Category Archives: ReadGoodBooks

Keeping Christ in Christmas… #3

(To Start with #1, click here)

We love to read in our family. Books at bedtime is a normal routine. But during the Christmas season it’s nice to make it special and show the kids that our time reading together really is a gift. There are so many wonderful Christmas books out there to point our children to Christ. I love this fun way to present them….

Begin a collection of Christmas books that will help “Keep Christ in Christmas”. Each year when December arrives wrap each book in Christmas wrapping and ribbon, then place the wrapped books in a basket and place the basket near your fireplace or tree. Each night before bed throughout the month or the week preceeding Christmas (or however long you choose), the kids can pick a “gift” to unwrap and read together. Most of the books are the same from the year before, but your kids will still be excited because they haven’t read them in a whole year! Some of the books become favorites and they hope for it as they’re unwrapping. Some years you can surprise them with a new book in the collection. If you don’t have the funds to go out and purchase an entire collection, just start with one or two and get the others from the library. Then add to the collection with one or two each year. Just don’t forget to keep track of library due dates on the outside of the wrapping!! 🙂

Here are a few book suggestions to get you started….

~The Christmas Miracle of Jonathon Toomey, by Susan Wojciechowski
~Christmas Tapestry, by Patricia Polacco
~One Wintry Night, by Ruth Bell Graham
~The Legend of the Candy Cane, by Lori Walburg
~Tale of Three Trees, by Angela Elwell Hunt
~The Crippled Lamb, by Max Lucado
~Saint Nicholas, The Real Story of the Christmas Legend, by Julie Steigemeyer
~The Shoe Box, by Francine Rivers
~The Christmas Bird, by Sallie Ketcham
~Miracle in a Shoebox, A Christmas Gift of Wonder, by Franklin Graham
~The Real 12 Days of Christmas, by Helen Haidle
~The Candymaker’s Gift, by David and Helen Haidle
~The Very First Christmas, by Paul L. Maier

Happy Reading!!

Check back for more great ideas throughout the month to help Keep Christ in Christmas!!

(Jump to #4)

Keeping Christ in Christmas.

I’ve been blessed to have many ideas shared with me on keeping Christ as the priority of our Christmas celebration. A friend at Community Bible Study in Nevada shared a list of great ideas with us a few years ago and I’ve adopted many of them. I hope some of these ideas will find their way into your celebration. Be blessed! …

Advent: means coming. It is a celebration of our eager expectation of the coming of Christ! Both his first coming… many years ago in Bethlehem… and his second coming…. soon to arrive! What better way to spend the next month than devoting time spent with the Lord each day in eager anticipation of His coming!!

We have thoroughly enjoyed reading an advent book together as a family the last few years. The time spent together with one another and the Lord and the things he has taught us has been a treasure!! A wonderful trilogy that I can’t reccomend highly enough is by Arnold Ytreeide. It brings to life the time of Christ’s birth through the eyes of three different children and their circumstances which bring them to his birth. They are all three wonderful! Not for very young children though… they may find parts a bit scary. (Like kidnapping, etc.)  Preview it first… you know your kids. We read the first one when our boys were 6, 8, and 11.

1. Jotham’s Journey:  About a lost shepherd boy who dodges kidnappers, robbers, and jackels in a perilous journey to rejoin his family. Along the way, he follows a bright star that leads him to the Christ child in a manger in Bethlehem.
2. Bartholomew’s Passage: About 10-year old Bartholomew’s escape from Roman soldiers, his search for his missing family, and the miracle he experiences in Bethlehem.
3. Tabatha’s Travels: About a shepherd’s daughter, as her family travels to Bethlehem for the census. Along the way her father is imprisoned by the Romans, so she stays with Zachary and Elizabeth, and helps Mary and Joseph just before Jesus’ birth.

Each book is broken up into daily reading, followed by related devotion and scripture. It can spark some wonderful family discussion. They are also enjoyable enough to do on your own no matter what age you are!

Another great advent book for younger children is “The Advent Book” By Jack and Kathy Stockman which tells the Christmas story through 25 pages, each with a unique door that opens to gorgeous illustrations. We read this every year, even as the boys get older and right alongside other books.

In our family, there have been days skipped when Adam had to work, which we made up on his days off. There have been years that we’ve gotten a late start… and just read a little extra here and there. Don’t let things like that keep you from the blessing! Really, you will be so glad you took the time! Enjoy!

