January at our Home

We began January celebrating the last few days of Christmas (because we’re some of those crazy people who celebrate for 12 days!) and ended with a small, very last-minute “Around the World in Food” Epiphany party. We had tastes of Mozambique, India, Egypt, and Nepal to celebrate the good news of Jesus spreading to us Gentiles.

The party came to an abrupt end when Will threw up. Immediately, I went into fight-stomach-bug mode. Thankfully, his bout was short lived and no one else succumbed. (Maybe Will’s tummy just didn’t like the spices?)

DSC_1792-XL

Many thanks to Josh’s awesome sis Crystal for our family pictures!

In school, we’ve moved from studying ancient Egypt to beginning our study of ancient Greece and Rome. But Egypt has still captivated Rose. After reading this book, which ended with a small glimmer of hope that King Tut’s father might still be lying hidden in desert sands, Rose decided to move to Egypt when she grows up to be a homeschool mom, author, math tutor and archaeologist. She has even managed to convince her siblings and a few friends to join her. (For my sake as future Grandma, I hope the plans change.)

The rest of school has been delightful (most of the time!) Rose has spent hours cuddled up in her play house writing stories. Will is sounding out four-letter words (I love his phonics book!) Meg adores her little class at our one-day classical program and has just started coloring between the lines, or at least trying too.

Normally I hold Ned during our morning memory hour, but this month he decided he wants to be a big kid too. When they line up to recite the Creed, he stands in front of them and carefully wiggles his way backward until he is standing in a line with them. It’s adorably distracting.

photo 3-001

Enjoying an icy adventure with my mom and sisters

The weather has bounced from well-below-freezing to perfect t-shirt weather. At the beginning of the month, the creek at my parents’ house iced over and we spent hours romping, sliding, exploring, and admiring the intricate patterns the water made as it froze mid-flow. The beauty of creation just sings God’s glory!

Within a few days of our frozen adventure, the ice had melted and we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day with t-shirts on. (Don’t you just love it when national holidays and absolutely gorgeous days collide?!)

When not doing school or playing outside, we’ve enjoyed many fun family games. A long anticipated point in my motherhood journey arrived this month when Rose learned how to play Settlers of Catan (and thoroughly stomped Joshua and me her first game!) She and Will have also become ardent Rumikub fans and Meg asks daily if we’ll play her new favorite game, Hiss, with her. Yep, this game-loving Mama has three sweet budding game players and it’s made me very happy.

I’ve also let myself indulge in a bit of binge-reading. Novels are a huge weakness for me. Once I get into a story, putting it down takes every ounce of self-control I possess. Not thinking about it is next to impossible. Because I don’t want to be a distracted mom all the time, I try to avoid full-length novels, except as a special treat at Christmas. The problem is this year I started a five-book series, The Zion Chronicles. The chronicles were engaging, sappy, and set in post-WWII Israel. Like a good homeschooler, I’ve read tons of pre-WWII history, but am horrid at modern history. This series was such an eye-opener for me. I loved it! (And am relieved to be finished, lol!)

Despite the fact that work has been crazy for Joshua lately, we’ve enjoyed several fun date nights…. and the kids have enjoyed several fun evenings with their grandparents, aunts and uncles. We are so totally spoiled to have two sets of grandparents who not only live in the area, but love having our kids over and always encourage the things we teach them at home.

The month ended with the arrival of our darling nephew Silas. Two years ago I was worried that poor Will would end up the only boy in a family full of sisters, young aunts, and girl cousins. Now he has a little brother and three boy cousins to balance out the princesses and tea parties. (Oh the needless things I worry about!)

That’s our month at a glance. What has your month been like? 

4 Strategies If the Stomach Bug Threatens

Getting the stomach bug ranks pretty high on most people’s “least favorite things” list. After a terrible three-week-long round of stomach flu, I determined to be much more proactive about avoiding a full-blown family attack in the future.

Impossible, maybe. But there’s always hope, right? Now if we get exposed to the stomach bug, I take these four precautionary steps.

Everyone hates the stomach bug, but if one threatens, it's best to be prepared! Here are four smart things to do if you've been exposed.

Don’t worry. He’s not sick. Just bribed with chocolate to pretend that he is. 

