Christmas Gifts for Children… Precedence, Disappointment, and Gratefulness

I heard some mothers talking the other day about how their children were disappointed when they didn’t receive a lot of gifts for Christmas.  It saddened me.  I have a word that has guided my gift giving with my children.

Precedence…. What does that word mean to you?

I looked it up on http://www.dictionary.com/. As I was looking for definitions, most were related to law precedents. That tells me it’s a pretty strong word. I am most interested in the first definition that the American Heritage Dictionary presented:

“An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances. “
This is the definition that has been a guiding thought for me. In the past, my family has been much more affluent than we are currently. Nevertheless, I have always thought about the precedents that I am setting with my children when we give gifts for celebrate special days and holidays. For instance, even when we could afford it, and wanted to give my children their first bicycles, I would not buy such a gift for Christmas or a birthday. We don’t give many big gifts; we never have.

During the year, I look for gifts that I think they will enjoy. I put them away in a box until their birthdays, Christmas, or an I Love You day. Because I don’t give big gifts, they don’t expect them. Because I don’t give them often, they are thrilled when they receive one.

Does this mean my children are disappointed with their Christmas gifts?  On the contrary, they are happy with what they receive.  Thrilled in fact.

When we don’t set a high precedence of expectation, our children are free to be grateful for the gifts they do receive.  They can truly enjoy their gifts without thought of cost or quantity.

I love my children.  I am not required to give them gifts.  I want to give them gifts.  They know that.  They are thankful and enjoy the gifts because they know I am giving them out of love.

Just something to think about…
Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage
Laura
Keeping it simple for our Savior

Another Busy Day Before Easter Resurrection Day….

On My Man’s agenda:

Buy or obtain:

baby chicken feed,

build a birdhouse with the kids at Lowe’s,

boxes,

shoes for just about everyone except the dog and the chicks,

straw bales for the garden,

clothes for him,

pillows,

and groceries.

I’m adding to the list:

yard sales,

coloring eggs with the kids,

resurrection cookies (just didn’t get to it because I was feeling ill),

an old Easter movie with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland.  I think it’s Easter Bonnet or something like that.  We watched it Sunday.  It was Easter Parade.

and maybe a stop for a soda or cappucino!

Have a great Preparation for Resurrection Day!

Laura

An Ingredient in My Recipe for Life and a Frugal Recipe

Dear Reader,

 I’m so happy to spend a few moments of this new month with you. Like you, I have many interests and many roles and responsibilities in my life. I am a wife, mother, my children’s teacher, homemaker, friend, and of course, a daughter of the King. Each month, as I write to you, I’d like to share with you a little about an ingredient that I believe helps us create an enjoyable, rich recipe for life. I’ll also share a favorite recipe to help make your life a little easier.

Reading is an integral part of my life’s recipe. I read to learn, to relax, to hope, to plan, to dream, and to glean from the experiences of others who have walked this way before. I am primarily a non-fiction reader. A few years ago, I added more fiction to my reading. I found that although I am all grown up, I really enjoy losing myself in a good story. As a full-time wife, mother, and my children’s teacher, I welcome those moments alone.

Time alone has taken on new meaning and different forms as each of my four children were added to our little family. What used to be uninterrupted hours of free time to read or pursue hobbies and other entertainment, has shrunk to snatched moments here and there. Still, I have managed to find moments for this beloved nourishment for my mind and companionship for my soul.

By reading, I am indeed allowing the author to nourish my thoughts and my imagination. I’m also enjoying the author’s companionship as I read. That’s why I often linger over favorite books, stretching the reading over weeks or even months. To finish the book means to end the companionship, unless I find another book she’s written. I say she because most of these books are written by women about my journey with Jesus, homemaking, frugal living, or homeschooling.

As a matter of discipline, I have a goal of reading 50 books a year. I keep a journal of the title, author, date completed, and a notation stating fiction, non-fiction, or with the children. This keeps me accountable for what I read, and it helps me to see that I’m reading a good variety. I believe what Zig Ziglar used to say, “You are who you are and what you are because of what has gone into your mind.” Reading is a big part of that for me.

I encourage you to make yourself a reading goal for the remainder year. It might not be 50 books. It might be 12; but, set a goal and start reading toward it. This year I set aside 50 books on my bookshelf that I’d like to read. Perhaps my interests will lead me to different books; but, I’ve got a plan. Make a plan for yourself. Think about books that will help you with your finances, your cooking skills, your homemaking skills, your people skills, your business skills, your Christian life, a hobby or a skill that you’d like to learn. Most importantly, though, make a BIBLE goal. Make it something attainable. After all, even one book, read over and over can change you. That’s what we really want after all, isn’t it? To be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ?

