Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

At This Simple Home

  • Homemade Magic Shell - I remember having Magic Shell once as a child. The chocolate syrup drizzled over my ice cream magically turned crispy hard. Mmm... So I was rather excited t...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Handmade Jesse Tree

Finally!  I did it!!  With a few hours to spare, my Jesse Tree is complete!  (Left-click on any image to view it larger, as always.)

This Jesse Tree has two-sided ornaments to tell the lineage of Jesus.

Isaiah 11:1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; 
   from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

Please read more about how I made this homemade Jesse Tree with a printable and directions!

Pizza Tips and Pizza Buns

I love pizza.  We typically have pizza on Fridays.  I like to make my own and continue to be on a quest to make a great pizza.  I like this recipe, but you need to make it the day before.  It is good though.  I also shared about our grilled pizza.  Very good, but with a thick crust.  I tried another new recipe (pictured below with the first cut) and we really liked it.  It was really fast and easy, too.  Unfortunately, I made the pizza too large (16", but still had leftover dough) and had to bake it in my pizza pan instead of on my pizza stone, but it has great potential.  Doesn't it look good?

To make a good pizza at home, we feel a few things are needed.
1. homemade crust  (check links above if you don't have one)
2. homemade pizza sauce (Linked to my easy sauce.  It makes enough for several pizzas.  I freeze the extras.)  Also, I recommend spreading the sauce thinly.
3. mozzarella cheese purchased in a block and shredded by you.  Purchased shredded cheese just doesn't work on pizza.
4. pizza stone -This is somewhat optional, but makes a big difference.  You also need to preheat your oven, with the stone inside it, for about 45 minutes.  It's not ideal in the summer, but works great the rest of the year.   
5. hot oven-You want your oven as hot as possible.  I've also heard that using the lowest part of the oven is good.  

Since the Mennonite Girls Can Cook's pizza crust recipe was so good, I decided to try their pizza buns too.  They were good!  I used the French bread recipe mentioned in the post instead of my own.  (Of course you could even buy a can of French bread dough.) 

 Sorry for the orange picture.  (Silly oven light.)

  Anyway, these pizza rolls were really good, though next time I will sprinkle additional cheese on top for the last five minutes of baking.  Too much of the cheese oozed out during the baking process, as seen on the parchment paper below.  Anyway, if you are looking for a good pizza alternative, these are pizza-but perfect for on the go with no mess...and loved by children!
What pizza tip do you have for me?  

Monday, November 29, 2010

Three Meals, a Confession, and Book Giveaways

After three Thanksgiving meals-one turkey, one ham, one turkey-still-in-the-oven-due-to-oven-issues- we are home again and feeling blessed by our visit with our family.  We typically have three Thanksgiving meals since we have one meal with Derek's family and two with mine.  (My parents are divorced.)  They all live within an hour of each other, but it's still a busy day or couple of days.

Oh,this year we did not have all three meals in one day.  The three feasts were spread out over two days.  They were all quite the feasts, too (even with the turkey dinner that did not have any turkey).  I am very pleased to say that I did not make any of these meals.  Actually, I only contributed to one of the meals.  Since I didn't have access to my own kitchen (and I didn't want to be in the way in Grandma's kitchen), I offered to take bread or applesauce to my sister's dinner.  She chose homemade applesauce.

So between the three meals and my total lack of self-control when it comes to snacking at Grandma's home, I have regained two of the seven pounds I had lost in the past couple of months.  Hmm.  Not so good.  Chips, cookies, pie.  YUM.

I have a confession to make.  Remember how I talked about how I shop for Christmas?  I stated that I do NOT shop on Black Friday.  Well.  Um.  I lied.  I confess to you, dear friends, that I lied to you.  Please let me explain.  I fully intended NOT to shop on Friday.  I was talking to my mother-in-law about going shopping on Saturday with her, to Boscov's.  (Boscov's is a department store like JC Penney, for those of you not familiar with it.)  My MIL, Janice, also works at Boscov's.  She was content to go on Saturday, but also told me it would not be busy on Friday.  The location of this Boscov's is in the downtown of a city...not that close to the mall or shopping centers; therefore, it would not be busy.  Derek's aunt, Donna, also agreed that it would not be busy.  Though she isn't a shopper, she was also willing and wanting to shop on either Friday or Saturday.

Well, as it turns out, we went Friday morning.  We arrived at Boscov's at 9 o'clock.  It was not busy.  Seriously.  When we arrived it was a quiet morning of shopping.  However, we were there until about 11:30.  By the time we left it was moderately busy.  It kind of felt like Walmart on a regular day.  Do I regret going?  No.  Would I shop Boscov's again on Black Friday?  Yes, but only at that particular Boscov's.