Four smart things to do when the stomach bug threatens

Fight back with herbs

I would take just about anything if it kept me from getting the stomach bug. But thankfully, my very favorite stomach-bug-fighting-herbs are pretty tasty:

Elderberry syrup/tincture: this mildly sweet berry packs a powerful antiviral and antibacterial punch. You can take it regularly as an immune-builder. At the first sign of any illness, up your normal dose to fight off the bug. (Purchase elderberries here.)

Peppermint teaI practically sip peppermint tea not-stop when there’s a stomach bug going around. Not only is it delicious, it’s a great herb to boost the immune system and calm queasy stomachs. (Read more or purchase peppermint tea here.) 

Activated charcoal: Not to be confused with leftovers from grilling. This stuff is quite different. And it’s been used since ancient Egypt to fight poison, stomach bugs, and food poisoning. Your body doesn’t actually absorb it. Instead, the charcoal binds with toxins and flushes them out of the body. (Fine print: Activated charcoal is not for long term use though, because it also flushes out vitamins. So don’t take at the same time as vitamins! And too much can cause constipation.Not for children under 3.)

This last time the stomach bug made its rounds, I handed out prunes (see above) lightly dipped in activated charcoal. You could hardly taste or see the charcoal at all this way and it seemed to keep the bug at bay. (Purchase activated charcoal here.

(I wish I’d known about it when we had our miserable three-week stomach bug marathon two years ago.)

Review the stomach bug protocol

Also known as mommy’s “Don’t throw up on the couch” speech. I used to think telling kids where not to throw up was a bit heartless, but after spending two days scrubbing, and soaking, and polishing vomit from a leather couch, I changed my mind.

Now any time we’re exposed to the stomach bug, I review the stomach bug protocol with the kids: “If you need to throw up, try to make it to the toilet. If you can’t make it, a bowl or tile or hardwood is easier to clean up than carpet. Try NOT to throw up on the couch.”

Not that I can fault a sweet sick little one if they do throw up on the couch, but I’d much rather spend a sick day holding my little people than scrubbing up vomit. So far my speech seems to have helped avoid another terrible couch incident.

Adjust the menu

Getting the stomach bug is bad enough, without having just eaten spaghetti. If the stomach bug is threatening, I do a quick menu adjustment and try to choose simple, healthy, meals without red sauce or lots of spice. Chicken-broth-based soup makes a great choice.

Keep sickness essentials stocked

If the dreaded bug does gain a footing, having enough laundry soap, dishwashing detergent, disinfectant, crackers, paper products (including plates and cups) and extra blankets makes the attack much easier to weather. (Trust me, after those three miserable weeks, I know!)

Since none of these things are likely to spoil, they’re good items to keep well stocked anyway.

Be prepared for the stomach bug

Having a stomach bug tear through the house is horrid, but being prepared makes it easier to handle. Next time the stomach bug threatens, review your stomach bug protocol, fight back with herbs, adjust your menu, and make sure the essentials are covered. It makes weathering the storm much easier.

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

Embracing the Sacrifices Motherhood Demands

I stood at the gas pump, stressed and overwhelmed. It had been a crazily busy day. It was way past the kids’ bedtime, but they hadn’t had a proper dinner yet, the pile of laundry waiting to be folded was beginning to look like Mt. Everest, and I had hours and hours of other things I wanted to get done while Joshua was out of town.

Suppressing a sigh, I opened the van door. As I sank into my seat, a sweet chorus of little voices called out, “We love you Mother dear!”

Tears sprang to my eyes and the stress of the day faded into joy. The kids thought their “surprise” was hilarious, so the rest of the way home alternated between saying “We love you, Mother dear!” and “Happy Birthday” and then bursting into fits of giggles. [It’s nowhere near my birthday.]

An hour and a half later, tummies were filled, the kids were tucked in bed, a few urgent things done, and the laundry mountain was tamed. And it was time for bed. The hours of other things I really wanted to do would have to wait.

Again.

Motherhood demands a lot: our sleep, our time, and our figures all get sacrificed. Learning to embrace the sacrifices motherhood demands is part of our calling as Christian moms.

photo credit

Embracing the Sacrifices Motherhood Demands

Each day seemed to end with the list of things I wanted to do growing, not shrinking. Even with the sweet echo of my children’s voices ringing in my ear, I struggled with feeling sorry for myself.

Motherhood is delightful, but it also demands sacrifice. As a mom, your time, your figure, your sleep, and your money get sacrificed for your children’s sake. Often your hobbies drop down the list of priorities to about the same level as scrubbing the shower.

