Thursday, December 31

Happy New Year!!!

Barb has a New Year's Eve tradition that she has been doing since her kids were very young. I love this idea and wanted to share....

Make your table festive for New Year's Eve or New Year's Day by adding the following:

CANDY... for sweet adventures in the New Year!

AN APPLE... for a New Year of smiles!

COAL... for love and warmth throughout the New Year!

PEANUTS (in the shell!)...a New Year of surprises!

Scatter some of the items around the table, putting an apple on each plate. A quick note written on the computer could sit beside each place setting to explain your wishes for each of your loved ones.

Simple, but it works to stimulate a discussion for everyone's dreams for the New Year.

Have a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30

Remembering 2009

Are you ready for this year to end? It seems like everyone I talk to says they can't believe it's the New Year again. Where did the time go?

I've found about the best way to track my year is by reviewing the books I've read. I keep a notebook and I record a brief summary of the books I read. I hate to admit this, but as I looked through my notebook today, there were books I read that I forgot all about. That means I don't remember too much about what is inside of them either:) Still, I am glad I read the books I did. In my notebook I fill out a quick synopsis of each book:

Name of book:
Number of pages in book:
Number of pages I read: (most the time I finish a book, but if it's not really speaking to me, I just record the number of pages I do read. It helps me to know if I should recommend a book, etc.)
Where did I hear about the book:
Premise of book:
Did it meet my expectations:
Would I recommend it to other women:
Why or why not:
What did I learn and hope to remember:

In 2009 I read 2 of John Ortberg's books, "When the Game is Over, it all goes Back in the Box" and Everybody's Normal till you get to Know Them". Both good books, easy reading, alot of good stuff. Highly recommend them.

I read 2 books by Margaret Feinberg. She is a popular author for women. "The Organic God" tells of her journey to see God's beauty daily. She asks, "What do you love about Jesus?" That is her way to open up conversations with other women. She maintains that sharing one's faith is a matter of connection, not coercion.
Her other book, "The Sacred Echo" is about prayer.

I recommend any of these 4 books if you are looking for inspiration and growth of your soul in 2010.

I loved reading to my kids when they were young. When they began reading books by themselves, I asked them which ones they would recommend for me to read. It made them think about why they were reading the books they chose and also gave us lots to talk about.

To my surprise, my kids continued to recommend books to me all the way through college!

In 2009, Dan told me about 4 books that I would never have picked up on my own. I learned alot about what he was studying and again gave us some good conversation around the books.

If you are looking for New Year's Resolutions...reading, recording what you read and reading what your kids are reading are 3 good ones to consider!

Monday, December 28

A Funny yet Creepy Christmas Story

Just thought I would share an interesting story about my Christmas this year. I need to first explain our house a bit. Our house is laid out where our garage is on the side of the house so you have to walk around the garage to get to the front door so we often just open our garage door and let those who visit come in through our garage. So our garage door is often found open. We also live up on a hill so we have a few steps that lead to a landing before you enter our back door. That said, we opened our garage door Christmas morning for my husband to shovel the beautiful snow that had fallen the night before. After breakfast and gift opening I walked outside to throw out the garbage when I almost stepped in a pile of poop right outside our back door. I called my husband and asked if he had seen it when he had gone out to shovel before, he hadn’t. A bit perplexed we shrugged it off to the neighbor’s dog who often can be found walking in our garage. I cleaned it up and we went on with our day. A bit later my husband went back to the garage to put a book into his backpack to take to work only to find a huge mess inside his backpack. He had forgotten to take out a few gifts he had been given before Christmas (he is a teacher) and all his candy was unwrapped and eaten. We figured then that it was probably not the neighbors dog that had be rummaging around in our garage. The first thought was it must have been a raccoon, what else could it be? I was pretty freaked out by now and didn’t want to be in the garage or have my children in the garage. We were hopeful it was not in the garage anymore but we needed to be sure. So we went over to my parent’s house to borrow their live trap. We placed a piece of bacon in the trap and set it. After watching a movie, we decided to go see if we had caught anything. We had. . .this is what was in our trap…no it’s not a giant rat-though it does look like one…

It’s an opossum. Can’t say I knew we even had opossums in Minnesota. It was very creepy to look at at 11:00 at night. We left it in the trap over night and Jeff read up on opossums on the web. We weren’t sure what to do with it. After reading that they are actually good for the environment and are wandering animals (I didn’t want it coming back to visit) we decided to let it go in a field close to our home. We all bundled up the day after Christmas and drove our opossum friend to his new home. Our girls thought it was so cute they wanted to keep him for a pet. We tried explaining the wild animal aspect but they didn’t buy it. Needless to say the moral of the story is close your garage door! Okay maybe it was just a fluke, but I am still closing my garage door!