Maybe I should also tell you that most of the money I spent that day was on Derek and me.  Somehow we found room in the car for all of it.

I also wanted to let you know that my friend at Reading to Know is having Christmas giveaways all week.  She's a great source for recommending books for children and adults, and she reviews from a Christian perspective, though not exclusively Christian books, which I appreciate.  Carrie and I have become friends as she has introduced me to many new authors and books.  She often has giveaways, but really, the reviews are incredible, too!  Go check her out!

I have a Christmas advent tree to make before I can show it to you!  So I'm off to finish my unpacking and projects!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give Thanks...

I am so grateful to God for so many things.  First and foremost, His love for me (and you!) that He demonstrated through giving Jesus so that I can be in heaven some day.

I'm thankful for my husband who loves my children and me.  He is a hard worker, but always makes time for the family and working around the house.  I'm also thankful that he keeps predictable working hours!  That may sound weird, but it makes life a lot less stressful when I know when to expect him. He clears his dishes each night and doesn't complain when the house is untidy.  He makes us laugh like no one else can-not with jokes, but with just being himself!

My children are an incredible blessing.  Each day I am amazed at what they are capable of...and what they have overcome in their short lives.  To God be the glory!

Our families may be far away, but many of them visit often.  This year my mom and stepdad were able to visit overnight for the first time in five years.   Not only do our parents visit, but Derek's grandparents visit as often as possible, too.  We are thankful for a spare bedroom (and bed!) that we can offer.  We may not have the chance to visit with our extended family too often, but it's still a blessing to be in touch!

Though we're far from family, we love our home and living in Amish country.  We're exactly where God wants us...and very content in it.

This year I have made real friends.  For too long I was friendly with people, but hadn't taken the relationships to the next level to real friendship.  This year I can say I have developed real relationships with real friends!  I was convicted about the fact that not every friend is going to keep up with us through our blog.

I also am thankful for the internet as a way to communicate and get information.  Staying in touch with family over the many miles is much easier with daily emails to my mother-in-law and blogging about what our family is up to.  More importantly, the friendships I've made through blogging.  Thank you, friends for all of your encouragement!

Not only do I like the friendships that blogging has given me, but I'm motivated to create-on my own and with my children.  Blogging is a bit of a motivator for me!  Not only that, but I get to work with several publishing companies to review books!  I get books for free and all I have to do is give my honest opinion...what a blessing!!   I also appreciate that there are other opportunities, like with CSN stores who offer giveaways and reviews for me!  They have everything from a barstool to a cozy electric blanket that I need.  Blogging is such a great way to get connected with others of a like mind!

Our church is not in the same town (or state) that we live, but it has solid, biblical teaching that we have learned from for the past seven years.  I am thankful for the pastoral staff and all the leaders who help make it possible.  Not having grown up in the church (by this I mean any church), I have grown much in my walk with Jesus since coming to our church seven years ago.

There's more to this list, but I have to stop and give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving, readers and friends!

What are you giving thanks for today, friend?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Since I was a young teen, I have been buying my own gifts to give to my parents and four siblings.  That means that my babysitting money was quickly spent.  When I was in college I began shopping by mid-fall for Christmas gifts for my family and friends.  Now I shop year round, looking for deals and things that remind me of someone.  Now that many of my siblings have children and/or spouses, and I shop for my husband's family, too, December could be tough financially.

We keep things realistic.  With over 25 people in our parent/sibling (and significant other)/niece/nephew category, we know our limits with spending money.  Though we don't have a firm budget, I do try to be careful as in my spending WITHOUT shopping on Black Friday.  That kind of chaos is not my style.

I currently have a shopping list.  I have a group of gifts that I know I can buy locally (because that is how I prefer to shop and I wrote about its benefits and the 3/50 project that you might want to read).  I have another shopping list of items that I will purchase on-line through stores/sites that offer good deals.  I will likely do most of this shopping on Black Friday sitting in Grandma and Grandpa's living room.   LL Bean has free shipping through December 20th.  I intend to purchase several hanging toiletry organizers because I love mine!  I will also do some shopping with Amazon and likely CSN Stores. Whenever I use Amazon, I try to use an Amazon associate by clicking on a blogging friend's Amazon link.  It gives the associate a tiny percentage of the purchase price instead of just giving it to Amazon.  Yes, I am an Amazon associate, but my purchases cannot benefit me, but I want them to benefit someone!