It’s easy to resent the need for sacrifice.

But sacrifice is at the heart of life as Christians. Whether we’re single or married, mothers or not, our time and figure and sleep aren’t really our own anyway.

Paul couldn’t have made it any clearer when he wrote, “You are not your own. You were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” and “present your body as a living sacrifice”.  (1 Cor. 6: 19-20 & Rom. 12:1)

If mothering little ones is how God has called us to serve Him in at the moment, then that’s where we will be called to sacrifice ourselves. And even when it feels like we’re sacrificing a lot, just a glance at what Jesus sacrificed to redeem us, makes any sacrifice seem hardly worthy of the name “sacrifice”.I wouldn't choose any career over the joy of getting to be a stay at home mom. That doesn't mean being a mom is a walk in the park. Motherhood demands sacrificing our time, our figures, and our sleep as we shape little lives....

 

Sacrifice and Joyful Motherhood

I’d be the biggest hypocrite ever if I claimed to have this sacrifice thing down. I don’t. I like my sleep (and when I don’t get enough sleep, turn into a grouchy monster — or spend every moment praying for grace not to.)

The point of sacrifice isn’t that it’s easy, but that it’s what we’re called to as we follow our Lord Jesus who sacrificed everything for us. Looking to Him and embracing the sacrifices He’s asked us to make frees us to be joyful mothers, even when we never seem to have time for “our” to-do lists.

Year-End Child’s Interview

Every once in a while, I think to pull out my phone and capture a hilarious or tender moment on video. I don’t do it nearly often enough though.

As I was thinking about this and wondering what memories my children would really love to look back on someday, I had an idea. Why not end each year with an interview of sorts. Don’t you think it would be fun to look back and see what your five-year-old self wanted to be when you grew up or what your absolute favorite movie was at the ripe old age of seven?

I do. So I’ve put together a year-end interview for my children. Each year as they grow, I plan to repeat the interview and when they’re all grown up, give them the collection of their growing-up interviews.

Capture fun glimpses of your child's growing up years on video with a year end interview.

photo credit 

Year-End Child’s Interview

How old are you?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What is your favorite Bible verse? (Will you recite it for me?)

What is your favorite color?

What is your favorite food?

What is your favorite book?

What is your favorite movie?

What is your favorite poem? (Will you recite it for me?)

What was the funniest thing that happened to you this year?

What is your best memory from this year?

What is your favorite song? (Will you sing it for me?)

If you could pick just one fun thing to do this next year, what would it be?

Create Your Own Interview

If you, like me, want to capture your children’s growing up years on video, but don’t remember to as often as you like, won’t you join me in yearly kid “interviews”? I just know my kids will love to look back on them someday… and so will I.

Keeping Sight of the Big Picture

Brown shoes. I couldn’t get my mind off the brown shoes and pink-trimmed socks that clashed terribly with the adorable red, green, and black Christmas dress Meg was wearing.

An annoyed shudder passed down my spine as I tried to shake the thought of her shoes from my mind and focus on the words of the Christmas hymn we were singing. “O come let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him…” 

After a whirlwind last few days, I had frantically rummaged through travel bags and under piles trying to find her cute black shoes before heading out the door for church. All to no avail. I remembered on the way to our Christmas service that I had taken the shoes to grandparents’ house and forgotten them there. Grrrr.

It's so ridiculously easy to lose sight of the big picture in the many details that crowd our minds. Keep the big picture in view! Again, I tried shaking the thought of her clashing shoes from my mind. Did she really have to get up on stage in such an outfit? And stand in front? Maybe I could sneak away and buy her some shoes that actually matched her outfit before the kids’ performance. “O come let us adore Him, Christ the LORD!” the chorus repeated.  

My mind struggled between annoyed thoughts of Meg’s brown shoes and actually paying attention to the words of the hymns and sermon. Then the complete silliness of my obsession hit me in the face.

Here I was fretting because my three-year-old’s cute brown shoes didn’t match her outfit while hearing the incredible story of God becoming man. Not in a beautiful palace, but in a dirty, noisy manger. His tiny feet were wrapped in swaddling rags, and I was annoyed that I couldn’t find the right pair of Meg’s dress shoes.

So often and so quickly I lose sight of the big picture of God’s grand story as I wallow in annoyance over something as silly as brown shoes.

