More Christmas Books

I've posted before about the books we've used in our Advent book countdown, but we've mixed in a couple new favorites so that I thought I'd share those with you too.


1 - The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden. Godden has written several enchanting stories about the secret life of dolls; if you have a little girl you must introduce her to this fun world. This is a heartwarming story about Christmas wishes: the wishes of doll, a girl, and a lonely woman. 

2 - Christmas In Noisy Village by Astrid Lingren. You are probably familiar with Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking books. Her Noisy Village books are full of just as much whimsy and childish fun. The vintage illustrations (almost Norman Rockwell like) give this book an extra quaint feel. 

3 - The Night the Angels Sang by Allan Ross. This was one of Jeremy's favorite Christmas books as a child. It tells the nativity story through the eyes of Josiah, the young son of one of the shepherds. 

4 - Who is Coming to Our House by Joseph Slate. A cute story about animals preparing their 'house' for a very special visitor. This book is perfect for a beginning reader. Most of the pages only have one sentence and most of the words are just one syllable. 

5 - When it Snowed That Night by Norma Farber. Sweet poems tell the tale of animals and people as the travel to Bethlehem on that sacred night. While the poems are simple and whimsical they still manage to have magnitude and tug at the heart strings. 

6 - Nine Days To Christmas by Maria Hall Ets. A Caldacott winner, the illustrations of this book are of course fabulous. What I like most about it though is that is gives a glimpse of, and brings to life, the Christmas traditions of Mexico. 

7 - Shooting at the Stars by John Hendrix. When I saw this book I knew I had to get it to read to Big Budd; he is fascinated with military and wars. I don't want to squelch his desire to protect or fight for justice but I do want to him to know that wars are always fought against people...people who aren't that different from him. In this book a young British soldier writes home to his mom telling her about  the one day truce his unit made with the Germans on Christmas Eve of 1914. 

All of my kiddos still enjoy picture books. As they have gotten older, though, the amount of time they can spend listen to stories has increased so we usually also enjoy a couple chapter books. Here are some of our Christmas themed favorites. 


1 - The Box of Delights by John Masefield. A British classic this thriller fantasy is a great read aloud for older children. Kay Harper is given a mysterious magical box that has many powers including traveling through time. Kay and his friends must protect this box from villains who want to do away with Christmas. 

2 - The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum. Departing from the usually comparison to the historical Saint Nicholas, Baum creates a whole new origin for Santa Claus. He tells the tell of Santa from birth to old age and much like his Oz books it's full of playfulness and magic. If possible, get the version illustrated by Michael Hague, his stunning ink and water color pictures make the tale even more delightful. 

3 - Nancy and Plum by Betty Macdonald. This sweet vintage story tells of two spunky orphans sisters who are determined not to spend another Christmas at their cruel boarding house.  With plenty of mischievousness and a heart warming ending it's a great Christmas read. PS - If you haven't read Macdonald's Mrs. Piggle Wiggle book you must - it it one of our favorites! 

4 - Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien. This isn't really a chapter book but instead a collection of letters and drawings that Tolkien sent to his children from Santa Claus.  The book includes scans of the original letters and envelopes so you can see Tolkien's fun details. This book would perfect gift for any Hobbit and LoTR fan. 

5 - The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson. Last year, while reading this book to the children I got so engrossed in it that I finished it one night without them. Armand is a Parisian hobo who has no time for children. However, when he finds three children under his bridge they see his goodness and begin to steal his heart.

6 - A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This classic tale is a must read for any well read person. It's a bit hard to find but I love the unabridged illustrated version by P.J. Lynch.

If you would like to see our previous Christmas book picks you can here. We are always looking for new books to enjoy, if you have a favorite please share. 

Christmas Trees and Small Graces

Christmas trees just scream happiness, there is something just warm and comforting about them. This past Friday we went on our annual Christmas tree hunt. It's become one of our favorite traditions. Jeremy grew-up cutting down a real Christmas tree so in his mind fake is not even an option. There were plenty of years were my family didn't have a tree; so, it took me awhile to understand what the big deal was. But now I'm in full agreement - real trees are the way to go!



There is a huge part of me that loves Christmas - the celebration of our Lord Jesus choosing to be our Immanuel! If I'm honest with you though it's not always the easiest time of the year for me. Growing up the holidays were always a chaotic time. Instead of being full of celebration and joy they were tense and sometimes explosive. It's been a struggle to not continue to carry this baggage. I can get overwhelmed with trying to make everything perfect. My desire to give my kids better memories can sometimes backfire when I become tense because everything isn't going as I planned. 