Check back for some more great ideas throughout the month to help Keep Christ in Christmas!!
(Jump to idea #2)

Snippets from our recent life

~Has it only been 5 weeks since we arrived here in Texas? We feel like it’s home. The routine is in place and life is being lived. Everything’s unpacked and the everyday messes are being made.
~We are absolutely blessed by the Lord through Calvary Chapel Lake Cities!! On our way home from church last night Adam and I both said we’ve been moved to tears by the Lord every service so far. (Well, technically Adam said almost to tears, but I think that’s a guy thing.)
~We’re speaking with a southern accent a lot lately. And not because we now live in Texas, but because our current bedtime read is “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”.
~I think I’ve become a thrift store junkie. The Lord has blessed us with some incredible “finds” to replace our “losts”. (Is that a word?)
~Music lessons began yesterday. My kids have been wanting to learn the keyboard and guitar for awhile now. I decided to teach them. Ok, it’s been a while, and I’ve lost a lot of my hearing since then, but after a little piano, clarinet, saxophone, and guitar, I think I still remember the basics. We’ll see. And we can always search for a new teacher as they surpass me.
~This morning they wanted to practice, and keep practicing, and keep practicing. Two hours later they were playing a song, taking video, and sending it to Nana. I might be seeking a new teacher sooner than I thought.

~When did my children become old enough to add “mow the lawn” to their chore list? And why does Mom still have some fear about that? They are old enough!! Stop stressing Stacy!
~My reader (Nate) checked out 3, quite thick, books from the library last week. I told him, we have to return them in two weeks, Are you sure you’ll finish them all? He was sure. One week later he wants to know if we can go back to the library to get more books.

~White carpet is not a wise choice for a family with 4 boys and 2 dogs.

~With Daddy’s encouragement, Teddy pulled two of his loose teeth out the other night. Daddy brought home a new movie… Madagascar… to say “good job”. Endy has been trying like crazy to pull some teeth out ever since then.

~Community Bible Study has been a blessing for us in multiple states!! Nevada, California, and now Texas!

~Dry erase markers + a big white board = hours of entertainment.

~We had a fun time trying to think of as many things as we could to describe the “reason” for the brilliant lightening and crashing thunder that was keeping us awake the other night. Oh not the boring scientific explanation… the fun stuff… like the angels are rearranging their furniture. (Ok, mom stuck a few scientific and spiritual lessons in there too. I take my opportunities.)

~Nick decided fractions were a lot more fun when you get to eat the results…. We multiplied the recipe to make… way too many cookies.

~The $1.00 movie theatre is our new friend. Adam can take all of the boys for $5.00 plus some popcorn, and I get a little time to myself. Aaahhhh.

~Endy has not gotten car sick since we’ve been here. There are some advantages to a big, flat state with straight, open roads.

~Of couse, Texas also has it’s disadvantages… such as red ant hills lining the sidewalks and a gecko on my bedroom wall. (I don’t care how small it is honey, it still does not belong on my bedroom wall!)

~Is it really time to make dinner already? Didn’t I just do that last night?

~Yep, It’s just an ordinary life…. blessed to be in the hands of an extraordinary God!

Our favorites: A (boys) homeschool read-aloud list

Across Five Aprils…… By: Irene Hunt
Around the World in Eighty Days…… By: Jules Verne
Black Ships Before Troy….. By Rosemary Sutcliff
Bronze Bow, The….. By Elizabeth George Speare
By the Great Horn Spoon….. By Sid Fleischman
Chronicles of Narnia, The (Series)….. By C.S. Lewis
Door in the Wall, The…… By: Marguerite de Angeli
Dragon and the Raven, The….. G.A. Henty
Ivanhoe….. By Sir Walter Scott
Johnny Tremain…… By: Esther Forbes
Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, The…… By: Howard Pyle
Mocassin Trail…… By: Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Old Yeller…… By: Fred Gipson
Om-kas-toe…… By: Kenneth Thomasma
Paddle to the Sea…… By: Holling Clancy Holling
Red Sails to Capri…… By: Ann Weil
Robinson Crusoe…… By: Daniel DeFoe
Secret of the Andes…… By: Ann Nolan Clark
Sign of the Beaver, The…… By: Elizabeth George Speare
Story of King Arthur and His Knights, The…… By: Howard Pyle
Treasure Island…… By: Robert L. Stevenson
Twenty-one Balloons, The…… By: William Pene du Bois
Wanderings of Odysseus, The….. Rosemary Sutcliff
Wind in the Willows, The…… By: Kenneth Grahame
Aesop For Children, The…… By: Aesop
Along Came a Dog,,,,,, By: Meindert DeJong
Child’s Garden of Verses, A…… By: Robert L. Stevenson
Cricket in Times Square, The…… By: George Selden
Hardy Boys, The (Series)….. By Franklin W. Dixon
House At Pooh Corner, The …… By: A.A. Milne
McBroom’s Wonderful One-Acre Farm…… By: Sid Fleischman
Mice of the Seven Seas…… By: Tim Davis
Missionary Stories With the Millers…… By: Mildred A.Martin
Mouse and the Motorcycle, The…… By: Beverly Cleary
Mr. Poppers Penguins…… By: Atwater
Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims…… By: Clyde Robert Bulla
Where the Sidewalk Ends…… By: Shel Silverstein
Whipping Boy, The….. By Sid Fleischman