“…. but Mary treasured these things in her heart…” I want to be like Mary and treasure the life of Jesus. I want to keep my eyes on things above, even when my 3-year-old can’t find shoes to match her outfit.

Fall Reading Report

Committing to post what I’ve read has been an incredible motivator to practice what I preach and actually make more time for reading!

Life has been too busy to get sucked into any novels (because I have the hardest time putting them down once started) but I’m hoping to cuddle up by the fire during this Christmas break with a can’t-put-it-down book or two.

Fall Reading

Fit to Burst

Fit to Burst: excellent encouragement for moms! Rachel Jancovic’s first book,Loving the Little Years, is one of the most encouraging books for moms I’ve read, so I had great expectations for this sequel. Fit to Burst lived up to my expectations.

It’s not a simple how-to book for moms. Instead, it’s brimming with practical Scriptural encouragement on discipline, sacrifice, LAUGHTER, and embracing our job as a noble and worthwhile way to glorify God and redeem our culture. Purchase here

Blogging for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul)

Blogging for Profit, Without Selling Your SoulWritten by Ruth Soukop (the talented woman behind the EBA blogging course I’m taking) this book is a condensed step-by-step guide to building a blog, growing your platform, and eventually earning a profit.

So far the changes I’ve implemented have helped with the first two. I’ve yet to make more than I’ve put into the blog, but thoroughly enjoyed this book (and the course!) Purchase here

Eat That Frog!

Eat that Frog! 21 steps to increase productivity. Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Brian Tracy takes this quote and applies it to our work habits. He point out that we waste so much time on trifling things because we’re dreading the really important “frog” in our day that we ought to be “eating” first. Eat That Frog! is a short book packed with 21 strategies for redeeming the time. Purchase here

Climbing

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a missionary memoir. This one by Rosalind Goforth was excellent. At times it felt a bit disjointed, but it was a beautiful and inspiring look at life in early 1900s China from the perspective of a wife, mother, and missionary. (She had 11 children!) Purchase here. 

 Memory: How to Develop, Train, and Use It

I started listening to this book on Librivox and found it really helpful. [My memory can be pretty horrid.] I’ve got a confession to make though: I’m not planning to finish it. Not because it’s bad or anything, but it seems to be getting redundant and I have so much to put into practice from the first 14 chapters, that continuing to cram more information into my head doesn’t seem helpful. (After all, not finishing every book, is one good way to find time-and motivation- to read more.

Family Reading

We’re laughing our way through Farmer Boy (again) and finished listening to The Jungle Book.

I’ve been blown away with how much the children have been loving reading through the stories of the Old Testament (straight from the Bible!) After reading stories from the Old Testament almost every single day since Pentecost, I find myself longing to read about Jesus in a way I didn’t think possible before. It’s made this season of Advent all the more real to me. (Here’s how, and why, we’re reading through the Bible with the Church calendar.)

On the Bookshelf for this Winter

(I’m hoping to actually finish more of the books from my summer bookshelf read!)

 What have you read lately? Any suggestions for the perfect can’t-put-it-down-book? 

[Full disclosure: links to some products in this post are my referral links.]

Christmas Handprint Art

Turn handprints into an adorable Christmas reindeer!

If I did crafty projects more often I would A.) get faster, B.) be more realistic about how long the craft would take, or C.) both. Since the crafting bug only hits a few times per year, I guess I’ll continue to enjoy the process even though it is always longer and messier than I expected.

This time I thought the time and mess was worth it though. I loved getting to paint my children’s little hands or feet (though it made me realize just how fast they are growing. It’s crazy how the time flies!)

This Christmasy project would make a fun and simply DIY present for grandparents or great-grandparents.

Make darling DIY Christmas handprint art for grandparents or great-grandparents to enjoy.

Inspiration: Christmas tree, Jesus in the manger, snowman, reindeer/reindeer

Christmas Handprint Art

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Chipboard
  • Finger paints
  • Brushes
  • Hole punch
  • Ribbon
  • Little hands or feet

Make an adorable Christmas-themed wall-hanging with your children's handprints (or footprints!). Perfect DIY gift for grandparents.

Christmas Handprint Art Instructions

  1. Cut chipboard into 5×7 pieces. This is totally the hardest part. I made a line with a ruler then carefully cut along it with a sharp knife. Once it was in smaller pieces, I was able to trim it up in my paper cutter.
  2. Let your kids choose what design they want to make.
  3. Paint their hand (or foot) and press onto the chipboard. This is totally the funnest part!
  4. Add eyes, noses, hats, or other touches.
  5. Hole punch the corners of the chipboard
  6. Run ribbon through the holes.
  7. Sign and enjoy!