Favorite Verse

As a mom, Luke 2:19 has been a favorite verse of mine for many years: "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."

This verse comes at the end of Mary's Christmas.

Her Christmas was much more eventful than any of mine. But every Christmas I find myself pondering all that went on during the days leading up to and including Christmas and that has proven to be the best time of Christmas for me.

"Ponder" means to "consider deeply, think ruminate".

So Christmas is over...what are you pondering?

There was one Christmas when my kids were really young that I tried a new tradition. I hadn't put alot of thought into it ahead of time and it flopped. Unfortunately, I had invited some friends to share my new-found tradition and I was embarassed that my lack of planning made the whole experience a waste of time. I pondered that in the days that followed. It helped me sort out what could have worked, why I wanted to do it in the first place and whether it was something I should pursue in the years ahead.

I know that what Mary pondered were thoughts that were much more eternal in nature. She pondered that fact that her baby was born to change the world.

But as a mom building my home, I have found that treasuring and pondering all that goes on in my home also has eternal value. It is when I don't ponder what I am doing or what I have done that I lose sight of my purpose as a mom.

Now that my family has grown, my pondering consists of feasting on the memories. I treasure up all that has gone on in the previous years to make my family what it is today. I realize that I need to ponder how to celebrate Christmas now as grandchildren become center stage.

Take some time this week to highlight Luke 2:19 in your Bible. Write 'MOM' beside it. Treasure and Ponder just what took place this Christmas in your family and in your heart.

Thursday, December 24

What God Wants for Christmas

I thought I would share the last poem in a scavenger hunt game we play every Christmas Eve day. I found this game What God wants for Christmas a few years ago at my Wal-Mart, and it has quickly become a family favorite. It is by Family Life and can be found at We choose to make a scavenger hunt out of the boxes and the girls use clues to find the pieces of the nativity scene we have hidden through out the house. It leads up to the last box, which contains a small mirror so that when the child looks inside she sees her reflection and realizes that God wants her for Christmas. Here is the poem we read after they find the final box:

What God wants for Christmas? Now here’s the surprise

In box number seven, where it’s been disguised

Peek in the box, for so long you have waited.

What God wants is you-the one He created!

“Me?” you ask. “Why is this so?”

“I cannot wrap me and put on a bow!”

No, you cannot; but what you can give

Are the choices you make in the life that you live.

God wants you to know Him and love Him within,

And this is called worship, an offering to Him.

To do this, trust Jesus, who died in your place

When you didn’t deserve Him-that is called grace.

Pray now and offer your life and your heart.

Say, “Jesus, I need You. I’d like a new start.”

Forgive me today for the sins I’ve committed

So one day in heaven I will be permitted.”

When you pray this decision, the heavens rejoice

That you have made worship of God your life’s choice.

God wants you to know Him, so choose every day,

To love God and thank God and give Him all praise!

So as you spend your Christmas Eve and Christmas day with those you love this year, remember the real reason behind this season-Jesus came to earth for you! Celebrate the most wonderful gift that was ever given.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Tuesday, December 22

Delaying and deleting Christmas?

I am not a perfectionist by any means. But of course there are certain things I like to do for Christmas just like everyone else.

Bake. Shop. Christmas Cards. Decorate. Wrap presents.

These tasks have all been deleted or delayed this year as my time has been spent caring for my two little ones.I don't think anyone really cares...except me. My kids certainly aren't aware of the tasks mom hasn't completed. My husband definitely doesn't care.

But for some reason, I find myself trying to maintain the same standards and expectations that I do every Christmas. However, I've never faced a Christmas season with a 14 month old and a 3 month old.

It's so easy these days to view my kids as obstacles to me getting the things done that I need to do:
Hard to shop with snowy roads, cold weather and two little ones.

