Merry Christmas!

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We are home for Christmas, which was our contractor’s goal after the wildfires and the damage at our house. But our house is not completely fixed yet. The wood flooring has to be replaced all over the house due to water damage after a tree fell and punctured the roof in several places, followed by rain that night.

Christmas at Downton Abbey

Christmas at Downton Abbey is a 2-CD collection of traditional Christmas melodies sung by some of the cast members from the iconic TV series and others

We are thankful and counting our blessings though. The children opened presents earlier in the morning and were very excited to receive new things to build and play with. We draw strength from their enthusiasm and childlike excitement.  Continue reading »

We had dinner at home and my husband’s mom came over with her husband. I cooked a simpler meal than at Thanksgiving: vegetarian turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, walnut gravy, salad with Olive Garden dressing, steamed corn, sweet potato casserole, and pumpkin pie. We drank different Martinelli sparkling non-alcoholic ciders. Christmas at Downton Abbey played in the background – my favorite Christmas collection for two years now.

In other words, we had a good Christmas dinner, like many of you, I am sure. I really enjoy being at home, in my kitchen, laying a nice tablecloth on the dining room table, and seeing my family eat. It’s the simple things in life that bring us the most satisfaction.

As far as homeschooling, we started a Christmas break last Wednesday. For the next two weeks, we will only cover Bible, violin and piano. The children have received lots of new toys and books to engage with and I need to decompress after a very busy year. Don’t we all.

Develop Artistic Talent with Holiday DIY Project

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With Christmas coming up soon, it’s a great time for moms to work on DIY projects with their homeschoolers. We shouldn’t get so caught up in teaching our children the alphabet and math that we forget about art. Encouraging kids to be creative and artistic is something all parents should be doing.

Not very artistic yourself? It’s no problem. There are still a lot of fun, easy ways you can help your kids develop their own artistic talent.

Here are some ways you can help your child work on his or her creativity in the coming weeks:

Continue reading »

Nativity coloring – Print out some nativity coloring pages from sites like Bible Printables and This can be a fun activity for younger children. It’s a great way to help them learn the meaning of Christmas and to work on their creative side.

Creating gifts – The possibilities are endless. Every year, I give my kids a list of ideas and let them decide on which fun gifts they want to make. Homemade jewelry is always a fun project for girls. For boys, there are fun activities like mini clay bowls and bottle cap magnets. If there are a lot of people to make gifts for, you might want to get this project started ASAP.

Incorporate art lessons in holiday decorating – Don’t just have your child help put up the same ole’ generic decorations. Encourage him or her to be creative. Which light color scheme will look the best? Will gold or silver picture frames look better on the fireplace? Would a white tree or green tree complement the surrounding decor better? HGTV offers a color wheel primer to help you get started. It’s okay if younger kids go overboard with decorations – the whole point is to let them be creative and to have fun.

Don’t forget about digital art – Even if you don’t know much about Photoshop or any other digital art software, you will find plenty of useful tutorials for you and your child both. It’s something mommies and kiddies can learn together. I didn’t even know how to edit a photo, let alone do digital drawing, but I watched some YouTube videos, looked over some beginner’s guides, and just experimented. You don’t have to spend a fortune on software – just use good ole’ Microsoft Paint. Practice drawing a Christmas tree or Santa with a paint program. Or learn how to edit a family photo. You could also use digital art programs to create Christmas cards.

Making and writing cards – Speaking of which, creating Christmas cards is a great way to combine art and writing lessons. Whether you make the cards digitally or the old fashioned way, with markers or paint and crafting paper, you can encourage your child to come up with a design and write a message. Personalizing the cards helps kids with their spelling as well.

Some of these art projects are better for younger kids and some for older kids. Whichever project you pick, make sure it’s something your child will enjoy doing. Take note of what he or she is good at, whether it’s coloring, painting, photoshopping, coming up with a color scheme, etc… and help him or her further develop those strong points in the future.


Guest post by Sam Jones, a digital marketing expert, social media and branding consultant and guest blogger for various publications, including Business2Community, and EZSiteBuilders. In her free time, Sam is an avid traveler, foodie and lover of all things technology. She’s also a fitness fanatic (in the making). 

Mom Monday Week 51 – Merry Christmas!

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This year, I discovered the secret to a peaceful and relaxed December. Are you ready for it? You know, the ONE thing you need to do in order to stay sane through the holiday season, Christmas shopping, and the end of the semester. Drum roll, please… Get sick.