One more's good to support stores that support Christmas...not just the "holiday" that brings them in tons of money.  You can check out a naughty and nice list for stores who support Christmas if you wish.

So what about you?  Are the deals worth it to you on Black Friday?  Do you do any (all?) shopping on-line?  Do you have any gift favorites for giving this year that you want to share?

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Mockingbird Parables

To Kill a Mockingbird: 50th Anniversary EditionSince seventh grade, sitting in Ms. Thompson's homeroom, I have loved the classic book To Kill a Mockingbird (linked to my thoughts/review).   I read the book on my own every year of high school (7th-12th grades), and finally bought my own copy after I left the English teacher's homeroom.  Wow, has my perspective changed and grown over time as I have matured and lived life.  I never had the opportunity to discuss TKAM in a literature class.  Sadly.  There is so much there.

The Mockingbird Parables: Transforming Lives through the Power of StoryNot only is TKAM worthy to be read, but Matt Litton has written a book about it.  The Mockingbird Parables: Transforming Lives through the Power of Story.   Matt Litton takes each character and major situations and examines them through his Christian worldview.  As a long time fan of the book, I appreciated the deeper insight that Litton brought.

Throughout each chapter, there were many headings.  I really appreciated these and came to anticipate them.  Here are a few.

  • The Meanest Old Woman in Maycomb: So Who Exactly Are Our Neighbors?
  • Walking in Someone Else's Skin: Caring For Your Neighbors Begins with Compassion
  • The Bravest Man Who Ever Lived: Courage Is the Decision to Put Others First
  • Mad Dogs and Morphine Habits: True Courage Doesn't Begin with Power
  • Bad Language and Honesty: Being Real with Our Children
  • He Looked Like His Stomach Hurt: The Sadness of Telling the Truth
  • The Maycomb Missionary Tea and Racism: The Dangers of Political and Religious Correctness
I like how the author laid out the chapters and including these additional headings throughout the book.  More importantly, he used a lot of Scripture throughout the chapters.  This book is his insight, but as a Christian and a TKAM fan, I really enjoyed this book.  

I do want to point out one section of the book that could be offensive to some readers.  In the chapter of "The Parable of Scout Finch: The Role of Women in Faith", there is a section called "Miss Caroline Fisher's Class Spokeswoman: The Role of Women as Church Leaders."  Matt Litton has much to say about women as church leaders.  
"Today-in the twenty-first century-according to the doctrine of the country's largest Christian denomination, women cannot be leaders at church or at home."
Several paragraphs later, he asks, "How can we pretend as people of faith that it is biblical to hand authority only to men as 'head of household'?  How can we exclude the voices of women from our pulpits?"

As a woman who has participated in churches on both sides of this particular fence, I noticed Matt Litton did not give any reasons why limiting female leadership can be beneficial, nor the Scripture that some churches may use.  One that comes to mind is 1 Corinthians 11:3 "But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God."  As strongly as he spoke in this section, I didn't feel it was well balanced, instead emotional.

Each page made me think of a part of one of my all-time favorite books.  Since I have read TKAM many times, there was not one reference that I was not familiar with.  I really appreciate this book as another way to celebrate a great piece of literature and think any fan of To Kill a Mockingbird would also enjoy it.  

(Another book was published this year in celebration of 50 years of TKAM called Scout, Atticus, and Boo.  I like The Mockingbird Parables so much more because of how it is all about the book itself, not how it influenced famous and not-so-famous people.)  

I definitely recommend this book for any TKAM fan even if I didn't always agree with his theology!

Thank you Tyndale for providing me with a review copy of this book.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas Cards!

Christmas 2008
M, 2 years old
E, 2 months old
Christmas cards.  You either love them or hate them!  I love them.  When sending or receiving, I appreciate a personal note and a reminder of the children's ages, if applicable.  Even the years that I have typed a letter, I still included a personal note, because I like to get the note instead of just a signature.  I also like photos of our friends and family!

Since having children we have included a photo as part of our Christmas cards.  The year M was born we created a beautiful photo card...and M looked like a 2 month old punk rocker with her (naturally) spiky hair.  The following year we included a snapshot of M in front of the Christmas tree.  The next year we not only moved into a new home, but we added our son to our family.  I learned to play with (free) Picasa's digital editing program and created a collage that I still love to this day (pictured at the left).  By using Shutterfly's incredible deal of 50 free 4x6 prints just for signing up, that year's Christmas card photos were incredibly cheap.  Since then I have used Shutterfly many times for prints because it fits my budget.  You can have prints shipped to you or picked up at Target, CVS, or Walgreens in an hour, and they guarantee your satisfaction!  If you have any questions about creating a collage, please ask!  It's such fun to create your own collage from scratch, but only pay for a regular 4x6 print!