Hard to bake with two kids that need my time and attention.

Hard to find the time and energy to decorate (and then spend the entire day telling my son "no, don't touch that!).

It's hard to do what I've always done.

And so I'm not. I'm not doing it all.

And I'm learning to be ok with that.

Well mostly ok. I'm still working through some guilt and letting go of some expectations. But I realize no one in my home cares about decorations or gifts or cards or baking. They just want my time and attention and love.

And no one can give them the gift of their mother's time, attention and love but me! 

Monday, December 21 Christmas

If I decorate my house perfectly with lovely plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights, and shiny glass balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals, and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of your way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Love never fails. Video games will break; pearl necklaces will be lost; golf clubs will rust.

But giving the gift of love will endure.

I Corinthians 13 Style by Sharon Jaynes

Friday, December 18

Pretzel Buttons

My favorite Christmas treat includes:

Place pretzels on cookie sheet and place a Rolo on each pretzel. Bake in oven at 250 for 3-4 minutes until center of Rolo is soft. Remove from oven, press M&M in the center and place somewhere to cool and harden. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 17

Chocolate Chess Pie

We had a Christmas Card addressing party last night and I was in charge of bringing dessert. I made one of my favorite pies from a restaurant I used to go to in North Carolina. It is one of our family favorites!

Chocolate Chess Pie

1 frozen pie shell
1 stick of butter
2 oz. semi-sweet Ghiradelli chocolate bar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs well beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
dash salt

Melt butter and chocolate together on low. Take off heat and add sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt. (Add these slowly while mixing to make sure the eggs don't scramble.) Pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Serve with Redi-whip.


Wednesday, December 16

A family favorite

I am going to share a recipe that Barb shared with me years ago (I am hoping she has not shared it on the blog before, but if she has it is worth repeating)! It has become a family favorite at our house. I will just warn you that if you make this it will not last long. . .it is so very yummy!

Frosty’s Favorite:

3c. corn chex

3c. rice chex

2c. cheerios

2c. stick pretzels

2c. dry-roasted peanuts

12 oz. MM's (I like Reeses Pieces better)

16 oz. almond bark

Mix everything but the almond bark in a large bowl. Melt the almond bark in microwave according to direction on pkg. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring gently until mixture is well coated. Spread mixture on waxed paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate (I just let it cool on the counter). When cool, break into pieces. Store in air-tight container in frig. (it's usually gone before I need to store it!).

I have motified the recipe slightly because I could not find some of the ingredients in the right amounts and I am not one to use 3 squares of left-over almond bark. So everything is the same except the following:

5 cups cheerios

6 cups pretzel sticks

1 lb bag of Reese Pieces

24 oz almond bark (I think the Plymouth Pantry brand is the best-I find mine at Walmart)


Tuesday, December 15

Cookies and Customs

I started a Santa Lucia tradition with our kids when our first 2 were 3 and 5 years old. Part of this tradition included learning about the folklore and meaning of all the decorations that we surround ourselves with during the holiday. I decided to add one tradition each year and tried to tie it into a cookie. I was young and zealous when I rolled out this plan:) That was 28 years ago, you can figure the number of cookies I have baked since then!

I will share just a few examples of favorite cookies and the lesson that went along with them:

One years we learned about wreaths:
Wreaths were first used about 2000 years ago by the Greeks. They crowned champions with wreaths.
Christ was mocked with a crown of thorns
The Christmas wreath symbolizes His eternal love; it never ceases, stops, or ends. It is one continuous round of affection.

That year we made these cookies...Cornflake Wreaths:
1/2 cup butter
30 marshmallows
1/4 teas green coloring
1/2 teas vanilla
1/4 teas salt
3 1/2 cup corn flakes

Melt the butter and marshmallows in double boiler. Add green coloring, vanilla, salt and corn flakes. Blend thoroughly. While still warm, drop on aluminum foil and mold into wreaths with fingers. Decorate with cinnamon candy and silve bagets.

One year we made Gingerbread cookies and talked about how they became so popular at Christmas time:
This was one of the first cookies made in the U. S. by early settlers...a recipe from Europe.

Gingerbread People:

  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 2 slightly beaten eggs
  • 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Combine margarine, sugar, molasses and vinegar in saucepan. Bring slowly to a boil. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature. Add eggs to cooled mixture. Mix flour, cinnamon, ginger, soda, and salt. Stir into molasses mixture until dough is smooth and satiny.