Yes, friends, get sick. If you get sick, the amount of work your family will allow you to do is minimal. Everybody will pitch in a bit here and there. You discover that the whole operation will move on just fine without your efforts. It’s brilliant!

mom monday wk51

I should patent this idea: eat a lot of sweets through November and extra pie at Thanksgiving, so that your immune system gets overwhelmed and completely unable to deal with the viruses going around. And work extra hard through November, too, to the point of exhaustion. That is a sure recipe for sickness in December. And you’re off the hook with the Christmas preparations.  Continue reading »

You will have to cancel most of the events on your calendar – and discover that your children will learn just as much at home, while they have to feed and clothe themselves. You will learn how to make soup in ten minutes before running back to bed. Your husband will not tire of making you tea. It’s almost romantic.

Also, you will learn that some events simply cannot be canceled and you may have to drive your kids around town half sick (you and them). After all, a lot of people go to work with a cold and a runny nose. So should you, dear homeschooling mom.

As I am recovering from this month-long sickness, I feel wiser. Guess what? I could not send Christmas cards this year and the world still keeps on turning. Who knew?

Cards were just one of those Christmas projects that I had to smile sadly towards. “Not this year, dear!…”

I wish you a Merry Christmas, if you celebrate this holiday! And remember it’s a holiday for your, too.

Advent Calendar Activities

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Advent Calendars come in many shapes and sizes, like Kubla Crafts Stuffed Oh Christmas Tree Fabric Advent Calendar or Wood Advent Tree w/ 24 Storage Drawers -Ready to Paint Unfinished. Homeschoolers love to make their own, too. Sometimes.

This year, I will use this blog post as my Advent Calendar. As we do each activity, I will update this post with a picture or a link. Our Advent Calendar will double as a homeschool record.

Here are our daily Advent Calendar Activities:

1. Put up the Christmas tree.

Daddy and children setting up the Christmas tree

Daddy and children setting up the Christmas tree

2. Decorate the rest of the house.

I bought a simple wreath at the Christmas Store in Pigeon Forge and added things we already had - a bow, a couple of bells and an ornament

I bought a simple wreath at the Christmas Store in Pigeon Forge and added things we already had – a bow, a couple of bells and an ornament.

Wooden Advent Calendar

I had given up on finding the right Advent Calendar for us this year, when I ran into this beauty at Tuesday Morning in Pigeon Forge.

3. Every day sing/learn Christmas carols/hymns. This whole month we sing Christmas hymns at family worship times. My favorite is Adeste Fideles (O, Come, All Ye Faithful). I hope my children can learn it in Latin in a few years.

4. Drive through Gatlinburg at night, to see the lights.

Christmas lights abound in Gatlinburg - Winter Fest is what they call it. It starts in November and ends in March.

Christmas lights abound in Gatlinburg – Winter Fest is what they call it. It starts in November and ends in March.

5. Pick up books about Christmas at the library.

Children reading books on floor

My children got lost in books at the library and just hit the floor.

6. Make Christmas crafts.

LEGO nativity scene - baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, grazing sheep, a donkey, a camel, and an angel

I asked my son to build a LEGO nativity scene. I gave him instructions from a website, but he came up with his own, as he did not have all the right bricks. Please note the angel on the barn. Also, the donkey, camel and two grazing sheep. I intentionally blurred the Holy Family because, well, they look a bit too modern – especially Joseph. But I did not want to buy the LEGO figures with their robes. I wanted my son to build his own and I think he did a fantastic job. Baby Jesus looked really cute.

Children trimming a craft Christmas tree

My children working on a Christmas tree craft at the library, after Story Time. We live in a small, tourist town, so often we are the only ones attending such programs. It’s a pity. The children’s librarian puts together such meaningful programs.

7. Take a nature walk and note object lessons. Update: the weather was rainy and cold. We stayed in and listened to Pandora’s Classical Christmas Station while working on Christmas crafts.

8. Take a family picture.

9. Bake cookies for neighbors. We bake several batches throughout the month.

10. Learn the 12 Days of Christmas song.

11. Point out the 12 Days of Christmas symbols in Pigeon Forge.

12. Make a gingerbread house.

13. Write Christmas cards.

14. Take a nature walk. If we have snow, make a snow man.

15. Bake cookies for neighbors. We bake several batches throughout the month.

16. Make Christmas crafts.

17. Attend a Christmas concert or watch one on TV/youtube. We attended the Sevier County Choral Society concert at the Presbyterian Church in Gatlinburg. I used to sing with this choir before we had children.

18. Bake cookies for ourselves.

19. Get more Christmas books from the library.

20. Make more Christmas crafts.

21. Take a nature walk and/or play in the snow.

22. Bake cookies for neighbors. We bake several batches throughout the month.

23. Start cooking for the big meal. Find ways to let the kids help.

24. Finish cooking while still letting them help.

Hope this gives you some ideas for your homeschool this December. Please leave me a comment below with your celebrations, activities and resources.