Now, to give you a little more time to sneak in a little of what I call snatch reading (snatch a moment here and there), here is one of my family’s favorite soup recipes. It’s frugal, too. Put it together and let it simmer on the back of the stove or in a crock pot while you snatch a few pages! May God bless you as you seek His face.

Laura

By the way, in case you’re wondering, I do count the books I read to my children that are chapter books and some of their history readers and that sort of thing.  I don’t read 50 just for me. ~grin~

I have also discovered books loaded onto an MP3 player that can hang around my neck at my library.  They are helping me to meet my goal and also stretch beyond my normal reading genres.  I recently listened to The Audacity of Hope by President Obama.  I don’t agree with him on many of his beliefs; but, it was good to know where he stands.  I also listened to Anastasia, The Last Grand Duchess (of Russia).  It was in the youth section; but was very informative.  I like history.

Marveling at the Wonders of New Life…Spring Chicks!

Marveling at the Wonders of New Life….

Our latest family project is raising chicks. We bought our six little chicks from my Friend Joyce’s young sons. They’re making a little business of it. We’ve had the chicks for a week and a half now and all are healthy and strong. I recommend buying from someone locally.


We’ve got the chicks in our garage now that it’s getting warmer and they’re getting bigger. It’s amazing how much they’ve grown in such a short time. These photos were taken when we first got them. It’s another great hands-on homeschooling project. I hope the little critters will reward us with some eggs, too.

They are a “straight run” meaning that there are girls and boys. The girls will be our hens. They should start giving us eggs in about 6 months. The boys will be the roosters. At 8 weeks, they’ll either be in the soup pot or sold.

My Friend Nancy told me that I could hold them by the head for a moment and they would either pull their feet up or put them straight down. The ones who pull their feet up are hens and the ones who put them straight down are roosters. We tried it and found we had three of each. Nancy tells me that the test is 99% accurate. We’ll see, won’t we?

Well, that’s enough for tonight. I’ve got to be up bright and early to work on a mailing for the Shepherd’s Guide.

Blessings to you!

Laura
Adding a Few Feathers to Our Nest

It’s Christmas!

Well, my friends, Christmas is here!  If you’re like me, you still have a lot of things on your to do list that are not going to be done for Christmas.

So, rather than beat ourselves up about it, let’s do our very best to let go of our perfect dream plans, and enjoy the reality of our holiday.  Very few of us will have Norman Rockwell or Currier and Ives Christmases.  Of course, now, I think we might be wanting Thomas Kincaid. ~smile~

So, if the house isn’t perfect, the tree isn’t perfect, the circumstances aren’t perfect, the gifts aren’t perfect, the turkey isn’t perfect, the meal isn’t perfect, the kids aren’t perfect, or the relatives aren’t perfect, let’s just let it go. 

After all, what started it all was God’s perfect gift to us.  He came to Earth as a baby, Jesus, to experience all the emotions, happiness, and suffering that we do.  He then gave us the gift of His life as payment for our sins, so that “if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”   1 John 1:9

That’s all that really matters this Christmas. 

The rest is just stuff.

Wishing you God’s peace and salvation,

Merry Christmas!

Laura

Happy at Home

My Daybook…

FOR TODAY, DECEMBER 8TH…
Outside my window…darkness.  It’s far before dawn here in Missouri.

I am thinking… I need to get busy.  I have to go to a nearby city for my husband’s office Christmas party.  I found out last night that we are to bring “White Elephant” gifts.  The $ limit is $10.  I’ll be shopping at home from my stash!
I am thankful for… an e-mail from my grandma!  She’s recently moved and I lost her for a few weeks!
From the learning rooms…  a shortened day because of my trip.  Definitely math, language arts, and reading.

From the kitchen…  quick and simple.  Breakfast-toast.  Lunch-soup made from yesterday’s leftover brisket, potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic.
I am wearing… Must I say?  I’m wearing my flannel nightgown.  It’s only 5:30 in the morning here as I write.
I am creating… a list in my head of things I want to create.  I’ll be writing them down soon.  Today, as we drive, I’ll probably be crocheting a hanging handle on a dishtowel.  I have a friend who has ordered two from me.   She doesn’t need them until after Christmas; but, it’s a project that will travel well.
I am going… to my husband’s office Christmas party.
I am hoping… to keep myself organized during this week.  After this week, much of the busy-ness of the season will be finished.  Then, I can focus on finishing projects.
I am hearing… nothing but the hum of the computer, the click of the keys, and silence.  It’s early, mind you!
Around the house… a few things to put away from the weekend…lots of laundry to be done…some ironing to do…more decorating to do.
One of my favorite things…poinsettias!  I hope my Honey reads this and gets the hint!
A few plans for the rest of the week:

Monday- Office Christmas Party

Tuesday-Homeschool Support Group Christmas Party

Wednesday-Caroling and ringing the bells at Wal-Mart with our church to raise money for Salvation Army.