Chill for at least 2 hrs. Let stand at room temp until pliable to roll. Roll out and cut with small 'people cutters'. Bake 375 for 7-10 mins.

I could go on, but in yesterday's post I said my kids' favorite cookie was the wheat thin/peanut butter sandwich dipped in chocolate. We named that cookie the 'magical cookie' because it magically disappeared from the tray so fast. We learned about Christmas Cards that year:
The first card was sent in 1843 by the King of England!

What we learned was short and easy to remember year after year. As more cookies were added to the tray, more lessons were learned and the whole beauty of Christmas and the decorations came alive to all of us.

Monday, December 14

Sugar Plums?!

Remember that line from "The Night Before Christmas?":

"While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads"

Did you know that sugar plums are candy that are made of sugar and shaped in a small round or oval shape. So what kind of sugar plums are dancing in your head this Christmas?

I have a whole notebook that I keep nothing but Christmas recipes in and all these recipes 'dance' in my head as I take the notebook out the day after Thanksgiving. Several of the recipes have been passed on to me from a generation or two ago! They are probably my favorite because I can imagine them being served to my relatives even before I was born.

I have baked hundreds of cookies in Christmases past, but these are my kids' favorite:

Wheat Thins
Chunkie Peanut Butter
Chocolate Bark

Spread wheat thins with peanut butter. Press another cracker on top, making a sandwich. Dip into melted chocolate bark. Tap off excess chocolate and let the cookie/candy harden on a sheet of wax paper.

Who knew? Really, their favorite?

Somehow this recipe doesn't seem like the kind of recipe I thought my kids would have 'dancing in their heads' after all the intricate cookies I have baked. Yet these cookies are the cookies that are most requested at my house.

Ask your clan what they like best and share a recipe or two with us this week.

Friday, December 11

Just Starting Out

I was married for three years before having children and when it came to gift giving at the holiday season...we basically just did whatever our families were doing. My family picks names and then also buys for the grandchildren. My husband is an only child so we buy gifts for both of his parents. This year we have some decisions to be made about gifts. We want to start some of our own family traditions that our girls will be able to look forward to.

The largest decision we are making right now is whether or not to include Santa Claus in our family tradition. I came from a family that did not celebrate Santa and my husband did. We both want our kids to see the real reason for Christmas is Jesus, but I also appreciate the innocence and excitement believing in Santa brings.

I would love to say we have this figured out, but we don't. Here we are only weeks away from Christmas and still without a plan. Any suggestions or ideas would be helpful. Do you include Santa in your celebrations?

Thursday, December 10

Gift-giving in our family

One quick follow-up from yesterday’s post. I should have clarified one thing. I do love the snow. I love a white Christmas. I love looking out at the snow from my warm home. I don’t even mind driving in it, but I do not like to “play” in the snow. Skiing terrifies me, sledding is a close second and I hate cold, wet snow going in my boots or up my sleeves. I think that is why I felt the need to post what I did yesterday. I truly felt like I put myself in my girls’ shoes. They wanted to “play” in the snow, and I set aside how I felt about it to enjoy a moment with them. I think that is what being intentional is all about. I had so much fun because my daughters were having fun. I also wanted to share because I think I needed the reminder to live in the moment-to not be preoccupied with my to-do lists. I want more days like yesterday!

Onto my thoughts on gift-giving. . .