Do you do crafts very often? (Have you EVER done one that took less time than you expected?)

Humility, Faith, and Folic Acid

Life is perplexing. We don't know all the answers. That's why we need to approach life with humility and faith.

What does folic acid have to do with humility and faith? Humor me for just a minute, and I think you’ll see…

What’s the absolute most important supplement to take when you’re pregnant? Most literature I’ve read agrees that it is folic acid.

Folic acid helps fight miscarriage and protect the developing baby from serious neural tube defects. It’s a pretty powerful supplement.

When I was pregnant, I might skimp on other supplements because they made me feel sick, but I took folic acid faithfully.

After baby Edmund was born, I had some blood work done. Guess what I discovered. My body doesn’t process folic acid. At all. The hundreds of little white pills I took so faithfully during four pregnancies? They didn’t do an ounce of good. **

Humility because we don’t know it all

When I first found out, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Thankfully all our kids survived just fine, but I thought back to the many nights when I had pulled my pregnant self out of bed just as I was about to fall asleep and fumbled around in the bathroom to find the folic acid I’d forgotten to take earlier. My mommy instincts just wouldn’t let me go to sleep without it.

And then to find out that all that trouble was for nothing! It was disheartening and frustrating.

As I tried to see the humor in it, I realized this folic acid “discovery” was relevant to a lot of my life.

We don’t know it all. Scientists are still searching for the cure to cancer, patients still die from properly prescribed drugs (source/source), and today’s hot new cure-all home remedy might end up having serious side effects.

This lack of omnipotence isn’t limited to the realm of health, of course. There is so much left to uncover in every arena. It should inspire us to dig deeper and search more diligently.

But at the end of the day, we are human. Part of being human is not knowing everything. And that should provoke us to humility in our health choices, and food choices, and educational choices. In short, in every aspect of our lives.

Faith in the One who does know all

Our limitations should also point us to our Creator.

Sometimes I wonder if God sits in heaven and laughs. I wonder if He laughs when we go about our days absolutely confident that the latest idea we’ve read is going to work, only to see it fizzle or backfire.

I wonder if He patiently proves to us over and over that we don’t know it all so that we learn to put our trust in Him.

Because, unlike us, God is omnipotent. He does know all. Our lack of knowledge is just one more reason to put our faith in His mighty hands. Not in a I-might-as-well-give-up sort of way, but in joyful faith that He loves and cares about us even more than we do ourselves.

After four long pregnancies, I discovered that the folic acid I'd been taking faithfully didn't do me an ounce of good (thanks to a fairly common genetic alteration I needed a different form of this vital nutrient.) At first I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Then I realized that so much of life is unknown. We do our best with the limited information we have, but in the end have to learn humility and faith in the face of life's perplexing questions.

Humility and Faith in the Face of Life’s Questions

Life can be so annoyingly perplexing.  We are going to face many difficult questions on this journey of life. Rather than responding to them with pride or fear, our limitations should inspire humility and faith. (And maybe a few good laughs too.)

———————————————————————————————————–

**I still think folate is very important, just that folic acid is a synthetically-produced version of the necessary nutrient folate and my body can’t process the synthetic form (due to a fairly common genetic trait). Leafy green vegetables, lentils & beans, and citrus fruits are naturally high in folate, and methylated folate is a more natural form of the supplement my body can process.  Hopefully!

(photo credit)

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

Ideas to Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas (without going crazy)

Looking for memorable ways to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas, without wearing yourself thin? Here are a few simple ideas.

God became Man to redeem mankind. It’s a simply staggering fact. It’s such an important part of our faith, we have chosen to celebrate Christmas for 12 days.

That decision relieves a lot of the pressure I used to feel from trying to cram so much into such a short time. It also means thinking of ideas to celebrate for 12 whole days, without driving this minimalist Mama crazy.

If you’d like to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas, but find the thought overwhelming, here are few ideas to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas simply. 

On each of the days of Christmas, the children have a surprise in their stocking. It isn’t always a gift. Sometimes it’s a certificate for a family activity. Sometimes it’s a note letting them know we’re hosting friends. Sometimes it’s a group game or gift. Sometimes it’s an opportunity to serve others together.