Thursday-Kids’ homeschool Christmas Party

Friday-Friend’s Christmas party

Saturday-Craft fair in the day, just attending, and a Christmas play that night.

Sunday-possibly going to Branson to take in a show, if I can find a babysitter.

BREATHE LAURA BREATHE!
Here is picture thought I am sharing…

Making Cookies

Making Cookies

Visit the Simple Woman’s Daybook to see what other ladies are doing this week and to join in the fun.

It will be a very busy week, full of Christmas party preparations.

The only really important way that we must prepare for Christmas is in our hearts.  The rest of it is all for fun.  Let’s not forget that.  Jesus is the reason that we celebrate Christmas.  Jesus, the baby in the manger, God’s son, grew up to be the sinless sacrifice for our sins.  Let’s reclaim this holiday this year.

Laura

Keeping my Focus

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do or Do Without Advent Candy

One of the books that I really enjoy using at Christmas is the ADVENTure of Christmas by Lisa Whelchel. She writes about the meanings of various Christmas practices and symbols and ways to reclaim them for Jesus Christ, God’s son.

Sunday evening, as Advent began, we read about Advent Wreaths. There was an activity called Advent Calendar of Kisses. The idea is to take a long piece of plastic wrap, fill it with a chocolate kiss for each day leading to Christmas, and tie ribbons between. A child’s kiss is then exchanged for a candy kiss each day until Christmas. I thought that was sweet, but didn’t have kisses or curling ribbon. Here’s my Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without version.
On Monday evening, we went to our small town’s Christmas parade. As with all parades, the children came home with way too much candy. Hmmm…that takes care of the candy part.
We had some plastic wrap, but no curling ribbon. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without…what do I have? I had pieces of fabric that had been torn in small strips. I had a little thin gold cord that I bought at a yard sale years ago. My daughter had some leftover yarn. I had enough scraps for the project! Don’t you just love making do with what you’ve got? It teaches our children resourcefulness.



A wonderful activity, memorable moments, homemade make do fun, the focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have.

Got creativity?
Laura
Blessed with Resourcefulness

Getting a Little Stressed?

No, it’s not mine; but, it’s beautiful!
Okay, some of you may be getting a little stressed at this point. Thanksgiving is but a few days away.
First, take a deep breath. Now, go take your turkey of of the freezer. Put it in the refrigerator to thaw slowly and safely.
We have a lot of control over how much tension we have in our own minds over holiday dinners. Planning is so very important. Here are some ideas that might help you:
Sit down with paper and pen right now and think think think.
Start with today.
Plan your meals for each day from now until the end of the weekend. Try to use the food you have on hand as much as possible to save your money for special items you will need to celebrate. Plan for a few impromptu snacks as well.
Monday
Breakfast-
Lunch-
Dinner-
Snack or Dessert
Write this out for every meal. Then make a list of every item you will need.
Now, ask yourself a few questions.
Where will you be for Thanksgiving?
Will you be providing the meal? Bringing something to a dinner?
Traveling? Needing snacks for the car? Candles? Decorations?
Jot down any notes you might need.
When you’re done with all of this, you should have a grocery list. First, shop your pantry and freezer. Check off what you already have. You should be left with a grocery list. Check it twice.
Now, plan to go to the store as soon as possible. Take your list!
More to come!
Laura
Loving the Holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas

My Battle Plan for Colds

Last week I had my first cold of the season. I battled hard with the symptoms as soon as they started. I used the following things from my arsenal. I also drank lots of liquids and rested as much as possible.

For the cold:
echinacea and golden seal 3x day
elderberry drops 3x day
I cut up pieces of garlic and swallowed them like a pill a few times a day.

For general health/immune system:
2 T apple cider vinegar in glass of water 3x day (Bragg’s)
Kombucha tea 8 oz a day

I didn’t have an earache. However, for ears, I peel a clove of garlic and put it inside the outer hollow portion of the ear. I cover it with a bandaid to hold it in. Then we just leave it in as long as we can stand it. It works as a natural anti-biotic. We have found it helpful for my Emily’s earaches.

I hope this helps you. Unusual ingredients can usually be found in a health food store.
God bless your family with good health and healing,
Laura