goodies from “Santa” on Christmas morning, and we will enjoy the happiness of watching them pull out each gift. But it won’t be what my girls have waited weeks for, and that’s ok with us.


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If there is a theme to my Christmas decorations this year it is RED!  It just sort of kept popping up everywhere and then I just ran with it.  I love it!

I promise, promise, promise I will keep this post short on words and heavy on the pictures.

So let’s get started on the Christmas tour!

The Fireplace and Tree

Red Christmas Decorations 4

Red Christmas Decorations 2Red is visible in the coffee table centerpiece, fireplace and Christmas tree.  I love how this reoccurring color ties the three together.  Oh, and just so you know it is a RARE occasion that our living room is this clean.  

We haven’t told Esther that the stockings will be filled with Christmas presents on Christmas morning because then she might notice that she doesn’t have one.  #momfail

My eyes are on the lookout for a temporary one until my mom makes her one for Christmas next year.

The Coffee Table Our First Family Ornament

Red Christmas Decorations 5The coffee table centerpiece just came together on accident.  I moved the tray to the center of the coffee table because we were hosting our small group that night and then I just placed the red ornament on since I didn’t have anywhere to hang it.  I walked out of the room and came back in and thought, “well that looks nice”  So it stayed. Red Christmas Decorations 3

While unpacking all our ornaments this year I realized that Noah has lots of ornaments.  So  I was really excited when my parents gave me this ornament with all our names on it.  What a special way to remember our first Christmas together.  Now, I just need to get Esther a few ornaments of her own.

The Mantel Red Christmas Decorations 6Red Christmas Decorations 7The Mantel is always one of my favorite places to decorate. This Christmas was no exception. Again, I love the red.  It can be found on almost every item displayed.

Red Christmas Decorations 8

And if you look closely you can even see a bottle of NingXia Red hiding up there.  I’m not sure if it will make it to Christmas unopened though.  
Red Christmas Decorations 9

The “Alabama” painting is my newest piece of artwork that I bought at a silent auction adoption fundraiser last month.  I hovered around the table just so I could make sure that no one out bid me.  I think it fits nicely with all the other decor.

The Dining RoomRed Christmas Decorations 10 The green buckets are left over from Noah’s birthday.  The only reason I splurged a whole $3 on them for her birthday was because I knew I would be able to use them throughout the year.  So be prepared to see them again. Red Christmas Decorations 11I like this simple arrangement under the lamp in the dining room.
Red Christmas Decorations 12We use Santa sparingly around our house but he makes a nice little addition to this side of the buffet table.  I used the sleigh as another excuse to display red ornaments and a small poinsettia bloom.

Ok, so that concludes the red part of the tour. I’ll be back later this week showcasing the kitchen, the girls’ room, and an adorable little tree in the master bathroom.

In the meantime, what is your favorite area of the house to decorate for the holidays?  Is it the tree? The Mantel? Or your Kitchen?  Did you accidentally have a theme pop up with your decorations?

Check out our other Christmas decorations throughout the years… 2011 (mantel, tree, table) , 2012 (tree, mantel, glass ornament), 2013

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Focusing on Thanksgiving

FYI… IT’S THE WEEK OF THANKSGIVING!!! Did this sneak up on anyone else?  Ok, it didn’t actually sneak up on me but it did get here a lot quicker than I thought it would.  I have been extra careful this year not to use the “C” word (Christmas) around my girls until after Thanksgiving.

Why?  Because commercially, except for grocery stores, its almost a forgotten holiday.  And Thanksgiving is such a good one to focus on!  So we’ve spent the past few weeks talking about Thanksgiving.  I’ve been reading them one book over and over again that talks about why we celebrate Thanksgiving.

I love this book because of how simple it is.  It gives illustrations of what Thanksgiving is not and then ends with what Thanksgiving is… a time to give thanks to God who gave us everything. The girls really seem to enjoy it.

Another book that I love is Balloons Over Broadway.

This book gives the history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as well of the science of making all those amazing balloons you see every year in the Parade. I have always been a sucker for the parade and look forward to my girls falling in love with it too.  Esther is most excited that after the parade comes a REALLY big meal.  She has a special place in her heart for food. 🙂

This week I plan to continue to keep the focus on Thanksgiving. To do this we are taking a break from our normal school curriculum and will instead be working on some Thanksgiving crafts and projects.

I searched Pinterest last week for some ideas.  I like projects that are easy, meaningful, and don’t require me going out and buying a lot of new supplies.  Here’s what I came up with.

Thanksgiving word and picture traceable



We have almost finished working our way through learning to write the alphabet and I thought this would make a fun review.  It’s like sneaking a little school in without them even realizing it.  Not that they would mind really. Noah and Esther go crazy for school.

thankful pumpkin


How cute is this?   This craft encourages the children to verbalize what they are thankful for.  Plus, from a mom’s standpoint it looks super easy!  Every once in a while we need one of those crafts that only takes five minutes to prepare.  

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My girls are at that stage where they love tearing paper and then gluing it to a piece of paper.  They are also pretty huge fans of tracing their own hands. Something tell me this project will be a hit for them.Handprint-Footprint-Turkey-Kids-Crafts(source)

Paint!  Seriously when can you go wrong with paint and toddlers. Well, except that it’s normally a super stressful time for mom and requires a good bit of cleanup but the kid’s enjoy it.



Ok, I think I am most excited about this one.  The girls use as part of their school curriculum and have recently worked their way up to the color by number sheets.  Noah is pretty good at them.  I’m saving this little activity for the actual Thanksgiving day activities. It may help keep some little hands busy while they wait on Thanksgiving dinner.  Not that I would need to do that or anything.

So what are some of the ways your family focuses on Thanksgiving each year?  Do y’all have any special crafts that y’all like to do together?

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