Here’s a peak at my plans for this year. (Assuming, of course, that I don’t come down with a terrible bug on New Years!)

Simple Ideas to Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas

  • Day 1: Celebrate with extended family.
  • Day 2: Make a Christmas-themed craft together.
  • Day 3: Buy a new game for the family. Play it together while eating homemade caramel corn (without corn syrup).
  • Day 4: Make cookies and bring it to someone we wanted to visit before Christmas, but couldn’t find time to.
  • Day 5: Give everyone a new book. (These are our favorite storybooks.) Read them aloud.
  • Day 6: Host a movie night of an old family favorite, like Follow Me Boys.
  • Day 7: Go bowling as a family.
  • Day 8: Sponsor a gift for children in need.
  • Day 9: Let them pick a family to invite over for dinner. Make it a feast.
  • Day 10: Give them passes for a favorite place (zoo, museum, amusement park, etc.)
  • Day 11: Go to the theater and watch a family movie together.
  • Day 12: (Twelfth Night) Celebrate Jesus being manifested to the Gentiles by hosting an internationally-themed potluck. Have each friend bring a favorite ethnic dish, dress up (if they want) and play fun ethnic music while we feast together. (If I’m feeling really ambitious, put on a skit of the wise men worshipping Christ.)

Looking for simple ways to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas? Here's how I keep it simple but memorable.

photo credit

As you can see, making the 12 days of Christmas a memorable occasion for your children doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Use these simple ideas to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas while relaxing and enjoying the holiday.

3 Reasons We Celebrate 12 Days of Christmas

For Christians, Christmas is a huge deal. That's one reason why we take 12 whole days to celebrate it.

Did you ever wake up the morning after Christmas as a child totally dejected that the celebration was over already? You spent weeks (or even months) anticipating the big day, and it was over in just a few hours. It almost seemed wrong. Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas extends the joy for almost two weeks.

For Christians, Christmas is a huge deal. We’re celebrating the staggering fact that God became a man.

Here are three reasons we celebrate the 12 days of Christmas.

Celebrating 12 Days of Christmas gives the holiday its proper weight.

The Israelites spent eight whole days celebrating Passover. They spent eight whole days celebrating the Feast of Booths.

The truth that God became Man to redeem mankind is even more incredible than Passover. Medieval Christians thought so, and so they reasoned that we should celebrate Christmas even longer than Passover was celebrated.

I think they got this right. That’s one reason why we’re celebrating the 12 days of Christmas.Celebrating 12 Days of Christmas lets us bask in the whole story

Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas also allows up to bask in the whole story.

While it’s totally possible to enjoy the whole Christmas story during advent and Christmas day, celebrating the 12 days of Christmas allows us to highlight and rejoice in each aspect: Jesus coming as Messiah, His humble birth in a manger, the visit of the Shepherds, the worship of the wise men.

It gives us time to grieve over the death of the innocent baby boys in Bethlehem and rejoice that Jesus came to conquer death.

Celebrating 12 Days of Christmas is practical

We’ve settled the point that Christmas deserves to be celebrated BIG, but the practical result if you try to cram all the bigness into one day, is totally overwhelmed kids (and moms.)

Of all the holidays, Christmas is the most material. It celebrates God becoming a Man after all. Real tangible gifts are one way to celebrate that. But sometimes the meaning can be completely drowned in piles of wrapping paper.

Since both of our family’s live in the area, this “problem” is compounded. We celebrate Christmas Eve with my family, then head over around midnight to spend Christmas day with Joshua’s family. (Yes, our families are crazy night owls.) Both celebrations result in a staggering amount of goodies.

Trying to squeeze our own family celebration into the mix is way too insane. With 11 more days to work with, we can spread out our gifts to the children instead of having them get lost in golden glitter at the grandparents.

Also, if you want to take advantage of after-Christmas sales (or, ahem, procrastinated) celebrating for twelve days gives you the flexibility to shop after Christmas!

Ever wonder what the 12 days of Christmas were about? This is why we celebrate them.

photo credit

Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas

Christmas deserves to be celebrated big because God became man to redeem us. Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas allows us to give it more of the celebration it deserves, bask in the whole grand story, and avoid glitter overload.

But if the thought of finding 12 gifts for each child is totally overwhelming, you’re not alone. Here are some of the simple ways we celebrate without breaking the bank (or driving this minimalist mama crazy) while making wonderful memories.