This year, I'm looking at Christmas cards again, even though it's only November.  Shutterfly has holiday and  Christmas photo cards, and even note cards, like my favorite-Lovely Branches Green.

Bloggers, if you are interested in 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly, follow the arrowà 

Though I will receive 50 cards for sharing this post, I hope you will check them out, especially for 50 free prints for anyone-not just bloggers!  They earned my attention years ago with that great incentive!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Winner! chose Elizabeth at Twelve Crafts Till Christmas as the winner of the YCMT giveaway!   If you like to sew and craft, be sure to check her out for great tutorials.

Elizabeth, you have 48 hours to contact me at derekannette (at) gmail (dot) com.

Be sure to come back in December for a few more giveaways!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Good Morning, Beautiful

A while back I got the book Good Morning, Beautiful: Winning the Battle Over Seizures.  It was an incredibly emotional book, but more importantly, it shared the story of how one child, Christina overcame not only epilepsy, but also autism.  Christina's advocate and mother, Paulette George, tells an incredible story that had me bawling at times.

Good Morning Beautiful : Winning the battle over seizuresI don't think the reader needs to have any experience with seizures or life-threatening problems to appreciate this book.  However, this book is an excellent testimony for the Ketogenic Diet, a special form of treatment for epilepsy.  (Our son has been successful just using anti-seizure meds.)  Good Morning, Beautiful gives hope when it seems like there is no hope.  As I read it, I was so thankful for my son's health and how normal he is (with a three hour seizure, we're thankful there is no evidence of brain damage).

Many families find triumph over a variety of issues.  Christina's family fought a long hard battle with epilepsy.  Paulette George wrote a powerful book that shows God's providence through all of it.

I highly recommend this book, but know that it is an emotional read-at times I wanted to stop, but just couldn't!  I was, at times, distracted by typographical errors, but the book still shines forth!

This book was not provided by the publisher.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


We recently had a really cool experience where a blogging friend became a real-life friend!  ( In the summer of 2009, our daughter M participated in a summer swap with Sissy.  Sissy is the daughter of Jenny from Academy at Thousand Oaks and Vegan and So Forth.)

M and Sissy definitely felt that they were best buddies though they had never met.  Over the past year, Jenny and I have been getting to know one another.  Well, Sunday night we got to meet!  Jenny brought her family to our home in PA all the way from Arkansas.  They stayed two nights with us before moving on to Philadelphia and NYC.

(Another blogging friend and I met and became real friends, too, but she was "local"-just an hour meet Jenny, I invited her to stay with us.  Risky?  Possibly, but we were both comfortable with it since we had already established a relationship.  We hadn't even talked on the telephone until 2 hours before their arrival!)

I have to say that our visit couldn't have turned out any better!  Jenny was just as great as I expected her to be!   It was wonderful!  Jenny and her family are really quite sweet.  And my daughter mostly shared, which was a huge concern for us.

This was the first time in many years hosting a friend overnight though we have many overnight family visits throughout the year.  It made me really think about what I needed to do to be a better hostess.

First things first (for me)...FOOD.  I have my favorite meals and desserts that I like to make for company.  With any company a hostess needs to consider dietary considerations.  Jenny is a vegan!  (Her family eats mostly vegan, too.)  I knew I needed to seriously consider this and not take it lightly.  It's important to them, so it needed to be important to me.  With any special dietary requests, whether by choice or medically necessary, I think it's just important to ask lots of questions.  I was so excited to learn that most pasta is egg free.  I emailed Jenny so many questions asking about foods.

We kept things simple with only having to serve one dinner.  (They stayed two nights, and arrived after dinner the first night.)   I decided on spaghetti so everyone could have something familiar!  Jenny suggested a can of black beans be added to my spaghetti sauce for additional protein.  My family had meatballs.  This was served with a salad.  Easy!

For our lunches we just had peanut butter and jelly.  This may not be what most serve their company, but it works for me, and it worked for them.  Paired with some apple slices and carrot sticks...lunch!  Knowing most breads wouldn't be ideal for them, I made white bread that had no butter or milk in it.  It was my only dairy-free recipe, so I went ahead and made it.  Oatmeal was served for breakfast.  Easy!   I decided on a seriously easy vegan peanut butter fudge that was really tasty.  It was the easiest fudge I have ever made, and I will likely make it again, though I hope to try it with butter at some point.