Other Christmas tree excursion haven't been bad. Jeremy is such a perfect match for me; he keeps his laid-back-go-with-the-flow temperament even when I start to spin out of control. This excursion was probably our best one yet though. I didn't let the hiccups (and there are always hiccups when you have little ones) faze me. I took a page from Jeremy's book and let things slide. I was able to focus on what was really important and I had so much fun. 

It hasn't been as quickly as I would of liked but Friday and this weekend has brought me so much  joy because I can see my prayers being answered. The Lord is slowly changing me. It's nice to have a tangible example of the old (controlling, irritable, etc) slipping away and the evidence of new (patience, gentleness, and joy) taking it's place. 





Over the years we have visited five Christmas tree farms in our area and we are all in agreement that Abbey Farms is our favorite. They have a huge selection of reasonably priced trees. The staff are super friendly. Plus, while they shake and net your tree they treat you to complimentary hot chocolate and apple cider donuts. 




They also have a Santa for pictures and friendly chats. Little Lady is so funny. We have always been open about the fact that Santa is a make-believe character. We've read about the historical St. Nicolas and basically have told the kids that Santa is fun secret way for people to give gifts to those less fortune than them. The kids have never received gifts from Santa because we tell them they are fortune enough to have lots of family members who can afforded to spoil them. Instead we have the kids play Santa to some lower-income children in our area. Last year, when Little Lady saw the Santa at Abbey Farms, though, she was convinced he was real. She talked about him for days and had come up with all these reason about why he was the REAL Santa. This year she was so excited to see him again and still insists that he is the one true real Santa Claus. 


We also got around to decorating our tree on Friday. So far BabyZ has done a great job at leaving it alone. He loves to look but hasn't tried to pull off any of the ornaments. It's an Australian pine tree so the needles aren't super sharp but I don't think he's a fan of how they feel. Hopefully, his aversion will last at least until January 2nd. 






Just like the with scarecrow costume, I've also made all my kiddos dress-up as reindeer. 

Big Buddy -


Mini Man -


Little Lady - 


It makes me smile that they have all worn this sweet little outfit...hoping they'll agree to let me put it on my grandkids someday too. 

What I've Been Wearing

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! Ours has been really good. We've been a bit reclusive, the last couple of days has just been our little family. It's hard for me because there is a part of me that loves people...I've got some really great friends. I'm an introvert though and people leave me feeling drained, even great people who I love. So this year we decided to play it low key. It was the right choice. We've had so much fun playing board games and slowly decorating our house for Christmas. 

We even decided to have a low key Thanksgiving meal. We skipped the turkey and sides and instead splurged on steaks that we paired with our favorite veggies. Far from traditional, but I think this will be our new pattern. Instead of feeling drained and overwhelmed I'm feeling refreshed and energized. 

Now on to the clothes...

Sunday



Friday



On Friday we went and cut down our Christmas tree. It was the first year we didn't forget any thing! We had cash and the camera. Everyone had their coats, gloves, and hats. I'm counting it has a Christmas miracle! 

Those are the only pictures I got around to taking this week. If you looking for more outfit inspiration please check out these link parties: Watch What I'm WearingMonday MingleStyle SessionsPleated Poppy and A Labour of Life

What I've Been Wearing

 Sunday

 I ordered this dress (and a couple other goodies) from thredUP a couple months back. It's become my favorite piece to wear this fall. Click here to see how I styled it a couple weeks back. 

Almost every Sunday I make my kiddos pose for an Instagram picture with me. They are such a good sports - it's so sweet of them to indulge me in this way. I thought I share the picture here because we just bought them some new winter 'church' shoes. They are all from Old Navy so they were fairly inexpensive. The pictures don't do it justice but Little Lady's boots dazzle with sparkles. They are so fun and so HER! She's worn them almost everyday this past week and insists that they are very comfortable. I was a little nervous because they have a bit of heel - but she it doesn't seem to slow her down. Mini Man and Big Buddy got the same pair of slip-on boots - they both really liked the fur lining. I picked out BabyZ some moccasins. They are soft soled and easy to slip on...so I think he is also pleased ;)


Monday & Friday


I swear I did get dressed more than three times this week. The days have just been busy and before I realize it it's dark. I struggle so hard with the lack of sun in the fall and winter. I know it's not rationale but the lack of daylight makes me feel like I'm always running behind. 

If you looking for more outfit inspiration please check out these link parties: Watch What I'm WearingMonday MingleStyle Sessions and Pleated Poppy
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