Friday, November 30, 2012

Our December Plans

(Wrapping our Christmas books to be chosen, unwrapped and read starting tomorrow!)

This year I am getting back to something I started seven years ago but stopped along the way. I learned from one of my Five In A Row sisters that she took the entire month of December off from regular homeschool work to just enjoy the month of Advent. She baked with her children, read delightful books, enjoyed crafts and movies and hot chocolate. That same precious mom was then pregnant with her fifth child. She passed away in childbirth a few months later. When she passed away, I was pregnant with Maya, my fifth child. That dear lady's death had a profound impact on me, even though I had never met her in person. That she felt so led by God to take the entire month of December off to make beautiful, cozy memories with her children is something I will never forget, and I'm sure those children must treasure each and every memory they have of her. Now, not to worry, I do not believe I am going to die any time soon. But really, time is flying by and these children will only be under my care on a daily basis for a very short time. I want to make the most of every minute and season we have together. 

I have done something similar by taking off from our regular school work during the holidays, but it was several years ago. When I told the children that I have something different planned for this December, they all perked up and wanted to know what my idea was. I told them how we had done this in years past and that I wanted to do so again, and as you can imagine, they were eager and enthusiastic.

So I am having fun planning what books, crafts, movies, baking, etc. we will be doing. Along with the Christmas and advent activities, we will also be working through a unit study by Amanda Bennett called Expedition Israel. Click here to view more details. We started it Tuesday and I am so excited about what we are learning and discovering. It is a blessing to have all five of my loves sitting at the table with me, instead of being spread out in their separate spaces all over the house.

Expedition Israel is on sale for $5 right now through December 21. Click here to view more details.

Click here to visit Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett.

Happy Holidays and may you also make merry memories with your loved ones this December!

{Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.  Thank you very much for supporting The Scarlett Thread.}

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I am home with a sore back this morning. I'm not sure what I've done to it but prayers for healing are appreciated. I am sad not to worship with my Free Life family today and rejoice with them over all the testimonies of thanksgiving that are going to be shared today. I am basking in the Father's love and goodness today, in spite of my small ailment. 

Hallelujah! Thank God ! Pray to him by name! Tell everyone you meet what he has done! Sing him songs, belt out hymns, translate his wonders into music! Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs, you who seek  God . Live a happy life! Keep your eyes open for  God , watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence. Remember the world of wonders he has made, his miracles, and the verdicts he's rendered— O seed of Abraham, his servant, O child of Jacob, his chosen. (Psalm 105:1-6 MSG)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas Favourites

I have held off on this post until after American Thanksgiving because it seemed like the Thanksgiving holiday was being taken over by American consumerism/commercialism and I didn't want to fall into that trap. I have already purchased a few small gifts but I haven't played any Christmas music or watched any Christmas movies until yesterday.

So let the Christmas festivities begin!

One of the most memorable traditions we started 10 or 11 years ago was something I learned on the Five in a Row message boards. I wrap 24 Christmas books in Christmas-themed wrapping paper and place them in a basket. Each morning, starting December 1, one of the children gets to go to the basket and chose a book to be unwrapped and read. I haven't carried out this tradition in the last two years, due to travel and moving, so we are bringing this one back for December 2012 and all the children are excited about it!

Here are our top 5 favourite Christmas books (I took a quick poll):
One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
Elmo's Christmas Colors (Golden Sturdy Board Books) by  Constance Allen
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston
The Mitten 20th Anniversary Edition by Jan Brett

Here are the advent books we use and love:
Jotham's Journey: A Storybook for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide
Bartholomew's Passage: A Family Story for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide
Tabitha's Travels: A Family Story for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide (We are reading this one this year.)

And here are a few more we've collected over the years or check out from our local library:
If You're Missing Baby Jesus: A True Story that Embraces the Spirit of Christmas by Jean Gietzen
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey with CD: Gift Edition by Susan Wojciechowski
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
Dream Snow by Eric Carle
A Christmas Carol: A Young Reader's Edition of the Classic Holiday Tale by Charles Dickens (A Young Reader’s Edition)
The Night Before Christmas: The Anniversary Edition by Clement C. Moore

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
Christmas In The Country by Cynthia Rylant
Madeline's Christmas (Picture Puffins) by Ludwig Bemelmans
My Christmas Treasury (Little Golden Books) by Gale Wiersum
Just in Time for Christmas by Louise Borden
Angelina's Christmas (Angelina Ballerina) by Katharine Holabird
The Christmas dolls: A Butterfield Square story (A Yearling book) by Carol Beach York
A Full House: An Austin Family Christmas by Madeleine L’Engle
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff
The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola

The Shoe Box (novella) by Francine Rivers
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
One Snowy Night by M. Christina Butler

Thomas' Christmas Delivery (Thomas & Friends) (A Sparkle Storybook) by Tommy Stubbs

Christmas-themed movies (We don't own many of these but can find them at our local library.):
White Christmas (Anniversary Edition)
Miracle on 34th Street (Special Edition)
Miracle on 34th Street (We enjoy the older version and this newer one. The Santa in this one reminds me of my dad for some reason.)
The Bells of St. Mary's
A Charlie Brown Christmas (Remastered Deluxe Edition)

I would love to know your favourite Christmas books and movies! Please share in the comments.

{Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.  Thank you very much for supporting The Scarlett Thread.}