We have a small dining room and an even smaller table in it. (Our cat used the table for about a year while E was learning to not eat kitty food.) The big kids (not E) ate in the dining room while the grown ups and E ate in the kitchen.

I asked Jenny what would be good to have on hand and made sure I had soy milk for them and margarine.  I loaded up on fruits and bought some extra salad toppings.  My biggest suggestion for anyone hosting guests with special diets is to ask lots of questions!

Of course there is more to hospitality than just the food.  Our spare bedroom is no guest room!  Yes, there is a bed in it.  But there is also an elliptical machine and two large desks.  Yes, it a very tight space.  The spare room is also our catch all.  The week before they arrived, I gathered up all the random papers and just stuffed them in a box and closed the lid.  I didn't have time to sort through them, so I didn't.  It was so liberating to just get it put away!  The spare room also had a spare computer monitor, broken printer, and speakers.  We were finally motivated to recycle them!

Our girls shared a bedroom and E moved in to our bedroom for the visit so the boys wouldn't be awakened by him in the middle of the night.

Since they like to travel and visit lots of places, we went to a Maryland lighthouse that was close by.  It was a lovely hike.  Later that day we went to a store we like called Good's Store (maybe a PA Dutch department store).  Along the way we stopped at a covered bridge, and just enjoyed the farm scenery.  The next day we took the free Herr's Snack Factory tour, which was really awesome.  We just didn't have enough time to get to Lancaster for some additional fun there, but they saw a few of buggies around.

Turkey Point Lighthouse

While they were here I learned that I really can keep my island clean for longer than from the time I go to bed until the time I wake up in the morning.  It just takes some extra work! 

Thanks, Christy for introducing us!!  Look what happened by having the Super Summer Swap!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Favorite Children's Chapter Books

You know I love to read.  But did you know that I love children's books, too?  These are my favorite chapter books...and obviously I like series, too.  I haven't read Little Men yet, but hope to some day.

The Complete Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set (Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne's House of Dreams, ... Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside)Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery- This is a fabulous book and a fabulous series.  Maybe you don't know, but it actually wasn't written with children in mind!  It's wonderful and delightful series to read (or listen to with an audio CD) and see Anne Shirley grow into a lovely young woman and eventually a wife and mother.

Betsy-Tacy (Betsy-Tacy Books)Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace- This is another book series set in the early 1900's.  It is no less delightful than Anne, but a much younger child can begin reading  and loving these books.  Betsy-Tacy is the first book in the series, and Betsy has her fifth birthday in this book!  The books increase in reading and vocabulary difficulty as Betsy and Tacy get older.  This is another wonderful series-for a girl or woman!  They are based on Maud's own life.  Please read more about these books at The Library Hospital.  You can also see my thoughts on Betsy-Tacy and Heaven to Betsy (linked to my reviews).

The Mysterious Benedict SocietyEarlier this year I was introduced to the Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stuart.  It is is set in present day, but still seems to be a classic.  Filled with mystery, suspense, and adventure, these books are loved by boys and girls alike!  The characters-Kate, Reynie, Sticky, and Constance are different, but learn to work together to help Mr. Benedict with a secret mission.  (I also appreciate that even the bad guy is shown respect and is always referred to as Mr. Curtain as they try to discover his secrets.)  This is a three book series, but my favorite book was the first, though they are all great and will appeal to various ages.

Little Women (Oxford World's Classics)Little Women is another classic story written by Louisa May Alcott.  It's the tale of the March sisters-Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy as they grow and love in the 1800's.  There is much depth to this book, and it is thoroughly enjoyable!  Has anyone seen the movies and recommend one over another?

The Chronicles of Narnia The Chronicles of Narnia is a fabulous book series with good and evil and lots of adventure.  I know this has  become even more popular with the recently produced great movies, but it's been a classic for a long time!  I remember introducing it to my third graders as a read aloud.  The students loved it, and then many read the other books on their own.   Seriously, if you have never read this series, you should!  And may I recommend that you read it in the order written???  Begin with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe!  If you begin with The Magician's Nephew, which chronologically takes place before TLTWTW, some special surprises and plot spoilers will be revealed too soon.  (You can compare it to Star the movies in the order they were made and not the chronological order!)

