I admire fresh, natural, and simple Christmas decorations like a real pine bough wreath, a basket of pine cones, or a bright poinsettia. The boys and I recently had fun at home learning how to string an Old Fashioned Holiday Garland. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Yesterday at school, a 5th grade student told me her mother was “Cra cra about Christmas.”
“Like, totally cra cra, Mrs. Lennig! I’m blinded by all the Christmas lights in the house and she keeps having me do Christmas crafts. It’s just too much! And the music . . . OMG . . . she totally . . . ”
I only could chuckle as she went on and on. Admittedly, I might be a little “cra cra” about Christmas myself! Why, just last weekend, I gathered my children for a Christmas craft of our own: a simple, handmade snowflake ornament.
I recently shared a post about The Best Holiday Gifts for Kids. That post is important to me because everyday in my work as an Elementary School Counselor, I feel frustrated by the lack of family connection and simplicity that many children experience. Nowadays, it seems too many children are hurt by playing second fiddle to technology, career advancement, and their parents’ social lives. It’s simple: the best holiday gifts you can give a child are your time, attention, energy, and love.
With that said, I should mention that my family does indeed enjoy the Christmas tradition of exchanging gifts. Santa visits our home, whether or not my children are “naughty or nice,” and brings them one really great Christmas gift. I am not a toy expert, but I do pay attention to my children’s interests. I do read Amazon reviews. I do care about the usefulness of a toy, the price tag, and whether or not it needs batteries. Listed below are the top holiday toys on my shopping list this Christmas season.
Last Saturday, I found myself with a morning alone. This doesn’t happen often, so I decided to take complete advantage of it! After a stop at the local coffee shop, I wandered down to my favorite antique store, steaming cup in hand. I don’t keep a large antique collection, but do love to run my fingers across vintage kitchen supplies, toys, magazines, and hats. I was hoping to find some vintage Christmas cards to make the boys a collection of Craft Stick Christmas Puzzles, but instead took home a damaged copy of the 1966 Christmas Golden Book, Santa’s Surprise Book, by Joan Potter Elwart. It was perfect for my project!
A daily dose of outdoor play allows children to interact with their environment, builds physical strength, and encourages kids to creatively solve problems. With that knowledge and my passion for getting children outside to play, I’m so excited to be one of the hosts for the Go Outside and Play! Bloghop.
Listed below are 10 ways to go outside and play! For more ideas, consider following Kids in Nature, a collaborative Pinterest Board devoted to nature-inspired crafts and activities.
The best holiday gifts for children require no wrapping paper, ribbons, or cost. But they do require a substantial investment . . . you!
My child has just fallen asleep to the song of my breath, yet I can’t bring myself to leave his side. Instead, I breathe in his hair, cup my hand gently over the side of his face, and begin to cry over the thought of this won’t last forever.
Since going back to work full-time, I’ve struggled to find balance. Stress-free, pancake battered mornings have been replaced with cold cereal, missing sneakers, and rushing through the door to my 7:40 staff meeting. I ache for the luxury of walking hand-in-hand through an empty park with Owen on a fall morning, grocery shopping on a slow Tuesday afternoon, and volunteering in Colin’s class. I miss my days at home with them so very much! But on the other hand, I feel incredibly thankful for my job. It’s just hard to do it all.
Most people I know have things like “swim with sharks” or “go sky-diving with bestie” on their bucket list. Me? Not so much. Some of my top items include:
- Host a cookie exchange party. (Really. It’s on there. Stop snickering!)
- Stand in Scotland and Italy where my ancestors once lived. (Okay. That one is pretty normal.)
- Make homemade Vapor Rub for my family during cold and flu season. (Oh, stop! I hear you snickering again.)
Today I’m happy to cross off one of those items. With the help of WellnessMama.com, I learned an amazing, basic salve recipe. With the addition of key essential oils, the salve becomes homemade Vapor Rub, and works perfectly to ease congestion.
The weather has turned and with it came piles of leaves and all manner of illness: pink eye, upset tummies, strep throat, fevers, coughs, and colds. Funny how the past two years (when my children were home with me and we were without health insurance due to job loss and hard economic times) were our healthiest ever. Now, recovering and back on our feet, we can’t seem to outsmart the sick bugs! I realize I’ve not yet shared those stressful times with you on this blog, but it’s good for you to know that blogging helped me through them and gave me hope for the future. Instead of focusing on the pennies in my purse or the lack of a permanent address, I focused on my parenting. I focused on simplicity. I focused on nourishing meals. I focused on myself. In the process, I found my voice, rediscovered lost interests, and was given the gift of a new lens on life.
When my kiddos are sick, I dote on them with new coloring books and movies. I prepare their favorite foods and constantly offer juice, water, and smoothies. We snuggle and rest, wrapped in the warmth of a fleece blanket and each other’s arms. In an effort to give them a healthy snack and soothe their sore throats with something sweet, I cooked a batch of Salted Caramel Apple Dip. I read through many recipes on the web, but eventually decided on this one from the wonderful 52 Kitchen Adventures.