I think I referenced this in an earlier blog post, but early on in our marriage we decided to not go overboard for any holiday or birthday as far as gifts go. This was a harder transition for my husband than myself mainly because he grew up in a family that bought nothing throughout the year but on Christmas they went all-out. We decided we wanted to be a family that gave things throughout the year. We wanted to spend the time and money doing things as a family like going out to eat, to the movies and buying things when we wanted them (and had the money for them). We have carried this philosophy over to when we had children. We do ask the girls what they would like and go off of their lists (we sit down and talk about what they would like to put on their lists so I try to do some directing). Sometimes we are like Barb and choose to buy another gift they haven’t asked for because we think they will just love it (like this year I found a small “real” sewing machine for my 8-year-old daughter on sale. She loves to sew with me and I think she will love this gift, but it was not asked for). We also decided to purchase one larger gift and then round it out with a few smaller gifts. We try to buy the same number of presents for each girl as well. We do end up buying a lot of the same gifts for each girl since they really love playing the same things and we have found they love opening the same gifts. That really makes it easy for us. I also try to purchase small gifts throughout the year that I think they will like for their stockings. I have stopped buying their bigger gifts throughout the year since at their ages they change their minds so much, but finding small things for their stockings are easy. I also purchase a pair of new jammies that they wear on Christmas Eve when we open a gift for the family, a puzzle or a new game and then we spend time playing or doing the activity as a family. I guess my basic philosophy is I want my children to experience the joy of giving and getting gifts, but I do not want it to be the main focus of our celebrations. I love the time we spend after opening presents eating breakfast and playing as a family.

Wednesday, December 9

deviating from gift giving for a day. . .

Well, Christmas has arrived in Minnesota (My apologies to those that may be reading in a warmer state)! I spent most of my morning outside with my 3-year-old daughter making snow angels and attempting to shovel the blowing snow since our snow blower died. I know I will not be popular when I say this, but I love the snow! I really can’t imagine living in any other state, especially during the holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a huge fan of bundling up the kids day in and day out, but the look on their faces when they got up this morning is worth it all. Imagine, for a moment, being a child again. What would you feel like if you woke up with all this fresh white stuff to run in, taste on your tongue or slide down? As adults our worlds get so busy with all of our to-dos that we can miss the unbelievable beauty that God has created-the snow! I know I was supposed to talk about gift-giving today, but I am going to let that wait until tomorrow. . .for today-I challenge you to go be a kid again with your children. Push back all those thoughts and reasons why you shouldn’t go outside and jump in. Call your kids, bundle up and have fun! May you enjoy this beautiful winter day that the Lord has made-we will rejoice and be glad in it!

Tuesday, December 8

Gifts to Give

I've shared before that in our family we used to give 5 gifts to our kids at Christmas.

A gift to hug and love (doll, stuffed animal)

A gift to read

A gift to play with

A gift to encourage an activity (sledding, skating, sports)

A gift of artistic expression (crayons, clay, glue and paper)

This worked great in the developmental years of the children. It gave me insight as to what my kids really were attracted to. It helped them develop an interest in areas they may not have had an interest in.

As they got older, they began to express what they wanted. My husband and I would have lengthy discussions as to whether we would buy them what they wanted or what we felt they would like and need. That was tricky as they got older. We finally settled on giving gifts that were worthy of giving.

Sometimes it was what they wanted.

Sometimes it was what they needed.

Sometimes it was what we thought would be valuable to them once they received it. We would introduce them to a new sport or hobby and it often became their favorite gift.

Christmas was spread out over the year for me as I evaluated what my kids were attracted to and what I felt they could use more exposure to. It was a time to connect with their desires and focus on their strengths and weaknesses.

18 days before Christmas isn't the time to delve into what your kids might benefit from this Christmas, but it is a time to commit to this idea. Decide that next year you will know your child well enough to choose a gift of value for them. A gift worthy of giving.

It will put Christmas into the right perspective for you and your family. God's gift to us that first Christmas was just what we needed.

Monday, December 7

Gift Giving

Did you know there is an art to gift giving? I heard a woman talk about it once and all the dos and don'ts of gift giving made me tired.

It got me thinking, however. Why do we give? Maybe that is the only question we need to be mindful of this season.

Are we giving to reciprocate a gift?
Are we giving because we've given to that person every year?
Do we give gifts of equal value not thinking about the intrinsic value in the actually giving of the gift?
When you give gifts to your you give the same number of gifts to each child?

Lots of different ways to look at giving and hopefully we can share this week ways that we give in our families.

I think the most valuable gift to give is yourself. Either in service or words or time. The person receiving the gift knows that the giver is really giving something priceless...themselves!

When my kids were young, I had them give small presents or at least a card of thanks to their teachers, sunday school teachers, piano or trumpet teacher, babysitters and anyone else in their lives who gave of themselves. Whether that person was paid or not wasn't the issue, the point I wanted to make with my kids was that these people were in their lives and gave all year long. Christmas was a good time to give back with a word or small gift of thanks.