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting BoyThe Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and and Interesting Boy are a tight family made of four sisters and their father.  I listened to these books on audio and loved them last winter!   Family honor is sacred among these girls!  They make a new friend and adventures abound while they vacation.  I just saw on Amazon that another book will be added to the series in May 2011.  These books have no cursing, but Rosalind, age 12 has a serious crush and is boy-crazy, especially in the first book.  Also, in the second book, two of the sisters swap homework assignments.  Just a word of caution since they are recommend for grades 4-6.  They would definitely be a delightful read aloud for a family with plenty of discussion about what is important to your own family and the consequences of poor choices.  I really enjoyed these books though.  

There are so many more great books out there.  What do you recommend for me?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Giving to Others

Our church has participated in a really neat giving opportunity for several years now with Operation Christmas Child.  I really like it because it gets my own children (well, my 4 year old) involved in a special ministry.

 This shoe box will be opened by some child, some where in the world.  It may be the first Christmas gift-or any gift- that they will ever receive.  My daughter and I went shopping to fill our shoe box.  We stuffed the box full of practical things like toiletries.  Of course we added some fun stuff like a coloring book and crayons.  We included some other toys, including party blowers.  (What child doesn't love noise!?)  After placing everything in the box there was just a little bit of room left, so we added snack bags.  It will be a nice treat for them, and keeps the contents from moving too much.
Before the box reaches the child who will get it, a Gospel tract will be placed in the box-in the child's own language!

And all of this helps my daughter understand better what God expects from us.

Matthew 10:8 ....Freely you have received; freely give.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Christmas GIVEAWAY

Read to the end for a HUGE  CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY!
If you have been reading for any length of time, you know I try to be crafty.  What I make doesn't always work great, but it might be appreciated.  Earlier this year, I shared some Christmas ideas with you that I was hoping to complete (or get started??) this year. is a fabulous resource for homemade Christmas gifts and gifts year round!  Pictured below are some of my favorites!

 is a great resource!  If you are the least bit crafty you should check them out!  They even have free patterns available!
                                              CHRISTmas Tree Advent Calendar

I may not get to have all of these great patterns, but YCMT is offering a reader a Christmas Package Bundle worth $100!   These e-book patterns will be given to one reader!!
 10. Personalized Name Pillows (6.95) (pictured above)

To enter: Please leave a comment below telling me which of the 14 patterns in the bundle you like best.
For additional entries:  Leave a separate comment for each entry.
Follow Live, Learn, Love. ~ 1entry
Go to YCMT and tell me a pattern that you would like. ~ 1 entry
If you are a regular commenter, give yourself an extra entry.
If you are so motivated to blog about this, leave a link. ~ 3 entries

Giveaway is open to all.  Giveaway ends Friday, November 19, 2010.  I'm trying something different this time...instead of emailing you, I will post the winner on this site.  The winner will have 48 hours to email me or I will choose a new winner.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Manger, Baby, and Advent Book

I am getting in the Christmas mode, and thought I'd share how we used the Christmas Advent Book Calendar  last year and will definitely be doing this year too, but with both of our children!

The Story of Christmas: Story Book Set & Advent CalendarThe Story of Christmas advent calendar and book set is fabulous. It opens like you would open the doors to a barn (in the center), and inside are 24 miniature (tiny!) four page books that tell the story of how God rescued us through the birth of Jesus.  Each Bible-based book has a number on it, so you you don't need to guess the order of the books if they are not in the book.  Each mini book has a string, so you can hang it on the tree, if you wish.  Last year we weren't able to do that, so the book would appear along with a piece of "hay" and then we placed it in the book.  I totally recommend this Advent Calendar and know that there are similar ones out there that are also great!

The "hay" was really a small piece of brown yarn that M would place in the manger.  It  prepared the manger for Jesus' arrival on Christmas morning.  The craft stick manger is just made with craft sticks and hot glue.  Baby Jesus was pretty simple to make with just some simple stitches, but you could even use glue and a marker if you don't like a needle and thread.  You can read about the making of felt baby Jesus if you like.

This was our big way of learning about Jesus' birth last year, but this year I'd like to complete the incredible Jesse Tree in time!  One (of the many) things I like about the Jesse Tree is that it can be used for children of all ages.  I anticipate using ours for many, many years.  One of my friends even adjusted some of the Scripture used to match the Jesus Storybook Bible.  I thought that was brilliant.  (Unfortunately, she's not a blogging friend, so I don't have a link.)

I am linking up to stART, ABC and 123's show and tell, and Crafy SoireeRead. Explore. Learn.  These are all great resources for all of us looking to teach our young children or just be crafty!

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