Thursday, December 1, 2022

My Favorite Christ Centered Christmas Children's Books

 There's something simply magical about snuggling by the light of the Christmas tree in cozy Christmas PJs to read a story with your little{s}.  At least, I imagine there is.  My two year old toddler guy is typically struggling out of my lap & forever running wild, & honestly the best times I find to read to him are when he's confined to a high chair {just keeping it real here}.  I can roll the highchair out tree side at least, so there's that.  Anywho, there are so many Christmas books out there for kiddos - more secular than not most of the time, but there are still plenty that spread the message of the true meaning of Christmas if you know where to look.  Here's some of our favorites...  {Also, we thrifted almost all of these!}

1. My Merry Christmas by Sally Lloyd-Jones

2. God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren

3. The Christmas Baby by Marion Dane Bauer

4. Usborne Nativity Flap Book by Sam Taplin

5. The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg

6. The Story of Christmas by Patricia A. Pingry

7. Winter: Poems, Songs, Prayers by Concordia Publishing House

8. This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotton


Truly there are so many other children's book gems out there that still point to Jesus as the reason for the season - these are just the few that grace our collection.  Let me know in a comment if you have any recommendations to add to this category!

Much Merry Reading,
Laura

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Keeping Christ in Christmas

 

There is a hubbub at Christmastime unlike any other.  Lights blare, a soundtrack booms of "Santa Baby" & "All I Want for Christmas is You," advertisements entice, hurry & stress seem permissible & downright necessary, overspending & debt are the norm, & the true meaning of the day gets lost in all the noise & flash.  It is the most important story for all of humanity, & yet it is not what this old world wants us to see or hear this time of year.

The enemy has done his best to take over this holy day & make it as worldly as possible.  So then, how do we keep the focus on the true meaning of the season in our hearts & homes, & in the hearts of our kids?  As mamas & homemakers, we have the power to take this day back for what it is - the birthday of our blessed Savior.  Here are a few simple ways we use special traditions to point our kiddos {& ourselves} back to Jesus amidst the crazy the world puts on display.

-Have a simple birthday party for Jesus.  Make cupcakes or a cake together, sing the birthday song to Jesus, & talk about ways to give "gifts" to Jesus in behavior, praise, prayer, & obedience.

-Find a child friendly nativity for your littles to play with.  We have a secondhand Little People one our son loves.

-Read scripture daily this December as a family.  Luke has 24 chapters; read one a day & you get through the entire book by December 24th, letting you then reread the passage of the birth of Christ on Christmas day.  There are also scripture advent calendar ideas via Pinterest or just plain old Google to explore.

-Place baby Jesus under the tree.  For our current season with a busy & curious toddler, we take a little plastic baby doll we literally found at the Dollar Tree, wrap him in cloth, & place him in a simple basket filled with "hay" {craft store raffia}.  This let's us have so many moments to talk about how Jesus is the true & best gift.  Also, the child friendly nativity option talked about above, could be placed under the tree, too, for little ones to engage in.  If you have older kiddos, you might place a whole fragile nativity set under the tree.

-Find Christmas children's books that point to Christ.  We have a LOT of Christmas books in our house, & while it's true that not every one is about the real reason for the season, the ones that are are by far my most favorite to read to my son.  I've created a whole post sharing my favorite faith filled Christmas books for kiddos you can find here.

-Give to others as a family this Christmas.  Find ways to serve, give, & love on others this season as a family, all because of Jesus.  This could mean visiting a nursing home or shut-ins from your church, giving Christmas goodies to your neighbors, filling a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child {note the deadline for collecting these is typically in November}, helping out at a food bank or shelter...  The possibilities really are endless.  Make sure you use these moments of serving, to remind your kiddos {& yourself} that "We love because He first loved us." -1 John 4:19, & the greatest way God shows us His love is in giving us Jesus.

-Place an importance on attending church this Christmas.  This December 25th {2022} actually falls on a Sunday.  I have been amazed to hear Christian families rationalize not attending church on this day because they were too busy with celebrating the holiday.  How crazy this seems to me, when the whole reason for this holy holiday is Jesus!  We don't take a vacation from church {literally, growing up & going on vacation, we always found a church to attend come Sunday & that left a great mark on me to the importance of our faith}.  Make a statement to your family, that Christ truly is the center of Christmas.  And, yes, we will be at the Christmas Eve service the night before, too. 😉

Bonus Ideas:

-Display special Christmas decor in your home that focuses on Jesus.

-Try the Elf on the Shelf alternative Shepherd on the Search.  I really want to look into this for next year when my little boy will be 3.  I'll be keeping my eye out for after Christmas sales on this!

-Teach your kiddos the old Christmas hymns & carols of the faith.

What are some ways you keep Christ at the center of Christmas?  I'd love to know, leave me a comment!

Merry {Christ}mas,

Laura

Friday, November 18, 2022

Well... Guess What?

 After my "return" to this little ole' blog in late April of this year, I quickly disappeared yet again with the busyness of life & a broken laptop.  And then, well, we had a sweet surprise!  We're expecting our 2nd little one in February 2023!  Can't wait to meet this newest little Valentine!

P.S.: I also got a new laptop, so I'm going to try & be "back" once again.  We shall see.  Fingers crossed.

P.P.S.: Hoping to get a gender reveal video up soon!

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Mother's Day Read Alouds for Babies & Toddlers


Celebrate Mother's Day with the special little one{s} in your life & this mix of fun + sentimental read alouds perfect for babies & toddlers!

From left to right.
2. Grandma Kisses by Laura Neutzling
4. You Made Me a Mother by Laurenne Sala
5. Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
6. Littles: And How They Grow by Kelly DiPucchio

Let me know if you have any Mother's Day book recommendations!