Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christ-Centered Christmas

I got another early Christmas present! Hal and Melanie Young sent me a copy of their newest ebook to review, Christ-Centered Christmas. I was afraid I might be a little biased because I love Hal and Melanie - their book Raising Real Men is one of my very favorites - but this book really is just great.
What I appreciate about the Youngs is that they tell you the why and the how. They tell you the history of different traditions and how they've implemented them in their own family. That makes it very easy to adapt the tradition to your family without losing the meaning.
They also make an excellent point about our celebrations being a means to "draw the people around us towards Him." In all the hustle and bustle of cooking and cleaning it's easing to forget the purpose. When I focus on the why of what I'm doing, the how is a pleasure instead of a burden.
Another thing I love about the book is the beautiful artwork they've chosen. The kids and I are using it as an imprompto art unit. Combined with all the hymns they've included (with links to the music), it really is nice unit study for school.
And they deal really nicely with the whole Santa thing and just with gift-giving in general. My favorite quote - "So, don't let gifts rule your season, let your gifts reflect your heart and soul!"
The whole book is excellent and they're offering it for $6 right now. Thanks so much, Hal and Melanie for sharing it with me!

Sister Shoebox Swap

I was so excited to take part in Monica and Carrie's Sister Shoebox Swap this year! It's always so much fun to choose little things you think your "sister" might like and then to get your own goodie box in the mail! Moms like surprises sometimes, too!
The theme this time was Merry and I was feeling very merry when I opened up this box full of gifts from Kendra! I was tickled to have her for a sister because I've been reading her blog forever.

Kendra had wrapped up lots of things so it felt like Christmas morning! She sent beautiful burgandy yarn so I can work on my very amateur knitting skills. I've already started in on the breakfast tea (which I love!) but I'm saving some for Christmas morning to go with the red velvet pancake mix! Oh yum! Red velvet is my very favorite cake - I'm pretty sure it will be my favorite pancakes, too! Precious cupcake liners and picks saved the day for me last weekend when I threw together a children's Christmas party at church. So cute! Adorable ornaments and a pine candle (I love this scent! I'd never tried it before) have it looking and smelling Christmasy around here. And look at those pretty gift tags...they have little jewels! There were yummy little candies (spicy!) to snack on and a pretty little apple candle and a very special necklace (that's it right down front).
Kendra, thank you so much for putting this together for me. It came on a very hard day when I was just wrung out. Knowing I had a present to open when everyone finally went to bed made all the difference in the world!