As a former teacher, I learned that giving consumable gifts were always appreciated. A small set of cards with postage stamps, packets of cocoa or tea & a mug, or a small edible we would make along with the recipe. Avon and fragrances were usually over-done as a gift and I tried to avoid that. Don't focus on the gift as much as WHY you are teaching your kids to give.

Getting your kids involved in giving gifts at a young age will help balance the insatiable desire to GET gifts. They will see the thought that goes into selecting a gift. They will know why they are giving and will understand the work or money that goes into gift-giving. As they get older they will appreciate receiving gifts even more and will be able to express their thanks in a genuine way.

As you head to the mall this week, be mindful of WHY you are buying for the people on your list and count your blessings that they are in your life in 2009!

Friday, December 4

Busy with a family tradition. . .

sorry for the late post, but today we were busy with another family tradition of ours-baking Christmas cookies. Is this not the cutest Christmas cookie ever! (okay so I am slightly biased!)

If you did not know before, Barb is my aunt, my mom’s sister, and Stacy is married to her son Ryan. Aren’t I lucky?! Every year we have gotten together to bake Christmas cookies. Every year it changes a bit and this year was no exception. With Stacy and her two children under 2 years and Rachel and Jonathan along with my two girls it changes the product at the end, but increases the fun during. My mom and I were the only ones to actually bake cookies today, but memories were made none-the-less. With three little ones added to the mix, compromises must be part of the package. They all did great. We barricaded off the tree and brought out some new toys and the boys had a great time. As you can see by the photos below it is hard to get a good photo of everyone, but I think you can tell that we were having a good time and shouldn't that be the reason we have these family traditions? If you can’t read the sign it says, “Life’s Short. . . Eat Cookies!” Pretty good motto huh?
(back row: Stacy holding her son Samuel, my mom holding Stacy daughter Lauren, me, Rachel (Barb's daughter) and Barb holding Rachel's son Jonathan
front row: my daughters Maddie and Abigail)

We hope you and your family will have many of these special moments together this Christmas season-thanks ladies for a great day!

Wednesday, December 2

Dice game

One tradition my family has enjoyed for years is the dice game. Some people play this and they bring white elephant gifts to exchange. My family actually uses nice, enjoyable gifts.

Here's how it works:

Everyone buys 3-5 $5 gifts. Gifts for guys, girls or either. You wrap them and place them in a pile in the center of the room. Everyone sits in a circle around the gifts. Then, depending on the number of people, you have one or two containers of dice going around the circle. Everyone rolls the dice and every time someone gets a double they grab a gift but don't open it. Once all the gifts are divided between people (not necessarily evenly), you open the gifts. Then the fun begins. You roll the dice again and when you get doubles you get to steal a gift that you want and exchange one that you don't. So all the gifts exchange hands numerous times. It's a blast and so fun to see what items everyone purchased. We usually set a time limit for how long the dice can go around the circle for.

I enjoy gift giving and this is a unique way to have fun together as a family, laugh and share in a little competition. It might not work well with smaller kids, but with adult kids and relatives, it will lead to great memories!

Tuesday, December 1

Christmas Traditions

Wow, I love Betsy's tradition she wrote about yesterday. What a way to get everything done that you want to accomplish during this very busy month of December.

I've shared my traditions on this blog before so perhaps this is a good time to share what I learned about traditions...

I had to learn the hard way that 'More is not Better' when it comes to Christmas. I piled on the traditions and fun when my kids were little and soon found myself...and them drowning in too much.

Too much food

Too much running and shopping

Too much activity and stimulation

Too much fuss...and mess

Too much

It all led to too little

...time fun



Being intentional in planning the month of December is a way to avoid 'too much'. Whether you are intentional or not, you will be exhausted on Christmas morning. But if your December has been planned out even just alittle, your exhaustion will soon be replaced with satisfaction as you see Christmas turn into a special remembrance.

As you build tradition into your family, don't be afraid to challenge yourself as to why you are doing an activity. Don't be afraid to change up or cancel something if it is just too much or it is not accomplishing what you had hoped to accomplish.

Sometimes a wonderful memory is made when you carve out time just to hang out with your family and enjoy an evening of quiet.

I love Christmas. I love tradition. I love being intentional in what I choose to do with my family life. I love that I know that 'More is not Better'.